lessons from TV…

July 9, 2009

I haven’t posted in a long time and have been very busy with school (dua’as would really be appreciated folks) but I thought I would write a quick post/reflection on a recent death that many of us have heard about in the news…

No, I am not talking about Michael Jackson, I am talking about Steve McNair the ex-NFL player who was a beacon and inspiration to the state of Tennessee and other places as well for his philanthropist endeavors.  McNair, who has been happily married for I believe more than 10 years, was found shot to death along with another woman.  Now, I’m not sure about the motive behind all of this but there seems to be speculation that the woman he was dating (who killed him, then herself) did so because she had a debt that was getting worse and suspected McNair of dating another woman.  The kicker to the story is that his wife of over 10 years (with whom he has children with) had no idea about all of this until she found out he was dead at another woman’s apartment.  Naturally, this made me think about a lot of stuff…

But to keep things short and sweet, it made me think about all of the sins I committed both small and big.  It made me think about when I do commit a sin that I’m not really conscious of it, because if I was, then I would probably stop and not do it because of the consequences that may occur.  And it made me think about how any action I do, either good or bad could very well be my last.  Take McNair for example.  Police reports indicate that he was asleep on the couch when he was killed.  He probably went out or had an enjoyable evening with his girlfriend and thought to himself “hey, I’ll take a little nap and rest up” not being aware that he would never wake up from it.

This story in the news really made me think a lot about how I need to change and check myself even more.  Who knows if I’m looking at something that I’m not supposed to look at, talking bad about someone, or neglecting my prayers that that action (or lack of) may be the last thing I have to take back to God?  It’s really ironic how Allah shows me or reminds me about Him through the most unconventional ways.  But at the same time, I am truly grateful that He loves me that much to keep on reminding me of what it is I have to do in life to show Him that I love Him…

may He guide and protect us all…

-peace-

where amazing happens…

May 31, 2009

A few months back, I wrote a post about my nephew (cousin’s son) who had passed away (please see http://lt786.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/from-him-we-comeand-to-him-is-our-return/).  Anyways, his wife and him had two twins (Ahmed and Muhammad–not sure of the exact spelling) but they were very premature.  At the time of the post, Ahmed had passed away and Muhamad was fighting for his life…

Last night I went over to my cousin’s place and got to see my nephew, Muhammad.  While my sister was putting him to sleep and I was sitting next to him, I kept on thinking how amazing this is.  My lips kept saying subhan’Allah every time he moved or smiled or giggled, but it wasn’t a normal subhan’Allah that usually comes from my tongue.  Every time I said it, it was as if my my heart shivered or was moved because here was a kid, a few months ago, who was barely one pound and at the brink of death.  Now, mash’Allah, he is alive and well (with the exception of minor things that will insh’Allah get better in the near future).

Little Muhammad sleeping...you don't know how hard I had to hold back from just devouring those cheeks! Let him get a little stronger then I am going to unleash my love muhaha...

Look at those cheeks mash'Allah! You don't know how hard I had to hold back from just devouring them! Let him get a little stronger then I am going to unleash my love muhaha...

The entire time I was there, I couldn’t help but think about the theme of the NBA playoffs this year, “Where amazing happens” and I kind of chuckled.  Here I was, by one of the most amazing acts of God that I have ever seen in my life; and then I realized something.  We are all surrounded by amazing things, we just don’t notice it or appreciate it.  Whether we are driving and we see a leaf fall to the ground, or if we’re at a store and we see a little kid walking while holding on to their parent, we are surrounded by amazing.  Amazing happens every day in our life, and I just realized last night, almost 26 years late, that I don’t truly appreciate the awesomeness of God and all that He has given me.

Better late than never, right?

-peace-

post for mama…

May 10, 2009

So today is the day that most people celebrate and appreciate their mothers, also known as Mother’s Day but as I like to say and try to show in my actions, Mother’s Day really is every day…

My mother, may God bless her and all mothers around the world, has always told me not to tell me I love her, but to show me I love her.  I never knew what that meant until a few years ago.  Anyone can say “i love you” to another person.  But it takes a real man (or woman) to really show in actions that they love the person.  This is true love.  This is love in its practicality and unfortunately it is the most rarest form of love out there.

Then we come to today, Mother’s Day.  As I was out today I saw a bunch of people running around getting flowers, chocolates, gifts and other stuff to go home and give to their mothers (or wives who were the mothers of their children).  As I sat there listening to K’naan, I started to wonder why?  Why is it that it takes a “holiday” for us to celebrate our mothers, and even then, to fall short of truly celebrating our mothers?  How many of us truly appreciate our mothers the way that we are supposed to?  I don’t know about you, but I know I fall far short of truly appreciating and practically loving my mother.  So what can we do?

