Bringing Light _ Thoughts on Gandalf and Leadership

tal licht Gandalf

“Why is she talking about Gandalf today?”, you might ask.
Well, you know, I love the “Lord of the Rings”- stories, I am a real fan of this fantasy trilogy, of the books and the movie. For me, they reflect and express the struggles of humanity, much of what’s happening in the world since thousands of years: the cycle of destruction and recreation, the fight between light and darkness, between shadow and sun, the fights between the elements of the whole creation, the inter-dependency of all and everything and how we are all connected – the fighting that shows on a larger scale what happens in a smaller scale in every one of us: the fight between good and evil and the longing for balance and peace and the struggle to find harmony.

For me, Tolkien’s tales are wonderful entertainment that speaks to me on high and deep levels.
One of the heroes of Tolkien’s stories, maybe the most important one, is Gandalf, the wizard, described as “the greatest spirit and the wisest, warm and eager, opposing the fire that devours and wastes with the fire that kindles and succors in wan hope and distress; but his joy and his swift wrath were veiled in garments grey as ash, so that only those that knew him well glimpsed the flame that was within. Merry he could be, and kindly to the young and simple, yet quick at times to sharp speech and the rebuking of folly; but he was not proud, and sought neither power nor praise… “


With all that happens in the world, with my work and responsibility here, the school and what we do every day, I have to learn a lot about leadership. And to me, Gandalf embodies a real leader who shows with his behavior and his whole being the big range of positive impact great leadership can make.

And in the end, we are all leaders: “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. An imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in respect of his family and is responsible for those in his care. The woman is a shepherd in respect of her husband’s house and is responsible for what is in her care. The servant is a shepherd in respect of his master’s property and is responsible for what is in his care. All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Hadith of the Prophet sas, reported by Abdullah bin Umar) 

– that’s what our dear prophet Muhammad (sas) taught us.
And a shepherd is a leader. In one or another part of our life’s we all are leaders. So we all need to learn about leadership, we need good role models and great examples to follow.
Prophet Muhammad (sas) was surely the best of all leaders, the one all Muslims try to follow.
And right after him came his companions Caliph Abu Bakar, Umar, Othman, and Ali, they all practiced great leadership principles and achieved highest places in human history.
An there were others, wonderful examples, like Jesus and all the other great prophets like Moses and Abraham, but also modern men like Gandhi or Martin Luther King.


If we want to learn from them, we have to analyze the basic principles that made them successful, and with successful I do not mean powerful, because a really good leader is one who empowers others.

A great leader is one who has positive influence on others, adding value to the life of others and bringing out the best in them.  A great leader is seeing and reaching far, he is carried by high and honorable moral settings, he has a strong vision and deep faith in and thankfulness towards a higher source (God, Allah).

“God is the protector of those who have faith: From depths of darkness He leads them forth into light” Quran 2:257

So a great leader is carrying a light that enlightens everything around him.
A great leader is one who is kind, righteous, fair and just, always in service for others, humble, generous, pious, courageous, committed, patient and strong.
He has compassion and empathy, trustworthiness, integrity, truthfulness, honesty, a noble character. He is touching the hearts of others, living up to his full potential, acting responsible and giving responsibility to others.

A great leader has great communication skills and is always establishing teamwork, knowing that he can achieve only with his group. So he is taking care of the needs of his followers, modelling a good way and being a good example, he is walking his talk. A great leader is one with a good planning, structure and aims, ready for sacrifice, continuously developing his own skills and personality, learning and growing, always seeking knowledge and wisdom,  encouraging the development and the strengths of each follower, uniting mankind and reducing thoughts of separateness and hostility.

Muhammad surely was the greatest leader on earth, in the Quran and Sunnah we get huge advice on how to do like he did. To follow his example is my wish, inchaallah.
And for me, Gandalf, as well as manyothers, followed these footsteps on the way towards truth and light.

More to read for example here or see the books on my list: 



We are all One

We are one, we are united
– we all suffer of the same fears, we all breath the same air, we all hope for the same peace, our hearts all yearn for the same love – despite all the labels and boundaries in our heads, in the end we are all the same. We are ONE.

I feel with Paris, I feel with Beirut, I feel with Syria, South Africa, and all the people who suffer from violence, injustice and being overpowered. I pray for light, peace and love. World, may you be blessed; may we all be blessed with empathy, wisdom and love.

regenbogenkerze und bild abendlicht Kerze geschmolzen

Whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Quran 5:32

Weekending – inside and outside


To learn to forget is as necessary and useful as to learn to remember. We think of many things every day which it would be more profitable not to think of at all. To be able to forget is to be able to drive away the unseen force (thought) which is injuring us, and change it for a force/thought to benefit us.

Goodwill to others is constructive thought. It helps build us up. It is good for your body. It makes your blood purer, your muscles stronger, and your whole form more symmetrical in shape. It is the real elixir of life. The more such thought you attract to you, the more life you will have.

Prentice Mulford 

ofenhan HGbooks

Reading right now books from Prentice Mulford, Emil Coué, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra,
sending you thoughts of love and wishing you a happy autumn weekend!

