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Removing misconceptions about Sufism: An answer


Shaykh Nuh Mim Keller writes in his article, The Place of Tasawwuf in Traditional Islam, which was first recommended to me when i became interested in entering sufism:

"What about the bad Sufis we read about, who contravene the teachings of Islam?


The answer is that there are two meanings of Sufi: the first is "Anyone who considers himself a Sufi," which is the rule of thumb of orientalist historians of Sufism and popular writers, who would oppose the "Sufis" to the "Ulama." I think the Qur'anic verses and hadiths we have mentioned tonight [see article] about the scope and method of true Tasawwuf show why we must insist on the primacy of the definition of a Sufi as "a man of religious learning who applied what he knew, so Allah bequeathed him knowledge of what he did not know."

The very first thing a Sufi, as a man of religious learning knows is that the Shari‘a and ‘Aqida of Islam are above every human being. Whoever does not know this will never be a Sufi, except in the orientalist sense of the word—like someone standing in front of the stock exchange in an expensive suit with a briefcase to convince people he is a stockbroker. A real stockbroker is something else.

[Important para]
Because this distinction is ignored today by otherwise well-meaning Muslims, it is often forgotten that the ‘ulama who have criticized Sufis, such as Ibn al-Jawzi in his Talbis Iblis [The Devil’s deception], or Ibn Taymiya in places in his Fatawa, or Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, were not criticizing Tasawwuf as an ancillary discipline to the Shari‘a. The proof of this is Ibn al-Jawzi’s five-volume Sifat al-safwa, which contains the biographies of the very same Sufis mentioned in al-Qushayri’s famous Tasawwuf manual al-Risala al-Qushayriyya. Ibn Taymiya considered himself a Sufi of the Qadiri order, and volumes ten and eleven of his thirty-seven-volume Majmu‘ al-fatawa are devoted to Tasawwuf. And Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya wrote his three-volume Madarij al-salikin, a detailed commentary on ‘Abdullah al-Ansari al-Harawi’s tract on the spiritual stations of the Sufi path, Manazil al-sa’irin. These works show that their authors’ criticisms were not directed at Tasawwuf as such, but rather at specific groups of their times, and they should be understood for what they are."

Read complete article (lecture transcription) here. For another short introduction to Sufism, a work that negates or clears misconceptions firsts, and then affirms or elucidates what the matter is all about - (this is analogical to what Shahadah in Islam is, i.e., La ilaha illa'llah) - i find this work useful: Sufism: Principles & Practice by Dr. Hamid Algar.
Sufism: Principles & Practice

Laughte the Cure

r
Harvard Businness gives a tip on how to manage our pet peeves, one of the ways is:
Laugh. If you can get some distance from your pet peeve, you're more likely to see the humor in it. When you get annoyed, try to observe how silly your anger may seem.
How true...! Full of fun as well... Similarly, to laugh at the face of enemies, it is said, eliminates to an extent their joy of victory... Releases pressure, to my mind, also... What do you say?

Class ka Shehzada


He, my cousin, claims: Mein class ka Shehzada hoon! (I'm the Prince of my class.)

The Certainty of our Running away from Death the Certain

Why we run away from something too certain as death? I don't. But for large period of my life, I did. "More certain is death than even taxes." Even so, why?

For lovers


(Minus moderns and Urdu only :)


Hasil jo huay dard-e-mohabbat k lazaiez
Mein bhool gaya 'aish-o-'ishrat k lazaiez
*   *   *
Parday nazar pay kasrat-e-khobi k par gaye
Chaha magar na dekh sakay hum Jamal-e-doost
*   *   *
(I recited following two verses to my friends on campus one cold morning and they said, "You've made our morning so fresh and delightful... we can't express.")

Har lehza hai tasawwur ay rashk-e-Hoor tera
Ankhoon mein noor tera dil mein saroor tera
Mehfil mein un say ki hoon gustakhian kisi nay
Par wo yehi kahain gay "sab hai kasoor tera"
*   *   *
Na teray husan ki husn ki misaal mili
Na meray shouq ka jawab hua
Khuhaish-e-deed kamyaab hui
Chera-e-Yar bay-niqaab hua
Ab na wo Tum rahay na Hum Afsoos
Kia zamanay ka inqilaab hua
*   *   *
Tark-e-jurm-e-'aashqi mumkin nahi
Phir isi ka hum say ho ga irtiqaab 

(Means, umer can't be stopped from going to khanqah once again this week...)

Schuon on Animals


Most animals are horizontal, since
Their homeland is not other than this Earth;
But man’s essential stance is vertical;
Free will to choose Salvation proves his worth.
Nobility some animals possess:
The genius of their symbol lives in them.
They can be more than a corrupted man;
Only their possibilities are less.
Be humble when you meet creation, for
An animal may be a sacred door.
Do not despise a noble plant, a stone:
They bring a message from God’s blessèd Throne.

The Seven States of Being

Courtesy: Frithjof Schuon blog.

