Fruits of Feeding the Hungry

By Truth Seeker Staff

Feeding the HungryGiving Food in Surah Al-Insan (No.76)

This is a good gesture of Allah’s Mercy to Mention giving food in a Surah that is entitled “Al-Insan”. Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive…} [Al-Insan 76:8]

Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) and Mujahid (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “This verse denotes that they feed the needy, the orphan and the captive despite the scarcity of food and their need and love for it.”

What about you and your food?

How great a deed is feeding the hungry in our time!

Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {Or feeding on a day of severe hunger…} [Al-Balad 90:14]

An-Nakha‘i (may Allah have mercy upon him) commented on this verse saying, “They feed the hungry at times when food is not ample.”

Mohammed ibn Al-Munkadir (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Feeding hungry Muslims guarantees the forgiveness of sins.”

He (may Allah have mercy upon him) also said on another occasion: “Feeding the hungry and saying kind words to others usher you to Paradise.”

Dear brother and sister, you may notice how our days – in some Muslim countries – have turned into days of severe hunger. Food has become scarce and meat has also become scarce as well as being too expensive for the poor.

What about you, dear readers? What about your food?

An Explicit Command

Feeding people in general and a hungry person in particular has been explicitly mentioned in the command of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah exalt his mention). Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “Feed the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and free the captives.” [Saheeh] A reported saying reads, “The best charity is to satisfy a hungry person.” Alas, a Muslim may sit at an Iftar table with delicious and tasty dishes while his neighbors break their fast with a few morsels of food, if they can be found!

The Righteous Predecessors (may Allah have mercy upon them):

Our righteous predecessors (may Allah have mercy upon them) were keen to feed people and favored this act of worship over many others, whether it was for a hungry poor person or feeding a righteous Muslim. Poverty is not an essential condition in this regard. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “O people! Spread the Islamic greetings amongst yourselves, feed the hungry, maintain kinship relations, observe prayer at night while people are asleep and you will peacefully enter the Paradise.” [Saheeh]

Some of the righteous predecessors may Allah have mercy upon them said, “It is better for me to invite ten of my friends and feed them delicious food that they like than freeing ten slaves from the children of Isma‘eel (may Allah exalt his mention) (i.e. Arabs).”

Abu As-Siwar Al-‘Adawi (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “Some men from the ‘Uday tribe used to pray in this mosque and none of them would break his fast alone. If one found someone to eat with, he would eat. If he could not find someone to eat with, he would take his food and go to the mosque to share it with the people in the mosque.”

Fruits of Feeding the Hungry

The act of worship of feeding the hungry gives rise to many other acts of worship such as showing affection towards one’s fellow Muslims whom he feeds and this can be a reason for him being granted Paradise. The Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) said: “You shall not enter Paradise as long as you do not affirm belief (in all those things which are the articles of faith) and you will not believe as long as you do not love one another.” [Muslim]

It also gives rise to (the act of worship) being in the company of righteous people and hoping for the rewards of Allah The Almighty in offering them food as they gain strength to perform acts of worship.

Food Baskets

Some righteous predecessors (may Allah have mercy upon them) used to send their friends a basket full of sugar or other such food.

Yunus ibn ‘Ubayd Yahdi (may Allah have mercy upon them) said, “I gave a basket of sugar to Al-Hasan Al-Basri (may Allah have mercy upon him) as a gift and I have not seen any sugar better than this one. He opened the basket and said to his companions, “Eat and enjoy.”

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.

 

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Happiness as Understood from the Sunnah

Happiness as Understood from the Sunnah

By Truth Seeker Staff

HappinessThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). This is because his happiness is happiness for those who love him, and guidance for those who follow him. So, let us learn the perfect etiquette and the wonderful guidance of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in times of delight.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) felt delighted at hearing news that attested to something he had previously told others about. For instance, he (peace be upon him) rejoiced when he listened to the story of Tameem Ad-Dari (may Allah be pleased with him) with Ad-Dajjal (the Antichrist), because it was a confirmation of what he had himself told his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) about the Dajjal.

