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DISCOVER ISLAM SOCIETY&SATIRE

Becoming a Naya Pakistani

By Umm Umamah

(The writer is an Electronic Engineer from GIKI, and is currently a stay-at-home mom)

“The eyes are shedding tears and the heart is grieved, and we will not say except what pleases our Lord.” [Rasul Allah (SAW) at the death of his infant son Ibrahim, as quoted in Sahih Bukhari] 

Yes, we are sad! Yes, we are upset! But we will take consolation from these beautiful words of our Prophet (SAW). All the PTI supporters out there, this electoral defeat in Elections 2013 is a setback for all of us, we are emotionally wounded….but if our Khan is in high spirits, why should we allow ourselves to be demoralized! And despite the individual cases of rigging (excluding Karachi), let us graciously accept the people’s mandate. We have to accept defeat gracefully. We cannot afford to let our emotions blur our sense of sportsmanship and human decency, we have to resist the urge to bash and ridicule our fellow citizens’ choices….because if we don’t, then we tarnish the image of our leader Imran Khan, and we bring a bad name to PTI. As much as we love our leader…by the way why do we love him? We love him, we respect him, we voted for him, because of his love for Pakistan, because of his selfless contributions to Pakistan. And if this love for him is making us degrade and belittle our fellow countrymen…I tell you…it is misdirected. It is harming him more than benefitting him. We have to be different…as we dream of, and work towards a Naya Pakistan, it is crucial that we ourselves…each one of us…becomes a Naya Pakistani first!

Instead of blaming, accusing, and pointing fingers at all others, let us all pray for Allah to guide us all. Irrespective of how disillusioned we are of our traditional leaders & politicians, inspite of their not-so-promising past records, we should not underestimate the power of a sincere dua! Remember Allah is the Turner of hearts…It is not at all difficult for Allah to bestow sincerity and honesty to our leadership. As much as we would have loved to see Imran Khan in the PM seat, our vision of a Naya Pakistan was not restricted to only that. It is not a personal battle, it should not be personality worship either; it is a struggle for a reformed, just Pakistan for ALL of us…together and united! May Allah guide our entire leadership…of all parties, of all assemblies…to work for the best interests of our homeland, Ameen.

Having said that, there is no denying that the change that Imran Khan so passionately talks about, is definitely there. Never have I felt this connected with the political scene of Pakistan…and not just connected, so emotionally connected. Making duas late at night, early in the morning, spontaneously repeating the oath that Imran Khan took from us in his last pre-election address, actually rehearsing and chanting slogans of Pakistan Zindabad with my 3 yr old, getting teary-eyed seeing the jazba of the youth in the jalsas, being super excited to go out and vote…I have never experienced this before, this is something totally new. Even his opponents and the neutrals give him credit for awakening and mobilizing the youth, who then infused the enthusiasm into others.

Imran Khan believes in the youth of Pakistan, therefore he resonates with them. While the majority is cynical of the future of Pakistan, and the state of affairs ever changing for the better, and tries to make us accept things as they are, Imran Khan encourages us to fight….to fight for justice, to stand up for our rights, to speak out for truth. It is going to be tough no doubt, he tells us, but it is going to be worth the effort and sacrifice. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the people, predominantly the youth, are courageously protesting against blatant rigging. While we do accept the people’s mandate, we will raise our voice against injustice, we will not let anyone ridicule our right of freedom to vote. Pakistan sure is waking up! There is no stopping this tsunami now Insha Allah. And again while others sidelined these ‘burger kids’ and ‘mummy-daddy kids’, Imran Khan recognized and worked on their potential. And the same ‘keyboard warriors’ and ‘facebook activists’ are risking their lives for the sake of justice and truth. Some have already laid down their lives…this is no small feat! It demands utmost courage! Salute to all these brothers and sisters! May Allah accept their sacrifices, and protect them, and give them victory in their cause, Ameen.

