“Nowhere and everywhere.”
This is how my psyche responded to the question of belonging. The chaos, corruption and mobbing of where I came from and the mismatch of energies everywhere else brought me back to basics and Dahab was the place to be.
“Paris broke him” that’s what they said about Ragner Lothbrok. Though, for me it was “Berlin”.
The Samurai Warrior being framed into “The enemy of the community and the state” required a different type of journey, a journey of surrender and healing that started with a trip to Al-Sorat Farm:
Life could be unfair sometimes and that’s okay, our duty as humans is to accept and make peace with that and with the intensely broken parts of our being as a result of interfacing with the experience of being part of that world.
Though, sometimes our social duties and what is promoted to us as the “collective good” requires for us to bring light to the dark situation that has been imposed upon us and situations we had been put through because of actual experience, its dark reflection on our psyche and threats of what would happen if you speak up.
This is what I have experienced in silence throughout my life, I had to “shut up” and “sit down” and “suck it up”, what happens to you if you are young, lonesome and naive is that you internalize bits and pieces of what these people being a lot more in numbers, much older or more powerful and your continuous struggle of being overloaded with secrets and contradictions, they must know better and there must be something wrong with you, until you stop, zoom in and figure out it is really not.
I shut up about these lies for years and saw other people going through the same, till it became a certain evidence to me that “the greater good” definitely could never be within the system of people, behaviors and standards of conduct currently present, neither is it about staying silent about it.
“The world is a dangerous place to live. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. – Albert Einstein
I have meditated for years, months, days and hours through the literal definition of darkness trying to find answers, gathering pieces of knowledge and wisdom from different and often seemingly contradicting philosophies, backgrounds and human connections to form a solid identity, before committing to a structure or a certain way of living.
The bible also says:
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-11
So, no matter how intense wounds of the heart would trigger feelings of hurt, resentment and vengeance and does overloads your system at times, nature is way stronger than what people think, and that also includes your human nature once you look so deeply into it, so it all eventually dissipates and is replaced with a beautiful vision.
I don’t know how to express this internal transition except with this piece of poetry:
غمست سنك في السواد يا قلم
عشان ما تكتب شعر يقطر ألم
مالك جرالك إيه يا مجنون … و ليه
رسمت ورده وبيت و قلب و علم
– صلاح جاهين
“I have soaked your tip in the darkness of this ink, oh my pen
Intending for poetry that drips with pain and sadness
oh, old friend, what happened to you, and oh, tell me why
you just draw a flower, a home, a heart and a flag
For that I do keep wondering and pondering” – Abdo’s translation of Salah Jahin’s Poetry.
And this internal transition is what allows for a new vision to emerge, there on the top of the mountains, the Stoic rough edges were softened by art and affection and became the foundation for a new beginning, a new belonging and a new community for those who vibe on the same frequency.
Chapter #11: Mohammed’s authentic model for “Community Management.”; Freeing my religion from hijackers
Pursuing a research project on “Community Management”, starting with a question: How did successful communities around the world go about “running their lives”?
The Muslim community – believers and followers of Prophet Mohammed PBUH as the last messenger from God – now accounts for almost a quarter of living humans, 1.9 Billion.
Growing up, you are taught to treat matters of religion as “take it as it is”, don’t argue, don’t think. Furthermore, religion is often used and referenced as a reason for all kind of “unfair” situations forced upon you, a reference to a misplaced religious quote here and there and your god-given human nature and possibly human-rights are violated, clogged and your wellbeing is trashed behind those who hijack religious teachings for their advantage.
On his deathbed, Prophet Mohammed PBUH, handed over his last pieces of advice to his followers. Humans value the last advice on a deathbed and it becomes a duty and responsibility towards the following generations of devoted followers to pass this advice and wisdom along, with the same clarity by which it was received.
Not to screw it for personal or political gains or hide it to enforce a different reality over a huge population of people.
