Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Maulana tackles Iblees

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Maulana tackles Iblees: I heard a wonderful talk from Maulana Tariq Jameel today. It was an analysis of how to tackle Iblees, when he attacks us humans. And ...

Maulana tackles Iblees

I heard a wonderful talk from Maulana Tariq Jameel today. It was an analysis of how to tackle Iblees, when he attacks us humans. And all the defence centres around the practice of fasting. 

Iblees attacks us from four directions. He will never attack from above, because   he is scared of Allah being above us humans. Nor will Iblees attack from below, because his pride does not allow him to be below us humans (the original sin still prevails in his mind). So, his attack comes from our front, back and from the left and right.


So what is in front? In front of us is the image of Qiyamah, of Jannah and Dozaq.

It is a travesty that a significant portion of the human race do not believe in the existence of the hereafter. Another significant portion of us, believe that in the hereafter they are going to be blessed, as Allah (swt) will excuse them and send them to Jannah. So we are left a smaller portion who realise that this life is a balance of good and bad. In the final analysis a weighing scale and a judgement will happen, for us humans. The rehmat of Allah (swt) might prevail after the judgement, nevertheless a judgement will occur.

This is the frontal attack from Iblees and he has succeeded in taking out a major portion of the human race.  

The next attack is from the back and that involves an exquisite image of the world. So much so, that we start equating the world and this life with Jannah. In this fabrication, we fall into a struggle.  Because we are built for focus, this diversion creates a loss of faith and breakdown of our purpose. We are lost in a diversion. We have taken an alternative route and the road not taken is the righteous one.  


The third attack comes from the left side. The angels Raqib and Atid sit on our shoulders overviewing us and recording our actions. In their presence, Iblees entices us with evil. This is the attack where actions like murder, robbery, adultery, lying, cruelty etc happen. It is the easiest to understand and is most likely the lowest level of attack, as most humans who are involved, are those who have lost the front or back battles already.  


So what is on the right? On the right is belief, faith and righteousness.

This is Iblees at his most insidious. He is using your very strength in faith and your goodness and converting that to evil. This is the evil whisperer who lets you feel knowledgeable, superior and critical of others actions. Unfortunately, we see many examples of this today. A scholar who feels above question. A scholar who thinks of ordinary humans as inferior. One who despises others actions based on a superiority complex etc. All of us see many examples of this arrogance. It is the route to a huge fall into an abyss.  

The shield.

In all the above we have our faith as our protection. But, only one of all our ritual allows us protection against a direct attack of Iblees, it is not namaaz, zakaat or Hajj which is a strong defence. No, it is fasting. It is the only time when a human voluntarily sacrifices on a personal basis and it pleases Allah and it simply kills Iblees. He keeps a distance. That is why in the month of Ramadan, we find it so much easier to do goodness. 

So from above, it is quite obvious why our fasting is good for us in a spiritual sense. This is leaving aside matters of health, where it has been shown that fasting for a month has huge positives for us in physical terms.

This article is simply paraphrasing and translating the words of Maulana Jameel. May Allah (swt) guide us and excuse me in case of any errors.

* picture is from 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Attributes, not Skills

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Attributes, not Skills:   This world is changing and the speed is accelerating. The evidence of that change is all around us. Our next forecast change is two f...

Attributes, not Skills

This world is changing and the speed is accelerating. The evidence of that change is all around us. Our next forecast change is two fold and has already moved into our lives.   

Firstly, cognitive artificial intelligence. What we are facing is an intelligence, which does not have borders. It quickly acquires data, evaluates it at lightening speed, saves up increasing levels of information and is able to use it forever. Unlike humans, who get tired, make errors and also eventually retire. These programs can go on forever. So can we imagine what could happen? Systems talking to systems automatically, capturing data, analysing and making  decisions within flexible parameters, not requiring human intervention. The limits seem limitless. 
Secondly, comes robotics and 3D printing. Printers making skyscrapers, early stage human body parts intervention, precision robots taking up difficult and repetitive tasks. Soon, medical intervention, manufacturing and repetitive human tasks will all be transferred to the machines. Including transportation and retailing. These are the most human based work items presently.  
Regardless the quantum of change, the impact on jobs will start now and continue over many decades. It will be a hybrid of humans and machines and AI. The trend of this change will be tilted towards AI and 3D, but humans will be in significant numbers for decades to come. 
How to choose such humans. Who will be good in this environment?
I personally have always encouraged hiring on the basis of attributes. Humans who have mental strength, a strong spine and a big heart always show attributes confirming these elements of strength. They are brave; they listen; are great team members; are willing to work for a cause (rather than themselves); and generally look beyond themselves to see a wider view.  

