Thursday, October 30, 2008

Concerning Comedy (2)

A few weeks ago I tried my hand at imitating Mitch Hedbergs style. So today I'm going to try recreating Chris Rocks infamous 'Niggas Vs Black People Skit". Let me state that this is for parody purposes only. Also - one of my anonymous readers (AL) who posted a comment in my Concerning Sami piece has asked me to cut down on my swearing so I will. Youre going to have to hear the original if you want to get the tone and pacing of it. Its on Chris Rocks HBO special - Bring the Pain, and it can be found on the Internet (Youtube did pull it off recently though) Here is the opening bit of it.
Slum Ous Vs Muslims
Now we've got a lot of things, a lot of hate in the world right now
Whose more Intolerant? Muslims or Christians?
Muslims....You know why? Cause we hate Muslims too
Everything Christians dont like about Muslims, Muslims really dont like about Muslims. There some shit goin on with Muslims right now. There's like a civil war goin on with Muslims
And there two sides....There's Muslims, and there's Slum Ous. And Slum Ous have got to go. Everytime Muslims wanna have a good time Ignorant ass Slum Ous mess it up.
Can't do shit, cant do shit, without some ignorant ass Slum Ou messin it up.
Cant do nothin.
Cant go to a nasheed concert.
Why?
Cause Slumous are dancing in the front. What kind of ignorant shit is that?
'Hay this is a good naath, this is so good i gotta bust a move in here'.
Hay I love Muslims, but i hate Slum Ous boy, boy i hate Slum Ous. Boy I wish they'd let me join the Tablighi Movement.
Shit I'd do a Jamaat from here to Lenasia.
I'm tired of slum ous man. You cant have shit when you around slum ous
You cant have no comedy show
You can have it but you better call it a Halaal convention
Put a cover charge and a Sanha certificate so Slum Ous think it’s a conference

Tired of slum ous
Tired tired tired tired of slum ous
You know whats the worst thing about slum ous

Slum ous are always wanting some credit for the things they supposed to do
A slum ou will brag about the shit that a normal muslim just does
A slum ou will say some shit like – 'I read my salaah'
You supposed to you dumb motherfucker
What kind of ignorant shit is that?

'I didn’t drink this year'
What ya want
A kajoor?
Ya not supposed to consume haraam you low expectations having mother fucker

You know whats the worst thing about slum ous
The worst thing about slum ous
Slum Ous love not knowing
Nothing make a slum ou happier than not knowing the answer to your question.
Just ask a slum ou a question. Any question. Hey slum ou – whose the third kaliph of Islam. 'I don’t know that stuff, i'm getting virgins'.

Shit – you wanna hide something from Slum Ous– put it into your Kitaabs. Why?
Slumous don’t read.
Books are like kryptonite to a Slum Ou
Give a Slum Ou Bhukari Sharif he'l be like 'Aagh, this isnt Fazaail Amal - I dont read this'.
I'm Tired of this shit

Fie Fi fo fum ou.
Boy I hate a slum ou

I see some of you slum ous looking at me. 'Man ,why you gotta say that? It aint us it’s the media. The media has distorted us to make us look bad'. Please cut the shit ok. When I board an aeroplane. I aint looking over my back for the media. I’m looking for slum ous.

Shit – Deborah Patta never threatened me with Jahanam.
Slum ous have

You know what. I need to go back to madressah. Let me stop lying. I need to go to madressah.
Let me tell you – if youre muslim. You get more respect coming out of Wrap it up than you do out of madressah.

You could be a Mufti – slum ous don’t care. They'l be like 'Smarty ass moron. Let me ask you this let me ask you this – how long is your beard?'

Now we have these fly by night Aalim clourse. You know its nonsense. Let me guess. I can put four years of Daarul Uloom into a six month course. You know why they call it fly by night Madressah – because once you done they fly you out to outlying areas where all you need to do is teach people how to make whudu and drill bore holes

As soon as you get your fly by night qualification someone always has the nerve to say ‘now you can go to Al Azhar University'.

Slow down!
I think its obvious Madressah was busting my ass.

I was in Daarul Uloom. So I said let me take some classes. So I said I’l do Muslim history. Got to know this. Right. I’m Muslim. I’l get a B just for showing up. Right
Wrong. Failed.it. aint that some shit. A muslim Man failing Muslim History.
Failed Muslim History. Why? Because I didn’t know shit about Muslim History. All I know about Muslim History is that someone took a walk to India and made my forefathers Muslim.
MJ
(I'd love to know how many people read my stuff - i'm guessing thirty max. If you do, can you say Hi on my chatbox, or leave a comment or send me an e-mail or something)
Going for Riaad Moosa tonight :) Should be fun.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Concerning Blogging

Blogging is a past time much like any other. We go through phases where we think its the best thing ever, and bash our F5 key in every few minutes in the hope that someone has commented on our latest piece to tell us how awesome we are. We also go through phases where we feel vulnerable and naked when our posts are put up to scrutiny. We develop our little in jokes, as a nod to each other. Our little blogging community. Everyone kinda knows why I started blogging so I wont get into it here. But as I sit in front of my PC and reflect on all the experiences Ive had - I feel I need to articulate or frame my blog so that new readers know what guides me.

Firstly - I am vehemently against plagiarism. I dislike blogs which consist of unreferenced stuff that the blogger lifted from the net. I remember a chap who used to post stuff from the net, without any referencing, and when I left a comment on his posts taking a snide shot at his blatant deception he removed comments from his blog :) You lose your voice when you only copy and paste.

I will never post anonymously. I stand by everything I write.

