الجمعة، 30 سبتمبر، 2011

My new mobile and integrity!





So I always try to go minimalist!

And while I can't claim I always get to do it, I have my ups and downs which assures me I am on the track.

One of the hallmarks of following an ideology or a certain notion is, I suppose, INTEGRITY!
Sadly enough, I can't find a proper translation for that word in Arabic, I am afraid this has to do with our double-faced culture ;)

I am struggling with that minimalism issue, I always think vastly before buying something if I really want it, whether I can make do without it. If the answer is yes, I get that thing at its most basic and uncomplicated primitive form.

A couple of months ago, my mobile phone went nuts, I can't make calls nor read SMS's, and here's the thing, we need phones just to make and receive calls and to text, that's it!
I went ahead and purchased a used Nokia 1280 black from a capitalist friend who was buying a silly new iPhone, poor you, friend ;)

I am really contented with my new phone and proud of the things it can't do; it doesn't have a camera nor can it log on to the internet nor anything fancy actually.

It's a phone and symbolizes the integrity I am struggling with :)

الخميس، 29 سبتمبر، 2011

A nearly minimlaistic outing!

Those who know me well probably also know I am fond of minimalism or voluntary simplicity. One of those is the dear Amr Sobhy, whom I arranged an Iftar out with this last Ramadan. We met in Shehab St., Mohandessin near Amr's previous workplace like 3 hours before Iftar.

We sat there on a wooden seat in the 'island' just in the middle of the street, watching people come and go, contemplating life but not engaging with. As we went on with talking, I cried-I was desperate these days-, but I didn't freak out I was crying in public, which I liked.

All of a sudden, I remembered I hadn't performed Asr prayer yet. We looked around for a nearby mosque but there seemed not to be any. Then a cloud bubble with a light bulb came out of my head and I yelled, "Why not pray here, on the grass?". Although I later became reluctant to the idea, Amr insisted I should not care about what others may think of me and I started praying when I remembered I hadn't originally performed Wodo' :) Another light bulb suggested I use a public tap to make wodo', this was even more weird. 

I made wodo' and prayed. It feels great to follow your beliefs and what you get to think rather than what people do.
 



I wish I didn't have to mention we had Iftar at the greasy Mac but that's just us, imperfect humans. Part of why we did was it was the nearest choice and Maghrib was already being called for. We ate, performed Maghrib on the same island, had a very long chat in Costa-not so minimal either?-

I returned home happy to a silly extent, thanks Amr, thanks simplicity :)

الثلاثاء، 27 سبتمبر، 2011

SEX


SEX!
A charming-sounding word, especially if you properly pronounce it /seks/, not /sɪks/!


Well, I am not trying to sexually arouse you, reader; I just want to invite you to go on a reflection journey rarely made on SEX. Have you ever thought about the beauty of making love? Have you ever reflected on the nobility of this higher human need? Look at the fusion between a man's body and a woman's; It's rather a dance of love than an animal lust quenched; it's a special kind of integration only a human being experience.


At what point did humanity embrace that dualism concerning the human being? When were we thought to be a divine soul and an animal body? I do believe having sex is the highest human activity Allah has granted us.


I think we went on through our history to deal with that issue naturally and intuitively till the christian age, many of the fathers of the church, for example St. Augustine, considered sex as s less favorable human action. Although Islamic views tried to correct these distorted images of sex in the human consensus, I believe it's still badly embedded. We still look down upon sex, talk about it secretly and objectify it greatly. 


One of the more recent reasons, I think, is consumerism that used the women bodies as commodities and as triggers for selling merchandise. The same culture of blue movies contributed to a very deviated perception of sex in our minds.


Please wait for a sequel, I am waiting for your comments too :)

السبت، 24 سبتمبر، 2011

Veganism and Islam, any common ground?



Dad invited the whole family today over to a 'kebab and kofta' feast at a fine restaurant. Well, before you start envying, I can acknowledge you it was one of the worst times I ever ate out. As I was enjoying the juicy succulent kebab pieces, I paused and thought to myself, "Is it good what I am doing?"," Would the Prophet be happy with my animal style of eating?"," Would I ever achieve purification of heart that way?", "Isn't this over-consumption of animal sources?"

