About Writing To help you improve upon or begin to think about one specific area of your life. Today it is an attempt to reflect on: The life path we follow of learning and teaching others. The Holy Prophet (PBUH)said to Hazrat Ali, “By Allah, if a single person is guided by Allah through you, it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Riyad as-Salihin 1379 Life passes through Three Phases.
In the first phase, we depend on our caretakers (generally birth parents) until we grow older and wiser and move on to the second phase, the time of independence. Here others depend on you and your work, and you are rewarded for it in proportion to your contribution. In the final phase, there is retirement and we are free to do what we will, free from the burden of others depending on our work.
The destination of our journey leads to the same place, but our paths will be different. The time spent traveling through each phase will be different and unique to the individual. We won’t even notice the transitions, but it does happen, however slowly.
Each stage is different and brings with it a new set of problems and challenges.
• We can go through these stages without much planning and be reactive to the day-to-day problems, or we can try to look ahead and seek the counsel of some key people who already traversed and successfully navigated down this road. (E.g., with having kids or getting married, find and listen to success stories through connecting to family, friends, coaches, books, or podcasts).
Begin by getting yourself a bound journal (or starting a blog).
• Write down advice others have given you. • Write down the problems you’re currently facing. • Write down and capture your solution and thoughts.
You can revisit, revise, and refine as you go along.
The reason for doing this is eventually there will come a time when you’ll be entering the third phase of your life. By being thoughtful and carefully documenting the lessons you’ve learned through your life you can pass it down to the next generation and Insha-Allah they will be more self-sufficient and have to struggle less than you.
The reward for that, as mentioned in this hadith, is immense. As the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “it will be better for you than a whole lot of red camels.”
Let us make our lives meaningful. May the Lord help and Guide You Aameen.
What poet do you find most inspiring and comforting and why?
In the early years the poems were Mother Goose Rhymes, then poems of nature where William Wordsworth and Robert Frost stand out, but with only one poem each, Daffodils and Stopping by the Woods. I am sure many are familiar, as these poems are part of the school/college syllabus.
Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
At this stage a poem that touched my soul and spirit was Ozymandias of Egypt by Percy Bysshe Shelley. I had just started college when war with India was declared and ‘Death’ came to the forefront. Father and an elder brother were actively involved at the borders. I came to know Urdu poets and writers like Masroor Anwer, Soofi Tabassum, Jameeluddin Aali and Himayat Ali Shaer. The concept of bravery, sacrifice and patriotism was highlighted in the poems for the soldiers and kept the nation motivated and in high spirits…and I felt the support in the absence of father at home.
Among the writers of English Literature, though I enjoyed reading Shakespeare and found him close to nature and humanity, John Milton and T.S.Eliot inspired me the most. John Milton’s style of expression, themes and choice of words brought a change in my writing style. I began to see life differently, on a higher level of reality and grandeur. Milton’s grand style improved my proficiency in English (a foreign language for me), in sentence structure and the use of adjectives, similes and imagery. It moved me to write better and writing poetry became a part of me…I would keep reading lines from Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. The phrases “to be weak is miserable’’ and “all is not lost’ though coming from Satan in the poem gave much hope to thoughtful believers…Side by side Keat’s Odes brought color, movement and the density of vocabulary to embroider the little that I could write. My literature teacher guided me to adopt the style of such great writers. I must mention Mathew Arnold and Sir Philip Sydney whose essays also enlightened my mind towards understanding literature. Poetry remained on top of the list. T.S.Eliot’s Wasteland and the essays Tradition and Talent and What is a Classic opened more avenues for understanding human nature and ‘to justify the ways of God to men’ as Milton wrote. T.S.Eliot inspired me to write about the great event, the ‘Partition ‘of India, which changed the lives of millions of people of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent.
