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Last day in the mother of the world

Salams

My last day in egypt leaves me with many mixed emotions: Happiness that i can return to my home and country, sadness that i leave such great people behind, hope that we can start change and raise the banner of Allah, fear that i may return to my old habits, excitement about the beginning of med school and my married life, and so much more… I think we can say as a group, that we have learned things here that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives… And for the rest of the people in SAP, if one day… really early in the morning, as you sleep in your american beds… in nj, or CA, or michigan or ohio… and the streets are silent… but you are awoken by a man on the street… who yells:  BATHEEEEEEEEEEEEKHHH!… just know that that guy, is your brother yousaf, reminding you of the amana that you recieved the second you stepped foot of that plane in egypt….
I will always keep you all in my dua…
SALAMS
YOUSAF!!!!!!!! 

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August 5, 2007 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

yousaf…my country… and a poem

AssalamuAlaikum 

Now that I have been in Egypt for 4 weeks I can honestly say that I have learned where I belong… in my country. Recently the brothers discussed the seerah of the Prophet (s) and we came to the realization that regardless of whether or not the Quraysh became Muslims, the Prophet Muhammad (s) always considered them ‘his people,’ meaning his responsibilty.  The Quraysh persecuted the Muslims, tortured them and even slaughtered them but the Prophet (s) never gave up on them.  Comparitively I am starting to see that instead of cussing out America or calling it the devil, I should instead accept it as my own. America is my country, plain and simple… And after seeing what I have seen here, and hearing what I have heard, my hope for Islam’s ‘Renaissance’ lies in the U.S. of A.  The oppurtunities we have to build a strong and balanced community are not found here in Egypt, or any other ‘muslim country’ for that matter.  I once sat in a khatira given by Sheikh Shakir Elsayed, where he told us to imagine an America where you can hear the athan on the streets of every major city.  At the time, I saw this as an unnattainable ideal, but now I see it as our burden and honor to make it a reality… My teacher at Diwan recently reminded us that victory for Islam is inevitable… After hearing this all I could really think about was making sure that I am part of this change for the better…I do not want to face Allah (swt) on that Day and have nothing to show for my life… ‘I sat back and watched as others struggled to raise the banner of your deen…’

So, at the end of the day, I am actually proud to be an American..and more importantly a Muslim American… Let’s make it our country… This is the country I want my children to grow up in and this is the country from which I pray the spark of Islam comes from.  I made a dua yesterday that I had never thought of before this trip:

‘Ya Allah, Make me the type of slave You deserve to have!’

 May Allah make us of the Musliheen…May Allah grant us the determination and patince required to sacrifice for Him.

I wrote this poem today from the perspective of our deen Al-Islam (personified): 

MY RENAISANCE

O Ummah of Muhammaad (s), Why do you hide?

O Ummah of Al-Sadiq, In whose hearts do I still reside?

O Ummah of Al-Faruq, Why do you run scared, why do you flee?

O my Ummah, Why do you lose hope when your victory has already been decreed?

 

I’m sick of living a life without purpose

Where any man with money and power can hurt us

I’m sick of an Ummah of cowards

Decomposing and fronting like flowers

I’m sick of hearing about orphaned children and widowed mothers

And ‘Islamic governments’ who incarcerate Muslim brothers

I’m sick of Kashmir and Sheeshan

Of death in Muslim Kosovo and the Sudan

I’m sick of an Ummah of big talkers and little doers

Of words just as good as the ‘stuff’ we find in the sewers

I’m sick of a people who can’t find the middle path

Of people who fall astray or fall into Allah’s wrath

I’m sick of hearing about Palestine

AND IT- NOT- BEING-MINE!

