Mind Blown

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

I haven’t been too active recently with orientation for med school starting this week and with the end of Ramadan, but I thought I would try and put something to hold anyone over who is checking the blog for new updates (thank you for the support!) God-willing I want to get the next post out soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to share my all-time favorite Youtube video:

Click the pic, and if you have seen it before then watch it again! This video never gets old for me and SubhanAllah (Glory be to God) I can’t call it anything short of a masterpiece. Not just the quality and production of the movie, but the subject matter, the nature, is beyond words. If pictures say 1000 words, this video probably says close to a million, but that’s just scratching the surface.

And if that video isn’t enough, I found this one that is worth the watch as well (I know 5 min of Youtube seems like an eternity, but trust me.. Also me talking about it won’t make sense if you don’t watch!) The clips of the Northern Lights, and the lights around the world are astounding to me. (Fun fact – Najeff means light around the world, or at least I was told so…) I could write on this for days, but I’d rather you just stop and take a few minutes to just think. Of all those lights, we individually are but a fraction. Even in the apartment building I’m in right now, I am only a fraction of a percent of the total population. I don’t know about you, but that BLOWS my mind. You could spend your whole life travelling the world, and still not meet a percent of its population…

Many people and I’m sure many of you have been blown away by thinking about sheer volume like this, but what’s even more inspiring in my opinion is that we can all have purpose. Religiously (and this is something I hope to talk about soon God-willing when writing about Hajj) all people have access to a greater power at any time. Knowing that you can be one of millions, if not billions that establish that personal connection to something bigger than you and Eternal (As-Samad in Arabic) is awe-inspiring. I’d argue it’s one of our best abilities. Still, not all purpose has to be religious, though, and I’m a fan of anything that tries to make this world better, but no matter what the drive seeing something like these videos is truly humbling.

Happy [mind-blowing] Reflecting,

Naj

Never Alone

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

In the last post I said I’d fix up the post in which I struggled to be genuine, but my heart is still not in it so I’m going to keep it a draft until I am inspired to finish it. Instead, I will write about something which has kick-started my 2 AM train of thought:

Could it be? That’s right, folks, this yellow man has not yet gone down to the city of Atlantis and I’ve decided to honor his memory here. I expect many of you are reminiscing about the good ol’ days of AIM (some 5-10 years ago,) but I need you to snap out of it because I’m not here just to talk about AIM or G-chat, but rather what they stand for. Quick fun fact though – earlier this year AOL flirted with shutting AIM down, but instead decided on just firing some people.

Anyway, how did this come up? The other night I was alone at my apartment in DC, which is currently without internet and with very shoddy 4G coverage. I was wide awake, just hitting my 2 AM second wind when I started feeling like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone when he wakes up really sad the second day because his family still isn’t home. As I struggled to get my now 3G operating phone onto google talk to make sure other insomniacs were still stirring, I thought about how with the internet/a smartphone/Facebook updates, you’re never really alone.

Yeah, globalization is making everything and everyone more connected, but it isn’t until now that I’ve thought about how I unconsciously use social networking to stave off loneliness. Even if I’m not talking to anyone, just having the green symbol that lets me know other people are awake is comforting enough. I’ve never been on Facebook when no one else has been on (the fewest I’ve seen is maybe 4,) but I think being the only person online would be rock bottom. I guess Myspace users know what that’s like (zing!) It really makes me wonder what people used to do back in the old days. Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praise are due to God) I have always lived with people and I don’t know what it’s like solo for an extended period, but I imagine I’d be even more tightly glued to any form of social media.

Looking back now, I have always had some form of chat window that served as my connection to other sentient life still stirring after the sun went down. In middle/high school it was AIM (much like a first relationship – I learned the game from it and though I’ve moved on, it will still always have a special place in my heart) and before that I slept early and didn’t prefer digital conversations to hanging with my family. For the spiritual crowd, we can also say that we are never really alone as some of the names/attributes of God in Islam are: Al-Wasi’ (The Vast, Omnipresent,) As-Sami’ (The All-Hearing,) Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing,) you get the point… But even still, sometimes you need the human element and now I know that thanks to Al Gore (sike, there’s no way he “invented” the internet) a bunch of pixels and a keyboard suffices.

Happy [digital] Reflecting,

Naj

Being Genuine

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of days and seeing as my days aren’t that busy (my average summer wake-up time is like 1:30 PM, and that’s being generous) I feel as though there must be something else behind my lack of production. Truth be told, I have been trying to get something out, but after reading what I wrote, I absolutely hated it. I tried editing and re-editing, but there was a fundamental flaw. In English class I was taught to edit in the order of content, style, then grammar (because fixing grammar will never make up for sub-par content,) but trying to change the content and style didn’t help fix the post. So I sat and thought about why what I wrote sucked, and then I realized that though I was saying what I wanted in the way that I wanted (with reasonable grammar), I wasn’t doing so for the right reason. I had lost my sense of purpose, so in a way I had to edit my intention (Muslims you know you love that word.)

God-willing that post will come after this one when I’m satisfied with it, but I thought I’d share some insight on what writing that post made me think about (some crude form of self-metablogging.) Or for you pop-culture fans, a bit of blogception. In the about section (gotta love shameless promoting), I talk a bit about how writers have to have a feel of context, audience, and purpose, but only 3 blog posts in and I feel like I am failing on knowing my purpose. And I think that you, my dear readers, are the cause of my folly (just kidding, but no really though…bear with me here.)

After writing the first two posts, I got a lot of positive feedback Alhamdullilah (all thanks and praise be to God) and I was feeling really good about myself. I expected like 50 views max, but since wordpress.com (shameless promoting again, what up!) does a really good job of tracking views per day per country (it’s insane, I really do recommend wordpress,) I could see that within 1 day I had over 300 views! I was pumped until I realized that someone who clicked on the home page, then about, then home page counts as 3 views. Nonetheless, I still felt proud of myself and I got a little self-conscious, or really self-conscious about the blog.

So that brings us back to me hating my writing. With a little taste of solid readership (you lovely people) I was trying really hard to impress who I thought would be reading, instead of staying true to what I wanted to say. So that is why I am writing this post. As a reminder to you, Naj (that’s the endearing way I address myself in emails, but more on that later,) to be genuine. Especially because when you aren’t genuine, it really shows in your writing.

Happy [genuine] Reflecting,

Naj