Friday, 29 July 2016

Anyone Upstairs?

Photo Courtesy: www.yaabot.com
Part One

Disclaimer

By now you probably have realized that most of my publications are tied to my religion in one way or another. I find it appealing and intellectually sensible when I talk of such issues that have a direct impact in our lives and the beautiful and systemic way this religion is laid to address them. This religion encompasses all, and I mean ALL aspects of life. It’s a way of life, from leading your life to its peak climax to fulfilling the call of nature, and all of these are scattered in pages of books and scriptures. That is why people like me have to read and learn to enjoy these privileges.
 It seems a lot to most because it’s a lifestyle in itself but what most don’t know is, living with the knowledge that nothing in this world will ever touch you, and if it does it is meant for you… And when it is meant for you, it is the best version of all scenarios and timelines your life could ever be or exist in…that knowledge, it gives you a feeling of safety no state of the art gizmo can ever match up to. I mean if it was so state of the art, why do you need cameras to protect it, right?

This religion is Islam. Not the one all media outlets stereotype about, or the one your friend or neighbor keeps taking out of context or the one from hear-say unlimited, No, the one that roots from Peace and Submission. And by the way (this goes to both Muslims and non-alike), when Muslims suffer with core problems of self, it’s a sign that they lack that knowledge. So tell them to read when you see them, and maybe flip a page or two yourself, you never know what you may find.



Now to the main topic. Ps, I’ve been m.i.a>Missing in Action for a while. Received some mind taunting info that In shaa Allah, God willing, I will share later on when I have enough “evidence” to act on it.



Any who, every human has an Identification feature that fellow humans register and store unique bits of it to remember them by. The face. Even though this feature plays a major role in its totality in interaction and for some, first impressions, I will only focus on one of its parts, and this is the forehead.
 We all know that the forehead houses the front part of the brain, also known as the frontal lobes, so it’s pretty important. But aside from the covering, the forehead is one of the most important and efficient way of communication on its own when it is used for interaction.

It is said that when one grabs you by your front hair and pulls you, it is one of the most-lowest form of degradation any person can receive both in status and psychologically. In simple terms, it sucks, burns, hurts- because your hair is being pulled lol and kills  all sense of self-importance… it just sucks. But why is that?
History teaches us that subjects used to bow their heads to their kings and high status people as a sign of respect and in some cases to show appreciation and gratitude. This action largely entails the forehead facing down and away from the honored. This presents the acknowledgement of the presence of higher powers among everyone. But the interesting thing about bowing, it is done at the will of the doer….



Stay Tuned For Part Two Because The Disclaimer Took Most Of The Space….

Anyone Upstairs


Photo Courtesy: addictionfree.com

Part Two


You are an animal. Let me rephrase that, you are an animal among many other animals, living under one atmosphere called earth. Let’s contemplate, you eat cooked food, sometimes at fancy restaurants or hotels, you aspire to get a beautiful partner if you don’t already and maybe someday have tiny little beautiful versions of yourselves, if you don’t already, and live in this cozy home to grow old together and hold hands while you sit at the patio of your house. Ok, so why do you eat? Why do you wish for a partner and why do you want children?


Now tell me what is the difference between all your reasons above with the basic reasons of a cow?



Yes, a Cow. An animal that eats so it can survive. An animal that partners up to fulfill its desires. An animal that reproduces to keep its species alive. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if you eat in a five star hotel, drive around an expensive sports car with your partner or have babies with them, you eat to survive, otherwise you’ll die. You chose a partner to live up your desires of the other or you’ll end up…let’s not go there. You my dear have babies so that your lineage and name could be carried on to the next generations after you pass on. Coat it all you want but the answer is still the same. You are an animal.


So what’s so special about you?



Remember that function of the forehead, yes, the one of housing brain, that is the only difference you have over the common cow. In the prophetic traditions it is said that man was brought to this earth as a vicegerent-a khalifah sent by God. And when he was created, the Angels were telling God of how he (man) would cause nothing but chaos and bloodshed in this earth because of his flaws and faults, his desires, his greed, his lusts…but you know what, God taught him all that was on earth and challenged the Angles to name them, they couldn’t. Man was asked to and he said every and all things. There was when God ordered all the Angles, beings that are flawless, faultless, invisible, can fly and pass through walls, sinless and have powers  to bow down to man, to show respect to him…to you oh child of Adam. Subhanallah.


