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The Beloved Man

The Beloved Man

A man and his companion undertook a mountainous 32-mile journey on foot to a town where three brothers ruled in conjunction. Upon meeting them, he explained to them his purpose of the visit and invited them to believe in his message of one God instead of the multiple deities they worshipped. Not only did the leaders reject his message, but the ill-mannered brothers ridiculed and taunted him. They encouraged the children to gather up rocks and stones to throw at the travelers as they ran them out of the town, chasing them in this manner for two to three miles. The companion attempted his best to shield the man and was wounded in the head. The man was injured so severely that his shoes were full of blood. Heartbroken, injured and dismayed, the two men began their return to their hometown. On their way, they looked up to find a cloud casting its shade upon them. The man was addressed by the Angel Gabriel accompanied by the Angel of Mountains who asked for permission to destroy the town that had mistreated them so brutally by crushing it between the two mountains that flanked it. The man opposed the idea in hopes that the, one day, the descendants of these same people may choose to accept his message.

This merciful man was not new to such mistreatment from others bestowed upon him for choosing to believe in something different than them. As any and all great visionaries of their time, he was ostracized and mocked constantly. During one incident, this man was in prostration with his forehead touching the ground and his heart deep in prayer. Those that opposed him placed the dirty fetus of a camel on his back and rejoiced with laughter at their brilliant practical joke. It was the man’s daughter who removed the fetus. They did not lash back with words or fists but rather practiced patience and silent tolerance in their actions. In other instances, the man had been poisoned, spit in the face and had his neck stepped on while praying. Yet, violence was never his weapon of choice in response to the persecution he endured.


This man lived over 1400 years ago and is the beloved Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace). Millions of Muslims consider him the ideal role model and the man that they attempt their best to emulate in their everyday lives. His example is their first friend and the perfect Muslim that they draw their solace from in difficult times. During his lifetime, he displayed extreme patience and gentle tolerance in situations that would drive most men into uncontrollable anger and rage. Yet, every time he has been targeted in recent times, there is an out pour of violence in his name. The question these protesters fail to ask themselves is, ‘Is this what Muhammad would do?’ (pbuh).

For the past week, the world has been shaken by the violent protests in response to the anti-Islamic movie. At least a dozen have died, embassies have been attacked and the protesting has only continued to escalate. There has been an outcry from religious leaders and Islamic organizations denouncing the violence and asking for its end. The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said, “We condemn the disgraceful killings of the American diplomats in Libya in the strongest terms possible. We also condemn the attack on our nation’s diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt. The actions of the attackers are totally inexcusable and un-Islamic.” In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood reached out to riot troops to protect the US Embassy from the protesters.


Many have tried to explain the protests as an outburst due to the frustration the Muslims feel with their countries. The lack of political freedom, the widespread corruption and abuse of the criminal system. The high levels of illiteracy and the lack of emphasis on individual rights have created a deep rooted animosity towards American foreign policies. The attacks on the most revered person in Islam by those outside of the religion are the sparks that become the outlets of their frustration.


It is almost laughable that such an immense response has resulted from a baseless, immature and very poorly done film. It is a propaganda film made with the sole purpose to offend an entire group. This along with the evasive and discreditable background of the producer himself marks the entire effort as immature. The movie had barely brought any attention to itself before the protests and without the protests would have passed by unnoticed. The crude attempt would have brought its own downfall by being a mockery of itself and nothing else.

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/09/the-beloved-man/

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Aamir Khan: India’s First Superhero

Aamir Khan: India’s First SuperheroThe Oscar nominated movie Lagaan forever put Aamir Khan on our maps. It was his production company’s first movie and, boy, did he get it right. Since then he has become one of the most elusive and perplexing celebrities of Bollywood.  He avoids all award ceremonies and manages to stay under the radar for months at a time. We haven’t seen much of him since his small acting role in Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries) which was his wife, Kiran Rao’s, directorial debut in 2010. However, this past Sunday, Aamir Khan managed to push another boundary.

