Sunday, 5 February 2012


Geez, I can hardly contain the excitement! It's real, finally real and I'm going! The paper I submitted in a moment of temporary insanity (or so it seemed) was accepted and I've been invited to give a presentation at the conference at Cairo University. Tick tack. Clock's ticking. Better finish that research because I'm flying out in less than two weeks. Actually in a week and change, inshallah.

Subhanallah I can't believe the day has come, well, to be fair I'm only flying out for a week, not the 6 months+ I've been talkig about for ...well... a while. But it's a start. Not least because I'll be stepping into Tahrir square next week, one of the centre points of the ongoing struggle for change. Because I'll get to see Game'at Al-ʾAzhar al-Šarīf, the world's 2nd oldest institution of higher learning, because I'll get to visit one, if not the Middle Eastern metropolis.

2012 is looking pretty good right now.

12th of Rabi’a al-Awwal

I desired to praise the Chosen One and was hindered
By my own inability to grasp the extent of his glory.
How can one such as I measure an ocean, when the ocean is vast?
And how can one such as I count the stones and the stars?
If all of my limbs were to become tongues, even then –
Even then I could not begin to praise him as I desired. 

And if all of creation gathered together in an attempt
To praise him, even then they would stint in his due.
I have altogether ceased trying – awestruck, clinging to courtesy,
Tempered by timidity, glorifying his most exalted rank.
Indeed, sometimes silence holds within it the essence of eloquence,
And often speech merely fodder for the faultfinder.

(Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Le Caire 2012

So, yes, I'm still in London, albeit with a few stints on the continent thrown into the mix. Unfortunately, I haven't yet come closer to realising my long delayed plans of spending a few months or longer in Cairo. Needless to say, this has been one of the primary reasons why this blog never took of, or at least why it has been on hold since, well, immediately after its inception. I'm still committed to the original goal, that is of documenting the journey and time spent within one the Middle East's truly ancient cities, but life, work, and my masters program at SOAS have proven quite adept at keeping me busy so we'll have to see what 2012 brings.

I could mention that I've just submitted a proposal to present a brief paper at two conferences taking place in Cairo in February and March 2012 respectively. The former is politically themed, the later more more historical in its approach to examining the events associated with the Arab Spring and the social and political underpinnings that contributed towards them. Wish me luck. 2012 might just be my year.

On this note, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Kull Sana'a wa antum bi khair. Inshallah. And before I retire these keys - Let's pray for the amazing, brave people out on the streets in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine, Libya and to all those struggling for social justice and open, pluralist and ultimately more accountable societies elsewhere. Even if they are based in London or Washington. You are an inspiration.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Sunday, 1 August 2010


All humans are dead except those who have knowledge; and all those who have knowledge are asleep, except those who do good deeds; and those who do good deeds are deceived, except those who are sincere; and those who are sincere are always in a state of worry.

Imam Shafi'i (May Allah have mercy on his soul)

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Five before Five

The Messenger* said: “Take benefit of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation, and your life before your death.” (Hakim)

*peace be upon him 

The first time I heard this hadith was a number of years ago, during several weekend seminars organised by MJD, the Muslim Youth/Student Association of Germany.

Strangely enough it resonated strongly within me then, the wisdom inherent in the messenger's (pbuh) words obvious, years on however, I feel I can appreciate its layers more clearly, beyond merely grasping their content, but realizing that the words reflect the experience of the time spent in London. Has it not, if nothing else, been time spent in 'pre-occupation'? 


You can find a longer commentary in this blog on Tarbiyah I stumbled across when trying to recall and find the exact words of the narration.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Back to Life.

Happiness in simplicity, trust in natural mystery,
blessed by Divinity, become undone just to rise again, rise again.
stand against iniquity of equating uniformity with equality
y'all chase liberty and democracy
but deny diversity and plurality is a fact my friend
so embrace your individuality and bless it with spirituality,
such simple modality makes life.
It works if you work it. So work it. You're worth it.

Serenity is God's gift.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Prep & Read

Alright, yes I'm still In London. Though London's weather and the commencing dark season (October-March) certainly has me wishing otherwise. So yes, do pray with me that I'll find a good job soon, so I can keep to schedule and head to Cairo late March.
Hint: A good job at this point refers to the non-call-centre-non-market-research-freelance-underpaid-knock-on-your-door-for-charity-what's-it-face-kind. Ideally, vaguely related to my field of study and/or involving some project coordination/ administration capacity. Chances are in 2weeks from today I'll have to lower my expectations and take up a less enticing however bill-paying option. Maybe I should just follow my gut feeling, complete my TEFL and head over now?

Anways, whilst I play adult some more, here's an interesting read to sweeten the wait. God bless

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Egypt / Lebanon Montage from Khalid Mohtaseb on Vimeo.

Stumbled across this... (thanks Samer)                                       
                                                                                                            جميلة جدا. مشالله

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Mysterious Paths


Who would have thought? Guess what, I got in! Not the MSc in Middle East Politics but the MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies Program. My major, and field of my dissertation - God willing - will be 'Modern Trends in Islam' (with Dr Katherine Zebiri).
Not the way I originally planned but it's amazing how it all turned out. I'm actually really excited about the slight change in focus (I'm already dreaming of that Phd afterwards). Alright, now I've decided to stay on course with Cairo, so I've submitted a request to defer my offer until the next academic year. So it's still going to Cairo first then back to SOAS come Fall'10.
Alhamdulillah ya Rabb! Inshallah it'll all work out, fingers crossed ;)