This Is Not My Faith

18 12 2014

Written by: Umme Salamah Ahmed here

The sad deaths in Sydney following a hostage situation were bad enough, the horror that is unfolding in Iraq and Syria was horrific enough and then the devastating news today of over a hundred children killed in an attack on a school in Peshawar in Pakistan by the Taliban.

I have been thinking of the children who did not come home to their waiting mothers today. Of the parents who had to identify their children’s dead bodies. Of the people who are already burying their children. Of the children who saw their friends murdered, their teachers die in front of them, who are injured and in pain now.

Every mother knows the constant anxiety and worry being a mother brings with it – a child’s fever keeps us up all night, if we lose sight of them for a few minutes in a mall, our heart cannot bear the terror. So to live through what has happened in Peshawar today is unfathomable.

These events have become all too common around the world and again and again we find ourselves explaining that it is nothing to do with our faith, that we don’t recognise the people who do these things or their interpretation of Islam. I can’t explain why they do the cruel things they do and really why would I be able to? This is not the faith I was raised in and embraced. The Muslim people I know don’t think or behave like this.

So before the calls of “Muslims need to speak up” and “Muslims need to get their house in order” – start up as they always do (cause over one billion Muslims are a homogenous group that can be controlled and organised in a tidy manner), I’d like to be clear that the bombings, the civilians deaths, the murder of children, the intolerance of other faiths, the forced veiling of women: this is not my faith. This is not my Islam.

My Islam demands that we speak up when we see something wrong, we try to put it right, we defend our homes and our families and those weaker than us, we seek justice but favour mercy. My faith offers intelligent and peaceful ways to do this. My Islam condemns the slaughter of children and civilians, it orders against the destruction of land, crops and building even in times of war and it encourages us to seek peaceful means of resolving a matter if there is an alternative to conflict.

Up until today I have been confused at how people can justify these actions, even with the conflicts in Palestine, Iraq, Syria and other places as a cause for anger, I still could not see how our faith asks us to respond in this way. But today I am just angry and hurt of the continuous destruction and suffering.

My prayers are with all those who have lost their loved ones: may Allah (SWT) give them the strength to bear what he has tested them with, shower them with his mercy and let their hearts find peace. May Allah (SWT) bring peace and safety to Pakistan where the people have had to suffer too much for too long.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” ~ Quran 5:53

“Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.” ~ Quran 2:190
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor….” ~ Quran 4:135

“Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, or curtails their rights, or burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” (Abu Dawud)

“Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God.” (Bukhari)

“Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)





Thought of the Day

8 03 2014

Hello dear blog, I have neglected you quite a lot haven’t I?!

I was just wondering why I haven’t used this blog the way I had planned to when I made it.

For one thing, the perfectionist in me doesn’t allow me do the normal blogging as it wants a blog post to have everything from a good content to good photos having perfect grammar, spelling and what not! (this is the reason why any work given to me becomes a project lol) So blogging seemed like such a far-fetched idea and a chore rather than something you enjoy doing…

For another reason; my best writings are always concerned with my current circumstances, my views of different things, reflections on daily incidents and the feelings and emotions of my heart all of which I’d rather write in my dear ol’ beloved diary…. so my diary unlike you dear blog, gets a fair share of everything. (Though unlike a blog it doesn’t have the quick editing and picture uploading feature with it that I wished it did!)

It was, then, due to a sudden realization that I am back and actually writing here today. And that realization (simple but profound nonetheless) is what I’d leave here as I go:

Never wait for easier times to come...

If you catch yourself thinking along the lines that if I’m done with this thing and that thing etc etc I can finally have the routine, the life I soo want…..well, tell yourself that ain’t happening anytime soon! If you can’t manage it now what makes you think you can later on when you’ll probably have a lot more on your plate? So if you want to do something, why not start today then?! Why wait for an uncertain and guaranteed tomorrow?

If you don’t fix your now chances are you’ll have the same hard time later on. So what are you waiting for?

I considered myself too occupied last semester and wished for the new one to come as I’ll be better at handling fewer subjects yes? And now here I am and I have so many other things along with it (Final Year Project being the most intimidating) that I wonder what in the world was I previously thinking! So there you go :)

Lesson? Work on the NOW and stop living in the past or the future- its as simple as that! Try managing yourself today and if you succeed you can be assured that the same will carry on for the days to come….

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So apart from the other things, blogging was also something I had been longing to do… And so I here I am and I finally did it!

(I pray that I can say the same about the FYP progress…!)





Getting ahead…

1 03 2013

Time…a resource we think we have in so plentiful of quantity that the idea to keep account of

time

it consciously just doesn’t come to mind…

Recently, I started noticing that I wasn’t getting as much done in my day as I used to before and my do-to list just used to pile up to the next day’s without having been completely ticked off and it continued to another day and so on.