'The Quest of Companionship'


While I's sitting with some my friends and our professor on campus, my professor asked me to read out to him verse # 28 of Surah Al-Kahf, from my pocket size English copy of noble Qur'an. It's a single verse, yet from any point-of-view it is a miracle for its expression and the message within it... It says:
28 | And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them, seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; no obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires [or lusts], whose case has gone beyond all bounds. [Emphasis added]
I'm amazed at this word i highlighted when i look at secular legislators; for whatever anti-God laws they profess and implement are nothing but products of lusts of their lower-self, or of masses they wish to please. Such people i see occupying posts of professors in universities and colleges, writing books and articles 'seeking pomp' through ideas - may we not give them the rank of prophets; nay, we do, God forbid. What more is sufficient to prove to modern man of his utter Decadence and Crisis he finds himself in, yet unwillingly even to recognize it.

Nation-state Idoltary

State is only a mean to provide welfare to its people, where education is free, food and medical services are given at least at a minimum level for people to exist, etc. Read Muhammad Asad's Principles of State and Government in Islam and you'll come to know that an Islamic state does all such and other welfare things to its subjects. And never does a Muslim take a state as the purpose of people, rather for him state is a purpose to attain a bigger purpose. But today, state is given the status, along with democracy (or mobocrisy or hypocrisy), of an idol, something that is (profanely) sacred. Founders are made (psuedo) prophets. People are sacrficed to save virtual interests of those in power in the name of Idol called Nationalism. Why am I shown pictures of Muhammad Ali Jinnah everywhere i go? Why am I considered a profane, in so-called patriots' sense of the term, if I criticize the founders? These are just a nominal examples we gave. Otherwise a whole series of books may be written to expose the practices and ideas of idolators of nationalism and nation-state. May Allah save us from all forms of idoltary, give us an understanding of the term as well.

Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources

Muhammad: his life based on the earliest sources by Martin Lings ('Abu Bakr Siraj-ud-Din - may allah bless his soul)...

Not to sound trite and unimaginative, it's a wonderful book. Written in the best type of English, the top. It's not any product of Orientalism - far, far, far from it. I find it wonderful for various reasons.

The narrative. It's captivating, it again and again brings tears to eyes on which i have no control to resist. It compels one to cry out of love for Prophet, the Man of God, Mercy for two Worlds. One surrenders to the Truth owing to the prose. Although my mother tongue is Urdu, yet I have found no work in Urdu, a few best I've read, that match the quality of such a captivating and gripping prose.

The sources of the book. As the title clearly shows, it is based on the earliest Arabic biographies of Prophet, like, Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, Ibn Sa'd, books of Hadith, etc. - to name a few. Some portions of the Arabic sources have been translated for the first time. I was amazed to find out how much an ordinary Muslim in sub-continent knows about Prophet which an English Muslim may never know, were he to remain among English speaking people and not come in contact with Arabic, Persian or Urduu literature on Sirah.

The grace of the book. I felt the grace (barakah) of Allah while going through the pages, through the lovable small chapters (which make the reading more interesting and light on the part of an immature reader). Lings himself said that while writing this book he felt the presence of Prophet heavily.

Best biography in English. On the flip of the book is written this passage: this book was declared the best work on Sirah in the English at the national Sirah conference, Islamabad, 1983 and an award of $5000 was made to the author by the Government of Pakistan. When Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was looking for an English biography of Prophet for his students, he was dismayed not find great books. But his search was over when he found this books, and recommended it as the textbook biography.

Opinion question


Don't get me wrong, but i want to know your op on this: Do you think that blogs can be a good way of advertising marriage proposals, as a business model - in the context of Pakistan?

Social entrepreneurship - today, many social evils, in the perspective of islam, may be solved through early marriages... Youth is on blog... Discussion can be triggered... Hmm...

Competing on the edge

We read in our top strategy course a book called Competing on the Edge, written by a core academia-n at Standford. Was reminded of this book by this:


Philosophy of Priorities


Quran says:

16 Nay (behold), ye prefer the life of this world;
17 But the Hereafter is better and more enduring.

Rene Guenon I: Agitation of Moderns

Name of God,
Allah Allah Allah


(This is a series of posts that would have quotes from Rene Guenon's (Abdul Wahid Yahya) works on various topics defining or illustrating characteristics of modernity or of Western or westernized moderns. Hoping that we might save ourselves from the evils of a solely materialistic anti-God civilization or rather anti-civilization.)


Superstition of Life:

"Life and action go closely together; the one's domain is also the other's, and it is to this limited domain that the whole Western civilization keeps, today more than ever. Elsewhere we have told what view the Easterners take of the limitations of action and its consequences, and how for them, in this respect, knowledge is the opposite of action: the Far-Eastern theory of 'non-action' and the Hindu theory of 'deliverance' are inaccessible to the ordinary Western mind, which cannot conceive that a man may dream of freeing himself from action, still less that he may actually come to do so Besides, action is not generally considered except in its most outward forms, in those that strictly correspond to physical movement: hence this growing desire for speed and this feverish restlessness so peculiar to modern life; it is all action for the pleasure of action, and this can only be called agitation, for even in action there are certain degrees to observe and certain distinctions to make."

East and West, Rene Guenon.

80/20 - Be the 20!

I was going through this book on Time Management for professionals (*flattered* ;), which hopefully i'll photocopy and distribute among my father's company's gifted employees, i'll learn from them as soon as i marry (well, that's mission impossible for me). Khair, it's all about the '20' yaar, any 'chill-dude' pakistani would happily proclaim.

