Tuesday, November 29, 2005



Salam & Greetings of Peace from the depths of me~

After watching The Alchemist of Happiness and a post-chat with Film Director Ovidio Salazar and having received a heart-felt 'salaam' from Dr Muhammad Isa Waley, from the British Library.. my buddy and myself decided to get a hot drink as sitting in the stuffy room of a cinema for 2hours is not my ideal way of spending any time out of the comforts of my den.

We sat outside breathing the fresh air with the Frankfurt Markets at our view and thanking God Almighty that after 3 months finally He had blessed us the opportunity to meet one another face-to-face. Though we converse almost every other day, it is a blessing to be able to sit with one whom we call 'Friend'. Perhaps this is why one of the greatest of blessings in the Hereafter will be the fortune to be able to 'see God Almighty'. And I pray we are all of those fortunate ones. Ameen.

We browsed the glitz of the night and returned home.

I woke up Sunday morning just after 5.30am with a pounding headache.







6am - it had now gone. And it was Monday.

I spent 85% of Monday in the bed trying to sleep. I was simply shattered and exhausted after the previous 24hours. Not to mention how dehydrated I felt as I'm one of those strange people who has a connection between the stomach and the head. Migraines for me [as is true for many other migraine sufferers] means frequent visits to the bathroom. Crazy bowels and vomiting are often characteristic of a good head, gone badly wrong. For me, thankfully I had no vomiting this time. However I often wonder which of the two is more severe.

I woke today and thanked God Almighty for having blessed me with a great nights' sleep. Leila has been wonderful.

And then I spent ages in the bathroom trying to wash out the gallons of olive oil in my hair. As I put my T-shirt on I started crying at the thought that: some people are just so blessed with good health.

As someone whose not in 'good health' I sometimes wonder why our society has so many prejudices against us 'unhealthy' lot. Surely health is a blessing just like wealth that God Almighty gives whom He pleases? If so, what is the problem with those narrow-minded people who look down on people who are not healthy?

Sick people are not after sympathy. I don't ever want anyone to sympathise with my scenario, as my sickness is my own. But I don't want people who hate 'unhealthy' people to come my way. I don't want to meet you thank you very much. Stay in your own world of healthy people.

If you're going to come into my world, then accept that not everybody is like you.

Getting back to the subject of Migraines.. I have a close friend whom I worked with [whose double me age] who has been a sufferer for a couple of decades at least. I think hers' are worse than mine as they go on for a couple of days accompanied with vomiting. I remember she had one recently on her friends' daughters' wedding and was unable to attend.. and felt absolutely dreadful afterwards as she missed an important celebration.

As a community, we sometimes fail to fully comprehend how Migraines actually affect ones' life: social and spiritual.

I attended the lecture that our dear Teacher Shaykh Hamza Yusaf gave in this city earlier in the summer. What a great afternoon.

With the exception of coming home and having an awful migraine which left me in bed for the next day.

Last month I attended a fiqh course which lasted a whole day and spoke about the finites of a certain element of Islamic knowledge & practise. Another great day for learning.

With the exception of coming home and vomiting endlessly for a few hours and resting the entire next day and a half in bed.


because both scenarios contained my 'triggers':

* poor lighting - flickering 'fairy lights' or a poorly lit tube light

* stuffy atmosphere - with no fresh air for more than an hour

* poor quality of presentation material ie Powerpoint: as a rule of thumb do NOT use yellow text on a blue background please

* incorrect temperature - either too cold or far too hot

* people wearing excessive perfume

* being served junk food

* awkward time-tabling with delayed breaks

I think I should stop my list.

I am not one of those people who attends anything and everything. Migraine sufferers usually will be more 'picky' in what they choose to go to and what not. I believe it is more important for one to be able to have the full dosage of energy they require to pray to God Almighty than to commit to attending beyond ones' ability for the sake of 'learning'.

It is very hard to manage a lifestyle with a Migraine. And it is beyond asking someone to take a paracetamol or nurofen: some of us like our bodies drug-free.

It is important for organisers of events to create an environment conducive for learning to take place.
[the last 9 words are what we were taught in teacher training].

I sure hope that people will be more 'sensitive' to the needs of the 'sick' in their midst.

We don't want sympathy as I said before.

We want you to understand that not everyone is healthy.

Peace & Prayers and God bless us all.

Bint x
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Thursday, November 24, 2005


The Alchemist Of Happiness


My buddy has brought 2 tickets to see this on Saturday!

