Between my shadow and my soul

World Aids Day

Bloggers Unite

Aids. How it has spread. When I was six I had no idea what it meant. And now it has become an everyday term. I wonder what my children will think of the word.

What does Aids mean to me everyday?

Well in my work as a counsellor at a university of technology I hear stories of children growing up with the scary relaity of having to look after their sick parents. Of boyfriends dying and leaving their girlfriends with a terrible reminder of the relationship. Of amazingly beautiful women living with the disease for years and having boyfriends and dreams of white wedding gowns and laughing kids one day. Of paranoia over burst condoms and drunk one night stands. Of children being looked after by their grandparents in rural areas while their parents fork out a living in cities. Of clinics with pre and post test counselling services that are neglected by those in denial.

When i wrote this poem i was livid, I had become too emotionally involved with my clients, and someone rightly criticised it as playing right into moralistic stereotypical views of Aids. I admit, it does. But this has been my experience with the disease. Perhaps you have had others, more enlightening?

I am just a moth with many lives

Moths have many lives

Each flame is a Life

Each time, the pure light

Captures, dilates the eyes

Enthralls imprisons the mind

No breath, without the flame

Each breath to such a rhythm

Until the death, and the next breath

Awakens to a new flame

Click click living

Inspiration for this post: I met a girl today at a Sanzaf meeting. We started chatting and realized not only that we had loads in common, we had many of the same social circles as well. As I was saving her number on my phone, an error message came up, I already had her number!!

Without having ever met her before. One of my friends must've suggested I call her up for something. This made me start thinking about how the six degrees of seperation has been dramatically decreased to only maybe one or two. Most of the people reading this have friends common with me on facebook running into the double digits. What does this mean for life as we know/knew it?

Another scenario: a friend sends out an email asking people for support at work. Somehow through repeated "forwards" and totally unintentionally, it ends up at her boss. Information is no longer sacrosanct. Technology has made the getting to know people game much easier, and much much more slippery. A friend in his late 30s tells me that the "apartheid generation" would flip at this. In those days you were hectically paranoid about your movements because of Informers.

At the same time, think about the advantages of blogging, euphemistically sometimes called citizen journalism. We get to hear stories from people on the ground living in communities instead of hearing things by word of mouth which has the same effect as playing Chinese Whispers. You can google or wiki EVERYHTING and get some kind of an answer for it. Is there not some beauty in the sharing of humanity in that? Yes people lie on the net, create avatars and citizen communities that are artificial. Does this not happen to some degree in real life as well?

I still believe the internet has more yays than nays. What say you?


Chubby cheeks, our most treasured bond

A slideshow shadows my memory This Day

Of her first toothless smile, her first sleepless tooth

Her first red-circled A, her first red bra I chose

Both days she looked down, finding certainty within,

The first tottering steps towards this aisle

Those days I rejoiced, but Today I fear

I want her to run, jump, fly, but under my guise

Yet she is magnetized by some other presence

And I fear its foreign and bewitching attraction

He does not understand, he looks through you to your shoes,

The leather suits his taste and he likes your voice

She too is beyond me, so I must appeal to you

My body, my sleep, my patience all given to her nurture

And now I ask nothing in return for all I forsake to the past

Except.Do unto her, as if you had born my trials, my labour pains,

Become Me for her,

Remember the nausea, the fear within her birth

The joy, the sacrifice in her growth.

By taking her you take some of Me,

Remember, I am accountable for my precious Amanat to Al Hameed…

Dear Para*Nooj* (I hope)

Saaleha's post made me feel like writing one to myself.

I realized I'm kinda ambitionless.
Which is scary. Anyways. Here goes.

Dear Nooj

This is FREAKY.
Ok, now that that’s out.
I wonder if you’re alive. Three years is a long time. If you are dead I hope our parents are dealing with it OK.I hope u haven’t died before you made an awesome google entry though. Oh also I hope that if you are dead you died in a noble way. Or at least donated your organs.

Ok, operating in the assumption that you have survived.
Where are you? I hope you have hopped a coupla countries by now.
And have saved a few lives or at least made some better.
This whole writing a letter thing about the future is a bit anxiety provoking.
I worry that maybe you haven’t found a way to LIVE all the butterflies in my head.
There’s nothing concrete I want you to have done.
Just made the World a better place and made some amount of Difference.

You’re probably curious about me. Well I’m very idealist and a little confused at how to apply it. I don’t have a Plan, but you probably don’t have one either. It’s the way we are.

This is weird to say to yourself, but even if you have mucked up or married one of ur distant cousins or failed your dissertation or have gotten a job in Accounting, it’s ok. I’ll still love you.