Ghalib When you ask me about a comforting poet then without any doubt or hesitation I would say that it is none other than Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (1797-1869). I have his complete works in my personal library including audio cassette recordings of his essays and letters etc read by Mr Zia Mohyiuddin. Every time my thoughts emotions feelings need comfort I turn towards his poems and ghazals. Ghalib understood human feelings. When one reads his verses one finds soothing answers. “… life is like that.” He has the saintly prophetic style of expression..he speaks the truth…in this world of hate, envy, and revenge I find him a great support…’acceptance is the key to happiness’ and he assures that awareness of one’s skill is the most satisfying thing in the world..’ ‘ and writes for himself..that he could have been a ‘wali’ a friend of the Almighty if he had not been an alcoholic.
ھیں اور بھی دنیا میں سخن ور بہت ا چھے
کہتے ھیں کہ غالب کا ھے انداظے بیاں اور
Iqbal The other influence on my writing came from Dr Allama Iqbal (1877-1938) whose poetry was regularly read aloud at home. From the primary level to college and later at family gatherings, Allam Iqbal’s poems were remembered and recited. Dr Iqbal inspired me towards religion, developing the strength of my faith belief and trust in Allah. Other than his poems for children, the Prayer DUA…
لب پہ آتی ھے دعا بن کہ تمنا میری زندگی شمع کی صورت ھو خدایا میری “I say a prayer, which is my wish that my life be like a lamp.”
He provides a complete guideline for the purpose of life and how to live it. Quranic study with meaning and understanding came much later in my life. Many verses are inspiring but two which I always recite and quote .. کبھی اے ھقیقت منتظر نظر آ لباس مجاز میں کہ ھزاروں سجدے تڑپ رھے ھیں میری جبین نیاز میں
“O Great Truth appear in the worldly light, am dying to prostrate myself, thousands of times.”
کھول آنکھ زمیں دیکھ فلک دیکھ فظا دیکھ مشرق سے ابھرتے ھوےؑ سورج کو زرا دیکھ
“Open your eyes see the Earth, the sky, the scene, see the sun rising in the East, have a vision,be enlightened. “
For Dr Iqbal one needs intensive and consistent study. His philosophy of ‘Self’ rising above personal desires, gaining knowledge and being positive and steadfast in faith leads to a fine development of character.
-Anjum Wasim Dar (She says of this artwork: “Pencil Perceptions are characters I created to depict social issues human rights and environmental problems CER is my Educational Firm Regd 2004”
Women are abused all over the world. Causes are launched to counter this injustice. Today the society is still the same as hundreds of years ago…will it get any better …no acid throwing, no gang rapes, no forced labour… some lines some thoughts
It’s a girl, O’hurry put her beneath the sand Oh, no one can stand or understand this creature, soft and tender I wonder why ?when life is so grand. Girls, mothers daughters sisters and wives, Can life move on without these five?
The land of Faith The land of oil Did they really bury their daughters alive? Girls are the lively spirits of a home or castles at heights girls are Goldilocks Cinderellas and…
Meanwhile Marmalade the sweet one, sitting in the lawn of her Pencil Cottage, could see part of the Street. The Shop ‘Chinese Pens’ was just outside her home. Once or twice the China man had come for a glass of water’ ‘May I have some water I need it for my Green Tea’ . ‘Ah Green Tea! Marmalade only knew the Black Tea. The British Tea or the Tea of England they called it, though tea leaves usually came from either Ceylon or now the country is called Sri Lanka, or Bangla Desh in the East of India, previously part of India, so much has changed in the world’. She did not know that a ‘pink tea’ also existed very close to India and Pakistan, in a land engaged in a ‘war for freedom’,Kashmir! Kashmiri people drank ‘pink tea with salt’ ‘yes, how do you make your green tea, is it green in color’ ‘No, no, it is light yellow in the beginning when the tea leaves are added to the plain boiling water, but some minutes later the color changes to orange brown. You can add cinnamon or ginger or fresh green grass’ if you wish…and …of course some sugar for taste. It is very good for digestion and good health and…ideas for writing’ ‘Orange, black, green, yellow, pink’ wow so many colors of tea, I could write a poem on it perhaps and become a famous Tea Poet’.
