A glimpse into the torn lands of Palestine…

In the midst of the World, towards the Middle East and into the Palestinian province, resides an 18 year old, hard working female by the name of Sumayyah Jaffari, a youth striving to keep her small family moving amid one of the World’s most dangerous towns.

With unexpected airstrikes and bomb blasts occurring on a daily basis, Sumayyah’s trails increases as her aching heart grows tired of the lives lost amid her social circle. She’s even lost her father recently; when a gunfire snatched his life away. Finding herself as the breadwinner of her family, she takes over her father’s business, a little ice cream parlor with only seasonal incomes and hence, the family’s forced to curb down on their expenses. Sumayyah withdraws her name from the Girls College and together, the family of 4 strives hard to move on with life.

Just 6 months after her father’s traumatizing death, Sumayyah one day, faces the most tragic incident of her young life. An incident so severe that it crushes her strength and the will to live, shattering her little world to pieces. Her hopes now pinned towards the inevitable arrival of the Mahdi, as she yearns for his reappearance, the only Savior who will ease her pain as she once again strives to pull herself together. She can still vividly recall the day when the shining star of the family was blackened off their lives; she can still feel the pain deep within her heart every time she remembers the ill fated day. This is her story…

‘’One peaceful afternoon, as I refill the fridges with fresh ice creams at the parlor, making a note of the stocks at the same time whilst humming to myself, I savor the calm atmosphere around me for such moments are rare within my country. I clean the counters re-arrange the few tables and place the plastic cups before a loud bang from above terrorizes me to the core.

I race out and lock the door with shaking hands as I watch people frantically running from all around. My eyes scan through the commotion as I see mothers shielding their infants from the chocking smoke, Men rushing home to evacuate their families, I hear little children crying, and begin to find my way through the dark smoke. Fear engulfs me as I realize the Enemy’s on the move, we are being attacked!

I tumble over dead bodies sprawled across the road, missing the pelting stones by a nanosecond, racing back home, my fingers tightly crossed under my jumper, making pleading prayers and promises to God as I dread the inevitable. I push myself through the crowd of people fleeing from the dark smoke rising into the sky resembling a huge monster. I rush back home, hoping I can evacuate my family on time. I glance at the neighborhood, slowly flipping into a stranger town, so unrecognized by the locals. I charge through the streets as rockets from the sky fall into homes, forming a blazing fire.

Fear waves through me as I spot my neighborhood almost ruined into pieces. I flee from the terrible sight and spot the little blue house a few meters away from our home. I run to examine it and notice the fresh cracked walls which mean that something has gone wrong. Goosebumps spread through my hands as I slowly walk towards our little three bedroom house, resembling Snowhite’s little hut, so cozy and beautiful on its own. The blue house just inches away, my heart plummets as I stop on my tracks and wonder for a moment if I took the wrong cut in frenzy, my home was nowhere to be seen!

‘No! It can’t be… Everything is okay; I may have hopped onto the other street hastily’ I assure myself as I glance back at the street I came from and recognize our area right across the cafeteria towards the end of the road. Sweat beads begin to erupt into my face and I begin shivering, my stomach forming summersaults, nausea and dizziness suddenly weakens me as I collapse onto the rocks, staring at the broken red bricks scattered all over, I Stare at the aqua blue flowery curtains beneath a pile of rocks which once shielded our home from the sunlight. Our pots, pans, crockery’s, books and my siblings’ toys are all blackened with the dust.

My body grows numb as I spot my little sister Lailah’s rag doll and a horrid image of my sister being crushed beneath the bricks and boulders freak me out. ‘NOO’! I scream aloud.

Advertisements

Part 1/2 can be found by clicking here.

The Fight against Injustice and Corruption

Another element of our nature was rekindled after the 29/03 tragedy. Our voices were raised against corruption and injustice. Responsibility had to be taken for the events. Stemming from anger, names were called, the system was blamed, corruption
was termed the source of the disaster.

Yet nobody questioned the source of the source. We were all quick to attribute corruption to individuals associated with the building. We jumped at the opportunity to criticize the system, failing to realize, we are a part of this system. Each one of us is a
cog in the machine of this society. And if our society is corrupt, we have to look within, as opposed to away from ourselves.

Corruption is only possible because we are active participants in it. Whether it involves kicking doors to forward your business ambitions, or something smaller, like bribing a police officer to get out of a traffic violation, it is still against our principles. Justifying smaller acts of corruption (just because they’re minor) is a slippery slope. All small acts of corruption aggregate to form one giant corrupt society.

