Good-byes

This week-end, I drove with a friend to the Grizzley Peak. I said my good-bye to this chapter of my life, good-bye to friends, good-bye to the Bay Area.Tonight is my last night in California. This time tomorrow, I’ll be on the first leg of my journey. It hasn’t been easy saying good-bye. The past three days have been full of tears.
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I will be returning to my home town before I go abroad. There will be a family reunion and I’ll know more about where I come from. But what do I know of any place? I know that even though I have never belonged or felt at home here in California, that it is beautiful. I’ll really miss so many parts of Northern California. Time was too short to soak it up and really enjoy it before leaving.

I have anticipated and feared this moment for the past eight months. It became all more real four months ago. My anxieties even creeped into my dreams. But there was no question as to whether I was going to take this journey. The only question was how. The how still unfolds. What do I return to is still unanswered.

So many of the relationships I have forged in the past few years have changed and a number have ended. I have no idea what will happen over the next year. I let go of old resentments and hurts so that I can be open to new experiences. I try to hold on to feelings of love and gratitude, rather than the fear and anxiety. I am tired, I am sad, I am excited, I am grateful. I have a few more things to do, and then there will be closure. I have a few more strings to tie and long list of prayers to make during my travels. My friends have kept me alive this long, and their love still carries me. I will keep them in my prayers. They say the prayers of a traveller are always answered.

Housewives should go on strike

I found this interesting article today:
Stay-at-home mother’s work worth $138,095 a year
Although women’s work is often undervalued. This article drives home the point how vital women’s contributions are.

The typical mother puts in a 92-hour work week, it said, working 40 hours at base pay and 52 hours overtime.

One of the struggles that many housewives face is the perception that their husbands have of their work. For instance, there are many cases where women experience berating husbands who believe they do nothing all day while the husbands go out toil in the dog eat dog world. I guess they need to consider the many jobs that housewives juggle:

The 10 jobs listed as comprising a mother’s work were housekeeper, cook, day care center teacher, laundry machine operator, van driver, facilities manager, janitor, computer operator, chief executive officer and psychologist…

I am not saying that men don’t perform jobs at home. They do: investor, yardwork, handymen, car repair, sometimes babysitter, driver, financial and business consultant (always giving out advice on finances and how to run a better house), psychologist (listening to his wife complain), taste tester (somebody’s got to eat the food). There should be a study to show how much both sides contribute to a household. What about immeasurable things? Maybe couples would better appreciate each other.

DARVO

Short Definition

DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility or even blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.

See: http://dynamic.uoregon.edu/~jjf/defineDARVO.html

I think this is a brilliant description a typical reaction. I notice it in arguments when one person in a relationship has a grievance. Okay, to make things clear I will create a DARVO scenario, let’s call one person A and the other person B.

-A has done something hurtful or abusive to B
-B confronts A in order to resolve the issue.
-A denies B’s accusations. A calls B crazy for even bringing this subject up. A accuses B of making things up or imagining things.
-A then becomes angry and attacks B’s credibility or points out B’s shortcomings. -A then feels victimized by B because B’s confrontation makes A feel exposed.
-A then accuses B of being abusive person for raising this issue, criticizing A’s behavior, or making false accusations.

Clearly, A does not want to be the guilty party. A is like many of us when we deflect our guilt and justify our actions. Who wants to hear that they are a bad bad person? B’s issues are still unresolved nor has A reformed their hurtful behavior. Instead A is involved in the blame game. Perpetrator make themselves into victims in order to justify their actions, no matter how abusive, exploitative, or heinous. Cheaters ofen use the DARVO action, especially when their partner catches them in an embarrassing lie. Perpetrators of domestic violence use DARVO and it gets real ugly.

