Courage and creativity

For those not working in a field they’re super passionate about, having the outlet to express yourself creatively is a source of great joy and fulfillment. And when struck by impostor syndrome or doubts, it’s key to look within and remember why you do what you do…what your output means to *you*. Continue reading

The meaning of life

We spend so much time living life, yet not enough time thinking about what are we doing alive. Ponder over the meaning of life, the purpose of our existence, who is responsible for our creation and what happens when we leave. If you don’t want to think about where you came from, at least think about where you are going to go when it’s all over. Continue reading


The piece below was written by a blogger called Maliha, whose work was really inspiring for me in my early years of blogging. Sadly, her blog ( is now either offline or just innaccessible.

Regardless, please enjoy and ponder upon this particular writing, which made a big impact on me at a rough stage of my life.


Imagine you are going into the unknown. It is dark. Terrifying. It holds all
your fears; yet all that you desire lies a little yonder. Imagine you are in
a tunnel and the light is beckoning to you from the other side. You have a
choice to hold on to the walls; to remain cooped up in your self made
prison; or take the first step. The catch is, you never know if the step
will ever land. There are no guarantees. You might fall deep, deep, down
into an abyss or fly. You might first fall then fly. You might not fall at

Or imagine it’s a maze. There is a tangle of bushes all around you and a
path barely decipherable for you to walk on. You have a theoretical map that
tells you how to get out of it. It’s not enough though. You know there is a
way out; you know the base laws are constant; yet there are many surprises
along the way. The theoretical map is just one tool you have. You also have
your senses and instincts to guide you. The thing is, you always have to
keep a clear head and a placid heart and this will take up most of your
energy. When things flip up, and the unexpected (and usually what you
perceive to be unpleasant) occurs; you absolutely have to go with the flow.

At any moment, you have to be willing to let go of what doesn’t work. You
have to be a lover of leaving; even if that leaving requires you to abandon
pieces of you that are holding you back. There is no meaninglessness here;
everything is purposeful. Every thought matters. The actions that follow are
deliberate. To proceed in this journey you must both master your self and
let go at the same time.

For example, if the path is straight and relatively easy; then all of a
sudden a huge wall appears out of nowhere; you can not bang your head
against it. You must take a deep breath; collect yourself; and find a way
around it. Sometimes the wall is an illusion; you poke it and it crumbles.
Sometimes it’s brick. You have to either walk around it; or scale it.
Sometimes, it requires you to stop. To just stop and look around a little.

Other times, the only way out is to crawl on all fours; taste a measure of
humility. Sometimes you kiss the ground and the path miraculously unfolds.
Miracles happen when palms open too. Letting go is key.

Resistance is futile. Resistance is death. Everything is fluid. Nothing is
what it seems. Stressing for the path to bend to your will; is ridiculous.
It’s as if someone is perched on a swollen wave, either wholly complacent
that it won’t crash or striving to hold on hoping that they won’t be flung
off. We are all perched on that swollen wave.

When you are flung into deep waters, you must master the art of letting go.
Limb by limb, you must relax, let your self go limp; and then miraculously
you are floating. You are one with the water. Alternatively you can learn
how to swim and practice, practice, practice; so that when you are flung
off, you master the water. Panicking and thrashing about is death. Cursing
the fate that had you thrown off is pointless.

Remember reading all the maps in the world (alone) will not get you
anywhere. You can argue and compare who has the best map; you can burn other
maps to prove your loyalty; that still won’t get you anywhere. You can get
on a podium and chant MY MAP IS THE BEST AND ONLY MAP THERE IS; you’ll still
be in place. You can have study circles and discuss the map; you haven’t
gone anywhere either.  You can judge/condemn others or use them as a pretext
for why you haven’t done anything about yourself yet; it won’t help. You
might spend all your time trying to instruct others on what you know
(theoretically) of this journey, it will be hollow. You might try to save
others from drowning, but the likelihood is you will all sink.

