Tuesday, April 10, 2007
My dear, dear readers. (I don't know how many 'loyalists' I actually do have, but I am being optimistic.) There is gonna be a wee bit of change. Methinks me gonna have a change of address. At least for a while. So this blog is now shifted to http://mifrahabid.wordpress.com/
I think a little change of atmosphere will do me good. Once again, the technologically challenged person that I am, I am still struggling to find a foothold on wordpress, trying to understand the finer points out there. But that's where I am stationed for the present. Though I do miss the comfy compose window and the quick 'up' and 'down'-loads out here. Sniff. It's hard to leggo sometimes.
Anyways. Enough of my sob story. The lure of some zany new features beckons me to wordpress. Thanks a ton for the support you have lent me and I am hoping to see more of that there! LOL. Inshallah.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Assalam Alaikum everyone! Ooooh! This is a special day indeed! Today was my long awaited convocation ceremony, Alhamdulilah. Yes! And I got a GOLD MEDAL for topping M.A. (English) from the
By the way, me in that pic too, hehe. And that's Mr. Azim Premji, Wipro Chairman as the Chief Guest with the Vice Chancellor in the center. Too bad the PM or the Prez couldn't make it too!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
A lot of people ask me if it's not tough to wear the Hijab. Or on how I bear the heat in the layers of cloth around me. And I agree. It is not the easiest of things to follow. No it is not. But I only reason that not all 'right' things are necessarily 'easy'.
For that I draw on my childhood experiences in the examination halls. Cheating and copying (in exams) were never like 'BIG' sins. It was the unsaid rule that while you nobody 'copied' for the entire paper, a sneak or two here and there was after all, only human. Many times the examiners also shared the same belief. So cheats usually ruled the roost during the exams. And no, you didn't have to be a 'poor' student for that. The good students joined in the party; the right answer to a 'fill-in-the-blank' question could get you that precious one mark needed to top the class. Well that was the story always, year after year even through college.
But you know what? Alhamdulilah, we siblings RESISTED. Mum always told us that Allah was watching and while she was the toughest taskmaster when it came to academics- always RIGOROUSLY pushing us to reach the top, she despised dishonesty. She made it loud and clear: her children weren't going to be paltry thieves, selling their souls for a few marks. (Of course she made life tough if we missed those marks because of lack of efforts though! lol)
But does it become 'easy' to be honest about your work "JUST BECAUSE MOM TOLD US TO"? Darn, it's the TOUGHEST thing! When all around you people are sneaking, whispering, passing little 'chits' with answers in them...sigh! It is confounding. And then the mockery: "Oooooh! Miss Goody Two Shoes! Raja Harischandra's heir apparent! What's God gonna punish you for just a mark?"
And oh, God save you if you refuse to 'help' someone during the exams!
Girl:"What's the answer to Question number 3?"
Me:"Don't know." (Returns to own work)
I will cut it short: you are the VAMP of the class- selfish, proud, unhelpful and then some more grudges against you.
You try to make sense to your friends. Try telling them that you are NOT all that prepared yourself, but would rather not cheat. And then they come up with theories like 'God will bless us if we help each other', 'God understands; he will forgive', 'Between justice and mercy you must choose mercy', blah, blah, blah. Did they not hear of the Quranic verses that God will punish them if they construe a lie about him?
As a teacher I am faced with more than just raised eye brows when I snatch away the answer papers of kids caught cheating. Sigh. As I said, the 'right' thing is not necessarily the 'easiest'.
