Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Does skin colour and gender really matter?

As Indians we have had our fair share of discrimination during the Apartheid era but what is sad is that we have chosen to discriminate amongst ourselves..Recently I attended a function and I over heard a grandmother stating the following, " In our family everyone is fair skinned..my grand kids though are chocolate in complexion but I do love them a lot." I thought to myself what a ridiculous statement to make. In a world where kids are born with deformities, cancer and other dreadful diseases shouldn't we be grateful and thankful that the child is normal and healthy. What does skin colour have to do with anything. I have come across parents who actually teach their kids not to associate with darker skinned children.I have also seen parents who tend to have a softer spot for a beautiful fair child over a darker skinned child. In India skin colour is a huge issue..If you browse through the matrimonial columns in a newspaper every groom and his mother is looking for a fair bride even though he looks like a bus knocked him..lol...A woman in India who is dark skinned is usually tormented by society due to her complexion. In most cases finding a groom would be difficult creating tension in the household. The girl could be kind..educated etc but because she is not fair she will be rejected. I recall being told as a child that I am so dark compared to my brother who is fair skinned with brown hair...It never bothered me in the least. 

We don't only discriminate against each other with regards to skin colour but we also discriminate with regards to gender. Recently I heard a horrific story of a dad who refused to see his daughter the day she was born simply because he wanted his first born to be a son. Naturally there was no real bond between the father and daughter. In some homes a male child is favoured over a female child. Some parents have this notion that the son of the home needs to get everything in his plate disregarding the daughters rights totally. Some parents still have this perception of one day the daughter will get married and her husband needs to provide for her. 

Some time back I was introduced to someone through a mutual friend. After a meeting or two I was told that I'm unattractive, unappealing, I have no sense of dress and I know too much. The only plus factor I supposedly had was a bright radiant clean heart. I thought to myself do I really need to be associated with such a fake superficial individual. Naturally I broke ties with the individual. I expect a person to accept me for me..for what I have on the inside. Beauty fades with time... heart and character remains forever. Characterize a person for their actions not their words or superficial beauty. True beauty is not what is on the outside it is what lies within. The sad part is that these same individuals who taunt others about their darker skin tones hurting people in the process actually act holier than thou...running for umra ten times a year.What is the point of praying when you hurting another human being. What is the point of praying when you are treating people in your own family differently due to the colour of their skin.And to all the men out there who seem to think that they are God's gift to women searching for a snow white wake up and smell the coffee.I wonder if miss world exists in your own household.I guess Indians will be Indians and some things will never change for thy kingdom come..I thank you Allah for allowing me to see people beyond their status, money, looks or profession. To me a cleaner and a CEO of a company is given the same level of respect..

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Time to set the record straight

Indeed, it has been a tragic week in our community with the passing away of Mr, Aslam Khan, his wife and son in a horrific accident on Monday evening. On Wednesday we witnessed the tragic demise of a grandfather and his grandchild who burnt to death in a stationary vehicle that the grand dad set a light. What drove the man to commit such a vile act? We can ask ourselves a million and one questions but we won’t be finding the answers. It is quite unfortunate though that amidst the chaos of the entire tragedy there are certain elements within the community who have spread rumours stating that the reason the grand dad did this is because his immediate family was not good to him. They have accused the family of pushing him over the edge. How can people make up stories without knowing the facts? Do you want to know the real story? I will tell you what the real story is.

The grandfather was a devil in the words of his own children. His wife is a sweet, caring, loving woman and we are proud to have her as part of the Medix family. God has really blessed me with good employees who look out for each other. They speak about their lives and family issues openly and of course where we can help we do step in to assist. Over the past few weeks now my colleague has been coming to work literally in tears. Her husband was an abusive man. She always told us that ever since she got married, she never ever had a day of happiness. Last week, he took out a knife for her and tried to stab her. On many occasions he hit her black and blue. There were times he tried throttling her as well. As a team we encouraged her to get out of the relationship and apply for a restraining order against him. On the day of the tragedy we sent her to the police station to seek help and she was also going to move out of the house that very afternoon. She had finally mustered up the courage to leave this monster. After realizing that his wife was no longer going to tolerate the abuse any longer, he went ballistic and hence he committed this devious act. He might have been a smiling, happy man to the world but at home he had a vicious personality. She told us that even whilst praying, he would pull her by her hair and bang her against the wall. This poor woman endured this abuse throughout her married life. She remained in the relationship for the sake of her kids and out of fear as to what society will say if she left him. She was married to this monster as part of an arranged marriage against her will, a man who was 15 years older than her.

