Saturday, November 26, 2011

If I were a this, I'd be that!

Stumbled upon this really nice something by someone awesome, I need to pass it on.

You need to pass it on as well!

If I were a month, I’d be Moharram!
If I were a day of the week, I’d be Saturday!
If I were a time of day, I’d be the evening!
If I were a planet, I’d be earth!
If I were an animal, I’d be a Koala!
If I were a direction, I’d be East!
If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be cozy rocking chair!
If I were a liquid, I’d be fresh spring water!
If I were a gemstone, I’d be a crimson stone! (don't know if they exist)
If I were a tree, I’d be a Flame of the Forest.
If I were a tool, I’d be a weaving needle!
If I were a flower, I’d be a rose laying in one of the Holy Shrines (or Kaaba *how lovely* or Madinah).
If I were a kind of weather, I’d be spring.
If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a reed flute *Hearken to the reed flute, how it complains* - Rumi.
If I were a colour, I’d be crimson red.
If I were an emotion, I’d be sensitive.
If I were a fruit, I’d be a peach.
If I were a sound, I’d be soothing sound of wind.
If I were an element, I’d be oxygen.
If I were a car, I’d be Toyota Corolla '86.
If I were a food, I’d be Daal roti/Nehari!
If I were a place, I’d be Karachi! *definitely*
If I were a taste, I’d be fresh cooked daal with green chilli! (don't know how to define the taste)
If I were a scent, I’d be something like sandalwood.
If I were an item of clothing, I’d be a big T shirt with a breast pocket!
If I were a body part, I’d be a heart. Nothing else.
If I were a facial expression I’d be YAY!
If I were a song, I’d be a Manqabat, "Bandagi ki laaj jo rakh le woh banda aur hai...".
If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be casual walking shoes, the easy ones.

Also, see the one I read at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

On People, bloggers, tweeple, et al

People write. Some rant, some analyse contemporary issues, some just write for the sake of "logging" their day, some seriously write, some write poetry, and mostly people rant. It is like giving an egg. They push their minds to write, just as a chicken would do to lay an egg.

The world is seeing more write-ups than ever. Right now, I have just closed around 10 pages that I was skimming. Blogs. And honestly, it confuses me. There are quite a lot of amazing writers around. Much younger than me, much stronger in imaginations, and such diverse imaginations that leave me thinking in the wild without any clue of where I am from and where I am heading to. Yes, I got it right while typing, going through this plethora of mass-writings, I lose the track of what all this is about (of course after being overwhelmed).

In another news, in fact in all other "news" website, I tend to find lies, but that's not I focus about right now. The people who write, seems to me sometimes that are doing it for fame. It just doesn't "seem", it is a fact. They are doing it for fame and money *Elite showoff*. But I guess they fail then, even in the avenue they want to succeed in.

There is one more area of write-ups. The focused articles. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of any topic. They are good. They do not let me get lost in the wild, in fact the quite take me back home.

Real and fake, are two very helpful adjectives to judge. I think the more real the write-up is, and of course focused, the less bewilderment it creates. According to ME right now, "real" means something that has a meaning, that are not mere rants or words of no value. "Fake" means, again, according to ME right now, is something which has no value, which is just a rant, a random musing.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Moharram 1433

When the ripples of the bounties [of Allah] come your way then do not repel these waves with a lack of gratitude.
- Imam Ali a.s.

A plethora of teardrops ashore the eyes
Perhaps the season of Hussain's mourning is around...
آنکھوں کے ساحلوں پے ہے اشکوں کا ایک ہجوم
شاید غم حسین کا موسم قریب ہے

Can you see/make a connection of the quote with the stanza?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Value and Vitality in a Literary Tradition: Female Poets and the Urdu Marsiya

Value and Vitality in a Literary Tradition:Female Poets and the Urdu Marsiyaby Amy BardColumbia University

I came across this paper by apparently a non-Muslim student, but this is not the point of sharing. The reason it struck me was the similarity of the situation the author has pointed about the poets. The paragraph in the 3rd quarter of the paper says:

Even these short sketches reveal a basic pattern of qualities that Majlis-goers and other observers attribute to female Marsiya poets, to their poems, and finally, to female audiences. Traits of piety, endurance of hardship, and humility figure prominently in descriptions of female Marsiya poets. These qualities, also exemplified, of course, by the very heroes and heroines of the Marsiya, are not entirely absent in oral and written anecdotes about famous male Marsiya-writers, but they are hardly stressed as much.

The translations of Marsiya in the poems and the way they are placed are heart wrenching.

Aankhon ke sahilon pe hai ashkon ka ek hujoom | آنکھوں کے ساحلوں پی ہے اشکوں کا اک ہجوم
Shayad Gham-e-Hussain a.s. ka mausam qareeb hai. | شاید غم حسین کا موسم قریب ہے

Read the paper here:

Also read:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

- Khalil Gibran



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rejecting an Empty Philosophy

Life today (not life as it should be carried on) is an idle cyclical action a movement with no goal! A meaningless pendular action starts with the day only to end at night and night starts only to disappear at dawn. In the mean time, man is busy watching the play of these black and white "rats" who chew the strings of our life until we die.
Life (as we live it) is like a theater. Man watches these aimless nights and days. Indeed, what foolish play is conducted! When you are in need, you hope and struggle to overcome your needs. Yet once you achieve this, you view your past efforts humorously. What a senseless philosophy to live by!

