Tuesday, January 30, 2007

UAE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

Emirati players Ismail Matar (R) and Haidar Ali (L) hold the trophy of the Gulf Cup after their victory against Oman in their 18th Gulf Cup final in Abu Dhabi on January 30. UAE beat Oman 1-0 and won the Gulf Cup for the first time in history. -AFP



It's been 3 hours now and there's been continuous honking in the streets, even in the suburbs where I live! And lots of fireworks... I guess it is a great victory.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The new aqua aerobics instructor in town!

I got myself into some deep water, and this is literally... deep water. I'm going to be the new aqua aerobics fitness instructor @ the Elixir Health Centre (no men allowed). Aqua aerobics means you do them in the pool... There are a few problems with that:
- I'm not currently CPR certified
- I have never seen or been in an aqua aerobics class
- I have to do the class in arabic WITHOUT music, but... I don't know the terminology in Arabic
- I can't swim

Well, we'll see what happens tomorrow- I'm teaching 2 classes. I decided I'd discontinue if I'm not able to convince them to adhere to strict PAR-Q standards as I was taught in class. Alhamdulillah, taking that CanFitPro course paid off :)

So, as I research more and more about aquafit, I shall be posting the more interesting stuff here... for now, I got myself some great percussion music and I've to work on the class choreography format next. I also need to review all my notes tonight, this is going to be lots of fun inshallah! And I'm extreeeeeeeeeeemely nervous... oh boy!

Those days

My brother pulled out a huge pile of papers and stuff and left it in my room a few days ago for me to sift through it and decide what I wanted to keep. I just finished with it now. They were greeting cards and letters from my high school years only.
I noticed how I always got a Christmas card with a birthday card, because my birthday falls a day before Christmas. There were a few Eid cards, and a few New Year cards. Lots of letters from friends who had moved away and still kept in touch. From those who had moved away, I was really close to a few. We'd write letters all the time, and send it when their parents would be going back for vacation. And the letters would arrive when their parents would return.
I had forgotten so many things...
Suben was one guy whom I probably conversed with 10 times maximum in the 2 yrs he was in our school, but he never forgot to give everyone birthday cards, season's greetings cards and christmas cards!
I found a birthday card from the Red House Captain.. Amit Kumar... And the words on the card he gave me:

"Where would I be without you?
You are always there for me,
You never judge,
you just advise,
And listen constantly,
I know I'm very lucky
to count you as my friend,
And I hope this Birthday
proves to be
the happiest you could spend."

I would have never thought about Amit, if I hadn't found this card. Amit was one of those many kids whom I mentored in my last few years at school. He was extremely tall and lanky, a grade younger than me, and used to make up the funniest Hindi jokes. Those years were awesome. Being on the student council, I had a special bond with the children at school. [The school was from Kg to grade 12]. Once the school assembly would disperse, I'd stand by the exit as the rows of all the children would exit one grade after the next. The children loved to greet their elders and shake hands with them. Some little girls would even come up to me and kiss me. I have so many memories of those children.
I was with Green House my first 2 years in school, and then it was Red all the way. And I know I served Red House well. We always won the March Past trophy on our Annual Sports Day. I remember starting in grade 6, when we were first taught to march and do formations- I was too clumsy, and would never get selected. I don't think I cared much either. But over the years, of all the things, I managed to master marching. I think synchronisation is my thing. Putting things together and making them work. The goal would be to make the whole group march as one- girls in the front, boys behind them with the leader holding the flag for each House, and doing the right commands at the right times. It was just awesome. The command "eyes right!" was the hardest to follow, as everyone had to turn their heads right at the same time, yet continue to march ahead, with their arms swinging in perfect rhythm. The beat music was the same every year, and the trophy was definitely worth all those hours in the sun!
Often we'd perform drills that required us to split into shapes visible from the top of the school building, such as spirals opening and tightening, helixes with the tallest first, hexagons etc.

I found many letters from my high school best friend, with whom I've been barely able to keep in touch, and haven't met in the last 5 years. She's already married with a beautiful daughter, and she's actually arriving here today from India. I saved her letters, to show her about the stuff we used to talk about, and it's going to be much fun when we talk about those days, considering how drastically our lives have changed. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My mehndi designs

These are really old and amateur designs of mine, close to when I first started applying henna on people. I did most of these @ an acquaintence's bollywood birthday party [her being crazy about Bollywood], and it turned out to be a great da'wah tool towards her and her friends!










