Seven Songs You are listening to now Meme

An extra post today! No one tagged me for this, but I saw this on Dave’s blog and thought I’d do it anyway.

As someone whose earliest memories include sitting in front of Top of the Pops and the Chart and being filled with awe and wonder (there’s a great photograph of me when I was about three, watching Barry Manilow with rapt adoration), music has always been a big part of my life. My teenage years meant that every Wednesday was NME and Melody Maker day and wages from any part time work was calculated in terms of how much music I could buy with it. My walkman was my closest friend, with John Peel a close second and I was always taping something. 7.30pm was gig o’clock and I always went to see the support band too.

On conversion, I felt that certain types of music might not be exactly liked, but I was horrified to find out the was a major opinion that music was actually haraam. They might as well have declared my own feet to be haraam.

As the years have passed, I have vacillated between listening and not listening. I know that if I listen to too much music, it distracts me spiritually. I don’t yearn to have music on all the time anymore. I prefer to listen to the occasional song that I really like and enjoy it and may Allah forgive my shortcomings.

With that in mind, here are my seven songs with You Tube Links:

David Bowie – Golden Years. Forever a hero for his role in Labyrinth, aka One of The Best Films Ever, this song is just so groovy. I hope he sings it to Iman when they’re at home.

Lee Dorsey – Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky. How can you argue with a title like that? Native Deen or someone should do a version called “Everything I do gonna be sunnah”. That would be great.

Bob Marley and the Wailers – Stiff Necked Fools. When I was ten, I dug around in my Dad’s music collection and found the Confrontation album. My ears had never heard anything like it before. This was the first album I truly loved and I still love reggae and ska to this day. With someone as iconic as Marley, it’s easy to forget just how talented they actually were. Beautiful lyrics and music. “The lips of the righteous teach many/But fools die for want of wisdom”.

Gregory Issacs – Black a Kill Black. A stunning lament from the Cool Ruler. Sadly just as relevant today as when it was written 30 years ago. The link is to an Mp3 site where you can hear the song for free, the site design is a tad herbacious though.

Queen – Lily of the Valley. Another treasure from my Dad’s record collection. Sheer Heart Attack is the first Queen album I ever heard and it’s still my favourite. A lot of nonsense is said about Queen being a singles band, but any actual Queen fan knows this isn’t true. Sadly, I only started listening to Queen in 1990 and I was soon to be heartbroken (I cried for three days straight) by Freddie’s death. Due to Freddie’s Iranian roots, Queen were one of the few Western bands permitted in Iran, until Ahmedinejad took power. As soon as I heard that, I knew no good would come from his rule. As a side note, it annoys me greatly how people rant about the state of pop culture in Muslim countries. I’d say poverty, corruption and illiteracy are far bigger problems then Nancy Ajram. Anyway, here is a beautiful song featuring one of the greatest voices in Western music, if not ever. 

Modest Mouse – Satin in Coffin. Modest Mouse are one of those bands, I’ve heard about but never heard. I heard this song in a tv advert and had to do some googling and I couldn’t believe it was them. Thundering song, with a great turn of phrase and a bassline which is half menacing/half Dolly Parton 9-5.

U2 – Angel of Harlem. Lots of people’s memes have featured Coldplay, a band so terrible I’d have to swear in Scottish slang to emphasise the depth of my disgust. For me, my Apple Corp running dogs of choice are U2. This is not my favourite U2 song by a long way (that’s probably The Fly), but for some reason, it’s been in my head lately, so here it is.



Scribbles not Outlines 5 – with added rant content

For various reasons (not bad ones), there’s been little new content on here. This is probably going continue for a little while longer. I’ll try to do a post a week, probably on a Sunday, insha Allah.

I missed the last episode of Women In Black! The tv didn’t record the right episode and the BBC iPlayer site didn’t have it either. If any one knows of any other way I could see it, I would be most grateful.

What do Trotsky and Muslimahs in hijab have in common? They both get airbrushed from history. Thanks Obama. I’d like to think that no British politician (outside of the BNP) would stoop so low.

More sort of Obama talk, what is this term ‘Post-Racial’? Did I miss something? I know there are people those who think that unless you dance around in Klan gear, then you’re not a racist, but most of us beg to differ. Racism is still alive and well. We aren’t post anything.

Talking of anti-Muslim prejudice, have you noticed that when people are being bigoted about other groups, they always claim to have “…” friends, except when Muslims are concerned? We must be too awful to even pretend to be friends with. So from now on, when faced with such views, I will ask “Do you actually know any Muslims?”, “Have you ever been to a Muslim country?” and if the answer is no, then I will ask them stop showing their ignorance.