I came upon this site that explained Darvo, from my good friend Kali Tal. I think she pointed out that DARVO reponse is typical when confronting sexist and racist behavior. Now, racists feel as if they are attacked, they use DARVO tactics to make a claim that anti-racists are impinging upon their freedom. DARVO is another power trip for an oppressor or abuser. I think DARVO applies to many relationshps. But it is especially problematic when the perpetrator holds most of the power, whether in a family or work relationship.

Prison Da’wa and Marriage to ex-cons

You see, Muslim women are like women all over the world, we have a lot to worry about. How do you know if you’ve actually fallen in love with a child molester, wife beater, womanizer, or emotionally abusive man? There are often signs and we often ignore them. Maybe we all need to do a background check. But what if a brother’s background is less than perfect? I think this is an issue Black Muslim women deal with more than anybody. We have a lot of infrastructure to proselytize to incarcerated men. And the conversion rates are pretty promising. Many men who convert while in prison really struggle with their deen once released into society.

The problem that I have with the prison system is that it is not there to reform people. Instead, it is a brutal system that brings the worst out of people. Taking shahadah wipes away someone’s previous sins, but it doesn’t erase niggerish tendencies. That takes a lot of work. And man, it’s a struggle out here. I mean, I know Malcolm X was an ex-con, but that was Malcolm X. You know what I mean?

There are some hard brothas who are released from prison who have straight beef with the whole womenkind. For those brothas that like to box women, maybe they need some women who can box dudes. I don’t know if they do dawa in women’s prison. I think they should. Maybe they can get a Michelle Rodrigues to take them on or what’s her name from “Million Dollar Baby.” I know it isn’t just converts and ex-cons who beat their wives. I’ve heard of brothers asking about how big can the miswack be to hit their wives. Maybe they were joking, but that shit isn’t funny. And the Muslims women’s shelter gets all sorts of abuse and death threats from angry husbands, fathers, and brothers. I don’t know the exact figures that could possibly correlate rates of incarceration with domestic abuse. But if somebody knows, get back at me.

As an African American convert, I think I’ve had to deal with this issue more than any of my Middle Eastern, North African, South Asian, white, and Asian counterparts. You see, I grew up in East San Jose and attanded the Muslim Community Association in Santa Clara. Very middle class and affluent and immigrant oriented. A few of my second generation immigrants friends would tell me that I’d find my ideal match in East Oakland. That’s where Masjid al-Islam is and a lot of angry brothers would be there. Sure, they looked a lot better than many of the pasty engineers in Silicon Valley. But were they ideal matches? A number of them sold incense and oils. I remember when this one North African sister from East Oakland pumping up this other African American brother who had asked for me. Like many of my non-Black friends, any guy was a good match–as long as he was Black. She was like, “Gurrrrrrl, he has his own business.” It turned out that he sold books, but this wasn’t a Barnes and Nobles operation. It was one of those book stands you see set up next to the incense and oils stand in some Flea Market (not even Berryessa but the smaller more rundown Ashby bart variety). Now, this was a little bit much for me. I would get in arguments with my friends who would make a case for marrying one of these struggling brothers. They would advocate for them. We should only look at religion, if the brother prayed, if he was a good Muslim, etc…. But meanwhile their fathers made sure that only doctors and engineers couls step to them. They would also introduce their white convert friends to the doctors and engineers. They’d tell me, “but there’s plenty of brothas for you up in Oakland, Aziza.” Meanwhile, masjid al-Islam became the bastion for polygamy and these brothers were pulling one, two, maybe even three wives. I guess I was too ambitious to throw myself into a cycle of poverty. Maybe the brother who asked for me got it together, I pray that Allah grant him tawfeeq. But I thought about practical things like being able to pay rent, health insurance, paying tuition so I could get a degree in community college and make a contribution to my family. I think that the brother discovered Islam while in prison. I don’t think he had been out that long and the selling of books was this big push towards the entreprenurial spirit.