Pareto was an Italian economist. He "observed that 20% of Italians owned 80% of that nation's wealth."* People, like you and me, really generalized, successfully this ratio of 80/20 proportion to other fields as well. Here are some examples where this rule fits the book mentions:
  • 20% of your products account for 80% of products
  • 20% do 80% of work (that's from the Tipping Point)
  • 20% of people cause 80% of the interruptions (see, that's not a law, for in Pakistan, the "low-trust" great nation of Quaid-e-Azam, 80% cause 80% of interruptions, yeah, that's no exaggeration)
  • 20% of your problems cause 80% of your concerns
So, the book advises to focus on those activities which produce maximally. I got excited. Think about it, if all Muslims pray 5 times a day (which for many is like going millions times a day to mosque, and very time-consuming) sincerely, such that it stops them from doing fuhash - which is only 20% of our life - then Allah will solve 80% of other problems, local, personal, national, international, inter-planet, and inter-galaxy, and on and on. For Allah alone is victorious.

O muslims! you always begin your earthly carrier by solving the biggest question West thinks it encounters - Does God exist? - with an unequivocal Yea to it. Think of your intiha (maximum point of achievement). Be true to Allah. Be not slaves of your lower self. (How can i move you to act? Well. That's what recitation of qur'an is there for...)

* Time Management: 24 Techniques to Make Each Minute Count at Work, Marc Mancini, McGraw-Hill, Professional Education.

Eye vs. Eye

Listen to this recitation of Qur'an.


Did you notice that the excellent reciter, the quality of whose recitation you may've detected in an instance, is blind? This video has been watched by six lac people. Somebody commented that some people can see yet they're blinded by heart; this boy who can't see by eyes, yet how luminous his inner eye!

What is my Type?

Please read this silly article to know what this picture below is all about.

It reads my personality type: Emotional, assertive, traditional, relaxed. Based on these traits, the psychoanalyst has developed this type-font... The video explained reasons for it though... Visit: What Type are You? (Password: Character)

Tale of a Deliberate Planning Chaos Organization (DPCO)

Yes, by this time you'd have guessed it must a Paki governmental/private organization. You're always right!

Two SUs illustrate DPC ;)

Case Study: The Sui Gas Department - (whether govt. or private, I don't know) - always ends-up below budget. They always save around, say 20 crores given 80 crores as budgeted amount. Glorious! Well, may be not.

Solution: The reason why they always end-up below budget is because they always estimate well beyond what can possibly be required; and on the top of that, when they do stuff (nasty stuff), they follow the golden principle of deliberate planning chaos. Example, "Is this repair & maintenance  you're doing already planned in the budget?," asks a sane manager. "Budget mein tou nahi hota, magar yehaan tou aisay hee hota." ("It wasn't budgeted, it works that way [of jahalat, ignorance].") Nothing is planned, sab chalta hai (all non-sense works, they say).

(Appendix: You might be shocked to know that Pakistanis have consumed, thanks to MNAs etc., 60% of Sui gas reservoir, and above all, there's a misconception that Sui Gas field is something huge. Our professor completely denies that, b'cause it's not huge compared to the demand of it.)

Situation

Today, i went here and there, but in no vain. You may like to think i's thirsty looking out for water in a desert... Not quite so... Today, i made a "sin" of not being able to come home at time and go to mosque to pray night-prayer... I's only only 45-50 mins late; and in cold, O Allah!, i searched forward, backwards, left and right, here and there, went to three mosques in town, not one open to entertain "late-comers"... Now-a-days. Everyone with a basic good nature stands up and decides to provide quality education to save the future of whole Muslim Ummah, yet these mosques on which millions are wasted in decorations, in building tombs, minarets, this and that, mosaics, glass-art work, and their khuddam (workers who live in mosque) lock the mosque so that no one can pray in the cover of night, alone... If this society cannot provide 24/7 services for people to worship the Lord of the Worlds, what else it can provide? Except music concerts, buffets, bonfire, dance performances, wine-parties, seminars on subjects that teach not to open Quran, to forget God, etc. etc all vain glories of a disturbed, extremist, one-eyed civilization... Allah mua'f karay mujhay...

Call of a genuine social scientist homo islamicus



" I cannot live like a social scientist who compartmentalizes his mind and refuses to study life directly. I cannot mis-treat supra-rational, or super-natural experiences i encounter in my life, and by ignoring them dispose them in favor of this compartmentalization of knowledge. i refuse to follow the current fashions of mind which commit such intellectual sins. i rebel against it." (Highly prosaic, phrases not accurate... me "nalaiq")

- my beloved professor...

Of a dream, of love, of Sunnah



I dreamed some nights ago in which everything was covered in the darkness of night. i saw a a gang of three children advancing somewhere. i intercepted them and as i came close to them, i observed the youngest one, the most beautiful one. i felt a desire out of my heart, out of love to meet and greet him; so i approached him and like my Prophet cradled him in my arms and tried to kiss him on his cheeks to fulfill, as i said, a natural desire. I kissed him on his right white, fluffy, creamy cheek. But one kiss couldn't suffice. i kissed him, i kissed him again, and i kept trying to kiss him the best way i could until that dream was over, but the fragrance, the awe, the feeling of that most pure form of love is still persistent somehow, no matter how dim... (My bureaucratic instinct tells me that it should made be as a public policy to kiss every child an elder may find on a street, otherwise s/he be punished for being too human.)

