Disclaimer: These beautiful verses have not been written by me. This picture is of the Night sky at a lake in West Virginia and again has not been taken by me. :)
Disclaimer: These beautiful verses have not been written by me. This picture is of the Night sky at a lake in West Virginia and again has not been taken by me. :)
Anger and frustration are two emotions that suck the ” good life” feeling off you. And they ruined the mood today.
I have lately been made to feel very inadequate.
If told to recite the urdu alphabet, there are high chances that i will miss the laam, the fey and the qaaf.
I do not know all the Surahs in the last chapter of the Quran.
I mispronounce Urdu words. I cannot understand whether “call aata hai” or “call aati hai.” I use both genders for incoming calls depending on my mood.
So yeah, not good. Self Esteem has been pretty low. I feel defensive but i am not showing it. I am feeling angry but i am pushing it down. This gave me a head ache today.
I have been writing down the Urdu alphabet to check myself.
I am attempting memorising some of the Surahs and it is painfully slow.
I am speaking very slowly and taking out each word with the right pronunciation. However, there are times i stumble when speaking fast and with emotion.
Nope, i am not feeling very confident any more.
Happy International Women’s day to all the ladies reading this. I know some folks may wonder, why we even need such a day. This is because even if if the ladies you know have had it easy and have all their human rights in place or are going places professionally, BUT what you forget is that the majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women.
In fact on average, women receive between 30 and 40 per cent less pay than men earn for the same work. Everywhere, women continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence which themselves are significant causes of disability and death among women of reproductive age worldwide. We therefore need to support women more than ever. :)
So let us celebrate by doing something wonderful. Perhaps contribute to a cause that deals with rehabilitation of battered women or victims of rape, to those single mothers raising their children alone and those house maids who are the sole earners for their family. :)
Let us appreciate the home makers especially.
Happy, Happy Women’s Day. :)
What is happening in Karachi and the rest of the country is increasing anger and frustration levels. With an immense feeling of helplessness in the pit of our stomach, we truly feel like slapping the hell out of someone- anyone to be able to feel again- to feel that we have some rights if at all. This is not healthy. What are we turning into? Who can we turn to for help? We ordinary citizens do not own arms and ammunition and neither do we want to. We do not have the power to bring the MQM and Lashkar e Jhangvi and Balochi and Sindhi waderas ruining and burning this city to accountability. Let us atleast stick together. Let us be courageous to at least say: Down with MQM, down with Lashkar e Jhangvi, down with Tehreek e Taliban, down with the Sindhi and Balochi badmash ghundas playing with law and order and violating our constitutional rights. At least have the guts to call a spade a spade. And death will come when it has to.
On a sad, sad day
there were happy clouds
and thunder made a special appearance
On a sad, sad day
there was noise
puddles and literature
But on a sad, sad day
there was no happy you
or confessions and laughter
therefore on a sad, sad day
the rain is a welcome respite
and yet sadder
the evening that is to unfurl.
15 February 2013
I have not gone away. I am just super busy preparing for a wedding. It is crazy. CRAZY.
It is exhausting. But it will happen. InshaAllah.
And then there will be Marriage <3 which will have its own milestones. Insha Allah again.
I will be lying if i say that i have not been blogging. I have been – just on another space where i can rant about the gazillion of things a wedding requires and some day, if all goes well, i will share that too.
Please remember me in your prayers. You know i need them. We need them.
Love and Light,
Dear Awesome Readers of this Blog,
Can you spare just three (3) hours on a Saturday to become a friend and mentor under-privileged boys and girls in Pakistan?
In the time it takes to play a cricket match, watch a movie or attend a lunch/dinner, you can do something amazingly meaningful.
If you can spare this time, then I invite you to volunteer for the October session of the TCF Rahbar Program, where you will mentor secondary school students about life, studies, goals, planning, careers etc.
You don’t have to commit yourself for every day of these weeks, but turn up at an allocated Secondary School every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. So basically, you commit only 7 Saturdays.
Students of the these schools are just as beautiful and intelligent as your own kids, brothers, sisters and little cousins. All they need is some guidance and motivation.
I promise you the greatest volunteer experience of your life if you do decide to make a difference in the life of a precious child.
To participate, all you have to do is to fill this Form or simply drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Program takes place in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Qasba, Gujrat, and Khushab & Quetta in Pakistan. So if you know of friends, family or acquaintances in these areas, please let them know of this Program as well.
