31 March 2005

Tell me your friends, and I will tell you who you are.

Just returned from a great weekend in the cape! It was an ‘epic’ holiday- left Joburg at 8pm Thurs and drove through the night.
Destination: De Hoop nature reserve- a beautiful, isolated place where the white dunes meet the clear blue beach…
Met with the other campsters: group of ‘youth’ from Mitchels Plain- at first they all looked like gangsters, but once we got to know them they turned out to be just a bunch of nice guys.

People are intrinsically good, it just circumstances that cause undesirable behaviour- not that such behaviour should be condoned. But it’s important for us to try and understand the challenges that others face- it makes us more appreciative of what we have…

Spent Friday afternoon resting on the beach- needed to just lay back and unwind. Nothing more relaxing than lying on a white beach and listening to the soothing waves break on the rocks. We wanted to sleep on the dunes that night but none of the cape guys were up for it- apparently baboons attack humans at night! But it sounded too good so Ned, Ashfaaq, Ihsaan and I did so anyway. Rain forced us to rush back to the chalets in the middle of the night!

Went for a hike on the beach and dunes early Saturday morning. Again, it was epic! Ended the morning of with a terrific swim- my first swim since December! Raiman and crew joined us after lunch- had a lot of catching up to do! Was good to meet Dr. Moe Raiman Cum Laude (That means all A’s!) after like three months! Caught a lift back to Cape Town with them and spent the nights at Raimans place.

The other guys joined us on Sunday and we had a late lunch at Wembleys- like the Mountain, the place is over- rated! Planned on going ice-skating, but plans changed on the last minute and had to cancel. Ended up visiting family and friends and catching up on stuff…

Went to Joe Arief for lunch on Monday- hope his interests in the peninsula (gauteng) work out! Spent the day at Landadno Beach- the cape has the most wicked sunsets! Had supper with Yusuf Mohd at Rossmead. All my Cape Town trips seem to have merged into a big jumble in my head- don’t think I’m going to plan another for a while ;-)

But every journey through this country just makes me realise how beautiful and amazing it is- it’s up to us to work hard at making it a better place for each and everyone of its people…

It’s just too difficult to get back to work after a long weekend of fun and play! But we big now so have to make sure we do what we have to do…

Went for a talk by a Professor from Uni of Malaysia- made a very interesting point: Islam is not a state of being, it is a process. So we need to implement this process in our surroundings. It’s not about name changing and other cosmetic changes, but rather to implement the essence of what the Quran and Sunnah teaches us. To do this requires knowledge of such and therefore the urgent need for us to educate ourselves…

23 March 2005

A true Muslim is thankful to Allah in prosperity, and resigned to His will in adversity

Last Monday and Tuesday was board- Thanks to everyone for the messages of support- it was gruesome but really glad it’s over! Results out end June, so keep the duas coming… If I fail will have a big party and invite you all. If I pass, don’t worry- you’ll find out about it somehow…

Wednesday was back to work:( Wasn’t that bad because we were in training and not straight into a client- finding it very difficult to wake up early after the four weeks of study leave! Work sucks even more now because we were studying at wits and experienced what campus life is like again! Really miss the good old days…

Had a bit of car trouble (again!) but managed to get it sorted out by the weekend. The whole week was training so we were lucky enough to get off early…

Friday night went to help out at the MSA Jalsa- it was a good show, need to have more of these so that hopefully people can start waking up! We are a totally brain dead community- but there is a glimmer of hope- more people are critically questioning (I hope!) and trying to understand. We all need to assist in this process- make tons of effort to stimulate your grey matter!

Is it possible to live as a good Muslim, in extreme comfort and luxury, like most of us do? Had an interesting discussion- having wealth is fine; we can use it for Islamic work and assisting people. But can using our wealth for excessive luxuries affect our souls? Then again, excessiveness is relative?

Folks were done on Saturday with some of my younger siblings (four youngest)- spent the day with them and tried to catch up on the bonding thing- it’s truly amazing how fast kids grow up! Every time I see them they seem to have grown so much- a bit strange to think that I was their age when my folks were just a bit older than I am now…

Sunday morning after fajr we left for the Drakensburg- 19 of us- Habib, Irfan, Zaheer, Laily, Ashfaaq, Naseem, Umar Farouk, Riad Ebrahim, Riad Minty, Ned, Goolam, Faheem Khan, Variawa, Ed Jhetam, Ziyaad Khan, Husain, Raees and Mohamed- I think that says enough about the trip! At least for those who know most of these guys… Hiked and had a braai on Sunday.