He (peace be upon him) used to be glad when he saw his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) competing with each other in good deeds and hastening to obey Allah The Almighty and His Messenger. It is narrated that some poor people who were in a very miserable state came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) asking him for help. So he (peace be upon him) stood up to speak to the people and urged them to give charity to those people. Consequently, they competed with each other in this until they collected a large amount. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw this, he rejoiced and his face beamed with joy as if it were a piece of gold.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to feel happy when something good happened to any of his Companions, such as his delight when Allah The Almighty accepted the repentance of Ka’b ibn Malik and his two companions (may Allah be pleased with them). Besides, he (peace be upon him) reportedly rejoiced at meeting whoever reminded him of someone he loved, as in the story of Halah bint Khuwaylid, the sister of his wife Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) when she sought permission to enter upon him. He (peace be upon him) remembered Khadijah’s way of seeking permission, so he was pleased with this and said: “O Allah, let it be Halah! O Allah, let it be Halah!”

Additionally, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be delighted at hearing words that implied supporting and backing for the religion of Allah The Almighty. For example, he (peace be upon him) felt extremely delighted when his Companions may Allah be pleased with them said to him in the Battle of Badr, “We will not say to you like the people of Musa (Moses (may Allah exalt his mention)) said to him: {Go, you and your Lord, and fight. Indeed, we are remaining right here} [Al-Ma’idah 5:24], rather, we will fight at your right and your left, and in front of you and behind you.”

His (peace be upon him) happiness never made him forget to thank the favors of Allah The Almighty upon him, for whenever he received pleasing news, he (peace be upon him) would prostrate to show his gratitude to Allah The Almighty and thankfulness for His favors.

Such was the Prophetic delight that did not overlook human needs and the psychological feelings, yet, at the same time, taught the hearts to rely on Allah The Almighty alone, and to always be in a state of servitude and worship to Him. Therefore, let us be happy and express our happiness in accordance with his manners and follow his Sunnah (Prophetic tradition).

Whenever we remember the Prophet (peace be upon him) we cannot restrain ourselves from invoking the peace and blessings of Allah upon him, for he was the one whose face was radiant and when he felt happy, he beamed with joy like the moon. His happiness was not out of arrogance or vanity; rather, he was happy when he saw the truth prevail, and when he saw falsehood vanquished. His happiness made those around him happy, and still makes those who hear about him happy; and the happiness continues forever and ever. This Prophetic guidance teaches us how to be happy, and the things and manner for which we should express happiness.

Let us bring up this wonderful incident and contemplate the joy of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in it. He (peace be upon him) once entered upon his wife ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with) her and his face was lit up. This was when the truth was revealed to the people after they were in doubt about the lineage of Usamah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him). This happened when Mujazziz Al-Mudliji, who was a genealogist, confirmed that Usamah was the real son of Zayd (may Allah be pleased with them both). ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated this incident by saying, “Once the Messenger of Allah entered upon me and he was in a very happy mood, with his features glittering with joy, and [he] said: ‘O ‘Aa’ishah! Don’t you know that Mujazziz Al-Mudliji entered and saw Usamah and Zayd with velvet covering on them and their heads were covered while their feet were uncovered? He said, ‘These feet belong to each other.’’”

Here is another image of the happiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which we need to contemplate. He (peace be upon him) rejoiced after the truth was revealed when Allah The Almighty sent down the acquittal of his pure wife ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) from what the scandalmongers and hypocrites had accused her of.

Then he (peace be upon him) also rejoiced when ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) chose him after the verse of giving the choice (i.e., Al-Ahzab 33:28, 29) was sent down. When this verse was revealed, he (peace be upon him) called ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) and said to her: “I am going to tell you about something and you do not have to hasten to respond until you consult your parents.” “Concerning what do I need to consult my parents?” she replied, “I choose Allah and His Messenger and the Home of the Hereafter.” In another narration, she (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “O Messenger of Allah, do I have to consult my parents about you! I choose Allah, His Messenger and the Hereafter.”

