Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Convo to Remember!


There was a big lesson I learned when I had the following conversation with my veryyy close friend and relative (who just got nikah-o-fied on Sunday). This was the first real opportunity for me to have a serious, candid chat with her, and yeah, I could learn lots from her perspective and experiences. The good bit is that we are a LOT alike in our thinking and mindset, not to mention our values and ideals. Hence, her nikah was an inspiration for me (since it had been arranged in such a simple manner - and in daylight!).

Khair. The conversation went like this. I went to her place to check on how she was doing!

Me: 'Ow you doin' !!
She: *grinning*. I am doing well, Alhamdulillah.
Me: My, don't you look like you could use some sleep? *wink*
She: Meano! Well, okay. I have been sleeping just for 2-3 hours for the past three nights.
Me: Haaa Haaa Haaaaa
She: Hey, don't be mean okay.
Me: Sooooooo. How's married life treating you?
She: Quite well, thank you. [how formal]
Me: *rolls her eyes*.. so you guys talk and all now, no?
[they had never been talking before nikah. It was quite surprising to know that!]
She: Er, we have been chatting yes.
Me: *ears pricking up*.. Chatting? What about ..'talking' ?
She: Er, I, er, haven't gotten the courage yet.
Me: *sputters*.. Whhaaaat? Haven't got the cour...excuse me? Isn't he your husband?
She: Er, yes. Surely enough. But errr...
Me: Err .. what, exactly? I have never in my life heard of such a thing!
She: Umm, it's really new for me. I want to take it slowly to the next level.
Me: Lol. Well, it makes sense I guess. But you do realize that people today talk and all very freely and then they get engaged, and then married :P.
She: *laughing*. Yeah I realize that, and am glad nothing like this happened in my case.

Lesson learned:
If new-ness in communication is to be preserved in marriage (albeit for a few days), then the best way to do so is follow the commands of Allah SWT and not communicate with any na-mahram before nikah - even if he is your fiance.

That's what I learned from my friend today. I couldn't really believe that she feels it's such a strange thing to be talking on phone. But it's true. And that has only happened because she hasn't talked to him on phone (or anybody else for that matter) - tafreehan. Ever.

I just hope and pray that may Allah Protect us from un-allowed communication and unwanted results, and may He Grant us the insight to er, realize that mangoes out of season never taste as amazing as the ones eaten at the right time. 

So long!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Night!

As I sit listening to the silence
Rhythmatic silence
It's reassuring... comforting
To the ears

As I sit listening to the night
As it passes on its tippy-toes
Quietly, soothingly

As I sit typing away
It presses on my ears
Like warm cotton-balls

As I sit staring at the blinks
Of icons - lost since ages
The blinks seem familiar
Like long lost friends

Friends that reach out
Through the 'window'
And touch the heart
In simple, simple ways

As I sit hearing the sound
Of tip taps, creaks and squeaks
I can't help feeling that
The night has turned... beautiful.

Copyright Uni_Sentimentaloony_2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Nikah !!


The event was... in my humble opinion.. beyond awesome :D. Alhamdulillah!

The segregation rocked. The groom only came inside at the end. And there was no 'weird public displays of affection' ... no idiotic rasams, and the dars was pretty cool. The dua at the end of the dars was cooler, in the sense that it asked Allah SWT for 'saving the next generation' and the best dua was that O Allah, Please Accept this Nikah as a Koshish (effort) to Please you and as an attempt to follow the Sunnah of Your Messenger SAW.

I am too exhausted to elaborate more. But I am surely glad of the fact that people came, they liked what they saw, they got SOME message from the taqreeb, there was NO music, no 'tafreeh' and the event ended around maghrib time.

Alhamdulillah ! :)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weirder Time To Be Writing a Post


I have had my fair share of weird times to be writing a blog post :D. I can recall the airport post, where the flight was due in about 45 minutes, and I was going for the interview. *smile fades*. The interview about which, nothing happened. Khair, I'm not in the least bit sad about THAT right now. There are too many things to be happy and excited about.

Namely.. the upcoming Nikah ceremony of the family !! Yayhoo. I mean, we get to run around, be the hosts, see to the food, tease the bride, hop on and about the stage, and the event is supposed to be totally segregated, so we can DRESS UP. The loveliest thing about this event (as per the bride's family) is the arrangement of a little talk or dars for the ladies. I'm so looking forward to that. I've heard that the lady they have called is amazing in her eloquence and knowledge. I haven't heard her dars often, but I did attend one Surah Fatiha class with her as the speaker and she was out of this world. A speaker can only be an effective one if he/she makes you think at the end, not get farigh and say 'Oh what a nice talk. It really stimulated me intellectually.' Know what I'm sayin!

Anyway, we need to leave the house in an hour or so, to get 'readyyyy' - all cousins excited about the 'getting readyyy' part. Er, okay, me too excited. *rolls her eyes*.

Uh, light just went out. :(. I guess this will be posted at night then. Take care all! Will update this post with the event details IA. So that anybody who wants a Sunnah wedding may be inspired and anybody having more knowledge and experience can point out any further thing that could have been improved in this.

So long!

Fee Aman Allah :S

Microwave radiation dangers in your home

Man. This is worrying. And I had really wanted an iPad.

:S. Please be careful, and stick to the wired medium of communication. Er, cell phones we can't live with so we have to bear the radiation levels. But what we can do is try not have BTSs installed on our apartments' roofs. HIGHLY dangerous.

The Parlour Dilemma


Whenever there is a wedding in the family (okay, I promise this week is all there is with the 'weddingy-posts'), there is a flurry of visits to the parlour for various reasons - starting from the most idiotic, to something sane like mehendi.

Now, the girl-cousins had all convinced me to 'pay a visit' as well, so one fine day, feeling as if I'm stepping into an abyss, I walked into a parlour where my R phuppo has been working for 30+ years. Good for R Phuppo! When I entered the place with Mum, the scene looked so harmless that I immediately relaxed.

RPhuppo: You will take facial, yes?
Me: Is it all about applying cream to face?
She: Yeah!
Me: Okay :D
She: Great! Let's go.

She took me to this inner place with cubicles and I stopped in amazement. Women in some wrap-around kinda thingie, were inside, and the curtains weren't properly drawn either. I couldn't help gaping. What was happening?

Me: W-w-what's that R Phuppo? *pointing at a lady*
She: She's getting waxing done.
Me *very tempted to ask 'of what exactly?' but held my tongue*
She: Just stay here, somebody will be with you shortly.
Me: *relieved that mum was sitting just inches away, looking just as alarmed* :D

This young girl (YG) walks inside the cubicle. Hands me a sheet. Says, "Undress now" - me couldn't help but gape at her. R Phuppo hurriedly appeared and said firmly, "She is not going to change. You just do the facial in her own dress' ... (as I said, good for R Phuppo!)

YG began. I was pretty much okay with the procedure. But when steam was blowing in my face (for reasons I haven't quite figured out), there was a sharp pain on my nose. What the..

Turns out she was removing blackheads. Ew! The pain was like, a cat scratching the nose with very sharp paws. The pain was BAD. I couldn't believe I was putting myself through this torture. Finally, it ended.

And they say a facial is relaxing? Ha! I still have scratch marks on my nose !!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weird Time to Be Writing A Post!


The nikah contract signing of the girl party is about to start in a few minutes lol. Since we are the close family of the bride, and our Dad is to be the er, gawaah? Or wakeel? (not sure), thus we have all been invited to her house for the event.

