Sunday, 7 December 2014

A Bad Hijab Day?

Roaming in the streets of a famous commercial area, you keep adjusting your newly bought Turkish silk scarf covering one third of your forehead and ending in a triangle at your back. With a brooch in one hand and some straight pins in the other, you are trying to make the skin-coloured scarf stay on your head in this windy evening of January. This evening of January is not like any evening of the previous January or like any other evening of the Januaries before! Although, throughout the 17 years of your life you've roamed about these streets thousands of times in your long boots, furry coat and warm jeans with a muffler on, carrying shopping bags in one hand and a cup of hot coffee in the other but this day is particularly different. You are roaming about the same streets as a different person ( or may be the same person with a different appearance!). A black, warm yet loose, long gown covers you from top to bottom except for your head, the skin coloured Turkish scarf with beautiful black and maroon antique patterns is taking a good care of it (or struggling to take the care of it!).
You have a sudden flashback. The same you, the same streets and about the same part of the month.  A blow of chilly wind dispersed your twisted and pinned red hair and spread them over your face.
The wind has always made you struggle to keep your hair in place and now,  your Hijab! You smile unintentionally and come to a halt. The café on the right catches your eye. Excited on the thought of hot coffee and fruit cake, you enter the cafe with a thrill running through your body, the thrill shatters the cold already! It is your first time ever to be at your favourite coffee place with the Hijab on and with no company. Many workers at the cafe have formed an acquaintance with you because of your frequent visits and so have many regular coffee lovers .Although you have been trying to avoid the eyes of people on the street, the eye contact here is inevitable and so is the realization that people, even your acquaintance, are eyeing you out with a grim air. Pretending not to have noticed, you hide your nose in the menu for a few minutes (each minute feels like an hour under the circumstance) and call the waiter. Passing a smile, you order exactly the same coffee and cake as you always do (you are a person particularly sensitive to change, or perhaps were?).Noticing that the normally well-mannered waiter replied your smile with rather a grimace, you pretend to be busy with your smart phone. And another flashback strikes you hard like a solid steel rod...rather pierces you like a sharp knife...
A social person as you were, your entrance in the cafe filled it with a lively air. Receiving and returning greetings from and to everyone, be it the waiters or the visitors, and accompanied on the table by a friend or a to-be friend! Those chats, gossips and liveliness!
And here you are now, waiting for a greeting to return. How isolated you feel!
Returning to your phone, you press the button and a colourful screen swirls in sight cutting through the darkness, demanding an 8 alphabet password. With hard, cold fingers you fill the 8 squares one by one with the letters: M U H A M M A D.
"Sallallahu alaihi wasallam", you whisper. You don't know what strength these words contain. All you know is that with reciting these words warmth has flowed through your heart. You feel no more isolated. You realize that someone is there for you. Always. The omnipresent Allah, watching over you and Muhammad(SAW)'s everlasting love and dua'as guiding you. Satisfied, you thank the waiter for delivering the order and enjoy the evening coffee, wishing for it to last forever!
With fast steps, you proceed towards home, a small apartment just a few steps from the hustle and bustle of the commercial area. You used to live in a big house with a beautiful garden, in the same area. When you were 15, your parents had to move to another city leaving you behind for your studies and selling the big house, they bought you this apartment and the luxuries of life to have a care-free educational life.
Entering the cozy environment of your apartment, you take off the gown, perform ablution and offer Salah. It's Esha time. 'The best part of being home is, I can continue the book where I left it!', you think and slip into the comfortable armchair just beside the fireplace in your study. ‘Page number 394.’ You open the book (which has now become your new personal favorite), read the page with your mind wandering in some other dimensions, the dimensions you cannot locate, all you know is that they are far, far away from where you are now! You quit the aimless reading, advance towards the top most shelf, get a hold of Holy Quran, open a random page and reading the first line on which your eyes set makes you feel free of all the burdens of the day!
"إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ"
"InnAllaha ma as sabirin”
(Indeed, Allah is with the patient)
You feel light as a feather under the supervision of someone Who has a love for you 70 times greater than your mother's, instead of feeling like a vulnerable sheet of paper relying on a sudden gust of wind.
Half an hour of reciting (or half an hour of peace of mind) and you start wrapping the gift you bought for your friend. She has always been a source of inspiration for you, the friend that brought you towards spirituality and Islam. The only 'good' friend you have (since you don't believe in having more than one best friend, your own self is enough!).You stick the last piece of tape on the beautiful pink wrapping paper that holds an expensive, simple but elegantly stitched gown and a colourful Pashmina scarf when the phone bell rings.
"Assalam o alaikum child! It's mom. How are you doing?"
"Wa'alaikum Salam. As good as ever! How are you? How's Dad?"
 Happy as you are, you hold the receiver in one and drag a chair from the other to sit comfortably and talk.
"How was your 29th Hijab day? I was so eager to hear from you! I hope you didn't stay inside, reading books in these vacations of yours but went outside too!"
"Mom, I went shopping today and then to my favourite coffee place. I was in Hijab."
"May Allah reward you for your effort . It must have been hard. I know you don't like change, much."
"It was about to be a bad Hijab day but Allah showed me in time that he loved me and it became a pretty pleasant experience."
"Even if it had been nasty, you would still have coped with it nicely. I know my daughter not as the bravest girl but the most determined little sugarplum!"
"Love you Mom! Take care."
"I know you will! Fi Amanillah."
"Say my Salam to Dad, Fi Amanillah!"
You've always considered your mother  the biggest blessing from the Providence! And here she is today, encouraging you on your first day of shopping with a Hijab on. She's not a Hijabi herself but more consoling than any fellow Hijabi. Happy after hearing the sweetest of the voices, you place the gift on the table merrily, grab your diary and a calligraphy marker and advance to bed.
"InnAllaha ma as sabireen".You smile, re-reading the verse beautifully penned down by you with the fragrant marker on the page of an old dear diary whose pages contain that particular vanilla-like smell that old books possess.
Your eyelids are brightened by the thin beams of sunlight, making their way in through the small gaps in the blinds covering the windows. You open your eyes, unconsciously push the blinds to expose the window. The sun is already up. You look at the clock decorating the light pink-coloured wall. ‘Damn it! I missed the Fajr! Such a careless person I am!’, murmuring under your breath you wash your face with the icy cold water (it's somehow more difficult to wash your face with this cold water at the time of fajr) and eat your simple breakfast consisting of egg, bread and pomegranate juice. "Six days without missing fajr and here's the last day of the week! Poor me! Allah forgive me." A tear rolls down your red cheek. No matter how much you struggle to be regular in your prayer, some irregularity always comes. You check the mobile phone, in case it didn't ring the alarm. It did! No excuse left, no way to console yourself. You must have been deep in sleep when it rang. "Allah is the Forgiving", you make another attempt to console yourself, go to the study and spend an hour reciting Quran. It feels so much better now!
Stimulated by seeing the wrapped gift on the table, you send a text message to your friend asking her to meet you in the cafe at a particular time in the evening. Meanwhile, the sort of nerd you are, you cannot resist spending time in your study burning your socks in front of fireplace and exploring further adventures of the main character.
Modestly dressed in a gown and a long simple head-cloth tightly pinned over your head, you rush towards the cafe carrying a light velvet purse containing the gift and money. Your friend is already there. She is a thin brunette girl with a beautiful face, her long brown hair somewhat covered with a transparent white head cloth and the rest falling from her shoulders to her back like a stream of brown water. You greet each other happily. You notice her eyeing you from head to toe, probably surprised at your get up. You call the waiter, place the order and she speaks out in her heavy voice, "I was eager to see you in your new get up from the day you told me about your Hijab!" You don't know how to answer so you just look at her and try to curl your lips into a smile but fail! Seeing the confused sort of an expression, she continues, "Not that you look bad, it's just..." She thinks for a while and says abruptly, "You are looking nice, anyway!"