I have a responsibility as a writer. A responsibility to try and verify what I read or hear before I post. Misinformation is horrible and with new media like the internet making it so simple to spread - I have to be responsible about what I type.

Being a Muslim blogger comes with its own complications because we live in an age where if a Muslim does something, then Islam goes on trial. I would love to be a role model that will influence non muslims to negotiate with their misunderstandings/prejudice/stereotypes. But i'm not. I try to be a good person but I'm flawed so I dont know what people take from my blog. I'm constantly questioning. Sure I might write pieces about Muslims and some of it will be negative - but I do wish it isnt taken out of context and that it isnt use to blanket condemn Islam.

Like most bloggers, I am slightly vain. Are there bloggers who arent? We all love reading our own stuff (discussed this with SingleGuy over Nandos last week)

This brings me to my next point - wonderful friendships have developed out of blogging, and I love the little blog meets that we have. It adds the human element to a virtual past time.

Finally - I hate anonymous comments. I even messed around with a Cyanide and Happiness cartoon (editing the face etc) to show how much I hate it.

I dont believe in censorship and I'l only remove a comment if it hurts a loved one.

Yeah - so thats me. Let me take this opportunity to welcome the new bloggers (guys who started this year)- Khadija, Aasia, Charmed, QK, Morena, Azra, WiP, Nooj, Neilfa, Lubna - welcome to our little community. (I know i'm prob leaving people out - please let me know so I can update this. I hate being excluded and I hate excluding people.

My guidelines are for me alone.

MJ

New idea for a T shirt - let me know what you think.

Front

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Shiraz :D

(Originally this picture was going to be used for a post called Waeeem the Pimp and his two Hoes)
One of the highlights of blogging is that it introduced me to the Dawood family :)
Every Friday Night I have a routine - I go to Gateway with Shiraz, Waseem and Yuraaz - have supper, catch the latest movie and then head back to their place for Call of Duty, Smackdown, Halo and Viva Pinata.
Even though it has become routine I still look forward to it every week :)
Happy birthday Shiraz. Hope its awesome mate
MJ
P.S Mums Operation went very well - they discharged her a few hours ago. I'm really touched by all the well wishes and smses and stuff from my blogger friends. Thanks guys :) She has a patch/ cotton wool thing over her eye so i'm calling her Captain Jack Dajjal Sparrow .
Happy Deepavali/Diwali/Divali to all my Hindu readers.
My friend still has those three tickets for tomorrows stand up comedy with Dr Riaad Moosa if anyone is keen

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Concerning Sami (2)

I did the whole groupy* thing yesterday and travelled to Johannesburg with a bunch of Oasis peeps, a few Minds Alive chaps, a few MSA peeps and some kids. I managed to convince the Great One to join me on Friday night so he and Yuraaz came along.

Before I continue - I watched Max Payne on friday night and I thought it was awful! Whats up with movies based on games. I blogged about this last year and my thoughts havent changed at all.

So we end up waiting a few hours at the Hilton because the guy with the bus couldnt take it out of his yard because of Mud and stuff. I must have missed Friday Nights Monsoon floods I think. So anyway - they got another bus for us so its all good. End of the day Oasis took us for free so i dont think I should bitch about this.


The drive itself was long. Painstakingly long. There were a few tv's in the bus but they were showing National Treasure on the screens so thank God I took my psp and Ipod. National Treasure just sucks ass. It was cold. Really really cold. And we were tired - Waseem and I spent the entire friday night playing Call of Duty 4 and TNA impact so we probably got an hour of sleep before getting to the Hilton.

(Had a pic here but I removed it as you cant read the writing so its pointless)

