Somebody

Do you ever feel like you are living somebody else’s life?

At best a parallel life?

I have always felt like I have multiple personalities.

And that in another life, I would be completely different.

But those other lives sometimes leach into this one and fill me with a longing.

A longing for piercings and leather and tattoos.

And sometimes a longing for a mountain to climb.

A longing for the quiet of buddhist temple.

And then the desire for a NYC socialites dreams.

Maybe these are all me.

And I have enough years left to live out all my different lives in THIS lifetime.

Sometimes, I believe that.

And then other times I look at the housing my soul has chosen in THIS life, and realise that even as we speak it is ageing.

If you could see the kaleidoscope images of your entire life played out to you at the END of your life, what would it look like?

What would you wish you had changed?

Wouldn’t it be great to have that kind of perspective now?

What specific moment would you realise was a pointless struggle against fate?

Would you laugh at your young self trying to make decisions and choices, yet picking the pre-destined one each time?

Struggling against the tides of fate.

Life is like a river that flows into the sea.

We all have a destination.

And along the way, the river takes on many forms.

It may be a sparkling mountain spring initially.

And then a little, trickling happy stream.

Or a crocodile infested deep river, tunnelling through a forest.

All eventually emptying into the great expanse of the sea.

Becoming one with all the water sources in the world.

And resuming the cycle.

What’s the point of struggling against such a cosmic destiny?

New York City

Life, Oh Life…

New Year's Resolution - Day 1

Image by Cath in Dorset via Flickr

Introspection is a fast track route to insanity.

Yet, a life unexamined…..

In the act of recording  an introspective journey into my mind here, I hope to lay in stone my resolutions for the future.

Not New Year’s resolutions, as, it is evident it is now February.

But my Life’s Resolutions.

My dreams and goals.

To be edited, amended, added to, and thrown to the wind, as the situation deems fit.

Not at the come and go of a capricious new year.

Anyhowzawatsit.

Here we go.

My Faults:

1. I am selfish

Earth-shatteringly so. I live for myself. I work for myself. I act for myself. Myself. Myself. Myself.

Plan: I will undertake un-selfish acts. At the very least, ONE a day.

2. I am lazy

Again. Earth-shatteringly so. I LOOOVE to veg out in front of a the T.V screen.

Plan: Join the gym

3. I am shy

Painfully shy. I prefer my company to others. Not only because I’m witty, and funny, and kind….LOL. Mainly because I’m a bit of a loner.

Plan: Smile a little more…to everyone (baby steps)

4. I have lapsed in my faith

Understandably. When faced with trials, one either becomes increasingly devout, leaning on God for strength and love. OR. One shuns the light. And walks (or falls) head first into the darkness. I have had a trying year.

Plan: Prayer (Even though insincere at first, the act in itself shall hopefully bring me closer)

5. I let others walk all over me

This ties in with number 3.

Plan: Humility begets kindness. This is a battle I choose to let God fight for me.

With every bad, I am sure there are 10 good elements within ourselves.

And on that note, I hope to match every negative comment about myself, with two good ones. For the purpose of introspection is self-improvement. And not a spiral into self-loathing.

As a consequence of No. 1 (scroll up) I shall not record those 10 positive attributes here. But I have written them down. And if you are so inclined, I urge you to do the same.

If only to make you smile. And possibly to make you realize, your time on earth hasn’t been such a waste of oxygen after all.

Take a moment.

Take a journey.

Your mind can be a treacherous place.

I recommend body armour.

🙂

Salaams.

Weak Tea Muslims

Bismillah, the first verse of the first "...

How many of us are guilty of this?

We are afraid of being labelled radicals. Especially Post 9/11 and 7/7

Afraid of bringing our religion into our workplace, into our friendships, into a shop…

As Muslims, we try to be as unobstrusive as possible in our dealings with the world.

Keep our Islam watered down.

Just like weak tea.

If its barely there, I won’t offend anyone. Won’t upset anyone.

Tread lightly, and they will leave me alone.

Hmmm.

Shame on us!

Example 1: The non-Assalaam Alaikum

Muslim brothers and sisters out there do not LIKE to say Asalaam Alaikum. Instead, they prefer Hi! Hello! Wassup!

If you dare say Asalaam Alaikum to sister at work, she will breezily respond with…’Hi!’

Hi?? Really?

The first time that happened to me I was perplexed. But shrugged it off. Maybe she misheard me. Maybe it was just force of habit.

The second time, I received a fervently whispered ‘Waalaikum Salaam’ I had to squint and move closer to hear what she was saying. She even glanced about guiltily, hoping no one had overheard her.

Ahem.

