American Sharia in Brisbane!

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I recall the kick-starter project raising funds for the first ever Halal Action Comedy a few years ago and was intrigued by the trailer released a few months later. I forgot all about it until a few weeks a go when my preferred Muslim Charitable Organisation, Muslim Aid Australia announced details of the Australian screenings of American Sharia.

The Brisbane Premiere last weekend went pretty well and I’m sure everyone who attended had a good evening and enjoyed the Halal Entertainment. In true Brisbane fashion, the theatre was less than full and the mood slightly sombre. Thankfully, someone warned Omar Regan about this so he was prepared for the lack of enthusiasm from the audience.

Getting to meet the producer and star of the show was exciting. The funny-man who’s had a few Hollywood appearances was extremely humble and truly appreciative of our support. Selfies ensued.

The movie itself was entertaining and gave us a few good laughs. I must admit, given the nature of the production and the budget constraints, I didn’t have high expectations. Despite the shaky camera scenes and a few too many sub plots through the story, the movie was very entertaining and the message was very clear.

It’s not all comedy, the movie takes you into the life of the protagonist whose character and personality is evolving through the story so there is a fair bit of grief, self-reflection and drama which adds to the depth of the story. I found the story of the Imam who was actually based on Regan’s father to be extremely heartbreaking and almost needed the Comedy to change-up the pace.

It provided an insight into the challenges and trials faced by everyday Muslims living in the West and America in particular. Many of the issues were inspired by actual events that have taken place over the last few years which is a sad reality. As an Australian, I felt a sense of relief that we aren’t subjected to such prejudice and discrimination – though I am sure some would disagree with me on this.

If you don’t watch movies at all then this probably isn’t for you, so step away from the Haram-gun and just avoid the movie all together. If you do enjoy movies and are looking a for a more family friendly, modest yet entertaining production minus the foul language and obscenities, then American Sharia is a good fit for you.

Regan is working on a few more scripts to add to the Halalywood banner and I hope for the sake of our children that these initiatives are supported by the Muslim community so they become viable alternatives to the mainstream.

In Sha Allah!

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New Routine… Part 2

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Almost 4 weeks into the second instalment of my wife’s practical experience program and 2 weeks left of my househusband duties. Despite my reluctance the first time around, it’s become second nature now with 10 weeks under my belt. To be honest, I am going to miss it when it’s over.

After successfully implementing a toddler friendly work routine I was able to work more productively and even found time to earn some brownie points by cooking dinner and taking care of the groceries. I can’t remember the last time I worked so efficiently and productively, I really hope I can maintain it going forward.

When you work smart and focus hard, you can achieve certain efficiencies but that’s not the end goal, the goal is to work smart enough to get what you need done and allow yourself time to unwind and do ‘other’ things. When the day’s work is done and the day is not over, that’s when you start having fun.

My office has been transformed into an awesome little playground, there are toy cars parked everywhere, a fuel station under my desk and car stickers on my filing cabinets… it’s awesome. We watched movies, played games, went shopping, cooked lunch and had some very interesting conversations. Became quite the pro at carting the kid everywhere I went, even managed my meetings and met all deadlines.

The best of my accomplishments though, was strengthening my spirituality and reviving old good habits. The last 4 weeks have allowed me to maximise my time and take advantage of so many things I’ve neglected and have been striving to achieve since my job description changed last year. Frequenting the mosque, setting aside time everyday to recite Quran, studying the meaning of the Quran and countless hours listening to inspirational speakers from across the globe has helped me find contentment in my productivity and a sense of peace.

My routine will change again soon Insha Allah but I’m hoping to continue on this path. If I was able to achieve so much with my current schedule, I must do even better with wife’s help during the day.

Insha Allah (God Willing)…

Time for a little travel…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

Decided to take few days off and travel with my wife and son. It’s been a busy few weeks and sometimes you need a little rejuvenation before getting stuck in to routine again. Planning to visit one of my favourite cities in one of my favourite countries… Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

With a last-minute booking and our flight in 3 days I have lots to do before I can really take a break but it’s exciting. Looking forward to taking my wife out and enjoying some quality time with my son. Becoming more interesting as he gets older so we’ve a few cool places to visit with him.