When Imran Khan and the PTI officials talked of sweeping the elections, it did seem a little too far-fetched. I think most of the PTI supporters must have experienced within themselves, this battle of the emotional heart and the rational mind. I personally would assure my heart by recalling his past miraculous achievements against all odds. He has done it before, he can do it again. His own confidence would bar me from questioning the rationality of his claims, and instead direct me to praying for a miracle. And there was this very strong feeling that Allah would make him win, because he himself deserved to win! He has been struggling for the past 17 years selflessly. But Allah had planned otherwise.

‘But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the Best of Planners.’ [al-Anfaal: 30]

As Muslims, after having done what we could, we must accept Allah’s destiny. Be convinced that this is what is best for us…how and why, we might not understand right away, but we might as the future unfolds. Amidst all this election fever, let us not forget that it is Allah who can change our situation, not Imran Khan! I was feeling sorry for Khan, but my sister reminded me that Allah loves His creation more than we do. He knows exactly what is best for him at this point. Allah does not let the sincere efforts of anyone go to waste. Maybe Imran Khan was not ready to take on the challenge of healing the badly bruised Pakistan, maybe he did need some hands-on political experience inside the parliament, maybe this is Allah’s way of helping him prove himself at a small-scale before he goes on to rule the country…or maybe we did not deserve him as yet!

Leaders of the calibre of Imran Khan are born in centuries. Maybe we have not valued him enough, maybe we still do not realize his greatness. Like he himself quotes very often, Allah does not change the state of a nation until they change themselves. Do we pray 5 times regularly? Have we stopped cheating, lying, breaking queues? Do we obey traffic rules? Are we abiding by the awesome teachings of our Deen? Khan does not have a magic wand to reform us overnight; the change has to come from within. When we strengthen our connection with Allah on a personal level, when we try to lead our lives the way Allah wants us to lead our lives, when we follow the impeccable sunnah of our Prophet (SAW), the success will be ours Insha Allah. It’s a promise from Allah.

So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are (true) believers.’      [Aal-e- ‘Imran: 139]

We need to draw inspiration from the seerah of the Prophet (SAW), and the lives of our Muslim heroes. And it is Allah’s immense blessing that He has still blessed us with leaders like Khan, for us to emulate and try and develop their qualities inside us. We did not please Allah enough, we did not strengthen our Imaan enough.

We are so proud when Khan looks America in the eye, we are so impressed when he shares a room with other patients in SKMH, we love it when people share their personal experiences of how he is such a down-to-earth person, his pictures of eating and sleeping with the common masses reaffirm us that he truly cares for us, when he declares that he fears none but Allah..it further makes us have faith in him, we beam with confidence when even his opponents acknowledge that he is a doer! He does what he says. These are the things that win people’s hearts, things that make the common man relate to him. Not all people might subscribe to his political views, but almost the entire nation loves him for the man he is. That is why when he does fundraising for any cause, the nation donates generously, because we are sure it is going to go exactly to where he collected it for. That is precisely why the whole nation’s breathing was halted when Imran Khan fell on the 7th of May. If his die-hard followers are able to inculcate these very qualities in themselves that they love in their leader, then it is success in and of itself. May Allah protect him, and reward him immensely for awakening us, and for all that he has done and continues to do for us, Ameen.

In Imran Khan’s own words, ‘We have laid the foundation of a Naya Pakistan.’ Congratulations! J Imran Khan with his PTI has impacted the political landscape of Pakistan, how deep the impact has been only time will tell. PTI has a strong presence inside the parliament now. Lets pray that it is able to deliver in KPK; all of us will have to help Imran Khan and PTI perform par excellence. The enthusiasm must not fade away, the spirits should not be dampened, the duas must be intensified, the efforts must become tenfold. I believe like Imran Khan himself, many of his fans and PTI supporters, believe in idealism too. Because realism enslaves you to other forces; whereas idealism liberates you from everything. It makes you fearless of everyone and everything but Allah s.w.t. Therefore, we must not let any hurdle – whatsoever it might be – scale down our dreams. We have to rectify our shortcomings, work on our deficiencies, and with a renewed energy and firmer resolve to take on the challenges ahead, we have to move towards rebuilding Jinnah’s Pakistan. The game has just begun, and the show must go on. Lets do Khan proud! Lets do Pakistan proud!

