September 25, 2005

As if things aren't crazy enough

Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina | Guardian Unlimited

This seems like a joke, but somehow my brains satire filter did not register this one.

September 23, 2005


I've been rather busy over the last week, so instead of writing something new and meaningful, I'm just going to recycle a silly poem I wrote last year for the Ramadhan issue of Muslim Link.

We have come again upon that time of the year
Yes, certainly the month of Ramadan is near
So to Allahs teachings we must adhere
Fasting has been ordained to attain unto fear
The Prophet, on whom be peace, said on the last of Sha'baan
As narrated in Bayhaqi by the trusted companion Salman,
Telling the companions that a great month was in sight
And better than a thousand months in just one blessed night.
The gates of Paradise are open, gates of Hell are closed
Among the bounties that the Prophet disclosed
And as our beloved Prophet explained
In this blessed month, the devils are chained
So for one full month, Muslims celebrate
By virtuous actions, not by what they ate
Breaking their fasts with a simple date
And still somehow end up gaining weight
It is a test of patience and self-restraint
To abstain from food without complaint
To leave routine during the entire day
To worship and reflect, and especially pray
It is to give to the poor, to show we care
It is to pray at night, the Tarawih prayer
It is to learn respect and learn to share
It is to give up comfort without despair
Obscene language must go, for those who cursed
And if you lie, you might as well also quench your thirst
For fasting is not just about the food and drink
It is about our conduct, our actions, the way we think
In a narration by Muslim, the Prophet reported
That fasting will be exclusively rewarded,
While rewards for other deeds are generally known
The reward for fasting is with Allah, and Allah alone
Fasting is a shield, so let us defend ourselves well
If we live another year, only Allah can tell

September 13, 2005

Another eventful elevator ride

On returning from Isha prayer in the basement, the elevator opened up on the main floor. In walked a Chinese woman, two other Muslims, one of whom is a friend of mine, and Mr. White-Anglo Fascist. He had the usual scoul on his face, and appeared poised to make himself look like an idiot all over again.

My friend who was in the elevator with me was a big guy, not the type of guy you would want to mess around with. The White Anglo looked at his position in the elevator, and muttered to himself, "Looks like I'm a f**king minority in here."

"Where are you boys from?" he asked me. I casually replied that I was from Ottawa, which he could not quite swallow. "No f**king way you're from Ottawa. I'm from Ottawa." I was born in Montreal, I told him. That seemed to annoy him even more, so I told him that I'm historically from India. To this, he muttered a lot of expletives, but I don't think he felt safe attacking me directly with the other Muslims in the elevator. In particular, he probably felt threatened by the bigger guy, who I had engaged in small talk with as he started swearing at us. The two other Muslims got off before me, so it was just the white anglo, the Chinese woman, and myself left.

Then he launched his verbal assault, blabbering on about Jesus and Muhammad not existing, and how we've all been deceived, and that's what is causing war, us "f**king towelheads and Christians." The Chinese woman looked visibly upset, though said nothing. We reached her floor, and she got off. The white anglo then unleashed a barrage of ignorance regarding China and Chinese people. I told him to keep his opinions to himself.

He was to get off at the fifteenth floor. On reaching his floor, however, he had started saying terrible things regarding the Prophets of Allah, and how we were to blame for all that was wrong in the world. He told me that everything I believed in was bullplop, though his choice of vocabulary was less polite. He held the elevator door open and did not leave, only so he could belittle everything I hold to heart with his mindless nonsense.

"Religion is to blame for all the f**king nonsense going on right now." I replied that it was not religion in particular, it was intolerance. He asked me what I believed; I told him that I'll keep my beliefs to myself if he keeps his beliefs to himself.

"Have you heard of Nostradamus?"

"I believe you've already asked me that," I replied.

"Yeah? And what did you say?" I didn't say much last time, but by this point I was quite annoyed, and wanted him to get out and let me get back to my apartment. I quietly supplicated that Allah SWT take care of this situation for me before things got out of hand.

