Monday, 27 September 2010

The Vile nature of Validation!

There is allot of sadness, lethargy and despair around for many right now it seems. I don’t know if it’s the winter setting in, the post ramadhan blues, or just the general world condition, but every one seems sad, and every one I speak to seems to have a foreboding sense of the world closing in around them. Unfortunately, I myself am no exception! Life has been tough for the past year or so, and seems only set to get tougher. I am still without regular work, and in a financial crisis, and I am without my husband, who works tirelessly on the other side of the world to support us both. Because I am not working my husband’s visa hangs in the balance, and the cycle continues. In addition, some past issues have sort-of returned to haunt me of late, not something I feel I can write about here, but I guess there are some items of baggage you can’t dump too easily, and every so often, tiny wholes appear in the bags that you have to franticly patch up! Thus wasting allot of your time, and above all, your emotional reserves!
I was talking to a close friend about this earlier on today, and we both came to one conclusion: sure, we’ve made a few mistakes, we have some regrets, and some fears too, both for the present, and for the future! But when you analyse it, so much of our baggage has to do with others: external forces: people who are close, and some who are less so. People none the less, who somehow feel qualified to pass value judgements on what we do, what we wear, how we act, how we raise our kids, how/who we marry, …, the list is endless! And its frightening because, ever since my childhood, I’ve been obsessively phobic about not falling in to that trap! My parents, both of whom hailed from extremist Christian families, lived in a strange dichotomy, lost between 2 worlds: faking the religious bit, but all the while, dipping curious toes in the world beyond the blinkered cocoons of their youth. Any step too far utterly petrified them, so that they still read the Daley mail, and my mother still has to take mood stabilisers whenever I travel to the East! I hated their life and their attitudes with a passion! I yearned to break free, and I did it! I fought for my rights and established my freedom, though I can’t lie, it wasn’t easy to break free from the barrage of guilt they loaded upon me: guilt, a destructive emotion, yet one that was more familiar to me than the lack of it, pervaded every thing that I did, so that I rarely trusted my own judgements, and took the risks I knew I needed to with excruciating knots in my stomach, and an almost psychotic fear of failure!
The second problem was, I moved from one guilt culture to another! Muslims also often find themselves living between 2 worlds: culture and Islam, the West and Islam, the spiritual self and the physical one, etc. This guilt was easier to manage, as much of it was external to me in the beginning, but I soon began to feed off that of others: i.e., the stupid young girls who tried to ruin my marriage by stirring up my parents, and the molvi neighbours who didn’t so much as let us pee without enquiring as to our output! Living in the heart of a Muslim community as I did then, I soon became overwhelmed by the need to fall in line: wear my salwar kameez, cover my hair, be seen to pray and fast and be a good Muslim wife: these points earned respect! (or so I thought!).
When my husband ultimately left, I realised how pointless the whole thing was, and how, in reality, these double standards were no different to those of my parents: a world beginning and ending on an engineered version of Islam will always end in failure, that’s why dear readers, we have terrorists, wahabis and salafis, because the box is more comfortable than the responsibility of truth! Whether a niqaab or a bomb, the end is the same: a mask to hide behind, and an object through which to justify one’s existence! In hindsight, I do regret throwing Islam out with the bath water back then, but it would take me years to finally make sense of this, and reinvent Islam, not only based on truth, but on my own terms as well, with all the warts and all that constitutes real life!
I always thought I’d shed the guilt as well, that somehow the divorce signified liberation from all of the shackles of the past, but some of them I learned run way deeper. When I finally faced my fears and sought counselling to deal with my past abuse, I did not disclose to family, to friends, to any one for fear of their reaction, and the extent to which I’d have to carry them through it. When I started wearing hijaab, I had panic attacks every morning for 2 months because of the way my manager treated me for it! When I lost my employment tribunal, I worried continually over how every one I knew took the manager’s side, despite the weight of evidence in my favour. Then, when I met Reza, I fretted over my family reaction, and how others in the community would view him: i.e., a visa hunter out for his own gains! Yet rarely did I question the guilt I felt. I became reconciled to the fact that existing for me would always equal degrees of guilt, and so long as I kept them under wraps, no one need know or be affected! But people were! My husband got tired of it, and friends couldn’t understand the ridiculous restrictions I placed around myself, especially when I always spent so long encouraging them to do the precise opposite! See: I could talk the talk, but knowledge is not knowledge if it is not applied: and that is what I’ve never done: applied it! And today, I watched my past as never before, as though looking in a mirror and seeing a 13-year-old Roshni, the young girl going through a breakdown because she’s trying to take her exams, and hide the fact she is being sexually abused, spending her days in bed because its easier to hide than talk! I hadn’t been brought up to fight, to face the truth, to embrace reality, so couldn’t deal with trauma, and today I watched my friend’s son in the self same place! He talked to me about family, juggling those who care and those who don’t! how his dad’s liberated world view is not in sink with that of his mother’s, and he doesn’t yet know how best to divide his loyalties, how to keep every one happy: who was right and who was wrong?
I didn’t have the answers for him, but I did have the self-same questions when I was his age, and couldn’t let another child go through the same thing! I had a few words to say to his father (my friend). Demanding to know why, this beautiful child was being racked with guilt about people who wouldn’t so much as spit on him if he were on fire! Keeping up with the ‘Sharma’s, the Ahmed’s: whoever! The community: will not, and cannot, ever get you ahead! This 13-year-old boy, was being told to attend family weddings, so that when his time comes to marry, he’ll have networked sufficiently and be known/recognised by prospective partners when the time comes!!! He’s THIRTEEN GOD DAM IT!!!
You’ll never please every one, so why not begin with pleasing yourself! No one can, or should, live as an island, and surely real love is to take those you love along with you! But why raise your children with your own baggage, why not have the courage to identify cycles and break them down before others become drawn in without your intending the same. Tonight I not only said it, but promised my husband and my creator that I’d do the same! My kids can protest, get angry and make stupid mistakes! They might fall down and mess up, and the community might think I’m a bad parent for doing so! But they’ll learn that there is no such thing is failure: there is only learning and evolving. There is no such thing as guilt, there is only putting the past down to experience and having another try! They’ll come to see the infinite beauty, and learning that Allah (SWT) blessed them with through their so-called mistakes, and they’ll realise that those who really love them, will stand along-side them in good and bad times, will laugh with them, and hold them when they cry. They’ll see that when the world doesn’t live for you, rather it lives by feeding on your misfortune, then its better to live for yourself, and not let your life become bitter, twisted, the graveyard of buried hopes that your parents held on to. Remember, the only validation you need is from your creator (SWT), and let iman be the measure by which you assess yourself rather than the empty venom from the tongues of others! Maybe, just maybe, if we really do this, some of the undefined morose hanging around right now will fade, serenely away, Insha Allah!

