Thursday, December 22, 2005

In Florida......

A note that I am taking a Blogging break till the new year. I will be in Florida till then, visiting my brother. :-D! That means I wont be attending RIS. Hope you all enjoy the holidays. I am already in Florida and its a nice change from minus 20 to plus 20 :-D! Also the historic cricketing rivalry between my brother and myself has resumed ( Sporting sibling matchups are always great :-))...Chao!

Monday, December 19, 2005

To Love

To Love by Tariq Ramadan:

"Why, deep down, do we love? What is the source of love, its meaning, its object? Why do we experience the birth of love one day, and its death another? Why, deep inside us, does our love for our parents and our children endure? How do we love? Why, deep down, do we love?
Life teaches us to learn, to suffer injury, to get to our feet again, to mature. Life is revelation; and when our hearts and our intelligence turn toward His revelation, we can grasp something of the meaning, the mystery, and the meaning of this mystery. There are many ways to love: The Most Caring One offers us love through the very essence of our nature, and invites us to continue our search for the love of our fellow creatures, for Creation, for His love.
There are several ways to love: we can love ourselves out of egocentrism or egotism; out of self-obsession to the point of self-importance and arrogance. How natural a love...and how dangerous. To see the world through ourselves alone: to love ourselves as if we alone existed, and, at the core of this mysterious paradox, to love ourselves to the point of oblivion.
To love our mothers, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our daughters, our sons and, our senses dulled by habit, learn nothing from our love for them except when accident or absence strike. To become indifferent in the face of familiar presences. Isn’t it a curious paradox? To be blinded by too much seeing. To lose meaning because we are overwhelmed, drowned, carried away by the endless repetition of daily life.
To observe our friends, our fellow human beings, our world, and to ask of our heart: why you? Why should you be loved? For your appearance? For your qualities? For your tastes? To love as we feel, because we so “genuinely” feel. The fire at first, the ashes when all is done... destroyed by betrayal, by flaws, by wounds inflicted. Love that blinds; separation in the glare of hindsight. Another paradox: the glowing coals that are the warmth of our loves, and the infinite burn of our suffering.
To learn to love. Such is the message of all spiritual disciplines. We may love to love ourselves, our neighbours, the universe; we may love to move beyond the self, our own and that of our neighbours; our own and that of the universe. In nearness to the Divine we learn that we must seek, initiate ourselves, tear asunder, give new form, break off and renew. To seek out the meaning of our loves; to initiate ourselves into the secrets of hope and not stop when proof of our qualities lies before us; to break down ego and appearance; to give form to the gazing eyes and all they ask for; to make new the light in the heart and in the eyes and, as when we fast, to learn to break the fast the better to begin again. To be two, with ourselves, with God, with you... a gift, a time of testing, a period of hardship, of hoping.
Near to you or without you. Why do we love? Why do we break apart? Why, indeed? On our journey, we must learn that His love like ours, that our encounters like our separations, are acts of initiation: we can love a parent, a being, his beauty, his qualities; we can love what is and, in the end, know only hurt and suffering. Over and above what exists, we can learn to love the horizon that unites us. To move beyond ourselves for His sake, to seek together the pathway that leads to His light... to love the meaning, the road travelled as much as we love the destination, and our fate. It is constant effort, this jihad of love. To lift up our eyes before us and learn to love, and with that love, find freedom. To move beyond ourselves, to free ourselves from the loves that bind and imprison us: those “ended” loves, sometimes idolatrous, sometimes misleading, and so near to our animal nature. An infinite task, one never to be completed; a task filled with sorrow, with hurt and tears. Here, on this earth, lies one truth: he who truly loves must learn to weep. Life. Love, and life.
Why, deep down, do we love? Some like to bind themselves in chains, others to set themselves free. A mystery. The Unique One calls out to us, summons us, tells us: “Go on! Love! Move forward, seek out, and pursue your quest. The love that will come to you is not at all what you are seeking. It is an illusion, a prison. The love you seek, the love that you must learn, opens wide to you the door of freedom: alone, by twos, by thousands, it teaches you to say: “It is Him I love” and, in the depths of your heart, feel yourself loved. And then, at that moment, we must lift up our eyes before us, nurture the freedom we have found, and bestow all the love we possess upon those close to us, to the universe, to humanity. As we move on beyond this life, or as we remain. Love and true Life.
To love, and learn to leave... "