Living on a day to day basis, the person lacks direction. His aim is only to live. What exists is a dead spirit in a living body. However, the Hajj experience alters this unhealthy condition!

Once you decide to perform Hajj and take the necessary steps, you are on the road to the actualization of Hajj. Before going to Hajj you reside in your home calm and reposed. Upon entering the state of mind for Hajj, you arise and move away from your routine environment.

Hajj is the antithesis of aimlessness. It is the rebellion against a damned fate guided by evil forces. The fulfillment of Hajj will enable you to escape from the complex network of puzzles. This revolutionary act will reveal to you the clear horizon and free way to migration to eternity toward the Almighty Allah.

Depart from your home. and visit "Allah's house", or the "house of the people"! You, whoever you are,you are a man, Adam's son, and a representative of Allah on earth!You are a relative of Allah, Allah's trustee, His master of nature and a student of God. Allah taught you the names. He made you from His spirit and endowed you with special qualities. You were praised by Him; His angels even prostrated to you. This earth and everything in it was made available to man. God became your "homemate", with you at all times and watching all of your actions. Are you living up to His expectation?

Prophet (PBUH):

Allah is in the hearts of the believers

Quran XXIX:3

Thus Allah knoweth those who are sincere, and knoweth those who feign.

Quran LVII: 25

And that Allah may know him who helpeth Him and His messenger, though unseen.

Quran XVII: 7

Lo! We have placed all that is in the earth as an ornament thereof that we may try them: which of them is best in conduct.

Quran LXVII: 2

Who hath created life and death that He may try you, which of you is best in conduct; and he is the Mighty, the Forgiving,

With the passage of time and the influence of various forces of the social system which disregard human rights and duties, your character has been changed. The vicissitudes of life have affected you to the degree that you became alienated and neglectful. Originally, with Allah's spirit in your heart, you were supposed to shoulder the responsibility of being Allah's trustee on earth. You were granted time as a means for fulfilling this task but you failed because the gift was used carelessly!

Quran CIII: 2-3

By the declining day, Lo! man is in a state of loss,

This is what is called life! But realistically speaking what has been accomplished? What constructive contributions have you made? What have you gained? So many precious years have been lost, yet who are you?

Oh trustee and vicegerent of Allah on earth, you have turned to money, sex, greed, aggression, and dishonesty. You have regressed to the inferior status that you occupied before almighty Allah blew His spirit into you. Where is the spirit of Allah now? Oh man, rise out of this decadent situation! Divorce yourself from this gradual death.

Leave your surroundings and go to the pure land. There you may face Almighty Allah under the inspiring sky of Mashar. The estrangement which you have experienced will be overcome. At last, you will find yourself!

From Ali Shairati's book "Hajj, The Pilgrimage".


My nephew, Maisum, 7th grade, 13 years, Ladybird Grammar School, was punished violently by his teacher over some misconception he had about him.

I am outraged, massively outraged. I know my nephews, I discuss about them at length with my sisters, and I know their personalities. Maisum is not the type of kid who would do something outrageous, he is fresh at times, but NOT outrageous or out of his mind! In fact, as compared to the recent lot, he is quite mannered! He is sober, yet fun loving and very active.

Not only the violent reaction by the teacher has blew my mind, but it is the whole case that has made my blood boil, every single detail is outrageous!
The teacher accused my nephew of posting something inadequate about him on facebook, and started beating him. He slapped him, so much so that he has got scars on his face, and used steel scale to beat him up on his body which have left marks. After this, he dug the matter and realized it wasn't Maisum's mistake and after all these beatings he said that "You should have told me before!" whereas he wasn't listening to him the whole time.
Moreover, he stopped him from taking the school van to home and dropped him to home in his own car.

Every part of this incident is outrageous, I intend to write the details.
First thing first - a social networking site's matter are NOT supposed to be handled in a school! Who on EARTH is a teacher to investigate what happens on the facebook account of a student?! Secondly - my nephew DID NOT post anything inadequate. As I said, I am aware of the nature of my nephews - I have spent more time with them as compared to usually uncles and aunts spend, and I know Maisum can never post anything inadequate. Moreover, he is "friends" with me on facebook and I do keep an eye on his list of friends and his activities which are transparent to me! Now, without any investigation, the teacher accused him of something he never did, and without confirmation he started the 'violence'. Another point to mention is the fact that anyone can have multiple and fake accounts of a human, anyone can impersonate someone else's profile and can possibly ruin his/her image - which means that the concerned person must verify the identity before taking any action (I don't like using the word "action" as it was "violence", NOT corrective action).
When after he was done beating him, he did his confirmations and realized it wasn't my nephew - so he kind-of apologized (does it really matter? Apology after beating someone unjustly??).
Things don't stop here. Later, he stopped my nephew from taking his school van to home and made him sit in his car and dropped him home by his self. WHY ON EARTH!!! WHY ON EARTH DID HE MAKE HIM SIT IN HIS CAR AND NOT THE SCHOOL VAN WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMUTING OF THE KIDS!! This gave me creeps and has infuriated me to an in-explainable degree.
If I was in the country, I would have went up to him, and did exactly what he did to my nephew: Beat him up and then ask what was the reason - but would have never apologized as it WAS HIS mistake.

When my sister called the Principal/VP or whoever runs the branch, she was naturally furious over phone. Later my brother in law called the lady and she asked not to bring your wife (my sister) to school tomorrow to discuss the matter because she is not "understanding" and "getting furious". I swear, if I was in the country, I would have gone straight to the school right then and kicked these horrible humans out of the school. You beat someone's child violently and then make him sit in you car and then ask to calm down????