Sometimes it hurts


I sit here, reflecting over the recent very touching meeting with a nice professor from Germany, and I want to be alone. Today something inside myself feels sad. I need time to think, time to understand, again and again.

It’s one of these moments when some facts feel heavy and an obvious reality suddenly feels like a punch into the face.
It’s nothing new that hurts today, it’s the fact that our girl is deaf.

This is a fact I learned to accept and live with over the last four years – a situation we try to manage as well as possible, with the help of wonderful professionals and with all the chances of learning and growing within the great structure our own school offers us, alhamdulillah.

But today is one of these days, when sadness overflows and pain overwhelms me.


It’s the sadness of not being able to communicate fully with our girl.
It’s the fact that she doesn’t hear me well, at least not enough to be together, side by side and chat just as I often do with her older brothers.
It’s the sadness about the fact that maybe 70% of our communication doesn’t reach her, that we always need eye contact to understand each other, and even then, with signs and mimic, still there are so many things I cannot transmit.
It’s also guilt of maybe not doing enough for her and recently also the reinforced doubts about our smallest son’s hearing capability, the suspicion and concern that he as well might be hearing impaired.
It’s the questions about blame and reason, about the “why?” and “how everything will go?”.
It’s one of these moments when my faith and strong belief in God’s wise destiny fell  kind of asleep and when I feel sorry for myself, astaghfirullah.


I had to share this. For all those who might be in the same situation. Sharing helps. Acknowledging that it’s not always easy. Sometimes sadness arises –  I try to accept the sadness, let the tears flow, welcome the deep feelings, knowing that this too will pass, inchaallah. Everything is well, alhamdulillah.
Peace, friends.



the felting continues _ women empowerment

coop enrty spinnen weben

now, more than five years later, a new women’s felting group grows in our village.
it’s mostly the mothers of the former felting girls and some mothers of our school’s pupils who want to be active now. subhanallah, with a lot of courage, zest, creativity and diligence they’ve put themselves together to establish a women’s cooperative. it is a pleasure to see their aspiration and dedication, their willingness to learn, to develop and to grow a business, despite the fact that most of them are illiterate and never worked or visited places outside their home and the valley.
I feel very honoured to know such women, alhamdulillah, their strenght and beautiful sense of “naive art” are touching and impressing.

If you come to our valley, you are warmly welcome to visit their little shop!

these are some of the products they produce:

coop armband coop bags coop herzen

more to read here:


coop rugs coop stifte


Living in Morocco’s Mountains _ social contacts to women


Over the last ten years, since living in this happy valley, I went through different stages of social integration, alhamdulillah.
The first year here we lived in a small room with my father in law. I found myself, as the only stranger/foreigner, in the middle of Berbers in the midst of a little Berber village.
To live amongst the local people, sharing their simple lifestyle and doing like them, helped me enormously to integrate into society and to learn the language, the habits and the do’s and don’ts.


I was in contact with the people all the time, but to make friends and to get in deeper contact with the women outside our household was quiet hard. The language was a barrier and with my background, my education and experiences, I felt quite different.
Most of the women had never been out of the valley or to bigger cities, most of them could not read or write. But they seemed fulfilled with their duties and were masters of their craft in the kitchen and with the animals.
During the first months I always thought that, if I would like to fully integrate here, I would have to be like them, to dress like them and to do like them. But I soon understood that this wouldn’t be possible and would not help. I felt that I can learn much of them, but I also felt that I have some things to give, inchaallah. Instead of proving being able to bake soft bread as round as the sun, I did better concentrating on the special things I personally hd to share with them.
Deep respect, real interest and constant exchange became the keys for my growing relationships. Not trying to make the other like me, but to be open, to serve, to share and to learn each one of the other enriched all of us, alhamdulillah.
Our same Islamic faith, the shared belief in Allah and doing prayers together often helped to establish confidence and to keep connected on a higher level, subhanallah.


I learned how to make couscous, they learned how to bake chocolate cake.
I got to know how to cut hay, they learned how to brush teeth…
A wonderful way of mutual learning began.
And it didn’t took long until some of the young girls of our village asked me if I had an idea how they could work together and earn some money. The idea of a wool felting group grew and together we learned different techniques.
Uniting our different skills enabled us to create wonderful things:
their knowledge of the wool-working-process from the sheep to the soft fiber and my knowing of internet-use for inspiration and ideas;
their experience in dyeing wool and my ability to read, try, learn and teach the felting technique;
their traditional and pure feeling for simple patterns and my feeling for modern design and arts – all of this together gave birth to wonderful moments of getting to know each other, to grow together and to create beautiful things which we could sell to tourists so the girls could make some money. A women’s felting group was born and two years we regularly met and worked together (Here I sometimes wrote about it on this blog).

Then the girls grew older, some married, some left the valley and God had other plans for each one of us. My family and I were then very occupied with the new school and other things and for some years the felting group wasn’t active. Through the école vivante new cross-cultural exchange and my integration into the local society continued in different ways, but the key to real and deep encounters always was and still is by do something meaningful, by sharing, by giving and being open to the other, by respect of the differences between us and by focusing on what unites us and what we have in common.