intellectual property rights: This blogger firmly believes in intellectual and other property rights. Links have been given to the material including images and maps used from outside sources. The blogger requests pointing out any material that have escaped this policy.
Today: consumption kills eco-systems; fraud, greed, grand larceny and theft bring down world's finances; deceit, infidelity and instant gratification destroy families; murders and wars have left us without peace or stability. On top we have droughts, earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis … has the world gone mad! Submit now to Allah before it is too late - to the One and Only God, the Creator, Lord and Sustainer of the universe, Unique in His Person and Actions, without any blemish, weakness or relatives. Follow the Sunnah of Muhammad (the last Messenger and Prophet - upon whom be the peace and blessings of Allah), and join those who will be the really successful ones.

see end of page for buttoned useful links

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Book of Fables

Book of Fables

Table of Contents

Little Red-Riding-Hood
The Goose That Laid Golden Eggs
The Dog in the Manger
The Fox and the Grapes
Little One Eye, Little Two Eyes, Little Three Eyes
The Wind and the Sun
The Crow and the Pitcher
The Boys and the Frogs
A Country Fellow and the River
Puss in Boots
The Farmer's Sons
The Lion and the Bear
The Lion and the Mouse
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Stag and the Lion
The Star-Gazer
The Fox and the Lion
The Farmer and the Stork
The Dog and the Wolf
The Fox in the Well
The Two Packs
The Dog and His Image
The Fox and the Stork
The Spendthrift and the Swallow
Jack and the Bean-Stalk
The Frog and the Ox
The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass
Cinderella, or the Glass Slipper
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
The Arab and His Camel
Tom Thumb
The Tortoise and the Hare
The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse
The Gnat and the Bull
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood
The Ant and the Grasshopper
The Lion and the Fox
Dick Whittington and His Cat
The Cat, the Monkey, and the Chestnuts
The Lark and Her Young Ones
The Flies and the Pot of Honey
Beauty and the Beast
The Wolf and the Lamb
The Travelers and the Bear
The Tortoise and the Eagle
The White Cat
The Lion, the Ass, and the Fox
The Jackdaw and the Doves
The Four Bulls and the Lion
The Country Maid and Her Milk-Pail
The Cat, the Weasel, and the Young Rabbit
The Traveling Musicians
Belling the Cat
The Wolf and the Crane
The Wolf and the Shepherd
The Frogs Ask for a King

Monday, November 24, 2008

greetings on a Monday morning

"Good Morning", I said as I entered the kitchen cum dining room.

It was small for our flat of eighteen bedrooms. Two at one end of the flat were for a couple, and their small children, if any. Society was changing. Religion had already gone out of fashion. Lasting attachments, marriage and children, were following suit. Without a generation of young ones to follow, society would collapse. Selfishness of youth and consumerism for the young meant this message could not be delivered directly. All over the Campus, one could see stickers displaying the message "Two can live as cheaply as one". Someone had written under one such sticker. "Problem is that two become three and then four". A few years ago, government social engineers had hit upon the idea of mixed-gender flats so as to encourage couple and then family formation. Maybe the smallness of our kitchen was also a deliberate design. It would encourage some intimacy. After making something to eat for two, one would feel like going to the bedroom for eating it, as the dining area would be crowded.

Anyway, there I was, fresh from sleep and rest. So as I entered, I announced a "Good Morning" to all - assorted fellow students in the kitchenette. We were neither in the same department, nor would leave the University in the same year, but we were flat mates, and a "Good Morning" greeting was in order.

I did not receive a single reply.

"Hmmm ...", I thought. "This needs rectification. I mean postgraduate students are self-occupied and selfish, but a greeting is a greeting, it must be returned. These students must be taught some basic manners."

"Good Morning Christine, Good Morning Angela, Good Morning Pete, Good Morning Ibraheem, Good Morning Mike, Good Morning George", I said, taking each one's name separately.

Back came the replies, subdued, a little sheepish, but they came.

