Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On "unanswered prayers"

In last few weeks, I had to go through some issues in life which required a lot of prayers. In some moments of despondency, as it always happens you get a solace, a ishara or a guidance. I received this forwarded message and it put peace in my heart.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

On "khud-numaaii"

"Hamare aik babaji kehte the! jhoot se nijaat to choti manzil hai. Allah ke raaste ka koi bhi musafir zara si tapasiya se ye manzil paa leta hai - magar us ke aage bohat baRi rukawat khud-numaaii ki hai - baRe baRe surma is aag se bach nahi paate aur saari umar is pahaR ko kaat ke raasta banane main sarf ho jaati hai. Yahi anaa ko maarne ki pehli aur sab se kaThan manzil hai".

Saturday, October 08, 2016

On "Superiority of Numbers"

I think it was Al-Khwarizmi who said that "numbers are superior to words". I never paid much attention to this till I was introduced to master mathematician Leonhard Euler's famous "Identity". The formula is considered to be the most beautiful of all mathematical derivatives. It says: 

When you drive* Cos, Sin and Pi value (which basically encompasses circle and axes) with an imaginary number i and a constant e, you get zero. So mathematically, it can be proven that everything either manifested from nothing (should say zero) or will degrade into nothing. 

Na tha kuch to khuda tha kuch na hota to khuda hota 
Daboya mujh ko hone ne, na hota main to kiya hota

* You may need to google the whole derivative of formula

Friday, October 07, 2016

On "Faith and Ethics"

Some people are so firm in their Iman (and their ethics) that it astonish me. I was asked by a parent of one of my student. Following is a very brief conversation which will tell you the whole story.

"Beta! Tum poora din hospital main residency kerti ho. Phir ghar jaati ho ya jumma parhne masjid. Baqi waqt kitaboN main juti rehti ho. Aese to tumhe koi rishta nahi mile ga. Apne parents ke saath dawatoN, shadioN wagera pe chali jaya karo. Un ka bhi dil reh jaaye ga".

"Sir! Woh chahye ga to saathi bhi likh dega, jis ne mere liye izzat ka kaam aur rizqe-halal ki naimat likh di hai, magar main apni in zimmedarioN se bewafaii to nahi ker sakti"

Thursday, October 06, 2016

On "Downfall"

"Tum jaante ho insaan ka zawal kab shuru hota hai?"

"Jub woh is fareb main mubtala hota hai ke woh apne kaam main dusroN se behter hai, aur un ki tehqeer shuru ker deta hai. Bus wahin se us ke zawal ka aagaz hota hai"

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

RIP - Steve Jobs

When Steve Jobs died 5 years ago, I was sad. Despite all his shortcomings as a human, he left a deep mark on history. I learned a lot by reading his autobiography. He was a kind of a sufi baba of modern time. To quote him:

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." - Steve Jobs

Sunday, October 02, 2016

On "Acceptance of Death"

I work in a profession where every day I see people making peace with death and their agony. It is very sobering. It always flashed back in my head final paragraphs of Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (here). Today an interesting statement made by my one patient.

"I was afraid I will die, then I was afraid I will not die"!

Saturday, October 01, 2016

On "The Human Pledge or Ehd-e-alast"

(On my request, uncle expressed his thoughts on Ehd-e-Alast)

There are many pledges/oaths Qur'an talks about like the pledge taken by Bani Israel or the one taken by all the prophets and also the oath taken from the last prophet and we know of some pledges on the earth like the one the Muslims took under that tree outside Makkah (Hudaibiya).

There is one called ehd-e-Azal, as it is described in Qur'an in surah Al-A'raaf (VII) aya # 172. "And (remember) when your Lord brought forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed (or from Adam's loin his offspring) and made them testify as to themselves (saying) 'am I not your Lord?, they said 'Yes we testify', lest you should say on the day of resurrection, 'verily we are not aware of it' " (I have used translation of Dr Muhsen rather than Yusuf Ali or others because he uses the word seed ). Also known in Urdu as "ehd-e-alast" taken from "alast-o-beRabbikum".

It is said that it is not just 'allegorical' description but an actual event that occurred after Allah SWT decided to send Adam AS to the earth. Some Ahadeeth say as soon as he descended on earth (in the Arafaat grounds). Descriptions of hadeethes given in various books of tafseer indicate how everybody understood n his/her own way the "taking out of all the persons to be born up-till the "Qiyamah" (how it happened). Clearly this was as good a miracle as the of birth of Adam AS or that of Amman Hawwa (Eve) and so there is no reason to reject that as a possibility but only accepting it as it is, rather than trying to derive some explanation from hadeeth descriptions. I see that many sahaba say this is how the prophet SAWS told us. Yet, the truth is best known to Allah SWT. The prophet himself could only talk in the terms that Sahaba could understand. We as His creation should just accept it as he wants us to. I do not wish to quote ahadeeth or what I understand from tafseers but just for example I shall give my understanding.

