24 December 2006

Merry Xmas (to the rest of the world)

Just when I thought I had seen the worst. Tel Rumeida.

A settlement in the centre of a major city! Unbelieveable...

If you have time, search for 'Tel Rumeida' on YouTube. Shocking stuff!

03 December 2006

No matter what you accomplish, somebody helped you.

Hajj is in the air. Quite a few trips to the airport recently to see the guys off. The airport is such a lovely place- people coming and going, some happy and joyful, others sad and teary, chaos and a general sense of urgency- just awesome! Quite a bit more chaotic, with all the Hujaaj trying to get onto their flights, with all that baggage, while trying to not lose anyone from their groups. The number of Hujaaj would have been much higher this year, and if you are a local then you probably hate Sahuc or know someone who does:P

Sahuc, for those who haven’t heard, are the regulatory body that are in charge of arranging visas and the like for South Africans. Been doing a terrible job of it and that has resulted in advocacy groups being formed, a march of men, women and children against them through the streets of Johannesburg and this Friday, and a representative from the organisation doing PR at the Musjid for Jumah! Hajj is an amazing journey. A journey of life. Or so I hear. Hope to get an opportunity soon. Next year in fact. If Sahuc doesn’t stop me! There is a verse in the Quran that speaks about those who prevent the people from performing Hajj. Look it up.

The United Nations International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was held on the 29 November. In South Africa, this was observed in Pretoria at the University, hosted by South African government and the Palestinian embassy. The proceedings were weak to say the least. Ok, it was a good initiative, better than nothing and all that hogwash- the South African Police Services brass band played the two countries national anthems. I didn’t even know the SAPS had a brass band! Mildly entertaining nevertheless.
Then the deputy foreign minister went on about how supportive the government is of the Palestinians- are we really? Then what’s with all the trade and cultural ties with the Israelis that we refuse to break! The Palestinian ambassador to South Africa is quite a character himself. I’ve heard many Palestinians speak publicly about their cause, not all of them even close to eloquent, but the ambassador, as the person supposed to be representing the Palestinian people once again sadly disappointed. He couldn’t deliver a coherent message, maybe due to his unwillingness to call out the South African government’s policy of ‘Talking Left and Walking Right’. As Patrick Bond writes.


Some interesting discussions were also raised this week about the sad state of the South African public healthcare system. Doctors are usually eventually drawn to the private sector where they can make loads of money. This, once again coupled with inadequate government’s policies of privatisations, etc, leads to a near catastrophic collapse of the public healthcare system, which a majority of the 45 million citizens of this country need to rely on! But let’s see (or hear from for now) what the new breed of socially aware and Islamically conscious doctors have in mind…

Pro 20’s cricket was fun to watch- from a suite! Haven’t watched many games from up there, but the views are super and you even get good food:p Attended as guests of a group that is usually charged with advocacy work, but I guess a social event for their volunteers was an excellent idea! And mind you, there was much talk during the evening of things to be done and ideas that need to be discussed...

Newcastle was quite a buzz this weekend- the Uloom had their annual graduation coupled with the first reunion since its 1973 inception. Then the biggest casino in the province had their opening night at the same time, with the fireworks, pomp and celebrity guests as usual with these places. Guest of honour there was none other than Jacob Zuma:) The Tab Jamaat had a national meeting of their elite, not the biggest beards or bellies, but the deal makers (I think) from around the country. And I hear the Murabitoon were also in town having a function of some sort. Who would have thought that a place like Newcastle would have so much going on in one weekend. The fact that each of the four functions happened is something to really thing about... Highly reflective I believe of our mindsets and even those around us...

Still battling with flights- just cant seem to get out of the country! All flights are fully booked for the next few weeks! Make a dua...

Peace & Blessings.

26 November 2006

There is no wealth but life...


With exams behind me I look forward to an exciting few months- until the results come out and hopefully don’t dampen any spirits! A great man we lost- or should I rather say- a good friend we said goodbye to, for the short term hopefully, and to return with the friendship double barrelled. Very few men of this calibre in my vicinity, and same said for his fine match- an obituary this is not; just my humble attempt to shed some dull light on stunning examples of luminaries! More thought and effort must be invested for an adequate relying of my feelings- will try again some time soon...

The Vuka Awards acknowledges those who contribute time and effort to raise awareness for important issues like Aids, Child & Women abuse, Drugs and Alcohol abuse, Anti-Smoking campaigns and many other important social issues. Some amazing talent on show and awesome ideas- watch out for them on DSTV. My fondness for rebels in eminent and those rebels with causes were celebrated at this event. The Tsotsi guy and girl were there also- a chance to rub shoulders with some of the talented and famous:) Some may be lucky enough to some day see the proof:p

But in stark contrast, Borat suffers from being void of anything closely resembling talent. To be fair, the guy may have a brilliant, albeit messed up, mind and he has placed Kazakhstan on the map for the shallow American rodeo fans. Certain scenes should have undoubtedly been cut from the show- do not torment yourself if you haven’t already. If most of the more wacky scenes were not scripted, then maybe some traces of true talent should in some sick way be acknowledged...

By saying this I can expect to be hurt by some a couple of my loving readers- work just seems to be such a distant memory:) After three weeks of study leave, preceded by super national trips and an awesome international one, and now followed by mildly enjoyable training on the outskirts of Joburg! Not exactly a holiday in the bushveld, but close enough. But that just may mean getting back to work in the New Year is going to be ever so painful!

Patrick Bond, Phd doc and director of the Centre for Civil Society launched his book, Looting Africa, to a mixed crowd of cliquey socialists, artsy hippies and rebel capitalists! He speaks of how this continent was raped and plundered by colonialists- but did it end then? Apparently not! Looting continues. He claims under the guise of capitalism- privatisation, IMF funding, offshore listings and many other schemes. With that said, Bond and Dennis Brutus, who was also there launching his new poetry book (I don’t like to be mean but his poetry sucks- or maybe its just coz I’m not much of a poem lover!), are a dying breed of social activists that resisted and hopefully continue to resist the temptations of materialism and bourgeoisie lifestyles.

Is not a perfect balance between pure capitalism and pure socialism what we should be striving to achieve? Who does the thinking anymore? Who is out trying to come up with plausible solutions to the problems we face? What role do we play? Is there any onus whatsoever, on any of us? Some thoughts.

Peace & blessings

19 November 2006

Tell me your friends, & I will tell you who you are!

{Joburg City Skyline- from my seat of study- distracting, but not better than an ocean:)}

This comes a tad delayed, solely due to a 360 odd minutes, gruelling, semi-lit, dusty challenge that God-willing will never have to be experienced again! For now it’s just wait and pray. And pray. For about another 2000 odd hours at least! In the mean time, I need to ensure that my next 30 days are utilised as beneficially and constructively as possible. A few thoughts in mind, visa dependent, and hope that works out.

Quite an interesting response I’ve been getting on the organ donating issue. I hope that discussions like these will breakdown the negative mindsets that exist- together with those of us who consider saving lives with our organs (when we no longer need them of course) as an eternally rewarding act, taking the necessary steps to register as organ donors. I imagine in a few years as attitudes change and medicine advances, we will see more of this...

Efforts are currently underway to secure the promising secondment previously mentioned. With a well needed (and possibly deserved!) twist of luck, this could work out great! At least that’s the level of expectation for now- lets hope London comes through and turns out to be all its imagined to be...

Attended the ultra flashy gala dinner with the lone motive of collecting the cheques for charity. As some say, the corporates do this kinda things largely for marketing reasons, but nevertheless, it’s an admirable initiative- for one: encouraging the pawns to become more socially active and two: dishing out large sums of dosh! Thank you, blood sucking, evil corporate, thank you:) [disclaimer: I am being cynical:p]
More news on how the money will be spent to follow shortly- in the pipeline- at least one project that will require the blood and sweat of a few Joburg Samaritans!


This is a really sad story. Not even a story but a real life tragedy: Have you all heard of Alia Afghani?
Came across this heartbreaking account on
London Muslimah’s blog.

