“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before. Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”—Alice Walker (Living By The Word)
“People need to be encouraged. People need to be reminded of how wonderful they are. People need to be believed in—told that they are brave and smart and capable of accomplishing all the dreams they dream and more. Remind each other of this.”—S.J.S. (via mountainmusing)
"Yaad aye khushi ke zamaane, tu chote leke aaja sajana” Memories of the happy days come back to me, Take leave and visit me again
What use is success if you don’t have your loved ones to share it with. What use is all this knowledge and education if you can’t better the lives of the ones you love. What point is there working so hard to be something, when all you really need to be is there for the people you love.
My aunt sang this tune to me over Skype and I couldn’t handle it.
"Meri dil me tere yaad chale Ho kyo gaye anoke tarane, Tu chote leke aaja sajana” In my heart run the memories of you When familiar tunes are sung. Take leave and visit me again.
Please pray for my Aunt. She is not doing so well medically, and the doctor’s aren’t entirely sure what’s going on. Please, please, please send all your positive energy, hopes, and prayers her way.
She means the world to her three children, to her husband, to her sisters (including my mom), everyone else in the family and most definitely me. She is one of the strongest, most remarkable and capable woman i have ever met and definitely someone who has taught me so much, despite the distance that separates us.
Ya Allah, Master of Life and Death - grant her life and good health. Don’t take her any further away from me, not before I can enjoy her company one more time and tell her how much I love her.
Written exactly one year ago, still very much applicable as we approach the new November 24 deadline.
Also an important read to bust the myth that the White Revolution catalyzed the 1979 revolution to put a halt to the “West hijacking Iranian culture.” Iranians have generally and historically been receptive to Western ideals, and many of the reforms from the White Revolution are still in place today, (simply under different titles), and Kennedy, despite being behind White revolution, is admired in a jingle: “Kennedy mehrabaan ast, azize koodakaan ast.” (He is genuine, he is a friend to the youth).
The revolution characterized a nation tired of the exploitation, the plunders, and the corruption that had ties to the West. It was hardly a “I hate the West just because I believe in crazy conspiracies” as everyone likes to reduce Khomeini’s speeches to.
Also, things to bear in mind while reading:
1. Flight 655 wasn’t just shot down accidentally, with an amicable apology following it. Bush actually refused, by all means, to apologize.
"I will never apologize for the United States — I don’t care what the facts are… I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." August 2, 1988
2. Saddam’s chemical weapons attacks were complemented by intelligence services detailing the movements of Iranian combat units, including locations of Iranian facilities / capacity of its defense system. Because, in Reagan’s words, “an Iranian victory is unacceptable.”
I cannot fathom, nor ever be thankful enough, for how much I’m blessed with alhumdulilah.
These days are so sweet. So sweet that I fear their end. I’m not ready for school to wrap up. I’m not ready for the “real world”. And even though I’ve been working at the Pharmacy and have gained so much more maturity and wisdom in the field - I do not want to leave school behind.
These days, dear God these days. I know I’m going to miss them so much. It’s so silly, I have 3 more semesters (roughly 1 year and 1/2) to go before things really end - but I can’t stand to think of the thought. I love the company of my friends, I love each morning; every cup of tea with them, of walking to class with them talking about pointless things, forgetting about the rest of the world, being in our own world - one where it’s just us, and happiness, and laughter, and warmth, and kindness, and understanding. Where nothing matters but our happiness, and our silly school projects, and “real world” labs which are anything but real world, and workshops with case reports so crazy, and lectures with too many genital diseases and graphics that are out-right traumatic, and all the late-night-study-turned-board-game-nights, and all the sushi, and all the bubble tea.
There are some things, some days, some memories, some people - who become so stubbornly stuck to our hearts. And I know there will come a time in my old age, insha’Allah, where I will look back and weep silent tears for all the loves I have loved.