Previously, this same nephew was accused of 'harassing' some girl in the class and was told that he will be suspended. I know this kid, he doesn't take interest in girls at all, doesn't give any heed to them, let alone, harass someone. Later on it was found that he wasn't guilty at all and that the girl had something running around with another boy who was permanently suspended from the school.

This is horrible. I feel extremely sad for my nephew and extremely outraged. I cannot even imagine the horrendous psychological effect on my nephew after these episodes. This of my nephew is the best among all of my nephew when it comes to studies and working hard - he likes proving himself at every ground, he does all his chores himself, he is quite a gem! And I am outraged because of what has happened today.

We thought only Madrassah with Maulvis are the no-go areas for our kids, but this is horrible - I would never send my kid to a school if I know such things would happen to him!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hajj - Imam Zainul Abideen's (a.s.) Conversation with Shibli

When the Fourth Imam Zainul Abideen (AS) returned from Hajj, Shibli came to meet him. They engaged in the following conversation:

Imam: Did you go for Hajj O Shibli?

Shibli: Yes O son of the Messenger of Allah.

Imam: Did you stop at the Miqaat and put away the sewn clothes and perform the sacred bath?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you stopped at Miqaat did you make the intention that you are taking off the clothes of disobedience and putting on the clothes of obedience?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you had taken off your sewn clothes did you make the intention that you had taken off hypocrisy and entering dubious acts?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you took the bath did you have the intention that you are washing yourself from all sins and errors?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not stop at Miqaat, nor did you take off sewn clothes nor did you perform the sacred bath.

Imam: Did you cleanse yourself and put on Ihram and fulfill your covenant of Hajj?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you did this did you have the intention that you are cleaning yourself with the nurah of the sincere repentance to Almighty Allah the most high?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you put on the Ihram did you have the intention that you are forbidding yourself everything that Almighty Allah has forbidden?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you fulfilled the covenant of Hajj did you have the intention that you have nullified all other covenants with other than Allah?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not cleanse yourself nor did you put on the Ihram nor did you fulfill the covenant of hajj.

Imam: Did you enter the Miqaat and pray the two Rakats of the Ihram and did you chant Talbiyah?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you entered the Miqaat, did you make the intention of entering as a visitor?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you prayed the two Rakats did you make the intention that you are trying to get closer to Allah (SWT) with the best of acts from the prayers and the biggest of good deeds from the acts of worship?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you chanted the Talbiyah did you have the intention that you were talking to almighty Allah with all obedience and keeping quiet from all disobedience?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not enter Miqaat nor did you pray nor did you chant the Talbiyah.

Imam: Did you enter the Haram and did you see the Kaaba and did you pray there?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you entered the Haram did you have the intention that you were prohibiting on yourself all backbiting of all the Muslims from the Nations of Islam?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you reached Makka did you make the intention with your heart that you had come to Almighty Allah (SWT)?

Shibli: No

Imam: You have neither entered Haram nor seen the Kaaba nor prayed.

Imam: Did you go round the house and did you touch the Rukn and did you make Saee?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: And when you did the Saee did you have the intention that you were running towards Almighty Allah and did Allah the knower of all secrets know this?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not go round the house nor did you touch Rukn nor did you make Saee.

Imam: Did you touch the Hajar-e-Aswad and did you stand at the Maqam-e-Ibrahim and did you pray two Rakats on it?

Shibli: Yes

Here the Imam gave a scream as if he was about to leave this world saying Ah! Ah! Whoever touches the black stone it is as if he has shaken hands with Almighty Allah (SWT). So Look O poor chap that you do not destroy the reward of something whose sacredness has been made very great and you do not spoil your Handshake by disobedience and by grasping evil like the sinners.

Then Imam asked: Did you have the intention when you were standing on Maqam-e-Ibrahim that you were are standing on every obedience and that you have put behind you all disobedience?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you prayed two Rakats there did you make the intention that you are praying the prayers of Ibrahim and that you are humiliating Shaitan with your prayers?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not stand on Maqam-e-Ibrahim nor did you pray two Rakats on it.

Imam: Did you look over the well of Zamzam and did you drink from its water?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: Did you have the intention when you were looking over the well that you looking at obedience to Almighty Allah and closing your eyes from all disobedience?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not look over it nor did you drink from its water.

Imam: Did you run between Safa and Marwa and did you walk between it repeatedly?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: Did you have the intention that you were between hope and fear?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not run between Safa and Marwa.

Imam: Did you go out to Mina?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: Did you have the intention that every Muslim was safe from your tongue, your heart and you?

Shibli: No

Imam: You did not go out to Mina.

Imam: Did you stay a short time at Arafa and did you climb Jabal al-Rahma and did you recognize the wadi of Namira and did to supplicate to Almighty Allah near al-Mil and al-Jamaraat?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: Did you conceive by your stay in Arafa the gnosis (Irfan) of Almighty Allah (SWT) and the knowledge of good things and acts; and did you conceive that your book of deeds was in the hands of Allah and that Allah had full knowledge of your secrets and what is in your heart?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you climbed the Jabal al-Rahma did you have the intention that Almighty Allah may have mercy on all believing men and all believing women and that He will help all Muslim men and women?

Shibli: No

Imam: Did you have the intention at wadi of Namira that you would not enjoin good until you practice it yourself and you would not forbid evil until you leave it yourself?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you stopped at al-Mil and al-Jamaraat did you have the intention that they were witnessing all your acts of worship and that they were guarding you together with guardian angels by the order of Almighty Allah?