Then the elevator door started closing on him, and he got stuck in the middle. He tried pushing it back open, but could not; the elevator kept closing in on him. I replied to his Nostradamus question, telling him that I never heard Nostradamus say it was a good idea to get stuck in elevator doors. He started cursing, so I pressed the button to open the door. The door opened, and he clenched his arm in pain. He looked at me with malice, and turned towards the hallway.

I called out, as I did before, "Have a nice night!" He did not swear at me this time, but instead muttered incoherently. I was alone in the elevator now; the door closed, and I proceeded up towards my floor.

September 12, 2005

A Brief History of Decline

Over 1400 years have passed since Rasulullah SAW stood at Mount Arafah, and addressed his companions for the final time. The beloved Messenger of Allah began by appealing to the hearts of the people by calling upon their reverence of that holy day of Arafah, reminding them that they must also revere each and every Muslim. He reminded them that they must respect the sanctity and honour of the Muslim people just as they respect the sanctity and honour of Makkah, of the Ka'aba. He called upon them to deliver that message, as well as the entire message he gave his life for, to all those unable to accompany him at that time.

And so the companions set forth, not in search of treasure or land, but in search of those unfortunate people who were unable to hear the message of the Messenger of Allah SWT directly. They carried their message to all the corners, wherever they might expect to find someone to hear the message - and many places where they did not expect to find anyone at all. But they went on either way, because the message was so important. They pushed onwards into the unknown, for years and years.

Many did not even return to their homes. The message entrusted to them was too valuable to afford them time in other than the propagation of it. It was that message, after all, that elevated them to the heights of spiritual and moral excellence, after spending generations living in depravity and chaos. They endured extreme conditions of hunger, exhaustion, torment and pain for that message; it was not something they would take lightly ever again.

And so they mounted their camels and called all those they encountered to the way of their beloved Prophet, peace be upon him. In the absence of the transportation readily available today, they delivered the message throughout much of the entire known world through tremendous physical strain and hardship. Their graves are scattered in locations many thousands of miles across, but the message they conveyed did not die with them. It endured and prospered for many generations, and has now been left to us.

And now, whenever injustice occurs in the world, the Muslims have to defend themselves. Whenever acts of hatred claims the lives of innocent people, the Muslims are blamed for it. Whenever civil liberties are threatened, the Muslims fall back into the same refrain of apology and regret. Muslims are being tortured and blown apart at the core, and the ummah is in shambles.

With the Muslims under attack from every corner, one would expect that we would at least be united in defending our beliefs and our values. One would expect that with such merciless agression against us, we would stick up for one another, and develop compassion amongst ourselves.

Instead, we exhaust ourselves in belittling one another. Rather than discuss issues in a constructive manner, we instead seek to point out errors in the views of others. Every group is trying to "expose" the wrongdoings and miscalculations of the other groups. Each one of them believes they have the exclusive right to call themselves the follower of the Prophet, peace be upon him, yet the rhetoric of each group is eerily the same - and nearly all of it contrary to the teachings of compassion and tolerance that our Prophet taught.

The heart of the Muslim world, the lands of the Prophet (peace be upon him), has been ruptured. The Hajj has become a business and spirituality is declining. Racism is rampant, with Africans suffering from hunger, poverty and mutilation, while the locals look down upon them with derision. The air is thick with the stench of the thousands of smokers who have no problem with exercising their disgusting habit in the vicinity of the Ka'aba. Unlawful food is being sold and consumed by those sincere foreigners who have assumed that everything there must be halaal. At the site of the first revelation of Quran, a merchant will dress you up in traditional Arab garb and take a picture of you pretending to supplicate to Allah for five riyaals.

And most of the rest of us are oblivious to all this, because we feel that attending some lecture and yelling at some rally is all we need to do. Instead of addressing our concerns amongst our companions and community where we can actually do something productive, we rant to strangers under the title of Irrelevant Opinions. Still, we feel good inside because Muslim organizations are working hard to break stereotypes plaguing our community; after all, the world must know that we too can sing and dance.

How has it come to this?

September 07, 2005

Useful virus

Hopefully this one spreads rapidly.