Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ashura - History and Significance

Pre-Script : I normally avoid writing or speaking in public on matters I am less informed or lack the capability to defend my own understanding before others. Though Muharram or rather the day of Ashura was one of those topics till yesterday, Alhamdulillah I have somewhat a clear understanding of the day’s significance, its history and the mountains of myths and the moles of facts surrounding it. This post is seriously not a dictation or what Muslims do or are supposed to do, it’s my understanding and I am sharing it with the world. Anyone who feels I am wrong at my reasoning can very well share their views so we may have a better understanding from all points of views. After all we all strive to be better for here and hereafter.

Day of Ashura, the 10th of Muharram (first month of Islamic calendar) has great significance throughout Islamic history. It’s a notable fact that Islamic New Year starts from the very first day of the month of Muharram but still Muslims keep fast on Ashura i.e 10th of Moharram and a day before it or a day after it. It’s because there is no concept of any New Year celebration in Islam (as if a new cycle of the moon around earth will affect the stars in your constellation!) and fasting on Ashura is not synonyms to celebrating New Year.

According to me a new year, irrespective of it’s guiding planet, religion, state or country, does not change your life, your family, your resolution s or anything or anyone around you. It even does not change your academic year. So if everything remains same, what’s the point celebrating a day which likes all others day in the calendar, will come back on the same day next year too! Honestly I see no point in making resolutions, going partying or having Pizza with family on New Year coz that something I can do any day in the whole year. And avoiding all these saves a lot of money. Trust me! Again these are my points.

Coming back to Ashura. In India and may be a lot of countries abroad, Muharram for some part of Muslim community, is reduced to wearing black, cutting yourself, crying and mourning loud in Public and carrying beautiful Tajiyas from one place to another. And all this in the name of remembering the Martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain (R.A.), the Grandson of our beloved Prophet Huzur S.A.W.

Firstly, the fasting on Ashura is what our Prophet followed in his lifetime due to its historic significance. It actually started when once our beloved Prophet (S.A.W.) observed Jews fasting and asked them the reason of fasting on Ashura. They told that Hazrat Musa (A.S.) fasted on this day out of gratitude since on this very day Allah delivered to them and saved him and his family from Pharoah and Pharoah’s army was drowned. And as any Muslim will know how closer we are to Hazrat Musa (A.S.), Prophet fasted on that day and asked us to fast (not obligatory) too but on two days instead of a single day so that we may be prevented from following what’s not our religion. (As related in Bukhari and Shahi Muslim)

As Hazrat Hussain (R.A.) was martyred long after Prophet left us to carry our deen ourselves, it is clear that his fasting had no connection with the Martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain (R.A.). And it’s not something he asked us to observe before he completed our religion on us.

(Allah (God) says: Today I have perfected your "Deen"(way of life), and have completed my favor upon you (mankind) and have chosen for you Islam (Submission to the will of God) as your "Deen"(way of life) (Quran 5:3)

An addition to the Prophet's tradition will only mislead us, knowingly or unknowingly.

Secondly, the reason behind fasting on Ashura is reflecting our love and gratitude for Allah and acknowledging what he has provided us and provided our Prophets and their followers in the past.

Thirdly, can someone really think that our great Lord will like us to be in pain, to wear black, to mourn and to cut our self? Is Lord that unmerciful? Certainly Not. He is the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. He understand the pain we go through on losing a beloved so he has prescribed mourning, which is not bad but has restricted that to 3 days, a mere 3 days so that we may understand the cycle of life and move on with the pain and strive better for here and hereafter.

Muhammad (saws) who said: ‘It is not permitted for a woman who believes in Allah and the Last Day to mourn for any dead person for more than three days, except for a husband, (in which case the period of mourning is) four months and ten days. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 4926).

Then why all this mourning suddenly on the day of Ashura? Why there is all this cutting and shouting on the day we are supposed to keep fast and reflect on ourselves. Is it just that from all the days in the year we only remember the bravery of Hazrat Hussain (R.A.) on the day of Ashura? That we forget the values which Hazrat Hussain (R.A.) cultivated in him on all other days? Is our love for him is of only one day? Again NO! We love him, his bravery, his values, his love for Islam, his concern for the next generations of Islam, his aim and vision for which he sacrificed his life, his determination of not bowing down before falsehood, throughout the year.