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (107) الأنبياء
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (107) Al-Anbiyaa
The Holy Qur’an specifies that the last prophet was sent as a “mercy” for all the worlds. But the majority of the Muslim population is living in a different reality.
So, what if we explore what were the real teachings of Mohammed PBUH and what they instilled in action before words and what is the closest modern equivalent of these teachings that would pass an authenticity test.
*First: Stakeholder capitalism with a heart*
Mohammed was a trader, all his life he traveled for trade and his trade was successful prior to his message as he was called “الصادق الأمين” “Alsaadiq, Al’amin”, translated to “Truthful” and “Custodian”, it’s the greatest measure of success in business, honesty and transparency and competence and responsibility.
With that Mohammed and his messages did not come to call people for being lazy or unproductive, though, it called for consistent pursuit of self improvement until you reach the ultimate capacity of “truthfulness” and “competence” in handling your affairs, the exact same model embodied by many cultures and philosophies around the world.
With that also Mohammed has shown that “trade and investment” is not an affair to shy away from participating in, though, it’s a critical matter to the individual and the state that is the best for your to participate and engage while adhering to your principles.
So, it’s free trade and investment, with a social responsibility towards your people through Zakah.
“Zakah or Zakat is an Islamic finance term referring to the obligation that an individual has to donate a certain proportion of wealth each year to charitable causes. Zakat is mandatory for all Muslims in most countries and is considered to be a form of worship.”
So, what is the modern equivalent of that?
Socialism? Obviously not. You might argue that “Stakeholder Capitalism” or “Capitalism with a Heart” is the closest modern concept to what Mohammed has instilled through his actions.
*Second: It’s a Republic (not a hereditary monarchy) الإدارة وليس الملك*
Mohammed PBUH, did not have heirs, nor did he appoint someone to a position of leadership, he only made recommendations of who he thinks is most qualified based on the qualities instilled of “truthfulness” and “competence”.
At the beginning of growth of the “Muslim Community”, the Khalifah, was not chosen as a king, rather, was someone who the majority of people with credible opinion deem to be most “truthful” and “competent” to take leadership.
And the leadership was one of “Responsible Management of Assets and Resources” for a given period of time, not a model of “Ownership” and “Kinghood”. This very basic leadership model has changed with the rapid evolution of “Empires” and the “power hunger” that erupted from competition over land and glory that followed.
The fundamentals of Muslim is to be governed in a “Responsible Republic” that takes into account the needs and competences of all its populations.
*Third: It’s a democracy الشوري*
How does a living community choses what’s best for themselves? They consult their best opinions and choose what is thought to be best for them. Just like “Crowdsourcing” being solutions that comply with their “Principles” and voting on decisions of critical importance to community members.
﴿ وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ﴾
[ الشورى: 38]
“And those who answer the Call of their Lord [i.e. to believe that He is the only One Lord (Allah), and to worship none but Him Alone], and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation, and who spend of what We have bestowed on them;” 38 Al-Shurra, Holy Qur’an
They conduct their affairs by mutual consultation, not by forced top-down decisions and by “power hungry” manipulators and wars, no, by “mutual consultation”, this is the equivalent of “Think Tanks”, “Compassionate Inquiry” and “The Art of Gathering.”
Thus, these three principles; free trade and investment with consideration to the environment and the people though financial contributions, hiring the most truthful and most competent to positions of power throughout the structure, including and especially the Caliphate and keeping it civil through compassionate dialogue among community members to find out the absolute best solution for their problems that does not violate their principles.
This conclusion brings you back to the fact that over hundreds of years, these authentic teachings of what the message of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH has been hijacked and in its essence, this core message not only agrees, but takes the position of leadership over modern theories and models for how to run a community of people.
P.S. And here is a photo of a beautiful keychain made by Bedouin ladies in Nuwibaa, spontaneously chosen to hold the keys for a community project that I’m working on.