It's cool to see her face right now. It resembles something like this:

Hahah. I know she's going to kill me for this so I'm going to hit 'publish' in a hurry now. 

Anyway, teasing her has been going on since morning. And as usual, there are pleas of 'don't cry on your nikaah' all around. 

I wonder why they cry ! Hello people. You made the decision, remember??

It's like, registering to give the GRE and then crying when answering the paper in the examination hall. Ho. What an absolutely illogical thing to do.. !

SO long !! *hurriedly disappears as she hears footsteps closeby*

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Trials of Adel al-Gazzar: Former Gitmo Detainee Ends Up Back in Prison

I just wonder how many bud-duaas (curses) must have met the 'Pakistanis' who sold out innocent folks for mere $$. It's no wonder we're in SUCH depths of despair, with no end to misery in sight. Don't we deserve punishment, after what we have done? No surprises then, that if it's not the constant killing, it's the burglaries, and the mobile snatchings, and the kidnappings and the ransom calls, and the car stealings, and on top of that, the daily honor killings and the news is just something one can yell in frustration at. 

We deserve every bit of the misery we're going through. Read the following article to find out WHY. 
Adel al-Gazzar is possibly the last person who deserves to go from the frying pan into the fire. After losing a decade of his life to the cruel exigencies of the war on terror, the 46-year-old returned to his native Egypt for the first time last week, only to be seized by security officers and flung into jail upon arrival. Al-Gazzar had languished in Guantanamo Bay for eight years before being released without charge. His story, says his U.S.-based lawyer, Ahmed Ghappour, is both a grim reminder of Washington's many missteps in prosecuting its war against al-Qaeda as well as a warning for Egypt's political future. "Mr. al-Gazzar is an innocent victim of the tragedy that is Guantanamo Bay — but also now a victim of the legacy of [ousted dictator Hosni] Mubarak," Ghappour tells TIME.

Al-Gazzar's ordeal began in 2001, when the religiously devout former accountant was among a group of almost a hundred other defendants facing a military tribunal in Egypt. Observers and rights activists claimed the trial was a sham, political theater on the part of the regime of Hosni Mubarak aimed at quashing legitimate Islamist dissent. At the time, al-Gazzar was already living abroad in Pakistan, where he worked with the Red Crescent charity. He was convicted in absentia for his supposed subversive political affiliations in 2002, but at that point it really didn't matter. By then, he was already in Guantanamo.

The U.K.-based NGO Reprieve, which does advocacy on behalf of Guantanamo inmates, chronicles the sequence of nightmarish events that led to al-Gazzar's detention in the early years of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan:

Desiring to ease [Afghan] suffering as best he could, Adel signed up with the Red Crescent and volunteered to go into Afghanistan to help the refugees. Within two hours of crossing the border to a refugee camp, the area was hit by a US airstrike.

Adel's leg was injured and he spent the next month convalescing in a Pakistani hospital before being sold to the US military for a bounty. In the midst of his recovery, he was transferred to a US prison in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the routine included severe beatings, exposure to freezing temperatures, sleep deprivation for days on end, and the suspension of prisoners by their wrists. Adel endured this torture for eleven days before being transferred to Guantánamo Bay. He had received no medical attention during his time in Kandahar, and as a result, his leg was infected with gangrene so severe that it had to be amputated.

According to his lawyer, his injuries had been so grievous and poorly tended to that they required several different surgical procedures. All the while, U.S. officials at Guantanamo Bay interrogated him — and soon realized he was innocent. But because of the dangers of returning a supposed political dissident to a place like Mubarak's Egypt, al-Gazzar was kept in limbo for eight long years at Guantanamo. He was eventually transferred to Slovakia in 2009.

This year, following the dramatic toppling of the Mubarak regime, al-Gazzar sounded out both government officials and family friends about the prospect of returning. The hated State Security Investigations Service which had pursued him in the Mubarak era — and tormented his family while he was in U.S. custody — had been scrapped in the wake of Mubarak's ousting. Al-Gazzar was hopeful that a new political era for Egypt would mean a smooth return home. "Along with millions of other Egyptians," says Ghappour, his U.S.-based lawyer, "he had a rekindled hope in the future of Egypt — one that included the rule of law." But when he arrived in Cairo on June 13, he was greeted by more than just the family he had not seen in a decade. Police allowed him a fleeting, momentary reunion with his wife and children and whisked him off to jail, placing him under arrest for his bogus conviction in that Mubarak-era case.

He waits now in Cairo's infamous Tora prison, the historical abode of political prisoners in the Mubarak years. Ghappour fears his client may endure the same arbitrary and extended detention countless ordinary Egyptians suffered during the three decades of Mubarak's rule. His arrest comes amid growing fears that the revolution in Egypt has gone sour — thousands have been swept up in similarly dubious circumstances by the interim military-led government, while press freedoms have been clamped down on by the state, with journalists routinely getting arrested or brought in for questioning. What happens next for al-Gazzar may be a bellwether for Egypt's political future. There are numerous other Egyptians with Islamist leanings living abroad watching his ordeal closely. But for him, after a decade of torment and injustice, his struggle is far more personal. "He has an amazing amount of resolve," says Ghappour. "All he wants to do is be with his family."

Source: TIME

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There Are Times...

This is a random bit of poetry. Not sure if it's worthy of being called poetry :S.
There are times when the sun
Scorches. Burns.
The heat really sears

There are times when the sun
Blinks. Hides.
The shadow so dear

There are times when the moon
Eclipses. Reddens.
The darkness inducing fear

There are times when the moon
Shines. Brilliantly.
The happiness so clear

There are times when the stars
Wink. Mischievously.
The hand of fate... appears

There are times when the stars
Implode. Quietly.
The flash quickly disappears

There are times when the clock
Ticks. Faster.
Instilling total fear

There are times when the clock
Stops. Seemingly.
The moment not quite near

There are times when the breeze
Rips. Bitingly.
Through conventions, it jaggedly tears

There are times when the breeze
Breaths. Gently.
Blowing bubbles of happiness and cheer

There are times when I
Hold. My breath. 
Trying to live through the fear

There are times when I 
Sing. Madly.
Watching the hand of fate steer
The ship of my dreams
Or so it seems
Sanity, I'm afraid, has long disappeared. 

Copyright Uni_Blinks_And_Looks_Around-oony_2011

Btw, cutest photo I've ever seen (LOL) :-

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Nice Snippet of a Lecture

Desi Weddings

Are they making our lives easy and amazing, or just more complicated and debt-ful? Something to ponder upon.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Since the upcoming wedding in the family is just around the corner, the following nasheed is very relevant and cute!

So here it is, dedicated to the couple ! May you guys have a prosperous future, Ameeen :)

Since preparations are all anybody can think about now, there seems to be little talk of anything else in the family - close and extended! Whoever visits, or calls, is talking about the same thing. The hurried preparations, the shopping trips, the last-minute frenzy and the nearly constant arguments, though getting to me, are surely going to be missed when this time is over. Weddings in the close family are fun! I just hope the sunnah way is followed, and hence this would increase the barakah factor in it. Right now, I can't wait to attend the event! :)

So long!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Perfect Sujood

We continue with the greatest pillar of Salah, the Sujood! Now don’t you wish you could have watched the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam himself as he did his sujood? This is the aim of today’s segment, to carry to you the description of the proper sujood, just the way Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam prostrated before Allah, in hope that we can perfect our own performance of this precious pillar.

