Friday, June 29, 2007

Barmy stickers at bus stops

The little stickers you sometimes see for some little known political
or social movement. I saw one the other day for the Optimum Population
trust.

So I googled and predictably enough, they are a group
concerned that the Earth is becoming overpopulated, and the negative
effects this will have on the world, both socio-economically and ecologically.

There are two main problems with their ideology.

Firstly, overpopulation is a symptom of a greater problem. To see it as an end cause of disaster is fallacious and unhelpful.

They
argue that countries with rapidly growing populations are usually
stricken by poverty. Failing to see that the cause of this poverty
isn't overpopulation, but poor education and health care provision,
which leads to people being unable to plan their families and therefore
rapid population increases occur. Improved standards of living usually
result in a drop in the birth rate, as demonstrated in almost all of the
wealthier nations.

Also that a large number of the poorer
countries still have a high proportion of the population involved in
agriculture. Therefore, bigger families are desirable to strengthen
the workforce.

Secondly, the website discusses overpopulation in the U.K.

Within my lifetime, the birthrate
in the U.K has dropped from 2.4 children to 1.9 children. As the Baby
Boomers reach retirement age, there is great economic concern about the
workforce being too small to support the increasingly large elderly
population. In Germany, a country facing similar problems, the
government are actually looking at ways to encourage families to have
more children.

So what could be the population problem in the U.K? Can you see what they might suggest....

....Immigration.
This is a familiar tactic as the media are frequently happy to churn
out stories of the country being "swamped" by immigrants. In such articles (or, more accurately, racist clap-trap masquerading as news), the danger is
stated as immigration being "A threat to our way of life". So what
bigger excuse for xenophobia could there be then overpopulation and there not being
enough food to go round (insert other random fears here), e.t.c.

Consumption of resources is vastly inequal
in the world. We know that most of our production systems, whether
agricultural or industrial are often inefficient and wasteful.

Instead
of acting in a manner akin to Chicken Little we would be better served
looking
at how to get the most out of the resources we have, in a sustainable
manner for the benefit of everyone. That would be true global concern.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pop goes the Muslim.

I'm waiting for Isha to happen, then Mr Outlines and I are going to watch The Prestige.
Otowi says it's really good so....

This brings me neatly to something that weighs on my mind somewhat: Pop Culture. Or rather, the Muslim and Pop culture.

I am torn. I know that the greatest thing is to have Remembrance of Allah swt and too much immersion in frivolity isn't good for achieving this.

There is a difference in opinion about the permissibility
of music in Islam. I follow the opinion that it is allowed, but I know
that a lot of music that I like probably doesn't fall into that
category.

Amongst western Muslims, these things seem to be a much bigger deal. People will talk about television watching like it's the worst sin ever...... when I'm sure there are far worse things.

Meanwhile,
those in Muslim countries wonder what all the fuss is about. Mr
Outlines comes from a very pious family (Mother-in-law Outlines stopped
to pray in the middle of having her hair done - Masha Allah), but they
have atv and they don't just watch Iqra. They are also big fans of Fayrouz, but then I think it that may be a legal requirement there. So Mr Outlines really wonders why I ponder so much about this.

I
think what makes me feel guilty, is that I'm not spending enough time
on the truly worthwhile things to justify spending more time on not
massively important things.

It's hard. When I come home from
work, I want to stick my brain in a cupboard. Listening to music can
seem far more relaxing then reading a book that makes me feel even
more, what a bad Muslim I am.

Another thing. Pop culture is a
shared culture. Opting out makes me feel like I have one less thing in
common with my family and those around me. Some may like to live in a
bubble of the similarly pious. I can see the benefits, but for me
that's not an option.

As I have mentioned his family, I showed Mr Outlines the post.

There followed a big discussion on why this was important, honesty amongst Muslims and the feelings of the heart.

"Ask yourself why you feel guilty about these things".

I think I already know the answer, but what's the solution?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's all about Meme

This blog has been a bit furrowed-of-brow of late so I shall be doing some memes. I have loads to get round to so....


SECTION 1 - Last 1s?
1. Last beverage? Orange squash.

2. Last phone call? The phone company to query our bill.

3. Last instant message? One of my friends ages ago. I'm not much of an I.M queen

4. Last cd played? Don't play cd much, more into MP3's on my phone. Anyway, I think it was Toots and the Maytals (Summer = Ska).

