Saturday, 30 July 2011

Zakaat - our Obligation - The Ramzaan Boutique

Assalam alaykum,
Ramzaan Mubarak to one and all !! :)
So, it is Ramzaan time again… and soon we will have our eating habits entirely altered.. lol!!!
A lot will be told about fasting and the benefits of fasting to us by our friends and family… but, something that we might, just MIGHT miss talking about is the paying of the ZAKAAT.

Zakaat is an important topic for me, at this point of time, coz this year is the year when I have officially started earning… :) (yipeee!!!!) and so have all my batchmates. Ppl who had taken shorter courses might have started earning a year or two ago and so most of us now are very much responsible for the payment of the Zakaat. And yet, we might not take it as seriously as we should coz until now we have been entirely dependent on our parents and they have been providing everything for us and so obviously the ‘Zakaat’ duties were also on their heads. And it might not strike us that from now on we are earning not only our own food and clothes but also earning our share of monetary obligations towards God.

Zakaat is an obligatory payment made by the believing men and women to the needy. Zakaat is NOT charity alone. coz Charity means the ‘Voluntary’ help given to the needy.
Zakaat, however, is not an option. Zakaat is an obligation upon every person who calls him/herself a Muslim. This payment has its set rules.
There are people whom you CAN give zakaat to, and there are ppl whom you CANNOT give zakaat to.
What can be given as zakaat, what cannot be given.. is all a set of rules…
And even the amount is fixed- 2.5% of your saved wealth in a year.
Of course, any man who desires to please God can and should exceed the 2.5% but, that is not an obligation. THAT is charity and you can give as much as you think is appropriate, to whomsoever you will. And God is merciful to the ppl who are merciful to others.

So, I guess ppl who are newly earning should remind themselves of the payment of the zakaat, i.e., if they have been able to save any money from their stipend. Lol!
But, seriously… we need to start somewhere…. And until we build up our habits now, we’ll never be able to do it later on, even if the desire to please God would arise, coz we wudnt be in the habit of parting with our money. So, I request ppl to give 2.5% of your savings, however small the amount comes out to be, in the name of God.
If you have been giving money and things as charity thru out the year… good! Really good! But THAT cannot be considered Zakaat. Zakaat needs neeyat and adherence to the rules as much as feasible to us.
Just think of namaaz. Namaaz and zakaat are both included in Islam’s ‘paanch satoon’.. the Five Pillars of Islam. Both are obligations. Both are IMPERATIVE in your identity as a Muslim (in the eyes of God). Will you read 200 rakaats of namaaz on any one day and not pray for the next 20 days saying ‘Oh! I have prayed in advance!’ ? similarly, you cant include the charity given generally to be included in the category of zakaat. The difference is of nafil and farz.

And even to those who are not earning…. Remember we all get pocket money, for which we don’t have to answer our parents….it is ours and we can spend it any way we want. If that be the case, I guess, zakaat should be paid on our savings from the pocket money too… coz of course, this is OUR money.
A lot of us have gold that is ours!!! Why not pay the zakaat for this gold by ourselves???? I mean, it doesn’t come to too much, trust me! :) also remember, that the zakaat amount need not be payed strictly during the 30 days of ramzaan… you can take a year to pay your dues…:)
As for charity….. Islam promotes charity in beautiful ways….if you feel you can give more, plz do. Coz Allah loves the merciful :)
Everything is charity.. smile is charity and muslims are recommended to give even ‘half a date’ as charity if that is all that they can.
Remember, Islam does not prohibit us from being rich. We are totally allowed to be rich as long as we are earning in a Halaal way and as long as we r paying our dues to Allah.
Zakaat is not just our proclamation of obedience to Allah’s command, it is a direct way of helping the poor Muslim and also an insurance of our wealth. Coz God has promised to protect us and our property and wealth if we r paying our dues to God by helping the needy.
More from The Ramzaan Boutique later, inshaAllah.