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License to Kill

This is a guest post by Ayaz R. an Electrical Engineer based in Islamabad.

* A true account. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of  the people involved.*

Fareeda bibi refused to give the dead body of Kausar, her daughter. She stood in front of a fleet of village elders who had come along with Zahid, Kausar’s husband, to take the body to Zahid’s home. Kausar had been living at her parent’s home since three months, after Zahid forced her out of his house. She was six months pregnant then.

When she reached her parent’s home she had told them that she feared her child had died in her womb because Zahid beat her so severely every day. Her fears had been right. This was to be her second consecutive child to die in the womb. The first one was killed days before it was born. Zahid refused to take her to the doctor, so the dead flesh of human kind came to the earth at his home. The same day it was buried; sent back to where it came from.

Soon after that, Kausar got pregnant again with her second child. She became weak because of malnutrition. Her hostile husband didn’t feed her. Although her neighbors smuggled food for her but it had not been enough. Beatings were regular. And so her second child expired within the womb too.

She notified Zahid of the fact but he could not care less. Zahid’s mother was a cold woman and refused to empathize with her daughter-in-law`s plight. Zahid’s brother, a religious operative, was another silent spectator, as he himself was treating his own wife the same way. Now that she was six months pregnant and carrying a corpse within, it had to be either miscarried or aborted. But that was not to be. Days after that Fareeda bibi took her daughter with her. She could not afford any medical or travel expenses so she tried all the traditional remedies.

Nothing worked. Infection had spread inside Kausar’s body and it was getting worse. Fareeda bibi did everything in her power but to no avail.

Finally, three months after Kausar left Zahid’s home, she died.

Moments after her death, Zahid came to the house of Kausar’s mother, accompanied by the village elders. The elders were insistent that Fareeda bibi give the body to Zahid because it was against the customs and if she didn’t, Zahid’s good name would be tainted. Fareeda bibi stood in front, with both hands in the air and cried as loud as she could and swore if anyone took her daughter from her she would take her own life. With this, the villagers retreated.

Kausar was buried the same day at 9pm in her family graveyard. She was only 21. Kausar is just one of the many faceless women who suffer at the hands of our degenerating society, by the callousness of their own kin. Unfortunately the debate over the equality and rights of women is taken on only in the elite class of the country where ‘rights’ mean daughters getting the same phones as the sons, and ‘equality’ refers to allowing the girls to also sit on the front-seat of the car.

I am not an advocate of feminism or an anti-elite commentator, nor do I support any right or left wing, I am but only trying to guide the liberal horses and conservative bulls to the real problem.

Pakistan has no practical law preventing men from mistreating women. If there is some sort of law, it`s buried deep within the dusty books of the law.

Religious clerics would never question Zahid for his misconduct because for them his wife was his property and it was no one’s business what a married couple was doing. Those clerics would stand in front of armies and guns but would never stand in front of a sole person killing his unborn children and his wife.

The courts and police would not interrogate Zahid because no complaint was ever filed and since no complaint would ever be filed it`s not in their jurisdiction. So it’s no one’s matter.

Zahid is ready to re-marry and his mother is on course to find a girl. There is no doubt she will succeed. And there is no doubt that there would be willing parents out there.

Editor`s Note: While it is true that clerics in villages (and otherwise) unfortunately do as the story depicted YET this does not absolve us of change. It is time, high time to take responsibility of our own actions (or lack thereof) as well! It is our own fault that religion has been left to the poor man, the illiterate man. A hungry man is not a shame to himself, but a shame on society!

At the same time, we must NOT dump all religious scholars in the same heap! Scarred as you may like to believe that you are, you owe it to yourself and society to find the right kind of people and learn about this Deen. Our salvation lies in following the word of Allah s.w.t. and following the laws therein. For who can be more just then the Creator Himself?