This was the happiness of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It was in Allah The Almighty and by Him, and in truth and by truth. Thus, we should follow his example and rejoice as he (peace be upon him) used to.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.

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Maintaining Discipline in Worship

Maintaining Discipline in Worship

By Truth Seeker Staff

Discipline in Worship‘Abdullah would rise before Fajr (dawn) each morning and rush to the Mosque to offer the prayer. He would return to the Mosque for Maghrib (sunset) and ‘Ishaa’ (evening) prayers as well. He read the Qur’an daily. He studied other Islamic books in his spare time. He spent much of his free time with his family and took his role as the spiritual leader in his home quite seriously.

Five years later, he found that he would go days, sometimes a whole week without performing a single prayer. He no longer attends congregational prayer at the Mosque—he didn’t have time with his new job. This new job involved his working closely in nightclub establishments with people of questionable backgrounds. This resulted in his becoming very secretive about many of his work activities; he didn’t even talk to his wife about them because he knew she would disapprove. Work kept him busy all night and throughout the entire weekend. Many of his new friends also worked with him and he began to spend a great deal of his free time with them. Because of this, he spent less time with his family. He had to sleep during the day in order to be able to work each night.

His wife noticed a great change in his demeanor. They had several discussions about his work and how it was affecting him and his relationship with Allah Almighty. He agreed, and would begin the process of searching for new work, but inevitably, chose to stay in his current job. He soon found himself feeling very distanced from his wife and children. Even though the money was abundant when he first began, it was now barely paying the bills.

He felt his marriage crumbling beneath the years of neglect. He found himself succumbing to depression over his circumstances, unmotivated to initiate the things he knew he would have to do in order for his life to change.

It is interesting to note that ‘Abdullah’s life seemed much more peaceful and balanced when he engaged in his regular religious duties, and began to suffer significantly when he abandoned them.

Could this simply be a coincidence? Imam Muhammad Baianouni the scholar from North Carolina in USA accurately sums up situations like this stating: “The regulation of a man’s conduct within one system of life is one of the most important reasons of success and stability. The absence of this regulation is one of the greatest crises a man suffers from in his life. This happens when man is left without guidance from Allah, The Most High, or without proper upbringing based on the Divine Guidance. Under these circumstances, man’s life becomes miserable on this earth and he will be amongst the losers in the Hereafter”.

A religion of discipline

It is only from the infinite wisdom and mercy of Allah that we have been given a system of belief that instructs and assists in guiding our actions and behavior. By participating in the daily obligations of our faith outlined in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention) we are more likely to enjoy Allah’s bounty in this life, and reap the rewards in the Hereafter. Allah Almighty ordered all believers to be disciplined in their worship, and not to disobey Him. In the Qur’an, Allah Says (what means) “So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.” [Hud 11: 112]

The intensity of our faith changes throughout our lives. There are times when we are of strong faith, and times when we struggle. Many brothers and sisters who proudly claim Islam as their religion unintentionally find themselves “slipping” in their religious duties. Seemingly overnight their lives go from pleasurable and carefree to darkness and confusion. You may begin to acknowledge that you have landed in such a state because of the choices you made, but you are lost as to how to go about changing things.

Being steadfast in our duties to Allah Almighty is what keeps you from languishing during your darker moments. Remember that your ultimate return is to Him Almighty, so you must develop discipline and a consistency in your daily routine to keep your faith from sinking.

