Archive for July, 2010

Muslim Environmentalism Message

One of my friends in the offline world, Nandita called me half way across the country and asked me to create a public service message for a new Muslim environmentalist organization that she is a part of. (Note to the readers: Next time if you have a public service message you know who to contact). Here is the result:

(I) Introduction:
Peace be upon you. We would like to welcome you to Meem. Here is MEEM’s mission statement in a visual form.  


(II) MEEM:  

MEEM is an acronym that stands for “Minnesota Ecology and Environmental Muslims.” Our purpose is to create environmental awareness and promote a more humble outlook towards conserving our footprint on planet Earth. MEEM is a network of environmentally conscious Muslims centered around the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Twin Cities area where our aim is to spread awareness about the environment, help make people better and environmentally conscious choices, volunteer for environmental causes and try to make the word a better place for all.  


Here are the various ways in which you can help and spread environmental Awareness  

(III) Reducing your carbon footprint:  

(a) Whenever possible, instead of driving cars ….  


(b) Take public transportation like buses.  


(c) Or ride bikes if that is possible  


(IV) Recycle:  

(a) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that cleanliness is half of faith. Thus if you see trash lying here and there and it is in your capacity to take care of it …  


Then be sure to properly dispose of it. Recycle whenever you can.  


Use recyclable bags instead of plastic bags.  


(V) Planet Trees:  

Plant trees. This is good for the environment and this is what the Prophet (peace be upon him) has commanded us to do.  


(VI) Spread the word:  

If you are not going to take these words from me then …  


Take these words from scholars who have discussed the importance of the environment in relation to the concept vice-regency of humankind.  


Spread the word amongst other people, in chats, discussions, in masjids, khutbas etc. insha’Allah you will get blessings (ajar) for this.  


(VIII) Last Word:  

If we sit as idle spectators and do not do anything then our descendants will inherit a morbid planet.  


Or in artificial environments where they may not be able to enjoy many of the things that we have availablt is  


Together we can and we will make a difference, insha’Allah.  


The use and abuse of Saladin

This is a more serious post. In the news these days there many stories about violence perpetuated by Muslims. Most of  the instances are actually Muslim on Muslim violence. While such type of news articles are given disproportionate coverage in the media, the rhetoric employed by some Muslims is also very disheartening. Media fairness is however not the topic of this post. In this post I wanted to point out something else i.e., the type of rhetoric that is used by some Muslims which is free of any compassion towards the other side. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that “He who has no kindness has no faith.” I sometimes wonder that it may be our arrogance which is keeping us down in the world and not the other qualities and conditions that we like to think.

The figure of Salahuddin Ayubi (known as Saladin in the West) is fascinating as he is considered to be one of the greatest Muslim heroes who ever lived. He is routinely invoked by all sorts of people, from people who are compassionate to people who are like demagoges. What the extremist elements forget is how different Saladin is from their distorted vision of Islam.

(i) Salahuddin (Saladin)’s Attitude:

Saladin: You have laid down your arms. We are obliged to treat you well. You are free to go anywhere you want.

(ii) The Extremist Attitude:

Abu Imran: We are the heirs of Saladin. We dou nout like beoble who disagree with us. We will conquer your cidies and teach you a lessoun.
Abu Pikachu: Then what will you do?
Abu Imran: Then we will kill them.
Abu Pikachu: Cant we then just let them go? Why do you want to kill innocent civilians? Isnt that againt Islam?
Abu Imran: You are a wuss. In fact I think you are Al-Wuss or better still you are Al-Wuss Al-Akbar, Abu Bicachu.
Abu Pikachu: What? I am just saying what Islam teaches, you are leading people astray.
Abu Imran: Bikachu, what kind of berverted name is that? Haram!

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The origins of Abu Pokemon

Two of the readers asked why I have taken the nom de plume Abu Pokemon given that this blog is not really about Pokemon. Instead of our regular stories in Lego we are going t take a detour and talk about the origins of Abu Pokemon.

If you are old enough, but not that old, you would be familar with Pokemon which was huge all over the world back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Abu Pokemon is a combination of Abu and Pokemon. In Arabic the word Abu means father and thus Abu Pokemon means the father of Pokemon. For starters I am not the father of Pokemon or of anyone for that matter. Not only that but I am single so Abu anyone is somewhat of a misnomer for me. Hey I am just a simple grauate student.  Ok, may be not that simple but you get the idea right?

