Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The height of injustice !! :(

This was written on Saturday ...

Assalamualaikum

The day was pretty much okay. My exam preparation hadn't been that great, but Alhamdulillah, Hadith paper went cool. I don't think I made many mistakes, and the tashreeh of ahadith bit, though unexpected, turned out to be a nice outlet for me to just write and write. Funny how continuous Urdu writing doesn't seem THAT difficult anymore ... *grins from ear to ear* :)

Acha, so we had this doctors' family gala event thing at Ramada Plaza, and I never even knew it's name before today :P. It's supposed to be this huge grand hotel, 5 minutes or so from the Airport, and has a pretty good outlook. Here, have a look.

Yeah, so the place was nice. The event was, er... well some things were pretty nice. Like the lil parrot and the big huge parrot... lil parrot sat on my shoulder, and big huge parrot on my arm. What a sight :D. These parrots had a common habit. Before perching on somebody's arm or shoulder, they tested the surface with their beaks... so one had the feeling that they were about to bite :D. Man, that was fun. 

(I am coming to the injustice bit, just hear me out). 

Next few nice things were the...


and...


and...


The point is, that these were the cool bits. The junglana bits came a lil later. Namely: extremely loud music, one that pulsates your insides, idiotic singers (who were claimed by the show host to be such that 'itnay concerts kiay keh shayed hee kisi singer nay kiay hongay' -- they have performed in concerts so many times that they beat all other singers)... etc.. And when the name was called, everybody looked at each other in confusion.. who in the world was this? 

Now, the injustice part. Dinner was served at around 10.30. There were huge rows and rows of food, quite a lot of variety and a generous amount of nearly everything imaginable (and edible). Chalo, that bit was okay. After dinner, as I went to get icecream for mum, I saw the waiters who had a stack of dirty plates with them, and huge trash bags. What they were doing was, cleaning the plates !!! In front of my eyes, huge platters of uneaten kebabs, uneaten chicken pieces, uneaten biryani, uneaten broast, uneaten roti, and what not... went straight into the garbage bags. (Now this may be common, yeah), but my breath nearly stopped at this sight. Imagine the display of food, and imagine the elite of the city along with their families in one of the poshest hotels in the city .. piling up their plates like nitwits, and just leaving everything be so that it would go in the trash!!!! **bursting with indignation even right now!** 

Now, there is an argument associated with remaining food (joothaa khana). I understand the bit where people would be reluctant in eating half-eaten stuff. But what about whole pieces of food ? Especially stuff like broast pieces, and fried chicken pieces? Don't these people know that people like these exist in our country, and in the world ???


So khair. What happened was that I went up to those staff members, waiters etc, and asked them:

Me: Ap yeh khana kew phaink rahay hain?? (Why are you throwing this food away?)
They: Baji humain order hay, is liay. (We are ordered to, that's why)
Me: Laikin aap daikhain to sahee, yeh to saabut saabut cheezain hain, yeh to bacha kar aap kisi ko day dain! Aisay to na phainkain! (But see, these are whole pieces of uneaten food, you can save it and give it to somebody, don't just throw it please)
They: Baji humain order hay, hum layjana chahain tub bhe nahi layjasaktay (We are under strict orders. We cannot take this food away, even if we wanted to).
Furthermore: they:  Baji, ap ka kia khayal hay. Humara dil nahi chahta yeh sab lay jaain and apno ko khilaa dain? (Don't you think we want to take this yummy stuff home and feed it to our kids?)
Me: **speechless**

This is the height of injustice in a country that is plagued by shortage of food, water and other basic necessities. Here is one set of people, wasting food while laughing, and another set of staff members, poor and SEEING with their own eyes the food being wasted, and having to throw it away with their own hands. And yet, we wonder why the crime rate is increasing. When the differences in society exist on such a grand level, there is bound to be anarchy... someday or the other.

Please note. If you have weddings in the family, or dawats and you know that you cannot control the wastage of food, please ... you can take the following steps.