Oh , I heard of that, could you tell me more about this ideas for writing’ how does tea bring them on? I have to digest words at the most. I am made from orange peel’ and pulp’ ‘p and p’, hee,hee,hee, you know and some say it takes a lot of cutting peeling boiling filling rolling and singing’’
Oh Dear now what ? All eyes on the highest mountain peak K2 ?
No some one’s eyes are on some other fairy land ranges,cool calm and beautiful, where inspiration abounds everything is simple..er..just er..Oh Dear its so beautiful, its just poetic. Who? the place or is there a slim shining sparkling ..er..
Come now you are always looking for such objects, curiousity is seeped stuffed in you. Whose turn now? Orange are you ready?
“From the ashes a fire shall be woken” J.R.Tolkien.
J.R.Tolkien’s poetic expression stirred the ashes in the sorrowful soul, blew them away a bit, beginning to awaken the saddened muse , shocked by the killing wave of Covid 19 which struck harshly, crashing like a hurricane and suffocating like thick smog.
November dragged into December and a word flashed somewhere on the screen, it glowed and caught the attention: Christmas Poems”. Wondering whether there was still time to submit I texted a short query to the Editor, listless halfhearted attempt on my part, I had read the name which was the main reason of my setting eyes on the introduction. “Hmm in Canada, so far away” was the first reaction but soon vanished as the truth dawned, everything and everyone was so far away, in these times,it’s OK I guessed. The response was unexpected, encouraging, hopeful, and friendly, it made me feel special for it said,” for you,there is” Christmas time is a time of new beginnings.
I had written some lines when I found myself in the land of my Literature study.I felt as if I was walking on the pages of history,stepping on cobbled streets passing by dimly lit lamp posts, gazing in awe at the high castle walls, imagining Robin Hood and his gang hiding in the nearby forests,hearing shouts and cries of Aye’ and smelling the odd aroma of wine and beer, knowing that these were the common people’s drinks. Literary activity,word research, reading stories,instilled in the veins, found more injections of unbelievable realism. I submitted the poem, I knew the editor would like it, and so came the reply,”This is surely going in this issue”.I smiled to myself though the heart felt heavy.
افلاک کی وسعت میں تںہا ہی رہنا ہے نہیں چاہیے تھا دوری کا گماں کرنا
In the boundless universe a star, destined to be alone, magneted, in orbit swimming, should not moan,in its safety zone.
(Translated my own Urdu verses)
And so finding myself traveling through the tropics to far off lands , the power of words pulled me,all the way to WordCity, magnificently holy, clad in a white gown,elegant in speech and style,gifted in merging meaningful sounds on paper. Am I in my home town,where pine trees grow and snow falls,where skies are real blue when clear, where quietude fills the atmosphere in the morning hours and smoke from coal fire in small braziers, surrounds the huge iron gates of training centers and boarding schools, providing some warmth to the guards on duty.
Summer days and nights are different, though, more serenity prevails.
White cold blanket covers the green and brown but cannot hide the beauty within for long. “There is not a particle of life that does not bear poetry within it” Gustave Flaubert wrote in his time, and the quote led to more poetry : Inspiration glowed, the golden rays sent warmth to the dying ashes,a spark flew and suddenly there was light all around,as if the sun had cut through the nimbus cover…I heard the joyful laughter, I laughed a little at the humor, I saw the blood on the hand cut by the broken cup, I sensed the sorrow and loneliness and then I felt the soft finger tips of expertly composed amazing words of Wordcity . With respect and wonder I share what the muse created:
Just on the other side, just a few thousand miles across the globe,across the oceans,across the prairies, it is cold, set to become colder, yet it is absurdly beautiful, poetry expressed in blue,on rugged rocks, on sentinel pines, here beauty and severity go together.
I felt cold but strangely calm.My heart felt lighter as acceptance of Divine Will became stronger.A door closed to open another, from the hot sandy lands to the cool snowy landscapes poetry began to hum a new peaceful song, sweet in togetherness, warm with cohort collective fire.
