buddha statute

I just want one Ramadan. Just one. Where people can mind their own business and focus on themselves. It’s annoying because then I’m put into a position of being a referee for a game, I never wanted to watch, let alone adjudicate.

You need to focus on yourself, and not in this new-age, I have a Buddha statute and t-shirt because I like to exploit other cultures while I do yoga and then laugh at Indian people type of focus on yourself, I mean, you need to figure out you.

When people ask me about “is this haram” or “is that halal” or whatever, I think before you can ask that question, you need to know yourself. (Cue people who are like “but LYk OsAmAAZ, isn’t JOINing a MonGoL hOrDe and RaiDing the TanG DyNasTy HARAM?!” Sure, why not, yes, but that’s not what we’re talking about here cupcake.)

So, knowing yourself.

Peanut butter isn’t haram. (This is where someone goes “UMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm actually, peanut butter is made when companies eat bacon and then say peanut, so it’s like… not halal)

Okay, peanut butter is not haram.

But let’s say you have a peanut allergy. A severe one, not like those people who are lactose intolerant, and then you’re like “oh my gosh, sorry about serving you ice cream, I didn’t know!” but then they’re like “oh, hahahaha, I’ll eat it anyway,” and then they make a crass reference to the flatulence they will bestow upon you, while making eye contact that goes beyond the normal amount when sharing that sort of information.

Okay, so let’s say you have a peanut allergy. Peanut butter, which is not haram, becomes haram to you.

In order to understand the rules of Islam, to understand how they work, to understand how they impact you, you need to understand your self. But we don’t do that.

We know what hurts us, but we don’t take the time to ask, why are we doing certain behaviors, what are the behaviors that we do that hurt others, or make me do activities that I don’t want to do anymore–or am giving up during Ramadan.

Maybe you’re saying “ummmmmMMMMMMMMMM Osama… like… I totally overthink everything I do, have you seen the depressing memes on my tumblr?”

No, I haven’t seen your tumblr, but yes, I know that jokes about your life being terrible are hilarious and I’m sure the Spongebob reference that you scream about (that I don’t understand because I’ve never watched the show [yes, yes, wow I’m so terrible, it’s a TV show people, and I grew up in India, show some sensitivity]) and thus you think you know yourself.

But dig deeper. We all (look at the pronoun, “we,” folks) have “blind spots” about ourselves. So take the time to explore that. To open yourself to that. To don’t open up to your insecurities to beat yourself up, but to understand why God told us to do certain things in The Qur’an, The Holy and Venerable Qur’an which was bestowed upon us this month.

Insha Allah, we’ll do this together, and therefore–with God’s Grace–become better, together.

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20140210 - Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang, Laos

Wat Xieng Thong translates to the ‘Temple of the Golden City’. We arrived in the late afternoon – after biking through Luang Prabang! – and got there just as the sun lit the temple in that pretty red, golden glow. 

The outer walls of the main temple consists of figures painted entirely in gold on a black background – it is quite a sight! It is very easy to tell why it’s called the Golden City. All of the carved wood panels are also covered in gold leaf. 

The other temple, to the right of the entrance, is apparently the royal funeral carriage house. It holds the urns of members of the royal family, and in the very centre of the room is a giant ship-like carriage structure with carved naga protecting its contents. All around the edges of the room were Buddha statutes. But what I loved most – and what I’m always in awe of! – were the wall paintings. I’m always amazed at the level of detail and the dedication the art must have required.