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!