When you are ready to perform the prostration, make sure to call out “Allahu Akbar” on your way down for sujood. Not before, nor after, but during the descent. Next, the head makes a gentle contact with the ground till the forehead (and nose) is firm upon the ground. Ensure that there is no barrier (as that of a head covering) that might prevent direct contact of your forehead with the place of prostration. With palms firmly down, keep fingers close together. Point fingers, knees and toes towards the Qibla. Palms can either be parallel with the head, or parallel with the shoulders. Keep the elbows elevated off the ground. Extend elbows as far away from your sides as possible. Keep abdomen away from the thighs.

The Sujood is done on a total of 7 body parts: The forehead (including the nose), the two palms, the two knees, and the two feet (toes). All firm upon the ground till every bone and joint is fixed in place with peace and calm.

The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam never recited Quran in this position, but instead, he made much duaa. He said, “The closest a servant ever is to His Lord, is when he is prostrating (in sujood), so make in it much duaa.” And what have we been taught to say, when we are down so low? “Subhana Rabbiyal-A’ala” (How perfect My Lord is, The Most High!). 3 times or more.

We can add, “Subhanak-Allahumma Rabbana wa bi-hamdik. Allahumma ighfirli.”
(How perfect You are O Allah, Our Lord, and I praise You. O Allah, forgive me.)

And we can add, “Subboohun Quddoosun, Rabbul-mala’ikati wa-rruuh.” (Perfect and
Holy (is He), Lord of the angels and Ruuh (i.e. Angel Jibrael).)

The Prophet taught us many supplications, each with a different meaning, each with a unique flavor. Each serves to renew our focus. To make duaa is to talk to Allah. When you love someone, you love to talk to him more. You love to stay engaged longer! Remember the love you hold for Him. Talk to Him, praise Him, ask Him, unload your burdens at His door, and reach out for the peace that only He can bring.

“Allahumma, inni a’uthu biridaka min sakhatek, wa bimu’afaatika min uqubatek, wa a’uthu bika mink, la uhsi thana’an alaik anta kama athnaita ala nafsek.” (O Allah, I  seek refuge within Your pleasure, from Your displeasure. And within Your pardon, from Your punishment. And I seek refuge in You, from You. I cannot enumerate Your praise. You are as You have praised Yourself.)

We have one Rukuu in each unit of Salah, but two prostrations, why? Because the Sujood is the Salah’s greatest pillar, it is performed twice! Once is just not enough. The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam used to lengthen his prostrations, savouring in these precious moments with Allah.

Stay tuned for more.

Courtesy: Believer's Path
Written by: Zakia Usmani

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bright Spot of the Day!


The day was mostly not very nice. I wish there could be some way to undo some moments in one's life. Unfortunately, time only goes in the positive direction and not negative.

The bright part of the day is that our results came out - of the final exams held in end of May. Alhamdulillah, I got both A's.

Which means a 4.0 GPA ... I cannot even begin to thank Allah SWT for this moment; simply because the subjects weren't that easy and as I have said so many times before, for a student who wasn't a Computer Science undergrad, this is a big achievement. Alhamdulillah :).

My last semester is that of the thesis one, Insha Allah. So no more coursework and no more GPAs. My CGPA is now finalized .. at around 3.96. Alhamdulillah! :)

So long!

And they didn't stop at Al Fateh University !!!

More Libyan civilians have reportedly been killed and injured after a NATO airstrike hit a university in the capital, Tripoli.

New images have emerged showing the aftermath of an alleged NATO air raid targeting Tripoli's Nasser University. The attack reportedly left many university staff and students dead.

Libyan state television says dozens of others were also injured.

The UN Security Council Resolution 1973 has authorized the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya to protect civilians against forces loyal to Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

NATO has carried out many airstrikes in accordance with the UN mandate. However, many civilians have been killed in the attacks.

Meanwhile, clashes between revolutionary forces and Gaddafi loyalists intensified on Sunday.

At least seven people were killed in the town of Dafniya, near the besieged city of Misratah, Khaled Abu Falgha of Misrata's Hekma hospital said.

At least 15 revolutionaries and more than 100 Gaddafi forces were killed in the fighting in the western city of Zawiya, about 50 km (30 miles) from Tripoli, Ahmed al-Hawary, a spokesman for the revolutionary forces said.

Source: PressTV

More NATO “Humanitarian Intervention” - The Bombing of Al Fateh University, Campus B

A rather chilling account of what happens when a 'humanitarian' bomb strikes close to where you're standing. I applaud the bravery of the students of Al Fareh University in Libya and hope and pray that they do not see any more bombings of their university. May Allah Help and Protect them, and May Allah Punish those who are indiscriminately killing human beings - be it in Karachi (target killings which have killed around 30 people in three days), or Libya bombings, or Sudan bombings, or Syrian bombings (I hear that the US is about to 'start a drone program there'). 

May Allah Help us all. Ameen
By Cynthia McKinney

June 14 2011 "Information Clearing House-- Since coming to Tripoli to see first hand the consequences of the NATO military operations, it has become clear to me that despite the ongoing silence of the international press on the ground here in Libya, there is clear evidence that civilian targets have been hit and Libyan civilians injured and killed.

This Tuesday morning I was taken from my hotel across the city through its bustling traffic to the Al Fateh University.

On 9 June, Dean Ali Mansur was outside in the parking lot. The sky was blue like Carolina blue. The clouds were white–no chemtrails in sight. Puffy and white. Dean Mansur was visibly upset. It seems that some of the young men at Al Fateh University, Campus B were fighting over girls. He explained to me that Libyans are hot blooded. With a gleam in his eye, he whispered to me that girls are important to young men.

Yes, that was clearly evident today as I approached the campus of Al Fateh University, Campus B, formerly known as Nasser University. Under the trees, throughout the lawn as we approached the campus gates, I could see young men and women talking to each other, talking on cell phones, walking to and fro, assembled, probably talking about the latest campus news–whatever that might be. Today, on the Al Fateh campus, life was teeming. Student life seemed vibrant. This feel and ambiance of this university was not unlike the hundreds of other universities that I have visited in the US and around the world.

Libyan boys and girls are like ours. My son would easily fit into the life of this university.

The campus seemed vibrant, too. Cranes everywhere indicated a healthy building program, adding new buildings to enhance the student learning environment. Despite the students’ fracas, Dean Mansur had everything to be happy about as he saw his university becoming bigger, better, and stronger. Her told me that they had even signed an agreement with a British university to begin programs in the English language. Not English studies, Dean Mansur emphasized, but an entire curriculum of study taught in the English language! Of course, he entoned, that’s all disappointingly ended now.

Al Fateh University, Campus B consists of about 10,000 undergraduates, 800 masters degree candidates, and 18 Ph.D. students; 220 staff, 150 ad hoc professors, 120 employees. It has eight auditoriums, 19 classrooms, 4 extra large classrooms. It also has a rural campus at Al Azizia where 700 students are taught and are a part of the university system. Dean Mansur compares himself to a mayor because he has so many responsibilities presiding over a large community of students engaging in a rich and vibrant academic life.

Dean Mansur told me that life at the university and, for him personally, changed forever on the afternoon of Thursday 9 June, 2011.

He recalled that the university opened as usual around 8:00 am and was to close later that evening at about 8:00 pm.

