Category Archives: Lifestyle

Film Review: Fetih 1453

Fetih 1453The Prophet of Islam,  Mohammed (saw) said, “Verily, Constantinople shall be conquered, its commander shall be the best commander ever and his army shall be the best army ever.”

Sultan Mehmet Khan II (Mohamed al-Fateh) conquered Constantinople in 1453 dragging 70 naval ships for 5 km over land on greased tree trunks in one night, landing in the sea right in front of the city walls by dawn. He camped outside the fortified unbreached walls of the city for days planning and scheming his strategies to victory.

After the emperor’s refusal to handover the city, the Sultan ordered the powerful cannons bombarding the city’s walls facing the Golden Horne, followed by diggers trying to breach the fortification from underground and skirmishes on the walls. However, unsuccessful the Sultan despairs and seeks council from his Shaykh Shamsuddin and his generals.

On 27th May 1453, through an accumulative effort, a night of Dhikr, morning of congregational prayer lead by the Sultan along with a powerful speech, an all-out attack on the city was launched. The Shahi Top devastated the walls, the diggers entered the city through under ground tunnel and the companies climbed the walls whilst chanting “Allahu Akbar”. Finally, Agha Hassan planted the Osmanli Flag over the city proclaiming victory.

All this was brilliantly captured in the CGI packed film with details in mind. A Must watch for anyone wanting a glimpse of the Muslim conquest of this marvellous city and the courageous ‘blessed’ army fighting behind its shield – the Sultan.

“Fetih 1453” (The Conquest 1453), a Turkish spring blockbuster that glorifies the Ottomans and their conquest of İstanbul, is breaking viewership records in Turkey these days.

Over 5 million Turks have already seen the movie, making it the country’s most popular film of all time. The film’s popularity sheds light on Turkey’s emerging preoccupation with its Ottoman past: Ottomania is all the rage in Turkey today.

In recent years, the Turks have re-engaged with their Ottoman past to the point of abandoning the early 20th-century thinking of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Atatürk recreated Turkey in a European mold, in the hopes of completely separating it from its Ottoman history. Atatürk’s thinking, termed “Kemalism,” dictated that Turkey could become a great country only if it abandoned its Ottoman past. Source

A sign of changing times!

Also see the trailer

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Acquiring Wealth and life of ease in Islam

Reading an excerpt from Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s book on ‘The Evil of Craving for Wealth and Status’ left me wondering if there is a balance between craving and acquiring of wealth. Islam teaches us to acquire wealth in order to provide for those under our responsibility, yet orders us to restrain our hunger and thirst for wealth should it alone become the purpose of our life. Wealth, status,  luxury can no doubt become source of arrogance and haughtiness but does that mean if one has the gift and ability to acquire wealth and luxury should give it all away??

Here is an excellent example from the best of the Men including those amongst the Asharan Mubasharah (10 promised Jannah) as recorded by Imam Ibn Khaldun.

{Al-Mas’udi says: “In the days of ‘Uthman, the men around Muhammad acquired estates and money. On the day ‘Uthman was killed, 150,000 dinars and 1,000,000 dirhams were in the hands of his treasurer. The value of his estates in Wadi I-Qura and Hunayn and other places was 200,000 dinars. He also left many camels and horses.

The eighth part of the estate of az-Zubayr after his death amounted to 50,000 dinars. He also left 1,000 horses and 1,000 female servants. Talhah’s income from the ‘Iraq was 1,000 dinars a day, and his income from the region of ash-Sharah was more than that.

The stable of ‘Abd-ar-Rahman b. ‘Awf contained 1,000 horses. He also had 1,000 camels and 10,000 sheep. One-fourth of his estate after his death amounted to 84,000.

Zayd b. Thabit left silver and gold that was broken into pieces with pickaxes, in addition to the (other) property and estates that he left, in the value of 100,000 dinars. Az­Zubayr built himself a residence in al-Basrah and other residences in Egypt and al-Kufah and Alexandria. Talhah built one in al-Kufah and had his residence in Medina im­proved. He used plaster, bricks, and teakwood.

Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas built himself a residence in al-‘Aqiq, (a suburb of Medina). He made it high and spacious, and had balustrades put on top of it. Al-Miqdad built his residence in Medina and had it plastered inside and out.

Ya’la b. Munyah left 50,000 dinars and estates and other things the value of which amounted to 300,000 dirhams.” End of the quotation from al-Mas’udi.

Such were the gains people made. Their religion did not blame them for (amassing so much), because, as booty, it was lawful property. They did not employ their property wastefully but in a planned way in (all) their conditions, as we have stated. Amassing worldly property is reprehensible, but it did not reflect upon them, because blame attaches only to waste and lack of planning, as we have indicated. Since their expenditures followed a plan and served the truth and its ways, the amassing (of so much property) helped them along on the path of truth and served the purpose of attaining the other world…” (Maqaddamah, Ibn Khaldun).

Imam Ibn Khaldun also presents an example of the striking balance between enormous wealth and arrogance:

“…They took away the royal authority of (the Persians and the Byzantines) and confiscated their worldly possessions. They amassed enormous fortunes. It went so far that one horseman obtained, as his share in one of the raids, about 30,000 gold pieces. The amounts they got were enormous. Still, they kept to their humble way of life. ‘Umar used to patch his (sole) garment with pieces of leather. ‘Ali used to say: “Gold and silver! Go and lure others, not me!” Abu Musa refrained from eating chicken, because chickens were very rare among the Arabs of that time and not (generally) known to them. Sieves were altogether non-existent among (the Arabs), and they ate wheat (kernels) with the bran. Yet, the gains they made were greater than any ever made by other human beings….”