Friday, 24 September 2010

More on Terror (if you didn't laugh, you'd cry!)

A few months ago, I blogged about the government’s proposed add campaign on how to spot a terrorist! Not surprisingly, the plug was pooled when the leak was out on that one, but new info is out today: the alleged reality of current terror threats to Britain, courtesy of MI5. Am I the only one who’s noticed that since the formation of the kid-on coalition, the phobic rhetoric pumped out by the conservatives is remarkably close to that circulated by a certain president in a certain super power? Make of that what you will!
I am personally sick of the whole dam business, and I actually try my utmost not to blog about it, because I only end up sounding like a Britain hater, or just another of those Muslim political wonnabes with those oh-so-heavy samosas on their shoulders (sorry, I just thought it made a change from chips).

So, to save you reading through the latest warnings the just of it is that the threat from Islamic terrorists is still as prominent as it ever was, and what we need to do is all be “vigilant”, and report any “suspicious behaviour”, …., are you thinking what I’m thinking? Sure!!! This is just the add campaign, framed in more polite phraseology! Because you see, we don’t have any antisocial behaviour in the UK today, there are no more problems with Irish Terrorists, we need not worry about the fact that the soon-to-be implemented equality act will only further alienate the communities we are supposed to be integrating: who cares!! Muslims are the enemy, and every one’s rights will be protected accept theirs: and as for the rest of you, be “vigilant”.
Right, and all this makes sense when the silent majority like myself are ignored, and you see the government in bed with organisations such as the Islamic Forum of Europe, who have more terrorists amongst them than Binladen’s mother gave birth to!
See, I too worry about Wahabis and Salafis, I see the threat they pose and I certainly don’t expect my government to do nothing about them, but surely any one can see that “vigilance” is relative, and of course, policies like this give all the haters and racists the ammunition they need! Even if they don’t want to attack in the conventional way, they can always get a Muslim of their choice banged up for a few days: (remember, Muslims are guilty till proven innocent!).

Any way, I promised I wouldn’t sound like a Muslim manic maniac, and so I won’t: my purpose of posting all this actually was to give you a few tips on that “vigilance”. After all, not all of my readers are Muslim, and those that are, generally belong to that silent majority I mentioned earlier! So, to point you in the right direction, here are a few top tips of the kind of people you should be looking out for, and the behaviour you should be reporting: (feel free to add a few of your own).

1) Length of trousers! Now then, we all know that most terrorists have taken on a uniform one might use to commemorate a budgie dying, so if the trousers are an inch or more above the ankles, …, be worried!

2) Beard length! Our Prophet, (PBUH), has advised that beards should be the length of a clenched fist (isn’t there a problem with width of hand span here?), any way, most of the W Mob go a bit longer just to make sure, so carry a tape measure at all times!

