Unbranded and home on the range.

Yin Yang ☯

So hungry, so insatiable, and yet so full. 
Tearing up the asphalt while standing still on the red.
At once serene and calm, and yet in the middle of chaos.
Now so mellow on Mary Jane, and yet so eager for Goliath’s jugular.
A fixated workaholism, and yet slacking off like a bum on Bourbon St.

The question was asked: What would you change in your life if you could rewind and adjust?

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Filed under: Cradle, Leadership, Solace

Dear God could you please Rewind my life?

I saw Jennifer going into the cave in front of me, and others near the entrance as well. Hoisting myself up to the ledge, I adjusted my rucksack and started towards the cave entrance, but on second thought, I slipped it off my shoulders and told Jason to watch it, as I set it down next to the fallen tree trunk he was sitting on. He replied with a lazy murmur: “yeah sure dude, no problem. I got it”.

I sauntered into the cave telling Jenn to wait up, and in reply I heard her voice just a few feet up ahead telling me to hurry up. I didn’t hesitate to let my eyes adjust to the darkness inside and wandered onwards, without noticing the fact that Jennifer’s silhouette was definitely advancing down a slope while I myself seemed to be walking on a fairly level surface …

… and then there was no surface beneath my extended right foot. My body twisted in the air as I fell, and my head hit the opposing cliff face several times on the way down. My cranium made first impact with the rocky canyon floor down below, and a split second later my back slammed into the unforgiving pile. I barely heard myself screaming  as everything faded to black.

When I came to, Jennifer was standing over me yelling if I could hear her. My head hurt really bad and sharp pain was crashing through my back like ocean waves breaking upon the shore. I managed to lift up my head from her jacket that she had folded and placed under my head by that time. Jason was squatting near my feet, with his rucksack beneath my ankles.

“Dude that was freaking nasty! I heard you from all the way up and outside. Are you okay?!”

I was about to respond when I realized something was wrong. Yes, my head hurt like hell, and my back was messed up. But my hips … the mask of contorted agony on my face was soon replaced with one of horror:

“Guys …. my legs? what the HELL?? I can’t feel my legs OHMYGAWD WHAT THE HELL??!!”

Jason and I exchanged looks as it began to dawn on him how serious my accident was. His trembling voice didn’t give me any confidence … “Holy sh*t!! OMG, holy mother, OMG …. SOMEONE CALL 9-1-1!! …” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Miscellany, Solace

I Wanna Live in a Land Called Paradise

I gotta admit, I’ve never heard a song that so insistently tugged at my heartstrings or remained on my lips for so long. I even found myself singing it at the office today even though I stopped to ask myself what I was doing, I kept at it and eventually answered my own question – because it reminded me of our ancestral home, and for the final end that we all hope our long journey will end at, insha’allahu ameen.

I suspect it probably has something to do with the fact that it was written and sang by a Muslim. Its the song chosen by Lena Khan for her short film “A Land Called Paradise” which got top prize for the One Nation | Many Voices contest.

Here is country singer Kareem Salama’s song along with the short film by the same name, by Lena:

A Land Called Paradise
(K. Salama)


I wanna live in a land called paradise
I wanna go to the valley of the King
I wanna live in a land called paradise
Wanna see the birds fly and I wanna hear the angels

Sing the praises of my Lord so far above
As I move poetically with the struggle I fall in love
I look to the left I look to the right and all I gaze upon
Reveals the source of flowers rainbows and the dew at dawn
Some see before and some see in and some see after
I let my sight pierce the chains and see the master


I wanna live in a land called paradise
I wanna go to the Valley of the King
I wanna live in a land called paradise
Wanna see the birds fly and I wanna hear the angels sing

So many times in my life I ask myself the question
What got me brought me into all this mess I’m swimming in
But pain is not and neither harm in the pool of bliss
So slap me with your hand or kiss me with your softest kiss
Tell me that you love me or that you don’t like me now
Tell me you invite me or that you don’t want me around
I won’t cry over a world that can’t change my life
I’ll put my money on what lies ahead in paradise


