Thursday, February 22, 2007

The pangs of tough love....

So I'm reading this book called "The Road to Whatever" by Elliot Currie; it's about the crisis facing middle class youth. He does a really good job at dissecting an issue that's been neglected for quite some time.

He gives examples of many adolescents that have been reared in financially stable homes and are facing problems that are always co-related to poverty.

The problems they're dealing with prove that poverty is not a strong co-relation to rebellion and dangerous behaviour.

He sums it down to several social issues that all breed from social darwinism. The most obvious is the selfish phenomena referred to as "tough love". It's quite possibly the most destructive form of parenting. Where parents neglect the child for the sake of their own good ("neglecting" for their own good? I don't get it... That's like saying to your girl..."I'm gonna rape you for your own good....").

They do this when the child becomes "out of control" or "too rebellious" and what the parents do is disown their child by not commincating with them, being harsh and lacking empathy & eventually throwing them out on the street (or sending them to rehab).

Currie goes on to say many of these adolecents only rebel or loose control because they cannot live up to the ridiculously high standards society put out for them. They live to them for a while & eventually burn out. He also goes on to say that, the parents hardly ever acknowledge their child's success' and only criticize their imperfections (if I grew up in that kind of a home, I would have ended up the most ruthless thug on the planet, I am the definition of imperfection....Thank GOD for ma familia).

So, this social darwinism phenomena says that, "if your not the best, your nothing". The whole "survival of the fittest" motif, he claims, has destroyed an adolecents possibility to be just "human".

As well, he notes about the whole, American Christianity ideology which says "a sin is a sin". Whether I've lied, smoked crack or went on a killing spree, I'm in the boat of "wretched sinner"' so alot of religious and irreligious adolecents end up saying "the hell with it, whether I accidentally curse or get smashed, I'm just as bad, so whats the point of trying so hard to perfect?"

This forces many adolecents to completely disregard any potential of them doing good.

I've only summarized a portion of his book, there's so many things and I highly suggest you read his book too. But I would like to end off with the central reason as to why many adolecents are sinking terribly. It is because they've lost their sense of self "human" worth. The idea which plagues modern culture, which is a mix of social darwinism and some really bizarre form of Chrisindom says in this society that you either sink or swim; because sinking is just much easier when all the odds are against you, what do you have to loose.

Never loose your sense of worth, you, as a human, share the same value as everyone around you; priceless.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I love the quote in the cartoon

Khadija tul Kubra and Islam

Today, Islam is the greatest force in the world. Its enemies cannot do it any harm. It is like a mighty oak which the storms of the world cannot uproot. Yet there was a time when this mighty oak was a tiny sapling, and desperately needed someone to protect it from the hurricanes of idolatry and polytheism which threatened to uproot it.

Muslims may forget it but Islam cannot forget that in its infancy, it were Abu Talib and Khadija who protected it. They made Islam invulnerable. Abu Talib protected the sapling of Islam from the tempests of misbelief and heathenism; and Khadija irrigated it with her wealth. She did not let the sapling of Islam die from draught. In fact, she didn't even let it wilt from neglect. Protecting Islam was, for Abu Talib and Khadija, their foremost duty. Islam was their first love, and it was a love which they passed on, as their "legacy" to their children. If they - Abu Talib and Khadija - had protected the tree of Islam from its enemies in the lifetime of Muhammed Mustafa, and had "irrigated" it with vast quantities of gold and silver, their children and their grandchildren protected it, from its enemies after his death, and irrigated it with their blood. Their blood was the most sacrosanct blood in all creation. After all, it was the blood of Muhammed Mustafa himself - the Last and the Greatest of all Messengers of Allah, and the Chief of all Apostles and Prophets.

Khadija was an "eye-witness" of the birth of Islam. She nursed it through its infancy, through its most difficult, and through its most formative years. Islam was given shape and design in her home. If any home can be called the cradle of Islam, it was her home. She "reared" Islam. If any home can be called the "axis" of Islam, it was her home; Islam revolved around her home. Her home was the "home" of Quran Majid -the Book of Allah, and the religious and political code of Islam.


It was in her home that Gabriel was bringing Revelations from Heaven for ten years.