When i woke up, i realized, firstly, the usefulness of two lips; secondly, about this particular sunnah (or way) of Prophet Muhammad. (He kissed children walking in streets. Cradled them in his arms, conversed with them, and showed his love for these spiritual teachers, as Hamza Yusuf calls them.) How supreme the sunnah of my Prophet, the Leader of the Poor. Now i weep, I weep for how ignorant i've been of his way, his way of love; now i feel and appreciate the rank of the Prophet, now i understand his Message. Of living according to our fitra. May Allah keep us attached to the way of Prophet, may we become like him...

"166 is hijacked"

Call me a war hysteric citizen of Pakistan, I'd accept the charge Sir - that's what I have done to myself. Nonetheless, what is in this post is the final conversion that took place b/w shaheed Flt. Lt. Rashid Minhas and "air control at PAF Base Masroor recorded around 11:30 am on August 20, 1971". Finally, I'm hearing words of that pilot everyone adores, home and abroad, being too young, doing too momentuous a task that every Muslim must have a desire in his heart to do, i.e., to attain martyrdom (hope you have clear understanding of this word in Islam, if not, see some authentic Islamic scholar)... This conversation is a bit incomprehensible - all that is mentioned here, which Minhas repeated a few times: 166 is hijacked! (166 is perhaps a kind of a code referring to his flight).



Young Rashid!

The Mundane Post of the Year

My father recieved the following sms:

"Happy Binary Day: 10-01-10."

The core religious emotion: Love


Product life-cycle, changing situations & new strategies

I's depressed to find out that my (assignment) product, i.e., Mr. Wateen Wi-Max, as a whole, wasn't doing good these days, because of its pricing and its competitor's prices, and the superior value given by W's competitors. What i mean to say is that more and more people are switching to DSL and other tribes of internet from Wateen, which had been for once an innovator of no category, back in 2007-8. Not only DSL - the latest threat seems to be these USB internet connection. Here I am a bit relieved to hear this news that Wateen is going to launch USB Dongle soon. Apart form that, it has successfully re-launch itself with "unlimited packages and lower rentals for limited packages." [Emphasis added.]

What really is doing, is utilizing our marketing book's Chapter 11 that talks about different pricing strategies in different situations linked the product life-cycle. Tough competition has hit hard the profit margins (based on pricing), and pushing product life-cycle to the maximum. Therefore, what the re-launch indicates is that they want to breathe air into its broadband's lungs, so that it may grow and reap benefits.

I'm actually watching my text-book theories being materialized around me, and that makes me adore subjects like these :)

Work of Man & The Realm of Home

The following remark is attributed to the widow of Karl Marx: "How good it would have been if Karl had made some capital instead of writing so much about it!"

(Quoted in Remembering God, by Hassan Gai Eaton.)

Religious situation in Islamic scholarship


(Click to enlarge. Developed by yours truly.)

Digram: Based on a class discussion of sociology of religion, later phrase is full of many inherent negativities, just to make a point. It needs refinement as well.

These are the three classes of scholars within the landscape of Islam, so we had to naturally ignore those who argument against religion, many of them bearing Islamic names. Let's classify them again (but classification and characteristics are not exhaustive at all, they do need much modification, and that's why i am giving its "beta" version here :):

1. Traditional ulema (In diagram: Left-most):
- They do not fully comprehend what has happened to the modern world. They can refute Aristotle, but they have little or no deep understanding of modernity.
- They triumph in preserving whole of Islamic tradition to be transmitted to the next generation, and they seek no earthly carrier, their carrier, as Mufti taqi Usmani says, is akhirah or after-life.
- They reject modernity on the basis of their strong faith. They're perhaps most pious of all in Islamic societies.
- It is said they're to be found in traditional seminaries or madrissas.
God knows best.
2. Modernist-religious scholars (middle):
- They appreciate some facets of modernity. Yet they can said to be religious, at least they're faithful to Islam for it is still a part of them.
- They try to reconcile Islam with modernity, different philosophies. So they talk in terms of the metaphors of modernity (philosophies, paradigms, ideologies, etc.), to defend religion.
- They've little command over tradition, or even over its languages, in some cases.
- Examples that come to our mind are Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Ali Shariti, Jamal ud Din Afghani; many reformists, and modernists may also be included in this category, but then their faith has to be scaled down. Most of the English Islamic books are produced by them. They dominate the landscape of Islamic scholarship.
3. The Elites (Right most):

I've not yet come up with a label for them, but to call them elites, it is thought, says enough.
- They fully understand modernity (read this article); they fully understand and have deep roots in tradition.
- They do not try to impure religion with impurities of modernity. Rather they try to produce genuine, mainstream/traditional understanding of Islam, as something which is more than religion, the latter term as understood by Westernized mind.
- They perform dual-roles: not only of understanding modernity and tradition, but also giving strong responses, if not devastating, to the challenges posed by modernity.
- They reject modernity, as far as it is anti-traditional in spirit, with clear understanding.
- They are very low in number. And their responses determine the intellectual life-span of Muslims.
- Examples: Rene GuenonMuhammad Asad, Abdal-Hakim Murad, Dr. Rafi-ud-Din (very few may know him), Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Hamza Yusuf, etc.
Please provide us with your insightful feedback.