Shibli: No

Imam: Then you did not stay at Arafat nor did you go up the Mountain of Mercy nor did you recognize the wadi of Namirah nor did you supplicate to Almighty Allah.

Imam: Did you pass between the two columns pray two Rakats before crossing; go to Muzdalifah pick up pebbles and cross the Mash'arul Haram?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you prayed the two Rakats, did you have the intention that you were praying the prayer of thanksgiving within the ten nights which removes every hardship and facilitates every ease?

Shibli: No

Imam: At the time of passing between the two columns without deviating to the right or the left did you have the intention that you would never deviate from the true religion to the right or the left neither with your heart, tongue nor with your limbs?

Shibli: No

Imam: When you walked through Muzdalifah and picked up the pebbles did you have the intention that you have plucked all acts of disobedience and ignorance and that you had affirmed knowledge and action?

Shibli: No

Imam: Then when you walked in the Mash'arul Haram did you have the intention that you had embossed your heart with the identification of those who have Taqwa and fear of Almighty Allah the Most High?

Shibli: No

Imam: Then you did not pass between the two columns nor did you pray the two Rakats, nor walked into Muzdalifah, nor picked up the pebbles nor walked in the Mash'arul Haram.

Imam: Did you arrive at Mina, throw stones at the Jamarah and did you shave your head and slaughter the sacrifice and did you pray in Masjid al-Kheef and did you return to Makkah and perform the Tawaf of Ifadha (return) to Makkah?

Shibli: Yes

Imam: When you reached Mina and pelted the Jamarah did you have the intention that you have attained your goal and your Lord has fulfilled all your needs?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you pelted the Jamarah did you have the intention that you had pelted your enemy Iblees and by completing this precious Hajj you had disobeyed him?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you shaved your head did you have the intention that you had cleansed yourself from all filth and from all the injustice of the children of Adam and that you had purified yourself from sin just like a new born baby.

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you slaughtered your hadiya did you have the intention that you are cutting the artery of greed by holding fast to the reality of piety and that you are following the tradition of Ibrahim (A.S.) when he was prepared to slighter his son, the fruit of his heart, through which he established the Sunna of gaining nearness to Almighty Allah for those who came after him?

Shibli: No

Imam: And when you returned to Makka and did the Tawaaf of Ifadha did you have the intention that you had come back with the Mercy of Almighty Allah to His obedience and that you had clasped His love that you had performed your duty to Him and had gained nearness to him?

Shibli: No

Imam: Then you did not reach Mina nor did you pelt the Jamaraat nor did you shave your head nor did you slaughter the hadiya nor did you pray in the Masjid Al-Kheef nor did you return to Makkah and perform the Tawaaf of Ifadha. Go back because you have not performed Hajj!

Having heard all this Shibli started to cry because of what he had missed in his Hajj and he continued to learn the secrets of Hajj until he could perform the Hajj through knowledge and understanding.

(Special thanks to a dear friend for forwarding this to me...)
Photo courtesy and copyrights: BBC (

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Following are some random points from a talk on Culture. Vast topic, do not try to draw any specific conclusion. I happily accept and welcome any disagreements.

Beginning quote:
There is no greater wealth than wisdom, no greater poverty than ignorance; no greater heritage than culture and no greater support than consultation.
- Imam Ali a.s.

Definition of culture:
-          164 definitions of Culture, according to Western sources only, so it is hard to define Culture in one definition.
-          Three basic senses:
o   Excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities, also known as high culture
o    An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
o    The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group
-          As beauty has a virtually external aspect, such as the refreshing appearances of a flower, moonlight, a river fall, or beautiful handwriting, so does culture, like observable examples of morals, works of art, and architectural characteristics representing various external acquisitions and ideals.
-          “The proper quality or deserved methods used for those of man’s physical or spiritual needs based on human logical thoughts and emotions arisen from reasonable evolutionary lifestyles.”

A random question:
Question: Culture is usually ‘evolved’. Evolution can have creativity. Also, man’s evolutionary needs are those of “perfection” (Kamal/کمال ). So, can we be creative in setting up new forms of culture? Or adding new values/norms to it?
Keeping in view, some things are bound to change (Heraclitus: “Nothing endures but change”), some don’t(core principles, maybe, for example; Justice).  

Centuries passed; and a new one began; the moon is the same, but the water flowing by is not.

How to? (With reference to above question)
I personally believe human race is innately creative. So, if culture can be a creative entity, we need to tear the curtains meddling our hearts, and start inferring.
As Rumi says, apparently irrelevant though – but speaks my mind:

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

Culture and Religion:

چیست دین بر خواستن از روی خاک
تا کھ آگھ گردد از خود جان پاک

What is religion? Rising from the earth, to achieve self- awareness of the soul.
- Iqbal

Another random question: Is Islamic Culture Compatible with Western Culture?
In brief, Islamic culture is based upon a “logical mode of life”, which originates from the commonalities among divine religions (actually, all from Abraham's religion); undoubtedly, any culture -Western or Eastern -able to adjust itself to these common basics can have a profound role alongside Islamic cultures in reviving the prosperity of human societies.

Couple of important points:
-          Disharmonious Cultural elements in real facts may demolish all of Human Culture/specific Culture
-          Moral Corruption is the main reason for the deterioration of Western Culture

Some interesting terms regarding Culture:
Counterculture - a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day (post-Vietnam war hippies culture of 60's etc).
Creative Culture - brings imagination; diversity, curiosity, experimenting and idea sharing into daily activities.
Urban culture – Mostly driven by economics.