Peace :)

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

The luckiest thing about my life is that my sister stays on my way home from work. So, before I get home I get to meet my gorgeous 2 year old nephew. His excitement when he sees me makes me forget about everything.

That's why when I was overwhelmed by negativity this evening I found 2 sparks of hope. Watch, Read and Believe:

Generation To Generation

In a house which becomes a home, one hands down and another takes upthe heritage of mind and heart, laughter and tears, musings and deeds.Love, like a carefully loaded ship,crosses the gulf between the generations.Therefore, we do not neglect the ceremonies of our passage: when we wed, when we die,and when we are blessed with a child;When we depart and when we return;When we plant and when we harvest.Let us bring up our children. It is not the place of some official to hand to themtheir heritage. If others impart to our children our knowledge and ideals, they will lose all of us that is wordless and full of wonder.Let us build memories in our children,lest they drag out joyless lives,lest they allow treasures to be lost because they have not been given the keys.We live, not by things, but by the meanings of things. It is needful to transmit the passwords from generation to generation.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wallow Me Whole

Maybe I breathe

When I want to gasp

Maybe I smile

When I want to laugh insanely

Maybe I care

When I want to die in selflessness

Maybe I am

When I want to cease in ecstatic pain

Maybe, maybe

Is not enough

Jannah Lost

Something, the roll of a dice

Is Success

Somewhere, a Word before dawn

Makes sense

Sometimes Brownies

Feel like Forever

We break dummy doors,

Shoot painted windows,

And kiss desperate dreams

All to lose “The eternal and unchanging amongst the

chaos of the transitory and the illusory

My labels didn't fit at the bottom : Sleepovers with semi-comatose blubberings, crappy tautologic poems, If you feel like you're never gonna win the game, you're not meant to be playing it; How could there be any question of acquiring or possessing, when the one thing needful for a man is to become - to be at last, and to die in the fullness of his being- Antoine de Saint-Exupery ; I probably wont finish my dissertation this year :(

Photo blog i.e lazy cut and paste thingy

MAKING THE INVISIBLE, VISIBLE” is a collection of photographs on the lives of refugees in Malaysia.

Refugees in Malaysia live in urban cities, neighbours of Malaysians, yet they remain invisible to most of us, and thus, the problems they face remain invisible too. This collection offers a glimpse into the hidden lives of refugees in Malaysia – not in camps, but in urban settings, in low-cost houses and flats in cities like Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Baru. It depicts images of refugees in their day to day life in Malaysia, images that remain largely invisible to the Malaysian society at large.

Malaysia has been plonked among the 10th worst places for refugees, according to an annual report released to mark World Refugee Day today. The World Refugee Survey puts Malaysia alongside nine other countries as 10 of “the worst places for refugees” in 2007. The survey, commissioned by the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), has Malaysia standing shoulder-to-shoulder with poverty-stricken Bangladesh, war-torn Iraq and authoritarian China for their violation of refugee rights.
20 months ago: Myanmar refugees protest in front of the U.N. office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, March 8, 2007. The United Nations said Thursday it has registered 43,000 refugees in Malaysia, mostly from Myanmar, and called on Malaysians to stop thinking of them as migrants and criminals.

Our Stories are Singular but our destinies are shared

This is a post about stories. The stories our parents told us to make us finish our food . The stories we tell ourselves when the world falls apart and the one thing we were hoping to make everything right does not happen. Whether it be entry in to a course, or our dream job, or a salary increase or an amicable settlement in zimbabwe...And also the stories other people tell us about themselves. Like Obama says, in my title, there is one huge overriding shared story. Even in the Qur'an, the punchline is Tawheed. It underlines and highlights and brings to life every other ayah.

Going back to the stories we share publicly. Like on blogs. The story that inspired this post was published in the Laudium Sun. Now, I grew up in Laudium. I will be the first to criticize the materialism, love for wealth, extravagance and judgementalness that goes on in my community. They are stories I have lived since birth. But there is also a huge sense of ubuntu in the community, of Ikhwaan. When someoen passes away, or there is a funeral or a function, or any joyous or sad or particular event, people will show they care. Also, having worked with community organisations in the area, there are loads of people who are generous when it comes to a good cause. I digress.

The Laudium Sun started a while ago to publish a Punchaat column. Words are insufficient to explain the childishness of the writing, or the absurdity of the issues that are raised here. Here are some excerpts of the latest edition. I don't read this column, although a lot of people in my community love it. I heard about this story from Safs in the work kitchen and decided to make a stand about it here:

Wife Makes Brother turn against parents

My heart bleeds when I see how so many married women show disrespect to their in-laws and pull their husbands away from their families. My sister-in law Mrs SSS who stays in MMM Street in Erasmia is one typical example.