Now, I would add two further attributes. This has been confirmed by some recent research on how today’s successful models are working. Adaptability and unlearning. With incessant change only the adaptable will succeed. But more importantly, our thoughts are made by our experience. We find it difficult to change years of designing. The need to unlearn will be vital in a changing environment. Without that unlearning, we will become behemoths stuck in an environment which has long lost the need for our work.
The lesson which is more important for us to learn is that our skill based grounding is useless in tomorrow’s world. Skills can always be taught, again and again. Attributes have to be nurtured and where they fit, we must grab on to that person. These attributes will be like manna to the system.

* picture from

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Karachi, as was Then....

Sarfaraz A Rehman: Karachi, as was Then....: Some discussion between various generations of Karachi people, led me to this blog. I feel it is our responsibility to tell the younger ge...

Karachi, as was Then....

Some discussion between various generations of Karachi people, led me to this blog. I feel it is our responsibility to tell the younger generation what we have lost through time, politics and modernity. So here is a list which by no means is exhaustive. Just what one could recall in a laundry list. It is a Generation X list and maybe a few items will not mentally connect with present day Millennials and Generation Z.
A) Karachi was safe. No guns, no hold ups, no drugs, no kidnapping. Very rarely we would hear of a shocking robbery (not dacoity, just plain sneaky theft).
B) Low level traffic. As kids and teen-agers we walked and used bicycles.
C) Adequate public transport. Trams (discontinued in 1975 😦 )
D) Sufficient water. Water came through the pipes, not tankers.
E) Hardly any tall buildings. HBL Plaza came up in 1970.
F) Quite a bit of greenery and parks. Lots of neem and jungle jalaybee trees.
G) Reasonably clean.
H) Hardly anyone sleeping on the footpath. And yes there were footpaths.
I) Very few stalls encroaching on the road. But many ethnic street markets.
J) No electric load shedding.
K) Shaadis were pretty much on time and fairly simple.
L) Traffic lights were obeyed. You had to take a driving test to obtain a license.
M) Lots of grounds or empty spaces to play cricket and hockey. We played hockey!
N) Gates were not closed and we could walk into each others houses.
O) We did not have to telephone before arriving at others houses.
P) Lifestyle was simple, cost of living low.
Q) Many roadside cafes, serving tea and coffee. Plenty of intellectuals.
R) The Anglo-Christians used to play music at Clifton beach most evenings.
S) Many night clubs, with international cabaret performers.
T) Great chana choor garam served, hot and fresh with lots of mirchi and lemon.
U) The pathan with the bakery sandooq, where every item was 2 annas (Paisa 12)
V) Cricket was played at the National Stadium all winter. First class and tests.
W) Drive-in cinema was a regular outing.
X) Donkey cart race occurred every weekend from Clifton to Saddar.
Y) The Victoria was common and a great outing.
Z) Outing spots; beaches, Playland, Aquarium, Zoo, Circus, many cinemas, libraries.
Some things which were missing then.
A) Variety of restaurants.
B) Malls.
C) Supermarkets.
D) Cell phones and e-networking.
E) Only one TV channel and that too black and white.
F) Little choice in consumer goods.
G) Biryani was not a mainstay and pilau was more prevalent.
H) No fast-food. Nearest specimen would be Bundu Khan.
I ) No mini buses
J) No outdoor signs (though we could be gong back to that soon)
Nostalgia colours ones lenses and makes the past of huge value to us Generation X. A more real and feeling world it seemed. Sadly change is a constant and the Now is vastly different. So, while one might be wistful, we live in todays reality. Nevertheless, if one was to pick somethings from the past, it would be some elements of safety, security and caring inserted back into our present. It would go a long-way to achieving serenity once again.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sarfaraz A Rehman: The Paradox

Sarfaraz A Rehman: The Paradox:   Some thirty two hundred years ago a man stood in front of a large palace, with some intent and purpose. He was weak, emaciated, his cl...