Monday we went to Royal Natal Park and went on a 6 hour hike- took us much longer than expected to get down from the mountain- started raining just as we started our descent, so had to swim and mud-slide our way down! It was terrific- but almost had an incident when a group of hero’s decided to take the scenic route down along the river!

Got back late, wet, tired and hungry- barely managed to make it to work Tuesday morning. Kept falling asleep during the training and got caught three times!

Going to Cape Town tomorrow so need to get sorted out…

13 March 2005

The most excellent Jihad is that for the conquest of self.

Studied very much.

Writing big exam Monday and Tuesday.

Make a dua if you remember.

Went to Ocean Basket for supper last night.

Fish is supposed to be ‘brain food’.

It hasn’t helped!

Not much to say this week…

But find attached the Translation of the Quran.

Read, study and live it…

So till next week,

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

07 March 2005

One is never more on trial than in the moment of excessive good fortune.

It’s been a hectic week- did a minimum of 8 hours studying almost everyday! That’s shocking and thinks its taking a toll on my mind and body… For the next week going to try and write as many mock exams as possible- think I know enough to pass now, just need to perfect my study technique. But it disheartening to know that it doesn’t really matter how hard I study- in the end it’s your luck on the day- you have a good day you pass. If not, tough luck!

Didn’t have time this week, so thought I’ll just compile a sample of some of the replies I received to last week’s mail. Here goes- (to those who don’t reply- take notes!)
These are just extracts from some of my replies and are in no particular order!

- Oh and bout the jinn... I suggest u read ibn taymeeyas essay on the jinn (translated by abu ameenah bilal philips) its excellent...

- Bilal, that sounds like a plan... I think( I could be wrong) that it is somewhat easier for females to rebel against "the system"-especially if you studying OT :)...i can open my own practice from home, work times that I want to and go on holiday when I want to-Inshallah.

- They should give us 6 month mandatory leave after the first 2 yrs of work... they should give us a travel allowance so we can learn n experience the world n bring good things back to the company...

- I think life is about far more than work, and there is no point in only starting to live when you retire. Your experiences shape the person you are, so you should try to experience as much as possible (within certain limits) as young as possible, to get a deeper understanding of who you are, what you're capable of and what your strengths are as early as possible. That way, I believe the life you live will be much happier and more fulfilled.

- That was quiet interesting

- Just a quick note to wish you all the best for boards. I hope all goes well, with the help of Allah (SWT).

- I know this sounds really cliched but do you read BISMILLA before you study??? Try it.

- Ps. Start naming your emails in the following manner. I believe it’s a good idea to name your emails Bilal Chronicles, Issue 1, 2 and so forth…. :) What do you think?

- As long you don’t panic and stress everything will be fine. Anyway you don’t seem to be stressed so that’s good. You are in my duas, so hopefully that will help also.

- Surely there is a case for integration- we should be viewing ourselves as a Muslim doctor, Muslim accountant, and Muslim engineer. In this way we do not separate Islam from our workplace. By integrating the two, we suddenly realise the value of our positions because as Muslims, we have so much to offer in our workplace.
At no point should we forget that we are the flag bearers of Islam at the workplace and that we have an example to set to our colleagues. This is an incredible opportunity for dawah - but do we seize it?

Also, find attached a template for a will (courtesy of Ahmed Moola). Looks like it’s pretty straight forward to complete, and in case you not sure who to leave your vast amounts of wealth to, find the correct spelling of my name at end of this mail!

Some highlights of my week were-

Thurs- Had supper with Hamza and Ashfaaq. For those who know them, sure you’ll understand how this was a highlight!

Btw, interesting twist on a point I raised last week- Married couples in restaurants looking bored… rather they are so comfortable in each others company, that they just don’t need to make idle chit chat…

Fri- Wrote my first mock exam- know why they call it a mock- you make a big mockery of yourself:p
Went for Fri Nite program after a full day of studying. Homework for this week- How can we ‘market’ Islam correctly? Do we know enough to do a good job of it? Do we even have the desire to so? Any thoughts…