Friday, 23 April 2010

La Ilaha Il Allah, Every day and every night

Many paths we walk,many things we see.
The path of life is getting shorter, and the sounds of death are there for all to see,
Yet we fail to hear, choosing to be free.
But when the time comes near, all of us will know our reality
Many people have passed before us,
yet our hearts have failed to see,
Gods majestic reality?

Everyday we walk,many are born and many will die.
The world is ever changing, and life is quickly passing us by.
Many of our dreams have faltered, and perished
Soon the time is closing, and what have we sent.
Are we going with happy faces or with hearts filled with regret.

But one thing we must all reflect, and not forget
is to remember His blessing, His Bounties, and we must all sing:

La Ilaha Il Allah, Every day and every night, to paradise these words take flight

This poem is based on the lovely by

Yoriyos - Birds of Paradise (La Ilaha Il Allah)

La Ilaha Il Allah, Every day and every night, to paradise these words take flight

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Rising Turkey Versus Receding Arabs

While most Arab states are basking in their impotence and bickering amongst themselves over a long list of issues, Turkey is slowly, but definitely, asserting itself as a leading power in the Middle East, besides Israel and Iran. Turkey, especially under the rule of Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been taking, and continues, to take strident steps in expanding its influence eastward, effectively grooming itself for the auspicious title of the leading state in the Sunni Muslim world.

The Turks are filling a certain psychological-strategic vacuum in the Middle East, especially the Arab region.

To be sure, this vacuum was created mostly as a result of the receding influence of traditional Arab powers, such as Egypt, which has become very much a stagnant, non-aspiring entity, thanks to its crippling subservience to the United States.

The continuing aggrandizement of Turkey's regional status is a real success story, which could be seen as a role model for other countries.

The Rising Sun of Turkey

Indeed, when the AKP came to power in 2002 through the ballot boxes - not political thuggery, as it is often the case in most Arab countries - it sought quietly and wisely to tackle a host of chronic problems besetting the Turkish republic.

Eventually, the successful treatment of these mostly economic ills produced amazing effects and aftereffects, enabling the Turkish economy not only to reel from its erstwhile chronic stagnation, but also to make phenomenal growth, especially in the production and export sectors.

Today, Turkey is the world's 17th economic power. It is also a country that can proudly stand up and say "No" to Israel and the United States.

Internally, the Turkish government sought to quietly resolve, or at least defuse, the enduring Kurdish problem mainly by acknowledging Kurdish grievances and recognizing the legitimacy of the Kurdish people's linguistic and cultural rights.

This very much helped stabilizing the domestic arena, and enhancing internal security, an essential requirement for economic prosperity.

Under the Erdogan's leadership, Turkey succeeded in resolving old problems with Armenia, thus depriving Israel and the American Jewish lobby of a sensitive pressure card that had been used repeatedly against Turkey in order to keep it revolving in the Israeli-American orbit.

Nonetheless, the most remarkable thing about the AKP has been its adamant determination to preserve its free political will especially vis-ˆ-vis the United States and Israel.

Seven years ago, when the United States was about to invade Iraq, the Turkish Government firmly refused to allow American warplanes to use the Incirlik Air Base to attack Iraq.

Prime Minister Erdogan defended the decision, which he said reflected the collective will of the Turkish people.

This happened while most Arab regimes were vying among themselves to please and appease the Bush Administration, which was slaughtering Iraqis in the tens of thousands.

Erdogan did not have to explain anything to the Americans. He just said "No" and that was it.

Maintaining his country's dignity in a world that looked more like a jungle and less like a civilized human community, Erdogan did not hesitate to fly in the face of the world's special sacrosanct state, Israel, for its manifestly murderous and Nazi-like aggressions against the helpless Palestinian people.

Eventually, while carefully maintaining relations with Israel, for certain practical necessities, Erdogan made it blatantly clear to the leaders of the Israeli regime that the future of Turkey's relations with the Jewish state would very much depend on Israeli behavior, especially toward Palestinians.