Although I did see it earlier this summer [as part of the Illuminating Faith series that Abbas & Sara Shah organised at the BM&AG] - it would still be fantastic to see it again.

The number of people who spoke to me about Imam Ghazali during my initial days of sickness is amazing. The little of his work that I have read has been a constant source of enlightenment. May God Almighty place high his rank, ameen.

Related Links:
Mat Media
BBC Feature
The Alchemy Of Happiness
Oh & the book too!
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Thoughts on Art Auctions..

Salam & Peace to all

Over the last couple of years many many organisations have held Charity Fundraisers with arts auctions as one method of raising funds. True? Yes.

Over the last couple of years many artists whom I know personally have donated pieces of artwork whole-heartedly. In fact some artists have made specific items for auctioning.

Finally then - over the last couple of years alot of money has been raised from the auctioning of art.

Yes - so what's the problem?


The problems are many:

Since I have nothing better to do - I go into thinking over-drive. And I have thought alot about this whole arts auctioning thing.

Here are my main concerns, after having spoken to other artists, friends and fundraisers:

1. Artists are not always paid for their work. It is expected they will donate 100% free. Over the course of time some artists have become a regular source of donating; this has lead to the 'de-professionalisation' of the relationship between artist and organiser ie the latter almost 'expect' that a piece of artwork will be given for free.

It should be a practise of the organisation interested in artwork to cover at least material costs. Everyone loves canvas work. But how many of us sit and think about the expense of a large canvas? There are now stores [eg The Works] who are producing inexpensive canvas and arts materials BUT many artists make regular purchases of some good quality canvasses for £20-40 as a starter! Here is a reality price-check for non-artists on just 2 items:

I purchased a 400ml can of fixative for pastel work for over £8!
Paintbrushes - don't even go there. £4-8 for a decent little paintbrush!

People love photography and expect them to be mounted in high-quality frames. I searched out the cheapest framers in the city who frame an A3 photograph in non-reflective glass for between £20-30! And there are many artists [outside our network] who won't know about this and will therefore be spending double the amount for it.

These are just two little examples. I have not even mentioned the effort an artist goes through, trying to get a piece of work ready.

Organisers must start setting a budget aside for artist payments. Provided their marketing is correct and the auctioner is a charasmatic speaker - the artwork will prove a great investment.

2. Artists feel morally obliged to give artwork as there is almost an 'expectation' that they need to contribute towards the charitable work.

This could stem from a variety of reasons:
Organisers may not be from 'arts' or 'creative' backgrounds to fully appreciate what it means to produce artwork. Fundraising is always done for charitable causes: artists feel morally incorrect to demand payment or think it may be considered impolite.

They also feel they 'must' contribute something, even if it means creating new work as they don't want to say 'no'. Thus at times, artists may 'drop all other committments' to do artwork!

Artists must understand that that they can't save the world. They need to recoginse their limits and that a prior committment is a priority.

Organisers must avoid 'guilt tactics'. With all the love and respect in the world, they must maintain a professional relationship throughout the entire process of requesting artwork.

3. There are often alot of telephone calls / emails prior to donating work, but some organisations forget the 'thank you' afterwards. Some artists are never told how much their work was auctioned for.

Organisers must acknowledge the artist! This is done for most parts but there are still occaisions when artists receive no acknowledgment. Those artists with websites should have their website addresses mentioned to help their marketing and promotion.

Artists must be told how much their work was auctioned for.

4. Sometimes artwork is auctioned at a price detrimental to the value of the work.

Artists should have a minimum 'sale price' when they agree to donate work. eg "if the painting is not sold for £200 please may I have it back as I could sell it for over £200 easily." This will do justice to the artwork.

Organisers need to take heed to these requests from artists.

5. As mentioned afore, over time certain artists have become a regular source for donating. Such artists are approached at least once every few months for donating artwork.

Artists may want to consider limiting the number of donations per year.

Organisers must be respectful of this. Artwork is the livlihood for many artists [who don't have any other income sources] - it is also one of the most precious assets an artist has [irregardless of whether they have other jobs].

6. Artists are not given much time for preparing an item for auctioning.

Organisers need to give ample time for artists to make new work! Not every artist will have work 'lying around' and even if artist costs are covered - this issue needs to be addressed!

Many people don't understand that not every artist will just get up and do artwork one morning. For many artists [especially those who see art as an extension of their worship] art is not something confined to a table and studio. It requires alot of effort.

