Tag Archives: Love
A few weeks ago, I put together a gift for my lady Melony. This is one of her pictures which she took on an ocean somewhere. I put some words to it to make a little poem.
This is a documentary about my dad, Christopher Michael Considine, who was born on April Fool’s Day in 1948. He grew up in the country of New Hampshire and Vermont. My dad served as Captain during the Vietnam War, a conflict which some of the greatest figures of his generation avoided. Years after serving in the U.S. Army, my dad met my mom and they lived pretty much happily ever after. When his children were born, he groomed them to be great athletes, and great athletes they became. When my dad was older, he had to see his children off into the real world. But now, things have come full circle.
Tags: April Fool's Day, Chris Considine, Christopher Considine, Dads, Documentary, Family, Father, Father's Day, Film, Grandfather, Happy Father's Day, Husband, Love, Needham Basketball Association, New Hampshire, United States Army, Vermont, Vietnam War
About a year ago Melony and I visited a beautiful place called Glencolumbkille, Ireland. We found the beautiful Maghera Beach on a memorable day trip.
Tommy Robinson, leader of the anti-Muslim group English Defence League, used some racy language in his response to the recent killing of a British soldier by a young British Muslim man in Woolwich, London. Referring to the actions and religion of the murderer, Robinson stated that “This is Islam… They’ve cut off one of our Army’s heads off on the streets of London. Our next generation [is] being taught through schools that Islam is a religion of peace. It’s not. It never has been.”
Robinson’s statement, however, is contradictory to the lives of several Muslim leaders and thinkers in Islamic history. In highlighting the character and conduct of the Prophet Muhammad, Akbar the Great, and Rumi, we can see that the Muslim faith is not inherently violent. In fact, many Muslims throughout history have actually behaved in the opposite manner of what Robinson suggested – with goodwill and peace.
To counter Robinson’s message we should turn to the beliefs of the Prophet Muhammad, who in his final sermon in 632 AD planted the seed of peace for his people and for future generations of Muslims. In stating that “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab” and that “a white person has no superiority over black nor does a black have any superiority over white,” Muhammad made it clear how important it is to embrace diversity and secure equality when it comes to building a cordial and tranquil society.
The Medina Constitution, a document Muhammad created to ensure the protection of non-Muslims in an Islamic society, is another example of the prophet’s interest in building amicable relations among his diverse band of followers. Muhammad believed that “strangers” were to be treated with special consideration and on the “same ground as their protectors.” He extended his call for peace by focusing specifically on Jews, who he said “shall maintain their own religion… The close friends of Jews are as themselves.” Muhammad even encouraged Muslims to spread peace through small, everyday acts by using modest and kind language. In the Holy Quran, offensive name-calling is forbidden: “Let not some men among you laugh at others … Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connecting wickedness” (49:11).
The life of Akbar the Great, ruler of the Mughal empire in the late 16th and early 17th century, also contradicts Robinson’s idea that Islamic values are antithetical to peace. Shortly after taking power Akbar the Great implemented an inclusive approach toward non-Muslims, ushering in an era of religious tolerance based on the Sufi concept of Sulh-e-kul, or “peace to all.” Borrowing ideas from Sufism, Akbar synthesized major religions in creating the Din-e-Ilahi, or “the religion of God,” which focused on finding peace by reconciling religious differences among his subjects.
Akbar also went to great lengths to accommodate Hindus in his Mughal empire by securing their freedom of public prayer and allowing Hindus to build and repair their temples. In response to his son’s question about why he allowed a Hindu Minister to build a Hindu temple, Akbar responded by saying that “I love my religion, but others also love their religion.” He added: “If they want to spend money on their religion, what right do I have to prevent them? Do they not have the right to love the thing that is their very own?” Finding ways to build peace through religious dialogue was of the utmost importance to Akbar the Great because he understood that finding common ground amongst his diverse population was imperative to establishing a stable and prosperous society.