Silsala-e-Roz-o-Shab

I like to talk about winter, especially the kind we're having these days. Around 2-3 degrees. That's not snowy at all, but, nonetheless, chilling to the bone. Yet, it cannot be discarded as cold, frigid or frosty, as if non-invigorating; rather very poetic, mystifying, contemplative. No matter how difficult may it be to survive outside warm clothing and blankets, my adventuresome nature is inclined to cycle outside around parks, the greenery of which, though, seemingly not-too-energetic, but 'up-to-something', active, vigilant, calm, and never devoid of representing life.

In this weather, I am trying/trying-to-do many things. Waking early to pray fajr prayer which has become the 'mujahida' (effort) of these days; keeping my promises, no matter how small; being nice to people, and not to criticize the state of decadence we are all in, excluding myself though; trying to read books more than spending time online; setting out and fixing priorities of my life, working out a hierarchy of it; avoiding spending too much money; remaining hopeful of the mercy God and seeking His refuge from the Illusions of this World. Prayers help a lot, i mean the direct prayers made to Allah, swt, after the canonical prayers. I receive responses to my calls very quickly when the supplications are made not in customary, disinterested manner, but with hope, sincerity and awe of His Majesty.

Apart from that, I am also helping my cousin top in Viva/interview section of C.C.S. Exams in Pakistan, the highest civil service exams. She has passed the written test, and for past few years, off-shore, I've been her Research Associate (*flattering himself*), providing data on any topic with the help of Shaykh Google and other 'viable' mediums. During this research, I've come across a wonderful personality, Dr. M. K. Pachauri (sounds as Peshawri, as if belonging to Peshawar). His portrait is shown below. He has been awarded Nobel Prize for his remarkable work on climate change, alarming world of the consequences of the misrule of moder man. You read about him, his articles here.


  Alhamdulialh, I am becoming regular in attending the lectures/bayans of Mufti kamal ud Din, a teacher of Islamic studies and spirituality at LUMS, a university, also a disciple of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmed, may Allah bless him. They are profound, full of grace, and very useful. They are just too superior to all Western sciences taught at universities to be fully described in words. Allahumma Barik 'Alaih.


My habit of reading business journals has been disrupted, and that's a loss i incurred at the end of last year, with purchases of reading material declining, overall. The focus is shifting, nonetheless, to quality and relevant reading. Not to loose focus is the point. But the craze of reading Amir Hamza dastan has not vanished at all, i've bought most of the volumes of it published by Ferozesons for children like me. Although i won't recommend for everyone to read, perhps original dastan written in difficult Urdu (as for today's reader) may be more helpful for grown-up admirers of Amr Ayyar and Amir Hamza. Above all, I go back in time (see below!).

Recently a friend of my age, my dearest class fellow with whom I's very much attached, died, perhaps to some kind of heart attack, it was very fatal. It was shock of us, the student community, for we are used to think of death as something as distant as those grapes which cannot be reached, but after 40-50 years. We are inclined to believe, however sub-consciously or not, that we're permanent, even if that to be considered for a whole day. With this mindset many pupils and people who knew him questioned why or how could that have happened? And I's alamred to spell-out the phrase: untimely death. I found Gai Eaton advocating the matter for me, he writes:

The common phrase "an untimely death" seems, to the Muslim, close to blasphemy; every death is right on time. Moreover to ask "Why?" when someone dies young is absurd. The question suggests that we expect to comprehend the total scheme of things, known only to God, and imagine that our strictly limited minds can grasp - or should be able to grasp - what is far beyond their compass. (Remembering God, Gai Eaton.)

May Allah forgive his soul and give him peace. And He forgive our ignorance as well. Aameen.

"Signs of God"



To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the Palm of your Hand,
And Eternity in an Hour.


William Blake. Quoted in Remembering God, by Hassan Gai Eaton, as: 'These familiar lines from William Blake could well have come from an Islamic source...'

Book Reading Habits/Techniques

Yours truly (this banda-e-bay-hunar) is suffering from a book-reading problem, a very typical one by which I can easily bore you. I suppose many of the creative bloggers (who have the ability to understand and retain information, and then use it in given context) are avid book readers as well, their comments show it sometimes. So this led to me suppose that you must have sound reading habits as well. I have enough time these days, although its the final semester month, and interesting books to read and absorb. But I do not seem to be reading much - the problem is that I do not have sound reading techniques to deploy... May be you'd like to share your experiences with book reading, which, as per Virgina Woolf, is a "risky" business. Please feel free to drop comments :)

Usefulness of Khilwat

Praise be to Allah, whose praise should precede every speech & writing, and may peace & blessings be upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad


Khilwat can be my best friend in today's overly and ever-westernizing Oriental world I find myself in. Most of the youth, the way they are brought in mediocre traditional way, the way they're shaped (or rather de-shaped) by their schooling and enviornment, makes them somewhat ultra-weary of seclusion (or khilwat) from external sources, be it socializing in society, which is nonetheless a virtue in Islam, or through internet & gadgets, or consuming 'leisure' or entertainment "junk-food" (activities, I mean). But in this world, of cities and villages alike, within exception of still a major landscapes existent here, where even the symbols of piety are abhorred, exercising religion to the fullest seems to people an anomaly, due to a large number of fitnas. If any common believer is seen as defensive and hidebound in such contexts, he is not to be blamed of having a low faith. What he should be doing when he finds himself surrounded with so many fitnas, and when masses at large forget God and His Word, is to confine himself in his sanctuary and aviod any contact with fitnas (see Bab ul Fitn, Sahih Bukhari). Satan is widespread these days, he has taken sophisticated shapes. We believers are too simple to uncover all of his deceitful ways. Hence the entry of the external flow of 'things' must be limited, and that can only be attained through khilwat. But this is just a hint, the whole program should only be charted out, acted upon with the help of some authentic scholar, or shaykh. Allahu 'Alam.