Satisfied, I looked around. My favorite table by the window was not taken. I took the seat in the corner, facing the crowd, and put my p-cap on the table. I always had a cap. You never know when a cold breeze would come and clog my sinuses. Precaution is the name of the game. When I get up to make my breakfast, this p-cap would ensure that my seat remains reserved. I too am selfish. A good morning is all right, but to give up my favorite spot from where I can look out the window and enjoy the scenery, that is not on.

I saw that I would have to wait for the cooking area to be free before I prepare my breakfast.

What should it be? I started thinking: Cereals - Wheatabix or cornflakes? Eggs or Cheese or baked beans? - Heinz, for Beanz meanz Heinz. Goes without saying that these would be accompanied by toast and butter and milk and coffee - instant, of course.

A breakfast has to be filling and hearty to face the challenges of the day ahead.

As I was silently debating with myself, Sheida entered.

"Good Morning, Sheida", I said in my confident, chirpy voice.

"What is so good about it?" came the gruff reply, almost cross.

"My", thought I, "why is she like that today? This calls for extraordinary measures."

"Good question, Sheida. I will answer it, but first you should have your breakfast. Sit down here," I pointed to the chair opposite me, then continued, "while I prepare our breakfast. Today's is on me."

Sheida looked just a little surprised, but came over and sat down opposite me. I looked at her. She was crushed. Obviously she had been studying all night. That is what happens if you go for a Masters. If you are like me, and get accepted for a straight doctorate, you have a free ride for three years. Your time is your own, and you give headache to your supervisor, for he seldom sees you do anything productive, or even read anything, or even say that you need help.

Or at least I had this fortune. I have always had such fortune. Whenever I needed time off over extended periods, I found myself in a position where no one questioned what I was doing. Sure, I did not get any perks, but that was a secondary consideration.

Sorry, I was talking about Sheida and was sidetracked into talking about myself. That is another problem of old age - well, not so old. I shouldn't think of myself as old until I cross 80, but the wife never lets me off the hook, "You are old, so behave you age".. Wonder what that means. What is acceptable behavior at my age?

Oh no, let us get back to Sheida. She had accepted the invitation without a word. I set the table - bowls for the cereals, quarter-plates for toasts, salt and pepper dispensers, a bottle of half-cream milk. I liked full cream, but had learnt that most people, especially girls, preferred skimmed milk. They probably needed to shed fat. I had no such problems. Although I had never made breakfast for anyone before this, I had often invited people for coffee or tea, and as a compromise I kept half-cream milk. I arranged the eatables which I thought were common to all breakfasts: orange juice, bread, butter, marmalade, sugar, and honey. Then I straightened myself, stood a little to Sheida's left, and bending just a little, as only seasoned butlers or waiters do, asked her:

"What will ma`mselle have for breakfast? Wheatabix or cornflakes, eggs, cheese, corned beef, or baked beans?", I said. Then added hopefully, "or maybe all of these?"

"Wheatabix and eggs", she said with just a hint of a smile.

"Good, ma`moiselle has made a healthy choice", I said. Then I thought: there is hope yet of turning her back into a human, "and how will ma`mselle like her eggs? Boiled, poached, sunny side up, or an omlette", I continued with my mock act.

"Sunny side up", she said.

"Good choice again, ma`mselle", I said approvingly. I placed the box of Wheatabix on the table. Then I looked for an opening at the cooking range. When I saw one, I moved to prepare the breakfast. I put my own frying pan on the electric stove. I never used the communal pans. They were often contaminated with lard or bacon or other pork material. Rather than spend precious time cleaning the pans over and over again, we Muslim residents had bought our own pans. I took out the eggs and expertly breaking the shells, I fried two eggs for each of us. Then brought these over to the table.

As I placed the eggs before her, I saw she hadn't even taken orange juice, so I commented in a complaining sort of way: "Ma`mselle hasn't started her breakfast yet? The eggs will get cold."

"I am waiting for you", she said.

"I am honored", I said, and sat down opposite her.