The name Abu Pokemon has its origin in some really unreally ridiculous commentors on some of the blogs that I used to frequent. On some good Muslim blogs some people, also Muslims, would post very unreasonable comments and try to pass them off as Islamic with a holier than thou attitude. The problem was that their arguments were not even rooted in Islamic scholarship. Thats when I realized that to counter such people it may be best to either ignore then or to send them off to the city of Satireville. I choose Abu Pokemon as my nom de plume because the aforementioned commentaors had Abu someone in their names and Abu Pokemon sounds like a really odd pairing. I do have a knack for non-abvious pairings. Someone has to look out for Japanese Muslims, right?

I could have chose Legoman but that is not that exciting is it?

The name Abu Pokemon also makes me sound Arab which I am not. Besides, in Arabic Abu Pokemon would be pronounced Abu Bokemon. 🙂

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The Truth about Boys and Girls

I remember reading a similar story, though not the same, to the one which is narrated be at either Mezba‘s or over at Captain Chaos. I cant remember which one, it was a long time ago. (I know what you are thinking – All Desis looks alike. Well they dont, so dont go there.) Anyways the story is meant to be a romantic story being narrated by a man and a woman, say Ayesha and Jamal, who develop the story as they go along. Just in case you are wondering, they are married. (This blog is supposed to comply with Islamic teaching so dont go there.) Anyways here it is, Ayesha begins narrating the story.

1) (Ayesha) In a lovely place far far away lived Ayesha and Jamal who were madly in love. One day they went out for a picnic on their lovely chariot.

2) (Ayesha) The sky was clear and the birds were chirping.

3) (Ayesha) Jamal expressed his undying love for Ayesha by giving her very expensive diamonds as birthday gifts.

4) (The narrative now switches over to Jamal)

Then all of sudden Storm Troopers appeared out of nowhere and demanded, “Come with us rebel leader Jamal. The Galactic Empire has been expecting you.”

5) (Jamal) It was a tough situation the Evil Empire had them surrounded.

6) (Jamal) Unbeknownst to the Storm Troopers Jamal summoned his spaceship with a device that he was carrying in his pocket.

7) Ayesha: “This is stupid. Why do you have those state troopers in our story.”
Jamal: “They are storm troopers not state troopers. The story sounds much better.”
Ayesha: “No it doesnt.”
Jamal: “Yes it does. You are being stupid.”
Ayesha: “No you are.”

8) (The narration now switches over to Ayesha)
Then magically they are transported to their lovely house and all the horrible monsters and the state troopers disappear.

9) (Narrative switches back to Jamal)
Or at least thats what they thought. All of a suddenn General Chilioux of the Grand Klaxian Alliance appears and demands ransom.

10) Ayeha: “Aaah, you are being weird again.”
Jamal (in a Scottish accent): “This is exciting!”
Ayesha: “No its not. This is crazy.”
Jamal (in a monotonic voice): “You are being highly illogical.”
Ayesha: “Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why are you talking in different voices. I am going to destroy your General Cheetos whatever whatever.”
Jamal: “Scotty beam me up!”
Ayesha: “Uggh!”
Jamal: “Energize.”

Just in case you are wondering, Ayesha and Jamal are still together. They have reached a compromise – for every episode of Star Trek that they have to watch together, they have to watch “The Notebook” together. The Horror! The Horror!

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Motherhood in Lego

Its not the case that the world is running out of absurd happenstance, because surely it is not but rather it is the case that I realized that I have been exposed to too many negative news and happenings with the danger that I might end up adopting a cynical attitude towards the world. This and the previous post is to offset this trend. Whenever we greet each other we say, “Peace be upon you” but it can sound mundane if it becomes part of the routine. If one sits back and think about it, one can indeed find peace.

I was talking to a friend of mine, CJ,  after a few months and then I came up with the idea for the post. She is also a fellow graduate student and became a mother for the first time a few months ago and I was talking to her for the second time since childbirth. I was reminded of the famous saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Heaven lies under the feet of mothers.” So this post is dedicated to CJ and to all the mothers in the world. It is something that goes over and above all cultures, religions and nations in the world.

(i) Congratulations CJ on becoming a mother.

(ii) May your son bring your joy and happiness in your life.

(iii) May you have a strong mother-son bond with her which will bring you love and happiness.

(iv) May be make you proud when you are old. Ameen

Of all people that I know in the blogsphere, one person that should be included in the dedication for this post is Suroor.

P.S: I miss my mom. insha’Allah I will her in August. 🙂

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