Tag Archives: Humility

I am the Monster under the Bed!!!

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gareth-bryant-eid-pics-23.jpg

When the Sun drops down & the Night has risen…

…My claws spring-out, my heart cold, eyes crimson.

I always wait for the Twilight…

…it is the best time to strike.

Underneath the beds, of all those whom fear me…

…They know that I’m real, they understand, clearly.

When I attack, it’s as though I’m Lightning…

They can’t even scream, I’m so frightening.

I lurk within the hallways & stairs…

…So afraid of me, they walk in pairs.

As I chase, causing fear, terror, as well as despair…

…I roam, from home to home, I’m a true Nightmare.

As I yell & howl, as if the Moon were full and at its brightest…

…I cause descent people anxiety, me being their trial & test.

And, then, I awake, just before the Dawn breaks…

…I rush to the bathroom, wash my confused face.

Everyday, this occurs, I’m actually my own Monster…

…Every night, this constant image, I’m my own horror.

This is my punishment, for me causing good-people pain…

…For not caring for others, no consequence, only disdain.

It is my fate, to be a living nightmare, that people hate.

It’s what I get for living crooked, as opposed to straight.

Gareth Bryant/2013

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an-Niqab/the Islamic Facial-Veil: Endurance & Struggle vs. Ridicule & Opposition

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Sonyia Ali pic

Author’s note:

At the request of the sister whom submitted this article, I will keep her identity anonymous. She specifically wanted to not be known, for submitting this article, which I must/should respect. Furthermore, even though anonymous, it’s so important that stories such as these are told, as often as possible, to let people know that the Niqab isn’t just something that’s a simple as placing a covering over one’s face.

This is her personal-account of the benefits & perils of donning the Niqab:

“It was a sunny, spring, day, and I took full advantage of it, by deciding to visit my oldest uncle from my dad’s side. A few blocks away from my apartment I decided to head out and fulfill my duties as a Muslimah, by visiting the sick and trying to uphold the rights of family at the same time. It was a nice visit… always interesting for my uncle is the type to talk about history and I love history, and he loves to talk. Our relationship goes hand in hand. So he talked, and I listened. Feeling content after the visit I stepped out of his house and headed home.

On the way home I decided to call and catch up with a friend from England, chatting away on my cell phone I was oblivious to what was about to take place. Walking in broad daylight in a Jewish neighborhood, which has neighborhood patrol you’d have to be in the safest area in Brooklyn. But alas, Brooklyn is Brooklyn and you have to expect the unexpected. As I reached the middle of the street I heard a glass shattering and then a Jewish man walking in front of me yelling at someone behind me. I turned around to see what was going on and not even a foot away from me lay a broken glass bottle.

And at the corner of the block I saw a figure running away. I stood there in shock trying to let what I saw sink in. It’s not that serious was my first thought. And then I heard the kind man in front of me asking me if I was alright. I looked at him trying to answer but I just nodded my head. Yes… I managed to stutter. Then more firmly Yes I said. My senses started to kick in and I realized what had just happened. I had been a victim of a hate crime. I was attacked and barely escaped injury because I was a niqabi. It stood there for a few more seconds as I saw the Jewish man run towards the end of the block to see if the culprit was in anywhere in sight and of course he had fled. “ He’s gone”, the man called from the corner of the street. Are you ok? He asked. I’m ok I answered and started walking home.

The incident lay behind me, and I pretty much forgot about it. I was used to having people react to my attire. I remember in the beginning when I first started wearing niqab (at the age of 16) I would tell people to “f@*& off” if they cursed or spit or even stared too long. But as I grow spiritually I realized people were afraid of the unknown, afraid of things that were different so I let them stare and comment and even responded with smiles and laughs.

Then almost a year later I was waiting for a bus on the corner of an extremely busy street. While I was waiting I was reading a book that a professor had let me borrow. I stood at the window of a bank focused on my book. As I stood there, a man pushed past me to go into the bank moving aside I didn’t take any notice and kept reading. Moments later the same man, who had walked into the bank walked out, and as he started walking away from me he pulled my niqab from my face. He didn’t get to pull it all the way down but it was enough of a tug to expose my forehead. Our eyes met as he walked away and never in my life did I see such hatred and animosity in a human being. I was in shock. Frozen and taken aback unable to figure out what to do. He walked away into the crowd of people leaving to my stunned state.

