Monday, November 29, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
|Mina the tent city|
|Inside our tent in Mina . The tent was fire proof with desert cooler and power supply|
|My Id for Hajj|
|Our tent in Arafat|
|Our tent in Arafat|
|staying under open sky in Muzdalifah|
|The Jamarat Complex, In Picture is the Big Jamarat|
|Railway Station Mina 1|
|There are total nine station throughout Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina|
|Railway stations are built on a height, view from the railway station|
|Inside the Metro|
Sunday, October 31, 2010
By the grace of god i am going for Hajj this year. Pilgrims from all over the world have started to arrive in Makkah. Please enjoy pictures below taken recently in Makkah. The crowd is huge and the people in the crowd are from different backgrounds and countries. I will do detail articles about my experience in Makkah (before Hajj), Madina and Hajj. So keep on visiting my blog for the detailed coverage but for now check out the pictures below:
Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Now let me tell you about sweet Madni brothers and their checklist Madni Brothers is a n organization of Muslims belonging to the "Brailvi" Sect. They can be easily identified by their peculiar White shalwar kameez and green turbans. Every person carries a checklist which they check on daily basis and includes things to do and not to do e.g. did they lie today, or did they eat in a clay utensil e.t.c , so that by the end of every week they can do their self analysis.
Now you know the procedure and Madni brothers let me begin with my story. Like always I entered an AC Lower compartment of train hoping to upgrade my ticket. so i started looking for the empty seat. It was crowded but I found an elderly women occpying two seat out of three and one being used by his husband and Other three seats next to them by her son(who was a madni bhai), his wife and a 6, 7 year old son . by experience i knew they have booked 5 seats and are using six . so i asked the madni bhai polietly if there is a seat vacant and he replied in a not so polite way that "NO WE HAVE RESERVED SIX SEATS". I knew he was lying so i waited there for the gaurd to come and i happened to know they have reserved only 5 seats and as his mother was using the extra seat so he has to make his kid sit in his lap for the rest of the journey. I paid my extra charges and got the seat. during the whole trip he stayed pissed at me. Even i thanked him (for no reason other than to be polite)for giving me the seat which didnt even belong to him. And in reply he made a very angry expression and turned his face on the other side. He wasnt even willing to talk to me.
My problem with this whole situation is that these madni group of people they claim to be so religious that they even sleep on the floor and eat in clay pots just like our prophet did but they simply failed to implement the important aspects of being a muslim in to their life. For this particular guy i met wearing a green turban is a must but lying for his benefit is not an issue. I mean what is the purpose of his check list, if that check list doesnt include not to lie even on a short scale. I am hundred percent sure that he didnot even realized that when he said "NO WE HAVE RESERVED SIX SEATS" he defied the very basic quality(honesty) of our prophet which he should work on to implement in him self rather than implementing the daily routine life of early 6th century. We need to put morew effort toward eradicating these minor sins from our life because Later on we will get immune and this small scale lying and dishonesty will become part of our life and we will consider it normal.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Why the West craves materialism & why the East sticks to religion - By Imran Khan(ex-cricket player and current president of Tehrik-e-Insaaf) )
Despite periodically shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in school functions, I considered my own culture backward and religion outdated. Among our group if any one talked about religion, prayed or kept a beard he was immediately branded a Mullah.
Because of the power of the Western media, our heroes were Western movie stars or pop stars. When I went to Oxford already burdened with this hang up, things didn’t get any easier. At Oxford, not just Islam, but all religions were considered anachronism.
Science had replaced religion and if something couldn’t be logically proved it did not exist. All supernatural stuff was confined to the movies. Philosophers like Darwin, who with his half-baked theory of evolution had supposedly disproved the creation of men and hence religion, were read and revered.
Moreover, European history reflected its awful experience with religion. The horrors committed by the Christian clergy during the Inquisition era had left a powerful impact on the Western mind.
