Thursday, August 21, 2008

Concerning Moderate Fundamentalism

Ive been asked why I call myself a Moderate Fundamentalist. For some reason people like asking me arb stuff. I'm a pretty simple guy with simple concerns. I guess its because I have a tendency of answering anything people ask. I like strawberry Milkshake. Yeah - I just threw that in there.
OK, coming back to my classification. Its because of two Ayah in the Quran.
Thus We have made you [Muslims] a Wasat (Moderate/ Just) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger Muhammad be a witness over you." (Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 143)
coupled with
And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth God make His Signs clear to you: That ye may be guided. (Surah Al Imran, Verse 103)

I sometimes wonder whether that is a contradiction in a sense (Not the Ayats but my classification) It does seem quite 'oxymoronic', but the way I see it - as long as I act on the fundamental articles of faith, and i'm moderate and just in everything I do, I should be ok. Recently, the term fundamentalist has been used in discourse as a blanket term to describe conservative sects like the Wahabis or the Taleban. Maybe its about time that we reclaimed this term. Fundamentalism as a concept is fairly new (It was first used to describe American Protestants in the early twentieth century) but now we have all these new terms and labels that are thrust upon us in the post 9/11 world. I mean, theres
Militant Islam
Islamo Fascism
Islamic Terrorism

All of this is contrasted with a notion that there is a Moderate Islam out there. American Think Tanks like to push the Suffi agenda because its 'moderate'. There is a war going on inside Islam and many of us are just caught in the crossfire. Its bigger than our petty little differences like whether we stand for salaatus salaam or not (This is such a small issue yet it is always blown out to sucha proportion). Whether or not a fist length beard is waajib or not. Whether we should only use a miswak as opposed to toothpaste.
The thing is - theres always been division and internal conflict- our Greatest Sahaba have been martyred by Muslims. I just read the seerah of Hazrath Muawiya (R.A) and it saddens me. I really want to know how we could be united. I wrote about this before but I want to touch on it again - what if when the the Mahdi appears, and we dont want to follow him because his mannerisms dont resemble our own? There is a daarool Uloom mentality that is washing over us and we becoming so isolated in our own school of thought that we fail to realise that there is an entire world out there of Muslims. Its bigger than us. We all think we are the chosen ones and the other 72 are doomed to hell. Show me the brotherhood in this kind of mentality?
I do not agree with what some Aalims say, but I still respect them. We always fail to realise that the Quran is perfect and that our interpretation is not.
I do not want to be a moderate if being moderate means further division in this Ummah. I do not want to a fundamentalist if a fundamentalist is one that disregards any system but his interpretation of an Islamic One.
I just want to find my place
I know that there is a shift from the beginning of this blog. In a way it captures the dissonance I feel when I try to understand all of this.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Dark Knight - Charou Style

The Movie opens with the Four Big Mafia families sitting down for their monthly Meeting and Biryani. We have the Moodleys, the Bachchans, The Schaiks and the Singhs.

Kuben Moodley: Namaste, Vanakum, Salamalai kum. Welcome one and all. Today we have three scorching issues on the agenda. First we need to check in with our accountant guy, make sure all our bling is stinging. Then we need to have one thunana brainstorming session to get rid of the Batman, and finally we need to decide a date for the annual Mafia family day and thunnee competition.

Lucky Singh: I keep telling you owes, dont trust a China man with our money. One chinese man opened material shop and now half of Chatsworth Centre closed down. same thing will happen in Gotham just now, just you watch and see. Rather give our money to my nephew Sanjeev. He work for KPMG. Big big Business man. He studied the big two - Economics and Accounting.

Schabir Schaik: Hey Lucky you chordu - the only big two your family knows is Jonny Walker and Jack Daniels. Leave the Chinese man with the money, dont give it to a charou to keep. Just now they'l blow it all at one casino. Look how our SBV money vyed like that. We've got bigger shad to fry. How do we deal with the Batman?

Amitabh: My dear brothers in crime, As you all know, Gotham City used to be our town. There was a time, when we ran the place like this (snaps fingers). Twenty years ago I was the Don of Gotham!

Lucky Singh: There we go with the Don story again. (motions to Schaik) Hey Slum ou, pass the sour milk.

Amitabh: As I was saying, the Batman needs to be stopped. In the past three months he has defeated three of our top hitmen. The Halwa Avenger, Mithin Chakraborty and Kali Kavita.

