RE: The Longest Armed Standoff In America May Finally Be Over

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So I just read this article on Huffingtonpost, you can read it here, titled ‘The Longest Armed Standoff In America May Finally Be Over’

Let me let David Lohr, writer of the original post, give you a bit of background.

“Gray, a 66-year-old carpenter with alleged ties to anti-government militia groups, has not left his fortified Trinity, Texas, property since January 2000, after he was accused of assaulting a Texas State Police trooper during a traffic stop.”

Lets dissect this one hypocrisy at a time.  Mr. Gray has ties to anti-government militia groups, lets clarify that for everyone’s sanity and call a spade a spade…Mr. Gray has ties to anti-government radicalist groups. Gray was stopped at a traffic stop where he assaulted a Texas State Police trooper. How he managed to not get shot twenty times, tased, and then have his lifeless body beat up by five officers is beyond me, but lets move right along. So this took place back in 2000. Remember the year 2000, no? Neither do I, but it was a long, long, long, time a go.

Here is what happened next:

“When Gray failed to appear in court to face those charges, a warrant was issued for his arrest. In response, Gray and his family armed themselves and began regularly patrolling their wooded 47-acre compound.”

It appears that after Mr. Gray assaulted the trooper he was given the generosity of a simple court date, which he missed, and then a warrant for his arrest. In the meantime, Gray and his family decide to barricade their 47 acre property and do daily patrols. If you weren’t sure by now, yes, he is white.

So we have this white radicalist who has become a fugitive living life outside the law in the comfort of his home. He does this for the next fourteen years, until former District Attorney Douglas Lowe, drops the case against him before leaving office in 2014.

“It had been going on for 15 years, and somebody just had to make a decision that it was time to say it’s over,” Lowe told The Dallas Morning News of his decision to drop the charges.

Wow. If there is anyone minorities all over America are envying right now, it is definitely this man. Kudos America, you have proved once again the luxury that comes with being white!


 

This article is in response to the original article called ‘The Longest Armed Standoff In America May Finally Be Over’

My intent is to point out the massive divide between how white criminals are treated and talked about in the media vs. how minorities are treated by cops, government, and the media.

$1.4 Billion Powerball: How to Win!

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I am so excited to share with you all my secret on how you can win! Its so simple you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it sooner. Ready? Here it is. Take out a $20, $40, or any amount you are going to spend on the Powerball, got it? Good! Now go look for a old shoe box, or maybe a small container. Once you have that ready, take a knife. Cut a small slit on top of the shoe-box lid, tape it and set it on your desk. Now, this is the hardest part, and where most people fail, this part is crucial if you want to win. Remember that $20, $40 or other amount you had gathered for your Powerball? Excellent. Now take that cash and fold it three times, not two, not once, three times, and slip it into that slit on top of your shoe-box. Write on top of that box “money I was going to throw away, but decided to save instead, fund” There you have it, you my friend have just won the Powerball!

If you want to thank me in 5 years, when that fund has grown to thousands of dollars just remember who helped you win!

Halal: The Original Organic

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I have been thinking about this topic for a couple years now. I always found it fascinating how certain Muslims are such die hard halal meat eaters, without ever questioning that halal meat with the same scrutiny they give “outside” meat.  Now this is not an article about what is halal and what is haram, or whether McDonald is halal or makhruh. This article is about looking at halal from another angle, one that is very often missed.

When you think about halal meat you immediately know that the slaughtering process must follow a couple strict guidelines. Name of Allah has to be said, blood must be drained, animal must be treated humanly, all that good stuff. Now when it comes to halal, we focus, for the most part, on the first two items. My goal is to show you how the last part is what makes or breaks, for me, what is truly halal meat.

Organic: The New Halal 

This explosion of organic has been both refreshing and annoying. Just like “halal” people take the term organic at face value and don’t dig deeper. For me a truly organic product is one where the animal was treated kindly, given ample room to graze, did not eat dead animal bits mixed with corn, came from family farmers, and the money goes to supporting a company that is fair and responsible. Now, tell me how many companies like this do you know?

Not very many. I have done extraneous research on companies that seem all lovely and organic, like Horizon Organic, a huge organic milk seller. Only to find these companies are just like their non-organic counterparts, where the bottom line is king and everything and everyone comes second to money.  Most of the time they don’t treat family farmers who provide them meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc, fairly and the company is ethically deficient.

