The Book Project: First ABC Book (1)

As soon as K turned 14 months, I let her join a playgroup that is conducted in our condominium’s playroom twice a week . K happens to be the youngest right now in the group while the oldest is 2 years and 4 months. I just love the kind of stuff they do: sing nursery rhymes, read books and also have an arts and crafts session. Although these children are too small to actually create themselves, with help from their teacher and their guardian attending the playgroup session with them, they create some lovely stuff. In the past one month, K has created 4 beautiful pieces of art Masha Allah that I am so proud of.

K’s artwork: Mr Sun, The Name Tree, Butterfly and Mr Cloud

Now, I was saving all these little pieces of art in an ‘art bag’ but I realized that in the months to come, she will be creating many more small projects like this and I need to somehow preserve them.

So I have decided to convert these small projects into one bigger project: The ABC Book.

And we already have 4 pictures to go into our book: B (Butterfly), C (Cloud), S (Sun) and T (Tree).

I have decided to do the following:

  1. Get a file folder big enough to accommodate these pictures if 1 of them is pasted on one page.
  2. Get different colored construction paper, enough to make 26 pages (for the letters) and the pictures to go with each letter
  3. Get construction paper to write letters.
  4. I already have color markers, scissors and glue
  5. Get stickers to decorate and have fun!

I can also do separate posts on how to create each of the above art pieces. Let me know if you want me to do so. Else, I will just post when I will have these 4 letters in my ABC book insha Allah.

I am already excited!

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Bolo Ali Ali

Note: I have a firm belief that Mushkil Kusha is Alllah (SWT) alone, ‘Bolo Ali Ali’ is just a a song and thats how I treat it.

I was I think 7 or 8 years old when I first heard Sajjad Ali singing ‘Bolo Ali Ali’ on a vacation trip to Karachi and the tune was so catchy that I not only liked it but would also sing it the whole day (I dont torture people any more by singing 😛 ). One day I was singing ‘Kiya khaybar Fatah, woh hai mushkil kusha, bolo Ali Ali’ while having dinner when all of a sudden my nana asked: Do you know who was Ali (RA)?

Me: Obviously, he was the Prophet’s (SAW) cousin, a very brave soldier.

Nana: (smiling) Ummm ok and do you know what he did at Khayber?

Me: He was the commander (in a I-know-it-all tone)

Nana: Hmmm and?

Me: And nothing (Ok, I didnt know much after all 😛 )

Nana: I mean what happened in the war? Or after that?

Me: Ummm, No (I just had to admit!)

(BTW, I do not believe that there is a mushkil kusha other than Allah SWT)

That night, we didnt sleep till around 3. He told us about Hazrat Ali’s (RA) bravery and his fierce fighting skills. For me, it was all like a character in a fiction story: a brave handsome prince, married to the princess of his dreams, living the life of a hero. It then became a custom at home. My nana would tell us stories from Islamic history and I would think of all of them coming straight out of…well yea a fiction story. This continued till his death a few years later…

Fast Forward to 2005

I had just finished reading The Satanic Verses and I was looking for something written in response to it…and there it was, a book called Muhammad by Karen Armstrong. A beautiful book by all means but wen it ended, it left a lot for me to find out because it was not exactly written as a biography but pretty much as to why the reaction was the way it was Rushdie’s book. I wanted a biography and just a day later I was standing in a bookstore with my first ever book on Islamic History and it was again by a non-muslim author but I knew I just had to read it. It was so intriguing that I ended up reading the whole book in less than two days and I was back at the store to get its second part. This time the story was real, about real people, people I loved and admired dearly but didnt know much about. The book series was by a non-muslim writer so it was not something I could depend on solely but the best thing it did to me was instilling curosity in me…

So why have I been talking about this all of a sudden? Well, you guys know of the series of posts that I have been doing lately and I have now decided to take a break cuz its emotionally exhausting for me. This is an unending research. The more I study, the more it fascinates me, the more it confuses me. I might not be blogging at all for a few days…need some time to breathe and wind up some work which I should 😀 Got a lot of things to do. I have to make up for my classes over the next two weekends. Further, I have started with the write up of my paper..getting some really good results, need some more stuff to be reported in the paper. Planning to get it done as soon as possible. Btw, N is helping me with the write up (If you are confused as to why I need help, then see this 😛 ) . And have a look at this:

11(No sympathies for my fiance plz 😛 ) Consider yourself tagged. Although the test is basically for married people, it is fun 🙂

So anyway, I will insha Allah be continuing not only with this series later but also with this blog pretty soon.I’ll miss you guys…all the rockstars in my life 🙂

The Satanic Verses

I promised Status that Id soon be talking about the Satanic Verses a while back…so here it is.