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Psychology Today says in one of it's recent articles:

"............Giving, finds a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, reduces mortality and promotes longevity. It doesn't matter whether the support is in the form of the kind of emotional support that spouses exchange or the instrumental help one might provide to a neighbor. Either way, it has a significant impact on the giver.

And receiving has no impact whatsoever on mortality. Helping others reduces distress in givers, improves both mental and physical health. It gives people a sense of belonging and of mattering. It increases happiness, decreases depression. In short, it increases positive emotions. And positive emotions are good for the body, promoting cardiovascular health and boosting the immune system.

So now there's scientific proof:

Helping others is a way of helping yourself. "
I find it amazing when Scientific research reaffirms what we already know through our Deen.

"They prefer them to themselves, even if they themselves are needy," (59:9)

"They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captives..." (76:8 to the end)

and many hadiths "On preferring others and helping others "

Friday, December 16, 2005

Muslim conspiracy to rule world just nonsense

From the famous desk of Haroon Siddiqui ( I wonder if he has heard of Hizb?):

".........The dream of a caliphate is confined to the marginalized: a rallying cry by the bin Laden-Zarqawi crowd, and, among others, by a Central Asian group battling the dictatorships there.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov invokes the caliphate to justify his brutality. Who would have thought he would be echoed by Washington?

Gen. John Abizaid, U.S. commander in the Middle East, says Islamists "will try to re-establish a caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world."

Rumsfeld magnifies the danger, saying "Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia."

George W. Bush talks about "a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain."Exaggerating the power of the enemy is a standard war tactic (used against Saddam Hussein by both George H.W. Bush in the 1991 Gulf War and by George W. Bush in 2003). But this caliphate business takes the cake. One can laugh it off but for its possible long-term consequences......."

Thursday, December 15, 2005

When Angelina Jolie came to Pakistan

A snippet of how weird the politicians in Pakistan can be...
"............While all this tugging and pulling over Ms Jolie was going on in Peshawar and its environs with high pressure on Ms Jolie to make courtesy calls on the high and mighty who perhaps would eventually settle for her autograph or a snap with her, over here in Punjab and our sleepy capital, more VIPs were lining up to have Ms Jolie in their midst. From reports doing the rounds, the Punjab chief minister was unable to understand why Ms Jolie was not having lunch with him in Lahore. There were offers of jetting her to and fro that were made in great generosity. Cousin Chaudhry Shujaat too was reported to be happy to escort Ms. Jolie to lunch, dinner or whatever and numbers of minions in between were rushing about hoping to secure her favors and her assent to the many assignments that were being held up on silver platters................"

Monday, December 12, 2005

From the Sunnipath Library

Dont know if enough people know about this but Sunnipath has a very comprehensive Hadith translation library.

Featured Hadith Collections include:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

More cricket----More religion!

Having watched cricket all my life, the decidedly religious touch of the Pakistan Cricket team continues fascinating me. Check out this fresh picture of the team praying in Jamah:

Pakistan's cricket members offer evening prayers at the end of
their practice session in
Lahore, Pakistan, December 9, 2005.

Pakistan cricket team's captain says in a recent interview:

"..........Inzamam believes success has come due to religious faith and prayers.

“We pray together and it has helped us bond as a team. Take care and support each other. It has taught us to be forgiving and helped us become more united.

“We don’t have any great players like in the past. But this team is more close and determined,” he said.