I do feel sad that the early generations of Islam were prevented from enjoying his caliphate and direction too soon. But I am also one who certainly believes that crying is not going to benefit the soul of Prophet’s grandson. It’s remembering, treasuring and cultivating his values, character and direction in ourselves. If you really love Hazrat Hussain (R.A.), in my opinion, you should live him in yourself and not drain him in your blood and pain.

And as I quoted earlier our deen has already been completed on us and everything after that is Biddah. Mourning is not only wrong but it’s also repelling us from observing one of the most grateful of grateful days, Day of Ashura which our Prophet loved to observe. Of course I am aware of Biddat-e-Husna concept but I don’t see any good in observing mourning, moreover are we more learned than the early generations of Sahabis, if not yes, then when and which of the Sahabis observed Ashura like Muslims do today?

Finally, I have been pointing all through that this day is a day to be grateful about, indeed it is, and we get a lot of reason to observe Lord’s bounty on us on this day.

  • On this day: Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) accepted the repentance of Sayyidina Adam ('Alaihis-Salaam) after his exile from Paradise;
  • Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) saved Sayyidina Nuh ('Alaihis-Salaam) and his companions in the ark;
  • Allah extinguished the fire in which Sayyidina Ibrahim ('Alaihis-Salaam) was thrown by Nimrod;
  • And Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta'ala) spoke directly to Sayyidina Musa ('Alaihis-Salaam) and gave him the Commandments.
  • On this same 10th of Muharram, Sayyidina Ayyub ('Alaihis-Salaam) was restored to health (from leprosy);
  • Sayyidina Yusuf ('Alaihis-Salaam) was reunited with his father Ya’qub ('Alaihis-Salaam); Sayyidina Yunus ('Alaihis-Salaam) was taken out from the belly of the fish;
  • and the sea was divided as the nation of israel was delivered from captivity and Pharoah’s army was destroyed.
  • ‘Ashura is also the day when Sayyidina Dawud ('Alaihis-Salaam) was forgiven; the kingdom of Sulaiman ('Alaihis-Salaam) was restored;
  • Sayyidina Isa ('Alaihis-Salaam) was raised to Jannah and Sayyidina al-Husayn (Radiyallahu 'anh) (the Holy Prophet’s, Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam, grandson) achieved the honor of Martyrdom.
(These are mentioned as what scholars have determined as the specialties of that day in Ghunya li-Talibi Tariq al-Haqq, Sayyidina Abdul Qadir al-Jilani)

The benefits of this fasting are also numerous. Huge enough to get you out of bed before fazr on the next Ashura.

After All this, let us pray that Allah guide all of us to the right path and we strive harder to be a Perfect Muslim as what was our beloved Prophet Huzur (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam), on this day of Ashura. Aameen!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I walk ahead, Leaving you to trace

Pre-Script : The topic is not new or unheard of. In fact, it's the one debated uncountable times ending on some absurd solutions every time. The biggest failure of "man"kind have been the disrespect of it's better half. For long women have suffered, subjected and kept patience. But not anymore. Things are changing. Slowly, yet transforming. It's a tribute to the longest war ever fought. "She" is winning and you have to notice that. "I" in the poem is the soul of women speaking to the Man (you) who held her as subjected for long.

I walk among you
My head held high
Altering the age-old notion
I walk towards sky

And I walk fast
As you try to race
Yes! I am ahead
Leaving you to trace

I have learn the art
Well before you predicted
I have set myself free
Of the chains you invented

I demanded my place
And before you could reject
I tried to stand
Only to walk this perfect

I have beaten you dead
In your own game
Perhaps, u made a mistake
When you called me lame

The pain and agony
I endured on your birth
Accumulated for long
Showing its worth

You tried oppression
You practiced strength
The atrocities you carried
Lasted centuries length

The more you tortured
The stronger I have hit your face
I now walk ahead
Leaving you to trace

A gentle Reminder :

Be careful of your duty toward God in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bear you)" (Quran 4:1).

#1 Something is wrong with my's not working and i am not writing :( I wrote this poem in pencil :P
#2 My one year of hijab is gonna complete in 10 days. The countdown starts from today. yay! but i can't think of anything to write :(. Blame my pen.
#3 My visitors crossed over 1000. Actually its 1110 right now. what a number sirji! Thanku , thanku, thanks a lot to all my visitors for reading my rantings.
#4 I just realized i am ranting in a post i should not *shut mouth with both hands* (as if someone reading this small script. Duh!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

United Countless States of India

Our Parents lived with their Parents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Grandparents in a Big joint family. To fill more color to the picture of life they lived in harmony with their neighbors in village, city, and state in fact across the border, just as they lived in a family.

