Thus a Thug Becomes an Afghan Hero

Marshal Fahim

Marshal Muhammad Qasim Fahim

 I will not mourn the death of Marshal Fahim for a moment let alone three days.

This idea of holding national mourning is absolutely ridiculous.  I have not seen a single positive achievement from Fahim to make his death a sad occurrence.

There is a saying in Dari, “Morgh kam Goish kam” which roughly translates, “The fewer the chicken, the less chickenshit.”
I am being very insensitive here but none of the warlords who brought death and destruction to Afghanistan has any right on people to hold three days of mourning. Frankly, this is embarrassing for the government to announce three days of national mourning for a person whose sole interest was his growing wealth. Will all government high ranking officials get three day national mourning? I doubt it.

Fahim was not a hero by far and not a man who deserves kindness and prayers from people.  Throughout his time, there have been several reports of human rights violations and corruption, including occupying land illegally.
In 2005 Human Rights Watch described Fahim as “one of the most notorious warlords” and implicated him of torture and murder. In recent years he was associated with Kabul criminal gangs that were involved in abductions and smuggling of weapons and drugs.
He has also been refereed to as “semi literate, self appointed field marshal, and one of the principal obstacles to Afghan unity because of his alleged ruthless threats, beatings and general thuggery, ” in The Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan.

His legacy a long with his friends, in addition to all deaths and destruction that he is directly and indirectly responsible, is also the invasion of Afghanistan by foreign forces.

In few days or weeks, they will probably name a street after him, if they haven’t done that and few year later a statue will be erected for him and he will be named a national hero.. and thus a thug becomes a hero.


A Shared Ramadan Experience 4

We are only two Muslims in our company, but every Ramadan almost everyone else fasts one day to share the Ramadan experience with us. Our work organises a dinner for those who fast. This year, one of our colleagues emailed us the following and with her permission I decided to post it here.

Iftar

Iftar at Lazzat Kadah

When we were first approached and invited to be a part of Ramadan we all thought that it would be a breeze, a lot of us are constantly forgetting to eat lunch anyway, skipping dinner or breakfast because we are too busy too.

What we realised as we inched closer and closer to the day (Tuesday this week) was that there wouldn’t be a cup of tea on arrival at the office in the morning. No afternoon coffee and banana. No glass of water to sip on to keep us refreshed throughout the day. What we all also didn’t realise is that we would have to wake up before the crack of dawn to eat. I know that was my plan, but at 5.30 in the morning just didn’t happen for some reason ;) zzzzzzzz

So, at 8.30am when I arrived at the office I was already hungry. Mainly because I knew there was 8 hours and 6 minutes until anything was going in my mouth. I know I wasn’t the only one on the countdown to 5.36pm.

I think the biggest struggle throughout the office was not having a comforting, refreshing cup of tea or coffee and having some kind of fruit or snack to get us through the afternoon slowdown.

Anyway, all 12 of us made it as far as I am aware (unless someone did a sneaky). 8 of us then made the journey, which seemed to take forever on an empty tummy, to Lazzat Kadah, a Pakistani Restaurant in Coburg for our well deserved Iftar.

I know that I will be taking part in Ramadan fasting next year and I hope that others will continue to do so. It wasn’t only my first time taking part in fasting (I don’t count the 40 hour famine when I was 8, I had 2 packets of barley sugars and a carton of just juice) it was the first time for a few others in the office too. I have heard that the first time is the hardest, and that it gets easier. I hope this is true. I guess we will all find out next year :)

Thanks for organising this great experience. I really, really really appreciated my tea this morning.


Ramadan 2013 is around the corner

Ramadhan

Ramadhan (Photo credit: ihtatho)

By now most preparations are done. Muslims around the world will be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan in few days.
For us in Australia it is going to be rather easy with short and cold days. May Allah make it easy for those brothers and sisters who live in the places where they have to fast for 16 hours and more. With heat from one side, hunger from the other and on top of that, other temptations will sure make things rather unpleasant, but remember that in Allah’s pleasure rests our pleasure.

Let’s evaluate what does Ramadan mean to us. What do we see in Ramadan? Do we use it as an opportunity to leave our sinful past behind or just as a bridge to connect two sinful parts of our lives?

I have witnessed many people who use this month as a month to repent their sins and afterwards go back to their old life. While, it is not for us to judge their actions, it becomes our duty to remind them that this is a month of refinement and improvement. If one intends to go back to old habits, then there is no point in improvement. Sure, our good deeds will reap rewards from Allah, but this is not the sole purpose of Ramadan. It should be seen as one of many doors out of the world of sin and our intention should be that once on the other side, the door should never open again for us to go back.

Inshallah, this year like every other year, the month of Ramadan will bring joy to the lives of Muslims and fill their hearts with Taqwa (God-conciousness).