 Smiling, you slip your hands into your purse and take out the beautifully wrapped gift shinning in the numerous lights of the cafe. "Happy birthday!", you say and the waiter lays the big cake and coffee cups on the table. She responds thankfully and compassionately. You begin to enjoy the meal and the lively company of your friend! It seems like a treat; gossiping, chatting, laughing and spending a quality time with your friend. So far, it looks like the best day of the week!
"Let's see what have you brought for me. It will show how well you know my taste!", laughing , she speaks and a sudden wave of nervousness engulfs you. Biting your lips, you murmur, “I hope you like it."
With a 'kraasssssh' sound she tears the wrapping paper and your heart beat rises. Considering that she is not a Hijabi, you hope she doesn't mind your gift. For a moment you think about your old friendship and swallow. Only if that feeling in the pit of your stomach wasn't there!
She stares at the gift for a while and trying to sound courteous, utters with a smiling face, "Thank you so much! It must be expensive, you didn't need to spend so much money."
You can see the grimace behind her smile."Why not? I'll be pleased to see you in these."
"Haha you're hilarious, Hun!", she replies, laughing. Finding you perplexed, with no sign of laughter on your face, she continues, 'Seriously, don't tell me you mean it! Buddy, you know how much I hate the gown thing! I like it as a gift coming from you but.....God! You know me so well Hun, don't you?"
And true she is! Although deeply connected to spirituality and Islam, she never liked gowns and hijabs. She has always believed she is modest enough without them, thinking that modesty comes from within and a head-cloth loosely covering some part of head is for enough to express it. You and her were old friends but there was always a formality in your friendship. You never judged her, in fact, always deeply inspired and moved by her, you just wanted to add another good virtue to the bouquet of virtues she possessed.
You have a discussion with her just like you used to have in your non-Hijabi days. She keeps insisting how this way of dressing looks meaningless to her and you keep telling her how significant you think it is. Her statements offend you but you try not to argue. You narrate a Hadith summarized as:
"Hazrat Muhammad SAW said that he(SAW) saw a women hung by her hair suspended in the depth of Jahannam(hell), her brains were boiling. Hazrat Fatima (RA) asked the reason and he(SAW) replied that the woman walked outside freely, exposing and revealing her hair to strange men."
Hearing this, your 'good' friends grabs her purse and stands up in a fit of fury leaving the gift on the table. You realize that the discussion has turned into an argument - the thing you feared the most! She leaves the table with her words echoing in your ears, "Okay, end this up, I AM A KAFIR AND YOU ARE THE PIOUS OF ALL.WHY ON THE WIDE EARTH DO YOU JUDGE ME? YOU'VE GOT A HIJAB THING ON AND A BLACK GOWN AND YOU THINK THE REST OF PEOPLE ARE NOT MUSLIMS HERE."
Paying the bill and leaving the gift shining in the cafe light, you rush after her. But alas! She's nowhere to be seen. You stand still for a moment realizing what wrong have you done. "I missed my Fajr today. No wonder my day ended so badly!"
You remember having religious discussions with her even before but this time she labeled you as a 'judging person' just because you had a Hijab on. Warm tears roll down your cold cheeks and become ice cold. What if you weren't dressed this way? You wouldn't have to face people popping their eyes out at you. But you are all covered, what can they see staring at you? How long can they stare at you? Ultimately, getting bored they're going to turn to some other direction. ‘But my friendship wouldn’t have broken!” At the very thought, a fresh stream of tears flows.
You hurry to your apartment and hearing some melodious voice, come to a halt. A car passes by and you hear closely. "God bless the fellow!" you whisper. The car deck plays a recitation of Holy Quran and the clearest part that you hear is:
"Inna ma al usri yusra.”
(Indeed with hardship comes ease.)
Looking up at the dark sky you smile and see a bright star twinkling back! On reaching home, you offer Salah and directly go to your bed. There on the side table lies your diary, exposing a page beautifully engraved with:
"InAllaha ma as sabireen."