Why don’t we celebrate our mothers the way we’re supposed to?  Why not show our beautiful, strong and loving mothers that we love them and celebrate mother’s day everyday by respecting them, doing what she’s taught you, and bringing a smile to her face?

Sure it would be a lot of work and patience on our part, but if we sincerely loved them and wanted them to know, then we would turn our words into actions.  Talk is cheap.  Actions speak louder than words…

May we be blessed with strong, righteous and great mothers in the future for our generations and generations to come…

-peace-

thank you…

April 26, 2009

Today I was at the masjid for Isha and an interesting thing happened to me.  As I arrived for prayer, the congregation had just begun as I walked in to the masjid.  As people usually do, they started to load up on the right side of the line, leaving the left side pretty bare.  Anyways, I walked over to the left side and began to pray.  When I joined the line, I was pretty much the last person on the side (there was a small spot left but no one came and filled it).

dua

That is the tightest fade I have ever seen...

A few rakah had passed (I don’t know if it was 1 or 2, but I know some had passed) and this young brother joined next to me.  When we finished our prayer, this kid had done salaam as well with the congregation when he had some rakah to make up (because he had joined late).  Knowing that he had missed some, I instinctively leaned over and put my hand on his head and very nicely just said “hey buddy, didn’t you miss a rakah?”  Realizing he made a mistake he was like “oh man yeah I totally forgot” shot up and began to pray again.  I was impressed to see this kid jump up with such enthusiasm, but mash’Allah he is a really good kid (I have seen this kid since he was like 4 years old until now, which is 13, and man do I feel old).

So I prayed my sunnah and began to head out of the mosque.  As I got near the exit, I hear someone call out my name.  I look back and it was the same kid who had prayed next to me.  He was running towards me and stopped right next to me and stuck his hand out to me with a very genuine smile and said his salaam and then said “man, thanks a lot for telling me I missed some rakah.  I completely forgot, but thanks a lot.”  Subhan’Allah I was completely floored by this sincerity that this young kid had shown.

How many times have we been corrected by other people in a nice way?  Whether it be a matter of religion or a matter of anything else, we all have been correctly nicely and kindly.  And how have we felt or reacted?  How many of us have really humbled ourselves, have put aside our ego and regardless of the age of the person correcting us, genuinely smiled and appreciated the fact that they were truly looking out for our best interest?  I know I have been corrected many times and I often catch myself thinking “ugh you know it all” or something like that when I really should react how this young cat did and be extremely and genuinely thankful that someone corrected but did so nicely.  On the other hand, how many times have we corrected people in an arrogant way (big ups to me for being so knowledgeable and correcting you) or to make them feel bad or stupid (man, how could you do that, don’t you know any better)?

We need to remember that if we are about to correct someone in something, that we must do so in a very kind and gentle manner.  And if we are being corrected, we need to remind ourselves that the person correcting us truly loves and cares about us and just wants what’s best for us.

Finally, I have said this before and I’ll say it again.  Be open to learning life’s lessons from people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and religions.  If you let someone’s age, religion, or anything else hinder your ability to gain some good from that person, that you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself (big ups to Imam Suhaib for using that line over and over again) because there your ego is getting in the way of gaining good from the people around you…

-peace-

Love…

April 20, 2009

A few weeks ago I was at the post office and was pretty much hooded out.  Baggy hoody, baggy jeans and had my hood pulled up on my head.  I was walking out, and there was an elderly couple (they had to be in their mid 80s) that were a few feet behind me.  They were walking incredibly slow (and I mean very slow) but I decided to hold the door open for them.

As the woman saw that I was holding the door open for them, she kind of shook her head ‘no’ and kind of gave me this gesture with her hand as if I should get up on out of there because they were taking so long.  I decided to just stay there a little bit and smiled at her and kept on holding the door open and said that I really didn’t mind.

They got closer, and as they did, she put her hand on my shoulder as if to thank me.  She looked me up and down (and probably thought to herself — my this Puerto Rican chap has some nice manners) and smiled at me.  I stood there and slowly hovered behind them as they walked to their car (just in case they needed any help).  The next thing that I saw really touched my heart.

I wasn’t paying attention, but when I looked towards their car, I saw that they were both on the same side of the car.  The husband had opened the door, and helped his wife in to the car.  He then very slowly, yet surely, walked around the front of this car that he probably bought brand new in 1980, opened his own door and slowly climbed in.