We get to the Coca Cola Dome around helf eight or so, and I was surprised to see just how many people actually pitched up. I'm lucky in that I experienced the show in Durban so i could compare it to the JHB one.
The first thing I noticed was that it took a while for the crowd to start singing along. Its not like people didnt know the words (it picked up later) I gues there was an initial hesitation thats natural. The biggest thing for me is that while I enjoyed the show again, I wasnt moved spiritually at all this time around. And I discussed this with a few bloggers after the show, and I realised why the first show had such an impact on me - it was because I was sitting next to my dad. No disrespect to the guys I was next to, the MSA guys from Durban are a wonderful lot - we got our Salaahs at every stop, as soon as we reached the Coca Cola Dome we read Esha, no one was messing around in the back of the bus (it wasnt like we were supervised or anything) but it hadnt moved me like the Durban show. I think if my dad was next to me again, I would have been moved. Its like this for everything I guess. The year my parents went for Haj, the Eid salaah wasnt the same. I think this is why its important I find a partner who benefits me spiritualy (as well as give me amazing sex)
Nonetheless it was a wonderful show. I was uncomfortable in Durban when a bunch of people went up to the front and started clapping, and I was more uncomfortable when I saw the same thing happen in Johannesburg. It wasnt so much the numbers (more people in arena hence proportionately more people going to the front) but rather the other things that were happening. A girl gave Sami a rose and he took it, smelt ot kissed it (im not sure) and then put it on his Piano. I discussed this with a friend on the way back and she said that it just perpetuated this 'pop-culture superstar' mentality that I feel needs to be removed from these sorts of events. She said he should have ignored the girl with teh rose. I said he should have taken it and given it to one of the band members - drummer was too cool - he should have got it) I see similar things happening in Pakistan with Uwais Qadri. There is benefit to attending his Naath programmes, but I am worried that we are putting these performers on a pedestal, and by constructing them as Superstars we are destroying the point of all of this. With Uwais - lots of young guys are now donning the Turban (which is a Sunnah of our beloved Prophet peace and blessings be upon him) but at the same time - its what Fuzail likes to call the Bling Bling Turban - with fancy beadwork and whatnot. Another distressing point is somethign my friend pointed out to me yesterday - that now Imams are signed on to recording labels and because of that, everything must go through their managers. She experienced this at a conference in London when she wanted to interview a respected scholar. What is this? I disagree with Celebrity mentality. Do we blame society for creating this, or do we blame promoters for constructing individuals as superstars? Concerning Sami - I maintain that he is a wonderful chap, and was very humble when I spoke to him. Something to think about.
I think we are struggling with semantic issues. Is it Islam and entertainment, Islamic entertainment. Entertainment in Islam? Muslim entertainment? Is there a place for entertainment in Islam? Recently we have seen an emergence of nasheed as an alternative to mainstream music. Also - we now have Muslim comedy shows and other things. Now, entertainment in the Muslim world must not be seen as something new per se just because we havent read up or explored the history of this. I will do an entire blog on this once I feel I have read up sufficiently on it.
I am pleased that the people who comment on my posts do so intelligently and respect another commenters.
This is what I would have done if I was Oasis
1. There were salaah facilities available, so the MC should have pointed it out to the folks
2. I would have got a Muslim comedian as the opening act (ive mentioned this in my last post how I didnt like Murugen at all)
3. I would have kept the band - I have no issues with that
4. I'm also cool with clapping ( I mentioned this in two previous blogs - Fatwa from Shaykh Salman Al Ouda) but I would have asked people not to come to stand in the front, or at the very least intermingle.
5. We need to know our limits - so I would have asked people not to hold up lighters (there is benefit in clapping and singing along - but no benefit in holding up a lighter. Moderation is the key.)
6. I would have had the vote of thanks after the last track, or if I was scared of losing the crowd I would have got someone more eloquent to deliver it. The Oasis guy on stage really needs to learn public speaking.
7. Kudos to Oasis for putting jugs in the toilets. Ten points for this.
I have avoided discussing the whole 'Music is Haraam' issue and I have done so intentionally. I have mentioned it numerous times on my blog, however, if someone is interested on the ruling I follow, I will post the issues up on my comments page.
The whole Sami Yusuf thing has shown me that we still have alot of work to do when it comes to engaging which each other. I believe in the MJ benefit theory, and I also believe that if one has doubt in something after researching it and consulting their respective ulema, then its best to abstain. If it is an issue where there is difference of opinion amongst the fuquhah - like music, or photography for instance - one should respect the views of other Ulema. I think the Ulema also need to have respect for one another when engaging in issues where there is difference of opinion. I do not want anyone to misinterpret me, there are some issues which are clear cut - you cannot drink alcohol. Finished. No one is saying that if a Mufti says you can have a shot now and then, its ok then that is difference of opinion. Im not saying that.
All i'm saying is that we should always reflect on our intentions, reflect on the benefit of our actions, and try to be good people. We fight over small things, and do not realise that we agree on ninety percent of everything else.
* Like the word concert, i define groupy by its first meaning - an enthusiastic young fan.
MJ
My mum is going for an eye operation in the morning, so please keep her in your duaas. Its linked to her diabetes. The doctor says its a standard operation with little chance of complications but I am still worried about it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Concerning Sami

His voice mesmerised me.

His humility delighted me.

His smile warmed me.



Tonight I dont mind sounding a little gay because I got a chance to spend a few hours with one of the most talented people in the world. Thats a bit ambitious isnt it. To call Sami Yusuf one of the most talented people on Earth - I mean - if you had to compile a list of talented people today - it'l be Phelps, Messi, the guy who made Bioshock (Levine), Randy Orton (yeah - he's up there), and I would put Sami with them. There has been a lot of flak around this particular show - just yesterday my mum was smiling and telling me about the rumour that there will be an earthquake in Durban tonight because of the concert. The Yvonne Ridley e-mail has been doing the rounds as well (ive commented on this debate two years ago and I will comment again on it ABR) So lets do a quick recap of the night.






I remember first listening to Sami's music in 2003. My friend at radio Al Ansaar downloaded a few of his tracks and played them for me at the Souk. At first I was like - even though this guy is stealing Nusrats stuff, the xylophone kicks ass. I loved it. The up beat tracks. the mellow dhikr inspired tracks. I just couldnt get enough of it. I remember January 2006 when I was in Dubai, I came across his second CD 'My Ummah' and I bought both the musical and duff versions. I was so excited that I found the CD that I immediately went back to my hotel so I could load it on my laptop. Mum wasnt too thrilled as that was supposed to be Cloak time for her. As you can imagine - tonight was a big deal for me :)






So people will say that this is haraam, and concerts are imitating the West and we are all going to turn into swines and monkeys (btw Mufti Muhajir Makki refutes this idea in his tafseer of the Quran by saying that no one in this Ummah will be transfigured) but I felt more spiritual tonight than I have felt since coming out of Itikaf. It really was magical. As soon as Sami walked off the stage I hugged my dad. It was that powerful.






