Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ageism in the BBC just reflects the deep-rooted problem in this society, when it comes to how we view women

The visual media must be made of youthful, attractive women. Fact.  I'm not sure whether Miriam O Reilly, understood this fact when she made her claim and wanted to try to begin the war against it, or whether she actually believed that this society has room for every Tom, Dick or Harry on its' visual platforms and she believed, her case was the anomaly.

The truth is, ask any person what the criteria would be for taking a job as a presenter on television and I'm sure the answer would include the need to look good.  The Apprentice's runner up Kate Walsh who spent the entire series trying to prove she was not just a pretty face, very nicely got hold of a job at Channel 5 it is clear, because of her pretty face. Some may argue, well she is very articulate and sharp as well - Well yes, but I haven't seen any of the other articulate and sharp women from the show, getting a presenting job on television.

The reality that Miriam experienced at Countryfile, indeed reflects an approach we as a society have towards people, and women in particular. They have to be appealing to the eye.  Even though around us, on the streets we see very normal women who do not fit the size 8 model, do not have fly away Loreal hair and definitely are not all under the age of 35.  In  fact this supermodel image is virtually alien on the street and does not reflect reality at all.  But we as women, are content to see it on our screens and more dangerously, aspire towards it, always feeling we do not make the mark.

It is clear the multi-billion dollar beauty industry are cause of this.  They have realised that this unreachable target women wish to achieve in their image can create alot of revenue - From anti-wrinkle creams, to the endless amount of hair products, cosmetics to slimming tablets.  The endless list reveals a desperate desire for us women, to want to be someone we are not. 

What this perception of ourselves tells us moreso, is that in a society where we deem ourselves liberated, we in fact have become absolutely enslaved to measuring ourselves predominantly as women by the way we look.  Forget who we are, the values we carry and what we can contribute, lets face it, being a woman in our free society first and foremost is about needing to look sexually appealing. So how far have we really come in the value of the contributions of women from the era we were enslaved to the kitchen, subject to the whims of the husband?

Is this what the 'freedoms' have amounted to for the women? That despite the fact that yes, she is free to vote, work and have a career, men are also free to view her purely for her exterior is they so wish, and billion dollar industries are free to exploit her to make money in whatever way they wish.  Is this the freedom, which arises from the liberal secular way of life which we should as a world, be calling for? Honestly speaking - I think not.

I don't want the danger of 'freedom' to be unleashed on me.  I want protection, honour and enshrined rights.  Islam, in its ideas and implementation provides this.  People and companies in an Islamic society cannot view me in whatever way gives them satisfaction or revenue.  They must view me according to the values and system of Islam - The Prophet SAW said 'The world and all things in it are precious, but the most precious thing of all is a virtuous woman.'  Here, the emphasis is clearly placed upon the values and character of the woman, over anything else.  The social system of Islam then helps maintain this view, where general segregation of sexes, hijab and forbidding the woman to do jobs which exploit her femininity are a few of the laws.  This means women can be valued in society for their actual contributions, as the sexual instinct is limited to the private sphere of marriage, not left to run loose in society. The society is therefore not left to choose how they want to view the woman, according to their benefit, Allah SWT shapes this view for us.

So Miriam O Reilly and others who applauded this case should realise that although her case maybe a step in the right direction, it is like taking a step against a forceful current - Such actions will never overturn it.  To enable women to really be valued we must overturn the values that we live by in society, realising the freedoms arising from secularism are the real enslavement of the woman.  It is Islam, and only Islam, I truly believe which can liberate the woman from the endless darkness that she goes through, into light.  And this is the only avenue, we as an Ummah should seek in our politics, in the Muslim world.

Surah Ibrahim: 'Alif L'am Ra. O Muhammad! This is a Book which We have revealed to you so that you may bring mankind out of utter darkness (ways of ignorance) to the light, by the leave of their Lord, to the Way of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy (Allah)'

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Those men who hold tight to their promise to Alllah

'Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah' Al-Ahzab, 33: 23

I wrote this ayah here, on this blog, over a year ago, telling you all about a sister who sat in a state of worry about her own, and only, brother. Worry that his effort to fulfil his covenant with Allah was to embroil him in a reality beyond the imagination of you and me sitting here, in the cushion of comfort.
Today such a reality has manifested itself. 
Across the globe, the Muslim Ummah continues to grow louder in its wish to liberate itself through Allah's law, which favours no class, no family, no limited being.  It rather favours justice, harmony and a desire to worship only that which deserves to be worshipped.
As the strength of this call begins to shake the foundations of every society in which it is born; those who suffocate the Ummah and strangle them with their thrones, look on, fearful and worried.  
They fear that however strong the grip is from the West of the globe, however much wealth they have hoarded into every pocket they own, this is not enough to stop the current which they see over the horizon.  So now they throw aside all the rhetoric of freedom and democracy that they lived and breathed, throw aside the human rights facade that they tried to hold up, and desparately try to hold their seats in position.  They realise that espionage and bloodshed, kidnappings and bribery aren't really the things which bring down establishents, it is in fact, ideas.
And how do you battle ideas? You can't bottle them, or pierce them with a bullet. All you can do, is desperately, pathetically do whatever you can to stop those who carry them.  But behold, we know that these men are those men, who are true to their covenant with their Rabb. They can be hurt and maimed, but they can never be stopped.
So the throne clutchers still do all they can.  They get in Britain to train their death squad, the RAB, to kill more proficiently (even though they say the training was in human rights...  what human rights? For a group who is famous for being able to dodge human rights killing indiscriminately) due to their counter-terrorism motives. And we all know counter-terrorism has come to mean anything but stopping violence, rather shaping the plain of political Islam in the Muslim lands.
They abduct and jail those who are the furthest from terrorism and political murder and violence.  They arrest those who promote justice and truth, whilst the real criminals roam the streets causing havoc and bloodshed.
This week, six Muslim men have been arrested and imprisoned under a justice system which knows no justice.  They have been accused of harbouring terrorist books and even a petrol bomb.  But reliable sources confirm them to be citizens of Bangladesh who were just trying to change life for their Ummah and return the sovereignty of the political world to where it rightly belongs.  One or more of them has been tortured, before any type of charge has been brought upon them. 
Now, only Allah knows when or whether, they will see the light of day or whether they will become lost in Bangladesh's dirty war against the peaceful Islamic revival.
Till then we can firstly tell everyone we can about the atrocities which are happening in Bangladesh and how we should not stand for this.  We should rather stand shoulder to shoulder with those who are bravely trying to change the rotten system of Bangladesh, giving their voice strength and support. Speaking the truth is the least we can do for the sacrifices our brothers are making, in our name, for our deen.  And last but not least, make abundant dua for them, and their families, that Allah SWT grants them sabrun jamil and surely reserves for them their share of Jaannatul Firdous, as he did for those who carried this same call over 1400 years ago.
As these men are men, who in the harshest of darkness, have clasped onto the the promise they made with Allah, and pulled through to inshaAllah, discover they inhabit the presence of the Prophets and righteous in the Akhirah.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

MPs luxurious expenses will never end

Even though we have had the whirlwind of the MP expenses scandal, which seemed to blacken the face of almost every MP that stood in Parliament at the time, I would still like to issue a stark warning.  This problem, is far from over.

You can give these ruling representatives a telling off, name and shame them, and amend the rules and regulations under which they make claims.  However let's be honest, if despite all this, they could get away with a small little duck pond, without anyone knowing, they would.  Why? Because firstly the whole debacle was about the public finding out - Before it was all in the public, no one felt the remorse they showed on BBC News 24, whilst they claimed the mortgage for their 10th property.  And no one can accept the argument, that it just did not occur to them it was wrong - come on, these people make complex policy decisions, as they say, for the country, come from the country's brightest schools - They are far from being not on the ball, as they claimed they were during this period.

The point is the root of this behaviour is a system which is all about seeking one's own benefit.  Capitalism itself is founded on this notion, Parties function on this notion where policy drifts towards wherever the money lies, so why would the individuals in this party be exempt from this? It is natural that the mentality of benefit seeking has manifested itself across every element of Goverment.  Thus when MPs who, may even have a genuine desire to affect politics, have an opportunity to get some free dosh - Why not? It's only a conscience that should stop them and for many that's not enough, particularly if no one's watching.

Thus I believe that unless we look at replacing the system of man-made law, democracy which plagues the world today, we will never put an end to such benefit seeking and ultimately corrupt behaviour.  Under Islam iit was never about justifying to the public why you need a 300 odd paper shredder - The politicians in the first place, shaped by the Islamic values of the society understood that life is about pleasing Allah and being accountable to Him. So the worry of how the citizens he was accountable for, were living was more of a concern than what he could milk out the system.  As his Akhirah depended on this, not the jewels and wealth he could milk out of his position.

Friday, 29 October 2010

People lost at sea all need a direction in which to swim, some just find the right one

Blair's sister-in-law's recent announcement of embracing islam, has unleashed a fairly generous amount of media banter. The repetitive debates and fiery opinions which reappear - women in Islam are oppressed, or that she became a sympathiser of a political cause or the less overtly stated one; she's another hippee looking for the latest new thing.

Well I can't pretend to know what exactly went through Lauren Booth's mind before she took the religious plunge, but from what she describes as some sort of spiritual rush, it seems Islam for her just felt right. We live in times, lets be brutally honest here, where we all seeming to be swimming against some sort of tide.  The way we overcome the tide is dependent on the amount of thinking we do, how much of reality we really see and whether we really find the strength and guidance to plunge our arms in the right current of water.