“…When the baby girl buried alive is asked, for what sin she was killed…” – Surah Al-Takwir

i-urge-you-to-treat-your-women-well-prophet-muhammad-quotes-timeline-cover-photos

The parting message of Rasul ullah s.a.w at Hajatul Widah: “O People! With regards to your wives, Fear Allah!”

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Current Affairs DISCOVER ISLAM SOCIETY&SATIRE

Why Spidey Was Right and Imran Isn`t…

Caution: Please note just in case some over-zealous Imran supporter wishes to take me on: I`M  F-A-T!

“With great power comes great responsibility”

And then he walks off looking all cool and nonchalant, as if doing the right thing comes naturally. Okay maybe it does, maybe our hearts ARE in the right place and most times we DO know instinctively what the right thing is. But what we do with that knowledge is a different story all together, read any Aunt Agni columns lately?
But I digress (as per usual:P). This article isn`t about Aunt Agnis, their role in society and the type of people that write to them. Let`s not get judgmental here:P This article is about YOU!

Who me?
Who me?

Yes YOU!
Oh yes you slouching in your chair, sit up young man and take note!
Or woman, we really aren`t racist or particular ( yes women are another race, we refuse to be associated with men. Okay maybe we are a  little racist:p)

Anyhoo do you know why it`s about you? Cz even though you may not have gotten into the university of your choice yet or been hired by the firm of your dreams, you ARE in a position of power. How? Cz all of us who are at some position in society (read: can speak English and have a facebook profile) CAN and DO unwittingly command respect. Whether you like it or not you should know that you belong to a class that is “looked up to” (whatever your grades may be in school). Your maid, your driver, your tailor, barber, the General Store wala, or anyone else you interact with all look up to you so you need to conduct yourself likewise!  So before you go all Martin-Luther on me realize that you need to be very careful about the things that you glamorize and the good or bad that you might thereby inspire. We are all ambassadors; choose the brand you endorse wisely. Indeed you will be questioned about it:

Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record]- Surah Qaf :18

Think about that before you share a “oh-so-cool” video/song on Facebook next time. Think about the underlying subliminal messages that you are okay-ing with that tiny like/share.Think about it before you break a little girl`s heart when she shyly tries out her pink floral Hijab for the first time. Think about it before you mock a class fellow for praying “too regularly”, or laugh at a friend trying to get married without causing her parents to go into debt ( ever wonder why Americans cry about the recession when they don’t have to throw a Desi wedding?). Think about it when you make a Pathan/Sardar jee/Memon/Meera-Veena/anything-that-breathes joke (and then you complain your mommy won`t let you marry “her” just because she`s not Abbasi). What is the harm you say?  When rich people spend lavishly they make extravagant weddings a status symbol for the common man and so on and so forth…

Money talks and in more ways than we can comprehend. They were right when they crooned:

Ya meri gari dekhi
Yam mera bangla dekha
Ya mera sara Bank Balance dekha
Tmhe Pyaar mjse nai haiiiii 

(Sigh if they had only done that without music). Ever wonder where our “gora complex” came from? Google Aryans and British Raj to know the long-term effects on your psyche of rulers that lived long before the internet was invented. Pricks to know their ideals might have out-lived ours.

When beautiful people dress scantily, they glamorize nudity for the masses (or glamorize anorexia for that matter). When charismatic orators talk about “freedom of speech and tolerance” the line between religious extremism and  liberal extremism can no longer be clearly drawn. When writers write and poets rhyme, much is lost in translation. That is the power of glamorization.  I can honestly picture some dark voodoo stuff now:

A glamour was originally said to be a spell cast by a 
witch to make somebody see things in a different way –Virginia Postrel      (Told you so:P)

That my friend is the power of marketing!

“Many a false idea has been sold on the strength of how beautifully it was presented, and many a sublime truth has fallen flat because of how poorly it was expressed.”-Unknown

This power is unique to those who have been blessed with either wealth, health, good looks or any other talent. So those of you with power (ya X-Men:P) remember that bad deeds like good ones have ripple effects. 

