Al-Laghu (on wasting time / vain talk) by Nauman Ali Khan

Nouman Ali Khan – Wasting Time from MR on Vimeo.

Amazing video at http://vimeo.com/701759 by Nauman Ali Khan on wasting time.

Absolutely brilliant.

There has to be a purpose to everything you do. If you engage in activities that have no benefit in this life or the next, you are guilty of al-laghu.

Wasting time just hanging-out, spending hours of social media etc, can really take a lot of your time away. You’ll never get this time back as every breath goes forth as a decree of destiny. This should never be wasted.

Watch the video. It definitely is worth it.



 ‘Islam and the Environment’ : Prince of Wales

There was a lovely and most insightful speech by the Prince of Wales on the topic of Islam and the Environment at  this link.

He touches on fascinating topics such as wise choices of technology, the existence of God, modern social pressures and the nature of our responsibility looking forward (in the context of higher realities).



 On Children

Being a father or mother is to hold the future in your hands.

The past is gone, and dwelling on it can only hide the reality….
The future is taking shape and is influenced by our choices today.

I salute the parents who bring up well-adjusted, civilized children that are a credit to the society they live in.

However, they are also deeply blessed by the creator who found them worthy of this trust.

I am reminded of hikam #90 from Ibn Ata’illah’s Book of wisdom “Al Hikam”

“It is reward enough for worship that He has
accepted you as worthy of it”

The parents don’t need my congratulations. The smile they get from their happy children are more than enough for them, and the sadaqah-jariya which their children will become is the greatest investment they could ever make in terms of the love, effort and education/guidance they provide.



 On Movies (and Other Packaged Experiences)

just watched the Dark Knight. Conclusions:

1. Finally.. I’ve decided that movies are a complete waste of time. I don’t watch sports (much), and I no longer have any interest in movies (hmm.. does not apply to cartoons).
2. Contemporary plots are so simplistic and they really stretch the boundaries of believability to be ‘differentiated’. If I do watch anything, I’m going to stick to the classics.
3. I want my three hours back. I have notes to write up, books to read, and corrections to make. If nothing else, at least I can spend some time with the family, play a game of chess or do some contemplation instead. Every breath that goes forth is a Gift, and decreed by destiny; how can we waste blocks of time like this?



 Thank you to Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff made a statement yesterday about the assault on the Freedom Flotilla.

Although I would have wanted a stronger condemnation, I respect his desire to get more facts before establishing guilt. However, I do expect pressure to end the blockage from Canada.

I sent him a quick thank you yesterday:

Dear Michael,
Thank you for your statement condemning the attack on the humanitarian flotilla recently in Gaza.

I am proud to have a leader who stands for what is right. Steve Harper on the other hand, is a complete disgrace, he stood with the leader of the regime that sanctioned the killing of innocent aid workers, giving him comfort and support when he should have been condemning Netanyahu’s actions.

It would be great if we could work to ensure that the sacrifice made by the humanitarian aid workers does not go in vain, and that the blockade of Gaza is lifted. There are incredible parallels with what is happening in Gaza to the events that led to the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising

How can an entire people be put under such apartheid-like oppression, where they are not even allowed access to the materials required to reconstruct their homes?

We all pray for peace and understanding in this world, and I am proud to be living in a country where freedom and protection of the individual is accorded the highest status.

Best,

Shahzad



 Letter to Michael Ignatieff about the Flotilla Assault

I wrote a letter today to the leader of the Liberal in Canada (Michael Ignatieff). The text is given below. Please take the time to write to your member of parliament or the leader of your party. Their email addresses are available at parl.gc.ca

Dear Michael,
I am an active member of the Liberal party, hoping to wrest the Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding (around Kanata, ON) away from the Conservatives in the next elections.

I am been waiting for a statement from the Liberal party in regards to the inhuman murder of innocent aid workers in international waters. A few days ago, Israeli commandos boarded an aid convoy (the freedom flotilla) in international waters, and shed the innocent blood of humanitarian workers. They brazenly claimed that the killings were in self-defense, which is patently untrue, as they were the assaulting party (an aggressor cannot claim self-defense).

Isn’t it against our values to silently condone the oppression of 1.5 million people in Gaza? Doesn’t the Liberal party of Canada stand for freedom, protection of the weak and the end of state-oppression?

I know hundreds of people who are very angry about this injustice, including quite a few in the Etobicoke riding.

When the whole world insists that the blockage should end, shouldn’t we also add our voices and efforts to make this happen?