We started the breakfast, and after some food had gotten into Sheida, I said: "Did ma`mselle notice that the menu here does not include bacon, the usual English breakfast."

"I don't eat pork, any more".

"Really, ma`mselle has made me really happy."

When she had moved in with some of her college mates into our flat, she had initiated the conversation with us old-timers, so that we all had a preliminary introduction. Then at the weekend she had asked me: "Come, timbuktu, we are all going out to this fabulous Chinese takeaway, real cheap", and I had decided there was no harm in humoring her. We had gone out and it really was good food and what is more for us students, it was cheap.

She was from Iran, a Shia Muslim. Her father, a lecturer at Tehran University, had placed her in an English boarding school, from where she had taken admission in a polytechnic, and now she was at my University. I would have looked down at her being from a polytechnic, for I used to be a snob. But she must have been good in Maths to have gained admission to our Production Engineering Department, and that meant she commanded my respect. This was in those days. I am not a snob anymore. I have learnt my lessons, in very very hard ways, let me add.

Those were the days of the Shah, and employees at Tehran University, like other Iran's officially patronized institutions, had to be liberal. Her father was no exception. And she supported the Shah. I did not. I referred to the Shah as "Shahe Khaen" - the embezzler king. She would wince at that, but she knew most students, Iranian or not, hated the Shah and used that term.

So I too called him an embezzler. I wasn't Iranian, but I did not like kings or queens, on principle.

I am wiser now - Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses, Daughters of the East, Presidents, Chairmen, Chief Executive Officers, are all the same.

We were similar in some respects. Both of us were non-practicing Muslims. None of us offered prayers. None of us fasted. We were tolerant, although my tolerance was probably more on the surface that a deep one. She was a little more far gone than me in liberalism. We both drank and danced occasionally. But she went to the pubs with friends, and ate pork. I did not. I hated pubs. They reek of smoke and alcohol, and something else besides. I preferred clubs or less than noisy restaurants with plenty of space. She probably did not have access to these, as she was a poor student. She had no boyfriend in "that" sense of the term, and I too avoided having a girlfriend. There was nothing attractive in her physical appearance. Now that I try to recall her face, I think she was so plain, a little makeup would have done wonders for her, but she never put on a makeup.

I had friends who were earning well, and had expense accounts, so when they came visiting, they needed company and we went out to dinner, and other things.

Then I had seen her eat pork, been dismayed, and uncharacteristically asked her:

"You eat pork?" This wasn't a question. The hidden question was why.

She went on the defensive. "It is my father's fault. He sent me here when I was young."

"Correction, Sheida. It WAS your father's fault. You are an adult now, and responsible for your own actions. It is your fault now."

Silence had reigned for a while, then conversation had moved to another topic.

However, that was another time, in the past. She had now given up pork, and that made me happy. The more people give up on haram, the happier I was.

I asked her, "shall I tell you now what is good about this morning, Sheida?"

"Sure", she said.

"Right", I said then started listing.

"For one, we are alive. We have a chance to make amends for the harm we may have done, and to do good.

Second, look outside, and see that this is a bright sunny morning. It is going to be a pleasant day.

Third, looking outside, we can see the grass on the lawns that surround us. We are lucky to be living here, if only for a while. Have you been to the University of Aston in Birmingham?" Same city, but that one is right in the city center. The noise, and the pollution, and nothing but concrete towers. We are indeed lucky to be in this pleasant University, to which the Cadbury's have donated vast acres of land - hills and fields and lakes, even. And that Messrs. Lucas of Lucas Batteries have donated money to build this cozy hall of residence for us.

Fourth, none of us here are is handicapped. We are instead the privileged. We have sports facilities, a state of the art gymnasium, and sports center, an excellent library, large lawns everywhere in the University, not just outside this window.

Fifth, we are having a full, healthy, loaded with vitamins, breakfast. Even in this country, there are people who do not have the means to eat so well.

Sixth, we are postgraduate students. Again, how many have this privilege? And what is more, the state is paying for our keep, at least it is for mine.