3) Hygiene! …, Now, I know this is a touchy subject, but I am dam sure I’m not the only one who has sat next to a saag smeared man-in-salwar kameez on the tube and wished she hadn’t! …, maybe I’m putting 2 and 3 together to make 100, but to me, its logical: if you are bomb making, you won’t have much time to get the washing machine on, in fact: maybe you’ve used all your fairy snow in your latest experiment: (didn’t some one use ata last time?). Plus, you obviously won’t want to draw attention to yourself: and sallin stains will just make you blend in to the crowd, some may even think you poor or homeless! So remember people! Even daal may not be what it seems!

4) Fruit shop workers! See, most Muslims don’t want to go to the mosque any more: (guilt by association you know!), and staying at home can be pretty boring now can’t it! for women, that’s OK: we can do coffee, visit friends, go to the library, but men: they need more engaging, high-risk activities to occupy their free time with: and recently, this has come to involve fruit shops. Initially, I thought that there might be some kind of scientific research going on: i.e. gasses given off by brusselsprouts, or how much damage you can do with a sack of potatoes, but on more careful analysis, I’ve come to believe it’s the Mission HQ! The place were plans are deliberated, cogitated and digested! The brains, the pulse, maybe even the recruitment base! But the fruit shop is where its at! So keep an ear to the ground next time your after a cauliflower!

5) Last, but by no means least: it’s a conspiracy!! Seriously it is!! The fact you are farting allot these days, is a conspiracy: the government are putting extra gas in your channa chaat! And the fact that your tired? Its nothing to do with your long day at the office: the world is trying to kill you! Its true! Bush named you years ago, and now the Tories are carrying it out! Conspiracies feature every where in wahabi doctrine, and keep the future recruits very busy indeed! Remember the one about me? The fact that I have a Jewish name (not a bible name mind), Ruth, and that I’m a shia, and that I travel regularly, I’m really an agent!! Yeah guys, call me squirrel!! And I’m sure some one is already reading this blog backwards from the beginning to extract hidden truths from within (let me know what you find, will you?), so, listen out for the C word grin, and then leg it!

I better go now and hand myself in, oh: stay freakin vigilant now won’t you!!!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Our Ramadhan 2010: a beautiful Naseeha in film!

And so: Ramadhan has come and gone, and though only 14 or so days have elapsed, it feels like the month of fasting was an eternity ago, a flash: a distant memory! Do we even remember how we spent it? does our worship and devotion stand out, or when we recall Ramadhan 2010, is it all just a hays of food, fatigue and waiting for eid to come!
“Our Ramadhan”, is a beautiful depiction of some of the trials you might have faced during this month, and more importantly, leaves us with a desire to ponder, and redress the shortcomings we may have made during this month, next time around. Muslims often get their priorities wrong, or else simply lose sight of them in all the hype: “Our Ramadhan” gives us a perspective on what we could be if we got them right!
The film was made by a close friend of mine who is also a producer at Ahlulbayt TV. God bless you Fatima: this is truly inspiring: and if you keep this up, you will go the distance for the community: you are a Muslimah all should be proud of!
Almost a fortnight on, perhaps we can now look back at Ramadhan with some objectivity. Watch this film with your own fasting in mind, see where you went wrong, and more importantly the good you did, that can be built on, Insha Allah. Circulate this to all you know and keep the reflection real!


Part 1:
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Part 2:
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Badalteh Rishtay!

