Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramadan checklist (with some manly man talk)

Ahlan wa sahlan

Tis the season to be fasting falalalala LAAA la laaaaa laaa.......wait hold on a sec. I think I'm getting mixed up with another holiday. 

Anyways I want to wish a very merry Ramadan to all muslims everywhere and especially to my loyal blog readers (all three of you lulz). So with the end of the month of Shaban and the start of Ramadan just an hour away, It got me thinking....time really flies doesn't it? This month has been one hell of a ride, I finished the summer classes I wanted to take, I moved to maryland, started a new job, and learned a hard lesson about myself.

Now that I'm all settled in the next question do I want to spend Ramadan this year? I need to use this blessed month to improve on the things that I think are necessary for me. One of the things I personally believe I need to improve on is trying to be a better man. A man you say? Yes a man is honorable and chivalrous. A man is brave. A man always does the right thing, no matter what the cost. In short I need to be like this: 

Ok I admit I watched Lord of the Rings the other night. Gimme a break already! But all jokes aside I personally believe that its just something I need to improve on Inshallah. And don't get me wrong I'm not saying that I'm not already a gentleman as it is (what would the other alternative orc?)

So what does it mean to be a man? A man is:

1) Honest. Even when the truth may be hard to say or hear. He doesn't lie to save himself nor does he lie to make himself sound more important or interesting.

2) Honorable. He does the right thing even when doing the opposite would be more beneficial for him.

3) Compassionate. He shows sympathy and concern for others. and tries to help when he can.

4) Educated. A man tries his best to seek knowledge.

5) Diligent. He always works hard to make sure his goals are accomplished. He doesn't let anyone or anything stand in his way (including himself).

6) Introspective. He is always in touch with his feelings and emotions and is reflective of his actions.

7) Leader. He chooses his own path and direction in life and follows it for himself.

8) Responsible. A man is conscious of his obligations and duties and always makes sure that his affairs are in order.

Sound familiar? All my requirements for being a "man", are also requirements for being a good muslim. Indeed all of these characteristics were exemplified and espoused by The Prophet (pbuh). We're only as good as we allow ourselves to be. So why not be the best that we can possibly be using the best role model we have? Inshallah.

Now some other things on my checklist I plan on getting done are:

1) Finishing the Quran at least once during this month. 
2) Memorizing that surah I've been meaning to do for a while.
3) Learning up on some much needed hadith.
4) Improve any deficiencies I think I may have in my prayer or Quranic pronunciation.
5) Helping out more at my local masjid.
6) Attend all the tarawih prayers
7) Finish off all the work I've put on hold
8) Eat more hummus (just kidding)

Now if you haven't checked this out I highly suggest you do so. Its a series of animated videos on how to be a productive muslim during the month of Ramadan. Check out their youtube channel right here.

Ramadan Kareem :)


Friday, July 29, 2011

Abdal Hakim Murad, Whole Foods, and Apple

Ahlan wa Sahlan

Abdal Hakim Murad is probably my favorite academic 3alim al-din from Europe. Not only are his lectures on islamic theology, history and other related contemporary issues extremely informative and insightful but they're also simple and to the point Mashallah. I recommend his videos to anyone interested in increasing their 3ilm al-din.  “It is only those who have knowledge amongst His slaves that fear Allah.”  - Al-Quran(35:28) 

In other news, Whole Foods has decided to run a Ramadan marketing campaign with the halal frozen brand Saffron Road. How cool is that? Now if only Whole Foods can reduce their crazy prices somehow. And maybe get Walmart to jump in on the fun. I really hope this thing works out well. You can read up more about that in this article right here

And in a more bizarre twist, its seems that Apple has finally outgrown even the US treasury. 

US Treasury cash balance = $ 73.8 billion
Apple cash balance = $76.2 billion

Maybe Obama should just kick out Tim Geithner and let Steve Jobs take his place . Instead of the Apple Store we'll just have one big Apple Treasury. Has a nice ring to it doesn't it?
Check out more about it right here.


Friday Mention

Ahlan wa Sahlan

I made a deal with a friend that I'd advertise her blog if she sent me a big package of assorted baked homemade muffins (just kidding!). Check out her blog "Tears & Laughter" right here.


Park 51 NYChildren photography exhibit

Ahlan wa sahlan.

Been meaning to put this up for a while now. The Park 51 Islamic Community Center in NYC also known as the "Ground Zero Mosque" by its unscrupulous detractors is trying to raise money for their NYChildren photography exhibit. You can donate anything as small as $1 or $5 to $50, $100, or even more. Any contribution helps whether you live in the USA or not. However they have a set deadline for August 10th so please let other people know as well Inshallah. If you'd like to donate online please click here. And you can also find more information about NYChildren on Park 51's official website right here.