These are serious words coming from the leader of Israel's erstwhile strategic ally in the Middle East. Israel got the message, but remains at a loss as to how to internalize and come to terms with it.

It is true that non-Arab Turkey is not going to become a pro-active ally of Palestinians in the foreseeable future.

However, one can safely argue that from now on, Turkey will not play deaf and dumb, and it will look the other way if, and when, Israel decides to embark on another Nazi-like, genocidal episode against the people of Gaza or other Palestinians.

At the very least, Turkey will no longer be counted as a strategic asset for Israel as it had been the case for many years prior to the AKP's advent to power.

The Stagnant Arab World

In contrast to the Turkish success story, the Arab world remains divided against itself, with many Arab states struggling to remain afloat economically while seriously and conspicuously ceding their sovereignty and national dignity to the United States, Israel's guardian ally. In fact, the collective Arab situation is probably the worst since the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate, following the World War I. The collective Arab failure to perform a comparatively easy task, such as lifting the crushing blockade of the Gaza Strip, seems to reflect profound impotence and paralysis transcending all levels.

Similarly, the intensive preoccupation of each Arab state, or Sheikhdom, with its internal affairs, is really precluding any concerted Arab effort toward economic and political integration.

The main reason for this enduring political paralysis - this overwhelming calamity - is the continued prevalence of tribal mentality and dynastic despotism throughout the Arab world.

One of the most solid expressions of this tribal mentality is the fact that the mostly autocratic Arab rulers, irrespective of whether they adopt the royal or republican polity, exist in order to control their people and perpetuate themselves and their sons in power, not to lead their nations and advance their interests.

For example, Egypt is a country of 80 million people that has immense human and other resources at its disposal.

This very important country, which had once been nominated to become an African tiger, has been retreating in every conceivable sphere of life, thanks to the regime's despotic policies and dismal political management.

Predictably, this state of affair helped breeding and deepening the feelings of collective depression, apathy, and helplessness among ordinary Egyptians, which in turn pushed thousands of professionals to leave the country in search for dignity, respect, and work abroad.

The Gulf States

As to rich Arab countries ruled by ignorant, decadent, and dynastic despots, they are caught in the grip of the same frustrating circle, because the ultimate strategy of the ruling Sheikhs is to remain in power at any price, including succumbing to the will of foreign powers.

Needless to say, these despots are in many instances plainly ignorant, as they have scandalously failed to translate the immense financial resources at their disposal into tangible and durable economic realities.

Some Arab Sheikhdoms are actually so stupid that they have squandered billions of dollars building ostentatious, but economically fruitless, projects, such as high towers to show off their wealth.

However, these tribal chieftains lack the primary means to shield their economies from real financial cries, as we saw recently in Dubai.

It is this destructive tribal mentality that has prevented culturally homogenous countries, such the member states of the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council, from establishing a real common market or achieving monetary unity.

Nor has it been able to build a credible military force that would shield these countries against a possible foreign aggression.

There is no doubt that the collective Arab situation will continue to deteriorate further until the collective Arab house collapses completely.

This is unless the Arab masses wake up from their dormancy, despair, and apathy, and decide to empower themselves and restore the usurped Arab dignity and freedom.

Arabs are not stupid, and they can, if they want, learn from Turks, our brothers in faith.

However, you can lead the proverbial horse to the water place, but you cannot force it to drink.

It is really sad that in the very country where the Qur'an was revealed unto the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) while wealthy billionaires are running after their beastly desires and mendaciously claiming to be upholding the rule of Shari`ah.

Well, what is the kind of Shari`ah that allows a decadent prince, for example, to squander the Umma's resources on his prurient desires, while millions of Muslims cannot find food to feed their kids?

In the Qur'an, Allah warns such decadent people that their punishment would only be a matter of time.

