Sunday, September 18, 2005

reflections:hurricane katrina

assalamu alaikum :)
death, destruction and mayhem - thats what hurricane katrina brought to the gulf coast. "one of the worst natural disasters this country has ever seen" stated president bush, and the devastation left in the storm's wake proved difficult to disprove his statement. the fallout was catostrophic, and all too often deadly. for days the world watched as people lived liked animals in the city of new orleans. people clung on to dear life by climbing on rooftops, while others resorted to looting businesses, and in some instances raping one another. people drowned while attempting to cross floodwaters in order to reach safety. like a buoys in the open sea, dead bodies bobbed in the waters. passerbys, looked on casually, as if it was a scene they became all too familiar with. all this as the world watched. all this a few hundred miles away from me. all this in 21st century america.

the leaders of new orleans soon realized that their city would be unable to provide food, shelter and medical aid to all those affected by the storm. by the tens of thousands they were bussed to cities around america, with the majority of them ending up in houston, tx. as a fellow human being, and even more so as a muslim, i felt compelled to do whatever was in my capabilities to help these people out. so one week ago from today - on september 11th, 2005 - i, along with 2000+ muslims from around the greater houston area, went down to the george r brown convention center and fulfilled an article of faith: help those around you who are in need. we fed them, cleaned after them, provided medical care, played games with the children, but most importantly we sat and chatted with them. we heard their stories, and hopefully learned something from their experiences. uncles with fist-length beards donned gloves and aprons and wiped down tables, while others provided moral support and became a shoulder on which they could lean. how humbling it truly was. i spoke with a family that had lost everything, and they didnt know what to expect next. their house was under water, and so were their workplaces. no house, no job, nothing but uncertainty. but they remained strong and seemed thankful that they atleast survived. this past summer at camp i met a few muslim brothers from the new orleans area that i got to know very well. i spoke to one of them just a few days ago and he told me how is 2nd story apartment was still flooded with water.luckily they evacuated before the storm hit, but his older brother had decided to stay home and ride it out. for a week he lost all communication with his brother. distressed by incertitude, finally his brother had called. the roof of their house had collapsed, but somehow by the help of Allah they had managed to make it out to safety.

so many people lost everything overnight. and we sit here and let the minorest of inconvenieces agitate us and create a rift in our lives. be thankful to The Almighty for everything you have, even if its very little. and know that Allah does as he pleases.
about 80% of the city was flooded
with water up to 20 feet deep

and Allah Almighty knows best.
masalama, your brother in islam
sheik speare

Friday, September 09, 2005

isna 2005: brief recap (updated pics 9.12.05)

assalamu alaikum :)


below is a brief recap of isna 2005 which i originally posted on

one week ago i was packing for isna 05. one week later i begin packing for isna 06.

honesly, i dont know where to start, so i guess ill begin with the program. compared to isna 03 and isna 04, i thought it was horrible. the topics werent that interesting and im sorry but abdallah idris ali isnt the greatest speaker out there. that being said, id like to move on.i arrived in chicago thursday night along with my cousin hatattack. from the airport we proceeded directly to the rosemont convention center where we overlooked the construction of the infamous islamica booth. there we ran into azher, afeef, resay and mirza, who kindly lent us the keys to his nicely equipped infiniti fx35. hello devon street. hello italian express. after eating we hung out on devon for a couple hours or so, and then made our way to farasat's (worked the islamica booth) apartment where we called it a night. friday afternoon we arrived at isna.

[list of fellow islamicans that i met which i decided not to include here.]

overall, i had a blast hanging out with my brothers from across the country. from our antics in the bazaar, walking to mcdonalds at 2 am, handing out MSA session flyers with random witty comments, pulling an all nighter in bud's hotel room and discussing muhajibas, congregating in the empty quiet corner of the hyatt lobby with nihari and fried chicken and then being given the boot by the lawmen, to protesting the naseeb party at the roadside with posterboards, everything was amazing. i thank Allah for bringing us together i ndeen and brotherhood. know that i love each and every one of you. isna 06 can not come soon enough.

he just grabbed ahold
and wouldnt let go.

myself and bud in
the hyatt on sunday night.

myself and goldi
outside the naseeb party

my isna credentials.

i found this toy near the dumpster.
figured id get my cardio workout done
and avoid the lobby

(ill try to update as more pictures come in.)

and Allah Almighty knows best.

masalama, your brother in islam

sheik speare.