Now tell me, isn't this a good morning?"

She smiled, a weak smile, but a genuine one: "It wasn't, but now it is. Thanks. I am sorry I was in a nasty mood. I had to study all night."

"My pleasure". said I, and she started to eat her breakfast hurriedly. "I have an exam today, and have to go", she said.

"Good luck", I said. I did not have any exams. I would have just one final viva, to defend my thesis.

Three years of freedom, scholarship guaranteed, working on a problem, designing, setting up the apparatus, experimenting, making sense of results, writing a thesis and defending it. That was a good deal. But alas, it would soon change. The universities would have to generate their own funds, and would become commercialized. Students would not get such generous scholarships. These would be tied to performance. They would have to study on student loans. I would be out of it, though.

Life was good.

And I had made some people feel brighter that day.


As for Pakistan, many a times strangers have stopped and helped me change a tyre, or run errands for me. I have seen people help (and myself helped) those less priveleged than them, like women, old men. I am old and have a white beard, and people are kind and helpful.

I do think people in Pakistan were very friendly. As living has become difficult, as every institution has failed, as individuals have been exposed to be corrupt or unprincipled, there is however a dog-eats-dog attitude.

But people are still helpful, although maybe not in the everyday city life. Despite increasing poverty and escalating differences in lifestyles, people give. Edhi testifies to that. His is the largest individual private charity being run from private donations. He even has helicopters now.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rising Rock in Saudi Arabia

True or hoax?

see this's unbelievable !!!
Surprising Rock

A huge rock in a village of Al-Hassa region, SAUDI ARABIA raises 11 cms from the ground level once in a year during the month of April and stays elevated for about 30 minutes !!!

They say that 17 years ago, one terrorist was shot dead behind this rock as he was hidden there.

This encounter happened in the month of April 1989. You can see the fresh blood stains on the rock.

Most surprisingly, when the rock rises from the ground, these stains become darker, fresher and wet.
Local residents tried to wipe off the stains several times, but after some time it appears again
on the rock automatically.....
isn't it astounding ?
Have a look....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

consolation for the heart

What happens to you when you hear the adhan, especially when you are outside the mosque and you hear it on the loudspeaker. I guess in Western countries the adhan on the mike is forbidden, so many there would not know the feeling I have on hearing it.

I said in a post that I went to Karachi in 1977 from London. There:

I met my mother, siblings and assorted nephews and nieces, handed over the keys of my suitcase to my youngest sister, ate what mother had prepared for me, took a shower and changed.

I was about to lie down to rest when I heard it:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

Allah is Great, Allah is Great
meaning: "Allah is the Greatest, or Allah is the Great One"
(As I heard it, it registered with me how much I had missed this declaration. Yes indeed Allah is the Greatest, nay Allah is the Only Great One.)

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

Ash-hadu anla ilaha illallah
meaning: "I bear witness that there is no God but Allah"
(Allah is derived from al-ilaha, the God, the One and Only God)

Ash-hadu anla ilaha illallah

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah
meaning: "I bear witness that Muhammad (sallahu alaehi wa sallam) is His (last) Prophet

Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah

Hayya alas-salah
meaning: "Come to offer prayers"
(Lahawla wa la quwwata illa billah
There is no power to do good or to refrain from bad except through the Power of Allah)

Hayya alas-salah

Hayya alal-falah
meaning: "Come to Salvation"
(Lahawla wa la quwwata illa billah
There is no power to do good or to refrain from bad except through the Power of Allah)

Hayya alal-falah

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar

La ilaha illal-lah
meaning: "There is no God but Allah"
(Indeed there is no God but Him!)

As I finished answering the adhan, I recalled that we are to make this dua:
Allahumma Rabba hazehid-Dawatitta`mma
WasSalatil Qaaima
Aati Muhammada nil waseelata wal fadilah
Wabhashu maqamam mahmoodanilladhi wa`adtah

Hearing the adhan, I felt strangely empowered. This feeling lasted for more than 25 years. Any time I was down, all I had to wait for was the time of the adhan, and I would hear it, and all worries, all weights on my shoulders would be lifted. Allah is Great, so what do I have to worry about? It is only in the last three or so years that on hearing the adhan, I no longer feel that internal strength to face anything in the world. Maybe it is the age, maybe I need to rejuvinate my faith.