[If ye turn back (from the Path), He will substitute in your stead another people; then they would not be like you!]( Muhammad, 38)

In the meanwhile, we say to our Turkish brothers, welcome back. We have long missed the Ottomans.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Quote: Ibn Battuta

Ibn Battuta: If you are a son the land of the west and you seek success then head for the land of the east

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Here I Love You

Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

Pablo Neruda

Monday, 12 April 2010

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

LIFESAVER Systems C.E.O. Michael Pritchard talks to Oxford

An Epic from the Epoch of Qur'an and Epical Deeds

An Epic from the Epoch of Qur'an and Epical Deeds

I was on my journey to Hajj. Travelling through the lands of Iraq and Syria, I came across an old woman all on her own. I greeted her and she answered me with the verse, “Peace! is the word from the Lord All-Compassionate” (Ya Sin 36:58). “What are you doing here?” I asked her. She replied, “Whomever God leads astray there is no one to guide him; and He leaves them wandering blindly in their rebellion.” (A’raf 7:186). I realized that she was lost. Asked where she was travelling to, she answered me with the verse, “All-Glorified is He Who took His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque the environs of which We have blessed, so that We might show him some of Our signs. Surely He is the One Who hears and sees” (Isra’ 17:1). I realized that she had fulfilled her duty of Hajj in the previous group and now was travelling to Quds (Jerusalem).
“How long have you been lost?” I asked her. “For three nights” (Maryam 19:10) was her Qur’anic rejoinder. I offered her food. She replied with, “Observe the Fast until night sets in” (Baqarah 2:187). “Yes, but we are not in the month of Ramadan,” said I. “Whoever does a good work voluntarily, surely God is All-Responsive to thankfulness, All-Knowing” (Baqarah 2:158) was her response. “It is permissible to break fast on a journey,” I informed her. “Yet better it is for him who volunteers greater good, and that you should fast (when you are able to) is better for you, if you but knew (the worth of fasting)” (Baqarah 2:184) she responded.

I asked her why she did not converse in the way I conversed. “Not a word does he/she utter but there is a watcher by him/her, ever-present,” (Qaf 50:18) recited she. I put a question to her: “Where do you belong?” “Do not follow that of which you have no knowledge, and refrain from groundless assertions and conjectures. Surely the hearing, the sight, and the heart – each of these is subject to questioning about it” (Isra’ 17:35) was her Qur’anic response. “I sinned; please forgive me,” I pleaded. “No reproach this day shall be on you. May God forgive you; indeed, He is the Most Merciful of the merciful” (Yusuf 12:92) said she. I offered to let her ride on my camel so as to deliver her swiftly to her convoy. “Whatever good you do, surely God has full knowledge of it” (Baqarah 2:215) she thanked me. I brought my camel and as she was about to mount on the animal, she said, “Tell the believing men that they should restrain their gaze” (Nur 24:30). I cast my eyes down. Just as she was about to climb on the camel, the animal shied and moved forward, and her clothing was torn a little. “Whatever affliction befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned,” (Shura 42:30) she murmured. “Be patient, let me hold the camel!” said I. Reciting the verse, “We made Solomon understand the case more clearly. We granted each of them sound, wise judgment and knowledge” (Anbiya 21:79) she said, implying that I was more successful at controlling the camel. She mounted the camel and recited the verses, “So that you sit secure on their backs, (and), then remember and reflect on the favor of your Lord when you settle securely on them, and say: All-Glorified is He Who has subjugated this to our use. We were never capable (of accomplishing this by ourselves). And surely, to our Lord we are indeed bound to return’” (Zukhruf 13–14). “Come on!” said I, so as to urge the camel on. “Be modest in your bearing, and subdue your voice. For certain, the most repugnant of voices is the braying of donkeys,” (Luqman 31:19) she warned me. While walking, I began to recite poetry. “Recite from the Qur’an what is easy for you!” (Muzzammil 73:20) was her advice. “But reciting poetry is not forbidden in Islam!” I protested. “He grants the Wisdom to whomever He wills, and whoever is granted the Wisdom has indeed been granted much good. Yet none except people of discernment reflect and are mindful” (Baqarah; 269) was her reply.

