Why it is not a Happy Islamic New Year

Why it is not a Happy Islamic New Year ?
Islamic new year starts with the first month of Muharram which is a month of mourning for all the Muslims on the world.
This month marks the great sacrifice of Prophet Mohammed’s (mpbuhahf) family in the great tragedy Karbala. Imam Husain who was the son of Ali Ibne Abutalib and grand son of Prophet Mohammad was martyred in the desert of Karbala. He and his family were treated mercilessly and were kept hungry and thirsty for three days and after which they were martyred. Women and children were taken captives and insulted. The women who belonged to the household of Prophet of Islam were taken prisoners and were not allowed to cover their heads and they were taken around cities and towns like slaves.
Imam Husain never laid his allegiance to the tyranny and terrorism of Yazid ibne Muawiya and he saved the religion by sacrificing his family and friends.
This marks the greatest ever fight against terrorism and corruption. The start of Moharram marks mourning and remembering the teachings of Prophet Mohammad and his Family. It is not about celebrating indeed. Some people unknowingly do this Sin while copying the western culture. They should be informed. This is the month when family of our Prophet was in utter pain, their women and children were tortured. When we have a death in one of our neighbours or relatives we avoid doing festivities and celebration. Even we avoid laughing in front of the mourning neighbour then how can we be happy and rejoicing when the family of Prophet is in pain and agony.
Think.
This Happy Islamic New Year is new stance of the Saudi type Salafi idealogy to ignore the great sacrifice of Husain like people forgot Ghadeer they should forget Karbala. But they indeed do harm to themselves by going against the wishes of AhlulBait or the family of Prophet Mohammad (mpbuhahf).
So next time somebody wishes you Happy Islamic New Year you know how to respond.
May Allah keep us away from crying in pain accept in the pain of Husain and his family.

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Karbala — The longest running demonstration against oppression and terrorism – Part II

In the first part of the blog post I tried to highlight some of the events which surrounded the Tragedy of Karbala. And now as promised I am presenting the second part, in which I will discuss the reason behind public mourning in moharram, big Juloos or processions, Azadaari, Maatam and related rituals and their importance.

Tragedy of Karbala was a remarkable event in the history of mankind, there exists several aspects of understanding it and huge research has already been done, but still we come across people who have doubts, and they say:

It was a war, it is sad people got killed, but why mourn so long?

We also feel sad on the death of Imam Husain and his family but why do you take out these processions?

Why Taboot(coffin), Zuljanah(Imam Husain’s Horse), Tazia (Imitation of tomb of Imam Husain) and Alams (Flags), Camels etc in the procession? Why do people kiss the Taboot and cry over it ?

Why these religious lectures or Majlis  with huge congregations of mourners ?

Why beat yourself over the death of Imam Husain?

and many more …

Several scholars have very successfully explained these points but I feel at times that they did’nt convey it well. Still a huge number of people don’t have access to those literature and their lectures, and on the contrary illiteracy spreads like fire and that’s what we now see, people gaping with open mouths full of doubt and confusion.

Here I will just try to share some of the points which I got to know from different sources and elders and which I feel might be helpfull for others. I am a novice to this very strict and touchy subject but still I will put forward whatever best I can as per my study. And this blog welcomes all its readers and followers to comment and clarify to strengthen this subject and the motive.

To start with we will have to go a bit into the history and the surrounding events. After the horrifying day of Ashura when all the men sacrificed their life, the Yazidi army attacked their tents and started burning them. They captured each and every member of the family, women were insulted, their kids were beaten mercilessly. The soldiers of Yazidi army didn’t actually knew the background of these people.

Yazid was genetically barbarian. He knew about his grandmother Hinda who chewed the liver of Hazrat Hamza and about his grand father who had cruel conflicts with The Prophet. He had seen his father Maviyah fighting and conspiring against the father of Husain, Ali-ibne-AbiTalib.  But he knew very well that this war cannot be just won by power, so his team spread the rumor and misinformation. Those were the times of lack of means of reliable communication. People used to believe on accounts which they could not confirm. Those who used to go against the rumor were generally negated or bought.

So the army was under the impression that they actually butchered enemies of religion and they successfully won over the mutiny. What they didn’t knew was that the women and kids whom they were torturing were infact the members of the family of their own Prophet Mohammad (asmwam) and the rebel named Husain who has been mercilessly killed after being kept hungry and thirsty for three straight days is the same Imam Husain who has been the favorite of their own Prophet. It was the same Husain of whom the Prophet said that he along with his brother Hasan will be the guardian of the gates of heaven and no one can pass without their will.

There are reported incidences before the day of Ashura where some men in Yazid’s army got to know of this secret, some of them switched sides like Hur and his family who later sacrificed their life with the Imam, while there were many who out of shear fright ran away and left Karbala before the plunder started.

