Archive for April, 2012

In essence it appears that almost every person has their addictions. Something they are compelled to do, and with the utmost constancy- with an urge and a push that almost never fails them. These addictions could be anything from coffee, alcohol, drugs to porn. Of all the addictions i succumbed to i feel i was part of one of the worst- gambling. My gambling addiction occurred for me between the ages of 24-27.  In these few years i lost up to or around $25,000. No- i am not rich. I would gamble until i literally had nothing of my wages left for another week. I’d eat away at my savings until there was nothing left, indeed i was in a downward spiral.

At my age to have no money saved- whilst being in no debt was indeed embarrassing. This gambling addiction was never seen because i hid it so well. I’d scrape the surface, but never ask anyone for money or make it obvious that i was broke. Instead i would become a hermit, i would do nothing that involved money and would stay home declining on many tempting invitations from family and friends. It was never clear to me how my gambling addiction came to be, near my home is a “hotel” with a good amount of pokie gambling machines. I am pretty sure it took a few casual visits until i found myself in numerous joints with gambling machines– I’d withdraw hundreds after hundreds of dollars in one session- i remember once during pay day i found myself spending $900 in that night, having $400 remaining for a fortnight.

Sure, it was good when i won- which was a rare event. My biggest win was probably $1,200. Yet the feeling of loss cut the most. I’d go back to my car in tears, I’d cry and yell at myself- literally screaming at myself in the car. I don’t consider myself a stupid guy, and i know i have plenty of wisdom- why did i not use this wisdom on myself? I knew that i knew better– yet i was far too weak and I’d find myself in the same position the next week. I’d look around and notice the environment i was in- these dark pubs full of brightly lit pokie machines- sounds of machines and flashy lights with people staring into a screen like zombies, tapping on the same button over and over again.

I’d observe the people around me and their reactions, mostly it was negative. I’d see people smashing the screens, swearing, cursing and walking around aggressively. I’d see people looking at my win jealously, i’d see people running out of the pub whilst hitting the “reserve” button to lie to their loved ones on their whereabouts. Indeed what i would witness are peoples lives being destroyed and seeing it from this perspective actually was the beginning of the end for me. All it took was for me to stop being a robot and clearly observe the environment i voluntarily put myself in– what a hell hole! For me my addiction had nothing to do with money, i didn’t want to become rich via gambling yet there was something enticing and exciting about the imagery and sounds- i put money in the machine just like paper, it meant nothing to me. I lived this double life that no one else knew i had, when people found out they were shocked because they couldn’t see me putting myself in such a position for so long, but i did and i am ashamed.

I wanted to look deeper into my faith, and what exactly my religion told me about gambling and really try to understand the message within it and this for me was the big awakening and the solution for me- a believing man- was so simple. When i read the Qur’an and its verse on gambling something clicked inside my heart and what began as a simple reading for me- became a challenge…a challenge of faith– how REAL am i? Surely i am not the most practicing Muslim in the world and surely i speak of Islam much, but how much do i actually practice of what i “preach”. The Qur’an states on gambling the following:

They ask you concerning intoxicants and gambling. Say: “In them is great sin, and some benefit for mankind, but the sin is greater than the profit.
(Quran 2:219)

The next verse did it for me.

O you who have believed, surely intoxicants and gambling, (idol) altars and divining are only an abomination of Satan’s handiwork-  So avoid it, that you may prosper. Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?
(Quran 5:91)

I did decipher both verses and to me, it made perfect sense. Yes i know that we know gambling and alcohol may have some temporary good for people to a certain degree- yet that pleasure and joy is not worth it knowing we have the chance to become addicted to such things, they are indeed dangerous. So yes there is some good, but the bad outweighs the good– so why do it? The other saying really hit home for me as well, when i looked at the environment around me (negative, angry, depressing, gloomy) i could easily see it was a house of evil in there. Alcohol DOES cause animosity and hatred between people, even if its just for a limited stage. Go look at how many fights and indecencies occur when people are drunk, go look at the envy, anger and resentment gambling does to people.! It breaks families, relationships and a mans confidence- it literally eats him up to be a former image of himself… You feel so worthless and at times suicidal– It’s astonishing.