We are looking to you to make a difference as our leader, and one entrusted with the representation of the Canadian people.

Best Regards,

Shahzad



 Murder in the Middle-East

I am still  marveling that Netanyahu still insisits that the commandos killed in ’self-defence’.. they boarded a ship in international waters. That is piracy.

They attacked and killed aid-workers. That is murder.

If they were concerned about ‘arms-smuggling’ for Hamas, they could have requested an inspection of the ship. That would be the civilized way to deal with this. Lies, lies and more lies.

On top of that, he wants to ‘prosecute’ the people who resisted the piratical assault. What arrogance, what nerve. It’s one thing to occupy by force, and keep 1.5 million ’stateless’ people in apartheid-like subjugation. It’s another thing to try the same with citizens of several countries in Western Europe, North America and with Turkey.

This just shows that power does corrupt; it goes straight to the head. The evil regime in Israel is a land-grabbing mafia, that has heartlessly exploited international geo-politics to their advantage. They have nothing to do with the peaceful religion of Abraham, Moses, Sulaiman and David. Let us not be fooled by their lies. I know so many Jews in North America that are fine people, and disown these acts done by the Israeli Govt.

If the evil regime in Israel did not have the cover of the American UN veto, this entire scenario would have been unsustainable a long time ago. If there is a veto cast this time, it will irreparably shred the US’s reputation, and essentially make the UN security council irrelevant.

This inhuman embargo on 1.5 million people has to end. It’s gone on for far too long.



 Chivalry (Futuwwa)

I really liked this post:

Being a Real Man in Islam
by Yahya Birt

Imam al-Qushayri [22] (rahmatu’Llahi ‘alayh) summaries what the nature of positive masculinity is. In Arabic this is called muru’a or manliness. Conceptually, manliness is closely related to futuwwa or chivalry. Imam al-Qushayri says in his famous Risala, “The root of chivalry is that the servant strive constantly for the sake of others. Chivalry is that you do not see yourself as superior to others. The one who has chivalry is the one who has no enemies. Chivalry is that you be an enemy of your own soul for the sake of your Lord. Chivalry is that you act justly without demanding justice for yourself. Chivalry is [having]… beautiful character.” [23]

The Noble Islamic Youth

In Arabic, fata literally means a handsome and brave youth. In the Chapter of the Prophets (60:21), the term fata is used to describe Abraham (‘alayhi s-salam), who had, with characteristic fearlessness, destroyed the idols of his people, and who was about to be thrown into the fire by them. In his commentary on this verse, Imam al-Qushayri (rahmatu’Llahi ‘alayh) says that the noble youth is one who breaks the idol and moreover that the idol of each man is his blameworthy soul that commands to evil (nafs al-amara bi al-su’). [24] Truly Allah Most High only bestows the title fata to those whom He loves. Youth, in this sense, is not a mere social category but a rank of piety.

Following the use of the word in the Holy Book, fata came to mean the ideal, noble and perfect man whose generosity did not end until he had nothing left for himself. A man who would give all that he had, including his life, for the sake of his friends. Futuwwa has a distinct sense for it means the way of fata or noble manliness, and the remainder of the essay concentrates on outlining these noble precepts.

The way to attain these qualities, to become a true man, is to kill the blameworthy soul, which can also be called our selfish impulses, or ego. The first thing is to learn is not to love the blameworthy soul, but instead to love others more than oneself and to love our Exalted Creator most of all. It is only after struggling to kill the ego that the trials of spiritual struggle, like those of our father Abraham (‘alayhi s-salam) in the fire, become ‘refreshment and peace’ (bardan wa salam). (21:69)

The Chivalry of the Companions

We find many examples of noble manliness among the Companions: the loyalty of Abu Bakr, the justice of ‘Umar, the reserve and modesty of ‘Uthman, and the bravery of ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhum). Yet for all their greatness, those men still only partially reflected that supreme example of true manliness, the Prophet (salla’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). It was their life’s work to emulate him, like it is ours today. As the first young man to embrace Islam, it was ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu), the last of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, the cousin and son-in-law of our noble Prophet (salla’Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the Lion of Allah, who came to represent the supreme example of youthful manly perfection. Known for his selflessness, courage, generosity, loyalty, wisdom and honour, he was the invincible warrior of his day. His nobility on the battlefield shines forth like a bright lamp of guidance for us today.