Finally, and I’m going to put this in bold: Feminism is not a trump card. What is feminist does not overrule all other ideologies, beliefs and concerns. So while you may gauge the importance or worth of something by it’s compatibility with ‘your’ concept of feminism, other people have different guidelines. Constantly trying to project ‘your’ concept of feminism or of women’s rights, onto people who do not share that concept, is not liberating, it’s insulting.


Outlines Review: Women in Black episode 4

This week the programme is set in the U.K

Regular viewers and/or readers of these reviews may have noticed that this programme is a tad fond of sweeping generalisations.

The first words spoken by Armani Zain are:

“Tonight I’m exploring a world right on my doorstep, Asian Muslim women”. (Note by Asian she means Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi)

Holy marginalisation Batman! While many U.K muslims are ethnically Asian, there are also large Somali, Arab, Bosnian, Turkish and of course, convert communities, amongst many others. But we’re not going to get to hear about them tonight. We are not going to get to see them either. What follows is Asians only.

Zain informs us that Asian and Arab Muslims don’t really mix and have little in common. Which again is a overgeneralisation. Firstly the Asian community is not homogenous and has many divides. Secondly as people begin to prioritise their Islamic identity, Muslims are now more likely to meet and socialise along the lines of beliefs or adherence’s within Islam.

Fashion is again a key focus of the programme. A fashion shoot at Asian Magazine is shown, followed by a guide to the Shalwar Khalmeez.

Next, three Asian muslimahs show how Primark clothes can be worn Islamically. It was interesting that they felt the hijab added to their style and was something they were proud to wear, as they saw it as showing a Muslim identity.

Speed dating for Pakistani Muslims is the next stop, which brings up the topic of marriage. An alcohol free diner is shown as another venue where male and female Muslims can meet without attracting attention. I think Zain misses the point here. Something that can difficult for Muslims in a alcohol sodden country, is to find a halal place to socialise and it’s likely that the diner is viewed more as a meeting place for friends, then a place to meet the opposite sex.

In the diner, Zain interviews Kia Abdullah, a British Bangladeshi writer, who’s debut novel attracted attention for it’s gritty subject matter and sex scenes. Talk of ‘breaking taboos’ and ‘pushing boundaries’ abounds. I wonder, why is it that everyone else gets to have firm beliefs and ideas, but for Muslim women these beliefs mean they are caged creatures that have to fight for their freedom?

Next interviewee is The Sun’s (right wing newspaper not fit for lining a cat litter tray) tv columnist, Anila Baig. Anila was employed by The Sun in a blaze of publicity as their hijab-wearing Muslim columnist. She had not previously worn the hijab in her professional career and about a year later, she took it off. Some accused her of using the hijab as a gimmick. When Zain asks her why she stopped wearing it, Anila stated that she felt there were more important things she could be doing and goes on to state that more Muslims in the U.K wear the hijab, then in Pakistan. Then follows a discussion of weather hijab wearing is imitating Arab culture, with Anila stating that Pakistanis view Arabs as being closer to the faith due to the lack of language barrier, a concept Zain is uncomfortable with, viewing this a prejudice.

However, while being an Arab doesn’t make you a better Muslim, the fluency in Arabic (by which I mean Fus Ha), certainly is very beneficial for a Muslim and is a strong requirement for Islamic scholarship and therefore it’s important not to confuse the two.

Back to fashion, after visiting an Asian fashion emporium, Zain attends an abaya-themed fashion show.

Following this, Zain interviews two British Asian Muslims who wear abaya to ask why they wear a dress that is viewed as traditionally Arab. They explain that they view the abaya as more modest and showing an Islamic identity, whereas by wearing a Shalwar Khalmeez, they are stating that they are Pakistani first.

They seem quite content with their choice, but Zain follows this with a woe laden piece to camera positing that being a British Muslim, means being torn in three directions, being British, being Muslim and Pakistani culture.

Personally, I find the only direction I’m torn in is between the pie shop and the chippy, but I’m obviously not a ‘real’ British Muslim, so what would I know?

Now it’s dress-up time and this week, Zain dons a Shalwar Khalmeez to attend an exclusive gathering of Pakistani Women. This takes place at the home of  Dr Maleeha Lodhi, the High Commissioner of Pakistan in the UK. After a quick tour of Dr Lodhi’s wardrobe, Zain asks what she thinks about the wearing of the hijab as a political statement, to which Dr Lodhi replies that the wearing of hijab is a personal choice and that an emphasised religious identity, is not something that automatically leads to extremism. 

At the gathering there is much talk of fashion. One woman states that she finds niqabi wearers ‘scary’ and that “these women shouldn’t be allowed to decide the Islamic platform for  everyone else.” I find that statement outrageous and even more so, that it is left unchallenged. I guess some prejudices are more acceptable then others.