It happened steadily without me having noticing it much but when I did, I was alarmed to see the pile of work to be done, which if not dealt with in proper time will continue to increase on like the snowball going down a hill, and I’ll be left to catch up and being out of breath at all times (not something really enjoyable)

Something had to be done.

I tried my best to cut off everything unnecessary and work on to complete the tasks. Yet as things had already piled up, I was indeed playing catch back, unable to come to the surface. Whenever I was about to reach the finish line, the finish line would always jump to another great distance ahead (like a mirage) leaving me unfulfilled, tired and restless- again.

So this idea came to my mind: why not I keep track of my time to see where I actually spend it and how much…

I had read about “Time logging” as a time-management improvement technique and its usefulness but just wasn’t bothered as it seemed so time-consuming (time consuming thing for managing time?!) and simply not worth anything.

Not as a remedy, but just for fun, I thought to give it a shot. Immediately, I took out a sheet of paper wrote down the day and time and then wrote down in a word what I just did in the last fifteen minutes. And I did that again after another fifteen minutes. And so on.

The effect was instantaneous! Immediately in my unconscious there was this new found urgency that I had not felt before, the type which comes just before an exam or deadline! As I wrote down what I was doing four times in an hour I actually began to see just how quickly time is passing and how much is still left to be done and so this adrenaline rush that comes just before an impending deadline boosted me up all day! I was also amazed how much work I got completed and how much time just slips by if you’re not on check…

I think mostly, the reason why so much of our time is wasted is that we do not sincerely think ahead what stuff is important and should be given preference to. Due to that we get easily caught up by distractions that lead us into more distractions…and when your’re in that zone, coming out and doing something productive looks so uninteresting that you continue on thinking you have “enough time to do it later”. And before you know it the day is gone…the week is gone…and then the weekend too!

By logging my time I indeed got this idea that those “little” idle moments throughout the day when you’re just thinking about something to do or procrastinating stuff, such a big chunk of your day goes away unused. Don’t get me wrong… I do believe that relaxing and sometimes just doing nothing is also necessary..I’m talking about the useless wastage of time which just goes wasted unnoticed making your day “disappear so quickly” without having much done.

At the end of the week, you can calculate the total amount of time you spend on different activities in your day (reading, surfing the net, studying, exercise, worship etc) to get an idea of where you spend your time and then see which areas you would like to improve…because, trust me, the reality isn’t what you think it is…

Another benefit was that when you have to actually write down what you did in the last 15-20 min you will begin to think whether that task you just did was really necessary or not…if it was unnecessary and you already have high priority tasks that had to be done that day you’ll mentally take notice of it and that is where the magic of time management self awareness comes in!

So this experiment was quite an eye-opener for me….do give time-logging a try for a week and you’ll see for yourself how your productivity boosts up! And remember: Time once gone, can never come back!





Random thoughts

22 02 2013

Its strange how sometimes you realize that things are not as black and white as you thought….

Its strange how life all of a sudden brings so many drastic turns that you cannot help but stumble….

Its strange how sometimes you can feel so lonely even among people who are your friends….

Its strange when everyone has their own perceptions and people misunderstand you in ways you never thought….

Its strange when you are in contradiction with your own self and don’t know what to believe or do…

Its strange when all you want to do is explain and clarify but you know that no person will understand….

Life can be so strange and mysterious at times…

Like a roller coaster ride with its dramatic highs and lows….





Preparing for the Journey…

4 01 2013

When traveling to some place, the journey doesn’t begin until everything that we would be needing on our way and destination has been gathered and packed up. I don’t know about others, but for me, I always tend to over-pack…”I’ll need this too”, “How can I leave this?” and even “This might come in handy!” And so, the things that were supposed to be “bare minimum necessities” tend to be so much more than that…

Mess and clutter are the things that I cannot stand.  Its nothing less than a weakness that everything around you has to be well-organised, clean and tidy in order to breath normally! :P

So taking the steps to cure this problem and keeping everything in line I also thought that I had gotten rid of all the unnecessary items from the place I call my own [ my room :) ] …..but that was until I started packing. This time not for a journey but for a shift. And I was amazed at how wrong I still was…

How much do we over-estimate our needs and keep on accumulating ” things we need” without ever needing them as much!!

And it was then that I realized that if for the journeys we make in the life in this world, we are so worried about our needs and make sure that we have what we require (and even more)…then what about that journey that everyone will most definitely be undertaking; the journey that will be starting at the end of this life; the journey from one dimension to completely another one! Now how much greater in magnitude would it be as compared to the little ones we have to make in our life! And just how much greater would our NEEDS  be for it!!! How much do we actually care and prepare?!!! Forget over-packing, do we even worry on completing the bare essentials?!

