Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ohio + Poetry Night + Miscellaneous

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem: In the Name of Allah The Most Beneficient The Most Merciful

Well ppl,

6:19 am, Dayton Ohio, yes OHIO, the lovely American Midwest. I got in last night from Boston for a finance conference that will last until Saturday.

I attended my morning classes on Wednesday, did a brief french oral exam which was more brief than it was oral (Austin Powers anyone?)

Next I had lunch with a good friend of mine, headed home to iron my suits and shirts (I'm liking this ironing thing for some reason, saves drycleaning money!) and packed my bag. My suitcase hadn't been emptied since Spring Break (and no I'm not a slob, I just have to be in a clear mindset to clean my room, and this past couple of weeks wasn't really).

Checked my lone gray samsonite, and headed to security, it takes me approx. 5 minutes to get rid of all the metal on my body, and trust me I don't wear jewellery, it's just the way it is :)

When I was done with the security, I found the Finance club peeps chillin in the food court, I got a quick bite from Sbarro (which sucks in Saudi but his OK here). I met some new freshmen kids, Billy from Thailand, and Denise from Singapore and Indonesia (yes I'm very stereotypical and I prefer internationals to American kids).

We waited for the rest of the kids to arrive and then headed towards the gate. We stopped in Philadelphia prior to reaching Ohio.

IN Dayton, we checked in, and split up into our different rooms. I shared my room with Morris (New Yorker of Turkish Descent, one of my core teammates), Billy (Thai Freshman), and Danny (Indian from Ghana, also a freshman).

We unpacked most of our stuff and headed upstairs where the restaurant had some live jazz. We chilled a bit and called it a night..

I'll discuss the symposium in a special post.

Last Tuesday we held "Coffee, Poetry, Islam" as part of the Islamic Awareness Week functions. I recited some Jahilee poetry by Zuhair, as well as reading the translation to a Persian poem by the famous "Rumi." When I read the mu3allaqa I had the audience repeat the last word (like we do with shi3ir naba6ee) and they enjoyed it. I also managed to keep myself from cracking up when my colleague from Harvard was reading the Persian (because Max always does Persian impressions and i can't stop laughing). I also got bashed for reading the translation in a pseudo-British accent which I didn't mean to do, it just came naturally with the words.

When I Die
Jalaluddin Rumi (translated by RA Nicholson)

On the day of my death when my coffin is going by, don't
imagine that I have any pain about leaving this world.

Don't weep for me, and don't say, "How terrible! What a pity!"
For you will fall into the error of being deceived by the Devil,
and that would really be a pity!

When you see my funeral, don't say, "Parting and separation!"
Since for me, that is the time for union and meeting God.

And when you entrust me to the grave, don't say, "Good-bye! Farewell!"
For the grave is only a curtain for hiding the gathering of souls in Paradise.

When you see the going down, notice the coming up.
Why should there be any loss because of the setting of the sun and moon?

It seems like setting to you, but it is rising.
The tomb seems like a prison, but it is the liberation of the soul.

What seed ever went down into the earth which didn't grow back up?
So, for you, why is there this doubt about the human "seed"?

What bucket ever went down and didn't come out full?
Why should there be any lamenting for the Joseph of the soul because of the well?

When you have closed your mouth on this side, open it on that side,
for your shouts of joy will be in the sky beyond place and time.


-YSH ;)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Dimanche.. :)

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Assalama Lizzo Foh Shizzo my peeps,

Another highly eventful weekend to say the least:

Started bad, but after I caught up on sleep, ended my French exam (very well in sha Allah), and finished physical therapy I enjoyed the rest of my day. I went to a Persian event with a good friend and met some cool people there. The persians thought I was persian, which was interesting, but the good thing about it was that they were even more excited that I was a Saudi and that I was interested in attending the event. At night, I chilled with my budz at Marios's krib.


Later on for lunch, we had two of our friends: Shaibah and Max give a slightly different perspective of the college experience as a graduate student [Max] and a freshman [Shaibz] from the UAE. This was at Marcello's (Italian/Persian restaurant) on Newbury street. The food was phenomenal and we had a great time. The footage we got was great and we laughed a lot.