I wanna live in a land called paradise
I wanna go to the Valley of the King
I wanna live in a land called paradise
Wanna see the birds fly and I wanna hear the angels sing

I try to do right and love my wife and trade and pray and talk
I can be anywhere doing anything and I’m mindful of God
I’m pleased in good and happy in harm and now I realize that I already live in a land called paradise


I wanna live in a land called paradise
I wanna go to the valley of the king
I wanna live in a land called paradise
Wanna see the birds fly and I wanna hear the angels

I wanna live in a land called paradise
I wanna go to the valley of the king
I wanna live in a land called paradise
Wanna see the birds fly and I wanna hear the angels sing

Filed under: Miscellany, Rune, Solace

Fa’sabrun Jameel …

There’s a bro I know who’s in jail, he’s fairly young, about 18 or so. The following is part of a letter he wrote to his family counseling them to patience – when ironically, it was his family and friends who were always writing letters to him, advising him to be patient and not go give up hope.

“I don’t really know what to say as we already talk soooo often. All words of encouragement have already been exhausted, yet I still repeat Yaqoob (as)’s words when he truthfully said “Patience is beautiful!”This beauty is beyond the beauty a Man finds in nature, it’s beyond the beauty of a bride on her wedding night; it’s beyond the beauty of our glittering jewelry and it’s beyond the beauty of watching our wealth amass for a ‘secure’ future.Why? Because this is beauty that can only be encaptured by the heart. The majority of people can see with their eyes, hear wih their ears and smell with their noses. But Allah swt only hand-picks a few of His slaves to envision and perceive through their hearts. So be of those slaves. Steer your heart towards bliss by using it to guide you, by using it as your sense of perception, and by completely engulfing it in hope of Allah’s Mercy.

Have complete Yaqeen that Allah does not wrong His slaves. Every moment will be recompensed and the TRUE Beauty, the REAL Beauty, the ABSOLUTE Beauty which currently only resides as a sensation of the heart, will one day be actualized through sight, sound, smell & feel in their absolute PERFECT form inshallah.”

The beauty and strength of his letter left us all silenced and at a complete loss for words.

Filed under: Laced, Leadership, Solace

I’m Bringin’ Sweetness Back.


So, Rabyia asked me a question:

“I’m really interested to know how you would advice an individual who has tasted the sweetness of eemaan but through stresses of life has drifted away from the deen and now has become like a stranger to even the simplest of deeni matters.”

Honestly I don’t feel capable of answering this question but I’ll try.

Have you read the hadith of Hanzalah, when he was sitting and crying, accusing himself of nifaaq, and when he explained why he felt that ay to Abu Bakr, then he too also became stressed similarly? This was because their eeman used to be so high, so rock solid when they were with the Prophet, but when they were away from him, it used to go lower.

So nabeyuna Muhammad [saws] told both of them that eeman is not something that stays at a constant, high level all the time. It goes up and down. So from this we know that – as is blatantly apparent – our eeman will fluctuate from time to time. Sometimes it’ll be like just a few bumps and other times like a roller-coaster.

It happens to me too.

I usually deal with it by reminding myself of a lot of things, not all at once, but just any of the following, and in no particular order:
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Filed under: Leadership, Solace

Down, but not out.

You can take my money.
You can take my belongings.
You can take my friends and family.
You can take the roof over my head.
You can take the clothes off my back.
You can take my body to the limit, and beyond.

But you’ll never douse the white-hot fire of my eyes.
You’ll never breach the fortress of my will.
You’ve got nothing massive enough to corral my spirit.
You couldn’t survive the trip down to the depths of my passion.
You’ll make nary a dent in my resilience, no matter how hard you strike.