 SMJ Theme:

For months now, there are has been a lot of speculation surrounding Khan’s upcoming TV show. Until recently, it was unheard of for successful Bollywood movie-actors to return to TV. That was until the rise of reality TV which displayed a wide range of well known celebrities, from the likes of Amitabh Bachchan to Shilpa Shetty hosting some sort of reality show. Most assumed that Aamir Khan had decided to go the same way but he managed to stay true to his reputation and do the unexpected.

Satayamev Jayate (SMJ), which translates to Truth Alone Prevails, aired its first episode on Star World this past Sunday at 11 AM (IST). Khan started the show by saluting mothers and their undeniable love for their children. In all his humility and sincerity, he- went on to touch on the most despicable of illnesses that Indian society faces today: Female Infanticide. Khan’s guests were everyday women that had been victims to these societal ailments and he didn’t shy away from shedding a tear or two for their adversities. It was painful and uncomfortable to watch. It was an hour and a half of soul awakening stories punctuated by statistics and scientific proof mentioned by Khan. In true Lagaan style, he ended his show by professing his love for his country and countrymen. He made sure to remind all that these problems were everyone’s and even showed how everyone could get involved right away. As the screen darkened, there was not a dry eye in all of India.

In a country where movie stars are treated like royalty, celebrities have long been used to endorse products and companies. Khan, in all his brilliance, has figured out the formula to apply his celebrity status to endorse morality. Depicting reality in a Bollywood movie has been a known ingredient for disaster at the box office, but SMJ manages to pull back the rug to expose the dirt that has been brushed under it. Stories regarding female infanticide and the skewed gender ratios in many parts of India have always been pushed aside for the hard hitting journalists to deal with. Khan has the nation not only talking about it but poised and ready to do something about it. It is only through educating and informing that change can be achieved and it is only fitting that the perfectionist of Bollywood is the one exposing the imperfections.

You can watch the full episode on SMJ’s official YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1vASMbEEQc

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/05/aamir-khan-indias-first-superhero/


Brown Girl U: Mahila Facts – Hormones

How many times have you blamed your latest acne break out on hormones? Or your irrational desire to cry over a restaurant not getting your order right?

Brown Girl U: Mahila Facts – Hormones

Personally, I despise when a man tries to blame anything I do on my hormones but I’m usually more than ready to blame my own shortcomings to console myself. Hopefully, today you’ll learn exactly which hormones are active in your body and be able to blame the culprits by name.

It’s important for me to remind you that keeping track of your menstrual cycle is important. There are a few apps available that will help you do this. Using the calendar on your computer or your e-mail is also a good option.

A normal menstrual cycle is about 28 days long. A variation of 8 days is considered normal. Day 1 is marked by the first day of menstruation. Menstruation can last anywhere from 5-7 days. During this period all levels of hormones are low except for the Follicular Stimulating Hormone (FSH). While the uterus is busy with the excretion and shedding of its upper layers, the FSH is stimulating parts of the ovary that contain the eggs. Each of these tiny parts known as an ovarian follicle contains a single egg. Every woman is born with these follicles that become active upon reaching puberty.

Once menstruation ends, the Follicular Phase begins (also known as the Proliferative Phase). This can last anywhere from Day 5-7 to Day 12-13. The one follicle that has garnered the most attention from FSH prepares itself for ovulation. This dominant follicle continues to grow and can be called a Graafian Follicle. It begins to secrete Estradiol ,which is one of the kinds of estrogen present in our bodies (Yup, we do have a lot of it). This is a feel good hormone, you’ll probably feel more feminine and sexier during this time. Women also notice a mucus discharge during this time.

Towards the end of the Follicular Phase the high levels of Estradiol kick off the surge in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and begins Ovulation. The LH surge lasts for about 48 hours and cause the maturation of the follicle and weakens its walls releasing the egg that promptly matures into the ovum. It is brushed into the fallopian tubes where it awaits fertilization for about a day as the Corpus Luteum.