Pioneer Culture to the Rescue of Mankind - An Introduction to Islamic Culture
by Allamah Muhammad Taqi Ja'fari

6th October 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You've got to find what you love.

I woke up in the morning and being it a weekend, grabbed my tablet to see news (yes, I specifically want to mention the tablet for some reason) and saw the news for Steve Jobs's demise. A revolutionary. And what came to my mind first is that I read this on a device that he placed into the hands of all of us. It could have been someone else, but for us, It was him
Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. 1955 - 2011.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What joy can there be in carefully counting it out?

کیا لطف جو گن گن کے تیرا نام لیا
What novelty if calls to your name were counted?

Listening to something right now, reminded me of a Qawwali by Sabri brothers, and I couldn't move on without recalling the original words, and here goes - two deep stanzas - one that I heard right now, and one that I had to recall:

O Tasbeeh Baati Phair Na Baahu
Is Tasbeeh Da Ki Parhna Hu
O Jehna Apne Naal Hisaab Ne Karda
Uhde Naal Hisaab Ki Karda Hu
- Bullhe Shah

Wa'izon ne muft ka ilzaam liya
Tasbeeh ke daano se abas kaam liya
Yeh naam tou woh hai, jisay an ginti layn
Kya lutf jo gin gin ke tera naam liya?!
- Sabri brothers (probably their own creation)

The puritan preachers are their own enemies
Their prayer-beads are used for showing off
O lord, your name deserves to be taken countlessly/HIS name is simply uncountable
What joy can there be in carefully counting it out?

Also see:
(From qawwalis by Abida Parveen, Tere Ishq Nachaya and Chhaap Tilak by Sabri brothers, 1986)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Namak, Hari mirch, Laal mirch, Chutni and what not...

Karachi is facing a lot of rain from a couple of days. Love it. But not being there makes me miss it. And with friends like the one below, you can never run out of Namak, Hari mirch, Laal mirch, Chutni and what not for your "zakhm" (wound).

12:19 PM Faisal: zain
  baarish dekhni hai :P
 me: nahi
 Faisal: lush wali?
 me: :P
 Faisal: :D
 me: chal be chal
 Faisal: :D
  soch hai beta tumhari
  soch lo
 me: take photos
 Faisal: u r gonna miss something :P
12:20 PM sorry
 me: and send them!
  i am at office babes
 Faisal: it is only available live
  get los then
 me: ok lemme try skype
  if it works
 Faisal: loser!
 me: skype fails
  and going for lunch
12:21 PM Faisal: bye
  i m going
  to take a bath in rain :D
  lovely man
  maza he alag hai
 me: abhi zinda huun tou jee lenay do!
  ji lenay do!!
 Faisal: alaaaaaaaaaaaaad
  aur phir
 me: bhari barsaat mayn pi lenay do!!!
 Faisal: nahanay key baad
  sookhay mein bacha bacha
  oh ho ho
 me: chai pakoray chutni ke saath
 Faisal: pakoray ban rahya hain :D
12:22 PM aur chaye bhi
 me: !@$%%@#^
 Faisal: :D
  aaj khana late hoga
 Faisal: good good
  chal tu jaa
  mein zara roof per jaon
  *sight seeing* :D
  oh ho ho
 me: okay
 Faisal: aur chaye pakoray key baad sutta
 me: fine Get Lost
 Faisal: na na

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

You think you are alive?

You think you are alive
because you breathe air? Shame on you,
that you are alive in such a limited way.

Don't be without Love, so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love and stay alive forever.

- Rumi

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tender Words

Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.

- Rumi

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Mohali Effect

March 30, 2011 - did a magic to the Pakistanis. The Mohali Effect. People gathering, praying, sharing their excitement online and offline, loving Lala (Afridi), everyone was super excited. There was a powerful sting of unity that ran accross every Pakistani till the news of the Mother of All Matches came - Pakistan vs India Semifinal on 30th March 2011.

The world of Pakistan was hit by a frenzy. It was as if some sleeping lazy youth was ignited with the strongest of will for their country. It was strong. It was out of the world. Then came the day, and Pakistan lost, but the effect was humongous. We were bright, we were not down, we felt strong even after the defeat, we were not depressed - as usually happens.

We still loved Pakistan. Every bit of it.

The experience has left us with an effect, which is hard to let go of. It wasn't about winning or losing, it was the sheer love for the country's cricket team that made us United: yes, Unity, something we feel is never possible in Pakistan. It was unconventional - no match for it.

On 14th August 2011, Pakistan just broke the record of most people singing National Anthem at Karachi (yet to be officially announced). This, I feel, was another form of that Mohali effect. Youth gathering, making an event possible. Making a world record.

And here goes, The Anthem:

The potential, thus, is exuberant. I have hopes in Pakistan.

Long live Pakistan.

Thanks to Abid Beli for organizing this.
That amazing video of the anthem by Ali Khurshid:
The post Mohali match lovely compilation at

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who says the eternal being does not exist?

Who says the eternal being does not exist?
Who says the sun has gone out?
Someone who climbs up on the roof,
and closes his eyes tight, and says,
I don't see anything.

- Rumi

from UNSEEN RAIN by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

Friday, August 5, 2011

The month of fasting has come

The month of fasting has come,
The emperor’s banner has arrived,
Withhold your hand from food,
The spirit’s table has arrived.