Khadija has collected more "firsts" in the history of nascent Islam than anyone else. She was the first wife of the last messenger of Allah. She was the first Believer. She was the very first mortal to declare that the Creator was only One, and that Muhammed was His messenger. Next to her husband, she was the very first individual who heard the Voice of Revelation. She was the first person who offered prayers to Allah with her husband. Whenever he went into the presence of Allah, she was his constant companion. She was the first Mother of Believers. She was the only wife of Muhammed Mustafa who did not have to co-exist with a co-wife. All the love, all the affection and all the friendship of her husband, were hers and hers alone -exclusively!

When Muhammed Mustafa proclaimed his mission as the messenger of Allah, and told the Arabs not to worship idols, and called upon them to rally under the banner of Tauheed, a tidal wave of sorrows broke upon him. The polytheists began to thirst for his blood. They invented new and ingenious ways of tormenting him, and they made many attempts to stifle his voice forever. In those times of stress and distress, Khadija was a bastion of strength for him. It was only because of her and Abu Talib that the polytheists could not disrupt his work of preaching and propagating Islam. She made, in this manner, a most important contribution to the survival and propagation of Islam.

Khadija set basic standards that spell domestic peace, harmony, happiness and fulfillment, and she upheld and reflected them in her life. She demonstrated that the key to a family's strength and happiness is the degree of emotional closeness between its members. She spelled out the rights and duties of husbands and wives. The standards set by her, became the "blueprint" for family life in Islam. Muhammed Mustafa and Khadija spent twenty-five years together, and in those years, they formulated the "laws" that make a marriage successful and a life happy. Since then, even in temporal terms, the rest of the world has not been able to find better laws. Islam incorporated the same laws in its own programme.

Khadija turned the abstractions of idealism into reality. Her life with Muhammed is concrete evidence of that fact. What she gave to the world was not merely a set of principles or theoretical ideas but an experience, rich in moments of pure enchantment with Islam, and subtle rhythms of love for Allah and His Messenger.

As mentioned earlier, the pagan Arabs had a sense of honor gone all awry. It was their "sense of honor" which impelled them to kill their daughters. Islam of course put an end to this barbaric and horrendous practice by making it at once a sin against Allah, and a crime against humanity. Besides putting an end to female infanticide, Islam also gave dignity, honor and rights to women, and it guaranteed those rights.

Allah Ta'ala wished to demonstrate that the laws of Islam were all practicable. To demonstrate the practicability of those laws, and to show the Islamic "Design of Life," He chose the house of His slaves, Muhammed and Khadija. Without Khadija, the laws of Islam would have remained meaningless. In fact, it is even possible that Muhammed Mustafa could not have promulgated those laws without her.

One of the greatest blessings that Muhammed Mustafa and Khadija received from Allah Ta'ala was their daughter, Fatima Zahra. As noted before, Fatima was born after the death of her brothers, Qasim and Abdullah. She was only five years old when her mother died. After the death of her mother, Muhammed Mustafa, the messenger of Allah, became both a father and a mother for her. In bringing up his daughter, the Messenger of Allah was demonstrating the applicability of the laws of Islam. Since he is the model for all Muslims, they have to imitate him in all his deeds. He bestowed the utmost love upon, and showed the greatest respect to his daughter.

Both in Makka and in Medina, many important persons, such as princes and leaders of powerful tribes, came to see the messenger of Allah. He never rose from the ground to greet any of them. But if he heard that his daughter, Fatima Zahra, was coming to see him, he rose from the floor, went forward to greet her, escorted her back, and gave her the place of honor to sit. He did not show so much esteem and regard to anyone at any time in his life - man or woman!


(Quran Majid. Chapter 62; verse 4)

Allah Ta'ala bestowed His Bounty upon Fatima Zahra, the daughter of His friend and His messenger, Muhammed Mustafa.

It was Khadija's only daughter, Fatima Zahra, who became the recipient of the accolades of Heaven in the 76th chapter of Quran Majid - Sura Dahr. In fact, the whole chapter is "dedicated" to her and to her family comprising her husband, Ali ibn Abi Talib; her children, Hasan and Husain; and her maid, Fizza. She also became the "exegesis" of the 108th Chapter of Quran Majid - Sura Kauthar (=Abundance). Allah Ta'ala gave Khadija a son-in-law like Ali ibn Abi Talib who became the Lion of Allah; "the Right Arm of Islam;" and the shield and buckler of Muhammed Mustafa; and He gave her grandsons like Hasan and Husain who became the Riders of the Shoulders of the Messenger of Allah, and "the Princes of the Youth of Heaven."