“To make the Law of Islam the law of the land in order that equity may prevail; to arrange social and economic relations in such a way that every individual shall live in freedom and dignity and shall find as few obstacles as possible and as much encouragement as possible in the development of his personality; to enable all Muslim men and women to realize the ethical goals of Islam not only in their beliefs but also in the practical sphere of their lives; to ensure all non-Muslim citizens complete and physical security as well as complete freedom of religion, of culture, and of social development; to defend the country against attack from without and disruption from within; and to propagate the teachings of Islam to the world at large: it is these principles, and in these alone, that the concept of an Islamic state find it’s meaning and justification. If it realizes them, the state can rightly be described as “God’s vicegerent on Earth” - at least in that part of the Earth which falls under its factual jurisdiction.”—The Real Definition of Shari’ah given by Muhammad Asad.
Let no Western description of Shari’ah fool you. Let no misconception of Islam and misconceptions of it’s beliefs fool you. Don’t let CNN and Fox News fool you. This is the Law of Islam, the real unedited law.
My entire life has been a battle of two gargantuan forces in my subconscious - two energies as old as time itself.
And I think finally the skirmishes are subsiding, and I’m starting to emerge as someone who is not just defined by those energies, but someone who has learned to use those energies to his utmost. It’s as if the last shells of my youth are beginning to fall, revealing who I was always meant to be.
And I know no one will fully understand what I’m talking about or what this means to me, but it really does mean everything to me.
Malala gets a Nobel prize for being a mascot for West’s ‘War on Terror’ while Pakistan’s PhD Neuroscientist Aafia Siddique is rotting in US prison.
Stop reblogging this shit wtf is wrong with you people—I know a lot of you outside Pakistan don’t even know the context in which this is being said so why are you signing your name onto something you have no idea about. I’m so sick of Malala being vilified because some white assholes are appropriating her voice and erasing her politics and you guys turn around and blame her for that, as if she asked to be shot, as if she asked for all of this. And the Malala vs. Aafia Siddique shit is so infuriating, the entire ‘daughter of Pakistan’ trope in of itself is infuriating and then you fuckers are arguing over who gets to be called that based on hyper-sexist and hyper-patriotic categories that neither of them asked to be part of. Dr. Aafia just fits your ‘nice Pakistani Muslim woman tormented and tortured by the West victim' narrative better, the only reason Malala is shunned by you people is because she had the audacity to survive and then the further (more unforgivable) audacity to keep talking—dartay hain badooqon waalay ek nehati larki se. And she forces you to look at our goddamn military and the beast they’ve spawned that’s been killing our people for over a decade but instead of empathizing with yet another one of their victims you call her ‘dramay-baz’ I’d like to see you fuckers get shot and come back with even a hundredth of the grace Malala has. I get being pissed off with how she’s being used to justify drone strikes (which she explicitly spoke against) and I get being outraged at the lack of outrage over girls just like Malala who are the victims of drone strikes instead of the Taliban—that article, Malala and Nabila: worlds apart, is completely on point and I’ve met Nabila jaan during an anti-drones campaign and she’s absolutely precious and it broke my heart to see her and hear first hand what she and her brother went through but none of that justifies the way you fuckers have run Malala out of her homeland—if you really cared about those girls you’d be working against drones and on education with Malala not trying to take her down at every fucking turn.
The forces, both external and internal - that have halted the advance and development of Pakistan have been quite successful in their crime.
And although I can do nothing about it but express deep grief from a distance, my family back home suffers in the maelstrom.
My heart burns with an intense desire to see the culture, the joy, the happiness, the opportunity that was present in the days past. Burns to see the emerald flag, the white star and crescent, rise above and fly high - like a phoenix arising from it’s ashes.
My motherland bleeds and I sit here useless - unable to relieve her cries.
I witnessed the sun rise this morning over Lake Ontario. And although I didn’t have the greatest day today (kinda failed my lab); remembering that moment made my day.
The sun was just starting to peek over the clouds that covered the horizon, and as my train sped across the lakeshore - the sun gradually made it’s way up. It was so beautiful. At first the glow was faint, but in less than a few seconds it had grown to such a bright intensity it was no longer possible to look directly into the sun.
