The fact is, for the vast majority of people, being in lockdown isn’t just another holiday or period of relaxation. We rarely get to take a sabbatical throughout the year amidst the hustle & bustle of everyday life. Sure we have been given an opportunity to focus on other, more beneficial activities, but many people might be inclined to succumb to worry & concern over what lies ahead.
We all know of the challenges we face in our respective countries, financially and otherwise. It’s natural to stress about how we will support ourselves & our families in this uncertain economic terrain. After all, we are only human. We have bills & we have needs.
I just thought I’d share some inspirational words of wisdom that I find to be a source of comfort & admonition in these distressing times.
You know, we don’t have as much control over our Rizq’s (livelihoods/sustenance) as we may think. We need to reconcile with the fact that our destinies have already been preordained (this isn’t to say that effort, dedication & perseverance is not required of us). In the Beautiful words of Umar Ibn Khattab (R.A.), “What is destined will reach you, even if it be underneath two mountains. What is not destined, will not reach you, even if it be between your two lips.”
Recently, I have been reading a lot about the teachings of the late Imam Shafi’i; whom I have always admired. He possessed so many admirable qualities, which set him apart from the average mortal. He was way ahead of the game when it came to his firmness in faith, his superior intellect, his contentment of heart as well as his level of understanding. Each poetic piece, literary work or quote I come across causes me to develop an even greater appreciation & respect for the man. His teachings are universal, timeless jewels that address the exigencies in our world; they would find an application even in the unfamiliar times we find ourselves in.
The following poems are two of the more well-known pieces by the learned Imam, and I’ve decided to post them due to their relevance:
”It is upon you to have Taqwa (mindfulness/awareness) of Allah (God) when you are forgetful, sustenance will come to you from where you do not know. How do you fear poverty when Allah is the provider, indeed he provided for the birds and the whales in the sea. And whoever thought that sustenance comes with power, when the bird ate something with the eagles. This world goes by you and you do not know, if the night covers will you live until Fajr (dawn)? How many healthy died without a reason, and how many weak live forever? How many youth go to sleep and wake up laughing, and we buried him at sunset and he didn’t even know? So whoever lives a thousand then a thousand years after that, no doubt there will come a day when you will go to the grave!”
“People will live amongst people, for as long as they live, For without doubt, fortune and goodness will come and go. The best of people amongst others is a man who, Upon his hands, the needs of others are settled. Never withhold your assistance from anyone, As long as you are capable, for fortune tends to come and go. And give thanks for the bounties of Allah, If you are the one to settle the needs of others. Indeed, people have died, and their virtues died too And some have lived, but they are truly dead among the people.”
Don’t, for a second, think that you have certain bounties in your life due to your intellect, enterprise, physical strength or family wealth. We praise the mind that invented electricity, aeroplanes & the internet, but we forget about the mind that invented the mind.
The thing about life is that we are on borrowed time – everything comes and goes, be it wealth, loved ones and material possessions. When these things disappear, we feel hard-done-by and cheated, as though life has been unjust to us. “Who will take care of us now and attend to our needs?”… and to that I say, my friends, “The very same one who fed you in the womb of your mother; who brought you up, fulfilled your needs and continuously provided for you”. You received everything you were meant to receive no matter how much you transgressed, faulted or drifted off the path of righteousness.
All things are fleeting and so are these moments – we should enjoy what is and never let the stress of tomorrow steal from the happiness of today. Even when people turn their backs on you (and at some point, they surely will), just remember that the almighty is always there and that his mercy is infinite (even the amount of droplets in the oceans are minute in comparison). ✌
With the commencement of the Holy month of Ramadhaan officially underway, many South Africans from the Muslim community were taken aback by what they witnessed in a recent video, which has been doing the rounds on Social Media, relating to the arrest of 17 worshipers who breached the regulations of the Disaster Management Act.
Since announcing a National lockdown & state of emergency in the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been urging South Africans to stay home & adhere to the law concerning the practice of social distancing. President Cyril Ramaphosa put out the following video to wish Muslims well for the month of Ramadhaan, whilst reiterating the need for measures to safeguard the continent; which was met with great pride and elation by the Muslim community.