After saying our Salamz, I went into xtreme preparation mode for the Multicultural weekend that ISBU was holding. I ironed my thobe and shumagh for the first time in at least 5 years which was an interesting relearning experience. Then I donned my thobe, shumagh, farwah, custom-made Zbairiyyah, and shades (typical saudi) and headed out of my place with some decorations for the exhibit. I got some of my boys to prepare the coffee, tea and dates..

Woke up early again (it's a trend people, and it's fun).

Next, Nick and I headed to newbury for Brunch (which became Lunch thanks to our two buddies Max and Marios being late). I bought a bunch of accesories from Emporio, and then FCUK had a 70% sale (which was also gr8 impulse buyin). And we had a very chill lunch with lots of laughter at Armani Caffe. Nick thinks we can make it to Hollywood, and we might.. You never know, we have a very interesting group of friends and it may happen someday.

The night was the highlight by far..

The events of the night included a video screening of "testing Islamic Awareness on campus video" a great piece of work that is available at:

Good night peeps,

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allahi wa Barakatahu..

-YSH ;)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Weekendation.. !

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

The weekend is upon us yet again, after a week of work, drama, and midterms. I had two exams yesterday, French and Philosophy. The philosophy I postponed because I couldn't take it, and the French one I think I aced. I'll find out soon.

Yesterday was great, met up with old friends I hadn't seen for a long time. I got some physical therapy in the afternoon which was so relaxing for the rest of the day.

Sunday is also very busy, most of my Gulf Falcons have a seconed team in the intramural league and they play in the final match tomorrow. Allah yiwaffighum :)

Next Wednesday I head to Ohio for the rest of the week, I'm attending the Rise Finance Symposium which is supposed to be extremely stimulating and a great educational experience. The keynote speaker last year was Ben Bernanke (the recently appointed Chairman of the Fed, after Alan Greenspan left that position). So I'm hoping to meet some finance gurus and have a good time. Not sure about what fun is like in Ohio though.. :)

I got lots of positive responses on my previous piece, one of my friends even contacted some local newspapers, so maybe just maybe I'll get published soon. I've also had a lot of discussion about the article and lots of opposing opinions have been brought to my attention which I value greatly, since all of us are prone to err, and unless we discuss and debate, we can't reach a consensus or learn from each other. The piece has been revised, so I would scan through it because one or two paragraphs were added that discuss some very important points.

This is all that's on my mind for now, more to come in sha Allah, and KEEP COMMENTING! I will only improve and learn if you offer me feedback.

-Y ;)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Effort To Educate the World's Ignoramuses

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Salam All,

This is another picture from our balcony in St. Thomas.. (I can't get it out of my system)..

Busy week as usual, I'm currently sitting in the Student Center (the GSU) with a bunch of friends. This is a piece I wrote on Saudi Arabia to educate the people of the world on our country.

Comments and suggestions welcome, I would like to get this published.


A Closer Look at the Land of the Two Holy Mosques: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The main reason I write today is to enlighten my fellow students and colleagues on several matters pertaining to my country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Acting as an ambassador is a duty incumbent on every citizen of every country the moment one leaves one’s country whether for leisure, business, or education.

Several articles about Saudi Arabia have recently appeared in the Daily Free Press (Boston University's Independent Student Newspaper), and many of these, rather than expressing a well-informed and balanced opinion regarding the Kingdom, were mainly intended to defame my country. That said, my relationship to the country as a citizen inevitably creates a bias, however, I will try to be as objective as possible to ensure that my audience receives and understands my message the way I intend it to be received.

First, I will mention some facts, figures, and history to provide some perspective. King AbdulAziz Al Saud united Saudi Arabia on September 23, 1932; the country, then, is only 74 years old. The United States gained independence from Great Britain in 1776, which makes the US about 230 years old, a little over three times the age of Saudi Arabia.

It took the US 89 years to abolish slavery with the 13th amendment, a figure that far exceeds Saudi Arabia’s tender age of 74. It also took the US 99 years to provide African Americans the same rights as Caucasian Americans with the Civil Rights Act of 1875. Women in the US could only vote from 1920 onwards; approximately 144 years from the establishment of the US, or almost twice as long as Saudi Arabia has existed.