But then, we grew up. ‘We’ as in “we human civilization”. It took a leap towards development. And we designed a more economical, easy and in- alls’ -interest way of living – living in a nuclear family. But again we were not happy.

Dividing families did not satisfy us. So we kept a distance from our neighbors. For, of course, reason due to time – constraint. Time is precious and it is something not to waste on good for nothing reasons. We took the concept of nuclear family seriously, very seriously.

Human wants are endless. And we moved a step ahead. We asked the brothers born in different cities (who care if we have the same country’s passport) to kindly vacate our aamchi city. They didn’t heed so we had to bend our finger, for we can’t allow someone else to skim the cream. Cream in which they had a lawful share.

End of surprises will bring monotony. So we demanded a Telangana. We have right to do so. The right to develop. We will next day ask for Poorv/Paschim, Uttar/Dakhin Aanchal. Small highly developed regions of the UNITED COUNTLESS STATES OF INDIA. Only if we not get started with the demand of different nations.

For the same reason our parents separated from family - to take care of us. We have to get rid of them to cater to our future development.

I at times wonder “How many more holes in the "aanchal"? Are we not going back to the Stone Age when it was just the cave, cave-mommy, cave-daddy and cave-kids? Are we not losing on our human traits? Are we not underestimating the quality of most superior beings on earth – the quality to think? How are we going to survive without our joint family?

It’s not just about Telangana; a small hole only gets wider and wider if not stitched in time. Development and the demand for development are on a very high pace, sadly towards the opposite direction. If things remain the same, there will be a third world war . Every human rejecting to live with other human as "human". And so, the fourth will line up too, only to be fought with sticks and stones.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Beauty and the Differences

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder” so said Shakespeare. And so followed the world. And like all great legends Shakespeare died making his verse immortal, though the effects of the same were buried with him.

Beauty is one thing which is
not at all subjective and clearly doesn’t reside in the eyes of the beholder. Beauty is what models show off. It is what the top fashion designer wants on the ramp. It is how the mushrooming gyms and fitness centers making profit. It is why the girls are starving and guys are obsessed with 6 packs. It is what the mass think is beautiful – not what you perceive it to be. If you are fair, have tons of makeup, with size zero figure and the scantiest of rags on you (for females) or 6-8 packs crafted on your stomach (for males) then congrats, you just score 10/10 in the beauty most-wanted-requirements list.

I am sure many will contradict it saying, that isn’t beauty, and I have this notion or that notion. True, everyone indeed, has a different definition of beauty. I am not denying that. But hardly people have guts to live with their notion and express freely what they sense beauty as. Artist (from all fields) may be shortlisted for it. But here I am talking of the majority. The majority flows with the trend. The trend set by handful of powerful and obsessed beings.

The discrimination with black models, the sudden race of being in the Bebo size, the increasing sale of fair and lovely, the fresh stock of slim jeans, the fat-free cheese (kidding me?), the search for a fair-and-slim bride for the son of the house, etc. are just few daily life example which we all can witness. The list is just never ending and the hazards of such a beauty are even more deadly than our imagination.
Literally causing death.
Former Miss Argentina, Solange Magnano died at a Buenos Aires medical center last Sunday, after undergoing a plastic surgery procedure.

Solange, who won the Miss Argentina pageant in 1994, suffered a pulmonary embolism when liquid was being injected into her buttocks the day after she underwent a gluteoplasty (buttock implant). The liquid reportedly entered her lungs and brain, killing her instantly.

No points for guessing that the above post prompted me to write this post. Additional information: I have experienced the pain of beauty. John Keats should have defined beauty before labeling it as “a thing of joy”.

I was born with what I will prefer to call a birth mark on my fingers. Or what others call as a
deformity. It was just a translucent skin joining two fingers of my each hand. But this became a matter of my future, as what my dear simple (or among the majority) relatives thought. Doctors gained from my loss and I underwent surgery. Not once or twice but thrice in just early 13 years of my life. Things turned worse. My fingers bent, then were straightened again, though in a different way and are now decorated with surgical marks, thanks for the carelessness from the sides of doctor and complexity of the case (bones now being involved). But the worst have been the loss on my studies, time, blood, health, and the immense pain I have been into because of others notion of beauty.