The Luteal Phase (also known as the Secretory Phase) begins around Day 16 and occurs when the Corpus Luteum continues to grow after the end of Ovulation. It secretes high levels of Progesterone that is responsible for the increase in tissue and blood circulation in the topmost layer of the uterus known as the endometrium. This is done so that the egg will be well cushioned when it enters the uterus after being fertilized in the fallopian tubes in preparation for the following pregnancy. The Luteal Phase lasts about 14 days. If the Corpus Luteum is not fertilized, the luteum and the endometrial cushioning is destroyed and shed. It is removed from the body during menstruation.

Progesterone typically causes a sedative effect on the body. You are more likely to feel depressed and tired when these levels are high. This is also when you can expect PMS in full swing.

Different levels of hormones effect on everything from acne breakouts to hunger and cravings. Logging and keeping track of your menstrual cycle will help you understand yourself and anticipate changes. It will help you prepare yourself in advance and stock up on that Dutch Chocolate ice cream you love so much!

If you have questions or suggestions for topics you would like me to incorporate into future lessons, feel free to e-mail me at atiya.hasan@browngirlmagazine.com!

Images via: 123

Sources: 12

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/05/brown-girl-u-mahila-facts-hormones/


Brown Girl U: Mahila Facts Intro

During my second year of medical school, I remember standing in the office of one of the most hated teachers on campus as she questioned me on a topic I had been absent for. It was a fairly simple question, yet my fear and my uncertainty over the answer made me pause and the teacher threw me a look of hate.

“You’re a woman and you can’t tell me about the phases of the menstrual cycle?” she asked.

It was only after I crumpled into a seat on the bus that I allowed myself to think about the question. I hated the teacher, just like everyone else, but she knew her subject well. For once, I let myself agree with her criticism.

How could I not know about the menstrual cycle? Why did it take until medical school for me to fully study it? Shouldn’t this information have been force fed to me as I grew up? Another example of the public school system failing me. After all, this had to with me. Me and my body.

It’s been a few years since that incident and the more I studied it, the more I realized how little women actually knew about the inner workings of our bodies. We focus so much on outer appearances, covering up flaws and exercising – the ‘how to’ – but we forget the ‘why.’ If you understand the ‘why’ you can understand which ‘how to’ is right for you.

So emerged the idea of Mahila Facts, mahila being the Hindi word for woman. This will be a continuing series of discussing topics such as the phases of the menstrual cycle (of course), hormones in the female body, types of birth control and how to choose the one right for you, etc. This series is also meant to be interactive so feel free to send questions or comments to me at atiya.hasan@browngirlmagazine.com and I will address them in future lessons.

Photo via

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/04/brown-girl-u-mahila-facts-intro/


Dharun Ravi: What Happened?

“Dear Dharun, It has been a pleasure watching you grow into a caring and responsible person. You are a wonderful son and brother. . .  Keep up your good work. Hold on to your dreams and always strive to achieve your goals. We know that you will succeed,” read the message in Plainsboro High School North’s 2010 yearbook in a space bought by Dharun Ravi’s parents at the time of his graduation. So what turned this promising young man into one of today’s most talked about court cases?

Dharun Ravi, 20 years old, was a sophomore at Rutgers University. During his freshman year, on September 22, 2010, his roommate Tyler Clementi, 18 years old, committed suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge following a series of events that undeniably breached Clementi’s privacy.

A few days before the fateful day, Ravi and another student, Molly Wei, used a webcam to spy on Clementi during a romantic encounter with an older man in his dorm room. Two days later, Ravi attempted to set up another viewing and used Twitter to discuss Clementi and what he had seen.

Clementi posted on forums about Ravi and the publicizing of his private life to other students on campus. He even complained to the Resident Assistant and asked for a room change.

After the Resident Assistant visited Ravi and informed him of Clementi’s complaint against him, Ravi sent two text messages apologizing to Clementi only minutes before he took his life. They read:

“I want to explain what happened. Sunday night when you requested to have someone over I didn’t realize you wanted the room in private. I went to Mollys room and I was showing her how I set up my computer so I can access it from anywhere. I turned on my camera and saw you in the corner of the screen and I immediately closed it. I felt uncomfortable and guilty of what happened. Obviously I told people what occurred so they could give me advice. Then Tuesday when you requested the room again I wanted to make sure what happened Sunday wouldn’t happen again and not to video chat me from 930 to 12. Just in case, I turned my camera away and put my computer to sleep so even if anyone tried it wouldn’t work. I wanted to make amends for Sunday night. I’m sorry if you heard something distorted and disturbing but I assure you all my actions were good natured.”