Inzamam, who sports a full-grown beard, aside from cricket also takes part in spreading the word of Islam.

He dismisses fears about the team becoming a hub for religious extremism.

“Islam does not preach forcing others for prayers. But saying prayers is a duty and gives you peace of mind.

There is no pressure on anyone to say his prayers. It is a wrong impression that I am forcing anyone to become religious......."

Another article emphasizes the role of religon when the players are playing and quoted an unnamed player :

".............The player also explained that at the start of the each session when the players huddle together they recite special Dua and Suraas. "One reason why the team has started to come back from difficult situations is that the philosophy in the team now is that the players can only work hard and play with commitment, the rest is with Allah," the unidentified player added. (ANI)..."

Even Pakistan cricket team's freehearted soul and poster boy Shoaib Akhtar has joined in:

"...........Akhtar observed that praying five times a day had united the team.

"The difference between this team and ones I have played in the past is of Namaz [prayers].............."

An older interview with Saeed Anwar who is attributed with starting these changes ( he turned to Islam when his daughter died). Here he talks about his teammates Saqlain:

".....Anwar said his talk that he was able to convince Saqlain Mushtaq to spend half a day with the Jamat, offering prayers in mosque and taking a round of one's own residential area and calling the people to prayers (which is called gasht in Tabligh parlance). Saqlain joined us after Friday prayers. We had food and after a session of religious teachings we asked Saqlain to do the gasht in his residential area and call people to offer prayers. In the company of religious scholars later, Saqlain offered obligatory prayers, listened to the sermons, had dinner with group, offered Isha prayers and went to sleep. "The next morning Saqlain came to me and said, 'What was this dose that you gave me last night?' Earlier I used to toss in bed all night and would not be able to sleep till 8 in the morning. I needed sleeping pills. What dose did you give me? I slept after Isha prayers and just woke up. And I feel damn hungry, get me some food...."

And to end this post here are audios from a Tabligh session ( in Urdu with Punjabi intro). The speakers are Inzamam ( Pakistan Cricket team Captain), Saeed Anwar ( x-cricket player) and Junaid Jamshed ( former pop music star who now sings naats) :

Interview part 1
Interview part 2

More cricket! More religion!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Perfect Woman

From the Seekers' Digest....

One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: “How come you never married?”
“Well,” said Nasruddin, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then, one day, I met her. Beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!”
“What happened?” asked Nasruddin’s friend, “Why didn’t you marry her?”
Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. “Well,” he replied, “it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed she was looking for the perfect man…

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Postcards from Home: Muslim Voices Poetry Contest 2005

A new initiative to promote Muslim Poetry in North America. Hope more and more people participate every year inshah allah.

Though all the poems online were nice, the following one ( rated 3rd in the contest) really caught my eye:

Postcards From Home
by Juli Herman

Lush carpet of gold, speckled with crimson
Splashes of chrome and slivers of saffron
Spread out beneath my weary feet
Crunching and crackling with every step I take

Flanking the path, tall towering trees
Crowned in gold, adorned with burgundy
The warmth they spread in all their glory
The last of which before the frost arrives

A bed of soft white petals sprinkled on green
Soft pink blossoms fill the view
Golden crowns turn festive for the spring
Trees radiate fragrance, a pleasant whiff of life

Bright green leaflings peek out in curiosity
Relieved to finally breathe in the fresh spring air
Dew drops, fat and sparkling, plop upon the grass
Generously scattered over a new cycle of life

Year after year the wondrous cycle continues
Flashing before us glimpses of paradise
Our eternal home, the ever lasting abode
Beckons us every day in silent whispers

Yet do we hear it calling,
Do we sense its presence
In snippets and slivers
All around us?

Do we see its beauty
Do we taste its sweetness
When we sink our teeth
in the white-greenish flesh of a succulent Red Delicious?

