hema’s sphere

Archive for July, 2007

Protected: work ethics(type 2)

Posted by hema on July 29, 2007

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caste it aside

Posted by hema on July 25, 2007

this post is probably going to “speak” more to Pakistani readers than anyone else, although maybe not. perhaps Bangladeshis and even Arabs experience the same sort of things in their cultures?

i’m not sure if “caste” is the right word to use, but i’m not sure how else to translate the word “zaat”. i’m talking about the practice of dividing people into groups, based on their social position and what their ancestors used to do. that’s not even the problem, though. the problem emerges when it turns into some sort of hierarchy when people only think someone from their own caste is good enough to associate with, and eventually marry.

i love being Pakistani, and taking the good from my culture. i love the food and the clothes(will somebody please give me an excuse to wear my gold sari?) and the food and the history and the food and the country and can somebody teach me how to make rasmali?? it won’t go right:(

i just don’t see why people still hold onto a system which is so obviously based on Hindu practices and is so unIslamic. it’s one thing to be proud of your roots and wanting to know about your ancestors, another to think you’re better than somebody because you’re a “higher” caste than them. if we’re told not to judge somebody on the status of the job they do, why should we care what their ancestors did? does it really still matter today if someone is rein, jat or gujr(they’re the only three i know)

i feel i’m lucky because it’s never been an issue with my parents, and i didn’t even know ‘what’ i was until i was discussing it with friends once, and came home and asked. and it always saddens me to find people aren’t allowed to marry outside of their caste. i don’t know if it’s due to a belief that “our caste” is better, i hope that’s not it, but it seems that way sometimes.

luckily, i don’t know many people from our generation who care about it, most people go along with it because they know it’s important to their families, who are most likey holding onto tradition and the way they are used to doing things. maybe it will die out with our generation. maybe my kids and their kids will never know what caste they are. i don’t think they will be losing out on too much.

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status crazy

Posted by hema on July 18, 2007

this post was inspired by a question in a Sociology paper i was glancing at when invigilating an exam. i was curious to see what my students were learning in other subjects (apart from the Maths paper obviously- i stayed far away from that one- the other side of the hall in fact)

so, the question was an article exploring Muslims in the workplace. it looked at how the there were now more Muslims in professional jobs then ever before, but at the same time Muslims were not reaching the very top of their profession. the article suggested this was due to the lack of involvement in social activities, for example Muslims were less likely to attend work parties where alcohol was consumed, and this affected how well they merged with the team, thus affecting their promotion opportunities.

it got me thinking about my aspirations in terms of work. i know i want to be the best teacher i can be, but i don’t have any burning ambitions to become a principal or aim for the very top. and if it came down to it, i would give it up in a second if it was affecting my personal life and especially when it comes to children.

is this the wrong attitude to have? the paper was leading the readers to suggest it was. after all, we live in a society where people are judged according to the type of job they do. it’s one of the first things people ask when meeting someone new and a person’s status is judged accordingly.

you see, for me that’s the problem. as Muslims, we don’t judge a person’s status by the type of job they do or how much money they have. because we know that the only thing that matters in the eyes of Allah is piety. so, i guess it’s a matter of perspective and a different way of looking at things. we don’t just live to work. we work to live. and we live to worship.

and it always saddens me to see Muslims judging each other on material wealth and gain, especially when it comes to marriage. i’m not saying it’s something that should be ignored completely, if it’s important to you, but it shouldn’t be the sole preoccupation. it shouldn’t be the first thing that is looked at as it all too often is.

at the end of the day, Allah gives and Allah takes away. because the doctor you really want to marry could end up jabbing someone with a thermometer and end up being sued and lose everything (it could happen), or the pilot(that is a very cool job though) could end up crashing the plane and never be allowed to fly ever again. and even the local imam shouldn’t be married just because of his status as the local imam, because the status can be taken away so easily. nothing is more important than good character and having Islam in the heart. i hope all i look at when i meet anyone is the goodness they have inside them and how they treat others. it just seems hard to do that in a world where everyone is status crazy.

i guess what i’m trying to say (in my own long winded way) is it would be crazy to judge someone on their social status.

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i really want…

Posted by hema on July 15, 2007

but the question is, do i really need?