“I’ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don’t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it’s adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don’t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.”

This led to a whirlwind of media attention, nationally and internationally, that used this as a prime example of the social persecution of homosexuals and bringing more attention to the epidemic of suicides among young homosexuals.

Ravi and Wei were offered a plea bargain that Wei readily accepted. Ravi, despite being forewarned about his high chances of losing the case, decided to go to trial and denied the plea.

At first the case was portrayed in the media as the outing of a closeted gay by a bully, however, it later came to light that Clementi had already come out to his parents before starting his freshman year. Ravi’s defenders did their best to portray the incident as a prank by an immature kid that ended up getting out of hand.

On April 20, 2011 a grand jury found Ravi guilty on 15 counts, including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, witness tampering and evidence tampering.

His future remains to be seen.

Sources: 1234

Photo via

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/04/dharun-ravi-what-happened/


Who is Joseph Kony?

We are the generation of the Internet. We are stereotyped as the self-absorbed, pretentious, incredibly social and aspiringly superficial generation. Very often, we successfully fulfill all those criteria. My favorite lazy days are spent in bed catching up on TV shows, shopping online and Facebooking, most of the time, simultaneously. However, when I came across this video, it made me sit up and take notice. I shed uninhibited tears for the pains suffered a world apart. It shook me to my core that children were having to endure what most adults wouldn’t have the courage to face.
One 30 minute clip later, I found myself on Twitter. #Kony2012 and #stopKony were trending. All of a sudden, the whole world seemed to be echoing my emotions. They had all experienced the agony of guilt for their ignorance about such atrocities and they all felt the fire within to make a difference. It wasn’t long before Invisible Children’s (the organization behind documentary) website and donation pages started crashing.
We’ve all heard the great capabilities of the Internet. It was instrumental in dethroning the dictators of a handful of Arab countries. On January 18th of this year, we witnessed the Anti-SOPA Blackout Day that changed the minds of many politicians and saved our code of privacy. For a majority of these events, we stood on the sidelines and watched it play out. Some of us helped spread the word while others were too busy to be bothered by it. The Kony 2012 Movement is different. We will be the reason that today’s biggest criminal will be captured. You and I will make this difference and we will live on to tell the tale of how we helped bring this world one step closer to being a just world.
The worst of oppressors is the oppressor of children. Help eradicate this man and if you do nothing else this year, you will have accomplished that.

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo and Youtube.

Invisible Children Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/invisiblechildren?ref=ts

To buy action kit/bracelets: http://invisiblechildrenstore.myshopify.com/

To make a donation: https://www.stayclassy.org/checkout/donation?eid=14711

To sign the pledge: http://www.causes.com/causes/227-invisible-children

http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/03/joseph-kony-2012/

Edit: If you guys have been keeping up with all the controversy surrounding Invisible Children’s legitimacy, they have posted up a response to their criticisms on their website at: http://www.invisiblechildren.com.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/critiques.html


Hijaab – My First Published Article

 

This was published by an Islamic newspaper in San Antonio, TX called Al-Bayaan. I can’t recall exactly when it was published and the newspaper no longer exists. It was either 2004 or 2005 and I was either 15 or 16.  I’ve been looking for this article for a long time now so I could complete my collection of all my publishings. I used to have a laminated copy of this article but I can’t seem to find it anymore, not sure what the parents did with it. I haven’t re-read it before posting it up but I do remember there being a lot of grammatical mistakes so I’m apologizing beforehand. Either way, my life is now complete.

 

Coming out of Saudi Arabia at the mere age of ten, I already held a great respect and appreciation for the hijaab. I suppose somewhere deep inside me I have always carried the love for the hijaab and the remarkable wisdom behind it.

 

But once I came to America, it seems that I subconsciously decided that if I wanted to be accepted as a ‘normal’ person, I would have to act normal. Unfortunately, this was long before I had learned that normal is not an easily defined term. This new normal that I tried to adapt to included talking, dressing and acting like my new classmates. Sadly, this is the same conclusion that much of our youth has come to today.