The reason I'm doing this is because after the hell they went through last year I believe this a positive step forward. Allahu 3alam I don't know how they're going to raise enough money in 12 days. I'm personally going to distribute some flyers at my local mosque today after Friday prayers in order to raise some awareness on the issue. Allah works in mysterious ways, so let us never lose hope.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rumble in Norway

Ahlan wa Sahlan!

So by now you've all probably heard about the tragedy that hit in Oslo less than a week ago on July 22nd. 68 people were killed through the shooting spree at a Labor Party youth camp on the norwegian island of Utoeya by terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. He is also allegedly involved in the bomb attack that ripped through Oslo's government district resulting in the death of 7 people. 

Whats interesting about this particular incident is the actual media storm that ensued. Even though initial reports coming out of norway's TV2 indicated that a "blonde, nordic man" had been arrested in connection to the attacks, the reaction of most news outlets was to simply presume that he must have been a convert to Islam  hence a connection to Al Qaeda. So eager was the news media to involve muslims in the attacks that they jumped on even the least credible information source possible. Thus emerged reports that a group called "The Helpers of the Global Jihad" had claimed responsiblity for the attacks. Source? From a (now deleted) discussion thread on an obscure arabic militant forum website called "Shmukh", where the quote of responsibility was diligently copy/pasted (in arabic) by one Will McCant, a blogger at This was immediately picked up and published by The New York Times.

My first reaction was......"That doesn't even make sense. Why would islamic extremists attack Norway of all places?" My bewilderment did not cease despite answers that perhaps it was because of Norway's involvement with NATO. So they were compelled to attack Norway but not Denmark from which the cartoons of The Prophet (pbuh) originated from? It just didn't add up.

My skepticism was redeemed by Norway's official police report when it soon became apparently clear that the perpetrator of the attacks was not muslim nor had any ties to Al Qaeda, but was a radical right-wing christian fundamentalist from Norway. 

But wait, it gets even better

The 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik held anti-Muslim, anti-government and anti-immigration views, undoubtedly a hallmark of right-wing neo-conservatives in the USA and right-wing anti-immigration movements like the English Defence League (EDL) in Europe. This became no more obvious when it was discovered that Breivik had in fact written a 1,500-page manifesto entitled "2083: A European Declaration of Independence" espousing the same views that many if not all right-wing neo-cons enshrine on a daily basis. He goes on to cite  the works of such infamous islamophobes as Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, and Pamela Geller as "required reading", all of whom have amusingly tried  to distance themselves from Breivik and his criminal actions.

As soon as the US media caught up to the fact that the terrorist acts were carried out by a blue-eyed blonde-haired radical right-wing christian, they immediately dropped the "terrorist" label opting for more benign terms as "madman" and "lunatic". Bill O' Reilly of Fox News even went so far as saying that Breivik was not a christian fundamentalist.

This ridiculous double standard is not just insulting to its viewers but is also an indication of a severe lack of objective journalistic practice. Given that journalistic integrity in the US is almost nearly non-existent these days, you'd still think they'd be able to call a spade a spade even if its staring at you straight in the face. Well.....apparently not.

Stephen Colbert does a great job of lampooning this sad state of affairs in his segment of The Colbert Report.


Related links:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Guess who's back? Back again.

Ahlan wa sahlan! Yes its true I am indeed back. Now before you all start waving your pitchforks and torches at me and demanding an explanation of why I took an almost near 1 year hiatus and attempt to sacrifice me to the children of the corn (bad movie reference there), allow me to humbly explain.

A lot of stuff happened in my life during these many many months. Very important things which no doubt carry immensely significant and profound implications for my future  For example, I lost a couple of pounds and Rebecca Black has continued to make soul sucking songs. Seriously. I dare you to try listening to just one of her songs (just one!), but I digress.   

What a lot of you may not know is that I actually moved out of saudia and went back to the USA late last year to finally pursue higher studies. It's been quite a while since I've been back and settling down hasn't been a piece of cake. On top of managing my college applications, taking classes, getting a job, getting an apartment, getting a life (oh snap), and having to remind myself that this isn't saudia where the burgers at Burger King are actually halal, I've also had to prioritize my time to compensate my religious obligations. Don't get me wrong I wuv my country, but it really sucks when your nearest masjid is a 15 minute drive away instead of a 5 minute walk down the street. Baaah but its alright, if other american muslims can manage, then I can too Inshallah.

And just in case you were curious, no I don't live in california. I dunno, apparently everybody thinks anyone who goes to the USA goes to cali for some reason. Maybe Six Flags has finally come out with a mildly comprehensible marketing campaign for once, who knows. I on the other hand actually live in around the Washington DC area in south Maryland. Thats right, east coast represent!

A lot of things have happened this year with the arab uprisings, the recent attacks in oslo, and whatnot, so I'll definitely need to play catch up. Do any you guys use Twitter or Google +? If you do, add me:

Twitter:  yousaf83 
Google +:  RY. S

Oh yea one more thing I might start making some vlogs on youtube as well to accompany my blog. I'll keep you updated on that Inshallah.