In a society where even the most mundane things in life are shown and boasted, humility–as a virtue–becomes even more so elusive. Vanity, egoism and narcissism are heightened all the more by technology and the virtual world.

Indeed, to be humble–and to constantly strive for such virtue–takes so much discipline, courage and wisdom.

I hope it was easier to liberate ourselves from the inessential–to realize the things that really matter, and to be able to walk the fields of the earth in such humble and kind fashion.


Facebook Hiatus

A few hours ago, I went back and activated my main Facebook account. I looked at my timeline and saw that the last time anyone posted on my wall was in August 2013. Can you believe that? August of last year! I’ve been able to detach myself–for more than half year–from world’s most popular networking site.

In our generation, many would assume that deactivating one’s FB account is tantamount to “social suicide”. It’s crazy how our individual lives have been so wired into the online world–making it seem like Facebook (and other networking sites) should be a direct reflection of everything that’s going on our lives.

There are pros and cons to this, of course, but I won’t blog about that. Right now, I’m just writing in the hopes that this post could serve as a reminder for me. A reminder to balance my use of such networking site. So far, I’ve actually enjoyed the sense of privacy and simplicity my life had when I was “off” Facebook. Sure, I still had a “proxy” account running before (in place of my original account) but that account was mainly used for (1) work/studies-related duties, (2) receiving notifications from important pages, and (3) keeping in touch with some friends, especially those overseas. Other than that, I was able to really “detach” myself from the the chaos in Facebook and go back to the old days, when I was in better control of my time and when I heard important life stories directly from the people who mattered to me.

However, as much as I would’ve wanted to stay “off” Facebook and live a “simpler” life, I can’t take that option now. Again, because of work and socio-civic duties, I have to activate my main account once again so as to be able to add certain people (aka, my supervisors and ‘chiefs’) abroad. I can’t add them up using my “proxy” account because that account is blank and devoid of any information. They might think I’m a hoax, if I added them up with that account (lol).

So, what I have to do now is to keep the discipline I’ve had and be more conscious of the time I spend on the aforementioned site. For some reason, I find it more comforting to write  an anonymous blog here rather than spill so much effort on that site. I hope that in the coming months, I get to really maintain my “old” lifestyle–one which was simpler and, I believe, more humble and focused.

I must learn to lessen the inessential in life and instead, invest my time on activities and causes that truly matter. Facebook can both help me reach this end, as well as deviate me away from it.

Of course, I hope the latter doesn’t happen.


Cairo, Egypt.
Al Azhar mosque. A muslim prays. 1987.
© Abbas

Worshiping The Creator comes in different forms. Some people sing, place their hands together, sit in silence, meditate or correspond with nature.

For Muslims, there is an intricate pattern on the conduct of prayers. The Salat or the 5 daily prayers are performed following an established set of movements. This thousand-old tradition of prayer is infused with discipline. There is a certain art to which the Salat is performed.

Perhaps, among all of the acts involved in the Salat, the most humbling one would be the sujood (as pictured above). Across different cultures, this specific human prostration is associated with obeisance and surrender to a greater being. People do it when they honor royalties, when they plead for mercy, or when they seek to please those who are essentially of a higher status than them.

In Islam, the sujood is an act of prostration that signifies obedience not to any greater being but to The Greatest Being. It is an act of complete submission to God–and to God alone. It is an act of submitting to  God who calls on people to live a righteous path, to be honest and honorable, to be compassionate, kind and just. It is a physical affirmation of the personal choice to submit to the Lord who is the best of all guardians and the most loving and merciful of all.

When I look at that photo above, I imagine that person feeling a deep sense of peace and connection with God.  As one bows down to God, one becomes elevated in his or her relationship with The Creator. In that specific moment, he becomes a true “Muslim” in the most literal sense of the word. The word Muslim means “one who submits to the will of God“. The sujood is a physical declaration–sort of like an oath–to which one affirms his or her decision to freely submit to The Creator.

When you think about it, almost every person of faith, who chooses to obey God’s will, can be considered as a “Muslim”. A Catholic, for instance, who chooses to submit to God’s will becomes a “Muslim”. A person who meditates and shows compassion and kindness in his way of prayer can be considered submitting to God’s will– thus, becoming a “Muslim” as well.

Although there are different religions and ways of praying to God, all of us still inherently share that fundamental desire to connect to The Most Supreme. We may have various ways of praying, but we all share that universal goal to reach out to God. I believe that in conducting our prayers, what matters more than form or tradition is our sincerity.

Our sincerity–our honesty and devotion–marks the weight of our prayers–whatever form they may be.


Infectious Zeal

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…” ― Wilferd Peterson