I wouldn't exchange hearing, answering the adhan and this feeling of empowerment for a trillion dollars.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Little Zohra's lesson to her father


Here is a little sample from my novel. At this rate, it will take a long time to write it, but sometimes it is the effort that counts.


Zohra ran excitedly alongside her father and younger sister. She always had to walk rather hurriedly to keep pace with father long strides. The younger one was in father's arms, prattling as he walked.

She had two sisters older than her, and another between her and the one presently enjoying the trip out with her. When abba had asked his six year old if she was ready to go for a walk with him, she had wanted to take her gurriya along with her.

When this younger sister was about to be born, Zohra's mother had told her they were getting her a gurriya. Since then she had considered the newly born baby as her doll. She cherished her gurriya, and as soon as she was able to, she started looking after whatever needs she could. While she would allow others to hold her gurriya, it wouldn't be for long, and gurriya slept with her, period.

A walk with abba was always a pleasure for all the girls. He was so kind and gentle, He worked very hard, but tried to take at least one evening off in a week, to be with his family. The girls were learning not to make demands on him. They were good learners. He, however, tried to give them a small treat whenever he took one of them out. And he balanced his walks with his daughters so that everyone received an almost equal number of time.

Zohra was the favorite, though. Her mother showed her favoritism by loading her with responsibility, or maybe it was just a necessity. A six year old girl can carry an awful lot of responsibility in poverty stricken parts of the world, and she was mother's assistant. The older ones also helped, but somehow she would soon act as a mother to her younger sisters, and administrator to the older ones. Amman, with so many kids to look after, needed help, and when her third daughter started helping her, she naturally landed the job.

She did not mind it. Children don't. They think it is play.

Abba tried to hide his favoritism, for he loved his other daughters equally well, but this one was special. They were all pretty, some more than the others, but all had inherited their mother's looks and proportions, not their father's. The latter would have been a disaster, or maybe not - depends on what you think disaster is.

As they walked past the confectionary shop displaying a proud large sign: "AK Sweet House", on Frere Road, she glanced at it, stopped just that little while, as her eyes caught sight of the sweets displayed. She started moving again, but kept looking back, even when they had gone a long distance forward. Her father had noticed that hesitation in front of the shop, and the longing in her glances, and he asked:

"Do you want to eat a sweet or something?"

Zohra said, "No, abba".

Abba knew. She wanted to eat sweets, but had learnt to control her wants. His heart went out to her, and he said:

"Come, let me buy you something."

Zohra did not refuse any more; instead she said happily: "OK, abba", and they turned back. She had forgotten her restraint. After all, she was only six.

As they entered the shop, abba took his two daughters to a corner and seated them facing the road. They could watch the Neon signs and flashing lights on other shops, and see the busy rickshaws and the tram over the heads of the pedestrians who were themselves a treat to watch.

"What will you eat?" asked abba, "Rasgullas, Chum Chum, Imartee, Ghulab Jaman, or what?"

"What will you eat gurriya?", Zohra asked her sister in turn.

"rush goola", said the gurriya, in her broken tongue, and Zohra broke into a smile, which turned into a happy grin. She loved to listen to her sister - she talked so cute. She hugged her gurriya.

So rasgulla it was.

Abba went to the counter to place the order, and stayed there to talk to the owner. A waiter brought a plate of rasgullas to the kids. When abba had finished with his exchange of views with the owner of the shop, he looked in their direction to make sure they had eaten. Then he signaled them to come to him. He made his payment, and they came out of the shop. After walking some distance, he asked the girls if they had liked the rasgullas.

"Yes", both said happily.

"How many did you eat?"