Upon seeing this video, many of us felt that the President was sincere in his intentions; without gravitating towards thoughts of this just being some publicity stunt.
Barely hours after the above video message was aired, an incident of the violation of rights & intolerance of religious diversity occurred. Police Officers outdid all the Presidents efforts with the manner in which they carried out their duties. Many of you have seen the video below (which is self-explanatory) exhibiting exactly what transpired on the day.
I feel that it would make no sense for me to regurgitate news reports, so let us look at how this matter was dealt with by the SAPS (South African Police Service).
The police raided a congregation in a Masjid/Mosque after a tip-off from an anonymous person
When they arrived at the Masjid/Mosque/place of worship, they entered the premises to find the worshipers in a kneeled/sitting position on the ground and began shouting; ordering the worshipers to lay down on the ground
They vehemently uttered insulting, sacrilegious and disrespectful remarks whilst making their arrests, including statements about the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him)
One policeman stated, “Do you think Muhammed is more important than the President?”
WHAT WAS JUSTIFIED?
The arrest of the 17 worshipers found to have breached the lockdown regulations was surely justified – the Police officers merely carried out their duties by doing so
The implementation of a lockdown in the first instance was indeed the best manner in which to contain a pandemic currently ravaging the globe (this even supported and advocated by the very person the officers chose to insult – the Prophet Muhammed [P.B.U.H]).
A congregation of this nature, according to the law as it currently stands, is considered illegal & would warrant the arrest of individuals found to be in breach
WHAT WAS NOT JUSTIFIED?
Firstly, The Policemen entered a place of worship forcefully; shouting at the top of their lungs, despite it being common knowledge that religious places require silence & respect
They walked into the Mosque with their shoes on, parading around on the prayer mats as if it were their mothers’ lounge
The Policemen demanded that the worshipers lay on the ground (as if they posed an immediate threat to the Police officer’s safety). It was clear that these were peaceful worshipers and that they could never be viewed as a threat. Rather, these worshipers were compliant & in all likelihood would have simply adhered to demands by the officers to facilitate their arrests
The Policemen insulted the Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W. – Peace be upon him) by implying that the President of the Republic is superior to him. This is not a justified comparison at all – it should be duly noted that the legacy of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) has carried over more than 1400 years (and will for many years to come), and he is a figure respected and loved by billions. Many speeches, writings and legacies of presidents/other public figures are soon forgotten- They barely stand the test of time. It only lasts as long as they are in office and possibly a while after, but never influences the way of life of so many people around the world. The ignorant statements uttered by the Policemen were baseless, needless & nonsensical.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF FAILING TO ADDRESS INCIDENCES OF POLICE BRUTALITY OR VIOLATION OF RIGHTS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT?
South Africa could very well end up like other countries in the world where the police abide by their own rules & seldom pay for their actions. In the United States, for example, they have laws enacted to protect Police Officers even when they grossly overstep their authority; conferring power on themselves to do as they please.
America is the poster child for injustice, abuse and brutality by law enforcement. In a country that holds itself out to be one of the most civil and democratic nations, many minorities still suffer at the hands of the Police. If we think about the gross abuse of African-Americans over the decades by police officers, we will see the systematic ill-treatment, beating and even killing of so many innocent people in the name of “laying down the law”. From the Rodney King debacle in the ’90s to the most recently murdered, unarmed Pittsburgh teen, Oscar Grant – various reports(as well as videos) confirm that these are not isolated incidents. These atrocities have been going on for a very long time.
Many of these heinous crimes are caught on video and seems as though the officers are never taken to task. Numerous protests, Campaigns & approaches to courts by human rights groups have fallen on deaf ears as the government refuses to provide any relief or retribution. You would naturally think that having such solid evidence would necessitate the conviction of the violating Officers, but nothing materialises. They merely suspend an officer until “the heat dies down” – before you know it that very same, psychopath of a person is back on the force, doing what he/she has become so accustomed to doing. It may seem as if I’m drifting off-topic here but my angle is that injustices continue to take place and get progressively worse when we fail to bring transgressors to justice.