Friday, January 19, 2007

Technology around Stephen Hawking

Hawking is severely disabled by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (a type of motor neuron disease.)
When he was young, he enjoyed riding horses and playing with the other children. At Oxford, he coxed a rowing team, which, he stated, helped relieve his immense boredom at university. Symptoms of the disorder first appeared while he was enrolled at Cambridge. He lost balance and fell downstairs, hitting his head. Worried of losing his genius, he took the Mensa International test to verify that his intellectual abilities were intact. Diagnosis came when Hawking was 21, shortly before his first marriage, and doctors said he would not survive more than two or three years. He battled the odds and has survived much longer than any other known ALS patient[3], although he has become increasingly disabled by the gradual progress of the disease.
He gradually lost the use of his arms, legs, and voice, and is now almost completely paralyzed. The computer system attached to his wheelchair is operated by Hawking via an infra-red 'blink switch' clipped onto his glasses. By scrunching his right cheek up, he is able to talk, compose speeches, research papers, browse the World Wide Web and write e-mail. The system also uses radio transmission to provide control over doors in his home and office.
During a visit to the research center CERN in Geneva in 1985, Hawking contracted pneumonia, which in his condition was life-threatening. It resulted in acute difficulty of breathing, which could only be overcome through a tracheotomy by which Stephen Hawking lost his natural speech ability. He has since used an electronic voice synthesizer to communicate. The voice synthesizer, which has an American accent, is of a model that is no longer produced. Asked why he has still kept it after so many years, Hawking mentioned that he has not heard a voice he likes better and because he identifies with it. Hawking is said to be looking for a replacement since, other than being obsolete, the synthesizer, a DECtalk DTC01 is now considered large and fragile but as of present, finding a software alternative has been difficult. During a lecture in Hong Kong in June 2006, he joked that if he got a new one with a French accent, his wife would divorce him.
When Hawking (then using a wheelchair and unable to dress himself) and his wife were first living together, they received no outside assistance other than from physics students who helped in exchange for extra attention with their work. As his condition worsened, Hawking needed a team of nurses to provide round-the-clock care. He also needed a wheelchair for mobility.
Despite his disease, he describes himself as "lucky" — not only has the slow progress of his disease provided time to make influential discoveries, it has also afforded time to have, in his own words, "a very attractive family"[4]. When Jane was asked why she decided to marry a man with a 3-year life expectancy, she responded: "These were the days of atomic gloom and doom, so we all had rather a short life expectancy."

Source: Wikipedia

Following death...

On the authority of Anas Bin Malik (ra) who related that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

"Weeping will be sent to the inhabitants of the Hellfire whereby they will be made to weep until their tears have been used up, then they will weep tears of blood until it (the blood) leaves trenches in their faces, and if ships were placed their in, they would sail."

Reported by Ibn Majah

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Someone's rocking my dreamboat

The only time I've ever heard this song in my life is when Bugs Bunny sang it, while sailing in a barrel drum to an island where a monkey claimed to be his mother:

Someone's rocking my dreamboat,
Someone's invading my dream.
We were sailing along, so peaceful and calm;
Suddenly, something went wrong.

Someone's rocking my dreamboat,
Disturbing a beautiful view.
It's a myst'ry to me this mutiny at sea -
Who can it be?

(Bridge:)
A friendly breeze gave us a start
To a paradise of our own;
All at once a storm blew us apart
And left me drifting alone.

Someone's rocking my dreamboat,
I'm captain without any crew.
But love as my guide, I'll follow the tide
I'll keep sailing 'til I find you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Busy busy...

I have quite a few things going on right now- In a few days, my father's sister will be visiting us for the first time here. She'll be staying for a week. A lot is going on @ home in preparation.
I have a sunnipath course to complete in two weeks as well- I knew I'd miss out on most of the course because I'd be away @ Hajj, but the course was too good to let go. So, all those lectures have piled up. And the TA emailed yesterday saying she's concerned about my progress..ooops.

Plus, now we're starting the full scale publicity of the Islamic banking conference [really, the title is too long...] and I'm largely responsible for that...and right now, solely responsible.
CAMP's IT team has been working on a total new template for their chapters across North America. We're moving towards standardisation in our outlook, and we've made a lot of progress in terms of the design and the back end. The new look will be applied to the Toronto chapter's website first. We'll also be setting up a system for Muslims across NA to network, something similar to LinkedIn for those who are familiar to it.
I have 2 articles due for The Muslim Voice this Friday, which I'm struggling to write. One is for the Professional Development column that I write, and the other should inshallah be a collage of Hajj accounts of 3 young people from different countries...

And as I write, I'm looking @ the acceptance letter I have from an institute in UK... I'm debating whether the course will benefit me for the cost: 1000 pounds.

Ever since I came back to UAE, everyone's been giving me advice on being effective in this new place. In order for me to penetrate these circles, I need to work on my language skills, so I'm debating if I should also take the course through Al Huda institute...

But before all this, I need to get up and start going to my hifz teacher @ the Masjid, now I'm REALLY behind.

And the reason why I've talked about all this is... this is what's been keeping me from posting on my hajj experience! I know many are anxious to get more details out of me... I've had really long phone conversations with some friends that I wished I was typing as I spoke... and as I look @ my Hajj notebook, I'm overwhelmed with the amount I have to write... but as with everything else, this is in queue, and it should be out soon!