Finally the verse tells me it makes me forget Allah- who i do believe in, and that it diverts me from prayer and my own faith asks me- “Will you not desist?” . Given the logical reasoning and my love for God and his wanting for me to “prosper” i knew there was only one thing i had to do, for myself- and that was QUIT. I came up with a simple quitting plan that would test myself and my faith- whenever gambling or the pub/casino came to my mind i would REMEMBER Allah instead. In a short time, this worked for me like magic would. I was a changed man so soon and a huge majority of the time despite my strong impulse to gamble i knew that my God wants me to be the most successful and prosperous person and that he supports me and is with me- but i need to do it for myself first and indeed weeks later i stopped and since then i have not gone near gambling.

Although i barely drink nowadays, alcohol is the next thing i would like to abolish seeming we as humans have an instinct for addiction– we love repetitive patterns and we enjoy doing things with consistency – sometimes we are so caught up and deluded by our addictions we don’t even realize we are addicted to things. Now i am on a saving streak, i am building my savings account and i am catering for all those losses in those few short years, i want to be a man of responsibility, i want to be financially stable and i want to PROSPER.

Thanks for reading on my experience.

Salam Alaykum, Peace.

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The latest news to hit your local news stand and newspaper is that apparently it is perfectly fine in the eyes of Egyptians and Muslims to have sex with your dead wives! Why yes! That is the latest spin in the media vomit that we like to take in every day. A rumored story that spun from such a limited; restricted and unrelated source has suddenly spiked and made its way through the major journalists in the Daily Mail, Huffington Post, AOL News, News.com.au, Yahoo news and more!

The story began on an opinion column written by pro Mubarak (and Anti Muslim Brotherhood) supporter Amr Abdel Samaii-  in the Al Ahram Newspaper. It stated that “Egypt’s new Islamist-dominated parliament is preparing to introduce a controversial law that would allow husbands to have sex with their deceased wives up to six hours after death. Known as the “farewell Intercourse” law, the measure is being championed as part of a raft of reforms introduced by the parliament that will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 for girls.”

With any news story one must gather the information and provide evidence suggesting the said statements and in this case- there is absolutely no evidence that this was suggested in the Egyptian Parliament– that it is even being considered nor by who- and most importantly WHY would this be a law seeming there is nothing in the practice of Necrophilia that belongs in the religion of Islam, nor in the culture of Egyptians/Arabs- or in fact next to no race in the earth!

Egyptians from all walks of life took to the twitter universe to save the dwindling reputation of their nation by stating such a news story is nothing short of a rumor- nothing but an irksome hoax led to slander Egypt in its latest developments post the “Egyptian Spring“. Naturally once worldwide media outlets jumped on this bandwagon the disgrace and outcry of the Public from around the world was loud, and this rumor spread like wildfire- again dehumanizing Egyptians and making Muslims not only the “Cheerleaders” for Terrorism and Pedophilia- but now add Necrophilia to that mix! Also when it comes to the age of Marriage- only 5 years ago was the age for marriage increased in Egypt to 18 years of age. Despite there being no complete fact to the legislation to make 14 the legal age of marriage why is this open to a world of contempt when we have the following nations that allow Marriage for a girl between 14-16 years of age- Kenya, Mali, Niger, Afghanistan, Iran, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands,Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, England, Scotland, Canada, Chile, Colombia and certain states of USA + More. (These mostly apply with Parental Consent).

Some comments included: “It’s to be expected from people who follow Islam. They degrade women, even in death.” “There is only one explanation(Islam). absolutely disgraceful.” And “Islam so respects women doesn’t it.?“. Yet many other people managed to see the lies within such stories– they commented “This is a lie as usual please make sure before spreading any information to defame a country stop lying.” and “I hope the Daily Telegraph will apologize for republishing this crap without attempting to verify its sources first. What a joke.” Even a Christian Blog titled “The Christian Science Monitor” saw straight through this seedy story and they cited- “There’s of course one problem: The chances of any such piece of legislation being considered by the Egyptian parliament for a vote is zero. And the chance of it ever passing is less than that. In fact, color me highly skeptical that anyone is even trying to advance a piece of legislation like this through Egypt’s parliament. “

The most shocking thing for me- is this news spread down here in Australia and was published in the Daily Telegraph– the most read newspaper here in Australia and to my horror it was the #1 most read news story– which shows how many eyes were exposed to this and without a doubt this would leave people with an extremely sour taste for Arabs/North Africans and Muslims- believe me, i know the power of the media- its manipulation of minds and the terrible effects it has in our societies.

