Monday, July 25, 2005

His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani

I wonder if the image of His Highness staring back at him from the window of my car had anything to do with the man I hit being so kind to me?

It's difficult to be rude with His Highness watching you, I suppose!


One more reason in a long list of reasons to adore Qatar's Emir!

Friday, July 22, 2005


I had a fender bender today. I was looking for a parking space at Hamad Hospital, which is notoriously short on spaces to park (isn’t all of Doha these days?).

I was in a row of cars on the fourth level of the parking garage, searching for a space, when suddenly I saw on my left that a big Toyota Land Crusier was backing out and was headed straight for my door. I didn’t have time to think, I just reacted. I threw it into reverse to avoid certain injury when thump! I hit a car I couldn’t see that was waiting behind me!

I jumped out, totally expecting what in my culture would have been a normal reaction; for the guy to be angry, to say how stupid and careless I was, blah blah blah. Of course, he would demand my name, number and insurance information so that I would pay for his fender’s repairs.

This Qatari man’s actual behavior totally shocked me. Instead of yelling at me, he asked if I was ok, then refused to take my information. I pressed the point, insisting on exchanging insurance information, contact numbers etc. He refused.

Now, even the "kindest" American back in the States would insist on getting my insurance and contact information. Most likely, they would also try to sue me for (fabricated) "whiplash injuries" or "pain and suffering," or whatever else they and their lawyer could conjure up to convince the court that they deserve money out of me.

But what does the Qatari man do? He tells me “Halas, it’s finished. Your car’s damage is much worse than mine,” and politely excuses himself, blesses me (it’s a muslim courtesy to say “may the peace of God be with you,” a courtesy that I couldn’t believe he was granting me after I had just smashed his fender!!!!!), and drives away! Alhumdulillah!

The Qataris, both men and women, never cease to impress me by their kindness, graciousness, and generally impeccable adab (“manners”). This was just one example of Qatari mercy.

Mashallah, what a wonderful nation of people to have the opportunity to live and work with.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What Is Islam?

In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.
Oh Allah, guide my words to express your Truth. If any of the following information is wrong, it is only my human error, not God's. Amen.

The practice of Islam; “the surrendering of one’s will to the will of God.”

The word “Islam” means to surrender; yield; to be at peace.

"Muslim;“a person who surrenders (his/her will to God alone)”.

Muslims” ; “the people who surrender (their wills to God alone)”.

Qu’ran 3.19

Behold, the only (true) religion in the sight of God is (man’s) self-surrender unto Him; and those who were vouchsafed revelation aforetime took, out of mutual jealousy, to divergent views (on this point) only after knowledge (thereof) had come unto them. But as for him who denies the truth of God’s messages-behold, God is swift in reckoning!

Qu’ran 3:84- 85

Say: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed by their Sustainer unto Moses and Jesus and all the (other) prophets: we make no distinction between any of them. And unto Him do we surrender ourselves.”

For, if one goes in search of a religion other than self-surrender unto God, it will never be accepted from him, and in the life to come he shall be among the lost.

Qu’ran 3.20

Thus, (O Prophet,) if they argue with thee, ay, “I have surrendered my whole being unto God, and (so have) all who follow me!”-and ask those who have been vouchsafed revelation aforetime, as well as all unlettered people, “Have you (too) surrendered yourselves unto Him?”
And if they surrender themselves unto Him, they are on the right path; but if they turn away-behold, thy duty is no more than to deliver the message: for God sees all that is in (the hearts of) his creatures.

Qu’ran 29.46
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner- unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing- and say: “We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that We (all) surrender ourselves.”

Why Islam?

I can’t say that I have a typical conversion story. My conversion happened slowly, it was more of a lifelong way of thinking, seeking, and asking for more.

In particular, more explanation, consistency, and logic to Theology.

After many years of my life seeking and posing my questions, Islam was, and is, the answer.

I embraced Islam because of the Quran. Period.

I read it, I meditated on what it says, and that alone is why I converted.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Declaration of Independence

While contemplating the sins of American's current "regime", I thought I would do something positive today since it's July 4th and read the Declaration of Independence.

Wow, does this sound familiar? Is Bush trying to emulate King George or what?

The Declaration of Independence: IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

He has made…repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures

He has obstructed the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners, and has refused to pass others to encourage their migrations here.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; he has given his Asessent to their Acts of pretended Legislation.

He has quartered large bodies of armed troops among us, and has protected them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of this land.