Showing posts from August, 2012

Love is the Greatest

"If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplet…

The American Elections: The Right and The Left

The difference between left and right has become very ambiguous for it being used for a very long time (since the end of the 18th century, after the French Revolution) and in many countries with different politics and ideologies. To simply put it though, the difference between the left wing and the right wing is that the left is for change while the right is for traditionalism. And by change I mean any change, whether social, economical or political. It can also be put as left being pro community as a whole and right being pro individual. Meaning that in a rightest point of view, every person is responsible for themselves. In the U.S., the terms liberal (left) and conservative (right) are also associated with the same idea. Being a leftist is not to be mixed with being a socialist, because depending on the country being "pro community" can be achieved by different ideologies.

In the U.S. the left (liberal) party is the Democrats, while the right (conservative…

Wisdom of the Buddha

All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

He is able who thinks he is able.

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.

Wisdom of Plato

Death is not the worst that can happen to men.

Ignorance, the root and the stem of every evil. a tame or civilized animal; never the less, he requires proper instruction and a fortunate nature, and then of all animals he becomes the most divine and most civilized; but if he be insufficiently or ill- educated he is the most savage of earthly creatures.

Never discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

 The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.

A Childhood Memory

It's always been said that whenever you feel sad you just need to think of a few of your favorite things and then you won't feel so bad...

I've been watching The Sound of Music for all my life and I have always loved Maria's song to the Von Trapp Children to make them feel better. It has always worked for me, the song and to think of my favorite things. So here it is, with lots of love to Salzburg =)

The American Elections: The American Way of Campaigning

I started this series of posts about the American Presidential Elections and its campaigns to see the differences between their elections and ours in order to have our baby "democracy" learn from one of the oldest of democracies in the world. Leave your hatred/love to their politics aside and focus on the two big parties and what they do to win the elections. My posts will be only about the Democrats and the Republicans.

The American way of campaigning is almost always about making negative propaganda about the opponent. They find the worst speeches, videos or people in the opponent's campaign and spread them all over the country. I personally see this as a sign of weakness, it's as if there is nothing good about my candidate, but at least he's better than yours. During the elections, Americans look for the worse candidate and choose the other one. But after all this has always been the American way, and it has always worked.
During the last elections the fight …

Sand Castles, 2

She sits alone in their living room, divorce papers on her lap, looking out their big glass window to the garden that they planned together. She remembers how he decided to make the curved front wall of their living room all glass to give the view of the garden. She remembers the times when they sat in the terrace, just out that window having, breakfast and listening to the birds sing. She remembers the times they've spent watching the sun set from the glass windows and reading books from the huge book case that covered the back wall. She gets up to find a pen, she has always known where to find everything around her home, but today not matter how hard she looked she could never find a pen in their living room...her living room.
They sat together building their sand castle and became best friends as soon as they started talking, it was like their souls have met before, or so would people say. He built the castle and she made up a story for it; where it was, who lived there, storie…

Sand Castles, 1

The sound of the waves of the sea still ring to her ears everyday... She has always loved how much memories it had brought her, but today as she sits in her own castle, the home he had built her,  and as the sound of waves set her eardrums to work she feels nothing but misery. She sits with her divorce papers in her hands and lets all the memories rush through her skin like a cold shiver that leaves you dizzy. She remembers everything as if it happened it's over.
She was six, nearly seven, it was summer time and that meant two things: the countdown to her birthday was on and it's the beach time. She had the privilege of living with her family in a city with a beach and so she spent her whole mornings at the beach. She had just got out of the water, her wet curls turned brown, she sat on the sand building a sand castle and watching everybody's every move from the corner of her eye. In her head she made a story about every kid, which city they came from, whic…

I was Named Mariam for a Reason

Some years ago, around this same time of the year, my mother knew she'll have a baby girl soon and she knew exactly what name she wanted to give her....

As soon as I was old enough to talk I have loved the sound of my name, but the more I've grown and understood who I was called after I knew how big of a gift my mother and father have given me. Today and everyday I celebrate being named after The Virgin, Mariam, Maria or Mary. I feel so lucky to be named after the definition of ladyhood, after the woman who let her belief bring her courage to stand strong in the face of a whole society that had every reason to believe she had committed adultery. To be named after the one who defined peacefulness and love for her son, her people and Joseph whom she had always loved. To be named after a teacher of motherhood, of pride and of power.

My name is said to have so many meanings, but the closest to my heart is the "beloved of God" which is said to have originated from the Egy…

Eyes Lit with Gloss

Night has fallen on beautiful Downtown, Cairo. It was a summer night and somehow the sky looked clear, without clouds or pollution. The crescent was just a small curved light in a dark sky, like lips smiling on a face that has gone to sleep and lighting it up in the middle of the night. There were million stars in the sky but only a few were seen. Like angels that guide our ways even when we don't see them, the stars lit the city. At a corner stood a shop as big as an apartment of newlyweds, it's lights were bright but focused on colorful stones reflecting their gloss on the window, they pulled every woman in the street like a magnet pulls iron, Its window had no iron though.