And just a few days back,
under pressure from some really caring relatives and beauty-obsessed people I again agreed to undergo a 6 month long pain process - called plastic surgery - for my fingers. But thankfully, because of some sudden unexpected turns of events and self realization I dropped the idea. I am not again sacrificing myself for others’ whims. Especially now, when I am the sole responsible for my decisions. I know I am beautiful, because God made me so and because I can feel that inside.

Though the above whole narrative talks about my personal experience, I am sure many will be able to quote one or the other instance where they had to try hard to fit in the famous so called beauty’s definition. This is driving all crazy and knowingly or unknowingly we are just contributing to it. We are the one who are driving the craze further by being a part of it.

No matter however cheesy it may sound,
I will still hold that real beauty is the beauty of heart. Presentation may matter but not your skin color or the brand of your cloths. It’s just so secondary. For a quick litmus test, ask yourself how beautiful is your best friend, and if he/she will still be your best friend if he/she don’t look all that gorgeous? Will you dislike your brother or sister for being a tone darker? Will you hate the subject just because your teacher doesn’t wear a Victoria Secret? Of course, NO.

Thankfully, still we somehow value what is more important than beauty. The need is only to strengthen the feeling, and make it scope wider so as to cover not only those who are close, but everyone. If only we stop judging people on their beauty and start looking what lies beyond that. Applying our definition of beauty (the one covering our parents, siblings and teachers) will work too. And there is definitely no need to get discouraged if some people want the whole world to be painted white and crafted perfectly.

God gave us the differences so we may identify others, not to categorize them. (Essence of the Quranic Verse 49:13)

Let’s learn to respect ours and others’ differences and the world will turn to be a
beautiful place to live in.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hijab Woes

It was a well planned, supposed-to-be-surprise, get together of our whole gang-of-girls for a friend cum ex-colleague cum classmate who happened to be in town today. The only thing which ran through my mind the whole day, among the secret murmuring and kiddish surprise planning, was how the person’s reaction is going to be after he sees me. Come on don’t get me wrong, I know that we the fairer-sex are famous for being extra self- conscious when it comes to our presentation and get-ups but this was different.

I was uncertain of his reaction when he will see me in hijab suddenly after full one year. Who can imagine the girl with the flowy open long hairs to be suddenly covered in scarf neatly tucked at her head? I prepared myself for all type of questions and remarks which may follow later in the evening maslan How?? When?? What ?? You looking different..Pakka muslim.. naive.. everything.. and I prepared myself for not feeling uneasy which normally happens when I meet long forgotten friends again, and they see a complete new me with that bewildered look on their face.

But, however, as fate may have it…I was left with mouth wide open and a upset feeling gripping me when my friend suddenly declared.."Ab to tujhe koi pasand nahi karega (Now no one is going to like you).."

I was upset…come on who will be happy if you tell them they look miserable.

I was shocked…like helloo?? I am not doing this so that someone starts liking me..Neither am I gonna remove it just because no one is going to like me..I am doing this for God..and He will look in my best interest…

So did I really tell him all what flashed in my mind that very second?

No. I didn’t. I don’t have to. Honestly speaking, firstly, I am tired of advocating and supporting my decision.. wish I can just wear a scarf with the message:

“It’s my no matter what you think…KEEP AWAY”

Can anyone really think that I put on that scarf over my head without looking at myself in the mirror?? I am aware of what I am wearing and with all its practical and social impacts, still I CHOOSE to wear it. It’s a matter of choice. A STRONG ONE. Try respecting it and if you can’t keep your judgments to yourself.

Secondly, I didn’t want to make the happy environment tensed. May be some other time, if I get a chance again.

But the whole thing really did put me off. So much for a magical piece of cloth. Sigh!

Sleepless Nights

As i type this post, my mobile-cum-watch is teasing me with a time of 4:15 a.m...indeed it's late to be awake at this hour..when i am again supposed to get up by 6..and spend my 8 hours of day in bonded laborship...I can only pray that this seemingly never ending sleepless nights turns into a peaceful nap... eternal?? at this point of hardly matters...

Still A Sleepless night..

Conversing with stars of my

Tragic tales, I cry

P.S. It is filed under Picture Perfect Tales only because i found the pic too beautiful to be disturbed by my silly verses - output of an over-burdened brain.

P.P.S. You believe it or can take the Poet out of the Haiku but not the Haiku out of the Poet...complicated?? I am back with the Haiku.