So the only reason such a powerful being showed man the highest sign of respect is because man had the brain, the most sufficient, efficient and most powerful computer in the world. Because he had 2 million GBs of storage space with a highly sophisticated transmission of data moving at electron speed and analyzed in micro seconds…



On a more relatable note, you are magnificent. You carry with you an organ that controls every single action our bodies do. From moving the muscles in your tract when you eat food, deducing an upside down image from your eyes for you to see, controlling the steady breath of your lungs to decoding the vibrations from your ear drums, all the while controlling every single activity, whether voluntary or involuntary…you are not dumb. Animals share half of what we do with our brains at an instinct level. They follow their lusts and desires without thinking of the consequences, the responsibilities or anything for that matter, because they don’t think.  They can’t. But you can…

That's why it sucks and hurts when another pulls you by your front hair...all your experiences, your knowledge, interests, skills, lessons... all of it made a disgrace...good luck long haired dudes lol...



Your brain, your mind…it’s your everything. We are honored among most of creation because we have the ability to think, to learn and understand, to invent and build, to change and adopt…we are honored because we have the ability to be invincible! (not to death yeah, calm down) God bestowed upon every one of us a gift, a talent because He never dhulumus (1) anyone, and the brain is the most important, so use it. Use it to serve yourself, community and God. Think about your life, why you do what you do… ponder about everything around you, search, study, learn… develop that drive to know, to understand…use your brain…its powerful and magnificent, don’t let it rust up. Use it. Live it. Know yourself by it. You can change people’s worlds. You can change your world. It’s just a decision away. Utilize it. It’s waiting for you….Be who you were meant to be, intelligent, because by definition, man is not man except by it…except by the one upstairs.

Key
1.To be unfair.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

A Letter to the One Feeling Low

By Lubnah Abdulhalim.

Photo Courtesy: www.pinterest.com

Hey Assalam aleykum  😊


If not Muslim, hey buddy!☺


It may be one of those rough times in your life. Perhaps you are undergoing a financial collapse, a family conflict, a heart break, bad marriage, betrayal, identity crisis, quarter life crisis, mid-life crisis…you name it. Perhaps you are just feeling lost and confused. Perhaps you don’t exactly understand why you came to this world. Perhaps you don’t feel your need existing in this world. Perhaps you think this pain is too much to bear. Perhaps you wish you could disappear. Perhaps you can’t stay hungry anymore. Perhaps you have no strength to work one more day. Perhaps you are undergoing writer’s block. Perhaps things are just not working out. Perhaps you feel the very urgent need to explode. You feel low, stressed and depressed. But perhaps…all this is not as bad as it may seem.


One thing for sure; you are going to over-come this and it is going to remain as a memory. Perhaps a bad memory but it will all be in the past and what’s in the past no longer defines us.


Be rest assured, there is nothing abnormal in the kind of pain we live in. Everyone is experiencing some kind of battle, maybe not at the same time as you do but they surely do. Don’t see happy faces full of smiles, walking on the shores of the beach and going for shopping sprees and you start thinking ‘why the hell is my life like this? And not like that?’ The only difference comes in how we deal with that pain. You are the one to choose whether you are going to let go of what is eating you up, whether you will forgive others and yourself and whether you will stand up after that terrible fall.


Sometimes too many things collapse at the same time especially when you are in your 20’s. This is the time when just almost everything seems to be falling on your head. Identity crisis; you don’t even know what you want in your life, betrayals; you start seeing the claws of the dearest people to you, University’s chaotic life, financial problems, Career search that never ends, transition into marriage life etc etc. This could be like “hello! Welcome to the real world” call. You start seeing truths you’d never want to know but you are forced to stare into that horrible reality for some time and maybe for a longer time than you expected. But hey! Don’t despair.


I am just going to tell you 3 things that I hope you can take note of.


1.Dear, you are not alone. You are definitely not alone in this. Perhaps you consider yourself such an awful person or you feel so lonely and don’t expect anyone to even cry if you died this moment. Maybe you think that you are better off six feet under with only soil to hug you. Do know this; people do love you. It may be one person, three, ten or even a dozen it doesn’t matter the number. What matters is that this person or these people can cross oceans for your sake. However many your flaws may be, these people truly and sincerely care for you. Some even look up to you, they probably even consider you their mentor and role model while you are just not aware of it. Do know that to someone out there, you are really needed in this life. Your existence is crucial for them so don’t let the sadness sweep you off your feet forever. Don’t disappoint them by letting yourself sink in that wavy ocean. They need you to stand up NOW. You are Needed.