Qaseeda "Qad Kafani Ilmu Rabbi" by Abdal-Hakim Murad

Time for the 'Janaza' of Pakistani Culture

Praise be to God, may peace and blessings be upon Rasul-ullah and his aal,

Enough criticism of modernity and modernized, post-Christian West, which is desperately looking out for Rasul-ullah, saw, let's turn the nozzle of the canon to where I belong to. In the line of historical analysis of all dynasties of Egypt, studied by a past Muslim historian Imam Makridee (ra), time has come to say four takbeer for Pakistani society as a whole, i.e., to say its janaza, or furenal to bury it as soon as possible before it explodes, like a dead body does, if left unburied. We've are not the one to claim that it is dead, or in near-death sit., for it is so for some three valid reasons, you may or may not be wanting to know; here are the signs of complete decadence of a culture/society extracted by Imam, already mentioned, from his extensive study and analysis, when its janaza needs to be offered, for some good:

1. Widespread corruption (rishwat).

2. Debasement of currency.

3. High real estate prices.

(See this video for explanation of these points which we're not going to mention here.)

Case study: Pakistan has the "honour" of fulfilling all these conditions. Such is the state of our decadence. More than ever, we need to resort to the Divine, Revealed Word of Allah, swt, and the sunna of Prophet, which is our mimesis.

P.S: If the above high-lighted solution, which obviously lacks rigor and needs elaboration, does not fit your paradigms, then it means that the very notion of knowledge has been secularized in your mind, or you are simply ignorant of what it stands for. As a cure, if former is the case, we suggest this work which you may like to look at with open mindedness: Knowledge and Sacred, by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. If you fall into the later category, you may like to know about what it stands for.

Allah knows best.

When intellect can become "a luciferan [satanic] force"

'Nobody' can imagine - that nobody only includes modernist-fundamentalists, profane thinkers, etc. etc. - in today's world, that rational faculty of man may in fact be performing Satanic functions. The problem arises which shapes in misunderstanding this principle inherent in the nature of things, is b'cause the West doesn't differentiate between intellect and reason, as it may become clear to the reader from the following quote.

Question: "What can happen to the rational faculty if divorced from intellect and revelation?"

Seyyed Hossein Nasr: (in his Knowledge and Sacred): The rational faculty can become a luciferan [satanic] force.

What do you think?

My book of the year award goes to...

...Islam and Contemporary Society. Ed. Salem Azzam. This book is like a mosaic (shown below if you're unfamiliar), which represents Islam in relation to the contemporary context it now finds itself in, in totality. Don't deprive yourself from reading it, a constellation of scholarly articles by the finest and towering intellectuals of our times. P.S: Why there's no summary of any article from the book? I feel I'd bore you by introducing each chapter in my stammering words... Plus, it wasn't published in 2009, rather quite some time ago...

From an Armenian Mosque. (Image source.)

Khanqah Nights: Kanwara-by-default

A group of friends, all wrapped in blankets at night in a khanqah.

A friend: (Talking to our teacher) Sir Umer is a very positive being, so he won't marry a negative one.

Another firend: And we know that positive-positive lead to a negative. This would be unacceptable for Umer as well.

Teacher: People don't change their nature, and become their own opposite. So Umer cannot choose to become negative himself.

First friend: So we reach to the conclusion that Umer is destined to remain a kanwara (single).

All burst in mild laughter.

Perpetual Enjoyment

"Perpetual is the enjoyment thereof and the shade therein: such is the end of the Righteous; and the end of Unbelievers in the Fire.."

Reading: Sufi Aphorhisms

Since yesterday, I have turned by attention to this book by a great saint of past Ibn Ata Illah, named Kitab al-Hakim, Sufi Aphorisms. I guess the great saint belonged to Shadhili tariqa. I turned to it for two-fold reasons: out of a need i felt inside so as to progress spiritually; and secondly, to find cure to "misophical" (hatred of wisdom done in the name of 'love of wisdom' or philosophy) kind of skepticism towards getting an understanding of faith, particularly that of Islam, which is belief in the One God, unseen, in the day of judgment, revelation and Prophet-hood. The magnitude of need follows the same order in which these two needs are put. And certainly, this addresses matters of spiritual progress, self-purification, but as well as in a manner of certitude which helps unveil the hidden reasons for unbelief and misunderstanding. Though I am looking for someone to properly teach this book - it just can't be read like every other factual book.

Commitment

Every word I write, everything I do, i wish i don't do it for self-pleasure, but only to seek pleasure of the One, Absolute, Allah. Aameen.