God bless you
And you spread the blessings :)

Allah hafiz

Thursday, 28 July 2011

"HAQ" by Scheherryaarr Sajid

Ek shakkhs mila badhawas sa
kahin gumm tha woh
nashay mai tha ya suroor mai
Maine uss se kaha k kya hua?

Phir uss ne kaha HAQ

Mai na samjha
Mai chal diya
Phir kisi aur din maine dekha kya
puray hosh mai
puray josh mai
koi dorrta hua guzar gaya
Mai chillaya k kya hua?

Phir uss ne kaha HAQ

Mai na samjha
Mai chal diya
Phir ek din
ek bandda
bohot sukoon mai
bohot Noor tha ussk chehray par
Uss ne dekha Mujhe
wo muskuraya
Mujhe bulaya

Phir uss ne kaha HAQ

Mai muskuraya
Mai chal diya
Phir ek din
Mai sukoon mai
magan tha apnay junoon mai
kahin se bhatka hua musafir koi
talash karta dhoondta hua
Mujhse pucha uss ne raasta

Phir maine kaha HAQ

~Scheherryaarr Sajid

an FB friend :)

To look for myself

Assalam alaykum
Certain things are simply inevitable side effects of being a Sagg, I guess.
One of them is the ceaseless search……
Here I am once again, going thru an emotional or rather spiritual turmoil. And I do not even know how to describe my issues in normal English words. .. even Urdu words, for that matter.
Once again, a small occurrence has made me wonder if I am among the people I should be with… or am I being the person I should be, in the first place.
There are people around who are just in the moment, for the moment, and they very well shud be. But, the question is “Why am ‘I’ in THAT moment with THEM?”
There are so many more things in my life that concern me in their entirety and yet I aint botherin bout those things! I mean, I am seriously insane.
I think with Ramzaan just 3 days away, I can make it a point to improve myself now… in any way possible…
I feel so crap!
Sometime back, a certain guy told me a certain thing which really does make sense.

He told, “Did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?”
And I asked him what he meant by it.
He replied, “That I’ll explain later, I want you to look for yourself first.”

And yaqeenan… if there’s something I need to do rite now is khud ko dhondhna….
Agar khud ko dhoondhle toh sab kuchh khud ba khud mil jaye.

Allah hafiz

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

No Existe el Amor...


Love- Pyaar, Ishq, Muhabbat… Tis said that this one emotion has kept the world moving…..

If I look at my own personal beliefs, the Creation began with God’s ‘love’ for himself…. And though this is only ‘self-love’, love it very much is.
Be it in any ‘form’… be it the love for God, be it the love for our parents, be it the love for our friends, be it the love for our work or be it the love for things….. life isn’t devoid of love.
And I, for one, have been a big promulgator of this one word, ‘LOVE’.
And yet I have been hurt in many ways by people I have loved or who have claimed to love me. I have seen my family being hurt by the people whom they loved…. And I do agree that I too must have hurt people who loved me, i.e., if there are people who love me. And this has caused me much trouble, coz ‘Love’, the beauty associated with it, the feelings and emotions that are said to go along with this word, are not, in my opinion, meant to hurt.
Many among us must have thought bout this at least sometime in our lives….how can love cause pain?
It is one of those questions which have kept mankind baffled ever since Time began, (i.e., if Time ever began) like…. Why did God create Evil? Why do we take birth if we have to die?

