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Archive for September, 2010

The linguistics of aesthetics

I find the English language to be endlessly interesting and fun. At times though, the terms and their varied use and connotations puzzle me. One such situation is the words people use to describe the opposite gender. I call this… the linguistics of aesthetics. The question is, what is the difference between ‘cute’, ‘pretty’ ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ and does the interpretations of these definitions vary across gender and geography? The larger question is, how do these terms and their social applicability impact on the formation of female identity and habitus?

In order to find answers I asked several people their take on the words and their views on describing people, some of the responses included:

Describing women

  • Respondent 1 – cute is someone who’s not really attractive/fat and you don’t want to make them feel bad, pretty is someone with soft, feminine features that is attractive, hot is the excessive makeup/clothes that outlines someone’s sharp features.. someone that stands out…stunning and sexy is look/body which pretty and hot… along with their speech/walk
  • Respondent 2 – well, I use ‘cute’ for girls who look nice and have a slightly higher pitched voice than normal, ‘pretty’ for a girl who has a smile that “lights up a room”, I’m not particularly proud of this one, but I use “hot” for a girl with a nice figure. I only have 3 categories.. I never use sexy
  • Respondent 3 – Well to men there are essentially two women, the wife and the meat. The wife has certain criteria, the meat has others. Men would generally want to stay with long term a woman who is pretty, or cute, or beautiful. Hot and sexy are short term words, you don’t find something perpetually sexy or perpetually hot. If i say someone is sexy or hot, I say they are very appealing now but will be useless in a bit that is why the best men tend to go for the most modestly dressed and the worst for the least modestly dressed relatively speaking of course, no one wants to really marry a woman who slept with 100 men

Describing men

  • Respondent 1 – hot, good-looking and cute. good looking is nice facial features, hot is nice body + nice face and cute is average…not ugly.
  • Respondent 2 – I usually recognize some dudes as ‘good looking’, also ones with a deep voice with some bass, and arm size, but not too big though
  • Respondent 3 –  From my perspective real men are hard to find. Most people forget they wanted a wife, and just go for the meat. then they have trouble finding a wife and get confused. Men are men though I mean it doesn’t matter too much what the man looks like his character matters though is he strong inside himself, is he a weakling, honesty, open mindedness, fatherhood etc. Women generally all want the same man because women tie attraction with emotion while men tie it with physicality. That’s why there’s a split for how men see women today. If all women are modest they all go for the same as well. Women of course are emotionally based that’s why a woman can love a stupid man because it’s connected to emotion

A clear pattern emerges here, women are judged by both men and women on the basis of physical attributes than men. 3/3 respondents mentioned physical features in reference to the words put to them while only 2/3 placed the same importance when questioned about men. The perception that women need to look appealing to be appealing and men less so, was and still is valid today. The connotations of innocence attributed to cute and pretty are at loggerheads with the more blatant connotations the word ‘hot’ has which makes it synonymous with sexy in some instances. This was also made evident to me at a recent bridal shower where several Lebanese women made reference to henna, a chocolate fondue fountain and lingerie as hot in the course of the same night. The word itself has a certain stereotype attributed to it which can be used in many situations to elevate the perceived worth of a person or object.

Taking this into consideration, if we now turn to modes of media such as television, magazines and the internet, we find the words ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ are littered about with much more frequency than ‘cute’ or ‘pretty’ in reference to women and women’s role models. While we can adamantly enforce that we live in a modern and equal society where women are free to express themselves as they see fit, the truth is that the perception of women by others, the media and women themselves are constructed from a very early age through the meanings attributed to descriptive words which make up the linguistics of aesthetics. Women, nay – young girls barely on the edge of puberty are encouraged to ‘promote’ themselves from looking pretty and cute (which have childish connotations) to looking ‘hot and sexy’ (which have more mature connotations). In doing so, girls are losing out on a precious childhood that should be spent in innocence and play to dressing up and exposure to mature themes from an early age.