One of the biggest omissions in Robinson’s theory that Muslims do not practice peace is his disregard for Sufism, or Islamic mysticism. The work of internationally renowned Sufi poet Rumi, a 13th century mystic, is one case in point. As a practitioner of Sufism, a popular ascetic movement inspired by Christian ideals, Rumi was inspired by finding peace through loving one’s self and loving others. According to Rumi, human beings “come from love, are made by love, and cannot cease to love.” In Rumi’s mind, the ultimate task for people is to seek love by finding “all the barriers within [ones self] that [they] have built against it.” Rumi calls on people to break down the barriers which exist between groups so that they may find common ground and understanding.
There are many more leaders and moments in Islamic history that disprove the myths espoused by Robinson, whose attempt to rewrite history is part of an increasing transnational movement to demonize Muslims in Western societies and to tarnish Islam. What we need now is not imaginative stories but rational discussions between Muslims and non-Muslims, who can only come to better understand each other through face-to-face encounters and cross-cultural interactions.
Tags: Akbar the Great, Anti-Muslim Groups, British Muslims, Compassion, English Defence League, Islam in the U.K., Islam news, Islamic Mysticism, Islamophobia, Islamophobia News, Jews, Love, Median Constitution, Muhammad, Peace, Racism, Religion News, Religion of Peace, Religious tolerance, Rumi, Sufism, Tolerance, Tommy Robinson, Woolwhich Attack
“I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“The Islamic teachings have left great traditions for equitable and gentle dealings and behavior, and inspire people with nobility and tolerance. These are human teachings of the highest order and at the same time practicable. These teachings brought into existence a society in which hard-heartedness and collective oppression and injustice were the least as compared with all other societies preceding it….Islam is replete with gentleness, courtesy, and fraternity.” – H.G. Wells
“Islam is a religion of success. Unlike Christianity, which has as its main image, in the west at least, a man dying in a devastating, disgraceful, helpless death… Mohammed was not an apparent failure. He was a dazzling success, politically as well as spiritually, and Islam went from strength to strength to strength.” – Karen Armstrong
“… since September 11th event, in many occasion I always come forth, with a defense of Islam. Islam like any other major tradition. I think the very praising Allah means love, infinite love, compassion, like that. I understand Islam, they usually carry rosary, all 99 beads, different name of Allah, all refer compassion, or these positive things.” – Dalai Lama
“Islam brings hope and comfort to millions of people in my country, and to more than a billion people worldwide. Ramadan is also an occasion to remember that Islam gave birth to a rich civilization of learning that has benefited mankind.” – George W. Bush
“Love Sufism …’the divinity of the human soul… Within Our spiritual heart there is a direct connection to God… I have respect for all faiths. All faiths. But what I’m talking about is not faith or religion. I’m talking about spirituality.” – Oprah Winfrey
“… the religiosity of Muslims deserves respect. It is impossible not to admire, for example, their fidelity to prayer. The image of believers in Allah who, without caring about time or place, fall to their knees and immerse themselves in prayer remains a model for all those who invoke the true God, in particular for those Christians who, having deserted their magnificent cathedrals, pray only a little or not at all.” – Pope John Paul II
“It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: ‘God Alone is Great’… “ - Sarojini Naidu
“I have been struck [...] by the human and moral values which Americans as a people share with Islam. We share, first and foremost, a deep faith in the one Supreme Being. We are all commanded by Him to faith, compassion, and justice. We have a common respect and reverence for law. Despite the strains of the modern age, we continue to place special importance on the family and the home. And we share a belief that hospitality is a virtue and that the host, whether a nation or an individual, should behave with generosity and honor toward guests. On the basis of both values and interests, the natural relationship between Islam and the United States is one of friendship. I affirm that friendship, both as a reality and as a goal [...] [and] am determined to strengthen, not weaken, the longstanding and valued bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and many Muslim nations.” – Jimmy Carter
“After I have read the Quraan, I realized that all what humanity needs is this heavenly law.”