I draw this analogy whenever I am asked about the difficulty level in donning the Hijab. Oh yes, it does get hot. And yeah, I feel like showing my designer outfits, dangling chandelier earrings and done up hair at social dos too. Sometimes I even given in to the devil, I must confess; but I try to do as much as I can. But there are other benefits too. When we sacrifice something for Allah, he sends mercies on us in ways we least expect. And it ain't THAT difficult either. After a while you get used to it. And there is the satisfaction of having done the 'right' thing. Plus, who says you need to look 'bad' in a Hijab? I take active part in designing my stuff and I think it's pretty elegant and dignified (not to mention smart), Alhamdulilah. So there. I will end with this beautiful little poem that I found on the net. Don't know the source, but so endearing, and I guess it pretty much sums it all :)
You know me not for what's inside,
You judge the clothing I wear with pride
My body's not for your eyes to hold,
You must speak to my mind, not my feminine mold,
I'm an individual, I'm no mans slave,
It's Allahs pleasure that I only crave
I have a voice so I will be heard,
For in my heart I carry His word,
"O ye women, wrap close your cloak,
So you won't be bothered by ignorant folk"
Man doesn't tell me to dress this way,
It's a Law from God that I obey,
Oppressed is something I'm truly NOT,
For liberation is what I've got
It was given to me many years ago,
With the right to prosper, the right to grow
I can climb moutains or cross the seas,
Expand my mind in all degrees
For God Himself gave us LIB-ER-TY
When He sent Islam,
To You and Me...
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Well, I was just on a bus trip to Mahableshwar and Panchgani with a pack full of very enthusiastic teenagers for the college picnic . As it is with youngsters throughout the world, there was an insistent demand for music. Ironically no one had carried any cassettes with them, thanks to mp3 compatible phones everywhere. One student (who also happens to be a close friend) came forth from the back seat with a cassette that said 'Sami Yusuf'. I was like, "Sami who?". She said he sang Islamic songs. I was skeptical. Wasn't sure if these bandanna brandishing hip hop girls were going to like this. At least not with the mood that they were in. But she insisted. A soft, lulling voice wafted through the boisterous bus. It was unanimous. These weren't exactly 'picnic' songs. But I kept the name at the back of my mind. 'Must check it out later', I said. A couple of days later I checked the net for the name. Downloaded some tunes and must say, it's been well the effort. For a music buff like me it was quite a find, especially 'Al-Mualim' , 'Hasbi Rabbi' and 'Mother'. Songs that are rocking the Islamic world. Songs dedicated to the Creator and the Guide. Plus some long forgotten values put in for good measure. The lyrics are pretty soothing themselves. I couldn't help but notice the conspicuous absence of any stringed instruments in the songs (I could be mistaken of course), which are generally considered forbidden in Islam. Of course, there is some contention about the place of music itself in Islam, but I am not going to delve into that debate here. Some say it is allowed some say it isn't. Allah knows best. But here's an article that could be starting point for some discussion on that.
At any rate, if you like music (and a lot, like me!) you probably wouldn't mind exploring some unconventional genres. And while it, you could also sample Mesut Kurtis , Nazeel Azmi or Hamza Robertson. Haven't heard them yet, maybe you could give me a review! Till then, long live Limewire!
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
By Edgar A. Guest
(Food for thought, ain't it?)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
We humans are an exigent race. When religion seems imposing, it becomes cumbersome. But when need arises, we all turn to God in despair. We all do. And unfortunately we cannot have religion custom made to our individual needs and situations. We may damn religion for whatever it stands for. But when our car dangles precariously over a cliff after an accident, we pray fervently for a safe return. Oh well. Man has always been a confused species.
The problem perhaps then, is not with religion per se but with our interpretation of religion. Maverick talks disdainfully of the unfortunate Graham Stein's murder, the Gujarat riots , the divide-and-rule policy of the Imperialists and the terror wreaking Arabs. I totally agree with her here. (I assume it's a 'she', there was no profile info to check with!)
But what makes us think that these tragic events happened BECAUSE of religion alone and what guarantee that they would NOT have occurred had there been no religion at all?
Yes, religious texts do teach us the cliched concepts like tolerance and benevolence, etc., etc. But cliched as they are, they are also sorely lacking in us. But for these texts, we would probably not even know that these are concepts worth valuing, the uncouth race that we are.
If there had not been any standards set in the first place, we would have cared little for any deviations.
Why blame religion when it is the misguided practitioners who cause all the mischief? And who can tell, they would have thirsted for blood even if they were atheists. Maverick exhorts us to 'shed the pretense' of religion as it leads to no growth whatsoever. Now 'growth' can be a very tricky term. And sometimes it comes in very inconspicuous packages as well.