Thursday, 9 June, he thought, was going to be just like any other day, except for the fracas over the girls that had cleared the campus of many of the students who didn’t want to have any part in the fighting. So, outside in the campus parking lot, Dr. Mansur told me he was preoccupied thinking how he would deal with the disciplinary issue before him.

Then, out of nowhere and all of a sudden, he heard something loud up in the sky.

He said it began out of no where, a loud roar. Then a frightful high pitched the hissing sound. He said he looked up into the sky and couldn’t hardly believe his eyes: something shiny up in the sky appeared dancing in front of him. He said it moved about like an atari game or something. It danced and zig-zagged all over the sky. He said he was transfixed on the object for what seemed like minutes but in truth must have only been seconds.

Up and down and sideways it raced in the sky and then, without warning, it just came crashing down into the ground nearby. It was a NATO missile.

Tragically it had found its target: Al Fateh University, Campus B.

Dean Mansur said he saw one missile, lots of fire, lots of different colors all around it, and then a huge plume of smoke. He saw one missile, but heard what seemed like many explosions. He said he now can’t honestly say how many.

Dr. Mansur said the force and shock of the blast held him frozen in his place. He said his heart stopped for a moment. He wasn’t afraid, just frozen. He didn’t run away; he didn’t cower; he said he just stood stupefied.

The force of the blast cracked thickened concrete wells, shattered hundreds of windows and brought numerous ceilings down in lecture halls.

Whether it was a wayward Tomahawk Cruise Missile or a misdirected laser guided bomb, no one knows.

His immediate thoughts were for the thousands of his students in the university and for his own three children who study there.

After about 30 minutes, the Libyan press came to see what had happened. the University President and other officials of the school all came. But to Dr. Mansur’s surprise not the international press.

And what did they see?

The media saw the widespread structural damage to many of the buildings, all of the windows blown out in every one of the eight auditoriums. Doors blown off their hinges. Library in a shambles. Books and debris everywhere. The campus mosque was damaged. Glass heaped up in piles. Some efforts at cleaning up had begun.

Dr Mansur says that they have kept the university, wherever practicable, in much the same condition as it was on the day of the attack. Except that the main classroom area that students work in has been cleaned and will be renamed the Seif Al-Arab auditorium complex in memory of Muammar Qaddafi’s son murdered on April 30, 2011 in his home by NATO bombs.

On Thursday, NATO missiles. Friday and Saturday are considered the weekend here. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, the students are back to school undaunted by the bombing. In many of the classrooms I saw today, students were taking final exams amid the debris. As I walked around the campus, one male voice shouted out and spoke to me in Arabic: “Where’s Obama?”

Good question I thought.

I’ve always wondered if the politicians who regularly send our young men and women away to war and who regularly bomb the poor peoples of the world have ever, themselves, been on the receiving end of a Cruise Missile attack or placed themselves and their family at the mercy of a laser guided depleted uranium bomb. Maybe, just maybe I thought, that if they had experienced first hand the horror of a NATO attack on a civilian target they might just stop and question for a minute the need to dispatch our armed forces to attack the people of Libya.

I didn’t want to disturb the students taking exams so I found some students standing outside not taking exams to talk to. I asked them if they had anything to say to President Obama. One professor, a woman, spoke up readily and said, “We are working under fire: physical and psychological.” One student spoke up and said that President Obama should “Free Palestine and leave Libya alone.” He continued, “We are one family.”

More on that later, but briefly, every Libyan is a member of a tribe and every tribe governs itself and selects its leaders; those leaders from all of the tribes then select their leaders, and so on until there is only one leader of all of the tribes of Libya. I met that one tribal leader yesterday in another part of Tripoli and I am told he is the real leader of this country. He presides over the Tribal Council which constitutes Libya’s real policymakers. So when the young man said “We are one family,” that is actually the truth.

Dr. Mansur, trained in the United States and spoke fondly of his time in the US and the many friends he made there. He is proud of his students and the richness of his university’s community life. He was just like any University Dean in the United States.

In my view God intervened on Thursday 9 June, 2011.

On the day that the missile struck, not one student was killed. It could so easily have been different. It could have been a catastrophe taking the lives of hundreds of teenagers.

I am told that in the surrounding area immediately outside the university others were not so fortunate.

Reports are that there were deaths in the nearby houses.

It’s a funny thing about war. Those who cause war become oblivious and removed from its consequences; they seem happy to inflict harm on others and become numb to its ill effects while war’s victims find a way to normalize the abnormal and live with the constant threat of death and destruction.

After visiting Tripoli, I remain as opposed to war as ever before.

The students at Al Fateh University continue their studies despite the siege that their country is under.

And oh, that second group of students that I randomly spoke to? I asked them how much they pay for tuition. They looked at me with puzzled faces even after the translation. I asked them how much they pay for their books. Again, the same puzzled face. Tuition at Al Fateh University is 16 dinars per year–about $9. And due to the NATO embargo on gasoline imports, the school now has started 10 free bus lines to its surrounding areas in order to make sure that the students can get to school, free of charge.

I told them that I was about to enter a Ph.D. program in the US myself and that I needed tuition and book money costing tens of thousands of dollars. I continued that my cousin is in debt $100,000 because she went to the schools of her choice and received a Master’s degree.

They said to me, “We thank Muammar Qaddafi. Because of Muammar Qaddafi we have free education. Allah, Muammar, Libya obes!”

Well as for NATO, they still cling to the chimera that their strikes are against military targets only and that theirs is a “humanitarian intervention.”

I’m still waiting to find evidence somewhere in the world that bombing poor civilian populations of the Third World from the air is good for their voting rights, democracy, medical care, education, welfare, national debt, and enhancing personal income and wealth distribution. It seems clear to me that complex life issues require more complex intervention than a Cruise Missile could ever deliver.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Salat-al-Kusuf : The Prayer of the Eclipse

The Earth’s shadow will creep across the moon’s surface early Tuesday, slowly eclipsing it and turning it to shades of orange and red. West Coast folks will have it better because the sun will be rising. Here are more details on the timing in all zones. This website offers more info.
The total lunar eclipse, the second this year, will be visible in North and South America, especially in the West. People in the Pacific islands, eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand also will be able to view it if skies are clear.
People in Europe, Africa or the Middle East, who had the best view of the last total lunar eclipse in March, won’t see this one because the moon will have set when the partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. EDT. The full eclipse will begin an hour later at 5:52 a.m. EDT.


Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa from his father that A’isha, the wife of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There was an eclipse of the sun in the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, led the people in prayer.
He stood, and did so for a long time. Then he went into ruku, and made the ruku long. Then he stood again, and did so for a long time, though not as long as the first time. Then he went into ruku, and made the ruku long, though not as long as thefirst time. Then he rose, and went down into sajda. He then did the same in the second raka, and by the time he had finished the sun had appeared.
He then gave a khutba to the people, in which he praised Allah and then said, ‘The sun and the moon are two of Allah’s signs. They do not eclipse for anyone’s death nor for anyone’s life. When you see an eclipse, call on Allah and say, “Allah is greater” and give sadaqa.’ Then he said, ‘O community of Muhammad! ByAllah, there is no-one more jealous than Allah of a male or female slave of his who commits adultery. O community of Muhammad! By Allah, if you knew what I knew, you would laugh little and weep much’.”