Memorizing the twists and turns of other people’s journeys might give you a
clue as to what to expect. But at the end of the day, you must take the
first step, and the next, and next* At the end of time, all the mazes,
walls, water and illusions dissipate and you are left in stark aloneness
wondering what held you back.

Surrender is not that hard. Just do it.


Avoiding a Harmful E-Diet

As a reminder to myself and to my readers, here’s an excellent piece from Suhaib Webb‘s site.


Avoiding a Harmful E-Diet

by Naiyerah Kolkailah

Food is a necessity in life. But keep over-eating (irrespective of nutritional value), and you can become overweight and obese. Eat unhealthy, fatty foods, and you get high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other nasty illnesses and diseases. The Internet can be compared to our relationship with food. It is a great tool that provides us innumerable benefits. But if we over-indulge or keep ingesting unwholesome pieces and quantities, it can ruin our physical, spiritual and mental health.

With the plethora of content in cyberspace, it’s difficult to maneuver without feeling overwhelmed and virtually claustrophobic. It’s a challenge to be selective in what to read, who to talk to, and what activities to engage in. It’s a struggle to even turn off our electronic gadgets that constantly beep, flash and vibrate with new e-mails, updates, and instant messages. Someone or some group always wants to show and tell us something—always wanting immediate attention. If we comply—all the time—we’ll be hooked for good, and always waiting for more.

The Internet will gladly consume our thoughts and time, if we let it. Our unhealthy online habits can detract from nourishing our real-life interactions, from excelling at work or in school, from reading beneficial books and publications, and from spending quality time with friends and family. We can develop a horizontal approach, broadening our exposure to numerous people and information while developing little to no depth in any of our relationships or knowledge of certain subjects.  Our incessant perusal through other people’s pictures, videos, and blogs can make us aimless consumers, and distract us from leaving our own meaningful footprint in cyberspace. Worse, our online sins can develop into addictions that violate our moral code, eat away at our soul, translate into real-life sins, and sever our relationships with spouses and loved ones. If we find ourselves developing any of these problems, we might consider doing the following:

1.      Unplug. Log-off. Disconnect. Give your eyes (and ears) a break. Go to a park, or watch a sunset. Enjoy the solitude. Listen to the chirping birds, rustling leaves, and the streaming rivers and creeks. Praise God for the beauty in His creation. Bond with your spouse, children or siblings. Talk about your hopes, dreams, fears and needs. Have a cup of coffee with real friends, and connect in person. Catch up on all the unread messages in the Qur’an. Reflect on their meanings, and on your purpose in life. Try making these daily or weekly habits. Be present with your heart, mind, body and soul.

2. Minimize. When you’re back online, think small. Take bite-size portions you can chew. Be selective. Choose quality over quantity. Read only some posts, watch only some videos. Maybe read an e-book instead. Remember to leave room for breathing space, and digestion. Try not to multi-task online. Don’t toggle between so many tabs and conversations, or jump from wall to wall, and post to post. Focus, process, reflect. Ponder on how you can apply new lessons in your life. Then take time away to implement.

3.      Refine. Think of your activities online. Evaluate your surfing, speaking, and spamming. Is it useful, appropriate, and modest? Is it impulsive or superfluous? Choose your words wisely, cautiously, courteously. If they’re with the opposite gender, make them kind but modest. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Try expressing thoughts and feelings in words, rather than using emoticons. Use proper grammar. Take the time to infuse your communication with excellence. Don’t abbreviate, abridge, and shorten where length is valued. Don’t expose, reveal and elongate where concealment is needed.  Before you share, post and forward, check if you’ve benefited and reflected.

Remember, from all the online struggles, addiction to viewing pornography can become a clinical problem. It is complicated by changes in brain chemistry, which are difficult to reverse. Don’t let it happen to you. If it already has, seek professional help to prevent further harm to you and your loved ones.