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Children Of A Lesser World

The world has two faces, one of which is very bright, pleasant and kind. I saw this beautiful face of the world when I read the news of transformation of San Francisco into Gotham City for a day to grant 5-year-old cancer victim’s wish to become a superhero. Five-year-old Miles Scott, from Sikiyou County, near Oregon, assumed the persona of ‘Batkid’, donning a mini cape in his crusade to rid the city of its fiercest foes, the Penguin and the Riddler. Thousands of volunteers signed up to help cheer along the boy, who is in remission after a four-year battle with leukemia, as he enjoys his dream day granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. When the charity, which grants wishes for ill children, asked Miles to name his dream, his answer was simply: ‘I want to be Batkid!’ A whole scenario was created for Miles in which he tried to fight the evil foes and save the city. Moreover, around 1,000 special edition ‘Gotham City Chronicle’ newspapers were handed out at Union Square, with the headline: ‘Batkid saves city.’ This should be appreciated a lot and is a very impressive effort.
I see this shining face of the world whenever I see the organizations of the world feeding, clothing and educating the deprived children. Every year, the wishes of thousands of children are granted, who are suffering from fatal and incurable diseases. They are given hope that they will survive no matter how much serious their disease is. In every country, effective steps are being taken to provide education to children so that they can become a useful part of the society. Their talent is recognized and promoted. Huge slogans are raised everywhere to put an end to child labour and efforts are made to terminate child abuse by making laws and getting them implemented. Orphanages are being opened to help the children who’ve lost their parents. The children affected by war are a main focus of many organizations. They do their mental counseling and provide them with basic facilities of life to clear their minds of the fear of war.
The world is doing brilliant job for some children. But this world, as I said, has two faces, the other face is dark and frightening. At one side, it’s raising the voice of Children’s Right , while on the other, it is bombing innocent children, forgetting its own slogans. According to an estimation, 168 – 197 children are killed by drone attacks by 2013 (reference: wikipedia).By late October 2013, the opposition activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported the number of children killed in the conflict had risen to 6,365. While, according to Huffington Post, Somalia Famine killed 133,000 children under the age of 5. Among them, may be children who were orphaned or suffering from chronic diseases. They had already been badly affected by war and instead of their mental counseling, they were targeted by heavy weapons. Where are the world Children’s Right organizations? Why do they not get up for the rights of these children? Are they not as innocent as Miles Scott? Are all the children not the same? If you are striving to give children their right, than why didn’t you strive to fulfill the wishes of these children? Why were they not given a right to live? They are not given educations and their schools are destroyed. This proves the Children Welfare efforts of the world are just limited for the children of a particular community and territory.
All the children are the same. They are all innocent, small and mischievous. Children are like flower buds which, if given suitable conditions, transform into colourful flowers which spread their fragrance all over, otherwise they may wither and become totally useless. As all the children are same, they must be given equal opportunities to get educated, fed, clothed and developed. They must also be given the right to live and their wishes should be fulfilled instead of ruining their lives through bombs and drones.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What PEACE are you talking about?