Okay, let me get this straight. I know I’m kind of a square, but I used to run the streets a bit and I’m familiar with the whole thug lifestyle. Back in highschool thugs were in and getting locked up was sort of a rite of passage. My mom put a block on our phone to prevent prison collect calls from my homeboys or boyfriends. So I would get the lame three-way calls or requests to make three way calls to call somebody’s people. Nowadays, you can’t click over and use three way. So anybody locked up calling my mom’s house is pretty assed out. Anyways, for some of us ladies could deny the appeal of a brother who had been locked down. Usually they come out all swoll and muscles cut from benching, pull-ups, push-ups and sit ups all day. I don’t know if they look the same since they’ve banned weights in the yard. Brothers come out of prison well read and articulate and seem so motivated. All they had to do all day was work on their Islam. But then they get out, no support, no one will hire them, bougie–and especially immigrant–girls won’t marry them. And I have just never been in a place in my life where I can carry a brother through the fire.

I used to have long conversations/arguments about this issue when one of my friends would try to push off the surplus of struggling brothers from Oakland. One friend was especially dismissive of my concerns (Perhaps she was playing devil’s advocate). I developed a motto, “No incense and oils sellers!” Not any disrespect to any brothers who have a hustle and make it work for them. I guess there was little recourse for me, being that I came into Islam in a predominately immigrant community, and little recourse for them. When I was 20, I just had one simple requirement, that the brother have an associates or at least be a junior in college, with some job skills. Otherwise, how was the brother going to hold down a family?

Muslim brothers use all sorts of innovative techniques for giving dawa to pretty women they encounter in the work place, on the street, and in their social circles. They’re not giving dawa to women on skid row. They are not giving dawah to women in correctional facilities. They are not giving dawa in halfway houses. So, that means, that the community is not really dealing with as many women who need help reintergrating into society. In fact, it means that Muslim men have better options for suitable matches. On top of that, Muslim men a clearly not limited to Muslim women. They can marry Christian and Jewish women. I know of a number that marry Buddhist, Pagan, Wiccan, Agnostic, and Atheist. This doesn’t inlude the foreign brothers who go abroad marry some poor hapless women who knows nothing about American society and lives isolated thousands of miles away from her friends and family. When you add it all up, level headed brothers actually become rare commodities. I know a lot of Muslim women who are actually opting out of marriage because it is such a headache.

I know brothas are doing some serious dawa work as prison chaplans and whatnot. But for reals though…can yall do some dawah to brothas with jobs for some of us sisters. So, please even up the chances for sistas by working on your male friends, co-workers, and assocites who don’t have super long rap sheets and records that prevent them from working. I know way too many on-point sisters who are wont to find a suitable partner. There’s a Medical School, Business School and Law School just walking distance from me. I can show you right where they are at, or you can Google Map it. Set your dawa table right across the quad. I’ll support yall. We gotta balance out things the demographics. Also, let’s hook up the struggling brothers. Maybe we sistas need to work on some dawa for the ladies in the correctional facilities, aka the industrial prison complex.

On the Desirability of Brown Babies

I was a bit inspired to write this blog after reading Umar Lee’s blog, On Being a White Muslim in America . I also read a few blogs where the authors stated that black women wanted to have babies by white or Arab men in order to have light skinned and curly headed babies. Sure, I know some ignorant black women who have said similar things. But for the most par, my friends are conscious and wouldn’t spout of some nonenense like that. On the other hand, I have heard a few educated black men say that they want to marry a mixed girl because mixed girls are prettier. I have also heard a few black say that they wanted to marry someone white, Asian, or Latina so they would have pretty babies. As one author stated in the comments, it was often hoodrats who stated that they desired a non-black baby’s daddy in order to have babies with good hair. But more than blackpeople, I have heard these statements from members outside of Black American community. In fact, I hear about the desirability for pretty-brown-mixed-babies from liberal white, Asian, Arab, South Asian, and Pacific Islander women. So, if we are going to analyze and critique the ethnic self-hatred of some African women and Black American women, we must analyze and critique the reasons why some women want to adopt African babies or have bi-racial babies who do not look anything like them.
Is it ethnic self-hatred? Is it admiration for African features? Is it a vision of a racial utopia where we are all shades of brown? Or is it something else. I would argue that some really problematic constructs underly America’s fascination with mixed babies.