Seriously?

Are you afraid people will think you are a terrorist for responding with a ‘Waaliakum Salaam’??

Scenario 2: The ‘I-will-not-cause-drama’ rule

This one I have been guilty of.

Someone senior to me at work made a derogatory comment about Islam. It was not overtly insulting. More implied. But it was there. Hanging in the air. Just…waiting.

Now, it was the first time I had worked with that person. And I was not willing to start causing drama. We were also in front of a few junior staff. I decided some battles, are worth fighting another day.

But I still feel like I should not have let it slide.

I still feel like I should have said something.

I don’t know….

However, there are other times where I HAVE been known to stand up and make some noise when someone has been intentionally insulting towards Islam.

Last week, a colleague said Arabic was a ‘disgusting’ language. It sounded ‘angry’ and ‘guttural’. Now I know that’s not a direct insult towards Islam. But the language of the Quran is Arabic. So I politely pointed out that it depends on where she had heard that ‘guttural’ Arabic spoken, and by whom (different dialects, different localities, different accents) And plus, she should try listening to Quranic recitations.

The girl looked at me like I had recommended she fly to the moon.

Nonetheless, I had made my point.

Example 3: The Undercover Muslim

This is the one I reeeeeeeeeeeally don’t get.

A guy has a name as Muslim as : Abdallah Mohammed Al-Ansari (for example)

Yet he really, truly believes, people don’t know he is Muslim. And he wants to keep it that way.

He drinks. He parties. He chills with the boys.

He is just a regular guy.

So when you walk up to him and ask him where the nearest prayer room is, you are blowing his cover dammit!

Lol.

The guy goes white as a sheet, looks around for his ‘homies’, thanks God they are not around, and proceeds to brush you off with a gruff : ‘How should I know?!’

SMH

Brother, please.

Would you like some sugar with that weak tea?

Example 4: The Ramadhan Phenomenon

This one I am sure everyone has experienced. Once Ramadhan comes around, even the closet muslims, come out of their proverbial closet, and renounce food and drink from sunset to sundown. However the resilient few, try to sneak a few snacks here and there.

You can smell their guilt from a mile away.

They know this too.

Which is why they avoid other Muslims like the plague.

I don’t CARE that you are not fasting. Stop hiding from me and ducking around corners! Lol. Or maybe that was just people avoiding me due to BO (Body Odour)?? *Sniffs armpits*….Nah….

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m a perfect Muslim. Far from it.

And I am not advocating people start screaming  ‘I AM A MUSLIM!!!!’ at the top of their lungs.

I am just saying: BE PROUD. STOP BEING ASHAMED. STOP BEING SCARED.

Be Muslim.

Don’t be obtrusively Muslim. Or Agressively Muslim. Or even fanatically Muslim.

Just be …simply Muslim. Honestly Muslim. Unashamedly Muslim.

Stop being a Weak Tea Muslim.

Salaam Alaikum

Of All Things Halal

Halal

Image by BrotherMagneto via Flickr

Now from this post here, you will have learnt that I was recently in Manchester. After being over-fed, well watered, and thoroughly all-shopped out, I find myself contemplating when my next visit there is going to be. Why, you might ask? Well, read on peoples.

The beauty of Manchester for me, was the muslim community. I LOVED the fact that we had used our pockets to influence the number of outlets serving halal food. Walking into a restaurant, sandwich shop or fish and chips stand, and asking if the meat is halal is NOT met with confused giggles, nervous glances at the security guard, or hard, angry stares.

At Burristo (a cute, little burrito place), the waitress kindly informed me that the chicken was halal, but the way in which it was made was not. It was cooked together with the non-halal steak. WOW! She not only knew what halal was, she had gone a step further. Jeez!! I need to move to Manchester.

The city centre had a prayer place too. So you did not have to forfeit you’re salah for shopping. There was a myriad of stands selling hijabs dotted all over the high street. Overall, it just oozed muslim-friendliness. But not in an overt, over the top way. In a its-a-multicultural-place-so-this-is-perfectly-normal way. I L-O-V-E-D it!

In Cardiff where I live, muslims form a LARGE chunk of the population. But unless you go hunting for them in the ghettos (Riverside, Grangetown etc), you won’t see us. Not in the universities, nor the hospitals, nor the high street. It’s like we are in hiding. Ashamed of our religion. Not only ashamed to be seen practicing our religion. Ashamed to be seen. Period.

Disgusting.

Are there any other towns/cities where you have seen the same?

Can we please stand up and make our presence felt people?!! We are part of the community. We must get out of the shadows, stand proud, and practice Islam freely and fiercely. No excuses..

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