Peace is the most common topic talked and written about, in this 21st century. Countless discussions are held every month all round the globe to give peace a chance and make people realize that disharmony is the main threat to human civilization today. Even I can talk for hours about the importance of peace and write bundles of papers about it. But, is it really what the world today needs? Are all the world peace problems going to be solved just by discussions and articles telling people that we need peace? Definitely No!
To solve any problem, the first key step is to find the root cause and study the problem from grass root level. Who and why is spreading disharmony and disrupting the world peace? Yes! it’s all those lunatic Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Chechans, Palestinians, Bosnians and Kashmiris who’ve got so worn out minds and lack of patience that they can’t bear any peace, right? My answer would definitely be YES, if I were not one of the above. But say it fortune or misfortune, I’m a Syrian, an Afghan, a Kashmiri, a Chechan and all those who you call ‘peace destroyers’ of today!
You tell me to keep calm. You advise me and lecture me everyday to make peace. You tell me I should become a source of peace for this world. Do you expect me to lose all my dignity and self-esteem and exhibit patience every time you shed my blood?
I’m a Syrian, you bomb my house and my buildings everyday killing and orphaning hundreds. When you are not satisfied with the amount of violence, you bury alive my people warning me not to ask for independence of expression again. But, I strive for my right. I protest for my right and as an extreme measure of warning, you throw all those chemical bombs on me. You break into my home at night and when I shout against the violence, you say such an enemy of peace I am. And you expect peace from me.
When I’m an Afghan, I get killed by NATO forces for no fault. But I still keep peace. I beg you not to kill my people, not to snatch away their dignities but you use heavy weapons on me and keep bombing and firing at me unless each part of my body is so damaged that it no more remains recognizable. Your drone bombs my lands and when I go and see the destruction, I see those militants you bombed, I find a mother who had been asleep holding tightly her small child and find both dead. I congratulate you and your drones, such ‘dangerous terrorists’ you killed!
When I take hold of AK47s to save my people’s lives and dignity from the armed men wandering through my streets and to protect my home from the attacks of machine guns, you say I don’t deserve peace because I can’t keep it!
I am a Kashmiri, who you define as a hurdle in the way of peace. You say I destroy peace. But why do you expect peace from me, when I’m in habit of seeing dead people before going to bed everyday? I see you breaking into my homes with my sisters and mothers inside. I come to streets to protest for my freedom of expression and every time I get shot. I still don’t violate peace. I ask for my rights in every possible peaceful manner I can but you keep treading upon me. I tell people to remain stick to their religion, I advise them to keep asking for their right of self-determination and freedom of expression and speech and you bomb my entire home saying I was destroying the peace. Why don’t you blame the armed forces seven of which surround a single Kashmiri, not giving him the right to even breathe by his own will?
I’m an Arab Palestinian, a Bosnian, a Chechan and an Iraqi. You (Israel, Serbia, Russia and America) are the world peace-keepers, right? So much peace you are creating that you deserve applause! I’m such a non-sense that I always complained about your bombing policies. The policies and rules which allow you to widow my sisters and mothers, to orphan my children, to make my old parents carry the coffins of their children at a time! Those policies acting upon which, you destroy hundreds of my homes in a second, leaving my people gasping for life. I’m such an idiot that I never knew that these were all your peace keeping policies! Indeed I am a destroyer of peace because I always shouted against your policies because that was only I could do.
So you want world peace. And you expect me to be the most important part of it. I can do nothing but laugh at your thought of expecting peace from me when you’ve snatched away everything from me. I wonder how do you expect flowers in response to bombs? Why do you want peace from me when you’ve destroyed all the peace I had? After seeing what the world peace-keepers are doing, people still search for the causes of unrest in the world. The only way this world can achieve peace is not by blaming the oppressed for the unrest but those who are actually a reason of it.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

When Weakness Becomes Strength!

Are you going through the same thing? The food is made with all taste yet it seems tasteless.The day is full of sunshine still it all seems dark? The sun is warming the air but the environment is so cold and lifeless.The joys are still the same but the lips find it too hard to curl into a smile.The foreheads are just as they always were, only with more lines and furrowed brows.The eyes are more watery than before and on the verge of tears.All the facilities are just the right way that you wanted them to be, yet they're lacking that charm with in them.Festivals and occasions are coming and going but the hearts are still dissatisfied and heavy...

These are all, the symptoms of a weakness.A weakness that is causing pain and unrest in the hearts of all those who care.It is weakening all those hearts who beat for others irrespective of  religion, caste, creed, skin colour or anything.It's affecting all those who still care for the ones not cared about anymore.This weakness is called humanity.Humanity is a weakness, isn't it? Yes it is! I don't know what is your stand on it but I know that every bit of good is a weakness in the time overwhelmed by evil! It is a weakness because it's rare.How can you even imagine humanity flourishing in a world where you need to launch social media campaigns for hours and hold massive protests just to tell the people out there that those dying in Gaza and Palestine are no other-planetary-creatures but humans? Humanity is a weakness in a world where you constantly have to remind people that those who are dead or injured in a way that left them in a worse state than death, could've been their own loved ones! Humanity is indeed a weakness in a world taken over by brutality.