And since I have been appropriating material from other blogs, for this weeks *Global Muslim* post we look to Electric Spaghetti for some MiRC inspiration. Another humorous example of such typical and common behaviours. If I have enough time will siphon up some Mxit treats for next week- all the lolls, hahas, hehes and ::)))!...

Later
Peace..

12 November 2006

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.


What are your thoughts on organ transplants? I know this is something that thankfully many of us will ever be forced to think about- but I was recently forced to research and advise a family that is actually dealing with this hard reality. The question that I’ve posed to everyone I met this week, and I pose to you now:
‘If you were told that you needed an organ transplant to survive. Without it you will die! The organ is ready and waiting on ice- all you need to so is say yes and the operation will begin!’
Now everyone I spoke to eventually admitted that they will definitely take the organ. Who will say otherwise- offered a chance to survive, it will be extremely strange for someone to refuse it!

So with that said, how many of us will be willing to allow our organs to be donated in the unlikely (inshallah!) event of a premature death? I understand that its simple to do so today- just fill in a form and you will be added onto the register for organ donors. If everyone is willing to take organs when needed but not willing to offer when available, does that not make us hypocrites? If you say you would have to first find out the Islamic ruling, I can assure you, from my research its fine to do so. But should you still have any doubts, I implore to do your research, ask the questions you have and take the necessary steps to help establish the great life giving gift of organ donating in our communities...

Time is running out- just a week left for the board exam! Trying my best to get enough studying done but there is only so much that the brain can handle. Plus this week I need to attend a work function- they are giving me money to give to charities of my choice. If you had a fairly decent amount of cash, who would you give it to? I’m looking at 3: Islamic Relief for a local project that I can assist with and get others involved as well; Awqaf SA towards an educational waqf [a waqf utilizes only the proceeds of the capital donated]; and Sanzaf for starting a bursary fund for Bcom students looking at specialising in Islamic finance and economics. Any better ideas?

This coming week also sees a meeting with representatives of our London office- a hopeful opportunity for a three month secondment! Not sure the exact details on the table yet, but anything to get out of auditing will be super right now! That with an interesting call from a central African investment group brings about thoughts of the future and life after the dreaded articles!

Watched an interesting docudrama during one of my study breaks: Road to Guantanamo. Shows a group of youth from Britain in Pakistan for a friends wedding, when they decide to go exploring in Afghanistan. They get caught up in the war and are captured by the Northern Alliance and passed on to the American forces. They spend almost three years in Guantanamo Bay after which they are eventually released. The shocking thing for me was that these were very normal guys that caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time- an eerie resemblance to situations we often find ourselves in as well as the decisions that some of us would take. Three of the four survived to share their story and one guy was in Cape Town this week to launch the doccie. Try and see it sometime…

Had some good feedback from my account of library discussions last week. This week I put my neck (and blog) on the line when I attempt to take a light hearted look at comments in the blogosphere- this may be the end of feedback for me, but after a recent accusation of also being involved in it, I take the risk:) Check it out- its probably way off the mark- but know first that its intended as light humour:P see: *Global Muslim*


That’s all folks!
Make a prayer~
Peace & Blessings…

05 November 2006

Doing justice means giving everyone his due.

[View of Table Mountain in Cape Town from a plane.]

Things change so much and yet so much stays the same! Spent most of my week at the university library studying for my upcoming exam. And found it to be a real learning experience. You want to know the state of the youth, what makes them tick and what is on their minds? Spend a few days wandering through the corridors of your local university. An amazing learning experience! And on a lighter note, maybe slightly inspired by our maniac brother, it’s sometimes necessary to introduce some dryish humour. Check this out.

Stand up comedy is also a discipline (if you can actually call it that!) that Muslims need to start exploring. Maybe using more humour we can break down the many stereotypes and misunderstandings of both Muslims and Non-Muslims. What better way to serve and uplift humanity, than using good old laughter! Not that easy I must admit, not that I tried it, but the funniest comics on the cool running scene tend to rely heavily on the worst of profanities and crudeness!

In one of my study breaks, instead of spending a few minutes relaxing on the lawns, I unfortunately picked up a book, which fortunately turned out to be very interesting. I would like to recommend it to all you out there. Women and Islam by Fatima Mernissi. Read it with an open mind and I’m sure you will learn and discover much. Not everything in books needs to be agreed with- read whatever you get your hands on and using the Quranic framework in your mind, sift through everything…

To see sickness and suffering is possibly one of the best manners of character development- no matter how much of suffering and tests we may go through, there is someone close by who is experiencing a more complex trial and then there some others who pay the ultimate price! Paid a few visits to a family member of a friend who was sick in hospital. Then while visiting him met yet another young man who was suffering from cancer. This brother has recently passed away and we pray that his family is granted patience and he is granted a lofty seat in Paradise!

To attend a volunteer day at an orphanage/crèche at the risk of missing a march for Palestine is a tricky predicament. Maybe contributing to the planning and organisation could be a fitting consolation, and hence the risk I took and lost. The day was fulfilling and fun; painting murals, faces and finally a smile on many a face! Such extreme poverty lays clear its ugly face right in our backyards. Maybe its normal, maybe its not. Maybe we can do something to change it, maybe we can’t. But who cares- let’s die trying! Let’s try to be part of change that is most definitely coming! Is it really coming? From what I hear, and if John Pilger knows what he’s talking about, major changes are round the corner…

A snake around a tree has always had biblical connotations for me- but this painting rather exhumes a more innocent idea of the same in my mind. Maybe its coz it’s a palm tree or the snake is a bright yellow and blue! Just hope the kids don’t get a fright in their new playroom!

Later
Peace

29 October 2006

I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life!


Eid. What a happy day. Spent the day at home with family and friends! Nothing spectacular or out of the ordinary. No hummers or drives to the zoo lake:) In fact, the most exciting thing that happened to me was that I almost missed Eid Salaah! Good thing the Eid Gah was just down the road from home. Why must they make it so early! 6am start with 630am prayers- there is no way you can get to bed early the night before Eid- there’s always some big dinner that invariably gets dragged into the early hours of the morning! Then you have to wake up early to make Eid Salaah. Straight after is this humongous breakfast with the unhealthiest foods possible.

You’re now tired coz you went to bed really late and had to wake up really early- so have a ‘quick’ nap! Wake up from your nap and lo and behold, its lunch time! Once again, fitting for the occasion I suppose, the options are endless and unhealthy. That done, make a prayer and chill out for a bit. The heat is intense, so go indoors and switch the a/c’s on- within a few minutes there’s dozens of snoring cousins and uncles all over the show:) Eid- you gota love it!

The younger kids have it the best though- so much candy and cakes! Eidi from all the aunts and uncles, and now even the bigger brothers:( A jumping castle which they never seemed to get tired off- and with the help of a strategic placed hose pipe they managed to turn it into a wet, muddy play pen- much to the dismay of all the mothers who so meticulously picked out all those Eid outfits:P

What do we get for Eid? Beside well intentioned odd gifts; wacky tshirts, a roller massager and fancy pens! What I hate getting is those text messages- they usually start on the 27th night and carry on till way into the day on Eid. Must be putting big smiles on the faces of Vodacom and Mtn! What gets me is the perceptible insincerity- you want maaf for what?! And there are always one or two major versions that keep on getting forwarded around- this year it was something dumb about the moon and the stars! Oh well...

The drive back to Joburg was quite hectic- had to leave at 230am so that my bro could get to the airport in time for his flight. Good thing that I know the road so well and quite enjoy the drive. Driving long distance can be quite a pleasure- gives you time to think and ponder- almost like spending time in a cave or other seclusion. That’s probably the purpose of Itikaaf- would love to sit some time. But having almost 200 others in the Musjid with you kinda defies the purpose if you ask me- as a friend once said, in that case it seems to be a massive pyjama party with Debonairs pizza and Milky Lane milkshakes:P

What really got my attention this past week was the taxi drivers strike! From riots in Cape Town to blocking off the entire highway and attacking people with knobkerries, isn’t this a sign of alarm bells that should be taken notice off?! An interesting poster for a business magazine said this,
The Left is Rising. Should you be worried?
I’m kinda looking forward to the “Rise of the Left”- maybe a sharp pull to the opposite extreme is necessary to offset the past 12 years of gross capitalism. Maybe that will also give Muslims a wake up call- should we stop being ‘Capitalist Muslims’ and start striving for the Quranic principles of social justice, equality and equilibrium around us?! Just a thought...