The religious freedom we have here in South Africa is amazing, with people being mostly tolerant. You’re able to practice your faith (whatever that may be) with great freedom. Islamophobia is a phenomenon which has taken over the world and propaganda led campaigns continue to run to put fear into the hearts of many around the world, with people having a false impression of what Islam is actually about.
The only cure for this is education – we need to learn about other religions, share views and be tolerant. We shouldn’t just believe what the news tells us. If we fail to address these isolated incidences and fail to hold law enforcement liable for their actions – there is no telling how far law enforcement may go. Just remember that this video is one incident that we actually got to witness. What about countless other arrests made without the cameras rolling?
SOME BRIEF, NOTEWORTHY POINTS OF PROPHET MUHAMMED (PEACE BE UPON HIM) IN TIMES OF PLAGUE/CRISIS
The Prophet Muhammed (Peace be upon him) has said something to the following effect, “to save one life is as if to have saved all of humanity, and to have killed one person without just cause is to have killed all of humanity”
Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) has also advised people that in times of plague, they should not leave the place they are in & also should not enter a place where there is a plague.
What steps have been taken thus far?
The Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa has sent an open letter to the President to raise concerns regarding the sacrilegious statements as well as the demeanor and conduct of the Police Officer’s
The MLA (Muslim Lawyers association) are also attending to take the necessary steps to bring the officers to justice and to ensure that steps are taken against them
A case has been open against the Police by an individual of prominence in the Muslim community
** DUE TO THE VARIETY OF ISSUES THAT HAVE SURFACED OF LATE AND FOR PURPOSES OF CONCENTRATING THIS POST, I HAVE NOT ADDRESSED OTHER VIOLATIONS IN THE COUNTRY THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON AT THE SAME TIME. I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO CONDEMN THE BEHAVIOUR OF ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY OFFICERS WHO EVICTED RESIDENTS DURING THE LOCKDOWN (DESPITE THEM HAVING A COURT ORDER SAFEGUARDING THEM FROM EVICTION). I WILL ELUCIDATE AND DELVE FURTHER INTO THIS TOPIC IN A FUTURE POST INSHA’ALLAH**
I know many of you were bewildered by the suggestions in my last post. I don’t advocate violence, but look at it this way – would you rather have a dispute nipped in the bud immediately or have a dispute drag on for centuries? You would all probably opt for the former. The thing is- if you can’t approach a man directly to talk things out face-to-face and come up with an amicable solution, why not face off in the ring? Why have a family feud or a game of vengeance that may result in the loss of life? Why lower yourself to a level where you speak ill of people or attempt to taint their reputation?
Talking things out doesn’t always yield the results we hope for, leaving many with a sour taste in the mouth. The consequence of this is that it influences their behaviour, affecting the way they act towards a particular person. Why hold onto grudges? Why allow those feelings to consume you? It’s always better to forgive and move on with your life, but when that fails to materialise, what then? Forgiveness is always the key to having peace in your life but not all people were created the same, and not all people think alike. Fighting will hurt you physically, but with time, you WILL heal. The damage you can do with your mouth is way worse and hurts people in unimaginable ways – with its effects lingering long after being uttered. On top of that, it may even end up hurting those whom you have no intention of harming (“the ripple effect”).
People tend to consider boxing or fighting as being savage and brutal. They tend to associate it with the ways of “uncivilized”, “uncultured” people. Why though? Are you honestly telling me that there hasn’t been a time in your life where you were required to fight? How do you know that you will never be in a situation where fighting will be the only choice you have? to defend yourself, your family or your family’s honour? Being a person who has always been a great admirer of boxing and the art of fighting, I consider this sort of narrow-minded thinking to be an insult to a truly great sport. It is artistry in motion, it is methodical, tactical and an art form based on intelligence. In all its brutality – there’s gracefulness, the fluidity of movement, respect, and a true test of resilience and strength. The above approach to dispute resolution may sound ignorant and one which lacks any practical application, but let us look at the way things are done in Peru.
