Saturday, March 7, 2009

-= Offline for repairs =-

This blog is temporarily being taken offline for maintenance.

We apologise for this; and hope we will be back online soon inshaAllah.
p.s. In case you case you followed a link here looking for something else; you might be interested in The Square Circle.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Halal Pork anyone?

This might raise a bit of curiosity...and it did in me; especially since I had been eating out at that Turkish place quite often recently.

Anyway, this restaurant is an a place called Raunheim in germany, and says "HALAL" in big bold letters on the glass windows.

So I was more than a little surprised to see "Schinken" (which is german for pork) on some of the menu items; even though the guy who runs it is muslim. 

I was pretty annoyed when I confronted him and asked him what was going on, offering pork on the menu when the place was supposedly halal.

That's when he mentioned, that Schinken was also short for Truthhahn-Schinken (which is turkey-meat)...and proceeded to take out all the meats from the freezer to show they all did indeed have the halal certification on them.

And even though there is another word for turkeys in german, apparently they use the shortened form of the word, "Schinken" , in order to keep the german customers coming in. 

Now that's marketing worth laughing out at!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Michael Jackson and the Muslimania

I’m not sure if you’ve heard the latest that’s rounding the websites; but apparently the self-proclaimed King of Pop, Michael Jackson, has embraced Islam.

Note that I write “apparently” because at the time of this article’s writing, I don’t have any confirmation (or denial) of this apart from a few websites and stupid Emails that people keeping mindlessly forwarding.

And I’d like to take a wide big yawn and ask…so?

Actually, this is not the first time I’m hearing this; MJ was supposed to have become muslim a long time ago when the rumor first came out in the late 90s.
And then the idea died a natural death.

More recently, it was the Indian astronaut Sunita Williams who apparently was supposed to have seen the Masjid al-Har’am and Masjid an-Nabawi as shining stars and immediately became muslim.

And the last of the news I heard before this was about the paparazzi-craving, drug-abused, messed-up, I-will-shave-my-head pop punk Britney Spears who is allegedly in love with her muslim boyfriend and is thinking about “taking up” Islam.

To be completely honest I couldn’t care less about MJ or Britney Spears; mostly because I don’t look up to them as role-models or even put them on the nice-to-know list.
And if I ever have kids, I’d never want them to think they should grow up to be just like Britney or MJ.

Which brings me to my original question:
Why are we so paranoid about celebrities and make a big deal of them becoming muslim?
Are we really that pathetic that we need a Britney Spears or a Michael Jackson to glitter-up an image for Islam?
Do we think people are gonna say, “Okay, if Britney’s doing it, it has to be good; lemme give it a shot too” about Islam?

I don’t think so.

And to prove it, here’s a real example:
MJ’s older brother Jermaine Jackson 
did become a muslim and this is a fact. This happened in 1989 and his name is now Muhammed Abdul-Aziz.

And yes he has given interviews and the like on his quest for peace - unfortunately I don’t see what this has achieved on the teen-culture front.

And I don’t blame him. As far as I see, the benefits are only individual; and there is nothing to cheer for the masses here.

Because in the end, only YOU will answer for what YOU do…and it’s every man for himself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WALL-E Inspired!

Its not everyday that you watch a movie that inspires you to do a post on it, but after I popped in the DVD this evening after work and sat back in my recliner, I had a brainstorm!

Wall-E (pronounced "wally", from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animations) tells the story of a trash-compacting robot named Wall-E who hitches a ride onboard a space probe to Axion - a human colony in space. The people at Axion live in an artificial, almost-virtual world having all the comforts of life and much so that they start losing basic human traits such as the ability to walk.

As the plot unfolds however, the Captain of the Axion comes to realize that this colony was originally intended only as a temporary home (some 700 years earlier) and the original plan had been to return back to earth after 5 years...which had been all but forgotten.
And so, begins the quest to return back to the REAL home, against the odds of the resident robots who refuse to leave the comforts of the now-familiar space home.

And thinking about this story, it strikes me strange...
How different are WE from the humans in this movie - who think of the space home as their permanent home and not once even begin to think that this may all be just a temporary stopover for a little while. People who are so involved with their day-to-day activities of work and food and sleep that they forgot the real purpose they were here, and that they had to go back one day.

Do we really think of ourselves as immortals, to inherit the earth forever? Or do we think that we will never die and go on living?
That Space Station was a temporary home for a specific purpose, and so is ours. They had to go back to their real home one day, and so will we.