To understand why the West is so keen on secularism, one should go to places like Cordoba in Spain and see the torture apparatus used during the Spanish Inquisition. Also the persecution of scientists as heretics by the clergy had convinced the Europeans that all religions are regressive.
However, the biggest factor that drove people like me away from religion was the selective Islam practiced by most of its preachers. In short, there was a huge difference between what they practiced and what they preached. Also, rather than explaining the philosophy behind the religion, there was an overemphasis on rituals.
I feel that humans are different to animals. While, the latter can be drilled, humans need to be intellectually convinced. That is why the Qur’an constantly appeals to reason. The worst, of course, was the exploitation of Islam for political gains by various individuals or groups.
Hence, it was a miracle I did not become an atheist. The only reason why I did not was the powerful religious influence my mother wielded on me since my childhood. It was not so much out of conviction but love for her that I stayed a Muslim.
However, my Islam was selective. I accepted only parts of the religion that suited me. Prayers were restricted to Eid days and occasionally on Fridays, when my father insisted on taking me to the mosque with him.
All in all I was smoothly moving to becoming a Pukka Brown Sahib. After all I had the right credentials in terms of school, university and, above all, acceptability in the English aristocracy, something that our brown sahibs would give their lives for. So what led me to do a ‘lota’ on the Brown Sahib culture and instead become a ‘desi’?
Well it did not just happen overnight.
Firstly, the inferiority complex that my generation had inherited gradually went as I developed into a world-class athlete. Secondly, I was in the unique position of living between two cultures. I began to see the advantages and the disadvantages of both societies.
In Western societies, institutions were strong while they were collapsing in our country. However, there was an area where we were and still are superior, and that is our family life. I began to realize that this was the Western society’s biggest loss. In trying to free itself from the oppression of the clergy, they had removed both God and religion from their lives.
While science, no matter how much it progresses, can answer a lot of questions — two questions it will never be able to answer: One, what is the purpose of our existence and two, what happens to us when we die?
It is this vacuum that I felt created the materialistic and the hedonistic culture. If this is the only life then one must make hay while the sun shines — and in order to do so one needs money. Such a culture is bound to cause psychological problems in a human being, as there was going to be an imbalance between the body and the soul.
Consequently, in the US, which has shown the greatest materialistic progress while giving its citizens numerous rights, almost 60 percent of the population consult psychiatrists. Yet, amazingly in modern psychology, there is no study of the human soul. Sweden and Switzerland, who provide the most welfare to their citizens, also have the highest suicide rates. Hence, man is not necessarily content with material well being and needs something more.
Since all morality has it roots in religion, once religion was removed, immorality has progressively grown since the 70s. Its direct impact has been on family life. In the UK, the divorce rate is 60 percent, while it is estimated that there are over 35 percent single mothers. The crime rate is rising in almost all Western societies, but the most disturbing fact is the alarming increase in racism. While science always tries to prove the inequality of man (recent survey showing the American Black to be genetically less intelligent than whites) it is only religion that preaches the equality of man.
Between 1991 and 1997, it was estimated that total immigration into Europe was around 520,000, and there were racially motivated attacks all over, especially in Britain, France and Germany. In Pakistan during the Afghan war, we had over four million refugees, and despite the people being so much poorer, there was no racial tension.
There was a sequence of events in the 80s that moved me toward God as the Qur’an says: "There are signs for people of understanding." One of them was cricket. As I was a student of the game, the more I understood the game, the more I began to realize that what I considered to be chance was, in fact, the will of Allah. A pattern which became clearer with time. But it was not until Salman Rushdie’s "Satanic Verses" that my understanding of Islam began to develop.
People like me who were living in the Western world bore the brunt of anti-Islam prejudice that followed the Muslim reaction to the book. We were left with two choices: fight or flight. Since I felt strongly that the attacks on Islam were unfair, I decided to fight. It was then I realized that I was not equipped to do so as my knowledge of Islam was inadequate. Hence I started my research and for me a period of my greatest enlightenment. I read scholars like Ali Shariati, Muhammad Asad, Iqbal, Gai Eaton, plus of course, a study of Qur’an.