Save A Cow, Save the World 

So why is all of this important? Why should I care how the animals are treated, or take so much concern if the farmer is getting the right cut for his or her efforts? We should care because as Muslims it is our responsibility to do so. As Muslims we care and stand up for the rights of animals, the rights of farmers, the rights of our bodies. Think about it, every time you buy milk which is not organic and not from a respectable company you are literally saying yes, I support bovine suffering, and I’m totally okay with  giving my halal money to a greedy, money hungry, company. Halal is so much deeper then not eating McDonalds, or “outside” food. Even when it comes to halal restaurants, do we know where the meat is coming from. Was the chicken in our shawarma allowed to live its life outside, under the sun, snacking on natural grains? Or was it crushed together with a thousand other steroid injected chickens, suffering, cursing every human for the state of its injustice? But at least it was slaughtered in the name of Allah, right?

Think 

I would like to end with this excellent video of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in which he talks about animals & Islam. It is imperative that we think deeper about topics, understand the whole picture, and do our research. We as Muslims are caretakers of this planet and every creature that resides within. So if you want to eat halal, start by making sure the milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, fish, even fruits and vegetables you are eating also meet the standards of halal. Halal is the original organic, never forget.

 

Hamza Yusuf: Respond with What is Better

 

With everything going on right now Hamza Yusuf makes it clear how as Muslims we should respond. A very insightful and inspiring lecture that is worth a listen!

Marriage: Parents vs. Daughters

I’ve begun to notice a strange phenomenon targeting our women. It starts when she reaches 24 and worsens the older she gets. This phenomenon is called the, you’re getting too old for marriage so lets keep pressuring you until you either give up or become resentful, phenomenon. It’s still a working title.

I have been witness to this first hand with my own sister, and many of my community friends. As a girl reaches the ripe, and apparently old as hell, age of 24, the countdown has begun. The same question is asked of her in every gathering, family event, and meetup, “so, when are you getting married?” The madness must stop.

In our culture it is imperative that a girl gets married as soon as she reaches “age”. The older she gets the more insane people become as to why she isn’t married. Rumors start flying, her “market value” depreciates, and after a while she is pretty much seen as the proverbial old cat lady. On the other hand, if she wants to pursue her career and wait to get married, she is defiant, opinionated, and will never find a husband. Now, before you start thinking what a barbaric culture, understand every culture has their weaknesses. This is not an article to make fun and point, rather to mend and heal.

Advice for Parents

I believe the only way to stop this way of thinking is to break the mental thought process that the older a girl gets, the less chance she has of  getting married. She will get married, but how, and when that happens is totally outside your control as a parent, and even her control for that matter. As Muslims we forget that everything is destined. Tie your camel, and trust in Allah. So yes, unmarried women in our communities who want to get married must try, and put in that effort, but at the same time constant petulance from everyone is counterproductive.

I would also advise parents to not freak out. I know, its hard, its somehow built into the DNA of Desi parents, but it’s doable. Learn to communicate with your daughter. Ask her what she is looking for, what traits she likes, what characteristics she doesn’t like. Help her manage expectations if she sways one way or another into extremes. Be encouraging, but give her room to decide. Don’t pressure her. This is an important decision, and as much as it might not make sense, people meet and get married differently now, and that is okay. Breath. Have faith, and never become angry and impatient with her.  Trust in Allah, after all, even though you might have had an arranged marriage, never forget it was arranged, like all marriages, by Allah.

Advice for Men 

The number one complaint I hear from women is, “there are no real men, only boys”, and the more I look around, the more I find this to be true. Men, step it up. Understand that if you are trying to find a maid for a wife, stop searching. Prophet Muhammad said: “He is the best among you who is the kindest towards his wives and I am the kindest among you towards my wives.”

Second piece of advice I would give to men looking for marriage is stop looking at marriage through the lens of duniya. Your wife is not your property, not your chef, not your cleaner, not any of these archaic culture influenced things. She is your better half, your responsibility, your friend. It is for this reason that a wife is not seen as duniya. She is your protection and your peace. Understand how incredible your wife is to your hereafter. Why else is marriage a fulfillment of half your faith?  If you can fully understand the immense responsibility on you, in how you treat her, and take care of her, and how that will relate to your hereafter, you are ready for marriage. Drop your ego, and start fixing yourself. You don’t get to have a princess, if your character is that of a joker.

Advice for Women Seeking Marriage

Understand that finding the one person out of the billions who you’ll want to spend the rest of your life with will take time. It will be hard, it will require a lot of effort from you, diligence, and planning. These are things we are not told when it comes to finding our soulmate. We think that we’ll just bump into our future spouse in a cute bookstore while traveling overseas. Yes, it can happen, but be logical.

