Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Islam is Forever Part 2

Islam is not a people
Islam is not a nation
Islam is not a political entity
Islam is not a religion
Islam is not a kingdom

Islam is a way of life
Either you accept its precepts or you don’t.
Islam means peace
Islam means submission to the will of Allah
Islam is for you and me
Islam is not private property
Islam cannot be enslaved
Make your peace with Islam

Islam is within you and without you
Man cannot change what Allah has ordained
Islam belongs to no man.
Islam is like green grass: if you burn it in front of you, it will grow behind you
Islam is evergreen, ever living.
Islam cannot be doused. It burns forever.

Man talks of freedom of speech and individual freedom.
Man talks of freedom to bear arms and to master space with Star Wars.
Who gives man this arrogance to speak about shock and awe before Allah?
The birds and the bees and the beasts of prey all submit to his will.
Nature submits to his will.
What gives man the right to destroy His Kingdom?
Slaughter innocent men, women and children and talk about freedom?
Before Allah and beyond his commandments no man is free and there is no individual freedom
Before Allah all is quiet and bowed in submission.
That is Islam.

Man wants to decide when creation came into being.
He talks about theories, creationism vs evolution.
He limits Allah’s creation to six thousand years.
Creationism suits him fine. He does not want to accept evolving from the primates.
Man is proud and vain and talks about human intelligence.
But he forgets that primates don’t create weapons of mass destruction
They don’t talk about vital interests and strategic positions.
Man kills his own kind from greed, envy and selfishness.
He forgets Allah can create instantly or put into effect evolutionary creation
All are within his power.

Man’s own limited intelligence has made him vain
He disdains wisdom and bows down only to his own selfish greed and limited intelligence.
There is no room for pure thought or reasonableness.
When he comes into positions of power he goes stark raving mad.
Look at the Earth and its condition.
He talks about democracy.
What is this democracy that he speaks about?
It is all vanity without the thought of Allah.
Allah gives and He takes back.
He is most gracious, most bountiful.
Read the Koran and quote it in full context.
Forget your guns and weapons that you call smart.
Start living like humans.
Let the Church stop scaring people about demons.
Let the Church pursue the truth of Allah. La Illaha Illalah.

Material power does not make you free.
Only Allah can make you free.
La Illaha Illallah!

Islam is liberation.
Islam is not confining.
Islam is transparent.
Islam is colorless.
Islam is not judgmental
Islam is here and everywhere
Islam is enlightening
Islam is peace
Islam is not enslaving
Islam is boundless
Islam transcends all boundaries
Islam is not containable
Islam is freedom from everything
Islam is submission only to its Creator
Islam cannot be bought
Islam is free for all who submit
Find Islam. It is within.

Jesus said submit to your Lord and my Lord
Every Prophet submitted to the call of Islam
No Church, no walls, no containment.
Martin Luther King said “Free at last. Free at last.”
That is Islam.

When Ghandhi found Islam, the British might could not hold him back.
War is greed and hubris. Give it up
Free yourself from want and greed and power
Wake up Western world!
Wake up Church and follow the truth
Remember Islam is forever.
La Illaha Illahlah!

Islam is Allah’s mercy to mankind.
Abraham (PBUH) made ready for the sacrifice.
That was Islam.
Moses (PBUH) went up the mountain to bring the Commandments.
That was Islam.
Jesus (PBUH) submitted to his sacrifice.
That too was Islam.
Mohammed (PBUH) delivered the message of the Qur'an.
That was Islam.
Jesus said, "Seek ye the truth and the truth shall make you free."
What is this truth? This truth is Islam.
Jesus said, "I shall pray the father that he may send you another Comforter who will abide with you forever."
That forever is Islam.
Jesus said, "When the Spirit of Truth is come He shall take of what is mine and show it unto you."
That was Islam.
Who is there that can change what Allah has decreed?
La Illaha Illalah!

