Thursday, December 21, 2006

Acting to be 'seen by men'

Abu Hurayrah records the Prophet as having exhorted his followers to seek refuge from the Pit of Grief. When asked what this Pit of Grief was, he said it was gorge in Hell from which Hell itself sought refuge four hundred times a day. The Prophet was then asked who would enter that Pit. "Those scholars who act to be seen by men", he replied.

(Al-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore

I was taught this poem in grade 4.

Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore —
No doubt you have heard the name before —
Was a boy who never would shut a door!

The wind might whistle, the wind might roar,
And teeth be aching and throats be sore,
But still he never would shut the door.

His father would beg, his mother implore,
"Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore,
We really do wish you would shut the door!"

Their hands they wrung, their hair they tore;
But Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore
Was deaf as the buoy out at the Nore.

When he walked forth the folks would roar,
"Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore,
Why don't you think to shut the door?"

They rigged up a Shutter with sail and oar,
And threatened to pack off Gustavus Gore
On a voyage of penance to Singapore.

But he begged for mercy and said, "No more!
Pray do not send me to Singapore
On a Shutter, and then I will shut the door!"

"You will?" said his parents; "then keep on shore!
But mind you do! For the plague is sore
Of a fellow that never will shut the door,
Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore!"
-By William Brighty Rands


Hunger would keep me up at nights. If it weren't my thoughts, it was hunger- I would feel an urge to go eat something, but wouldn't. And time would just pass.
I'm not sure if something's wrong with me. I'm not sure if I'm scared of food- too much food- although deep down I know that's what it is. Whenever I would eat, I could never eat my full. I would far too often remember our beloved Prophet (pbuh), his companions, and others and their description of hunger pangs. Abu Hurairah's reactions to hunger were often confused with seizures. But what was the point of staying hungry, if it didn't let me sleep?
Over time, I'd also get embarrassed when I would be asked to eat. It would make me think, "do these people feel I need more food? Do they think I'm a greedy person in need?"
I can't seem to explain this behaviour. When I look @ food, it's like looking at many many images captured in my mind- of skins and bones, but on real live children. Then I would commit the larger sin, and begin to eat. But no sooner than I started, I'd just stop. In fact, I always picked the smallest plate I could find, so that I wouldn't get a chance to put a lot of food in the first place. And I always ensured I drank water half an hour before eating so that it would fill me up nicely.
I don't feel the same way about drinking, then why do I, about eating? I don't feel any more pious than I did, then what am I achieving by staying up at night?
And the part that confuses me is that there's always lots of food around. I could eat all day if I wanted, and all night. I could ask for, and get every delicious thing. But... oh those children. What about my neighbour? I don't have to look to far. Or someone in my very own city. Why is food so important for our survival? But Allah provides, Allah provides...

Then, am I being arrogant?
Why am I so confused about this...
And I'm still hungry...
Soon it will be morning, and I'll have something to eat at breakfast...

Sincere words?

"Forgive me if you can"

Whether said in person, over the phone, or SMS... what do these words really mean?
Forgive me if you can...

What if I can't?
Then it doesn't really matter to me if you forgive me or not, I just thought I'd ask you to forgive me everything I did wrong, or if I hurt you..
If you don't forgive me, too bad, my life definitely will move on, and in fact, has moved on...
If you do forgive me, good for you, good for me

Did you ever ask the question, "Can you forgive me?" or "Can you ever forgive me?" or "Will you forgive me?"
No, you didn't. You didn't think about it, you don't really care. So, it doesn't matter if I forgive or not. You can deal with it the Day you will be asked about it. And that Day, I'll be busy asking for my own forgiveness.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Islamic Finance Forums everywhere

Islamic alternatives in the field of business, commerce, finance and investments are seeping into mainstream economics.
Ever since I got involved with the 3rd International Islamic Banking, Finance and Insurance Conference (May 17,18 2007 in Ottawa) as the Director of Marketing, I found out about the following conference that have happened recently (there have been many happening in the last few years):

  1. Beirut: 2nd Banking and Finance International Conference- February 23, 24 2006
  2. Doha: World Islamic Infrastructure Finance Conference- November 5,6 2006
  3. Zurich: The International Islamic Finance Forum, Europe- November 13-16, 2006
  4. Kuala Lampur: Kuala Lampur Islamic Finance Forum 2006- November 27-29, 2006
  5. Islamabad: World Islamic Economic Forum- November 5-7, 2006

And the ones upcoming:

  1. London: 6th Annual Islamic Finance Summit- January 30, 31 2007
  2. Singapore: Islamic Finance Asia 2007- February 13,14 2007
  3. Ottawa: 3rd International Islamic Banking, Finance and Insurance Conference - May 17,18 2007
  4. Toronto: Islamic Finance World North America 2007- May 22-24, 2007

Monday, December 18, 2006

Uncle and Aunty

I meet so many people, and I learn from each individual.