The prisoners of Karbala  included widows, children, sick and injured men and women. After the tragedy of Karbala these women and children were taken to the capital of Syrian Empire. The painful journey was of around a thousand kilometers. The children who could not walk were tied to back of camels and were given no or very little food. The people belonging to the cities and towns on way hurled abuses and threw stones at the poor prisoners. The women were not allowed to mourn the death of their husbands and kids. They were insulted, beaten and tortured. This caravan reached the city of Damascus which was the seat of the throne of Ameer-e- Shaam or the King of Damascus – Yazeed ibne- Mawiyaah.

The prisoners were brought in the court before Yazeed, all the severed heads of the men were also presented. During these trial proceedings Imam Zainulabedin(Son of Imam Husain ) and Hazrat Zainab (Sister of Imam Husain and aaughter of Amir-ul-Momineen Ali ibne-Aabi Talib) gave some of the most beautiful lectures and sermons before the people. These sermons were eye opening for people who got to know about the actual events of karbala and the atrocities committed. They also understood the reason behind Imam Husain’s stand against the tyranny of Yazeed.

These sermons and lectures given by both Imam Zainul Abedin and Janabe Zainab laid the foundation of the current day Moharram Majlalees and Congregations. The aim is to touch the various aspects of the events around Karbala and also the Islamic values and philosophy. The purpose remains to keep people informed about the great sacrifice and also inculcat true values of Islam and the teachings of Ahlulbait among the people.

After around a year in captivity these prisoners were released from the prison. During this year the masses got to know about the misdeeds done by Yazid. Even some of the nobles started to revolt. There was so much pressure on Yazid that he was not left with any option but to release the family of Prophet Mohammad from the prison.

After the release the first thing which Zainab requested was for a place where they can mourn the dead. The most painful thing done to them was that after the death of Imam Husain and his companions the ladies and kids were not allowed to mourn. They were not allowed to cry. And now the first things after the release which Zainab wanted was a place where she and the family can mourn the dead. They wanted this day from long time.

So a place was given to them which laid the foundation of first Ashur Khana or Imam Bada. The ladies cried over the dead, people from around the villages came and paid there respects. The crying over the Shaheeds of Karbala then became a regular practice, where year over year people started mourning the death of the family of Prophet Mohammad. It was also a kind of a  protest and reaction to the misdeeds of Yazid and the oppression which earlier barred them from crying and mourning. Imam Bada became a common place for mourning during Moharram and also a place to deliver sermons and majlis.

There were many  people at that time who could not reach for Imam Husain’s help and they repented for this and started beating themselves in agony and pain. They wanted to die with Husain in Karbala and they failed in doing so. Some of the people came to know about the karbala much after the death of Husain and they too repented they wanted to be part of Husain’s camp. The practice of beating while mourning started as a practice to repent and then overtime people beat themselves in pain over the helplessness of Husian and his camp.

People started taking out huge processions on the roads in towns and villages to spread the message of Karbala and to aprise people about the reality. The processions were mainly designed to inform people about the events. In those days people used to show the burnt and bloodied flags, clothes and other items of the the shaheeds to the people on the roads. Even the horse used by husain and his armour was demonstrated so that people should believe.  This practice continued in other parts of the world where people started demonstrating copies of the sacred articles like flags, horse etc.

A coffin became a part of all of the demonstrations because the martyrs of Karbala did hot have a proper burial and nobody could raise their coffins. Simlarly Tazia’s or the Imitation of tomb of Imam Husain became part of the processions for the people who could not visit the tomb in Karbala, Iraq. This became a way to pay respects.

So by this all through the world the events around Karbala got highlighted. People started understanding the message. but the practice continues and it really is the longest running demonstration against the tyranny and oppression of a ruler. This is a way of doing a propaganda and the aim is to let people understand the true Husain and the reason of his Great Sacrifice.

Hope I was able to bring and clear some of the points which I aimed at.

Take Care

Do you have problems with Niche Skills ?

nicheWe live in an era of ever changing technology. The development of the educational and training system has provided us with a huge influx of talented people. Technology keeps changing and so does the talent pool. People keep jumping into new endeavors to learn new skills and at times they get into something which is NICHE. Internet is full of pages with details about what Niche IT skills are but to summarize; a skill becomes niche when either the technology becomes very old like Fortran, TCL, BASIC, PASCAL or it is the very latest like NoSql, Mongodb to name a few.

Having niche skills in IT industry is a challenge, not because learning it is very difficult, but because coping-up with its demand is a big task. Niche skill-set can get you a decent paying job but finding this job remains a daunting task. And even if you find yourself lucky in getting a nice project you remain vulnerable. You will be one of the guys who knows the stuff, so most of the things come to you and then because its difficult to find new opportunities. its tough to negotiate with your demands.

Now the question arises when a skill becomes niche should’nt it be in huge demand? Not necessarily. Even if the demand is huge its stays for a very less time. And in most scenarios the demand stays but can’t be fulfilled. Most of the times it becomes difficult to explain to the recruiters about the technology for example in my case I had a hard time telling my recruiting manager that I have worked on Tcl Scripting and she only knew javascript. What’s this Tcl Scripting … ?

