Monday, January 02, 2017

A Quick Look At The Gone Year 2016

Another year went by - 2016. Let's visit the highlights that happened around me.

Highs

  • Suhaila got admitted to public school. She got the sibling privilege as Ahyan is already a student there at Parkmont Elemetary School.
  • Adobe Systems acquired TubeMogul at the end of the year. So I am now an Adobe employee.
  • Started understanding Quran with meaning as well Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadiths. I am expecting it to be a 5 to 10 years journey to finish even for once if Allah wills.
  • My parents-in-law came to visit us and we all went to attend Sadiaa's convocation at Tufts University, Boston, MA.
  • Watched the best Bangladeshi movie in recent times Aynabaji. Amitabh Reza Choudhury's visit to us was a great bonus.
  • Participated in Millionaire Chess 3 in New Journey, probably the last edition of MC for foreseeable future. It was great to meet Amy Lee with my family during her trip to bay area.
  • Sadiaa got a job in San Francisco and she moved to our place. The kids are so fond of her and its a blessing for Shusmita as well.
  • Started listening to audiobooks and finished 56 books this year (one book I couldn't include in goodreads).
  • In the year end trip, we rode in hot air balloon. A tick mark from bucket list.
  • Litu Bhaijan visited us from Japan with his family.
  • Finally started managing my personal finance actively.
  • Attended some great sessions face to face with Sheykh Yasir Qadhi, Ustaad Nouman Ali Khan, Al Jazeera's Mehid Hasan, Professor Reza Aslan.

Lows

  • Donald Trump won 2016 US Presidential election defeating all republican competitors as well as democrat candidate Hillary Clinton by surprise and by miles.
  • A series of terrorist attacks all across the globe including the one in Dhaka's Artisan cafe left many of us paranoid and highly frustrated.
  • My USCF and FIDE chess rating remained below 2000 dropping slightly.
  • I haven't been able to start working out despite thinking about it several times.


Sunday, November 06, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Evils of Remaining Silent

"ওরা প্রথমে যখন কমিউনিস্টদের ধরে নিয়ে যেতে এলো,
আমি কোন কথা বলিনি,
কারণ আমি কমিউনিস্ট নই।
তারপর ওরা যখন ট্রেড ইউনিয়নের লোকগুলোকে ধরে নিয়ে গেল,
আমি নীরব ছিলাম,
কারণ আমি শ্রমিক নই।
তারপর ওরা যখন ফিরে এলো ইহুদিদের ধরে নিয়ে যেতে,
আমি তখনও চুপ করে ছিলাম,
কারণ আমি ইহুদি নই।
ওরা আবারও আসল ক্যাথলিকদের ধরে নিয়ে যেতে,
আমি টু শব্দটিও উচ্চারণ করিনি,
কারণ আমি ক্যাথলিক নই।
শেষবার ওরা ফিরে এলো আমাকে ধরে নিয়ে যেতে,
আমার পক্ষে কেউ কোন কথা বলল না,
কারণ, কথা বলার মত তখন আর কেউ বেঁচে ছিল না।
 

-জার্মান কবি মার্টিন নিমোলার কবিতা

Sunday, April 24, 2016

No Doubt - God, Religion Politics in the Modern World by Sheykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi

Last February I attended the two-and-half days Almaghrib Institute Seminar organized by MCA at San Jose along with Wali Bhai and Hasinur. The presenter was none other than my favorite Sheykh Dr. Yasir Qadhi and the subject was No Doubt - God, Religion  Politics in the Modern World. I was so engaged in it that I felt like the presentation finished in two-and-half minutes despite the fact that we were there from 10 AM to 8 PM the whole weekend. His speech was so enthusiastic and the content so relevant to us, American Muslims - that I could not have hoped for anything better.


There were 5 main areas that this seminar focused on.

First, The Quest for Real Islam. Here Sheykh Yasir covered the major Muslim sects including Kharijites, Mu'tazila, Zaydis, Twelver Shi'sm, Isma'ilism and Sunni Islam and what are the differences or controversies among their theologies. He touched on Hadith of '73', the common grounds of all Muslims and the need for Circles of Cooperation.

Second, Faith and Reason. Here Sheykh gave us history of Atheism, new atheist movement, primary arguments of western theists, Quranic arguments, the role of intellect in Islam, Fitra, Darwin's Theory of Evolution. No reason to deny theory of evolution as long as we can reconcile the exception for Adam (aws).

Third, Islam and the Other. This module focused on how we deal with Non-Muslims living as a minority group in the west. He clarified several important dogmas that was very comforting. Yes, as long as you remember a few points - there is no problem mixing and co-existing with non-Muslims and yet live by a proud pious Muslim identity.

Fourth, Modernity and Islam. In my opinion this is the most enthusiastic content of the whole seminar. Here Dr. Yasir covered in details topics like 3 waves of Feminism, Gender Roles in Islam, Gay/Lesbians (LGBTQ), Liberalism. He gave a beautiful analogy of 4 major responses of Muslim communities when it came in touch with modern world. You can get the gyst of it from the below lecture.



- a group of Muslims leave Islam because they can't reconcile Quran and Sunnah in the modern context and they become Ex-Muslims.
- a traditional group who hold even more firmly to the existing Islamic rules without allowing any minor changes even in trivial practices
- a reforming group who are ready to make some adjustments with the changed contexts in the modern world without oversepping Quran and Sunnah in any way
- a progressive group who are ready to change the religion of Islam and most of its rules without any hesitance

I consider myself in the reformist group in this respect. I see Dr.Yasir started his life as part of the second group (traditional) but slowly has gained better understanding of our religion and contemporary world and have moved to the reformist group.

Fifth, Divine Law and Modern Governance. In this last module we came to know that the idea of nation state and citizenship is relatively very recent in human history. Sheykh Yasir discussed the advantage and disadvantage of Nation-state vs Tribes vs Ummah. He talked about the validity of living in a non-Muslim land as a minority Muslim community. The bottom line is we should be living here a Proud Muslim American.