Developing discipline

Recognizing your shortcomings is the first step towards becoming more disciplined. Allah Almighty Says (what means): “…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” [Ar-Ra`d 13: 11] When you decide to change for the sake of Allah Almighty, Allah will help you change. Each one is responsible for oneself and will be questioned accordingly on the Day of Judgment, with no one to intercede on your behalf. You must make the choice to live your life according to Allah’s Will on your own. You will not benefit from being told about what you need to do and how you need to change in order to have a more fulfilling life. You must take an interest in making those changes for yourself. Only then can you reap the rewards. Think about the wives of the Prophets Noah and Lut (may Allah exalt their mention). Each Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) tried unsuccessfully to offer the best guidance to his wife, but because there was no real interest on their part, it was said to each of women (what means): “…Enter the Fire with those who enter!“[At-Tahrim 66: 10]

I have a good friend who was going through a very rough time. Her faith was at an all-time low. During several of our conversations, she lamented that Allah Almighty was punishing her for not being a “good Muslim.” I asked her: “Why must Allah be punishing you? Allah puts us through many tests and trials in this life to give us the chance to know Him better.” We debated back and forth about this for some time. She was really stuck in the debts of despair, and found my comments annoyingly optimistic. I reminded her that Allah Almighty is also Merciful and that this trial for her could be the wake-up call she needed to have an opportunity to renew and redeem her faith and become closer to Him Almighty. Perhaps Allah had to put her through such difficulty to get her attention and give her a chance to make changes.

There are many things you can do to establish discipline in your daily life. Such consistency not only balances our faith, but all other aspects of our lives as well:

  • Evaluate yourself regularly to make certain you are doing all that you can spiritually.
  • Perform your daily prayers punctually each day.
  • Read the Qur’an regularly, with an effort to truly understand what you are reading.
  • Seek knowledge regularly, religious and other, through books, CDs/tapes, classes and lectures.
  • Keep company with righteous people.
  • Have confidence in your faith and, more importantly, in Allah Almighty.
  • Regularly spend some time alone in contemplation and worship.

Islam is a complete way of life. As believers, we should desire the discipline that allows us to regulate our lives and keep chaos away. In choosing this way of life, peace and contentment are your right. Discipline comes as a result of performing certain duties consistently. Ask Allah to help you to establish discipline in your religious commitment and to be able to submit to all that pleases Him Almighty.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from islamweb.net.

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The Amazing Legionary Ants

By Truth Seeker Staff

Legionary AntsOne of the most feared animals of the forests is the legionary ant. The reason for the name “army” being given to this ant community is their acting under a true military discipline.

Legionary ants are carnivores and they eat up everything in sight. Each ant is 6 to 12 millimeters long, but their incredible number and discipline make up for the disadvantage of their small size.

Direct sunlight may kill the legionary ants in a short time. Therefore, they travel either at night or in the shade. Due to their sensitivity to light, they dig long tunnels while advancing. Most of the ants run in these tunnels without going outside. This does not decrease their speed, because they can dig the tunnels very fast with their strong mandibles. Thus, running is both fast and secret. Legionaries move as very large armies, going over all obstructions except fire and water, although they are totally blind.

Legionary ants tear their prey apart where they find it and carry small pieces of it to their temporary nests. Quite a lot of food is needed for a legionary ant colony. The approximate daily need of a medium size colony, consisting of 80,000 adult ants and 30,000 larvae, is about half a gallon (2.27 liters) of animal product food.

Since legionary ants do not have a fixed nest, they are always moving. The movements and migrations of the colonies depend on the production cycle. The queen produces approximately 25-35,000 eggs during two days each month. A few days before the laying of the eggs, the colony halts and gathers in a wide area. The ants hang on to each other by their hook shaped legs and form a temporary nest. The empty space in the middle acts as a chamber ready for the queen and the new generation. Here, naturally, the legs and joints of the ants at the very top are subject to excessive loading. Yet, since they are built to endure weights several hundred times more than their own weights, they can hold the whole colony without much problem.

