About Sakooter

I am only one, but I am one I cannot do everything, but I can do something And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do What I can do, I should do And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.” | Add my circles on Google+ :

The Story of The Elephant

Yemen is a place in Arabia to the south of Makkah. A long time ago, it was ruled by people who worshipped other gods than Allâh. The ruler of those people, Dhu Nawâs, used to oppress the Christians who lived there. Once he had a big ditch or trench dug and put fire in it. Then he threw into it about 20,000 Christians. All those people died except one or two of them who ran away and came to the emperor of Syria for help.

The emperor of Syria wrote to the king of Abyssinia (Habashah), who was a Christian, and asked him to take revenge. So the Abyssinian leader (whose title was Najâshi) sent a huge army under the leadership of two commanders named Irbât and Abraha. Dhu Nawâs ran away from Yemen and later drowned, so Yemen came under the rule of the Abyssinians. After some time, an argument happened between the two commanders and a civil war broke out in which Irbât was killed and Abraha became the governor of Yemen.

At that time, all the Arabs used to make Hajj to the Ka’bah in Makkah. Even though they worshipped other gods than Allâh and did many wrong things, Allah kept His House a place which people always visited. Abraha saw them doing this and wanted to turn them away from it, so he built a huge cathedral in a city in Yemen called San’â. This church was so big that its roof could not be seen from the ground. It was decorated with gold, silver and pearls. Abraha announced that nobody should travel to the Ka’bah anymore. Rather, they should all come to this cathedral to perform worship.

Even though they were idolaters, the Arabs had great respect for the Ka’bah. So when Abraha made his announcement, they were very angry. Some of the Quraysh of Makkah went to the cathedral in secret and threw dirty stuff all over the floors and walls of it. Some also lit fire to it. When Abraha found out that these things were done by the Quraysh, he swore that he would take apart every brick of the Ka’bah and destroy it.

Abraha began gathering a big army. He asked permission from the Najâshi, who sent his personal elephant, Mahmûd, and eight other elephants with Abraha’s army. When the news of Abraha’s plan reached the Arabs, they prepared to oppose the attack. Abraha defeated the armies of several Arab tribes along the way to Makkah, and he took one of their leaders, Nufail bin Habeeb, as a prisoner and used him for a guide. As he approached Makkah, the people of Tâ’if decided that instead of trying to fight Abraha, they will help him out, so that he would not destroy their own temple. So they sent with him one of their leaders named Abû Righâl.

Abraha reached with his army up to Mughammas, a place close to Makkah. There were some camels feeding there, and the army overcame the herdsmen and captured these camels. Of these camels, 200 belonged to Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)), who was at that time the leader of the Quraysh. Abraha then sent a messenger to tell the people of Makka that he only wanted to destroy the Ka’bah and did not come to kill any people if they left him alone.

Abdul Muttalib came back with the messenger to meet Abraha. Abdul Muttalib, being the grandfather of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)), who was the best of creation, was himself a very handsome and striking personality. So, when Abraha saw him, he came down from his throne to sit next to Abdul Muttalib, even though this was not what the kings commonly did. He asked Abdul Muttalib what he had to say. Abdul Muttalib said that he wanted his camels back.

Abraha was very surprised. He said, “When I first saw you, I thought you were a very respectable and honorable man, but the first thing you have said has made me change my mind. I have come to destroy your Ka’bah and all you are worried about is your camels?!”

Abdul Muttalib replied, “I am the owner of the camels and they are my concern; while Allâh is the owner of the Ka’bah and He will defend it.”

Abraha replied, “Your Lord cannot defend it from me.”

Abdul Muttalib said, “Then do as you wish.” So Abraha gave back the camels and Abdul Muttalib returned to Makkah.

In Makkah, Abdul Muttalib went first to the Ka’bah and made a prayer to Allâh to protect the Ka’bah. Then all the people in Makkah left the city and went to the mountains around Makkah to see what would happen.

In the morning Abraha prepared to enter the city. He put Mahmûd, the elephant, in the front of the army. However, Nufail bin Habeeb, the captured Arab, secretly whispered into the elephant’s ear, “Kneel down! – Return safely from where you have come, for you are in the Secure Land (Balad Amîn).” After this, the elephant sat down and would not go forward. Abraha’s men tried to poke it and push it but it would not move. If they turned it around to face Syria or Yemen then it would start walking, but as soon as they faced it towards the Ka’bah it would sit down again. This was the sign of Allâh’s Power.