Experienced real raw in-your-face Capitalism this week. First at The Palms- a venue frequented by the bourgeoisie of Joburg- read drug dealers and others with inexplicable sources of funding! Real stuck up dump- hated it! The type of place frequented by Investec private banking clients.

And then yesterday had lunch at this other amazing place called Design Quarter somewhere in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. This mall seems out of place in Africa- seems like a piece of Europe plonked here! 90% of people there either have Investec or RMB private bank clients. The women all have had plastic surgery or boob jobs. They all wear oversized glasses and sit outside the restaurants drinking oversized cocktails. The waitresses are all super models and the waiters all body builders. The only non-white faces are BEE recipients, politicians or relatives of some African dictator. Even the trolley guy wears a top hat and pin stripe suit! The car park is full of Lamborghinis, Porches and Hummers. The food looks too good to eat and tastes too bad to justify the exorbitant prizes! But the best part of the experience was that there was no water- in the restaurant bathroom, the centre bathrooms, nowhere! So much for bourgeoisie- this IS still Africa after all:-P

This is my younger sisters henna do for Eid. I’m going to get area Henna tattoo next Eid:)

A passing thought on the subject line- not that we don’t make the most of now, but rather not let anything now mess up the future - pretty obvious, I know- but we do tend to forget quite often.

Later
Peace

22 October 2006

Ramadaan Unplugged!


Ramadaan is over:( It’s been a power packed last few weeks and while, with a heavy heart, I say farewell to these blessed days I do look forward to a slight slowdown in the pace of things. Not all fun and games now thought; four weeks of study left for the board exam so need to ensure that the Ramadaan instilled discipline holds on for a while...
A mere few hours before it’s all over and now a perfect time, I guess, to sit and take stock of the recent past and impending future. Need to deflate this major ego I have but its hard- especially with things like this* Have I really made sincere repentance for my misdeeds? Have taken concrete steps to improve my life and actions? Or have I let this amazing opportunity pass by without being able to take maximum advantage of it? Could I really be so unfortunate to miss out so severely!


The Night of Power, which is somewhere in the last 10 nights, is popularly believed to be on the 27th eve of Ramadaan. I don’t believe that this one night is definitely it- as I said before; we should have sought such on every one of the last few nights. But this 27th night of Ramadaan is one that I will remember for a long time. Not because of any spiritual or sacred reasons, but because I once again found myself on the extreme wrong end of the luck stick! Not going to go into details for now- but really testing times and Allah says that on no soul will he place a burden greater than can be borne! For now I try my best to bear and request continuous prayers for all and sundry...

The last Friday of Ramadaan is Al-Quds day. A day to create awareness and remind people about the continuing suffering of the Palestinian people. South Africa usually has a major crowd pulling march in Cape Town and, I think, a community event in Pretoria. Johannesburg, with its thousands of Muslims, has nothing! This year, the MSA and a few hard-working students put together a bumper program of poems, videos, pictures and talks. I hope the first of many events aimed at educating our largely ignorant communities and society about what’s happening in Palestine and how we should help. May Allah reward them all for their efforts.

Hope everyone has a blessed Eid. In pretty much conformation with previous journeys, we embark on such quite soon- last year this time I said: the short, bumpy road bids our welcome to Newcastle- a place to congregate and cover up on eating for the entire month:) Should be fun catching up with the entire clan, strengthening the bonds that bind, and making merry while we do so- I see my pennings may have taken a dip, albeit temporary I promise you- look out for renewed vigour in days when I’m adequately nourished!

Hmm. It will be good to be home for a while and celebrate a bit. Seriously undernourished right now, so more on Eid celebrations in Newcastle next week! For now, see this pic, probably the only one most of you would see of me and my family! Taken about 14 years ago [not too sure] probably on Eid day as well! It’s me, two brothers and four cousins- 7 brats:) Any guesses?


What else I would like to know is, looking at the site counter on the bottom right of the blog, I see there are people from so many different countries visiting this blog and most of the countries and understandable. But if you are from any of the following countries and read this, then let us know. Even if its just greetings for blessed Eid: Norway, India, Australia, Indonesia, China, Croatia, Mexico, Singapore, Luxembourg, Latvia, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Russian Federation, Jamaica or anywhere else for that matter…

Later,
Peace

15 October 2006

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must not lose infinite hope!


I guess there’s not much to add to, as someone suggested, my Taraweeh Tributes! But just as a closing I must add this:
Having to recite the popular verses can be quite intimidating at times! It’s just that most of the crowd knows these verses as well and while reciting, should you be unfortunate enough to experience a blank, there are going to be 30+ people trying to correct you from the back!
Leave making a mistake; it’s been experienced before, even if you are too slow in catching your breath or taking a pause, the often well intentioned worshippers may be quite quick in offering you some assistance!
If not that, then just listening to the chorus behind you following the recitation under their breaths is fairly intimidating;) But with that said, the recitation of the most popular of the well-liked verses went off pretty well...


The end of these blessed days is fast approaching- time flies when you being pressurised with work, studies and all the other blessed activities of these great days!
To find the ‘Night better than a 1000 nights’ is now the mission of most, and regardless of the differing opinions of which night be it exactly, the wonderful atmosphere in the air at the moment is most 'tasawuffically enhancing'!
Personally I believe the crux is searching for the night, every night of the last ten, because God knows most of us could really do with some soul cleansing and sin absolving!
So once again I would appeal to be considered in those late night and/or early morning supplications..


In tune with these blessed days, the gruelling exam that was written this past days, proved not as gruelling as expected at first! Towards the end, the lack of nourishment and moisture did take a tad of a toll, but all in all I stand hopeful of a satisfying result.. The major hurdle [board II] still looms, the countdown ever so daunting, and to get it over and done with, once and for all, needs to be made primary focus of the coming weeks*

The multi-denominational prayer room is a superb idea; offering a place of spiritual recluse deep in the recesses of the ugly corporate arena- devouts of all flavours- Muslims in prostration, Bible touting Christians, meditating Hindus and others all sharing the same space! “a symbol of humble submission to the All Knowing within the proud world of commercial ignorance”
Ironic as it is, that this particular facility is to found on the penthouse level in the headquarters of one of South Africa’s major conventional banks, maybe it is a sign of possible change. While I abhor the effect of the protocol of institutions the like thereof, maybe a heightened spiritual conscience, in the cogs of these huge financial wheels, could begin to see more socially just changes appearing in the fabric of its operations!


This may sound very cryptic so an equally cryptic response will be tolerated: Looking at the quote of this week, ‘We must accept finite disappointment, but we must not lose infinite hope!’
What if, in accepting such finite disappointment, one is forced to change paths to a totally different expectation, so much so that there comes no longer a desire for there to even exist any hope, infinite or not! Am I making any sense whatsoever?!
Looking back at what has materialised from my keyboard, would I be accurate in saying that- the scenario I describe is one in which, finite disappointment was accepted with a definite lose of hope?

Alas, let’s move on! Meet my family:

this is a most recent pic of my siblings and I. Your eyes deceive you not- we ARE quite, almost, a handful! Those familiar would know which position I hold- would be fun to see how accurately you not-so-familiar acquaintances can point ME out:)

Peace & Blessings!

08 October 2006

'Protect your possessions by payment of Zakaat.'

This picture of weird cloud cover was taken in Durban, from room 402 at the Hilton Hotel on the 30 August at 6:48am. Really odd how only half the sky was covered!

