Between my shadow and my soul

Colours or Twilight Wanderings

Black and white photos are sometimes so beautiful. Their simplicity highlights their lines and expressions and you see so much more than you usually would. But God created colour to make the world vibrate and buzz with life. Life is seldom black and white and things are seldom easy to see or figure out. Colour is magic.

I sometimes wonder if everyday there are different colours of magic dust floating around. These are the colours I have experienced:

Bright green: the magic you get from true friendship, pruned through experience and loyalty. Pliant, lively and mischievous, like a tree imp.

Regal dark purple: the magic of blood, kindred traditions, obligations and duty. Keeps you going beyond etiquette and formality, when all bonds are broken, those of kindred hold strong.

Bright red: an attractive magic; filled with power lust and feelings of superiority. This dust is experienced when those with power yield it mercilessly and it fills their head with a certain illusion of grandeur and importance.

Shiny yellow: superficial, glittery magic, found when buying a designer pair of stillettos or being surrounded by opulence and luxury. What a high, yet with no inner substance.

Misty grey: the magic of demisting; that ethereal sadness when fog clouds your heart with despair, you feel like life cannot carry on yet the magic lies in the human will to survive and overcome. Misty grey magic dulls the senses and makes life effortful, teaching us what we should be grateful for when it has been swept away by the wind.

Magenta purple- the magic found in romantic love. Causing the skin to glow, and the eyes to shine, this magic dust keeps the nerves skipping and the world dancing. Its depth is endless and holds many secrets not readily apparent.

Turquoise blue: Calming, the magic one finds in faith and divine belief. It descends on one’s soul like a balm during the least opportune moments and refreshes your outlook and actions.

**This colour thing is ultra subjective. Do you agree with mycolurs or have you created your own?
**** Click here for Dawud Wharnsby Ali's awesome Colurs of Islam song

On Fantasy: Watching lord of the rings for the first time made my love for Harry Potter waiver since so many of the ideas are similair. In the movies, Gandalf resembles Dumbledore, Harry resembles Frodo, Pippin and Merry resemble Fred and George, the ring is like Harry’s scar and also like a horcrux, etcetera. Yet I realised at the end, Rowling’s genius lay in taking these fantastical ideas and embedding them in a modern Muggle setting. However, this could also in the long-term be her downfall since the modern world is changing so rapidly. By creating a fantastical world removed from reality, Tolkien’s Middle Earth and even Pratchett’s Discworld keep themselves accessible to the imagination over generations.
On another note, Samwise was my hero. The shire lifestyle reminds me so much of how I grew up, in a sheltered, narrowminded comfortable environment not embracing the apartheid struggle or being instrumental in political affairs The reaction of the people of Gondor to the threat of Sauron reminds me much of our current suburbian citizens to the threat of crime. We retreat into complexes or emigrate which just exacerbates the ever-growing threat. It is only when we stand up against this injustice, hopefully with a leader such as Aragorn or Gandalf, that crime can be defeated.

Note to self or Being a Cow

On a drizzly windy day I sunk my toes across the Margate coastline. What serenity I found to be enveloped by clouds and foam and fog cannot be described. Suddenly, my mindfull thoughts were disturbed by the powerful whooosh of an airborne kite, blue and yellow, royal in its flight. It appeared to have a life of it’s own, traversing the atmosphere of it’s own accord. However, there was a couple with their arms in their air, guiding the kite and keeping it aloft against the winds and drizzle. I found myself staring shamelessly for many seconds or even minutes at them.

Fortunately for me, they were so enraptured by their endeavour, they had not noticed me. What kept me there mesmerised across many moments was the love I sensed within this union. The question that then arose within me was, did their love create the trajectory of the kite, or was the kite’s trajectory the source of their love?

To our anthropocentric and immodest nature, the answer may be simple. Humans built the kite and without our force and energy, it would not be afloat. However, when I look beyond the rigid boundaries of human logic, I realise that were it not for the kite, the couple would not be in such close proximity. Their movements, their stance towards one another, their joyous emotions and their support of one another all arose from the purpose of flying this kite. Their eyes were not lost within each other, but had created a force of light that radiated, up and down, between them and the kite. By forgetting each other and looking beyond, they had found in one another a source of strength and comfort. The Holy Qu’ran states in Surah Baqarah (V. 165) ‘The love of Allah in the believers is most intense’. The intensity of this love comes from the nature of it transcending the transient material world and liberating us from our wordly limits. This may seem like an overdone, overanalysed story of flying a kite. For me however, it made me realise that the love of things at the level where we are actually restricts us from higher journeys. We fall in love with a person and focus on their looks, their wit, their intelligence, their humour, their possessions and many other things that capture the mind’s wordly imagination. This brings to mind a verse of the Qur’an that says, “Say: If your fathers, and your sons, and your brethren, and you wives, and your tribe, and the wealth yea have acquired, and merchandise for which ye fear that there will no sale, and dwellings which ye desire are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His way: Then wait till Allah bringeth His command to pass. Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. [Qur'an 9:24]”