A brilliant young boy I know was told that cheating in exams was deplorable as it was theft and that God hated thieves. It was this belief that kept him going. He was assigned an exam center for HSC where cheating was rampant. He was even offered a few answer books. He refused, despite the temptation. For him topping this exam was of utmost importance, but he resisted. Why? Because his religion taught him to. Everyday he would come back; sad, disheartened and frustrated. He knew his friends were gaining an edge over him. But he trudged on. When the results were to be out, he didn't even bother to dress up for the occassion. It was only when the college sent the professors and peons to fetch him did he realize that he had topped the entire division (and the state in one of the subjects) that year. He was an overnight celebrity.
Even if he hadn't it would not have been such a bad thing. Because now when he is employed in a reputed MNC, his employers know that they have an honest, God-fearing employee. He is worth a lot of trust, a trust on which they base the 'growth' of their company.
A little learning, they say, is a dangerous thing. The fault usually does not lie in religion but on how we take religion. It is the half baked ideas about God that lead to all grief. As for the 'murderous Islamic countries' that Maverick talks about, I have always maintained that if Muslims only read the Quran with understanding (and followed it), there would be little to complain against them; it's so simple. Alas, we have made the simple things complicated with our own additions.
Monday, January 29, 2007
I am not much of a politics person but I just happened to come across a recent article by Thomas Friedman. I usually avoid reading him-for several reasons. I find him blatantly biased against the Islamic world and well, he has a certain talent with the written word that makes even his ludicrous neo-imperialist ideology seem fair seeming to a naive outsider. But there's something that we might learn from him. When he laughs at the growing divide amongst Muslims themselves, it's time to sit up and take notice. Not because he's saying so. But because our Prophet (PBUH) never meant us to be like this. We have Hadeeth quoting Muhammed (PBUH) that the whole Ummat should be like one single body-so that even if a finger is in pain, the whole of the body should agonize over it. It makes sense even if you are not much a believer of the Hadeeth tradition, doesn't it?
Why are we are silent over the rising sectarian violence that's raging in Iraq then? The problem is that we have divided ourselves-we have forgotten the Book and grabbed false messiahs for our salvation. Why the Sunni-Muslim divide in the first place? Both the sects believe in Muhammed (PBUH) and his Prophethood, but both fail to realize that he neither went by the name of either 'Shia' or 'Sunni'. These are inventions of generations that came much later.
Why must we fall on innovative interpretations of Islam when it's all so clear in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet?
The question is: why are we searching for alternate identities when all they are serving is growing sectarianism? Is it serving any purpose? Why are we so skeptical about just following the Quran and the Prophet? Why do we need the 'add-ons' so much when Allah Himself proclaims in the Quran: "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed MY favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion." (5:4) Why the thirst for 'improvisations' in the divine message, when they can only imperfect at their best, because they are so human?
It's sad how we divide ourselves over something as small as who was the Prophet's successor AFTER his death-a time when Islam was already a complete entity, as we see from the verse from the Quran. While that may be a serious issue indeed, is it serious enough to demand a re-interpretation of our entire religion? Is it serious enough for us to be divided like this for centuries on end? Is it serious enough to give us the right to kill our own brethren? How can we allow the killing of either sect by members of another when Allah condemns the unjust killing of any life:
" For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind." (5:32)
"...And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice. This He hath command you, in order that ye may discern." (6:151)
and yet again:
"And slay not the life which Allah hath forbidden save with right. Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power unto his heir, but let him not commit excess in slaying. Lo! he will be helped." (17:33)
We say we kill in the name of Islam when Islam requires us to have a VERY just cause to kill; we say we take the Quran to be the word of Allah and yet we flout it in the name of religiosity.
I admit these are tough times, but that shouldn't be reason enough to forget the divine word, no? In fact this is just the time to bond even more firmly, to Allah and to all our brothers in faith. If Islam means 'peace' let us not violate it, except for a cause justified by Allah-for instance when one has to punished for murder or other such sin-and killing another because you don't like him or his leader cannot in any way be defined as justice.