To hunt most efficiently, the ants time their movements to the needs of a developing brood, alternating between sedentary and nomadic phases. During the resting period of about 20 days, the fat, immobile queen produces 50,000 to 100,000 eggs while other offspring lie in the quiescent pupal stage. On most days, workers, foraging only for themselves and the queen, make short raids from the nest in a rosette pattern. On each raid they vary their direction by an average of 123 degrees, thus avoiding re-combing the same ground.

Ants can unerringly calculate the 123° by themselves, something which man cannot calculate without an instrument. This would appear to indicate a thorough knowledge of mathematics. Yet ants do not know math, they cannot even count. So this shows that what they do is done by special inspiration, and not consciously.

When the first larvae hatch, workers collect food and, in the meantime, the community stays stationary. Pieces of food are fed directly to the larvae. The queen’s being ready for laying again usually coincides with earlier larvae’s transition into the pupa stage. In this stage, the community stops once again. The coinciding of the laying of eggs by the queen and the larvae going into the pupa stage indicates a conscious planning since it decreases the time for which the army stops.

The development of larvae prompts the older ants to start a new migration cycle. This is how it works: larvae give out a secretion when they are licked and cleaned by the workers. Research has shown that this fluid is effective in the decision to migrate.

It would be a weakness of logic to claim that larvae which have not even gained the identity of an ant yet, have thought of secreting such a fluid and have directed the whole colony towards fulfilling their needs. The only thing that a smart observer can spot is the existence of a supreme Creator and His information and sovereignty that are all around us.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from a book on the amazing creature of Allah by A. O.

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Conversion Story of William Burchell Bashyr Pickard

Conversion Story of William Burchell Bashyr Pickard

By William Burchell Bashyr Pickard

That is more than quarter of a century ago. Since then I have lived a Muslim life in theory and practice to the extent of my ability.

That is more than quarter of a century ago. Since then I have lived a Muslim life in theory and practice to the extent of my ability.

“Every child is born with a disposition towards the natural religion of obedience (i.e. Islam); it is the parents who make him a Jew, A Christian or a Magian.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Having been born in Islam, it was a good many years before I realized this fact.

At school and college I was occupied, perhaps too intensely, with the affairs and demands of the passing moment. I do not consider my career of those days brilliant, but it was progressive. Amid Christian surroundings I was taught the good life, and the thought of God and of worship and of righteousness was pleasant to me. If I worshipped anything, it was nobility and courage. Coming down from Cambridge, I went to Central Africa, having obtained an appointment in the administration of the Uganda Protectorate. There I had an interesting and exciting existence beyond what, from England, I had ever dreamt, and was compelled by circumstances, to live amongst the black brotherhood of humanity, to whom I may say I became endearingly attached by reasons of their simple joyous outlook upon life. The East had always attracted me. At Cambridge, I read the Arabian Nights. Alone in Africa I read the Arabian Nights, and the wild roaming existence I passed in the Uganda Protectorate did not make the East less dear to me.