1. Call up Chipa (or Edhi). They have a free 24/7 service, where they come and collect food (all edible leftovers), and take it to the poor and feed them. They are pretty much reliable. You can call them up at: +92-21-111111134

2. Give lunch boxes. We did that at the Nikkah of my sister, and it worked out pretty well. People just ate whatever they wanted, and took the boxes home. 

3. Monitor the food tables, collect the leftovers (edible) and give them away yourself. 


Thursday, April 15, 2010

An open question for all

Assalamualaikum

The past few days have been real hectic. The first exam was Quran -- and it is not easy to know word-to-word translation of an entire Surah!

(Omg I have a squirming baby in my arms, and I am typing this!! Sheesh!)

Khair. (uff yeh bacha!). The thing is that I have been wondering this thing, and would like to ask an honest opinion from anybody who reads this post .. (Muslims of course :P).

Question:

Do you think it is emotional blackmail (to oneself) if one has developed fikr-e-aakhirah (worries about the Hereafter - life is too short etc), and on the basis of that worry, one is willing to give up their career plans in the short-run, and try to acquire Islamic education (further)...?

This question stems from the previous posts' comments, and I had been curious to know this answer, because somehow, I had thought blackmailing is done by others to convince somebody of something. And in my case, it hasn't been others' pressure or anything. Just a teensy talk, and then mostly my own head :S. Only today, I was called ''brainwashed'' by somebody in the family :$. The question is, who has brainwashed me?? The only worry I have is of not knowing when we will pass away, and only on that basis, am I thinking along a different path to take in the short-term... *sigh*

So, answers please.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

DAWN.COM | The Review | Heart-to-heart: An open letter to my son


By Yasmin Elahi
Sunday, 11 Apr, 2010

My dearest son,

I am sure you will be surprised on receiving this letter from me, as we live under the same roof, talk everyday and everything that I am writing could have been said directly to you. But my dearest, I want you to know that often we talk without being able to truly communicate! There are so many things that I would like to tell you, discuss with you, advice you on but somehow whenever I try, the words simply don’t come out as strong as my feelings. So, I thought about writing to you.

You look very depressed these days, and I can sense frustration in your behaviour. You are no more my sweet tempered boy who was always bubbling with life, but tend to be irritable and get angry at the slightest pretext. Please read this letter carefully, and that too many times, and let my advice sink in. I know your dreams have not been realised, your expectations of what your life will be after you finish your education, have not been fulfilled. But I want to ask you, will anger and depression help you in any way? You know very well that life has never been smooth sailing for me, but I never gave in to self pity or frustration. Instead I tried to handle my problems turn by turn and I am fairly content with the results.

The problem with your generation is that you do not have patience. You want to step on the first rung of the ladder to success and want your second step to be on the top! I say “give life your best efforts and be content with what life gives you in return”. You may not reach your goal, but you should have the satisfaction that you tried your best. Remember that life is not a trade… a business in which success means more output than input! What appears to be a loss in a trade can prove to be a gain in life. If you keep your attitude positive, experiences will end up giving you wisdom and failures a new resolution to try again, work harder and never to give up!

As you may have heard umpteen times, an optimist sees a glass of water half full, while a pessimist calls it half empty! The amount of water is the same; it is the difference of attitude that matters. You want to give up although you have just stepped onto the road of life. I don’t want to shelter you any more; rather I would like you to experience life as it comes your way. I know that you will face both success and failures but I want each experience, good or bad, to make you stronger! So please be positive, keep on with your efforts and with the help of Allah you will be amazed by the results, for things will surely change for the better.

I want you to behave like an educated person, not merely one who has degrees and has gone through college and university, but a person who dares to dream, has the ability to think and accept the challenges of life without a blink of the eye. Though striving for a decent living is part of a healthy life, don’t make it the sole reason of your qualifications. The least we can do to justify our education is to strive to change (for the better) the things around us. Sometimes small changes are not even noticed by us; but believe me, these small changes can bring about revolutionary changes. Invisible drops of water make up clouds, but when these clouds burst into rain, every single drop counts.