Pakistan is facing an education emergency and it is time to take things in our own hands.
ps. i leave you with some pictures taken by me during my own volunteering experiences in different TCF Schools. And, no, i am not in any of these pictures. ;)
Genen and Gaben were species of the Dimwit clan who had known each other forever. Species of the Dimwit clan had three bunny ears, two at each side and one at the back. They liked to adorn the ear at the back with flowers. Their hair, which was wiry, grew in patches. They had the widest eyes with even bigger eyelashes, a small rounded pink nose and thick lips that always appeared to be smiling.
They were small creatures, not reaching above a human’s toe and were shy folks at best.
Most people had never seen them. It is as if they never existed. They resided inside hollow tree barks and behaved a lot like humans even though they did not look like them.
But, I was telling you about Genen and Gaben.
Well, their friendship had survived the test of times. Highs and lows. They had fought over petty things and at one point practically sent friendship to hell and back. But as good friends do, they always found a way to re-bond and be friends again.
However, lately Gaben had assumed a superior role. Whenever, things did not go Gaben’s way, Gaben was ready to huff and puff and walk off. Suddenly friendship had conditions.
Genen was confused. By now Genen had a fair idea of their friendship and knew that going to hell to come back again was not worth it, so Genen, secretly amused, let things pass and took such tantrums in good spirit.
One sunny day when the clouds were floating by in the most poufy and beautiful forms and they were walking along, gazing at the magestic Mount Ablacamba in the back ground, Genen asked, Gaben: “Genen, why did you become my friend?”
“ Because you have always been my friend.”, Gaben replied.
“ But why?” insisted Genen.
“Because there was no one else but you”, said Gaben with a wide smile and walked ahead.
Gaben was happy at the thought that the answer was just right and it made perfect sense.
Genen, however was another story. You see , contrary to popular belief that Genen was a strong individual who seldom shed tears, Genen was infact a very sensitive dimwit.
Genen did not like the answer at all. Genen wanted to be told that Genen was kind, sensitive and any other adjective that made Gaben befriend Genen.
Genen was disappointed but gulped it down. Forward, Genen ran with it’s little toes , until it caught up with Gaben. Giving Gaben a good natured nudge, Genen then started walking at Gaben’s pace.
This is a fictional piece of work.
© All rights reserved by the owner of the blog: www.sapphirical.wordpress.com
“We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.
According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves. “
: Annie Dillard ( Pulitzer prize winner).
Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own any rights to these pictures. These pictures were taken from a random image search online.
An observation after 5 years of work in different companies and hearing colleagues cribbing in various departments having varying roles:
If a boss “accepts” the “track/redline” changes a subordinate made in a document before sending it out across, he/she is insecure and probably not very confident of his/her skills. Point is – it leads to de-motivation and angst in the subordinate.
Strangely, male bosses do the above considerably less than women.
Wonder why is that?
Tragedy in Pakistan: Twin Factory Infernos in Lahore and Karachi
Despite my rising in-sensitiveness to everything under the sun after hearing one horrible news item after the other, I am deeply saddened by the death of more than three hundred labourers and factory workers in the two factory infernos in Lahore and Karachi. Let us please take a moment to pray for their families and the maghfirat of these men and women. Ameen.
This is not the first time; factories in Pakistan have been reduced to dust. A recent timeline published in Dawn here clearly shows that in the past five years, many factories have burnt down and their labourers and workers burnt to death.
With such recurring patterns, why is it that the employers of these laborers and owners of factories are not giving importance to Health, Safety and Environment Standards and following bylaws that protect their employees and their investment?
Factories in Pakistan need to be operated in compliance with the Factories Act 1934. Chapter 3 of the Factories Act 1934 has detailed provisions relating to cleanliness of the factory, methods to dispose waste and effluent from the family, artificial humidification, dust and fumes, over crowding, lighting, drinking water etc.
In fact Section 25 of the Factories Act 1934 clearly states the “Precautions” which every factory has to take against a possible fire. Section 33 of the Factories Act 1934 similarly deals with explosives or inflammable dust and gases in factories. After going through these Sections, these are the questions which immediately come to mind:
Q- Were these factories equipped with adequate “means of escape” in case of a fire and were this fire exit marked distinctly?
