New Blog

3 02 2009

My new blog is http://muslimbestlife.com/blog

See ya there ;)

Siraaj





Final Election Results 2008

5 11 2008

You may recall in April my post on the results of the Iowa caucuses in which Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee won riding the tide of the promise of change.

After having watched this campaign, starting way back in ’07 to where we are today, I wanted to share some thoughts along the way that I’ve had about politics and my relationship with it.

1.  I’m Proud to be a Muslim Alone, But Tonight’s Election was Truly Inspiring

I know that tomorrow, many will be the Muslims and organizations blaring their pride in being American, and having voted for Barack Obama.  Myself, though born in Canada and being ethnically Indian, I really care very little about associations based on anything that relates to tribalistic sorts of divisions.  It is blessing enough to be Muslim, and after that, really little else matters when you consider we are all originally from Jannah, though only some of us will return home, and may we all do so.

Having said that, I know that when one takes the non-patriotic / non-nationalistic identity, it is also expected to see nothing but evil where one looks.  Not so here.  Watching the Bush adminstration these past eight years has been a neverending nightmare, watching scandal after scandal and incompetent mistake after incompetent mistake bounce off him like it was nothing.  Obama’s presidency is inspiring in that he pulled himself away from the negative side of politics and for the most part kept himself above the fray, so to speak, of down and dirty politics.  His message was simple – I am change, and McCain is Bush (not change).  If you want change, here I am, if not, there he is.

McCain and his team threw every last pejorative name they could at Obama, and none of stuck.  He’s been voted in in a landslide, and I was moved by both his forthrightness and vision for the future, and though I cannot agree with many of his ideas for domestic or foreign policy as stated, I suspect given his background there are some surprises in store, and I agree with the spirit in which he made his remarks.

2.  A Great Example of Living Leadership

If you want to see the traits and characteristics of a great leader, then look at Obama – whether it’s his speaking ability, his organization and choosing the right people to run his campaign, his way with his family, and more, you can see it in this person.  Many are the examples of corrupt and broken politicians.

Yes, I know the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim is the greatest leader of all, and I know that as Muslims we have many disagreements with him.  The point is not to extol virtues, but to take benefit from noticing positive characteristics embodied in someone in a way rarely seen, given the way he has moved so many people and brought about such drastic change.

3.  Chicago Democrats are VERY Organized – ‘Nuff Said

4.  It’s Finally Over

The drama of the elections is finally over.  Thank God, now I can do something else with my time :D

Siraaj





An Interesting Letter

4 11 2008

I was over at Tim Feriss’s fourhourworkweek.com blog and read an interesting letter from a hedge fund manager, Andrew Lahde, who was leaving the business and offering some final thoughts before his departure – very interesting read, have a go at it:

Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.

So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don’t worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer’s company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.

I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life — where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management — with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.

On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.

Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won’t see it included in BP’s, “Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions,” television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM’s similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant — marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States this week. Please people, let’s stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.

With that I say good-bye and good luck.

All the best,

Andrew Lahde





Building an Islamic Trust on Campus

20 10 2008

The Loyola MSA was kind enough to record and upload a lecture I did for them a few months back, related to how we can build an Islamic Trust on Campus, so here it is:





Chicago Daw’ah Conflicts: My Perspective

15 10 2008

I haven’t written on my blog in a while because all my most recent posts have been for MuslimMatters.org.  I was also asked if I would ever write on this blog, and it’s been my intention to do so for a while, so here goes :)

At an event I attended recently, a brother asked me if I knew certain chicago shuyookh who are popularly known as followers of tasawwuf are actively discouraging people from taking AlMaghrib Institute classes, and I replied yes, I am aware of this because I am often asked this question =)  The follow up to that question is, well, what do think or say about those organizations?

Assuming that this is truly the case, my stance is that each and every one of us is accountable for his or her own actions before Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, and we all ought to act according to our conscience and understanding of what we believe Allah subhaana wa ta’aala wants from us.  If the conclusion they have come to is warning people from our organization, and this is what they feel will be most pleasing to Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, I respect their decision to speak and do as such.  No hard feelings.

As for myself as well as the stance of our organization about them, while it is true that we hold differing perspectives in certain matters, I would like to remind myself first and then others that the purpose of our life is to worship Allah subhaana wa ta’aala and that you ought to strive as much as you can to fulfill that purpose.

So if you find an organization discouraging attending our organization, and that turns you off (as this is the feedback I’m receiving), my advice to you is that remember the purpose for which you were created, and that you continue attending their events and lectures to benefit yourself in that regard anyway – I myself attend their events when I can, and seek to benefit where I can find benefit, and I do so not just on my own, but with my own family.

May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala unite and strengthen the hearts of the believers.





If Iblis has a VBlog on Youtube…

2 05 2008

If Iblis had a VBlog on Youtube, might it look something like this? 

This video is Part 6 in the “Shaytan Series” (check out the other 9 parts on youtube [I'd recommend guys skip part 1]).  Very amazing effort, would love to see our North American brothers and sisters come out with something as creative and powerful in message to address issues they experience regularly.

Write in and share your thoughts on the video (and the others, if you watched them) and tell us how (or if) they had any effect on you.  They definitely did for me, may Allah subhaana wa ta’aala reward those who made these videos.





Hillary Clinton Runs From Sinbad’s Sniper Fire

26 03 2008

Yesterday, it became very apparent that Hillary Clinton told a bald-faced lie trying to bolster her foreign policy / commander-in-chief credentials by claiming experience during her “First Lady” years under her husband’s administration.  In previous years and generations, she probably would have gotten away with mincing the facts, but today is not that day.  Check out the video below, and see a true politician in action, caught red-handed, and then massacred by the media like sharks tasting blood in the water.  And who outed her?  Sinbad the comedian!








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