Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Life of Pi

I just finished this wonderful book. Read it over almost one whole year, mainly because I don't read unless I can't get on my computer. Which ends up being when I'm traveling, hence my bookmarks are always boarding pass stubs!

It's about a young Indian boy named Piscine, or Pi as his self chosen nickname. His dad is the proud zookeeper of Pondicherry Zoo, a humble community attraction in none other than Pondicherry, South East India.

If you can get past the introductory 1/3 of the book (which is in itself both entertaining and funny), you reach the point where Pi's family have to migrate to Canada, so they sell the animals to various Zoos around the world, and board a cargo ship heading to Vancouver across the Pacific.

The ship Tsimsum is carrying many of the animals which have been sold to Vancouver Zoo as well, and then it sinks... and Pi's stranded "cast-away" journey begins.

Pi finds himself sharing a lifeboat with a Zebra, a Hyena, an Orangutan a few flies and last but definitely not least, a 400 pound Bengal Tiger.

From this last tidbit you probably think, "ok.. so it's a fantasy about a mini Noah's Ark.. I see where this is going." But hang on..

The Animals do not have philosophical conversations with each other about the meaning of life. Instead, they behave like real animals and Pi tells you what happens in frame by frame Clarity that bests the National Geographic, and with him trapped in there, with Reality that makes you regret putting the book down each night as you realise how late the hour became.

The boy Pi tells us that he is a Muslim, a Christian and a Hindu all at the same time. He also manages to have his Muslim Mulla and his Christian Priest as well as his Hindu Guru to accidentally meet all at once and have one of the most amusing exchanges I read in years.

But amusing anecdotal quirks aside, the book simply wants to show us how deeply aware of God Pi is. And ultimately and eventually, how this relationship ends up between the two towards the end of his ordeal at sea.

At the beginning of the book one Indian old man tells the western author:
"I shall tell you a story so wonderous that I promise you, by the time I am finished, you will believe in God!"

One point during his lonely time in the middle of the ocean Pi says one of my favorite lines that stuck with me:
"The stars shone with such fierce brilliance, it seemed ridiculous to call the night dark!"

and this one about Atheism:
"To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation."

Enjoy :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

‏ ‏لن يفلح قوم ولوا أمرهم امرأة

هذا الحديث في صحيح البخاري كتاب الفتن رقم 6570

حدثنا ‏ ‏عثمان بن الهيثم ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عوف ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏الحسن ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏أبي بكرة ‏ ‏قال ‏
لقد نفعني الله بكلمة أيام الجمل لما بلغ النبي ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏أن ‏ ‏فارسا ‏ ‏ملكوا ابنة ‏ ‏كسرى ‏ ‏قال:
لن يفلح قوم
ولوا أمرهم امرأة

و المقصود "نفعني الله بكلمة أيام الجمل" أن أبي بكرة رضي الله عنه كان مناصرا لأم المؤمنين عائشة رضي الله عنها بعد مقتل عثمان رضي الله عنه و لكن لما وصل أمر الفتنة الى القتال رجع أبي بكرة و كف بسبب هذا الحديث


The question here is being a parliament member considered "welaya 3amma" or not.

Since Majles il-Umma's main function is to be the "Legislative arm of Government", it is actually in a higher position than the "Executive arm of Government". Because simply put, it lays down the laws which Government should follow.

I also think the position of "Judge" is also "welaya 3amma". And again I don't think a woman should be appointed Judge either.

So based on the above 7adeeth I think it's a prophetic statemtent that speaks about any people who appoint a lady to public office.

I did not vote for women yesterday, and I had no doubt in my mind that Ma3sooma (my vote is in her constituency) was a great person. If she had been a man, I would probably vote for her. But again I didn't vote for her because of this 7adeeth.

So best of luck to Kuwait in their misguided choice to place 4 women into Parliament. Inshalla we don't get more in the future.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Bridge in the Title

For the longest time I thought Monet's Water-lilies was my favorite painting of all time. It sits in Japan's Museum of Western Art, and I don't plan on visiting Japan anytime soon.

But later I saw his Japanese bridge series and my eyes were lost in the green shades in it, and I changed my mind about my favorite of all time. You guys remember Robin Williams' movie "What Dreams May Come"? Heaven was presented as if it were a Monet impressionist canvas.

I know that any stretch of the imagination of what Heaven would be like is going to do it great injustice. But we can't help trying to imagine it, because we hope for it so much. Hope for the final lasting joy we'll meet there.

Here's a collection of the paintings which Monet painted in Giverny with the bridge at it's center. Thank God for Monet's failing vision by the end of his years.

note: if you find the paintings a bit fuzzy, try clicking on them to get clearer resolution.