I will try to explain as concisely as is possible, what "discovering the truth" meant for me. When the believers are addressed in the Qur’an, it always says, "Those who believe and do good deeds." In other words, a Muslim has dual function, one toward God and the other toward fellow human beings.
The greatest impact of believing in God for me, meant that I lost all fear of human beings. The Qur’an liberates man from man when it says that life and death and respect and humiliation are God’s jurisdiction, so we do not have to bow before other human beings.
Moreover, since this is a transitory world where we prepare for the eternal one, I broke out of the self-imposed prisons, such as growing old (such a curse in the Western world, as a result of which, plastic surgeons are having a field day), materialism, ego, what people say and so on. It is important to note that one does not eliminate earthly desires. But instead of being controlled by them, one controls them.
By following the second part of believing in Islam, I have become a better human being. Rather than being self-centered and living for the self, I feel that because the Almighty gave so much to me, in turn I must use that blessing to help the less privileged. This I did by following the fundamentals of Islam rather than becoming a Kalashnikov-wielding fanatic.
I have become a tolerant and a giving human being who feels compassion for the underprivileged. Instead of attributing success to myself, I know it is because of God’s will, hence I learned humility instead of arrogance.
Also, instead of the snobbish Brown Sahib attitude toward our masses, I believe in egalitarianism and strongly feel against the injustice done to the weak in our society. According to the Qur’an, "Oppression is worse than killing." In fact only now do I understand the true meaning of Islam, if you submit to the will of Allah, you have inner peace.
Through my faith, I have discovered strength within me that I never knew existed and that has released my potential in life. I feel that in Pakistan we have selective Islam. Just believing in God and going through the rituals is not enough. One also has to be a good human being. I feel there are certain Western countries with far more Islamic traits than us in Pakistan, especially in the way they protect the rights of their citizens, or for that matter their justice system. In fact some of the finest individuals I know live there.
What I dislike about them is their double standards in the way they protect the rights of their citizens but consider citizens of other countries as being somehow inferior to them as human being, e.g. dumping toxic waste in the Third World, advertising cigarettes that are not allowed in the West and selling drugs that are banned in the West.
One of the problems facing Pakistan is the polarization of two reactionary groups. On the one side is the Westernized group that looks upon Islam through Western eyes and has inadequate knowledge about the subject. It reacts strongly to anyone trying to impose Islam in society and wants only a selective part of the religion. On the other extreme is the group that reacts to this Westernized elite and in trying to become a defender of the faith, takes up such intolerant and self-righteous attitudes that are repugnant to the spirit of Islam.
What needs to be done is to somehow start a dialogue between the two extreme. In order for this to happen, the group on whom the greatest proportion of our educational resources are spent in this country must study Islam properly.
Whether they become practicing Muslims or believe in God is entirely a personal choice. As the Qur’an tells us there is "no compulsion in religion." However, they must arm themselves with knowledge as a weapon to fight extremism. Just by turning up their noses at extremism the problem is not going to be solved.
The Qur’an calls Muslims "the middle nation", not of extremes. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) was told to simply give the message and not worry whether people converted or not, therefore, there is no question in Islam of forcing your opinions on anyone else.
Moreover, we are told to respect other religions, their places of worship and their prophets. It should be noted that no Muslim missionaries or armies ever went to Malaysia or Indonesia. The people converted to Islam due to the high principles and impeccable character of the Muslim traders. At the moment, the worst advertisements for Islam are the countries with their selective Islam, especially where religion is used to deprive people of their rights. In fact, a society that obeys fundamentals of Islam has to be a liberal one.