Continuing my discourse on the Taraweeh Prayer:
The feeling you get, once you begin and the sailing is smooth, is virtually beyond description! It feels like you flying- not because your words are spewing out at rate that leans towards supersonic- but due to the fact that you are in control and words materialise on your lips like magic. Maybe I shouldn’t say flying. That’s too difficult to imagine. Try riding a motorbike at full speed. The wind in your face. Raw speed causing some traces of contentment and enjoyment to engulf your entire body.
And it notches up a level- stand up on the bike while it’s careening down this straight smooth road. Smooth sailing. But those blanks sometimes still crop up. There you are, standing on the motorbike going full speed down its smooth path, when it hits a small stone! Two things could happen-
A small wobble, few quick breaths coupled with an audible sign of nervousness- but that’s short-lived, and stability and comfort swiftly reign!
Or, on a bad day, that small bump throws you completely off track! Its like you fall off your bike, the lights have been switched off and you now need to navigate your way through the darkness, mount the bike once again and be on your way.

My parables probably do no justice in conveying the actual experience, but this is the best I can come up with in my short study break. A matter of hours before I’m faced with a stacks of paper to process for many an hour while I keep abstained from all desperately required nourishment! I go in there praying for divine assistance and I hope that the same could be requested of you all.

The relevance now of the advice on Zakaat, being the month of giving and caring. Due to precious remaining moments, a direction to timeless advice will be made: prior year’s equivalent.

Interesting map that highlights the countries you’ve visited. See:
Someone recently told me- you should rather be saving now coz you can always travel later in life.
No! I say travel now, especially if there be purpose to your travel, coz you never know when you will get the chance again. But travel smart and you can still save a bit:


Yes. What you learnt in school was wrong! This is how the world should be viewed- Africa on Top:)

My version is made green by, in order of departure, the following:
Tanzania

Zanzibar
Ghana
Botswana
Pakistan
Kashmir
Jordan
Palestine
Dubai
Mozambique
Turkey
Saudi Arabia
Zimbabwe

South Africa

Remember me in your prayers.
Peace & Blessings.

01 October 2006


Donning the headgear and robe is expected. It’s part of the uniform that goes with the role. Your turn comes up. You look around before taking that step forward. All eyes are on you. You can feel those eyes on your back when you step up from the ranks. The comfort of the ranks. Now there are rows of eyes burning holes in your back. And a few more rows from the ladies section as well.
In the name of God, you begin. God the Most Beneficial, the Most Merciful. Now is when you seem to relinquish control. Your legs take over first. The knees have some sort of intermittent magnetic quality that makes them want to knock against each other. The butterflies appear and seem to seize all traces of moisture from your lips downwards.
You close your eyes, expecting to have this picture of black and white guidance there to assist you in this mammoth task. Alas, your mind is blank. Open your eyes. The wall in front of you is also blank. Oops, forgot to breath! Take in a deep breath. Here goes. This is only Day 1...

The Taraweeh prayer [nightly prayer in the month of Ramadaan in which the entire Quran is recited from memory] is one of the highlights of Ramadaan. Men, women and children stand obediently and pray- a heart warming sight.
May God accept our prayers and sacrifices. May He grant us knowledge and wisdom.

In preparation for the looming boards, had to write another day long mock exam. Not fun at all, but hopefully makes a less of a mockery of me than previous ones. Trying to study, perform and work in Ramadaan is proving to be quite a difficult task!

As a replacement for Lucy, acquired a tazz- not nearly as much fun or spunk but will have to do for now. Guess it’s responsible to choose reliability and efficiency and if it’s taking me from point A to point B that’s good enough. So don’t be surprised when you see me crawling along in future:(

There are two shows, most of you probably don’t know about, on every morning. Ramadaan at 4 and Ramadaan Kareem. You will have to watch both for yourself to know what I now speak about. Knowing Khaleel, I find his Kareem variety more bearable, but on the whole, both shows are mostly side splitting. Before I say anymore, watch them and let me know what you think!
Also, South African Muslims must be really advanced to have, not one, but two shows on during Sehri for the entire month. Is this a sign of progression and organisation? Or is it just an insight into how our largely middle to upper class bourgeois community is viewed as a highly lucrative niche market. There could be traces of both. Debatable I think.

This weeks blog pic is of a wooden wind powered sailing dhow, taken from another, while island hoping in Zanzibar.

Peace & Blessings.

25 September 2006

Happy Ramadaan!

24 Sep

The blog pic this week was once again taken on Kilwa Kisiwani Island in Zanzibar. The quote is a Hadith by the Prophet (pbuh), who likened the shortness of life to the shaded pause on a much longer journey.
Husuni Kubwa is the Great Palace which stands here, since about 1300, on a protruding, hardly conquerable rock ridge. It overlooks the passage between the island and the mainland: Hallways, galleries, bathing places, staircases and rooms- the taste of opulence can still be found in these ancient ruins...

Made the homebound journey in a rental- yes, had to resort to the exorbitantly priced, per km ride to clock card before Ramadaan rites begin. The weekend itself has become an annual pilgrimage itself. Looking back at this time last year, this is what I had to say about the journey:

“Always good to go back home- spent yet another weekend in the peaceful, tranquil environs of Newcastle; with just enough noise being relentlessly generated by my younger siblings! Time flies, things change, friends grow up and become distant, bushes grow big, trees we played on have since been felled, the paths we walked on have been outgrown, the river I had to swim across to get to school every morning has been polluted! Just joking bout the river part, but time really does fly and things really do change…”

Potholes aside, the trip is quite epic. This time of the year, when greenness pushes its way through the brown dryness, life seems to be re-emerging and fighting for a spot in the sunshine! Try it sometime- the gentle hills of northern Natal lay host to nature of incomparable beauty and seldom exploited views…

The MSA students once again pulled off a mammoth feat- over half a million Rands worth of groceries was purchased, packed and distributed to deserving recipients all around Johannesburg. This year we saw a bigger collection, a more fruitful partnership, and many more students getting involved. Again, due to fast induced lethargy, a give you a taste of my thoughts from twelve months back:

And I suppose it’s the ‘getting involved’ that’s most important- no matter how much we collect and distribute, someone will still go to bed hungry at times; so to get as many as possible to assist packing and distributing, so we see for ourselves the suffering in our own back yards, this should make us appreciate what we have and make more concerted efforts to change the lots of the oppressed… May the Almighty reward all those who contributed and assisted! Ameen…

Ramadaan is here. No, not the month of samoosas and pies! Not the month of haleem and burfee!
The month of the Quran. I pray that we are able to all study, ponder and appreciate this Divine Wisdom that we sometimes tend to neglect. May we take this opportunity to train ourselves to become exemplary human beings who strive for the Truth.
Remember me and all others in those early morning and late night prayers.


Peace & Blessings

19 September 2006

Laziness is often mistaken for patience.

Anousheh Ansari is going to space! She is an Iranian-American Muslim woman who is clearly scuffling the usual stereotypes. Hope George W Bush doesn’t decide she will be a threat to world peace looking down on us from a space shuttle some time soon! Impressive benchmark that woman the world over can be proud of and strive towards. What do you call an Iranian-American space bound person? Astronaut is American. Cosmonaut is Russian. Iran is close to Russia. Does Castronaut sound right:) See: www.anoushehansari.com Women are doing it for themselves…

A week of training at Amanzingwe game lodge- a 5 star bush lodge. Yes- in the bush but 5 stars:-P They even have 136 wild animals- if they can count them it’s clearly not that exciting. Amanzingwe means ‘where the leopard drinks’ but didn’t see any leopards drinking- just a bunch of real animals on two legs:-P I don’t understand how someone who gets sloshed every night, gets to bed in the wee hours, wakes up at sunrise to go for a jog and still be fresh and attentive in training the whole morning!
I am the first in bed- those soft, luxurious beds with feather soft pillows- but the last one to breakfast and the most inattentive in lectures! Just don’t get it…

God save the Pope- what the hell was he thinking?! While I may not totally agree with the type of reactions spewing forth from the isolated crevices of the Muslim populated world, often the behaviour that reinforces the usual stereotypes, it’s good to see the Ummah [community] using the opportunity to once again unite. The reactions also seem a wee bit overdone- while it definitely seems like the Pope said what he said with some intent to incite, he did choose his words carefully and to some degree qualify his position…
But it was still highly irresponsible for the ‘leader’ of one of the world’s major religions, to take such reckless steps and place the usually pleasant relations between Muslims and Catholics on the edge of a hazardous precipice…

The anniversary (I think it’s called that!) of 9/11 was last week- for how long are we going to continue bringing it up! Fine, we know people died and we are sorry for them.
We feel for their families and loved ones. But what about all the hundreds and thousands that have died since!
What about those also brutally bombed, shot and maimed, in apparent retaliation and even pre-emptively; those hundreds of children and their mothers!
What commemoration is done for them?