There is a part of me that feels that I could have done more to prevent what happened on Wednesday. Perhaps if she had left him a long time ago this would not have happened. The bottom line though is that this incident should be an eye opener to all those women out there who are suffering in silence. Why should you be the victim? These dogs who abuse women should be exposed within the community. They should be named and shamed. Why should they be given the right to walk around in town with their heads high? We Indian people have this shit mentality that abuse, rape and molestation only occurs in other communities but our own. Nonsense. (Kindly excuse my language)
Two days ago I heard that a grandfather, a Muslim Indian grandfather molested his own grand-daughter. These men need to be exposed. Have we reached a stage where we can no longer trust our own parents with our children? The imams and leaders of the community need to catch a wake up and start talking about these issues. Get it out in the open. Teach our men how to behave with their families. Teach our sons the etiquette of respecting a woman and another human being. Stop this mentality of hiding everything under the carpet and pretending that everything is perfect when in reality it isn’t. Don’t allow anyone to verbally or physically abuse you. Each one of us is entitled to happiness and respect. If you not happy in a relationship get out of it before it’s too late.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A tribute to my grand dad (Nana)


On this day 11 years ago Allah took you away from us. We watched you coming out of the operating theatre thinking that all was well but little did we know that you were no more. I remember you carrying me on your shoulders as a little girl, buying me sweets and chocolates at Uncles Sparrows shop in Highlands north. Almost every weekend we would visit Dions to buy me a new toy. I still have some of the things you bought me. I kept them hidden faraway. You were a simple man earning a simple salary but you made sure that all my wishes were fulfilled. Every Eid you would give me money to purchase a new outfit. With every "crossy face" I made I would get what my heart desired. I remember all the funny incidents we shared like the group of teenage boys who were driving next to you in Bramley. They opened the car window and handed over a normal land line phone to you telling you that you had an urgent phone call. You took the phone quite naively whilst we all burst out laughing. You mistakenly walked into the ladies toilets at the holiday on ice show. We couldn't stop laughing. You took me to the circus and to concerts and what about the magistrate letting you out scott free for dumping confectionery at an illegal site. Your excuse was, " I was not dumping, I was feeding the rabbits."...lolol... As time went by you grew older and so did I. Whilst at university you would give me a daily allowance to buy food from the canteen. Everyday you bought me junk food from Fordsburg..The days you had to pick me up from university you made sure you were there an hour earlier and if I got a few minutes late you would start panicking. You would send someone to look for me. The day I graduated I wanted you to attend the ceremony but you got ill. I do know that you were the proudest grandfather in the whole world.As time went buy you started losing your eye sight, but you never complained. You pretended that everything was just fine. I remember you watching the news diligently at 8:00 pm and retiring to bed by nine after enjoying a hot cup of tea. I see you in my dreams sometimes, and it feels so real. I know that you in a better place but I miss you so much NANA. Nothing feels the same after you left us but I am sure that you are in a far better place watching over us. One day, I know I will see you again..May Allah grant you the highest stages of Jannah and fill your grave with lots and lots of light. Ameen.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Beware of the online womanizer

                                                     (Picture: www.thefrisky.com)

So yesterday afternoon I received a call from a facebook friend who also happens to be a personal friend of mine. She is South African but resides in a neighbouring African country. She urged me to write a post about Muslim men who use the internet and dating sites to satisfy their womanizing personality traits. A friend of hers was chatting to a South African Muslim doctor who befriended her on facebook. As they started chatting more often they exchanged telephone number and BBM pins. This man promised her the world. He said that he was interested in her and desired to marry her. One day she decided to surprise him by calling him at the practice. When he answered the phone he told her that he does not know her from anywhere. A whole different side to this man’s personality emerged. Naturally she was heartbroken. My friend decided to find out more about this doctor. It turned out that he was someone that she knew as he resided in the same town as her parents here in Johannesburg. He of course did not know her. So she sent him a friend request and the same pattern followed. He befriended her, exchanged BBM pins, promised her the world and when she called him he said that he does not know her from a bar of soap. May be someone else hacked his facebook profile and is now pretending to be him.

Recently, I received an inbox message from a Muslim man who obviously created a fake facebook profile to find women. This is the message he sent me, “Salaam. I am a 36 year old married Muslim man with 2 kids. You do not know me but I follow your posts. I must say you hot and intelligent too. I am looking for a mistress or a second wife for sexual reasons only. I do not want any more kids. The relationship would have to be secretive. Money is no object. I will buy you an apartment and give you a monthly allowance as well. My facebook profile does not have my real details. I will reveal my real identity in person if you agree to the arrangement.”