Today people are happy to sit their children in front of a T.V. to get their worldly education.
Filled with all the filth so that the youth can sow their wild oats.
Science fiction wizardry and make believe are the order of the day.
Virtual reality with the aid of the Dajjal is now the new reality, the new truth.
Where is the Church and where is Jesus’ message of Truth?
Mayhem and war is everywhere and the innocent slaughtered.
Wake up to the call of Islam before it is too late. La Illaha Illalah!

© 2006 Muhammed Ally Keshavjee. All Rights Reserved. Written Dec 13, 2006. Essay#307.

ISLAM is Forever Part 1

What is Islam?
Who is Islam?
Where is Islam?
When is Islam?
Why is Islam?
What is the colour of Islam?
What is the purpose of Islam?
Who is the purpose of Islam?
Who is the Creator of Islam?
When did Islam come?
Why did Islam come?
Where did Islam come from?
Does Islam have a date of birth?
Does Islam have an end?
Does Allah have an end?

Who is there that can measure Islam? Evaluate Islam?
Islam has no language, no culture.
Islam is beyond everything.
Islam has no beginning and no end.
Islam will come to end when the whole of creation comes to end.
Allah is the Creator and lives forever.
The West denigrates Islam.
It’s like using a sword to cut through wind or water.
The West wants to destroy Islam.
How can you destroy what you cannot see?
How can you destroy what you cannot understand?
How can you destroy that which has no beginning and no end?
Western power comes from the barrel of a gun,
Power, pride and prejudice has brought about this madness.
Wake up, before it’s too late!

Remember Islam speaks to the soul, not the mind or body.
You can fight the Iraqis and you can fight the Iranians.
You can fight the Syrians and you can fight the Talibans.
You can destroy their houses, you can destroy their Mosques.
You can destroy their armies. You can destroy their ornaments.
You can also destroy their families.
But all the political powers that be
Cannot blow out the flame that burns in a Muslim heart

That flame is Allah.
It is the call of Islam five times a day not to just prostrate and shout Allah Akbar
but to remember the calling of Islam.
La Illaha Illalah. There is no deity except Allah.
This is a losing battle, man against the will of Allah.
When will the West ever learn?

Mohamed (PBUH) was the Renaissance.
If there was no Mohamed (PBUH), there was no message.
That message was the Renaissance
Everything then followed the Muslims who accepted Allah.
The second Renaissance was in Europe
But it was the Renaissance of the gun and power to fight Islam.
It failed then and it is failing now.
Give it up and say La Illaha Illalah.

© 2006 Mahomed Ally Keshavjee. All Rights Reserved. Essay#307. Written Dec 13, 2006.

Lamentations for Ice and Snow

Lamentations for ice and snow are not enough. There are so many, including writers, who lament the passing away of snow and ice on mountains, the fast melting and disappearance of icebergs and the disappearance of Polar bears. The other day I read about the disappearance of the snows of Kilimanjaro; a timely but too late article for the fast receding snow and ice on Africa’s highest peak. This article by MG Vasanji got me thinking that all this is due to the greed of a people gone mad, wanting to possess every legitimate and illegitimate material object available on this planet. But MG misses a greater lament.

Lamentations for disappearance of ice and snow are fine, but our observations of late have become soul-less. In all this material greed and pursuit of physical comfort, we have overlooked the disappearance of the diversity of humans on the continents we have pillaged and raped. The tribes of Africa are fast disappearing like those that have disappeared in North America and other developed continents. The tribes in Africa will soon disappear, just as the snows of Kilimanjaro will soon disappear.

Greed, oppression and political squabbles by rival post-colonial colonizers and their industrial proxies are tearing up entire villages of human souls. They are seeking rare metals needed for space exploration to find life like ours out there. All the while, life like ours exists right here on this planet in a myriad forms of God-created beauty, culture, language and color. Blinded by our greed, we see only, like Narcissus, self-love and self-preservation at the expense of God’s beautiful creation. It’s too late now to lament for material things and the loss of some of frozen water on a bit of rock in the middle of the Dark Continent. Let’s instead lament now for ourselves and the loss of our shared humanity. It may still not be too late to save ourselves.

© 2008 Mahomed Ally Keshavjee. All Rights Reserved. Essay #360.

