Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

On Rivalry

// September 17th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

“Bear in mind that the present life is just a game, a diversion, an attraction, a cause of boasting among you, of rivalry in wealth and children.” Qur'an 57:20

I don't think I ever really appreciated the sense of rivalry that Allāh mentions in the above verse (and elsewhere in the Qur'an), until very, very recently. I'm talking, the last two months or so. It sort of crept up over me, maybe because nearly every singleton in my life has suddenly gotten married, with other newly weds having babies, that I feel somewhat left behind in the personal life department.

A few years ago, I was on a quest to get married – but it was more like an adventure; one that I shared with friends and cousins. Alhamdulillah, one by one, my travelling companions left for the next stage of their journey, and we waved them off happily, so secure in our knowledge that we, too, would be moving ahead very soon.

Returning to the present, it seems that I am one of the few passengers left behind in the waiting room, wondering why my train is running so late. Shouldn't it have been here by now? Did I miss it? Maybe I read the timetable wrong?

And worst of all, I've become one of them. You know… the 'older' unmarried women, that the younger unmarried women use to make themselves feel better: “Oh, at least I'm not as old as so-n-so”. They become so shocked when they hear my marital status combined with my age. That is, until they realize the expression of disapproval at their tactlessness on my face, and try to cover it up with: “Oh, it'll happen soon, inshā’Allāh”. Yes, thank you. I feel totally reassured now.

Anyway, believe it or not, I'm not complaining about my fate. And if I did, I wouldn't be complaining to you. Rather, I wanted to share how one's perspective on the Qur'an changes with new life experiences. Now I actually feel the sting of rivalry in my heart from time to time. But the verse above reminds me of the bigger picture: it's only a game, Mehzabeen. So be a good sport, and play it well.

Don’t Play Shaytaan’s Blame Game

// July 10th, 2009 // 10 Comments » // Blog

I attended the much hyped (my own doing) “Emasculated Muslim Men and the Feminist Hijabi” debate this evening. I actually bumped into my good blog buddy, Sumera, prior to the start of the event; so I know that I wasn't the only intrigued blogger in the audience.

Anyway, I don't have much to say about it all. Partly because I was asked to film it, so I was too busy paying attention to my camera, to soak in much of anything. I can tell you that it was a very mature, rational discussion, māshā’Allāh; there wasn't really any kind of 'debate' as such, as all the speakers pretty much agreed with one another (even though the panel consisted of Muslims and a non-Muslim, men and women – “Yey!” for social harmony).

However, one tidbit that made a lasting impression, was offered by the entertaining, yet informative, Imam Shahnawaz Haque (Psychotherapist, Teacher and Khatib), in response to an audience member asking why all the attention was being placed on the deficiencies of men – what about women's deficiencies?

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Have You Thanked Allah?

// June 9th, 2009 // 1 Comment » // Blog

I was e-mailed the following by a friend, and thought it contained some great bite-sized chunks of wisdom.

Have You Thanked Allāh?
by Imâm Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

Salmân al-Fârsî radhiyAllahu anhu said:
“There was a man who was given many of the luxuries of this world, and then they were taken away from him. But he continued to praise and thank Allâh until everything had been taken from him, even his bed. And then he still praised and thanked Allâh. Another man, who had also been given many of the luxuries of this world asked him, 'What are you praising and thanking Allâh for?' The man said, 'I am praising and thanking Him for blessings which, if others asked me to give them to them in return for all that they have, I would never give them up.' 'What can they be?' asked the second man. 'Can't you see?' asked the first man. 'I have my eyesight, my tongue, my hands, my feet…'”

Allāh/#more-2094" class="more-link">(more…)

Enjoying the English Countryside

// June 1st, 2009 // 9 Comments » // Photos

I spent the weekend in Blackburn, which is about 300-odd miles north of London. I was there for my cousin's wedding, on my father's side, but ended up being person-napped by my cousins on my mother's side for a outdoor birthday party at a picnic site in the country. As you can tell, I have a lot of family 'up North'.

The weather was gorgeous, māshā’Allāh… just perfect for a BBQ.