The show started late - which sucked! But the timing was a little silly. I mean - half past seven? Thats Esha time (I'm a hypocrite as I dont usually read Esha on time anyway but most people do) The MC/opening act/Comedian sucked - Muthu Murugans less famous brother (kinda like that episode of South Park where they had Jon Stamoses's brother) I looked at this guy on stage and I thought to myself - I could so do a better job. But yet - the audience loved his stuff. Even though he made so many mistakes and his stuff wasnt culturally relevant, and some jokes did border on crude, they lapped it up. The guy kept calling Amichand Rajbansi Amitabh (silent BH) - No mate, thats Bachchan. But he got laughs so Kudos to him. Next up was the Oasis CEO who came in with a Blue Bulls flag. It was really funny as you could sense that the rugby reference was lost on the majority of the crowd. After that they played a long ass Oasis video - an Epic Video! I felt like I needed an intermission just to get through the whole thing. But this is the price we pay for Sami so it was worth it. Good video - at the end of it I was like 'Shit - please invest my money mr Oasis Man'.






Nielfa did a wonderful blog on the concert so I wont repeat that stuff suffice to say - The guy played at least four instruments during his performance and he played each one like a Jedi Master. You could put a cheese grater and some pebbles in his hands and he'l make it sound like Spur Buffalo wings for your ears. When he played the santoor (whatever the hell that is - looks like a xylophone had sex with one of those old school desks with the lids on them.) it sounded so beautiful that I have no yearning to get a violin anymore. I want a Santoor.






Half way through his performance he invited on stage a local Choir (I cant quite remember their name but they are from an AIDS orphanage near Pinetown) This was amazing! To see Sami perform with them. Most artists condescend towards their audiences with cheap pops by saying Hello in the native tongue - anyone remember Hrithik Roshan messing up with Dumelang at the IIFA's a few years ago? Sami sang bits of the Zulu song with them and it was really beautiful. By this time I imagine you might be quite sick of reading my praises for him but i really dont care.






There was a point when a couple of youngsters went to the front and started clapping. The Oasis guys were quick to tell them to cool down - and i'm sure some people in the audience must have been a little uncomfortable with it. I was a little. However - its all quite simple really - Its about choice - no one held a gun to my head and forced me to go to the front and scream. So I sat on my seat and enjoyed the show. I would rather have them in the front singing along to Allahu than at the Himesh Rishamiyah (spelling?) concert singing along to his version of As Salaam U Alaikum.






Sami's Band was amazing. My family is in the Sound and Decor business so Ive been to at least a hundred shows in my life. Never before have I seen a band that played so beautifully together.Not a single mis cue or a missed beat whatsoever. Absolutely superb. The sound volume was also really good (not too soft like Chris Rock so we couldnt hear anything, and neither too loud so it felt like a Rock concert)






After the show I got a chance to meet him, and while I was there I just sat back and observed him. You could see that the guy was exhausted yet he spent all his time meeting people, posing for pictures, getting their names right, and even looking each person in the eye when they shook hands with him. Here is one of the leading artists in the Nasheed world, and yet so warm and generous, that you cant help but be in awe. I find this same warmth in Dawud Warnsby Ali, so its mind boggling how our local chaps will release one Naath CD and develop these huge egos.




Theres too many pics of me on this blog, so for a change I'm putting one up of my dad next to Sami.


MJ

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fatwas in the Age of Final Fantasy - Some thoughts on Video Games and Islam