Its worse when you face a non-technical recruiter, explaining your skillset becomes a hell lot off a job specially when its so niche that even technical guys gape at it. So there comes a disconnect, Companies need guys with these skills but the recruitment team can’t understand the requirements and hence can’t find proper guys, while on the other side people with such skills sit whole day uploading resumes on useless non responsive job databases. Most of the times companies end up hiring people with some other skills and then they train them spending huge amount of money.

So what can be a solution to this problem?

In my view there can be multiple things which the bigger community of hiring managers, technical teams and recruitment can do.

The technical teams should be very specific and clear with the requirements. If the skills required are niche then the skillset should be very well defined with related information sources so that the hiring and recruitment teams get to know about the requirements in detail.

The recruitment team if into technical hiring should have atleast basic technical know how and incase they are looking for a niche requirement they should do some homework before hunting.

Even after all that the candidate with the niche skills still has to do some hardwork. He should be more expressive in his resume, if the skills are niche then put a bit more detail about the projects. On job hunting sites put the skill tags efficiently and use some related tags to guide recruiters to the profile.

The points mentioned here are purely based on my experiences and I expect comments and critical feedback from you on this. This would help.

Things I learnt from The Adventures of Jim Corbett

Not much introduction is required for Jim Corbett. As the Wikipedia says :

“Edward James “Jim” Corbett (25 July 1875 in Nainital, India – 19 April 1955 in Nyeri,Kenya) was a legendary British hunter and tracker-turned-conservationist, author andnaturalist, famous for hunting a large number of man-eating tigers and leopards in India.Book Cover

I have read some of his famous books like: Man-Eaters of Kumaon and The Man-eating Leopard of Rudraprayag and I would like to say that being an expert hunter he was indeed a great writer. His books tell astounding and amazing adventures and encounters with the wildlife, and while his stories remain a historical register for the events in that era, they are also a great source of information on strategy, planning, detailing and hardwork.

So coming back to the topic of my post I would like to share some of the key points which I learnt from Corbett’s experiences:

  • Passion: Reading even a single chapter of his books will tell you the level of passion Corbett had towards his work and duty. Though he was a freelancer and hobbyist but many a times his projects were funded by the govt, but that never made a difference towards his dedication.
  • Strategy and Planning: Jim Corbett’s secret of being so successful in killing so many dreadful man-eaters is not only his bravery but more than that he was a great strategist. He used to have specific plans for each of the targets. His tactics and plans were at times so novel and result oriented that even experienced hunters remained clueless of his ways.
  • Learning from Experiences: The greatness of Corbett lies in his strength of learning from his experiences. He tactics and maneuvers in the jungle were not always dictated by the target but at times he used his wits and learning to tame the game towards his traps. On many occasions he directed a tigress towards the trap just by calling her by imitating the call of a tiger.
  • Attention to Detail: Corbett used to use his environment and surroundings to his advantage. A flip of a leaf, a chirp of a bird, monkey and kakkar warnings were all used to locate the target. Wind directions were at times used to decide the location of the machaan (platform erected in a tree, ) or the trap. His analysis of the footprints of the animals was amazing, he could get so much information about the target just by the footprints like age, gender, speed, direction and the time.
  • Self belief and Leadership: It would be wrong to say that Corbett never believed on others that’s why he avoided taking other hunters with him on his expedition. It was his self belief and confidence over his subject. He never wanted to fall into a situation of cross fire and misunderstandings. So though he always worked as a team but he seldom took others into the jungle. He used other resources for tasks like trap building, food, logistics, preparation of the bait etc. He always lead from the front and as he always knew about the nature of the danger he avoided putting others into problem. On a few occasions he took his friend and a fellow hunter Ibbotson on his expeditions because they had a very good understanding and knew each others strength very well.
  • Hardwork: It would not be wrong if I say Corbett was a hunting machine. There were scenarios where he stayed on a very uncomfortable tree branch, or on ropes hanging from trees for more that ten hours and that too without making any sound and movements. He used to walk miles in a day on a terrain difficult even for the locals. On many a occasions he preferred walking over taking a horse with him just to avoid getting noticed and missing the target.
  • Care and Respect: Though he was a dreadful hunter but that was only for his targets, he was actually a person with a very nice heart. On most of his expeditions he himself faced the danger just to keep the villagers safe. On several occasions he stayed with the frightened people to increase their confidence. He slept alone in open to keep vigil and secure the people from the man-eaters. Many a times he went into petrifying situations in the jungle just to bring back the remains of the dead people from the clutches of the tigers so that the last rites can be performed.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Last but not the least the most important character of Corbett which I liked was the way he shared his knowledge with others. He shared almost all his tactics and methods with people. He documented most of his adventures taking utmost care towards detail. He used to analyse the cause of a tiger becoming man-eater and he found that in most of the cases these animals became man-eaters because of the human actions like hunting games, where tigers were wounded and left in the jungle to find easy human prey in the villages around. He tried to remove lots of misconceptions and superstitions surrounding the wild animals.

These were some of the things which learnt from Corbett’s experiences and the list is not exhaustive.

Would request your comments and feedback. Any additions to the above list is most welcome.