Kuben Moodley: Aye Mithin was like one shining star that fell down. What do we do Big B?

Joker enters, slightly fidgety. Like a charou who downed eight coffees waiting for the sardines to come by.

Joker: Evening Gentlemen

Lucky Singh: This is that Nye that stole from us. Hold me back! Hold me back!

Joker: Easy Bra. Woah tiger. I come with a proposition. An offer. Of sorts.

Amitabh: Wer'e listening

Joker: Its simple really. All we do, is kill the Batman.

Schabir Schaik: What you think we trying to do all this time fella? That thing is harder than Jayas naankathais.

Amitabh: Hey! Leave my vrou out of this.

Joker: Yeah - you'l choon choon choon, but That ou still making your'l jump. Have a think. Heres my card. Mxit number on the other side. Leave one two offline messages. we'l get in touch.
We then move to a court house where District Attorney Harvey Dent is cross examining Gama Singh, the muscle and enforcer for the Singh family.
Harvey Dent: Gama, Is it true that Lucky Singh paid off Vince McMahon to give you the Gotham Wrestling Federation Title? And is it not also true that you repaid Lucky by intimidating Sony Playstation to rename their hit music franchise Singh Star?
Gama : Mere Patha Nahi (I do not know)
Harvey Dent: Never mind that. We have proof. Play the dvd.
Court assistant pushes the play button but the screen remains blank.
Harvey Dent: What is this Hi Fi corp crap? Your honor, Lucky Singh has intentionally installed defective equipment to protect the interests of his family.
Judge Judy: I dont know what youre talking about Mr Dent. Someone delivered an entire Wharfedale Home Theatre System with a Plasma screen to my house last week. It works fine. I'm throwing this out of court on a lack of evidence. Case closed!
Harvey Dent, Commissioner Gordon and Batman team up to capture the Joker. Soon after, Harvey is kidnapped. We join the Commissioner and Batman in the interrogation room.
Joker: Good Evening Commissioner, Kem cho?
Batman: What have you done with Harvey Dent?
Joker: Why So Serious?
Batman: (looks at Gordon) Sirius?
Gordon: (also confused) That kuta from Arry Potter?
Joker: No .. No! Serious. See Ree Yus!
Batman: Seeriyaas! Like the Polka advert. Aye thats a good advert. Gordon, you checked the one with the two charous dallaring their Tazz? Not like my Batmobile though. Yesterday I put one Nitrous and free flow.
Joker: Christ! You two are more incompetent than the SAP kerels. Listen, I got your cherry and that ou Dent locked up. The Cherry is in one SPCA kennel, and if you ask me, its not a moment too soon, and that ou Dent is parking in an abandoned Memsaabs a few roads down. Now i'm not telling you this like a dumb villain in one James Bond movie. You have to make one choice. Save Dent or save the stekkie. Either way i'm going to put for you.
We then witness the most glorious moment in Cinematic history as Maggie Gylenhaal meets her end in an epiphany of flame.
We cut to the hospital where Gordon approaches a disfigured Harvey Dent.
Gordon: Harvey, the doctors say that you dont want any surgery on your burns or anything. have you tried Zam Buk? Can I get you an Ice Pack or huldi or something? I cant look at you bra.
Harvey: Gordon, what was that name you kept for me at the station?
Gordon: What name bra?
Harvey: Gordon! Tell Me!
Gordon: You know how it was. You used to choon this, choon that, so the lighties used to call you Two Face.
There is panic as Joker threatens to destroy teh city. People are being ferried away because its cheaper than driving (petrol price is too high in Gotham). We then cut to a scene where the Jokers voice is played through the loudspeaker of the two ferries.
Joker: Hello. Testing Testing. One Two. This thing on? Good. People of Gotham. I have devised a social experiment of sorts. Both these ferries are rigged with enough explosions to rival Diwali in Mumbai. One Ferry is full of Manchester United fans, and the other Ferry is full of Liverpool fans. There was supposed to be a third ferry full of Arsenal fans but we only have enough owes for a canoe. On board you will find a McGuyver Detonator device. You have till midnight to blow up the other Ferry. Otherwise I will blow up both of you and Chelsea will win the premiership. Now make it sharp. Its Saturday Night and I dont want to miss the E tv movie.
Batman subdues Joker and they have a bit of a chat
Joker: You couldnt let me go, could you? You complete me Batman.
Batman: i'm not a moffie exse. I see that lipstick and all and I dont want you getting ideas. I smaak the cherries.
Joker: No you idiot. I can see why you dont need to pass any tests to be the Batman, youre one retarded fella. Went public school huh. One two many coconuts landed on your head. This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object.
Batman: You mean when Waqar Younis bowls to Inzamam Ul Haq?
Joker: Aargh, I cant take it anymore. Someone please shoot me in the head. This ou is too dom. I give up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Concerning Dua