“The legislation of quran will spread all over the world, because it agrees with the mind, logic and wisdom.” – Leo Tolstoy
Tags: Allah, Compassion, Dalai Lama on Islam, George W. Bush on Islam, God, H.G. Wells on Islam, Interfaith Dialogue, Jimmy Carter on Islam, Karen Armstrong on Islam, Leo Tolstoy on Islam, Love, Mahatma Gandhi on Islam, Muslims, Non Muslim quotes on Islam, Oprah Winfrey on Islam, Oprah Winfrey on Sufism, Peace, Peaceful religion, Pope John Paul II on Islam, Prophet Muhammad, Quotes on Islam, Qur'an, Religion, Religion and Spirituality, Sarojini Naidu on Islam
You can read more about the life of Akbar the Great in my Huffington Post Religion article, “Finding Tolerance in Akbar, the Philosopher-King”
A lovely picture of Mel and I in the small village of Howth, just outside of Dublin, Ireland. It reminds me of this love poem by Rumi…
A moment of happiness,
you and I sitting on the verandah,
apparently two, but one in soul, you and I.
We feel the flowing water of life here,
you and I, with the garden’s beauty
and the birds singing.
The stars will be watching us,
and we will show them
what it is to be a thin crescent moon.
You and I unselfed, will be together,
indifferent to idle speculation, you and I.
The parrots of heaven will be cracking sugar
as we laugh together, you and I.
In one form upon this earth,
and in another form in a timeless sweet land.
Kulliyat-e Shams, 2114
Every soul is a celestial Venus to every other soul.
The heart has its sabbaths and jubilees in which the world appears as a hymeneal feast,
and all natural sounds and the circles of the seasons are erotic odes and dances.
Love is omnipresent in nature as motive and reward.
Love is our highest word and the synonym of God.
Taken in Prague, Spring 2011
Ibn ʿArabī (Arabic: ابن عربي) (Murcia July 28, 1165 – Damascus November 10, 1240) was an Arab Andalusian Sufi mystic and philosopher. He is sometimes referred to as “the Son of Plato” (Ibn Aflatun) for his devotion to Plato.
My heart has grown capable of taking on all forms
It is a pasture for gazelles
A table for the Torah
A convent for Christians
Ka’bah for the Pilgrim
Whichever the way love’s caravan shall lead
That shall be the way of my faith.
Tags: Allah, Arab people, Christianity, Christians, Dialogue, God, Heart, Ibn Arabi, Interfaith, Islam, Jews, Judaism, Ka'bah, Kaaba, Love, Muslims, People, Philosophy, Plato, Poem, Poetry, Poets, Religion, Religion and Spirituality, Spirituality, Sufism, Torah
One day, a man in rags approached Rumi and changed everything. The following exchange, according to legend, occurred:
Pointing to Rumi’s legal books,
the man in rags asked,
‘You wouldn’t understand’,
Rumi responded disdainfully.
The man in rags
fixed Rumi in a stern gaze,
waved his arm,
and set the legal books on fire.
He waves his arm a second time,
and the books went back to their normal appearance.
Shocked at what happened,
‘What was that?’
‘You wouldn’t understand’,
the man in rags said.
He then disappeared.
The man in rags was Shams of Tabriz. After meeting him, Rumi decided to end his profession as a scholar of sharia to follow the mystical path of love and spirituality (Sufism) which Shams of Tabriz represented.
The book is designed in a nonlinear fashion, ‘transcending the usual laws of logic and habitual experience which the Virgin Birth of the beloved Jesus also transcends’. The book also reads, in essence, as a long prose-poem. Sheikh Ozak intends for the reader to have a ‘mystical virgin birth’ within its receptive heart – ‘a miraculous birth or purity and illumination, comparable to the experience of the blessed Mary‘.
In his Foreword, Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak makes it clear that Christian readers may not agree with a few of his points. He also, however, makes it known that the ‘Islamic and Christian lovers of the Virgin Mother of Jesus breathe different atmospheres’ but represent ‘two distinct global traditions’. Through his book, Sheikh Muzaffer Ozak hopes that love will bring Christians and Muslims together. He wants the reader to ‘achieve spiritual harmony and love for all humanity without exception, rather than to engage in religious debate or warfare’.
The Virgin Mary, after all, is the bridge between Christians and Muslims. Look at Surrah 3, Verses 45-55 and Surrah 19, Verses 16-36 of the Qur’an.