If Pakistan’s Westernized class starts to study Islam, not only will it be able to help society fight sectarianism and extremism, but it will also make them realize what a progressive religion Islam is. They will also be able to help the Western world by articulating Islamic concepts. Recently, Prince Charles accepted that the Western world can learn from Islam. But how can this happen if the group that is in the best position to project Islam gets its attitudes from the West and considers Islam backward? Islam is a universal religion and that is why our Prophet (peace be upon him) was called a Mercy for all mankind.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Once in 2003 i guess, i was visiting My uncle in Gujrat. We went out in night to get some bread for dinner and i noticed that the city was beautifully decorated with lights on all the buildings, with special heavy decoration on the mosques, there were temporary fountains set through out the city roads, It looked like a festival with colorful flags, Fireworks and Religious songs being played on a loud volume. There right next to a fountain, i noticed two men (dressed in white shalwar kameez and with green trubans) hugged and greeted each other "eid mubarak". I have lived all my life in Saudi Arabia and here i have never once seen any one celeberating any Eid other than two Eids advised in Islam, so i was surprised and asked my uncle which eid are they talking about.My uncle asked me with surprise dont you know Eid Milad, offcourse i knew. The surprising part for me was the way they were celeberating it, Never once i have seen any one celeberate this particular Eid in Saudi Arabia. Eid Milad-un-Nabi, celeberates the birth of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H). First of all let me clear that this post is not about whether we should celeberate this eid or not. There is a majority of Muslim scholars who believe that it should be celeberated and there is enough material available on the validty of this Event. I just want to focus and shed light on how this event should be celeberated, if one wants to celeberate it.
I will talk about Pakistan in particular, a country with food crisis, energy crisis, water crisis, education crisis , you just name a crisis and we just have it.Yet every year i see alot of money wasted, which could have been used in so many productive ways . As Quran says that the birth of Our Prophet(P.B.U.H) is an act of mercy to the worlds, so why don't we make this as our theme for Eid celeberations. Instead of spending millions on useless lights, elaborate decorations and fireworks, we can buy food, education, welfare for those muslims who cannot afford all these basic needs for themselves and set an example for the world. Every religious scholar focus too much on having a beard and wearing pants/shalwar above the anckles just to differ from the rest of the world as muslim. Now tell me Can you differ between a man celeberating Diwali and Eid Milad below.
If we want to differ from non muslims , only appearance is not enough, we need to differ in our day to day tasks also. For example to celeberate we can have free food stalls in every mosque instead of wasting money on useless fireworks and provide free food for all,atleast for one day in the name of Eid Milad-un-Nabi. All the religious scholars either focus on celeberating this event or put all their energies in opposing it but no one focus on the money which is spent and how its spent on this event. We want to set an example for the world and i am pretty sure we cannot do that with extra ordinary fireworks and lavish arrangements.All over the world the birth of Christ, Buddha, Ram, Guru Nank and e.t.c is celeberated in the same manner. It is my request to Muslims every where who believe in celeberating Eid Milad, please think about the small kid in the picture(above,left ) before you waste any money on fireworks, lights e.t.c. To see how others are affecting positively on us check out the so called satanic NGOs food, education and welfare programs. For example, CIDA food program,to learn more about CIDA food program visit the link:http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/acdi-cida/acdi-cida.nsf/eng/REN-218132627-PN6
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) turning to the people of Makkah said:
"O Quraish, what do you think of the treatment that I should accord you?"
And they said, "Mercy, O Prophet of Allah. We expect nothing but good from you."
There upon Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) declared: "I speak to you in the same words as Joseph spoke to his brothers. This day there is no reproof against you; Go your way, for you are free."
Conquest of Jerusalem:
Despite the Crusaders' slaughter when they originally conquered Jerusalem in 1099, Saladin granted amnesty and free passage to all common Catholics and even to the defeated Christian army, as long as they were able to pay the aforementioned ransom (the Greek Orthodox Christians were treated even better, because they often opposed the western Crusaders).
I found this image on google while searching for images of muslims around the world. With this kind of image, i dont think any one will ever come near Islam. All the Islamic leaders and religious scholars should atleast denounce the ways of Taliban to atleast undo the damage they have caused to Muslim Image. I think Talibans and their Allies should also read Islamic Wars at least ones.
