Everything happens for a reason…

Sometimes life doesn’t go the way you plan it.

In fact, everything may happen the complete opposite to what you wanted/planned out. In situations like this, it’s very easy to get frustrated and annoyed with yourself/the situation/people around you – trust me, I speak from experience.

It takes patience, courage and faith to believe everything happens for a reason and the way God planned it, after all we can plan and plan till we go blue but at the end of the day He knows best so you just have to trust that whatever is happening is according to His plan. That should give you the best assurance you need.

Let’s use my life as an example:

A year ago today, I would never imagine I would be sat here where I am today Alhamdulillah. I never thought I’d go to the university I go to, I didn’t think I’d reconnect with old friends who I thought I’d lost forever and lose ‘lifelong’ friends who I thought would last forever.

But alas, Allah had other plans for me.

Alhamdulillah for everything.

I went through this ‘rebel’ phase in my teens and I made a decision that I wanted to leave my house for university and go as far away as possible. I used to tell myself that I would return home once every month just to show my face and then leave again.

Thinking about all this makes me wonder just how far I’d gone from my family, my religion, everything.

I was Alhamdulillah blessed to attend an independent private school in South Kensington, London and whilst it was the greatest time of my life, it came at a price. As you can imagine, it was a predominately white school and I always wanted to do what my friends were doing. My parents saying I couldn’t do certain things only made me dislike them and grow further apart from them. Things that my friends and I thought were normal at the time such as going to concerts, sleepovers and parties but obviously my parents knew best and wouldn’t let me go. Childish things like this made me grow a mind-set that I wanted to be as far away as home as possible, my only chance was university.

As fate would have it, I did move out for university, but not far at all – about one and a half hours away. At university, I got so homesick I would return home every weekend/every other weekend. That girl who was dying to go has far away as possible, only left to go round the corner (not literally) and she was homesick all the time. That’s Allah’s way of showing me that I can plan and plan and plan, but at the end of the day, He is the greatest planner of all. I know realise how unhappy I would be if I left my beautiful home to go as far away as possible and not be able to return as often as I can now.

The reason of my post today is to give hope to everyone who is going through hard times, everyone whose life is not going according to the way they planned it. Just know and understand, trust me I cannot stress this enough… Everything happens for a reason. Every little thing happens for a reason.

I’ll give you another real life example, Alhamdulillah I was blessed to get the GCSEs that I got but I will always remember how disheartened I was because I got a higher grade for my English Literature and English Language GCSE than my Maths GCSE. This is because I really did not revise at all for my English GCSEs, I think its fair to say that I simply did not care about them at all because I thought I’d never need them, it was just a compulsory GCSE that I would not have chosen if it was optional. I remember saying to my mum: ‘Why did I get that grade for that stupid subject, so pointless.’ Yet, what I did not know at the time was when I applied for university – every single university I applied to, wanted a good grade for English and Maths. So it wasn’t pointless in the slightest, it was a necessity. Just thinking back now at how careless I was regarding my English GCSE scares me as it could have harmed my future.

This is what I mean about everything happening for a reason.

Have patience and have faith in God.

Always remember one thing: Allah does not burden a soul more than it bear.

If something goes wrong, or not according to your plan then say Alhamdulillah and move on.

Everything will be ok.

Animals or Humans?

I wrote this on my phone a few weeks ago now but didn’t get the chance to post it – I’ve just copied it below without changing the time frame as I feel it’s more authentic that way.

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As I was on my usual morning commute to work in the busy rush hour I was flipping through the Metro newspaper (a free ‘tabloid’ available at every station in London, England) to save me from the prospect of standing with my head in someone’s armpit for 45 minutes.

On the early pages of the newspaper, Metro had a reaction story over the front page headline in yesterday’s copy.

I don’t normally express my emotions over articles outwardly in public but I was absolutely astounded at these two articles over the past two days that I could feel my mouth opening in awe before quickly realising how stupid I must have looked.

In a nut shell, the articles were about an American dentist who hunted animals in Africa and because of this is facing a lot of back lash from members of the public who reportedly ordered him to be ‘hung’ Whilst I understand that it is not right to hunt animals but it’s the reaction surprises me!

I know my next statement will be a rather controversial one – but if people reacted this way about other children/people dying mercilessly in all parts of the world, the way they care about animals then this world would honestly be a better place.