Dua is a powerful thing.
My friend Nabila shared this dua with me a few weeks ago. I really like it so i'l put up a transliteration here. Let me know if i helps. Its one of those all inclusive duas. Start with Durood Sharif.
Keep me in yours
Aboo Umaamah Al Baahily radhiyallahu anhu has reported that the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wasallam made many du'aa, which we could not memorise. Therefore we mentioned this to him, and he replied, "Shall I tell you a comprehensive du'aa?" Then he said,
"Say: O Allah! I beg of you the good which your Nabee Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam has begged you of. And, I seek your protection from the evil where from your Nabee Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam has sought your protection. You are the one from whom help is sought and it is your responsibility to communicate the truth. There is no power or strength except with Allah, The Exalted, The Great." Tirmizi
Allahumma innin asaluka min khairi ma sa alaka minhu nabiyyuka Muhammadun sallallahualaihi wasallam, wa aoozubika min sharri mastaza minhu nabiyyuka Muhammadun sallallahualaihi wasallam wa antal musta an wa alaikul balagh walahawla walaquwwata illa billah.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Concerning Greed

A journalist from one of the Sunday papers called me last Thursday to get my opinion on the tv show, Aliens in America, so I articulated a fairly meaty response and I spoke to her for about ten minutes about the double entendre in the title (Justin also being an alien along with the Pakistani chap etc) And about salaah in movies.

I find it ridiculous really - that Hollywood will spend months doing continuity work and getting fabrics dyed in a sixteenth century manner to recreate some sense of realism but will cock up Salaah so easily. I mean - they get military advisers to brief them on how to chuck grenades and hold an assault rifle - why cant they get an Imam or someone to advise them on how we pray.

Someone tell me which madhab Morgon Freeman is following in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. In fact - the only movie where the salaah looks more or less correct was at one part in Kingdom of Heaven - but even in that movie they were reading in jamaat but were metres away from each other. Someone needs to create a facebook group called 'Bring Back Jalsa (Tashahud) in Hollywood Movies'. How many movies have you seen where they go straight from Sujud to Taslim.

OK, so coming back to Aliens in America, I tell her all this and on Sunday when I check the paper all she attributes to me is one measly little quote saying that I do not find the show offensive. Damn journalists :).

Which brings me to my next concern - Did anyone flip through the Sunday Times Extra this weekend? catch the Muslim chap with the Masha Allah beard and black topi on the front page?


For those who haven't read the article (click on the link for article and pic), the chap defrauded the tax man for 4 million rand. Again, I am conflicted because on one hand I'm expected to cover the faults of my fellow Muslim brother, but I'm sick and tired of all this shit. Seriously. We read about things like this in the paper and we just shrug it off. It has become so common that it doesn't even fill us with shame or anything. Where did we go wrong? Appearance is not a yard stick for piety.

Why are muslims like this?

Ive heard Moulanas say that we shouldnt pay taxes because we live in a non muslim country. What bullshit is this? The same Kuffar government fixes your street lights and potholes, amongst a myriad of other services. This whole thing reminds me of a Hadith I read in Sahih Muslim

Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said:

"Do you know who is the one who is bankrupt?" They said, "The bankrupt is the one who has no money and no possessions." He said, "Among my ummah, the one who is bankrupt is the one who will come on the Day of Resurrection with prayer and fasting and zakah (to his credit), but he will come having insulted this one, slandered that one, consumed the wealth of this one and shed the blood of that one, and beaten that one. So they will all be given some of his hasanaat, and when his hasanaat run out, before judgement is passed, some of their sins will be taken and cast onto him, then he will be cast into the Fire." [Muslim: 4/1998, hadith no. 2581.]

Whats happening to us? We fight with each other over petty issues, but things like this go uncontested? We live in an age where Ulema are plentiful. We dont need to import any. In fact - we can start exporting them thats how many Ulema there are. There are several Mufti's at my Musjid alone, Yet we live in this moral decay. Dont blame the West or music or mxit or anything like that. Its nothing more than sick greed.