There is a story in Ibn Kathir which says:

…Shaytan then went to Hawwaa` in a hurry and said to her, “O Hawwaa`! Qabil killed Habil.” She asked him, “Woe to you! What does ‘kill’ mean?” He said, “He will no longer eat, drink or move.” She said, “And that is death?” He said, “Yes, it is.” So she started to weep.

Any soul that is unjustly killed, then the first son of Adam will carry a burden of its shedding, for he was the first to practice the crime of murder.”                                                                                                                                       [Ahmad]

**talk about major ripple effect**

Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things.                         
 ( Surah An-Nisa verse 85)

“Whoever guided people to misguidance will bear the burden of sin for that, and the burden of those who do it after him, without that detracting from their burden in the slightest.´                                                               (Muslim)

See what I mean when I say Spidey is right?

And so i beg to differ with Imran Khan when he says “Tabdeeli agai hai” (change has come) . Yes that sounds great, feels great and I pray to God that our future has some greatness sprinkled in it. BUT over-flowing hormones aside, the change is far from coming; change will come the day we change ourselves. The day we stop using humor to brush aside the wrongs we commit and start taking responsibility for our actions. The day we stop stereotyping, copying assignments, cheating on tests, bribing the police wala to let us off easy. Also the change will come when we get off our behinds and cast our votes. Cz that’s what responsible citizens do.  

And no the argument that people with “special powers” aren`t registered voters won`t work. No Tariq it really won`t.

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Happily Ever After?Daddy`s Bank Account Begs to Differ

This is a guest post by Sarah Ahmad. The writer has done her MBA from University of Peshawar and is an avid reader of all things readable (yes, soap wrappers ARE readable :p) and a not so prolific writer (regrettably so) of everything writeable. The writer takes an active interest in culinary arts and feels like a pretentious fool writing about herself in third person.

Yes, it is the Rapid Fire round!

(No, it is not Koffee with Karan)

So what comes to your mind when I say these words?
1. Ceiling?
Fan!
2. Apple?
Doctor! (An Apple a day, keeps the doctor away, nai?)
3. Extravagance?
Weddings! (No??? ok maybe I forced this in, to set the stage for my write up :p ‘Politicians’ counts as correct too :p)
So my sister got married last December and whenever our utility bills arrived, everyone would say ‘just you wait for the December bills!’ That really made my father look forward to the blessed month! (He was aware there won’t be any surprise gifts from PESCO or SUI Northern or even PTCL btw).Utility bills are the least of miseries attached to this ‘most important day of their lives’ with them earning nothing and spending as if they earned it all!
However parents, in their efforts to out-do all others, load trucks and lorries and vans and even an occasional donkey cart with the “JAHEZ”

Why?
Because ‘The more, the merrier’
(Merrier being the larkay walay and more being supplied by the larki walay and yet these are people who cry when daughters are born). But I digress surely, let’s resume our game:
4. Marriage?
Kharcha!!!

Ok, Sorry! Um Happiness?

Yeah! That’s better!
5. Bride?
JORAA!!!!!

To be explicit, a ‘DESIGNER JORAA’ that nobody has ever worn or seen or even thought of and one that will outshine Cinerella’s and Diana’s and Kate Middleton’s combined and will mesmerize everyone and fill them with envy so deep that even the midlest accident thereafter can be attributed to their ‘jal ker nazar laga dena’.

The bride, however is not the only one in this desire, the whole household joins her happily. The family must look……ummmm…..well, ten times richer than they actually are.

Why? To gain mankind’s approval? But,

“…surely He does not love the extravagant.” Quran [Surat 7, Verse 31]

A friend of mine told me that her father is not giving her enough money to get an HSY wedding dress and she has to be contented with a sasta sa 70,000 rupees ka jora. I went ‘pooray sattar hazaaaaaar rupaaaay?!’

(Ever heard of the ghareeb awaam? Well, I must be ‘it’ because this sounds like a lot of money to me and only between you and me, it was me, that pepsi sasty karanay wali aunty :p)

It is my observation that we spend more time on putting price tags on other’s possessions than we do on appreciating our own and it really seems pointless to spend such huge amounts when we will still be looking and comparing and never satisfied.