Without a doubt, Islam means the practice of the house of Khadija; and without a doubt, Quran Majid is the "dialect" of her family. Her daughter, Fatima Zahra, and her grand-children, Hasan and Husain, grew up "speaking" Quran Majid. She has the same relationship to Islam and Quran Majid that light has to the eyes, lustre to a pearl; and fragrance to a rose.

Even the most eloquent of languages fails adequately to express or fittingly to commend, Khadija's merits. But Allah Ta'ala has promised His reward to his loving slaves like Khadija in the following verses of His Book:



(Chapter 98; verses 7, 8)

What it means to be sincere...

Never reject someones sincerity.
"we as humans" can grow to be selfish enough to reject the sincerity of others. A perons words that lack sincerity is like a body that has no soul. So when anyone approachs you in sincerity, reply to them with the same caliber of sincerity.

This may be difficult, considering you may not feel the necessity or desire to be sincere; however, there are two ways that "we as humans" can be genuinely sincere, when we might feel otherwise.

1. actively listen to the other persons words; try hard not to think of how you want to respond, but focus on what they're saying (both verbally & physically). Direct your mind to the person speaking and seperate your brain from your personal thoughts & feelings. This helps you see between the persons words which is basically, understanding their sincerity. This is pretty difficult, but it's like anything else....practice will eventually make you a pro at it. But, the better you become at it, the easier it'll be to seperate the person's intentions from their inability to communicate their message (e.g. someone really angry, but just wants to do good).

2. Try really hard not to take anything personal, even if it is directed at you. As in, if someone is terribly upset with you, try hard not to erect a "psychological defense wall" that will prevent you from understanding their message. Even if someone is directly angry with you, humble yourself to listen carefully, even if it sounds like rubbish. You can humble yourself by instantly acknowledging you've done something wrong and by actively listening, you can disect why the person is emotional (or irrational, angry etc.) and this will help you connect with them.

"we as humans" should strive to connect with people on the basis of sincerity. This helps us connect with people on the most "human" level because sincerity is someones desire to be genuine.

We make the mistake of "wanting" to connect with people on the basis of their knowledge, wealth, status and so on. This is selfish and anti-human because sub-consciously we are wanting to "get" something out of them. But ofcourse, there are exceptions.

We cannot engage with people who we think will match or excell us in knowledge, these are the seeds of arrogance and we all know, it is a slipperly slope.

How do we do all this????
It's done through active consciousness. We need to make sure that we are not always acting or speaking on behalf of our habits (which humans portray unconsciously). "We as humans" need to know what our bad habits are. So that when we think they will come out, we will actively engage with ourselves to ensure that we will act according to what we know is best.

Again, there are always exceptions.

Just wishing "we as humans" can act like this all the time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Little Hujja

A Country's Most Valuable Export Is Not A Prodcut Or A Service But Rather A Myth.

Last night I was able to attend Dr. Jamal Zahalka's
(member of Israel's Knesset) lecture as the last
keynote speaker at the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) at
the U of T. Dr. Zhalka's opening statement was about a
very valuable Israeli export describing it as the Most
Important Export: the concept that Israel is a

Dr. Zahalka's lecture was not yet another attack on
Israeli policies and practices and he did not throw
around details documenting atrocities and so on. Arabs
have done that for years without any success and
listeners largely tune out when they hear such
arguments against Israel and dismiss them as
Anti-Semitism citing the FACT THAT "ISRAEL IS A
Zhalka's lecture interesting is the concept of Israel
EXPORTING a MYTH and buyers are willing to pay
exuberant sums of money, efforts, and morale compass
for it. There are endless buyers of such export
ranging from the traditional western politicians,
academics, and religious leaders to even Arab masses.

From the get go, Dr. Zhalka did not claim to be
neutral but stated that he will try to be objective.
He then went on to support his statement that Israel's
democracy is a myth by arguing that Israel's very
existence as a state for the Jews from outside
Palestine dictates that it can't be democratic for all
its citizens (because of the conflict it created
between Christians and Muslims on one side and Jews on
the other side). Simply put, democracies serve the
interests of the majority and Jews were a minority in
Palestine at the time of starting the process of the
creation of the state. To insist that Israel be
democratic is to change the demographics so that Jews
are the majority and Christians and Muslims are a
minority. To forcibly change the demographics of a
country is an undemocratic process.