Call me old fashioned, but I am adamant that if we use our words wisely,  we can actively catalyse a change in the way women are viewed, discussed and represented by themselves and by others. We can stabilise the steep incline at which a girl turns into a woman and give her time to enjoy her childhood, we can ease the pressure on females to act and wear a certain identity. The linguistics of aesthetics has the power to shape aesthetic identity .. if only we would use it wisely.

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Taweez

The concept of taweez is a highly contested one which has many facets. I usually reserve opinion on this topic to myself but M this is for you since you asked. A taweez is a talisman or charm of which there are numerous varieties.

Some consist of writing Verses of the Quran on a piece of paper or other material, which is then mounted in photo frames, rolled inside lockets etc. Some people also believe that small rugs which have the Ayat ul Kursi (Quran: Chapter 2, Al Baqara, Verse 255) on them are a taweez. The Ayat ul Kursi is also printed in beautiful Arabic calligraphy and framed as a photograph. Yet another form is available where it is moulded in plastic with a clock fitted inside this plastic. All these forms of Verse – Ayat ul Kursi, in rugs, in picture frames and in clocks can even be obtained in Saudi Arabia, a country whose majority of population do not believe in Taweez.

The physical manifestations, cultural impositions and superstitions aside, I have one simple issue with the taweez… if Muslims are supposed to believe with 100% clarity that Allah swt is omnipresent and will protect us, then why do we need a charm to protect us? Even if it does have God’s word on it? I believe that if you believe in Allah swt 100% and say tawakal-tu alal-la’ then you have no need for anything else. That’s my simple take on the matter. However I will outline the pros and cons of taweez as below (arguments summarised from heated discussions overheard between advocators and dissidents of the taweez)

Arguments for the taweez

  • It’s the word of God, serves as a constant reminder and protection
  • In this day and age you need more protection than invocation
  • Ali RA used numbers to represent words so we can do so in taweez also

Arguments against the taweez

  • Numbers are not allowed
  • Taweez are a form of bid’ah
  • The invocation of Allah’s help through recitation of dua and suras is sufficient
  • Danger of losing or disrespecting quranic ayahs (dropping taweez, losing it, stepping on it etc)

This issue is complicated and there are many opinions on the subject. Personally I would advise any Muslim to just close their eyes and invoke Allah swts help. I don’t think we need any charm or talisman to remind us that Allah swt is everpresent and always there to protect us and that if we truly believe in Him without a drop of doubt, that He will surely do that which is best for us.

I believe..
I believe that Allah swt loves me more than I can ever imagine
I believe that any hardship I am suffering is to cleanse me
I believe that He is the best of protectors and will safeguard me always
I believe in Him and that He will do what is best for me.

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What – Getting the best out of Hajj seminar
When – Sunday 19th September 2010, 10am-5pm
Where – Liverpool GIYC
Who – Abu Muneer Ismail Davids
Why – To learn about the process of Hajj

I have attended many many seminars and lectures in my lifetime. More than most because of my affinity with the Arts and Islam as well as my professional alliance with Knowledge Management all three of which have a penchant for lectures… but this has been by far the most beneficial lecture I have ever been to! May Allah swt reward the lecturer amply for his wonderful efforts.

Before I write about the workshop itself, a bit about the lecturer. Abu Muneer Ismail Davids is an active Da’ee (spreader of the faith), conducting classes and giving lectures on various subjects to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Needless to say, his favourite subject is Hajj. Since performing his Fard Hajj in 1989, he has developed a deep desire to share his experiences and knowledge with the “Guests of Allah”, in any way he can. In 1990 Allah blessed him with the opportunity to work in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he resided for fifteen years. This great opportunity opened the door for him to enrich his knowledge about all aspects of Hajj from the Qur’an and Sunnah point of view. Coupled with this he was able to be close to the pilgrims, year after year, to learn about their experiences. All of this allowed him to write his book on Hajj and give the reader a unique account and invaluable advice on all aspects of Hajj.

