Ascencion of Baha’u’llah

I received this wonderful poem from Tony Lee, of Kalimat Press, and wanted to share with you all.

Lament at the Ascension

by â€?Andalib, written after the passing of Baha’u’llah

He is the Powerful, the Mighty, the Beloved!

Today the cupbearer, by God’s design,

poured bile into the cup of life, not wine.

Every wound has its balm, each ache a cure—

except this wound! this endless ache of mine!

The nightingales refuse to sing. No trees.

The world’s gone dark. Now every eye is blind.

Calamity! The universe unbuilt.

Calamity! The reign of God undone.

On the Sea of Mercy all waves lie still.

But waves of woe rise high! The storm’s begun.

The banner of God’s Name collapsed. Such grief,

such grief that heaven will be overrun.

Through Him the Day of Resurrection dawned:

Now earth quakes at the setting of His Sun.

From Sinai He called, �Come see!� Now Moses

hears these final words: �You shall never see.�

On the Most Great Ocean the Crimson Ark

has sunk. The tears of Noah drown the sea.

Look west! The Sun of Holiness has set.

Look up! and in His placeless place He’ll be.

We’ll never hear His voice again, but there

the Nightingale of Paradise flies free.

Translation by Ahang Rabbani and Anthony A. Lee

Al-Azhar’s Creative Fatwa

I am not making this up. You might think I am, but really, I’m not. No one can ever hope to hold a candle to the creative genius of Muslim clergy:

The world reknown Islamic center in Egypt, Al-Azhar, has issued a recent fatwa which aimed to address the Islamic prohibition of having an unmarried (or unrelated by family ties) man and woman be alone together in a room. Since this is pretty much required when women and men work together in an office, you can see how it would put a damper on productivity.

But never fear! All you have to do is put aside logic and ask an Islamic scholar:

The eminent scholar, Ezzat Attia, Head of Al-Azhar’s Department of Hadith had come up with a creative way that, according to him, would allow a man and a woman to be together. All they had to do was have the woman breastfeed the man.

I am not making this up.

al-azhar-breastfeeding-fatwa.pngThis was a real fatwa (religious edict) issued by one of the most respected (Sunni) Islamic centers in the world. To be fair, all Ezzat Attia had done was base his fatwa on a Hadith which seemed to support this position.

But as you can imagine he was assailed by both the religious and secular communities and his fatwa ridiculed. And his boss, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the head of Al-Azhar denounced the fatwa and forced him to retract it.

And by the way, this Al-Azhar is the same Islamic center which has played a huge role in pressuring the Egyptian government to not recognize the Baha’i Faith as an independant religion. When a court issued a favourable ruling regarding Baha’is, it was Al-Azhar who raised a hue & cry and used their considerable political power to have it reversed.