What follows below are just a few thoughts that emerged out of the latest Video game controversy, the LittleBigPlanet soundtrack saga. I will explore this issue in more depth in my next blog. for now I will just touch on a few things.
I spent my day going through about 30 articles and about 550 comments around this whole issue. Here is a link for those who have no idea what i'm talking about, but if youre half assed to click the link i'l give a quick summary.
There is a PS3 game that was supposed to be released in America this week called LittleBigPlanet, but it was delayed last week as Sony recalled all copies because of a complaint by a Muslim Gamer (playing a test copy) that the game contained verses from the Quran. Now theres alot of bullshit on the net about the content, but this is whats there.
On the 'Swinging Safari' stage, there is a song by Mali-born singer Toumani Diabate called 'Tapha Niang' (released two years ago) and two of the phrases used are from the Quran - kollo nafsin tha'iqatol mawt" - 'Every soul shall have the taste of death, and kollo man alaiha fan"- 'All that is on earth will perish') If you want, you can listen to the song here - its quite cool. Taken in the context of the song, its about the mortality of man - A theme that runs through the Quran and isnt blasphemous in any sense whatsoever.
As you can imagine - there is a huge backlash around this as people were anticipating this game (this game is one of two reasons why I would buy a PS3, the other being MGS4) and alot of ignorant cunts are equating this to the Denmark saga and probably think Osama will be using this in his next Video - Death to Crash Bandicoot and all that. American Gamers are defending their Freedom of speech passionately (even though this is a British made game developed for a Japanese console for commercial gain)
So - what are my thoughts.
Firstly - I am not offended whatsoever by the song and I do believe that having a recall so late in the production cycle is counterproductive (not to sales mind you - any publicity is good publicity) Before anyone admonishes me for not being offended one must understand the context - Toumani Diabate is a devout Muslim (the guy has a salaah room next to his office) and his songs reflect his spirituality. He has popularised the Kora (a West African Harp - have a listen to this track - its amazing - Elyne Road) and the use of this cultural instrument is comparable to the early muslims use of the Daff, Qawali artists use of the Tabla, Dawud Warsnby Alis use of the Guitar or Sami Yusuf's use of the Piano - as you can see - different culutres, different instruments. A track which introduced me to this genre of music is 'Alibaba' from a CD called Sound of the Maghreb and you can hear a sample of the Azaan (Haya Alla salaah) playing in the track - This track could probably be tantamount to blasphemy for many of my readers but is it fair to apply our interpretation of what it means to be Muslim to a foreign culture? The extension of this is - is naath the only permissible means of expression? I want to explore this idea further (touching on Junaid Jamshed etc but let me get back to LittleBigPlanet. One more thing before I go on - Have a listen to Durban Based group Waahids first CD (Im friends with the guys so I dont think they'l mind this) Listen to the track rabbana - The original was verbatim from the Quran, and only after a Cape Town Moulana (I stand to be corrected but I remember this from the Souk two years ago -I'm sitting next t o Nazjam for Sami Yusuf tomorrow so i'l ask him) brought this up, they changed one word to make it 'halaal'. One more example before I go - If you have a Nokia N95 8 gig - Listen to the music that was installed on the phone (Africa Calling) Two of the tracks have bits from the Quran in them - do we boycott Nokia?
This however is not a review of music, and nor do I want my comments to be highjacked by the 'Music is haraam' brigade (I respect that position but this is not the post for those comments) I want to look at this issue from one guiding principle - Benefit.
Firstly, I need to point out that this isnt a clear cut issue - there are pros and cons to both sides. Granted, some Muslims would be offended by the song (although honestly - Listen to the track, while you imagine you are immersed in the game and tell me whether you can pick out the bits if you werent looking out for them) but this could possibly close the door to any Muslim artist hoping for coverage on the fastest growing media inthe world. Also, this game is largely driven by user created content and I predict thousands of anti muslim stages being created by gamers (just adding to the cycle of Islamophobia) that is so prevalent today. I came across a few comments where the guys are already discussing how they would do this - Would they have done this if the game wasnt pulled so late?
Copies of the games that are already on the market (sold by retailers who didnt keep to the original launch date) are being sold on Ebay for up to R2500, so we know that there is demand for it.
Are we as muslims becoming too sensitive? Last year Sony got into trouble from the Church of England because one of its games (Resistance: Fall of man) modelled a stage after the Manchester Cathedral, and the Church was upset that it recreated Scenes of violence in the Church. Sony apologised, but did not recall the game. I'm trying my best not to sound cynical but what if, what if it wasnt the Manchester Cathedral but a famous Musjid? Please dont misunderstand me now - We need to defend our faith when it is wronged and I also believe that Freedom of Expression isnt an absolute, but are we unwittingly being dragged into a quagmire of sorts where our reactions are not only anticipated, but are counterproductive to the tenets of Islam as well? In a more general sense, are we hypocrites for defending only Rasulullah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) but not saying a word when any other prophets are insulted?
As Ibraheem Hoop (National director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations) has stated with regards to the recall "Many Americans already feel that Muslims want to censor everything".
We love to harp on about how one fifth of the Worlds population are Muslim but have you ever sat back and looked at the way we are depicted in media like Video games? Apart from a handful of titles (even that many is pushing it) Muslims are portrayed as a combination of the exotic and Huntingtons wet dream. Who do we blame for this? Surely video game makers are drawing from what they see (see being the collective sum of cognitive dissonance, actions of a few muslims, and media influences.) Finally we have a chance for positive engagement through gaming, even if it is in the form of 'World Music' which seems so kitsch these days, and it is removed. Here goes any chance of experiencing Islam in gaming as anything except the 'Other' which is to be feared.
A conspiracy theory could be that it was removed because Right Wing Christian Gamers wouldnt want games with Quranic Ayats in them, and while this is plausible I wouldnt really use this as an argument.
While I'm rambling about censorship in games, let me quickly touch on two examples where Ive agreed with the censorship and recall. Five years ago Microsoft recalled copies of a crappy fighting game called Kakuto Chojin because one of the fighters was a Muslim chap and his theme song had verses from the Quran in it. So why am I cool with LittleBigPlanet but not with this - Because of context. Diabate knows what he is singing about and it isnt offensive to muslims (and neither was there a huge outcry about the song until now - and dont tell me its some obscure song just because you havent heard it before - the guy won a frikkin Grammy and is considered to be one of the African greats of World Music), the Japanese programmers who developed the fighting game on the other hand probably just inserted it out of ignorance because they thought it was cool. Heres a link of the video if anyone is keen.
The second example is one that was picked up in production and removed after CAIR contacted Capcom. Its from the Wii Game Zak and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros Treasure and I am glad it was edited because there were some cannibals/barbarians circling a totem pole and as soon as a voice shouts Allahu Akbar they all prostrate towards the pole. no prizes for figuring out where they got the inspiration for this one. I'l embed the video on this blog so you can check it out - Listen for it at around 20 seconds or so.
As ive stated earlier - this is merely an unstructured post to create debate and introduce people to issues of censorship in gaming. As with all my posts, you are welcome to disagree with me, however - construct an argument and i'l respond to it. If you agree with anything, let me know (because sometimes I fear that my concerns are a bit left field).
I'l pick this up in my next post where i look at Aladdin etc.
MJ


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Concerning Billboards

I was discussing Obama today with one of the coolest guys I met at the MSA camp and I brought up Obamas new strategy to appeal to younger voters - placing billboard ads in Video Games. I mean, marketers are increasingly turning to in game advertising as a means of connecting with the highly sought after 18 - 35 group.

So i was thinking - since this is all done on a rotational basis on Xbox Live, can you imagine a future where you are playing online in the late afternoon and you see something like this

Close up of my crappy Microsoft paint two minute jobby (I found the little stick guy online)

So chances are that it might not evoke behaviour change but at least its a reminder of sorts. Just a little nudge.

MJ

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Singstar Nasheeds (Infomercial)


Are you tired of seeing your kids imitate the West? Is your daughter a Britney Spears Wannabe? Is your son tuned into Youtube and tuned out of Yusuf Islam? Do they spend hours every day playing violent video games that contain Haraam acts?