Most non-Muslims don’t know that women have a very special place in Islam. Check out this story:
A companion once asked the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): Who is the most important person for the soul in Islam?’ The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied: ‘The mother’. The companion pressed the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) for more information. ’Who is the next most important person?’ Once more, the Prophet Muhammad replied: ‘The mother’. The companion repeated the question a third time. He received the same answer. Finally, on the fourth repetition of this question, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) resonded: ‘The father’.
A hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), in addition, reads: ‘Paradise lies at the feet of the mothers’. The Virgin Mary, moreover, according to Sheihk Muzaffer Ozak, holds an even higher position in Islam than Amina, the mother of the Prophet Muhammad because Mary appears prominently in the Qur’an. These are just a few references to highlight Islam’s reverence of women.
When you here non-Muslims claiming that Islam doesn’t respect or appreciate women, you can share Islam’s position towards the Virgin Mary. You could also encourage them to read Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) honored By US Supreme Court In 1935 (themuslimvoice.wordpress.com)
- Let us turn to the Virgin Mary with a thought for Lourdes. (fraternitysdm.wordpress.com)
Lovers trust in the wealth of their hearts
while the all-knowing mind sees only thorns ahead.
To wander in the fields of flowers
pull the thorns from your heart.
The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border? – Pablo Casals
By Patrick Lane
You miss your woman when she’s gone.
You sleep on her side of the bed even when
you say you won’t, imagine her cut under you
like strange wool newly clipped. And fold away,
fold away. There’s broken things around you
you can’t fix. Blood in a boy’s head and a bullet
in a man. You say grief to a chickadee
and the only tears are rain. I live too much sometimes.
You miss your woman when she isn’t home.
Strange wool. That and broken things still running.
Were I to care about it,
It might be wise to think,
but with these good things now
I have no desire for truth.
No grudge, no grievance
with some answer from why.
A comfortable numb, an ease,
On lies that simmer over us.
Alas, it has no meaning.
Except the trump of deceit,
It is a flicker, a quick thought,
Full circle and complete.
© Craig Considine
If you need reassurance in love,
I suggest you walk away now.
If you’re thinking about getting close to me,
Forget words like stability, security, and consistency.
I’m restless and fidgety;
don’t expect me to stand still.
If you want to be with me,
prepare for impatience.
If you’re sensitive, move away;
keep your distance.
I get uncomfortable when you get too close.
And please, don’t ask me ‘why?’.
I won’t tell you.
Nobody has access to my soul but me.
But, I’m friendly and loving.
I get along with everyone.
I’m a conversationalist.
I’ll be the life of the party.
I crave and love audiences,
whether male or female,
but it never goes beyond this;
unless, of course, you doubt me.
Don’t bind me
and never, ever, doubt me.
I’ll never indulge in adultery;
I yearn for loyalty.
I’ll trust you,
but only as much
as you trust me.
I’m not the jealous type.
I’ll never be possessive.
I may lack passion,
but I don’t lack in romance.
I’ll cuddle with you,
and protect you.
And don’t forget,
I’ll make an excellent husband.
I’ll bring you flowers.
I’ll bring you candies and cards.
I’ll treat you like a Queen.
If you want my heart,
assure me that I’m your one and only.
But remember, don’t smother me.
I’ll gladly love you
and let you into my world.
I have many personalities.
I’m an enigma.
I’ll be there for you,
but it won’t be the same,
as being always there with you.
My word of advice:
keep up with me!
Don’t worry if you get tired;
I’ll stop for you and grab your hand.
I’ll always give you the strength
to run with me again!
© Craig Considine
There is a young Dublin man who had been ‘lost’ for nearly 10 years. ’I have seen it all, done it all, laughed harder than most, and definitely partied harder than all. I had all the pleasures in the world – beautiful women, a good physique, and charming looks’, he said. The young Dublin man also asked himself, ‘Why aren’t I happy?’ I could tell he was being honest with himself. I knew he was in severe pain deep down inside of his soul.