Suddenly, while this was happening, came the punishment which is mentioned in Sûrah Fîl of the Qur’an (Sûrah 105). Hundreds of birds which had never been seen before flew towards Makkah from the ocean. Each bird had 3 little stones- one in the beak and one in each foot. They flew over Abraha’s army and dropped the pebbles. Each pebble went straight through the bodies of the men. The elephants started running like crazy and the people were running back and forth getting killed. Some people, like Abraha, did not die right away. Instead they became extremely sick and died later on.

The result of this happening was that the Quraysh became very famous and respected among the other Arabs. No one else would dare to attack them or their caravans which they would send on business trips to Syria and Yemen. These trips are mentioned in the following sûrah (Sûrah 106) of the Qur’an, where Allâh says they should be worshipping and thanking Allâh Who gave them so many blessings of food, wealth and safety.

This amazing event was not a coincidence. The year in which this happened was the same blessed year in which the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) was born, in the month of Rabî’-ul-Awwal. This event was one of many things which happened around the time of the birth of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)), which proved to the world that a wonderful person had been born, the last of the prophets, who would bring the message of Islâm which will last now until the Day of Judgment. When we study the life story of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) we find proof and evidence beyond doubt of his being the Messenger of Allah and the Last Prophet. May Allâh give us all the strength of imân to learn all about the life of the Prophet (ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) and use it as our example in our lives.

(This story is recorded in one of the most authentic books of commentary on the Qur’an called Tafsîr Ibn Kathîr.)

When Abu Bakr, Umar nearly lost all

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an article I received in e-mail. Read and share and apply in your lives.

THE Prophet (peace be upon him) was once sitting with his companions when they were approached by some horsemen as delegates from the tribe of Banu Tamim. As with any tribe coming to accept Islam, the Prophet wanted to select a leader for them. Naturally, recommendations for the man best fit for this job came from his closest companions, Abu Bakr and Umar, may Allah be pleased with them.

Abu Bakr recommended that the Prophet make Al-Qa‘qa‘ Bin Ma‘bad, member of Banu Mujashi‘, take the position. Umar disagreed, suggesting that the Messenger of Allah instead choose a man named Al-Aqra‘ Bin Habis. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

Disagreement between the two turned to debate, debating turned to arguing, and soon the two began raising their voices so loud, they drowned out the voice of the Prophet.

Just then, Allah revealed the following verse to the Prophet (peace be upon him).

“O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor speak aloud to him in speech as you speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds may be rendered fruitless while you perceive not.” (Qur’an, 49:2)

 

Respect for the Prophet

Allah was telling both Abu Bakr and Umar that what they were doing was uncalled for. When one speaks near the Prophet, they can’t speak louder than him, out of respect and reverence for the man who is the messenger of Allah himself.

This command from Allah goes beyond mere volume. When issues arise in matters of the Sunnah, we can’t speak out over or against it. As Ibn ‘Abbas said, this means do not contradict the Sunnah in your actions, statements, or even your intentions.

The attitude towards the Sunnah should be like that of Imam Malik’s. When students came to his house wanting to learn Fiqh or ‘Aqeedah, he would come out and teach them. If they wanted to learn Hadith however, he would make Ghusl before coming out and recite the verse, “O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet (peace be upon him), nor speak aloud to him…” before he began his lesson, to remind himself and his students that what they were about to study has to be respected at the highest level.

 

How Umar reacted

After this verse was revealed, it was narrated that whenever Umar would speak to the Prophet, he would speak so quietly that you could barely hear him. In fact, Abdullah Bin Al-Zubair said the Prophet sometimes asked Umar to repeat himself because his voice was so soft.

With the coming of a commandment from Allah, Umar immediately followed it and practiced it in his daily life. He didn’t second guess it or try to just half-way act on it, nor did he delay it or temporarily follow it. He immediately acted on it in full permanently.

 

The Thabit approach

When Thabit Ibn Qays Al-Shammas, a Sahabi who used to speak in a loud voice because he was hard of hearing, heard this verse, he was devastated. Since the verse said that those who speak above the Prophet would lose all of their deeds without them even knowing it. Immediately Thabit went home in despair and didn’t come out to the point where the Prophet and Sahabah noticed his absence.