I’m sick of a community of mediocrity

Doctors and engineers trying to live in secular harmony

I’m sick of a media that is allowed to disgrace me

Of news tickers, Fox news and sean hannity

I’m sick of faithless muslimoon

Of hopeless mutawakiloon

I’m sick of hearing about victory

And tasting it only in books of Islamic history

I’m sick of brothers who’d rather play ball than pray

Of men who’d rather run than find another way

I’m sick of fifty year old boys and fifty year old girls

Who have done nothing in their lives except lived 50 yrs in their own little worlds

I’m sick of the Hijab being spliced with tight jeans

Of scarves as a statement for Muslim fashion queens

I’m sick of beards without heart

Of Muslim men who fold the second life gets hard

I’m sick of Muhajabas who expose everything except for a few hairs

Who walk like they’re on the catwalk, demanding lustful stares

I’m sick of leaders who oppress the people they are supposed to defend

Of Muslim men with Muslimah girlfriends

I’m sick of Muslim con-artists and righteous imitators

And of religious tyrants and blameless dictators

I’m sick of husbands who leave their wives beaten and bruised

Of a pathetic people whose only way out is to blame their shortcomings on the Jews

I’m sick of shaytan having his way with Allah’s slaves

Of cemeteries in Muslim lands full of infant sized graves

I’m sick of my Ummah’s tears soaking sacred grounds

Of my Ummah’s blood being spilled without protest or sound

I’m sick of empty masajid and dusty Quran pages

AND I AM SICK OF LIVING IN THE MUSLIM DARK AGES

     

July 24, 2007 at 4:00 pm 13 comments

SubhanAllah

Salams,

Bismillah…

I have learnt some arabic on this trip but I can honestly say that I have learned far more about myself and this world these past couple of weeks than I could ever learn in new jersey… I have learned the importance of family: This whole trip I felt so strange and I couldnt figure out why… then it hit me… I did not have my family with me… Now I could talk to them on the phone but the mental and pyschological effect of not having them within driving distance really wears on me… SubhanAllah…

I have learned the importance of Niyyah: My initial niyyah was the generic: I want to learn the language of the Quran, which is great… BUT what I failed to include in my niyyah is the idea that i should be ‘finding myself’ here… That sounds super cheesy but it is close to the truth… I have discoverd, in myself, faults that i need to correct before I can live my life back in the states (before i can be a doctor, husband and muslim worker)… I have learned that I sometimes speak to quickly and act too rashly, and that I do not give everybody their due right from me, and that I sometimes do not take advantage of my situations and blessings in terms of making things that are wrong, right. (run on sentence from a Kaplan SAT teacher…)

I have learned about how to deal with people… When people you care about are hurting you the most, that is the time that you have to return your love the most.  Returning anger or frustration with anger and frustration can only lead to a dead end… We all have bad days… some more than others… and its about time we learned to be tolerant of peoples’ behavior when we dont know why they are behaving so…   

I have learned about simplifying things… does not always work… certain things in life are not black and white… they are gray … really gray… and to try and simplify them is not a very smart thing to do…

These are just some of the things I have learned alhamdulillah…  o yea… I also did well on my first test :o)

salams

~yousaf

July 13, 2007 at 3:40 pm Leave a comment

^&*#*$%*^ BATHEEKH!!!

As I walked to class this morning there was a fruit seller… more specifically, a watermelon seller… Everyday, since I have made my walk to the learning center routine at 9:30 am or so, I have seen this guy and his donkey walking down the road as he screams something that I cant make out no matter hard I try…  Frustrated by my inability to understand him, I mad sure that today I was going to figure out this mystery so I got really close… It sounded like ‘yajafajabutneeeya!’  With his voice hoarse and his thawb soaked in ‘egypt sweat’ (i will write about this idea another day),  he repeated his one line lyric in a voice that simon cowell would be proud of… I inched ever nearer… BUT the closer I got the more I realized that he really said nothing… Just a sound that ended in a syllable that rhymed with batheekh… I tried to think if i could learn something meaningful about life from this experience and then realized something about communication… You really don’t have to say anything to be understood… every man, woman and child knew exactly what this man was selling when he shouted his inarticulate melody and as long as it was different from the teenshowki kid, the bbq corn man, the ‘used stuff’ people, the drycleaners and the gas guy and the vegetable seller: yafajafbutnee! would do just fine… At the end of the day, this watermelon man found his place in the world… He knew exactly what he had to do, how to do it and even how to be unique in doing so… He found his niche in this dunya… And because of that reason, I know he is far wiser than I…

On another note, the ‘bikya bikya bikya’ boys are really getting on my nerves… They dont even seem to be trying anymore… Their voices are barely heard through the cement walls that our apartments are made of… These premadonnas have a lot that they have to learn..

