i've been busy as a bumbling little bee. i'm kind of drained and don't feel like i can type coherently but i don't like going too long without updating journals regularly, otherwise i'll forget it exists for a looong time.
inshaAllah i'll soon have time to write and read more so that i'm not completely burnt out.
every day i start noticing patterns. themes. common strands of thoughts and experiences. this isn't new, per se, but it's happening more frequently. the more i get in touch with my religion, the more introspective and reflective i become during mundane tasks like eating or watching youtube videos about... idk, how to make laksa noodles.
i've had kind of a rough start to life, you could say. not awful enough to turn into a superhero movie antagonist but certainly not so luxurious that i'd make many people jealous. but the instability and prospects of my future in this life make me worry. every. day.
the world around me is so corrupt. it's also expensive. it's dangerous, too, but at the moment i'm living more or less comfortably. however i have a feeling that in a few months it won't be so comfortable. i'll be stepping into "the real world." (never liked that phrase. the world was always real before. i just never had to deal with quite so much ridiculousness all at once.)
i'm talking money. it's no surprise the world's economy is in the gutter. we've been dealing with it for a while. now i'm gonna deal with it too. more directly than ever.
i don't think people want to be rich. i think they want financial stability. after all, so many people get rich and lose it all. so many people with money spend their time working to death just to accumulate wealth. i doubt money actually makes us happy. yes, it can contribute. but clearly it's not the only factor in bringing satisfaction to your life.
anyway idek what i'm trying to say in this journal. i guess i'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the rest of my life. strangely, at the moment i'm oddly calm.
let's see how this goes.
i'm still pretty interested in tiny houses.
before hitting retirement age i could possibly have enough money, in cash, for a totally decked out RV. i'm not fond of interest or monthly payment plans that tack on unnecessary fees. i don't even like monthly subscriptions. mostly because my memory stinks, which also stinks for anyone managing money.
is it sad that i don't see myself owning a house, though? this is merely an ideal. a dream. a fantasy to put it bluntly in today's market. i've only ever lived in apartments. the idea of shackling myself to an impossibly high debt for 30 or so years to pay off a traditional home disgusts me. i can't imagine living in such a big space for the rest of my life. there's so much room, so much to maintain, and it's so... expensive. even when you own the home you've gotta maintain it. that's true for anything. but something that costs several hundreds of thousands of dollars... i can't reasonably justify that.this is all wishful thinking. retirement scares me. it seems like a mirage. a disappearing sight that may or may not be there when i finish blinking. our government handles finances like a gambler in a casino--throwing hard-earned money into different machines hoping that chance will somehow magically solve all of it's problems. the housing market is a complete wreck and i'm not sure we're even equipped to fix it.
anyway. i don't even know if i'll live long enough to own a house (which doesn't make me too sad) but hey, it is one of my goals.
now i could also use a fraction of that money to spend on a small business, which would be great, but at the moment i'm not concerned with business pursuits. i doubt i'd need that much since the funds would go to intangible things. think domain/hosting costs, taxes, and other fees. runing a business with a large volume of physical goods would only stress me out.
well that certainly was a tangent. no one really reads this besides myself but i do like documenting these thoughts so i can laugh at myself later.
throughout my life i've always liked reading. like with most kids, the pretty pictures never hurt. i used to swallow books whole. sure, i was easily distracted, but certain reads managed to pull me in for hours without pause. i became obsessed with finding (and occasionally writing) what i considered "good" stories.
over the years i started becoming more aware of my limited time on this planet. i figured if i'm gonna read a book or webcomic it better be good. anything that didn't fit my personal idea of excellence earned the shelf or the drop. after all, i owed it to myself to only find the best, right?
of course in the back of my mind i knew that wasn't totally true. there's as much, if not more to learn from bad literature as there is from the good. note: that just because conventional standards indicate something is well-written, it may not be entertaining or meaningful. the same applies in reverse. think about your favorite kid shows. looking back, you may realize some of them are kinda terrible. but you enjoyed them nonetheless. there's more to writing a gripping story than merely checking a list of agreed upon grocery items.
the majority of work out there probably isn't worth your time if you're looking for a well-written, meaningful read. but that doesn't mean it's not a useful learning tool. humans more easily point out flaws than points of praise. most of us have sat down to check out the latest show or trilogy only to come back disappointed, perhaps even thinking we could write something much less cringe-worthy ourselves.
personal taste and experience will dictate how much you enjoy certain works, but overall the idea of a perfectly written book is the most unrealistic fantasy one can have. we're human. we've made mistakes and will continue to mess up spectacularly for the rest of our time on earth. but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
so i kinda wanna make a goal for myself right here and now. read more. read stuff i hate. read stuff i wouldn't usually pick up. read stuff i like. read read read to get a better understanding of what works, what doesn't, and how i can improve myself.