Google Map Pakistan Event


I may get used to social events as time passes. First of its kind that I've attended for years has been today's event arranged by Google called "Google Mapping Party" at FAST-National University. They started off with an air of unflinching "belief" in revolutionizing technology (of West), then giving "perspective" on how under-developed this country is (no more emphasis is needed now-a-days for excellent repetition that has been taking place for over a century, as if the sole purpose of Man was to do development), and finally with so-called "future directions", exciting ones for youth, to engage in which, they were here for. I excuse if i've rambled.

You can read the details of what the event was about here.

Well. It was all about mapping places. Mapping is what users on internet 'voluntarily' do. You've Google Earth giving satellite pics over which you can develop layers of maps, like the ones you've in geography text-book, yes. Maps can do what finest satellite image may not be able to do, e.g., only map can tell you that this perverted building is a disco club, for satellite photos are mostly taken from the top angle. UGC - its all user-generated content, as i've said. Can be used for hundred of purposes; it helped in 2008 earth quake relief activities, when google on 8th on 9th Oct uploaded 7th Oct and 8th Oct images of earth-quake hit areas, making it clear which areas may have deformed as an aftermath of the quake, speaker said it helped a lot. You can even Geotag YouTube video of your locality. Many businesses are 'benefiting' from these maps. A guy from Silicon was telling how map making by communities has help plant and water various kinds of businesses.

Seems too cool... It shouldn't. A professor from PU raised interesting and often neglected questions pertaining to the 'philosophical implications' of such a technology. We're too excited (youth primarily) to question a Western import, so effectively have we been trained to accept the black gown without coupling it once again with the turban, be it white, black, green or red. His questions which affected the Google consultant to an extent:

1. Who owns the information? Who controls the project?

2. Who can potentially use it?

3. What if the owner shuts off all the user-generated content compiled after much time-consuming labour and struggle?

4. Where would all energy (of general public) that is going to be put in to this project go? It may instead of benefiting the nation go against it, if there's no direction to it.

5. If government is not involvement in this large scale mapping of each street of Pakistan, people are not going to have any back-up.

Faraz, a student at UK, out of spirits of patriotism, along with one another guy, "has been responsible for over 70,000 map edits on Google Map Maker since both started using it in 2008 soon after the application was launched." Recently, he mapped some part of FATA. Soon after his mapping that area was drone-attacked. He stopped mapping further. I read somewhere that in one of history's most bloody carnage that took place in Mumbai back in2008, Google Earth and smart phones played a crucial role in assisting the bloody murders of humanity.

Any argument of security, privacy and the precious time of youth that is going to be invested in mapping activity, like it is consumed by networking, and serious questions about such a technology's societal implication cannot stop a mentality that has no greater ambition or goal in life than to multiply trade, commerce and finance activities. It'd certainly help, as it is hoped, to increase profitability of businesses and provide basis for new businesses to spring up. But at the same time, it'd be totally naive to even suggest that all this can in any way contribute to the happiness of greater "number"; or provide welfare to people.

A "classic" problem of services doing acquisition

My father is in a services industry business. What I can do here is perform a little brainstorming exercise with my deary readers. Here's a dilemma they face or problem, more appropriately, when acquiring "knowledge", "skills" by hiring or purchasing a company or consultants, especially when a company overtakes another through merger: The knowledge you think you're buying may walk out the door, in words of Davenport and L Prusak*. How fickle are human assets really :] How do we deal with this "classic" problem?

* See "Working Knowledge", by these authors.

About Dupes

Who is, to your mind, biggest and most colossal Dupe? Not only that, also give an example of one or two or three who've walked on earth to support your theory (but not preferably with statistical analysis, 3-D graphs, and mundane bibliography of facts and data) - other than Apes and Columbus who (allegedly) discovered America?

PAF 'shows off' at Pak's golden jubilee

Amazing... 50 figure formation, Box formation, Bomb-bast, barrels, Mirages, F-16, loops, 9 G turn, Steep turns, tight repositioning, Cuban 8s, roaring after-burners...

Facebook Mania: 'Romancing ourselves to death'?

Answer: No. Thanks God, no.

Sura Mo'minoon: Wa hum un-il-laghvi mo'ridhoon: And they keep away from all futile/fruitless activities. [Al-Qur'an]

I wrote some time ago about my 'encounter' with facebook, which was just a little critique of it, despite its relative advantages; no matter much artificial happiness we may get from it, and it may seem too stupendous and overwhelming, but is nonetheless no more than Illusion, for a civilization which is ignorant about true source of peace and happiness tries out anything. However, Indian industry is also suffering from this short-term, as it is destined to be, facebook mania, causing them a 12.5% loss in productivity; this is in those offices where internet is available, and employees are allowed to use social networking sites. Even their own analysts are saying this is dangerous. Here are a few excerpt paras from the news report:
"Indian firms are losing productivity because office staff spend too long on social networking sites, a survey says.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) says workers use Orkut, Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin for "romancing" and other purposes.

"Close to 12.5% of productivity of human resource in corporate sector is misappropriated each day since a vast majority of them while away their time accessing social networking sites during the office hours," according to the findings of Assocham's Social Development Foundation survey.

"As a matter of fact, [the] growing use of browsing sites can be dangerous for overall productivity and IT companies have already installed software to restrict its use," Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said."
Something from the statistical results now:
The survey found that 77% of workers who had Orkut accounts used them during work hours.

Nearly half of office employees accessed Facebook during work time.

