Archbishop Anastasios of Albania with Dedebaba Mondi, the head of the Bektashi order, together at the Paschal Reception at the Archdiocese.

I’m still very upset about the change on last night’s Game of Thrones. I’ve been fine about most of the alteration the show has made from the books. Most of them simply made sense within the context of a television show and became important to how the show’s version of the character would develop as opposed to the book’s version of the same character. However last night, they messed up, in a disgusting way.

Within the books Jamie Lannister returns home from being a prisoner of war, he is maimed and looks nothing like the man Cersie remembers him as. It is Cersie who attempts to convince Jamie to have sex with her in the sept. It is she who encourages him. For the writers of the show to change an act of rape serves no purpose to the story nor the character development of Jamie, and the man he becomes in the books and as we assumed in the show. This moment, this act of lust in front of their dead son, it was important. Their relationship is wrong on every level, it’s incestuous and has a clear effect on both of their mental health. Yet, in a strange way, you pity them. This moment was passionate and a reminder that two people who the world believes evil incarnate can love, in their own twisted way. After this point in the books they drift apart and Jamie begins to become his own man, when before his entire existence was heavily manipulated by Cersie who had strong hold on him (not maliciously, but just the way their relationship naturally developed). Jamie becomes better, good (kinda), and independent. So unless their doing an entire left turn on Jamie’s development, this scene served literally no purpose.

This is a man who nearly led the Kingsguard against his own king (who had a thing for burning people alive), because at night he’d be forced to listen as King Aerys raped his Queen Rhaella. This is a man who lost his hand manipulating Vargo Hoat (Loke in the show) to save Brienne from rape. Yet all of a sudden he’s like, “I don’t care”. It makes no sense, it ruined the character, and it made the show harder to watch for people (especially women) who may have experienced similar such acts of violence.

Often, when I’m in need of comfort, when I feel all is lost and I’m hopeless, I imagine myself resting within the arms of Fatimah. Like a child does with their mother. Eventually she lowers her head and whispers into my ear, telling me, "I know you’re afraid, but you must go now". I get up, and the farther I walk away from her the more fearful and sad I become. When I become weak and fall, she appears as if from nowhere and I am once again within her arms.

Trust in the Ahlul Bayt, love them, they are all around us and we are never alone.

Dervish Mikeli inside the Sari Saltuk tekke, Mali Krujës.

Today we only believe in God in the moments we remind ourselves that we believe in him. The knowing of God’s presence within us and around us was something that used to be innate within mankind. It was like breathing, we are not always conscious of the fact we are breathing, yet we do. In the same way God’s presence and our devotion to Him was something that existed within man on a subconscious level. While He was not the subject of our thoughts every moment of our life, there was never a moment where we doubted or had to remember He existed.

Sometimes when we stop whatever we are doing, and acknowledge our breath as well as pay attention to it’s flow and the important it plays in our life, it can be noticed that for a brief moment it may quicken or slow and perhaps even stop entirely. There is a pressure on the lungs and we have to adjust our breath to it’s normal pace again, and we feel relaxed now that we are in tune with the very flow of our breath, our very reason for living. In the same way we use to experience God’s presence. We awakened the subconscious and like our breath we felt God moving within us. Some described it as a spinning sphere of light, eventually coursing through the entire body until it reached the mind. This innate presence of God was awakened, and just like the breath, we became in tune with the flow of His presence. Through that we reached enlightenment and ascended onto an ethereal plane where there existed nothing but truth, nothing but unity. After a time even unity ceased to exist, because in truth there is nothing for there to unite, for there is only He, there is only truth.

Let every breath become a prayer, every act become worship. It does not need to be special, we do not need to memorize lines within a language we do not understand. We only need to know.

علي (Ali) comes from עלי (Eli), it’s meaning being "ascent" or "ascent onto יהוה (YHWH) the most high”. علي itself means “exalted”, while one of the names of God is العلي (Al Ali), meaning The Most Exalted.

The purpose of a man is in his name. Our praise of Ali is a ladder to God, who’s ancient name was אל (El). Only but one letter makes them different, and what is a letter but a line drawn by man upon paper, easily erased.

We saw Noah today and I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve heard folks saying how it’s very “Hollywood” (I mean, it kinda was with the graphics and battle scenes), but overall it was honestly a nice reminder and left us with a lot to ponder on the car ride home.

I loved the natural living references, also the abundant amount of Kabbalistic (and Sufi) overtones. Using the serpents skin to wrap a teffilin was pretty neat as well.

Also, I’m happy they kept the reference toward’s Noah’s drunkenness. Muslims are desperate to believe our Prophets and saints had no human flaws, when the truth is they were both the divine and infallible beings we believe (or should believe) and capable of error, that’s the point of man’s existence as God’s divine embodiment in this realm.