"We both ate from one. Gurriya has such a small stomach. I had to force her to eat a little" , informed Zohra.

"But I paid for six", said abba, a little upset at the waste of five rasgullas. That was a substantial amount in his book.

Zohra thought very, very quickly, on her feet at it were. "Abba, we left them for the sisters. We can go back, and get them in a shopping bag".

They did that, and on the way back, abba thought of his responsible and loving daughter, and made a silent prayer for her.

He had learnt a lesson.

From that time onwards, whenever he bought a child something, he did the same for other children as well.


copyright (c)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How much land does a man need - I

This is a story by Leo Tolstoy, that moved me when I read it. Since the copyright no longer applies to it, I will publish it here, in parts.

part I

An elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine clothes her children wore, what good things they ate and drank, and how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments.

The younger sister was piqued, and in turn disparaged the life of a tradesman, and stood up for that of a peasant:
"I would not change my way of life for yours," said she. "We may live roughly, but at least we are free from anxiety. You live in better style than we do, but though you often earn more than you need, you are very likely to lose all you have. You know the proverb, 'Loss and gain are brothers twain.' It often happens that people who are wealthy one day are begging their bread the next. Our way is safer. Though a peasant's life is not a fat one, it is a long one.
We shall never grow rich, but we shall always have enough to eat."

The elder sister said sneeringly:
"Enough? Yes, if you like to share with the pigs and the calves!
What do you know of elegance or manners! However much your good man may slave, you will die as you are living-on a dung heap-and your children the same."

"Well, what of that?" replied the younger. "Of course our work is rough and coarse. But, on the other hand, it is sure; and we need not bow to any one. But you, in your towns, are surrounded by temptations; today all may be right, but tomorrow the Evil One may tempt your husband with cards, wine, or women, and all will go to ruin. Don't such things happen often enough?"

Pahom, the master of the house, was lying on the top of the oven, and he listened to the women's chatter.
"It is perfectly true," thought he. "Busy as we are from childhood tilling Mother Earth, we peasants have no time to let any nonsense settle in our heads. Our only trouble is that we haven't land enough. If I had plenty of land, I shouldn't fear the Devil himself!"

The women finished their tea, chatted a while about dress, and then cleared away the tea-things and lay down to sleep.

But the Devil had been sitting behind the oven, and had heard all that was said. He was pleased that the peasant's wife had led her husband into boasting, and that he had said that if he had plenty of land he would not fear the Devil himself.

"All right," thought the Devil. "We will have a tussle. I'll give you land enough; and by means of that land I will get you into my power."

Friday, November 07, 2008

A mother's dream fulfilled

We went to school, and good ones at that. Only we gave up on things that needed money.

For years, I wore hand-me-downs, and never felt anything. I just did not observe what others had. What they had was theirs, and it had nothing to do with me. Even looking at what they had made me think I was invading their privacy and property, and that was an improper thing to do.

The only time I started seeing consumer goods was when I had spent many years in the West. I still did not see what others had. I went to Regent and Oxford Streets in London, and window-shopped, only to appreciate the beauty of these consumer items.

I am glad the cycle breakers and the NGOs weren't around when we were at school. They would have broken us, instead of the cycle.

The problem is too big. It requires a revolution. If not a bloody one, then one in thinking, and unfortunately the world hasn't given up on the American Nightmare. I am sorry, but this is what I think the American Dream actually is.

It requires Islam to be practiced in toto, and again unfortunately, this needs a revolution in thought, of the elite and the masses.


P.S.: I remember now how my mother made ends meet. She sold her jewelery, bit by bit, and she had loads of it. Then when the jewelry was gone, she sold her brass and bronze utensils and flower pots with intricate designs, huge and heavy trays called "seenee", and huge copper utensils. And heavy curtains, those you see only at palaces. Those were her dowry things she sold. When these were gone, I don't know how she managed. She worked very hard, and she prayed, even the tahajjud. She did her wazaif as well.

My mother and her elder sister were the two most wonderful people in this world.