Smokin'

Chops on the BBQ Birthday BBQ Cake Cute Baby Tee

After lunch, we took a leisurely walk in the woods and fields surrounding the picnic area.

Walk in the Woods

Bleached Buttercups In the Spooky Woods In the Woods Grrrass Breathtaking Cows From A Distance Cows Up Close Cows! Sheep!

These were the shoes I was wearing during our little Nature walk… not good for wading through patches of mud. Alhamdulillah, I survived, unscathed.

My Chappals

A nice shot I managed to capture from the car on the way home. Click here to see a larger version.

Show Me the Way to Go Home

My parents and I used to travel to Blackburn at least once a year, back when we were living in Leicester. However, moving to London added another 150 miles to the car journey. That, together with my studies, meant that in the last ten years we've only bothered to drive up there for two important family occasions: deaths & marriages.

Upon leaving the wedding house yesterday evening, we exchanged the usual pleasantries with our hosts, not-so-subtly acknowledging the fact that only another wedding would likely reunite us in the near future.

inshā’Allāh, it'll be your turn next, Mehzabeen!”, my aunty chirped in Gujarati, as I put on my shoes. Luckily I was looking down at the time, so she didn't notice the eyes rolling in my head.

Oh well. At least they'll be the ones making the six hundred mile round-trip next time, if she's correct.

Marshmallows: A Metaphor For Jannah?

// May 25th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

A TED video explaining how self-discipline can lead to success. Warning: the following film contains hilarious clips of kids trying their hardest not to eat free marshmallows. Wear some waterproof pants, if possible!

Mums Say The Funniest Things…

// May 19th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Blog

Scenario: iMuslim enters the living room, illuminated by the soft glow of the tellybox, and sits next to her mother on the sofa.

iMuslim proceeds to kiss her mum on the cheek, and notices a flowery scent.

Me: “You smell of talcum powder…”

Mum: “Whaaat?!

Me: “I said: 'You smell of talcum powder'…”

Mum: “Ohhh… I heard something else…”

Me: “What?”

Mum: “I thought you said, I smelled of cow ka powder.”

Me: {guffaws}

Mum: “I was thinking: 'Cow ka powder is milk!'”

Mother and daughter erupt into giggles. Dad looks on in confusion.

And thus a new parent-child in-joke is born.

Tweaks, Tweets & Twoughts

// April 23rd, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Blog

Tweaks: it's amazing how much time I can spend (some may say “waste”) making little changes to a website, both aesthetic and functional. For example, I must have spent a good few hours 'tweaking' this blog yesterday, making adjustments that, in all likelihood, will only be noticed by myself alone.

In fact, let's test that theory: I made four changes to the site in total. The person who spots all of them will win cheers and my admiration (sorry, I can't afford anything else right now).

Tweets: my latest status message should have already notified you of my decision to become a Twit. It's more a matter of gaining experience, rather than anything else. I don't see it changing my life. In fact, I plan to cheat and only update my Twitter stream with the same status info that I post on Facebook, via Ping.fm.

Twoughts: I miss WordPress.com. Don't get me wrong; I lurve my new site, especially all the extra room I have for customization. But the problem is, I seem to feel the loneliness more in this big, ol' house. The previous site was definitely more 'cozy'. Indeed, I can tell from my stats and the number of comments that I don't get as many visitors popping by as I did before.

There are a few reasons for this, I suspect.

It'll take time for this site to make its way up the Google index, especially as only a small fraction of people have updated their blog rolls with the new URL (big hint). Plus for some odd reason, many people are still subscribed to the RSS feed of the old blog, without bothering to at least add the new feed address – what's with that?

In addition, it's harder for wordpress.com users to follow me now, as they can't make use of the very nifty “My Comments” feature. Commenting is half the fun of blogging, and a quiet comments section makes for an unhappy blogger.

Finally, I wonder if I'm just not as interesting now that I've finished my PhD, and have generally less to write/whine about? Maybe whatever drew people to my humble blog to begin with, has been diluted down in all this extra space. I'm definitely less outspoken, even on other people's blogs.