Here is more detailed information on the Sunnahs related to this prayer. Some tid-bits:
  • Solar and lunar eclipses are reminders of the Day of Judgment, when the sun, moon and stars will all lose their light.
    “When the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness, and the sun and moon are joined together: Man will say on that day, Where is the refuge?.” (Surat al-Qiyamah, the Resurrection)
  • Ruling: Most of the people of knowledge (‘ulama) regard it as an important sunnah (mu’akkadah); Imam Abu Hanifah said it was obligatory (wajib), whilst Imam Malik regarded it as equal to Salat al-Jumu’ah (Friday Prayer) in importance.
  • Format: The eclipse prayer consists of two rak’at.
  • Congregation: The Sunnah is for the prayer to be held in congregation in the masjid, although individuals who cannot reach the congregation may pray alone. Women may attend the congregation or pray at home individually.
  • Khutbah (Sermon): This is given by the Imam after the congregational prayer, based on the admonition of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, part of which is quoted at the beginning of this article. The khutbah is recommended (mustahabb)
  • Timing of the prayer: The time for the eclipse prayer lasts throughout the eclipse. The prayer must be started during the eclipse, although it can end after the eclipse is over. The khutbah is delivered after the prayer, whether or not the eclipse is still in progress.
  • Length of the prayer: The eclipse prayer should be longer than normal daily, weekly or annual prayers.

  • Source:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Having Pleasant Speech

Allah has described the people of Jannah as those who treat the creation well by means of their good deeds and wealth, and they are patient when harmed.

He said, “And hasten forth to forgiveness from your Lord, for Jannah is as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious. Those who spend in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon people; verily Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Aali Imraan 3:133-134)

Spending in prosperity and in adversity with one’s wealth implies the highest level of doing good.  Repressing anger and pardoning people means that one does not reciprocate evil with evil, which entails that one must have pleasant speech and avoid ill-mannerism when it is permissible, thus He says, “Verily Allah loves Al-Muhsinun.”
Some of them have been asked:
what is good character? They replied: Generosity and the withholding of harm. This description mentioned is even more comprehensive in the Qur’an for they are described as being generous and they are patient when harmed. The servant who has good character reaches the level of those who do many acts of worship as the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Indeed a person with good character would reach the level of the one who constantly fasts in the day and stands at night.” (1)
It is also recommended to have pleasant speech when commanding good and forbidding evil i.e. a person should be gentle as He said regarding the NonMuslims, “And argue with them with that which is best.” (An-Nahl 16:125)
Some of the Salaf have said,
“He who you make angry will never accept anything from you.” (2) Whenever the companions of Ibn Masud saw a people committing an evil act, they used to say, “Slow down, slow down, may Allah bless you.” (3) One time a Tabi’i saw a man standing with a woman, so he said to them both,“Indeed Allah sees both of you. May Allah conceal our sins and yours.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri was once invited to a dinner, and he was served some sweets in a utensil that was made of silver. So he took the sweets and placed it on the bread and then ate from on top of it. Thus some of his companions said: This is prohibiting evil in a silent manner.
Sufyan said: “One should not command good and forbid evil except if he possesses these three qualities:
1. He is gentle in that which he commands, gentle in that which he prohibits;
2. Just in that which he commands, just in that which he prohibits;
3. Knowledgeable in that which he commands, knowledgeable in that which he prohibits.” (4)
Many of the Salaf would not command good and forbid evil except in private between the one who they are commanding or prohibiting. Umm Darda said,“Whoever admonishes his brother in private has treated him well. Whoever admonishes his brother in public has disgraced him. “ (5)
Likewise, repelling harsh words by pleasant speech as He the Most High said,“Repel (the evil) with one which is better…” (Fussilat 41: 34)  And His, the Most High, statement, “And defend evil with good, for such there is a good end.” (Ar-Ra’d 13: 22 )

1. Narrated by Abu Dawud (3798), ibn Hibban (1967), and Al-Hakim (1/60). Al-Albani said that the hadith is sahih (Silsilah as-sahihah: 2/421)
2. He is Sulaymaan At-Taymee as is mentioned in Al-Khalaal’s book Al-Amr bil-Ma’roof wa Nahee anil Munkar ( Commanding the Good and Forbidding the Evil), pg. 9
3. Narrated by Al-Khalaal, pg.8
4. Narrated by Al-Khalaal, pg. 8
5. Narrated by Al-Khalaal, pg. 10
  • Transcribed from: The Dispute of the Highest Angels | Ikhtiyar al-Awlaa fee Sharh Hadith Ikhtisaam al-Mala al-A’alaa | Al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali
Source: Blog

Monday, June 13, 2011

I wish them well!


Yesterday, one of my friends showed me an album online that had pictures of a party arranged by her friends. I was very intrigued, because the party involved an invitation to this girl's fiancé and (living in a different city), he had come from all that way. Every detail of the party had been arranged by my friend (let's call her GL)'s friends circle.

The thing that really struck me the most was: friendship and how easily it makes you sacrifice eons of your time for your friends, without a single thought. This little event (planned in a country where no relatives of the girl live, since she is studying there) - had been planned, executed and enjoyed too - ALL by her friends. From the cool decor, (they had put up colored dupattas on the walls of that room), to the food (I actually saw a picture which showed one friend hovering over a 'degchi' of biryaani!), to the little mehendi items like diyaas, candles,etc (I don't agree with this part of the scene, but that's not the point of this post), and to the cutest arrangement of little 'flower girls' and 'ring-bearer-maybe boy'..


The other very impressive factor about this party was the decency. My friend GL was wearing an amazing dress (which originally was not at alllllllll a decent dress), but she had made it amazingly decent, with all sorts of coverings - topping it off with a hijaab, which covered her even more. So in effect, the 'bride' portion of the party was clad in a dress with hijaab.

The way the GL and her fiancé were seated was also something to talk about. There was no 'common stage' - there were two chairs, nearly on two opposite corners of the stage area. :). It looked a little funny, but it made a lot of sense.

There were also some other things which implemented Islamic teachings in a lot of ways. It's impressive to see that there IS such a concept of halaal 'fun', and that too, implemented in a place far away from home where traditional conservatism that usually keeps kids in check. 

Purdah Online - II

The part left out from the previous post was a list of DOs that should be followed to implement purdah rules in the online world.

There can be many more additions to this list. I am just citing the main aspects from the top of my head.

1. We should always remember (whenever we do anything really, not just when we sit online) that Allah SWT is All-Seeing, All-Knowing. The Holy Quran says,

"But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you,- 11. Kind and honourable,- Writing down (your deeds): 12. They know (and understand) all that ye do. 13. As for the Righteous, they will be in bliss; 14. And the Wicked – they will be in the Fire, 15. Which they will enter on the Day of Judgment "
( Holy Quran : Chapter 82 : verses 10 -15 ) Al-Infitar (The Cleaving, Bursting Apart)

"Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and noted them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. . Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it)."
( Holy Quran : chapter 50 : verses 17-18 ) Qaf ((the Letter), ( Q ))

2. We must make sure we are sitting in a public place, where people are walking about and there is no opportunity to have 'private chats' etc.