Mother had a dream - that her children would be educated, and Allah (swt) fulfilled her dream, alhamdulillah. All her nine children, except one, who was prone to accidents in the head and lost quite a lot of blood that way, have had education upto masters at least. All own their own houses. All have their own cars. And all practice Islam.

I did not fulfill my own dream: to take a doctorate in Chemistry under Linus Pauling in California, I do have a doctorate - in Chemical Engineering. And although I did not get a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, (as my teachers at Dacca University thought I would), I hope that my work, however humble and however unpublished, will be rewarded in the Hereafter. That is what I want, most of all, to be summoned on the Day of Judgement, and told by Allah He is pleased, and He has reserved His reward for me in the Hereafter.

masha`Allah to all that follows here: One of my brothers became a Chartered Company Secretary. That is a very respectable and very paying profession. One of my sisters fulfilled my father's dream. She is an FRCP from the UK, and one of the most sought after medical consultants in Karachi. The youngest of my sisters is very well placed in the Pakistani branch of one of the topmost international NGOs. I won't mention which, for I do not want to give away the identity of my family. She has been offered a place abroad by the said NGO, but has declined, for mother doesn't want her to leave Pakistan for good. The brother who did not progress beyond Matriculation because of his head injuries, has one of the finest collection of books - in English as well as Urdu.

All my siblings have the tenacity and perseverance of my mother. I am the exception. Somewhere along my life (at age 20, I think) I developed an attitude of "it isn't worth the trouble", but I still asked Allah (swt), and He has looked after me very well indeed. The story of that, the story of my own life, is a story of miracle after miracle, and maybe it is due to my mother's duas, for after age 20 at least, I did nothing to deserve what I have.

It, of course, is worth the trouble. One should ask Allah (swt) for everything, even what looks unachievable, for He can create the conditions to give you what you want. I asked for some such things when I was in Canada, and I did it when I was a non-practicing Muslim, or maybe I had stopped being a Muslim, but I still asked Him. It is amazing how He fulfilled these. Only I did not ask Him to fulfill my dream in Chemistry. I relied on my own brilliance. And that is where I went wrong. There is a couplet in Urdu:

Tu hee nadaan chand kalyon peh qana`at kar gaya
warna chaman mein elaje tangiye damaan bhee tha

You, stupid one, yourself stopped short with a few buds
Otherwise, in the garden there was cure for a short shirt as well

(when you are collecting buds and flowers in bulk, you use your shirt to collect these, if you do not have a basket).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Room for the impious Muslim

Isn't there a Hadith to the effect that if we did not commit sins and then repent, Allah (swt) would replace us with a nation that did commit sins, and then repented.

So, instead of looking down on people who commit serious (kabeera) sins, perhaps we should encourage them in a mild manner to repent.

One of the problems of the Ummah is the self-righteousness of the individuals. We think we are better than the other Muslims many of whom we out of hand declare outside of the faith.

We should fight that tendency, try to find reasons and excuses for behaviour, pray, and gently guide the sinful.

Let have room in our hearts, in the mosque, in our homes, for the impious Muslim.

The only time we should withdraw is if association with from him/her poses a threat to our own or our family's eemaan.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Is Obama listening?

good. I congratulate Obama and all who supported him for the President of the US of A.

What does it mean for those of us on this planet who are non-US people.

For there are an awful lot of us.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, where the US or its ally Israel is bombing and killing ordinary people.

Will Obama compensate the Iraqis for the destruction of their lives? The four million displaced ones, who have left homes because of the infighting brought on by the war on Iraq.

He cannot bring back the more than 1.2 million Iraqis killed as a result of this war, but will he apologise, and compensate the Iraqi people.

For again, we are an awful lot of people.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, where the US is bombing and killing ordinary people. Will Obama compensate the Iraqis for the destruction of their lives?

We are an awful lot of people, and we have been living under occupation of people we do not like: in Chechnya, Kashmir, Mindanao, Pattani, ... and many more places.

Will Obama label us terrorists for our struggle for independence?