Bay Street Blues

The brokers and bankers on Bay Street drank Bear-Stearns’ illicit booze
And tried to abscond with the windfall without paying their dues
But drinking an unknown proof always leads to a drunken doze
Basin Street has nothing on Bay Street’s drunken snooze

From the resulting financial hangover nobody will have any clues
Senile investors will now have to wake up and soberly choose
Or their families will soon have to go without even a pair of shoes
Everybody and their mothers will soon be singing the Bay Street Blues

Some firms of brokers and bankers on Wall Street lit a fuse
Thinking they’d have some firecracker fun and not pay the dues
But Monday morning March 17 came the earth-shattering news
That those who trusted these brokers and bankers everything will lose

The SEC pretended to police the Wall by cooking Martha Stewart’s goose
But the real wolves were busy inflicting on the public a nasty ruse
That cooked goose was the Street’s smoke and mirror ruse
Their own crookedness and greed to hide and excuse

The Nation many more billions of greenbacks will lose
So the fat cats on Wall Street can have more of that expensive booze
Better to go to Vegas where you can dine, dance and your game choose
And come back home empty-handed, but with a satisfactory excuse

Since Katrina, Basin Street has lost its basins and has its own blues
Those basins could have stored the Street’s ill-gotten monetary refuse
But all that’s left in the Big Easy are some bowls with stale rice, alligator and moose
They can serve as begging bowls for brokers and bankers with their soul-less shoes

Soon Bay Street will be to nobody of any use
But instead will only serve as a jazz singers muse
And a symbol of those who their savings lose
All Canadians are now singing the Bay Street Blues

© 2008. Mahomed Ally Keshavjee. All Rights Reserved. Essay #362.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Languages in the Location

As I reflect on my life, I sometimes go back to my childhood days and recollect my thoughts about the life we led in the non-white ghetto in Pretoria. There were three ghettos in a total area of about a mile and a quarter by a mile and a quarter for the three basic non-white groups, namely coloured or Cape coloured (those of mixed race), Indian or Asian and African or Bantu. The ghetto was made up of Marabastaadt, the area for blacks, the Asiatic Bazaar for Indians and the Cape Location for those of mixed race. All of us who lived there just called it Location.

By the mid-forties, the Black African population was growing rapidly and they were slowly being moved out to Atteridgeville. The blacks called it Pelindaba --a basic bare-boned city, some 8 or 9 miles West from the City of Pretoria. Atteridgeville was ethnically divided to keep people from different black tribes who came from different areas of South Africa apart. This was in keeping with the divide and conquer philosophy of the ruling party in South Africa –Apartheid began at the ethnic or root level. Once the Blacks had been moved out, plans for moving the Coloureds was initiated. The Coloureds were moved to Derdepoort, an area some 10 miles East of Pretoria. Similar arrangements were made in Johannesburg and other major and minor cities of South Africa. Indians in Pretoria were to be moved to Laudium, which today is a reality and somehow also ethnically divided. However, before all those events took place, all three races lived in the one Location.

The Location was bounded on the North side by the Magalis (pronounced with a throaty g –almost like a raspy h) range of low mountains. Struben Street acted as the Southern border. The Municipality of Pretoria had a fence along the entire Southern border, behind which they stored road building equipment and other requisites. The West side of the Location was cut off by a highway called Von Wielligh Street. The East side was cut off by the Apis (Monkey) River. Boom Street ran through the middle of the Location, connected by a bridge on the East side to the White areas and the outside world. These three major groups of people shared their destiny of being cut off from so-called superior White civilization. We definitely lived in a world of our own.

Some Indians who had shops in the City of Pretoria, from the early part of the century before the official Apartheid policy came into effect, were allowed to go to their businesses during the day, but had to be back by evening to spend the night in the Location. Some Indian businessmen did have homes behind their businesses in the City, but this was an anomaly from the early part of the century. By the mid-fifties they were already ear-marked for removal –both business and residence. This was part of the Group Areas Act which set aggressive milestones for the separation of the races.