In one sense, that's a good thing: the less I say, the less I am accountable for. But I do miss the buzz of an active blog, especially contributions from the “old gang” of regulars. Where are you guys? I know you haven't all been married off – marriage being the death of most forms of activism.

I don't live to blog, but I do blog to “live”. And I need more excitement in my life, yo.

So unless you want me to start writing silly marriage articles again, speak up already. Else I will have to resort to a triple feature on polygamy, hijab, and the role of women in society, and watch this place BURN.

Btw, twoughts isn't a real word – unless you're Tweety Pie, and you twought you twaw a puddy cadt.

Though now my iPod dictionary seems to think that it is (I'm blogging from bed again). All for the love of alliteration…

Dude! Bacteria Are, Like, Democratic?

// April 15th, 2009 // 8 Comments » // Blog

Watching this video reminds me of why I love Biology so much. I'd kinda forgotten during the malaise of my PhD. But I really do love scientific discovery.

If you made it to the end of the video: that's a traditional thing among Biologists when they give presentations; they usually big up the rest of their lab via a group photo. See how many people were working on just ONE biochemical pathway? Admittedly, it's a fascinating one, with potentially huge implications; so I doubt Dr Bassler has any problem finding the funding to hire so many eager PhD students and young postdocs.

During my PhD, the neighbouring lab group that shared our floor was largely focussed on researching one gene. I regularly observed the individual team members pairing off to converse about their latest findings, generating new ideas along the way. In contrast, every member of our group was working on a separate pathway, with little crossover between us. Well, I did have another PhD student researching the same gene set as me: but she wasn't one for sharing, unfortunately.

I never really had anyone to bounce ideas off of during my project. I had plenty of people to turn to for technical assistance, but not inspiration. I have learnt that if am not sufficiently inspired, then I become very inefficient in my duties. You don't go into something as dynamic as scientific research for it to then become one big chore. I may as well return to working as a till girl at the local supermarket: the pay is comparable, and I'd have a far more healthy social life.

Watching the video reminded me of why I love Biology… but also, why I love working with people who love Biology as much as I do. I don't know if I'll ever return to working in a laboratory – but it's nice to know that some loves are more constant than others.

Hot Chocolate… So Good…

// April 5th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Photos

Before:

After:

The company was even better. :)

Viva Palestina Have Reached Gaza!

// March 9th, 2009 // 4 Comments » // Blog

Viva Palestina Update
15.30 (GMT) Monday 9th March 2009

GROWN MEN CRYING…THE SIEGE IS BROKEN… ON THE DAY THE PROPHET WAS BORN

And they entered side by side like heroes, some on foot some in their vehicles, tears, smiles, hugs, flowers. It was historic, it was legendary. Gaza we are here. We have fulfilled the promise – Viva Palestina! The lifeline from the people of Britain to you, the people of Gaza, has arrived.

We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds,we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you.

After another morning of intense negotiations, a deal was reached to allow all of the members of the convoy to go through. In the end, Viva Palestina had to make the sacrifice of agreeing that some vehicles will have to cross the border from the Al Ouja Israeli controlled crossing point. This includes our mascot, the fire engine and the boat. This was due to the restrictions imposed by Egyptian law governing the Rafah Crossing.

A tearful Talat Ali told me that 'Rafah is the most beautiful crossing in the world', he also said that the time , effort and sacrifices put in by all the Viva Palestina family meant that history has been made today – on the day the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was born.

George Galloway made an emotional speech thanking the people of Gaza for the wonderful reception and assuring them that for Viva Palestina and in our millions, “WE ARE ALL PALESTINIANS!” George also reiterated that the people of Palestine have voted and that their voice should be respected.

Today the convoy will head along the Salah Eddine road towards Gaza City witnessing along the way the destruction and death caused by the Israeli war machine. Along the way they will be greeted by the people of Gaza who will know that Viva Palestina is here and that they will NEVER BE ALONE.

Farid Arada

Sign up for e-mail updates, and donate to the cause at VivaPalestina.org

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