Whenever I think about travelling, I like to do it for more than just globe-trotting. This time, I’d like to give myself and my wife a break from routine, some quality time together in the same place we spent our honeymoon together. This time a little honeymoon with our 2 year old son. I find peace in travelling to Muslim country, particularly one with such an emphasis on the preservation of Islam and Islamic Literature. We’ve been to Malaysia on numerous occasions and we can’t get enough. Looking forward to the Muslim experience, the Halal food, audible call to prayer, praying in the beautiful Mosques, in the airport and in the shopping malls too. The perfect balance between holiday, leisure, family and faith…

A verse comes to mind:

Say, (O Muhammad), “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah , over all things, is competent.” [Qur’an: Chapter 29, Verse 20]

New Years Eve in Melbourne…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

We were out on the streets of Melbourne on New Years Eve hoping to soak up some of the atmosphere and make the best of the first day of our holiday. It wasn’t dark yet but the crowds were closing in, I saw a few weird costumes, lots of inappropriately dressed people and an endless supply of drunken idiots. Decided to save ourselves from the crowds and the drunken environment so we retired to our apartment and decided to have a quiet night in to kick off the new year.

The drunken party culture never fails to amaze me, we witness it throughout the year and I always wonder… If it weren’t for Islam, would we be out there too? I’d like to think that we are innately good and that our moral compass would have steered us away from such activities but we won’t know for sure. It makes me so grateful and proud to be a Muslim. I pray that we are always rightly guided Insha Allah.

Ameen.

2012 Solar Eclipse…

In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful.

I was joking with my wife earlier tonight about waking up early tomorrow morning so we could witness the solar eclipse, we realised that we didn’t get any protective eyewear so we’d in fact be waking up early to not look at the solar eclipse which was kinda funny. Nevertheless, with the hype and media coverage this evening, we got talking and she reminded me of the eclipse prayer and asked if there was anyone offering in congregation. I haven’t heard of any mosques offering the prayer in congregation but I remember reading about it a little while back so I decided to do some research and put together a few notes on how to offer the prayer.

The prayer itself is described in the following Hadith:

Narrated `Aisha: In the lifetime of Allah’s Apostle (p.b.u.h) the sun eclipsed, so he led the people in prayer, and stood up and performed a long Qiyam, then bowed for a long while. He stood up again and performed a long Qiyam but this time the period of standing was shorter than the first. He bowed again for a long time but shorter than the first one, then he prostrated and prolonged the prostration. He did the same in the second rak`a as he did in the first and then finished the prayer; by then the sun (eclipse) had cleared. He delivered the Khutba (sermon) and after praising and glorifying Allah he said, “The sun and the moon are two signs against the signs of Allah; they do not eclipse on the death or life of anyone. So when you see the eclipse, remember Allah and say Takbir, pray and give Sadaqa.” Bukhari, 2.154.

The Hadith explains the actual prayer which I have summarised below but it also clarifies the fact that solar and lunar eclipses have nothing to do with deaths, births or other events so we should avoid superstition and rather fear Allah at these times and invoke prayer. Allah’s signs are found throughout nature and though science may provide a logical explanation of these events, as believers, we acknowledge the Almighty and bear witness to His signs. While the sight itself is quite amazing, why not take advantage of the occasion by following a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h) and performing Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah.

Here is a summary of the prayer, also known as Salaat-ul-Kusoof:

  1. Stand up for prayer as normal
  2. Recite Qur’an as normal
  3. Perform a prolonged Ruku (Bow) with Dua/Supplication
  4. Stand up and recite Qur’an again
  5. Perform a 2nd prolonged Ruku (Bow) but not as long as the first one
  6. Stand up and then proceed into Sujood (prostration) and prolong the Sujood with Dua/Supplication
  7. Sit up straight as you normally would between prostrations
  8. Go back into sujood again and prolong it but not as long as the first prostration
  9. Repeat the above steps for the second rakaat or second unit of prayer

 

The Eclipse can be viewed over Queensland (QLD) tomorrow morning 14 November 2012 from approximately 5:44 AM to 7:44 AM. May Allah accept our prayers and guide us towards the straight path.

 

“Therefore remember Me. I will remember you. Be grateful to Me and never show Me ingratitude” – Al-Baqarah 2:152