Re-watching ‘An American Tail’ in the Trump Age

Poster from IMDB

One of my favourite movies as a child was An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.  I watched it a lot, but didn’t often watch its predecessor, Don Bluth’s original 1986 animated movie, An American Tail. I recently re-watched the story of Fievel Mouskewitz and his family’s journey to the “Land of the Free”. Much to my surprise, the film’s story of hopeful immigrants traveling to America is relevant today, but in a different way than what it originally intended. Continue reading “Re-watching ‘An American Tail’ in the Trump Age”

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The Muslim Musical Metronome: My Journey Through Music in Islam

musical-notes

A few weeks ago, the internet experienced a minor rumble about a story regarding a supposed fatwa issued by 42 clerics against Indian singer Nahid Afrin. International media caught wind and it became a story about religious clergy banning someone’s freedom of expression. As is the case with such a story, the world got riled up.

Of course, now there’s some speculation if the “fatwa” was even a fatwa at all, or rather just an appeal made by citizens concerned with hosting a concert at a college.

Now, I’m not here to comment on the story or vilify or condemn one party over the other. Instead, I’m using this story as a launching point for my own personal story about my relationship with music. Continue reading “The Muslim Musical Metronome: My Journey Through Music in Islam”

Vimy Ridge, Syria and War (short post)

It’s been 100 years since the great Canadian conquest of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Today it’s still a piece of national history and Canadian pride. Four Canadian divisions faced an uphill battle against German troops at Vimy. The goal was to push the German army back from a strategic position along the ridge. A four day offensive led to 3,598 dead, but a major strategic victory for the Allies. It also cemented Canada as a country of its own, rather than just another British colony.

A long time has passed since World War I. And yet, despite being called “The War to End All Wars”, nothing ended. If anything, it began a period human history where war became an ongoing machine, where the our goal was to develop more elaborate methods of killing each other.

As long as people will be around, there will be war. It’s a bitter and inevitable truth. The turn of the 21st century has seen a world wrapped in the shrouds of war and bloodshed. Humanity keeps getting caught in the crossfires. Last week saw a horrific gas attack on civilians in Syria. The world watched, and sighed, and went on with its business. Politicians tsk­-ed and waved their fingers and sent their condolence letters (usually consisting of those platitudes like “solidarity” and “sympathies”) without any notion of action. The UN bickered about what to do—ironic considering they were formed in the wake of World War I as a means of preventing horrors like the Syrian chemical attacks, and bringing to justice whoever perpetrated them. And yet, countries like Russia care more about their alliances than the human suffering that dictators like Asad bring on.

Trump used this attack as political leverage to deliver a dig at his predecessor, Barack Obama, before sending a barrage of missiles to the airbase that was home to the planes that commenced the chemical attack. Yet if anyone from Syria tries to seek asylum in the States, they’ll be rejected because of Trump’s orders.

Death and destruction seem to be the order of the day now. The number of casualties and human suffering inflames our rage for only mere moments until disappearing into the ether, like a 5-day old Tweet.

In 100 years from now, who will remember Vimy Ridge? I hope everyone will. I hope people will remember a day that is forever ingrained in our history. I hope people will remember the horrors of The War to End All Wars. I hope that people will remember the hope that followed from that war, hope for a better tomorrow and a better human race.

And I hope that, 100 years from now, we will be able to say we achieved that goal.

Half of Your Faith: 10 Tips from a Guy who Just Got Married

 

Marriage

So I just got married.

And let me say this: it’s great. You should try it sometime. Or if you’ve been previously married (like myself), try it again. In any case, marriage is a key moment in your life. But I gotta say: it can be tough sometimes. The life you live—religious or not—before you’re married and after you’re married are very different.  Continue reading “Half of Your Faith: 10 Tips from a Guy who Just Got Married”

23. “The best actions…” (The Hajj Journal)

September 19, 2015

The best actions are those that benefit others. The Prophet (p) [emphasized] many acts of selflessness, like feeding others, bringing a smile to someone, going out of your way to help someone with their challenges… Many acts of worship that benefit others have more weight than acts that are solitary. A good deed ripples around you, and you may not know where it ends. Continue reading “23. “The best actions…” (The Hajj Journal)”

1. “Departure” (The Hajj Journal)

A journal entry

September 9, 2015

Here I am, at the Edmonton airport, closer than I’ve ever been to my dream of Hajj. It’s 9:30 PM and I’m tired. Around me, families are gathering –no doubt part of our group—to see their loved ones off. My Dad dropped me off, hugged me, and wished me a good trip…

Part of me is still in awe that it’s happening. God willing I’ll be on the other side of the world, in the holy city of Medina, in a few days’ time. We leave at midnight, land in Toronto at about 7 AM. Then depart from Toronto at 1 PM and land in Jeddah at 7 AM the next day. After that, a 7 hour wait to fly to Medina. After that, jetlag. However, there’s still many miles—sorry, kilometers—to cross between here and there. Anything could happen in that time.

Am I afraid? Only as much as is reasonably necessary. I think my life post-Hajj is more frightening to me. Who will I be when I come back? Where will my life go? I keep hearing how Hajj is a transformative experience. How it’s a completion of your faith. But what will that mean for me?


 

Commentary

Preparing to leave for Hajj is like preparing to leave your life behind. In the days leading up to Hajj, it was like I was planning on checking out of my life for good: I had to eat all perishable food in my place, I tried to see all my friends at least one more time before I left, and yes, it was even recommended to write up my will—which I did. The last thing I did was drive to my parent’s place and drop my car and my cat off. I had to square with the notion that I may never be coming back home. And that’s something that plagued me more during my trip than I thought it would.

But assuming I made it home safely, it was my post-Hajj life is what worried the most. A general fear of change has always hovered over me, especially on the verge of life-changing decisions like this one. I knew that it would take some readjustment going back to my normal life. But the question I wondered was: who was I going to be? Whether it was Hajj or even just attending a conference, one fear that always plagued me is that I would somehow come back as a hardcore, humourless extremist. I didn’t fear so much a change in my life as a change in my personality and, by extension, my identity.

 

Prev: “Prologue: 2014”

On The Matter of Not Muslim Enough

There’s so much that can be said on this topic, but blogger Theresa Corbin sums it up very nicely.

islamwich

Written by Theresa Corbin

Not Muslim enoughIslam is not meant for a specific nation, a specific race, or a specific place. Islam is meant for all mankind for all time.

It can be amazing to see young and old rich and poor people from all corners of the world praying together as one, breaking fast together as one big, happy family, and sharing thoughts and knowledge with one another as beloved companions.

It is truly beautiful, and I look forward to this kinship in the masjid (mosque), no matter what city I happen to be living in. And I feel like my home town has a very blessed community with brothers and sisters of great humility and sincerity.

However, I have, in the past seen and heard terrible tales of astounding acts of ugliness that come with the pride of culture or nationalism.

I am referring to any person born into a…

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