If so, You need Singstar Nasheeds!

Thats right Folks. The only Video Game endorsed by Shaikh Waja Mama Gaivyaa of the Muslim Judicial Council is finally here. Now you and your family can spend hours bonding and having halaal fun singing along to the greatest collection of Nasheeds in the whole Dunyaa. Learn about your deen as you try to sing along to hits like A is for Allah by Yusuf Islam and Ya Adheeman by Ahmed Bhukatir. Local Nasheed Superstars like Zain Bhikha also feature in this groundbreaking game available exclusively on Sony's Playstation 3 console.

Say Goodbye to Sam Boylan and Salaams To Sami Yusuf
Singstar Naath coming soon
Please Note - Certain Nasheeds do contain Musical Instruments.
This product is not for sale in Camperdown, Isipingo Hills or Stanger.

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Was going to do my top twenty Nasheed list but I thought I'd have some fun and do a quick infomercial first. I know the box art is very sucky but I had to do it in Microsoft Paint as I have no idea how to use my photoshop! First thing you will notice is that Ive bumped up this tally to 20 nasheeds as i couldnt decide on just ten. I got into Nasheeds about ten years ago, and since then Ive co presented a Listener request show on radio, did some presenting at Muslim Concerts and I got a chance to perform a few nasheeds on stage as well. You can hear samples of most of the nasheeds on my list at The Nasheed Shop, so check it out if you get a chance. Lets get into the top 20.

20. Yusuf Islam - Tala Al Badru Alaina
19. Aashiq Al Rasul - Intercession
18. Nazeel Azami - Heart to Heart
17. Iman - Rope of allah
16. MPAC - Love of the Prophet
15. Noor - Salla Allahu Ala Muhammed
14. Kamal Uddin - His Name is Muhammed
13. Sami Yusuf - Allahu
12. Zain Bhikha - Cant Take it with You
11. Native Deen - Small Deeds
10. Ahmed Bhukatir - Zawjati
9. Dawud Wharnsby Ali - Sing Children of the World
8. Rayhan and Y Islam - Seal of the Prophets
7. Noor - All for You
6. Mohammad Al Husayan - Qasida Burdah
5. Native Deen - Intentions
4. Ahmed Bhukatir - Ya Adheema (Ahrakathna)
3. Zain Bhikha and Dawud - Allah Knows
2. Zain Bhikha - Praise to the Prophet (Our World Mix)
1. Native Deen and Zain Bhikha - Zamilooni

As always - You can agree or disagree with me - I dont mind at all :)
MJ
The Beard survives another week :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Concerning Dance Classics

I was watching telly the other day and I saw an advert for a classic Dance Anthems CD/DVD combo and it got me thinking - most of the songs that were on the list were
A) not Classics (I define Classic as any song released in the late Nineties period during the hey day of the Dance movement) and B) They were just recent and crappy.
Dance music was probably the first genre of music that I was really into (before the Rock and Nasheed Age) and the list below represents my favourite Dance Classics of all Time. I am making a distinction between Dance and Hard House (i'l do a Hard House list in the future).
Because i'm only picking ten Ive had to limit results quite substantially. It is because of this that I have not included amazing tracks like FatBoy Slims 'Right Here right Now', KernKraft 400's Zombie Nation, ATB's 9 pm till I Come and Soniques Feel So Good.
10. DJ Sakin - Protect your Mind (Braveheart)
I choose this over Lisa Gerrards Gladiator Dance track any day. Best version was on Bump 4. Which leads me to
9. Miss Jane - Fine Day (ATB Mix)
I won a copy of Bump 4 in 1999 and I still think its the best Bump CD ever released. They are on Bump 25 or something now (its getting ridiculous) I probably played this track more than any other.
8. Darude - Sandstorm
Arguably the best song to listen to if you want to drive aggressively. This songs need to be in the next Burnout game.
7. Robert Miles - Children
The song that introduced me to Dance Music.
6. Faithless - God is a DJ
I'm probably going to get Flak for this one as most peoplt think Insomnia is better. But I prefer this track. Insomnia is awesome, and a classic no doubt. But theres something about this track that makes you want to dance.
5. IIO - At The End
I love all of IIO's songs, especially this one. Heres the chorus (I posted it on my blog a few months ago)
4. Heatseeker - Explicit (aka that song from Blade)
Little known fact about this song - 8 years ago some Kid (Ricky Husband - 16) O'Deeeed at a rave at the Playhouse and they played this track for him at his funeral.
3. Paul van Dyk - For an Angel
Ive got every PvD cd from 1994 or so (thanks to a brother in law who idolises this guy. i'm just missing Politics of Dance 2 I think) and this is my favourite track.
2. Delirium - Silence (Tiestos Mix)
Stunning Track
1. 4 Strings - Take Me Away (Into the Night)
This is one of those songs that make me :) everytime I hear it.
Let me know if you agree or disagree, and whether I have made unforgivable omissions.
MJ enjoys balance so the next list will be my Tope Ten Nasheeds blog.
MJ

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Concerning Gurus

adapted from cyanide and happiness



Havent watched this one yet, but I just know its going to suck balls. Will probably catch it on Tuesday. Half Price.


MJ

I hope this pic gets bigger when you click on it, I could never figure out how blogger decides which pics to enlarge and which not to

Friday, October 10, 2008

Concerning Cokelore (updated)

Three things that irritate me.