Things change when you get married, seriously! I know every one says so, but nothing really prepares you for it! You lose your single life, you have to think about cooking, cleaning and the price of new linens! You fret over your weight far too much! start buying night clothes that previously you wouldn’t have been seen dead in! you find yourself indulging in fluffy talk about wall clocks, Gym membership and …, Oh God! …, babies! You do this without realising, and even though thinking of it makes you vomit, you still go back and do it all over again the next time you are together with the older married sort!
Older married sort? Huh? Not my kind of women I hear you cry!! Well, you’d be right! But that’s the most significant change you see: relationships! Worryingly, every one now thinks you are mature, sensible, trustworthy, …, (me? Heck I’m still Roshni Remember!). Suddenly, your unmarried female friends are permitted to go out with you, visit you: their parents trust your judgement, and even start asking you to find proposals for them (what’s that about? I got married didn’t I? When did I open a marriage bureau?).
Parents, are a huge problem actually: well, aunties to be exact! Your newly married status earns you an unwelcome place in their gang: they invite you to sit next to them at mosque, they discuss their multitude of illnesses with you, and give you pep talks on cooking the perfect daal, and how you really should get pregnant ASAP: (come on auntie ji: at your age you should know that distance makes continuity a bugger!).
The conventional crowd: your friends, most of who are single, start to oust you as a trader! Your married, you’ve done the deed! How could you! Cheated them, you know longer get it, you know longer appreciate what they are going through, and so don’t qualify! You suddenly find your name being “accidentally”, omitted from a group Email about a mountain climb next weekend, (why? I didn’t lose my legs you know! And married women need exercise too! I mean, now the pressure is on to get in to those impossible Christmas tree jobs I’ve got to ware for the weddings, and dawits and all those “married” events I don’t want to attend but have to, so give me climbing, please!). You are not privy to the whispers in the corner or the bitchy texts, and if you are invited out, you find yourself in a corner nursing a glass of cranberry juice and being hounded by the most boring individual on the planet. But see, that’s the dull stuff, here’s the interesting part: men!! And God do they change! See, no matter how virginal Muslim sisters often pretend to play it, we all know how tough it is to find the right life partner these days. You can fake ‘butter won’t melt, but the chances are you’ll have been around the block a bit before you settle: in my case, 7 years to be exact! While you brush most of these encounters off, (and in my case, most of them were married before me!), but somehow there are the odd few that keep hanging on! There is Arab American guy, (who I’ve written about previously over here). The AA guy made a concerted effort to avoid me, even though I’d never stocked him and never made my feelings known re: the pain he caused and how much I ached and missed him, but (drum roll), the moment I’ve got a ring on my finger, he’s straight on to MSN! Bang!! He is happy for me, he wants to know how I’m doing, he’s flirting, sending me Eid Mubarak Emails and leaving online messages! How screwed up is that! Is this about rubbing my nose in it, or simply his cheep kicks at trying to attain what he can’t have!
Then there is Ultra-Religious guy! He refused me, in no uncertain terms when I wanted to discuss marriage with him (or at least the possibility of investigating the same). Now, he’s Emailing every day, telling me his own failed liaison stories, asking how I am, enquiring after my husband and “praying” for my happiness! As if that wasn’t enough, he also throws in a mention of how happy he is that we’ve stayed “friends”, because he always knew there was a reason for our connection. (either the man apologises too much, or me detects an interesting regret/guilt cocktail! Go play with yourself: cause it ain’t my problem mate!).
Then we’ve got Moroccan guy: he had it all (chemistry wise), he rocked my boat and shook my world, and though the feeling was mutual, some one didn’t have the balls to face his mother and tell her he was marrying a shia (well, if you won’t do it when your 45, you might as well give up). Moroccan guy still ain’t married (go figure!), but needs to Email me every other day to tell me how much he misses me, and how he is sure we’ll be together in the “next life”, (better ask your mother, though I’m dam sure I’ll have lived out all my lives while she decides just how unsuitable I am).
Then there is journalist guy, the most annoying of all! I met this man while working in Karachi, and devoted 3.5 years of my searching time to him. He promised me marriage, and I foolishly believed him! If I’d used my brain (or lack of it), I would have seen his own ‘mother issues a billion miles away! But I had convinced myself that he’d step up to the plate when the time came (you guessed it: he never did!), so, I gave him an ultimatum, and though he failed to meet it, part of him either didn’t believe I’d leave him, or else he simply thought no one would want to marry me any how! We kept in touch sporadically, mainly due to work, but then, …, lights, camera, anger in action “why didn’t you tell me!!!”, he says “tell you? What?” (I mean, why the hell should I tell you: are you my dad?).
“you got married” (er …, that wasn’t illegal the last time I checked!).
“you didn’t tell me” (refer to the above mate! Besides, you answered in the negative when you couldn’t inform mummy jaan).
Then there are all these sarcastic remarks from him, faking hurt and despair, even a quick call to tell me he’s got flu! …, should I try that! (hey man am off for a dump, just wanted to let you know!). I’ve tried being nasty, I’ve tried the “get over it!” approach, but nothing has worked! I wish Reza was here to go do in a few of them, but I wonder: what is it that gives these men lisence to intrude unannounced in to your universe, turning it upside down and making you feel like a total cow just for existing! Has any one else experienced this, or am I just a stupid sucker (don’t answer that Please), …., I’m off to screen some calls now: I may not return for some time!!

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Blind Christian who turned to Islam (not my words!)

Sorry people, I couldn’t imbed this on my blog, there is no facility for it, you’ll just have to click the link! Can you even remember back that far? When I was so stressed about making a film? Well, here it is, short, honest, not so sweet, loads been cut out, but still: gets the message across! Not too badly made for the BBC! Feedback welcome (sorry for short manic posting, the tubelight wants to sleep!).


http://www.bbc.co.uk/ ouch/features/roshni_the_blind_christian_who_turned_to_islam.shtml
P.S, wondering why its dated 25th August? Nothing to do with me: rather they didn’t even tell me it had been released!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

9/11: where were you?

