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March 25, 2004
A Genius Rambles...

by Talal Sarwani

Author's note: I changed the title from I have no clue what to write about.. to what you see above, because I have no clue what to write about... is such a genius title, that it deserves something better than what I provided as content.

Welcome to the laziest column ever written for Hidaya. A column written without the slightest bit of thought, and posted just for the heck of posting something. I sit here in a state of dazedness and confusity, so follow me on a journey through the wild side.

The first I was thinking to write about was a dramatic piece titled The Last Temptation of the Passion. It was about a Spring Break pilgrimage I made to the Isle of Man itself (in ol' New York, for those that know not). It was C-c-c-cold, but the City is just such a joy to be in, that I shrugged the weather monster off. Walking is a beautiful thing to me, and alhamdulillah I got alot covered that day. Took care of the beeznees I was there for in the early AM, leaving the rest of the day for me to conquer. Well, it wasn't that early of the AM, in fact, I think it ended up being early PM when I got done. Anyway, I digress, for the fact that you need to know is that I was STARVING. My people tell me I'm nototrious for being anti-nutrition, so of course I ignored massive hungrage for a couple of hours. Then it was time. There I was: a Muslim, a hungry Muslim, in the City. What does that mean? HALAAAAAL CAAAAAAAAARTS... HALAAAAAL CHICKEN AND RIIIIIIIIICE. Desi people who answered Chatkhara or somethin, oh please, I described myself as MOZLEM. I was in the Lincoln Square area then, so I though, hey, a couple of blocks, and I'd be at ze best cart zere iz: 66th and 6th. That's what I was thinking, standing around 72nd and Broadway, when I smaked my head: "El Stupido", I thought, "You can't get to 6th from here, you gotta walk all the way to like fitty-something". And I was just there an hour ago. "Fudget the Budget".

So I walked, I walked, and I turned. Then I walked, I walked, and I turned. Yeah, I turned, walking right back towards where I started. The hunger was in full force... when suddenly... I saw a huddle in a far off block... it looked like there might be a cart... must walk faster... squinting eyes to get a better look... dang that payphone blocking my view... YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! I found a mini-HALAAAAAAAAL CAAAAAAAAAAART. Alhamdulillah! The jolly-good-man took my order, put it in a GIANT platter, and I was all set. Alhamdulillah.
Except... it was cold. I had a GIANT platter of food to eat, and things were a bit wet from the recent snow. Long story short, I sat with style in front of the Metropolitan Opera House, eating, say it with me now, HALAAAAAAAAAAL CHICKEN AND RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE.

I wrote somewhere that the title of this piece was to be about The Last Temptation of the Passion. Basically, it was about me, an incredible avid ogler and lover of wom..err... FILM! and a moment I had standing in front of Astor Plaza. On the Marquee were the words The Passion, large and bold. There I was, the one who watches more films than he should, considering watching a film that people, who had sworn off films as Haraam all their lives, were going to watch. Nah, "Stand down, Percival (a good name for one's personal shaitaan, wouldn't thou say?), stand down. Thou shalt not sway me, for the little fitra left within me will not let ye be victorious". I walked past that glorious 1500-seat theatre, with its stupendously large screen, and thought better of viewing the objectification of a Prophet of Allah.

Apprently writing about what I was thinking of writing about, has lead me to writing quite a lot of written words on essentially nothing. Well, maybe I should mention how I met that sister at the new Time Warner Center, a sister who looked like she was waiting for someone, and when told "The one thou hast been waiting for all ye life, is here", she said "Yes"... Ayan, see, we'll get closer to makin sure ALL articles on Hidaya are about a horse and carriage.

I was also gonna tell you that I was thinking about writing of The Unique Cry, or Noriko, the story you never heard about a sister you never knew, and even My Love Revealed... but maybe some other time, inshaAllah.

If you want to take one good thing from this ridiculous post, let it be this:

Humbly bowing out,
An honorary bedouin
foreva wanderin'

note to readers: Remember, this written in a state of dazity and confusedness.

of and relating to...
Nadia said

hehehe. That was a really funny column, especially the line, " we'll get closer to makin sure ALL articles on Hidaya are about a horse and a carriage". lolol. That was simply ingenious. I am just sad that I did not copyright the title, "I have no clue what to write" earlier because I was thinking of writing many articles with that title. hehe
NYC really rocks!!

on March 25, 2004 8:45 AM
Justoju said

Percival? Is your shaitan like a pansy british gay guy?