This does not mean that we should not love the things Allah has blessed us with. It is only when loving these things becomes more important than the love we have for our Creator and His meesenger that this becomes problematic. Having a husband with green eyes and designer stubble will definitely make flying the kite more joyous for me. But the kite is foremost. I have related this story in the context of romantic love. There are many more levels of love to be found by cooperating in flying kites as exemplified by verse 103 of Surah 3: “And hold fast, all together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided; and remember the favour of Allah which He bestowed upon you when you were enemies and He united your hearts in love, so that by His grace you became as brothers; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah explain to you His commandments that you may be guided.”

almost or soon or maybe are the new **** or ***** or ****

I fear ever saying almost.

Desperately seeking ad

There's a song that keeps playing in my head everytime I have a "yay-for-nooj" moment and I can't find it. Please let me know if you have it. I heard it once on Tuks FM but the only lyrics I can remember are:

"Astronauts miss gravity
Like I miss you

Human beings should never be
This close to the moon"

Rewards negotiable:)

Ok to the crore. My freaky name. Practically from the time I was born it gave me hell.

1990 French Ballet teacher: "Lorrey Jeanne, flex then point!"

1991 School kids in Australia: "Noo-what?!"

My honours class called me "Nora"

At work I'm called Nor Jeanne

Potayto or Potaaato

Or not.

My parents probably didn't think to travel a decade to when Google was invented to check up on the origins of Noorjehaan. Google says she was a famous Bollywood singer and before that, she was a Mughal Empress who married a drunkard and so became famous by running his empire (justification for my reluctance to be a "good Indian wife" straight after puberty:P?). I never met the woman they named me after. But I love her sons, they are the closest I have come to having brothers. Her life was sponged with demisting, but all the stories I love have some element of tragedy. I think I must spend more time understanding my parent's love for her. Hey if Nikhil Gogol could find some meaning in his name, nooj sure as hell will. I've already made one google entry I'm proud of:)

arb or just high

Sundays are the nutella on my teaspoon and the white stripe on my Inkomazi box.

Her bejewelled feet or This oasis is overrated

Change is my craving. Akin to the craving of the feeling of ice cold water in my throat during a blistering afternoon in Ramadhaan on a soccer field observing our Basetsana team training for their match against Banyana. Or driving home that same day and traffic braking near lush fountains and the craving to run through their ephemereal waves.

Like Jane Eyre craved companionship being stuck in 18th century England with a narrow-minded housekeeper and a frivolous child to teach. This very comparison makes me doubt myself.How can I feel mineral deficiency when I have vibrant friends, exciting community work, a challenging career and bounteous family. Praise be to God. Yet I want DIFFERENCE. Things have become too uniform, my challenges too routine, my passions muted by familiarity. I know where this difference can be fulfilled, existing a different environment that the one I have spent 21 years in. But then I think of my first visit to Masjidul Aqsa when I crept out of our hotel room for Fajr Salaah leaving my family in a deep slumber induced by the biting Middle Eastern winter and a long journey to this sacred land. I thought only of the benefits of praying Fajr in Masjidul Aqsa, not of my parents' terror at finding me negotiate my way through a band of armed dough-faced Israeli soldiers. Maybe this burning is a positive thing, teaching me to be grateful. I have tied my camels of difference with all the leaves I have avilable yet I believe that even if they were tied with platinum-coated steel, if my Sustainer wanted them to be free they would escape: "It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day. They all float, each in an orbit" (Al-Qur'an, S.36 V.40).

Mothers make the difference between deathly lustlessness and a minor flu.

Rhythm of surrender or Part of us We can't deny

We're all part Harry, part Voldemort, part Lupin, part Sirius, part Neville, part Wormtail, part every creature imagined,every virtue blessed and every vice scorned. Maybe not at the same time, or to the same people, but some time or the other we're going to be playing the roles we mock or demonise.