My husband left for work, leaving a pile of curry stained clothes and other assorted chaos behind him! I put them in the washing machine, made the bed and mechanically worked through the routine, because that’s what I did, because that’s all there was to do while married to the X!
I ate breakfast (way too late in the day!), and performed the afternoon prayers. At that time, I was taking the 3rd unit of my counselling diploma, and had an evening class to prepare for. I settled on the sofa with my books, barely registering that the TV was on behind me. When sounds of America began rumbling through the room, I got annoyed, cursed it and changed the channel, only to find the same ruckus on BBC News 24! That’s when I increased the volume to find out what it was all about!
The twin towers? New York? Plane crash? Attack? I didn’t get it! I didn’t even know there were twin towers in New York: how would I know! I hadn’t visited the city, and being visually impaired meant it was not an image I had any conception of any way! when I heard about the planes, I just thought ‘lockerbie, the plane crash that occurred in Scotland back in the eighties, and more recently blamed on Libyan based terrorists. Stupid though it may seem, I hadn’t made the terrorist connection at all! Naturally, I felt great sorrow, grief and pain for all those trapped, which only increased when I learned that a friend’s cousin was ‘missing in the chaos. I got back to my studies, a few hours later, my dad telephoned, he’d been watching the images on TV and was deeply upset by them. My dad, who rarely shows any kind of emotion! Had been decorating our living room at home, and thought some kind of action film was on TV before he registered the enormity of what was going on. The X called me before I went to my course, he was barely moved by what he had seen: I think working in curry shops does that to most people!
At my counselling course, every one was in shock! I need not have studied, because every one sat around talking about the horror of the images! As I didn’t get that, I listened to them, and tried to comprehend how live visuals of 2 predominant buildings falling to the ground could so alter the international psyche. That was when a colleague on the course (and also a Muslim), said “well, I just pray like hell it wasn’t Muslims?”, ….., huh? What was she talking about! Why would it be Muslims! So-called Islamic terrorism was a little publicised concept back then, why on earth had my friend drawn that conclusion! As we know however, she was right to pray, for the falling of the towers would cause Muslims every where to fall too, out of fear for the future, fear of association, fear of labelling and violent rhetoric media hype. I was lucky, I was white, didn’t wear hijaab, wasn’t very practising and not associated with any particular mosque or institution. The X worried about it, being a then asylum seeker and a Pakistani Muslim, he was an ethnic profiler’s dream! (well, till they actually spoke to him that is!), still his previous political affiliations looked set to cause trouble for him when even those who bought milk in Asian corner shops generated questioning!
My aloof reaction grew, and for the next 3 years, I was a non-Muslim (physically, at any rate!). Sure I hated and despised the racists, the profilers and the journalists, but I was careful not to voice my hatred too loudly! Fast-forward nearly 10 years and so much has happened, globally and personally since then! Islamic terrorism has grown, hatred has too, fear and discrimination. I wear hijaab, others do too. Some wear face vales, and do so in order to prove a point. Questions have been asked and few answers given! It would appear that much is still to be revealed about what exactly happened on 9/11, and more importantly, ‘who done it!
Iraq and Afghanistan seem to have taught the world nothing, and Iran looks set to become America’s next hate victim, an atrocity which if acted out (God forbid), will be a crime that will hit me where it hurts, much closer to home!
But 10 years on, I still ponder the disaster, the stirred hysteria and how it shaped the world. Irish sectarianism was never labelled along quite the same religious lines when it was at its peak, but then, media was not what it is today! Live images and blood curdling stills did not fill our TV screens and our news publications. No internet, no blogs like this or facebook debates, the powers that be could control the external reaction in less defined terms. In many ways, the Irish observers were as blind as I am: no images means no need to panic! No need to think particularly deeply. Reactions went beyond what met the eye, because visual stimulation did not have the last word on conflict resolution as it does now! Had I seen the twin towers, had the people of Afghanistan seen them with the naked eye, we all might have fallen in to the ‘guilty till assumed evil trap! But we didn’t. I can’t see! That’s my fault, all I saw were the people who spat at me in the street, who called me filthy names that I don’t want to print here for fear of offending! I saw the ways in which my family distanced themselves from me, afraid that they would be tarred with the Islamic brush. I saw how airport officials treated me: like dirt! Like fuel for their suspicions! I saw how I was rejected for an American visa to speak at an interfaith conference, because Muslims had become apparently intolerant overnight! I saw how my people, my community was ravaged, how my brothers were tortured for crimes they did not commit. I watched Zuhair, the then love of my life being abused, harassed and held back by the very country he had adopted as his own! Refusing him citizenship, thus blocking his way to medical treatment, dignity and security while he suffered indescribable pain, alone, in despair!
I saw these things, felt them, heard them and reflected upon them, and while its easy to feel pain, sympathy and sorrow for each and every one who died on that fateful day, all those who have lost loved ones, then and now, from 9/11 onwards, its hard to feel any thing other than injustice about the rest. Maybe some saw the towers fall, but did they see the consequences, or the bigger picture of how the disaster would change the world map and the precarious balances of power? Some evils cannot be undone, but for those of the future, lets not be foolish enough to repeat the errors of the last decade. History has its place, though generally, those who bleat about victory burn the books of the other side, and fill the rest with hot air! Why not focus on an equal, transparent and ethical future! For all! You can burn qur’ans, burn buildings and run from their ashes, but the dust remains until it is thrown to the sea, its dust built upon, so that dust becomes bricks, new beginnings, truths to cling to and reflections to be proud of. Tomorrow may not come, so, rather than where you were then, why not, where are you now? And where could you be were you to ditch the shackles and rejuvenate your present!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Dear Readers, eid is here!