These examples are not intended to undermine the US in any way, rather to stress that change cannot be imposed and expected from a certain country overnight. Change is a gradual adjustment toward a different outcome that stems from, and is initiated by, the people of that country. If the people are not behind it, change will not take place. As a relatively young country, Saudi Arabia is making leaps and bounds toward a level of maturity, but our culture is different from American culture, and it takes time for a nomadic, tribal people like us to modernize. In modernization, we do not necessarily seek to satisfy western standards, rather we strive to address our problems, and fix our flaws, while preserving our Islamic faith, and our rich culture and history.

Next, I would like to reiterate some points HRH Prince Turki AlFaisal, the Saudi Ambassador to the US, recently made in the speeches he gave at Harvard and MIT during February: The first public school in the US, the Boston Latin School was established in 1635. The first university, Harvard University, was established in 1636 – more than 300 years ago. In contrast, just 60 years ago Saudi had less than 10 schools. Forty years ago we had one university, today we have 11 universities and over 25,000 schools, at which all Saudis receive free education, books and healthcare.

In addition to improving education locally, the Saudi government is investing in education abroad. The government spent approximately 26% of this year’s budget (SR 87.3 billion = approx $23.28 billion) for education and training. The ministry of higher education has provided 10,000 fellowships for Saudi students to study abroad, half of which were awarded to students coming to the US. About 28% of these fellowships were awarded to Saudi females. Yes, we are coming to the US, and we are coming to learn with and from you.

Another issue the ambassador mentioned, the war on terrorism, has had a great impact on the average Saudi citizen. The roadblocks, checkpoints, blockades and barbed wire spoil public areas. Machine gun turrets and tanks stand guard at governmental institutions, large corporations and high traffic areas and our kingdom is in a constant state of alert. Terrorism has affected us more than the average American may think: I cannot drive down a major highway or go to a big mall without being stopped at least once and having the hood and trunk of my car searched before I am allowed to proceed. All government buildings and housing compounds are covered in barbed wire, Hummers and tanks and machine gun turrets have become part of the scenery.

More than 25 terrorist attacks occurred in the past three years, including explosions, murders, and kidnappings, causing the death of more than 140 innocent human beings and injuring more than 500 innocent people. More than 90 Saudi security officers have been killed in the process of apprehending those responsible for these acts of violence. Even with all these developments, Saudi Arabia remains safe and stable in comparison to the streets of cities like New York and Philadelphia.

In addition to the daily sacrifices we face, something deeper, our national character and image, has been marred in the eyes of the world. This is a result of the actions of a few deranged individuals. Terrorism and extremism occur in every faith, every culture, and every civilization, No one is immune, and thus we must remain aware of this fact.

The ambassador also discussed several myths about Saudi citizens—how we live and who we are—that have been spread in the past few years; for example, our belief in an extreme brand of Islam called Wahhabism. Unfortunately, the west largely misunderstands what Wahhabism is. The term refers to the reformist views of an 18th century Arabian scholar, Shaikh Muhammad Ibn AbdulWahhab. He did not advocate the killing of the innocent or condone acts of suicide (refer to for more detail). Individuals like Osama Bin Laden may have Wahhabi origins and knowledge, but their beliefs have been perverted, just like David Koresh or Jim Jones, use perverted Christianity to justify their violent acts. You may ask, are the Saudi people conservative? Yes. Are we traditional? Yes. Are we extremists, definitely NOT.

Another myth is that the Saudi government funded terrorism. According to the 9/11 commission’s report and I quote: “we have found no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials funded AlQaeda. * ” These myths just cause misunderstandings, hastening of stereotyping, and cause rifts between people.
(* source:

We come from a long history of tribal warfare that separated us for many years. The development over the last 70 years would be like compressing the US’s 270 years of development into just 70 years. Our people are free to travel anywhere. Our press is increasingly free and critical of our society. In addition, by royal decree the following reform program has been proposed:

1- Clarifying our definition of our Islamic practice

2- Widening of political participation, elections for municipal councils, then regional councils, then the Shoura council (our national assembly/congress)

3- Giving women in Saudi Arabia an equal role to play in the development of the country. It took the US 200 years to achieve universal suffrage.

4- Reforming our educational system (textbooks have been revised, skill and job acquisition knowledge has been amplified in colleges and universities) and slowly improve the system to benefit students at any level.