This isn’t the only case that comes to mind whilst writing this post. Those from England, will remember that on (enter date) in a place called Manchester, England, a dogs home got burnt down. The people got together and raised £1.2million to re build the home for the dogs. This shows how caring some people are and how thoughtful they are for the disadvantaged dogs who were now homeless. If we can be so generous towards animals then why not other fellow humans who are less fortunate and disadvantaged.

According to Oxfam, the world’s 100 richest people earned a total of $240 billion in 2012 – which is essentially enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over. Something can actually be done to solve this.

Now, don’t get me wrong just because I don’t have a particular ‘connection’ with animals – it doesn’t mean that I’m looking down at people who do actually have a good relationship with animals. Neither am I saying that nothing is being done – all I’m saying is that more can actually be done.

I guess that can be said about anything and maybe it’s just me, but it really annoys/frustrates me that people seem to care more about animals that they do about other people.

Perhaps it’s just the sad way of the world.

NB. I am not generalising here so please do not get me wrong. This blog was created for me to express my opinions and this is just one of them. My intention was and is not to offend anyone. Apologies if I have.

Charlie Hebdo and The Prophet Muhammad SAW

It is safe to say that unless you have been living in a cave for the past week – everyone has heard about the attacks on the French Magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in their Paris office on Wednesday 7th January 2015.

Why did the gunmen target Charlie Hebdo?

In 2006, Charlie Hebdo had reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which were originally printed in a Danish daily – Jyllands-Posten.

Unlike other religions where there are sculptures and pictures of the various Gods (for Hindus) and of other religious figures such as Jesus (Christianity), Guru Nanak (Sikhism) or Buddha (Buddhism), it is not the case for Islam. Not only do we not have pictures or idols of our God but even the prophets who we believe were sent down from Allah.

In Islam, we believe that the final messenger of Allah – Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was sent from Allah to restore an unaltered, pure religion that the previous prophets who came before him, had tried to teach the people. As Muslims, if we are able to blindly trust the words and follow the footsteps of this great man that had once walked the earth, then it is disrespectful and completely unnecessary for people belonging to other faiths to then create cartoon images of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I genuinely cannot understand the reason behind why cartoon images of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was printed in the first place in Denmark let alone being reprinted in France. It is disgusting behaviour from both countries. If as Muslims, we have accepted the teachings of our religion without any imagery or cartoons of our Prophet then it is simple courtesy that as people belonging to other faiths that you respect this and do not publish offensive images.

It is because of this that these two terrorists: Cherif and Said Kouachi thought that they would take it upon themselves to get ‘revenge’ for what had happened in 2006. I hope you have noticed how I mentioned ‘terrorists’ and not ‘Muslims.’ Why? Because quite frankly after what they have done – it would be a disgrace to call them Muslims. I have mentioned this in my previous posts, but for those who haven’t read it – I’ll say it again: In verse 5:32 of the Qur’an, it states: ‘If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.’ This is because as Muslims, we believe that no- one is permitted to take a life except for God himself, therefore killing another innocent is as if you’re almost taking the power of God into your own hands, which is a major sin in the religion. In our Holy Book. Our Holy Qu’ran. It tells Muslims not to kill other people. Therefore whatever justification these two men had, makes no difference. They might have thought they have done a ‘good deed’ by getting revenge for the Prophet but they’re wrong. There is no justification.

In fact it is because of these terrorists – my religion, my Prophet (peace be upon him) is once again going to be disrespected as the Charlie Hebdo magazine are publishing 3 million copies tomorrow (Wednesday 14th January) with a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on the front cover.

What makes this worse is that a columnist, Zineb El Rhazoui told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme “Our friends died because of small drawings, because of a joke… And they must accept humour also.”

The killings should not have happened. They were completely unacceptable and in any way am I not condoning what has happened.

But, to call cartoons of our Prophet (peace be upon him) ‘a joke’ is preposterous. If it was a ‘joke’ then many Muslims around the world would not have been horrified and disgusted as well as being deeply offended by this. This is essentially mocking and disrespecting our religion.

When at school, children are taught about ‘Freedom of Speech’ yet they are still punished if they make offensive remarks. If the children of this generation are being taught to respect other religions that may be different to their own then why is it such an alien concept some adults.

To conclude, I think that the murders that the two terrorists have committed is absolutely disgusting and completely against the peaceful religion of Islam. However, I strongly believe that the cartoons that have been published and that are yet to be published tomorrow by the Charlie Hebdo magazine, is absolutely disrespectful and unnecessary.

The Islamic State (ISIS)

Firstly, I want to begin this post on a positive note and say Happy New Year to my readers. I hope you all have a prosperous 2015.

