“[…]A heart that does not contain the beautiful light of knowing Allah, like a bee without honey, becomes a hornet with a poisonous stinger, stinging whoever comes close by.” (Sh. Tosun Bayrak commenting on the Blessed Name “Al-Latif” in The Name and the Named, Fons Vitae, 2000, p. 92)
Wow, has it been this long? Exactly a year since I’ve returned to the hive? That’s a long time to endure my cold shoulder. I’m sorry. I did actually write to you…three times! But I never pushed “publish”. I am today, though. In the time that we’ve been apart, I guess I’ve just been…living! Well, according to my Litsy account, I’ve been reading. And that means I’ve been listening. The one who is speaking cannot also listen. You must do one or the either. Ah, without writing, I feel a heavy weight on my shoulders…on my chest…on my soul. But it was a weight that I had to bare. I didn’t dare speak to cut off the lessons I was learning by listening, watching, reading, reflecting, ruminating, simmering, stirring.
I wonder whether a bee ever forgets its work? It’s job? It’s occupation? I think not. Even if by some weird turn of fate, the bee gets distracted by another flower, she still knows her purpose. And is on her purpose. For everything is as He wills it. Even the rest stops and pit stops on the journey are a part of the Master’s Plan. I’m just sorry you had to wait so long for me to return to my hive. To the tribe.
A chill trill skipped through the air these past weeks, winnowing away the remains of summer, and replacing it with sweaters and the loss of bees. Or so I thought. I thought the bees were all gone. Until one was crawling on my left hand the other day..and they flew around me and my children…signs that I haven’t been following their dance to success. It was very hypocritical of me, I guess, since the last time I wrote and spoke about writing was a year ago in Houston, Texas, using bees as my motif for everything motivational. Serves me right. A wasp landed on my left thigh while driving at 60 mph to a farm last month. I kept my cool but I got the reminder. I got the sign. So here I am. Waving not so frantically.
Sighs. I thought I’d be happier. I am the age of Jannah, but I’m not feeling jannah-stic, if you know what I mean. I guess I am still working on eating my perfect hexagon out of the wax that Allah has given me. And those bees…coming dangerously close to remind me. Muhammad Ali. butterflies. bees. time. niches. (If you are lost, pop on over here for a second for a recap and video of my speech at the Muslim Women’s Literary Conference through word and video, or await the tips that I will present to you weekly on this blog from the slides). To force myself out of this writing rut, I’ll be writing on the Daybreak Press blog monthly inshAllah, if I can hone in on time management and balance. Discipline.
They say once you’ve learned to ride a bike, you’ll never forget. Well, I don’t know how to ride a bike. I never graduated from training wheels (I didn’t want scars, but its hard to get through life, without them, right?). But, it is on my bucket list. And I did JUST get my driver’s license this year. Yeah, I know. Priorities. I started writing to you about this a year ago, right after the conference, but I don’t know, I guess it just wasn’t willed to be. And now, a year later, I wondered if I still had it in me…writing, you know? Since my writing ideas have basically come in bubbling spurts from a faucet with too much air, I write here and there, but never felt comfortable to push the “publish” button of this here blog…that is, until today.
I’ve been doing more reading to inform my writing. Especially books concerning social justice. Which has been wonderful in a way, but also cold and lonely since I yearn so much to just be able to wrap my own mind around the stories I’ve been telling myself. Which I do hope will change the world…one word at at a time. One day. InshAllah.
I guess I’ve just been simmering. Living. In order to be able to write about anything at all. Lan describes it best in this article on artists staying true to themselves. A lot has been thrown in my pot to give me extra experience skills in life. Alhamdulillah. But the best stews have a lot of diverse ingredients in them…that have been simmering. Most folks don’t like food underdone or overcooked. Why would I do that with writing? It’s raw, cooked, or nothing at all with me. So again, here we are, one year later.
I didn’t attend the conference this year–I just had a baby boy four months ago (my fourth child!), but I will summarize my basic points from the lecture I gave for you here…weekly….inshAllah (is it okay to cross my fingers?). I changed my favorite animal from the frog to the bee last year after Muhammad Ali (Allah yarhamhu) died and I started researching his life…which then turned into researching the bee. The notes and presentation of which have been an inspiration to me, and inshAllah to you as well.
The Qur’an has a whole surah dedicated to this animal…and though Allah mentions many animals in Quran and has named chapters after them, He only mentions the bee as having a special wahy—a special revelation and inspiration. If anything, this teaches us that we should respect the bee. And be like the bee. We must cultivate our inner bee. This is what I’ve been working on…though I still don’t like them to land on me so much or fly around my face! (Those stingers!!!)
Writing is an act of faith. It’s a leap of faith. It’s a prayer. It’s the deepest part of your soul revealed on a page, and a hope that it is accepted by Allah.
The same can be said for whatever is your calling. Making. Cooking. Doing you. There is nothing to feel guilty about. The ability, drive, and talent has already been given to you…as a trust…for you to use in the service of your Lord. What is required on our part is wisdom and effort in using it.
Surah Nahl speaks about blessings (especially derived from nature), knowledge, guidance, humility, gratitude, and the blessing of the female. The bee is a direct receiver of revelation. And so are you. Because Allah chose to inspire you with words…and creativity. Just like the bee who has been given so many gifts…to pollinate the flowers and make honey from the nectar of flowers which every creature benefits from.
I wish I was brave enough to own a hive. Maybe one day. Who knows? Maybe one day soon! I’m still testing out these wings, learning to fly, to notice the direction of the wind and it’s speed in order to adjust my flight pattern and route. I haven’t left the hive yet. But trust you me, once I do, I’ll be sure to return again and again, doing a dance to lead you inshAllah to the same flowers worth their scent and nectar for you to derive and reciprocate benefit from.
Here is a poem I wrote after watching all of those documentaries in Ramadan 2016, inspired by Muhammad Ali’s motto, which made me decide to be a bee when I “grow up”.
The bee in me
They want to swat me
Don’t understand me
I just want to dance
Receive wahy from my Creator
Be sweet as honey
Don’t use that stinger
As it most certainly will cause
Death of the heart
Follow the Queen
The Mother of All Books
The Oft Recited One
Bismillah! Fi amanillah! Stay tuned weekly for more on the blessed bee, inshAllah.