5- Improving economic well-being; a recent example would be the fact that investments in the kingdom’s stock market achieved much higher returns than similar investments outside the kingdom.

6- Streamlining the government so it will be able to address this reform. Example: ministries have been merged and removed in 2003.

In response to articles and letters to the editor that were published in the Free Press these past few months, I have the following matters to clarify:

Saudi Arabia has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid to Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Indonesia. Saudi Arabia has also granted Saudi citizenship to hundreds of Palestinian refugees that fled to the kingdom on numerous occasions during history.

Saudi Arabia is moving increasingly towards democracy, with the recent elections of the boards of the municipalities all over the kingdom in addition to the Chambers of Commerce in the major cities. The Saudi Majlis AlShoura, which serves as Saudi Arabia’s parliament, has already started moving towards a fully elected membership. All political, economic reforms that are to occur in Saudi Arabia have to come from within, taking into account the religion, culture, history, tradition and the aspirations of the people. Therefore, we are moving to a more democratic state, but at OUR pace, not what the world thinks is right for us.

The unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia is estimated to be approximately 20% and is decreasing considerably. The Ministry of Labor has been very adamant the past two years (if you happened to read any Saudi online newspaper) about finding jobs for unemployed Saudis in addition to running several employment offices and agencies in all cities.

Saudi woman scientist Hayat Sindi has been offered jobs by the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the American Space Center in California. Sindi, the first Arab woman to win a scholarship from Cambridge University in England to pursue a doctoral program in biotechnology, invented a sensor device with great possibilities in the fields of medicine and space.

In addition, all Saudi universities and colleges graduate more females than males annually; approximately 51% of Saudi college graduates are female. Effat College, a women’s college in Jeddah, has recently collaborated with Duke University to construct an engineering program at the university.

It seems quite clear, then, that women are a very important component of the fabric of Saudi society in various fields.

Our biggest success story is: 90% illiteracy in 1950, to 82% literacy now in the male and female population. Over 55 years, increased literacy has allowed us develop the economic, social, and political aspirations that enable us to contribute more to the world. This is how it works in the kingdom. What the people want will actually happen, but as I mentioned before it takes time for mindsets and mentalities to accept change.

Concerning security and stability, before 9/11 and the terrorist attacks that ensued, people could leave their keys in their cars and walk into a store and without having to worry about theft. One American teacher we had was amazed that when we played soccer we would put our cell phones, watches and wallets on the bench without looking back or even considering the possibility that someone would take them.

Saudi journalism is still highly scrutinized, but in the last few years there have been numerous writers with liberal leanings who have expressed their unpopular views to the outrage of the community. However, positive debate and discussion have also resulted, and writers are taking more freedom in their columns. A look at the opinion column of the leading English newspaper, Arab News (available at provides some good examples.

If Arabs and Muslims (including Saudis) have anti-Semitic tendencies or emotions (though it is beyond me why Arabs are called anti-Semites since Arabs are from the lineage of Sam, the son of Noah and thus, qualify as Semites), the main culprit would be the world’s media portrayal of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If every time you turned on your TV you saw your brother/sister in faith killed, how would you feel about the people who did it? A good comparison would be 9/11 and the reactions the citizens of New York had to anything that in any way resembled Muslim or Arab Intifada.

Saudi Arabia accepts all religions and ideologies for anyone living in the country; the only thing that is persecuted and prevented is public preaching of other religions and beliefs. As the center of Islamic thought and decree in the Muslim world, it would be improper to permit other religions to be preached because then that would mean that the people and the government accept the beliefs of other religions, or that they are assisting in the spreading of conflicting ideologies and beliefs to Islam.