Q- Were the provincial inspectors carrying our routine and regular inspections of these factories, in which case, why did it never appear to any Inspector that these two factories did not have adequate fire-escapes, fire extinguishers or no history of fire drills? If this indeed was the case, then did the Inspector ever serve on the manager of the factory, “an order in writing” specifying the measures which should be adopted before a specified date?
Q- Were the exits from any room in the factory locked, fastened or obstructed so that they could not be immediately opened from inside?
Q- Did the factory have in place an effective and clearly “audible means of giving warning in case of fire to every person employed therein”?
Q- Was any dust, gas, fume or vapour which is likely to explode on ignition is being used in the factory; and if so were all “practicable measures” taken to prevent such explosion?
Q- If any plant, tank or vessel contained explosives or inflammable substances, and then was such plant, tank or vessel exposed to any welding, brazing, soldering or cutting operation especially that involving the application of heat or drilling likely to create heat or sparks?
And these are just basic questions. I am sure that once the matter is thoroughly investigated, we will see further glaring loopholes, instances of gross negligence and plain reckless behavior.
We need answers. Karachi and Lahore are mourning an unthinkable tragedy. So many homes have been left disturbed. So many families have suddenly lost their loved ones and in some cases the sole bread earner of the family?
It is not just the employers of the two factories in Lahore and Karachi who are responsible for this tragedy and need to be brought to task, but the regulatory agencies and inspectors as well need to be made accountable for failing to carry out their jobs honestly and effectively.
One of my colleagues or rather all of my immediate colleagues sometimes require help when it comes to the internet. Today there was a ‘ Can’t remember my password’ day. So well, I guided my colleague to the “Can’t access account” link, from where we moved onto “resetting the password” and sending the link to re-setting the password to another e-mail address. Now, once upon a time, the colleague decided to punch in his wife’s email address as an alternate email address, which meant that the link to re-set his mail account’s password would go into his wife’s email account.
“Umm… I think I’ll wait a week. My wife is out of town. I think I’ll reset it when she comes back.”
” Can you undo everything?”
Me, amused answer back: “That’s ok! I did not send the request, so there is nothing to be un-done here.”
“Oh good”, the colleague answers with visible relief on his face.
I could not resist and said: “Never make the mistake of sharing your password with your wife?”
The answer: “oh yes!”.
Need I say more?
It’s been so long since I have blogged. It’s pure procrastination. But today is a new day.
First things first, I am not feeling my best. I thought that my sinus woes were over. But this crazy humidity has seen its return with vengeance. I can’t sleep properly as it’s so difficult to breathe and as a result I am just sleepy and worn out the next day. I have also for the first time developed this crazy eye infection. They are itchy and red and watery and sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night my eye lashes are stuck together (seriously) and I have to gently pry them apart. I have tried three different eye drops by now. I will visit the doctor again tonight. InshaAllah. :(
For the sinus, it’s back to drinking a spoonful of honey in a pint of warm water with a half a lemon squeezed into it for good measure- first thing in the morning i.e.
There is something else on my mind as well. My wedding (rukhsati) is a few months away and I have done NOTHING. There is just soo much to do. First things first, the venue and the caterer and then gosh! THE DRESS! I just am not bride material you know. I have never actually dreamed or visualized my wedding. Sitting in front of all these people is uh.. daunting. And then married life. I am just freaked out knowing that even my rotis (chapattis) are far from perfect. *eek*
But the thought of spending my life with hubby soothes my worries. AlHamdulilAllah. <3
Poor hubby was under the weather last night too. He came over for a bit to avoid the predictable traffic jam in Karachi after rain. And he got me garam garam gulab jamuns which we had over cardamom and cinnamon tea. He knew i was craving to have them in this lovely weather.
I wonder if he knows that sometimes when I look at him, I say so many silent prayers for his long life, his health, his strong heart, his happiness, his success and his smile. Ameen. Ameen. Ameen.
Yes, it is true. Nikah enjoins two souls in the most beautiful and unique of ways. He makes my heart grow bigger. MashaAllah.
Please keep us in your duas. <3
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ نَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
Surah 30. Ar-Rum, Ayah 21 of the Holy Quran
“And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”
Translation by Yusuf Ali.