And yes, I do know that each of these questions has an answer…. But, just like people, the answers are different too. Each one believing in that set of answers which suits him best.
And of the many answers that mankind has found to the question ‘How can love cause pain?’…. the simplest one is
“Love Hurts” full stop
This is the easiest way out of the immense suffering that we can go thru if we try to search for a better answer.
I had loved a boy, or so I thought.
And he had loved me, or so he and I, both thought.
But, we parted. And not in the best of ways.
And it killed me inside for more than a year as to what went wrong. How could ‘love’, the beautiful love turn so ugly?
Perhaps there was no love to begin with.
This is the answer that most of us would say.
This is precisely what my mother says… to begin with she used to say that I mistook friendship for love, later it turned to ‘he never loved you’. And he, on the other hand, says that I never loved him.
This 29th July, i.e. day after tomorrow, it would be exactly 11 years since the day I first saw Azhar. I was 12 years 8 months old…. Like Taylor Swift sang….’we were both young wen I first saw you…’
And it killed me to know that a relation that I kept going for so long wid so much effort had to just turn into vapour at the end.
And it kills me to think that there was no love between us. That the thought that we loved each other was a mistake. That actually there was no love.
It kills me.
It kills me and wrings my heart and my soul and my being to think that there was no love between us. And I have just come out of the worst year and a half of my life….with this question of whether or not Azhar and I loved each other…. Hammering my head hard.
And I know that I loved him. Everything aside….. I loved him and every tear falling from eyes right now bear witness to that love.
I loved him. I did. In spite of everything that we went thru, the quarrels, the fear that I lived with, the tears and the fact that at the end I am glad that it is over, I will never cease to believe that I loved him.
Coz he has given me the worst of the days and also the best of the days of my life. And he was the point of gravity around which I revolved.
But then, if I loved him…. And if he loved me too… what happened?
I didn’t have answers. But, whatever we need to move on.
I did too.
Nevertheless, ‘we were both young when I first saw you’ is one of my most oft-repeated status updates on FB.

And then a month or two ago I came across a blog post(jiska name or address or jiska author ka name I don’t remember) titled “No Existe El Amor” …. Love Does Not Exist.

The author herself had been told bout ‘No existe el amor’ by someone else. I mean the concept which I am goin to write down now is neither my own or that blogger’s but someone else’s and is being carried from one blog to another, if you get wat I mean. The original mind that thot this (whoever’s mind it is that we are quoting) told :-> (in my words)

Love does not exist. There is no such ‘thing’ as love. But, yes it is a word. A word that we use as a blanket over a bunch of emotions that are involved in a relationship. It is a blanket over understanding, care, physical attraction, loyalty, patience, tolerance, fun, belief, confidence and myriad emotions that two individuals can and should share between themselves if they are in a relationship. Any relationship.
And since it is difficult for us to mention each and every emotion, each and every time…. The blanket word ‘Love’ is used. One Love for zillions of feelings.
And this one word is actually good only coz it aids in speech and expression. Coz otherwise, it is doing nothing but underplaying the importance of the individual emotions that go into making ‘LOVE’ what it is.
The ‘loyalty’ part is neglected, the ‘honesty’ part is neglected and in every relation one or another part is neglected in the pretext that whatever be… Love exists.
And so we need to realize that ‘love’ as such does not exist. And that it is faith and care and encouragement etc that we feel towards someone. If and only if we look at each and every emotion individually, we will be able to understand what we share, what he have and take care of it.. protect it.. enrich it and see it bloom……
Coz if we rely on the blanket word called ‘LOVE’…. Somewhere down the line we'll see that we have neglected a lot of things and damaged our relation so bad that most of wat we shared seems to be lost and the blanket word ‘LOVE’ is no longer fit to be used.

And this blog post… when I read it… and re-read it… and re-re-read it….and on and on gave me peace at heart. Coz this answered a lot of the unanswered questions that I was forced to leave behind unanswered.
I wil give a short example to explain that concept better-
A man cheats on his wife and his wife comes to know and they quarrel bout it… and the husband says, ‘But, I love you baby!’ and the wife thinks ‘oh yes.. whatever…. He loves me…. ‘ and things get back to normal….. and such things continue…. They continue to believe that they ‘love’ each other without realizing that the husband is losing ‘loyalty’ and the wife is losing ‘faith’. And at the end a time comes when the faith and loyalty , being two huge components under the blanket of ‘love’, are so lost that the blanket called ‘Love’ can no longer be used between the man and his wife. They separate. And they go on wondering what happened? Where did the ‘love’ disappear? When actually, love was never lost… it was the components that goes into making love that was lost.

Wat I mean is that, we use the word ‘love’ to tide over the problems that crop up in our relations or to pacify ourselves when actually we need to face each problem individually, devoid of this cloud called love and deal with it.