What then, do we do to fight for justice? Not only for the lost souls of the tragedy, but in general. Do we accuse those involved in larger acts of corruption? Do we protest against them? While these aren’t the worst ideas, there is a better way.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am
changing myself ~ Rumi

Translate the struggle against corruption and injustice to a higher dimension. Understand that we are a part of this system. And as far as we as individuals are ‘okay’ and ‘indifferent’ towards smaller acts of corruption, we lay foundations for larger and
more dangerous forms, forms that can result in incidents like 29/03.

Merging the two ideas

We must also ask why there is a need for corruption. Why can’t we do things the straight way? Of course, there is the idea of the demand for corruption, and the willingness to participate in it. But that is secondary. Where does this demand stem from?
Greed? Affinity towards wrongdoing?

Then there is the possibility, especially when it comes to smaller scales of corruption, of one being poor. Poverty may force an honest worker to take a bribe. Continuous participation in that may create and reinforce greed. Terminally, large-scale
forms of corruption may develop through this system. If we can eliminate corruption at
the lower scales, it then becomes easier to tackle it at higher scales.

Translate these ideas into a higher dimension. Corruption, poverty and injustice
are intertwined concepts. And if we are playing a role in developing any of them, we are
to blame as much as anyone else. Our responsibility is to tackle corruption by not
participating in it and fighting poverty by following the advice from (3:92) above. In this
way, we will truly be struggling against injustice, and we will be doing justice to the
memory of those lives lost on 29/03.

May Allah(SWT) reward all those involved in the rescue efforts after the building
collapsed. And May Allah(SWT) grant the surviving victims, and the families of all
victims patience to go through this traumatizing event, and may He also reward the souls
that were lost, on the 29/03/2013.

Taking our efforts to a higher dimension

The past week’s events have attracted attention from all over the world. The incident that shook our very own Dar-es-salaam brought more than just lost lives and broken families to our community. The painstaking fate of all the people associated with the victims of the ‘Dar tragedy’ is unfathomable.

However; that isn’t all the incident came with. Over the past week we noticed something innate to us humans: humanity. When time called for it, everyone, independent of affiliation, was there to help. Rescue efforts, and aides to those efforts were on a scale we probably haven’t witnessed for a while. Without a doubt, we have to be grateful for such a wonderful community. We have to be appreciative of these blessings and honor those who sacrificed, night and day, to recover the victims trapped under the rubble.

Yet I can’t help but ask the question – when did humanity become the exception and not the norm?

Often, disasters like this help us put things in perspective. We try to value life more, appreciate our families more, be thankful for our blessings and even engross ourselves in religion. I’d like to think these incidents are really a representation of life in the long run. However, the elements of such incidents differ vastly from the reality of life.

When the pain of this incident has subsided and the anger extinguished, what lessons do we take away from this tragedy? The victims that were trapped under the rubble, who do they represent in our lives? If this was meant to be a wake-up call, what message was the caller trying to convey?

As members of the Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania and the East Africa community, I believe we do not have to look any further to deduce this message. If we look around us, we will see who the victims represented in our lives. Poverty is a stark reality in our region. With over 30% of Tanzanians trapped below the poverty line, where else do we need to search for the faces of the fallen souls of 29/03?

The better, bigger and more important question: where are the rescuers of these trapped victims? If we humans are indeed human, as the past week showcased, why aren’t we rushing to the aid of our fellow Tanzanians, just like we rushed for the casualties of 29/03?

Where are the communal efforts to uplift our brethren from poverty? Do we have to wait for another disaster, so that our humanity can resurface? When did humanity become the exception and not the norm? Why do we have to wait for another ‘wake-up call’ to be reminded of our nature? Sometimes we argue that we have a duty and responsibility to those less fortunate. No, it is in our essence to want to help, to want to support, to want to assist, independent of the recipient.

If we nurtured our humane side enough, we would be out there rescuing our trapped brothers and sisters. We would be out there helping them out of the ‘rubble’. We would be standing with them, feeling their pain and anguish as if it was ours, and
sacrificing things dear to us to uplift them from their troubles. Indeed the Qur’an echoes this:

Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (3:92)

Translate the rescue efforts of 29/03 to a higher dimension, look at the big picture, and understand our struggle against the poverty disaster isn’t over. And yes, we require assistance, we need sacrifices of time, money, education, a smile, and we need
them urgently.