Anyway, book suggestion: There is an amazing book called "The Screwtape Letters" that was written by C.S. Lewis. He was an instructor at Cambridge and Oxford who spent most of his life as an athiest before becoming a religious man. The book is a satiric discourse between two devils (literally) on the nature of human damnation. One of my sheikhs recommended the book to me because its grasp of certain theological/philosophical concepts (which are consistent with the 3 Abrahamic faiths) is just brilliant. One of my favorite books and one of the few things I shamelessly plug whenever the subject comes up...


on March 25, 2004 11:40 AM
Faisal Akhtar said

Hmmm. Screwtape Letters. Hmmmm Indeed!

on March 25, 2004 2:39 PM
Talal said

"Is your shaitan like a pansy british gay guy?"
I like to think so... at least until he converts to Islam.

and I finally remembered what Screwtape Letters reminded me of. I read this play called No Exit, by Jean Paul Sartre a looong time ago.... about these four people in a room, who realize they're in Hell. There must've been some philosophically theological stuff in there too..

on March 25, 2004 2:45 PM
Justoju said


Yes, there were many philosophical concepts in it. Its an interesting (and relatively short) read...but one thing that needs to be kept in mind about Sartre was that he was an existentialist athiest who believed that man is a "useless passion" and that life and existence are absurd. Because he didnt believe in God, nothing--not life, not death--held any meaning or purpose, and men (due to their inability to understand their free will and their lack of destined purpose) were doomed to live in their own misery and despair...so thats just a heads up for anyone who decides to read Sartre.
Philosophy is one of those things that will either make you a muhsin or will make you an athiest--depending on how you approach it and who you are exposed to. The field of islamic philosophy is highly HIGHLY developed but because westerners do not always have access to it or its refutations of western philosophers (often using their own tools and arguments), they think that the western post-modern killing-off of God (Astaghfirullah alAdheem)is the logical result of philosophical pursuit. I once asked my sheikh (who himself knew western philosophy and its islamic philosophical refutations inside out) whether it was wise for me to continue my interest in western philosophy (which had helped my iman thus far) and he told me that it was ok IF I understood that it was just a piece of literature being written for people who were into that same kind of literature and that we must simply treat it as such...since all that we NEED to know to benefit out deen and spiritual awareness has already been given to us through the messengers and rightly guided believers. So a word of caution.


on March 25, 2004 5:07 PM
Justoju said

On a more article-relevant note:


But always call in advance. I once walked straight through Manhattan to check out Nirvana--and found it to have been closed for many a month when I got there. I wanted to unscrew and steal their old sign plaque to make up for my trouble...only to realize that that was haraam.

on March 25, 2004 5:16 PM
Justoju said

and before you start listing the hadith evidence for certain instruments, lyrics, and environments being haraam, I was referring to Nirvana the halaal restaurant.

on March 25, 2004 6:06 PM
saima said

cool beans.

on March 26, 2004 12:05 AM
Saima said

ever notice that the halal sandwich/chicken and rice/whatever that you made such an effort to go and get through the cold and rain tastes so much better than if you just got a veg/fish sandwich from around the corner ?

kinda like taking 4 buses in your freshman year to get to Douglass Pizza (when you didn't know anyone who had a car).

sweet memories.

on March 26, 2004 12:09 AM
Ayan said

huh? I dont get it?
and how is Percival " a pansy....."
does not make sense to me.....

on September 25, 2005 12:57 PM
gillette said

Percival is a pansy's name.

on September 26, 2005 8:29 AM
Ayan said

what's a pansy? then.

on September 26, 2005 6:32 PM
gillette said


Pronunciation: 'pan-zE

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural pansies

1 : a garden plant (Viola wittrockiana) derived chiefly from the wild pansy (Viola tricolor) of Europe by hybridizing the latter with other wild violets; also : its flower

2 a. usually disparaging : an effeminate man or boy b. usually disparaging : a male homosxual


on September 27, 2005 10:03 AM
Justoju said

this exchange of ilm thats going on here is quite touching.

on September 27, 2005 11:24 AM
Content said


Whats going on my brother, Casey writing here under the name of "Content" This was the first article of yours I clicked on, and since Sartre and the city were mentioned, I thought I'd comment.

As far as Sartre goes, I am in total agreement with the brother who goes by Justoju. All of these philosophies, from Marx to Sartre, are an attempt to answer what has already been answered..i.e the meaning of our existence. Sarte thought that witnesses were the the main enemy of "individual freedom," and as believers we are well aware of how important witnesses are.

And also, so called-revolutionaries cannot even come close to doing what our Lord has done... uniting people of all ages and times for a common cause.

As for the city, it has its effect on us, but I believe that Jesus son of Mary said the truth when he said the "the city is a sponge that draws into it every kind of iniquity."

on October 24, 2005 10:20 PM
Content said

My bad..the sister who goes by Justoju. I just found this out after reading your piece of fiction on marriage. The third part was spiritually profitable and was really just want I needed to hear...praise be to the Lord alone!

on October 25, 2005 1:26 AM
Donald Duck said

Salamualaikum br. Content(Casey),
Welcome to Hidaya. InshAllah you'll be writing articles soon. Its great to have you here man.

on October 26, 2005 2:22 AM
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