Keep in mind, I am not saying that all people involved in interracial relationships hold these views. But there are some tendencies that are problematic. I am not saying that mixed people are not attractive. I think all groups and ethnicities are beautiful in their own light, including multi-racial babies. And being in a multi-cultural environment, I enjoy seeing little blonde babies and little Asian babies, as well as little chocolate drop babies, and the curly headed brown babies running around. However, I just find it problematic when you assume that multi-racial children are more attractive than mono-racial babies. And while this might sound liberal and progressive, especially if you are a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant who is rejecting white supremacy, it is still supporting white supremacy because you imply that an African person is only beautiful if their genese are diluted with European, Asian, or Meditterranean genetics. This is problematic in a European dominated society with European standards of beauty. It has had disastrous effects in the Black American community. And it is the reason why we celebrate Beyonce, as opposed to Kelly. For those of us who are phenotypically Africa, these notions are especially harmful, as they affect our self image. But my focus is not on why African women and women of African descent (Black American, Black Latina, and Carribbean) and their responses to European standards of beauty in a global order that is dominated by Europe and the West. I am talking about women, and perhaps some men, who are not members of the African Diaspora who want to have ethnic babies–especially black babies. I see it as part of fetishization and there is something about fetishizing black-ness that is deeply disturbing. Then on top of the fetishization, the celebration of those who are not-quite-black or nearly-white over their darker skinned counterparts.

I live in California, the Bay Area that is. There is a lot more racial mixing and there really isn’t a middle class black community anywhere in sight of Northern California. So my experiences reflect the product of my environment. In California mixed families and bi-racial people are common. More often than not,it is the mother who is non-black and a black father. Few of my black friends were single mothers, but many of my non-black friends eventually did have mixed babies out of wed lock and at young ages. I often see white, Asian, Latina, etc. women (and teenage mothers) pushing a stroller with either a clearly bi-racial child or an ambiguous child. I have pretty good ambiguously black radar because so many people in my family are light skinned, multi-racial, and racially ambiguous. Sometimes it is the subtleties that you notice, but I digress. I grew up in a terribly racist elementary school. I was subject to a lot of racial discrimination because I was the only black girl in my school. But now when I look back, there were a few mixed children in my class who just passed. They were not subject to the daily enslaught of racist jokes and cruelties such as “let’s play segregation today.” On the other hand, my brother’s experiences in Santa Clara were different because many of the white and Mexican American girls pursued him. Black men were cool, they were the athletes, the dancers, the popular kids. But for black girls in integrated environments, it tends to be a lot harder. We are often overlooked by our black male counterparts and the non-black men will not take a second look at us.

Now that black is in, a lot of women who are not black want little curly headed brown babies. Someone noted that in Belgium and Amsterdam, there are European women who get pregnant by African men and raise their children on their own. I don’t know much about this phenomena, but I thought it was interesting. But this leads me to reflect on the kind of ideologies that non-black mothers tell their children. Some of the ideas the ideas are really messed up. Some believe in the racial essentialisms. For instance, one bi-racial man told me that because he was black and white he reflected the merging of two distant strands of humanity. This made him more powerful than either because he was a bridge between the two races. Of course, this is bullshit. In fact, there is more of a genetic range in East Africa than anywhere in the world. In fact, European and Asian lines are really a small recent branch off of a long and ancient family tree. Some bi-racial families like to tell their children that they are extra special (as if Black Americans are ethnically or racially pure) and that they bi-racial people saviors to the world. Some claim that racial mixing is the solution to the world’s problems. But they often fail to look at the case of Brazil to see that social stratification and racism exts there, despite official policies that encouraged racial mixing. All one has to look at how white the government looks like to this date. Some of the racial essentialisms serve to create dangerous color hierarchy that only serves to reaffirm white supremacy. They try to teach their children that the world is color-blind, but many fail to teach their children the complexities of their heritage (especially the Black heritage that has been silent in historical record). The desirability of having brown babies often has little to do with affirming this rich heritage or linking up with the struggle of people of African descent.