It is strange how people seem to allude that having sex with the dead is a Muslim trait all of a sudden, when a supposed saying of the Prophet Muhammad was-

“Do not abuse the dead, for they have gone on to what they sent before.”

Clearly this abuse is in all forms- do not abuse the dead- with your tongues or with your own hands. During the burial and cleansing in a Muslim setting it is extremely clear how much respect is shown for the deceased- their privates covered- they are scented and washed- wrapped in a white fabric and only seen by the closest eyes. This story needs to be halted and all the evidence needs to be gathered because right now the evidence is nearly non existent and surely it is not substantial enough to make local- yet alone international news!

Let us not leave alone the fact that perhaps a few loonies somewhere out there in this crazy universe may feel Necrophilia is perfectly okay- yet that ignorance is only for themselves. There is simply nothing to show that this “law” is near the horizon- let alone has even been talked about by the Egyptian parliament. Such lazy journalism really proves to us that we sometimes have to do the job for these sloppy journalistsresearch. They copy and paste attractive headlines, plaster up photos of shocked Niqab wearing women with “DEAD” written in bold to highlight the sex these dirty Arabs are to engage in- is indeed with the DEAD. Such sights is an Islamophobes and racists playground- it is the Willy Wonka of Islamophobia- a wonderland of lies and scattered rumors and myths blended with perhaps a few real people – to summarize it is a mush up of nonsense disguised as “news”.

Do you blame me for doubting?

Peace, Salam  Alaykum.

This is the sound that sends shock-waves throughout the world of the internet – we already know the Theist/Atheist debate is one that is often drizzled with mockery, suspicion and tension. Yet common words we hear coming from the Atheistic band is that “Religion is the root of all evil” and that “Religion poisons everything” or furthermore “The world would be peaceful without religion”. Let me be the first to admit, that as a Muslim i am more than honest to admit that religion has played a very deep part in our history- both positive and negative– indeed it has been an entity that has brought the world some good and some evils.

The common idea is that religion is a harmful force and we often hear that atheism has never been the cause for any worldwide atrocities- this half baked assumption is a very weak argument. The fact is if the wrong man or woman is given power- despite their creed it is a recipe for disaster. Although it is fair to say that no Atheist can claim to have committed wrong doing based on “atheism” – simply the lack of a belief in a God. We tend to forget that a branch that stems from Atheism is ANTI-theism, and this cause has spread much mischief around the world throughout history and i will highlight some classic examples below.

A person that is Anti-Theist quiet literally has a strong opposition against religion, they find religion harmful to society and believe it should be eradicated. When you have this mindset and a person with such hardline ideas is given a position of power, then hall hath no fury- prepare for instability, discrimination, oppression, murder and social deterioration. These anti-theists clear hatred for religion impacted their decisions- their belief that religion should be wiped out could only come from a person who initially had atheistic roots- remember you must first be an Atheist (disbelieve in Gods) in order to become an ANTI-Theist and once an Anti-theist is given political presence then state atheism is a direct threat- just as much as any extreme religious elements are.

Let us look at some GENUINE historical Anti-Theist people and groups plus their terrible impact on our society- and hopefully we can be more observant before laying all claims of evil to the religious.

1) Plutarco Elías Calles (1877-1945)

An Atheist Mexican general and politician. He was president of Mexico from 1924 to 1928, but he continued to be the de facto ruler from 1928–1935, a period known as the Maximato. Calles is most noted for a fierce oppression of Catholics that led to the Cristero War (90,000 casualties) – a civil war between Catholic rebels and government forces. He was raised by his uncle who was devoutly atheist who raised Plutarco with a searing hatred of the Catholic Church. His Anti-Catholic actions included outlawing religious orders, depriving the Church of property rights and depriving the clergy of civil liberties, including their right to trial by jury (in cases involving anti-clerical laws) and the right to vote. Catholic antipathy towards Calles was enhanced because of his vocal atheism. 4,000 Priests were killed or expelled- Catholics were hung on powerline poles. He later apparently declared himself a “spiritualist” in his later life- and it is said he had some ties to the Freemasons.