For 10 years, this young Dublin man thought he was invincible. He did things to his body that were undoubtedly risky. He broke girls’ hearts without a flinch. He played with love like it was a game. He disrespected his parents, elders, and friends. He would even pick fights with people when he was younger. He had very little boundaries both inside and outside of his home. If he felt the urge to do something, he was going to do it. He hardly ever thought twice. For him, things were the way they were because ‘that’s just how they were’. He didn’t believe in the saying ’you get out of life what you put into it’. He said he was spiritual but not religious.
Things started to change for this young Dublin man when he met an older pious Muslim man from India. This Muslim man was a local religious leader at a nearby mosque. The two had a natural friendship from the minute they met. They didn’t have to hide anything from each other. The Dublin man felt comfortable and secure in the company of the pious Muslim man. The pious Muslim man saw the young Dublin man as his own ‘work in progress’. He thought he could help him and bring him closer to his Creator.
When the young Dublin man went to the mosque, he was moved by the community’s dedication to faith, the clarity of their minds, and the sincerity and care they had for their fellow brothers and sisters, even when they weren’t Muslims.
The young Dublin man left the mosque one evening and was struck by an overwhelming sense of fear. ’Why are these people so much stronger than I am?’, he asked himself. He also asked himself: ‘What have I been doing these last ten years? Why have these things – both good and bad – happened to me?’
The young Dublin man was thankful for all his blessings, but he was distraught over how far he fled. He was connecting all of his earlier wrongdoings to his lack of faith. He wondered to himself, ‘Would all of these negative things have happened to me if I had a foundation to guide me?’
Therefore, the young Dublin man went home in somewhat of a dilemma. In one sense, his life was flashing before his eyes. In-turn, he decided to rid himself of all the negative belongings around his room. He tossed it all in the trash. This was a way for him to cleanse himself of all the things he didn’t need in his life. He then went for a long walk in search of some answers.
While on his long walk, the young Dublin man felt something following him. He said, ‘The street lights were flickering like crazy. Everything was in slow motion. Birds were flying all around me. There were weird explosion sounds coming from the devices on the nearby buildings. The sun was piercing down on my face. Then, suddenly, a massive gust of wind pushed me back’.
The young Dublin man had a strange feeling overcome him. He felt like something or someone was trying to send him a message.
He knew this was the time to make a change.
In the coming weeks, the young Dublin man rededicated himself to the faith he was raised with. He started attending mass everyday in a local church. He started praying. He started thinking about his actions and their consequences.
More importantly, he opened his heart.
But there was this one thing really bothering the young Dublin man. The problem had to do with a woman. This woman used and abused him over-and-over again. When she walked away from him, the young Dublin man’s head was filled with confusion and anger. She weakened his heart. She even made him question ‘love’. When she walked away from him, the young Dublin man had nothing to fall back on. He had given his everything to her. Now that she was gone, he felt he had absolutely nothing.
The young Dublin man thought about her and his recent transformation. He decided to act on both.
Instead of continuing with his hatred and anger for her, the young Dublin man started to pray for this woman. He prayed for her mental and emotional well-being. He prayed she would get healthy. He prayed she would stop abusing those around her. He also prayed for all the men who would cross in her dangerous and destructive path.
At the same time, this young Dublin man, while praying, would ask for signs that his prayers were acknowledged. He needed reassurance of some sorts to confirm he was listened to.
However, one day, everything changed. The prayers of the young Dublin man were answered. They were answered in a very surprising and subliminal way, but they were answered nonetheless.
When the young Dublin man received the news, he was not angry. He was not mad. He was relieved. After all, his prayers were answered.
In essence, the young Dublin man figured out his problem. He thought all his worries and troubles had to do with this woman, but in essence, he was wrong. He identified his problem.
It was never her.
It was him.
This story shows how the power of faith itself is not always a divisive mechanism. A pious Muslim man can awaken a non-Muslim and bring him closer to his Creator. At the same time, the young Dublin man confirmed for the pious Muslim man how members outside of his faith community can learn from his message. This brought the pious Muslim man great comfort as it served for him as a sign that his message was indeed worthy in the eyes of his Creator.
The young Dublin man now walks with a different aura about him. He has a clearer mind and a bigger heart. He is now stronger both mentally and emotionally. He is ready to love again.
This is the mystery of faith.
© Craig Considine