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.

Abortion

Someone shared this note with me on Facebook, and I share it with you all!

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said:

“Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together.”

So the doctor said: ‘Ok, and what do you want me to do?’

She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: “I think, I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is.

There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.

The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!

‘I agree’, the doctor replied.. ‘But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!

Sakooter or Scooter! That’s the way to go!

I just happened to read this news item in Kashmir Times. It talks of how women in Kashmir have started using scooter as a convenient means of transport and of the acceptance of the idea among the locals.  To me watching a woman drive a scooter is the idea of freedom – beautiful freedom!

Some years back the idea of a woman driving a scooter would certainly not ‘look good’ for whatever reasons. I remember having a discussion with a guy quite some years back my pen-name Sakooter itself. The guy found it funny that I supported hijab and talked of scooter. To me it was weird that people actually have a problem with something as simple as a means of conveyance which saves women a lot of trouble.  There would be some who would even go to the extent of calling it un-Islamic. (Am I raising eye-brows somewhere?) Don’t open your mouth yet.. wait up… didn’t the women in Arabia travel on a camel? Do you see a co-relation?

I would certainly think travelling by a scooter would bring us way closer to morality and Islam.  Weird as it may seem, it avoids the uncomfortable situations in which women put themselves in those overloaded buses where there is hardly place to breathe in.

I would say scooter is certainly the way to go! Yay! Its the sakooter speaking of-course!

SRINAGAR, Apr 30: Sometime back, a Kashmiri girl traveling all alone in public transport would not go down well with the people here, thinking of it as an open invitation to all kinds of trouble. However, one is not too surprised to see the Kashmiri ladies riding two wheelers not only within city but even outskirts. This trend picked up last year, when Jammu and Kashmir Bank announced its special Scooty scheme aimed at providing two wheelers to girl students and working ladies of the valley with a maximum finance of Rs 50,000 to be repaid in 60 monthly installments.
This scheme transformed once a dream Scooty for an ordinary Kashmiri girl into a go-getter. Pinks, blues, whites–available in various colours, designs and makes have made their presence felt in various motor showrooms of Kashmir and proving to be good business source too.
While for the showroom dealers, women scooters are turning out to be a prized revenue source, for young women it is surely a boon.
“Girls riding Scootys is epitomizing a new wave of independent women who do not need her parents or friends to accompany them every time they step out. Initially, though we did not see too many women riding two wheelers out on the roads. But certainly, the number of women scooters in the valley is on an increase,” says Dr Maroofa, a sociologist.
Meanwhile, the girls who are the ‘proud owners’ of  these Scootys feel a sense of liberation from the daily hassles of public transport, eve teasing and in the process save some bucks too.
“In the wake of auto fares, bus fares increasing, possessing a Scooty becomes a blessing. Without having to wait for buses, autos, avoiding unnecessary male attention, I certainly am happier after buying my scooter. I can now travel anywhere I want, anytime with my Scooty,” quips Shazia, a college goer.
For many working ladies, riding Scootys initially meant hitting back by their male colleagues and unusual stares on roads. But even such things are changing now.
“I am in a sales job for a cosmetics company. My job requires a lot of travel with least expenses. Hence buying a scooter was the best available option for me. Earlier, there were a lot of inhibitions, especially the undue comments by male colleagues. I would avoid traveling to far off places alone on my Scooty. But our society, seems to have fairly adjusted with the idea of women traveling alone, in their vehicles- be it a two wheeler or a four wheeler,” says Razia, sales girl.
If owning a scooter is a matter of convenience for women, being a good driver and avoiding scuffles with men are some words of caution by the policewomen for the ladies.
“Although nobody can raise any objection with a female riding a vehicle, but we see a lot of school girls who dot have even driving licenses riding them. It is very essential to be a trained driver first and then enjoy the experience,” adds Fehmeeda, a lady cop.

(Kashmir Times, 30th April 2011)

2310 days of illegal imprisonment

Cageprisoners Ltd is a human rights organisation that exists solely to raise awareness of the plight of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and other detainees held as part of the War on Terror.

Just happened to bump into the website. 2310 days of imprisonment — for people who have no crimes proven against them.