2.You are allowed to feel the pain. It is just a phase of life. It is okay to experience it and embrace it. Just don’t allow yourself to stay too long in the darkness. Cry, mourn, talk it out if you need to but don’t let it take over your life. Just take enough time to grieve but not too long to make sadness and loneliness a part of you. It is all about learning how to stand up after that great fall. You can do it 😊


3.I’d like to give you an example here. Let’s say you admire some girl out there (or the vice versa) and you really want her/him to talk to you. You want the attention. So what do you do? You create a problem for them so that they can come to ask for help from you. If you know that she can’t fix a puncture you intentionally prick her car tires so that she may ask for your help. You know that she may ask for help from her other mates but sometimes no one can help except you. So she will come, eventually; sooner or later. Patience here is crucial. When this problem is over you make her computer crash. And then maybe put a virus in her flash disk. It could go on and on. It depends on how much you love that person. The more you love them the more you want them to talk to you and thus, the more difficult situations you create for them. It doesn’t mean you want to harm them does it? It just means you love them so much that you would want them to know how much you are crucial in their lives. This is the same thing with God. Well not exactly but almost. God doesn’t need your attention in fact, you need His! But when He loves one of His creations, He keeps testing them again and again. He knows you will go to your mother for assistance or your best friend or your neighbour but eventually you realize that no one can help you except Him. Now look at all these problems you are whining about. See how God loves you? See how much He wants you to talk to Him? See how much He wants you to seek help from Him? For He is more than ready to help you! He is just waiting for you to call unto Him. What are you waiting for buddy?!


With that said, please rub off those tears. Please be patient. Please have faith in God. Please believe in yourself. Do your best and let destiny take you places. Do not under-value yourself. Be happy and grateful with the good things in your life. Do not worry too much over what’s going to happen next. Let the flow flow! Keep talking to Him and you’d be amazed what great plans He has for you. Better things coming buddy! In shaa Allah. Now don’t let that smile fade from your face. You just don’t know how pretty it makes you look! 😊

Ps, To get more of her articles, visit Strokes of my Pen for maximum expression!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Two Sides of the Same Coin ; Expression

Photo courtesy: batman.wikia.com

Short story time!


The morning was blue. Cool air sat still on the misty earth, venting through the open spaces of doors and windows. The sun peered through the thick ocean clouds migrating  across the horizon. Its golden peach rays reflecting heat-lessly upon apexes of leaves. Barely any wind...any bird singing melodies to the new day. Drowned into the misty air. It was calm. Not  that of content. That of emptiness. All was as it seemed, still. 


My neighbor's radio was a distant murmur. I could hear people call in to express their opinions which were not of 'last but not least'. Some spoke in swahili and others threw in their mother tongue with the presenters, showing off their connection to the world of listeners. Others mixed it up with English and Swahili, mostly sheng, giving off that cool posture to amend for their reasonably old age. Maybe they felt better about themselves afterwards in this demoralizing world. 

My sibling's phone radiated waves of Saad al-Ghamdi (1) from the kitchen and I could almost make out what the ever kinetic primary children were chanting about beyond my neighbor house from my bedroom window, as other children joined in on the 'everyone is a teacher' class, propagating a pitchy hum, not concerned about anyone's business but their own and who's the best about everything and anything. I admired their innocence.


I laid on my bed, both my arms curled up to support my head with their hands, over my pillow. I looked up at the now dulled white ceiling laced with curved wooden support beams, lain in unevenly spaced rectangular shapes. It was the most common design at that time. 

I remember the carpenter hammering them in as he stood in weird stances from his ladder. He was not the chatty type, unless you'd ask him something or you really knew each other well. That was not the case for many people. My dad though seemed to like him as they talked in mother tongue for what seems like a life time. You'd often hear my dad thunderously laugh from the sitting room. Makes me smirk, as an aftermath. I wonder if we all see the world the same.


I turned to my side, squinting to the feel of my muscles complaining for the late night kesha (2). I sighed it out and ignored it as I tried my luck with 'Round 2' (3). The sun was out now as light poured into my room and drowned  its energy saving bulb. My neighbor's house blocks the sunrise view so i get sun at around ten. The sun isn't so heat-less then. My breathing faded to slow successive contractions of the chest and my leg slightly moved in convulsion; nailed that ball (4). I revisited the sounds around me once more.