Seeing this made me smile and made me realize something.  In a society where love is based on looks and status, there still is hope.  The more I hear Muslims say “I want to marry her, she’s so fine or something” or “oh my God he’s a doctor/lawyer and so fine, I want to marry him” the more I feel like throwing up.  It seems like we are getting more and more caught up in the physical and not paying any attention to a person’s character, because last time I checked, the beauty of your spouse will not get you in to Heaven.  But their religion, their desire to grow into a better person and willingness to work with you to make both of you a better person will.  Yes, a level of physical attraction has to be there, but I am ashamed to see more and more Muslim guys put all emphasis on the physical and a little on a woman’s character because after all that can always be “worked on”.

But then I see a non-Muslim couple, in their late 80’s, showing love in its purest and most beautiful forms that I have ever seen it.  And I get some reassurance that there still is hope after all.  I just hope and pray that if any of us Muslim men get the opportunity to be with our wife at the age of 80, that we open the door for her and help her get in to the car and seated before taking our place in ours…

-peace-

advice…

April 7, 2009

A few days ago I had a young friend of mine get in touch with me saying that he had to talk to me about something.  He goes to a local Islamic school and said that he was thinking about leaving the school because of the things that he saw going on there.  He wanted my advice on what he thinks I should do and went on to tell me the following…

He told me that he never used to be religious and really pray or care about any of that stuff.  Ever since he started at this school, he felt more enthusiastic about praying and says that he is trying to be good (which is hard for any kid his age–I am going to refrain from saying his name or age because I promised him I wouldn’t).  Anyways, he went on to tell me that the kids in this school are “horrible and worse than his non-Muslims friends that go to public schools”.  He went on to tell me how some of the kids use some of the worst profanity that I have EVER heard (for those of you who don’t know me, when I was in high school I had a lot of friends who were gang members and used pretty bad language, but these kids take the cake).  They would swear and make fun of teachers to their face.  They would lie, steal, and cheat at school.  Essentially, they acted exactly how Muslims are not supposed to act.  They made fun of other kids in horrible ways, made disgusting jokes and even became physical with kids who were smaller than they were.

This young boy who I know well and respect tremendously was confused.  He talked about how all of these kids just talk about money and clothes and all of these things and don’t care about anything else.  How they say degrading things about women/girls and laugh it off as if it meant nothing.  He finished it off by saying “I don’t get why they do all of this.  I came to an Islamic school because I wanted to be protected from these types of things.  But these Muslims kids are worse than my non-Muslim friends.”

After all of this, he told me the most shocking part.  He wanted my advice on whether he should stay at this school or if he should leave.  My advice.  Why?  I don’t know.  I know he looks up to me because he is quite younger than me, but I am one of the worst people to ask for advice.  So I went on to tell him that he should stay at his school for a simple reason.  He sees all of these things happening around him and it hurts him to see Muslims doing such wrong acts; but whenever he sees these things he knows that they are wrong.  Yes, it hurts him to see Muslims do these types of things.  He is a little young to understand that even Muslims are capable of doing bad acts that some of us may think that only non-Muslims do.  But we are all human after all and are bound to make mistakes.  The key is repentance and to turn towards God for help, because without His Help, we can never overcome any obstacle…

It saddens me to see some of our youth heading in this direction.  When I see such kids, or hear about them, I never once think to myself “astaghfir’Allah what bad kids” or anything like that.  But I get sad and my heart weeps for them because they all have such amazing potential to be such great people.  We all do.  Yet sometimes we fall victim to the easy path of just doing whatever which leads us down the wrong way.  Many of us can bounce back from our mistakes, but there are some who never gain that realization and let go of Allah’s Hand and are lost, sometimes forever…

Which reminds me of an Immortal Technique lyric which always serves as a great reminder whenever I think of it.  He says:

So when the devil wants to dance with you
You better say never
Because a dance with the devil
Might last you forever…

-peace-

breakfast song…

March 30, 2009

Haven’t written anything on here in a little while, and I thought I would share this with you all.  This usuall isn’t my style at all, to be sharing a video with everyone, but breakfast is extremely important and this man captures it perfectly.

If you don’t fall out of your chair laughing, there are some serious problems with you…

Go eat your breakfast, before God calls you home…

-peace-

my hero…

March 5, 2009

I wanted to introduce you all to a hero of mine.  It isn’t a rapper or a celebrity.  *shakes head* It’s a senior in high school out in Massachusetts.