Why don’t I even know how many were murdered in Afghanistan, how many continue to be gunned down in Iraq, how many are still being oppressed and missiled in Palestine!
How many are sitting in Guantanamo Bay?
How many were questioned and held without charge in Britain and all over Europe?
What about Sudan, Somalia, and the Sahawari people?
What about LEBANON?!

12 September 2006

Hates any man the thing he would not kill?



















.

Board II, the qualifying exam for the CA(SA) qualification, now stands as the final hurdle for many a budding [non]capitalists! Some firms, apparently the major ones, compete for highest pass rate and hence drive their employees [aka slaves] to study hard using all sorts of heinous tactics- example: mock exams! Designed to help you make a complete mockery of yourself by spending the better part of a long day crouched over a desk and racking your brain!

1kg of King Prawns as consolation seemed quite apt at the time;-P But to think how many communities could have been fed in exchange for such a drastic meal, not to mention the evident, almost consecutive clogging of arteries! Guilty conscience or not, a really memorable step on the road to heart failure!

At least smoking is a vice that has been overlooked, a feeling cemented by the brilliant cast and script of Thank you for smoking- a humorous attempt to raise awareness on the dangers of becoming a patron of the addictive rolled leaf and also the devices employed by those cartels that control the distribution of product- highly recommended for all smokers and similar stupid idiots:)

Guests hailing from the Pyramids and Holy Land educated and nurtured a group of dynamic young minds at this past weekends coastal MSA youth conference. An important point made- looking back into modern recorded history, you would find that it always took a small group of intelligent, sincere and committed individuals to change and improve the face of the world. A small group. That's all...

05 September 2006

...living a life cluttered with mundane tribulations...


Bilal is lonely, coz Lucy is gone. She said she’ll call but that was over a week ago! As the sun rises, on Lucy, it sets on Bilal…
Think I finally forgot about her, with little help from Dido- for those who haven’t figured it out: Lucy comes from the L in LSD 027 GP. Still hopeful so give me a shout if you ever see that plate!
A week in Durban also may have helped dealing with her loss. On the plus side was a fully paid for stay at the Hilton- a tad overrated in my humble books;p But weather left much to be desired; nevertheless managed to get my share of sun and sand between showing face at the ABASA convention- a wonderful chance for networking and rubbing shoulders with the Who’s Who of BEE transactions.

BEE, for those with inept business knowledge of the uniquely Souf Afrikan capitalist kind, means Broad-based economic empowerment. Born out of a need to redress the wrongs of Apartheid inequities, it initially achieved little but a further concentration of wealth in the hands of the new ‘black elite’. With civil society’s outcry at this circus, steps have subsequently been taken to ensure that the process does move on to achieve what was initially intended- lets wait and see!

Symposium on Islamic Heritage in Southern Africa mustered an interesting mix of academics and pseudo-intellectuals this weekend. Hosted by the waqf support crowd, it provided an amazing platform for discourse and discussion with a swarm of interesting dudes from this side of the Sahara. Must admit that, while talk and strategy is important, there seems to be much of this recently happening- 3 conference in 10 days! From conference to conference, booth to booth, I hear speakers speak but I don’t hear the Truth

Jalsa managed to dilute the seriousness and intensity of ‘talk’ with some ‘action’! Mildly entertaining evening but really needed some jazz on the lake and crude cool runnings comedy to complete the job- well, I could use the only-showing-Kenyan-guest-around validation for not using all those free hours to study!

29 August 2006

Forgive your enemies but remember their names.

That guy was a South African! Ok, maybe not a true ‘South African’ but the dog was born and brought up right here. He is from a land, that just recently experienced suffering and oppression but he goes somewhere else to serve as an instrument of pain and suffering! Sorry, seem to be rambling- the guy I speak about is partly the cause of the evil Israeli forces killing innocent Lebanese & Palestinian men, women and children. He was one of the captured soldiers…

But its not just bastards like that who go and become Israeli soldiers- those who go and serve in the Israeli army, oppressing and killing innocent people, and then expect to come back here to lead a ‘good life’ and enjoy the benefits of freedom and struggle that is somewhat accessible here! There are laws against that. There are laws against citizens of this country becoming mercenaries somewhere else. We need to do something about them! We need to find out who they are, expose them and make sure they are prosecuted to the maximum degree

MSA in Cape Town hosted a seminar entitled, Reviving the Islamic Spirit. Host of yesteryear superstar presenters like Jamal Badawi and Mahmood Rashdan who really educated, informed and impressed. Others were also good but I guess the organisers desire to be inclusive found many deadbeats droning on for ages as well! Nonetheless, an amazing, informative and fun trip to Cape Town with my coastal crew… The mountain proved more of a challenge than usual- effect of all those takeouts!- but the overwhelming beauty of the city, its people and its sights never seize to amaze…

Had the good fortune of getting upgraded to business class on my flight there! Alas, good fortune, as is Gods plan, eventually runs out and sometimes with a bang- in a matter of mere minutes I was unfortunate enough to have my uninsured car stolen! Yes, it sucks big time. A major loss, the magnitude of which will take many a laborious months to recuperate. But what can you do? Just forget about it and move on. Life has its ups and downs and you learn invaluable lessons along the way. If you ever happen to see a green golf with LSD gp registration- call the cops!

21 August 2006

'Well done' is better than 'Well said'!


I remember it clearly. It was almost exactly a year ago. The old man was angry and frustrated. He was bitter- no disrespect intended but the man was honestly not a bundle of happiness. And at that time I didn’t feel very cheerful myself! We had spent almost three weeks in the West Bank. The cruelty of the soldiers, annoyance of the check points, and ugliness of the Apartheid Wall and the overbearing sense of insecurity had just about worn me out! [see palestine stories]

We were taking notes, trying to interview those we met so that we could better understand their lives and bring their stories home.
His words went more or less like this, ‘What is the use? People come and people go but nothing changes! We still suffer. The world doesn’t know what we go through. The world doesn’t care!’

Some do. A few brave souls braved the cold to hold a vigil at the US consulate. It was more a symbolic show of solidarity but something productive nevertheless. A friend from France emailed to ask how she can help. Whether I knew if they needed help in the refugee camps. I’m sure they do. I don’t know for sure. Would like to go if I could.

But alas I the chains are heavy. They weigh me down- a dreaded exam looms. If wasn’t the last, the end, the culmination of many years of strife and toll, I would abandon it in a wink! Just trying to qualify to write it is proving to be exceedingly difficult. I blame it on too many distractions, too many friendly encounters, too much reality, too much travelling and experiencing life not like I had ever known it before! I sit and try to study but find myself drawn to late night infomercials! I sit and try to write the qualifying test and find myself daydreaming about far off lands!

Speaking of far off lands, it seems to be getting difficult to get visas for far off lands- Germany and France to be precise. This guy, probably the best guy around, the type that wouldn’t hurt a fly and does everything he can to help others. I would say- peace itself personified! But he fits the profile~ young Muslim!

And to just conclude a discussion that started off my last post- someone asked what I think about women covering up. I think we need to look at why Islam encourages men AND women to dress modestly. And also encourages men AND women to lower their gazes. This can, and has rightfully been interpreted differently all over the world. In fact, in Zanzibar I saw an amazing amalgamation of cultures- a single woman’s dress had African, Indian and Arab influences. Unique and modest, yet quite stylish. A bit of that is needed here: will help bridge the gap between ‘dull boring black garbs’ and utterly shameless and immodest norm of many a young Muslim!