The radio now spoke music and Saad al-Ghamdi was at climax. I could hear the tv  this time. It was a familiar tune playing amidst the background of expressions in the school. It was Morning Express news. My dad was probably watching it. I remembered how he exclaimed to the killings in France the other day. 80 plus people perished that day. 

I remembered how keenly he watched CNN that night in Ramadhan when 60 plus people were killed at a gay club and even more injured. I remembered how he would talk of the people killed at that airport in Turkey or  how he would switch the news channels as he would want to get more information on the Black and White struggles in USA or how surprised he was when i told him about the 10 police authorities killed by their own. 

He likes to watch news a lot, especially Aljazeera, because they cover the countless number of that which go beyond logic masses of people killed in Syria and oppression uncovering documentaries among others. He's a news person i guess.


I could feel myself relax away into the deep waters of wonderland as my brain slowly shut the world out, gently pushing it away to cruise away from thought as my---

" Njooo"

A voice broke the savor of sleep.

" Come utupe dustbin"


It was from the kitchen. I deliberately laid there for a few minutes to get the last feel of my bed before I got up to take the bin out. I had plans anyways: almost done with Watch Dogs and NFS (5). Still,I sighed that one off too and pushed myself out of the bed.

"Comiing"


KEY

1. Renounced Qur'an reciter

2. Staying up the whole night or a large part of it

3. Local reference to sleeping after the morning prayers, connotive

4. Relation to kicking a ball with muscle convulsions or spasms

5. Well known video games.


PS.   This article is meant to highlight the fact that the world is changing. Its not the one you grew up in 5-10-15-20 years ago.  All these are true life stories that affect real people and change their lives forever. We should make space for these stories in our own lives because they live in the same world we do. 

The Fitna (trials and tribulations) we were warned about by Prophet Muhammad aleyhi salaam, they are here. A fitna so powerful it'll make the believer wish he/she was 5 feet under. And the last time I checked, it did not make it Syrian, USA or any other country specific. We need to be prepared for it, to help others and protect ourselves from it. Its time to wake up. 

I know I know, #sigh...

So much for Round 2...

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Transcendence

Photo Courtesy:www.shiachat.com

Blood rushes to the palms and face. Atop the ground they rest. A ground lined with unlamenting fields of softened fabric, or that with none. Slowly, they sink into their base, filling it with the warmth of their appendages as every muscle fiber making up the back stretches in relief and the arm flexes in coherence, a steady pause. 

Sinking. The heart fills with a breezy calm, spreading from its nervous source, gracefully engulfing to the very molecules inter-dependantly creating its rhyme. Chest heavy with emotion, hot with conviction. Pulsing with ease, flowing in protagonist, propagating waves of warmth to the brain. The brain. An organ that now, for once, rests lower than the heart. For once all logic under feeling. For once, reason lower than agitation...true humility.

A stature so great, words so simple. Lips moving to contact, in between escaping a sound as high as a whisper. Whispering to the grounds, words heard in the heavens;

'Subhana Rabiyya al- A'la'

Glory to My Lord, Most High

 The world now is no dominion, no master, no matter...floating under your Lord as He brags to the beings that never fault, never flaw, as He brags about you to the Angles...blessings descend on you and thus, Calm...and thus, Transcendence.

Monday, 4 July 2016

you vs. The World

Photo Courtesy: www.pinterest.com

Have you ever felt like you are an outcast,like a  stranger to everyone you know...have you ever felt like your opinion doesn't matter anymore and your friends or family can have the best of times without you, like you are not needed anymore, like all you say keeps on knocking on the 'Do Not Disturb' sign of everyone's life...like you are being constantly rejected and tagged the 'Buzz kill' of your group, of your family...have you ever felt like no one cares about you anymore and all you are to everyone is a b.t.w. by the way...have you ever felt worthless....then congratulations, you're Human!

These times are one of the pits and bumps of our lives where the self belief and moral are waaay down low and all you can think of is escaping from everyone so you don't hurt them or udhi (1) them. At these times your best friends are you and your thoughts and everything anyone says somehow makes you feel even lesser of a person. Then you start to notice how everyone ignores you and cast you on the side lines, behind a glass wall so nothing you do matters to them and you have to put extra effort just to get a fraction of their attention.

Ps. if you have never felt any of these emotions up until this point, go for a check up, you might not be from this world. Just saying.