We travelled for a long while; later I asked her whether she was married. “O you who believe! Do not ask about things which, if made manifest to you, would give you trouble” (Maidah 5:101) she snapped back. Soon, we caught up with her convoy, and I asked her, “Do you know anybody in the caravan?” “Wealth and children are an adornment of the present, worldly life!” (Kahf 18:46) said she, and I realized that she had children. I asked her their names. “God accepted Ibrahim as a friend; spoke to Musa; O Yahya! Hold fast to the Book!” (Nisa 4:125, 164; Maryam 19:12) was the answer. I called towards the caravan, “O Ibrahim, O Musa, O Yahya!” Three saintly-faced youths quickly appeared. She gave them money, reciting the verse, “Send one of you to the city with this coin of yours: let him see what food is most pure there (and so lawful), and bring a supply from it. But let him behave with utmost care and guarded courtesy,” (Kahf 18:19). When her children brought the food, she recited the verse, “Eat and drink to your hearts’ content for all that you sent ahead in advance in days past” (Haqqah 69:24).

I told her children that if they would not tell me the reason why their mother talked in that way, I would not touch even the smallest part of the food. ‘Our mother,’ they said, ‘for fear that she might blurt out some foul words that would call down God’s wrath, has been speaking through the Holy Qur’an for the last forty years.’”

Abdullah bin Mubarak (d. 797 AH) was an important figure from the second generation after the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Suat Erguvan is the Academic Coordinator of the Rumi Forum, Islamabad.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The Teacher of Imam Abu Hanifa


There was one incident when Harun Rasheed and his wife were taking a stroll and heard someone shouting out buy a palace in jannah buy a palace in jannah.

Harun Rasheed and his wife went to see what was going on and saw it was Bahlool. He had made little sand castles and selling them for 10 dinars calling them palaces of jannah.

Harun Rasheed said you fool this is not a palace of jannah its just a sand castle and walked off. His wife was a woman of understanding & purchased one.

That night Harun Rasheed saw a beautiful palace in his dream and walked towards it. When he got close and tried entering he was prevented and told its not for him its for his wife. the next day Harun Rasheed went searching for Bahlool and finally found him.

He said I want to buy a palace in jannah. Bahlool said they are all gone now. He offered Bahlool thousands of dinars but Bahloool replied the time has now gone.

Behlool liked to visit the graveyards. "People here are good friends", he used to say, "They do not backbite."

Once, he sat in a corner of a graveyard and with a long heavy stick started probing some of the old skulls which lay scattered about. Abbasid Caliph Harun Al-Rashid passed by, and saw him said: O Behlool, what are you doing?

Oh nothing very important, said Behlool. I am just trying to find out whether the skulls belong to Caliphs or paupers. They are all the same.

And what is the stick for, Harun Al-Rashid asked.

Well, I am measuring the earth, Behlool replied.

Measuring the earth? What are your findings? Harun Al-Rashid joked!

It is equal and the same, O Caliph! Behlool retorted. Three arm lengths for me, in spite of my poverty and three arm lengths for you, in spite your pomp and wealth.


One day a Baghdadi businessman met Bohlool and said, "Sir Shaykh Bohlool! Give me advice as to what I should buy that would benefit me most."

Bohlool replied, "Iron and cotton."

The man went away and bought a lot of iron and cotton and stocked them. After a few months, he sold them and gained a lot of profit. Again he met Bohlool and said, "O Crazy Bohlool! What should I buy that would profit me?"

This time Bohlool told him to buy onions and watermelons. The businessman went and bought his entire savings worth of onions and watermelons. Just a few days later, they all rotted and caused a lot of harm. He immediately sought out Bohlool and said, " When I first asked you for advice, you said buy iron and cotton. I profited a lot from this, but the second time what kind of advice did you give me? All my wealth was destroyed!"

Bohlool said, "The first day you addressed me as Shaykh Bohlool, and since you addressed me as an intelligent person, I advised you according to my wisdom. The second time you called me Crazy Bohlool, so I advised you like a crazy person."

The businessman was ashamed of his behavior and understood Bohlool well.