Recently, I severed ties with a friend who is a well known professional man but had the nerve to chat to other women on a dating site whilst claiming that he was enjoying getting to know me.  When I confronted him, his response was, “I love being close to a woman. You need to come to terms with the fact that if I am chatting to Sumayya, I am also chatting to 8 other women and getting to know them.” My response was, “Go to hell. You do not deserve a woman like me and I will never choose to be involved with a man that has no respect for a woman. You may be up there in front of your colleagues and the people you deal with. But in my eyes, you ‘re an ass.” The sad part is that this same person has a few unmarried sisters in his house. I know he would be devastated if someone hurt his sisters but it’s perfectly normal behaviour to hurt another woman. Why? Because it is not our own flesh and blood.

If you truly care for someone you will not be hurting them by visiting a dating site every now and then to check if there is someone better out there. In my opinion only a sick womanizing man would behave in this manner. These type of men are selfish. They have no respect for a woman. The only people they care for is their own family and of course themselves. But they fail to understand the concept of what goes around must come around. Today they have lowered the self esteem and morale of someone else’s daughter, tomorrow their own sister will be played.

My advice to all women out there is this: Be very careful with who you interact with online. There are loads of sick people out there. If you lonely and wish to be in a relationship with someone, rather ask a mutual friend or a family member to introduce you to someone.  Don’t become a victim to a womanizer. It’s just not worth it. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Zainub Priya Dala I support you

                                                    (Picture taken from The daily Vox)
This morning I was interviewed on Channel Islam with regards to the assault case against a Durban-based South African author Zainub Priya Dala. For those of you who are not aware of the story, Zainub Priya Dala was a guest at the “Time of the Writer” literature festival in Durban and as part of the festivals outreach program she traveled to Chatsworth  for a workshop where she addressed learners and students at a community centre. Whilst interacting with the public she was asked which writers she admired to which she replied quite casually Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie. After mentioning the name Salman Rushdie some of the learners and teachers stood up and left. Later that afternoon she started receiving threatening text messages from complete strangers asking her to repent as a Muslim woman for admiring the work of Salman Rushdie. Then last week Wednesday whilst driving in Durban she was followed allegedly by three Muslim men in their early thirties. They tried pushing her off the road and eventually when she stopped at a busy intersection, the men assaulted her. They took out a knife and placed it across her throat and then smashed her face with a brick leaving her bleeding on the side of the road before speeding off. Dala mentioned that they screamed at her calling her “Rushdie’s bitch”
In this morning’s interview I was quite shocked that the presenter asked me if the author is Muslim. For a start what does being Muslim have to do with the fact that three Muslim males assaulted a woman. No religion condones violence or beating up people simply because they do not conform to mainstream ideologies. What I find quite interesting is that many South Africans have not even read the Satanic verses to understand why the book is considered blasphemous. The mere fact that they hear the name Salman Rushdie triggers the aggression within them. I have read the Satanic verses and whilst I do not condone everything that the man has written I have to acknowledge the fact that the man is a literary genius. He has an excellent command of the English language and his style of writing is unique. We need to take cognisance of the fact that he has not only written the Satanic verses. Of course, it is this one book that catapulted him to fame for all the wrong reasons but he has written many other books like “Midnight’s children” and “The ground beneath her feet” which were literary masterpieces that received international acclaim.

The assault on this Durban based author allegedly by three Muslim men was an act of cowardice on their part. It was a disgusting act that totally goes against the teaching of Islam or any religion for that matter. The presenter shocked me even more by stating that whilst the act was unacceptable maybe she needed to be more careful and respected the sentiments of the community by not mentioning Salman Rushdie, that perhaps in this case freedom of expression did not apply. He chose quite a silly rationale by stating that if you were in Israel as a traveler would you mention the name Adolf Hitler and speak about the Holocaust.  To which I replied that you cannot compare South Africa to Israel. The demographics of each country is very different. We reside in a democratic country where we are allowed freedom of speech and expression. The public has a go at the president of the country on social media. Muslims residing in this country are not a law unto themselves. We do not live in some isolated island. We reside in an integrated society and we need to respect the laws of this country.
A few months ago Mufti Ismail Menk was assaulted by a group of Muslim men in Durban who did not agree with his views on certain aspects of religion. Does this mean that Mufti Menk should start respecting the sentiments of that community and stop voicing his opinion on live television? The irony about this whole assault case is that no where did the author speak about Islam or religion. No where did she say that she agrees with what is written in the Satanic verses. All she said was that she admires the way he writes.