Simple, every day things can take your breath away too - if you stop to admire them a bit.
#NotInMyName is a well-intended initiative by Muslims who wish to reassure the world that not all of us are raging extremists who want to see communities burn to ashes. But that’s the problem. In a symptomatic reading of the many sincere apologies coming from young and old Muslims, one should not focus on the overtly stated text but what has not been said in those apologies. What you don’t see is that these messages are coming from harmless men and women who simply want their humanity to be registered in the reactive and hyper-alarmed Western world before they are made to pay for a group that, ironically enough, came into existence as a splinter factionwhen the United States invaded Iraq. What you also don’t see is that these messages shy away from stating the fact that the biggest victim of ISIS is not the United States or the collective West but the average citizen in Iraq and Syria. Stating this is an offence to American political sensibility, a faculty that endlessly amazes me with its parochial view of the world it inhabits. A haunting image of a masked Muslim man attempting to behead a western journalist injects horror in the Western imagination but if you go back a bit into the past, not many people remember British Royal Marines beheading indigenous communists of Malaya. The methods implemented in taking a human’s life is identical and yet the reactions are polar opposites. In the latter case, majority of the West has little to no memory of such a massacre.
Take it this way: In 2011, white men constituted over 69% of those arrested for urban violence and yet black men made up for the majority of the prison population thanks to the American prison industrial complex. The majority of school shooters and mass murderers in the United States are white men (97% of them being male and 79% being white) from upper-middle class backgrounds. But for some curious reason, Twitter or Facebook or even your favorite news channels have not seen a flood of apologies from white men under the hashtag #NotInMyName. I already expect indignant comments to tell me that these men were lone cases who had mental disorders and no friends because it’s the go-to reason when a white man decides to shoot schools up. Unfortunately, brown and black men cannot use the same excuse. Furthermore, white communities do not worry for their well-being when a white person is indicted with a crime the way non-white communities do. Similarly, when American soldiers go on killing sprees in Afghanistan and other lands under siege, we do not witness social media inundated with American soldiers tweeting #NotInMyName. If anything, we rarely hear of such bloodsport. When Mike Brown was murdered by officer Darren Wilson, we did not see white Americans tweet #NotInMyName to highlight the utter barbarity of Wilson’s racially motivated attack. But we did see over $50,000 donations go to Wilson and the cash came out of white pockets. This list goes on and so does the violence but the apologies never make an appearance. I, for one, am waiting.
Let me make it clear to anyone expecting an apology from me: There is none.
I will apologize for ISIS when every single American apologizes for the production of the War on Terror that, like the brilliant Iraqi poet Sinan Antoon says, is the production of more terror and thus, endless war. I will apologize for ISIS when every single white American apologizes for the mass incarceration of black and brown people in the United States. I will apologize for ISIS when I see American men and women post lengthy and introspective apologies for what the US Empire has done to the world, including my native country, since its very advent. I will post an 8,000 word apology when English people email me individual apologies for what the British Empire did to the subcontinent. I will carry a banner around Union Square that reads “I condemn ISIS as a Muslim and everything else you think I’m responsible for because I share an identity with someone else” when I start seeing white Americans wearing shirts that read “I condemn the KKK, slavery, plantations, gentrification, the genocide of Native Americans, the internment camps for East Asians, the multiple coup d’etats my country facilitated abroad, the other 9/11 that Chileans suffered and yet everyone and their mother forgot, Christian fundamentalists who can’t pronounce Mohammad but think all Muslims need to be racially profiled and segregated from the rest of America and a lot more as a white person.” I won’t limit this to whiteness only; I will apologize when every single ethnic, religious group apologizes for whatever someone did simply because, under this debauched logic, they owe the world an apology for sharing an identity. When I start seeing these apologies, I will apologize too.