And so it is, that the long and winding road leads to an oasis: the bitter-sweet joy of eid: the joy of completing another blessed month of fasting, and the excitement of a celebration, which is Insha Allah well-earned. Still, tears seem to blind me as I worry that I will not be honoured by the guest that is Ramadhan again, the sadness, lethargy that seems to proceed ramadhan: over-eating, sleeping, no more gatherings at the mosque, no more eftars with friends, no more charity, no more long, tranquil nights of worship, no more brotherhood with the neighbours upstairs, the only other people in my building to be observing Ramadhan, and waking up for sehri when I did! This month has not been easy, but it has been beautiful and has flown past all too quickly. All the exhaustion, headaches, fatigue, disturbed routine, hectic schedule and chaos all seem like distant memories, tiny trials that seemed to take over at the time, yet now if I could relive them all, only for just another ramadhan, I’d give my life and all that is within it.
This Ramadhan has been spiritually and emotionally tough for me, I’m dealing with lots of difficulties which somehow feel too close to write about, the worst of them being that my husband isn’t here to carry them along-side me, yet Allah (SWT) has brought many answers, ease where there has been hardship and, most importantly, the light of hope that is needed to cope with a brand-new day. I pray that all of our efforts were accepted during this month, and that our sins are forgiven. It is impossible to leave Ramadhan believing that you have fulfilled all of its rights, but ultimately it is in the hands of the almighty, and we pray he sees our intentions for good and overlooks moments of abandon, or inadvertent errors we may have made, knowingly or indeed unknowingly.
In these days of celebration and plenty, please do not forget those in need, donate whatever you can to the Pakistan flood victims. Their tragedy seems to know no end, and the worry that charities have who are working on the ground is that people will decrease in their giving following this blessed month, so don’t let that happen! You owe it to your brothers and sisters to give whatever you can, no donation is too small!
You can donate online, to www.ladyfatemahtrust.org or to any other trustworthy NGO functioning in your area!
Also, remember the crime that is the predicted qur’an burning, to take place on 9/11. This deserves a blog in its own right, which Insha Allah I’ll get to, but for now, do visit www.muslimpetition.org and add your signature to the millions across the world, Muslim and non-Muslim who are protesting against this evil human rights violation. You might also like to write to your MP, community leaders or other influential figures to get them behind this debate, frankly it’s the least we can do! Eid is only a cause for celebration if we have fulfilled the rights of our brethren that are incumbent upon each of us, so do what is in your capacity to do, so that you offer your eid prayers with a clear heart Insha Allah.

To all my friends, readers, those I know and those I don’t, your friends, family members and all humanity near and far, eid mubarak, have a healthy, happy and joyous day, wherever you are and however you spend it!

To all those close to me, this nasheed is for you! Especially all those who worked with me on the radio this month: my brothers, my sisters, this is our song!

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Monday, 6 September 2010

Push a little button

And the random stuff keeps coming! Those of you in the UK will remember this from the TV licensing Ids, but did you know this was an actual song? Cute, funny, and maybe also a sobering reality at the end!
I’m willing to bet any thing you like that you’ll be singing this and driving every one mad by the end of the day!
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Tag Time again!

Its another tag people! Thanks Masooma for sending: so I’ll give it a go, with some trepidation: this might show how sad my life has become!!
Books I’ve read recently.
1. Teach yourself Modern Persian, (Narges Farzad).
2. 2. 3 cups of tea (Greg Mortonson).
3. 3. East Of the Sun, (Julia Gregson) (don’t EVER read this book, its just awful).
4. 5. Qur’an of course, …, its Ramadhan.

Songs or Albums I listen to all the time.
1. Misc duas CD.
2. 2. Farbut’s CD (reminds me of the wedding and good days in Iran).
3. 3. Any thing that incorporates Nineties Hindi music! That is where the quality is.
4. 4. Audio books (Misc, and usually when I can’t sleep).
5. 5. Misc Matam: …, well, not all the time, but In Muherram, its always a staple, and whenever there is a shahadat (I’m a huge fan of Fatima Ladak).

I love ….
1. Allah (SWT) and his Ahlulbayt (A.S).
2. 2. My wonderful husband.
3. 3. Parents/in-laws (who are one and the same for me before any one says I’m cheating!).
4. 4. All my wonderful friends and sisters.
5. 5. Chocolate, cholay ki chaat and radio (Misc comforts you know!).

Things I’ve learned this year.
1. Some Persian.
2. 2. Not enough Qur’an, (but I suppose something is better than nothing!).
3. 3. That the most beautiful things in life cannot be bought.
4. 4. That I’m allot stronger than ever I thought, even when times are rough!
5. 5. That sometimes, the people you never imagined cared, were the ones to stand beside me, while those I expected to be there ran a mile! (its amazing how hard times do that!).