I do not want you be to be a part of the crowd; people who complain, criticise and grumble at life’s problems and conveniently place the responsibility of their woes on someone else’s shoulders. I want you to be among the few who have the vision and the desire to change things for the better, are ready to take responsibility; people who face life’s adversities bravely, accept its challenges and work hard to reach their goals.

Success may be evading you at the moment but do not lose hope. Because without hope there is no yearning, no desire for a better tomorrow! Without hope life comes to a standstill! So, snap out of your depression and keep on moving ahead with your head held high. And remember, I am always here for you. Love you my son,

Forever yours,
Ammi


Source: DAWN.COM | The Review | Heart-to-heart: An open letter to my son

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And the course ends...

Assalamualaikum

The three months are finally over, and we had our last day of studies today at the Quran class. Exams are scheduled to be held from next week Insha Allah. The teachers have tried to make things as easy for us as possible :). It's wonderful to be see their efforts even now to ensure that we don't get discouraged by mere ''marks.''

The experience was wonderful Alhamdulillah. I never would have expected :

1. That I would be able to read the Quran, and have words jump out at me, begging to be understood :P
2. That Arabic Grammar would now appear ''understandable'' and not that difficult.
3. That life would seem a leetle more worthwhile during these three months :)
4. That Fiqh would actually solve so many of my daily confusions. I mean, woe to me, but I really didn't know that ''intention, or niyah'' is a fardh in tayammum (using sand/etc for making ablutions if water isn't available). It is one of the fardh! Man! :$
5. That I would get the highest marks in Tajwid :D

The list can go on. I'll probably write more on this. For now, any lady who is interested in taking Quran classes, do contact me for further details. I am posting the courses details here only. Hope you benefit from the experience as much as I did Alhamdulillah :).

------------------------------------------------
COURSES
  1. 3 - month Fehm-ul-Quran course - timings: 9am to 1pm. Subjects include: Quran Tafseer, Hadith, Seerat, Tajwid, Arabic Grammar, Calligraphy etc. Mon - Thur, and Sat
  2. 6-month Fehm-ul-Quran course - timings: 9am to 1pm. Similar subjects, only with greater detail as it is a 6-month course. Mon - Thur, and Sat
  3. 2-year Fehm-ul-Quran Diploma course - timings: 9am to 1pm: Similar subects with even more detail. Like, in Quran we studied only Surah Baqarah, the 2-year people study the entire Quran. Mon - Thur, and Sat
  4. Tajwid-o-Tafheem ul Quran course (in Urdu) - timings: morning shift = 10.30am to 1pm, and afternoon shift = 3pm to 5pm. Mon -Thur
  5. Tajwid-o-Tafheem ul Quran course (in English) - timings: 3pm to 5pm. Only Saturdays
The admission process is going on this week.

The address is:

Quran Institute
Dar-ul-Khair
76-A Tipu Sultan Road
Karachi
+92-21-4541144
+92-300-9203810


Surah Qamar
17. And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To grow or not to grow...

Salam

*fuming actually*. But the good part is that the day wasn't all useless, and fury-igniting.

This very nice family friend inquired in an e-mail, regarding the status of beard's length in Islam. This got me probing into the matter, and I got a very relevant video which I'll share. Happy not-shaving :P

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"The Expected Guest" by Tariq Mehanna

"The Expected Guest" by Tariq Mehanna
(Dedicated to my prison cell...a fine host, indeed)
Bism Allah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem:

These envelope walls look down at me, so stern,
Confusingly soothing, not what I for yearn,
"Expected guest, time has now come for your turn,
I have much to teach, and you have much to learn. . .