In one battle, ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) had overpowered an enemy warrior and had his dagger at the man’s throat when the man spat in his face. Immediately Imam ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) got up, sheathed his dagger, and told the man, “Taking your life is unlawful to me. Go away.” The man was amazed, “O ‘Ali,” he asked, “I was helpless, you were about to kill me, I insulted you and you released me. Why?” “When you spat in my face,” our master ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) answered, “it aroused the anger of my ego. Had I killed you then it would not have been for the sake of Allah, but for the sake of my ego. I would have been a murderer. You are free to go.” The enemy warrior was profoundly moved by this show of great nobility and so he embraced Islam on the spot.

In another of his battles against the unfaithful, our master ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) encountered a handsome young warrior who moved to attack him. His heart was full of pity and compassion for the misguided youth. He cried out, “O young man, do you not know who I am? I am ‘Ali the invincible. No one can escape from my sword. Go, and save yourself!” The young man continued toward him, sword in hand. “Why do you wish to attack me? Why do you wish to die?” ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) asked. The man answered, “I love a girl who vowed she would be mine if I killed you.” “But what if you die?” ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) asked again. “What is better than dying for the one I love?” he countered. “At worst, would I not be relieved of the agonies of love?” Hearing this response, ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) dropped his sword, took off his helmet, and stretched out his neck like a sacrificial lamb. Confronted by such nobility, the love in the young man’s heart was transformed into love for the great ‘Ali (radiya’Llahu ‘anhu) and for the One Most Exalted Whom ‘Ali loved.



 Water (and Other Blessings)

I pondered today the fact that life is so dependent on water. Entire communities live and die by it’s existence. Most cities that have been developed over the centuries have been built near waterways for so many related reasons.

Indeed, we should not be so arrogant as to imagine that our good deeds that have been so painstaking assembled will serve us in the next world. When the Almighty asks the blessings he has so generously bestowed upon us to take their dues from us, we should not be surprised to see that any one of the blessings will more than equal ALL our good deeds.

It could be your eyesight, the ability to walk, the warm sun which delights us and causes the crops to blossom, or the stuff of life — water — which we dismiss so easily, and which is the most important of resources.

It is only the mercy of the Almighty that will magnify our good deeds, and give us hasanat for the bad deeds that we refrained from committing that will ease the way to the garden. May we always remain close to Him, and cognizant of the multifarious blessings that he continuously gifts us daily.



 The Sleepwalker

I had an intense dream last night, which I’d like to document. I don’t always dream, but when they do come, there is a realism to them that far exceeds what you’d see in a Hollywood movie.

In this dream, I was listening as a friend of mine was explaining their fear that she may be losing her job. There was an inevitability around this fear that made it almost certain to happen. Her fear was palpable, as if it was one of the few elements of her identity that she was clinging on to.

At some point, she and her voice faded away. I got the sense that time had moved on, and we were now no longer in this earthly domain, although the connection to this world was there.

I witnessed  an entity, almost like a soulless golem, which was alive, but yet not completely so, trudging out of a warm house, trying to find something that it had lost. Every step that it took, you could feel the pain in every vein; I cannot really describe it well — the pain was one of absolute existence, emanating from the blood outwards (I could not feel the pain, but could sense clearly that the golem felt it, and I do not know whom the golem represents). It was walking away in to the night, through bushes that looked like they concealed dangers, but it stuck to a path that others had followed in the past, and thus remained safe.

At some point, the golem realized that it was heading towards an objective which was not good for it, which had become an obsession, almost like chasing a mirage. It had been deceived and was being drawn to its destruction.

It then decided to turn back (seeking something that it had almost forgotten). Every step that it took back to the warm comforting house, the pain subsided gradually.

The door of the house was huge, almost like a barn door, and full of light and whiteness. The golem turudged back through it, regaining it’s humanity with every step that it took as it entered the house.

It walked right through two rooms, and I got the sense that room it was looking for was accessible through a door that it could not see. It only knew that the objective it was seeking was behind a fire, and a sturdy internal structural wall. At this point, the golem had transformed almost into a human, and could not break through the wall, and would notionally be burnt if it walked through the fire.  However, with certainty that was lent to it by unknown sources, it walked through the fire without being singed, and it was then confronted by the wall. The wall was man-made, and with further certainty, it walked into the wall, and was suddenly on the other side, resting in a warm comfortable bed. I got the feeling that the Creator lent it/him/her (I don’t know who this was) a hand at this point, and shifted reality in a minor miracle to make everything right again.