3. When communicating with na-mahram men (or women) regarding a necessary matter, try to
  • keep the conversation/tweet/post/email/chat as short as possible
  • use a minimum of emoticons in your speech
  • appear as strict as possible, so that no 'possibilities' arise in anybody's mind
  • involve others in the conversation (like, maybe ask your parent for some advice when they're passing by etc)
4. When blogging, we can talk about general matters, and personal experiences. But if we concentrate on personal appearances, then we're venturing close to that boundary between the genders, because if our blog is public, then talking about appearances (such as quoting a friend who commented on your appearance and said, "Hey how awesome you look MA") has the potential to lead to fitnah and the same line will be crossed which is prohibited to cross (as in, we're asked not be soft in speech so as not to attract any unwanted attentions). 

Now all of these do not sound very easy. But if we try our best to at  least start implementing a few of these principles in our online lives, then there would be very little chance of:
  • cyber-stalkers
  • 'blind' chats
  • anonymous emails
  • 'secret admirers' 
  • online declarations of love and all that follows (without the parents having the slightest idea what the kids are upto and why they spend so much time online). 
I will IA add more points to this. Exhausted at the moment. 

So long folks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Are You Addicted To Music?

A wonderful video where this former musician talks about what felt wrong when he listened to music (and made music too), and then how he journeyed away from that addiction - and concludes with how peaceful he feels now with following the commandments of Allah SWT to the fullest.

Highly recommended :)

Satisfy Your Greatest Need

We have now finished our recitation; we pause momentarily, then begin the bow as we simultaneously call out “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is greater!)- A reminder to refocus should we have drifted, a reminder that…We stand here on earth in prayer, while Allah looks upon us from above the seven heavens. Our Salah should thus be a beautiful one, especially our Rukuu’ (bowing), for Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautiful and complete! We will not meet anyone this day, greater and more grand than Allah.

So let us beautify and perfect this prayer to Him:
- Let the palms rest on the knees, fingers apart.
- Straighten the back and keep it level with the head.
- Maintain a calm hold till every part and joint is relaxed and has peacefully set in place. “Subhana Rabbiyya- Al-Adheem” (How perfect My Lord is, The Supreme!). Focus on the pronoun that means “My” (in Rabbi). It adds that element of bonding, that ingredient for connection and love. He is My Lord (Rabbi) who has raised me in His care, clothing me, feeding me, healing me, nurturing me. A heartfelt “Subhana” meaning- far removed is He from any imperfection!

“Subhana Rabbiyya- Al-Adheem” a second and third time as our hearts are humbled in submission before Him. Realize His Majesty, recall His sovereignty. I place all my hopes with You, My Lord.

Many of us perform this part of the prayer mechanically, devoid of any emotion or connection like that felt when reciting Quran or when down in prostration. But in reality, Rukuu’ is an intense symbol of worship and servitude to our Lord! In it lies the essence of tremendous humbleness and humility!

The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam once saw a man rushing through his prayer, pecking up and down his rukuu and sujood. He said, “If this man dies (with his prayer) in this state, then he dies belonging to a creed other than the creed of Muhammad.” Thus, our rukuu should be performed calmly, peacefully, according to the Prophet’s example.

This worldly life is full of hardships and aches. We laugh one day, only to cry the next. Its demands and toils leave us thirsty and tired. What can quench this thirst better than prayer? The Prophet sallahu alaihe wassallam said, “The one who does not complete his rukuu’ properly, is like one who is starving and eats just a date or two. It does nothing to satisfy his hunger!” Let us then, find our comfort and relief in our rukuu and sujood.

17 times each day, we bow... Our love for Allah has to grow with that. And when you love Him, He will love you even more for He is the Most Kind, the Most Generous. And who can ever harm you… when the Creator Himself, loves you?

-- From the newsletter of 'Believer's Path' - written by Zakia Usmani 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Purdah Online - I


Disclaimer: This post might be considered offensive. Apologies in advance. Nobody is being 'targetted' here. I'm just presenting my point of view. I will analyze myself first, since of all the 'nobodys' .. I am INDEED beyond indeeed...not perfect. Also, I will be analyzing the female purdah in this post.

I have been meaning to write about this very important issue since many months now. Somehow, it always got postponed. The core of purdah (or covering up - usually implying covering of Muslim women when they go out etc), is mostly restricted to the 'seen' or 'physical' form. Thus, the purdah factor taken in our ummah is based on the lines of :

1. Covering up with hijaab, jilbaab, or loose clothing that covers everything except hands and face (and for many, covering up the face as well)
2. Not 'hanging out' with the opposite gender in terms of friendship, dates etcetera. Also, not talking unless necessary.
3. Lowering the gaze and guarding modesty - this form of purdah is for both men and women.

My observation in the past umm, 12 years of internet-usage has been, that the hijaab and abaaya are all very well in the offline world, where the girl in question might be walking along the university corridors, clad in a black abaaya and white scarf, purity emanating from everywhere about her person - but the core of purdah lies in how she behaves when nobody (in the offline world) can see her.

And that is, when she is online. Amidst her on-line 'buddies' - and with parents/family members not really aware of what 'IM' means, or what in heaven's name is a 'blog'.

THAT is where the real test begins. The question is, how does one ensure that the purdah (offline) is also maintained online? Are there any guidelines or standards by which one should correct herself if in this situation. I have come up with a few DO NOTs and a few DOs and I believe the list is not exhaustive. Feel free to add more and subtract anything that is contradicting the Shariah.


1. Do not interact with na-mahram men idly

This rule is so obvious where Islam is concerned that it is amazing how difficult and uncommon it is to incorporate in our lives. The key here is 'interact' and 'idly'

- how would anybody define the 'idle-ness' of the conversation? Are we talking MSN, GTalk, Skype audio/video chats or are we just talking simple back-and-forth emails?
The answer to that is: We're talking every (ALL) mode of communication (be it chat, email, video) that is done with a na-mahram male, without ANY real reason or purpose.. for reasons like these:

1. Oh he's just a friend. Nothing more.
2. I'm bored. He's bored. This is called 'killing time'
3. We're just talking politics and about current affairs. I'm increasing my knowledge okay?
4. What's so wrong in asking about the weather?
5. We're all group chatting! It's not like I'm chatting alone with him.
6. He's about to become my husband next month isn't he? Get a life!
7. It's just a simple email exchange about haal-ehwaal!
8. Look. I'm talking about deen okay? I'm doing 'daawah' !!
9. I'm talking about academics !! In the middle, we might take a 'break and chat about other stuff' no? So what??
10. I am 'looking for a potential spouse' so I can only do so when I have 'friendships with people of the opposite gender!'

This list can be extended. But the fact is that these are the commonly used reasons (that a girl might be using to convince her own conscience) to convince others that whatever she is doing online is perfectly justified and complies with the purdah laws: Reason number 8 being most common. I'd like to add here that talking about deen is something very constructive YES, but not when you're chatting one-on-one with a brother and the chat might be happening at 4 am tahajjud time! Why not blog about the deeny topic you're chatting about? This very blog post is talking about something related to deen and it's also a means of 'daawah' no? Then why choose something that satisfies the 'nafs', pricks the conscience and has to have reasons and justifications for it? It doesn't make sense.

The conclusion of this point is: That if we're chatting, emailing, Skype-ing brothers for any trivial reason (even daawah), then it's not allowed and definitely prohibited.

Some evidences:
1. Da’wah via private chat
2. Men and women talking in chat rooms

Personal Analysis: There was a time when I was a prolific emailer-chatter. The excuses (nearly all of those stated above) were my excuses for communicating. I was satisfied that if I was 'talking about deen', then the chat was justified. It took me quite some time to figure out that this interaction business (without valid reasons) isn't allowed. It's only this year (and the last year too - portion of it) that I managed to stop ALL communication (idle) and er, I wouldn't have dared write this post otherwise.