When people think about Christmas, they think about Santa Claus, the Gingerbread Man, stockings being hung above the fireplace and the traditional Christmas tree that gets decorated by the family. Haha, not in Peru my friend! Each year on the 25th of December, communities gather and beat the living daylights out of each other to settle old grudges or tension that built up over the year. These celebrations are, of course, shadowed by dancing, music, bright coloured clothing and the support of family. On the day of Takanakuy, entire Towns/communities gather in sporting arenas to watch fellow members of the community slug it out. People of all ages partake in the festivities including women, children and even the elderly. Don’t judge a book by its cover, some of these old folks pack a mean punch – what did you expect from someone who lived a hard life of struggle and pain? They’re hard as nails yo. One thing I’ve noticed is that no matter how a person ages, their power is always there. They may lose stamina and speed, but give these folks half a chance and they’ll hand you a first-class ticket to Dreamland. If you don’t believe me, ask any boxer who faced George Foreman after he decided to come out of retirement to challenge on the professional stage– getting hit by this behemoth was like getting hit by a ten-ton truck! He returned to boxing at the ripe age of 40, against all odds, to reclaim the heavyweight title; battling athletes half his age. He was 46 years of age when he was crowned heavyweight Champion for the second time in his career, becoming the oldest man to hold the title; defeating Michael Moorer (aged 26) by knockout.
Anyway, back to the event known as Takanakuy –
Loosely translated, Takanakuy in Quechua (the local language of the region) means, “when the blood is boiling”. This word doesn’t necessarily reflect the true nature of this day of celebration. The event is mainly about family, togetherness, love and having a great time. Sure, there is aggression and flying kicks but the procession is controlled & principles, fair. As far as striking is concerned, anything goes. You may punch, kick, elbow, knee & headbutt an opponent. Although biting, attacking a person when they are on the ground and pulling hair is forbidden. The winner is selected based upon a knockout or intervention by the official, who carries a whip with him for crowd control (“Get yo ass outta here!!!”😏 ). If there is disagreement from the side of the loser regarding the decision of the match official, he/she is entitled to appeal the decision. Another fight is held soon thereafter to cast aside all doubt. Listen to this – It is tradition and mandatory for each fight to end and begin with either a hug or a handshake. How’s that for sportsmanship?
At the end of it all, everybody goes home happy having released all that built-up tension. Things mellow down, they talk, they dance and spend the rest of the day with their loved ones.
**Click the link on the top to view the initial post upon which this one is based. Let me know in the comments if you found this post informative or to add your perspective. I love seeing things from all angles. Stay safe, stay happy & keep spreading the love. Peace**
There are some things I absolutely love about the “old school” when men could be men & when they settled their differences like it. Things were simple – where the terms Mano e mano, “fair-go” and “toe-to-toe” actually meant something. For all the shade we throw at the old-timers, they had a lot more to be proud of than many of the weaklings today.
Nowadays, the change in men’s demeanour & approach is noticeable and I just can’t explain why. Why has there been such a drastic change? We have a thousand and one genders (more than a person can humanly keep track of) with guys who look & act like high school girls – I guess it would be more fitting for us to refer to them as women. Like honestly, how can today’s women even be attracted to these gossiping, invertebrate, sorry excuses for men who are more weak & cowardly than Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
I look at all these young kids who idolise the fools they see on the television who have created this false impression of what their lives actually entail – Hip-hop artists who glorify the gang life without truly knowing what it is about. Why would they look up to people whose ideals are based on materialism, over-indulgence and putting up a front, as if it hides their insecurities? This social media age has made it all the more simple to create a false image, spitting poison whilst hiding behind a keyboard as if that exhibits any bravery.
I miss the days when men could settle their difference in the way they were meant to. It wasn’t too complicated – Two combatants raised their fists, slugged it out in a vicious but controlled way until one man was left standing. Amidst all the brutality & anger, there was understanding and respect. Even then, the battle was over as soon as one man couldn’t rise to his feet without the need for constant retaliation or calling “back-up”/”back-stop” to settle the grudge. We left it all on the field of battle without the fear , hanging over our heads, of being shot at the very next day . Like the late Pops from Friday said, “You win some, you lose some but you live… you live to fight another day”. We resorted to classic one-on-one brawls & it was beautiful.