The fact that it has been over 9 months since I wrote my last post is crazy! I guess, the only thing I can really blame it on is my inability in multi-tasking (looks like it’s not just males who cannot multitask). Concentration on revising and doing well in my exams took over my life for the last 9 months and now today I had some free time, so I decided to write another post.

I hate to start the New Year on such a negative note, but I have been meaning to write a post about this topic for a few months now. Today’s post will be about the Islamic State or ISIS as they are more commonly known as.

I have very strong views against this group which is why I am going to be blunt and straight to the point.

ISIS DO NOT REPRESENT ISLAM.

I cannot stress this point in any other way. Just because they have the word ‘Islamic’ in the name does not mean they represent the religion in any way. I personally believe ISIS are a group full of terrorists who are absolute cowards! To be perfectly honest, there has been a rise in the number of terrorists who feel they have the power to take lives away in recent years but what upsets me the most is when I hear stories about British born Muslims going to Syria to fight on behalf of this terrorist group.

I am a British born Muslim and I take my religion very seriously (due to my upbringing and weekly lessons with a teacher of Islam) but there is no way I would ever even think about running away to go to Syria. Why? Because I have studied and I am in the process of continually learning about my religion well enough to know that what these people are doing in the name of our religion – is not in any way Islamic.

In October, a report came out that the fourth British Jihadist has died at the age of 19. What is going on Britain? Why are there people sacrificing their lives for the wrong reasons? I wish I could understand what is possessing some people into thinking that what they are doing is correct. Truth is, there is no explanation for the murders that have taken place.

Innocent people are dying in the hands of people who call themselves Muslim.

In verse 5:32 of the Qur’an, it states: ‘If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.’ This is because as Muslims, we believe that no- one is permitted to take a life except for God himself, therefore killing another innocent is as if you’re almost taking the power of God into your own hands, which is a major sin in the religion.

As well as this, I have heard stories about girls flying to Syria as ‘Jihadi Brides.’

I honestly am finding it hard to understand what makes these girls to do this.

Radhika Sanghani wrote a very interesting article for The Telegraph, after fifteen year old Yusra Hussein fled to Syria, about how British Muslims feel about this which I highly recommend.*

Here is a short extract from the article.

“Fifteen-year-old Yusra Hussein is the latest British girl thought to have joined Islamic State fighters. The “intelligent, beautiful” student – who dreamt of being a dentist – is now believed to be in Turkey preparing to cross into Syria and join up with jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

She isn’t the only young British Muslim girl to have done so. Twins Zahra and Salma Halane, 16, from Manchester, are believed to have travelled to Syria in July. Aqsa Mahmood, 20, was a student in Glasgow who dreamed of becoming a doctor. Now she’s understood to be part of an all-female militant group in Syria, along with 60 other young women.

It seems that every month there are new headlines telling us that another bright young Muslim girl has left Britain to become a ‘jihadi bride’ by marrying an Isil fighter. It’s a huge concern for Muslim parents, whose children could be radicalised from their bedrooms via the internet and ‘Sheikh Google’.”

All these girls who appear to be ‘intelligent’ with bright futures ahead of them, yet this one decision that they made will ruin their life.

What is happening Britain?

I wish there was a way to knock some sense into these senseless individuals.

I wish.

* http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11133324/British-Muslim-girls-Were-sick-to-death-of-these-jihadi-brides-going-to-Syria-its-disgusting.html

The Portrayal of Muslims in the Media

Since the September 2001 9/11 Terrorist attacks in America, Muslims have found themselves increasingly in the media for essentially all the wrong reasons. Although, this is partly the fault of the minority of the religion, it is also the fault of the media who have basically used this tragic incident as a reason to accentuate the portrayal of Muslims in a negative light.

Terrorism is one of the main reasons why Muslims are being presented in the way they are. However what people do not realise is that those terrorists who take it upon themselves to take the lives of hundreds and thousands of innocent people are not really following what their religion tells them to do, therefore it is debatable whether they can be classed as ‘Muslims.’

In verse 5:32 of the Qur’an, it states: ‘If anyone slays a person, it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.’ This is because as Muslims, we believe that no- one is permitted to take a life except for God himself, therefore killing another innocent is as if you’re almost taking the power of God into your own hands, which is a major sin in the religion.

However, in this day and age, people (especially the media) do not care about this and continue to paint Muslims as the ‘evil people.’ It’s as if indirectly the media is trying to show the world that because of what a few people who lost their way did, it really means that every other Muslim would follow in their footsteps and become terrorists. What people need to realise is that there is approximately 2 billion Muslims in this world and if you are to believe everything in the media, it is therefore saying that there are almost 2 billion suicide bombers in this world. How ignorant.