I am an instructor of pupils passed through,
Who knocked on my door, while not having a clue,
But under my care, they blossomed and they grew,
Graduated, walked out, and were born anew;

I am a mirror, held right up toy our face,
To test all your limits, expand them with grace,
To teach you what to avoid, what to embrace,
Accustom you to survive in any place;

A mirror held up to the land of the "Free,"
To serve to remind of its hypocrisy,
Where they keep you locked up for all 23,
And send home your neighbor who raped a baby;

I am a witness that will show all and tell,
Who purchased the truth, and who was quick to sell
Who lived in an MM's sugar-coated shell,
Abrogated 'Tawbah' to avoid a cell;

I am your own masjid in which you can stay,
To hear you read Qur'an, to watch as you pray,
To study the Sunnah, to make dhikr all day,
To help you in fasting--just look at that tray!

I am a fortress that none can penetrate,
I shield your mind, allow you to contemplate,
I cleanse your soul, allow it to cultivate,
I give you time, allow you to generate;

I remind of your grave, so somber in tone,
Preview of that sure day you'll be all alone,
No one to hear your calls, none to lend a loan,
Laying in wait until the Trumpet is blown;

I am your companion who is always there,
And while I cannot offer a couch or a chair,
I share your experience in this place so threadbare,
I share your circumstance, I breathe this same air;

You knocked on my door seeking a place of rest,
But I've been commanded to put you to test,
To pluck you away from a life of vain jest,
For you are just my latest expected guest. . ."

Written by:
Tariq Mehanna

Plymouth County Correctional Facility
Isolation Unit-Cell #108
Monday 13th of Rabi' ath-Thani 1431
(29th of March 2010)
Source: here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pukhtunkhwaa: What's in a name?

Assalamualaikum

Since the name change of the province of N.W.F.P (North West Frontier Province) to Khyber Pukhtunkhwaa, I have been having mixed (and mostly sad) feelings about this. Now, no more will our map have the name we have all grown up with. The question I was wondering about was: Why is this name so important? Don't we already know the pukhtun identity? Don't we already recognize it? Acknowledge it? Why should a name change be done to make our brains accept what we already know? These questions seemingly have no answer. But a little peek into our history reveals some (a/c to me, no offence to anybody) rather sucky facts. Here goes. All links are mentioned below. I'm going to make it concise and er, palatable.

1. Who are Pukhtuns?
Ans: The Pakhtuns are the majority ethnic group in the NWFP, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Northern Balochistan. According to the NWFP government statistics, 68 per cent of the people in the Province speak Pakhtu or Pashtu, 18 per cent speak Hindko, 8 per cent speak Seraiki and about 2 per cent speak Urdu and Punjabi.
Source: here

2. What does the word 'Pukhtunkhwa' mean?
Pakhtunkhwa, Pashtoonkhwa, or Pakhtoonkhwa means “The Land of the Pakhtuns” or “near the Pakhtuns”. This name was used for the area where Pakhtuns were dominant before the creation and forming of modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Source: here

3. Who came up with this word, Pukhtunkhwa?
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly known as Bacha Khan, proposed the name as an alternative to Pakhtunistan to the military dictator, General Zia ul Haq in 1978 when the latter refused to accept the demand from the latter to rename the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as Pakhtunistan.
Source: See here

4. Who in the world was Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?
Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1890 - 20 January 1988) was a Pashtun political and spiritual leader known for his non-violent opposition to British Rule in India. A lifelong pacifist, a devout Muslim, and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, he was also known as Badshah Khan (also Bacha Khan, Pashto: lit., "King Khan"), and Sarhaddi Gandhi (Urdu, Hindi lit., "Frontier Gandhi").
Source: Wikipedia

