Joël

For Mother’s Day, I decided to take Amber out for a few hours. We wandered around, watched a movie and had dinner at Joël restaurant, which features French cuisine “with Asian and Mediterranean influences.”

For Mother’s Day, I decided to take Amber out for a few hours so that she could relax and have some fun. So we got a babysitter and headed out. We wandered around, watched a movie and had dinner at Joël restaurant, which features French cuisine “with Asian and Mediterranean influences.”

I had quail as appetizer while Amber played safe with shrimp. The quail was very good. For the main course, I got duck while Amber got veal sweetbreads on my suggestion. The duck was good but the veal sweetbreads were heavenly. We finished off with some icecream.

Overall, a good meal. I would recommend the restaurant for special occasions since it is somewhat expensive.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange was a weird movie according to Amber. But I liked it. I rate it 8/10.

A Clockwork Orange is classic Stanley Kubrick. According to Amber, it was weird and bizarre but I thought it was good. Then again, I am a fan of Kubrick and even liked his Eyes Wide Shut.

I rate A Clockwork Orange 8/10.

Blast from the Past

On our recent trip to Pakistan, we wanted to document, photographically, all the places with which we had some association in our past. We didn’t succeed completely. But here are some photographs.

On our recent trip to Pakistan, we had a couple of things in mind to get in touch with the past. One of these was to document, photographically, all the places with which we had some association in our past. We didn’t succeed completely. For one thing, we didn’t remember everything. For another, places have changed. And finally we didn’t have enough time.

Anyway, here are a few photographs of places as they look now which, in some cases, is very different from how they looked when we were there.

Hospital where we were born This is the hospital where both Amber and I were born. As I don’t remember the specific building, we took a photograph of the hospital complex from the street.
My First Home This is where I spent the first few years of my life.
Amber's First Home Amber spent her childhood here.
Sir Syed School My primary school. I spent less than 2 years here, but this is the start of my schooling.
F.G. School No.5 Amber’s middle/high school (Grades 6-10). She has fond memories of her time there.
My Home Again This is the home where I have spent the maximum time, 10 years. I was a teenager here. The house doesn’t look well-maintained, though it was fairly new when we lived here.
Sir Syed College My high school (Grades 9-12).
Playground My high school playground where there were dozens of football (soccer), cricket and basketball games during break time.
Ordnance Club This place is called Ordnance Club, though it has nothing to do with ordnance, other than the fact that it is owned by Pakistan Ordnance Factories. I learned to swim here and played tennis as well. You can see the squash courts on the extreme left. I wanted to take pictures of the pool or the tennis courts but there was some construction going on.
F.G. Postgraduate College for Women Amber did her F.Sc. (Grades 11-12) here.
Honda CD70 My first motorized ride. I got it on finishing high school. It was a fun ride and I was about the only guy wearing a helmet in Pakistan. In fact, my helmet cost about 10% of the motorcycle price.
Electrical Engineering, UET, Taxila Electrical Engineering building at the university Amber and I attended.
UET Taxila Library Our university library did not have much in its collection, but it was the only place with full-blast air-conditioning in the summer. So it was very popular.
Amber's old home Amber lived here before we got married.
POF Hotel This is where Amber and I got married.
Our home Amber and I lived here before coming to the US.

As you can see, there is a lot missing. May be we’ll cover some more places in our next trip.

Islamic Traditionalism

There was a great discussion about Islam and Traditionalism spanning several blogs. Please do follow the links and read it in full. There might be a quiz later. When I am less busy, I’ll pick up some of the threads here.

I am busy and have no time to post anything. But here is a discussion on Traditionalism in Islam. It is long and spread over multiple blogs, but in many ways it is fascinating. Thabet calls it

Not quite Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd. But close.

Here is the complete list of links. I can’t excerpt in any meaningful way, so you will have to follow the links.

  1. Avari.Nameh: bombing increases the moonlight: an endearing etiology of islam’s winter
  2. Avari.Nameh: part one: bombing competes with the moonlight
  3. Avari.Nameh: part two: conversations in the moonlight
  4. Mind, Body, Soul » Haroon Moghul: conversations in the moonlight
  5. Avari.Nameh: when ash’arites become ashtrays
  6. Unwilling Self-Negation » Cleansing With Sunlight: Traditionalist Inadequacy and Terror
  7. Avari.Nameh: light is both a particle and a wave: a commentary on a commentary on a commentary
  8. towards God is our journey: Interpreting the interpretation
  9. Unwilling Self-Negation » Saudis Deport A Girl Who Was Raped
  10. Unwilling Self-Negation » Cleansing With Sunlight: Part II
  11. Unwilling Self-Negation » A Way Beyond Religion
  12. Avari.Nameh: advaita in the muslim moonlight
  13. Mind, Body, Soul » A Response to Attacks of ‘Traditionalists’ by Reformists
  14. towards God is our journey: Relativism and subjectivism
  15. Unwilling Self-Negation » Reply To Islamic Traditionalist
  16. Non Skeptical Essays: Tradition (1) – Key Dualities
  17. Non Skeptical Essays: Tradition (2) – Conversation Incarnate
  18. Non Skeptical Essays: Tradition (3) – Converse to Create Knowledge
  19. Non Skeptical Essays: Tradition (4) – Conclusion and more…
  20. towards God is our journey: Talking tradition
  21. Unwilling Self-Negation » Laid Back Conversation With Traditionalists
  22. Mind, Body, Soul » Continuing the Eteraz Conversation…
  23. Non Skeptical Essays: Cosmopolitan Fiqh
  24. Non Skeptical Essays: Addendum to ‘Cosmopolitan Fiqh’ Post
  25. Unwilling Self-Negation » Cleansing With Sunlight: Haroon Style
  26. Avari.Nameh: the silent traditionalist
  27. Avari.Nameh: towards an outline of traditional islam
  28. Mind, Body, Soul » Response to Haroon of AvariNameh
  29. Avari.Nameh: now i’ve been reduced to defending traditionalism
  30. Mind, Body, Soul » Moral Relativism and Islam, my thoughts.
  31. Unwilling Self-Negation » Islamic Tradition And Islamic Exceptionalism
  32. Mind, Body, Soul » Tradition/Extradition
  33. Mind, Body, Soul » How To Criticise Traditional Islam – Part 1
  34. Mind, Body, Soul » How To Criticise Traditional Islam – Part 2
  35. Unwilling Self-Negation » Convergence of Traditionalism and Jihadism
  36. Unwilling Self-Negation » Traditionalist Rules on Violence
  37. Ali Eteraz » Ramadan Reconciliation Part II – Tradition and Traditionalists
  38. City of Brass » Tradition

