To ban or not to ban Facebook

No, this is not about the offensive page for which Pakistani courts have banned facebook. I could not have possibly done a better job than Adil Najam so I will not be talking about it in this post. You can read his post here. All I have to say on the topic is that it would have been much simpler if FB deleted that page because the page was full of hate comments, something which is anyway against the FB terms (see Terms, under Safety, no 7). The page is hateful and is attacking a group of people by hurting emotions and offending religious, social and cultural values of 1.3 billion people worldwide. Its not only about Pakistan (4.5  million users), many other muslims all around the world have already deleted their accounts. And if you think FB doesnt care about Pakistan, then you are wrong, they do not want to lose their ardent fans anywhere in the world.

I, instead, will talk about something else.

My husband is not a facebook user. He does have an account but it has no friends added so u can imagine how enthusiastic he is about social networking sites. In fact, he had even forgotten he had an FB account till he got an email from FB suggesting him a few friends. That freaked him out as he was not sure how those people were being suggested to him whom he had emailed once or twice from his gmail account that he had used to open his FB account. He came back home and told me about it. Now I wasnt sure but as I had seen some similar suggestions on my own FB account, I told him that most probably FB links with the email account we use for our FB account and gets information from there. All this time I didnt realize that this is a serious case of privacy intrusion.My husband asked me if gmail allows data sharing and frankly speaking, I wasnt sure as I had never read their privacy policy. You know, we just ‘accept’ all the terms and conditions. Here’s what Gmail’s privacy policy says:

Google may make available third party applications through its services. The information collected by Google when you enable a gadget or other application is processed under this Privacy Policy. Information collected by the application or gadget provider is governed by their privacy policies. […] This Privacy Policy applies to Google services only. We do not exercise control over the sites displayed as search results, sites that include Google applications, products or services, or links from within our various services. These other sites may place their own cookies or other files on your computer, collect data or solicit personal information from you.

I emailed Google to clarify this, as yet, I havent received a reply. I will post their response here as soon as I get one. One this is for sure, Google doesnt seem to be the bigger evil here cuz a little discussion with a few people made me deduce that people using other email service providers are getting ‘crazy’ friend suggestions as well. This meant I needed to check what Facebook is up to.

The following is an email that I sent my husband, I thought its worth sharing. Spread the word:

I think facebook is upto something really creepy.
This first artcle has nothing against FB, instead it talks about another site: Tagged but I think this is what FB might be doing as well. After all FB usually remains silent about its privacy and sharing policies. Read the article here.
Here’s another article which is targeted at FB only.
One more article (all theories as FB has stayed tight lipped on this issue).
Now, obviously, its not Google’s or Hotmail’s or Yahoo’s mistake if FB is peeking into people’s user accounts and saving information which it has no right over.

I just did a little check myself because I have never imported my Gmail contact list into my FB profile and yet I get friend suggestions of people who I am sure dont have me on the contact lists (they dont use Gmail and other email service providers do not save contacts automatically, instead ask for approval) as I do not really know them enough that I would be on their lists. So, today I went to the friend suggestion page and interestingly, it didnt even ask me for my password although it says that it will not remember the password. I was doing this while logged on to my Gmail account which means there’s more to it than we usually consider as in FB is getting in to browser cookies too most probably.

Here’s what FB has to say about friends suggestions (I am quoting it directly from the FB site):

What are Suggestions?

Suggestions is a feature that helps you connect with people and Pages you are likely to know, as well as engage with your confirmed friends on Facebook. Facebook calculates Suggestions based on the networks you are a part of, mutual friends, work and education information, contacts imported using the Friend Finder, and many other factors.”

The FB site has no explanation of what “many other factors” means. Might mean contact scraping and might also mean getting in to browser cookies. No way of finding it out.

Finally, another very interesting post, definitely worth reading and worth spreading.

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Blissful Marriage (4)

Polygamy

Women, hate me for saying this out loud once again, but polygamy is allowed in Islam.

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (among them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. [4:3]

Men, stop being so happy now. There are conditions that you must fulfill to justify marrying another woman!

The Arabs were guilty of a double injustice to widows: they did not give them and their children a share in the inheritance of their husbands, nor were then inclined to marry widows who had children, because the responsibility for the maintenance of the children would in that case devolve upon them. The Qur’an remedied both these problems by giving a share of inheritance to the widow with a share also for the orphans, and it commended the taking of such widows in marriage by allowing polygamy expressly for this purpose. It should, therefore, be clearly understood that monogamy is the rule in Islam and polygamy is only allowed in certain circumstances. This permission was given at a time when the wars, which were forced on the Muslims, had decimated the men, so that many widows and orphans were left for whom it was necessary to provide. A provision was made in the form of polygamy so that the widow should find a home and protector and the orphans should have paternal care and affection.

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). [4:34]

Another condition that must not be ignored is that a man has to be able to deal justly with all of his wives. Now thats quite a task. Dealing with one wife can be difficult for men, I only wonder how men can deal justly with 2, 3 or even 4 wives.