I met an Uncle and Aunty like none other. They are not my relatives.

They must be in their 50s, and do not have children. Aunty is the backbone of Islamic awareness amongst South Asian women in Al Ain. She keeps everyone together- She orders books for everyone, she gets pamphlets photocopied, she hooks up people who can help each other, she directs people who're looking for certain services, and she does a lot more than I can possibly know in such a short time I've been here.
She doesn't lose an opportunity to do a good deed. She also attends every single lecture, study circle, lesson she hears about, no matter how far, or how late it may be. And this is where Uncle's role comes in. Aunty doesn't drive, so Uncle has to drop her everywhere. In Ramadan, he spent hours waiting for her, as she would attend her classes. He would not only drive her around, but anyone else who needed a ride. There would be so much going on, and he wouldn't get enough sleep.
And Aunty would tell him, "inshallah I'll let you rest after Ramadan". :)
But there's no rest for uncle. I meet Aunty @ the Masjid regularly, and Uncle leaves work to drop her off, and then goes back to work. Sometimes, he'll stay in the Masjid until she's done with her lesson, all by himself.
When aunty goes to visit her friends, and there's no male @ home, Uncle will wait in the car until Aunty's had her tea/dinner/lunch/chat whatever it may be. And he never complains, and he always waits. He never says no. Even when his eyes are bloodshot red with swelling. I feel for him...

As her niece said- If Aunty were to tell Uncle to eat soap, he would do so gladly.
I wish they had kids. But Allah has a different plan for everyone.
And as time passes, I learn more of Allah's plans for me.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I'm Nobody's Child

This made me cry so much today, thinking of, and watching the orphans of Palestine...
Forgive us, forgive us...

I was slowly passing an orphan's home one day
And stopped there for a moment just to watch the children play
Alone a boy was standing and when I asked him why
He turned with eyes that could not see and he began to cry

I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child
I'm like a flower just growing wild
No mommy's kisses and no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child

People come for children and take them for their own
But they all seem to pass me by and I am left alone
I know they'd like to take me but when they see I'm blind
They always take some other child and I am left behind

No mother's arms to hold me or soothe me when I cry
Sometimes it gets so lonely here I wish that I could die
I'd walk the streets of heaven where all the blind can see
And just like all the other kids there'd be a home for me

I just can't seem to figure out
Why the folks all pass me by
Cause I know that it's true that god takes
Little blind children with him in the sky
And they tell me that I'm oh so pretty
And they seem to like my big curls of gold
But then they take some other little child
And I'm left here all alone

I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child
I'm like a flower just growing wild
No mommy's kisses and no daddy's smile
Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child

Watch it on Youtube.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

RIS Live!

Kamran and Shyemaa' have started a wiki website that will have transcribed online notes from RIS this year.
Here's a message from them:

My husband and I have developed a wiki site, called, whereby we hope we are able to update the summaries of each lecture that shall take place during the three days. It is also our hope to print out posters (8.5"*11") of the summaries of the lectures the next day - limited amount, and also post those on
the website that we have made.
If you are interested and hooked onto what I have mentioned thus far, please read the remainder of the letter and let us know if you will be able to help us.

Jazakumullahu Khayr!

The walk

We took a walk along the beach together, a slight chilly breeze, besides the crashing waves leaving our footprints behind us. Our laughter echoed in each other's voice. I playfully threw water at you, from my bottle, and made you wet and cold.
And that's the mistake for which I'll suffer... for long...
I turned back to look... and didn't see you, only indelible footprints in the sands of time.
Did you not even once think? How could you not hear the painful silent words?
But no, you just left me those footprints, to figure out how to erase them.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Veil No Bar

Bahrain's Ruqaya Al Ghasara celebrates after winning the women's 200m final on the fourth day of the athletics competition for the 15th Asian Games at Khalifa Stadium in Doha, on Monday. – AFP

Perks of being a pilgrim

If you're going for Hajj through the Dubai Airport, then “Like the previous years, all pilgrims will be offered a gift bag that will include Haj accessories such as slippers, prayer mat, first aid box, umbrella and a thermos,” said Najjar. [Haj arrangements in place at Dubai airport]
There are so many perks of being a pilgrim! First, you get loads and loads of duas wherever you go- This is because people are asking you to pray for them when you get to Haram, and they have to pray for you in order for your duas to be accepted.
This is the pillar of Islam that weighs more than jihad for the sake of Allah. 5 days of continous worship, devotion, and detachment by millions of dusty, dishevelled followers.
So many prayers, I hope to pray for everyone, and not leave out anyone inshallah. May Allah (swt) accept everyone's duas.
My birthday gift this year inshallah is that I'm leaving for Hajj that day :)- as Sana pointed out. How cool is that?