If you are suffering from this pain inside your heart, if you have this strong desire to help that child who just lost his father who went to market to buy his family food or that woman who's lost the only child she conceived after 24 years of marriage or that man who lost all those for whom he lived, you are really weak.A really weak human being you are then! Just because you have humanity deep in your heart - the biggest weakness of the present century, a century where you'll see humans everywhere but humanity hardly anywhere! You are a really weak person to have lit a candle within your heart and not  let darkness penetrate your insides.You are weak enough to not take the news of 100+ people dying in a day in Gaza as a boring casual news!

But you know what? It will not remain a weakness forever, humanity.No matter how weak you feel now, there will be a time when this weakness will overpower the evil of this world.I believe, as I have every right to do so, that a day will come when humanity will overcome people's lust of spilling blood.That day might be too far from today.That day might come after we're resting in our graves.But on that day, a person as weak as you will be remembered as the strongest man of history for possessing a heart full of humanity.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


How many of you followed the Football World Cup? Pretty entertaining it was, right? Yes indeed, Football is one of the most loved and watched sports of present.Football World Cup is the best treat a football fan can get.It returns after a long duration of four years and is longed by all football lovers.All around the world people are getting crazy about Germany wining the final against Argentina.Through out the Cup people had been betting, supporting and doing everything they could for their favorite team to win the Cup.

And indeed, there is no wrong is loving a sport or waiting eagerly for its world cup or even being a fan of the sport.But the problem arises, when the world turns blind in the love of FIFA World Cup and doesn't realize there's already another World Cup going on.Yes! Another World Cup! But, deliberately or not, the media, UNO and nearly everyone seems to have turned their backs towards it and it's hardly getting any coverage because of the Football craze going on.

Let me introduce you to ANOTHER WORLD CUP that's going on miles from Brazil.The World Cup is being held in the Gaza Strip of Palestine and the goals in this world cup are made by missiles instead of footballs.

Yes, there has been an Israel Vs Gaza Match for quiet a long now.The worst part is that the both opponents are no match because Israel seems much more in hold of the situation.By now, it's almost more than 197 to 0. Israeli bombs and missiles have killed about 197 innocent and defenseless Palestinians in 1400 air strikes with 220 houses destroyed leaving 850 injuries.

Israeli attacks in Palestine are nothing new.Nearly after every few years, a series of attacks bursts out in which hundreds of innocent Palestinians are martyred.Israel has  broken 65 UN Resolution so far yet the world doesn't even seem to give a fit to thousands of lives lost.That's the point where I call it a World Cup! Nearly all UNO countries have given Israel free hand to carry on the barbaric killings and they don't even bother themselves to give a condemnation statement.It's not just just Israel Vs Palestine, it's all those countries against Palestine who fund Israel to make weapons of mass destruction and a large part of this funds comes of America and Britain.

It's often seen that Israel takes the aid of some important and attention seeking event to carry on its barbarism behind the curtain of that event, just as FIFA World Cup.Stats show that Israel has been involved in Lebanon War almost at the time FIFA 2006 was held, Gaza Flotilla Raid - FIFA 2010 and now massive bombardment over Gaza during FIFA 2014.

Imagine sleeping at night and not knowing you'll wake up the next morning.Imagine going to market and doubting you'll ever return home alive.Imagine seeing a dead body every few hours.Imagine fasting the whole day and not knowing you'd be alive to hear the Maghrib Adhaan!That kid who’s leg got cut off could’ve been your son. That man who lost his eye could’ve been your father. That lady who is currently suffering from mental disorders could’ve been your mother. That young female who was burned to death could’ve been your wife.It is painful for us just to imagine this, imagine their pain who are going through it everyday

All I want people to deduce from it is that never take a human life for granted.Don't just sit idle saying you're used to it! Used to what? Your brothers and sisters crying for help and dying? Ask those you've lost their loved ones!
The Prophet Muhammad(SAW) said that the life of a human is worth more than Ka'ba! And, thousands of such precious and innocent lives are been taken away by the Israeli beasts.It's the time, the Ummah needs to reunite! If not much, there's something each and every one of us can do : pray to Allah (SWT) for our Gazawi brother and sisters going through all this brutality in the Holly month of Ramadan and boycott Israeli products because they are ultimately funding the Gaza attacks and spilling Muslim blood.