It is opening your eyes to what lies beyond the obvious, that is the difficult part.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let’s get married

I’m no expert on relationships and stuff, but I’m willing to guess one of the biggest problems facing young people is marriage…and about getting married.
Now when I talk about stuff like this to my friends however, one of the statements that drive me up a wall is:

“Marriage? Are you crazy; I’m just 25 now!”

…as if it were illegal to get married before you were 30 or something.
Of course, some of my other friends think on a different line, which goes something like,

“What’s the hurry? Why can’t you wait till you’re more mature – after all this is a huge step.”

Which makes me think…its okay to have a boyfriend-girlfriend thing going on; make out on college campuses, watch less-than-family-flicks in shady dark dormitories, try to make a pass with the waitresses at the cafĂ© and try to hit on the new recruits at work…but its not okay to get married?
There’s something seriously wrong with the whole system here!

Let’s be honest here; boys and girls start wondering about each other all along ever since you hit like 13 or so; and there’s nothing to lie about here – physical attraction is one of the most instinctive of instincts; and part of what makes us human.

So where’s the problem here?
The problem lies with the fact that people go on with their instincts and follow the signs alright – except that they don’t wanna commit on a relationship and call it marriage because of the bundle of responsibilities that come with the package.

Because of the safety margin that leaves room for error – boyfriends to dump; that cute girl in the next office to look at, the date you went on and later decided she’s not your type…the endless possibilities.

Now the trouble is, even after people do find their type, they future-plan their marriage to say like three years from now…because it leaves space to get ‘settled’ before getting married.
I’m really not aware of any rule that states you WILL settle when you hit 29 but what this really shows is the lack of Tak’wah and the fact that all provisions come from Allah. If you get that point straight, you’re on the right track.

Otherwise, if you’re 29 and not yet settled, the only driving force is the desperation when you know its already too late wait any longer.

So the big question is: what do I do?
Simple. Trust your heart…and not the reasons that everyone else throws at you.
And when you know you need to get married, pray, and just do it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

As Peace Descends

I can’t believe its been over 9months since I made that first post on this blog; it was on Eid day and the post was about Eid as well and I remember proudly Emailing the link to my friends about my ‘achievement’.
What was I thinking back then?

Anyway, things have come a long way since that first post when I was all depressed about Eid being alone and everything. As the blessed Month of Forgiveness gently swept by us this past 29days I experienced what I am sure was my best Ramadan in a long time.

For starters, I now shifted to a comfortable two-bedroom house in a quiet little village overlooking the edge of the woods and 5minutes from work so logistics and travel wasn’t an issue.
Alhamdhulillah work wasn’t so bad to keep me preoccupied all the time.
The weather was incredible; and the best part was that my roomie (who is not even muslim) also decided to join in the true spirit of Ramadan and fasted the entire month. In all senses, things could not have been better.

Fasting takes your mind off the things we spend a lot of time on; like lunch & dinner, thinking about what’s for lunch and dinner, and thinking about how to cook or where to grab lunch or dinner. I guess we spend a lot of time thinking about food… and fasting gives you a chance to concentrate on more important aspects of living.

It truly was a peaceful, blessed month that swept by us; as a soft breeze would brush by your face; serene and so gentle, you wish it lasts, but passes over you before you comprehend its full beauty. I miss Ramadan already.

Wishing you all a very blessed Eid al-Fitr!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Food Festival

This entry may be a bit late in coming – Ramadan already started over a week ago – but somehow I wasn’t able to put this down till now.

In any case, Ramadan is finally here, after a full year has gone by and we as Muslims are asking ourselves a lot of important questions this month.

Surprisingly, one of the most frequently asked question is:

“What’s cooking?

I don’t mean to exaggerate but the way things are sometimes, you almost start to wonder if its a month long food festival. While businesses in places like the Middle East tag up a “Ramadan-Special” for almost anything – ranging from discount sales to lavish evening buffets, more and more normal people seem to be concerned about just one thing: Food.

Every time I call up one of the guys, they want to know about what I had for Iftar, or planning to have for Sahur or the midnight snacks right now.

I guess its time we stepped outside our food fantasies for a while and started concentrating on what Ramadan’s really about: Ibadah, Qiyam-ul-Layl and in other words; supplications.

Ramadan is a month of blessings, and thus makes sense to ask Allah for forgiveness and turning to Him in repentance.

The food factor can take the back seat for a while.