I for one, do not have an external workstudio, and in fact I am anti-studio as that goes against the principles of Tranquilart. Many artists do artwork whilst in a state of physical cleanliness ie ablution. Others may do work after their prayer or with a recitation of Sacred Text. It is a deeply personal process for some artists, and as a community we should have more awareness of that.

Artists are humans too! And not painting machines! Even if an organisation is just requesting a digital image and nothing "brand new" - it doesn't mean it could be done in a 24 hour timeframe! Artists have committments to their families, friends, and themselves. Thus a change in mentality is required.

In conclusion where do we go from here?

Well, one thing is clear: artists will become outsourced if their needs are not addressed. Therefore organisers should be more respectful of their needs. Artists and organisers need to work in a mutually healthy relationship. Each one can only benefit the other if both tell one another what their requirements are. And they should not feel afraid to do this.

As more and more artists decide to become fulltime artists, it will become very difficult for certain organisers to just 'demand' artwork from them without agreeing some ground rules... which are actually all quite Shariah-compliant.

No doubt before we see 2006, there will be many requests for artwork :o)

Peace & Prayers

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Sunday, November 20, 2005


Haji Noor Deen !!!



The Great Inspirator, Teacher and Master of Calligraphy is back in town!!!

If my 'followers' recall correctly we managed to get his pics onto Tranquilart:
one here

Unfortunately I was too busy in the Tranquil Minds exhibition so couldn't go to see him :-( But am soo happy as the 'wait' has been worth it!

Photo Credit: Salma Ravat for Tranquilart, December 2004, BM&AG, West Midlands.

Birmingham University Islamic Society are hosting him on Tuesday 22nd November!!!






Arab dress / Getting your name done in Chinese / Arab tea & sweets served from a Mongolian Tent / an exhibit of local talent [members of the Artists Circle]...

Just click the above pictures for further info :-P

Haji Noor Deen
Islam In China

SO - hope you can all trek this side for a mass union :-)

Peace and Prayers
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Thursday, November 17, 2005


Smile :- )

Meet Mr Funny Face - Gifted to Musasa - coloured by me. Now smile please ... even if you have one tooth.
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Monday, November 14, 2005


A bit of 'The Mess'

Yes this is about 10% [or less] of 'The Mess' that has had me in tears and makes me cringe like no tomorrow. And this is a segment of the 50% that is left for 'tidy-up' .. it is unimaginable what the place was like prior to any clean-up.

I send my prayers to all those women who for one reason or another have a messy environ.

Don't get down or upset my friends, from seeing this sight day-in day-out -

Remember that you are constantly being reminded of your dependence upon a Greater Force.

Peace & Prayers
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Some people just never learn



What have I gone and done now?

I'm down with the chills, shivers, aches and pains.. eyes are stinging, hands are burning; I'm sweating and feet are freezing cold. Head and back are very poorly too.

All because...

I decided to be a super-hero and spend some time cleaning out the rubbish in my room. Although I now have 50% of the room clean and 'sorted' I am officially a fine example of how some people just never learn from their mistakes !!!

What I should have done was to do the cleaning on the one day and rested for a while [like I did last time]. However the goon that I am - I thought: "hey my hand feels OK, I can really do this if I try!"

And so I did two days of cleaning in a row!

I managed to sort out my art stuff and now the top shelf of the bookcase and desk is done. I decided to start from top --> down [to ensure the dust gets cleaned].

But it was that buggery-boo dust that caused my current state to some extent!

It is indeed at times like this that I feel I do not uphold the Philosophy of the Tranquilart Project that I envisaged so well. I feel a complete hypocrite to what I set out to convey through this initiative.

Tranquilart asserts itself on the motto of a Butterfly.

The humble butterfly is the universal metaphor for change.

And this is what Tranquilart believes: that change is possible! Of course there are various levels of change; the highest being 'Spiritual Change'.

What I am still failing to do is to realise that I need to "slow down". I need to change my attitude towards the 'rush' in getting things done.

I ask myself:

What would have happened if I did not clean that heap of trash?

What difference has it made to me now that I over-exerted myself and have a lot of the room sorted? Has it made my 'healing' any better?

In fact it hasn't because now I must await at least the rest of this week till my energy levels are high again to move onto the next part of "tidying up".

If I left things as they are -

okay so the place would still make me cringe and shudder. BUT it's not like hundreds and thousands of people would have died? The skies would not crash to the ground? Nor would the earth split in two had I not resorted to becoming a super-Nomad!