In 2007 on the BBC News Website, one of the subheadings of an article: Muslims are being “demonised” by the British media, with 91% of reports being negative, research commissioned by the London Mayor has found.’ This clearly shows that even the people who aren’t Muslims themselves have realised that nearly all reports that have anything to do with Muslims are negative.

Thus meaning that when someone in the Muslim community does something wrong then they immediately get a lot of media coverage, however if the roles were reversed and that same person was doing something beneficial then it would be most likely that it would be overlooked. In 2012, Christopher Bail wrote an article about the negative portrayal of Muslims in the Media, below is a snippet of what he had to say after conducting thorough research into this:

‘When Muslim organizations put out many messages condemning terrorism, in response to nearly any incident, these press releases were usually dispassionate or mournful, and they received little media coverage.

However, when Muslim groups put out angry and emotional messages in response to various cases of discrimination against other Muslims; these messages got more media attention. To the newspaper-reading and TV-watching public, the impression is that Muslims care little about condemning terrorism and are over-sensitive to Islamophobia,’

Why is it that the world would rather see the negative side to Muslims than anything else?

Where is the ‘equality’ that the Western world seem to always encourage?

It just goes to show how biased the media can be when it benefits them most.

If you’re looking to stereotype – then look at the majority, not the minority.

Not all German people are supporters of Adolf Hitler.

Not all Irish people are supporters of the Irish Republic Army.

Just like that, not all Muslims are terrorists.

The Execution of Abdul Kader Molla

Right now everyone must be thinking why a 17 year old in the UK is talking about this when she is ‘too young to understand politics?’ However, this is where I would have to disagree with those people.

For the last 17 years I can honestly say that I have never had any interest in politics, especially Bangladeshi politics. However, over the past year things have dramatically changed. A genuine interest in politics grew from within, but it was these recent events (the execution of Abdul Kader Molla on 12th December 2013) in Bangladesh which intrigued me to do my own research as well as converse with people who understand Bangladeshi politics to widen my knowledge about this.

In some people’s eyes I may be ‘too young to understand’ or ‘too soft-hearted’ simply because I have conflicting opinions to you, however I am a British girl where we pride ourselves in having the freedom of individual beliefs and opinions. Additionally, I strongly believe that my mother has taught me the difference between right and wrong and I have been given a voice to speak out against what I think is wrong.

Executing a 65 year old man was wrong!

For those who may not know Abdul Kader Molla; he was a politician and a war criminal that brutally killed, raped and took part in disgusting acts which took the lives of many innocent lives during the 1971 Bangladeshi Liberation war.

Don’t get me wrong, there are no doubts that his disgusting behaviour 42 years ago needs punishment, but was an execution really necessary?

Molla had 6 charges against him, where two were life sentences (in Bangladesh, this tends to be not more than 20 years), three were 15 years each and the last charge was the death penalty.

If we take the death penalty out of the equation for a moment, we can calculate that without adding the punishment of the final charge it would consequently mean that Molla was looking at 85 years in prison. I’m no Einstein but if you use basic common sense (which the majority of Bangladeshis seem to lack) then I think it’s safe to say that if a 65 year old has to serve 85 years in prison then he would eventually die in prison.

The people of Bangladesh seem so fixated on the fact that he should die for his crimes as a ‘punishment’ but if they actually wanted justice then they would have made him suffer in prison just like he made all those people suffer in 1971. By hanging him, he hasn’t really suffered for those horrific things he did in 1971.To some extent it can actually be argued that he was given an ‘easy way out’ only because that’s it now. He’s dead. There’s no more suffering in this world for him.

The part that really made me disgusted to be associated with that country was the fact that in the aftermath of the execution, Bangladeshis took to the streets to celebrate the death. This is the point when I actually realised that there was no humanity in that country and made me so grateful to be British. At what point did everyone become so cold-hearted?

This incident even sparked international frenzy:

– The Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has deeply condemned the execution call it a mistake that “history will not forgive.”

– The state of Qatar has also expressed condemnation.

– The National Assembly of Pakistan passed a resolution vote to condemn the hanging of Abdul Quader Molla. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan described the punishment of Molla as a “judicial murder.”

Muslim Council of Britain said “It is a sad day for Bangladesh and sad day for democracy and justice. The trial process of Abdul Quader Molla was fraught with flaws and the international community including the UN and all respected Human Rights organisations world over strongly criticised the trial as unfair, biased and politically driven.”