At times, it has to do with the ways individuals would like to construct themselves and the fantasies that they have about the black “other.” It can be a way of rejecting white privilege. A white woman with a brown baby is not accepted into white elite circles. Nor are Asian women accepted in their communities and Latina women are often ostracized by their friends, families, and associates. Many are disowned for dating or marrying outside their race (On the other hand it is rare for black families to disown their sons or daughters. And they often raise multi-racial children and treat them well). Having brown babies can serve as a way of advancing an agenda or affirming a new constructed ethnic identity. They can participate in black culture because they now have a rightful place as mother of a black child. However, many women who only date black men and have brown babies would not change their own ethnicity. They do not want to be black women at all. They comletely enjoy their privileged place as desired/objectified other in a community that is so rife with self hatred. In fact, many non-black women feel superior, while at the same time, they often resent black women. I have heard several non-black women talk completely disparaging of black women, our looks, our hair, our body shape, our attitudes, and intelligence. (I am sure that many are regretful that they disclosed to me their off the cuff thoughts. But they have been extremely insightful). This is especially the case when they are competing for the attentions of a black man, or trying to bolster themselves up when comparing themselves to their partners’ exes. I have always wondered why some of my friends and associates felt that confortable saying such statements to me. Perhaps they were looking for me to validate their views. And I take responsbility for not challenging them on their wack statements. It seems as if many non-black women who are into urban/hip hop/black culture hope to raise new brown/black women who will accept their authenticity and be color blind. Having brown babies seems to be a complex social phenomena that I think we have only begun to unpack. We should look at what’s going on to understand how colorism is being reproduced in our community and how the ultimately can have devastating effects on those who are phenotypically Black.

Diseases of the Heart–Narcissism

I just read that today’s college students are more narcissistic than their earlier counterparts (Study: College Students More Narcissistic ). It reminds me of a talk that Dr. Robert Frager, a noted pyschologist and Sufi, gave last year about the diseases of the heart. During that lecture, I remember a deep fear sinking into the pit of my stomach. It was not for me, even though I have a whole bunch of personal work, but for a friend that I no longer speak to. Frager mentioned that a person with a diseased heart hates criticism even when the criticism is to help them actualize the person they are truly meant to be. Frager also stated that this type of person is afraid of intimacy and therefore cannot get close anyone. After hearing this talk, I really wanted to be there for my friend. I really wanted to have a real conversation about what I learned. But it never happened. Which is best because I probably would have been attacked regardless of my intentions. It makes me sad, because I truly believe in that person and believe that they can make a world of difference if they stopped surrounding themselves by people who only gave them adulation and ignored their shortcomings. We are often able to see the flaws in others, but rarely in ourselves. Yet I am one of those hyper self-critical people; I am aware of my flaws, but find it difficult to overcome them. I know narcissism when I see it, because I’ve developed antibodies for it. And one only has such antibodies if they have been afflicted with this pathology at one point or another. I state this humbly. There is no benefit in me being self-righteous.

Narcissism

use their looks to get what they want, is able to plan and work towards goals successfully, loves themself, optimistic, sparkling, achiever, self promoting, self assured, success driven, thinks they can charm anyone, ambitious, elegant, thinks they are better looking than most people (which they may or may not be), believes that they are special, more a leader than a follower, believes that other people are envious of them, loves to win awards, fits in most places, seductive, purposeful, believes in success through appearances, assertive, goal oriented, would love to have buildings and monuments named after them, believes they deserve all the good things they have, likes to be popular

Narcissism – Global Advanced Trait Descriptions

NARCISSISM (n. sing.)

