What am I reading and what have I read recently:

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is a very entertaining read and in a very lucid style considering it is a book on punctuation! One of my pet peeves at the moment is poor punctuation. Everybody does it, I am sure there are one or two mistakes in what I have written so far, but the problem is that no one cares that they are doing it and I find this annoying and disturbing. In the age of mass communication of emails, txt msgs and blogs people now write more on a daily basis than our ancestors and it was only the educated amongst our ancestors who would sit down and write a letter or a note, let alone a book or a diary. Today every one can and does, and this has lead to the unfortunate situation where people are sloppy and cavalier with language. One of the most common misuses [abuses] is the apostrophe. If you have more than one CD is it CDs or CD’s? if there is rain do you write “its raining” or “it’s raining”, what if the colour of something is blue do you write “its colour is blue” or “it’s colour is blue”. In my correspondance with friends and other acquaintances I see this on a daily basis. Two particular friends of mine, both well educated and involved in various projects that require written skills, misuse the poor apostrophe!

After reading this book, I have begun to notice signs and adverts that misuse it too. For example in Manchester there is “St. Peter’s Square” and yet the tram stop is called “St Peters Square”! Which do you think is correct? That’s right the first not the second.

You may ask what the heck does it matter, an apostrophe here or there? What I will say is that if you are using a language it should be honoured and learned and the etiquette afforded to it should also be learned. One particular type of writing annoyance that I find particularly annoying is when people send me emails for the Shayukh that they want me to forward and they have written them in abbreviated form, you know “slms shaykh, wud it b poss 2 have yr contact details, as I need 2 ask u a question if it iz ok..” [not a real message but I have received similar ones – “1s”?], now to me this is absolutely terrible adab and I won’t forward such emails to the Shayukh as I believe that when you speak to the Shayukh you should speak to them in the best of manners and that also includes written correspondence too. OK so people make typographical errors, so no problem but downright sloppy grammar and punctuation is inexcusable and also this newfangled txtspk (text speak). Now there is another pet peeve, text messaging…don’t get me started…may be in a future blog entry…insha’Allah.

Time

Webiste: http://www.masud.co.uk

Has it really been 2 months since I last updated this blog? Wow time does fly. It only seemed like yesterday that I was at the birth of my eldest child who is now 9 years old. Someone once said to me that they wished they had more hours in the day and I told him that I don’t because I know I will find ways to waste them, I think this is something that most people would end up doing. Sidi Faraz Rabbani gave some Time Management advice on DeenPort which I think people will find useful.

Having said that, the last two months have been very productive and busy, alhamdulillah. As you can see I have made style and design adjustments to masud.co.uk. Please send me feedback tell me what you like and what you don’t, not sure I will be able to please everyone.

Also in the last two months I have been involved with the visit of Sidi Musa Furber translator of Etiquettes With the Qur’an of Imam Nawawi and recently Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Sidi Musa is a real gem and we hope to continually benefit from him insha’Allah, may Allah grant him the best of this world and the next. The feedback from the courses he taught were all excellent and positive and people love his teaching style. He reminds me very much of Shaykh Nuh Keller in his general demeanor but has some of the fieriness of Shaykh Hamza. People have really taken to Sidi Musa who we hope to have back in the UK sometime next year insha’Allah.

I was also invovlved with Shaykh Hamza’s visit. People turned out in numbers for him. In Glasgow over 900 people came, in Bradford over 1000 and Oxford was again over 1000. The event in Bradford was a slide show of Muslim contribution to Western Civilisation which was very well received. There were a lot of non-Muslims in the audience who afterwards came to see Sh Hamza to express their gratitude and well wishes. The last two times we did an event for Sh Hamza in Bradford the sisters who organised the event hired a signer for the deaf, this is just something that only sisters would think of, how considerate of them may Allah reward them. I think that any event that any of us organise should be as accessible to as many people as possible including those with disabilities particularly those with hearing problems. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People has access to Signers for hire. I also think that Muslims should learn sign language, particularly for the purposes of dawah and educating deaf people about Muslims and Islam and to help out at events. The lady at Bradford did well, she was a non-Muslim and didn’t know anything about Islam and Muslims! We gave her a 15 minute overview before the event and managed to keep up with Shaykh Hamza as well. But for me it illustrated the fact that we need Muslims or people who understand Islam and Muslims as well as the terminology specific to Muslim to do signing.