People’s Socialist Republic Of Albania

Religion is banned post World War 2. The Agrarian Reform Law of August 1945 nationalized most property of religious institutions, including the estates of monasteries, orders, and dioceses. Many clergy and believers were tried, tortured, and executed. All foreign Roman Catholic priests, monks, and nuns were expelled in 1946. Campaign against religion peaked in the 1960’s and 70’s. All churches, mosques, monasteries, and other religious institutions were either closed down or converted into warehouses, gymnasiums, or workshops by the end of 1967. As the literary monthly Nendori reported the event, the youth had thus “created the first atheist nation in the world”. The clergy were publicly vilified and humiliated, their vestments taken and desecrated. More than 200 clerics of various faiths were imprisoned, others were forced to seek work in either industry or agriculture, and some were executed or starved to death. Officials tried to entrap practicing Christians and Muslims during religious fasts, such as Lent and Ramadan, by distributing dairy products and other forbidden foods in school and at work, and then publicly denouncing those who refused the food, and clergy who conducted secret services were incarcerated.Catholic priest Shtjefan Kurti had been executed for secretly baptizing a child in Shkoder in 1972.

The State recognizes no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people.”

-Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution of 1976.

The Soviet Union

State atheism in the Soviet Union was known as “Gosateizm” and was based on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism.

Marxism-Leninism has consistently advocated the control, suppression,and, ultimately, the elimination of religion. Within about a year of the revolution the state took all church property, including the churches themselves, and in the period from 1922 to 1926, 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and more than 1,200 priests were killed (a much greater number was subjected to persecution).

From the late 1920s to the late 1930s, such organizations as the League Of The Militant Godless ridiculed all religions and harassed believers. Anti-religious and atheistic propaganda was implemented into every portion of soviet life, in schools, communist organizations (such as the Young Pioneer Oganization), and the media.

Khmer Rouge Rule Of Cambodia

The Khmer Rouge period(1975–1979) refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist Party over Cambodia.

Article 20 of the 1976 Constitution of Democratic Kampuchea guaranteed religious freedom, but it also declared that “all reactionary religions that are detrimental to Democratic Kampuchea and the Kampuchean People are strictly forbidden.” About 85 percent of the population follows the Theravada school of Buddhism. The country’s 40,000 to 60,000 Buddhist monks, regarded by the regime as social parasites, were defrocked and forced into labour brigades.

Many monks were executed; temples and pagodas were destroyed or turned into storehouses or gaols. Images of the Buddha were defaced and dumped into rivers and lakes. People who were discovered praying or expressing religious sentiments were often killed. The Christian and Muslim communities also were even more persecuted, as they were labelled as part of a pro-Western cosmopolitan sphere, hindering Cambodian culture and society. The Roman Catholic cathedral of Phnom Penh was completely razed. The Khmer Rouge forced Muslims to eat pork, which they regard as forbidden (haram). Many of those who refused were killed. Christian clergy and Muslim imams were executed.

Mongolian People’s Republic

In 1936, and especially after Japanese encroachments had given the Soviets enough reason to deploy Soviet troops in Mongolia in 1937, a whole-scale attack on the Buddhist Faith began. At the same time, Soviet Style Purges took place in the Communist Party and in the Mongolian army. Mongolia’s leader at that time was Khorloogiin Choibalsan , a follower of Joseph Stalin who emulated many of the policies Stalin had implemented in the Soviet Union. The purges led to the almost complete eradication of Tibetan Buddhism in the country, and cost an estimated 30,000–35,000 lives.

North Korea

North Korea’s government exercises virtual total control over society and imposes state sanctioned atheism, the cult of personality of  Kim Jung Il and Kim Il Sung, described as a Political Religion Although the North Korean constitution states that freedom of religion is permitted, free religious activities no longer exists in North Korea. A minor example was in the late 1940’s – 166 priests and religious people were kidnapped or murdered.