A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.

Narcissism is named after the ancient Greek myth of Narcissus who was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. In punishment of his cruelty, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, he pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name to this very day.

WHAT IS NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has been recognized as a seperate mental health disorder in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM) in 1980. Its diagnostic criteria and their interpretation have undergone a major revision in the DSM III-R (1987) and were substantially revamped in the DSM IV in 1994. The European ICD-10 basically contains identical language.

An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts. Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:

Feels grandiose and self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

Firmaly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation -or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

Feels entitled. Expects unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her expectations

Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends
Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of others

Constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about him or her
Arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted.

The language in the criteria above is based on or summarized from:

American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

Sam Vaknin. (1999). Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited, first edition. Prague and Skopje: Narcissus Publication. (“Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited” http://www.geocities.com/vaksam/faq1.html )

More Data About Pathological Narcissists

Most narcissists (75%) are men.
NPD (=the Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is one of a “family” of personality disorders (formerly known as “Cluster B”). Other members: Borderline PD, Antisocial PD and Histrionic PD.
NPD is often diagnosed with other mental health disorders (“co-morbidity”) – or with substance abuse, or impulsive and reckless behaviours (“dual diagnosis”).
NPD is new (1980) mental health category in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM).
There is only scant research regarding narcissism. But what there is has not demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or professional predilection to NPD.
It is estimated that 0.7-1% of the general population suffer from NPD.
Pathological narcissism was first described in detail by Freud. Other major contributors are: Klein, Horney, Kohut, Kernberg, Millon, Roningstam, Gunderson, Hare.
The onset of narcissism is in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers.
There is a whole range of narcissistic reactions – from the mild, reactive and transient to the permanent personality disorder.
Narcissists are either “Cerebral” (derive their narcissistic supply from their intelligence or academic achievements) – or “Somatic” (derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and “conquests”).
Narcissists are either “Classic” – see definition below – or they are “Compensatory”, or “Inverted” – see definitions here: “The Inverted Narcissist” – http://www.geocities.com/vaksam/faq66.html
NPD is treated in talk therapy (psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioural). The prognosis for an adult narcissist is poor, though his adaptation to life and to others can improve with treatment. Medication is applied to side-effects and behaviours (such as mood or affect disorders and obsession-compulsion) – usually with some success.

The narcissistic individuals that I know usually have a hubris whirling around them. There are many narcissists who are attractive, and use their looks and charm to manipulate others. Then there many narcissists that are highly attractive individuals, not in the physical sense, but have alluring qualities that appeal to others in a non-sexual way. They draw people to them because they are purpose driven and charismatic. They wouldn’t want to live their lives any other way. They like to be in the center of action–making things happen. Some of us get sucked in because we want to help, but they are selling a pipe dream that is corrupted by their own misguidance. Sometimes we can navigate their social pathologies and get something done, but often their larger than life egos get in the way. Mental illness and diseases of the heart are unlike other diseases. You can’t contract them. But I have never seen a narcissist cured. It is especially tragic to see Muslim narcissists because our traditions have diagnosed this disease and have a treatment to help treat those who are afflicted.

Some narcissists are humbled, but it is usually in old age, maybe after a stroke or something, but that is after leaving a whole path of destruction in their wake. They cause a world of hurt and have little empathy for those they leave damaged. They don’t recognize that they are sick, nor do the people who are loyal to them and condone their behavior. Those who are hurt by narcissists need to recognize that the perpetrators are truly sick individuals. Instead of being angry, we should feel sorry for them and their self delusions.