Crowd of people. I was in a crowd of people and not one person came to my aid. Not one person asked if I was ok. Not one person even looked at me. I was in a crowd of people. It left me wounded. Where was the humanity in humans? Why wasn’t I helped? Why wasn’t the man stopped? Why did everyone look away? Was it because I was covered? Was it because I had it coming? That night I cried. I cried for all the sisters that struggled day in and day out with wearing their Muslim attire and having to face such hate. I knew I was lucky. The man hadn’t physically hurt me. I knew of sisters who had been beaten, sisters who had broken bones, and sisters who carried internal and external bruises. And regardless of their pain they still walked proud with their hijabs and niqabs. And I cried for myself, it was the first time in so many years that I felt afraid to walk out of the house because of my niqab.

In bed that night I thought things through. Even though I was on a busy street I was still alone, living in New York you can’t always have someone with you. So what would have happened if I was really physically attacked and pummeled? I’m 5’ 2”, less than a 100 pounds and all I would have done was taken the pounding, probably gained a few broken bones and a damaged mentality. I had to do something. I needed to be able to protect myself. So I made the decision of finding a place that held self-defense classes for women. It was a trip.

I googled and called and googled again. I couldn’t find anything in Brooklyn that had such a facility. I was disappointed.  But not discouraged. Maybe I can have private lessons… was my next thought.  I called Midwood Martial Arts and spoke to the sensei there asking for a female teacher who was willing to give me private lessons. And lo and behold, the sensei agreed.

I went to the dojo the following week and talked to sensei Alison who listened to my account of being attacked. We started training. I trained privately with her for about a month, as we trained I talked to her about how at first, I was looking for a female instructor and was also hoping that the class would cater to women only. Not just Muslim women but women who just felt comfortable with having a female class and a female teacher. And what did the sensei say?  “Soniya, if we can bring in women to the dujo for an all female class then I can bring myself into train them.”  From there slowly but surely we gained a class of women from Pakistan, Germany, Israel, Muslim women, Jewish women, Christian women, mothers, daughters, students, nurses.

Who would have known that an incident that kept me avoiding crowds, and kept me crossing streets to avoid people coming from the opposite direction would have led to something so dynamic?

Gareth Bryant/2013

My Transition from Boy to Man:

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I was once a Boy:

I used to be a boy.
My life was a toy.

I would take things lightly, and shun responsibility, but that was clearly in the past.
Pursuing the fleeting and worthless pleasures, you think you want, really never last.

I used to think of myself as the “ladies’-man”; I arrogantly thought that I had the world in my hand.
We are crucially warned in the Qur’an, to not be like those people who tread pridefully in the land.

But, Allah taught me that once you depart from Him, He’ll make you lose yourself thereafter.
It took a lot of pain & loss to come to realize that when things get tough, people will scatter.

Everyone who cracks a smile isn’t a friend; if a woman lets you have her, it doesn’t mean she loves you.
There’s much more to people than just a nice body, a pretty face; eventually they show their colors true.

He allowed heart-breaks & head-aches to invade my personal-space, to teach me that I was all-wrong.
However, learning the reality of the deception of others has not weaken me; rather, it’s made me strong.

This boy whom people once knew, this quiet, simple, naive young boy has long died.
My foolish mistakes and your trials & tricks have killed & buried him, his body cold.

I’m now a Man:

Today, I am now a Man.
I have a brand-new plan.

No longer will I submit to the whims of others, be deceived by the infatuation of false-lovers.
Things look really good wrapped-up; but, the ugliness is revealed once you are undercovers.

People love to tag you along & play the game, to do to you what others have done to them.
They treat you like you’re an enemy to them, it’s like “survival of the fittest”, “sink or swim”.

I will not allow myself to ever love someone who neither cares nor loves me back.
I must return to Allah through obeying Him and put myself back on the right track.

I’ve matured, and realized that not everyone is nice.
If you let them, they’ll use you, as their own device.

Some may call me cynical; but, I think of life literal; reality often hits you hard.
People have ill-will and you have to be on your toes; you always stand guard.

This is a part of “growing-pains”; but, I hope to be done with injury.
With Allah as my Lord & my wits intact, I’m sure to achieve victory.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on Gratitude:

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Gratitude:

Great are all the enumerable favors that Allah has given me.

Received without Him wanting payback, He gives for free.

And, He only requires that we devote ourselves to Him solely.

This service, which we owe our owner, is for Him exclusively.

I must always remind myself that Allah is my benefactor.

The obligation for thankfulness is only to Him, my master.

Under no circumstance am I to ever be arrogant & boastful.

Divine is His justice, and for sin, His punishment is wrathful.

Even with very little, I owe everything I have to Him.

Gareth Bryant/2011