Look at the logic behind everything. That should help you better understand and then want to implement. Like I said in the aforementioned discussion- men were instructed to grow beards so that we can ‘be different’ from the fire worshippers. Men and women need to dress modestly, cover up in public, so that integrity, honour and chastity can be protected. Any action or practice that weakens the family structure leads to problems in a community and possibly an eventual breakdown of society. So protecting ones modesty is ultimately serving mankind…

That’s enough for now- next time go to askimam.com! or try the Majlis- hear they have a website too:-P

Registrations for the Argus open next week. Anyone keen to join a group of semi-professionals cyclists? Register on the website and give us a shout. Just make sure you don’t have any impending operations or anything!

10 August 2006

travel, murder and beards...

I could smell the adventure before I left. Just me and my backpack. No real plans, no timetable, no expectations.
The guidebooks were sketchy; a map of East Africa revealed a few small ports, a lot of mangrove swamp and a road passable only in the dry season.
Googling the place names had opened enticing windows of possibility:
the ruins of a Persian city-state that had World Heritage status;
a cheap airline doing hops along the coast;
and places to stay that included a bedroom built around a baobab tree;
neat, swept streets of coral-stone cottages with shaggy thatch and a grand old German fort renovated by an Englishman.

Ibn Battuta would have been proud! Like early explorers, I explored. Inexorably drawn to those parts of the globe where few others venture…
And now back. Back to work and studying and cold weather! Detailed report of the adventure to be documented soon. *watch this space*


The world is still mad! Death toll up to over a 1000 from the 300 mentioned in my last email- the Israeli oppressors totally blasé in the unabated mass murder spree. The world mumbles occasionally and shuffles a bit but nobody has the guts or even ability to stop it. I don’t understand it!

The Palestine band I wear allowed me to have many discussions- with locals and tourists from all over the world. And every single person I spoke to and those I speak to now, are all against this bloodbath. Or any carnage for that matter! Not that many actually know what is going on or even the history behind the conflict. And I guess that’s the best place for us to start- educating ourselves and all those we come into contact with. Maybe that will help.

A friend in Sri Lanka sends word that things are quite messed up there as well. What is with the world? I remember before I left, there was some news reports about rich white kids beating and killing each other. So much ugliness just clouding up so much beauty.


50 years ago, women marched to the Union Buildings in defiance of the proposed Apartheid pass laws. A memorable event but in cynical terms- where they no women who took the hideous proposals as a sign of the Apartheid barbarians wanting to treat women as equal to men:) ok, ok- just joking!

Hash- I think you should shave your beard dude:P For your own sake. What that guy said is probably what many others are thinking anyway… But I guess him shaving his beard will not solve the problem- the problem is that this idiots slip up is an indication of how the words Muslim and Terrorist have become synonymous. Not that a beard = a Muslim, Hashim has done well to make it known that he is a good, practising, ‘orthodox’ [can that word even be used in Islam??] Muslim. Ah well, the guy has apologised…

31 July 2006

no blogger in east africa

the daladalas are not the only things that take ages to get you somewhere- net access is quite african...
till i return *watch this space:)*

18 July 2006

Only free men can negotiate.




The wonderful sounds of Ghoema once again entertained- still had most of the intricate details fly way over my head, but an entertaining experience nevertheless. In the similar thespian spirit, experienced a more casual presentation of Forever Young! Forever young. How we wish we could all be forever young…

Reminisced down the road to those younger days and soaked in some of that goodness- but the road has way too many potholes! And I mean that in both the metaphorical AND physical sense! To such an extent it forced me to send LSD (aka speed machine) into the realm of the Mighty One (the one and only!) and begin the search for a new lead figure in the next chapter of the journey on roads…

Nelson Mandela, ex-President of South Africa, celebrates his 88th birthday this week. Many of those 88 years where spent in prison, and for most of those years he was considered a terrorist, together with many others who fought against Apartheid, oppression, social injustice and outright tyranny. He once said, ‘Only free men can negotiate.’
Today we have other freedom fighters being labelled terrorists. While their leaders are in prison, their people oppressed, their land confiscated, their mothers and kids maimed and killed; they are being told to negotiate. How can they negotiate? Only free men can negotiate!

The world is really gone mad. The Israelis have killed over 300 hundred civilians in the past few days. The rest of the world is too chicken to do anything about it. Our very own government continues to have political and economic ties with these murderers. Most of us are too busy with our lives to do anything, let alone think about doing anything…

Another Tsunami hits and hardly anyone even knows- the worlds’ attention is on two kidnapped Israeli soldiers. The Israeli media speaks about these ‘young’ Israelis that have been ‘abducted’! Like young soldiers don’t murder young and old Palestinians and Lebanese…
The Tsunami victims need to rebuild once again. May Gods help be with all those that are suffering… What can we do? Can we help?

I now struggle with the question of cancelling my expedition to the eastern coast and attempt to travel to the Holy Lands- something I am perfectly willing to do if the call is made. Suppose that anyway, the environment is too harsh for the green aid I have to offer… Maybe my concentrated efforts on the local fronts will be the best place to start…

10 July 2006

Only from the heart can you touch the sky.



















Meet Elliot. He nurses his broken leg, shadowed by the towering white minaret (pillar) of Newtown Musjid. He uses cardboard for warmth- both as blanket and fuel. He moved to Jhb in 1989 from the Eastern Cape. He made lotsa dough as a singer and musician. He speaks about those days of money, happiness and women!
How did he end up on the street? That he is too ashamed to share. But he does talk to God daily. Almost everyday for the past six years that he’s lived on the streets; he has been talking to God. He wakes up with the call to prayer from Newtown every morning.
“They pray early. Before the birds wake up. Only after they pray, do I hear the birds making noise.”
‘The birds pray as well..’
“Yes. I pray as well. I ask God to look after my daughter. She lives with her mother in the Eastern Cape. Thank you for this lovely food.”
‘It’s a pleasure. It is my duty to help you. And it is the Methodist Church that buys this food.’
“Tell me, how many people are there in the world?”
‘Hmm, I think about 6 billion. I’m not sure though.’
“No, there are only two- man and woman. You are a man and I am a man. We both have hands, feet, a face. There is no difference between us! All man is the same and all woman is the same…”

Moses says that his friend is the devil- he is just making trouble while the rest of the community (homeless community that lives at the CBD taxi rank) is trying to get in line for a nice hot meal. His friend, aka devil, buys homemade drink from a lady in the community. Without drink he cannot sleep coz its too cold. But with drink he conks out and doesn’t even feel the cold!
But Moses doesn’t like drink- he sleeps during the day when the is out and it’s warmer. At night he keeps the fire burning to stay warm.

Kortboy- a recently published book about a typical resident of Sophiatown. From the authors description of Sophiatown, at the book launch, I learnt that it was a viby interesting place back in the days of Aparthied. One of the few places where people got together and had fun. Come to think of it, probably the place where Elliot first found a home when he reached Joburg…

Durban does NOT experience a winter! The sunny east coast has the best beaches, waves and water in the country. And what’s more- if you happen to be a South African of Indian decent, you can meet every other SAI that you had ever met before in your entire life. Together with their kids, siblings, grandparents, and even cousins from Klerksdorp and other waay out places. Apparently some sage predicted a tsunami at the beachfront this year, yet while we sat on the beach, listening to the wonderful African sounds, under the moon and star lit sky, we were felt secure knowing that we had just completed a disaster management course:)

Speaking of the disaster course- a good brother, Mohamed Hassim, passed away. I spoke to him only twice- last year before we left for Palestine, and again this year when we both returned from Kashmir. He was young and fit, and a really nice guy. We pray for him. May God bless him and grant his family patience.