 

All through elementary and middle school, I would wear the hijaab periodically, embellishing in the way it gave me a sense of pride and an odd power that allowed me to break away from the pressures of society. However, I was never able to make a commitment to it. I always felt that my new friends and lifestyle deemed me unworthy of it. I tried to completely push it out of my mind and not to bother over it. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I fully broke away from all old friends and was again out on a search looking for the thing that made me feel complete.

 

And then I found it. My mom had me join these Islamic classes and I was suddenly plunged into a whole new world that left me nourished and wanting for more each time. I started praying once again, I was happier and I started setting proper goals for myself. With everything going so well, the idea of hijaab started ebbing its way back into my mind – even though our teacher had said nothing to us about the importance of hijaab in Islam. I fought it because I felt that the hijaab was a responsibility that I could never shoulder. It was too much of a commitment. Regardless of how much I argued my conscience, I was always left feeling a sense of sadness for not having the strength to make the decision.

 

Then on that one fated day, the inevitable topic of hijaab came up in class. I was bombarded with the much needed knowledge. Looking around us in society, it is apparent that the Woman was created to be beautiful and attractive. Her curvy and elegant body is proof enough of this beauty. Yet, in this same body lies her weakness in the lack of matching the physical strength of the Man. It is more than obvious that such an appealing treasure would require some sort of protection. If not, it would be like putting a cookie in front of a child and hoping he won’t eat it.

 

Through the beloved Prophet Muhamad, peace be upon him, Allah has revealed to us the following verse as a protection for us women: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to guard their modesty. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is acquainted with all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their modesty, and not to display their adornments, except that which ordinarily appears thereof, and to draw their head-veils over their necks and bosoms, and not to reveal their adornments except to their own husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants free of physical desires, or small children who have no sense of women’s nakedness. Let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they conceal of their hidden ornaments. And turn unto Allah altogether, O you Believers; in order that you may attain success.” An Nur (24:30-31) The beauty of this verse lies in the fact that within a few sentences, Allah is able to give us the cure to the rising numbers of rape incidents in our society. This verse also goes to show that viewing the beauty of a Woman is a privilege for any man. It also rightly compares to the saying that Diamonds wouldn’t be as beautiful if they were found just lying around on the ground. They are so beautiful and valuable to us because they are found deep in the ground, hidden from the rest of the world. Their exquisiteness lies in that they are rarely ever seen. Islam treats women as jewels, precious and delicate. Islam is not too harsh with them as long as she is an Allah-fearing woman.

 

As the class came to its end, I saw my irrationality behind not wearing the hijaab. Before I even got up from my seat, I decided that I would wear the hijaab and I would start as soon as possible. That night, I took my mom to go shopping so I could buy some full sleeved shirts to wear underneath my shorter sleeved shirts. I was happy as I browsed through the stores because I had put an ultimatum for myself. I had decided that I would start the hijaab on the first day of Ramadan which was still three weeks away. I went to sleep that night thinking about my decision and feeling satisfied and fully content after a long time. The next morning, it was a Monday, I woke up for school and as I stood in front my closet trying to decided what to wear, the clothes I had bought the night before caught my attention. I pulled them out just to look at them and think about that day that was to come when I would step outside properly and Islamically covered. Before I knew it, I found myself pulling the clothes on and placing the hijaab on my head. My mom came in to peep in through the door to see whether I was dressed and she asked me with surprise if I was going to wear it to school today. I excitedly nodded my head and picked up my backpack.

 

So it was that day, four weeks before my fifteenth birthday, that I made this life changing decision. It was as though almost instantly that I felt free from the pressures of this society. I felt that it wasn’t important to impress anyone because as long as I was pleasing Allah, I was doing the right thing and is there really anything to fear when you know you’re doing the right thing? Everyone was more than surprised as to why the sudden change and I would laugh and tell them that I was only answering a calling that was embedded in us all since birth. Even though I was born into a Muslim family, it was then that I truly embraced Islam.