The three men who assaulted her are idiots in my opinion. It is people like this who tarnish the name of Islam and give Muslims a bad name. Had they not assaulted the author I am sure that no one would have even spoken about the Satanic verses again. What they have done in actual fact is ignite curiosity into people making them aware of a blasphemous book that should not be given any importance in the first place. We always speaking about bringing people into the fold of Islam, but how will Non Muslims view us if we have Muslims bashing up Muslims simply because our opinions on certain topics differ. It is an absolute shame and a disgrace.  At one point in the interview, the presenter mentioned in a subtle manner that perhaps these men have a staunch outlook to religion and the fact that she mentioned Rushdie’s name made them undertake such vile actions. Whether you are staunch in your faith or not is not anyone else’s concern but your own. You have no right to beat up another human being especially a woman and that‘s the bottom line. You may be staunch, you may be preaching your whole life, you may be praying five times a day but you will still go to hell as a result of bad character and the way you treat your fellow human being. As South African Muslims we need to stand up in unison and say that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable within our communities. The Prophet (saw) treated his enemies with respect and kindness. He invited people to Islam peacefully. It is sad that the very same people who claim to love their religion and to love the Prophet (saw) behave like animals contrary to the Quraan and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (saw). 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book launch: Riding the Samoosa Express

I never dreamt of becoming an author or having my name printed on a book cover. I guess it was destiny that allowed me to be a part of the “Riding the Samoosa Express” journey. The book launched successfully on Saturday the 21st of March at Skoobs theatre of books located at Montecasino. I am extremely proud to have been a part of this project alongside 27 other strong and dynamic South African Muslim women. Through my travels I have observed that many westerners actually have a very warped sense of how a Muslim woman should be. We are always portrayed in newspapers and in the media as being pitiful or hailing from a culture that supports male domination and patriarchy. “Riding the Samoosa Express” is an anthology that brings to the fore true life experiences of 27 strong willed and strong minded Muslim women.  It is a narrative that explores various themes including love, life, divorce and the concept of marriage as seen through the eyes of well educated South African Muslim women who have went against the norms of society and achieved their goals in life. It is a celebration of women and in particular Muslim women who have steered away from stereotypes and started questioning the idea of a patriarchal male dominated society. Islam has always placed women in extremely high esteem but we have allowed a patriarchal system to hijack our role and place within the Islamic world.

I would like to thank Zaheera Jina Asvat and Hasina Asvat for granting me the opportunity of being a part of this wonderful initiative. The Nisaa institute for women’s development has been adopted as the beneficiary for the book. The institute is an NGO organization that renders services to abused women and children. Hence I urge all my fans and friends to purchase this book and make a contribution towards a worthy cause. This book has proven to the world that Muslim women have a voice and we are willing to stand up against all odds in order to achieve success. I hope that this book will also be an inspiration to women out there who find themselves in abusive or submissive relationships. May this book arouse within you a desire to break free and ignite within you a passion to achieve all your goals in life. 


Friday, March 20, 2015

Riding the Samoosa Express

Our book "Riding the Samoosa Express", edited by Zaheera Jina and Hasina Asvat, written by 27 contributors including myself will be launching tomorrow morning at Skoobs theatre of books, Montecasino. The books will also be available for purchase at the following stores:
Also, at present the books are selling for R200 each but if you log onto www.modjajibooks.co.za you will get a R50 discount on the book. Just fill in the name "samoosa" in the coupon space when you place an order and it will deduct R50.00
"The Nisaa Institute for Women's Development" has been adopted as a beneficiary of the book.
"The Nisaa Institute for Women's Development" is an NGO organisation rendering services to abused women and their children.
Dr. Zubeda Dangor from the institute will give a short talk at the launch.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beware of the "wrong numbers" in your area