Those were years of increasing oppression and being on the receiving end of an inherently discriminatory and divisive policy. South African White policy in those years was designed to progressively remove all economic and political opportunities from non-whites. However, reminiscing of the days in the Location, all is not lost because life is not measured in terms of money, places or status. It is measured in how we lived with our fellow man and the trials and tribulations we bore together and how we emerged from it all.

The first great thing that came to be was that Mahatma Ghandi came to live in the Location in the early part of the 20th century. This was surely divinely ordered. He lived there for many years before moving to Natal and eventually back to India. Everyone knows the mark he left on India. Few have heard of the legacy he left in South Africa –a legacy of pride in heritage, fighting for freedom and belief in the greatness of ordinary people. I went to school with many children who came from families who took the Mahatma as their leader. Many of them later played important roles in the South African freedom movement.

Now my thoughts go back to the fact that the Location was probably one of the richest sources of cultural exchange on the face of the globe at that time –something never to be repeated in this fast changing, modern world of ours. Toronto is probably the only other place where this cultural heterogeneity is encouraged, to a point. However, Toronto is not a ghetto and it is also so large that the ethnics have their own ghettos. But Pretoria’s Location was unparalleled on the planet because nowhere else were so many different people put together in such a small area from where they could not leave by their own choice.

The richness of life that I’m also talking about is the people who lived in this Location. And my memory takes me to re-meet the neighbours and their cultures and the languages that were spoken here all around us. The Location was over-crowded because the Indian area was no more than about ¾ of a mile by ¾ of a mile. There were close to 10,000 people in that small area, living in poverty and under an oppressive regime. Families and extended families of 20 or 30 people using one toilet was not uncommon. But people got along. We survived. We learned to tolerate each other. Understand each other. We visited each other in our homes. We went to school together in this one-of-a-kind place in the world, the Location. We had three movie theatres, showing Indian, American, British, Egyptian and Tamil movies. This was our escape.

When I look back on my school days and school mates, first of all, everyone spoke either one of the country’s major legal languages, English or Afrikaans. The Coloureds mostly spoke either local or Cape Afrikaans (a Dutch-German derivative language, with a smattering of Flemish and English mixed in). The African servants and black customers at the local shops (blacks were allowed to be there until 7 pm, but had to observe the curfew that forced them to go back to their areas by 7 pm), spoke either Zulu, Xosa, Venda, Sesutho, Swazi, Ndebele, Tswana or Mchangan. Most of the Indians and local business people spoke at least 2 of the above languages, including their own local language from India. In addition most also spoke Hindi, English or Afrikaans or both.

Indians were truly multi-lingual out of necessity. They were the trades people of the area –running small shops and service businesses for the blacks and coloureds, who worked in the white areas. There were also a couple dozen Chinese families living in the Location. Some came from Mainland China, others from Hong Kong or Macau. They spoke either Cantonese or Mandarin.

In the Location, there were Indians from South India, especially Tamils, who were a big percentage of the population. They spoke, depending on where they came from in the South of India, Madrasi, Telegu or Malayalam. Also, some from the mid-section of India spoke a few different dialects of Indian languages. There were the Hyderabadis, who spoke their own language. There were Cochnis from Cochin, they spoke their own distinct language. There were a few from Ceylon, who spoke Sinhalese. Moving North towards Pakistan, there were many Urdu speaking peoples. Indians from Mumbai spoke Marhastran. And Parsis, who also came from the same area, especially from Mumbai, spoke Gujerati. Then there were the Gujeratis, with a big ethnic population, who spoke their different brands of Gujerati –the Kanamyas, the Surtis, the Katchis, the Katchi-Mehman and Halai-Mehman from Sindh. There were Sindis who spoke pure Sindi, with their own unique script. There were those who spoke Hindi and as we go further North, we find the Sikhs, with their own language, Punjabi. There were people from Kolkata, speaking Kalkatian language. And from Bangladesh, people spoke Bengali. There were Patthan-speaking Indians from the North West of India and Punjabi-speakers from the Punjab.