Ladies and Gentlemen these are only a few examples of the atrocities and horrors that were committed due to people who held Anti-theistic views. We know that peoples beliefs were not always the main and sole cause of these wars, yet the fact that these men in power and policies allowed the eradication, destruction of religions and the religious- allowing massacres and mass oppression is enough for us to realise that NO- religion is not the root of ALL EVIL. Evil is something incumbent on mankind- regardless of their religion- and just as a religious person can commit an atrocity and blame God- an anti-theist can commit an atrocity and blame religion- in the end let us open up to the fact that religion is not the root of all evil. There are many examples of how simple Atheism could feed Anti-Theism which in return when coupled with powerful positions and politics could  be just as catastrophic as any extremist organization running the show.

Trust nobody.

Peace, Salam Alaykum

It is interesting that for many people, when you ask them of their fondest times growing up it was their good old “school years” that they tick off to be one of their most memorable and enjoyable experiences. Clearly there are the exceptions and i without doubt am one of those exceptions- i hated school both public and high school because those years to me were riddled with torment, regret and sadness. I am aware many people have had terrible experiences in school yet the unfortunate thing for me is the plague that began for me in Years 4,5 and 6- then followed me to high school- that is right…there was no escape from the grips of my bullies and for a total of 8 years- i was at their “mercy“.

People look at me today as a bright; charismatic and open minded person that has no problems with his knack for being a social creature and indeed i am, i have to admit i am good with people and most wouldn’t disagree with that notion- yet often people are shocked that i was a severely bullied kid. Early in my public school years in grades 1,2,3 and part of 4 i was the class clown- i was “me“. Kids loved me, and relied on me to tell them jokes and make them laugh, damn straight during those years i felt like king. Yet then as we matured and the competitiveness of school got “serious” the bullies saw me as an easy target. I turned into a lanky, tall, goofy character with little sense of threat and my approachability did not help as well, seeming i didn’t only attract people that liked me.

There was a group of bullies but only one or two main bullies that were consistent. I never fought back and given my strict upbringing – “answering back” was wrong and i did not have any self defense skills- both physically or verbally. This one particular bully was an evil kid. He used to physically punch, slap me- causing me to bruise. He’d degrade me physically and mentally. I remember once he caught me in a headlock, forcing me to the boys toilets where i was threatened to lick the urinal or he’d “kill me“. Clearly this threat was serious enough in my eyes, because i did it. Then i became the laughing stock of the school, known as the kid who licked the urinal- i stood strong in denying this the entire time.

The bullying was extreme at times, i’d get stabbed with blunt scissors and have my eyes glued. I would only retaliate with words, telling him to stop it- i’d tell the teachers sometimes too- all of which seemed relatively pointless because the thing is nothing changed. I figured i would just deal with this until finally i start high school, when i heard the news these bullies were coming along with me- it was a nightmare. In your first year of high school you are suddenly a nobody again- and the vulnerability is there.  The bullying continued in high school, many verbal taunts and teasing with a few physical attacks too- particularly in trying to let me enact in degrading acts to get embarrassed and shamed.

The bullying became so bad that i decided i needed an “escape” and this escape of mine was an odd one. I decided to skip school every day in year 9. I’d pack my school bag and hop on the bus, only to drop myself off a suburb earlier and hit the library- it was here where i’d attend daily for almost 3 months. It felt fantastic, i had no one to fear. I read books about River Phoenix, the Brady Bunch and i loved to laugh at the MAD Magazines. Eventually the Librarian asked me why i was there every day and not at school, this was where i knew – i couldn’t do this forever.

The true blow came when the school called me home and left a voice message, informing my parents i hadn’t been in school for almost an entire term. My father did not take this news lightly, infact he gave me an outright belting for it. He probably thought i was some useless teen with no ambitions and found more pleasure in not going to school and instead hitting the arcades and being influenced by the wrong people. It’s okay, he still didn’t understand the extent of my problems until i was ordered a parental meeting with my principal Mr. King. He showed me my truancy sheet of paper and it literally dropped down metres on to the floor. This was where i let myself go and tell the principal of my situation because i was threatened with repeating the entire year due to low attendance.