And may better sense prevail. And may Allah unify this broken Ummat again towards Him. Ameen.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I quote my cousin here. Sometimes youngsters can amaze you with the wisdom they exhibit. My young cousin deeply impressed me with his ideas when we interacted last week. He told me to read some Quran-said that we soon realize then that if we have our Eeman with us, it is not the end of the world yet.
"Maybe some good will come of this." That was the refrain in the story he narrated to me. An old farmer keeps telling that to himself every morning as his only sheep, only goat and only dog are devoured by a hungry wolf in three consecutive nights. The fourth night the entire village is raided by dacoits who rob all the villagers of all their possessions but spare the old farmer's house thinking that since he had no live stock, he would be too poor to have anything worth robbing. There was some good in an apparent evil. But it requires immense amount of faith to believe in that till the good actually begins to show. Sub-hanallah. May Allah always give us enough patience to believe in His wisdom and power till the difficult times tide over. Ameen
Monday, January 01, 2007
I never got that Biryani done but there were other yummy goodies to make up for it. Don't know where the day went-just whizzed by. Good thing. Was invited to a large luncheon get-together with cousins and aunts and uncles all over the place! LOL.
Well, hope everyone had a smashing Eid-ul-Zuha and here's wishing all the folks who are through with their Hajj, a very Mubarak Hajj :) Cheers!
Sunday, December 31, 2006
I have Mashallah been very lucky with the people around me...so much like the son in the story...especially my friend Anisa...wonder if I can ever love people unconditionally like she does. When she wants to do something for me, or for anyone for that matter, well, she has the will to do it. And we are so much happier for it. May Allah bless her kind soul...
Here's the aforementioned email copy:
An old man lived alone in a village. He wanted to spade his potato garden,but it was very hard work. His only son, who would have helped him,was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and mentioned his situation: Dear Son, I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I hate to miss doing the garden, because your mother always loved planting time. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me, if you weren't in prison. Love, Dad.
Shortly, the old man received this telegram: "For Heaven's sake, Dad, don't dig up the garden!! That's where I buried the GUNS!!" At 4 a.m. the next morning, a dozen local police officers showed up and dug up the entire garden without finding any guns. Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what happened, and asked him what to do next. His son's reply was: "Go ahead and plant your potatoes,Dad... It's the best I could do for you from here.
"NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD, IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING DEEP FROM YOUR HEART YOU CAN DO IT. IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT MATTERS NOT WHERE YOU ARE OR WHERE THE PERSON IS."
Saturday, December 30, 2006
"And when My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I respond to the du'a (prayer) of every suppliant when they call on Me" - Quran 2:186
How true. Here are some more prayers from the Holy Quran which I am sure will provide succor to whoever seeks it from the Almighty:
Our Lord! Bestow on us endurance and make our foothold sure and give us help against those who reject faith. (2:250)
Our Lord! Take us not to task if we forget or fall into error. (2:286)
Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear, grant us forgiveness and have mercy on us. You are our Protector. Help us against those who deny the truth. (2:286)
Our Lord! Lay not upon us such a burden as You did lay upon those before us. (2:286)
Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate from the truth after You have guided us, and bestow upon us mercy from Your grace. Verily You are the Giver of bounties without measure. (3:8)
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings, and make firm our steps and succour us against those who deny the truth. (3:147)
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and efface our bad deeds and take our souls in the company of the righteous. (3:193)
Our Lord! We have sinned against ourselves, and unless You grant us forgiveness and bestow Your mercy upon us, we shall most certainly be lost! (7:23)
Our Lord! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and make us die as those who have surrendered themselves unto You. (7:126)
Our Lord! You truly know all that we may hide [in our hearts] as well as all that we bring into the open, for nothing whatever, be it on earth or in heaven, remains hidden from Allah (14:38)
Our Lord! In You we have placed our trust, and to You do we turn in repentance, for unto You is the end of all journeys. (60:4)
Our Lord! Perfect our light for us and forgive us our sins, for verily You have power over all things. (66:8)
Allah puts no burden on any person beyond what He has given him. After a difficulty, Allah will soon grant relief. (65:07)
On the occassion of Hajj, here's wishing everyone a very blessed pilgrimage and may Allah grant us all enough wisdom to put implicit trust in him. For Allah says again;
"And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion." (65:03)
Ameen to these wonderful verses...and may we never despair in times of test and in times of peace, and may we always have enough grace to submit ourselves to the caretaker of the Universe.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn."