It amazes me how topical 9/11 is in the American consciousness when someone asks, “Where were you on 9/11?” I was in front of the television doing my homework. But I often ask: Where were you on 10/7 or 3/20 or 6/18 or 8/6 or 9/6 or 5/15 or the other dates when Western hegemony assaulted the lives of millions of innocent men and women? Where were you when the United States employed white phosphorous in Iraq in 2004 that resulted in a 38-fold increase in leukaemia, female breast cancer, infant mortality, lymphoma and brain tumors; statistics crossing those who survived the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? More importantly, as an American, when will you apologize?
No amount of polls of Muslims denouncing ISIS will authenticate our humanity to the average Westerner who trusts propagated tropes from a culture industry more than anything else. It does not matter to the average bigot whether 126 senior Islamic scholars hailing from various parts of the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, North Africa and beyond theologically make clear in an open 24-bullet letter that the deeds of ISIS are entirely un-Islamic because to the average bigot, Islam is beyond redemption and its followers deserve to be punished by virtue of the faith they follow. It does not matter if one explains, as Alireza Doostdar does meticulously in this essay, that ISIS is not a religious problem but a political exacerbation that necessitates a contextual understanding of its chronological development and proliferation. This hostility is not innate. One is not born with vengeance for a specific group of people. It is instilled and socialized through social and institutional production of ideology from the State, media outlets, academia and everyday social exchange. It is manufactured by ever escalating dosages of premeditated images, sound bites and seductive rhetoric that lures one into regurgitating falsities about a people. It reaches to a point, as we see today, where simply appearing to be Muslim (as if there is a specific aesthetic embodied by us) elicits some of the most unwarranted suspicion, invasive questions and in many cases, outright violence.
You know, it’s poetically overrated but it’s real. The concept that someone comes along and changes you, makes you do things you swore you wouldn’t ever do, makes you unearth a part of yourself that you didn’t know existed. It actually happens. Whether it be positive or negative or a bit of both, take it with you as a step closer to understanding yourself.
I was suppose to go to Indiana, down south across the border, to my second home where my eldest Aunt resides for Eid.
Things didn’t work out though and I’m really sad because of it. My uncles were going to drive up from Chicago and Houston respectively and it was going to be an awesome weekend. I miss my family down south. Normally I visit at least twice a year.. but the past year school had gotten me so tied down I didn’t get the chance. And now, just like my heart pains for my family in Pakistan, my heart pains for Indiana.
Weird, how love works. I just want to hold my nephews and nieces in my arms again…
I’ve recently been exposed to Azerbaijani, Armenian and Turkish - and I must say; these languages are stunning. So unique from most languages I’m used to. They’re soft, like Farsi; but still carry an almost slavic sound to them.
“True piety does not consist in turning your faces towards the east or the west — but truly pious is he who believes in God, and the Last Day, and the angels, and revelations, and the prophets; and spends his substance — however much he himself may cherish it — upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage;and is constant in prayer, and renders the purifying dues; and [truly pious are] they who keep their promises whenever they promise, and are patient in misfortune and hardship and in time of peril: it is they that have proved themselves true, and it is they, they who are conscious of God.”—Surah Al-Baqarah(2): Ayah 177
I turned 21 yesterday and all I can say is how thankful I am for everything in my life. Alhumdulilah. I have my ups and my downs, as do we all – but these past few years have been my happiest and my greatest. Although I am far from an adult in most ways – I feel like I’m well on my way of becoming one eventually. What’s more, over the past few years I’ve also come to understand that adulthood is boring without sometimes acting like a child.
I have amazing friends and amazing family. And again, although everything isn’t perfect and there is a lot that could change and improve – Alhumdulilah – I am more than pleased with what I have.
I’ve learned to live and breathe and always be happy – and for that I am forever thankful to Allah, the Supreme Being, and the only one worthy of worship. He has taught me how to live a peaceful life and given me the opportunity to be a vivacious individual. None of it is me, all of it is Him. He is the motivation and inspiration, as it is to him I shall one day return when the Earth calls me back home into its cradle.