Tafheem-ul-Quran says the whole progeny of Adam AS was created out of Adam's Pusht (Sulb in Arabic) and not just the roohs (meaning rooh plus bodies). Then explanations need where on earth such a large collection of human beings could be placed. Some others say they were extremely small in body like ants (yes I read this in tafseer). Meaning that they did not require a large ground. Ibn-e- Kaseer says- what I understand- they were 'roohs' who were brought out and questioned and then put back (into the "Sulb") and this may seem more plausible than tafheem explanation. But really we dont have to think out in such terms as to how and where it happened.

As physicians/scientists (and this is purely my own idea, not meant for discussion) we may postulate possibility of 'gametes' (the seed) from which whole human body develops could have been miraculously brought out and placed back and of course Allah SWT can give the same understanding and ability to talk/say as the pledge to anything. But as I said before it is much easier to accept this miracle as it says in Qur'an than rely on any hadeeth (Not denying ahadeeth or the authority of it or that of prophet SAWS - Far it be from me to even think about it). If you will recall Allah SWT warned people not to question unnecessary things while Quran is being revealed (S. V, Aya 104 and 105) because it may turn your faith away. That is a very important aya/warning for us to stay away from going into explanations of things that are unnecessary. All we need to do is believe in that Ehd.

You also know some people from Sahaba (Ali RA for example) said they remember that pledge very clearly in their memory. Also that pledge forms the basis of the frequently quoted hadeeth that "every child is born a Muslim but the parents make him/her Christian or Jew or Majoosi" And this I am saying from Tafseer, not just my idea.

May Allah forgive me for my mistakes and misunderstanding and/or mis-interpretations.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

On "Ilm, Imtihan and Tajarba"

"Babaji! aap kehte hain ilm se darna chahiye. Ye to baRi ajeeb baat ki aap ne"

"Are is main koi ajeeb baat nahi. Ataai-ilm ki surat kuch aur hai. Jab Ilm ataa hota hai to bachhu free main nahi hota! - us ke foran baad - aik dum se aazmaish ki ghaRi aa jaati hai. Jese chori na kerne ka, geebat na kerne ka, bad-nazri na kerna ka ya khamosh rehne ka ilm - kisi ishaare se ataa hota hai to - darna chahiye - kiunke  foran koi 'opportunity' aa jaati hai, jahan chori ka moqa milta hai, geebat ki mehfil sajti hai, bad-nazri ka maza milta hai ya bak-bak kerne ka package haat aa jaata hai. Pehle ilm aata hai, uske foran baad aazmaish ki ghaRi aati hai aur yahi tajarba us ilm ki tosee' (attestation) kerta hai. Aik ke baad aik ilm-o-aazmish ki ghaRi insaani ruh ko kundan banane ke liye sulagti rehti hai. Par jise is aag ki tapish hi mehsoos na ho, woh jiya bhi to kiya aur na jiya bhi to kiya."

Friday, September 23, 2016

On "Love and war" - 2

Following is an email on follow-up on a little sentimental post 2 days ago - "Love and War" -here

"I browse your blog frequently but I am not very good in leaving messages. But your post on war and love made me send you this email as it touched my nerve. I was born in a very wealthy memon family in Karachi. We were kind of business tycoons. Afterwards, I decided to join public service in Pakistan. It was a conventional and unwritten rule that everything is fair in business and diplomacy. There is no friend and no enemy. You only guard your interests. As a public officer in foreign service, I  had to deal at my level when Siachen  issue came. Later I was unable to take corruption and political pressure in public service. I retired and moved to Canada. What I learned that humans emotions play the most vital role in war, love, business, diplomacy or any other aspect of the life. And humans can go up to any extent for sustainment of their power, ego, wealth, anger or pleasure. It is so unfortunate that things get uglier as you go high in hierarchy. You may have heard of Qudratullah Shahab sahab, a well decorated and most well known Pakistani public servant of his time. His assessment was: "His whole bureaucracy was nothing but the smell of gutter and the toilet".  I agree with you. Low level are those creatures who think everything is fair in love and war. Unfortunately, they never did and they don't even intend to teach ethics in our class rooms."

Thursday, September 22, 2016


(Koonj is one heck of a blogger (link here) and I immensely learned from her. She is an extremely learned person. Once she did an amazing post on Gossip and Backbiting. here and here).

Following hikayat is on same line

A member of a parish shared false gossip about the pastor of the church she attended. It became apparent that many believed, or at least passed on the gossip to others. The pastor became discouraged, was held accountable for these lies, and lost credibility in the town. A few weeks later, the woman came and shared with the pastor, her guilt in the rumor spreading, she asked for forgiveness and the pastor said he would forgive her if she would do one thing for him. She agreed.

The pastor then took a feather pillow from his house, climbed the town water tower and cut the pillow open spreading the feathers to the wind. He climbed down and asked her to refill and mend the pillow to be forgiven for her act against him. She said it was not possible to collect all the feathers. He replied, it was also impossible for him to recover from the gossip she spread in the community.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

On "Love and War"

Kum-Zarf hain woh log jo kehte hain: 

"Mohabbat aur jang main har cheez jaaiz hai"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On "Solace of Third Child"

Every year, I have few friend and colleagues, who at this time of the year get saddened due to "empty nest syndrome", as their kids move out for colleges. USA is a huge country. Despite best efforts, good colleges are usually far and very few parents can keep their children home. It is relatively harder on desi parents as they are as I guess more protective. Out of many stories I hear, following made me smile, so sharing.