Second piece of advice is to be patient and determined. I know its tough. Maybe you are pursuing a career, and have no time to meet anyone. Maybe you have tried a thousand times, going to all the matrimonial services, meeting that guy your friend told you about, even going to meet that nice Pakistani guy your mom said was perfect for you, only to end up in disappointment and frustration. Be patient. After all, everything is a test, even this. Allah gives to you when you are ready. You might not be ready, even though your parents think an arbitrary age determines your readiness for marriage, Allah knows you better. So be patient, and keep looking!

Lastly, the greatest piece of advice I can give you, from my own personal experience is, trust Allah. You can scour the earth in search for that perfect person, but if you don’t ask Allah to help you, your efforts will be futile. Ask Him, every prayer, ask Him to unite you with your other half.

‘And among Allah’s signs is this: that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, so that you might find rest in them; and He has set between you love and compassion. Truly there are signs in this for people who reflect.’ (Quran, 20:21)

In my own experience I would still be unmarried if it were not for the help of Allah. It took me years, a lot of heartbreaks, depression, and unwavering faith in Allah which led me to find my amazing wife. It wasn’t easy, there were times my parents didn’t understand me, but through it all I always relied on Allah. I would ask Him, “if this person is the best for me, then make it so, if not then remove any feelings for them and lead me to who will be best for me.” Learn how to perform Salat-l-Istikhara.

The Prophet (pbuh) said “Istikharah (seeking guidance from Allah) is one of the distinct favors (of Allah) upon man, and a good fortune for the son of Adam is to be pleased with the judgment of Allah. And a misfortune of the son of Adam is his failure to make istikharah, and a misfortune for the son of Adam is his displeasure with the judgment of Allah.”

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلَا أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الْأَمْرَ شَرٌّ فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ وَاقْدُرْ لِيَ الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ ارْضِنِي بِهِ

I have been married for over three years and maybe one day I’ll share my whole story and all the difficulties that came with it, but for now, my greatest advice to you is, do your effort, and trust Allah.  Remember  to be respectful and kind to your parents. Even if they don’t understand you, they are coming from a place of love, and most importantly, read a book on marriage by Imam Al-Ghazali, it will help you understand marriage, and pick the husband you deserve.

-Omar Malik


 

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Thanks & don’t forget, you always have a friend here at Amazing Life!

Gratitude: Extinguisher of Depression

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You feel a sickness inside of you. An anchor weighing you down. You might not even know why you’re feeling this way, you probably don’t. This makes you angry at yourself, leading you to a self repressive cycle where nothings makes you excited, boredom is your best friend, and self-pity and hatred are your new roommates.


This is a very real situation, and it effects so many people. It’s a feeling of helplessness inside your own mind. A feeling that no matter how hard you try, you can’t escape from. A feeling of hatred, of anger, of giving up. I know, I’ve been there.

I also know how to get out of this cycle, being in it too many times for my own good. It comes with practice and exercise. If you are willing to get better, to remove these toxic ideas from your mind, keep reading. If you aren’t, well, keep reading anyway, you might realize you are stronger then you think.

Where does it come from? 

You’re having a great day, which turns into a greet week and life is good. You are happy, things are great, when all of a sudden depression hits you. It hits you so fast and so hard you feel confused. Wasn’t I happy just yesterday? This comparison leads you to a worse state of self, eventually taking over all your faculties turning you into someone you loath.

To understand how to get over depression, we must first understand where it comes from. Now there are a lot of factors that play into you feeling the way you feel. What you eat for instance, eat too meat and you feel lethargic. Eat too much sugar, and you’ll crash and feel regret. It can come from your actions. Did you exercise? Did you meet a goal? Did you miss a goal? Maybe an evil desire you carried out is causing this feeling? These questions are important. You can’t find a solution to a problem, if you aren’t aware of whats causing the problem in the first place.

This is step number 1   – Learn to analyze yourself.

I am working hard to create a e-book that you can purchase and use as a guide to start self-analyzing yourself. This is important not only for this exercise but for a vast number of issues in life. If interested in reserving one please send me a email at amazingislife@gmail.com

Be grateful

So now that you have analyzed yourself, understand that the root of most depression is ungratefulness, or a lack of awareness to all you should be grateful for.