Her name is Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (it’s pronounced Bil-KEACE) and she’s from Massachusetts.  I’ve never met her before, but she is my hero.  I will forever remember her and look up to her.  She is like many other muslim girls out there.  She is wrapping up her high school career this year at New Leadership Charter School, tries her best to be a devout Muslim by wearing hijab and dressing modestly while dealing with common issues a girl her age must deal with, oh and did I mention that she is the first person, boy or girl, in Massachusetts high school history to score 3,000 points in her career?  Yup, you read it properly.  Ol’ girl has dropped 3,000 points during her high school career (mash’Allah) and all while dressed from head to toe because of her dedication to Islam and her love for Allah.

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is the first Massachusetts high school basketball player -- boy or girl -- to score more than 3,000 points in a career.

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is the first Massachusetts high school basketball player -- boy or girl -- to score more than 3,000 points in a career.

For a girl to reach such an achievement, is something tremendous in and of itself.  But for a Muslim sister to do this while wearing hijab, and as articles have stated, “has played for New Leadership Charter School in Springfield in full Muslim dress, arms and legs covered beneath her uniform, wearing a head scarf, or hijab.”

This should be inspiration and motivation for us all.  There are many sisters out there who are struggling to wear hijab or dress modestly because of they way they may be perceived at work or at school.  Then, there are the studs out there like Bilqis (and yes, she definitely is a stud–mash’Allah).  A young Muslim girl who is out on the courts playing hard and scoring at will, all the while keeping her faith and modesty as in tact as she can.  Mash’Allah.

When I was younger, I played ball in junior high and even in high school.  I have had my share of taunts and what not from the crowd (especially since I was at a military school for 2 years in high school to hoop) and let me tell you, it’s not easy.  I didn’t have a beard that reached my knees or anything like that, but because of my name and the color of my skin, I was called names and bad-mouthed.  I can only imagine what this young woman has gone through, and to persevere through all the hate and maintain her dignity, modesty, she still was able to ball out of control (hehe sorry, couldn’t help it…)

You know there’s that saying that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it.  Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is a tremendous example of this saying.  She is also an amazing example of what a Muslim may achieve when they put Allah first and foremost before everything else.  She could not have scored a single point if it wasn’t for the Mercy of Allah and to me, her thanks was to adourn herself in hijab for every game and for everyone to see.  Not only was she the first person to score 3,000 points in her high school career, but she is also going to be the first Muslim player in NCAA Division I history to take the basketball court in full dress when she starts her college career next fall on scholarship at Memphis.

I’m going to be honest; I was never one for women’s basketball at any level.  But after learning about this inspiring young woman mash’Allah, I think I may start to take an interest and cheer her on (I mean she broke the high school record, but how about shattering that NCAA record eh?).

Anyways, I wanted to share this with you all to know that no matter what you think, no matter how hard something may seem, know that true faith and love of Allah is 90% of the journey as Bilqis has shown the entire nation.

Subhan’Allah it’s incredible how a young woman such as herself could impact so many people, just by wearing a few pieces of clothing.  Imagine if we had more of our sisters adourned in such clothing in all different avenues for the world to see.  Really makes you think about how great Allah truly is.

Keep on doing what you’re doing Bilqis.  You are my hero and I pray that Allah always guides and protects you and your family and that He helps you on and off the court and makes all of your endeavors easy for you and grants you the utmost in success…

-peace-

socially reTarded…

February 25, 2009

Is it me, or have we become socially reTarded as of late?  Let me explain…

It’s no phenomenon that lately text messaging has increased tremendously amongst people, especially amongst young people.  I mean I know I would much rather text than talk to someone on the phone (partly because I’m lazy but also because it allows you to multi-task).  But what really has been annoying me lately is when people text message all of the time…

It seems to me that people have lost the intimacy that was once there when hanging out with friends.  Before cell phones were around, I remember hanging out with some buddies and all of our attention would be on one another.  We’d be talking, joking around, laughing; but most importantly we would be enjoying each others company and having a great time.  Now, it seems like those days are long gone…

Whenever I go out with a friend, I make it a point to take out my phone, put it on vibrate, and put it to the side so that I can enjoy my time with them.  I mean I came to spend time with them, not to text someone else right?  However, there is an exception to this rule: if a family member calls or texts me then I respond to it because it may be important.  But much to my displeasure, it seems as if I’m the only one that wants to be there, because when I look at my friend, all I can see is the top of his head while I hear *tap* *tap* *tap* noises as he busily texts someone else.  More often than not do I get the “no, it’s okay I’m listening response” but I just sit there quietly thinking to myself “why am I wasting my time when he obviously doesn’t want me here…I may as well be at home texting him.”

TWE...Texting while eating...