THE FEAR OF 29.03.2013 BECOMING HISTORY..

The rising of the sun every morning, gives way to yet another beautiful day & rays of hope. However, the sun that rose on 29.03.2013 brought an end to some beautiful lives and shattered hopes of a thousand others. The tragic incident that morning trapped the lives of hardworking fathers & mothers, innocent young children and most importantly humans.

The screams of young children, the fast running little feet, the dust filling the atmosphere & people falling along with the buildings stones, the dead being covered by sand before being lowered into the grave- is just a bit of what followed the collapse of the building. Most importantly, it’s the fall of this building that caused the ascend of great individuals who are labelled TRUE HEROES. It was this day, when those angels had to return back to where they belonged- Heaven.
On receiving the news of the tragic scene, my eyes could not hold back their tears, my heart feeling heavier than ever & my mind, just flashing pictures and scenarios. I was looking for people waiting patiently to receive their loved ones. I searched for strong hopes and dry eyes looking towards the rubble of stones & sand. I looked out for our community men and women working, with their immense pain being their ultimate strength to remove those little kids from underneath.

However, I didn’t see any of that. My mind had just fooled me & my heart took over. Now was when I saw impatient mothers waiting to see their children run into their arms once again. I saw families stand side by side holding each other real tight as they prayed & hoped. I saw a tearing and confused crowd that was still trying to figure out if all that was for real. Moreover, I was overwhelmed with pride as my eyes caught the attention of men & women of diverse religions and cultures spontaneously assembled to do whatever best they could. I saw strangers turn into friends & friends into family.

The day of Friday was long, heavy & not the good Friday they call it. mothers lost their aim in life, fathers no more the strong they were always known to be, Families were left incomplete and the mountains of hope were collapsing in synchrony with the setting of the sun. That long weekend everyone was looking forward to, was infinitely long for some but for the heroes, it ended before it even began.

I know words cant soothe the hearts of anyone who feels the gravity of this incident. In fact NO, this time we can’t let ourselves get over it. We cannot let it be a “once upon a time..” This incident had beneath its intensity an equally great message. It was our wakeup call from what I’d entitile our deep slumber. Neither tears, nor words, & not a lending shoulder will do justice to the sacrifice of these heroes. If there is one thing that shall match up to their pinnacle of ransom, it’s a CHANGE.

A change from our sinful, selfcentered & materialistic life to a revolutionary, spiritual & humanitarian one. Look back & note how the FIRST question we all asked on receiving the news was- if OUR family was okay? Recall those pictures that came to your mind of a falling building- How many of us saw contractors and other individuals apart from the innocent young boys? How many of us saw black skin along with the Asian tone? How many of us followed up on the status of revered bodies after the burial of the little 4? My question is- were we all worried & concerned because this involved innocent lives & our country people or was it just because the affected was OUR community?

There was no one to receive the bodies of the African construction workers, serving women or by passers whether Muslims or non. Even if they survived, there was no one waiting outside to hug them tight. & if they were dead, there was not anyone to acknowledge their sacrifice.

Let this, my brothers & sisters be a food for thought for us all. Let us not close our eyes already to what was supposed to be an eye opener. Let us not answer that we do not know how many people are trapped and thus are silent at the moment. The real question is not do you know, rather do you WANT to know? It’s time for a change, a change that we need & that we can make happen. Let’s unite in the name of humanity to change our lives for the better & give all these great heroes the status that they deserve, the status of martyrs.

Let us acknowledge the great sacrifice of the parents of the affected by changing our lives and focusing on the hereafter which is what’s best for us. We ought to do this now before the day our bodies are covered in sand, just so we can be received by these smiling great heroes at the gates of heaven. And remember, NOW’s the time- Because now may be late, but late is better than never..

FOUR KIDS? NO!! MORE LIKE FOUR HEROES!!

It was on the 29th March 2013, an early morning,
Little did you know, your Creator is already calling.

Set for Fajr namaaz , you little angels hurried to pray,

After which, excitedly you gathered to play.
Knowing you are safe were the hearts of your Mummy and Papa content,
And this suddenly changed just after the 8:45am moment.

Shaken and scared were you little souls,
Help! Help! And Help! Were your painful calls.
The next thing is a mountain of stones on your delicate bodies and there you were trapped,
Its beyond my imagination how terribly with these rubbles were you wrapped.