No need for bad-mouthing your enemy, no need for starting dumb ass rumours or formulating a Garrison of accomplices to mercilessly beat a single person. Honestly, there’s just no honour in that. I have no respect for people who gang up on a person to inflict pain upon them. To put the cherry on the top, they still gloat about partaking in such a cowardly act as if that proves anything at all about their manliness or superiority. If anything, it just shows how weak & co-dependent they really are. How about lining up one-by-one? It’s a whole different story now, isn’t it? Just remember, a real man fights his own battles and will never rely on others to take a stand. Men have forgotten who they are, those innate animal instincts which drive them & their lineage of true warriors, who fought & died by the code. If you would like to fight or have a personal vendetta against another man, do it old school & stop being a little bitch.
I just thought I’d do a switch up from my forceful rants & over-opinionated viewpoints to share a few quotes that inspire me. These quotes are by no means literary masterpieces or poetic gems (well apart from Khalil Gibran – the literary master, poet & philosophical legend!). These little quotes of wisdom are capable of bringing solace to the distressed & may invoke reflection in the indifferent. Take from them what you will.
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence & tranquility”
– Khalil Gibran
“Some people are dead but their character has kept them alive, while others are alive but their character has killed them”
– Imam Shafi
And lastly, the below saying of Bob Marley that addresses the need for unity in such a great way. The truth is, it’s always easiest destroying something from within and the powers/leaders know that we are weakest when we are divided. They would even resort to creating fictional barriers to fuel separation. It’s all about maintaining control and keeping the free thinkers silent. Think of every revolution ever, it all started with a united people and ended with tyrannical governments isolating the educated, inducing fear & dividing the people.
“They don’t want to see us unite; all they want us to do is keep on fussing & fighting. They don’t want to see us live together; all they want us to do is keep on killing one another”
And there you were, trying to keep your head up above water whilst this world kept swallowing you in. Trying to end the world’s slaughter when you were actually dying within.
Hate seeing you forgive the whole world but forgetting about yourself. A Discarded material, as I see you isolated on that shelf.
You save everyone, but who saves you? no beacon of hope, no rope to cling to.
They say you are stuck, “just evolve with the times!!”. Then why is it that you suffer for your father’s crimes?
Seems like everyone is a judge in the world of the decrepit and depraved. They put you in a box and your mind they enslaved.
Plagued by darkness, blinded by rage. Anything beats being trapped in that cage.
– Moosa Mayet
In a world of democracy, equality & freedom you would expect a certain level of respect for all beings. They say we are all created equal, but that isn’t the way we necessarily treat each other. We hear it all the time, “Respect is earned”. Well, I don’t agree with statement at all. I strongly believe that each person should be given respect until such time that their actions & behaviour warrants otherwise. Besides, being respectful and courteous says more about YOU as a person than the people you engage with.
Today we flout our civility & progressiveness, feeling as if we are beyond our tarnished histories of savagery and brutality. Though, with certain values it seems as though we are regressing. As time went on we have become arrogant, self-absorbed & condescending to a level where we don’t have any regard for the seniors. The old among us are not shown the same level of respect that they would have been shown of, lets say, a hundred years ago. I wonder why that is. It is particularly disheartening since it is the old among us that can teach us the greatest lessons, they can teach us valuable life lessons coupled with wisdom which can only be learnt by life experiences. Their roles in our lives are greatly undermined – we ignore them, not give them their due respect and view them as members of society whose roles are redundant. We fail to realise that they are the backbones of families, the pegs that keep families together and link us to our past. Sadly, we only feel the impact of their absence once they are no longer with us & unfortunately , by then, it is too late to do right by them. I feel that having old parents/grandparents is a gift from the almighty whereby an opportunity is given to you to gain his pleasure. How ,you ask? Simple, by serving them when they need you & giving them unparalleled respect & love until the end of their days. What would be a better farewell than that? There’s not much that the elderly ask of us – they just want to be heard, loved & respected.