As Saudis, we believe that Islam is the one and only true path and religion, people may believe and practice whatever ideology they wish to, however Saudi Arabia does not allow preaching of other religions to its citizens. In addition, our population is 100% Muslim (which is also unique in the world), so any alienation due to this discrepancy is to expatriates or foreigners to the country (which aren’t our first priority, our people are our first priority). However in the UK and the US, the citizens are of different faiths, thus as a citizen you are entitled to freedom of religion if you belong to these secular countries. This is the reason why there are no churches, synagogues, or Buddhist temples in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi women wear the abaya in accordance with Islamic decree to promote humility and modesty to all Muslims males and females alike. However, women are especially reminded to do so since they are more able to trigger desire. Women in Islam are not mere sex objects, rather strong and bright individuals who have had tremendous influence on Arab and Islamic history since the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

On another note, alcohol does exist in Saudi Arabia, however possession of alcohol by citizens is a serious, prosecutable offense. I have personally lived in and visited numerous housing compounds in Saudi Arabia, and only the expatriates were permitted to purchase limited amounts of alcohol through their respective embassies. There was no widespread consumption, especially among locals. Alcohol is not as conveniently available to the public as the writer of a recent article in the Free Press claims, however, if one was to go out of his way to acquire it, it would not be impossible. In a way, but to a slightly lesser extent, the availability and policing of alcohol in Saudi Arabia compares to that of Marijuana in the US, which is easily available on college campuses although the administration and police try their best to crack down on this drug problem.

I hope I have helped to provide a clearer, more objective picture of my homeland and my faith. If there still remain some doubts or the need for clarifications to be made, please bring them to my attention as I could have easily made a miscommunication or mistake. We all came to university to learn and to interact with people from different cultures and beliefs, and we usually learn more from our peers and counterparts than from any book, website or television screen.

-Y ;)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

MaC aTtaCk!

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Greetings to all my peeps all over the world. Back to school on a Tuesday: 8:03 am.

This week is busy as ever with a French Exam on friday, meetings, and articles to finish (it really is never ending).

Today I'm supposed to meet a good friend of mine who converted to Islam recently. We're all so happy for because they've always been close to the Islamic Society and has helped us with numerous events for 3 years. It's great to see them finally joining us in faith. We're also having a special potluck dinner this weekend, so it will be fun. Alhamdulillah.

I have to profess my love for Apple, LLC, the company founded by Steve Jobs, who according to

"Steve Jobs was born to Abdulfattah John Jandali, a Syrian political science professor, and an American mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, in San Francisco, California on February 24, 1955. One week after birth, Jobs was put up for adoption by his unmarried mother. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California. They gave him the name Steven Paul Jobs. His biological parents later married and gave birth to Jobs' sister, the novelist Mona Simpson, whom Jobs did not meet until they were adults. The marriage of his biological parents ended in divorce years later. Jobs dislikes hearing the "adoptive parents" appelation applied to Paul and Clara Jobs and refers to them as his only parents"

Sub7an Allah, the sooriyeeen made the tuffa7a, lik eewaah, biddak tiffa7!! It shows you that the Arabs are a gifted people :P (now that was just silly), but it really is interesting to think about..

Yes, but my obsession with Apple is due to several reasons, first of all, the first computer I ever owned was an apple. The Macintosh LC II, a one-button mouse, disk drive and hard disk under the screen. I absolutely loved it, and I still have it in my room in Riyadh, I'm planning to put it in a special glass case when I get my own place in sha Allah. Maybe sell it on ebay in 20 years for a ridiculous sum of money.

I currently own a 12" G4 powerbook, and it is really God's gift to the computer world. It's smaller than almost all of my textbooks, is extremely light, and the OS X operating system is phenomenal.

I don't like to say it, but I look down on other OS users (ESPECIALLY WINDOWS) because windows isn't even half as good, constantly buggy and no slick features.

Sorry Bill Gates, but unless Windows Vista (the new one coming out) is relatively close to Macs, I ain't buyin that shit.

And according to inside sources from the Microsoft Board of the Future, it won't be as good as OS X.

Linux is great, but a bit complicated for the novice user, but the Tiger OS is built on a linux base, so you're essentially getting the same benefits of UNIX, but a sleek, crisp, piece of genius..

In my opinion, the only computers worth buying at all are:

For laptops: Mac, IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad (#1 recommended laptop at Harvard and MIT), and the Sony VAIO if multimedia is a big part of ur work, and alienware if you're a master gamer.

For desktops: Dell, Sony, IBM, Apple, Alienware. Dell mainly because the majority of Corporate America and Corporate Arabia run Dell desktops (very solid, easy to customize, great customer service, but they're laptops SUCK).