Finally, I’d like to share a passage from Elias Aboujaoude’s Virtually You: the Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality. It sums up the dangers and hopes for the new virtual phenomena quite eloquently:

Virtualism, as enabled especially by the Internet, is a major signpost in our journey through history. There can be no doubting that it has opened windows and brought opportunity—for social connection and outreach, for liberation from anxiety and doubt, for financial and personal success, and for self-realization and fulfillment. Similarly, there can be no doubt any longer the big experiment we are conducting with our psyches. To offer a psychological read of the virtual age is to offer a candid assessment of an encounter between humankind and a new type of machine—one that is not entirely inanimate; that can be alluring, deceptive, and addictive at the same time; and that can efficiently prey on our basic instincts and impulses, our need for amusement and information, and our never-ending search for longing, and self-betterment. Yet for all the problems and “for the worse” changes this machine might have introduced into our lives, we are not lesser for it; only much more complicated…I hope that we will someday be able to measure the World Wide Web’s legacy beyond gross domestic product indexes, efficiency gains, and the number of smiling emoticons flying through the ether. Only then can we honestly rejoice in the Internet’s many real bounties1

To the Israeli Soldier

To the Israeli Soldier
A poem by By Mirza Yawar Baig

Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


For we are one people, whether you like it or not

You are a Semite, A son of Israeel (Isaac)

I am a Semite, A son of Ismaeel (Ishmael)

Our father, the father of both you and I

Is Ibrahim (Abraham)


Or are you one who will even deny his own father?


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


We will die on our feet

But we will not live on our knees.


You know how to kill, but we know how to die


Hitler gassed 6 million of you, but he could not kill your spirit

Those who died only made stronger, those who remained alive


Why then do you imagine; that if you become Hitlers

The results of your ‘gassing’

Would be any different?


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


Just as others silently watched you going into the gas chambers

Others silently watch us burying our children, the children that you continue to kill


But we remind ourselves

That the blow that does not break the back, only strengthens.


So O! You who used to be the People of Musa (Moses),

But today you have become people of the Firawn (Pharaoh)


Remember we are the real people of Moses, for we believe in his message; not you

Remember that when the fight is between Moses and Pharaoh

Moses always wins.


We say to the silent watchers, the cowards,

We say to those who sit securely in their homes:


We are the frontline who are holding back the enemy

When we fall, it will be your turn.


Remember O! Arabs

The story of the White Bull (Al Thawr il Abyadh)

Who said to the world when the tiger finally came for him:


Listen O! People, I do not die today,

I died when the Black Bull died.


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


We did not come into this world to live here forever

Neither did you


One day we will all go from here

Whether we like it or not


What is important my brother, son of Israeel

Sons of a Prophet, O! What have you become today?


What have you allowed them to make you?


Kill us, if that is what you want to do

At least we die at the hands of our own brothers

And not at the hands of strangers


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


We laugh as we see your Apache helicopters and F-16 jets fly overhead

We laugh because we can smell your fear

Why else do you need Apaches and F-16s to fight children with rocks?


A battle of honor is between equals

We challenge you, you who have sold your honor

Come to us as equals; so that we can show you how to die with honor


We laugh at you because we know, that not in a million years

Will one of you ever have the guts to stand up to one of our children

Without hiding behind an array of weapons that the American tax payer gives you


We laugh at you, because that is what every warrior does

When he faces an army of cowards.


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


It is not whether we live or die that is important

It is how we live and how we die


Ask yourself: How would you like to be remembered?

Without respect, despised and accursed through the centuries?


Or blessed, honored, your passing mourned?


Allah is our witness: We lived with honor; begging for no favors

And He is our witness: That today we die with honor; on our feet

Fighting until the last breath leaves our body; even if all we have in our hands are stones


He is the witness over us both

As you kill us and as we die


And to Him is our return


Listen and listen well

O! One who could have been our brother


On that Day, my little baby who you killed last night

Will ask Him for what crime she was murdered

Prepare your answer, O! One who could have been our brother


For you will answer to Him

I swear by His Power: You will answer to Him.