When they visited and asked him where he’d been, he said he had been terrified of losing all of his deeds because he, too, used to speak above the Prophet, even though he was only speaking loudly because of his hearing problem. Later the Prophet consoled him by telling him that he was a person of paradise.

 

How Satan exploits disagreements

When Abu Bakr and Umar were arguing, they were doing it at the worst time in the worst scenario. In front of them was the Prophet and around them were the delegates from a new tribe that wanted to accept Islam. Shaitan will do whatever it takes to destroy any chance of Islam prospering.

Here, he made two Muslim brothers escalate their disagreements to the point where an issue greater than choosing leadership, i.e. respecting the Prophet, was being ignored.

When things get heated in your disagreements with family, friends, or in da’wah work, never let Shaitan use your differences to his advantage.

 

Correcting ourselves

The Sahabah weren’t superhuman beings who didn’t make any mistakes whatsoever. What made them extraordinary and models for us, instead, was how they corrected their mistakes.

Imagine if you found out that you and your family lost everything you ever owned and went bankrupt. No more assets, no more house or cars, and no money.

Now imagine you lost all of your good deeds. Which of the two would you feel more devastated at?

The Sahabah thought of losing one’s deeds as one of the worst things that could ever happen to them.

The next time we fall into a dispute with our Muslim brothers or sisters, we should remember the way Abu Bakr and Umar acted and reacted, as well as make sure we respect the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Sunnah without becoming clouded by our situation.

What stops me from being what I want to be

It all started with the thought process in my mind – random things going in and out of my mind – jumbled up – things I want to do – wanted to do. Day-dream – I will do this – I will do that – and bask in the glory of having done it (in my thought process that is. )

Dear reader, don’t be confused. I can’t blame you for the confusion, but the confusion lies in my mind – in my inability to continue writing like I used to — my inability to sit down and write and subjugate the keyboard into typing my thought process.

Lack of topics to write about?

It isn’t that I have nothing to write about – this blog was never a structured blog with only information about such and such – this blog was my thought process put in words that people can read, comment and maybe learn something from. (After all there is so much to learn from other people’s mistakes).

So yes, there are things that cross my mind, things that I think about writing but I never get to write them. I think of how this could make an interesting post – and never get to write it. These thoughts come while I am doing something – cleaning the sink, washing dishes – 🙂 so obviously I can’t drag myself from doing that to my computer (it is already very difficult to get me off my desktop).

So what could it be?

Lack of time?

Well this sounds like a very good excuse for not writing – Yes yes, I know I am always struggling with not having enough time to do things. But really, how much time does it take to write? Except for articles that I need to do research on – where I need to carefully check my sources before I pen it down – blogging is about sharing the thought process. So NO – with my typing speed – don’t think time should be a problem. Is thought process slow – I think not. After all my blog is full of random ramblings – my readers would agree.

Lack of inspiration

There is plenty to inspire me. Maybe not the real real inspiration type which creates a masterpiece article – but the general day-to-day things don’t need major inspiration. Its raining beautifully – isn’t that inspiration enough? It is really up to me, what I want to use as inspiration. So No – this can’t be it.

Sheer Laziness

The root of all evils. At least the root of all evils of not doing what I want to do. This is what I think it is.

 

But the picture is much bigger than just about writing posts on this blog – if the sakooter stops speaking – nothing will happen – nothing happened when sakooter was speaking in the first place. So what’s the big deal.

The big deal

The big deal is about making existence purposeful. And this applies to everyone. We all have dreams. We all have things we want to do in our lives. [If you don’t, you better do some  soul-searching and think of living with a purpose]. We all have been given a purpose in life – to worship Allah – to serve Him. Each one of us has been gifted with different mix of abilities and in abilities that make us right for doing something. So if we are not doing what we are meant to – what are we doing with our lives?

And if we are not doing things we want to do – due to ‘blah blah blah’ reasons – then we shouldn’t expect to be able to do much with our lives.

And what a waste that would be?

Khandar – The Kashmiri Wedding – Kupwara

A few years back I had the honour of being invited to a wedding feast in Kupwara. To me a chance to visit the countryside in Kashmir is always something I look forward to – not only does it pristine unmatched beauty thrill me, the simplicity of its people, the sweet smile of the kids who grow up away from the ‘city-life’ makes me feel like this is the real Kashmir. Kashmir away from the ugly influences that makes us act like someone else.