This also explains why a part of us misses what is lost and a part of us is glad that wat was, is lost… it’s because these two parts of us are actually talking bout different parts of the blanket of ‘Love’.
We miss the fun, the laughter, the companionship… and we are glad the possessiveness, the abuse is over.
But since we have been tuned to believe that Love is all that is….. we end up being confused whether we are missing our love our not…. And ultimately … could that be called love or not?

And this dissected love also explains the different kinds of love. Like a music system with bass, rock and stuff…. We increase one and get a different kind of sound.. increase the other and the quality changes…
Likewise…. Love for a guru…high on respect
Love for a lover….high on a lot of things actually…to say..physical attraction
Love for god… high on serenity…
If you are getting wat I mean.

And when I think bout it… it also explains why and how we can be in love with more than one person at the same time.
Yes, I know many do not believe in this. But I have always…
I have always and forever told that love doesn’t die…. It just adds on and on…. Including more and more people in its bounds.
And this dissected love explains how I can love you and him together at the same time… it is because you both are fulfilling different sections of the blanket of love….. and why, in spite or being in love, we continue to search for love sometimes… it is because… some pockets in that blanket are left vacant and we go on searching for people who can fill up those pockets…..

This dissected love needs to be realized coz we need to know that some pockets in this blanket Love will always remain empty coz God doesn’t make man perfect. And so.. every relation will have its flaws. The blanket is never complete. We can hope for it… pray for it…. But if we don’t get it… we need to understand that we too have kept some pockets empty in our partner’s blanket.

This dissected love, I believe, is superior to the blanket love coz it helps strengthen relations better.
Of course, due to lack of time.. and simply the lack of romance in saying ‘I respect and understand and care for you and blah blah….’
A short and simple ‘I Love You’ as a means of expression is fine… good in fact….
But, otherwise… remember…. A lot goes into relations…. It’s not just ‘Love’
Love does not exist.
No Existe El Amor…………………

Allah hafiz

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Human desires insatiable
Like a staircase to the sky,
Ever craving heart beats
Its rate rising fast and high.

Each step you take
The next afore you to climb,
Calves aching, soles bleeding…
You labour until you die.

Each morn wishing for something new
You grieve, you mourn, you sigh,
Never looking at all you’ve got
The gifts from the Eternal High.

So wait, don’t rush
Just stop and take your time.
The world wouldn’t seem to be running
If only you take life in its stride.

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Thy Will Be Done----- By The River Piedra QUOTED #1

It’s been quite some time since I started reading “By The River Piedra..” but unfortunately, I’ve not been able to complete that book. My eyes are just too tired by the end of the day and resist all my intentions of doing any reading. Earlier, I used to do a “Quoted” post after every book I read… I haven’t done it in a long time, though I plan to re-start it soon, inshaAllah. However, before I get into the conventional “Quoted” mode, here is a part of this novel which I think deserves a post entirely to itself.
This part mentions Virgin Mary and her absolute Faith in Allah. I think this is a beautiful example of ‘Allah Tawakkal’.
I don’t think there’d be anyone who actually doesn’t know Virgin Mary… but for the ‘just-in-case’ ppl,
Virgin Mary was the mother of Jesus (A.S.), the second last Prophet of Islam, and conceived and gave birth to Jesus (A.S) as and in spite of being a virgin, by God’s Divine Command and Grace.
A woman of extreme piety, Mary is an exemplar of righteousness for all believing women.
Long ago, when I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time on Islamic chat rooms on Yahoo.. and one guy had asked a question, “Who are the 5 most important Women in Islam?”
And I remember someone answering, “Eve, Sara, Hajira, Asiya, Mary”
This is because these Ladies have been mentioned in the Qur’an (along with others of course) and I haven’t come across any such top 5 ranking again, but just the fact that the Virgin Mary is the ONLY woman whose name is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, is enough for us to realize her stature. In fact, there’s an entire chapter of the Qur’an named after her (19th Surah- Maryam). She’s one of eight people, and the only woman to have a chapter named after her.
However, Islam DOES NOT proclaim any divinity for Mary or for Jesus (A.S.).
The following excerpt from the novel is obviously based on a Christian view point and widely differing from Islam, be it the place of birth of Jesus (A.S.) or even the Crucifixion…. But still, the basic underscore of Mary’s Faith in Allah remains the same and will surely compel us to question our own doubts in the will of Allah.