The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands;
The heart of error is defeated.
Fasting is as our sacrifice,
It is the life out of soul; let us sacrifice all our body,
Since the soul has arrived as guest.

Fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it,
Because it was in such a month of fortitude
That the Koran arrived.

When the carnal soul is in need,
The spirit goes into ascension;
When the gate of the prison is broken, the soul reaches the Beloved.

The heart has rent the curtain of darkness and winged up to the sky;
The heart, being of the angels, has again arrived.

The Cow was goodly,
Moses son of Imran appeared;
Through him the dead became living when it was sacrificed.

Quickly clutch the rope out of this body’s well;
At the top of the well of water cry, "Joseph of Canaan has arrived."

When Jesus escaped from the donkey his prayers became accepted;
Wash your hands, for the Table has arrived from heaven.

Wash your hands and your mouth, neither eat nor speak;
Seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones.

- Rumi

Rumi’s Ghazal No. 892 from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, translated by A.J. Arberry, "Mystical Poems of Rumi," 1968

Come, come again, whoever you are, come!

Come, Come again!
Whatever you are…
Whether you are disbeliever,
idolater or fireworshipper.
You have broken your vows
of repentance a hundred times
this is not the gate of despair,
this is the gate of hope.
Come, come again…

- Poet unknown
(Inscribed at Rumi's grave, Konya, Turkey)

Comment: This is one of the most frequently quoted poems attributed to Rumi, but is not authenticated as his (and it is also not in the earliest manuscripts of the quatrains attributed to him). It is found in the same form in the quatrains of Bâbâ Afzaluddîn Kâshânî (died 1274-- Rumi died 1273) and is related to a similar quatrain attributed to Abu Sa`îd ibn Abi 'l-Khayr, died 1048 (see "Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir," renditions by Vraje Abramian, 2001, p. 4, c). It is one among the most frequently quoted poems by Turkish Mevlevis (the "Whirling Dervishes") themselves (who have long assumed it to be a Rumi poem), from a Turkish translation of the original Persian.

Nevit Ergin (translated from Golpinarli's Turkish translation), "Crazy As We Are," 1992, p. 1.

Variant translations:

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving — it doesn't matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come.

  • As quoted in Sunbeams : A Book of Quotations (1990) by Sy Safransky, p. 67
  • Variant translations:
    Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, idolator, worshipper of fire, come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
    Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    • As quoted in Muslim Narratives and the Discourse of English (2004) by Amin Malak, p. 151
  • Come, come, whoever you are.
    Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter
    Ours is not a caravan of despair.
    Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
    Come, yet again, come, come.
    • As quoted in Rumi and His Sufi Path of Love (2007) by M Fatih Citlak and Huseyin Bingul, p. 81
  • Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
    Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
    Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
    Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are.
    • As quoted in Turkey: A Primary Source Cultural Guide (2004) by Martha Kneib
A dear friend recalled seeing this verse written in Persian on one of the doors of some haveli in Lahore, back in his youth (should be around 70s), and was kind enough to mail over the verses with translation, here it is:

Baz Aa, Baz Aa, Har An Cheh Hasti Baz Aa
Come again, Come again, Whoever you are come again
Kafir o, Gabr o, Butparasti Baz Aa
Whether you are a Kafir, a Gabr (Gabr is probably a christian sect) or worshipper of idols, come again
Ein Bargah-e ma bargah-e nameedi neest
This bargah (Caravan!!!) of ours is not the bargah of of despair (hopelessness).
Sau bar agar Taubeh Shakasti Baz Aa
Even if you have broken your vow (taubah - repentance) a hundred times, come again

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness

There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry.
Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen.
When you're full of food and drink, Satan sits
where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue
in place of the Kaaba. When you fast,
good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it
to some illusion and lose your power,
but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control,
they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing
out of the ground, pennants flying above them.
A table descends to your tents,
Jesus' table.
Expect to see it, when you fast, this table
spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.

- Rumi ~ Ghazal No. 1739 from the Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi (Diwan-e-Kabeer)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Halat meray mulk ke...

Main yeh kis key naam likhoon Jo alam guzar rahay hain
Meray shehar jal rahay hain, Meray log mar rahay hain

Koi ghuncha ho kay gul ho, Koi shaakh ho shajar ho
Woh hawa-e-gulistan hain kay sabhi bikhar rahay hain

Kabhi rehmatain thein nazil is hi khitta-e-zameen par
Wohi khitta-e-zameen hai kay aazaab uttar rahay hain

Wohi taroun ke jhurmat jo hawa main jhooltay thay
Woh fiza ko tak rahay hain tu aah bhar rahay hain

Koi aur to nahin hai pas-e-khanjar aazmai
Ham hi qatal ho rahay hain Ham hi qatal ker rahay hain

- Poet unknown

(I remembered the last stanza, upon googling, found the poem at

Monday, August 1, 2011

Silk Worm and The Heart

I stood before a silk worm one day.
And that night my heart said to me,

“I can do things like that, I can spin skies,
I can be woven into love that can bring warmth to people;
I can be soft against a crying face,
I can be wings that lift, and can travel on my thousand feet throughout the earth, my sack filled with the sacred.”

And I replied to my heart,

“Dear, can you really do all those things?”
And it nodded “Yes” in silence.

So we began and never will

- Rumi

Rumi's Ramadhan Poem

Rumi’s Ramadan Poem

O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.

