Praying for Time

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Praying for Time"
Written and performed by George Michael

These are the days of the open hand
They will not be the last
Look around now
These are the days of the beggars and the choosers
This is the year of the hungry man
Whose place is in the past
Hand in hand with ignorance
And legitimate excuses
The rich declare themselves poor
And most of us are not sure
If we have too much
But we'll take our chances
Because God's stopped keeping score
I guess somewhere along the way
He must have let us all out to play
Turned his back and all God's children
Crept out the back door
And it's hard to love, there's so much to hate
Hanging on to hope
When there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it's much too late
Well maybe we should all be praying for time
These are the days of the empty hand
Oh you hold on to what you can
And charity is a coat you wear twice a year
This is the year of the guilty man
Your television takes a stand
And you find that what was over there is over here
So you scream from behind your door
Say "what's mine is mine and not yours"
I may have too much but I'll take my chances
Because God's stopped keeping score
And you cling to the things they sold you
Did you cover your eyes when they told you

That he can't come back
Because he has no children to come back for
It's hard to love there's so much to hate
Hanging on to hope when there is no hope to speak of
And the wounded skies above say it's much too late
So maybe we should all be praying for time

Poverty: The Real Weapon of Mass Destruction

Sunday, November 27, 2011



Roadtrippin' to Queenstown

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My friends and I went on a roadtrip to Queenstown during Autumn (circa July). 
I'm reminiscing the happy days before we graduate in December and go our separate ways *sad face*
South Island is the most scenic part of New Zealand and I'm really kicking myself for not going on more roadtrips around this place that has been dubbed "heaven on Earth". 

Living in New Zealand has made me appreciate nature a lot more and I think spending time in the wilderness makes you realise that 
everything God creates has beauty and purpose. 
It's up to us to open our eyes and see things from a different perspective. 

Faith Friday: Struggling with Islam

Friday, November 18, 2011

A lady once said to me, “Whenever I see you, I feel so happy.”

“That's kind of you but what do you mean?” I asked out of curiosity.

“You have a lot of positive energy and you make Islam look so easy.”

"Wow," I thought. "This lady must not know me very well." But I understand that it’s not the same when you’re looking in from the outside because I have my strengths and weaknesses, just like everybody else. I struggle with Islam too. There are days when I struggle to pray on time and moments when I struggle to have patience and humility. I also find it hard to live in this world and yet be Akhirah-centric because that is what Islam is about – living this life in preparation for an Eternal Life. The amount of attention and dedication that is placed towards the Hereafter is what distinguishes a Believer from an Unbeliever.

Life is tough. It will always be tough but what makes a good human being and Muslim is someone who never gives up on the Truth. I admit that there’s so much I don’t know about this life and I’m still learning about Islam. When my faith is shaken I tell myself that I don’t want to go backwards in my life. I’ve found something that’s very genuine and that is my relationship with my Creator, Sustainer and Protector.

What I really want to say is that if you’re struggling with your faith, don’t give up on God and don’t give in to your weakness(es). I see many Muslims slowly getting out of touch with their relationship with Him. We have to remember that this life is a journey and we are going to hit a few bumps along the way but we must fight back with all that’s left in ourselves and fight back by seeking knowledge about Islam because this is the most important battle in our lives. If we conquer this one, inshaAllah, all the other struggles and trials will become easier or even fade away.

I believe that we’re all struggling with something. Nobody leads a perfect life but our society and culture tell us that we have to put up the strongest façade and that has dehumanised us in a way because we've kind of lost our sense of compassion for other people. It’s important to realise that a big part of being human is to have weaknesses. Communicating with others about the things we struggle with is not about appearing weak because we have to be honest enough with ourselves so we can find ways to become stronger. With that, I hope to start a small series of Faith Friday posts, inshaAllah, where I discuss some of the things I’m personally struggling with in Islam and how I’m trying to overcome them. By doing so, I hope to build a bridge between you and I, and help others who are sharing the same dilemmas and difficulties. At the same time, I want to listen to your advice and ideas the same way you have been open to my thoughts by reading my blog.

Style Sunday: The Cuckoo's Nest

Monday, November 14, 2011

On the weekend, I attended the opening of a boutique called The Cuckoo's Nest. But it's not just any boutique. It's an ethical boutique. I will tell you what I love about this concept. The shop sells fashionable and fair-trade compliant items that are locally-sourced from around New Zealand and internationally-sourced from around the world. For instance, The Cuckoo's Nest sells clothes and skin care products that are made by Global Mamas, an initiative that helps to create sustainable income for women in Africa so they can become financially independent. Think micro-finance but instead of giving them money, companies like Global Mamas are providing these women with opportunities to generate their own income with their creative skills. You know the saying, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, feed him for a lifetime." 

The boutique is owned and managed by my friend and classmate, Susan, and her business partner, Annika. Susan and I have been friends for about three years now and I'm so proud to see her make her dreams come true. She is a top student and a very smart individual, so I don't expect anything less from her! Susan has also spent some time in Africa and the Middle East to do charity work; believe me when I say you can spend hours chatting with her about her experiences and adventures. 