-S.T. Coleridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
If life was a piece of cake, few would have relished its taste. Err, food surfaces predominantly even in my profound thoughts, ahem. Jokes apart, adversity does indeed make us sad, but it also offers oppurtunity to become wise. 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going.' Heard that one before.
But you know, sometimes it makes us very sad. And then you don't understand what to do. And then you realize that when effort and understanding fail, then it only means one thing-that Allah had a different plan...and surely there must be some good in an apparant evil. Or else it would have worked out just the way you wanted it to. Oh well, C'est La Vie. Easy to say, hard to follow. Hard yes, but not impossible.
Prayers, they say, can change destiny. And I have seen that happen, way too many times to ignore that bit. And have also seen how prayers not answered work favorably too...because what you wanted so bad at one time, wasn't so good after all, in fact; we are often better off without it.
Easy to say I know. Or else there would have been no tears. No moments of despair. But then again, a phoenix rises from the ashes too. And Allah is close to those who bear with patience. And I hope we have enough grace to accept that. Ameen.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Hmmm...the problem is, except the occasional and inconsequential ramblings, mere mortals like me have err, precious little to blog about, which is I think, pretty evident by the way I am going on now. Ahem.
Now let's see. Should I talk about the painful dentist's appointments I have been having every week since 2 months (If only medical prosecution was more real in India, I would sue my previous dentist for the disaster he's done with my teeth) or should I blog about the delicious cakes I had today, or maybe about how I haven't gotten upgraded to the beta version of blogger yet??? Hmmm...maybe there should be something wild like the Blogger's Rasberry Awards, maybe I could win an accolade or two there! Hehehe....and I thought I was 'creative'...You never realize how sparse innovative ideas are untill you begin blogging. And while you engage in a losing battle with your muse, the blog serves as your redressal system. Just like the ol' 'Dear Diary...' days. Only it's more public now. Bet Bridget Jones would never have had those 'profound' thougts if she knew they were going to be fodder for public consumption. And now, if my snooty li'l blogger brother reads this, he will drive me crazy by gloating on his 'Told ya I was better' refrain. Sigh. The things lack of inspiration does to you!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Life-teaches you a lot. Well, I say, Time is a great healer, and Allah the Greatest healers of 'em all. And come to think of it, things could have gotten far worse. What's important, perhaps, is what you take with you from the not-so-good times. So here I am- back to my chirpy self. Armed with some fresh persepectives. With some wisdom. And maybe some more maturity. And yeah, a brother who's taken to blogging, or rather 'quality writing' as he may well prefer to call it. Here's the wannabe William's page: http://musababid.blogspot.com The accompanied claim is that the blog is errr..'far better' than mine. Ahem. Now you know how these kids are! (Roll of the eyes)
Friday, July 28, 2006
So I did what I had to do. Sent an SOS message to another blogger called javshak, who is really tech savvy and all that, and thanks to his timely suggestion, my blog's back in place. It looks a bit different okay, but it doesn't look BAD.
Phew. Alhamdullilah. It's a good thing I browse to other 'specialist' blogs. Or else it would have been a long time before you heard from me again. And oh! by the ways, I am uploading those pics again. Hopefully this time the blunderer in me won't mess it up.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Now what do I do???
Tell you what. As good readers, you MUST help me. Tell me what I should be chronicling about! I know this is not done, but HELLO! How many of your (ahem!) 'favorite' writers ACTUALLY ask you what you want to read? LOL. So please keep those 'comments' (shhhh... Don't tell but I mean 'ideas'!) coming!
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Sunday, June 25, 2006