Anyhow, that is a different discussion altogether. I am here to write about the Kashmiri Wedding – Kupwara style! 🙂 Travelling from Srinagar to Kupwara wasnt exactly very easy especially due to the traffic on the highway.  The roads are pretty well built (general countryside comparison) so it wasn’t much of a problem reaching Kupwara otherwise.

Within Kupwara itself it took some time to figure out where exactly our host lived and we ended up driving through a streamlet. (I loved it – absolutely!). The road within the village was very difficult to travel through especially walking with little baby guests. Anyhow, we reached – late. Better late then never.

By the time we reached the bride had already been brought home. There was music and drum beating and the wanwun(traditional wedding singing) started. We dropped our stuff and rushed back down to view the festivities. The women sang together, standing and singing. The wanwun style was different from the Srinagar style, and the environment was completely different. Nobody looked made up to pretend to be someone else. Women carrying children, children running here and there, some groups up and some down (on the uneven terrain), singing and happy. There was a small tent(shamiyana) where the bride was. I made my way in the tent scanning to look for the bride. In srinagar the bride would be all decked up and sitting on some arrangement close to being a throne. I coudln’t find the bride. The tent was packed with women sitting so close to each other that there was hardly space to walk through.

And then finally I saw her – there was someone clad in a burka and she was the bride. And I thought how apt. The bride all dressed up is the last thing we should put up for display as we do in the city. The bride dresses up for her groom and not to display her charms to the guests who have come. I was impressed.

The children had started playing with firecrackers and confetti – jubilant having got their hands on them.

We (being special guests) got special treatment and the food was ready to be served so we were called up in the exclusive room to have our lunch. We were famished and more than happy to hear the food announcement. Gladly we walked into the mudhouse and the room on the first floor. The room was simple – mud walls. Window with a beautiful view of the wide expanse of paddy fields and the mountains in the backdrop. We washed our hands with the tash-naer as is traditionally done and pretty much jumped onto the wazwan. The wazwan was way simpler than the city extravagant wazwan, tasted different too somehow, but alhamdulillah was good. While we ate, we heard music and with my hand still having food on it, I crawled to the window to see- and I literally wanted to jump outta the window to join the festivities. There was the sword dance going on. Tried to take the video with one hand and (the other still having food clung to it) and a little boy of 2 tugging at me.

Here it is, for the blog readers! (Click on the image below to start the player)

*Video:wedding in kashmir - scene from a wedding in kupwara

 

Final thoughts:

Kashmiri wedding doesn’t have to be complicated extravagant affair really. It can be simple and beautiful like the wedding feast I experienced in Kupwara!

 

Modern Stress And Its Cure

Well here I am again, sharing something I received in my inbox today. I hope you find it useful. May Allah relieve the stress in our lives.