TWE...Texting while eating...

Where have our manners gone?  Just a few weeks ago I was having lunch with a very good friend of mine who is a non-Muslim.  We both put our phones to the side and I swear we had the best time ever.  We caught up and I can honestly say that I had a lot of fun because I got to truly kick it with him without any interruptions.  As we were walking out, I saw two women having lunch together.  As they were sitting across from one another, they both had their phones out, their heads tilted downwards, and smiles on their faces.  Imagine that…

It’s kind of scary to see us so dependant on technology that we are slowly becoming more and more socially reTarded.  Seriously, think about it.  If we are this way right now with our friends, then when we all have kids, our kids will probably be talking on the phone while sitting down having dinner with us.  If they even sit with us for dinner…

It is really sad to see good manners and practices slowly diminish.  I’m all for quality hang out time, but I’m sick of having someone come over when all they do is text or receive phone calls.  Would it really kill you to put your phone away for an hour or two and give someone your undivided attention?

I only say these things because I was like this a little while ago, but every once in a while I go on “fasts” from my phone and computer where I don’t really text, call, or e-mail anyone for a few days (unless it’s obviously important).  And you know what?  It’s really refreshing to know that I’m not a compete slave to my cell phone or my computer or anything else for that matter…

-peace-

black or white…

January 28, 2009

So a little while back I was at a wedding at a place where multiple functions were going on.  I got a little bored so I stepped out to the hallway for a minute to cool off (it was getting stuffy because there were a lot of people).

As I stood against the wall in the hallway, there were two girls who began walking my way.  I paid no attention to them and as they got closer, they began to talk louder and louder.  They were copping a peek into one of the other hallways and were getting closer (and louder).  It got to the point where I was getting a little annoyed because of their loud talking (I mean they were like 6 inches from each other–they didn’t need to be that loud).  They kept on talking about the bride, her clothes, and all that other girly stuff.  Then they said something that puzzled me.

“Oh my God, look at how white she is!  *sigh* She is SO white and so pretty…”

*shakes head* Look at how white she is?  Are you serious?  What is wrong with us?  I mean I know there is this mindset in the Pakistani/Indian coommunity where they equate “whiteness” to being “pretty” but I thought we moved passed this in our generation, but I guess not…

Why cant we just party (potty) like these two?

Why can't we just party (potty) like these two?

I mean this is absurd.  I have seen plenty of girls that were as dark as chocolate and were mash’Allah beautiful.  On the other end, I have seen plenty of girls that were as white as rice and were also beautiful, mash’Allah; and I’ve seen girls that had complexions in between that were just as beautiful, mash’Allah (before any smart aleck says “lower your gaze” I’m trying to make a point).  It wasn’t the color of their skin that makes them beautiful, but it was the way they carried themselves.  It was the modesty and humility that they showed.  It was the kindness and respect that they showed others.  It was their character.

Character.

Something that we often look at last when looking for a friend, for a business partner, or for a spouse.  During the Prophet (S) they put a lot of emphasis on character.  One of the best examples that I can think of was when Abu Bakr (R) and the Prophet (S) were migrating to Madinah.  The Quraish were out to kill him and they needed a guide; so who did they choose?  A non-Muslim (who’s name is escaping my mind right now).  But the Prophet (S) chose him because of his character and the fact that he was the best guide in the area.

This is a great example of how the character of a person is what truly counts.  People spend so much time on the outside to glamor themselves up.  You have women making their eyebrows look like a roller coaster or as if they were always interested, putting on make-up until they look like Bozo the clown (fyi I used to love Bozo–but that’s besides the point) and other things just to look “beautiful” on the outside (men do similar things–do their eyebrows (I don’t know why some do that, etc…), workout so they can wear shirts from Kids ‘R’ Us to show off their ‘guns’ at the next Jummah, etc…).  But why do we do this?  Why do we apply so much on the outside and not try to improve our inner-self which lasts much longer than the newest thingy from L’Oreal or Revlon (it’s Revlon right?)?

Rambling about this has reminded me of a great line from a song entitled Dontchange by Musiq, which is:

I’m not impressed, more or less, by them girls on the TV or magazines
Cause honestly I believe, that your beauty is way more than skin deep

It shouldn’t matter if you’re black, white, brown, yellow, tall, fat, muscular, skinny, or whatever.  This does not determine beauty.  If someone is born short or not in a perfect proportions then most people won’t find that person beautiful.  This is truly sad, and I don’t care what society says but I would rather stand alone with my own beliefs then to conform to what society, or two random girls in the hallway of a banquet hall, tell me to believe…

-peace-


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