On the day, there were little pocket guides on how to perform hajj being sold for a dollar (bargain!) so I am going to take the headings and duas from there and insert my own notes. There is a whole lot more in that little book so I really do advise you to read it! Here we go…

Reward of Hajj
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “He who performs Hajj for Allah’s pleasure and avoids all lewdness and sins will return after Hajj free from all sins as he was the day his mother gave birth to him.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Who should go?
To be eligible for Hajj one must:

  1. Be a Muslim
  2. Have reached puberty
  3. Be of sound mind
  4. Be free (not a slave)
  5. Have the financial means
  6. Possess the physcial means
  7. Have a mahram (for women)

The Meqaat
This is the place where the person coming for Umrah or Hajj should not pass through without being in the state of Ihraam. These boundaries were defined by the Prophet (saw) himself and anyone that passes through them with the intention for Hajj or Umrah is liable for fidiyah.

Ihraam
To enter the state of Ihraam, one should consider the following:

  • Enter the state of ihraam at the respective meeqat (on the plane, in Medina, at the boundary etc)
  • It is commendabel to perform ghusl
  • Shave body hair and cut nails
  • perfume hair/beard but not garments (attar is better than perfume)
  • Men must wear two pieces of unfitted clean cloth, preferably white. No underwear or headcovering
  • It is commendable for men to wear sandals or any footwear that does not cover the ankles
  • Women are free to wear what they please but should dress modestly. They are however prohibited from wearing niqab and gloves.

Niyah

  • For Umrah (Hajj Tamattu) – Labbayk Allahumma Umrah O Allah here I am performing Umrah
  • For Hajj (Tamattu and Ifrad) – Labbayk Allahumma Hajjan – O Allah here I am performing Hajj
  • For Hajj (Hajj Qiran)  Labbayk Allahumma Umrattan wa Hajjan – O Allah here I am performing Umrah and Hajj

Note – If one is in about to enter into the state of Ihraam and fears he or she may be subjected to any obstacle or illness that may obstruct their Umrah or Hajj, then they should recite this dua or be liable to fidiyah – Fi in habasani haabisun fa mahilli haithu habastani which translates to – Thus if I am hindered by any obstacle, then my place of conclusion is where you have held me.

The Talbiyah
The Talbiyah should be recited as loudly and as often as possible from the time of entering Ihram. A woman only raises her voice to the extent of being heard by the person next to her.

Labbayk Allahumma labbayk
Labbayk laa shareeka laka labbayk
Innal-hamda wan-ni’mata laka
wal mulk. Laa shareeka lak.

Here I am O Allah, here I am. You have no partner, here I am. Surely all praise, grace and domination are Yours and You have no partner.

Prohibitions while in Ihram
One is not a muhrim till one utters the niyaah even if one is in a state of ihram. Only after uttering the niyah does one become a muhrim at which point the following become prohibited:

  • Men must not wear clothes that are tailored to fit with stitches
  • Men must not wear and underwear or headgear
  • Women must dress modestly but cannot wear the niqaab or gloves
  • Must not apply perfume or any scented substances such as soap etc.
  • Must not trim nails
  • Must not cut hair
  • Neither marry, propose marriage, give someone in marriage, or perform a marriage
  • Must not perform any act likely to arouse sexual passion
  • Must not indulge in sexual relations
  • Must not partake in hunting
  • Must not commit any sin or act of disobedience to Allah swt
  • Must not get involved in idle talk or disputes

Permissible actions while in Ihraam
The following are permissible for a muhrim:

  • Can wear wristwatch, sunnies, spectacles, hearing aids, money belt etc
  • Can cleanse himself with unscented soap and gently rub body/head even if some hair may fall out
  • Can change out of Ihraam garments into other ihram garments. A state of Ihraam is initiated with the niyaah and concluded with the cutting of the hair. Changing ones Ihraam clothes doesn not nullify the state of Ihraaam.