Now that we've established we're all humans in the house, all these are a result of multiple events but the core of them is part of who we are, what we are and how we are, a weakness within us known as Taking the Advantage. The most common example is that of a couple, who are married that is in shaa Allah. It is a piece of Heaven when they marry. All fun and games and bliss and romance and happiness (because its halal obviously lol). But when the true face of marriage is realized and responsibilities kick in, the couple forget the compliments and thank you-s to each other and that is when taking advantage of each other pulls up thier drive way. Each of them develops an expectancy for the other and the small things each do are over looked. And with it the love that connects them, then we end up having two people who don't agree on even the simplest things and if they do, World War 1 & 2 mtoto (2).

This is just a small example of our weakness, and extra effort of appreciation and attention is required to cover this flaw in-built in us( Thats why we have months like Ramadhan and articles like 'How Full Is Your Plate' from Strokes of My Pen- Check in key for link). Yes it is inevitable. Why?

Whether a theist or an atheist, we know the fact that life is a test, and it will test you in ways you never anticipated. This is a common answer to this question but i want to elaborate. I know the pain and hurt all this brings, how lonely you feel and how unbearable it is to be deprived of the attention of your loved one, whether friend or family, i know. I mean science tells us its equivalent to physical pain, so even logistics gets it, i get it. But am telling you now that you are being tested. Its all a test and like everything in life, it'll pass. Allah swt only tests those who He Loves, those who He cares about. And even when you feel alone, He tells you He is closer to you than your Jugular vein, subhanallah. So ask Him for relief from all this, ask Him to keep calm your heart and believe He is thinking about you and the very best you can be. And He never puts down anyone, regardless of religion, who is in genuine and dier need of His help. Thats how Loving He is to His creations.

So the next time you feel lonely, chin up and wear a smile because you know you got the most Awesome Companion with you, every step of the way. All you gotta do is ask. And when its You Vs. World, you won't be in alone in the fight!

Key:

1. Displease or upset them

2. A child; used in the context of power and effectiveness and/or impact

Friday, 1 July 2016

My Date with Me

Photo Courtesy: www.keyword-suggestions.com
Part One

The sky was now a blend of grape purple and a touch of radial blue smoothed off by thin soft clouds with a tint of sunset orange stretching across the horizon. It was beautiful. The voice of the muadhin (1) radiated the open skies in a single silky wave, not too loud to break the savor, not too low to be ignored, just enough, as it married the background of the view...It was complete,magical. It was time. My long awaited time of the week had just began.

Salah (2) sank in. Heart calm, mind collected, every moment ; pleasure...forehead on ground, pulse steady, breath defined, soul melted in bliss, peaceful, a rush of nerve signals fill the palms, spreading across gracefully, into the relm of the undefined, a being one with the ground, true serenity,  a direct connection...satisfaction.

I was finally ready as I wore misk (3) and breathed in the seductive scent it oozes. I didn't look in the mirror this time. I wasn't nervous of meeting Me. Even though its been quite a while since we talked, I felt like we always got each other. We decided on a restaurant on the bay of the ocean. This restaurant was special because it had this  amaizing view of the town bridge complimented with  dancing beach lights of the town's beach resort across the bay. What a spoilt guy, I thought smirking on my snide comment. 

The night air moved swiftly, cutting across trees as it forced their leaves to move with its beat, almost like if they were dancing in praise whilst swishing to the placid night. It was unusually quite. The town was busy as of norm with the matatu (4) conductors competing for on coming passengers, as they would attack anybody and everybody, trying to sell to them how fast their vehicle will depart, which most oftenly is not the case. Boda boda (5) were parked all over the boarding stage each with its radio turned on to what sounded like full volume. I wondered if they really listened to it...and if there were earphones for boda boda . A man sold his roasted- over- wire mesh maize just after with a few people  around him, some waiting for their orders and others just hoping he would be of heart and spare them some as they tried to converse with him. He knew. Too bad for them. Roasted maize smells ajeeb (6) by the way. The world slowly fade away as I heard the swish swash of the ocean waters beating against the mangrove on the shores. I was almost there.

I could see it now, the restaurant, as i moved to the outskirts of the town, thinking of what we were going to talk about tonight. Thinking on how much we had to catch up on and how we were going to connect once again. I was excited. I was eager. It would explain the smirk that slowly transformed into a broad smile, white shot. It was going to be a long night....

Key


1. Person calling the Adhan; Arabic calling to Prayer 

2. Islamic Prayer

3. /Musk; perfume

4. Public Service Vehicle; equivalent of some version of a van

5. Motorcycles used as passenger  service vehicles

6. Awesome