New Recipes I want to try and make.
1. Any thing!! That is, if I cook it from start to finish, its an achievement.
2. 2. Any thing that doesn’t use the microwave!
3. 3. Would love to be able to make tahcheen and fesan jaan, Reza and I love them!
4. 4. My father-in-law taught me to skewer kebabs, but mine rather looked like they’d been run over by an articulated truck! So need to master that.
5. 5. Cake! I simply can’t make any thing other than one-pot cake! So God help me!

Favourite online hangouts.
1. Blogs.
2. 2. Revertmuslims.com
3. 3. 419eater.com I could waste weeks on this site! Check it out if you are bored.
4. 4. www.bbc.co.uk/ouch
5. 5. www.shukr.co.uk because every woman has to waste money on clothes once in a while!

Projects I need to work on.
1. Getting a job.
2. 2. Getting a job!!
3. 3. Learning more qur’an.
4. 4. Learning Persian.
5. 5. My husband’s visa (actually, is that a project? Or an endurance test!).

Well, I will not tag any one specifically, its Ramadhan, and every one is mad busy! But any one that wants to is more than welcome to give it a go as I did.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A Sunday Night Sample!

One of my favourite tracks in the world, ever! And for some reason, have been listening to this since I got home earlier tonight, perhaps an attempt at clinging on desperately to the last shadows of summer (after all, it never lasts that long North of the border now does it!).

Check it out, and if you want to chill down, then kick back and join me! …., is it my imagination, or when you listen to this song, can you almost feel soft sand under your feet, hear gentle waves behind you, and smell coconuts and salt on the cool late afternoon breeze! ….., bliss!

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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Our Journey (another poem)

So, to get you in the mood for a hardcore disability debate tonight, here is another poem I wrote for our forthcoming exhibition.
Strangely enough, people seem to really like these poems! I’ve no idea why: they are OK, average, not great! I am not a poet, and these are basic attempts to convey a message: still, if people like them and get the point, then I’m happy with that!

Travel with me if you can,
Oh troubled soul, oh angry man.

You need to know that there is more,
Than you have ever seen before.

Woodlands wild and tranquil places,
Tree lined paths and open spaces.

Discover Allah’s Grand design,
No need for you to toe the line.

Travel with me and you’ll see,
You were born to live and wander free.

My Brother as you travel through,
Know that what I say is true.

Believe me, if you only knew,
Humanity has been cheating you.

They say you are worn down with afflictions,
Subject to their own restrictions.

They subjugate you to their lie,
Outside you struggle, yet deep down you cry.

I want only that you now break out,
Open your eyes, stand tall and shout.

Like natural beauty, a shining star,
You need not run from what you are.

Return to nature and be aware,
Woodlands leave them exposed and bare.

Though some may try to squirm and hide,
Nature draws out the truth inside.

For trees stood strong before you and I,
Their legacy of endurance one can’t deny.

Nature taught me I could choose,
I didn’t have to lay down and lose.

For If I’d believed what I was told,
I’d have existed in bitterness, as I grew old.

In the wild woodlands I shall abide,
Where they don’t discriminate or divide.

When all is said and all is done,
Human kind is only 1.

An entity to be celebrated,
With Unity undifferentiated.

A wild flower is what I long to be,
A weed? But if you could only see!

On wet or dry land, above or below,
Wild flowers don’t fail to grow.

Looked down upon in the world of trees,
Wild flowers are greater than all of these.

Unwilling to fall, empowered they stand,
Establishing routes in a hostile land.

Learn from nature what you must,
Discrimination is unjust.

A manmade concept, tired and worn,
Its dead and buried, long out-grown!

Woodlands cleanse and soothe the mind,
Within your soul you’ll surely find.

The answers you were searching for,
See? I told you that there was more.

So travel with me if you can,
Oh troubled soul and angry man.

Carry my words close to your heart,
Never from this truth do part.

Embrace the image of a tree,
And how it signifies your liberty.

Remember that in all you do,
Uphold the uniqueness that is you.

Don’t be down-trodden, or suppressed,
Realise your dreams and be the best.

Be any thing you desire to be,
Branching out like an unkempt tree.

With these words I leave you here,
Confident and without fear.

Travel with me every one,
For our journey, it has just begun!

Listen up People!

Sorry for the short sharp posts today people! But wanted to let you all know that Shaykh Abdal Aziz Ahmed will be appearing on Radio Ramadhan Glasgow this evening, discussing disability, the programme shall commence at 6 PM sharp UK time. You can listen online from any where in the world by logging on to www.radioramadhan.co
And please, if you are listening to this programme, please call in, text in or Email: if the decision makers see that such programmes are gaining momentum and are in demand, they are more likely to continue them Insha Allah. The Programme shall also be available to listen to for 2 days after broadcast. If you miss the live broadcast, log on to www.radioramadhan.co and select listen again, then select the Naseeha programme for Thursday 3rd September. Do check this one out: I’m counting on all you lovely people!
To learn more about the Shaykh and his battles for disability Equality, visit www.kitaba.org

God bless and have a peaceful eftar this evening.