Please don't laugh your ass out loud, this is really how I think, I even don't feel very well so far both on  psychological and  physical levels.
I hear some already argue that Islam didn't prohibit the eating of meat but I would argue it's in Islam the same case as for divorce, it's allowed, not prohibited but it's not encouraged at all. The same applies for meat-eating.

Originally, the beloved prophet Muhammed and his companions didn't eat meat that much during their lives, they were either poor or austere, they ate mostly food plant oirigin; dates, bread, oil or vinegar.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Murad Hofmann, in the great book 'Islam, Christianity and the Environment' says on page 23 :"Food in Paradise is vegetarian, and so am  I. Alas, the same cannot be said for the Islamic world. True, the Qur'an mainly praises vegetarian food like water, milk, corn, dates, grapes, olives, and pomegranates.

 The countervailing focus on meat is largely due to the fact that Prophet Ibrahim was allowed to sacrifice a ram in place of Ismael, his first born son (37:102–107).  in commemoration of this, pilgrims in Makkah each year slaughter millions of roosters, sheep, and even camels as foreseen in surah al-hajj (5:2; 22:33–37)."

I, from Sufi points of view, see that eating meat in large quantities and regularly is counter-spiritual and may form a block in your 'tareeq' to Allah, I would say.

Last word, please, take time to read on how humanity has always preferred a more vegetarian way of eating, how the disease gout was referred to as the disease of kings, how in just these modern times and due to civilization in the American way, we came to eat huge quantities of meat. I just invite you to read more, get informed and know better.

الجمعة، 23 سبتمبر، 2011

PBE!


PBE is one creation of me, the economics-illiterate me, that stands for Passion-Based Economy!

I do believe there's is not only one way to get things done, and if the world has been doing its economics in a certain fashion for hundreds of years now, that doesn't mean it has been the same always.

Our very first ancestors used the barter system to get what they needed. The use of the banknote-basted monetary system followed.

So why not adopt my system? The PBE emphasizes the importance of directing one's passion so as to be one' own career. If you love carpentry, do it and give away furniture for free. In love with teaching, gather the neighborhood's children and teach them the basics of Arabic, math and play with them too, just remember not to take a penny, just apples ;)

I can hear the question already, so how would the carpenter earn a living or the teacher feed his children?
Haven't you got it yet?

The carpenter would ask the farmer for some veggies in return of the table and so would the teacher do when he returns the farmer's children to him.

I know it resemble the barter system in some aspects but the only difference is the passion-centricity, it's all about waking up every morning to what to you really love and what you are really willing to do, which we lack in our stressful modern world. So can I hear comments please?

الثلاثاء، 20 سبتمبر، 2011

Hijab, all it takes to be a good muslima?




A couple of days ago, I got startled as I came across two photos online (ironically, both in one session). The first depicts Ethar El-Ketaney, the young award-winning Egyptian journalist, with Khaled Diab, a scenarist who partook in Amr Khaled's Mujaddidun TV show, and his "unveiled" wife Aisha. The former posted the photo on her fan page on facebook commenting she ran into Khaled and his wife Aisha accidently in the US and added 'it's a small small world'. Till this point in the story, it's all fine. I was astonished when I read the comments by the fans and facebook users making fun of them and the fact Khaled's wife is not veiled:

Inas Lotfy لا حول و لا قوة الا بالله حقا انهم مجددون!!!!!!!!!!! 
Hazem Mohamed و نعم التجديد و القدوة لشباب المسلمين...لا حول و لا قوة الا بالله
Tito Emad Eldein بصراحه ياريتك ما نزلتيها
Aly Mostafa يا جماعة هى زوجت خالد مش محجبة


The second incident was a news piece on youm7.com covering Amina Erdogan's activities in her last visit to Cairo, surprisingly what bothered some of the readers most was:

الحجاب ايتها السيدات
بواسطة: omar
بتاريخ: الأربعاء، 14 سبتمبر 2011 - 21:18
يا ريت سيدات مصر (سيدات الاعمال) يقلدن أمينة أردوغان فى حجابها

Should I go on with endless exclamation marks?!
I wonder why we have reached this prevailing thinking?  Why do we always conotate women with hijab? Why do we have to adopt such duaalism: hijabis and non-hijabis? Why do we refer to a hair-covered woman as hijabi while her legs are half-exposed and not so in the opposite situation?
Why can't Khaled's wife be called 90% hijabi? 
I get so disgusted at such sick thoughts!!
Listen to Moez and reflect….