I deeply respect Zidane- if he head butted the guy because his mother was insulted, then Go Zizou! That split second pause he took before turning around- what was going through his mind? Did he think of the repercussions to his action, the red card, the media badgering, and still decide to hell with all that- ‘no f&#@er swears my mum and get away with it! Rather my name go down than the name of someone I love..’
But on the other hand, if it was just an action in anger, then it was def a big mistake. Actions in anger often have regrettable consequences and should always be avoided. A justified retaliation to any attack is surely more effective when clearly thought out and then implemented…

04 July 2006

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!



That plastic bag flying in the wind, doing whirls and twirls, is not ‘so beautiful’, as in American Beauty- it’s stupid! Why? Coz its litter and litter is not beautiful! Litter is ugly and horrible. Often associated with poor areas, (coz they don’t have street cleaners!) litter is what messes up beauty. So the next time some guy in front of you throws dirt out hit window, go road rage on him and teach him a lesson. Not that we want to surpass the extremes set by the Singaporeans or anything- we just want there to be less dirt around us.
Someone usually has to pick it up- and no goofy, you are not creating employment! – you are just making their jobs more difficult…

Menlyn Mall, deep behind the boerewors curtain, advertised a ‘Snow and Ice Festival’- pictured as mind blowing ski slopes and icy white frozen rinks! The reality: a dude with a hose pipe watering an inflatable slope, a frozen corner of the car park and a snow man made of ice cubes! Nevertheless, an entertaining soccer match at the nearest watering hole sufficed to keep all mildly entertained.

The problem with horse riding at a ranch that hires the horses out regularly is that the horses are so bloody confused. They are not used to a particular rider so the signals normally used are not that common to them. The result- a confused horse that is perceived as obstinate! However, a truly breath taking experience as usual! Stirrup Glen, just 30min out of Jhb, offers some quaintly rustic horse trails with intermediate, medium and fast horses- fast being the most fun (or bloodcurdling) of course.
Cited as one of few permissible forms of entertainment by the hard core literalists, the experience is most entertaining and quite energising, so if you have qualms with your standard leisure, be sure to give it a try…

A major relief organisation held an intensive, yet highly informative, Disaster Management Course- it’s not simply rocking up in an area, dropping off blankets and food, and then leaving with a happy conscience- there is a whole science behind properly assisting those afflicted by some calamity or misfortune.
In some cases, supposedly good intentioned acts often cause more harm than good- for example, when a proper analysis of the situation on the ground is not done, a number of things could happen:
- goods that are not needed are procured and distributed, only to find that nobody wants them.
- not enough supplies are acquired for distribution, resulting in stampedes or disruption of already fragile communities.
The Sphere manual, developed by major international NGO’s, UN and the Red C, details exactly how to go about conducting yourself during a disaster or emergency- let me know if you may need it…

28 June 2006

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity!



Ghana is out. Bowed to the mighty Brazilians of course. There was hope, I was a supporter. Yup, once again I gave them my good wishes. Still had certain reservations after the apology of the Israeli flag waving, but I am an African so had to support my African brothers!

As the Ghana spokesman said, ‘He was unaware of the implications of his actions, he was just naïve.’

I mean, what does a soccer player need to know about world politics? What does he need to know about anything! He just plays soccer in Israel. In the nice, flashy Israeli side, he sees nothing of the suffering of Palestinians.

He probably has not even seen the Apartheid Wall. The hideous structure that is visible from all over the West Bank is virtually invisible to anyone in Israel. If it was visible, then any decent, human being would be against it!

But no. Not a naïve (aka dumb) soccer player from Ghana.

Inj`emnyaama- Black Dog. A 1982 play about the struggle against Apartheid. Currently showing in the Barney Simon stage at the Market Theatre. Barney Simon also wrote the original play in 1982.

The play, with a new cast, tells the story of the different players 30 years ago at the 1976 Soweto uprising. It looks at the culture of the time and speaks for a lot of people through a few characters. It provides an inside view on what life was like for the different races and groupings- oddly there is no ‘indian’ role.

But then I guess Indians were probably not considered to be part of Apartheid in any big and/or significant way!

They were not ‘that’ affected by it, and neither could they have been mistaken for supporters, so I guess back in 1982, when the play was written, Barney Simon saw no reason to even get them into the picture. Or unless he did have an ‘Indian’ role but there were no Indians to play it!

In that case, things will be changing soon, with some good okes now taking to the arena- as I’ve said before: Indian is the new black, and black is so last season:-)

Where are the African writers? Asked and answered by the legendary African writer Zakes Mda at a book launch last week.
Where are the African writers that are sharing our history with our youth? Asked and answered by a lady at the Apartheid Museum lecture.

The Deputy President gave a lecture there at the inaugural Solomon Mahlangu Commemoration Lecture.

Solomon Mahlangu was a young activist who left South Africa in the wake of the Soweto Uprising. On re-entering South Africa as a militant of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he and a colleague, Mondy Motloung, was captured after a skirmish with the police and white civilians who were assisting them. Two of the whites were killed.

Although the judge found that Solomon had personally played no direct part in killing them (either by shooting or throwing a hand-grenade) he was found guilty of murder through 'common purpose' and sentenced him to death. Mondy Motloung was so badly assaulted during interrogation that he was unable to stand trial due to brain damage.

Solomon Mahlangu was executed on 6 April 1976, the anniversary of Van Riebeeck's first colonial settlement in South Africa. He, and many others, paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We appreciate this and remember them.

The Cradle of Humankind- Maropeng. Where they claim life on earth began. Seemed to take a lifetime to get there and yet there was never reached! Well, not Maropeng exactly, but I could say that a cradle of humankind was reached. The banks of a little river, under the shade of evergreens, on the comfort of rocks, with the occasional passing of a wild, scary beast hungry for the meal of meat primed on a tiresomely prepared open fire - sure sounds like a cradle of human kind. Suppose it could also be called a braai somewhere but nowhere near Magaliesburg!

21 June 2006

It's always the challenge of the future, this feeling of excitement, that drives me.



Israel score 7 on world cup eve- a headline on a website I visit. And those 7 included three women and two children. I am not anti-Jew or anti-Semitic. I believe that all life is precious and should be respected. Palestinians included!
So while some goofs are condemning the World Cup as being Haraam; pro-Israeli groups are capitalising on it by getting players to wave flags and organising protests!

There are five African teams in the finals- Ghana, Angola, Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia. I had my hopes on Ghana. But when John Pantsil waved an Israeli flag every time they scored against the Czechs I was upset.
Fine, he and three other Ghanaians play professionally in Israel- they need to earn a living. But supporting a terrorist state that kills women and children is wrong! John Mensah revealed a T-shirt with an image of Jesus holding a lamb- I don’t have a problem with that. I have a problem with child killers…

Maybe we should have convinced some players to wave Palestinian flags around- anyone know any soccer players?

Pro-Israeli groups have also been instrumental in arranging protests against Iran’s participation. What are they doing? Intermingling politics with sport- maybe we should learn some lessons from them!
The Iranian President rocks! He has topped my list of coolest Presidents followed closely by Huge Chavez!

Political parties tried to capitalise on the 30th anniversary of June 16, Youth Day. It was no organisation or movement that was directly responsible for what is considered the beginning of the end of Apartheid. It was the youth; the youth who had decided that they will fight oppression and demand freedom. Many lost their lives, many sacrificed for what we, here in South Africa, today enjoy. Do we show our appreciation? How?
Back there, where the resistance started, there where those who couldn’t take oppression anymore, right there they claim to now experience a new form of oppression. Many are disillusioned with democracy- for them change is happening too slowly. They see the race struggle as not over, but rather as altered. They now see it as a class struggle.
But change is happening. It’s mighty slow but it is happening. There is a redistribution of wealth, albeit sluggish, but getting there. And Muslims need to strive to establish social justice and equality- is it not a requirement of our faith?

Hector Peterson, Muhammad Al-Dura- few of the many youth who died for freedom. And the list of unsung heroes is mighty long. Let us not forget them.