 

May Allah give Barakah to all Muslims and the ability to fast the month of Ramadan.
May Allah allow us in this holy month to worship Him as we have never before.
May Allah make this month a time to repent our sins and not go stray.
May Allah bring and keep our children to the right path, the path of those who He has bestowed His mercy upon.
May Allah cause those of us and our loved ones who have strayed from the straight path, to return.
May Allah’s forgiveness showers our deceased.
May Allah cure our ill, solve our problems, open our hearts to words of Hikmah, strengthen our hearts and make us steadfast on His path.

 

Aameen Ya Rab-el-Alameen

 

 

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AWK: Sum of a Column

Imagine you have a file with multiple columns and you need to quickly get the total of a column in command line in UNIX. The easiest way is to use AWK in the command line.

Let’s take the following file:
datafile.txt

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12

To get the sum of column number 7 execute the following command:

awk '{sum+=$7} END {print sum}' datafile.txt

You will get the sum of 7, 8 and 9

24

Let’s now write a small script to calculate the sum of a column and also print a running total.

Input

2010 191 291 391 491 591 691 791 891 991
2011 144 286 391 491 591 691 791 891 991
2012 112 254 354 454 554 654 754 854 954
2013 191 291 391 491 591 691 791 891 991
2014 191 291 391 491 591 691 791 891 991
2015 178 291 391 491 591 691 791 891 991

Program

#!/bin/awk -f
# scriptname: calc_sum
# input: column number, data file
BEGIN {
    printf ("\tValue\tRunning total\n")
}
{
    sum += $colnum;
    printf ("%s:\t%.2f\t%.2f\n", $1, $colnum, sum)
}
END { 
    printf ("Total:%.2f\n", sum)
}

Command

$ calc_sum colnum=8 datafile.txt

Output

        Value   Running total
2010:   791.00  791.00
2011:   791.00  1582.00
2012:   754.00  2336.00
2013:   791.00  3127.00
2014:   791.00  3918.00
2015:   791.00  4709.00
Total:  4709.00

Of course you can run the above program from the command line, but it is neater and readable this way.


Cover your Babies!

So the irony is the psychopath who molested his own child got off with a fine and a short imprisonment, and now a Saudi “Cleric” is promoting the idea of baby-burqas.

This embarrassment of a Sheikh is ridiculing the concept of modesty. It is amazing how far some people are prepared to take Islam to protect their misogynistic nature. The sad truth is that since these people live in the birthplace of the prophet (PBUH) and where Ka’bah is, they appear to the world as representatives of Islam.

Islam is already portrayed in the western media in a negative light and such nonsensical fatwas make for a good story. Muslims need to be more vigilant about such clerics and raise their voice against such injustice to the name of Islam. Muslim should stand firm to show their opposition to such rulings that goes against the essence of Islam.

These people are worse than Khawarij and should not have a place among us.

Alhamdulillah, that there are scholars who have spoken against this, but the  these will not get as much publicity.

Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, said that Dauod’s ruling was denigrating to Islam and Shariah and made Islam look bad.

Jzlana urged people to ignore unregulated fatwas and explained that there are special regulations set by the Saudi authorities to administer religious edicts and appoint those who are entitled to issue them.

He said that he feels sad whenever he sees a family walking around with a veiled baby, describing that as injustice to children.

I would like to think that Islamic institutions in Saudi test their students’ sanity before letting them graduate and Saudi media would do the same before letting them speak on national TV. But I guess we do not live in a perfect world.


Do I support Taliban?

I have been said to be a staunch supporter of Taliban, which is not the case. While I oppose NATO occupation of Afghanistan and have supported the insurgency to an extent, I have great concern and reservation about certain approaches and groups that fight against the current puppet regime.

Let me make it clear that I do not support any establishment that indiscriminately kills civilians, whether by means of suicide bombing, drone attacks, white phosphorus or unjustified nightly raids of Afghan homes.


“Wa Mu’tasima!”

In Ibn Athīr’s famous history book al-Kāmil, he mentions the story in our history of a King called al-Mu’tasim, who was from the Banū ‘Abbas.

The event goes like this; A Muslim woman was captured by the Romans and imprisoned, so the Romans laughed at her. The leader of the Roman king sarcastically said, “You won’t ever leave this place until the muslim king himself removes you from these shackles.” The woman shouted “Wa Mu’tasima!” [Oh my grief, Mu'tasima!].The Roman King laughed at her and said : “He will never come to save you unless he was riding “ablaq” [a kind of horse that is colored with black and white]. [He said this in a way of mocking her and showing the impossibility of the situation.]MA Muslim man who was in the land of the Romans heard the woman call out the Muslim kings name, he found out she was Muslim. So he ran to the Muslims and told them about what he had heard.