"Our third child was an accident. He was born almost 10 years after elder siblings. We were not happy as we always planned to take life easy once both kids are out to college. This unplanned third child at that moment for a while feels like a hurdle. No! we never believed in abortion. It was our child. We loved him anyway. This year, both elders went to college simultaneously and empty house was outrageously depressing. Suddenly, our lives were changed. It does not hit you until that day arrive when you come home after dropping them to their dorm - and they don't come home with you.  We all are so idiots. We plan things and don't value our possessions till we actually know their worth. Human emotions and bonding can't be planned like we so called professionals try to do alike our jobs, finances, house, retirements, investments and cars. Trust me 'empty nest' is a real phenomenon. It depresses people. It changes people. It is slowly draining. Now we find our solace in our third child. He is more precious than ever before. Now we kiss our third child more than ever before".

Related post on empty nest: Nageen

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On "Rooh"

I requested Saugoree uncle to write on the concept of "Rooh" from Islamic perspective. He was kind enough to do this for me. I am posting below but you can read this on his blog too here.

I wrote "Rooh" and not "Soul" because the word Rooh is slightly better understood by Muslims. The other reason is that in English sometimes "soul" can be used for persons like "I did not see a single soul in the ground" meaning a human being or a person, but Rooh is not used in this manner but always in the manner of the 'spirit' which again in English can be used with a different meaning so I did not say spirit either. 

Rooh is a non-corporeal or ethereal thing which is easier to understand but difficult to define. For discussion we will confine ourselves to Human soul. In the same way, we are quite familiar with 'life' and 'death' but defining these is not as simple. We know that when a person dies his/her rooh leaves the body and that is the teaching in all religions. Philosophy came to similar conclusions and science has nothing else to offer. 

We can say that there are two sources of human knowledge: 

One: Intelligence or Aql given to us by our Creator that we use both for philosophy as well as scientific study consisting of Observation, experimentations and Conclusion/derivation. Thomas Aquinas calls this "natural revelation" as compared to the revelation from God that we call scripture. and so the,

Second: is Revelation. Since we cannot observe or experiment on such ethereal substance we must depend upon God's revelation to determine the truth about rooh/soul. Most religions teach that Rooh is not destructible. 

Islamic perspective: Further knowledge about Rooh in Islam is based on Qur'an and Saheeh Ahadeeth. I frequently quote the Verse "They ask thee concerning the 'Rooh', Say, the Rooh comes from the command of my Lord; it is only a little of knowledge, that is given to you (O men)" (#85 of Sura Bani Israeel ). I feel as though here, the creator is telling us about rooh and saying that you can't have any more knowledge about it (That is not what most mufassireen say, that is only my feeling). From Saheeh Ahadeeth we learn: That 'rooh' enters the body (by the command of Allah) at a particular time while the body of human being is acquiring shape in the womb of the mother and it leaves the body (by the command of Allah) at the time of death. There is also some knowledge as to what happens to it after it leaves the body. Qur'an tells us it also leaves the body during sleep (Verse 42 of sura Zumur the 39th Sura) but still maintains a connection with the body but that connection is permanently lost at the time of death. After death (of the body) Rooh enters into a state of "in between" called Berzakh in Arabic (where it can meet with other "arwah" or roohs) and will reunite with the body (may be in a different way) at the time of resurrection (al-Quiyamah).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

On "old man in the House"

This blog is all about how people feel, see and experience life. We may not agree and it may shock us but things happen differently to different people.

Main jab bhi apne shahr ki desi market jaata hun to Shakir sahab se mulaqat hoti hai. Bus jaan pehcaan bhi aese hi hui ke jab jao, woh apni makhsoos dukan ke bahir khaRe ho ke 'sutta' laga rahe hon ge - aur har aane jaane wale se baatain kerte rahain gey. Ab to koi 12 baras hone ko aa gaye - magar shakir sahab ki us paan ki dukan, peele shalwar kameez aur sutte main koi faraq naa aaya.

Aik din main ne Shakir sahab se mazaqan kaha: "aap kabhi ghar bhi jaate ho ya nahi?"

UnhoN ne jawab diya: "Jab bachhe baRe ho jaayain aur biwi bad-zuban ho, to ghar main mard ki hessiyat aik bhaRwe jesi ho jaati hai. Isi liye ghar nahi jaata".

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On "Pseudo-Patriotism"

I have to be honest here. I never get impressed with this writer, named Umerah Ahmad. Though I was told she is very popular in Pakistan, I never found her more than a glorified digest writer. But indeed, she is a fluent writer and knows how to put words together. Few days back, on this blog we talked about patriotism. Somebody send me this on forward and I agree with her that this whole concept of going back and spend retirement in native country is bogus and in my dictionary, you can call it "Pseudo-patriotism". Well written.