O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah
how long will it be the halvah you desire?

Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”

Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.

The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.

Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.

Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.

- Rumi

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Overheard at TEDGlobal

I am sitting at this beach office, trying to get a server up so that the team can work on the database instance installed on it. Just had a biscuit in the breakfast. Wearing sweater, although it is 40+ celcius outside and extremely humid, but the chillers inside the building are killing.

That's my outside, pretty average, not really active, not extremely boring, just a routine day. Here goes the inside:

Awab Alvi is at TEDGlobal, Edinburgh, and TED asked to tweet about Optimism and Pessimism on the #askTED hashtag on Twitter, so I just tweeted what came to my mind. Luckily, my quote was read at TEDU at TEDGlobal, Edinburgh, and my name was taken with my country! Wow! That's pretty cool - I am proud of making the name of Pakistan to be heard by the audience at TEDGlobal! *Proud moment!*

Here's the full story:

Here's the screenshot:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ars Gratia Artis! Cooking for Cooking's Sake!

from the diary of a bachelor living abroad.

"Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained."

- Maurice de Vlaminck, French painter (1876 ~ 1958)

I became member of a social network community, focusing on cooking, mainly South Asian dishes. Moving away from Karachi, Pakistan and being self-proclaimed good cook, I started looking at its page, noticing a few interesting dishes on their albums. To agree to what the admins wrote about the community, it was tad addictive.

I even posted a couple of my cookings there which the members laughed at to my misery, never mind.

But lately, I have been feeling humorous about the posts I witness on the community's page. Following is a re-make of the posts that make me feel that way (no real names, any similarity purely coincidental):

Salma: Hi! Can you please tell me how to make instant coffee? I completely forgot how to. Thanks!

Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration for the sake of humor - but below is what I actually just read:

Nilofer: Can you please post the recipe of Khichdi? Thanks!

Post like such, are lovely to add up to the humor:

Pinky: I'm newly wed :) Kindly teach me how to make half fried egg - I always break the yolk! I need to impress my in-laws... please help! xoxo

What actually reverberates in my mind reading them are the golden words of the traditional South Asian mothers:

"Aey Larki! Seekh lo kuchh khana pakana! Shadi ke baad kya hoga is larki ka!!"(Girl! Learn some cooking! What will you do after wedding!)

As a matter of fact, cooking is an art - and every art needs practise and diligence. To the dismay of all the good mothers in South Asia, this art is not being appreciated by some radical faction of our generation (or at least by some of those that I know of). Proving this statistically is cumbersome. When you ask the mothers, they would be found saying, "These kababs are made by my daughter, take some, and you did not take the apple pie! She made it by herself... and oh, I just forgot the Faluda, she's a master at such desserts!"

...And you can clearly see Agha Juice written on the Faluda glass...

What irks me, a potential husband to someone soon maybe, is that being a self-proclaimed cook, it will be tough to settle down with someone who has no love for this art, same goes for all my other brothers out there.

Cooking is an art. And this art needs to be loved, practised more, revived, focused upon and upheld!

Someone has said great words of motivation for this cause:

"If a woman is called to be a cook, she should cook food even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. She should make the dishes so well that all the in-laws and their guests will pause to say (to the Mother-In-Law), 'Where did you find her??' Find such a girl for my son as well!"

Bon apetite - dear fellows - who have wives who cook diligently.

Bon voyage - dear fellows - who don't.


Note: For those who smell male-chauvinism in my words: I am not a chauvinist. We all have our responsibilities, and we should do them well, just as Martin Luther King's actual words that I twisted above (original quote in the next line). And the fact remains, women are the home-makers all around the world- not men.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sehra for Afaq (Faraz bhai) & Zainab's wedding

Right now attending wedding remotely (via skype), and have written a Sehra for this wedding:

آج آفاق تلے آفاق کے بندھا ہے سہرا

فیض و نسرین نہیں سب ہی کو بھاتا سہرا

ہیں وہ پہلی جو مسلم کی ہیں نور چشم

ہے دعا ہو یہ مسرّت کا سراپا سہرا

نور زہرا و علی آج زمین پر آئیں

پہلی شعبان کی رونق نے سجایا سہرا

صدقہ عبّاس و علی اکبر کے سہروں کا

گویا عصمت کا اور عفت کا ہے مظہر سہرا

بنت زہرا کا رہے سایا تم پر زینب

رہے شاداب آفاق کا ہر پل سہرا

ہے محبّت کی رسم آج جو پوری کی ہے

زین نے پہلا ہے بڑےشوق سے لکھا سہرا

Written on 3rd July 2011. Wedding (barat) held on 3rd July 2011, 1st Shaban in Karachi

English Transliteration:

Aaj afaq talay Afaq ke bandha hai sehra

Faiz-o-Nasreen nahi sab hi ko bhaata sehra

Hain who pehli jo Muslim ki hain Noor-e-Chashm

Hai dua ho yeh musarrat ka sarapa sehra

Noor-e-Zehra-o-Ali (a.s.) aaj zameen par aaeen

Pehli Shabaan ki ronaq ne sajaya sehra

Sadqa Abbas-o-Ali Akbar (a.s.) ke sehron ka

Goya ismat ka aur effat ka hai mazhar sehra

Binte Zehra ka rahay saya tum par Zainab

Rahay shadaab Afaq ka har pal sehra

Hai mohabbat ki rasm aaj jo poori ki hai

Zain ne pehla hai baray shauq se likha sehra

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Kindle is My Library, a space ship!