Modern Stress And Its Cure From Quran by Shahin Akhtar MD

Stress is the most common aliment of modern age. It has been implicated in the causation of peptic ulcer disease, coronary heart disease, depression, auto immune disease, hypertension, diabetes and even cancer. In milder form it manifests in form of unrest, violence, at work, school and home. Common medical problems like tension headache, insomnia, and obesity are also attributed to unusual stress. None of us are free from stress but some deal with it better than others.
Stress results from the following factors:
  1. Fear of the unknown and trying to see through and control the destiny.
  2. Losses in our life of people and things dear to us and our inability to recover those losses.
  3. Inner conflict between our heart and mind between what is known to be the truth and our failure to accept it as truth. Acceptance of truth may require changing our habits and way of life which we may adhere to for some reason like pleasure, joys, taste, pride in race or heritage etc.
Let us examine how Quran deals with such situations.
Our losses are a trial for us:
“Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong and to him is our return. They are those on whom (DESCEND) blessings from God and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance. 2:155
Thus in Islam, we do not have concept of the ownership of goods and life. Everything belongs to God and returns to him. So if we don’t own that thing why mourn our loss?
  1. Our destiny is predetermined. We do not have control on that part. What we have control over is a limited free will, that is our actions, our choice to do good or bad, to believe in God or not to believe in Him, but we have no control over tomorrow’s event not related to our actions i.e. whether my wife will have a son or daughter, whether his/her eyes will be brown or black, or whether I will have an accident or not tomorrow. Worrying over such things is of no use.
  2. Rejection of faith in Quran is called a disease. This denial of truth is due to arrogance.“In their heart there is a disease and God has increased their disease and grievous is their penalty because they lie to themselves.” 2:10
Therefore after lying to ourselves, we set up an inner conflict – between heart and mind. In order to contain that conflict the mind sends signals to glands for secretion of harmones like adrenaline which leads to rapid heart rate, perspiration, tremor, the basis of lie detector test.
This lying conflict could be due to “SMALL” crimes like theft or adultery, or big crimes like rejection of God.
3 Stages of spiritual development of soul age
  1. Nafsul Ammara: -The Passionate soul “I do not absolve myself Lo the (human) soul is prone to evil, save that whenever my Lord has mercy. Lo, Lord is forgiving; merciful.”12:53 (Surah Yusuf)This soul inclines toward sensual Pleasure, passion and self gratification , anger, envy, greed, and conceit. Its concerns are pleasure of body, gratification of physical appetite, and ego.Hadith “your most-ardent-enemy is your evil self which resides within your body”(Bukhari).If this evil soul is not checked will lead to unusual stress and its resultant effects.
  2. Nafsul Lawanunah (The Reproaching Soul). “Nay, I swear by the reproaching soul”75:1This soul is conscious or aware of Evil, resists it, asks for God’s grace, and pardon, repents and tries to ammend and hopes to achieve salvation.“And (There are) others who have acknowledged their faults. They mix a righteous action with another that was bad. It may be that Allah will relent toward them. Lo! Allah is relenting, merciful.”9:102Hadith “These are two impulses within us. One spirit which calls towards good and confirms the truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it comes from Allah. Another impulse comes from our enemy (Devil) which leads to doubt and holds untruth and encourages evil. He who feels this should seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil.”This soul warns people of their vain desire, guides and opens the door to virtute and righteousness. It is a positive step in spiritual growth.
  3. The satisfied soul (Nafsul Mutmainnah). “O (you) soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction. Come back to your Lord, will pleased (yourself) and will pleasing unto him. Enter you then among my devotees, enter you in my heaven.” 89:27-30
This is the highest state of spiritual development. satisfied soul is the state of bliss, content and peace. The soul is at peace because it knows that inspite of its failures in this world, It will return to God. Purified of tension, it emerges from the struggle with obstacles blocking the peace of mind and heart.
What should we do in panic and despair? In panic non-believers behave differently than believers. They have no one to return to, to ask for mercy and forgiveness, their life is this life, which they cannot control, thus get more depressed and increase in their state of wrong doing. Then we will see that if they are used to casual drinking will start drinking more and become alcoholic, or a barbital criminal.
On the other hand a believer should do the following:
  1. Increase dhikr (Remembrance of God)
    “who have believed and whose heart have Rest in the remembrance of God. Verify in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest.” 13:28
  2. Increase their prayer.
    “O you who believe, seek help with steadfastness and prayer. For God is with those who are steadfast.” 2:153
  3. Ask forgiveness
    “And I have said: seek forgiveness from your Lord. Lo He was ever forgiving.” 71:10
In addition to above we are also asked to continue to struggle to up-grade ourselves.
” surely God does not change the condition in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves.” 13:11
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us a du’aa’ by which we may ward off worries and distress. Ahmad (3528)narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no-one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says:
‘Allaahumma inni ‘abduka ibn ‘abdika ibn amatika naasyati bi yadika, maada fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadaa’uka. As’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw ‘allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista’tharta bihi fi ‘ilm il-ghayb ‘indaka an taj’al al-Qur’aana rabee’ qalbi wa noor sadri wa jalaa’ huzni wa dhihaab hammi.
(O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety),’ but Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy.”
He was asked: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we learn this?”
He said: “Of course; everyone who hears it should learn it.”
In summary, I conclude that stress results from lack of inner peace due to conflicts within us and leads to external disturbances in our behavior and health. Inner peace can only be achieved by believing in God, the All Mighty, and remembering him frequently and asking for his help and forgiveness in times of difficulties.

So what do you think of Allah as?

Read this in a post and reminded myself that Allah is most Merciful and inshaAllah He will give us the best of both worlds. 🙂 And reminding you all as well!