I don't claim to know it all, but I'm a computer freak (though didn't wanna do CS or CE) and this is my input, if I'm wrong please correct me..

And keep readin, lotsa more controversy coming soon :)

-Y ;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday Bluez

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Good morning people,

8:09 am Boston time Sunday 19th of March 2006.

Slept early last night (was exhausted from the BU world cup). Although I didn't play, managing a team of 5aleejis isn't as easy as it looks. I think I finally understand why european coaches go crazy in the gulf.. :)

Well we fared pretty well, my team "The Gulf Falcons" beat Lebanon 10-1 in our first game, but we lost to Brazil in our second game 5-0. Our loss was due to different reasons, mainly the frigid cold weather, the goalie and two players getting injured/sick, and the fact that that was the first time playing together compared to their team that plays weekly.

Well, we learned a lot, and I learned a lot about management, and we do very well together, so we're shooting for weekly trainings and hopefully we'll raise 5aleeji heads worldwide in the next tournaments :)

Busy day today, 2 articles to finish (ONE OF THEM FOR ARAB NEWS!!). A marketing case write up that I have to finish for our team, Islamic society executive board meeting. And a shitload of reading for ALL my courses.

I attended a talk by Hamza Yusuf after his talk at Harvard on the "Burdah/Cloak" poem about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He's a very eloquent and inspiring speaker, switching between fu97a arabic and english smoothly and keeping the audience's attention with him at all times. A great guy to learn from in sha Allah.

For those of you who visit, have visited this blog, please direct more readers to it, I can only improve with feedback, and I need as much as I can get. I have several things I wish to discuss, however I need a larger audience, so help me help you..

-Y ;)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Weekend Thoughts

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Well, the first week after spring break was eventful to say the least. The School of Management talent show, the government elections, and the amount of work professors throw at you the minute you walk back into class after any break.

It's 10:05 am on a Saturday, the chillest day of the week, where u can sleep in, work or just trick yourself into planning to study (as we all do).

Well, today marks the first day of the BU world cup and my team "The Gulf Falcons" is competing. I can't play (WHICH IS KILLING ME) because I broke my collarbone in a snowmobiling accident (yes, dibabat thaljiyya). I feel much better now, but I can't work out or do any other intense physical activity for another 3-4 weeks (after the cup ends).

However, I'll be there with the team, managing them and leading the cheerleading squad.. so it should be fun.

Last night I slept through most of "V for vendetta" but I enjoyed the parts I saw, the friend accopmpanying me was a tad pissed, but I had no control over the situation (I sleep a lot in the cinema).

The reason is I've been waking up at 6 am (even if I don't have early class) almost every day, so by 10 pm i'm dead.

i'll unleash my old pieces (including Saudi fiction pieces) when the readership is significant.

From Boston, Massachusetts (Ma Shift Yousef for 5aleejis that can't say it and convince Americans that they're saying it right.. :P)

Have a great week/weekend.. :)

-Y ;)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another Wednesday night

Bismillah Arrahman AlRaheem

Another picture from St. Thomas to give you a better idea of the beauty of the place.. :)

Today was quite eventful...

Class, several hours in the student center catching up with friends, and the elections. I sadly lost to the other person running, he was an old member with more experience, but they said it was close, so maybe next semester.. :) After that I had two more meetings and now getting ready to finish an article about Saudi Arabia for the school paper..

This is a piece I wrote approximately 3 years ago, I was going through an interesting stage in life and I wrote about the people, the emotions, and the general situation.

Please give me feedback (good or bad) and keep in mind this was 3 years ago :)..

-Y ;)


Driving to my grandfather’s house for a family gathering, thinking over my day’s schedule,ideas flashing here and there, I started thinking deeply. When did we get so dedicated to life? When did we become so hooked to our jobs and studies? When did we get so distant from our religion and our national traditions? Why can we remember the name of an actor in a good movie so well, and not remember the names of the ten people the prophet assured to go to paradise? Some people spend all their spare time nagging over who is prettier, Jennifer Anniston or Cameron Diaz. Others, with nothing better to do, fight over whether Ronaldo or David Beckham is richer. Not to mention those who undermine you for not knowing enough details and gossip about movie stars, sitcom actors, and Italian footballers.