There is never the same discovery people make when they find Islam, but one thing is true for considerable amounts of women in the west - there comes a realisation when they live deep within the luring and luxurious riches of liberalism that a place where anything you wish for goes, is no place to wish for at all.

This isn't simply about the ritual stab at western decadence, for the sake of it. This is about living intertwined amongst wanting to fulfil all your hearts' desires, and realising that sometimes the consequences of which provide no warmth to the heart at all. In fact it's about realising that a culture of doing whatever one pleases is indeed what makes men leave the mother of their kids for the younger blonde with the pokey studio flat as the only baggage with the relationship, or what makes some men feel they can treat their lady whatever way is fitting for them at whatever time having no accountability to no one - only one's kicks at that time. Or even what drives big businesses to feel it's okay to make women feel their exterior is the only measure of who they are, and that whoever they are their exterior will never measure until they buy the latest daydream or magic concealer, just to ensure they sell sell sell.

It has been freedom to do what one pleases which has plagued society to a degree that it does little to please and care for all. Instead people are being pleased robbing, knifing, swearing and breaking up families. This is no model the rest of the world should lap up.

So do you still ask why. Do you still want to know why people don't want to be enslaved to the desires of the base human who instincts and needs are no different to that of any other mammal seeking to survive on a sahara plain.

Islam, throughout the last 1400 years, provided a heart-exhilirating liberation from slavery to the human heart, to slavery to the Creator of all human hearts, and limbs and minds.  The Creator who has obligated on the human heart to care for those close to us, and far from us, those vulnerable, those ill. To care about what happens around you, instead about what happens within your own blockaded life.  It is this accountability to Him in everything that you do, in the way you treat others and how you look after society, which liberates us.

This is the easiest swim and the calmest of tide to flow through. And this is why when you find this route in the ocean, you will never let it go.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Yes - Muslims and Islam still is centrestage

The recent barrage of incidents where people on both sides of the Atlantic have taken an avid interest in burning the Quran, yet again highlights the fact that the atmosphere against Islam and Muslims is as hostile as ever.  However for many of us spectators it may have been a piece of news we read and did not batter an eyelid at.  Why? Because Islam bashing has become a norm in the West.  Since 9/11, over 9 years ago now, insults against Muslims and sensationalisation of Islam has become part and parcel of the media and society within which we live - Thus a whole generation of youth, have grown into this culture as being the norm.  It is no wonder then that the youth who burnt Qurans in Gateshead, have done what they have - They do not know anything different, do they?

The strange thing is that the liberal societies of the West pride themselves on their ability to embrace different colours and creeds by giving all the freedom to believe and practice what they wish, setting them aside from the subverted developing world - So the question then begs, how is such control and vetting of an entire community in the way they practice their faith, justified? It is clear that this multi-cultural malarkey is the 'theory' of secular liberalism, but in reality the societies to varying degrees, forcibly make people adopt secularism taking away all freedom.  In France disallowing Muslim girls to take their Islam out into society by wearing hijab, in Belgium by banning the niqab.  This shows the fallacy of the value of secular liberalism - in reality, it just doesn't work.

Being a Muslim I very recently read about how the Islamic State of the past, which existed for over 1400 years implementing Islam as a comprehensive ruling system, dealt with minorities.  In fact it is well documented, from Moorish Spain to the now Arab world, people of different faith lived side by side without feelings of isolation or being labelled.  It is well known that during the rule of Umar ibn Al Khattab, the third ruler of the Islamic State, the protection of Christians and Jews in the now conflict-filled, Jerusalem was ensured - Community cohesion was achieved as the non-Muslims were able to practice their own religions, freely, in their places of worship with the knowledge that they had the protection of the State on their side as citizens of the State.  Such a picture of community cohesion is a far cry, from the picture that secular liberal democracy has achieved today.

The big clawback

It is ludicrous that the Government is commited in clawing shrinking back a welfare system from the poor of Britain who they package to be a load of lazy louts - The finger instead from the onset should have been pointed at a decrepit system which has allowed the rich to uncontrollably increase their wealth with no care for those underneath them - This includes many politicians whose income and lives are intertwined with many of these rich elite.

This is because capitalism in its essence sets a precedence that wealth creation is the foremost measure of success and that the freedom provided for the individual through capitalism is the predominant value over any form of collective value or value of something higher than slavery to ones base desires. I think therefore it is high time we begin to have an intellectual debate about the way forward for mankind, a way forward which would ensure real fairness and society which is not broken, but wholly cohesive and productive.