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favourite hadith

Posted by hema on July 12, 2007

i’n not going to be able to post anything new for a few days, due to the fact that i had around 300 papers to mark in 10 days, and so far it’s been 7 days and i’ve marked erm.. a hundred, so .. well you can do the math yourselves. so, i wanted the top post to be something beneficial instead of me waffling on (so why am i still waffling on…?)

anyway, while i was researching the ansar finance scheme, i came accross a hadith on abu eesa’s old blog (here) which is still my absolute favourite:
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “I wished I could meet my brothers, those who have believed (in me), but have not seen me.” (Ahmed, sahih)

doesn’t that just make any hardships we may face seem so—oo worthwhile?

please leave your favourite hadith/Qur’anic ayat for us to reflect on. try and limit it just one if you can. i know that’s a big ask, but it will make you focus in on why it’s important to you.

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i’m so sad

Posted by hema on July 10, 2007

oh, i miss teaching:(

i’m so sad(in more ways then one)

why can’t i just be like normal people and hate my job?

i wonder what my students are doing? they better be doing an awful lot of praying because nothing else is going to help them on the 16th and 23rd of next month!

i even miss brian (not his real name but it’s not rocket science to work out what it is!) and his sole purpose was to make my life a misery.

“if you don’t give me my ema bonus, i’ll make your life a misery”

he didn’t get his ema bonus.

hhm i wonder what happens to that money when student’s don’t get it? because if it’s going spare then i’ll havvv–ee it!

that’s another thing. money. sigh. when i have long holidays i tend to go a bit mad with shopping. i have to buy something whenever i’m out- even it’s for someone else- otherwise i just feel depressed. i wish i could just window shop like some people can. noone is allowed to let me go shopping this summer ok? i don’t need anything. you have to shout at me.

luckily at the moment i’m going though an “inside” phase and don’t want to go out at all. i’m quite happy to stay inside a–ll day. like i don’t understand why people go out for coffee. i can make perfectly good coffee at home.  ooh i want a coffee machine. you can let me buy that…

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at the supermarket

Posted by hema on July 9, 2007

life lessons ..

baba: (the youngest one in case you’re wondering. we used to call her baba because she was born looking like a grandad. and she nags a lot)
anyway as i was saying, baba and i do the weekly shopping trip to Asda together sometimes. so, as usual we got the trolley together and of course she did the pushing. i have to exert my authority sometimes and besides, i’m wa–ay to posh to push:)

so we were happily trodding along and i was reading out from the list when…

me: ooh i want pot noodles

baba:pot noodles are not on the list

me: but i want them

baba: no. you don’t need them

me: i do, i take them to work

baba: no, you can make them yourself, they’re too expensive

me: but i’m paying!

baba: it’s still money. you can’t have them (as you can see i’m still working on exerting my authority)

and put them fox biscuits down as well. we can buy smartprice

(smartprice tastes like cardboard! i swear this girl would buy secondhand toilet paper if she thought she could get away with it!)

anyway while i was grumbling along, a little old lady jumps out of nowhere.

little old lady: excuse me do you know where the sugar is?

me: (still grumbling) do we look like shop assistants?

baba: (nudging me) oi! let’s help her find the sugar

me: i think it’s over there by the flour

baba: no they changed it(why do they keep moving things around in that place?)

me: ok, you go with the lady, i’ll check by the flour just in case.

on my way over to the flour aisle, i spot the pot noodles and use the opportunity to quickly stock up. scan and check there is no sugar there. walk happily back with my big bundle of pot noodles. to my surprise baba is still standing in the same place with the old lady, frowning disapprovingly

(in my absence)

baba: come on, i’ll take you to the sugar aisle

little old lady: no, no that nice young lady has gone to get some for me.

baba: no, trust me that’s my sister. she just does her own thing. i’ll take you.

little old lady: no, i’m sure she’ll bring some back for me. i think i’ll wait here for her.

baba (with folded arms) watches me skip merrily towards them with the pot noodles and no sugar. old lady looks disappointed and slightly confused.

baba: (still giving me evils) come on, i’ll get you some now.

little old lady finally has her sugar. she smiles at me happily without holding a grudge and attempts to say salaam.

baba: (at home to my sisters and sister in law) you wouldn’t beli–eve how mean hema was to this poor old lady at the supermarket

me: (hanging my head in shame) tis true, tis all true

ok, the point of all this… don’t get so caught up in your own pot-noodled fuelled bad mood and fail to help people when they need it.

life lessons, life lessons indeed..