5. What was one interesting (read: sucky) fact about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan?
Ghaffar Khan strongly opposed the partition of India. While the Red Shirts were willing to work with Indian politicians, some Pashtuns desired independence from both India and the newly created state of Pakistan following the departure of the British. The Congress party under refused last ditch compromises like the Cabinet mission plan and Gandhi's suggestion to offer the Prime Ministership to Jinnah. As a result Bacha Khan and his followers felt a sense of betrayal by both Pakistan and India. Bacha Khan's last words to Gandhi and his erstwhile allies in the Congress party were: "You have thrown us to the wolves."
Source: here


6. Another sucky fact about Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan
Ghaffar Khan died in Peshawar under house arrest in 1988 and was buried in Jalalabad, Afghanistanaccording to his wishes. This was a symbolic move by Ghafar Khan, this would allow his dream of Pakhtun unification to live even after his death. The Indian government declared a five-day period of mourning in his honour.Although he had been repeatedly imprisoned and persecuted, tens of thousands of mourners attended his funeral, marching through the historic Khyber Pass from Peshawar to Jalalabad.
Source: here

7. Yet another sucky fact

"O Pathans! Your house has fallen into ruin. Arise and rebuild it, and remember to what race you belong." -- Ghaffar Khan
quoted in Eknath Easwaran, A Man to Match his Mountains: Bacha Khan, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam (Nilgiri Press, Petaluma, 1984), p. 25. 
Source: here



So this is the man who proposed the concept of Pukhtunistan, and then Pukhtunkhwaa. This is the history and opinions of this fellow, and that is a cause of great concen for me, to be blind and happy about a 'name change that has proven the pathan identitiy" -- my point simply is, that the identity was always recognized by the people. At least I did :P''

And by the way, this is a current news clipping:

1. Friday, April 02, 2010
PESHAWAR: Known nationalist lawyer Barrister Baachaa on Thursday rejected the hyphenated name of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for the NWFP and called for ending the long controversy by naming the province as Afghania. In statement, he said Afghani was acceptable all around and the political parties should have given up their rigid stand to let the people of the province get on with other pressing problems.

Source: here

Friday, April 2, 2010

Aray bhui!?

Salam

Do you find all news channels extremely irritating these days? I thought so. Join the club.

1. Why in the world does the whole world revolve around the world of Sania Mirza and Shoaib Malik?

2. Are we really interested in what a coupld of sports people do in their personal lives? If they're not poking their noses into ours, why poke into theirs?
(and relish it?) *utterly disgusted*

3. What's (please tell me! Solve this mystery once and for all) SO interesting about whether 4 members of Shoaib Malik's family is applying for Indian visas, or 6? And when they've applied, how many got the visas, and how many didn't. What's so intriguing about their travel plans!?

4. Right. Now that we've found about visas, what's so darn enchanting about the fact that Sania Mirza has started shopping? Or contacting designers? Or ..... fantasized about perfect shoes!!!?!?! For the love of sanity... what is wrong with the media?

5. Man, the information. The 'third twist' in this whole saga has come up. And now, the media is getting crazier about the 'juiciness' - So we hadn't gotten over the stupid Indian songs, and the same old pictures, and now the ''twist!'' ... what is this, a stage show?

You see, even with being all disgusted with the media frenzy over one very very normal event of this century, I still know exactly what the details are of this intricate love (??) story. All because I watch the news. And the news has been showing nothing else! If it IS something else, then they pound this tale in the news tabs. Ugh.

Not from any angle, does this seem like this is a wedding which would happen between two Muslims. The way they are being portrayed, the type of images that are being shown, the idiotic details being revealed regarding their personal lives etc. Nothing portrays our identity here. The sad truth is that wayyy back somewhere, we have lost out on it, our roots and simplicity. None of that exists. And if it does, then none of it exists on the media, is ever portrayed by the media like this engagement being portrayed now. Another huge factor: everybody in Pakistan (and other countries) is watching it. How would the poor people of this nation feel when they watch this big glamorous wedding, splashy and replete with the flash and glint of money? And then we wonder why the crime rate has gone up.

What a tragic way to promote 'unity' between two nations that are still 'friends-by-appearances' and not in reality.