الخميس، 15 سبتمبر، 2011

Pile-up Vs Up-grade


Allah says in the Qur'an:

I had so much difficulty figuring out what Allah might mean in this verse when I was a youngster. Is it the 'sexual reproduction'; having more and more children? But why would 
that be a bad thing whilst it's praised in much other Muslim literature?

As I always do, I carried on that question mark along with me for so long till I came across 
many resources that clarified that issue for me.

When I read on capitalism and minimalism, there was the answer. It's a human struggle between 'piling-up/abundance/affluence' and 'up-grading/qualifying/self-evolution'; we tend instinctively to consume more and more, piling useless stuff up, forgetting the higher end of our existence which is to clarify ourselves (tazkyet el nafs) and to know Allah, the Creator.

And as the infamous twitter parody account Capitalism says in one of its tweets; Every consumption is self-consumption, we regrettably -in today's industrial and modern societies -consume more and more trivial stuff and unnecessary clutter and so we consume ourselves and forget who we are and what we are here for, and get distracted, till we "visit the graves" or in other words DIE.

Let us always recall the clichéd yet genius saying of Friday sermons:
ما قل و كفى خير ممّا كثر و ألهى
Lets us live a life of upgrading, trying to qualify the 'less' we have in hand rather than pile up stuff that we don't need.

الأربعاء، 14 سبتمبر، 2011

Thouh shalt love thyself ♥




At some point in my life, I embraced the concept of self-love; I thought I had to pay more attention and emotions to myself. I coined the word "Benign Selfishness" to sum up what I truly believed in at that stage. Later on, as I read more and dived deeper into Sufism, the concept of self-struggle or major Jihad seemed to contradict my concepts of self-love, how shall I love myself and yet shout at, be harsh on or deprive it from pleasures it thrives for?
I was inspired a couple of days ago when I was reflecting; if you truly love yourself-like you do your children-, you would want it to avoid being burnt in hell, then you should correct its path, make it stick to discipline and Allah's teachings.
I love this new notion; I will do more Jihad for I love myself :)


الثلاثاء، 13 سبتمبر، 2011



To my surprise, I found out today this blog has been online for over 3 years now! Yeah, believe it or not!
So I have been through lots in these three years and I will not be exaggerating if I say they were the most important and eventful years of my whole relatively short stay on mother earth.


I graduated, worked in two different places, chose a career over another, got engaged and broke up, lived alone remote from family, moved in with not-so-close friends- now anticipating new house-mates, went to a therapist, met new people, had my very high ups and my lowest downs, went to St. Catherine, started embracing Sufism, met Moez Masoud in person, joined TEDxCairo, I can go on forever unless I know you are not that interested in my life.


But what I find most worth stressing is 'Akeed Bokra Ahla'; the title I chose for the blog at times when that seemed really from cuckoo land but I insisted, I used to think to myself that Allah is fair and just, he prohibited suicide so he must be committed to making our lives better and to resolving our worst problems so tomorrow must be a better day, I kept preaching that philosophy and eventually, here we are, I am certainly living better days,Egypt has witnessed a great peaceful revolution and will live its best days in the coming years.


Even Mr. Amr Khaled and the CocaCola company believe that too ;) don't you?

الاثنين، 12 سبتمبر، 2011

Baraka, achievable?





So everyone seems to be whining these days about 'baraka' that has got lost! Everybody in family and friends circles is complaining about lack of time, pleasure and of fulfillment.

They all affirm people in the old days had 'baraka', had time to enjoy and to relax, whereas we, on the other hand, are deprived of divine baraka.

I wonder how people have gone that blind, how they overlooked the divine statement in the Qur'an: "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves"?

Baraka, as I personally think, is synonymous with minimalism, a philosophy that emphasizes LESS, less is better, that's what minimalism is all about in a nut shell.

People had baraka when they did less and enjoyed doing that less more, when they were contented in less and looked forward to not having more.