How to perform Tawaaf

  1. One must be in the state of wudu (ablution)
  2. Pronouncing the Talbiyah is concluded right before commencing tawaf
  3. The niyaah for tawaaf (and Sa’ee) is in the heart and not uttered
  4. It is sunnah for men to expose their right shoulder from the beginning of tawaaf to the end. This is the only time they should have their right shoulder uncovered.
  5. Start the Tawaaf by proceeding to the Black Stone (Hajr-al-Aswad) and kiss it if possible, if not touch it and kiss your hand If that is also not possible then gesture to it ONCE but do not kiss your hand. Say once only, Bismillahi Wallahu Akbar which means, In the name of Allah, Allah is Greater.
  6. It is commendable for the men to raml (walk briskly) in the first three circuits and then walk normally in the remaining four.
  7. Once you reach Rukn-al Yamani (the southern corner) touch it with your right hand and say Allahu Akbar. Do not kiss it. If you are unable to touch it then proceed to Hajr-al-Aswad without saying Allahu Akbar.
  8. It is sunnah to recite between the Rukn-al Yamani and the Hajr-al-Aswad the following dua: Rabbana atina fid duniya hasanatao fil akhirati hasanatao wa kina azabanaar which translates to Oh Allah, give us the good of this world and the Hereafter and protect us from the punishment of the hellfire. (sura Baqarah, part of ayat 201)
  9. Once you reach Hajr-al-Aswad you have completed one circuit. Continue by once again either kissing, touching or gesturing to the black stone and saying Allahu Akbar
  10. Proceed and repeat the aforementioned steps till you complete 7 circuits.
  11. Upon completion of the tawaaf, (men in Ihraam shoulder cover their shoulder again) proceed to the Maqaam Ibrahim or any place in the mosque if this area is too crowded and perform 2 rakaat. It is commendable to say: Wattakhizu min makaame ibrahima musala which translates to, And take the station of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.
  12. It is sunnah to recite Surah Kafirun (109) after sura Fatiha in the first rakaat and sura Ikhlaas (112) after sura Fatiha in the second rakaat.
  13. After finishing the 2 rakaat it is commendable to proceed to the well of Zam Zam and drink your fill.
  14. Then return to the black stone and kiss it if you are able to do so. Proceed to Safaa.

How to perform Sa’ee

  1. Start at Safaa. When you get close to Safaa it is sunnah to say, innas safa wa marwata min sha’a-ir allah which translates to Indeed safa and marwa are among the signs of Allah (Sura Baqarah, part of ayah 158).
  2. Followed by the saying, abda bima bida’allah bihi which translates to I begin with that which Allah has begun.
  3. Please note that both are to be said ONCE at the start of the Sa’ee and not the beginning of every lap.
  4. When ascending Saf’aa, go up until the Kab’aa is visible (if possible) and facing it, it is sunnah to repeat the following three times while raising your hands and making dua. In between these three times, you may make your own dua. (e.g say the following dua, supplicate with your own dua x3)

All praise is due to Allah, there is no God but Allah, and Allah is greater. There is none worthy of worship but Allah swt alon, no partners are unto him. His is the dominion and His is the praise. He gives life and He gives death and is capable of everything. There is none worthy of worship but Allah swt alone who fulfilled his promise, and gave victory to his servants and defeated the confederates alone.

  1. Walk towards Marwah, when you arrive at the green light, men should run briskly till the next green light. Women should not run.
  2. There is no prescribed supplication during the Sa’ee or between the two green lights though you can supplicate and mention Allah swt as you like. It is also good to recite the quran.
  3. Upon reaching Marwa the first lap is complete. Ascend Marwa, face the kab’aa and it is commendable to do what was done at Safaa.
  4. Proceed back to Saf’aa again with men running between the green lights if convenient. Upon reaching Sa’faa the second lap is complete.
  5. Repeat this procedure at Saf’aa and Marwa, till the 7 laps are complete which should be at Marwa. There is no dua for the end of the 7th lap.

Cutting the hair
After the completion of the Sa’ee, men should get their whole head shaved and women should bind their hair and cut off approximately 1 inch from one place only.