Memories of Madeenah

Zain Bhika's wowness in an Orphan's tale should have been utilised better here I feel. Also Junaid Jamshed should have been left till the end since he promptly lullabied my deer-eager gremlins to la-la land despite wonderfully pleasing the "experienced" crowd. I've just found a cartoon version of the Prophet SAW's life made by Richard Rich of the Fox and the Hound fame. Drama and curtain calls abound...

flutterness or journeys

It was a warm summer’s day with just the hint of winter’s coming chill
It was a day of reflection and expression of all that was left on the sill
I sat on a swing looking at my toes
Smelling jasmine and lavender on my nose
When the slightest movement startled my depth
Something fluttered in the corner of my eye
I squinted at her beauty; a flutter by
So lonely yet so desirous, perfect in its wonder
My mind slowly arose from its slumber
Mesmerized by this energy
So delicate yet so immense
My heart abandoned all pretense
And in the wink of a movement I was taken
Waken shaken slaven to this loveliness
A moment that lasted past the tide
Awkwardness and jolted uncertainty left aside
Yet like alice we all return to where we were
Nature’s elegant splendour permits transient detours
And like wonderland it can only survive
If treasured in the heart and let free to fly
*P.S. Congrats to my friend who is using blogging to express soon-to-be-married butterflies, excitement and tips.

Rememories or Somersaults

23 years ago now my mum was in excruciating pain. Around sehri time just after having chicken licken. I never really liked chicken licken. I dedicate Surah Noor and "Freed from desire" by Gala to this event.

On another note, I don't think you learn how to write poetry. It just happens somehow. I remember in grade 8 writing prolific verse dring exam papers. I'd finished all the questions and my brain was still buzzing. The most memorable ones were on being a kamikaze pilot and the immorality of the court of social gossip. Sweet hey:P

There's something about poetry though. It's doesn't take intelligence to read or write, yet what throws most people off is the unconventional structure. Strings of words with no frame, creating gaps and crevices. Which at first might be disconcerting, but becomes opportunistic fun. The writer ducks and dives around the corners making the reader dizzy and the more the reader tries to pin her down, the more she becomes manic. The reader then realises such a game is nonsensical and pompously decided to declare himself monarch and sovereign of these words and commands them according to his whims. The rest is hisstory as he revels in creating his own images out of words delicately positioned to entice his curiosity. Ok let's stop this and keep it kosher in case my kids do discover thenooj.

My 22nd year had it's curves and dips, notably the stressful scary academic realities and insecurities I faced and the realisation of the fragility of your loved ones' health. It had its Icarus moments too and I am ashamed to say that I still feel I owe God a lot of suffering for all the happiness He has given me. Luckily He is not an accountant:P And what I have realised is that when life gives you aloe vera (I quite like lemons), you need to dawdle on the lasagne. Which is why I guard my happy poems to take out when I taste copper. I must admit though that my creativity lurches around morbidity. Anyway, I'm publishing excerpts of 2 of my happy poems for people to read, but it works much better if they are your own.

The Year of the Cactus

His fervent irridescence shook me
How do you embrace this early?
It is time, he replies, but have a moment
To lash your eyes
Pay tribute to my vital descent
You must this mortality comprehend

Gently I ignore his fragrant energy
And travel beyond my sensuality
To aching muscles bearing will and hope
To laughter measured not in days but years
And sorrow measured by torrents of cleansing tears
To networks of beats that buoyed my existence
To gawps and gasps that make my other wince

To my irrational intuition begging me to stay a while
To the hardships that ended in wrinkling smiles
To Noorjehaan whose shine doth grow
Again and again throughout this show
To fears that now alight my glow
To the double pair within my soul
Without you I would never have known

Of course to He who has sent him
As a bleeping for the end of Spring
In whose Guidance I was always certain
But doubted my own determination
To the drops I shelter deep within
To the outside where I’ll never win
But I ran and I fell and I got up dancing

Thus I mystify my perpetual memories
I did not learn but felt wisdom in my burns
And that has made all the difference...

This one sounds narcissistic

Oh the beautiful story of nooj
Has so many twists and turns
Things granted in beauty and love
Opportunities embraced and scorned
The way this dunya rolls
Has many confunded mysteries
But my parable amazes ceaselessly
Through Noor and strife
Confusion and kites

I cling on in the unconditional Hope
Of the coming Dawn

Sunday night yum yawn or Creating The Force

Last year August my friend went for a 3 week international camp in Palestine to help build a school. My world revolves a little slower whenever I say this because it was a dream we both shared yet she experienced sensually whereas my dream lives yet in my black fog. Today I realised that a frustrated dream can turn into a real appreciation of whatever fragments you are blessed with. As part of our empowerment project we helped make a prayer and sewing building look better today. Cleaned out rubble, sandpapered walls and did an undercoat of paint. I say the word love as often as pubescents but I love love loved it. There is something about manual work that “educated” careers miss out on. The common sense mixture of sand and cement, the amazing technology of a wheelbarrow, the sinewy feeling of lost arm muscles screeching while scraping and levelling plaster with a spade. I live my life for moments like Leonardo’s phonecall from the hill in Blood Diamond. I don’t know what to call that- metaphysical gratification perhaps?