Moreover, four in every 10 workers built their entire Orkut or Facebook profile at work, the survey found."
Read complete article here.

Threat is widespread, for instance, "Hampshire County Council is threatening to block staff from using the social networking site Facebook." Saying, "There is no way they should be spending this time when they are supposed to be doing their jobs on a social networking site." [Source.]

But another place its totally banned, "Staff at a Nottinghamshire hospital have been banned from using the social networking website Facebook at work." [Source.]

Though I like this icon...

Hellfire

"Those who reject faith and deny Our Signs will be Companions of Hell-fire."

Al-Qur'an, 5:10

5 Fabulous Blog Awards go to....

There's no order either descending or ascending.

1. Daries of Hafiz: Undoubtedly a very thought-provoking blog; original, for it directly examines life without ever showing mental slavery to any of so-called great thinkers, or philosophies; a blog that isn't filled with verbalism, but one that shows balance between action and contemplation. Masha Allah.

2. Muslim Kid: A 15 year kid behind this artifact. I love this blog for its shoukha-pan, its practice of catharasis, honesty, and for having a spark of a truth-speaking and truth-seeking soul, which underlies often grammatically faulty lines, only b'cause of blogger's haste, which he always mentions himself.

3. Salwa: Never have come across a blog like that. Total non-worldliness, i witness in its silence and conciseness flight of the Falcon of Allah. Serenity prevails here.

4. Musaafir-e-Dasht: Sarguzasht-e Musafir-e Dasht: Life through the eyes of a traveller in the wilderness.

5. The STRUCTURE of ENTROPY: On the meaning of life and nature of things; where modern science, especially psychology, and Islam come face to face, talk to each other, and synchronize with each other at the end of the day.

Really so many are left out... I just lack space...

Updated I: My blog is fabulous too!


Long ago (well only in Oct 2009) Mr. Harish Gulzar blessed my lonely blog with this award, I's too lazy to publish it here ;) but not disinterested to show gratitude - inly sciences should have a disinterested attitude towards things. The award has some interesting and engaging rules as well. Here's the proof (for skeptic within). I'll mention them:

Rules of the Award:
* List five current obsessions.

* Pass the award on to five more fabulous blogs.

* On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them.

* When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well.

* Don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog.
Soon I'll update, insha Allah.

_________

Update:

List of 5 current obsessions:

This is a very pertinent question, for today's age seems to be an age of obsessions, maybe word obsession came into being in the previous century; an alternative for it can be the word 'worship' as Quran says, "Seest thou such a one as taketh for his God his own passion (or impulse)?" (Sura 2s, verse 43), and this seems to have a striking resemblance with the kinds of obsessions moderns find themselves caught up in, Allah knows best. I do tread such passions which are deified. I seek refuge from such a mentality.

Nonetheless, here are my current bizarre obsessions:

1. Blogging: I blog too much, without sitting down to reflect deeply, to make effort to write no matter how concise, but original a post. I blog on my class as well, and some other places as well. Here again, like in this material civilization of West which has successfully invaded the Oriental and imposed its insane, extremist thought-patterns on it, quality is being sacrificed for the sake of quantity, for the sake of being 'regular' and building more traffic, to get comments, which is a source of happiness for many bloggers! - how vain are such pursuits Umer!

2. Eating: I graze all day like any modern. That's not the characteristic of those societies which map the sunna of Prophet and lead a traditional life. I used to follow the traditional line of meal patterns; but thanks to the high trade and commerce activities that take place 24/7, I am consumed by it, although they like to think that I am a consumer. What I have now in my stomach, for instance, is enough to help me survive till noon on 2/Jan; yet I am susceptible to consume something 4-5 times before even it's going to be noon, God forbid. Even so, my over eating, if coupled with persistent exercise routine, is justified, rather a need - that's the point of view of my friend who's doing MBBS, who gave this prescription after observing my physical existence. So happy over-eating, join me again my buddies :)

3. Day-dreaming: Although I've come out the childish phase of fantasizing strange homes, building, missions to other planets, and what not when I's a little boy - I still miss the fun and remarkable creativity - but even today, when something bad happens, for example, my mind doesn't stop replaying and modifying again and again all sequences of that non-adorable event to make it better.

4. Lahore: I don't miss home anymore, though I miss my family. Wherever I go, I wish to come back to this complicated and strange place, a blend of so many colours... B'cause: Lore lore ay...!

5. Fighter Jets: Well, this obsession is not as strong as it used to be 2 years back, when I's just mad about flying, jets, air-to-air missiles, dog-fights, cockpit, combat helmets, the style, the risk, runways, after-burner, barrel rolls, aerobatics - What's interesting is that all that ravish madness vanished in a very short-time period right when i had become able to join the Pakistan Air Force, perhaps for political reasons, seeing PAF serving America, bombing its own people, false beliefs in nationalism. I believe Allah saved me even from attempting ISSB. Yet the smell of air, the experience of hanging the canopy sky is, pulling high 'Gs' (g-force), blacking out.... It's just too thrilling to imagine. The usefulness of this obsession is that it has the potential to boil the blood of this otherwise cold-blooded creature known as Umer Toor.

Please wait for the last update as well, until jury sits, searches and awards most stupendously maniac blogs.
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MuddleHead Signs Off!!

MuddleHead Signs Off!!