Thursday, 18 August 2011

End and beginning...

Dear Friends

It feels that this is the appropriate time to finish as I have transformed into a 'portfolio worker' and consequently I am juggling too many responsibilities.

Thus a big and heartfelt thanks to all my readers...

However, I will continue to blog at a fresh site entitled:

Which is designed to complement my doctoral studies that are due to start in earnest...This will be a more focused blog as I have prescribed course work and research to undertake.

I am still to learn and the road to success remains under construction...



Ps – I can be contacted at for all those interested in continuing a spiritual dialogue...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

British Poet Laureate pays tribute to British Muslim Hero

'Birmingham for Tariq Jahan' by Carol Ann Duffy:

After the evening prayers at the mosque,
came the looters in masks,
and you three stood,
beloved in your neighbourhood,
brave, bright, brothers,
to be who you were –
a hafiz is one who has memorised
the entire Koran;
a devout man –
then the man in the speeding car
who purposefully mounted the kerb …

I think we all should kneel
on that English street,
where he widowed your pregnant wife, Shazad,
tossed your soul to the air, Abdul,
and brought your father, Haroon, to his knees,
his face masked in only your blood
on the rolling news
where nobody's children riot and burn.

Pakistan at 64...

Dear Friends

The land of my parent’s birth, Pakistan, is 64 years old today. This is no day for celebration in fact it is a day of mourning.  Leading up to 1947,  1 million human beings were slaughtered when the Indian sub continent was partitioned in the name of religion. The partition brought out the worst in Hindu, Muslim and Sikh character. Thus for me the dust of Pakistan has always been sacred as it contains the DNA of countless butchered dreams.

Although I am a British Born Confused Desi, Pakistan remains a constant source of pain and hope. Part of my schooling took place in Islamabad and I have lived and worked there.  In short I have an intense almost OCD  love hate relationship with Pakistan. For me Pakistan is PhD thesis gone wrong, BIG TIME.

All I ask is whether the major stakeholders in Pakistani society especially the media, the government, and the military junta have honoured the memory of those slaughtered in the creation of Pakistan? Successive governments are mirrors of Pakistani society which is addicted to intrigue, politicking and mediocrity. Unfortunately my people care more for entertainment and little for development.

Not until the elite class / establishment are truly willing to serve and the average Khan Pakistani lives for Pakistan we will continue to go from one tragedy to the next...

“Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” (Quran 13:11)


Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Muslim Gandhi? YES...Yasin Malik

Dear Friends

I have searched long and hard for a modern day Muslim Gandhi or Mandela or Dalai Lama or Martin Luther King. I cannot believe it but he is a present day Kashmiri...Yasin Malik.

This 43 year old ex-commander of the JKLF renounced violence when he was released from an Indian jail in 1994 and even though he has been re-arrested and tortured numerous times he has successfully stood his ground. He is correct when he says that he MORALLY, SPIRITUALLY, AND POLITICALLY beaten the Indian state. This is a man who has suffered for the vast majority of his life but his reading and experience of the Muslim mystics during his incarceration has transformed him beyond any measure.

Today Yasin has singlehandedly transformed the violent Kashmiri uprising into a formidable indigenous peace movement that has shaken the Government of Delhi to its core... He has won the imagination of the Indian youth who are now demanding that Kashmiri’s be given their right to self determination.

It’s a terrible shame that he is not more widely known to Western Muslim diasporas’ as his message of democratic and peaceful change are badly needed to counter extremism and inject hope. My Palestinian friends could learn much from him.

Truly inspired...



Dear Friends

It’s my birthday! Celebrating 36 years and counting...Well it has and remains one heck of a ride! Ma Sha Allah...

I have been blessed with many trials, tribulations, failures, losses, set backs, betrayals which have transmuted into the finest manure for my soul...Now as I write in the comfort of a warm bed surrounded by a loving life partner, the sweetest baby daughter and a renewed focus what more can a man ask for? This is the harvest which I have sown (really been blessed with) and will continue to cultivate with all my being...Inshallah...

...Friends believe the miracle...for the road to success is always under construction...


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Rumi on Ramadan...

Dear Friends

Mevlana Rumi ji sings...

O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.

O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah
how long will it be the halvah you desire?

Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”

Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.

The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.

Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty:  give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.

Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.

England's burning respect...

Dear Friends

I am shocked to see my beloved England burning and in the grip of such unprecedented turmoil.

I was rather bemused when during a TV report a young delinquent girl was justifying the violence in terms of lack of respect for the youth by the Police. What a load of cods wallop!

This is not the time to analyse this fluid situation as the security of the common citizen and his or her property is of primary importance. However, according to Wikipedia the definition of respect is:

Respect denotes both a positive feeling of esteem for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., "I have great respect for her judgment").

According to Sufi culture respect begins with ‘self-respect’ which is fuelled by healthy and meaningful choices. And respect for someone else or an institution is actually self-respect.

I am sure there will be a deep post-mortem after this tragedy however the path to self-respect starts now and is never ending...


Friday, 5 August 2011

Maverick Muslims...

Dear Friends

On the face of it Canadian Muslim intellectual Tarek Fatah appears to be a ‘sell out’ and peddling extreme secular fundamentalism:

However behind the bravado is a weeping heart that pines for a reformed and thoroughly 21st century Islam which I wholeheartedly endorse. As usual it’s the way the message is delivered which is the problem with Tarek Fatah and if he transformed his rhetoric into a meaningful intra-Muslim dialogue he would gain so much more grass roots support.