Meet Thabani. He is 14 years old and schools in the highlands of the Drakensburg. His father, a mine worker, died while he was still young. He earns R40 a day as an assistant for extreme adventures- bungee, gorge swings and the like. He seems to like his job but enjoys school much more.
His elder brother works at a resort in the area where he cleans up and serves the many needs of the guests.
His mother also works at one of the resorts. He is not sure what exactly it is that she does.
Sitting on a rock cliff besides what is a gushing waterfall in the summer, but now just a trickling stream cascading over the rock face, he points into the distance. ‘That mountain over there’, his arm outstretched in the direction of a few huge hills, shadowed by the vast mountain range, ‘that is my house.’
What, your family owns the whole mountain?
‘No, no. We just live on that mountain. We always lived there.’
Thabani now enjoys what his father never dreamt of. He enjoys freedom.

14 June 2006

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.



Soccer fever is upon us once again. Expect to see some super games coming up in the next round- I’m behind any African side that gets through. Most seem to be playing quite well so at least a couple should get through.

Racism is apparently not dead in the game yet, so stick to busy areas if you’re not white and wana go to Germany! Gadaafi calls the world cup a modern form of slavery- the nut may have a point there… We also probably going to hear some conservative beard condemning all spectators to hell for watching semi-clad guys running after a leather ball in a futile exercise- they may also have a point, similar to Muaamar, in that, all those millions that are spent could possibly alleviate world poverty…

The Dunya is a prison for a believer- Interesting idea for a show/play brought up by our good friend Zakp:) Prison Break Dunya- one season only! Any takers?

There’s an old pier on Durban’s South Beach called Vetchi’s Pier (me thinks) that has awesome snorkelling! Snorkelling is awesome but nowhere as good as scuba diving. Just make sure you don’t go on a 2 hour snorkel close to noon on a sunny winters day! But an investment in a good snorkelling set, especially for those on the coast, will be a worthy investment…

Do you need a service for your car, a holiday home on the latest golf estate, jumping castles for your next birthday party or even corporate gifts with your company logo? Probably not, but the guy at the robot needs a job! It may not be his or even your idea of ideal employment but it probably puts food on his table while he tries to get into a more fulfilling role. Take the pamphlet. Accumulate a pile on the floor of you car and empty out weekly. Or you could give the stack to the guy with the bin bag at the next robot together with a few coins…

Istikhara- asking for Gods guidance in a certain matter. The actual process of performing it is up to the individual, I feel, but the essence of it seems to be misunderstood my many quite often. Forget about a dream or some lighting from the sky sign, especially if you have already made a few decisions yourself and decide to ask for Gods guidance at this late stage. Asking for guidance is something we should be doing before any decision made or steps taken. Not that it will ever be too late to turn to God, but it is best that we start every journey, endeavour and resolution with divine guidance. That we ask God to help us and then make the most logical, pure and educated decision we can make. That we know the freedom of choice is still ours but we could be making these choices under the supreme watchful eye…

Jealousy makes one nasty. Or is it envy? I’m not too sure of the exact definitions. Which one makes you bitter about the achievements of others without at all driving you to accomplish yourself? Coz the other one is good if it does persuade one to get off ones butts, study a bit harder, and eventually get a degree to start moving on. Moving away from the small bunch of closed minded, bigoted buddies. Move on to see the world!

Watch what you say- ponder the saying in the subject line…

12 June 2006

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!

Vent your frustrations!
Take a stand!
(p.s For those who are not from Durban, Halaal is a nickname I picked up on campus...)

05 June 2006

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.



A group of really good people meet at the Methodist Church, based in the city centre, every Wednesday night for a blanket or food distribution. They are assisted by Wits students who treat people for minor medical issues. The community they target are those living in and around the Joburg CBD, outside shops like Moosa’s from where my Mum bought those lovely double ply, embroidery, Gold Label blankets, and that shop from where we usually get that sweet, syrupy Jaleebi for Eid!

Last Wednesday over 300 blankets were distributed to these people who were found sleeping in the streets, dustbins and abandoned buildings. A really eye opening experience and sadly shocking as well. At one stop in Newtown, while handing out blankets to about 50 people sleeping in an alley, I found myself looking up at the Newtown Musjid mimbar. Those familiar lights that I see every night after prayer on my way back to my warm, soft bed. Why is it that we don’t see the lights from this side of the Musjid more often? Why can’t we take all these people sleeping out in the open and let them sleep in the warm, soft Musjid? Or if not, then perhaps we should take some of them home at least?

The KZN premier, Sbu Ndebele had an alumni dinner for ‘KZN successful alumni’. The province is spending 5.2 billion on infrastructure development and is trying to coax ‘expats’ into returning to help work on the economy. Very bourgeois event and probably goes to show how desperate they are to stop the brain drain from the lovely coast. But I guess its going to take much more to convince the guys to go back…

Has anyone watched Red Dust? Academy award winner star, tons of dough and yet a major disappointment for the financiers! Think I’m going to try and hire it coz have heard it’s a great story and well made. Movie business is really volatile- if a movie does not make it big at the box office; chances are its going to run into losses even if it does well on dvd and is eventually sold to television as those deals are not as lucrative as the big screen opportunities. Just some arb media and movie production info… If you have a good idea for a movie, I have some willing backers to propose it to!

The cold of the northern natal reminds me of freezing Kashmir- still chills my bones to even think about what people have to endure! Imagine this- at night, on the coldest night we have, try washing with ice-cold water, outside! It’s unbelievably painful- you loose feeling and become numb! Thank God for thermal underwear, indoor heating and ceilings!

30 May 2006

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.



The association for the advancement for black accountants celebrates the achievements of all recently qualified ‘black’ accountants at an annual bourgeois dinner. Interesting to note that, a significant number of the fresh CA’s are Muslim- what an unbelievable base of talent- talent that could be harnessed to achieve great things. Money makes the world go round and the world is currently in a tortuous cycle due to the iniquitous economic practices being perpetrated. What if someone could harness all this untapped potential and empower them with the tools to change the world? Where can one find such a person? How could this be done? Any volunteers?

It cannot be proved, inconclusively, that Jesus A.S did not get married. Neither can it be proved that he did. This I concluded following a discussion with The Beards- but that is really not important. What is important is how we use this opportunity; yes it’s a brilliant opportunity, to discuss with friends and colleagues what the Quran has to say. We don’t discuss whether he had a child or not- we discuss whatever the Quran says and only what the Quran says. The simplicity and brilliance of the story of Mary (Mariam) will be enough to convince an uneasy mind. A mind made uneasy by the movie which breaks down the basis for which many base their faith; which raises questions that probably crossed the minds of many! What I also really enjoyed from the movie was the themes that came out- control over faith is ultimately power; so those who can control a faith and yield colossal power will in some cases do so at any cost. And people, in general, the world over, need to be aware of this danger…

No matter how important a lecture is, the mind can just switch off once the speaker starts and more often than not, the constant drone of academic blabber keeps it floating pleasurably through dreamland! It may actually be a medical condition- sounds familiar to any medics out there? There must be a cure for this ‘sleepy lecture’ phenomenon. Just hope it’s discovered soon- board II is not something to be taken lightly…

Our good mate, FK, is one of the stars in Jump for Joy- a production currently playing at the UJ theatre. A good show for the whole family- nice, light entertainment. Seems like a bright future for some of the superb talent on show. And + one feels so cultured attending the theatre- the path to becoming a thespian is a fun one;p

Islamically, a marriage is performed when two, sane, responsible individuals, commit to each other in front of at least two witnesses- right? Then why such a hoo haa all the time. Even knowledgeable, virtuous individuals are forced to engage in such engagements, in the sole interest of not causing undue dissension in society. People can sometimes be so dumb- the stories you hear are sometimes shocking! Sad to say, the end of stupidity in the Indian communities still seems to be light years away…

On a happier note- Black Eyed Peas, up close and personal, in the skin, in your face; they so ROCK:)

"Where Is The Love?"
What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the K.K.K
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Madness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach?
And would you turn the other cheek?