When al-Mu’tasim heard of the news, he gathered a whole army, and said the famous quote “When the first person of my army reaches the land of the Romans, the last of my army will have left us [i.e. the Muslim barracks].” He made the entire army ride the “ablaq” horses. So they set off, and he went with them on his black and white horse too.

When they reached there, he took control of the area, captured it and himself entered the prison where the Muslim woman had been imprisoned.”Who are you?” she said.”I am al-Mu’tasim.” He freed her from her shackles, a sign of humiliation for the Romans.

Al Mu’tasim took over the land where this occurred, because they had waged war against the believers by humiliating a Muslim woman. Just like Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) expelled the Banū Qaynuqa, for humiliating a Muslim woman.


How a Distraction Becomes an Obsession

As Muslims we believe that the true purpose of our lives is to know and worship the one and only Creator. Numerous Qur’anic verses point to the fact that life was not created without purpose:

  • Human was created to worship Allah (Qur’an 51:56)
  • Life was not created without purpose (Qur’an 38:27)
  • Humans were created to be conscious of themselves and Allah and become righteous (Qur’an 2:21, 49:13)

All of the verses mentioned above, and several more, refer to the fact that the purpose of our existence is to attain righteousness, become God-conscious, and to understand life and be aware of one another.

We can conclude that humans are capable to reaching the heights of righteousness. It would be pointless if the purpose of creation was God-consciousness, yet humans did not possess the capability to do so. However, Allah (SWT) also says in the Qur’an that humans are created weak; consequently, He (SWT) has made the path very clear and removed the obstacles (Qur’an 4:28). This does not mean that we will not face any challenges. What it means is that the challenges that we are given will be according to our strength (Qur’an 2:286).

Islam is about balance. It does not dictate that we live a life of isolation and complete austerity. Islam is not into the business of making our lives difficult and miserable. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

Do not overburden yourselves, lest you perish. People [before you] overburdened themselves and perished. Their remains are found in hermitages and monasteries. (Musnad of Abu Ya’la)

The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) always disagreed with excessiveness. He, may peace and blessing be upon him, once said to Abdullah ibn Amr, ‘Have I heard right that you fast everyday and stand in prayer all night?’ Abdullah replied, ‘Yes, O Messenger of God: The Prophet said, ‘Do not do that. Fast, as well as, eat and drink. Stand in prayer, as well as, sleep. This is because your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, your wife has a right upon you, and your guest has a right upon you (Bukhari, Muslim)

Islam does not stop us from amusement, having fun, or enjoying ourselves. It actually encourages physical activities, competitions, and gatherings; all within the Halal limits. But we are not perfect. We make mistakes; we commit sins; we neglect our duties and forget the purpose of our existence. We get distracted, and then we overcome and move on. Nevertheless, sometimes these distractions can morph into something more; more than just a momentary disruption.

There is no such thing as good obsession even if the object of the obsession is something good. The fact that it becomes an excessiveness makes it harmful and against the teachings of Islam. However, when a distraction becomes an obsession, it is a greater problem because it should not last long enough to become a potential for an obsession.

Are you obsessed with your handheld devices? A lot of us are. There is a wealth of useful and worthy information that you can now hold in the palm of your hand; but at the same time, there is the possibility of misusing it for vain and useless activities. Assume you are reading an article on your iPad and then there is a game ad. on that page. It distracts you. You become interested in the content of the ad, the game that it was advertising. So you hop on to App Store and find the app for that game and buy it. Minutes later you find yourself playing the game. A few hours later, you realize that you are playing at the expense of work or study. Days later, you find yourself playing it every single chance you get. This is how a distraction becomes an obsession. The ad on the page was only few seconds long, but now you are losing precious time playing the game.

We cannot avoid distractions all the time, but we can control them and make sure they do not turn into obsessions. It is in our nature to like amusements, whether it is by watching TV, browsing the world wide web, going out with friends or any other type of entertainment, but we need to take a balanced approach. Excessive amusements has the potential to murder our soul and we need our soul to reach the purpose of our lives.


MTPuTTY: Not just a Multi-tabbed PuTTY

I was looking for a replacement for PuTTY with multi-tabbing  capability when I came across MTPuTTY.

I immediately started using it and let me tell you that it is great. It is not just about opening PuTTY session in tabs, but much more:

  •  You can open unlimited number of sessions in one window so your taskbar is not cluttered
  •  You can dock and tile windows. Place windows in different location on your screen under one windows
  •  You can detach a PuTTY tab and convert it as normal PuTTY window or reattach it
  • You can automatically log in if you save your username/password
  • Native Win32 code without relying on .NET or any other libraries
  • Easily accessible list of servers on a sidebar, which can be relocated on the screen
  •  It is free of charge

I generally work remotely with Vi(m) and now I can easily place windows so that I get the IDE look and feel and not worry about splitting in vim and mucking around with resizing, etc.

You can download it from TTYPlus website.