Egypt is taking its toll on me though…  I gave up on looking like an egyptiian because every taxi driver tries to charge me 30 bucks for a 3 dollar ride no matter how tight my jeans are n no matter how much chest hair i grow (just a joke :o) )… I started wearing basketball shorts and Hani thinks it might be a good idea if I drape myself in an American flag…  We started saying pop culture references in Arabic…(i.e. we translated the whole Captain Planet song’ … I am ‘Maya’ (i.e. water) and Amr is Cabtan Dunya….) I cant tell if my skin color is darker because of the sun or dirt and pollution…and my teeth are a strange yellow/orange color and I think I am going to write a letter to Crest to develop a toothpaste that fights plaque and dust… The Manga juice that I keep drinking (cant help it… too delicious) is not very good for an American digestive system and I have learned that a cup of water and ice is definitely the most amazing combination on earth…  On a good note, I cannot bite my nails anymore because of the thick layer of… well i dont even know what it is… stuck underneath them… Shibshib is officially the only footwear I wear…

An interesting observation: Egyptian men walk with more of a feminine touch and the woman walk more masculine (this is of course by the American perspective) but I found it interesting nonetheless… maybe its because the sisters here dont have the same mindset about flaunting themselves (alhamdulillah) and the guys are less worried about trying to look like they are ripped/buff all the time… 

I apologize for the extremely random thoughts but that what was on my mind… I have a couple of more insightful thoughts to come inshAllah,,, but at this time I have neither the patience nor the ability to stay awake to put them down here…

Missing home a little alhamdulillah…

Salams

yousaf 

July 11, 2007 at 9:23 am Leave a comment

MY CULTURE… yousaf

Salams,

Akh Yousaf here with a couple of thoughts…

Now that I have been here for about two weeks, I sit here and try to reflect upon the lessons that I have learned and what I have gained, in terms of insight, about myself and my place in this world… And as I sift through the memories of the last fortnight, I find myself astounded at how much I have benefited from this trip… The Muslim history, which I could once only read about in textbooks or hear about from uncles, is right in front of my very eyes… I can see the golden era of a religion that deserves that its followers do more than just speak about the ‘good times,’ and instead do something about its decrepit state…

The citadel of salahadeen… Masjid rafaee and sultan hassan, Masjid al-hussain and jama’a Al-azhar… My past… My history… and my ancestors buried in a land that once tasted the sweetness of Islam… And I can only get but a morsel of that same sweetness, though now dulled by corruption and laziness, as I walk into a classroom of Muslims from all around the world whose sole purpose for existing for the next few weeks is to study a language that ties them to their CREATOR…
SubhanAllah… This land, once a place where Muslims did nothing but flourish has now become a land where the locals seem to know more about the new summer blockbuster than about the men and women who spilt their blood to uphold the banner of Islam… The blood, sweat and tears that soak this desert sand go unnoticed and unappreciated by the people who benefited from the sacrifice made by our forefathers… and when I say forefathers, I don’t mean my Pakistani forefathers, or my Egyptian or Saudi or Palestinian or ‘jerseyan’ forefathers… I don’t mean the ancestors of my parents or ties of blood that mean nothing in the eyes of Allah…