This August 5th, 2012, the 16th of Ramadan 1433, i was fortunate enough to attend an online lecture by the acclaimed and much respected Dr. Bilal Phillips on the topic, ” Beyond Ramadan” arranged by Live Deen , Here is a short synopsis of what I learned :
– We should look at Ramadan as we look at our lives. When we are young, we are very energetic. As we get older, we mature and towards the latter part of our lives, we apply all the life lessons we learned along the way. Similarly, when Ramadan begins, we are very energetic and excited. Towards the midst of Ramadan we have learned to fast not just from food, but hopefully from everything displeasing to Allah including but not limited to regularly praying, holding on to our anger, avoiding backbiting and other negative traits and have increased our worship. By the end of Ramadan, we are now ready to apply all the lessons we learned in Ramadan, in the next months of the year. Therefore, during Ramadan, we need to keep evaluating whether our fasts are matching this life pattern or whether it is all going downhill- and if Allah forbid, it is, then we need to immediately re-adjust ourselves to pursue the implementation of the lessons learned in Ramadan- beyond it as well.
– Fasting is an act of worship purely between you and Allah. No one knows whether you are fasting or not, except yourself and Allah. Prayer and Hajj are acts of worship that we may eventually see or find that the other person is practicing. Charity too is to some extent hidden if conducted secretly but generally people have an idea as to who is generous and who is not. However, when it comes to fasting- if you go into a corner and bite on a chocolate bar or eat in secret, who is there to know? Therefore, fasting is solely based on Taqwa and can only be carried out effectively by a person who has this Taqwa ( God consciousness).
– The month of Ramadan has much importance as:
* The names of only one of the gates of Paradise has been specified and that is Al-Rayan- the gate from which the people who fast will pass from.
* This is the month in which the Quran was revealed. In Ayah 183 of Chapter 2 of the Holy Quran Allah states: O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may learn self-restraint [2:183]
– It is best to read the Quran with understanding during the month of Ramadan. The emphasis should be on quality as opposed to quantity. Do not get into a race or a competition with others on the number of times you finished reading the Quran. Rather, the concentration should be on reading the Quran, its translation and preferably it’s tafseer as well i.e. understanding the message. Emphasis should be on the reflection of what the Quran states.
– Fasting is just not abstaining from food and water. Each one of us should fast from ill-mannered speech and thoughts. Fast from bad attitudes and keep our anger in check. Fast from back biting and negativity and all those things that each one of us know we really should not be doing. We should especially not indulge in argumentation and if provoked, we should just walk away.
– In Ramadan, we should also be most generous and charitable and increase our good deeds. The best charitable acts are those which are done secretly. Do not accumulate wealth but accumulate your secret charitable acts.
– Try to make your Prayer as “Real” as possible. Worship Allah as if you see Him, and as if He sees you. Imagine as if every prayer is your farewell prayer i.e. your last prayer before you die. To prepare for prayer, also do wudu ( ablution) as if it is very last wudu of your life. Focus on spiritual purification. Make prayer an action that gives you peace and rest and don’t take it as a burden.
Note: Juma tul Wida in Ramadan has no legitimacy in the light of Quran and Sunnah and hence is a Bidah.
-The character of Ramadan is abstinence. Give up what is halal i.e food and water in Ramadan to strengthen your willpower in giving up what is haraam, InshaAllah in the months beyond Ramadan. We should carry this “God Consciousness” with us in every action that we do and henceforth live our lives in Ramadan and beyond according to what it pleasing to Allah.
– We should seek repentance for our sins during Ramadan. Do as much, “Astaghfar” as possible with genuine guilt and repentance. Reciting 100 times Astaghfar means nothing unless you genuinely reflect on your sins and seek repentance with your heart and soul.
– We should strive to revive the spirit of Ramadan beyond Ramadan as well by fasting on the following days a:
*6 fasts in Shawwal that give us the reward as if we have fasted for a year.
*Mondays and Thursdays
*13th, 14th and 15th of every month ( when there is a full moon)
*The day of Arafah i.e. 10th of Muharram
– If we fast properly in Ramadan, we will always be fasting throughout our lives from what is displeasing to Allah. <3
Other notable highlights of this event were:
– an introduction to an amazing software developed by Mr. Zahid Chihpa called “ Search Quran”. By using this software, you can easily find the reference of any topic in the Quran by simply typing in the key word either in English, Urdu, Arabic or Roman Urdu. For example, if you want to search all the Ayahs ( Lines) in the Quran that deal with Sabr ( Patience), all you have to do is to fill the search tab with the said word and press enter. Voila, in a few miniscule seconds, all references will be right there for you to see. MashaAllah, such amazing work and sadqa jariyah. This software can be downloaded FREE here.
