Solutions From Solitude

Jesus secluded himself, they say, for 40 days, and the Prophet Mohammed regularly retreated to the mountain Hira for solitude and reflection. Ramadan’s final 10 days are also noted to be the time when many people actually live within the mosque to devote themselves more wholly to prayer, reflection, and worship. Those who cannot pull away to that extent from their daily duties do at least hold the final days in highest regard. Among these final nights is one special event known as the Night of Power, for which it states in the Qur’an that it is greater than 1000 months! Calculating the magnitude, one not only understands that this night is valued more than 83 years of prayer, it is known to be able to change the nature of individuals who are the most sincere.

It is said that the first third of the lunar month of Ramadan, which lasts 29-30 days, is for Mercy; the second third is for Forgiveness; and the later third for Salvation. My own reflection and critical analysis of the past year resulted in some realization of turpitude on my part; and although it was not my conscious intent, I should have made some better choices. With that, I sincerely ask for forgiveness from anyone who has felt suffering from my deeds. No decisions of anyone’s need be acknowledged or are necessary, but I hope for kind regard.

The thought of suspending my blog posts occurred to me, but then I reconsidered that my words may be of actual benefit to others, and not for my selfish gain. When my desire to write swells, I can easily just keep a private journal, since I do not exchange correspondence with any reader; but in the chance that something I share can be of value, it does make sense to continue. The writings of other souls enrich my life, and I would like to reciprocate, if possible.

My favorite blogger posed the question: “Do our solutions derive from our institutional structures, from our own perceived values, or a combination of both?”

I lean toward a combined approach, but that is only relevant if the individual subscribes to the values of the institutional structure. There has to be a congruence or acceptable rationalization, or else a real solution is not possible.

An example of rationalization is from when I worked in an Islamic school. Pubescent female students and Muslim teachers were expected to wear hijab and modest clothing while at school or in the adjacent mosque. The hijab is a requirement for formal prayers. The institution dictated the expectation through an official dress code policy. However, at home and in the streets, several females shed their head coverings, sometimes while still in the school parking lot. Their solution, without apparent discord, was to differentiate between attire at school/mosque versus their secular lives. For other women and girls, there was no breach in appearance, as they saw no need for amendment in attire outside of the school. They more deeply internalized the value of the institutionalized structure as their own. The merits of hijab are numerous.

First, it identifies the female as Muslim, a woman who is generally identified as committed to her religious values and identity. However, I must acknowledge that such values cannot be exclusively determined solely by a person wearing hijab. We see plenty of examples these days whereby women are increasingly fashion conscious and are merging more figure revealing styles. My interpretation of this is that either they are asserting their desire to be viewed as beautiful women, or they are making a statement that they are capable women even though they are Muslims who wear hijab. Allah knows best, and we do not have the right to judge. Yet many women are naïve to not realize how males perceive them because women generally do not think of physical attraction so readily as men.

Second, the hijab serves as a reminder to the women themselves of their commitment to higher values of purity, honesty, compassion, service, and mindfulness of God.

On a more secular perspective, I again choose to think that solutions are derived from a combination of institutional input and personal values.

A friend communicated to the world about his “friend” who seemed to be going through the torture of endless analytical medical procedures to determine a diagnosis of a chronic condition. By the way, the true identity of the “friend” was always obvious to me. So my friend was cast with the lesser of potential maladies, but nonetheless it is serious enough that I advised exploring the Mayo Clinic for guidance. In doing so, the institutional structure of Mayo offers expertise beyond the present knowledge set of the individual. His personal values can then be considered for a potential solution.

Application of a very costly protocol involving IVIG does not align with his personal values. Steroid therapy is a better choice in the near term, but it can be very problematic over longer applications. For that reason, I would suggest an initial exploration with his medical team of an enzymatic protocol with Wobenzym N.

Wobenzym N is a German formulation that has existed for over 40 years, and it utilizes pancreatin from porcine origin. It does have some potential for allergic reactions and is incompatible with some other medications, so always consult with medical professionals

Now normally I would completely avoid consuming anything that comes from a pig; but in this case, the medical need warrants it. I believe there is a Halal Malaysian formula that does not have porcine properties, but I do not know its name or source.

Even I have the option to utilize what many consider to be a superior replacement for the major pharmaceutical company thyroid medication I use, but I presently choose not to because it comes from dessicated pig thyroid. However, my condition is not threatening, unlike my friend’s is to the extent that I think it wise to consider Wobenzym N.

Beyond medication though, avoidance of neurotoxins like MSG, prions from commercially factory farmed beef, and certainly pork should no longer be part of his diet. I hope to do further research and will blog about pork in the future. In spite of numerous allergies, which indicate imbalances in gut flora, some probiotics and raw vegetables that can be tolerated are alkalinizing can help stamina.

Content to be like a blade of grass, I am subdued as we approach the end of Ramadan. Existence is enough, and I have purged my demons. Yet, ignorance is around me; there have been many incidents of attacks on mosques in my region, and I ponder if I should take up the gauntlet to address Islamophobia. With a deadline for submissions to a peacebuilding conference only two days away, many resources I have to share, I believe that will be the topic of my next blog.

Till then…peace until dawn.

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