This is a sense was a learning experience, i finally let out my main issues but even then i didn’t name drop much– yet i knew mentally this was a cleansing and physically i grew in confidence after some words of wisdom. I promised my father and the principal that i’d do my best to recover. My shocked friends saw me after an absence of 3  months and asked me Where i was- i outright lied and made the most hilarious excuse. I said i won a trip to Paris- thanks to a “I can’t believe it’s not butter” competition. Most of them bought it, except my friend Cem who quiet literally saw me walking the streets of Riverwood – a far cry from the alleys of Paris.

Year 10 in high school was the year i finally found myself, i dumped those “cool” friends that only befriended me to use me as a play-toy and a dog- and i befriended the “Nerd” clique. They took me with open arms, accepted me for who i was and suddenly my marks improved- my geography teacher Mr. Robertson called me the “Black horse” – because out of nowhere i became a threat to the class and indeed i was #1 before you knew it (for a limited time). During this time of acceptance and change i knew i finally had to grow a pair of balls- i had the height and the weight (i was fat) to be intimidating yet i never took advantage of this. Yet now i knew that despite my amazing patience- we ALL have our breaking point and i remember once when someone i knew tried hassling me in the class room i pushed him with the utmost force. He flew over two tables and landed with his legs up- the classroom cheered and indeed for once i felt like a high school hero.

From then on this new stealth Ramey was more respected- by year 12 my grades had improved immensely and i was seen in a positive light by most- sure i did not recover entirely and it was not enough time for me to have absolute confidence and respect- but Ramey in year 12- compared to Ramey in year 7- there was a stark difference. So for me- no- school was a terrible time. Indeed it was an experience that in a way was necessary for me to develop the skills because lets face it- sometimes life really is a jungle and it IS a survival of the fittest.

Today i walk away knowing that despite all that i went through growing up- mentally and physically i am healthy and happy right now. Perhaps another person in my shoes may have become depressed, killed themselves or hidden into obscurity– but not me! Now i know exactly what skills i will need to teach my kids to survive their school kids- it’s not as complicated as one would think. As kids we just need to stand our ground, be confident and certainly have the skills to deal with all types of people and situations.

My advice to people out there experiencing bullying- do not suddenly snap and attack– before you go through any change, if possible take time off- or express yourself in some way. Detox yourself mentally and physically and try to cleanse the past horrors away- sure they never disappear but even this placebo is very vital. Once mentally prepared it is time to let people know you will not take any crap- take advantage of powers at hand– dob them and dob them in constantly- not only to your parents but to teachers and principals. Also prepare to get physical, if they lay their hands on you at some point you may have to retaliate- let them know you will not take any of it. Constantly be better than them at it- let them know you are two steps ahead of them and that you won’t let them effect you. You need to be constant and persistant during bullying- never let it slide but instead constantly let people know, constantly push for justice and if it is required sometimes your physical strength is required to finally end it- if it is in self defence- never show a bully that if he or she has the upper hand so that you humble yourself and cower- because this is a green light to them and encouragement!

I hope i gave you a good insight into my school years- am i glad it’s over? DEFINITELY! Am i glad that it happened? Well…It all happens for a reason i guess.

Peace, Salam Alaykum

Signs Of A Failing Friend.

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Justice

Friendships are clearly an important part of our lives- sometimes things we cannot disclose to our families are seeped out into our intimate friends. Yet are people around us for the right reasons? I consider my “real” friends to constitute no more than 5 individuals. Other people to me are friendly acquaintances yet not people id get overly personal with nor have enough time to make a big difference in their lives and vice versa. Through-out my life i have met many people that called me a “friend” and certainly numerous times those friendships proved to be failures- and i noticed a trend when it came to friendship- there are certain qualities that diminish and eventually void that relationship between the two of you, all for it to fall into a facade of falsehood.

Years ago i made a video on Youtube titled “Beware Of Fake Friends” and it was a hit- 6,000 views but most importantly were the comments and likes- clearly people were looking for telltale signs of a false friendship. There is no need to waste your time with people who are inconsiderate and hold no value to life, it is clearly a two way street and both parties must be mutually pleased with each other. So here are a few things to look out for when it comes to friends and if your “friends” seem to have most or all of these traits, i must urge you to think twice.

Sign # 1- Your friend is Greedy.