This was a microcosm of almost all the people you could think of. Pizzaro and Cortes didn’t allow the Aztecs and the Mayas to be in the Location, otherwise we would have had them also. And the North American Indians and the Northern Aboriginals all fighting for survival –they were not here.

There were Portuguese-speaking Indians who came from Portuguese speaking enclaves in India. The Malays of the Cape were also here, with their Malay-mixed Afrikaans. They had come to South Africa with the Dutch from Malaysia. There were German-speaking coloureds who came from the Cape province, on the border with Southwest Africa, where they spoke German. And there were Arab-speaking Mullahs at the local Madrassa.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some other people with their peculiar language here. But they were there in this Location. All their children, boys and girls, were at the local school. Nowhere on Earth will you find this. The children of the very, very wealthy and those of the very poor, went to the same school because of the Apartheid ghetto –which did not differentiate between rich and poor –only between white and non-white.

In spite of the oppression and lack of opportunities, what could be more momentous than having one of the greatest men on this planet as a neighbour living in this Location? That’s what it felt like to have Mahatma Ghandi as part of our neighbourhood. It gave our lives and experiences meaning and richness in a larger global sense. When I see Ben Kingsley portraying Mahatma Ghandi, I say to myself, ‘We had the real thing.’

In conclusion, I must reiterate the richness of this once-in-a-lifetime, once-in-a-long-historical-period that only divine intervention could have produced. Where in the world would you get a Location of so many cultural and sub-cultural backgrounds with their rich heritage of music, dress, color, religion and language have come together in such a small place? Yes, there were even Ismailis here. One family in particular, the Keshavjees, had very close contact with Mahatma Ghandi. This was truly a historical event of a magnitude that would have world-wide impact. Mahatma Ghandi was part of this beautiful historical mosaic. Indians and Africans played out their roles, while the British and Dutch looked on from the side-lines with their attitudes of Apartheid, snobbery and British arrogance. Look where they are today.

This was a one-time phenomenon with, not Ben Kingsly whose relatives are also known to me, but the real thing thrown in: the Mahatma. This is my legacy. A tapestry full of riches, a mosaic to cherish, with all the different music, art, religion, dances, stories and languages woven into the fabric of life. The White man in South Africa, with his one superior language truly missed out. To him, Ghandi was yet another `coolie` to be derided and ridiculed. What irony. Wake up Canada, smell the real world that the divine created. Embrace it or you’ll lose out also.

© 2008 Mahomed Keshavjee written in Summer 2007

Jee Jay Wrap

Come on and hear the Jee Jay Wrap,
It is now covering the whole world map,
There’s no time to sit or take a nap,
There’s work to do. Get going, get hep.

Come hear and sing about the Jee Jay Wrap.
Joseph put on the Technicolor Magic Wrap
But Momins added Gold thread to that Wrap
Come over and join us in the Jee Jay Wrap

Come and open that big-hearted compassion tap,
Help the poor to understand the Jee Jay Wrap.
All who wear Joseph’s Magic can do the Jee Jay Wrap
The light is one. The coats are many. There is no gap.

Be sincere. Purify the mind and drink the magic sap.
Have faith, work hard and the world will fall into your lap
Come get hep. Come do the Happy Jee Jay Wrap.
The world is blind to the Gur Gat Ganga tap.
The Ganges flows right past your door. Scoop the sap.
Come get hep and do the Jee Jay Wrap.

The Illusionary world beckons but it is a big trap,
The Lord of the Ages guides us to leave worries in his lap.
To understand the message you need an inner thinking cap.
Get hep. Come on and do the Jee Jay Wrap.

Unity and ujama is the answer to cover the world map.
Build brotherhood and get out of the individualistic trap.
Get hep. Be happy and come join in the Jee Jay Wrap.
Leave the wine, drink water –it is the wise man’s magic sap.
Get hep. Come and do the melodious Jee Jay Wrap.

If you have faith and say to yonder mountain
Come hither, it shall come in a snap.
Come over, get hep and do the Jee Jay Wrap.

© 2008 Mahomed Keshavjee written on Mar 1, 2008