Seeking the return of our Imam (ATF)

Salaamun Alaykum all: see below, my apologies if the Arabic has not transferred over correctly! You will find the complete dua at www.duas.org should you need it Insha Allah.

Bismillah al Rahmaan al Raheem

"Make lots of prayers for the hastening of relief, for in it is your relief" - Letter from Imam Zamaan (ATF)

Grand Ayatollah Sayed M. Taqi al Modarresi has called on Shias all over the world to ask for the reappearance of the Awaited Savior by performing the special
Salaat Imam-e-Zamaan (see below for instructions) on the eve of the 23rd of the month of Ramadhan, the Night of Destiny, which is inextricably linked to
the Imam of our time.

We call on all believers to take part in this global campaign and perform this brief Salaat on this special night, as that could hasten the Dawn of Humanity
and fill the earth with justice and end all oppression.

Over a million pilgrims are expected to take part in this campaign in the holy shrine of Imam Hussein and perform the prayer under the glorious dome of
the Imam, with millions of others in various Middle Eastern cities across the region, and we ask believers around the world to join them.

How to perform the special prayer of Imam Zamaan:

It is composed of 2 Rak'ats, each with Surat al Fateha, until one reaches verse: 5: "Iyyaka naA'budu wa iyyaka nastaA'een", then one repeats this verse
100 times, then completes the Surah. After Surat al Fateha, Surat al Ekhlas is recited once.

The second Rak'ah is done in the same manner.

Following the end of the prayer, the following supplication is recited:

Arabic:

اللهم عظم البلاء وبرح الخفاء وانكشف الغطاء وضاقت الأرض ومنعت السماء وإليك يارب المشتكى وعليك المعول في الشدة والرخاء

اللهم صل على محمد وآل محمد الذين أمرتنا بطاعتهم وعجل اللهم فرجهم بقائمهم وأظهر إعزازه

يا محمد يا علي‪، يا علي يا محمد، أكفياني فإنكما كافياي، يا محمد يا علي، يا علي يا محمد، انصراني فإنكما ناصراي، يا محمد يا علي، يا علي يا محمد، احفظاني فإنكما
حافظاي

يا مولاي يا صاحب الزمان، يا مولاي يا صاحب الزمان، الغوث الغوث الغوث، أدركني أدركني أدركني، الأمان الأمان الأمان

Transliteration:

Bismillaahir Rahmanir Raheem Ilaahi a'zomal balaa wa barehal khafa wan kashefal ghita wan qata-ar rajaa wa zaaqatil arzo moneatis samaa wa antal musta-aano
wa ilaikal mushtakaa wa a'laikal mu-awwalo fishshiddate war rekha. Allaahumma salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad ulil amril lazeena farazta a'laina
ta atahum wa arraftana be zaaleka manzilatohum fa farriz a'nna be haqqehim farajan a'ajelan qareeba kalamhil basare a-huwa aqrab. Yaa muhammado yaa a'li
yaa a'liyyo yaa Muhammad ikfiyaani fa inna kuma kaafiyaan naaseraan wan suraani fa innakuma naaseraan yaa maulana yaa sahebaz zamaan al ghauth al ghauth
al ghauth ad rikni ad rikni ad rikni as saa-a as saa- as saa-a al a'jal al a'jal al a'jal yaa arhamrraahemeen be haqqe muhammadinw wa aalehit taahereen.
Allaahumma
salle a'laa muhammadinw wa aale Muhammad.

Translation:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. My God, terrible was the calamity, and its evil consequences are visible, the covering has been removed,
(all) hopes have been cut off, the (plentiful) earth has shrunk (with very little to spare), the heavenly blessings have been withheld. Thou alone can
help, we refer our grief and sorrow to Thee, we have full faith in Thee, in the time of distress, as well as in good fortune. O Allah send blessings on
Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad, whom we must obey as per Thy command, through which we become aware of their rank and status, and let there be
joy after sorrow for us, for their sake, right away, in the twinkle of an eye, more rapidly than that. O Muhammad! O Ali! O Ali! O Muhammad! Suffice me!
Because both of you provide sufficiently. And help me! For both of you help and protect. O our master! O the living Imam! Refuge! Refuge! Refuge! Reach
me! Reach me! Reach me! This hour! This hour! This hour! Do hurry! Do hurry! Do hurry! O the Most Merciful. For the sake of Muhammad and his purified Progeny.
O
Allah, bless Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad.

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From the cowardice which shrinks from new truth;

From the laxness that is content with half-truth;

From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth;

O God of Truth deliver us!