 
Realizing that we are missing 4 children without a doubt,
And every single person counted upon each second to help get you out.
Coming to find out, more of our fellow workers and passerbys were part of this tragic death,
The search continued and prayers on the lips, for everyone held on to faith.
18 hours and more is when we hear that Brothers Salman, Zahid, Yusuf and Suhail are no more,
This heartbreaking news made our hearts so painful and sore.
 
An episode that has affected the lives of your parents,family and friends for sure,
The gap that you have left in their lives has no cure.
But there is this power i know Whose care and love will help us grow strong,
And when He said “From Me is where you all come from and unto Me is your final return”, he wasn’t wrong.
He lifted you from this world of sins, ignorance and hate,
To paradise, an infinity bliss amongst the infallibles and awaiting for your beloved parents at its gate.
It will never be easy for us down here when we pass by the mosque and recall this day,
“You will always remain our heroes” is all i can say.
 
For it took you 10 year olds to awaken our slumber,
In our thoughts and prayers you will remain, till then 29-3-13 we will always remember.

Hijab- A Cover or An Armour?

As the world marked the World Hijab Day, I sat back and admired the comments and articles that flowed in appreciating the effect the ‘Scarf’ had on the heads of the women and how they felt protected and safe whilst in the public. There is no doubt that this has set a milestone and sent a clear message to the public and sectors of the world that claimed Hijab was an oppression towards women and should be banned. One can only hope that the message does reach the concerned and pray that it brings about a positive attitude towards the Hijab.

On the other hand, there have been various campaigns held throughout the world to create awareness about what the actual hijab is, how it is supposed to be worn, and the actual definition of the word hijab. The rise of coats, cardigans, shellas and all those attractive long sleeves shirts and t shirts have been used as hijab by many of our women simply because it covers the body.

Thus I sat down with a friend and asked her what she thought of it. She then termed it as ‘Modern Hijab’, to which she simply said:

“I don’t find it wrong, I wear it as well and it’s covering my body, so why not?”

It is here that I realised that probably the word Hijab needs a detailed definition, since everyone defines it in a way which is suitable to themselves. I joined the bandwagon and decided to define Hijab as- ‘An Armour’

Why an Armour?

Armour which in simple terms can be defined as a protection is commonly used in war and battles to protect oneself from the enemy and all sorts of danger. Similarly, the life that we live is a battle between the good and the evil, the right and the wrong. More importantly however, is the battle between the desires and the soul. Just like every battle has a commander in chief or the flag bearer of the army, something that every soldier dreams of; in this battle we are the flag bearers of our own army, and are solely responsible to the outcome of the battle.

It is a very rare scene where a soldier heads towards the battlefield with half an armour, or a plain uniform, rather, all that we witness is a strong shield, layers of protection all with one objective- to protect oneself.

Similarly, if one was given a precious jewel, he/she would do all that is within their ability to protect it from every sort of theft, danger of loss or in extreme cases from the slightest of scratches. All this is done with an aim of protecting the jewel, which is monetary, which may not even be the best in the market and could be replaced with a better one, yet; so much importance and so much protection is given to it.

This is where I wonder, how much importance is given to a monetary thing, and how it is treated with so much protection and effort offered to it. Yet, the most precious jewel, which is so sacred, vital to the society, but most of all has heaven underneath its feet, is today exposed to world- uncovered, unprotected, half protected, fully covered yet no protection!

Take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

Does the cardigan, the coat, the long sleeves t shirt, the shirts and thermals offer me the much needed protection? They do offer the cover no doubt, but do they offer me the protection from the evil eye, from lusty thoughts and desires of people around me? Do I as a jewel not deserve protection? Do I as the bearer of heaven not deserve to protect this bounty from the evil?

My Hijab should not be like an insurance policy which covers me; it should act as a vaccination that will protect me from being affected by any disease.

However, we live in a free world. Where everyone has their own choice and are enslaved to the modern world. But my question to you is:

If the bravest of soldier wears an armour to protect himself, if the jewel is covered and protected by yourself and stored in the safest of places, then what about yourself? Is your armour strong enough to protect you? Or is it like my car insurance policy, covering me from any losses, but not protecting me from the accident in the first place.

Join us as we distribute Water Bottles and Fliers to the Public in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania with an aim to promote the real image and picture of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (pbuh).

The video was done in collaboration with AhlulBayt TV – A big thankyou to them.
It was a pleasure working with Sheikh Jalala and all the kids who study under him.

Please visit seekperfection.org for more.

Videographer;
SM Designs Production 2013
+255 785 413 742

Tag Cloud