OK I can't type any more of this drabble.
She then goes on to include details of her brother and sister-in-law, which in a small community like Laudium would identify them immediately. She insults her sister in law's behaviour at musical shows, for not cooking for her husband for not buying her in laws any gifts. She then curses her sister in law with a daughter in law that treats her badly.

f we are all part of the same story, is this the way we want it written. Would you not want to say, on the day of Judgement, I treated my parents well without having to point fingers at those who did not. Are we not advised to cover others' faults so Allah SWT will cover our own? This is perienent as well because of some of the cheap personal attacks aimed at and by bloggers. Allah tells us so beautifully about the story of A'isha, and how quickly the rumours flared about her. He says to the ebelievers at that time, and for us to apply today:
And why did you not, when you heard it, say? "It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to God, this is a most serious slander" (24:16)

Every week stories are published in the Punchaat column. Some of my friends and I wanted to make a petition against it, but lots of people told us that they enjoy reading it so we shouldn't. Like riba, both parties are to blame.

Wikipedia's entry on Life, Love and Everything else

Thanks to h for directing me to this beautiful poet.

Light Is More Important Than The Lantern by Nizar Qabbani

Light is more important than the lantern,

The poem more important than the notebook,

And the kiss more important than the lips.

My letters to you

Are greater and more important than both of us.

The are the only documents

Where people will discover
Your beauty
And my madness.

Blog Meets World © ZubHab

***This is a copy of the mail I sent out to all whose mail addresses I had. Please see this as an impersonal monitor-blocking invite. I might turn out to be scarier than you believed. But come to satisfy you voyeuristic curioustiy anyway :P***

Peace all


On saturday 8th november at emmarentia botanical gardens there will be a freak meeting of the crazy loopy sub humnaoid species called bloggers.
Authorities have advised all to stay far away.
As it is saturday I say we don't be too ambitious and make it for 10 am.
Meaning you WILL have left the parking lot by 11am.

I'm bringing 30 seconds, maybe bring along fun games, sports stuff etc.
But stuff that encourages interaction i.e NO laptops psps etc.
You can bring some humans with too so we can stare at them for fun.

Also bring snacks to share with everyone.
Erm yeah. If anyone finds the prospect of leaving ur monitor phobic, i'm available for counselling. Paid in kind of course


PS plz forward if i've left anyone out

Would u rather invest in a whirlpool or loamy soil

What does this picture mean to you? Take a moment before you read further.

For me, it is giving this woman the dignity to earn her own living without having to beg for a loaf of bread, a bar of soap.
I haven't properly blogged about the empowerment initiative we are part of in a township in Soshanguve, thanks to the inspiration and support of Sanzaf. Sanzaf has found, through decades of working with underprivileged communities in SA, the rise of an ideology of entitlement. You are privileged Indian Muslim, I am unfortuante Black Muslim, I hold out my hands and you pour, Unfortunately hands that don't work for their keep don't look after it either. This is not the case everywhere, but it is a reality in most Muslim communities.

Sanzaf has sought to redress this by developing amazingly creative initiatives. Freak, I sound like a telemarketer. I'm not on their payroll I promise. They do stuff like bursaries. But they don't only give you the bursary and say Salaam. They provide you with textbooks, and involve you in community projects and excursions to educational places etc.

Their initiatives are based on the Grameen Bank model by Mohamed Yunus which works on the principle that the "poor" in society always have some resources. So, for example we give these women gardening tools and land. They use their physical energy and gardening expertise (which is waaay more than ours) to make a harvest.

The point of this post was to explain how much hope these projects bring to my life. But I can't explain it in words. Spending the day with the kids at the zoo. Seeing the community raise funds for their own Eid festivities. Participating in Qurbani with them, and teaching them how to slaughter their own sheep for the first time ever. There are so many amazing people involved. So I think the point of this post is, you can become one of them. Someone who does not just give out hampers or a meal and then go back to your enclave of comfort. Share the feeling of Shade you have, by empowering another person to feel capable. Befriend the woman sitting on the garden patch that is one step closer to her paying her daughter's school fees. Not that feeding schemes don't have a place. But in Brazil they give you fruit and veg per kilogram of waste and dirt you bring to recycle......

If you're in Jhb you can call Hoosen Essof- 083 313 6208
or Imthiaz Jhetam 084 45 786 30

Anywhere else enquire at the Sanzaf office.