1) I got so mad the other day because someone I know gave his toddler a pack of play cigarettes as a gift. The child is the same age as my nephew and now thinks its so cool that he can smoke 'just like daddy'. Its one thing to have a filthy habit, but its another thing altogether to give your child a pack of play cigarettes. I think its irresponsible parenting and it makes me sick. These arent the sweets, but a real toy which has powder to represent smoke

2) I'm a month late with this but whats up with the Sunni Jamiatul Ulema starting Ramadan a day late? I'l be irritated the day I go to a musjid and theres a collection going around so that the community can send a trustee to go see the moon with his own eyes. Its ridiculous really. You guys are part of the The United Ulama Council of South Africa, so why divide the community on issues like this?

3) I stumbled across a facebook group last night called "The Thruth behind Mxits Logo" (Unedited spelling)






I mean really now, what the hell. The creator of the group is someone called Gulaab Jamoo and you know what my feelings are concerning anonymous people who start groups and stuff, and on the wall he keeps going on about how Mxit was created by an American Jew to enslave Muslims and all that crap.


First of all - it was created by a South African chap named Herman Heunis (originally from Namibia). The guy goes on about how much sin we are getting for using mxit while we are in the toilet because it contains the name of Allah. This stuff belongs on our fake news site . I'm reading some of the wall posts and I think to myself - are our youth that retarded?

This reminds me of the whole Coke is 'La Mecca La Muhammed' thing - Click here to read about it. Cutting this blog short as I need to make plans for tonight

*UPDATE*


So i'm sitting here at around quarter to six in the morning watching Smallville and I just realised something - Have a look at the logo for the CW channel (merger between UPN and WB - they broadcast Smallville, Supernatural, One Tree Hill etc) Have a look at their logo - What does that look like to you? It has an Aleef and everything!




See how ridiculous this all is? Is someone going to tell me that some crazy American Jew is behind this as well? Damn I'm proud of my find :) I should create a retarded facebook group


Love and Peace


MJ

Concerning Itikaf

Its amazing how the Musjid changes in just a few hours. From the period between Asr and Maghrib. At first (Asr time) it embraces you, but once you make your niyyat and walk in (maghrib time), it kinda contains you. And in this containment I think I found myself again.
I sat with two old guys, which was perfect as it allowed me to spend the maximum time alone to reflect on my life and my faith. The clarity you get at half past one in the morning when you are sitting alone in the centre of the Musjid is unparalleled. A sort of contradiction that makes sense. Alone. But comforted.
This was probably the best Itikaf ive had yet. I didnt waste time speaking about any worldly affairs, and while I didnt get as much reading in as I wanted to (last year I read the Entire Fazaail Amaal as well as completed Maududis translation of the Quran) I felt the quality of my Itikaf was better.
For me the biggest thing in the world is not to do anything with pride in my heart. So im constantly questioning everything I do. So at first I used to sit outside my tent five minutes before the Azaan (didnt want to 'show' the musallees I was sitting for Itikaf. But after a few days everyone kinda figured out - three things gave it away - My moustache was growing, My hair was greasy from not washing it and I was there every morning for fajr Salaah!
I managed to finish a Tafseer of the Quran which I had started last Ramadan so that was cool, but what I really enjoyed was a compilation of Hadith called Al Hadis by Moulana Karim (published in 1939) and what this chap did was he took the Sitah Sharif (the six authentic books of hadith) and he compiled a set of books with different chapters in them outlining specific issues.
I remember reading the chapter on the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم) character and it really made me reflect. Before I used to read durood sharif and send salaam to the Prophet ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) because it was something I grew up with, institutionalized in a sense. At Madressah I was taught to say it, mum and dad kept reminding me, then I read that according to the madhab I follow it is waajib to say it (the first time) so maybe I started saying it a bit out of fear, But after reading that chapter I felt as if I knew him intimately and it created a sort of love where I wanted to send as many Durood upon him as I could (I know that I benefit more by sending Durood) I know you might be thinking that its a bit late in my life to come to this realisation ( I just turned 26 and ive been a Muslim my entire life) but hey, its never too late.
The way that Itikaf works is that if they spot the moon on the 29th Night, we leave the Musjid after esha, but if they dont spot the moon, we leave after the Maghrib the next night. I remember reading my Nafl salaah (Maghrib) on the night we were leaving the Musjid (night before Eid) and then it hit me - Just a day ago, this salaah gave me the Reward of a fardh act, but now its just giving me the usual reward.
The reason for sitting for Itikaf is to look for Laylatul Qadr which is to be found in the last ten days of Ramadan. I have a problem with musjids who say they are observing Laylatul Qadr on the 27th night because what this does is that people only come to the musjid on this one night and theres no guarantee that the 27th night is Laylatul Qadr. We should move away from this type of thinking. I also think that the Katamul Quran should take place on the 29th Night, but its 'convenient' to have it on the 27th night so I dont see this changing anytime soon. Also- I know that we are supposed to search during the Odd nights, but what if Saudi had Laylatul Qadr on say the 25th Night, which is our 24th Night - How does it work then? best thing to do - Look within the ten days.
Ive been out for over a week now and i'm still feeling awesome. So this ones for all my friends who make me feel special. MJ feels loved =). I feel recharged and content. I
Love, Peace and Pista Burfee
MJ
I made pepperoncino last night and it tasted just like Caminettos :) Will post the recipe up on the food blog in a few days.
I havent shaved my beard yet - I've grown rather attached to it and it pleases dad so i'l keep it for a few more days.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Concerning Identity


I wonder if he knows that he is green

and if he is smiling inspite or because of it.