White, red, green, blue, the colors of heaven in a lady's eyes. By the window stood ladies smiling with enjoyment loving every piece of jewelry in the shop's window. Stood other ladies with sad smiles on their faces longing for a diamond ring or an emerald ear-ring that was too expensive for them.…

Hatred in the Name of Advice

A few weeks ago I was walking in the street and an old man, old enough to be my grandfather, stopped for a moment to tell me that “clothes that show the shape of a woman's body take her to hell”. I'm veiled (and I'm not saying that to justify my clothes, if I had been wearing a low cut shirt and a mini skirt it would have still been wrong, in my opinion, for that man to say so or anything at all). The reason I'm saying that I'm veiled is to explain what he means by clothes that show the shape of a woman's body for those of you who don't know. My hair was covered, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and pants. What that man didn't like is that he could make out to legs and two breasts, although completely covered, he still didn't want to see that they even existed! This is not why I'm writing this post, but I wanted to take this tiny space out of the subject of the post to point out how some people think of a woman's body.
To this man, my body…

Eid Blessings

1. The morning walk to the mosque with everyone smiling
2. Eid Prayers
3. Kahk, especially if homemade
4. العيديه
5. The celebration of finally being able to have your morning coffee
6. Fireworks + بمب
7. The zillion year old Eid songs
8. سعد نبيهه
9. Eid clothes
10. Strangers smiling at you an greeting you
11. Family visits

Fasting and Hypocrisy

Before Ramadan starts people pray for it to start, when it starts people celebrate it then when it comes close to ending, people cry over how much they're going to miss it. The question is why do people love Ramadan so much? Here the answers vary between it being the month of goodwill and kindness, it being a chance to refrain from all the wrong and to go back to God's straight path. Or because it's a time when the Satan is locked up and can't tempt people to do wrong. Or because it's a time when they come closer to God and can end the month with being better people. And some others love it because they love fasting and those of course never want Ramadan to end. I'm concerned in this post with the last group.

Fasting is a practice in almost every religion that exists or had existed, so it must have a great meaning and value. The question is does this meaning or value makes us love it? Most of us as Muslims have grown up being told that the reason we fast for a …

Maxims of Ptahhotep, 4

"Do not be arrogant because of your knowledge, but confer with the ignorant man as with the learned. For knowledge has no limits, and none has yet achieved perfection in it."

"Truth is great and its effectiveness endures."

"One who is serious all day will never have a good time, while one who is frivolous all day will never establish a household."

"Be cheerful while you are alive."

"Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue, and speech is mightier than all fighting."

The Maxims of Ptahhotep, 3

"If he who listens, listens fully, then he who listens becomes he who understands."

"Follow your heart all your life, do not commit excess with respect to what has been ordained." 

"Those whom God guides do not go wrong. Those whose boat He takes away cannot cross."

"Punish with principle, teach meaningfully. The act of stopping evil leads to the lasting establishment of virtue."

"Think of living in peace with what you possess, and whatever the Neter choose to give will come of its own accord."

The Maxims of Ptahhotep, 2

"As for those who end up continually lusting after women, none of their plans will succeed."

"A woman with happy heart brings equilibrium."

A perfect word is hidden more deeply than precious stones. It is to be found near the servants working at the mill-stone."

"As for the ignorant man who does not listen, he accomplishes nothing. He equates knowledge with ignorance, the useless with the harmful. He does everything which is detestable, so people get angry with him each day."

"To listen is better than anything, thus is born perfect love."

The Maxims of Ptahhotep

"He who has a great heart has a gift from God. He who obeys his stomach obeys the enemy."

"Do not repeat a slanderous rumour, do not listen to it."

"So do not place any confidence in your heart in the accumulation of riches, since everything that you have is a gift from God."

May your heart never be vain because of what you know. Take counsel from the ignorant as well as the wise..."

"Do not blame those who are childless, do not criticise them for not having any, and do not boast about having them yourself."

The City that Never Sleeps

You'd go out at 3:00 in the morning and find the streets no different than 3:00 pm. We are a safe city because the streets are always full of people. Our Cairo is never a place of silence, it is never a dark city, except during the new endless blackouts. Our Cairo is a city of lights, you take a picture of Cairo at night and you see beauty and light, a lot of it. Street lights, traffic lights, shop lights, restaurant and cafe lights, wedding lights, lights from apartments in every single building of people staying up late. Even during the blackouts you'd see candle light coming out from every window. In Cairo, there are always a lot of people who are awake.

You'd go to other cities around the world and with the last light in the sky, they die. Cairo is always alive, always loud, always celebrating one thing or another or just being alive. Just less than two years ago, Cairo had a curfew that has always been defied, because Cairens can simply never stay home at night. Now a…

Why Should I Celebrate?

Because the people who have killed my brothers and sisters have been honored and have the chance to flee the country without every being put to court.Because the person who justified the virginity tests, by saying that they have been done so that the girls don't accuse the army of raping them, is now minister of defense and head of SCAF. Nothing is different.Because the country is in the process of being "Ikhwanized", every seat will be taken by an Ikhwan member or someone with an Ikhwany identity.Because now every single thing, except for the judiciary system, is in the hands of one man.Because now the president has powers that might be even more than those of Mubarak.Because if the court dissolves the consititutional assembly Morsy will choose the new one. And yes, the SCAF would have made a very bad one, but so would Morsy. Not only this, those who will write the constitution will also come from the same stream as Morsy.Because we got rid of a Military state to have a…

Wisdom of Pythagoras

A thought is an idea in transit. Above the cloud with its shadow is the star with its light. Above all things reverence thyself. As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself. Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few.