The new aloo wala in India- An emerging reality

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The 16 Decisions of Grameen Bank

In the 9 years of Grameen Bank, Muhammad Yunus has established 16 decisions that the loanees have to make before they get the money. These are some of the most-well thought out issues you could ever bring out in a developing country.
To think that 6.74 million borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women have actually committed themselves to do away with dowry- The concept is simply unbelievable.
In the CNN report on Muhammad Yunus receiving the Nobel Peace Award, upon being asked that Islam prohibits interest, and "you are a Muslim, most of your borrowers are Muslim, then how does this work?" He replied that most (religious) people who had issues with his bank were concerned with that the loans went to women, and NOT that he asked for interest...

  1. We shall follow and advance the four principles of Grameen Bank --- Discipline, Unity, Courage and Hard work – in all walks of our lives.
  2. Prosperity we shall bring to our families.
  3. We shall not live in dilapidated houses. We shall repair our houses and work towards constructing new houses at the earliest.
  4. We shall grow vegetables all the year round. We shall eat plenty of them and sell the surplus.
  5. During the plantation seasons, we shall plant as many seedlings as possible.
  6. We shall plan to keep our families small. We shall minimize our expenditures. We shall look after our health.
  7. We shall educate our children and ensure that they can earn to pay for their education.
  8. We shall always keep our children and the environment clean.
  9. We shall build and use pit-latrines.
  10. We shall drink water from tubewells. If it is not available, we shall boil water or use alum.
  11. We shall not take any dowry at our sons' weddings, neither shall we give any dowry at our daughters wedding. We shall keep our centre free from the curse of dowry. We shall not practice child marriage.
  12. We shall not inflict any injustice on anyone, neither shall we allow anyone to do so.
  13. We shall collectively undertake bigger investments for higher incomes.
  14. We shall always be ready to help each other. If anyone is in difficulty, we shall all help him or her.
  15. If we come to know of any breach of discipline in any centre, we shall all go there and help restore discipline.
  16. We shall take part in all social activities collectively.

See the images here: The 16 Decisions of Grameen Bank

The hardest part of body to take care of

are definitely the teeth.. Cleaning my teeth seems to take forever. First the tongue scraper for the tongue, and then the tooth brush for @ least 2-4 minutes [I perhaps don't even last a minute].. then the flossing[ all the teeth take a while!... and finally the mouth wash [ which should be @ least 60 seconds, but my mouth starts to burn after 15]!
All this @ least twice a day [if not after each meal].. and then the rubber tip @ least once a day which takes the same amount of time as flossing.
And doing this every single day for the rest of my life... oh lord help me!

Why haven't they invented one device that can do it @? Really, how difficult can it be...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christianization in the Dark Continent

Here is a partial translation of the AL-Jazeerah intervew between Maher Abdallah and Shiekh Ahmed Katani talking about the issue of 6 million muslims leaving Islam every year in Africa alone. This was a television interview that was transcribed and translated into English.

Ahmad al-Katani: This is Our Pain, We Must Struggle

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Don’t bring children under five to mosques

4 December 2006

ABU DHABI — The General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Awqaf (GAIAA) in Abu Dhabi has issued a circular to mosques across the country urging worshippers not to bring with them children below five years of age to pray.
The GAIAA said the decision has been taken to maintain peace and quiet at mosques.
The authorities reportedly received a number of complaints that some people insist on bringing children to mosques and the noise they make often disturb prayers. There was mixed response to the circular. While some feel that the decision will help to ensure tranquillity in mosques, others protest against it saying there’s no religious bar on children entering mosques and they must be allowed to familiarise themselves with mosques from their early childhood.

Read in Khaleej Times

Look for the bare necessities-The Jungle Book Soundtrack

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn't be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin' in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That's why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue ?

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!

So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
'Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You're working too hard

And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it
I'll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you


It's been an exhausting weekend. I had to get my blood pressure checked for the Hajj card and the doctor said that it's too low to write on the card. And then twice to the hospital on the same day.
Today I had to drive around for about an hour. The roads I was on were long and empty and all I could see were mirages. Mirages of so many things.
Mirages of the trees, of the speed bumps, of cars...
Mirages of things I run after in life, but never get to them.
Mirages that stay for so long, that I begin to think they're real, but just when I've accepted that, they disappear.
Elements that that mislead you, and set you back so much, that you don't know even know how to retrace your footsteps.
Tricks that life plays on you.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

For all you weak souls

There is one element that is worth its weight in gold, and that is loyalty. It will cover a multitude of weakness.
- Philip Armour

Lots of water!