And this is so true with our lives also.

Some times we force our beings to undergo certain situations and events in life which really really should and could be avoided.

If only man had the patience to wait that little bit longer he would realise that everything is possible - but only through God Almighty.

If I am to promote the Philosophy of Tranquilart - I need to practise some of this in my own life.
Moreso now than ever before..

I am no longer someone who had two seperate diaries because there was so much to cram into the day.

I am not the person who trekked through six different areas in this city within a 5-day week to teach.

I am not the person who would receive so many emails that I had to set an auto-responder and give myself a 10-day period to reply to them.

I am not this person at all !!!

And the sooner I realise this the better.

Greeting of Peace & Prayers

Bint-eh Adam
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Sponsor A Tent!


God Bless Our Children. At least 17,000 died..

Little Saima, 3 years old awaiting arrival of a thicker tent for winter.

Image Source.
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Since my last update from Camel-Land..

Lots has happened :-/

CONSULTANT - well Praise the Lord as both the bloods and nerves are absolutely fine! So it's not Rheumatoid Arthritis or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and I have been discharged with the following advice:
"Eat ginger and don't stress!"

How do I feel about this? Well none the wiser insofar as the diagnosis is concerned. Stupid as it sounds they call it Sero-Negative Arthritis which just means your blood test was not positive!?!

DOCTOR - The doc had not received the consultants' report when I visited him last week... He stressed the importance of taking things really really slowly. I discussed a variety of options with doc and his advise to me made a great deal of sense. He is very experienced and almost nearing the age of retirement. Him and his wife (Mrs doc) are also very spiritual people and I think that always helps as they don't see me as just a 'body' consisting of physiological mechanisms.

He issued me with a further 3 months of sicknote.

WORK - I am due to receive an appointment from the Occupational Health guy soon..

My manager emailed me to wish me a happy Eid and added that I should continue to dangle my arms out of the window to catch the sunny rays :)

THE ROOM - Well progess from last time as I managed to tidy up 20% of it! Of course as a result of that I had to rest my hands for about 4-5 days. And then Leila arrived last week.

For about eight years now I have been sleeping on the floor with a bad back. Mum and dad have been very annoyed with me all these years for not sleeping in a bed. Yes Leila is my new bed. The arrival of her was good in a way as it made me make a bit more of an effort at tidying things up in the room.

Unfortunately though I came down with a poor back earlier this week which has meant no lifting etc Thus the room continues to make me cringe.

I think it will be about 3-4 weeks before I am able to tidy the rest of it up.

I did manage to sort out my wardrobe and shoes collection and give away the excesses to the Earthquake Appeal in Pakistan. My wardrobe feels so much lighter now.

It is very difficult to live in a messy environ especially if you are 'usually' an organised and tidy person. However, I have now got used to it as I feel that whenever I see this mess, it reminds me of my inability to do anything as a human being, except for what God Almighty Wills - When He Wills.

GETTING READY, FEELING CLUMSY - I am trying my best to get out the house (for more than an hour) at least once, if not twice a week. The main issues I face are taking too long to get ready and then feeling a little overwhelmed when I do get ready and 'out'. It's becoming a bit hard to get into city alone.

I met up with a friend to get her Eid shopping done yesterday - it was good, except for the headache I got when I got back indoors.

I also have had to get used to being clumsy. There are many things which need "picking up" in my room that I was unable to as I couldn't bend over to pick them up.

ADOPTED AUNTY - Aside from the many nieces and nephews my siblings have blessed me with, I am now also an official aunt to lots of little sugarplums up and down the country! One of my recently adopted nieces is set to visit me soon as Aunty can't get up North to see her :')

I have managed to see a couple of the kids I had on my list of little people to visit. So that is another acheivement. Amongst them Little Nur and Muffy Bear. God Bless them.

TRANQUIL ZONE & TRANQUILART - I will be transferring the 'Dear Diedre..' next door. And also the 'Heart Warmer' will get started back there.

RAMADHAN - almost over and I feel it to have been one of the least productive ones I have ever had.

Goodbye Sweetheart
O dearest Guest of mine
I am so so very much miserable
Why must you leave so soon?
With not even a promise of return?
I was such a harsh host for you this time
And feel an awful sense of despair
Why won't you stay a little longer?
What is that I hear you say?

Eid Greetings all.

Peace & Prayers
Wasalam, Love & Duas
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