I am slowly and smoothly falling in a light shade of love with my Amazon Kindle (currently because of reading Rumi which I have been trying to read since 2004) and the following is what precisely describes how I feel about it for the past couple of days:

(a congratulatory letter, addressed to the children of Troy, Michigan, for the newly-opened public library, in which the benefits of visiting a library were explained in some form)

16 March 1971

Dear Boys and Girls,

Congratulations on the new library, because it isn't just a library. It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you---and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.

(Signed, 'Isaac Asimov')

Isaac Asimov

Update: Kindle broken on 4th July 2011 by unintentional mishandling. RIP my spaceship! I badly miss.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bibi Fizza

Zehra s.a. se taqabul tou bari baat hai nadaan
Tareekh mayn tuu hamsar-e-Fizza hee dikha de...

O ignorant, comparison to Zehra s.a. is unfathomable
Just try finding another Fizza in the pages of history...

"Bibi Fizza" ("Amma Fizza", as respectfully called by Bibi Zainab s.a. and others), we hear this name a lot during the mourning period, as she was the one who accompanied the Household of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) at Karbala and beyond.

It will not be wrong if we say that Bibi Fizza was the effect of the beautiful scent of the Ahlulbait a.s., Prophet's Household. But, just look at this maid-servant of Bibi Fatima s.a., she is more eloquent in her speech than the many pious and trained Muallimah's found - makes one think that even the servants of the Holy Prophet's Household were not mere servants, they were the teachers f the teachers. The following account of a meeting with Bibi Fizza explains the exemplary mastery Bibi Fizza had, and the love for Quran, so much so that she spoke in the language of Quran...

A Meeting with Bibi Fizza

Bibi Fizza had come from Abyssinia to `Arabia as a slave. She was freed by the Holy Prophet (S) and afterwards served Bibi Fátimah (A) as her maid-servant. Bibi Fátimah (A) divided her house work equally between herself and Bibi Fizza and they would take turns to do the chores. She remained faithful to the household of Ahlul Bayt (A) and even accompanied them to Karbala and the prison of Damascus.

`Abdulláh Mubárak has related a very interesting dialogue between himself and Bibi Fizza. He states, "I saw a woman passing through the desert who had fallen behind the caravan and asked her, "Who are you and where are you from?" She replied:

And say, "Salaam" for they shall soon know! (az-Zukhruf, 43:89)

I learned that she expected me to greet her and say "Assalámu `Alaykum" first, before any question. I did as she reminded, and then enquired why she was in the desert. She answered:

And whomsoever Alláh guides, there is none to lead him astray! (az-Zumar, 39:37)

On hearing her reply, I asked her, Are you from mankind or from the jinn?" She replied:

O Children of Adam! be adorned at every time of prostration. (al-A`ráf,7: 31)

I asked her, "Where are you coming from?" She replied:

They are (like those) who are called to from a place far off. (Há Mím 41:44)

I asked her, "Where are you intending to go?" She said:

And (purely) for Alláh is incumbent upon mankind, the Pilgrimage of the House. (Áli Imrán, 3:97)

I asked her how many days she had been travelling. She told me:

And indeed We (Alláh) created the heavens and the earth and what is between them two, in six days. (Qáf, 50:38)

I asked her, "Do you feel hungry?" She replied:

We (Alláh) did not make them such bodies that ate no food. (Al-Anbiya, 21:8)

I gave her food and asked her to hurry up to catch the caravan but she replied:

Alláh does not task any soul beyond its ability. (al-Baqaráh, 2:286)

I suggested that she sit on the camel behind me, but she said:

Had there been gods therein besides Alláh, there would have been disorder in both (the heavens and the earth). (al-Anbiya, 21:22)

On hearing this I realised that, because we were not husband and wife, it was unlawful for both of us to ride the camel. So I got off and mounted her on it. When she sat on the camel, she said:

Glory to Him Who subjected this to us. (az-Zukhruf 43:13)

When we reached the caravan, I asked her, "Do you know anyone among them?" She called out in reply:

O Dáwúd, Verily, We have appointed you a Khalifa in the earth. (Sád, 38:26)

And Muhammad is not but a Messenger. (Áli Imrán, 3:144)

O Yahyá! Hold the book with firmness! (Maryam, 19:12)

O Músá! Verily I am Alláh, the All-Mighty. (an-Naml, 27:9)

I began to call out these four names at which four youths came out of the caravan and ran towards Bibi Fizza. I asked her who they were and she replied:

Wealth and children are the adornment of the world. (al-Kahf, 18:46)

I realised that they were her sons. The woman turned to the youth and said:

O my Father, employ him, verily the best of those who you can employ is the strong man and the trusted one. (al-Qasas, 28:26)

She thus made them understand that I had helped her. Then she told them:

And verily Alláh increases manifold to whosoever He wills. (al-Baqaráh, 2: 261)

The sons understood their mother's hint and paid me well.

I enquired from the them as to who this noble lady was, and they replied, "She is our mother, Fizza, the maid-servant of Lady Fátimah (A), daughter of the Holy Prophet (S). She has conversed in nothing but the Holy Qur'án for the last 20 years."

Taken from
Stanza from Manqabat "Ya Rab mera har lafz diya aisa bana de":

Update (12:30 pm, 15th May 2013): Abbu (my father) just recalled a stanza which goes right for this post:
Yeh sila paaya hai Zehra ki kaneezi ke sabab
Guftugu karti hain Fizza, bolta Quran hai