Being a Muslim I sincerely believe that the model of the Islamic ruling system - the Caliphate - which existed for over 1400 years, spanning across the Muslim world, managed to purport values within society which ensured that slavery to ones desires and slavery to wealth creation were not the be all and end all. In fact the Islamic ruling system, based upon the Islamic Shariah, contrary to popular perception, ensured that the human being felt accountable to first and foremost God, for all of their actions in public and in private. The impact this had was a consciousness within society of caring for others, over purely oneself.

The Islamic values more specifically placed a strong emphasis on wealth distribution over wealth hoarding, philanthropy and a need to take care of one another, over simply increasing ones own material assets and looking out only for oneself - And these values are enshrined within the Islamic texts even to this day.

Some practical examples from the Economic system however are the Islamic zakat tax, the only form of wealth tax in Islam, taxed those on all the wealth they owned, over just someone's income. This meant the rich, with all their stored assets paid out more, than those struggling to survive. The prohibition of interest meant that the rich discontinued from getting richer from wealth they already had, and the poor poorer from debt they were struggling to pay back.

These are a few strands of the comprehensive Islamic system which no longer exists in the world today, but is being much debated across all elements of society currently in the Muslim world as a possible and real alternative to the crippling system of Capitalism.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Mr Zardari, Oh Mr Zardari.

The worst natural disaster of recent times, with devestation worse than the tsumani, Kashmir and Haiti earthquakes put together, the people of Pakistan are somehow scrambling through what seems for all to be, a living hell.

The current floods which have swept across Pakistan, may have killed less than 2000, but around 4 million have been left with no homes. Images of families stranded on rooftops, clutching a cooking utensil or two, a few bunches of clothes, have shocked the world, mobilising the average joe bloggs to fund raise and attempt to do what they can to help these devestated people. Everyone that is, except Mr Asif Ali Zardari. Mr Asif Ali Zardari it seems has a heart made of steel, and a political motivation made of, how do I say it... Money.. to put it simply.

Harsh? Well, the floods happen, people die, the rest anguished, terrified, screaming for aid, medicine, food, water. Yet Mr Zardari, still gets on a plane, still goes off halfway across the world to meet a man who stamps his people down, blaming the world's problems on them. But why should Mr Zardari care? Who are those people to him anyway? Just his citizens.

He carries on a visit, swanning through Europe, leisurely stopping by in different places, garnering support for his party, for his son, his successor. Focussing and working hard to ensure support for a potential event which may happen in several years time, whilst an event which has already entered the past begs his minimum support if even for a moment.

Mr Zardari also must have seen the image of the three children squatting on a small bed submerged in what it seemed, miles of murky water; whilst he slept in his temporary kingdom, for what it has been reported, £10, 000 a night. As he set aside the leftovers of his multi-coursed meal onto the edge of his plate, and threw back the creaseless covers of his poster bed, I wonder if he peered at that photo, at the fact that those three children were clutching the side of the bed, not any morsel of food, and that there was not a sheet to be seen to be able to cover them.

Oh Mr Zardari, it is said that aid agencies now hold back their funds. They hold back the golden tickets for all these destitute people to obtain the basic things they need to survive, because last time they passed it over, the Reconstruction Agency of the Pakistani Earthquake did not see a fraction of it. £300 million never saw the light in the areas devestated by the earthquake, but wouldn't it be safe to say, managed to nestle its way into your wealth?

Mr Zardari, Mr Zardari. I detest to be the bearer of bad news. But it would not remain well seated within my conscience not to break this to you - Did you know, that the responsibility of the people is with the Government? Apologies for dropping this bombshell, but maybe somebody just needs to tell you, as you clearly cannot have known. How could you have? Otherwise you would never have gone to London, you would never have outstretched your hand to Cameron, you would never have ordered mass murder in Waziristan, you would never have even had the chance to touch the money before sending it off to feed the hungry and cure the sick.

Mr Zardari. Your Lord, sent down a Messenger who gave some very helpful guidance, maybe you should hear it:

'The imam is a shield for the Ummah, from behind which they fight and are protected'

Mr Zardari. You have claimed to be this imam but instead of protecting them, have let them anguish, a people unled, a people not looked after.

Mr Zardari, oh Mr Zardari. This Ummah can no longer bear the assumed leadership of a man whose shield over them is made of thorns, severing them to pieces. This Ummah is truly an Ummah who has Allah on their side, the mightiest of supporters, and thus will surely regain protection soon, through a strong supporter of Allah. They will regain an Imam whose shield over them is stronger than the most sturdy of metals. As this is Allah's promise. Till then Mr Zardari, oh Mr Zardari I recommend you flee, as far and wide as you can, before you are forced to. But then, you can never really flee can you? How could you ever flee from the Being in Whose Hand lies your very Soul?