Being grateful takes work, and the easiest way to ingrain this depression busting attitude is practice. Think about all you have to be thankful for, if you cant think about anything, how about your eyes? Without them you wouldn’t even be able to read the letters on this screen. How about your hands? What about the fact that you are breathing automatically, without telling or reminding your brain to do so every second of your life? How about the fact that you have life? No matter how many wrongs you have done, how many failures you have racked up, is it not amazing that you are still alive? That you still have time to re-correct those wrongs, the opportunity to experience all life has yet to offer.

Think about your friends, your family, or even better, you. You should be extremely grateful for being you. Out of the billions of people in this world there is only ONE you. No copy, no mass reproduction, just an amazing individual with purpose and specialized talents. If you just thought in your mind that that isn’t you, stop.

Repeat these words every day:

I am thankful for being me, for who I am, for my strengths and my weaknesses, because I know there is no one like me, and I am awesome! 

Gratitude is the extinguisher of depression. Depression is a trick played by our untrained minds that we don’t have enough, or we aren’t enough. Its such a simple trick, just make everything you have seem like its nothing, and everything you don’t have seem like its everything. Its a trick marketers know and exploit everyday, and you let them by actually believing their lies!

5 Steps – Take action! 

I want to leave you with a concrete action plan that if you follow it you will see results.

  1. Learn to analyze yourself.
  2. Write a list of things you are grateful for, constantly adding to it.
  3. Repeat every morning and every night: I am thankful for being me, for who I am, for my strengths and my weaknesses, because I know there is no one like me, and I am awesome! 
  4. Practice this mindset ALL THE TIME.
  5. Start seeing life through gratitude.

Follow these 5 steps for one week, just 5 days, and I promise you will see immense results. You have to work at it. Our minds have been so conditioned to be thankless, to see the bad, and doubt ourselves, that it has become normal. This will break routines that have been set in your mind for years, maybe your whole life, and it will take time. I promise the results you will FEEL will be more then worth it.


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Thanks & don’t forget, you always have a friend here at Amazing Life!

Cultivating Talent, A Father’s Insight

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I was talking with my wife the other day. We were having a nice conversation about our childhoods. She was telling me that even though she is grown up, she still looks for encouragement from her parents. Being an artist, she genuinely cares what her parents think of her art work.

This got me thinking about how as kids we never truly stop looking at our parents for approval, for gratification. It’s that sweet soul candy we are genetically modified to seek. To look up to our heroes and for them to say, “you make me proud”.

I started looking back at my childhood. At the times when I made something, or achieved something, or felt like I had accomplished something my dad would be proud of. Most of the time I didn’t get that satisfying “son, you make me proud”, moment. Growing up I searched for it in other people, in all people. I would constantly need gratification for my work, for who I was.

Our parents, and by our I’m speaking from experience on the Asian parental unit, (I’m sure this applies to all parents in general though), took great efforts to come to America, educate themselves, and work to raise us.  This extreme sacrifice of energy and time is an achievement many of us will never match.  Most of our fathers and mothers did have to walk up the proverbial steep hill, twice, to get to work and back.

All this effort was an immense burden undertaken solely for the happiness of their children. It is utterly humbling.

This monumental challenge, however, is overlooked by said children. They don’t realize the sacrifice, they don’t see the hardships, they only enjoy the fruits of their labor. This leads to a massive canyon, dividing parent-child relationships.  A canyon on which one side parents are shouting, on the other, children not listening. It is a serious issue. An issue I have seen first hand in many, many households.

I have had talks with teenagers who all complain that their parents just don’t understand them. Whats funny is, parents tell me the same thing.

So, how do we solve this great divide, if you will?

A wise man once said that to understand someone else you must put yourself in their shoes. To see from their perspective. If you can do that, you can gain an understanding that will lead to compassion and mercy. Two major ingredients needed to resolve any conflict.

Sometimes life bestows on you this holy grail of perspective. Case and point, becoming a parent.

When I became a father I was young, naive. I was 24 years old and knew nothing about being a father. I suppose most fathers are born this way. We learn on the job, becoming experts in our field soon enough. As the days turned to weeks, I started having epiphanies. I still have them to this day, my beautiful daughter is two years old now, and with each I gain perspective.

I start to see what my parents saw, how and most importantly, why they acted the way they did. At the same time I still hold close the emotional holes left by their unwillingness to nurture my creative needs. It’s a problem that plagues most homes. Kid’s are told to put aside their painting, writing, break dancing, basketball playing, self expressing creativity, and focus on being…wait for it….realistic.