Monday, July 12, 2010
When i was young PTV was the only television channel available in pakistan. I remember one scene (from a drama about british rule in India,) where british army officer is having dinner and his servant is standing next to him observing the way that british officer is eating , the servant gets so impressed by the manners that when he gets home he tries to teach his children all the manners. Conclusion: the servant is so impressed by the manners that now he wants his children to be like him. That is the power of table manners
The one i am talking about had a buffet dinner at the end. I remember seeing one of the teachers from the religious school eating. He was a fat man with thick untrimed or even combed beard, he was wearing traditional saudi dress "thub". He first filled his plate with too much food, there was rice and then three different kind of gravy, with some cooked vegetables and on top of that he added a quarter barbecued chicken and than some more gravy and enough bread in his hand. Than he remove gutra from his head(you can google saudi traditional attire) put it on the table. Folded his sleeves up to elbow, He recited "Bismillah"(a dua to begin any thing) than started to eat his food with his hand, at times he was using both of his hands. He was chewing with his mouth open and the thing that just got printed on my mind how annoying his loud chewing sound was. When he was done eating , it was mess. there was some rice on his beard and on the table around his plate. He threw bones just like that on the table and believe me there were a lot of bones. He ate with an enormous speed and loud noise. Than after that he went for desert and mixed all the three different kinds of available in deserts in one plate and that he ate with a spoon. After that he cleaned his hand with his "Gutra". And then he closed his eating ceremony with a loud Burp and Saying "AlhamduLilah". and than he said small prayer and he was done.
I am not gonna go in details regarding the table manners in Islam but if wish to read more about table manners in Islam read here: http://aabab01.multiply.com/reviews/item/124
I have realized after seeing him eat that in his mind he has three categories of table manners because i am sure he must be aware of all manners but chose to follow only few.
- First set of manners were prayer and duas one has to recite before after or during eating.
- Second set of manners were the things that distinguish him from non Muslims eating habits or in today world western standards, like using a spoon and eating with left hand when using knife, as he ate with fingers of his right hand.
- Third set of manners which neither involve prayers nor any contradiction with the western standards , like eating with mouth closed, eating slowly, eating in small proportions many times rather than big proportion in one go
The purpose is to portray that we are not animals but a civilized nation. In order to attract people toward Islam, we need to show the right picture of a muslim, and these minor details add a lot to the image. There is no wonder in early times Islam spread with the speed of light through out the world and now a days with all of our special communication technology and easy access to people around the world we are unable to do so.For sure i dont want any kid to learn any thing for him or even stay in his company, If i am being a Muslim thinks so than others may too.
“One of the worst people is a double-faced man, who come to one group with one face and to another group with a totally different face.”
The boy's father thought hard about how to stop the child asking for so many sweets. There was a very holy man living nearby at that time. The boy's father had an idea. He decided to take the boy to the great man who might be able to persuade the child to stop asking for sweets all the time.
The boy and his father went along to the great man. The father said to him, "O great saint, could you ask my son to stop asking for sweets which I cannot afford?" The great man was in difficulty, because he liked sweets himself. How could he ask the boy to give up asking for sweets? The holy man told the father to bring his son back after one month.
During that month, the holy man gave up eating sweets, and when the boy and his father returned after a month, the holy man said to the boy "My dear child, will you stop asking for sweets which your father cannot afford to give you?"
From then on, the boy stopped asking for sweets.
The boy's father asked the saint, "Why did you not ask my son to give up asking for sweets when we came to you a month ago?" The saint replied, "How could I ask a boy to give up sweets when I loved sweets myself. In the last month I gave up eating sweets."
A person's example is much more powerful than just his words. When we ask someone to do something, we must do it ourselves also. We should not ask others to do what we do not do or believe ourselves. Always make sure that your actions and your words are same.
To read more about Religious freedom in Islam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion#Islam