24 February 2006

A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldn't go by yourself.

What a beautiful drive it is from Joburg to Newcastle- we should look around more and appreciate the beauty all around us. Good relaxing weekend- needed regularly to push the dreaded thoughts of traffic way to the back of your mind.. This weekend, the mountain we seek out to climb and conquer!

I know I promised an insight into the event of Karbala and also some info on the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hang on a bit longer for the Iranian review but here’s a bit on Karbala. In the month of Muharram 61 AH, an event took place in Iraq, on the bank of the river Euphrates, at a place known as Karbala. An Umayyad army besieged a small group and put them under pressure to pay allegiance to the usurper of the Caliphate, Yazid. The small group resisted and a severe battle took place in which they were all killed. The leader of this small band of people was Hussein, son of Ali, the Prophets cousin and Fatima, the Prophets daughter. History tells us how the head of this fond grandson of the Prophet was speared and paraded through villages and towns as it was taken to Damascus and presented at the feet of Yazid!

The day of Aashura is one on which the Prophet encouraged spending wealth on family and friends. But since the Prophet passed away, a sad event occurred on this day. So do we continue to just enjoy as a day of celebration and giving gifts? Or do we totally ignore the advice of the Prophet and mourn the death of Husain, mourn his death in an extreme manner? There were many great figures in Islam who were treacherously assassinated. Then why don’t we mourn their deaths just as veraciously?

Is it not possible to follow, with understanding and wisdom, the advice of the Prophet, and at them same time, use the event of Hussein’s death to remind us of his life and the ultimate sacrifice he took to ensure that this beautiful way of Islam could reach us all today? How much of our history do we really know? Your thoughts please*

The Information and Education department of the US consulate had an interesting video conference this week. Technologically superb link-up with an American Muslim girl referred to in the email as, Muslim Feminist Cowgirl! Expecting a confused, apologetic soul I was pleasantly surprised. Quite interesting and informative to say the least, Asma Ghul Hasan, author of a few books on Muslim Americans, engaged us in quite an educational discourse. Few interesting points she made: as an American citizen, born and bred, she has to be a positively contributing member of society. She gives off to American culture all the good of Islam and accepts from is all the good that it has as well. 9 million Muslims in America, ‘just you imagine it’! A large percentage are of Indian sub-continent decent, but growing numbers of Afro-American, Caucasian (especially young females!), and Latino Americans as well. Being a Muslim makes them better Americans- does the same apply to us? Does being a Muslim make us better South Africans? Does being a Muslim force us to behave differently from wealth hoarding capitalists? Does being Muslim makes us fight against suffering, oppression, inequalities, etc, all of which are widespread in South Africa?

Did you feel the Mozambican earthquake? I was awake and a friend smsed me when it happened, but didn’t feel a thing. I do however remember with crystal clarity the earthquake I felt in Kashmir. And it’s scary to think that it happened so close to home. I was at ease thinking that this slice of the planet is immune to those earth-shattering events but I presume we are not so safe after all! When the ground moves under your feet, you are literally at its mercy- make a prayer, we need it!

Sounds: Cat Stevens. Immortal Technique. Two totally different ends of the gamut, yet both so flippin brilliant!

17 February 2006

Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever is not kind has no faith.

Took the students bus to Pretoria join the march. Briefing the marshals and we hear chants of takbeer bellowing down the road. We turn to see a small army of people, carrying a big banner and moving towards us at an alarming pace! The idea was to keep people on the road in front of the embassy and maintain peace and calm. But these guys would hear nothing of it! We formed a human chain and waited for the human tsunami- got scary for a bit. You could see the anger in the guys’ eyes as they just charged forward. Really emotional crowd and felt good being part of that:)
Calm reigned soon enough and was followed by a cloud burst that left all soaking. Over a thousand people; men, women and children; young and old, stood through the storm and as someone said, ‘It was good to be drenched in God’s Mercy, literally!

But what does a protest achieve? Well, we did get media coverage. (not just me being violent on etv news!) We joined the rest of the Muslim world in their show of outrage. But it doesn’t and shouldn’t end there- we should be more proactive from now on. While this incident is still fresh in the minds of people, use the opportunity to educate Muslims and non-Muslims and even yourself. Bcoz that’s the main problem in the world at the moment- a lack of education!

The KZN beards also may need some assistance- maybe first from their Jhb counterparts. Those guys said that women should not be part of the protest actions. An age old debate that I wouldn’t waste time on and thought would have been settled by now, but apparently some guys haven’t caught on to things yet..

Picasso in Africa- what exactly he was doing here I still don’t understand;p But moonlighting as cultured, conceited art critics (well, me at least!) we attended the exhibition being held at the Standard Bank Gallery. (Yup, capitalism is cultured;p)
The lady walking around giving her two cents was not as fun as the mother with her two kids who were guessing what the paintings are before reading the description. Art. Weird. I tried. I just don’t get it..

Sister Zainub left an interesting comment on my blog last week. I honestly can’t give a proper answer yet- and I think that may be part of the answer as well: I don’t know. We all don’t know. We don’t know why we give gifts on Aashura! We don’t know what happened n history on that day! I mean we have an idea, we know sort of, but generally we don’t. Not that history is more important than religion because history is about religion. And what religion would we have if we don’t know our history? But enough faffing around from my side- if you can, please answer Sister Zainubs questions. But you will have to wait till next week if you want my educated response!