I wonder if he would smile all the time ...

if he had a choice

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Concerning Solitary Confinement

Last Tuesday I got stuck in one of the Musjid toilets :) True Story


Was a fun little dilemma so might as well mention it.


Firstly - It all started at Iftaar time. At the Musjid where I sat they give the Musallees this Arabian Coffee with which to break their fast with. Its called Ghawa or something and its awful. Imagine hot water mixed with err I cant even describe it to you.. Med Lemon! Without the Lemon taste. Now, I had a problem because this thing tasted horrible and I couldnt find any pot plants in which to empty it in so I had to drink it.


Obviously my tummy was like "i'm not letting this crap mix with the coke and kajoor and I had to go to the toilet. So I got in, closed the door, and then after I was done, it refused to open.


Normally I'd just run into the door a few times until my shoulder pains and then i'l log onto mxit and wait for someone to come,but the only problem was - my phone wasn't with me (I say normally as if this kinda thing happens often - it doesnt)


Being a media Student, I decided to test the theory that you imitate what you see on TV.


So First I thought Gears of War, and I kicked the Door with all my might but it refused to move. Which was weird because in the game, all you do is press x and the main guy can kick down Steel Doors.


Next I thought Prison Break But I couldn't find any proper paper to make an Origami Swan so i decided to trash that Idea.


Perhaps I was limiting myself to recent media. Maybe I had to think of stuff I watched in the past to help me.


So I decided to think like MacGuyver - I looked around for everyday materials that I could combine together to make a chainsaw to cut the door open. All I found was a watering can so I had to ditch that idea.


Then I thought - i could be like Hiro and teleport to outside the toilet, but I need to concentrate really hard because I cant teleport out of the Musjid as it would break my Itikaaf. So I closed my eyes really tight and focused. Then I realised that it might be safer to sit on the pan if i'm going to be concentrating this hard.


Luckily by this time (twenty five minutes later) I heard someone enter the stall next to mine so I asked him to open the door for me.


So what have I learnt from this whole thing - That if a bunch of kids start shooting up a school in Colorado, its probably because they were messed up in the first place and one shouldn't blame the media. That goes for Katana wielding Afrikaaners as well.

MJ

Friday, October 03, 2008

Concerning Character


Hazrath Abdullah bin Haarith (R.A) says that he never saw any person smile more than Rasulullah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Mishkaat pg 520

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Concerning Comedy

I tried my hand at Stand Up comedy once, and lets just say i didnt exactly get a standing ovation. A few polite chuckles and two coughs would be slightly closer to the truth. Slightly. I think I was awesome, but sadly... Way before my time (or at least thats what i'm going to lie and tell myself) I dont think I had the right audience though - I mean - Old Muslim aunties arent going to find stuff about Muslims on Facebook funny anyway - and I wasnt going to do an Afzal Khan so I kinda crashed. But it was fun (or at least thats what i'm going to lie and tell myself) and I think I will give it another shot in the near future.


We all have our own unique styles (unless we are filthy plagiarists) and I enjoy the peculiarities that each blogger has (I for one, use the words 'concerning', and 'hey' too often and anyone who reads my blog over an extended period knows that I detest the popcorn from Nu Metro Pavilion) Similarly, I enjoy the unique styles of various Comedians and this is what I want to explore in a few blogs. I'm going to try and imitate a few comedians delivery patterns and see how it goes. i'm thinking Mitch Hedberg and Chris Rock - so lets try doing a Mitch.


Firstly - I doubt many people have heard Mitchs material, which is a pity as the guy was a genius (He died of a drug overdose) He had a very unique way of delivering his jokes in that he always sounded nervous/high and awkward. He never did race jokes or stuff like that - he preferred One Liners, Non Sequitors and Random and arb comments. So imagine i'm doing this as a stand up piece, with the same stop start nature (insert Pauses here and there) that he has and lets see how it goes.


Ramadan


I like Taraweeh because its very similar to 20 20 cricket. Your huffaz are like your bowlers so you have your fast paced, medium paced and off twang for those who went to a Model C school. I think there should be a big counter in the front with a Countdown of sorts - Going from 20 to Zero. That will boost morale amongst the mussallees. Come on MJ, only six more rakaat to go. Wake up before the Rukhu. You can do it. Scoreboard of Hope.


I like drinking water between the rakaats. But we should put something in there to make it exciting. I can picture the slogan already. This taraweeh is brought to you by the Generous people from Oros. Thats how you keep people in the musjid.


I wanted a Miswak but I couldnt afford one. So I bought a toothpick.


A toothpick is a budget Miswak. So one Musalleeh sees me using my Toothpick and he gives me 15 rand and points me in the direction of IG Hoosen. to hell with it and go to Checkers and buy a Toothbrush. Oh Yeah.


Everybody likes to eat Bananas because they are slow burning foods. So next time I go on a one day Hike in the forest and someone says 'Hey MJ - wheres your picnic basket'? I'l just pull out a banana from my pocket. Saved by the superior Digestion of Potassium.


I dont understand why People eat All Bran for sehri. I thought you were supposed to keep the food in.


Sometimes before Esha, I like to put a bunch of Jelly tots in my mouth and get them to stick to my back teeth so I have something to do during Taraweeh.

I used to skip Tahajud. I still do. But I used to too

Some people dont watch TV in Ramadan. I dont shave. . Its easier.


My friends ugly sister asked me to make dua that she is protected from Nazr. It was very unnecessary.


Fajr is the most deceptive salaah of them all. You get sold on the marketing that its only four Rakaats... until you read it in Jamaat. I'm begging for Zuhr half way through Surah Yaaseen.


MJ