And insha’allah like my grandfather Dawood, no matter how small I am and no matter how big you are, you will meet me head on, face-to-face, and you will never see my back. I will be at the tip of the spear, at the head of the pack, completely unrelenting, entirely unyielding and utterly unrepentant.

And do you know why?

Come hither, and I’ll tell you.

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Filed under: Leadership, Solace

No matter what.

Once there was a scholar whom Allaah ta3ala had blessed with four children, all boys. 

One day, one of the boys passed away, and upon being told the news, the scholar’s reaction was truly exemplary. He said:

“Alhamdulillaah for what He gave, and alhamdulillaah for what He took. He took back only one of  my sons and left the other three. Alhamdulillaah.”

When I heard about that, I paused for a moment to reflect on all the things God had taken from me, but all the many more things He had left with me. Whatever he had taken, was His anyways, and what He had left with me, I am thankful for. So this is just a reminder to everyone that hey, no matter how tough it may get in this life, you still have it good and awesome compared to billions of other people. So live and love, laugh and learn.

Today I was in the kitchen after lunch helping myself to a load of ice cream and as I started walking away with my bowl to my bedroom, I burst out laughing. My sister asked me what was so funny and I turned around, shrugged my shoulders and said “I dunno. I’m just laughing.” – I was laughing at nothing in particular and laughing at everything that Allaah had given to me, in specific.

Because whatever I have, I’m happy with, alhamdulillaah.

Filed under: Cradle, Leadership, Solace

Clouds Above Go Sailing By…

“You are the springtime I dreamed of so desperate during the cold winter chills.”

– Richard Wagner

Filed under: Quotable Quotes, Solace

Ta7t el-3arsh

Br. Waleed Shaalan.

He was amongst the 30+ victims at Virginia Tech who were shot and injured / killed this morning in a senseless rampage.

======================= Update: ============================

NY Times is reporting that Brother Shaalan was also a hero that day. According to Randy Dymond, a civil engineering professor at Virginia Tech, Mr. Shaalan saved the life of a fellow graduate student just before he died. Mr. Dymond said the student recounted to him how he and Mr. Shaalan were both in the first classroom the gunman entered. Mr. Shaalan was badly wounded and lay beside the student, who was not shot but played dead, as the gunman returned two times searching for signs of life. Just as the gunman noticed the student, Mr. Shaalan made a move to distract him, at which point he was shot a second time and died. The student believed that Mr. Shaalan purposefully distracted the shooter to save him, Mr. Dymond said.

“Waleed was bright, energetic and caring,” Mr. Dymond said. “The reason we are in higher education is because there are students who are the bright light to the future. Waleed was one of them.”

“… and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” [5:32]

Inna lillahe wa inna ilayhe raji3oun. May Allaah grant him a castle under the Throne where the rest of the Shuhadaa are, and may Allaah grant his parents and family a beautiful patience, ameen. He is survived by his wife and a son.

Here is the link to his story on MuslimMatters.

Filed under: Current Affairs, In Memoriam, Solace


“Over the foreboding mountains, through the abysmal valleys, astride the desolate plains and through the tumultuous seas, this nation will persevere. Ya shabaab, ya shabaab, ya shabaab … innakum quwwatuna … fa la takoun minal qaniteen.”

– Anonymous

“The salvation of humanity is not achieved by force of arms. It depends upon the moral courage and spirit of self-sacrifice of a handful of people who, by worldly standards, are often considered to be lacking in good fortune. It is they, who courting dangers and trials, release millions of people from their miseries and lead them from despair to hope and from wretchedness to grace. They are the people who consider a cheap bargain if by the sacrifice of a few, many are able to achieve dignity and prosperity and if by some loss of prosperity and wealth, the doors of material and spiritual well being are opened on many.”

Taken from “Islam and the World” by Sheikh Abul Hassan Ali Nadwi.

Filed under: Cradle, Leadership, Quotable Quotes, Solace