As with all men with great popularity, several myths are associated with the Prophet (SAW): some created out of reverence and others out of enmity. The episode of the Satanic Verses is also one of these myths. I call it a myth because neither there is a reference in the Qur’an of this incident nor in the most reliable accounts the Prophet’s (SAW) life. Would you really believe in a historic event which does not appear in authentic sources? At least I wont.

The story, as it appears in books by several historians, says that the Shaitan interfered with the revelation of the Surah-an-Najam (Surah 53).  The tradition has it that the Prophet (SAW) was ‘taken over’ by the Shaitan while it was revealed and was inspired to utter two verses which declared that the three goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat could be revered (Nauzubillah) as the intermediate between man and Allah (SWT). Since the Quraysh considered these goddesses as banat al-lah, they immediately thought that Islam had placed these goddesses as equal to Allah (SWT). Because now it seemed that the Qur’an had endorsed the belief of their forefathers, they no longer saw Islam as a sacriligious threat. The story goes on that the Prophet (SAW) later received another revelation that it all had been inspired by the Shaitan (hence the name Satanic Verses). Consequently, the two verses were expunged from the Qur’an.

The story, not appearing in the most authentic Muslim sources, soon lost its significance in the Muslim World and merely remained a myth that was only covered by Western (read Christian, anti Islam) writers until Rushdie came up with his own version which repeats all the old Western myths about the Prophet (SAW) in his infamous The Satanic Verses (which I regret reading myself). For me, this myth is nothing more than just a western propoganda designed (and now embedded in the western mindset) that Islam is inherently a flawed religion by showing that the only and the most authentic source itself  was unable to distinguish between the good and evil.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography

“The Prophet Muhammad is a hero for all mankind. In his lifetime he established a new religion, Islam; a new state, the first united Arabia; and a new literary language, the classical Arabic of the Qur’an, believed to be the word of God revealed to Muhammad by he Archangel Gabriel. A generation after his death he would be acknowledged as the founder of a world empire and a new civilisation.”

This is what the back cover of The Prophet Muhammad: A Biography by Barnaby Rogerson read and I immediately knew I wanted to read this book. Ofcourse, a lot of people raise their eyebrows when they find out that I like reading about Islam and Islamic History in books written by non-muslim writers and I am also often criticised for not reading proper text but if I am reading these books, does it mean I am not referring to the holy scripture or books written by some of the most authentic muslim writers? Definitely, no.

So, anyway, back to the topic. Rogerson, as I have stated above, is a non-muslim and is by no means a religious scholar. He is a story teller and as he says in the preface, he has written this book for the love of the Prophet (SAW), with utmost respect. He moves on to say that he would like to remain a non-muslim but he “was on the side of a good story.” He adds that “The life of the Prophet Muhammad is a story of overpowering pathos and beauty. It is history, tragedy and enlightenment compressed into one tale.” [This would remind you of the Prophet’s (SAW) uncle Abu Talib, who despite loving his nephew and protecting him in every sense was never able to enter Islam because of his stubbornness] Rogerson has written the book with a lot of affection and never while reading the book you would feel its been written by a non-muslim.

I bought this book nearly 4 years back and have already read it thrice. Its a small hardly 250 pages book and thats where the problem lies. Rogerson has tried to cover almost all aspects of the Prophet’s (SAW) life, which means you either need to have some real good knowledge about certain incidents or refer to the lenghty bibliography to truly understand the context. In addition to this, there might be a few incidents talked about in the book which are a little different from what we believe in.

If you havent read any biography of this great man, this one should be a great starting point. If you have already read plenty, this would only intrigue you to know further.