For the first time since I had abandoned the path of faith, I felt a strong desire to pray. Although I was seated in a pew, my soul was kneeling at the feet of the Lady before me, the woman who had said,
When She could have said “no”. The angel would have sought out someone else, there would have been no sin in the eyes of the Lord, because God knows His children’s weakness.
But She had said,
“Thy will be done,”
Even though She sensed that She was receiving, along with the words of the angel, all the pain and suffering of Her destiny; even though Her heart’s eyes could see Her beloved son leaving the house, could see the people who would follow Him and then deny Him; but
“Thy will be done,”
Even when, at the most sacred moment in a woman’s life, She had to lie down with the animals in a stable to give birth, because that was what the Scriptures required;
“Thy will be done,”
Even when, in agony, She looked through the streets for Her son and found Him at the temple. And He asked that She not interfere because He had other obligations and tasks to perform;
“Thy will be done,”
even when She knew that She would search for Him for the rest of Her days, Her heart filled with pain, fearing every moment for His life, knowing that He was being persecuted and threatened;
“Thy will be done,”
Even when, finding Him in the crowd, She was unable to draw near Him;
“Thy will be done,”
Even when She asked someone to tell Him that She was there and the son sent back the response, “My mother and my brothers are those who are here with me”;
“Thy will be done,”
Even when at the end, after everyone had fled, only She, another woman, and one of them stood at the foot of the cross, bearing the laughter of His enemies and the cowardice of His friends;
“Thy will be done.”

Thy will be done, my Lord. Because you know the weakness in the heart of your children, and you assign each of them only the burden they can bear. May you understand my love- because it is the only thing I have that is really mine, the only thing that I will be able to take with me into the next life. Please allow it to be courageous and pure; please make it capable of surviving the snares of the world.

If you notice the last para, you will find in it a beautiful little prayer. For Muslims, we can replace ‘children’ with… let’s say, creations or slaves or lovers or worshippers or ppl or whatever word each one of us feels fit. The ‘love’ mentioned here might or might not be the love for God, I mean, in the story, the girl is actually in love with a guy, so this well refers to her love for the guy… but, as is the case of all love songs and love expressions, this ‘love’ can also be the ‘love for God’ and if we look at it THAT way, it becomes a soft prayer of the silent loving heart….asking God that He may understand our love for Him, coz this love, in whatever way we show it, is our only companion to the afterlife. The last statement is of special importance to Muslims, I feel, coz here, we are asking God to make our love for Him courageous and pure……given the tolerance to Islam in the present times, any expression of love for God by a Muslim is an act of courage. Any expression of love for God by a Muslim can be met with ‘snares of the world’….be it the hijab, be it the prayers, or be it a simple ‘Assalam alaykum’ as a greeting.
Even for non-Muslims who love God, snares of the world exist coz of the so-called ‘coolness’ in everything devoid of religion. So, even a girl claiming to be in love with Jesus may be laughed at and called old fashioned and boring and the blah blahs…..
So, I think …this little prayer is a beautiful one for everyone who loves God, in a world where God is increasingly being considered nothing but an old man with graying hair and a long silver beard…
So, well….. we end with the prayer…

Thy will be done, my Lord. Because you know the weakness in the heart of your creations, and you assign each of them only the burden they can bear. May you understand my love- because it is the only thing I have that is really mine, the only thing that I will be able to take with me into the next life. Please allow it to be courageous and pure; please make it capable of surviving the snares of the world.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

15 Years

It couldn’t have been better- this evening.
She was wearing a most gorgeous black saree with silver zari work. Almost looked like she had plucked the sky and draped it around herself. Not to mention that she herself was a pretty lady, shining like the moon in the dark night. It had taken her a week to finally find that perfect outfit to be worn on his perfect evening- the evening when his promotion would be announced.