The title attracted many aspiring writers.Exhausted, mourning the weakening of the Muse this was a hot spring of motivation. Music smiling leader using charming vocabulary inviting to write in a lovely illustrated form,I loved it. Though I will not be able to continue the creative writing process with this lovely group but I wish to share what I did manage to write in the pre course five days as part of the assignments.
My Wabi Sabi Story Life has been good on one side, but have been close to grief pain and suffering for many years.My faith gives me continuous strength and hope and whenever a calamity strikes I am reminded to look at those who are weaker and poorer,”things could have been much worse” “the revelry is temporary” “be grateful and you will have abundant, love comes in many forms and ways..so it was in virtual spiritual environment much joy came my way. Poem for the Team, My Friends and Readers Water mirror like, ivory silver smiled at, caressed , hated in stagnant filthy swamps its loss, mourned. Love the creative spirit in non creativity, like lotus in muddy pond tree valued green or brown- body and soul, split in bond Embrace all,cool or hot all here will be soon, gone circle will come full circle imperfection, – the mortal round
WRITE Your New Story 2021 Day 4 – The Beautiful “NO” for Taking a Stand for Truth and Professional Knowledge The First “NO” Desiring to attain a Masters Degree I kept struggling with traditions cultural norms. Private study efforts failed. Finally the admission to a post graduate college revealed the lack of justice to proper instruction. Asking for ” More” resulted in the 18th Century Dickensian reaction. But the “NO” opened the best door of the time with the best Professors and I attained the degree with honor and respect from the Punjab University being a student of the best Teachers of English Literature as Ms Shaista Zaid Ms Farhat Shah Mrs Nasim and Mrs Samina Nadeem. Thank You Dear Teachers. The Second Time
Imagine leaving a foreign university where I realized that I wanted to study a more challenging course.When I applied for a change the process of studies took the unexpected turn. Returning to my native homeland for a personal family commitment with a still valid study visa I was sent a “NO’ letter from the university.I never went back. As Allah’s plans are the best and he has better gifts for us always of which we are not aware of at that moment. I got the best opportunity to work in the field of Education and Service to the nation which was and will be my aim and purpose of life till Allah wills it to be. I was selected and appointed as the Principal of the Post Graduate Bilquis College of Education of the PAF Pakistan Air Force. The Management included two lab schools a) Montessori Junior b) Special Education School. One Hostel for 200 students. This was a Challenge a far better opportunity to serve the cause of education and it resulted with a “NO ” I have no regrets of not studying at a foreign university. Allah always gave me much better gifts honor regard and time to serve and share my knowledge and experience.
2020 ended on a tragic note an eternal separation a family broken.Oh Almighty Creator you know best the wisdom of life’s ending,the coming and passing away of the soul, the body merging with earth deep down. Those closest to the departing soul find tears sliding down the cheeks uncontrolled or silently hugging comforting each other, failing to understand the unknown timing, the unbelievable happening, today? tonight? tomorrow? What is this virus all over the world? Death striking everywhere, are these the days of judgement, trials and tests, the sudden calamities, the pain, the temporary separation as we all have to go in the span of time. Or humanity has fallen so low as to match with the enemies of the holy heavens and are being punished?
So many questions arise as we do not have the knowledge nor acquire it nor is there any right guidance offered nor will there be any messenger as the last one has come and left…but wait what do I see in the clouds what does the light show taking shape in the early morning sky?
There is hope as I look at the light getting brighter. I see a name of high respect, my heart and soul feels peace, yet I too am a mortal
The poet Dr Allama Iqbal wrote in his poem “The Philosophy of Grief”
“Grief is not distress, but is the soul’s silent song Which is locked in the embrace of existence’ harp In the depths of this world we part to reunite But we cry considering temporary parting as permanent”
But as we are humans we feel grief all our lives. May the Almighty forgive and bless all with mercy.