And don't you think she looks amazing in her hand-made African dress?

Faith Friday: Slaughtering the Consumerist Monster

Thursday, November 10, 2011

written by Shahirah Elaiza and published in

Islam is called a way of life for a good reason. The principles and teachings of Islam provide mankind with the perfect guideline to ensure we lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. One of the ways Allah (swt) has done this is by encouraging modesty and moderation in everything that we do. In other words, Islam gives us the strength to fight the consumerism monster in the sacrificial battle we face in our everyday lives. As our Creator, Allah knows best that the desires of the children of Adam are indeed insatiable but He also granted us with intelligence and self-control so that we may be tested in this dunya. As part of Allah’s Guidance, He has given us the Holy Qur’an, Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and parables of prophets that we may receive guidance from. To guide us in our lives, Allah has taught us the meaning and importance of sacrifice.

Prophet Ibrahim & Ismail's Sacrifice
In the story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Ismail (as), we find one of the earliest examples of sacrifice for the sake of pleasing Allah (swt). Prophet Ibrahim (as) is commonly known as the Father of Prophets and his relationship with Allah was so strong that Allah even described him as “an intimate friend” or His “khalil” (Holy Qur’an, 4:125). The intensity of his iman and trust in Allah (swt) is reflected in his willingness to sacrifice his worldly attachments for his Lord. Prophet Ibrahim (as) obeyed Allah’s command to leave his wife, Hajar, and their infant son, Ismail (as), on a barren hill called Al-Marwa. One can imagine how a big a sacrifice it was for Prophet Ibrahim. Not only did he love Hajar dearly but Ismail, who later on became a prophet, was his one and only child at the time. As Prophet Ibrahim walked away from where he left them he raised his hands and said a prayer:

“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley with no cultivation, by Your Sacred House, in order that they may offer prayers. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.

Auckland Getaway {Part 2}: Creative, Young & Muslim

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

About a month ago I was in the midst of writing the final chapter of my dissertation. I felt like I was about to go crazy under all that stress. Then I found out Mustafa Davis was going to be in Auckland, a city which is two hours away from Dunedin by flight, to conduct a youth workshop called "Creative, Young and Muslim". Initially I thought, "There is no way I am going to be able to go because I am so swamped with work" but a part of me said, "Just go, you never know when you'll have another chance to meet Mustafa Davis and attend such a workshop, just go!"

And so I went.

For those who don't know Mustafa Davis, he is an American Muslim filmmaker and photographer. Apart from commercials and music videos, he has also produced several documentaries such as "The Wayward Son", "Deen Tight" and "The Warm Heart of Africa". He's a real inspiration to me because not only is he a successful creative artist but also a very knowledgeable Muslim scholar, mashaAllah. Often times people think that being a creative Muslim is a paradox, but the likes of Maher Zain and Mustafa Davis are proof that you can be a knowledgeable, practicing Muslim and also work in the media industry. He has a remarkable life story - as a brief insight, he became Muslim at the age of 24 and studied Islam in countries such as Yemen, Morocco, and Mauritania. Hence the reason some people call him Ustadh or Sidi Mustafa Davis. Ever since I was a little kid, around the age of four or five years old, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. As I grew up I became very much interested in documentaries. I thought it was really cool to see how people from different parts of the world lead their lives and I loved the idea of helping other people tell their stories. I think this is how I am able to relate to Mustafa Davis as a creative person. Him being Muslim strengthened it even more.

I was surprised to see another familiar face at the workshop. It was none other than Imam Afroz Ali from the Sydney-based Al-Ghazzali Centre. I had heard so much about him from a friend and watched several of his lectures online. I felt truly blessed to have been a part of the workshop and it was definitely one of the highlights of 2011 for me, alhamdulillah. Ustadh Mustafa and Imam Afroz presented themselves as very understanding, open-minded and compassionate individuals. I think we need more role models like them. The workshop was an open forum where Muslims, both young and older, were encouraged to voice their concerns and share their experiences as born-Muslims or converts to Islam. Six hours went by very fast. All in all, it was an uplifting day for many of us who attended the workshop. I really enjoyed being around a diverse group of Muslims and even made lots of new friends, alhamdulillah.  Someone even said it was the best day of his life since he became Muslim. I think people want to be honest and real. And the workshop certainly embodied these virtues.

We were reminded about the importance of having rahmah (mercy) and compassionate towards one another because everybody's struggling with something in their lives - be it with Islam, work, family, etc. I believe Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) success in spreading the message of Islam was partially due to his kind and compassionate nature. If there's a Sunnah we should start following, that should be on top of the list.

Here are some snaps from the day.

Lupe Fiasco on Palestine

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Check it out if you haven't already.

Style Sunday: Liquorice

Been travelling, again! Hence, the hiatus from blogging. 
Here are some pictures from Auckland city.