He was hard working, smart, intelligent and he deserved the success that was being showered on him. Handsome? No he wasn’t. But, then.. she was in love with him… and that was enough..

Her hair was done beautifully. Tied up high like those Old Age Egyptian queens. She was wearing danglers reaching up to her shoulders…. And a single Ruby set among a commotion of diamonds adorned her right ring finger.

He ran his finger through his hair… he did it often. The wind was blowing against his face…. It was a cold night … and he was happy….

She was reclining on her seat…….sitting next to the man she loved… yes, she was happy.

They had been silent for around twenty minutes now….
It was difficult to say why…
Maybe they were tired…
Or maybe they were at peace….not needing any words to be spoken …..
Soon, they’d reach the city, he’d drop her to her apartment and they’d kiss goodnight.. and he’d go back home…..everything was pretty much the same everyday….

“How long have you known me?” he broke the silence.
She continued looking out the car window… with an unfocussed view of dark shadows whizzing by…..
“15 yrs”, and after a pause, “why?”
“hmmmmmm…” was all he replied.
He turned on the music.
Jagjit Singh’s velvet voice filled up the night with the beautiful “Koi fariyaad…”

After a good few minutes he told, “OK, let’s see how much you know me….”.
She turned and looked at him, he was smiling ahead…
She turned back to looking at the whizzing ghosts in the night….
It was a calm night, and it was cold.
“what’s my favourite colour?”
“Blue”, she chimed.
“My favourite food?”

“My best friend?.... best boy friend I mean..”, he laughed.
“huh!!! Amit”, she rolled her eyes.
“Alright! Mmmmm, my favourite singer?”
“Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan”.
“Good,” he smiled, “hmmmmm, what are my career plans?”
This she knew only too well, “Start an eatery chain”.
“What do I want the most in my life? Right now? The most?”

She was still looking out.
The lights from the city growing bigger as the car neared them…. The wind still blowing against her face…
‘What does he want the most in his life?’, she mused.
She knew what SHE wanted the most….but, he… what did he want???

“You want to get married”, she said plainly.
Far away, by the side of the road, she could see an ice cream hoarding in brilliant red and green neon lights…she focused her sight on it. It had a picture of a basketful of kittens.
“To?”, he asked.
The hoarding grew bigger……
She could see the words better now… ‘Beat the Heat’ it read.
The hoarding grew still bigger.


And the hoarding passed them by…..or their car passed it by, whichever way the better.
With the object of focus lost, her eyes dropped on to her lap, looking at her ring… the ruby in the commotion of diamonds….before he reached out and turned her hand, palm facing up, her fingers entwined with his, and he said,

“So, what you say girl?”

She looked up at him, he was driving, concentrating on the road ahead… or appearing to concentrate on the road ahead.
And Jagjit Singh’s voice sang in the background - ‘Ek lamhe mei simat aaya sadiyon ka safar… zindagi tez bohot tez chali ho jaise’

Yes, it couldn’t have been better- this evening.

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Saturday, 2 July 2011

The 'Belief'

I wanted to touch the sky,
Spread my wings out wide and fly.
But, when the winds lifted me, they cut down my wings
When the wings grew back, dead were the winds.

But, I did not moan… I did not cry.
I just had to give it one more try.
So, I waited for a million years.
When my wings grew strong and the winds grew fierce.

And I rose up again to the firmament high,
With a determined will and a focused sight.
Tearing the clouds to achieve my dreams
Not listening to others’ demotivating screams.

I was reaching that place higher than high…
The moment for which I waited an entire life.
And in a moment the ecstasy turned to grief,
Now how will I ever believe in ‘Belief’?

The sky shattered to pieces… fell apart before my eyes…
Yes… at the end… I lost my fight!

~ Almas Kiran Shamim

P.S- pic taken in Chettikadu on 11th Feb'11.


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