Where we are nominally independent, we live under autocratic or corrupt rule - the fruits of corruption going to foreign companies, consultants, and the rulers, who deposit their ill-gotten wealth in the West's money-laundering havens, foremost among these being the US of A.

What is Obama going to do about it? Or is he?

That is what concerns me. What wonderful lives the people of the mighty US of A will enjoy, doesn't matter much to me, except to wish them happiness.

Is Obama listening? Will he stop the money laundering, the deposition of our wealth in the names of the corrupt? Will he return our stolen wealth to us, or will he use it to finance the credit crunch of capitalism?

Is he listening?

Some more on apostates

I did some more research on apostates, and I was surprised to see there have been some prominent ones. In most cases it was the love of dunya that made people made the choice of leaving Islam. One of the Presidents of Argentina (Carlos Saúl Menem Akil) was a Muslim who converted to Roman Catholicism in order to satisfy his political ambitions. It wasn't until the mid nineties that Argentina abolished the requirement of her President being a Roman Catholic. Ibne Hafsun in Spain, The Khans of Kazan and Qasim in Russia, all became Christians to retain or to get lands to rule from the dominant Christian Emperors.

Some apostates are reverts from Christianity, who went back to Christianity. How genuine was their intial reversion to Islam, is open to doubt.

Queen Nazli of Egypt and one of her daughters also converted to Roman Catholicism, the latter to marry her Copt lover. They dies and are buried in the US.

The other daughters of Nazli remained Sunnis to the end. They too had been in exile in Europe, but refused to join Nazli, even when their stipends were cut off. They worked like us commoners for a living, and upon their death were brought to Cairo, where they are buried.

The Shah of Iran's elder sister Shams also converted to Roman Catholicism. Princess Soraya Bakhtiari, the Shah's first wife, who was divorced for being infertile, tried her hand at being an actress in Hollywood before becoming a director's companion. She probably converted as well, for the American Consulate held a service for her upon her death. Since the Iranian elite had been Westernised, it is not surpeising.

Such conversions from ordinary Shia to Christianity, or from wahdatul wujud Sufis is also understandable. When they have already accepted divinity in humans, it is a smaller step to transfer their belief of the incarnate god from their previous one to Jesus.

I was more surprised at apostacies from so-called wahabism, but it seems that here some display strictness and ex-communication. This causes people to lose faith. And here we need to understand how to get such extremists to listen to us.

Others who left Islam, did have questions to which their pre-conceived/determined answers were not forthcoming.

Some have started campaigns against Islam, while most have left it quietly.

The viciousness with which non-Muslim Imperialism attacks Islam, is fed by such campaigns.

Under the circumstances, perhaps the Jurists were right in turning the apostate away from the community, and in prescribing the death penalty for those apostates who vilify Islam. But the experience of Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and kashmir shows that Imprerialism will not leave us alone.

I have to think more about what would be the correct response to apostates. Even better, what is the way to prevent Muslims from becoming apostate and going to Hell as a result. As the prophesies of our beloved last Prophet Muhammad (saws) regarding the end times, come true, and people give up Eemaan for dunya, perhaps instead of engaging with apostates, may be it would be better to turn to individual salvation.

Regarding Yasmeen Ghauri, I now have no doubt in my mind that she has deliberately left Islam to enjoy life. She had an unhappy childhood, with constant bickering at home - something then to avoid in your home. In one of her interviews she is implying that her father said "I (Yasmeen Ghauri) am Muslim, and in Islam we are not allowed to drink, dance, show skin, etc. all that I am doing now". Clearly snubbing her father and those who question her choice of a career. She makes fun of her father when he says "You are putting me in jeopardy. You are going to Hell". all very dramatic, she says with a condescending smile. At the end of her catwalk, she puts her heel fown, as if she is making a statement. What statement is she making? Obviously that "I am doing what is forbidden in Islam. What can you do"?

All we can do is to try to prevent our own from being tainted with her outlook on life.

It is ourselves and our own relatives we must first try to save from hellfire.