We seem to look for excuses to spend money on, be them the hall decorations, the mehndi arrangements, the photographer or the special effects on the stage. The event planner told my aunt that we should have the ‘waterfall stage’, who, being her usual ghareeb awaam mentality wali self, replied. “je koi water wich dub ker mar gaya te utton janazay da we kharcha bhugtna paray ga” and thus politely declined the temptation offered.

Allah s.w.t  says of those He approves

“And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.” -Qur`an [Surah Al Furqan, Verse 67]

Can one manage with a lesser amount? Absolutely.
Would one enjoy less with a smaller amount to spend? No, because there’s so much to do, there’s hardly any time to be self-conscious.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w), while passing by a road, saw one of his companions, Saad, performing wuzu. He was using more water than required. So the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Why are you wasting water, O Saad?

Saad asked: Is there any Israaf in utilising water also?

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied: Yes, even if it is at the bank of a river.

Take a moment to think about how much you spend on this ‘magical day of union’, because when all is calculated and paid, the only magic fathers know is ‘crucio’!!!

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DISCOVER ISLAM SOCIETY&SATIRE The Human Psyche

To Beard or Not To Beard? A Grammatically (And Socially) Incorrect Topic We Know

**This is a guest post. The writer is an engineer from NUST, a wanabee student of knowledge, an occasional blogger, a photography and digital arts enthusiast, a self proclaimed philosopher and a sports and adventure fanatic. A true jack of all, master of none :p.**
(The writer`s own words and not the editor being judgmental, ya all:P)

Most of my friends think I always had a beard, as in literally. But NO, I hereby disclose that it ain’t true. I GREW (I kid you not!) a beard when I was 18. I will not be talking about the Fiqh of it and all, but it’s quite an experience. This huge step outside the comfort zone, has a lot to teach.

Here are a few pointers from my experience. (Randomly arranged – just because I am not good at organizing texts).

I was never a “shave daily” bacha anyway – I would usually shave once a week, or on special days. I had this weird philosophy of keeping room for looking my best so that when I try to look good, at-least people notice. And the philosophy is still under practice.

I didn’t grow a beard; I just stopped shaving – quite literally. I never knew it will grow this big.

It was not like one day I decided to grow a beard and then I did! – In my case, I just couldn’t gather the courage to shave, or to cut it short. So I would postpone it to the next day, every day! Sometimes with a razor in my hand. And it kept growing (it really does keep growing if not touched – ask Dumbledore :P)

YES I had those funny thoughts of growing it after the marriage etc as well – but sorry Shaitan, that was so illogical. Illogical on so many fronts (I can do another post on that one thing!)

Being logical by nature, I knew I will grow a beard one day, be it towards my 40s. I knew that I had the “just do it” thing working, and that the Iman high was not going to stay for long, and might take a lot of time to return. And so I took a plunge, a leap of faith! Logically, in my forties I ought to have more peers and a larger permanent social circle than what I had in my teens (I hope :P) , and that would mean more peer pressure.

I was NOT forced to grow a beard; neither did anyone try to convince me of it. Not one single person.

Like all other kids of my time, I, despite respecting my religion and wanting to do good, too had this media-influenced belief that all bearded men are “extremists” (and somewhat retards – ok most if not all ). And then I met some sane, educated, thorough gentlemen with (duff-roll) BEARDS! YES BEARDS! I realized how shallow I was acting by being judgmental about it, and that how too had the same power within me, to impact others, to inspire change!
I met some weird people along the way (editor`s note: Don`t we all? sigh). People who never really cared to talk to me or hardly knew my name suddenly had sympathies for me. Like I was once supposed to travel with an uncle on a two-hour journey. And he was slowly building up the conversation and I could see it coming:

They`re Coming!

– and he finally came to the point saying, “look beta, I have a beard this long inside me *pointing to his waist*, but it is not necessary I grow it outside.