5. Last time you cried? I shed exactly two tears watching the season finale of Ugly Betty. It was very sad. I cry very easily at the t.v

6. Last text message? From a friend saying her husband had got the job he wanted.

Section 2 - 6 Have You Evers:
1. Dated someone twice? No

2. Been cheated on? No.

3. Kissed someone & regretted it? No

4. Lost someone special? Yes, but I've gained more then I've lost, so Alhamdulilah.

5. Been depressed? On occasion, but far less then I was in my teen and early twenties.

6. Been drunk and threw up? Becoming Muslim cured me of that habit!

Section 3 - List 3 Favorite Colors

1)The inside of my eyelids on a sunny day

2)My cats' fur when the sun shines on it

3)A really blue sky

Section 4 - This month have you

1. Made a new friend? No, but there's still time.

2. Fallen out of love? No, Alhamdulilah.

3. Laughed until you cried? I think i've definitely laughed til I nearly choked on
what I was eating.

4. Met someone who changed your life? No, but then who can say? Sometimes you meet someone and it's only later you realise what an effect they had.

5. Found out who your true friends were? I know who they are already.

6. Is there something you want to tell someone? Well I want to tell Mr Outlines that I love him, but I always feel like that. (Pukey but true)

7. Would you kiss anyone on your top friends? This question doesn't make grammatical sense but, Mr Outlines is my best friend and I would kiss him, and I kiss my girlfriends when we meet, so...

8. How many people on your top friends do you know in real life? Most... but I'm starting to make some blog friends who I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting. Insha Allah, one day.

9. How many kids do you want to have? Two would be nice, insha Allah, but we'll see.

10. Do you have any pets? Two gorgeous cats and a mysterious colour-changing goldfish.

11. Do you wanna change your name? Already have done. It is a lot of hassle and I'm always having to spell it out to people, but it is a nice name.

12. What did you do for your last birthday? Can't remember, think I went for a meal with my parents. I'm not into big birthday things.

13. What time did you get up today? 6.40am. Much too early, but sadly necessary.

14.What were you doing at midnight last night? Falling asleep on the sofa while Mr Outlines watched a truly awful MBC2 type film (he has been raised on MBC2, which to those who've heard of it will know what I mean, those who haven't, the show straight-to-video action adventure fare)

15. Name something you CANNOT wait for? The weekend. predictable but true.

16. Last time you saw your father? A few weeks ago, but we spoke on the phone the other day.

17. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life? Alhamdulilah for everything. Insha Allah any changes will be good ones. Really there's not too much I would like to change.

18.What are you listening to right now? Myself typing.

19. Have you ever talked to Tom? I have spoken to several Toms

20. Have you ever talked about someone behind their back? Astagfurallah Al Azim, this is truly one of my worst habits.

21.What’s the last piece of clothing you borrowed from anyone? Socks from Mr Outlines.

22. Who’s getting on your nerves right now? One of my cats was being mildly annoying but he's accepted that I don't want him dancing on my knee right now and he's stretched out on the floor.

23. Most visited webpage? Blogs, especially Umar Lee's as there are always loads of comments.

24. Coke or Pepsi? Dr Pepper.

25. Have you kissed or been kissed by anyone in the past week? Yes

26. Mac or PC? PC, Mac's are far too Face magazine for me.

I tag everyone reading this if you haven't done it already.

Monday, June 04, 2007

We are all travelling

Too long, too long, too long. I keep meaning to blog. The words buzz around my head and then chicken out when they reach my finger tips.

Lately, I have been reading about people (on blogs) questioning their faith and their path of Islam.

I want to email these people, to metaphorically lie across the doorway and say "Don't Go" while trying to grab at their ankles. (I know a friend's husband who did this, when she tried to leave in middle of an argument. It did work).

I don't email them, because knowing what someone writes on their blog, is not the same as knowing them. It's their decision.

Why do I care? I care because I believe Islam is the true path. I believe in the Oneness of Allah swt, His Prophets (peace be upon them all), His Books, His Angels, The Last Day and His Predestination.

That does not mean I think you cannot be a good or happy person without these beliefs.

Still, I believe they are the truth and it is one thing to have never believed in them and another to have believed once and then stopped believing.

I love blogging and I find other Muslim blogs especially interesting. However, sometimes it's very easy to fall into the trap of always remembering that you are Muslim without remembering Allah swt.

Muslims are an imperfect people in an imperfect world. But it's not even that we are imperfect, it's that we are so flawed despite having the guidance of the Qu'ran and the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (may Allah swt shower him with peace and grant him an exalted staion in Paradise).

So, the blogosphere it a great place to gnash your teeth at the folly of the Ummah. But too much negativity is corrosive. We see the badness of our coreligionists until it starts to seem like Islam itself is bad.

Yet Allah swt, Owner of the most beautiful names is perfect, flawless, unchanging. With faith in Him, there is beauty, hope and sirat al mustaqim and it is with remembrance of Him that we can achieve it, insha Allah.