I see so many double standards out there and walaahi it sickens me. Muslims who lock their wives at home and dont let them out but have no problem pushing them in the shop for months when they go on Jamaat. Muslims who neglect their Fardh Salaat but listen to naath the whole day. Muslims who have massive displays with 'Festive Greetings' and 'Merry Christmas' but dont show the same joy for Eid. Forget about that - what about the people who make their Muslim employees work on Eid day while they sit at home. Dont these people deserve to celebrate Eid as well? I understand that in some situations it cant be helped. But in most it can

What about the child who calls the Gardener 'boy' or refers to the Domestic as a 'girl'. Or the people who would give their domestics food that they wont even give their dogs. I would slap my child if they did not respect our helper. But I'm going to make sure they never do. Its the parents that are to blame. Look, We all have our faults and shortcomings and we must have faith that Allah is all merciful, but we need to reflect on whats happening and try to improve ourselves. Do not mistake my concern for 'preachiness' or anything like that. I just feel we need to take stock. I'm so scared that Islam will become like Christianity and we leave it in the Musjid and the rest of the time we arent mindful of our duties to our Creator and our fellow man. I am guided by the MJ benefit principle. Its quite easy really - Before I do anything- I ask myself - Is there any benefit ? I think we fail to realise that by helping others we are actually helping ourselves.

Lots of things swimming in my head - I attended the Association of Muslim Schools (AMS) conference this weekend, a lecture last night by Prof Rasha Al-Disuqi and I had a lot of fun tonight but i'l save those for another blog. I do not want my posts to make for wearisome reading.

I dont want to sound preachy or holier than thou - My faults and flaws are out there for everyone to see. I'm just so sick of whats happening.

Love and Peace


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Why So Serious?

The reason why I am a writer and not a graphic designer (Microsoft Paint you sexy app)
My blog seems very serious as of late, which is weird as i'm generally not that serious at all. So lets rectify this. As many of you probably know by now - I love watching movies and if you want to find me on a Friday night I'l be at Gateway with the Great One watching whichever premiere is out that day. The Dark Knight is my favourite movie of the year and while I do plan on doing a blog on it soon (after a few more people watch it so that I dont have to worry about spoilers) I want to see how it does compared to the other stuff Ive watched in the past three years. Ive compiled a list of my top ten since 2005. Waseem usually criticises my Judging Criteria - for me, the event is also important as good company will inevitably make any movie so much better , so Ive tried to remove that aspect from this list. For me, a good movie is one that has charm - I place more prominence on this than on screenplay, actors, cinematography, narrative etc. Ive watched over two hundred movies (movies released in 2005 onwards) and these titles stand out
10. Salaam Namaste
I loved Saif and Preity in Kal Ho Na Ho and that love was carried over into this charming movie. Not to mention the fact that My Dil Goes mmm was my Holiday song for December 2005
9. Vantage Point
This is a bit of a dark horse but I still remember being totally blown away by it a few months ago. I did a lecture on ideology a week before (different ways of interpreting a single event) so it was great to see Hollywood do something similar
8. Superbad
Funny Shit
7. Jackass 2
Pure entertainment from start to end. Way funnier than Borat
6. Casino Royale
I was very sceptical about Craig playing the role, because he is kinda ugly but dam did that movie sell me. I did a blog on it a few years ago. Heres the link
5. Juno
One of those feel good movies that just leave you coming out of the cinema feeling happy
4. Stardust
This was my 'birthday movie' and had more charm than a bus full of hookers (Ok, so that analogy doesnt make sense but I cant seem to get the image of hookers in red lipstick and fishnet stockings riding in a Yellow school bus out of my head)
3. The Dark Knight
I would not classify this as a Super hero movie because somehow I think that cheapens it somewhat. All I can say is that it raised the bar so high that I doubt any movie in the near future could dethrown it
2. 40 Year Old Virgin
A good indication of a great movie is its impact on popular culture. You know how I know youre gay? Because you like 300 more than this movie. I watch this movie every five months or so, and its still really great.
1. The Departed
This movie was Don!
(Before you ask - I dont rate Borat or 300 that highly. Clerks 2 came in at number 11. Narnia 2 also got the cut sadly)
This is a spur of the moment blog so I might revisit it later if I remember a movie I loved (or if i find something in my archives)