– An introduction to the Islamic Online University established by Dr. Bilal Phillips. This online university offers online intensive, undergraduate, and graduate courses in Islamic Studies completely tuition-free. MashaAllah.
All in all this was a great event that removed many misconceptions in people’s minds as well as provided the much needed motivation to spend the remainder of Ramadan in an effective manner. :)
Not much to say, except i wish i was good enough to even get nominated. Can someone nominate me? They say if you don’t ask, you don’t get?
see relevant url here.
Trust your instincts. Always trust your instincts. They are seldom wrong and will always save you unnecessary trouble.
If someone asks you to go against your instincts, don’t let them. It does not mean good. If anything can go wrong, it will.
Hold your ground.
There’s a reason, your heart is saying no or yes to a particular situation. You may not understand the logic initially, but sooner or later, it will be all there in black and white for you to see.
Trust your instincts.
A few days back, stepping out of a cafe situated in the narrow lanes of Zamzama, a rather loud voice made acquaintance with my ear drums. The voice belonged to a young girl telling a story by heart. It was a story that was not mere narration but had the added advantage of emotion and adjustable volume and expression. To make a long story short, the girl was relaying the story of her younger brother lying on a cart pushed by her parents. His leg was deformed and the girl was pleading that somebody help her and her family and give her money so that she could get her brother treated.
My heart immediately went out to her and I wanted to rush and help her family. But I was stopped by an all-knowing voice who told me:
– Notice how confident she is.
– Notice how she is cleverly evoking emotions off you.
– Notice how instead of her parents working hard and going to well known charities for help, they are choosing to make a spectacle of their son and walk in the streets.
– Why don’t you go and try to take the boy to the hospital and pay for all expenses… See how this family will respond then…?
They are cleverly taking money off naive folks like you instead of working hard in a halal fashion to get their son treated or to go to the right people because of course common sense tells you that help will miraculously arrive in the streets of Zamzama where women are flitting in and out of designer boutiques and shoe stores.
And I realize giving money is not always the solution.
“Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance.”
Al-A’raf 7:31 of the Holy Quran
If there is one thing that really upsets me is when I see people wasting food. My mom taught me to finish whatever I put on my plate and to date, I try my best to do so unless I feel that one more spoon and I would just die or get sick. Even then, I ensure that the remaining food is not thrown but parceled and either consumed later or given to a stray cat to feast on.
As Muslims, it is simply unbecoming of us to waste food. However even as good humans, we should be cognizant of the fact that in other parts of the world, people are dying because of starvation owing to famine, and here we are simply putting too much on our plate and then later leaving it.
If you are skeptical about the spices used in the food or whether the meat is rare, medium or well done, simply do not put a whole chunk on your plate. Put very little so you can taste and then decide whether you want to eat it or not. That is basic common sense.
Anas said: “The prophet ordered us not to leave anything in the plate and he said: “You do not know in which portion of your food Allah has put the Barakah (Blessing)”. Muslim
And what of people who go to buffets, weddings and all you can eat snack/salad items and fill their plates with layers and layers of food and salad to make a tiny mountain, only to leave the remnants of that mountain behind. Why such greed? Why can’t we just take a small/medium helping and then if we need more, get up and get some more of the food item?
Be thankful for the food that you get on your plate and do not waste It because there are almost 925 Million people in the world starving because of hunger? Would you waste food if you were one of these people? The ones who go through the garbage to get a morsel of food?
I am especially irked by the food items produced to get a mention in the Guinness World Book of Records. “World’s Biggest Pizza”, “World’s Biggest Cake” .Shame on you!
Instead of wasting so many ingredients, you could be World’s Biggest Sane Person, if you instead donated the amount that it cost to makethis World Biggest Nothing, to a reputable charity providing food to the hungry. You wasted so much food for a stupid record. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Let us please try our best from this day:
(i) To only put the quantity of food that you can eat on your plate
(ii) To dispose off leftovers – not in the garbage can- but in such a way that they can either be (a) reused or (b) given to a stray cat/dog who will consume these leftovers
(iii) To take care of the hungry in what little capacity you can.
Have a good day everybody.