With some, I had also discussed my business plan. I have to throw in a trip to Pakistan before May, but if that doesn't happen, then I should be launching my lil business. It's too funny to go into more details, except that I've found a good printer company, and that's a big step.

I've been reading many books @ the same time... and I've finished many as well. We just have too many books in this house, that just before I left for Hajj, we received our bookshelves and bookcases that we had designed. They look awesome and I wish I had more space to get some more furniture in! The fun part was of course, the design. Maybe I'll take some pictures...

In other news, I finally got my skates that I had left back in Toronto... now it's time to hit the ice!

I didn't realise how many things I have on my plate until I started writing about them. I've taken to reading and writing, but I know that's not going to contain me for long. When I was leaving Toronto, br Ayman Al Taher gave me a lot of confidence in my decision. And I've driven so much strength and hope from all his advice, which has kept me going so far.
And I know in Al Ain, in this desert, its easy to make cascades flow. It's just not my thing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Imam Anwar Al Awlaki

It's been in the news... but I just found out..

Urgent Appeal: Imam Anwar Al Awlaki - A Leader in Need
Reports indicate that Imam Anwar Al Awlaki, a prominent Muslim scholar highly regarded in English speaking Islamic circles, has been detained incommunicado for the past two months in Yemen and may face torture or ill treatment in custody.



What the heck? Please take action for Imam Anwar Al Awlaki

Write to the US authorities:

Demand that the state department fulfils their statutory duties and provide consular assistance and clarify where Anwar Al Awlaki is held;
Demand an end to incommunicado and secret detention; detainees should be held only in officially recognized places of detention with access to family, lawyers and courts;
Call for human rights laws and standards to be strictly adhered to in cooperation between US security forces and those of other countries, ensuring that torture and ill-treatment, incommunicado detentions and "disappearance" play no part in such cooperation;
Ensure his rights as a US national are being protected and that his detention is free from torture or ill-treatment
The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20520
Tel: + 1 202 647 4000
Fax: + 1 202 261 8577
E-mail: http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html

Write to the Yemeni authorities:

Appeal for the immediate release of Anwar Al Awlaki unless he is to be promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence and given a fair trial without further delay in accordance with international fair trial standards
Call on the authorities to respect the rule of law
Remind the authorities of their obligations under both national and international human rights law and allow Anwar Al Awlaki access to legal counsel, his family and the opportunity to challenge the legality of his detention

His Excellency General ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh
President
Office of The President
Sana’a
Republic of Yemen
Faxes: 009671274147

His Excellency Rashid Muhammad al-‘Alimi
Office of the Republic of Yemen Ministry of the Interior
Sana’a
Republic of Yemen
Telephone: 009671332701
Fax: 009671274147

Write to Islamic organisations:

Encourage all Islamic organisations in the US to campaign for the release of Imam Anwar al-Awlaki.
Further encourage the these societies in the US to promote the right to a fair trial and the rule of law.
Islamic Society of North America
PO Box 38
Plainfield
IN 46168
USA
Telephone: 0013178398157
Fax: 0013178391840

Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue ,
S.E. Washington
DC 20003
Telephone: 0012024888787
Fax: 0012024880833

Water

Everything has become stagnant...now, I just wait for end of my time. I'll never forget a single one of those moments, when I learnt to dream because you led me on. You carried me through the winds. You faced all danger for me. You fought the world for every tear of mine, and then... you said, "time will heal all wounds". Then everything became bitter and you faded away into the mist so fast...
Today I'm stranded in the middle of the sea. My tomorrow and the day after are reflections of yesterday and the day before. And in the water around me, for as far as I can see, are ripples of my memories, which will always remain. My world and I are at polar ends, and this is how it's going to be. It will just be me, and only me. And my world made that decision for me, it wasn't me. This isn't what I wanted. But you left, and this is what I'll live with.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back from Hajj

This morning @ 9am we left Madinah for Jeddah airport, and Alhamdulillah, Baba and I are back from Hajj. We were with Sawitri and her brother @ Jeddah airport today... subhanallah, Allah unites me with people I love in the most beautiful of meetings. Our flights were scheduled to leave @ the same time!

I was supposed to leave for Pakistan on Friday, but we cancelled. I'm down with the Hajj flu... also a bit sad that I'm going to miss Khadija's wedding in Pakistan- We've known their family for as long as I can remember. Uncle and Baba are best friends, but... I'm happy that I get to avoid all the glamour and show of being @ a wedding right after Hajj!

I guess... the unravelling of my trip will start when I unpack tomorrow. As I think, I feel as if Hajj is more about what you do afterwards. What do you do with your life, when you know Allah has forgiven you, and cleansed you of everything?