And on and on it went.
And then he said that this would make it difficult for me to get a job (he was at a good position in a multinational himself -_-). THAT just made me work harder to achieve the very best I can! I am still working on it – I just want to make sure no one else can say that to a kid in the future, at-least not to a kid who knows me. Then there was the uncle who actually guaranteed me a job, just because I grew some hair. Alhumdolillah! There are all sorts of people out there, and not everyone is out to get us bearded ones:D

And you know how we always come up awesome, witty replies AFTERWARDS (good to make a list of these :P), so this is my standard reply now: “uncle I failed to grow a beard inside, so I thought why not grow it on my face *with a nice smile*.

I understand most kids start going crazy when parents fail to understand this change. Some get rude; answer back or some just give in. I had a few days of rudeness, and it was affecting the already dry relationship negatively. But then, one day I sat down with myself and decided that I’d be a yes-man to them. I’d never say “No” to whatever they say, and be the most charming and obedient I son I can be! No friend`s party had priority over family functions, and no trips without permissions – be it those religious trips! To my friends I was clear; call me “mummy daddy” or whatever, what my parents say is a priority! (Don’t fear being labelled, embrace it if you know it`s right, Fillahi, Lillahi Remeber!) It was like an oath I made with myself, and I somehow managed to stick to it. Today, 7 years down the line, I enjoy a relationship that I believe would have never been possible otherwise.

Instead of just letting go my wit and putting on a mask of seriousness, I literally, and very consciously, worked on it to make it better! For example, made it a point to be funny without hurting anyone, etc. I was an introvert. That little time period, and the need I felt to be a significant part of everyone’s life saw me turn into quite an extrovert! (Quite the opposite of what usually happens I know :p). Whatever little confidence I have now, I owe to that little decision. Back then, I practically “didn’t care what people said” !

NO I did not lose any friends, NONE. And I DID NOT miss out on any fun. I mean Hello! It’s a beard not some frictional force that prevents you from riding bikes or playing games.

I know I made it sound like the world literally revolved around me for the first 2 years, but honestly it didn’t. This was more about what was going on inside my head, and I swear everything else just went on the way it was. No one thinks this much about your change, and no one remembers after a few days, so just relax – and do your thing (as long as it`s the right thing).

Today, seven years down the line, I think it was a huge learning experience for me, probably the biggest yet in my life. And at that age, it turned out to be priceless. Not that I knew it would be like that, but if you read between the lines of this long self obsessed post, you’d know (No I’m not going to single out everything again -_-). And this goes perfectly with all the learning theories, that one learns the most when pushed outside one`s comfort zones. Add a bit from my side to it – that this learning is maximized if you, and only YOU, are responsible for pushing yourself outside your comfort zones.

An end note for people who are quick to judge others on the basis of looks, here is something I learned that might help:

Someone having a beard (applies the same to sisters supporting Hijab/Naqab) does not mean he is perfect, and the most pious person on earth. In fact he can fall into some serious sins as well. What this does tell is that the person has a past – as in a past where he experienced the beauty of iman on some level. And what this also suggests is, that the person, however lost in sins he might be, is open to listen to good advice. So instead of talking at their backs, go ahead, and talk to them. They’ll welcome it In’sha’Allah.

– All good is from Allah, and all faults are my own. I felt like thanking Allah in every paragraph in this article, but I didn’t just for continuity. I can’t thank Allah swt enough for making things happen the way they happened, and making me feel the way I feel about them today, and helping me see the good in everything that happened (I can go on here, but I’ll just cut the already long article short – Alhumdollilah). This was just to let everyone know, that when you have to do it, you just do it, and good things follow. And if they don’t, well, stick with it, cuz’ when you gotta do it, you gotta do it ! and its all in your head, mess a little with the way you think and everything falls into place – It’s all beautiful, Alhumdolillah!

Editor`s Note: Don`t forget to visit the author`s Photography Page: Ansaar Moughis’ Photography . A lot of the pictures around Malonama are the author`s handiwork.