I have a plan. It’s not great or voluminous and I have absolutely no conviction that it will turn out as I envisage. But that is not the point of a plan for idealists. We make plans to make a stand on what we want and to highlight what gives us meaning. This is related to the idea of synchronicity. Has someone ever said the exact same thing you wanted to and you feel like there’s some kind of connection between the two of you? Your meaning creates the connection which probably could be dismissed as coincidence. Like watching Definitely, Maybe and the book Jane Eyre features so prominently in it when I just started reading it for totally arb reasons. There is no meaning for me there so I did not create a connection.

I’ve removed the sneakers poll because my internal conflict has been mediated. June is the best time for reunions because it jolts you away from the beginning of the year feeling where you have to adjust to different circumstances, and moves you towards actually taking time to miss what the previous years of your life were about. And I wore pointed stilletto boots to the movies partly because I wanted to be a shocker at the reunion and partly because I have overcome an age of rebellion. Adjusting Biko’s phrase, I DO what I like and not because of rebellion or influence. The fantasy character bridal shower poll has also been removed because it was today and I missed it due to wanting to paint. The only entertaining part of Sex and the City for me was fighting the urge to shout Oxy-cute ‘em!! every time they did a close up on Carrie’s face and I saw her chin pimple. I want lots more reunions. I have not kept up my New Years' resoultion of only eating at Halaal places :( :( :( so got to have my pseudo birthday dinner at Ciao Baby Cucina instead of the traditional blegh barf rivet Ocean Basket. The fact that no Halaal places in Pretoria make canneloni is not justification enough and I must have the will to try with more vuma.

Results of polls:
81% Would wear sneakers to a function
18% Would not wear sneakers to a function

Fantasy character bridal shower:
28 %Would go as Viktor Krum
71% Would go as the Mad Hatter

Respect or Silent Volumes

I want to capture my random thoughts somewhere that I can be reminded of them all the time. So. It’s my blog and I’ll think on here if I want to.

I should have another stab at theatre. This time with a females-only performance. I wonder how theatre would evolve in an Islamic society.

Our bodies were not meant to spend 90% of their time in seated position. My vertebrae are a string of pearls.

Respect is the most appealing thing ever. I can’t define respect but the closest thing I’ve ever felt to it was when we took Al Kauthar speaker Kamal el Mekki to the airport. He did all the chivalrous things like offer to pull my bag and opened doors for me and stuff. AND he listened to my concerns for the Msa Camp and made me feel like what I said really mattered. Without looking into my eyes once. The Western idea that eye contact builds rapport was shattered in that meeting. I have never felt so warmly accepted by a male. And it goes back to the verse in Surah Noor that Nabs recited at the Fashion show “lower your gaze and guard your modesty”. Everyone has differing views of personal space and yet just imagining a radiation of the warmth you have towards someone can build rapport.

Humming and qiraat are like gym for your voice.

Where is my plan?

Isobel has the same syllables as my name OR I understand but it's still not right

Isn’t it weird how into fantasy we become? We know it’s not real yet it affects our moods and our actions. Especially characters in movies that change our lives when we fit them into our personalities and vice versa. That is one of the reasons I like the song Zammiloony. It portrays the Prophet (SAW) as someone we can all identify with. A social psychological principle says that in order for people to model a behaviour, they should be able to identify with the model. One of the justifications for the Ambiyaa (A.S). being humans and not angels. There is a fancy term for it but hey I’m not writing exams so I don’t have to remember arb facts:)

Currently there’s a grey’s anatomy person thing going on, mostly perpetrated by facebook. By the way I like facebook and see little wrong with it. How people use it is something else. Anyway fellow bloggers have called themselves Yang, Meredith and Alex. I call myself Izzy because she’s this hopeless optimist. She’s also emotional and an idealist and bakes late at night when there are no other solutions. I nearly stopped watching Greys when she slept with George.Her character does not fit in with her past though because she’s had a rough childhood and was a teenage mom and still wants words to be like rainbows. George was a mistake but I understand how lines become blurred like that. My favourite character is Bailey. I wish Meredith and Derek would get over themselves and just be happy at night and do surgery during the day. We watch Grey’s for the surgeries and not for the soap opera. At least I do. Surgery is an amazing metaphor for life because in an operating room every small decision has an impact. People should regard life the same way.

My favourite Izzy quote: “God got a virgin pregnant by magic. God isn't playing by the rules."