Only in Joburg do you get traffic on a Sunday. And of all places, at Hartebeesport Dam! For God’s sake, we went there (took Dr. Cum Laude) to relax and take it easy and end up spending an hour in traffic. But an amazing mass of water and an interesting braai so it didn’t end up too badly..

The Iranians Embassy had a function commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution- the food was good and the venue posh (Sheraton!) but we missed the speeches so unfortunately no comments on the revolution for now. But together with my other homework, I will try to do the research and report back next week. *watch this space, again:)*

Visit my Kashmir blog when you have time and leave a comment: http://www.asiaexplore.blogspot.com/

And this is a link to an article, which I haven’t even read yet or knew about! www.islamonline.net/English/In_Depth/volunteers/2006/02/11.shtml

P.s Make a prayer- bike thing not looking too good!

10 February 2006

Legend: Blue- Consumption of Petrol
Yellow- Production of Petrol
Mums gone to the motherland- not ours, the old mans! She took him to see his family is the village. Me, I got no family in the village. I don’t know where the village is. I don’t want to know. Newcastle is my village:-p

Played an excruciating soccer tournament- only 40% of our players rocked up. But we won 75% of our games! With 80% of the players in the tournament being accountants, we actually had a 60% chance of winning all our games. The game we lost though, we did lose it 100%. But no regrets bcoz the games we put in 100% effort and had 0% expectations. See what happens when accountants play ball!

Group of guys attempted to divert a potentially egging protest at the Danish consulate on Sunday, which in the end turned out to be a hoax! But the protest did go off well with the crowd expressing a rare show of unity. The number of emails and sms’s flying around since this saga began is phenomenal- smiles on vodas face but doesn’t really seem as if Muslims are taking advantage of this situation to its fullest, and turning it around to benefit Islam… Oh well- we pray and act and hope for the blessing of God!

I hate it when movies, made purely for entertainment, are based on fact. This causes the viewer to believe as true, the strong points of the movie, and discount what the rest as part of the entertainment. Not that watching a movie based on fact is not educational and informative, but the viewer makes up his own mind based on his current understanding of events! Munich is the label in focus and I think some feedback with be helpful for me to fully understand what effect the movie had on other viewers…

The years 2000 to 2004 saw many, many marches- guess it was the most street active period in our recent history and that gave me the benefit of attending many a march meeting with professional, career, march organisers. This weeks meeting in the gauteng region were mildly less fun, but I guess age and experience have made me more mature! (What bull#@&%!)
Hope it does all go off according to plan- actually just a protest at the Danish embassy after Jumah. Cape Town had a crowd, as expected- here, if past experience is anything to go by we may be a tad disappointed.

The blessed occasion of Ashura has just passed- may God grant us the full blessings and understandings of this day. Shouldn’t we be also looking back at what important events happened in our history on this day? Granted some may take things to an extreme, but should that stop the rest of us from knowing what happened back in the day? Well, I attended a commemoration (if you can call it that) and will be doing some research that will be disseminated in due course. *watch this space*

Check this out: http://www.reporter.co.za/community/article.aspx?ID=RP21A147580

03 February 2006

Knowingly on unknowingly all beings have within themselves the desire to praise.

Yup, as I said before, driving down to Durban every second weekend is well worth it! But this time had to take gran from Zim home so stopped in NN for a bite and breather- reached Durbs early Fri evening so had a full 48 hours of sun, sand and surf to look forward to.
Have you ever tried kayaking at Addington beach? Its flippin great- and + you may get to see a whole school of dolphins! Try it out sometime…

Not really a Gran Prix fan- wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it on tv, but live is amazing! If you enjoy speed, sound, sun and possible whiplash, then you’ll love going to the Gran Prix- Downside is you probably suffer from acute hearing loss in your old age, and if you just came back from Hajj you going to be swinging your head from side to side to see the cars and then down again to protect your soul;p But if you missed this one, then make sure you book your tickets for next year! (p.s Ahmed- I used your pic on the blog!)

It’s definitely not a good idea to wake up at 4am and drive to Joburg- especially when you only reached Newcastle past midnight the night before! And also, especially when you have counselling with the partner that morning! Counselling is where you need to convince the partner that you deserve a bonus- quite an interesting session it turned out to be. He was educated about the intricacies on an Islamic economic system and why it would be in his own best interests to help achieve it! But a good point that came up in the session is balance: for an individual to be happy and successful he needs a good balance of the following: spiritual, physical, social and intellectual development. Any further thoughts?

Once again reinstated my title of funniest guy in the office- had out first year welcoming function and was asked to do a short presentation about ABASA. For those who don’t know, it’s the Association for Black Accountants. So what’s an Indian doing speaking? Well, haven’t you heard? Indian is the ‘New Black’ and black is soo last season:)

Fordsburg and Mayfair aren’t the safest places to cycle during normal waking hours, so I’m sticking to sunrise sessions during the week. Went to see a bicycle yesterday and the guy selling it almost made me reconsider what I was doing- but I am still confident that I will be ready for the 110km, 7 hour race in 5 weeks time. Come on, even ‘if’ I don’t finish the scenery will still be worth I effort! (I wish!)