Money

Money, or lack of it, is the driving cause of fear. If you don’t have money, you cant raise a family, you can’t eat, you cant support yourself, and you’ll die a miserable death all alone by the side of the road. Pretty convincing if you’re a wide eyed 10 year old who knows nothing about the “real” world. These types of misinformed, fear inducing, conversations are what drive a wedge deeper into that canyon. Parents need to start nurturing creativity and building talent. I believe if parents focused their efforts on cultivating talent, interests, and passions we would see the emergence of brilliance. Kids need to be told to follow their dreams, hell most adults I know need to be told this fact. So stop. Stop fearing the worst, and start seeing the best. The best in your children, because it is that development, that thought process that will strengthen your bond. It is the relentless encouragement, appreciation, and understanding that will lead to happier families which in turn will produce some amazing adults, which will lead us all to a more sustainable, fostering, progressive, society.

-Omar M


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What is True Education – Hamza Yusuf

A great video by the astounding scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. Education comes from the root word educare which means to lead out, to remember what you already know.


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Paris: A Human’s Perspective

Understanding the buildup to Paris.

You must understand that war is profitable. It makes certain people a lot of money. It is for this reason business men hate war, but if they are in the business of war, they love war. You might say, no one is that barbaric, to which history of mankind will disagree.

Lets recap some of the horrors we have seen in the past months. We have seen a 3-year-old Syrian boy’s body wash up on shore. We have seen brutal bombings of Syrian’s homes. We have seen an influx of thousands of Syrian refugees who have no home, no food, no place to go. Who, after facing these horrible atrocities, have to wait days on end in the cold to be given asylum. We are witnessing monsters and demons spreading their evil through means of misguided understanding and violence all over the world.

But war is two-sided, and all wars are created. They are created when clash of ideologies occur. When lack of understanding, and thoughts of grandeur are conceived. When people with the power and ability to reinforce their beliefs take action against those who don’t hold those same beliefs. Who ultimately suffers are not the initiators of war, but the common man. Entire communities, loving families, whole towns, get thrown into a war they never asked for.

These nuisances are often scrubbed out and generalized by the media, reading simply: Islam vs. the West.

So who is the West, and what Islam is this? 

To understand this issue in the simplest form possible, we must come to the realization that “Islam” and the “West”, as used by Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, or the Taliban are not what you and I think them to be.

Islam is a religion followed by 1.5 billion people all over the world. It is a religion of peace, of mercy. A religion that unites people of all races, color, creed, to work together in unity to be caretakers of all life. It is a religion that forbids unjust killing. A religion that bans killing of women, children, the weak and poor in any state of war. It is against the very fundamentals of Islam. To miss this point, is to miss the entire reason for being a Muslim. I would argue that these terror groups are nowhere close to following any tenants of Islam, let alone any religion, making their self-claimed Islam invalid. The more I think and learn about my religion the more I realize they are not Muslim, not even non-believers, but kafir.

Kafir, is an Arabic word coming from the root K-F-R, which means to cover. It’s a term describing the practice, used by farmers, of covering planted seeds in the ground, the act of covering them with dirt. Simply put, kafir is not an infidel, rather it is someone who covers the truth. That is what Daesh, along with all extremists groups are, they are organizations who hide and mutilate the truth.

The West, as seen by these extremist groups, is a force that has taken over their homelands, occupying their lands, and caused innumerable deaths of those they love. They are not wrong in their assertions, but misguided on who the “West” is. They have not understood their religion, which causes them to have a distorted view of the world, which leads them to act on their fragmented thoughts, tipped with vengeance, and shrouded in misguided anger. They say they are waging a war on the West, yet the majority of those killed by Daesh, are Muslim.

As a Muslim, a human being, I say enough is enough. We must stop this senseless back and forth of hate. Lobbying hateful speech, thoughts, and counterproductive words toward each other, without realizing what unites us. Go outside during a cold morning and exhale, you’ll see your breath, the same breath that is in all of us. Go for a vigorous run and you’ll hear your heartbeat. It’s the same heart that beats in kids, women, men, black, brown, Brazilian, Palestinian, American, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, all of us. We must learn to be like our feet, to respect one another, so we can stop tripping, and start walking in unison.

-Omar M


I hope you read the above with an open mind and a soft heart. I tackle issues through the lens of logic. If you don’t use logic you will be subject to biased thoughts which have no credible use in civil discussion.

Please share and leave me your thoughts!

Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

As an introvert, this video really helped me understand myself. I suffered from the problems she talks about heavily all throughout my schooling. I always thought there was something wrong with me, that I needed to change, be more outgoing and talkative. I wish schools taught this, I believe it is necessary for people to know it is okay being an introvert, it is okay being an extrovert, whats important is understanding ourselves and each other.

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