 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a Hadith al-Qudsi tells us the words of Allah as He talks to His slaves:

“I am as My slave thinks of Me.”

So if a slave thinks the Almighty is merciful, he will find His mercy, and if he is disappointed and imagines Him angry, he will find Allah in anger. Further, the Hadith says:

“I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to Him an arm’s length; And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to Him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”

This is how Allah addresses the slaves who spend time making mention of Him.

Kashmiri Song – Love for the Prophet

Woke up one fine morning to a beautiful sound. I knew he was here – singing eloquently – naats and other songs praising Allah and professing love of the Prophet. Grabbed my dupatta, got my son ready and we ran down to see my parents in law listening as this man sung. There was magic in his voice – and ofcourse the words that he sang. My son sat with his Daadi – grandmother – while I ran back in to get my camera.

This is a home video – taken by me – not exactly great quality, but never the less – something that reminds me of Kashmir and the magic of that morning. My son calls in “Humaray Kashmir ka gaana” (Song of our Kashmir) and loves to listen to it.

So here I am sharing with you all the video – please bear with the download speeds.

For those of you who are wondering what he is singing, here is the rough translation:

May I sacrifice my head for you, oh great Prophet

What will I hide from you, I will tell you about my state of affairs

I am – (not sure how to translate this) – in a bad state

Please heal my sickness, Oh great Prophet

I have come, open the door

Oh great Prophet

Please heal my sickness, Oh great Prophet

May I sacrifice my head for you, oh great Prophet

You are the great king,

show mercy on us, Oh great Prophet

May I sacrifice my head for you, oh great Prophet

How would it decrease your wealth

if you were to cure my grief

It will lessen my pain of longingness

Oh great Prophet

Who do I have, except for you

who would I tell my problems?

You know everything,

Oh great Prophet

I have come, open the door

Oh great Prophet

I am mistreated everywhere,

who can I show pride to

You are the’Khairul Bashar’ – best among creations, Oh great Prophet

I have come, open the door

Oh great Prophet

May I sacrifice my head for you, oh great Prophet

Please bless me (this is the closest I can think of to translate ‘nazare’ seyni’ )

That would be a meherbani

Raise me high, lillah – for the sake of Allah…

I have come, open the door

Oh great Prophet

(If anyone can translate it better, I’d appreciate it…)

Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 3

Kashmiri Wedding

Kashmiri Wedding - Part 3

For those of you who have visited my blog before, you might have already read a little something about the Kashmiri Wedding here.

While preparation of food (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding)  is a very elaborate and lavish affair, the process of finding your soul-mate, the koshur-way is a complicated and tiring process (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 2. )

While talking of the match-making process, I had actually talked of how the ‘thap’ or ‘catching the bride’ is done. 🙂 [It is nothing like it sounds really – don’t start visualizing the savage men running after and catching women. It is a very simple (though in cities it can get very complicated .. but that is another topic), affair. The girl meets the boy’s family and is given a gift as a proof of consent for the marriage.

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - Kashmiri Wedding

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - spread the word - its the thap!

Now after the ‘thap’ has been done, the marital knot has to be formally declared and this is done in so many phases. (Yes, this is also rather complicated). The boy’s family sends sweets, cakes, dry-fruits and chocolates (now-a-days) to the girl’s family. This is for the girl and for distribution to family, neighbors and friends to announce the ‘thap’ (literally catching) or ‘gandun’ (literally tying up). The girl’s family reciprocate and send their lot of sweets etc. to the boy’s family which is again distributed among their relatives, friends and neighbours.

This marks the official announcement of the marriage intention.

The next stage is the very lavish function called ‘Nishayn’ (literally would translate to symbol) or the ‘Engagement’ ceremony. This is a very formal occasion and is mostly a bride’s family function where the groom’s close family and friends are invited to a very lavish (this is one of the most extravagant feast, far superior to the regular wazwan) feast.

Trami for the groom

Will the groom eat all of this?

The groom isnt forgotten. A trami filled to the brim with delecacies made of meat is sent to the groom’s house.

The ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Engagement’ could itself be of two types – the simple ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Nikah-Nishayn’. The regular ‘Nishayn’ or engagement has no binding effect and is more of formalizing the marital consent (to be done in future). The Nikah-Nishayn is where the actual marriage is solemnized and the ‘nikah’ is done. It might probably a very long set of rituals – but well this is the Kashmiri Wedding – in most of the cities and towns in Kashmir.

