Monday, October 17, 2005

Emran: The story so far

Ok, for the regulars of my blog, you'll know that a little while ago I was looking to join azafady - an animal conservation organization in Madagascar (based here in London), and then there was the fact that I was trying to look for some kind of work at local newspapers or publications so I can pursue a career in Journalism, thereby proving to the nay-sayers in my life that I actually AM capable of taking control of my own life!

Alas, none of that has happened, although both projects are still on the general agenda, I've just got a little pre-occupied with other stuff that's come up in recent days. Stuff like my pretty much impromptu decision to go to Dubai to check out some more properties then visit the 'rellies' (thats 'relatives' for those not in the know) back in Bangladesh and then go to Australia to visit my cousins and a good friend of mine from my school days in Doha. All this is going to happen towards the end of November and the end of January next year. So I've been saving up especially for my trip to Oz as I've never been there and I want to make the most of my two weeks in the nice hot Aussie summer! So I'm pretty much stuck doing the games testing just to save up for all this.

Hopefully, inshallah (God willing in Arabic) this trip WILL happen. I'm also hoping to go and visit my big sister in May and go to my friend 'Hamsta's' graduation to name a few things that have also suddenly crept onto my agenda. I've thought long and hard about the volunteering thing and I think I'll probably take another gap year after my final year and totally dedicate my time to that rather than do it in a half-baked fashion this year.

The journalism job searching will still go on regardless because I need the experience no matter how little it is as I simply don't see myself spending endless hours in front of a screen; answering calls or just generally sitting down in one place for the rest of my natural life. Although someone's gotta do that kind of job to make this IT-driven world of ours go round, I'd rather it wasn't me. Modesty aside, I think I have better purposes to serve in life.

Anyways now that y'all are pretty much upto speed on my life I thought I'd share a few cartoons I read in some recent papers which I found quite funny.

Note: I'm not trying to make any particular statment with these cartoons, I just find them generally funny, click on them to view larger versions.

Also I thought I'd stick in a Tracy Chapman song called 'Change' that happens to spell out how I'm feeling lately...enjoy)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One month of spiritual detox, a lifetime of implimentation

Ramadan Kareem, Ramadan Mubarak or just plain old Happy Ramadan!
Whatever way you say it, if you're a Muslim you'll know what I mean! Even if you're not, you may have even heard of this word 'Ramadan', or even better you actually have a good idea of what it means. If its all Greek to you then here's a very short and compressed description of what exactly Ramadan is:
  • Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (there are 12 months in all) which follows the lunar calendar
  • Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) by the Angel Gabriel ('Jibreel' in Arabic), it happened on the 27th day of the month
  • Consequently the current Islamic year is 1426 as it is calculated from the year the prophet Mohammed (PBUH) made his journey (or Hijra) from the city of Mecca to the city of Medina on the east coast of modern-day Saudi Arabia as he and his followers were being persecuted for preaching about 'this strange new religion' there
  • Muslims around the world must fast from a few hours before dawn till sun down, that means you can't eat or drink anything for this entire period
  • Ramadan typically lasts for approximately 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon
  • The festival of Eid-al-fitr marks the end of the month of Ramadan when for 3 days Muslims around the world are in a celebratory mood but are never more than a thought away from remembering the less fortunate of thier fellow human-beings and so all Muslims who are able to, must give a certain portion of their and their dependents' wealth in charity which is known as 'Zakaah' or 'Zakaah-al-fitr' before or on the first day of Eid. This compulsory 'wealth-shedding' excercise is as Dr. Bilal Philips (a well known scholar) explains a method whereby 'The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.'

  • The philosophy behind fasting during Ramadan is to purify one's soul; strengthen it spiritually as a fasting person must abstain from the regular evils of daily life e.g. partaking in immoral acts such as using bad language, lusting after the opposite sex be it in thought or in action. On a practical and more scientific note, it gives the digestive system a well-earned break. And lastly but not least, you get to experience what your poor hungry fellow human-being must endure on a daily basis in the poorest parts of the world

I hope that's cleared a few possible misconceptions up, I've endevoured to dispel any possible or potential misconceptions as much as I can. I also don't profess to know more about Islam than the next Muslim you might meet as I am on a constant journey to learn (and perhaps re-learn) about my spiritual identity in addition to the wordly one that has manifested itself in so many different ways over the years.

If this has gone some way in intriguing your interest in Islam and you would like to know more, I'd humbly refer you to which seems to have balanced answers to just about any questions Muslims and non-Muslims alike have.

Anyhow, I'd like to wish everyone, regardless of your religion (or lack thereof) a Happy and prosperous Ramadan and I truly hope you find the contentment that every one of you yearn for whether conciously or subconciously. Thanks for bearing with me in this entry, normal irregular service shall resume uhhh soon.