2. Communication Mode: Broadcast. Be careful of how you broadcast.
The social networking mediums like Facebook, Twitter (etc) and Blogging mediums (Blogger, Wordpress etc) allow us to send out a message/status/post which can be viewed by any, many, or 'just friends'. The communication (in any case) is a one-to-many broadcast (or a multi-cast too waisay).

The key questions here: What are you broadcasting, and how are you broadcasting it. 

2a) What are you broadcasting? 
The main questions to ask one-self before broadcasting any information/post/idea/status update/etc are:
1. Am I broadcasting something meaningful?
2. Is it going to benefit anybody?
3. Is it going to serve as a reminder to me or anybody else?
4. If it's a personal experience, does it contain a lesson for anybody?
5. Am I broadcasting something that is pure 'entertainment' and 'laughter worthy'?
6. If the internet and social networking was there at the time of the Holy Prophet (Salalla hu alaihi wasallam), would he broadcast such a message to the public?
7. Is it something on which I really need an opinion from my fellow bloggers, and isn't anything forbidden in Islam?

The answers to these questions will determine exactly how worthy of broadcasting your information is... (or how worthless). If it's only something that concerns you, your private life, your circumstances, and will have no impact on anybody other than you, why broadcast it in the first place?

Personal Experience: I started writing my blog in 2008 (regularly), and since then I feel there are a lot of posts, that are just THERE. For the heck of it. I know that it's only recently that I have tried to re-construct my posts in such a manner that they do benefit somebody, but the fact is that there is a lot to be 'deleted'
in here. Insha Allah, I have plans to revamp the content and make it more 'worthy' of being broadcast or 'blogged about'.

2b) How are you broadcasting it
One main concept in purdah is to 'not draw attention towards one-self' and also to 'not talk in soft tones so that somebody, in whose heart is a disease, might get attracted to it'.. the common implication being: Be strict in public, and not be too courteous for your own good. In the online world, the way to practice this is: To be brief, crisp, and not invite anybody to 'comment/reply idly'. If you use a lot of ':D:D:D:D:D:D' and ':P:P:P:P:P' and 'LOLOLOLOLO' and 'ROFL' and '*lote pote with laughter* (:$), and ':$:$:$:$:$' and o-Os, etc... then you can't expect people to take you as a serious person who is just trying to convey a point and not invite any further or irrelevant comments. The more you digress from your topic, the more you invite idle comments.

Note: If you do your best to compose the message/status/broadcast data in a serious/crisp manner and STILL it gets idiotic or 'free' comments, then this surely is not your fault. But if you do appear 'giggly', 'hyper', 'sensitive' etc in your domain, then you should expect any kind of 'free-ness' that comes your way.

Personal Experience: I have been a fairly free writer and even though the intention has never been to 'attract free comments/friends', the action itself is questionable, because it doesn't make sense to be so serious outwardly - so strict in public, and then so 'emoticon-ey' in the posts. Insha Allah, this will also be
improved from now on.

So ladies. Remember:  if you blog in a forward manner, expect forward comments. If you tweet like a chirpy bird, then you should expect 'chirpy replies' and if you post status updates/tweets like 'I'll bet you $46,368.86 you can't guess how much I owe my Bookie', then you should be sure of receiving lots of RTs and 'laughter' all around. Think about it: What will guys be more attracted to?

A statement like this, "I truly believe that implementing purdah in the online world is challenging for everybody: male or female" ...

OR.. a statement like this, "In my opinion (upto you whether you accept it lol :P), implementing the purdah online is challenging; for females and hey!!, guys shouldn't be left out :D. They're also included. Ha! so there!!'

:). The choice is yours.

Fee AmanAllah folks.

PS: One main reason why I wrote from a girl's perspective is because I, being a female, know the female perspective only. It would be appreciated if guys can input their thoughts on whether the 'strictness' is challenging for them or not. And most importantly, if two statements like the ones mentioned above are in front of them, does the presence of 'informality' and usage of emoticons 'encourage them' in any way?

To be continued with the DOs Insha Allah. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

10 Signs of Scrupulous Piety (al-Wara`)

The sign of scrupulous piety (al-wara`) is considering ten things mandatory upon oneself:

  1. Guarding the tongue from backbiting due to the saying of the Most High: “Do not backbite one another.” [49:12]
  2. Shunning suspicion due to the saying of the Most High: “Avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin.” [49:12] And also due to the saying of the Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, “Avoid suspicion, for airing suspicion is the most lying form of speech.” [Musnad Ahmad]
  3. Shunning mockery due to the saying of the Most High: “Let not a people ridicule another people; perhaps they may be better than them.” [49:11]
  4. Lowering gaze from forbidden things due to the saying of the Most High: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze.”[24:30]
  5. Truthfulness of the tongue due to the saying of the Most High: “And when you speak, be just.” [6:152]
  6. Recognizing the blessings of Allah the Most High upon oneself in order to avoid conceitedness due to the saying of the Most High: “Rather, Allah has conferred favor upon you that He has guided you to the faith, if you should be truthful.”[49:17]
  7. Spending one’s wealth on good rather than bad things, due to the saying of the most High: “And those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly.” [25:67] Meaning, they do not spend on sinfulness and do not prevent obedience, “but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.” [25:67]
  8. Not seeking haughtiness and pride for oneself, due to the saying of the Most High: “That home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption.” [28:83]
  9. Maintaining with care the five prayers on time, with proper bowing and prostration, due to the saying of the Most High: “Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle [`asr] prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient.” [2:238]
  10. Steadfastness upon the way of Sunnah and Jama`ah, due to the saying of the Most High: “And, this is My Path, which is straight, so follow it; and do not follow [other] ways, for you will be separated from His way. This has He instructed you that you may become righteous.” [6:153]

Imam as-Samarqandi
Tanbeeh al-Ghafileen 2:518-519 Translated by

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Interview


So I had been called for the interview and had to fly to Islamabad in a hurry. When exams had finished on May 31st, little did I know that a totally different kind of tension (and more intense too) will have to be faced by me. Somehow, with Allah's Help, we got a ticket booked... Chotpo Zindabad :D. And she (in a real hurry) said 'yes, yes yes' to all the questions the travel agent asked. The ultimate result was, that we got booked into one of the posh(er) hotels of Isb :$, and may Allah Forgive us for that one-night stay of extravagance

[but I tell you, the hotel rocked! If I weren't so tense, I would have enjoyed it :P]

Lemme start the story from the day when I had to catch that flight. The morning was so tumultuous, that I experienced (for the first time) what it means to 'break out into a cold sweat' :P. I was desperately trying to work my printer, but it just wouldn't print out the essential documents I had painstakingly collected in one place. It just wouldn't budge. It was 10 am at that time, and Dad was as anxious as me. NOT to mention, I still had to go collect my laminated documents and this er, piece of clothing from the Aunty (whose tailor we had given the clothes too - and had to wear this thing at that day). :S. I can't believe I went through that time now.. :)

Failing to win over the stubborn printer, I finally gave it up and went out with my documents in the USB, searching for a place where I could get a print-out. At that point, nearly all shops were closed. Except one. :D
I walked in, and that shop did indeed offer printing services. Thanking Allah fervently, I got the prints, then left to collect my laminated documents. That done too, the tailor's stuff wasn't ready (no surprises), I rushed back since I had to cook rice. Lol. That was done hurriedly, and then sat down to check my  email. Ho ho ho. I had received the 'confirmation email about the interview call' and that email also kindly informed me that I had to 'bring proof of registration of TOEFL to the interview' - I had less than an hour to leave the house. And I had to register ....!!!? Since I don't have a debit card, I feverishly rang up Chotpo (oh - what would I do without her).. took from her her debit card details, and then began the registration process which was kaaafi slow !