I’m sure many of you must have come across advertisements in the newspaper from herbalists and pundits who claim to be able to solve all your life problems ranging from bringing back a lost love, helping you win the lotto, getting your murder in law to love you lol as well as penis enlargements .
A few days ago I was browsing through the local newspaper and I came across many such advertisements. Naturally I started laughing. My colleague was wondering what the big joke was all about. After enjoying a good laugh with me, he decided to relate a few stories to me about his experiences with hocus pocus herbalists. Many years ago a friend of his was curious to know more about these so called magical healers, were they genuinely there to assist a person in distress or were they merely con artists fooling the public. His stories were hilarious.
The first person they visited was a fortune teller and so called life coach who also makes a monthly appearance on a national radio station. My colleague was asked to pick out a card from a stack of cards. The card he picked out had the word “Imagine”. He was told that whatever he imagines he will receive within a short space of time. He imagined driving off in the sun set in a brand new car. Needless to say, the opposite happened. The car he was driving packed up and he needed to spend R14000 to get the car repaired. As he related the story to me he was giggling like a little girl. A few weeks ago he wanted to see if this hocus pocus fortune teller was still in existence. He googled her and then decided to call her. Over the phone she told him that she charges R450 for a normal reading about his life but if he wants a deluxe reading it will cost him R500. In a deluxe reading he had the opportunity to ask her questions over a three day period. He then decided to email her and verify her response via email. When she realized that he was a medical professional, her fee went up. The normal reading according to the email was R500 and a deluxe reading R550. On her website it states clearly that she is able to bend someone’s thinking in your favour. When my colleague questioned her about this she replied quite abruptly, “I am not a witch. I am not a Sangoma. I am a life coach to advise you. That’s all.” My colleague then told her that it is not fair to be making such false claims on a public domain like the internet. This woman has proven to us that she is a con artist only out there to make a quick buck or two by playing on the emotions of an individual. She does sound very convincing though over the telephone.
They then visited a Nigerian herbalist whose office was situated near gateway shopping centre. This man wanted R6000 for his services. Shocked at the price he charged, as quickly as they set foot in the office, they dashed off just as speedily. By word of mouth in the community they were then referred to a Muslim man residing in Chatsworth. This man claimed to be a world renowned aamil who knows how to rid the body of negativity and jinn. When they visited this man, my colleague’s friend who was a female was told that the black magic is very deep within her. The only way he can rid her of the black magic is by sleeping with her, engaging in sexual intercourse with her. He also suggested that all the money she has at home must be bundled together and left with him for one night. The next day she must collect the money from him and within a few days her money will double. Naturally, they were shocked by what he said and after charging them R300 they left his home speechless. They discovered yet another con artist sitting at home and making money by fooling the public.
My colleague has a friend who is homosexual and he met a gypsy residing in a caravan near his place of work in Durban. One day whilst chatting to him she told him that he is in love with a girl and very soon he will b with her. Naturally he burst out laughing as he was involved with a man and had no interest in women. Nonetheless he continued listening to her fabricated stories. She told him that she needs to go to Bethlehem and light 7 candles for him there to bring him luck in his life and to return his lady love to him.
I had no idea that there are so many people out there that actually believe and worship these “wrong numbers“. In his quest to find out more about fortune telling he and his friend encountered a lady from Isipingo. She told them to meet her at her residence but they need to bring a live chicken along with them. They took the live chicken to her. The lady said some prayer and then asked them to cut the chicken. She cleaned the chicken and told them to take it home, spice it up and cook it. They needed to eat the chicken over three days and they should return to her after three days with all the chicken bones lol. They followed her instructions but nothing happened. The only thing she achieved was fattening them up with a freshly cooked chicken. As I am writing this article I am experiencing periodic bursts of laughter so do mind my spelling errors if you do come across any.
After the Isipingo experience they moved on to Durban north where they met a Black man residing in a residential area. He told them to bath in sea water and gave them leaves to burn in the house. After a day or two they realised that the leaves given to them were actually insect repellent leaves that could be found anywhere down town. They are usually sold by street hawkers to mainly African people. They discovered yet another hocus pocus “wrong number”. Whilst walking down town Durban city they encountered a Sangoma. This sangoma told my colleague’s female friend that she must place a packet of beads in her panty and another packet of beads under the bed if she wants her boyfriend to come back. Lolol... Naturally nothing happened.
Friends, sihr and black magic exists within our community and I have witnessed this with my own eyes. There are means and ways of curing someone from black magic through ruqya, that is through reciting verses of the Quraan that will bring about cure, but finding someone to solve everyday problems by cutting a chicken or walking with beads in your underwear is simply ludicrous. If you choose to visit an aamil, be very careful as there are many hocus pocus aamils out there as well. Recently an aamil was caught red handed on video tape planting things in a person’s business and making it seem as though a family member planted it there. These aamils destroy families. An aamil who has a gift from God will have a pure heart. He will never ever disclose the name of the person who cast a spell on you and is trying to harm you. He will never aspire to destroy a family and neither will he take large sums of money from the victim inflicted with black magic. He will assist with making the person better solely for the pleasure of God Almighty. When God makes us face any difficulty we should turn to Him for help. Sometimes God gives us difficulty so that we can turn to Him and become closer to Him. No human being has the power to solve our issues except God Almighty. Beware of all these hocus pocus ‘wrong numbers’. If you come across people like this within your community, expose them. Do not allow them to play on the emotions of vulnerable individuals. On that note, I’m off to find myself a live chicken that lays a golden egg. The local sanogoma said that the golden egg will lead me to my prince charming lololol.