“Say: Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought for His servants and the good things of His provision?” [Al-A’raf: 32]

At-Tirmidhi narrated from Abdullah ibn Amr who said:

‘The Prophet said, “Allah likes to see the signs of His favour (bounties) on His servant…'”

Allah ta’aala allows for His servants to enjoy His favours and enjoy the good things from His provisions acquired through permissable means. But Allah ta’ala prohibits the life of ease if it produces haughtiness, transgression, arrogance and tyranny. Since a life of ease and comfort by the abundant wealth could lead some people to arrogance, tyranny and haughtiness; Islam prohibited that type of luxury. So Islam prevented corruption if it resulted from the abundance of wealth, making people arrogant and tyrannical. Islam prohibited that strongly.

There is a great misconception that desert lifestyle or complete isolation from ‘dunya’ is the ideal Muslim lifestyle, when in reality this ‘dunya’ is a test and we have to live it, face it and make the most of it whilst preserving our Imaan.

They took away the royal authority of (the Persians and the Byzantines) and confiscated their worldly possessions. They amassed enormous fortunes. It went so far that one horseman obtained, as his share in one of the raids, about 30,000 gold pieces. The amounts they got were enormous. Still, they kept to their rude way of life. ‘Umar used to patch his (sole) garment with pieces of leather.302 ‘Ali used to say: “Gold and silver! Go and lure others, not me!” 303 Abu Musa 304 refrained from eating chicken, because chickens were very rare among the Arabs of that time and not (generally) known to them. Sieves were altogether non-existent among (the Arabs), and they ate wheat (kernels) with the bran.304a Yet, the gains they made were greater than any ever made by other human beings.

C4’s Indian Winter: Slumming It (Part 1)

As part of Channel 4s Indian Winter, Slumming it which aired last night showed Grand Designs Kevin McCloud spend time in ….the Dharavi slums (which is now in the public knowledge as a result of it being catapulted to fame in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire – the kind of expsoure no amount of news articles and research could’ve mustered up), which is viewed as an inspirational model of community cohesion and sustainable living.

Owing to the typical Western mindset, Kevin is appalled at the lack of sanitation and the banal living arrangements, with children playing amongst “toxic waste”, the waterpipe lines sitting in sewage and diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dyptheria being rife.

He talks alot about the squalor of the slums, and at one point he says to the family he is living with that “in my country cooking on the floor is considered unsanitary”. I am sure this taught Kevin a little about societal norms and ways of living…what he considered to be misery and squalor, inhabitants viewed it as “normal” because they had known only the living standards in which they were in – they had no choice.

Throughout the show, despite references to rats and lack of running water or a flushing loo – he seems genuinely enamoured with how Dharavi functions; they have their own businesses which make billions in revenue a year, unemployment is very low and so is crime.

On the other hand, poor working and living conditions and child labour were realities which were hard to escape from.

One thing which summed up the East/West civilisations dichotomy was when Kevin, in a moment of inspiration said: “We in the West measure beauty in terms of environment ” we have a nice car, a lovely garden” and here it is about human beings.  Beauty is in how they dress. Look at them, they are very smartly dressed and take pride in their appearance. They are the most beautiful people in the world”.  He noted that even amongst the “misery” of their dwellings they were happy, had a cohesive family unit and a sense of belonging. All of the things Western societies, and increasingly developing nations are beginning to lose as they ebb their way into the modern way of living.

Part 2 of Slumming It aired tonight, will pen thoughts on it tomorrow.

Lahori Masala, Commercial Street.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of dining at the Lahori Masala, a brand new restaurant on London’s Commercial Street.  Spicy, rich, Lahori taste  is what I was expecting as suggested by the name,  instead dishes after dishes served gave taste of Sylhet then anything Lahore. I mean, why would you name a restaurant Lahori Masala when there is nothing Lahore about it? Perhaps to confuse people with the more established Lahore Kebab House on the other side, on Commercial Road.

Lahori Masala is a massive restaurant with about 600 seating, reasonably decorated, good service but food can be a let down if you’re expecting lahori food. Nonetheless, the Chicken Karahi was inquisitive though I can’t say the same about Lamb which was actually quite sweet. Sheekh Kebabs were perfect, whereas chicken wings and lamb chops were just standard. Mango Lassi was thin, papardoms were charged for and all 4 LCD screens were showing a rather boring Football game – which you don’t expect in a family restaurant, as my friend observed.

Overall, not a bad place to eat considering its only minutes walk from Liverpool Street and the Spitalfields. But beware, they do not serve tea!!.

Abyss of enticement

Here is an excellent short video I came across on youtube.  It captures correctly the struggles and distractions we face on daily basis which keep us away from getting closer to our Rabb and vulnerable to the whispers of Shaytaan. The means by which Shaytaan enters into the human heart is through the blameworthy qualities (sifaat al-madhmuuma), which are innumerous and one of such are the corrupt passions (as-Shahwaa). Whoever follows after his corrupt passions, Shaytan then enters upon his heart and makes these passions seem fair seeming to him until the person is eventually destroyed.

The Veil by Fahad Shaikh

A man finds beauty in the most unlikely of circumstances and follows his heart to become a victim of life’s biggest deception.

Verily the shaitaan is an enemy to you all, so take him as an enemy.
He only calls his followers to be the people of a blazing fire”
(Sura Faatir 35, Ayat 6)

Please share your views.