It's POURING in Al Ain! And in Abu Dhabi too, Jeewan just confirmed.

Sama Dubai is building the Dubai Towers:

"Dubai Towers will feature a choreographed concept that will metaphorically represent the flicker of candlelight. "

Friday, December 01, 2006

For the greater good

In the animated movie, The Incredibles, the following scene takes place:
Lucius: Honey?
Honey: What?
Lucius: Where's my super suit?
Honey: What?
Lucius: Where - is - my - super - suit?
Honey: I, uh, put it away.
Lucius: Where?
Honey: Why do you need to know?
[helicopter explodes outside]
Lucius: I need it!
[Lucius rummages through another room in his condo]
Honey: Uh-uh! Don't you think about running off doing no derrin'-do. We've been planning this dinner for two months!
Lucius: The public is in danger!
Honey: My evening's in danger!
Lucius: You tell me where my suit is, woman! We are talking about the greater good!
Honey: 'Greater good?' I am your wife! I'm the greatest *good* you are ever gonna get!

Please save water

I'm reposting this, as my information was incomplete the first time. I was waiting for my friend Anup to do the research for me :P

“Consider the water which you drink. Was it you that brought it down from the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter” [Qur'an 56:68-70].

Please please save water. It's an easy thing to do. Save water when you turn on taps, when you use the dishwasher, when you wash your clothes and dishes, and when you water your garden.
Please do not exploit this miraculous blessing from Allah (swt). Please follow the sunnah. Save each drop, and thank Allah for this bountiful blessing.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh):
- Performed ablution using one mudd [i.e. a measure equal to a handful of water] (Al-Tirmidhi)
- Took a shower using one sa` [four handfuls].
- said "Do not waste water even if performing ablution on the bank of a fast-flowing (large) river.

Why should we conserve water?
Think of what happens @ the end of the pipe. Where does tap water come from?
From surface water, including reservoirs, lakes and rivers, and the rest from ground waters. The latter come from aquifers, which are underground geological formations that store rainwater. The rainwater seeps through porous strata such as sandstone and chalk. Water companies drill wells or bore holes into aquifers and draw water from them.
Major cities are usually supplied from the larger volume surface waters, whereas ground waters supply smaller populations, although this is not always the case. There are also areas that receive water from a mixture of sources.
Water is treated at water treatment works before flowing through water mains, sometimes over considerable distances, to arrive at your home. Samples are taken at each stage of treatment and distribution along the way, and tested by the water company to make sure that you receive high quality water.
Image taken from DWI- Dams cause loss and destruction of habitat
- Removal of surface water causes erosion
- Increase in saltwater intrusion can cause change

The major problem with water today is it's commercialisation. And what this is doing is making water expensive for poor people, even in rich countries.
From the United Nations Human Development Report:
- Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the wealthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25% for the poorest 20%
- “Already, corporations own or operate water systems across the globe that bring in about $200 billion a year. Yet they serve only about 7 percent of the world’s population, leaving a potentially vast market untapped.” (John Tagliabue, As Multinationals Run the Taps, Anger Rises Over Water for Profit, New York Times, August 26, 2002)
An amazing resource is: Water Conserve

Here are some water saving tips from American Water and Energy Savers:
  1. Create an awareness of the need for water conservation among your children. Avoid the purchase of recreational water toys which require a constant stream of water.
  2. Be aware of and follow all water conservation and water shortage rules and restrictions which may be in effect in your area.
  3. Encourage your employer to promote water conservation at the workplace. Suggest that water conservation be put in the employee orientation manual and training program.
  4. Patronize businesses which practice and promote water conservation.
  5. Report all significant water losses (broken pipes, open hydrants, errant sprinklers, abandoned free-flowing wells, etc.) to the property owner, local authorities or your Water Management District.
  6. Encourage your school system and local government to help develop and promote a water conservation ethic among children and adults.
  7. Support projects that will lead to an increased use of reclaimed waste water for irrigation and other uses.
  8. Support efforts and programs to create a concern for water conservation among tourists and visitors to our state. Make sure your visitors understand the need for, and benefits of, water conservation.
  9. Encourage your friends and neighbors to be part of a water conscious community. Promote water conservation in community newsletters, on bulletin boards and by example.
  10. Conserve water because it is the right thing to do. Don't waste water just because someone else is footing the bill such as when you are staying at a hotel.
  11. Try to do one thing each day that will result in a savings of water. Don't worry if the savings is minimal. Every drop counts. And every person can make a difference. So tell your friends, neighbors and co-workers to "Turn it Off" and "Keep it Off".