April 14, 2007

Al-Baal Café taking a Tea Break in Dubai

I'm off on my camel for a break, bit of travel and work. I should be back to blogging in May however I might drop a post or two while on the road.

Meanwhile I am featured on the 8th Carnival of Islam in The west with a few of my posts. There are some fab posts featured on it by other muslim bloggers from all over the world. Fellow blogger Baraka from the States is hosting this month's carnival.

So take care dear readers and enjoy the good to be had in life and the people around you, and not to mention the fabulous pictures on Global Themes!

Al-Baal Café playing: Fhear A Bhata, a scottish folk song sung by Andy M. Stewart of Silly Wizard.

If all of us were happy, and none were sad,
And all of us were good, and none gone bad,
would we know what we were feeling, would it have a name?
How do we know we aren't hurting if we've never felt pain ?

Fhear A Bhata (The Boatsmen)

April 13, 2007

How Pakistani Are you?

Arey, you are 49% Pakistani!

Not bad, but not good enough to call yourself a real Pakistani either! You seem more London than Lahore, so why not try wearing a shalwar kameez for a week and maybe that'll bump up your rating...

How Pakistani are you? (first class number one!)
Create a Quiz

This has got to be the most hillarious test ever. Whether you are Pakistani or not (I reckon you can substitute Pakistani with any type of desi), it's worth taking it for a good, long laugh. I am quite happy with my results, after all I am half Pakistani.

*I got this off fellow blogger Baraka's blog

April 12, 2007

What's your global footprint?

We're all talking about global warming but do we know exactly how we are contributing to it?

A very interesting website called My Footprint will tell you just what your ecological footprint is. The results are disturbing and after taking the test myself I was told;

"If everyone lived like you, we would need 6,2 planets."

And I don't drive a car, don't use public transport more than maximum twice a week (I walk or bicycle). I fly a lot though. Don't eat meat products that often yet dairy everyday. Apparently the meat and cattle industry contributes to global warming immensley.

What's your footprint?

April 11, 2007

The Black Bird

Should the black bird come, let it not be too soon,
let the day begin, let it atleast pass noon.

As evening approaches, and it knocks on my door,
I may not answer, but I'll leave a note on the floor.

"Come back again later, I am not ready yet,"
but death cannot read, and it will not forget.

*picture taken at the Vatican in Rome

April 08, 2007

Hindi in the American Ghetto?

Globalisation and all, word etymology can be an interesting phenomenon at times.

The Brits in India during the time of the Raj (colonial times), had encountered a practice known as thagi. This was in no way representative for Indians nor was it a widespread "phenomenon" yet the Brits used the occurence of thagi in their campaign to stress the difference between themselves and their Indian subjects in order to justify a need to stay on and "civilize" a nation they sought out to declare uncivilized at all costs*.

The thags were a group of people who worshipped the goddess Kali and they would steal from and strangle their victims, as a sort of offering. Thus during the 19th century in Britain a thug came to be knows as a particularly nasty kind of ruffian.

From 19th century Britain to 21st century Brooklyn, where one is "positively" self-declared as a "thug for life". Ironic.

*Ideologies of the Raj by Thomas R. Metcalf

April 06, 2007

Loneliness á la Sweden

Easter Holiday is celebrated all over Sweden and one thing you can be sure of Swedes doing these days is shopping for groceries for all the dinners usually spent with family.

An old man approached the woman at the cashregister with his groceries. After scanning them all in, she announced the total sum of 152 swedish crowns (15 euros). The old man took up his wallet and said;

"Only 152? I was hoping it would have been more than that. If I had family I would have surely bought loads of things."

April 05, 2007

Chinese Calligrapher

Haji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang is a master of Arabic Calligraphy. He has taken it to another level incorporating his Chinese heritage into the way he writes Arabic.

Born in 1963 in Eastern China's Shandong Province, Haji Noor is one of roughly 20 million Chinese Muslims. The first Muslims came to China in 631 AD, sent by the second Caliph Uthman and settled peacefully with the natives due to the mutual values shared by the Muslims and the Chinese at that time; tolerance, respect and compassion. The Muslim settlers embraced the Chinese way of living which can be seen in the today more than 35 000 mosques, built in accordance with Chinese traditions.

Haji Noor has held workshops upon invitation all around the w
orld including Harvard and Cambridge University as well as the Zaytuna Institute in California (founded by American Muslim Hamza Yusuf.)

To order handmade originals by Haji Noor online visit; Zaid's Online Store (that is where I ordered mine)

View Haji Noor's online galleries; Gallery 1 and Gallery 2

April 04, 2007

Battling faulty sharia law

"Islam is like new wine in old bottles."

I met with Dr.Hassan Hanafi, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cairo. The Pakistani Government recently approved a bill that argued for a change in the old sharia law that stated that for rape a woman would need four witnesses.

Dr. Hanafi's writings on sharia and islam helped provide the necessery facts needed to refute such a faulty sharia interpretation (one that only Pakistan had), and he was consulted by President Musharraf throughout the whole process. The only time four witnesses is needed is to prove zina (adultery). And for that to be proved, the witnesses have to see both organs meet. The design of this law is basically such that it is next to impossible for four people to see the organs meet. Thus next to impossible to ever accuse anyone of adultery.

April 02, 2007

Sweden's first working Minaret?

A small city in Sweden, Västerås, will be the first to allow Swedish Muslims to use a Minaret in the traditional sense, calling out to prayer five times a day.

The Minaret they will be using does not belong to the Mosque. Instead they will be using the tower of the city hall (which actually looks like a Mosque), previously home to ringing bells that apparently annoyed the people living there.

5 times a day as of yesterday April 1st, Imam Mahmut Ongun will be calling to prayer.
The City Council of Västerås, led by Roger Haddad feels that the 5 calls to prayer a day will be a refreshing change for the inhabitants of Västerås.

Right... this is what you could read and listen to on the Swedish Radio website yesterday, April 1st. Swedish Muslims are now confused over whether this article is in fact an April fools joke or if it is true. Well how about that people?