Wisdom of Ptahhotep

Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue, and speech is mightier than all fighting.

Good words are more difficult to find than emeralds.

Great is the Law "Maat"

All conduct should be so straight that you can measure it with a plumb-line.

Injustice exists in abundance, but evil can never succeed in the long run.



Wisdom of Krishna

Be fearless and pure; never waver in your determination or your dedication to the spiritual life. Give freely. Be self-controlled, sincere, truthful, loving, and full of the desire to serve...Learn to be detached and to take joy in renunciation. Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all. Cultivate vigor, patience, will, purity; avoid malice and pride. Then, you will achieve your destiny.
No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke.
Those who have conquered in peace, alike in cold and heat, pleasure and pain, praise and blame...To such people a clod of dirt, a stone, and gold are the same...Because they are impartial, they rise to great heights.

الله معنا

الله معنا

الله معنا الله معنا
ما دمنا على الحق اجتمعنا
يا رب صلى على شفيعنا
يا رب بارك فيمن جمعنا

إنا اجتمعنا والحب معنا
وكل قلب في الحب معنا
يوم بعدنا واليوم عدنا
وقد سعدنا لما رجعنا

النفس بين يديك طوعاً
لو تشتريها بالحب بعنا
جئناك قلباً قد زاد حبا
يرضاك رباً حساً ومعنا

يا من بسر الرضا دعانا
لبيك لبيك قد اطعنا
على إخاءٍ على وفاءٍ
على سماء الرضا ارتفعنا

يا من تغنى بما تمنى
أقبل على الحب الحب أو فدعنا
يا أهل بيت إنا
في نظرة منكم طمعنا

يا رب حقق لنا انتفاعاً
بما تلونا وما سمعنا
وامنحنا نصراً يا رب نصرا
وامنح بلادى سلماً وأمنا

Wisdom of Cicero

A life of peace, purity, and refinement leads to a calm and untroubled old age.

A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.

Advice is judged by results, not by intentions.

All action is of the mind and the mirror of the mind is the face, its index the eyes.

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.

Be sure that it is not you that is mortal, but only your body. For that man whom your outward form reveals is not yourself; the spirit is the true self, not that physical figure which and be pointed out by your finger.

Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.

He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.

He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect.


During the times of Mubarak we used to mourn the death of people who die in terrorist attacks, or those who die of the cancer they got by eating carcinogenic vegetables or drinking carcinogenic water. We used to mourn the death of people who have been tortured to death in a police department here or there. We used to mourn the death of people who died in the bread or gas queues. We used to mourn the death of people who died in some train or ferry accident. We used to mourn the death of terrorist attacks made by the government itself. But then starting January 1st, 2011, on the day people were killed while celebrating the New Year in their church, I knew another type of mourning. It's a monthly, sometimes even weekly or daily, mourning. It's one that you can never get used to even after 18 months. It's one that breaks a piece of you that is never put back into place every time you have to mourn.

The Mubarak mourning still existed, but now there is also the revolution's …


People fail sometimes, even nations do, they can reach a point where all their hard work is dead and gone never to come again. It happens to everyone and everywhere, but the difference that makes powerful and weak nations is being active. People can be passive and give in to failure, they can say that they tried so hard and can never try again, that this is the end and there would be no other beginning. They can be passive and live with failure, or they can be active. A nation or a person can be active and fight back. Everybody falls but it's those who get right back up who can find success. It's those who know nothing of giving up who can taste real success. There has always been countries that have been brought to the ground, some have accepted and some stood up and became active. Who do you choose to be?

عمر الخيّام

إن تُفصَلِ القطرةُ من بحرِها  ففي مداهُ منتهى أمرها
تقاربتْ يا ربُّ ما بيننا  مسافةُ البُعدِ على قَـدْرِها

يا من يحارُ الفهمُ في قُدرتِكْ  وتطلبُ النفسُ حمى طاعتِكْ
أسكرَني الإثمُ ولكنني  صحوتُ بالآمالِ في رحمتِكْ

Wisdom of Seneca

All art is an imitation of nature.

As was his language so was his life.

Be not too hasty either with praise or blame; speak always as though you were giving evidence before the judgement-seat of the Gods.

Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.

Delay not; swift the flight of fortune's greatest favours.

Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.

He will live ill who does not know how to die well.

I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind, which is the proper judge.

If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind is favourable to him.

Wisdom of the Buddha

A jug fills drop by drop.

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.
Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.
Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.
Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?

Wisdom of Confucius

Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. 
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Respect yourself and others will respect you.
Study the past if you would define the future.
The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come. When in a state of security he does not forget the possibility of ruin. When all is orderly, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is not endangered, and his States and all their clans are preserved.
To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness.
What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others. 
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.