We do not even know when our time of departure would come. It would come very unexpectedly, this we all know for sure. Nobody knows which breath would be his last. Knowing this fact should really be enough to get us moving and come out of our slumbers and laziness…

How that journey would be when we would be all alone. No friend would be there for us nor our family. The one who had prepared for it would be surrounded by light and for the heedless, darkness would be his companion. Darkness and sorrow and regret.  We cannot even imagine it!

Thinking about it really boggles the mind. Our time is so very very precious. Each and every second is a blessing.

May Allah enable us all to make the best use of our time and enable us to prepare for that journey and make us among His beloved people!





The Beginning

30 11 2012

book

I remember my very first days in university. After all the work and long hours of preparation it was nothing less than a great happiness when I came to know that I’ve got admission where I really wanted to finally! And so with some hope and uncertainty, a bit of fear and a lot of excitement I welcomed my first day at uni.

When I think about what I expected uni life to be I can’t really remember what my thoughts were precisely. In fact, having no older sibling I didn’t have much of an idea what life at university is and how it would be different from school if not similar. So basically I had no expectation of any sort just a lot of “can’t wait for it” feeling and all….

And so the first semester began. Getting to know the campus, lots of introductions (of teachers and students), making friends, hiding away from the seniors who wanted nothing more than to rag us (we were so scared that we went to the library that’s quite a distance away from our department and hid among the bookshelves! ) and the unfortunate encounter with them were the highlights of the first few days….

Then when we came to know each other, the campus, the teachers and the life that would be ours for the next four years to come (or so we thought) intense studies took off. Our free time in uni was spent in solving circuits, carrying T-squares and drawing charts to the drawing hall in the far off block away from the department and making those detailed and meticulously labeled and scaled drawings of different models for engineering drawing classes. Calculus practice used to take place after the class.

Diving headfirst into intense and difficult studies and a routine which seemed so tough (getting home in the evening) I was drained. I couldn’t imagine how hard the coming years would be as just the first one (“which is NOTHING” as told by the seniors) seemed so hard. I couldn’t understand how those fourth years girls could sit there, talk and laugh having gone through what I am going through now and much much more than that. (Ha! I smile when I think about it now)

I also missed my old friends and college a lot. Not to forget the all-girls environment. It was so hard coping up with all this that I can say without hesitating that the first semester is definitely the toughest as you really have to adjust and make new habits.

Time passed. Got used to the new routine. Made friends. Talked and got guidance from the seniors who are really very helping. Understood what’s expected of me and how I have to study and where I stand right now.

And so some studies and exams and parties and assignments and trips later along with many ups and downs in different ways I got to know and actually feel my university as sort of my own. A place where I belong. :)

Studies are not that easy here. They are challenging. No, very challenging. A lot is expected from you. There’s so much to learn and to do that sometimes it feels as if you have no life apart from studies. But I think it’s really worth it in the end. One thing that makes things extra difficult is that the competition here is very intense. But the challenges are what keep you going ahead and to stretch yourself to your utmost capabilities. Besides, studying with such intelligent students really gets you inspired.

The thing I love the most about engineering is that you get to implement the material studied in class in real applications and projects. The satisfaction of finally seeing something you worked on for so long actually work, whether it’s a code or a hardware project, makes all the effort worth it!

Working in labs and for projects showed me how to work in groups and what being a part of team is. I got to study some courses which seemed more like solving puzzles than solving problems! (Digital Logic, for instance). Our studies enhanced and improved our  problem solving and analytical thinking skills.  I got to know how to manage my time better, how to work under stress, how to manage my studies with other things that I love to do. And the list goes on.

Today when I see the first years I am reminded of my own initial days. I used to wonder and ask everyone “Is it going to get even harder?”, to which I used to get a variety of responses though mostly encouragement. :)  But after having gone through it, at least as far as I have come, I realize that the question “Is it difficult?” has the problem in itself. Because when life goes on it takes you and makes you capable for what you were incapable of before. It teaches you and makes you strong enough. And finally the challenges that you couldn’t have succeeded in yesterday become do-able as you do them today.

So yes, if a first grade child asks a university student “Is your maths very hard?”, the university student will reply “Definitely! Yours is nothing but a piece of cake!” . Sure, the grade one math is easy for the college student but it wasn’t like that when he himself was in grade one! The child will go grade by grade and be able to do the college level math when he finally gets there. So there is no need to be afraid or to give up. And its the same for so many other things in life…

“The beginning is always the hardest..”, I  had read somewhere, “…just ask a baby as he learns to walk.” True indeed…

Having said that, I will also say that there will be some days when you don’t feel motivated enough, when you feel like leaving it all. That happens to everyone at some point or another no matter what. But if the goal is kept in mind and you have good friends along with you and you have complete faith that no effort ever goes wasted then anything can be done. Time passes quickly. So it’s best to make the most  out of it! :)

-Zofishan





Patience

30 11 2012

morning

Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be far sighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

-Rumi








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