Steps for Umrah

  1. Prepare and adopt Ihraam
  2. Utter niyaah at meeqat
  3. Perform Tawaaf
  4. Perform salaat (2 rakaat)
  5. Drink ZamZam
  6. Perform Sa’ee (7 laps)
  7. Cut hair
  8. Ihraam lifted and Umrah complete (and accepted inshallah)

Pillars (Arkan) of Hajj
The pillars of Hajj are the compulsory rites for the validity and completion of the Hajj.

  1. Ihraam with niyaah
  2. Standing at Arafat
  3. Tawaaf-al-Ifadah
  4. Sa’ee for Hajj

Obligatory (Wajib) acts of Hajj
Obligatory acts are those which if omitted requires fidiyah

  1. Ihraam at the meeqat
  2. Being at Arafat till sunset
  3. To spend the night or part of the night at Muzdalifah
  4. To ramy (cast pebbles) at the Jam’rat
  5. To shave the head or cut the hair
  6. To spend the night of tashreek at Mina
  7. To perform Tawaaf-al-Wada

6 Days of Hajj
Day 1 – 8th Dhul Hijja

  • Ihraam with niyaah
  • Complete Umrah
  • Proceed to Mina and perform all 5 prayers shortened but not joined.
  • Leave for arafaat at sunrise

Day 2 – 9th Dhul Hijja

  • Listen to the khutba at Namira Mosque
  • Perform Zuhr and Asr shortened and  joined at Zhur
  • Wufooq (standing) has now started so Supplicate!

Best dua to read on Arafat
La illaha illallah, wahdahu la shareeka la, lahul mulku walahul hamdu wa hua ala kulli shayin qadeer
None has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone, without partner. To Him belongs all praise and sovereignty and He is over all things omnipotent.

  • Leave for Muzdalifah after sunset.
  • Perform Maghrib and Isha joined and shortened as soon as you reach Muzdalifah.
  • Spend the night in Muzdalifah (weak, sick, women and children may leave after moonset)
  • Rest and sleep
  • Perform Salaatul Fajr
  • Supplicate and then proceed to Mina before sunrise.

Day 3 – 10th Dhul Hijja

  • Collect 7 pebbles on your way to Mina
  • Proceed to Jamrah Aqaba (the big one) and cast 7 pebbles one at a time saying Allahu akbar
  • Stop reciting the talbiyah and recite takbir as often as possible (till Asr of day three)
  • Perform your sacrifice (hady)
  • Cut hair (Ihraam restrictions partly lifeted)
  • Shower and adopt normal clothes
  • Proceed to Makkah to perform Tawaf-al-Ifadah and Sa’ee for Hajj (Ihraam restrictions completely lifted)
  • Return to Mina to spend the next 2 or 3 nights.

Day 4 -6  11-13th Dhul Hijja

Procedure for stoning
Casting of Pebbles procedure for all 3 days

  • Collect 21 pebbles (each day) and proceed to the Jamrah for Ramy
  • Start time is after Zawaal till sunset (and later if required)
  • Pebbles should fall within the circled area
  • Do not collect used pebbles
  • Start at the smallest Jamrah and cast 7 pebbles one at a time saying Allahu Akbar then move to the side, face Qiblah and supplicate
  • Proceed to the middle Jamrah and repeat the previous step
  • Proceed to the largest Jamrah and repeat but with no supplication at the end.
  • Perform Tawaaf-al-wadaa as the last rite before going home.. your Hajj is complete! May Allah swt accept it.

Fidiyah
Fidiyah is a means of compensation for any mistake in your Hajj, usually a sacrifice made in Makkah, Mina or Muzdalifah of a sheep or goat.

What to take to Mina and Arafat
A suggestion of what to take is as below.