I am sorry but i cannot handle greed. People who consider themselves your friends yet they do nothing to prove it. Generosity is a sacrifice people make to prove themselves to people, and it’s a small price to pay. By being generous we show that we value them and that material items don’t get in the way of a true friendship- so long as it is all done in moderation. For example- if you are having something to eat, always offer your friend- even before you’ve taken the first dig of it. Usually your friend will return the gesture by offering you their food- and it is fine for all parties to say “no thank you” – because essentially the gesture is what counts- and it signals generosity.

If your friend is short on change, get the change out and help them. If your friend needs to make a phone call- get your phone out and help. Shout your friends a meal or a drink once in a while as a token of good will. Guys it’s just money, its going to come and go and do not expect a return – yet i guarantee you a true friend will be oft- returning and grateful. People who are niggardly and greedy do not make good friends. Greed is selfishness. Selfishness is pride. All of this constitutes bad behaviour and disingenuous motives. So if you find your friend never makes any offerings to you (and you never make offerings to them) – there is nothing real about your friendship- where is your minor sacrifice and good works?

Allah does not love those who are proud and boastful, who hoard their wealth and encourage greed in others, and hide that which Allah has bestowed on them of His bounty.”

(Quran 4:36)

Sign # 2- Your friend is Jealous.

Envy is another anti-friend persona that is abundant in many people. Some people are so jealous that they cannot even hide the fact. If you are in a friendship, one that is genuine- you are meant to be happy for your friend- regardless. If they are happy, then by default you should be happy for them. So if you just got a job promotion, won a holiday, or met the man or woman of your dreams- you should expect no less than smiles, cheers and support. Envy does no good, some people claim that jealousy causes motivation- a motivation for one to improve him or herself. Yet that “motivation” is only a ploy- the fact that they were NOT motivated until YOU did something for yourself proves their reasoning is faulty- they are only doing it to be better than you, not because it’s something they had always wanted to do.

Jealousy is a feeling that i never really “understood”. Even when it comes to strangers i am happy if they are happy, to see a content and smiley face is contagious. I find envy to be especially prevalent amongst females- at least apparent jealousy. Females seem to express their jealousy more loudly than their male counterparts– who at very least hide it.  So the next time you tell your friend some good news and you see their face to be contorted and lacking any joy- then i’d question that friendship, indeed these people wouldn’t be happy for their own mothers or fathers .

Beware of envy because indeed envy destroys good deeds in the same manner as fire destroys wood.”

-Prophet Mohammed

Sign # 3- Your friend is overly Competitive.

A bit of playful competition is healthy – we all do it lets face it.  Yet seeming i am by no means a competitive person i do not seem to attract that type of attention. Yet when you have two competitive people; they clash head on and it only turns into a mess. If you have a friend that always has a better story; a better example; speaks over you; relates your woes and stories to themselves and makes life all about them – i’d be a little worried about the truthfulness of the friendship. To me if you are true to a friend- then they are your equal and always will be. You are neither above or below them- you are both mutually awesome and there is nothing wrong with that. Playful competition could eventually turn into outright rivalry, it can literally toss your friendship upside down all because two super inflated ego’s being to bop heads. What should be done is healthy playful competition- yet a clear and consenting understanding to the fact that you are both friends; both equals in each others eyes and have no intention in outdoing each other- save that mindless stuff for your enemies ;-).

America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”

-Barack Obama

Peace, Salam Alaykum.

I guess i am one of the lucky ones- every one in 6 men will suffer from depression at some time in their lives. I am pretty sure my mother has depression and it really is a battle for people who suffer from depression. It is a draining and tiring experience that not only effects the victim yet also the people around him or her. It is one of those diseases in which people are left in a world that is almost somewhere else- a world where next to nothing could cheer them and it quiet figuratively is a world of darkness and misery- no matter how many times you tell them how “lucky” they are.

Now surely this is not a battle of the sexes- depression effects both men and women yet seeming “emotion” is often expected to be disconnected from men they do really well in playing this part, by keeping their secrets and emotions locked inside themselves and this is surely a dangerous trend. It is seen in the statistics which show that a whopping 78% of all suicide deaths are males. It is a sad world when we know that many of these deaths could have been prevented and its sad that the very idea of “being a man” is to conceal your most personal aspects.