In this country that is so proud of a past that they should be ashamed of… Instead of saying ‘ we once were the stronghold of the deen of Allah and Muhammad (s),’ I hear ‘we built the pyramids.’ Now I have been to the Cairo Museum and the pyramids BUT I was not moved… Don’t get me wrong, these were great picture opportunities and the pyramids are big and architecturally impressive, but that’s it… Just a place where some mislead peoples built some nice looking things for the wrong reasons… But the second I stepped into a place of true significance, I could say ‘I have just stepped into a place where great men and women stood… people who would give everything they had if it meant that they would earn the pleasure of Allah or would be willing to sacrifice their comfort, wealth and lives if it meant that at the end of the day, Cairo and the world would be able to hear the voice of a muathin from atop a minaret… These people who exemplified struggle and commitment would give anything to make sure that the sun set behind the dome of a mosque instead of that of a 7 star hotel…’

And with these reflections, I am able to slowly draw a picture in my mind as to where my place is in this world… Who am I? And though I understand my purpose in this dunya, I have to ask myself, what is my role in Allah’s greater plan? Up till now the only answer I have is that I will not relegate myself to a role of insignificance… On that day when we rise from our graves, I do not want to face my Creator with… ‘While my ummah was facedown in the dirt, I lived my life… I prayed and ‘stuff’ but didn’t do anything about the condition of my people or humanity… I believed in You, O Allah, but while the banner of your deen was set ablaze, I sat back in the comfort of my lethargy and watched, or pretended I didn’t see… and when the world needed this deen and the people craved truth and justice, and the earth craved that You be praised, I sat back and didn’t raise a finger for fear of repercussion from Your creation…’

In this country that has such an identity crisis, I believe I am finding out mine… This country where girls with miniskirts shop side by side with sisters in hijab… where quran is heard in cars that drive on the same street as cars that blast amro diab and nancy ajram…Where men who have great ideas fear to speak up for fear of jail.. In this country of misguided tradition, I have found my culture… My culture… not found in the streets, or in the cafes, or in the clothes that are worn or in the kusharee or fool and ta’maya or in the market or the slang of misr… I have found my culture in the heart of those who still believe that Islam is worth living ad dying for… In the minds of those who believe that this deen of Allah is worth the discomfort that we may feel protecting and practicing it. I have found my culture in the mosque, in the Words of Allah, in my prayer… I have found my culture in the love for my brothers and sisters… I have found my culture in my respect for knowledge and those who study and teach it… I have found my culture in the moments when I stand before my Lord and know that to please Him is worth everything I have…. I have found my culture in Egypt.

May Allah make us of those who are responsible for raising the banner of Islam and May He not replace u… May He flood us with patience and fasten our feet and hearts on Sirat -al Mustqeem… May Allah purify our intentions and allow us to benefit from this time in this foriegn land… May Allah grant us tawfeeq in this time when we have left the comfort of our beds for His pleasure… Ya Rab… May Allah, the One with Whom our souls and fates lie, make us of those whom He loves… And May He send peace and blessings upon our master Muhammad (s), his family, his sahaba and his ummah. Ameen

On a more personal note… I miss my fiance, my family and my friends very much… Another benefit of this trip has been that I have come to truly appreciate their existence and now that I don’t have them whenever I need them, I thank Allah for creating them…

Plus, Musa keeps trying to hold my hand, Ridwan keeps talking about the oppression of… well everybody, Hani may some day explode and kill everybody because no one can be that nice for that long without breaking (plus he keeps making friends with all the crazy taxi drivers), Amr is our bruddas leader and our ‘baba sookur’ (sugar daddy) and Ali keeps sleeping… of course i really shouldn’t be able to observe all this because I remain on the phone …alomost all the time…ok… all the time :o)

Hamdulillah for everyone who reads this….

Your brother in Islam,

~ yousaf

 

July 7, 2007 at 10:42 am 5 comments

Bruddahood on the rise in the mother of the world…

It is 3:00 in the AM and Brother Ridwan, Musa and myself, Yousaf are WIDE AWAKE… Even though we will probably regret not sleeping right now, (and probably cry and br. amr drags us outta bed) we have been discussing various issues in our lives and I can honestly say that I have become closer to each other for the sake of Allah. Maybe too close even… My brother Musa and I almost naturally hold hands in the street…Maybe this Egyption culture has had too much of an influence :o) . . .

July 4, 2007 at 1:32 am Leave a comment


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