Also, I would like to have a daughter. A son would be cool too but a daughter came into my mind first. To quote Waseem, I’m not sexist I’m just old fashioned.

Bitchingess or Smilingment

This is the first winter in oh so many that I do not have the dementor of first semester exams sucking up my life force. I love the fact that I work at a university and can see the students’ brains rattling in their heads like little rats in a poorly funded psych experiment.

And this makes me realize how flucking much I have to be thankful for. For my entire university career I was like a Sandton kugel without her gps, not sure of which courses would take me where and where exactly I wanted to end up anyway. I think a lot of students are like that. I blame our sick schooling system. Ok, nooj breathe and then you can explain this without sounding like you need a large injection of lithium. I’m thankful that the stupidest spur of the synapse decisions I have made have brought me to a place where I smile often.

School is, like hospitals and prisons, one of the things that would be unrecognizable in noojville. Till this day, I get a shiver running down my spine when I enter a school. All the structure and teachers knowing everything you’re doing and all the scholars looking the same like freakoid robots in their identical uniforms. We all have Hogwarts stories of confounding teachers and nostalgic moments of pranks and fun but I think our whole schooling system needs a revamp if we’re serious about school being a transition into adulthood.

I think kids should graduate from school when they’re 14, be apprenticed into some kind of a career, learn what the world and money and inflation and maybe even having purpose is about. Then, once they have acquired skills and have a bit of a grip that life is not all about fashion and hormones and Hollywood they can choose what they want to study tertiararilly. Yes this sounds controversial even to an insane idealist who still dares to think long after so many of her thoughts have been pulverized by circumstance.

I think I’ll take a walk now and spy on some kids studying. That gives my world perspective:)

i don't know how to shorten this or try and read some of it

There was a girl who went seriously into Hijab at the age of 13. Her amazing group of Hafiza friends were all doing it and hey it just FELT right. It was such an easy, beautiful transition. Thirteen year olds of her pre-2000 generation were less conflicted and freer to take time to breathe before congealing into "Stupid Girls" mentality. It didn't stop her from playing soccer every morning after Fajr Hifz class, and going out with her friends and looking good at family weddings. Heck it didn't stop her when she moved to a Model C predominantly Christian school and went on a week long excursion to Knysna. She loved its comforting feel and reassuring beauty.

Then she hit campus life and suddenly skimpy was your new best friend. Teenie weenie tees with capped sleeves and skinny jeans and capri pants, stuff "everyone" was wearing. Shopping for guys tees just wasn't an option, they'd become kinda ribbed and skinny fit as well. Slowly it became OK to wear your hijab and show off your arms and a bit of ankle. She loved those suede boots that you could wear over narrow jeans. She still loves those but after today she thinks she has to rethink what kind of love that is.

Then came the 1st of June 2008 and she attended an Islamic Fashion Show (definitely not an oxymoron). And she remembered the beauty and the comfort of being at home in your modesty. It started with sweet-voiced Nabs Qiraat recital, particularly Surah Noor verses 30-31- . "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. That is purer for them. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what they do. Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty...O you who believe! Turn you all together towards Allah that you may attain success".

The show itself was spectacular. She would love to own Leeya's Boutique for a day but her highlight was when she turned up the volume when playing these lyrics of Native Deen as the models strutted their stuff:

To all my sisters we see ya'll out there

And don't fret because the people like to gawk and stare

It seems unfair

But some times it's with sincerity

Shocking to their system to see so much purity

Demonstrated in your adab (good manners) and your hijab (hair cover)

Eyes staring but their souls there wishing that they had

Your place in timebeing righteously inclined

Purity of heart and mind

Guidance from the One,

who swore by the timethat patience and adherence bring sustenance

Provisions from Allah SWT which is heaven sent

But TV, magazines, how fair they make it seem for you to leave the Deen

be his lifelong dreamAnd don't be confused, Shaitan (satan) pulls double duty

He's doing all he can to have you display your beauty

She understands what people mean when they refer to "purdah" of the heart. Allah SWT is the best judge of all of us. Yet she feels we cannot justify disobeying a compulsory act on the grounds that outward modesty means little. It is, like one friend said, simply an "expression" of a value yet so important in contributing to the upholding of that value. This is the rationale behind asking all females attending the Msa national camp in July 2008 to adorn Hijab. Whether you do it on a daily basis or not, only goodness can be reaped from trying it out at the camp. Also, she feels that for her, Hijab does not stop at covering her hair. She needs to focus on wearing clothes that she chooses based on values, not flimsy norms and imposed modes. She also feels that if you want to try it out, for every second you wear it you get thawab, even of you take it off afterwards.