It is important for all of us to understand this disorder because narcissists are usually quick to place themselves in positions of leadership or power in our communities.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim have reported on the authority ofAbdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Truly, Allah will not take away knowledge by snatching it away from people, but by taking away the lives of the people of knowledge one by one until none of them survive. Then the people will adopt ignorant ones as their leaders. They will be asked to deliver judgements and they will give them without knowledge, with the result that they will go astray and lead others astray.”

When ‘Ubadah ibn as-Samit was asked about this hadith he said: If you want, I will tell you what the highest knowledge is, which raises people in rank: it is humility.”

He said this because there are two types of knowledge. The first produces its fruit in the heart. It is knowledge of Allah, the Exalted – His Names, His Attributes, and
His Acts – which commands fear, respect, exaltation, love, supplication and reliance on Him. this is the beneficial type of knowledge. As ibn Mas’ud said: “they will recite the Qur’an, but it will not go beyond their throats. The Qur’an is only
beneficial when it reaches the heart and is firmly planted in it.”

Some communities are able to isolate the narcissists. And other narcissists display behavior that is so transgressive and destructive that everyone has enough sense not to place them in positions of power. Still narcissists often have a circle of followers. They may be the dissenters in a community, raising a ruckus for whatever reason. Sometimes, they are productive and can be useful vehicles for doing good works. Though if not reigned in, they can reverse all those positive gains. Often, those that are under direct influence of these sick individuals are left hurt and feel manipulated. Sometimes the machinations of a narcissist can have ruinous effects and be detrimental to the mental stability of those who try to help them and their causes. In their pain, the victims develop other diseases of the heart:depression and despair or jealousy and envy.

Umar bin Al-Khattab, Radi-Allahu unhu, narrates: I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, “The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions. And every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.”

It is important that we recognize the diseases of the heart, such as narcissism, as they manifest themselves in our communities. Narcissists often warp shari’ah to suit their own purposes by bending the rules and apply them according to their whims. They participate in events or do certain things (frequenting the masjid, giving talks, hosting events, leading ‘movements’) to win adulation and respect from members of the community as opposed to doing it from the goodness of their own hearts.

They do shocking things just to be in the center of attention. And because they are our brothers and sisters, we often have a high toleration for them. It is important to recognize narcissism as a disease and not try to make sense of the absurdities and inconsistencies that exist in their lives. We can’t rationalize the irrational. We’ll drive ourselves crazy trying to make sense of their madness. Instead, we just have to chalk it up to the disease and then move on.

I am writing this because I believe each one of us has been affected by someone who is narcissitic. We may have loved ones, a father, brother, son, mother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, husband, or wife, who is one. If you don’t know of one, then you should really assess your own behavior and see if you have narcissistic traits. Here’s the Online NPA test . If you find yourself rating high on the test, perhaps you should do some serious work on purifying your heart and curing yourself of this debilitating disease. So, whether you are Sunni, Shi’i, Sufi, or Salafi, and even for those who are not Muslim, there is something that we can learn from tassawuf, purification of the heart.

5 Stages of Being Single in Your Thirties

In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Swiss-born psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief of someone who is dying:
• Denial and isolation: “This is not happening to me.”
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• Anger: “How dare God do this to me.”
• Bargaining: “Just let me live to see my son graduate.”
• Depression: “I can’t bear to face going through this, putting my family through this.”
• Acceptance: “I’m ready, I don’t want to struggle anymore.”

The list was praised and criticized by grief experts. Some said the stages got people expressing their emotions; others said the stages were too rigid.

I thought these stages are adaptable to some of us sisters who’re still single in our thirties:
• Denial and isolation: “This is not happening to me. The most perfect guy in the whole universe will come rescue me.”
• Anger: “All men suck!”
• Bargaining: “hmmm maybe I’ll settle for this trifling brotha that’s in my face right now. Even though he is shiftless right now, we can work through our issues”
• Depression: “I can’t bear to going through this, I’ll be one of those crazy ladies with tons of cats.”
• Acceptance: “I’m ready, I don’t want to struggle anymore…if it happens it happens.”