Items for Mina Take to Arafat
Quraan, Dua and Hajj Books
Medicines, Plasters and bandages
Toothbrush, toothpaste, miswak
Non-perfumed and normal soap  
Tissues (non perfumed)
Water flask, biscuits, fruit
Umbrella, sunglasses
Straw Hajji mat to sleep on
Clothes for at least 2 days  
Towel, hair brush and small mirror  
Small scissors (women)  
Luggage trolley (if you plan to walk)
Small bag/bottle for stones
Money
Dinner and Breakfast for Muzdalifah
Patience

 

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Fasting the 6 days of Shawwal

So Ramadan is over and even though we miss it, most of us (myself included) have reverted to our daily lives. I had a week at home with the flu, did I spend my time reading Quran? Even a bit a day knowing that I had done so easily in Ramadan? Nope. I sat and watched a long list of movies. Sigh… But never fear… Allah swt is here! Haha… Yes boys and girls.. for those of you from what I call the ‘fast food generation’ there is a quick and easy way to attain a years worth of fasting reward… how? By fasting six days in the month of Shawwal!

Ayyub (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Whoever fasts Ramadan and follows it with six days from Shawwal it is as if they fasted the entire year.” [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah; Ahmad transmitted it from Jabir, Muntaqa]

While the Hanafi, Shafi`i, and Hanbali school have held that it is recommended to fast six days of the month of Shawwal, it is permitted also to fast these six days separately throughout the month, or consecutively, after Eid al-Fitr. Note that it is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) and sinful to fast on Eid day itself. The Shafi`is and Hanbalis state that it is superior to make the six fasts consecutive [Minhaj, Ghayat al-Muntaha]. Khatib al-Shirbini explains the reasoning as being, “In order to hasten to do the good, and because of the problems inevitable in delaying,” such as becoming lazy and not actually fulfilling this sunna in the end, though he points out that the sunna is fulfilled by both consecutive and non-consecutive fasting of six days in Shawwal. [Mughni al-Muhtaj] The later Hanafi scholars differed as to which is better, fasting the six days consecutively or non-consecutively, though neither is disliked and both fulfill the sunna. [Radd al-Muhtar] However, it would be agreed that those who fear not fulfilling the recommendation due to laziness, forgetfulness or other excuses, should hasten to fast the six days consecutively immediately after Eid al-Fitr.

Regardless, the point is that we should all strive to fast the six days of Shawwal and be quick smart about it as daylight savings starts in two weeks and that will add an hour to the fasting time!

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, though there is good in both. Be avid for that which benefits you. Rely on Allah and do not deem yourself incapable…”[Muslim 4816, Ibn Majah 76, Ahmad 8436] Imam Nawawi (Allah have mercy on him) explained that the ‘strength’ in this hadith refers to, “One’s determination and ability in matters of the next life.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

And Allah alone gives success.

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September movie marathon

Being home sick with the flu for a week was no fun, it did however give me time to watch all the movies I’ve been hoarding up since Ramadan. Some were good, some funny and others quite a waste of time. Here is a list of best to worst:

  • Four Lions – The best of the lot, this movie had me in stitches and then had me on the brink of tears within minutes. It is unpretentiously profound and movingly funny. The characters while 2 dimensional add depth to the narrative in a way more rounded characters wouldn’t. The narrative, cast and crew are to be commended on pulling off such an amazing film on such a sensitive topic with unexpected panache. Rubber dinghy rapids brudda!!
  • Salt – Loved it. Absolutely loved it. This movie was made for Jolie and Jolie was made for the role. Quick, sharp and sexy this movie keeps you on constant edge with an ending that leaves a sweet opening to a potential sequel.
  • The Expendables – One word…. AWESOME 🙂
  • Once upon a time in Mumbai (Hindi) – Now this is a good film! Devgan was in his element, Hashmi fitted the role perfectly and the supporting cast gave solid performances. While the songs were nothing to write home about… it didn’t matter to me because the movie was just that good. I loved the set up and flashbacks to Devgan’s childhood, the interweaving of morality and ethics into a dark and violent world of crime. It was both touching and terrible in all the right moments. A great film.
  • The Other Guys – I must confess that I only watched this movie because Mark Wahlberg was in it. And I kept watching it because of Will…even though I don’t like the guy much. His comic timing is great and the sequences were hilarious. The rapport between the two is also quite good.
  • Despicable Me – So very very cool! Must watch
  • The Disappearance of Alice Creed – After four lions, I had high expectations and this one kinda sorta lived up to them. Cold dark and edgy, this movie was as British as British crime gets but had the added edge of a noir film and great acting my a ms Alice Creed that made for a good film.
  • We are Family (Hindi)- Loved Kajol’s performance, Kareena is such an improvement on the old Kareena and Arjun is cool as always. Typical Kjo tearjerker.
  • Aisha (Hindi)- Funny and witty with nice songs, I sometimes wanted to slap sonam regardless. Someone teach this girl some acting. Abhay Deol was a good Knightley… but not good enough.
  • Dabaangg (Hindi) – Only apna Sallu bhai could pull off a role like Chulbul Pandey, typical Sallu movie
  • Machete – Fast, blood and gore abound and mind numbingly violent. Good stuff!
  • Lafangey Parindey (Hindi) – Even though I dislike both Deepika and Neil, this was an ok film, better than some of the stupidity that comes out of Bollywood these days. Not a bad film at all. Oh and a word of warning, the songs stick in your head long after the movie is finished.
  • Peepli Live (Hindi) – Loved this film…. but swades was better!
  • The heartbreaker (French) – The only reason I watched this French film was because Vanessa Paradis (Johnny Depps lady love) is in it. A total insult to previous French romantic comedy such as Amelie, it is an utter fluff and waste of a film, some funny moments but very boring in its entirety.
  • Eat Pray Love – Boring… and disappointing. I expected more from a Julia Roberts film
  • The American – Boring… and disappointing. I expected more from a Clooney film
  • Cairo time – Boring.
  • Going the distance – Boring.
  • Ashaayein (Hindi) – Boring.
  • Hello Darling (Hindi) – Boring and stupid

Happy viewing people!

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Day 30 – Ramadan and Conclusions

As Ramadan draws to a close it makes me wonder about the finality of life itself, how many of us will live to see the next Ramadan, how many we know that did not make it to this one. With Eid just around the corner, in the midst of merriment and cheer, I hope I can remember the finate parameters of the life I am living so that I am motivated to make the best use of my time. 

“Be in the world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” The son of Omar used to say: “At evening do not expect [to live till] morning, and at morning do not expect [to live till] evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death.” [Bukhari]

Romjaner oi rojar sheshe elo khushir eid! 🙂

Eid Mubarak everyone!

Dua day 30 – O ALLAH, on this day, make my fasts worthy of appreciation and acceptance, according to what pleases You, and pleases the Messenger, the branches being strengthened by the roots, for the sake of our leader, Muhammad, and his purified family. Praise be to ALLAH, the Lord of the worlds.

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It’s very hard to understand people. Just when you think you have someone figured out, they change, things change or how you see them change, either way.. it sucks. Sometimes I wish I could just freeze time at a single point and understand people around me and have them fixed at that constant so I wouldn’t have to keep figuring things out. But obviously I can’t do that, nor can I apply the same concept to religion.

Every time I am complacent with my deen, it has a way of slapping me awake. Ramadan was one such wake up call. I could complete a whole recitation in less than thirty days but not another one in 335 days? I could wake up at 4:30 to watch the world cup but not to pray Fajr?

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded; and gain strength by worshipping in the mornings, the nights.” (See Fath-ul-Bari, Page 102, Vol 1). [Bukhari Volume 1, Book 2, Number 38]

That is the best advice I’ve heard about religion. Ever. And it’s applicable to life in general as well. Try too hard and you’re bound to step on someone’s toes or fall short of someone’s expectations. You cannot please everyone. Instead try and be near to perfection and don’t overburden yourself. If you live life constantly wondering what other people think about you, then you haven’t lived at all. Set your own expectations, pray to Allah swt to guide you and help you live up to them. As Lucian said,   “Realise that true happiness lies within you.”

Ramadan Dua: DAY 29 – O ALLAH, on this day, cover me with Your mercy, grant me in it success and protection, purify my heart from the darkness of false accusations, O the Merciful to His believing servants.

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