It is ironic indeed that the world community watches and does nothing —  have forgotten — to speak the least — the issue of these people who have been detained illegally.  These people have been detained without going through any crime proven to be done by them.

So much for the “democracy” and “human rights” that US stands for!

Romance in Islam

Romance in IslamHow often do you hear people talk about Romance with an Islamic context? Talking of romance, of love generally speaking – in front of many Muslims would raise eyebrows as the image of ‘Romance’ and ‘Love’ that we have today is what is presented by the Holly/Bolly Wood or the loads of novels that come with stories making people fanaticize love using the perspective of the authors. These people start imagining and making this love the ideal for their own lives. I have seen loads of people who sing songs with perfect lyrics not knowing the language at all. There are so many who would intelligently discuss how life is so well portrayed in these. The response to love and all associated ways of expressing it come in the form of people burning Valentine Cards, shunning any form of talk of romance and love.

The problem is that love and affection and even romance for that matter is a natural human need that finds no ideology to follow in our cultures and finds beautiful looking image of life in what is presented in these un-Islamic sources of entertainment.So does this mean that the rich Islamic life system that covers just about every aspect of life, forgets about this very important need? Is romance to be abhorred just because we have learnt over time to understand it from the western or hindi-movie perspective?

I found a very interesting blog post by a Muslim about how the idea of a romantic evening would differ from an Islamic and the de-facto perspective.

I knew there has to be some guideline, something that would make romance fit within the Islamic perspective going back to the time of the Prophet. And wow! There is so much, and so beautiful in the life of the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself that tells us what romance is. Maybe the typical mullah forgot to talk about this aspect and we just clung on to a strict, no-smile image of Muslim that is so anti-Islam. But of course the learned men and women could tell you a lot more on how a beautiful relationship is to bemaintained than a ’google-searcher’ like me could put forth.

Anyhow, I did my research and I have my conclusions drawn from the beautiful life of the Prophet (s.a.w), and his companions.Bringing flowers for your loved one, looking beautiful for your mate, having a candle-light dinner with your mate — things that bring romance and speak of love are not only possible but something that would be recommended. The only difference – and an important difference indeed – is that the relationship has a pure foundation — that the man and woman, who have this bond of love, are legally bound together in the bond of marriage. [And of course, marriage is not to be that drag that men and women seem stuck in, and forward jokes about. In Islam, a marriage is the foundation for love and affection between a man and woman that is unlike any other human relationship.]

So, now that you want to talk of romance, a good idea would be to get married. For what is romance without a mate?

With marriage settled and accepted as the default, let’s talk of Romance.

“They are your garments and you are their garments” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:187).

How beautiful, and how romantic. J This statement from the Quran itself puts in one sentence the meaning of marriage and what it is supposed to be. The husband and wife are supposed to be to each other like garments – closest to you, protecting you, beautifying you, hiding your shame, and comforting you. SubhanAllah! What could be a better analogy to describe marriage?

The story of Musa/Moses.

Got this in an email, and here it is for you all to read.___________The story of Prophet Musa.

THE story of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) with Khidr, mentioned in Surah Al Kahf, the Cave (65:82), is one of the most important didactic stories in the Qur’an.

The story begins when Moses was delivering a sermon and one of his followers suddenly asked him “Who is the most knowledgeable person on earth” and Moses (peace be upon him), immediately answered him: ‘I (am the most learned).’ Allah admonished him for this answer and told him that there was a man who was more knowledgeable than he was and ordered him to search for that man to learn from him, “So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our own Presence.” Continue reading

Political Humour

political humour

This image from http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/images/bliraqchecklist.htm talks of political humour.

Humour indeed has the ability to say the bitterest truth in a palatable manner.

US went and attacked Iraq. It still continues with its presence in this land to which “it has restored democracy”. I wonder if they still have come up with a reason.. Saddam has gone,.. what is the reason now.

and for those who forgot all about Afghanistan, they still havent disclosed the “evidence” that they couldnt share with the world before the attack.

Tyranny.

and there are so many other questions that were never answered. So many reasons that were never given….

How to poison your mother in law

Got this in another email! And yes, it is very very interesting. 😛

Poison Your Mother-in-Law …

A long time ago in China, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law at all.

Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law’ s habits. In addition, she criticised Li-Li constantly.
Days passed days, and weeks passed weeks. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish.
All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing Li-Li’s poor husband great distress.
Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law’ s bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it.
Li-Li went to see her father’s good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Mr. Huang thought for a while, and finally said, Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you. Li-Li said, “Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do.”
Mr.Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs.
He told Li-Li, “You can’t use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body.
Every other day prepare some delicious meal and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly towards her. Don’t argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.”
Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.
Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr.Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed.
Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn’t had an argument with her mother-in-law in six months because she now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.
The mother-in-law’ s attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in- law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter.
Li-Li’s husband was very happy to see what was happening.
One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again. She said, “Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law! She’s changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her.”
Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. “Li-Li, there’s nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitimans to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her.”
Treatment of Mothers-in-Laws
By Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi
Excerpt from: The Muslim Woman and her Husband.
Note: Although the article below is written in reference to the wife treating her mother-in-law.
The advices are also applicable to the husband in his treatment to his mother-in-law as well.

One of the ways in which a wife expresses her respect towards her husband is by honouring and respecting his mother.

The Muslim woman who truly understands the teachings of her religion knows that the person who has the greatest right over a man is his mother, as one notes in many Ahaadeeth. So she helps him to honour and respect his mother, by also honouring and respecting her. In this way she will do herself and her husband a favour, as she will be helping him to do good deeds and fear Allah Ta’ala, as commanded by the Qur’an. At the same time, she will endear herself to her husband, who will appreciate her honour and respect towards his family in general, and towards his mother in particular. Nothing could please a decent, righteous and respectful man more than seeing strong ties of love and respect between his wife and his family, and nothing could be more hateful to a decent man than to see those ties destroyed by the forces of evil, hatred and conspiracy. The Muslim family which is guided by faith in Allah Ta’ala and follows the pure teachings of Islam is unlikely to fall into the trap of such jahili (ignorant) behaviour, which usually flourishes in communities today.

A Muslim wife may find herself being tested by her mother-in-law and other in-laws, if they are not of good character. If such is the case, she is obliged and would be meritorious to treat them in the best way possible, which requires a great deal of cleverness, courtesy, diplomacy and repelling evil with that which is better. Thus she will maintain a balance between her relationship with her in-laws and her relationship with her husband, and she will protect herself and her marriage from any adverse effects that may result from the lack of such a balance.

The Muslim woman should never think that she is the only one who is required to be a good and caring companion to her spouse, and that nothing similar is required of her husband or that there is nothing wrong with him mistreating her or failing to fulfill some of the responsibilities of marriage. Islam has regulated the marital relationship by giving each partner both rights and duties. The wife’s duties of honouring and taking care of her husband are balanced by the rights that she has over him, which are that he should protect her honour and dignity from all kinds of mockery, humiliation, trials or oppression. These rights of the wife comprise the husband’s duties towards her: he is obliged to honour them and fulfil them as completely as possible.

One of the Muslim husband’s duties is to fulfill his role of qawwam (maintainer and protector) properly. This is a role that can only be properly fulfilled by a man who is a successful leader in his home and family, one who possesses likeable character and qualities. Such a man has a noble and worthy attitude, is tolerant, overlooks minor errors, is in control of his married life, and is generous without being extravagant. He respect s his wife’s feelings and makes her feel that she shares the responsibility of running the household affairs, bringing up the children,and working with him to build a sound Muslim family, as Islam wants it to be.

Manners of talking in the light of the Quran.

Got this in an email. Its a lesson for all of us to learn and implement in our lives…
Manners of talking in the light of the Quran

· Talk straight, to the point, without any ambiguity or deception [33:70] 

· Choose best words to speak and say them in the best possible way [17:53, 2:83]

· Do not shout. Speak politely keeping your voice low [31:19]

· Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious [22:30]

· Do not confound truth with falsehood [2:42]

· Say with your mouth what is in your heart [3:167]

· Speak in a civilized manner in a language that is recognized by the society and is commonly used [4:5]

· When you voice an opinion, be just, even if it is against a relative [6:152]

· Do not be a bragging boaster [31:18]

· Do not talk, listen or do anything vain [23:3, 28:55]