December 24, 2004

Making a list ...

I heard on the radio that some guy is making a list, and checking it twice. Anyway, as per the suggestion by brother Muhammad al-Shareef, insha-Allah I will make a list of 50 things to do during Hajj. I'll fill it up over time...

1. Say salaam to people of countries I never heard of.
2. Meet someone from Vanuatu.
3. Sit down with a foreign scholar, and listen to whatever wisdom he will impart.
4. Learn some new surahs of the Quran.
5. Keep my gaze lowered.
6. Learn about the many virtues of Hajj, and convey the message to others.
7. Keep a journal of my experiences.
8. Write my January article for Muslim Link.
9. Offer water to others.
10. Discuss the lives of Rasulullah SAW and Sahabah with strangers from different countries.

Insha-Allah more to come ...

December 13, 2004

Death of a Teacher

I was just informed that my former English and Drama teacher passed away on the first of this month, after struggling with cancer for some time. Through her influence, I went from being a shy, introverted child to someone capable of standing before hundreds of people to tell meaningless jokes. I used to be unable to speak in front of anyone older than myself, and she had me doing somersaults in front of nearly a thousand.

It has been nearly seven years since I left high school, but the effects that Linda McKenty had on me and hundreds of other students live on. She did her part as a teacher, hopefully the truth came to her before death.

November 30, 2004

President Bush's visit

Having way too much work to do (and getting the day off of work so that I could get that work done) prevented me from attending any Bush protests. I just followed the events through CBC's website, and it turns out nothing particularly interesting happened. A few threats of gassing the protesters, but nothing serious. I was able to catch sight of several helicopters patrolling the area, and police sirens could be heard every so often. Nothing too interesting, unfortunately.

All in all, I guess politically it was a success for Canada; I think most of the political dignitaries managed to hide their inferiority complex quite well. The prevalence of left-wing political leanings was apparent, and for the most part I think Ottawa did a decent of job of showing the president that he was not particularly welcome by the masses, but we'll tolerate it in the interests of our own country.

In it's worldwide insignificance, Canada will continue to prosper and be safe. Good USA-Canada relations has important implications on the economy, so they should be kept intact, but differences of foreign policy should remain as differences. Let us agree to disagree, and move on with our lives.

November 27, 2004

The Iron Ring

"...or in the dealings with my own Soul before my Maker."

A short excerpt from the Obligation taken at the Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, written by Rudyard Kipling in 1923. One of the closing comments in the Iron Ring ceremony was to pray hard, and to never lose grip of the spiritual side of ourselves. Four spheres of life were spoken of: one's social and family life, one's recreational life, one's professional life, and one's spiritual life. And the speaker called for balance in all aspects.

The Obligation, and all that went with it were very much in line with Islamic tenets and beliefs. Above all else, it symbolized the accountability those of the Engineering profession have to their world. The decisions we will make will have a heavy impact on society as a whole.

Another interesting point to note. Among the scripted dialogue in the ceremony was an exchange in which the speaker asked the individual speaking on behalf of the candidates "What do you know?" The candidate replies by saying something like "Nothing, except that I know nothing." The speaker then states that that is a solid foundation upon which to build.

This is very similar to an exchange that the Imam conducting the Traditional Halaqah Series cited when speaking of his graduation from the madrasah. To acknowledge that we have barely scraped the surface of knowledge with our education is a solid foundation upon which to further ones lifelong education. There is so much to learn, and arrogance in knowledge is one of the first signs of ignorance.

On another note ... the Fudge Overboard at Red Lobster was so good...especially with that extra strawberry sauce...

November 25, 2004

On second thought ...

I guess I will start early, since tomorrow has some relevance.

Tomorrow is my Iron Ring ceremony, a tradition throughout the country to recognize the responsibilities of being considered an Engineer. I've always found this to be a pretty neat tradition, but it is to my dismay that the event usually ends up becoming just another platform for engineers and engineering students to get drunk.

Ethics matter, and they can seriously take a person much further than his or her grades. Getting out of university successfully means your grades were good enough, not that you necessarily know everything you need to know. And amid all the books and books of formulas and theories and block diagrams, there is a one credit course regarding ethics that most students consider useless.

The Iron Ring should be about the ethics. One course will not teach a person ethics; 10 ethics courses won't either, for that matter. But in whatever way, it still needs to be emphasized.

True Islam will teach a person ethics; not by the study of books, but through awareness of ones accountability. To remain conscious of our accountability for our actions is the first step towards becoming ethical people.

We'll see what happens.

So, what happens here?

So, I signed up for a blog for the first time ...

The things that get me talking are religion, technology, academics, and to a much lesser degree, politics. But right now, I should be studying, so I'll put off any first takes until another time.