Sigh. Somehow, that also got done, and we left the house. Picked up Chotpo from university. Came to airport, checked in :D.. blogged :P... and then boarded the flight. The plane took off and about a minute after take-off, there was a semi-violent lurch.

Petrified, I clutched at Chotpo's arm and watched fearfully outside the window, where we were in the midst of huge black clouds... I could see those clouds racing against the plane's wings and the plane baqaaida swaying from right to left. There were a few more lurches... everybody looked very nervous. I (as usual) at these points in time, am convinced to the point of firm conviction that this is it... I'm leaving the world. It's all over. No more chances to do good .. :D:D.

Well, the plane steadied itself over the next few minutes. We flew out from the cloud cover Alhamdulillah and breathed a bit more easy :D.

When we landed, the hotel van was there to pick us up. Glancing at each other in suppressed glee, me and Chotpo made their way to the luxurious van. Sat down, and off it zoomed (at the speed of 100km/h!) down these amazing Islamabad roads. I dunno where the heck we were in Isb, but the drive was amazingly out of this world !! :). Time and again, I found myself wishing that Karachi also had this kind of greenery and the amazing 'magical' quality about the city. Islamabad really does affect me like this.. even though, being a Karachite, I find it a lot more quiet and peaceful. But if you're only going for 24 hours, then peace and quiet is totally welcome :).

Khair, we landed at the hotel and the room was pretty cool. The view even more awesome :D.

It was beautiful MA. The night before the interview was terrible. Even though the beds were the softest I have ever slept in my life, but ... :(. I could only sleep for 2 hours! And all the time I was busy running weird/random questions through my brain and answering them again and again .. :S. SOMEHOW the night passed. I had hoped to get some sleep after Fajr, but even that proved to be impossible. Anyway, we were driven to the interview centre via taxi and I could just stare at the view. Oh man. I have never (like, seldom) driven on a straight clean non-bumpy road with Margalla Hills (very very green hills) looming in front of me ... and well, I can't stop saying that I find Isb so very beautiful :). MA.

The interview centre didn't allow guests inside, so my phuppi had to sit outside on the bench :(. I can never repay this much kindness you know. For nearly 5 hours, she sat outside, waiting for me. Because the interview process takes a long time. I went inside (on shaky knees) and met all the other 'contestants' - we were 7 people :). The guidelines page was given to us and it said that there had been 41 applicants and 7 had been shortlisted.  I was amazed. This must mean that I was at least as good as the rest of them. Then I started talking to them all ...

Ahem. All my self-assured bubbles burst the minute those people opened their mouths.

1. One was a teacher at a cool university in Isb - had 4 years of teaching experience and 8 international publications. He was originally from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Amazing. MA.

2. One was a senior Uncle type person who had done his MPhil and had brought his dissertation. Was employed somewhere with loads of experience too.

3. One girl had been my batch mate in the university in which I had stayed for only 3 months and then I had left. She had gone on to do her Bachelors, then MS and now is a Lecturer in another cool univ in Isb - with publications and lot of research experience.

4. One girl was originally from er, Chiniot (if I'm not wrong. I need to know Pakistan more :(...). And she was amazingly self-confident, employed in a cool univ in Lahore and a research associate or something.

5. One guy had his Major in Chem and was employed in another cool univ of islamabad.

6. One guy was also employed somewhere and had lots of publications. Didn't get  to know him much.

7. Me.

I couldn't help wondering...

Anyway. I couldn't find any real answers to the above questions. My halaat were such that the girl (number 3- my batchmate) tried to comfort me a lot. Such nice attempts :D:D. Told me to 'think everybody in interview panel as dumb' and told me to think 'you're the smartest in the crowd' .. :D:D.. Hahaha. Didn't work. However much I try, I can never think something like that.. 

Khair, everybody was talking and I discovered that I was sitting amidst a group of people who were not only intelligent (in theory), but all of them had a passion to do something about the declining education standards of this country. All  of them were teachers and all talked about their students (I listened, quietly), and how they try to inculcate the love of learning to them and not just reading/re-producing. I was really glad to be in this company :). I rarely meet such people and already I was so impressed and inspired by them all. MA. 

One particular guy (number 1 in the list) was extra friendly to all of the group. He was the one from KP. He talked in such amazing Urdu that he put me to shame. :(. And after the interview, he guided me and Chotpo (who he called 'madam' :D) to a nearby shopping place... walked into a shop and bought us juices. Insisted upon us getting something to eat as well, but since my mood had seriously switched off and all, we declined politely. Then he said to 'madam' ..that 'aap ab mujhay ijaazat dain. Ap humari mehman hain, and mujhay acha lagta agar ap log kuch khanay ko bhe lay laytay' .. :D. Soooo sweet MA. Not only that, he asked me about 47 times 'How did you prepare for the gee aree ee?' and he asked my phuppi this question lots of time too .. Lol. It was a very impressive experience, seeing a non-local Islamabad resident, treating us as if it was his home and we were guests. And not even knowing us or something. 

Masha Allah. 

Khair, my turn came in 3rd from last. Everybody was taking a loong time, and coming out with a rather looong face. I hadn't expected it to be amazing. But I had seriously wanted not to stutter. Khair, I went in, and sat down. And immediately, this (gori) lady asks bluntly,

"Why should we send yet another computer vision related person for this scholarship?"
Me: (see when nothing comes to mind, you blab the first thing that occurs): Er, because the person has a lot of application of CV in mind that would benefit not only Pakistan but the rest of the world. For e.g.. etc etc etc. 

Then some general questions about thesis and all. Then this person asks me :(

"So what are sensor networks"
"So what have you done regarding embedded computing"
"What do you know about RFIDs"
"So if I am driving on the streets of Isb, and my signal gets lost, what's wrong with my cell phone?"
"So if i'm watching TV and a plane flies overhead - my image gets distorted. Why?"

*deeeeeep sigh*

I tried to answer to the best of my knowledge. But I couldn't convince him much. Mainly because I have left my parent field for a long time now. And meray weh-mo gumaan main bhe nahi tha that they would deviate from the topic I wanna specialize in and ask this kind of stuff. Esp after so many people had said that the interview is going to be totally 'non-technical' ...Sighhh. 

Allah Khair karay. I was just happy about one thing. That I wasn't nervous (in front of them). So much so that the (gori) aunty remarked in the end "You're very confident about blah blah...etc etc etc"

Well so long! *a lil gloomily*. The results come out in about a week IA. There are only 2-3 seats. I know 6 other people who deserve it muchh better than me. And no, that's not underestimating yourself, it's just being ...realistic. 

So that was the story of the interview. The whole time I was there (rest of it) was spent in a nice gloomy mood. But I did enjoy the hotel's lunch buffet which had cool items like "stuffed baked fish" and "Afghani beef pulaao" 

Hee Hee