I would like to comment on a few threads in this discussion, for example, on slavery and also why Islam has to be progressive. Some parts of this discussion also tie with my upcoming post on why I think that

Islam is basically what is practiced by Muslims.

All that goodness later. For now, I am only going to say that, as you might have guessed, I am partial to Ibn Rushd and hence, in this discussion, Eteraz, who I have added to my blogroll.

UPDATE (Sept 22, 2007): Added two more links to blog posts discussing tradition.

Lord of War

I was sympathetic to the viewpoint of the movie against arms dealing. However, Lord of War became too full of clichés even for me. Thus, I rate it 5/10.

I watched Lord of War in the plane on our trip to Pakistan. Yes, I am far behind in my movie reviews.

Lord of War was on a topic made for me. I think the perniciousness of the military hardware industry and dealers (as well as countries) was well on display in the movie and coincided well with my views on the subject.

The movie started out well. However, later it got too clichéd. Instead of making its point subtly or even normally, it decided to hammer it in with a sledgehammer. That didn’t go too well.

Overall, I would rate Lord of War 5/10.

خدا کا دیس نکالا

پاکستان میں عام طور سے اللہ کے لئے خدا کا لفظ استعمال ہوتا تھا۔ مگر کچھ سالوں سے ایک مہم چلی ہوئی ہے کہ خدا کو اردو زبان سے نکال دیا جائے۔ کچھ مسلمان چاہتے ہیں کہ ہم اللہ کا لفظ استعمال کریں اور انگریزی میں گاڈ اور اردو میں خدا کہنا چھوڑ دیں۔

پاکستان میں عام طور سے اللہ کے لئے خدا کا لفظ استعمال ہوتا تھا۔ مگر کچھ سالوں سے ایک مہم چلی ہوئی ہے کہ خدا کو اردو زبان سے نکال دیا جائے۔ کچھ مسلمان چاہتے ہیں کہ ہم اللہ کا لفظ استعمال کریں اور انگریزی میں God اور اردو میں خدا کہنا چھوڑ دیں۔ ادھر آپ کے منہ سے “خدا حافظ” نکلا نہیں اور ادھر یہ حضرات آپ پر حملہ‌آور ہوئے کہ “اللہ حافظ” کہا کرو۔ ان لوگوں کا کہنا ہے کہ خدا فارسی کا لفظ ہے اور اللہ عربی کا۔ پھر اللہ قرآن میں استعمال ہوا ہے۔ اس لئے صرف اللہ ہی صحیح ہے۔ شاید یہ نہیں جانتے کہ قرآن عربی میں اس لئے ہے کہ وہ عربوں پر اتارا گیا۔ اور عربوں میں اللہ کا لفظ اسلام سے پہلے کا ہے۔ اگر زبان ہی کی بات ہے تو پھر ہم خدا کو اس کے عبرانی نام سے کیوں نہیں پکارتے۔ حقیقت یہ ہے کہ لوگ اپنی مادری زبان استعمال کرنا پسند کرتے ہیں اور خدا سے اگر آپ تعلق رکھنا چاہیں تو اپنی زبان میں اس کا نام لینے میں کوئی حرج نہیں۔

خدا کے خلاف اس مہم کا ایک نتیجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ یہ مسلمان ان لوگوں کی بات سچی کر رہے ہیں جو یہ کہتے ہیں کہ مسلمانوں کا اللہ تورات اور انجیل کا خدا نہیں ہے۔ یہ فرق پیدا کرنے کی کیا ضرورت ہے جب اسلام کے اصولوں کے تحت ایک ہی خدا ہے۔ کیا اس سے فرق پڑتا ہے کہ ہم اسے اللہ کہیں یا خدا یا God ؟ آپ کا کیا خیال ہے؟

When I was growing up in Pakistan, the goodbye greeting there was “Khuda Hafiz”. However, in recent years, some Muslims have taken it upon themselves to banish the Persian word “Khuda” and the English “God” from the Pakistani/Muslim vocabulary. They want everyone to say “Allah” for God. It wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t campaigning actively for everyone to stop using “God” or “Khuda.”

I am not sure why they prefer “Allah” other than the fact that it is an Arabic word. While these guys point to the Quranic origin of “Allah”, they forget that the word “Allah” predates Islam and Quran in the Arabic language.

In my opinion, using one’s own language for “God” shouldn’t be a problem. Forcing everyone to use “Allah” has side-effects too: It puts these guys on the same side as those in the West who argue that the God of the Quran is not the same as that of the Bible.