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Blissful Marriage

One day when Hazrat Aisha (RA) was spinning some woollen thread, she looked up to see Prophet (SAW) with a golden glow of contentment on his face, mending his sandals, sitting beside her on the floor. She praised him with a poetic quotation and he, never to be outdone in gallantary, kissed her forehead gently and said, “O Aisha (RA), may Allah (SWT) reward you well. I am not as much the source of joy to you as you are to me.”

we live in a society that revolves around the term ‘wedding’; be it social gatherings or tv serials, nothing is deemed complete without it. Our businesses thrive on this term: fashion designers, make up artists, caterers, photograhers and even carpenters would have been starving if this term didnt sum up the whole meaning of our lives. But how many of us look beyond this term and think of a closely related term which in fact is the reality behind the contract signing ritual: marriage. Sadly, very few!

I was difficult to be convinced to get married. When I finally did agree to get married, I knew I had chosen just the right guy. I had made a decision and I knew I could not let anyone or anything weaken my decision. For that I needed to strengthen my decision further which could only come through knowledge.

I was engaged for exactly 9 months and during this time I had to mentally prepare myself to live in a house I had never seen even in my dreams, leave the only country in the world I called home, call a new family my own and dedicate my whole life to a man I had met only thrice. This was all too overwhelming for me. Alhamdulillah, my susraal was always a relief and because of them I knew I was getting married to the right person. But, there were still people who would instill all sorts of negativity in me about my decision. So, instead of thinking about this all the time, I was able to find ample time to study about Islamic Marriages (interestingly, there is not much stress on weddings in Islam).

I am not saying that I had an Islamic wedding but I had a very simple wedding as compared to most weddings I have attended in the past few years. I wish I could have an even simpler wedding if I had not gotten weak. Some times you just have to give up cuz of ur own extended family’s cultural values. I wish I could have been stronger. I am not even saying that I adjusted to my new life style immediately, in fact I am still trying to adjust. After all, even water takes a while to calm down after its hit by a small pebble and no matter how much you prepare yourself, you dont really know how the experience would be until u start living it.

But that does not mean you should not prepare yourself at all. You cannot just enter the examination hall with no preparation at all unless you wish to fail. You might not be able to solve all the problems, but at least you have to make an attempt. And that is precisely the reason why I am doing this series of posts: I want to share what I have found regarding marriage with all of my readers, knowledge might give you the courage to initiate the change. If you are a guy, its a bit easier to be assertive in our society. Go ahead and be the change you want to see.

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Anarchy all the way…

News: Jeans, national dress outlawed at Bahria University

People need to understand that there’s a difference between a school and a university….a lot of the things that mite work at a school, mite not work even at a university which is known for timid students. This must be the beginning of true anarchy at Bahria!! I truly dreaded this. In fact, I did a post on this exactly one year back. You can read it here.

I wonder why I wasnt able to witness anything like this while I was there. Sad. 😛

Procrastination

No its not Twitter, Facebook or Google Buzz. It might be for the youth but for the majority of Pakistanis, its politics. And arent we always asking the most stupid questions. Here are some of the most commonly discussed unsolved questions and my answers (you dont obviously have to agree to them 😛 ):

Should Pakistan have been created?

It was created more than 6 decades back. Can we talk about improvement instead?

Kashmir hamara hai.

LOL. Is that a joke? We have already lost half of our country. We are finding it difficult to hold on to wat we are left with. What will we do with a part of land which is not ours yet?

Pakistan should be an Islamic State.

It was established as Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1973 constitution.

Free judiciary (a.k.a. CJ mafia’s authority) will make Pakistan the most democratic, crime free country in the world.

Oh yea? Keep dreaming. It has only established a criminal, who attempted to murder the COAS, the most ‘trustworthy’ and ‘respected’ person in the country.

Only Khilafat-e-Rashida can save us.

Like Khilafat-e-Rashida saved the Khalifas themselves? I think we need to remind ourselves that both Hazrat Usman (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA) were murdered by the so-called Muslims only. We only deserve people like Zardari to rule us.

Getting back to normalcy

It actually makes me feel better that both Hira and Minerva are pretty much going through the same emotional transition as me even though we are living in 3 different countries in completely different circumstances. The only thing that we have in common is that we all got married last year.

Being married changes pretty much everything in your life…including your name in most cases and thus your identity as a person in the society. The roles change dramatically and all of a sudden you are required to be the perfect housewife who cooks, cleans and looks good too. Your own life takes the backseat and the biggest dream of your life goes down the priority list….perhaps vanishes. Not because you are being forced by anyone but that is something that you just dont find the most important thing in your life anymore. You just want to be sure that your family life doesnt suffer and you make all the compromises you can think of. Alhamdulillah my husband is being very supportive and patient in this regard, he is definitely trying his best helping me adjust, while he is adjusting himself.

I am sure men make a lot of compromises too. Their responsibilities, especially financially, increase and they have to learn to ‘save up’ for the family that they have now and will have. Obviously they have the advantage of continuing their job in the same working environment, living in the same house and not carrying babies within themselves for 9 months. And thus, perhaps, do not have to face a lot of emotional transitions as newly wedded women.

I know this is a type of post that doesnt belong to this blog as such but I guess I would do it here because I realized its not as personal as I thought it was. All newly wedded women feel pretty much the same way as me. So, for now, I’l just try to settle in my new lifestyle but I seriously need to keep myself busy. Getting a job mite help perhaps.