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a love story..

Posted by hema on July 6, 2007

there is something about this story, i just keep coming back to it..

The story of the red fox by jeanete winterson.

“A hunter loved a princess. Simple as that.

Every morning he brought her the treasures of the forest. He brought her deer and boar. he bought her wolf skin andd buffalo hide. he fought a lion with his bare hands and caught the old black bear that everyone feared. he took nothing for himself. there was nothing he wanted except that she should love him, which she didn’t.

one day, riding with her ladies, the princess saw in front of them a red fox. never was a fox so red. she watched it as it ran, stretching out its legs so that it seemed to be lying flat on the surface of the air. All day the fox stayed with the party and the princess was troubled.

that night the princess looked in the mirror and it seemed that the red fox would be perfect against the white of her skin. she stroked her neck and throat, imagining the feel of fox fur. winter was coming.

when the hunter came to her the next morning, she said, ‘if you love me, bring me the coat of the red fox.’

the hunter said, ‘ask me anything, but not that.’

‘then you do not love me,’ said the princess.

‘i will hunt through the stars and shoot down the lion and the bull, but do not ask me for the red fox’.

the princess was angry and turned away.

after many days and nights, when the snow had begun to fall, light as a promise, the hunter came to the princess and promised to bring her the red fox. he had one condition.

‘say it.’

‘the fox must be bought to you alive’

‘i accpet the condition’

the hunter left the palace and was not seen for three weeks. the weather became colder and the snow was as heavy as sorrow. when the princess looked out she saw only white.

or did she?

on the last morning of the third week the princess looked out from her tower as usual and saw a streak of fire burning the snow. a quick red line made a way through the snow, melting it on either side, as if spring had come. without pause or stop, moving from side to side and leaving no print, the red fox ran through the wastes of the snow until he came to the palace.

the princess herself had begun to run too, down from her high tower, down the winding stairs, and out into the white courtyard, where the fox, panting in red steam, lay down at her feet.

the princess put out her hand, and the fox licked it as she bent down, and her eyes pleaded with her. she touched him and  her white hand was buried in the think warm fur, soft as blood.

then she stod up and signalled to one of her men. her face was clear and cold. she had the servant draw his knife, take the fox by the scruff, and then there was a second, only a second, when she hesitated, and looked for the last time at the brave pleading eyes and the strong head that offered no resistance.

the servant cut the throat out of the fox, and as the blood ran in a warm fountain accross the icy cobbles of the courtyard, the servant staggered and fell under the weight of what he was holding. the fox had gone and the hunter lay dead in the yard. “

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Protected: does bribing the examiner work?

Posted by hema on July 4, 2007

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will you hate me?

Posted by hema on July 4, 2007

is it just me, or does this nasheed really speak to anyone else?


 Will you hate me? by Dawud Wharnsby Ali

Smile in the two- way mirror of my eyes
I put on my faith like I wear a disguise
You can’t see my soul
See the life that I live
Show you the mask of the best I can give
I’ve hid here afraid like a child behind.
Truth of my thoughts that clutter my mind.

What if you knew about all that I do?
Things that I think,
The me that is true.Would you call me a hypocrite?
Call me a liar?
Would you curse out my name?
Would you damn me to fire?
Would you know what to say?
Or would you just walk away?
Afraid the me I’ve tried to hide
Would too closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?

I’ve been looking for answers since becoming an adult
Not looking for dogma to live like a cult
I’ve been looking to live,
I’ve been living to find
Freedom from cages that limit my mind.

Would you call me a hypocrite?
Call me a liar?
Would you curse out my name?
Would you damn me to fire?
Would you know what to say?
Or would you just walk away?
Afraid the me I’ve tried to hide
Would too closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?

Will I scare you, upset you, frustrate you, irate you?
Challenge a lifestyle or weaken your trust
Or will you see my efforts and my passionate sincerity
Would you see just a little of yourself in me
Will you take off your mask so we can both be free.

Would you call me a hypocrite?
Call me a liar?
Would you curse out my name?
Would you damn me to fire?
Would you know what to say?
Or would you just walk away?
Afraid the me I’ve tried to hide
Would too closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?

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