Then upon, my placid life broke in the First World War. I hastened homewards to Europe. My health broke down. Recovering, I applied for a commission in the Army, but on health grounds this was denied to me. I therefore cut losses and enlisted in the Yeomanry, managing somehow or other to pass the doctors and, to my relief, donned uniform as a trooper. Serving then in France on the Western Front, I took part in the battle of the Somme in 1917, where I was wounded and made prisoner of war. I traveled through Belgium to Germany where I was lodged in hospital. In Germany, I saw much of the sufferings of stricken humanity, especially Russians decimated by dysentery. I came to the outskirts of starvation. My wound (shattered right arm) did not heal quickly and I was useless to the Germans. I was therefore sent to Switzerland for hospital treatment and operation. I well remember how dear, even in those days, was the thought of the Qur’an to me. In Germany, I had written home for a copy of Sale’s Qur’an to be sent out to me. In later years, I learnt that this had been sent but it never reached me. In Switzerland, after [the] operation of [my] arm and leg, my health recovered. I was able to go out and about. I purchased a copy of Savary’s French translation of the Qur’an (this today is one of my dearest possessions). Therein, I delighted with a great delight. It was as if a ray of eternal truth shone down with blessedness upon me. My right hand still being useless, I practiced writing the Qur’an with my left hand. My attachment to the Qur’an is further evidenced when I say that one of the most vivid and cherished recollections I had of the Arabian Nights was that of the youth discovered alive alone in the city of the dead, seated reading the Qur’an, oblivious to his surroundings. In those days in Switzerland, I was veritably resigne a la volonte de Dieu (Muslim). After the signing of the Armistice, I returned to London in December 1918, and some two or three years later, in 1921, I took up a course of literary study at London University. One of the subjects I chose was Arabic, lectures in which I attended at King’s College. Here it was that one day my professor in Arabic (the late Mr. Belshah of Iraq) in the course of our study of Arabic mentioned the Qur’an. “Whether you believe in it or not,“ he said, “you will find it a most interesting book and well worthy of study.“ “Oh, but I do believe in it,“ was my reply. This remark surprised and greatly interested my teacher in Arabic, who after a little talk invited me to accompany him to the London Prayer House at Notting Hill Gate. After that, I attended the Prayer House frequently and came to know more of the practice of Islam, until, on New Year’s Day, 1922, I openly joined the Muslim community.

That is more than quarter of a century ago. Since then I have lived a Muslim life in theory and practice to the extent of my ability. The power, wisdom, and mercy of God are boundless. The fields of knowledge stretch out ever before us beyond the horizon. In our pilgrimage through life, I feel assured that the only befitting garment we can wear is submission, and upon our heads, the headgear of praise, and in our hearts love of the One Supreme. “Wal-Hamdu lil’ Lahi Rabbi ‘l-`Alameen (Praise be to God, the Lord of all the worlds.”

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from www.IslamReligion.com.

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Conversion Story of Sinead O’Connor

Conversion Story of Sinead O’Connor

By Aidan Lonergan

Sinead O'ConnorIrish singer Sinead O’Connor has revealed she has renounced Catholicism and converted to Islam, taking the new name “Shuhada’ Davitt”.

O’Connor, who last year changed her legal name to Magda Davitt, said she had ditched the Catholic Church for good in a message to fans on Twitter.

The 51-year-old was previously ordained a priest by a breakaway Catholic sect, the Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church, in the late 1990s.

But in a series of recent tweets, the Dubliner revealed she had swapped the clerical collar for the hijab and become a Muslim.

“This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim,” she wrote.

“This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.

“I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada’.”

The musician, who underwent intensive mental health treatment in the US last year with the help of Dr. Phil, went on to post a video of herself singing the Adhan – the Islamic call to prayer.

“Here is my 1st attempt at singing the Adhan,” she wrote. “I got some pronunciation wrong because emotions took me from my page… but there’ll be hundreds of others onstage to come”.

In another tweet, she added: “Sorry re all the mistakes in my Azan…. 1st attempt. When I’ve practiced it 30 times I’m Gonna make the world stop turning”.

O’Connor also revealed she had received her first Hijab with the help of a friend in Dublin.

“My best friend, Elaine just gave me my 1st Hijab and she got chills all over her body when I put it on,” she wrote.

“Not gonna post a photo because is intensely personal. And I’m an ugly old hag. But I’m a very, very, very happy old hag.”

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail earlier this week, O’Connor – identified by her ‘former’ name – revealed she was collaborating with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Irish actor Cillian Murphy, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and singer Imelda May for a new EP.

‘One More Yard’ will pay tribute to a young Irish First World War soldier, Michael Thomas Wall, and uses words from 90 letters he wrote home during the conflict.

All proceeds raised from sales of the EP will go to a cancer charity.

 

References:

BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-45987127

CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/26/entertainment/sinead-oconnor-ireland-islam-intl/index.html

People: https://people.com/music/sinead-oconnor-converted-islam/

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Taken with editorial modifications from Irish Post.

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