What am I reading and what have I read recently:

Currently reading: White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-century India , William Dalrymple is a wonderful travel writer and researcher. I have only just started this book so I don’t have much to say on it just yet, but it shows that when the British first arrived in India many Englishmen were taken by the exotic culture and vibrancy of India, so much so that a lot of them “went native” and adopted the ways and religion of the Indians and married (or had affairs with) Indian ladies. After a while this became an area of concern for “The Company”. Dalrymple also charts the transfomation of the British from Traders to colonialists with the arrival of Cornwallis fresh from his defeat in America determined not to make the same mistake in India.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation Is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It is a very entertaining read and in a very lucid style considering it is a book on punctuation! I read it in a matter of days it was that good.

One of my pet peeves at the moment is poor punctuation and grammar, mine may not be brilliant but I am always mindful of what I am writing, more on this in my next blog…

My Story part II

My Story
My father has six children including my half-sister (she is the eldest). I am the third eldest, I have a sister older than me and my half-sister older than her, I then have two sisters younger and a brother 9 years my junior. We are all married except my brother who will be getting married this summer insha’Allah. My half-sister has a clothes shop next door to my father’s grocery and halal meat shop. One of my sisters is a qualified solicitor and my younger brother is working for the Police as a civilian. Career wise I have been in the IT industry for 14 years as a Unix Consultant and systems administrator. One of my sisters is a Solicitor, the other a housewife the sister just older than me is disabled. My sister who is disabled was born a healthy child and my parents suspect that a polio jab was to blame but they never really pursued the matter. . .


Currently

Just got news that my friend Sidi Moez Masoud, from the shows Parables in the Qur’an and Stairway to Paradise on ART-Iqra, has become a father for the first time, mabruk! His wife gave birth to a baby boy in the early hours of this morning. May Allah answer his duas for his child and make his child one of the upright and an example for the Ummah. Amin.

The Web Site
Insha’Allah I am hoping to redevelop my website and am looking for ideas and suggestions to make the site more useful, beneficial and dynamic. Many of you may have noticed that the Bazzar section is not fully functional and has not been fully functional for a while. I am currently in talks with a Muslim company who will redevelop this section. One feature that I hope to have is for people to open up their own online shops in the Masud Bazzar. Will let you know as soon as this happens. I was looking through the stats for my site in the last two weeks and I get a hit every 1 minute, so far this month my site has had 9317 hits in two weeks.

Football
I am a fan of Arsenal Football Club , I have been since I was six or seven, not sure why, as my father wasn’t exactly a sports fan. I suppose it was a combination of school friends and my liking for the red shirt with white sleeves that always appealed to me. Anyway, the way they are playing football at the moment is out of this world, even Manchester United at their best were never this good and Manchester United were very good and as a fan I am over the moon. BTW did you know the word “arsenal” comes from Arabic – “Italian arsenale, from obsolete arzanale, darsena, from Arabic a in?a, manufacture, industry, and dr-a-in?a, place of manufacture : dr, house (from dra, to turn, revolve. See dwr in Semitic Roots) + al-, the + in?a, manufacture (from ana?a, to make. See n in Semitic Roots)”. Good excuse as any to support Arsenal and the fact that they have a couple of Muslim players: Habib Kolo Toure and Rami Shabaan both practising Muslims.


Books
I finally finished the Lord of the Rings series and I must say that these books were just totally outstanding. Tolkein has created a fantasy world in great detail, he has developed histories, literature, poetry, language and folklore of all the races in the books. He describes scenery and plants in vivid detail. Whilst reading it I have often wondered whether he has visited the world of the jinn and then described what he saw. As far as language goes Tolkein really is as great as his comtemporaries like C. S. Lewis author of the The Chronicles of Narnia another classic series. Having seen the film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings Series I thought that they were as close to books as can be without each film lasting a week! The films were great family entertainment which my children both enjoyed and good family films are hard to come by these days.

If you think that there is something un-Islamic about reading works of fiction think again Some guidelines for children books on the Sunni Path website.

Thoughts, opinions, musings and rants of Mas'ud Ahmed Khan