The fact of the matter is, we ALL need someone to talk to– and i am there for anybody that needs to talk. I can’t guarantee that i can help but i am a lending ear and a helping hand if required, i don’t care if you are a man or a woman- clearly if every day you feel as if life is a shambles and you resent everything about both the world and yourself you do need some form of help, and i don’t believe that jumping off a building, running in front of a train or an overdose on medication is the right answer, because suicide is just further accumulation of that pain you felt- only everyone around you could feel it too.

I used to think that an easy cure for depression is to simply think of those who have less- those who have less wealth; less health; less looks- i know it’s not a nice thing to do but if it rids you of these terrible thoughts then whatever works i guess! Yet this never seemed to work especially in the case of my mother, i mean she came from next to nothing and now lives quiet a stable and comfortable life- i remember having a screaming match with her and calling her “selfish and ignorant” for not realizing that people who literally have nothing are still willing to smile and be positive, yet she tears up and hates life and herself for what?

Little did i understand the strength of depression– none of that matters. I could compliment her living, give her great examples, call her beautiful and tell her i love her and in essence it will not work to its full effect. Hence i keep it simple, when the sun is out i tell her its a beautiful day. When there’s a great song on i let her listen and sing along, when i can i crack a joke and i let her truly enjoy the simple things in life and to a degree it works, and it works miracles.

Ladies and gentlemen please be aware of this mental disease, and keep in mind that someone you love and cherish may be suffering from the sad battle of depression- just ensure that you are a good support structure for them and do the best that you could and never desecrate a mans dignity by telling him to “suck it up” and “man up” if he is bottling up all of his problems and emotions because in essence it is you encouraging the ship to sink and once its submerged it may be too late. Become aware!

I leave you with a bit of poetry i wrote in regards to depression.

Thoughts are creeping up inside me,
i stare to the cupboard nearby,
a full bottle of whiskey stares at me,
funny seeming i don’t even drink,
yet tonight is the night to drown misery,
into the depths of a sea made of ink,
words and thoughts i wish i said.”

-Ramey Elali 2012

Peace, Salam Alaykum

This might sound more or less like the words of a hippy but take of it what you will. I absolutely love and adore nature and it’s ways with me. I always remembered in my youth, i was obsessed with the world; our planet- and all the things contained in it. I grew a fond fascination with nature, as opposed to man made creations like Buildings. There is something so pure about nature. Whether it be a mountains snow capped peak, a waterfall crashing down into numerous cascades, a sheer jagged cliff face, gorgeous evergreens towering the moist floor, sand that sinks beneath your feet and of course the tranquil sights and sounds of our beaches. There is something so fascinating and harmonious about nature.

Unlike buildings which have a traceable history, where man had claimed; conquered; destroyed and rebuilt i enjoy the mystery and demure of nature. I find it to be a place of healing, to me it is better than any massage that i’ve received. Nature has no traceable roots beyond its mere existence. I find that in nature that is where i really connect with something higher. I feel less likely to find God in the Masjid (Mosque) because i believe people corrupt society, we judge each other constantly even in a house of worship- besides faith is personal, why should i share it with hundreds of mostly strangers when i can express it to Allah alone in his greatest Masjid- the planet Earth.

Travel whenever you can and wherever you can- go out and explore this world that is full of exciting sights and sounds just waiting to be explored. Every nation is unique. Take that camera along and snap up images that will bring you back there immediately, remember that your feet indeed had trodden on that vista. I plan to travel as much as i can and see the true artistry of this Earth, to me this planet is indeed a painting. I don’t want to be the person that destroys this painting, I’d much rather be a part of the painting – at one with what the world is and my place within it.

I am indeed blessed to live in this planet- thus far the only observable living planet that we know of. Some people simply don’t have the knack for appreciation, they witness the most gorgeous imagery every day yet their hearts have grown cold of them – there is no connection between them; the experience and their existence. I just know that when i am feeling down and seek refuge, people and places are the last thing on my mind- i take a step in my backyard (Earth) and venture somewhere new, my place of solace and peace where i can expand my heart and purify my soul to the one who gave me this Abode; this place i call home.

Peace, Salam Alaykum