The tragedy that befell the Palestinian people was due
to two things: first, the plan of outsiders to create
a state for the Jews and second and most significant,
insistence that such a state be democratic. The
insistence on the state of Israel being democratic
dictated that its demographics must change and that
its Muslim and Christian population must be
out-rooted. Palestinians would have been better off if
outsiders had decided to create an apartheid state
(like South Africa for example) whereby few powerful
European and Arab Jews ruled a mostly poor Christian
and Muslim Arab population because then there would
have been no need to expel the Palestinians and
eventually over time all would have learned to live in
one democratic country.

Demographics are the reason why Israel STILL IS NOT a
democratic state. As Israeli Arab population grows
very fast, the state is trying to ensure they do not
become a significant minority (the cutoff percentage
according to Dr. Zhalka is 30% of the total
population) let alone a majority. Laws are enacted to
prevent such growth. Such laws are enacted in “the
most democratic way”: they are proposed by the
government, debated in the Knesset, and voted on. To
an outside observer this is great democracy at work
but it does not take too much research to realize that
such laws have one clear objective: to discriminate
against Arabs in such a way that their population does
not grow. Democracies do not discriminate against
their minorities.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A discourse on human relations with Allah (God)

"We as humans" have a problem.

We've done a terrible job at seperating our personal relaitonship with Allah from the political turmoil of the holy land. It is as if, our Iman (faith) is reliant on the truthfulness of certain nations/leaders of particular religious denominations. We tend to say, the christian religion is founded in the Neo-conservative policial ideology, or that, if you are a Sunni you side with Saudi Arabia and have faith in their leaders OR if you are a Shia, you have faith in Iran and have faith in their leaders OR if you are Jewish you have faith in Israel and their leaders.

STOP DOING THIS, this is anti-spiritual.

This is no way to conduct your religious affairs and will only act to corrode your personal relationship with Allah.

"We as humans" have a personal & private relationship with the ONE GOD; and this is above any political authority on this burdensome planet. Remember, your religion is not necessarily reflected in global politics. Do not rely on a particular country to help you re-affirm the validity of your religion.

Again, your relationship with Allah is above all, nothing determines it except your ability to witness him; not in the country which claims to carry it's flag.

Ameen.....If I've said anything incorrectly, forgive me.

A discourse on universality

The personal is the universal.

This is probably a poor way of trying to understand life, but I justify my understanding of humanity by saying: "I am a human, therefore I represent the entire human race".

By this I mean that, the experiences and encounters I meet are universal; that most or all human's will/have experienced them. From the billions who lived before us, the billions among us and God knows of the amount that will live after us.

I would have to say all humans (according to my limited perspective) will experience certain things that are constant with what all humans experience while living on this planet.

So anyways, when I say "we as humans"; I am mentioning something I've experienced. However, I also believe it is a universal experience; such that all humans will experience it or have experienced it.

Keep in mind, no one knows how we feel. However, this is a result of unique perception. "We as humans" are so unque that we all see the same thing, but interpret it differently.

It's been a while...So I'll start with something I love....women =)

Last night, a young brother and I were leaving a University campus, there was a lecturer discussing the rights of oppressed peoples in a "so called" democratic land in the Middle East. We walked out, not only mezmorized at what we learned from the speaker. We couldn't help but notice something.

The women at this conference were definately one of a kind. They were shockingly beautiful, sometimes, I couldn't help but stare like I was just hypnotized. Apart from their completely unique physical appearance, it was something else that made them so arabic, we call it two things; Izzah & Istekama.

I have an obsession with these two terms; they are my favorite words in the arabic dictionary.
Izza means self-respect; something so many people lack....unforunately, it's plagued many women.
Istekama means up-rightness, firmness & dignity; again, its something so many of us lack.

These two elements make anyone beautiful; you can see it in their posture, their eyes, their voice.....essentially, its the foundation to their soul.

Anyways, back to women...
These women are the offspring of an oppressed people. They're obviously aware of the torment their people are enduring and I am wondering....these characteristics (Izzah & Istekama) tend to be of those who value their: a) a humanity b) a womanhood/manhood c) a spiritual 'being' d) their roots
What did the knowledge of those 4 points give them??

I thought....apart from their gentle smiles, comforting voices, welcoming attitudes, piercing eyes & mountain moving hips.....
what made these women worthy of humility was their understaning of the value of life.

I'm sure if I wanted to list the attributes of these women, I could go on 'till the wee hours of the morning, but I'll stop here saying....

How in GOD's name do you ask a muhajibah for her phone number????

Yeah I'm whack.....I know it, but I'm still a ging'gas'tar.