He seems to forget that the vast majority of the 1.3 Billion Ummah is illiterate and therefore cannot access his work or thought. If he worked with the ‘main stream’ Muslim orthodoxy he could achieve so much more and crucially change the hearts and minds of Muslims. Granted the latter are no angels but unfortunately they hold the keys to the poor Muslim masses that are besieged by so many conflicting socio-economic challenges that it is little wonder that they give their blind support / obedience to the local mullah. Since, it is the Mullah who holds their hand during times of crisis when elite Muslim intellectuals are enjoying audiences with Western Prime Ministers or attending gala dinners held by think tanks.

Tarek we love and need you...Really....



'Coffee with Allah'...

Dear Friends

The global Muslim community is well into Ramadan or the month of fasting which is dictated by the lunar calendar. We poor Muslims living in the Western hemisphere are opening our fasts around 9pm!

It’s tough but deeply rewarding. The first sip of juice and a date are really life affirming and one has to be careful to avoid over indulgence. Fortunately I have the most of Ramadan off and consequently I am spending my time reading, reflecting, writing and sleeping!

I am hoping to my start ‘Coffee with Allah’ sessions where I sit in silence in the early hours, sip coffee and listen to my heart...

"We will show them Our signs in the universe and within their own beings until it will become manifest to them that it is the truth." (41:53)



Contextualising Islam...

Dear Friends

I have just finished reading a rare and cracking example of nuanced Muslim thinking entitled Contextualising Islam in Britain; which can be downloaded at:

The report tackles issues / questions / challenges such as identity and belonging for British born Muslims that I have personally been grappling with for years.  I was struck by the boldness and range of ideas that crucially emanate from Quran and Sunnah.

This report comes at a cross roads in my life as I had recently jettisoned damaged dreams of settling abroad in the Muslim World. It sounds crazy but Great Britain is socio-politically more ‘Muslim’ than the entire Muslim world combined which can and must learn. Thus it is high time that British Muslims wholeheartedly give rather than take from this secular society at large...

We Muslims need to recognise that ‘favoured nation status’ is a privilege and not a guarantee and Allah can appoint even perceived Muslim adversaries to do his work and become Khalifahs or His Vice-regents.



Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Dear Friends

I returned late Sunday from a 4 day camp in the lush Lincolnshire countryside entitled ‘LIVING ISLAM 2011’.

This tri-year event is organised by the Islamic Society of Britain and transforms into a platform for truly the very best in British Islam. It was a glorious vignette of cutting edge Muslim thinking coupled with showcase halaal / kosher entertainment!

I have never attended a family gathering of several thousand Muslims that covered practically every school of Muslim thought from Sufi to Salafi to even Progressive! At times I was left stunned at the organisation and cheeky gatherings of young Muslims clearly in love!

Wow! I have a waited a long time for something that has the potential to become a blue print from Muslim communities up and down Great Britain.

English Defence League et al watch out we Muslims are here to stay and beautify Great Britain if not the entire cosmos...Inshallah...



Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cloud 10...Why Teach...

Dear Friends
As I am winding down in my first year of University teaching I just remembered again why I switched to academia / teaching…

Teaching is the mother of all professions and is the only way to engineer positive cultural change. The classroom is the greatest human space and is a theatre of dreams which are nurtured by the teacher…

Although the process of teaching can be highly demanding if not energy sapping however when a student says 'thanks' or you meet a successful former studentYou are on cloud 10

Thank You God!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Norway weeping...

Dear Friends
Like most Europeans I have been shocked by the events in Norway. My sympathies go out to the grief stricken families and heart broken nation.

Some fellow Muslims in private have commented that it is a blessing that it was a fundamentalist / far-right Christian. I strongly disagree.

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian nutter, has shamed all believers especially of the monotheistic tradition. I am convinced had Breivik been exposed to Christian mysticism he would never have gone on the rampage…

We cannot shy away from European challenges of rampant immigration, mass unemployment and a resurgent Islam. However, dialogue is the only way and it is high time that even the far-right are incorporated into the political process and intellectually challenged to modify their fascist ideology. Geert Wilders watch out!

If European Islam is positively nurtured and incorporated into the Western tradition I believe it can become a gold standard for emergent Muslim nations such as Pakistan and become a force for universal good.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Who is the greatest Muslim Enemy?

Dear Friends
Last night like most British Muslims I watched the first episode of a 3 part BBC series about the life and legacy of Muhammed (pbuh), the final messenger of Islam. I had received many prayerful text reminders! So it felt almost like an obligation…

It was hosted by Rageh Omar and was unusual that so many heavy hitting academics were interviewed even vehement critics like American Robert Spencer. I found it very informative and in parts deeply touching. However, the challenge is whether as a community after 1,400 hundred years we are willing to grow into Islam and 'surrender to God' i.e. Become Muslims.

If the last 200 hundred years or so are anything to go by I don't not think so…

Most of the 1.6 billion strong Ummah / Muslim Nation are Muslims by birth and hence 'cultural Muslims'. The vast majority live in abject poverty of mind, body and soul whilst a select few are part of the international jet set that live it up from Milan to Islamabad. It is these Muslim super elite that need to reform and share its ill gotten wealth with the Muslims masses…Inshallah…

So for all the bravado we Muslims have much to learn and crucially atone for such as the '1971 Pakistani Vietnam' where the Pakistan army systematically raped Muslim Bengali women and murdered tens of thousands in the name of nationalism…

We Muslims are our worst if not greatest enemy…and time and again we forget, perhaps conveniently, that orthopraxy / right conduct is superior to orthodoxy / right thought...



Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bandeya Ho! / Oh! Man...

Dear Friends
In the search for meaning / truth there will be many challenges, stolen dreams and broken promises…but if one can patiently overcome the 'thirst', 'heat', 'weariness' and 'pain'the coolness / mercy of the divine is assured…Yes most certainly! Yes again…

Verily with difficulty is ease!
Verily with difficulty is ease!