I passed my old school and smiled, recalling the days we spent there getting into all kinds of mischief. It was a great school and it directed us to our different paths in life. But now we are in the real world, that’s if it’s still called the real world? I prefer calling it the “unreal” world. I don’t believe we are living a reality at all. Muslims detested everywhere; certain Arabs strengthening the negative stereotypes that the World’s nations already have of us; distrust spreading between the deepest and closest friends; people not believing in true love anymore; the religious police force partly made up of ex-prisoners; teenagers running after lust and forgetting there was something called “romance;” people taking rappers, rock stars, soccer players, and actors as their role models; these composing only part of the unreality we now live in. You also see people gazing in awe at someone playing a musical instrument, wishing they had half his or her talent, forgetting that this person might never go to heaven.

These days it’s almost impossible to find anyone wanting to walk in the footsteps of Omar or Abu Bakr, the great Caliphs of the Muslim nation. You see people reading magazines and Stephen King novels, never thinking of reading a biography of one of the prophet’s companions. You see more and more people with funky haircuts, but no 21st century Malcolm Xs walking around. You see more and more people in malls, and less and less people in mosques.

Another important question arises: Why are some people so fake? If Ramadan comes, they hurry to Makkah and aim to finish the Quran before the month ends. A week after that, they make reservations to spend their Hajj vacation in Beirut. We are also becoming more and more materialistic. Judging a person on unreasonable criteria like whether or not he owns a new Mercedes (foolishly nicknamed “Viagra”), whether he is covered from head to toe with Diesel, Armani, and other designer’s clothes, and whether he spends his summers in LA, Paris, and Geneva.

Why is life becoming so important to us?? Parents are planning their children’s careers when they are in grade school, and not caring much about whether or not they are sending a positive and well-mannered individual into the world. You see more and more young ones disrespecting their parents, and many teenagers that hate their dads and moms. We also have a new generation of nanny-raised children. These are children that spend 90% of their time with maids because their mothers are too busy with social gatherings, talking on the phone, and shopping; these children are being raised with no morals, no goals, and nothing that makes them strive to make a difference.

Still other questions pop up like: Why can’t some families gather except when there is something like a death or a major car accident in the family? Why does it take the death of a loved one to make us remember that there is heaven, hell, and the hereafter? All these issues delineate the unreality we now live in. But in my case, I want OUT. I want to exit this crooked matrix and enter a world where truth prevails, a world where religion is spread by virtue and good treatment, not force, where you are respected whoever you are and whatever you do, a utopia where your friends are still your friends, even when you aren’t there, a world where you can always lay your head on your pillow and never think of tomorrow, a place with no negative consequences and no back-stabbing. So, does anyone wish to join me?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Back in Beantown

Greetings to all my readers (not sure I have any yet, but I'm optimistic)..

I hope all is going well with you, I'm back in Boston for the rest of the Spring semester. I'm still very depressed for leaving St. Thomas Island, in the US Virgin Islands (the place I spent my spring break).

I'm up pretty early, it's 8 am now and my first class is at 11, but my biological clock has been off for a while and I've been waking up 6ish everyday (which is good for fajr alhamdulillah)..

This week has several interesting events, I'm running for Vice President of Financial Affairs in the School of Management Student Government and I'm hoping to win so pray for me.

In addition, Hamza Yusuf, the renowned Muslim scholar and Da3iya is coming to Harvard on Wednesday so I'm waiting to finally meet him in sha Allah.

Other than that, it's just getting used to the chilly Boston weather and getting back into the study routine.. Allah yi3een.

Anyways, comments would be appreciated to know I have some readership out there..

Picture: St. Thomas Islamic Center and Mosque.. :)

Till the next post..

-Y ;)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Honey I'm Home

Me in St. Thomas
Originally uploaded by Raven007.

So people, I finally decided to reinstate this thing after almost a year away. I was inspired by the large amount of saudi blogs that I enjoyed reading, and I felt like I wanted to make my place in that community. It was also because I wanted to get feedback on several writing pieces I've written over the years..

The photo is one I recently took on my spring break trip to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands (Heaven on Earth). I'll be talking more about our trip and the great things that happened in it, but this was just after I got my hair braided in corn rows by one of the local women.. :)

So without further adue,


-Y :)
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