Islamic Circle of North America said “This is a political murder and a dark day for justice”.

It is quite surprising to see that the rest of the world can see what a mistake this was however, the Bangladeshi Government and its people are completely blinded to this.

In my opinion, there is really only one woman behind all of this…

But I will make a blog soon about who I think is behind this. For now, if you just think about what I have said so far regardless of my age or where I am from. I am sure; you will soon see that I do actually make some sense!

There are some people out there who are calling him a ‘hero’ but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that. I am not stupid, I do understand what he did was wrong but all I am saying is that there are more ways a person can be punished for his deeds other than death.

Those who know me well know that I have always been a very proud British Bangladeshi, but slowly that is starting to evaporate and I am increasingly becoming so ashamed of that country.

In the words of British Historian Alan Bullock which precisely describes the people of Bangladesh who are celebrating this death:

‘The corruption of people is to behave in an inhuman way.’

Anti-Bullying Week 2013

This is an unusual post on my behalf as the story below is purely fictional, however I entered a writing competition for Anti-Bullying Week 2013, where entrants are required  to describe their vision of a world where young people have taken control of cyberspace – and got rid of bullying for good, so I thought I would post that on here…

I believe that cyber-bullying has increased in recent days due to increased usage of certain social networking sites such as Askfm. For those of you who may not know what Askfm is, it is a website where people can say anything to users, with their names showing or anonymously. As you can imagine, this has allowed bullies to think that they can say whatever they want because they know that no-one may ever find out who they are.

If you read my post about the first day I wore the headscarf, then you will remember that I mentioned something about making a few mistakes last year, this included getting into a dispute with another girl. Anyway, the aftermath of this was that the immature, ignorant males of my year group used it as an opportunity to send me ‘hate’ on my Askfm account. You may note how I called it sending ‘hate’ instead of bullying, well, I guess the reason is because I didn’t feel that it was bullying. It was a group of boys who I believe had nothing better to do with their lives than stay on Askfm all day and say things anonymously that they would never have been able to say to my face, ever. This therefore proved to me that how in fact I had one on them as it didn’t have the effect that they wanted to have on me because I was still happy  😀

Anyway, enough about me, although the story below is pure fiction, I would like to stress the fact that situations like this do arise, but you have to be strong and not let it get to you!

As I had to describe a world where cyber-bullying was destroyed for good, I said the only way to do this was to take serious action against these anonymous internet bullies.

Enjoy reading  🙂

This was it. It was over. Done. No more!

Words couldn’t contain my excitement, my emotions. 3 years. 4 months. 5 days. I waited for this day, and now aged 17, it was all coming true.

‘Kill yourself, you stupid ugly girl!!’

I remembered back to these words that were from an anonymous user on askfm. I remember thinking. Why me? What had I done to deserve this? Why me?

I remember how close I was to being in my grave.

How close I was to hurting myself.

Why?

Because these cyber-bullies told me to.

No!

If I had given them the satisfaction of my death then I would not be alive to see this glorious day.

The day when all internet ‘anonymous’ bullies were exposed.

Exposed!

EXPOSED!

The historic day when askfm revealed a document naming and shaming ALL internet bullies that were using the website as a means of sending hate to people, anonymously.

They thought they would never be caught. They thought they could get away with it.

They were wrong.

Because they were finally exposed.

This however would not have happened if hundreds and hundreds of teenagers did not gather outside the headquarters in Latvia for days upon end. Enough was enough! Bullying could no longer be tolerated!

Are we not human too? How long could we have let these heartless bullies silence us with their words?

We have a voice!

It was no surprise to see the long list of names.

However, the British Government were gobsmacked to see the number of British cyber bullies.

They felt like they just had to take action.

So that’s just what they did.

Not only did they fine every single Brit on that list a minimum of £1000 which had to be paid by themselves only. No parents or guardians were allowed to help them. Furthermore, they just gained themselves criminal records, considering most of these bullies were petty teenagers; they were pretty much destroyed for the rest of their lives!

Should have thought twice before cyber-bullying vulnerable people, eh?

Just when we thought that was it, the Government passed a new law that all social networking sites would be monitored vigorously by a team of IT specialists and anything hurtful or disrespectful (even if it’s anonymous) will have immediate action taken against it. So a criminal record would be the least form of punishment.

Justice was finally served.

No more bullies.

Ever again.

‘Kill yourself, you stupid ugly girl’

They said.

Who’s laughing now.