Postcards after postcards are presented before us
The promise of paradise is true and clear
Like junk mail we treat them, tossing them carelessly
Heedless we are of the silent calls and soft whispers of home.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You? Click here to find out...thanks to "Minor Wisdom" for posting this...

I turned out to be Gandalf..( quite the baba I am..aint I).Let me know what you guys get!!!

A wandering spirit caring for a multitude of just concerns, you are an instrumental power in many of the causes around you.

And so am I, very dangerous: more dangerous than anything you will ever meet, unless you are brought alive before the seat of the Dark Lord.

Gandalf is a character from the Middle-Earth universe. has a description of him.

Sunni Sister: Give Me That Old Time Diyn

Valuable insight from a wise person.... ( A Must Read!)

"................Now, b/c of some ridiculousness with the ‘Eid this past month (as well as last year), some people are calling for Americans to have a new, different method of moonsighting or something. That’s on top of people around the world calling upon all of us to “follow Makkah and Madinah” in our sighting. When, in the entire history of the Ummah, was “following Makkah and Madinah” a valid, accepted opinion of the fuquha? Where is the dalil for this? What is wrong with global and local? People say, “We need to have a unified ‘Eid.” Well, do we all pray fajr at the same time? No. The Hanafis pray ‘asr later than the rest of us. Of course, there are many people in the US who think we ought to do away with madhabs altogether, but that’s for later. Did Allah subhannahu wa ta’ala say something about a unified ‘Eid in the Qur’an? Did the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) give “unified ‘Eid” as a method of deducing the start and end of the month?....................."

"..................In the US, we are still grappling with issues of identity and authority. The older immigrants who tend to run our “main” organizations, and who tend to be the donors, have a different mentality and worldview than those of us born and raised here. We struggle to come to terms with our interaction with Muslims outside of the US, especially after two decades of petro-dollars influencing what English speaking Muslims learn and hear about Islam. Some of us see the failures in these Muslim societies and conclude that the ‘ulema from those societies can’t possibly understand us, that they have nothing to teach us.

If someone wants to come up with some groundbreaking theory in physics or medicine, she or he will not be taken seriously until she / he has undergone extensive formal training (Swiss patent clerks notwithstanding). You have to understand what it is you’re talking about before you go about posing radical new theories, or undertaking innovative research. We all know it. It’s almost a tired analogy. It’s a shame people continue to reject it. We give knowledge of the diyn a lower status of importance than physics or medicine.................. "

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Lab pay atee hay dua--

I learnt this Allama Iqbal poem in kindergarten. The words have always stayed in my head but as I have grown up these words have gained a new meaning in my life. Listen to the poem here **open link in real player**( sung by Najam Shiraz who is coming to this year's RIS ) . Below is some "Urdu Latin" script of the poem followed by an english translation of the poem. It is beautiful.....

Lab pe aati hai dua banke tamanna meri
Zindagi shamma ki surat hau khuda ya meri

Door duniya ka mere dam se andhera hojai
Har jagah mere chamakne se ujala hojai

Hau mere dum se yoon hi mere watan ki zeenat
Jis tarah phool se hoti hai chaman ki zeenat

Zindagi hau meri parwaane ki surat ya rabb
Ilm ki shamma se hau mujhkau mohabbat ya rabb

Hau mera kaam ghareebon ki himaayat karna
Dard mando se zaeefon se mohabbat karna

Mere Allah buraayee se bachaana mujhkau
Nek jau raah hau uss raah pe chalaana mujhkau

My longing comes to my lips as supplication of mine O God!
May like the candle be the life of mine!

May the world's darkness disappear through the life of mine!

May every place light up with the sparkling light of mine!

May my homeland through me attain elegance

As the garden through flowers attains elegance

May my life like that of the moth be, O Lord!

May I love the lamp of knowledge, O Lord!

May supportive of the poor my life's way be

May loving the old, the suffering my way be

O God! Protect me from the evil ways

Show me the path leading to the good ways


Thursday, December 01, 2005