People had something to believe in, they were more spiritual and less materialistic, they were de-stressed and relaxed. They were not tied to the brutal machine of capitalism.

More connected to earth, more related to their environment, more engaged in social circles, more supported by family systems, that's how they loved, that's what we now call baraka.

Read more on minimalism, get off your butt and go discover yourself a better way to live. May we all enjoy Baraka.


A couple of useful blogs:
www.zenhabits.net
www.mnmlist.com


'the above video extract is from the brilliant documentary Baraka'

الأحد، 11 سبتمبر، 2011

9/11



Today 11/9 marks the 2001 barbarian attacks on the twin towers of World Trade Center in NY. Away from the fact that 10 whole years have already passed since then and the other fact that this is exactly the same as how the days of our lives fly away (and I am not referring to the sick crappy intro of 'Days of our Lives'), we should seize this chance to reflect on the modern world and its complicated events.
Whenever I watch bloody events in the news, I can't help wondering why we are filled with so much greed, hatred and fanaticism.
Earlier this year, we saw Americans outside the white house celebrating the brutal killing of Al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden, one American girl could sum up all my mixed emotions: "It's sad we are celebrating the death of a man".
Random thoughts come to my mind on 9/11 but all are related to the idea our world needs to be given a make-over, a new moral, cultural and social system.
I think I will be committed to this project for the rest of life, combating capitalism and atheism, all together, the worlds needs the lights of ISLAM.

السبت، 10 سبتمبر، 2011

Grey's Anatomy, why?




So why I used to be crazy about Grey's anatomy? (Still crazy but to a lesser extent)
The mean Amr Sobhy used to mock me when I said that GA is the best drama man has ever made on earth, he even mentioned it in one of his sick blockbuster Facebook notes ;)
Being the analytical person who I am, here are a couple of points why I think GA just rocks:

1-The sound tracks! Unbelievable! I wonder how they do it, how do they scan thousand of songs to choose what best suits this scene or that, how they keep a certain theme of all songs, I sometimes listen to a song and think to myself "it sounds so grey's anatomy', the lyrics are superb and the music are mind-blowing, I used to download the soundtracks separately.

2-The mere fact some American drama writers could take one of the most complicated fields of life: medicine and one of the most dramatic facts of life: death and make an award-winning, top-watcher drama out of that is just brilliant. On the plus side, I think I should take my hat off to the average American who loved such a rather sophisticated drama.

3-the Quotes!!
GA has got a bunch of the most heart-touching and very smart quotes, you can find them scattered all over the blogosphere on tumblr and alike. They are very true and relate-able too. Just check yourself :)

Now, watch the above-embedded video, ENJOY :)


الخميس، 8 سبتمبر، 2011

On language, Arab unity and other things!



First of all, I suggest you take 20 minutes of your precious time to watch this relatively new TED talk on Language.

The mere concept of human communicating through sounds (aka: language) has always fascinated me since I was a speech-retarded child :)
I can remember clearly when my Dad was trying to teach me the Arabic letters and their proper pronunciation and he had great difficulty doing so, the 'Qaf' letter most specifically.
At school, I enjoyed language classes in general, they were among the most interesting to me. I excelled in Arabic, English and French all together. The grammar was always the part that most attracted me.
Anyway, I have got some commentaries on the video I would like to share with you:

1- The story of Babel, no matter how fictitious it sounds, is very symbolic and expressive. We, like people of Babel, now face a complexity of problems and challenges which we need to cooperate and work hand in hand to stand against, I am sure despite our various languages, we will succeed in rising up only if we believe we can do it -God won't be angered :)

2-This notion of Cumulative Cultural Adaptation is impressive, I always thought when I ate in Pizza Hut about how man has evolved from a wander-about eating from trees and hunting for meet to a highly-civilized creature ordering food at a restaurant, eating it with a fork and knife, but I had no idea anthropologists had a term for that!

3-I hope you have taken notice of the 'huge' number the EU spends on translation services so they can communicate in meeting and conferences, we-the Arabs- speak one language and yet.....you know the rest!

4-While I don't agree on the evolutionary doctrine he is immersed in, I still think the video is great and worth watching

5- TED is a site to visit on a daily basis, it will broaden your mind and I guarantee it will make a difference in your life.