(Sidenote: While the weddings in Srinagar and other cities and towns of Kashmir are filled with seemingly never ending functions, the weddings in the village side are rather simple. I will cover that in a different post).

Henna on bride's hand

Henna on bride's hand

Now getting back to the Engagement function. The bride is to get her henna on her hands the night before her engagement day generally. The engagement itself is a very formal occasion where protocol demands utmost care in handling the guests.  According to protocol, the guests are served:

  • Juice and a fruit of  dry fruit (Rani juice was kinda in fashion the last time I attended an engagement party 😉 )
  • fServing the guestsollowed by Kahwah, with huge peice of black forest or some other pastry and kulcha
  • followed by the wazwan itself
  • followed by either firni, or halwa, or some other sweet
  • followed by the guests getting their little basket of dryfruit (with money inside) to take back with them
Parting gifts

Parting gifts for the guests

The groom’s family usually comes with their load fulls of gifts for the bride which usually includes many gold coins – called ‘pounds’ and ‘sets’ and etc. etc.

Finally the guests leave and the bride’s family hopes that no guest has been offended.

It’s rather tragic that so much money is spent lavish functions which have no meanings. Traditionally, though Wazwan was part of Kashmiri weddings, there have been major changes which just make weddings complicated and (somewhat sad portrait of the Kashmiri society).

Well.. ofcourse the engagement is the beginning of yet another series of visits and then the final wedding etc. Will write about it again in future. Till then, don’t feel nauseated thinking of the trami full of meat (shown above.) You can still think of the good old trami with 7 traditional dishes which was good to eat and pleasing to the eye.

Rat Attack

I never thought it would come to this. I have been closing the windows and even suffocating myself in this heat just to make sure that the rats that I have heard of don’t walk in. Yes it’s a pigeon infested area, with rats running around happily. I saw one outside our bedroom window once and I never left the window open.

And here I was, walking into the kitchen to get my glass of water before I go to sleep and I had a feeling that there was someone – something – behind me. I switch on the lights – and eeeeek! a rat – or maybe a mouse – but it was ratty indeed — quickly made its way out from the exhaust fan opening.  It all  happened in a flash and I was calling for help.

We checked and put a plastic cover hoping this would stop the rat from walking in again.

I slept and woke up again at 12:30 a.m. with a feeling that the rat was nibbling at my toe. It was a very freaky sensation. I woke up and looked around – no it was my imagination getting the better of me. I snuggled close to my son and just hoped that what I felt was just my imagination.

Imagination it was, but my inner self was telling me that the rat is here. And the rat had been to the kitchen and devoured the red juicy tomatoes I had brought the day before. I looked at the tomatoes in utter disgust – small holes in each of the tomato.The rat had made a small hole in the plastic bag and enjoyed his meal.

I cleaned up the mess and spent the day hoping that the rat wouldn’t come again.

At night we put a heavy duty plastic cover. This should hopefully keep the rat away.I just made sure that I close the kitchen door. Whatever happens inside the kitchen, I don’t want to even imagine the rat close around.

I woke up at half past 12 midnight. I heard something. It must be the rat. I closed my eyes —  I am not going to check. No point,  I wont be able to do anything about it.

It was 5 in the morning, when I heard another sound of something falling.. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I opened the kitchen door cautiously, switched on the light and made some noise at the door. I wanted the rat to know that I am here and the party is over.

To my horror.. I saw one – two – three mice walk out from the exhaust fan. I was trying to make sense of it all. Walked a step further in the kitchen and one more decides to leave. Yuck!

I just stared at the exhaust fan (which was covered in the heavy duty plastic bag) where I had seen the tails disappear.  I couldn’t do anything about it. But I couldn’t sleep either. I just left the lights on.

It seems that the rat had enjoyed his meal the night before and called his friends to the party. Too bad, I had made sure there wasnt anything to be eaten there so too bad for them.

But too bad for me too. I have been washing and cleaning today. I still have the last batch to wash in the sink. Arrrrghhh…

RatsAnd I think of Ratatouille and wonder how I ever liked that movie. And then I think of Cinderella and the rats .. and ewwww…

I don’t want the rats around.  Somebody help!