i suffer from perfectionist tendencies that lead to unnecessary procrastination. i forget that the best writing doesn't come out in the first or second or third draft, but after multiple thoughtful revisions. i'm gonna write stuff that sucks and that's alright. what matters is that i keep making content.
that's part of why i like journaling. takes the pressure off creative processes when i can just say whatever i'm thinking. warming up is only half the fun, and creating art is one of the most rewarding and touching things a human being can do to connect with the rest of the world. i pray that i'll be able to craft stories that matter to people for all the right reasons. now i've just gotta start.
oh. about the title. i don't like light novels. at least, not their translations. the style is a bit bland and the writing can sometimes be comparable to stories i wrote for school assignments in middle school, but that's okay because even though i wrote some awful prose i clearly had ideas and drive. the execution may have lacked but looking back i can appreciate the effort i put forth. some pages i wrote back then still impress me! i want to get back that burning fire i used to have, and to do it i think i should readopt the same attitude i had back then.
take a cool idea and do your best to make it come to life. sprinkle in as little or as much wish fulfillment as you'd like--and don't pretend it's not there--but make it interesting. more importantly, have fun. and don't lose sight of what makes your story shine.
you're probably here because someone (likely me) linked you to this post. there's so much misinformation, confusion, and inaccuracy concerning islam online and in the media that i feel obligated to write a series on it. i have no idea how long this will be or if i'll even live to finish it, but inshaAllah (if God wills) i will do my best!
[please note that this dreamwidth acts as a livejournal-style blog for me, so the rest of the posts you find on this subdomain may have nothing to do with religion lol. feel free to look around after reading this if you want.]
this post is mainly aimed at non muslims as well as muslims who feel disconnected from or ignorant of their religion. lots of us come from cultures or families that identify as muslims but hardly put it into practice. sometimes relatives confuse tradition with islam, leading to misconceptions and flat out ignoring islamic principles (such as seeking knowledge, treating women with respect, and so much more).
please read carefully! since i already mentioned some everyday islamic terminology and phrases, i'd like to start with one of the most important aspects of the islam: scripture.
what is the qur'an?
the qur'an is the last revelation from Allah, aka God. it's word-for-word His own speech. in it He teaches us how to go about our lives. though recitation of the qur'an is melodious and beautiful, it's important to note that it's neither music nor poetry.
what does the word "qur'an" mean?
it means "that which is recited." i notice people sometimes pronounce it like "curr-anne" but it's more like "qoor-an."
didn't islam just copy and paste past religious scripture with a few changes?
remember how i said Allah is the one who made the qur'an? He also sent down the torah and the bible to earlier people. the people who recieved and practiced the lessons in those books were actually muslims, which Allah Himself tells us in the qur'an. (confused? keep reading.)
muslims today believe in the torah, bible, and the qur'an... though we don't regard the first two in their current states as something to follow. why? because humans have manipulated and altered those earlier texts. that's why you won't see a muslim cracking open a copy of the king james bible for guidance. some of those past people who received scripture decided to change the words, rulings, and guidance from God to suit their own desires. once they did that, those folks were no longer practicing islam.
the whole "religious text altering" shouldn't surprise us. it's well-known that the church would often adopt pagan practices and ideas. this is why lots of christian holidays coincide with pagan ones.
Allah didn't create multiple religions. the religion taught in those holy books was always, always, always islam. human beings--with the free will that God gave them--were the ones who disregarded His teachings and continued to break up into schism after schism or invented their own religions.
to put an end to this, Allah sent down the final revelation to all of mankind and promised to preserve it. today that promise has still been kept, as we've preserved many early copies of the qur'an. put them side by side and they're exactly the same words in the same order, the same ayahs, the same surahs. the only differences you'll see are decorations and the script (or "font" if you will) used.
ayahs? surahs? what?
ayah (or ayat) is the arabic word that has many meanings. most translate this as "verse" when speaking about the qur'an. this translation is pretty lacking imo. ayah means "sign" or "miracle." ayahs in the qur'an can be a single word, a sentence fragment, or span multiple sentences. there is wisdom to be gleamed from every single ayah, no matter how small.
to be quite honest i've forgotten what the word surah means in a detailed arabic perspective. i don't wanna talk about stuff i don't know and mislead people. often the 114 surahs of the qur'an are referred to as "chapters" but that word misrepresents what a surah is. surahs don't necessarily focus on one topic or like a chapter in a novel--there are often multiple themes and concepts within each, and it may not be a linear progression.
i thought muhammad wrote the qur'an.
a lot of people do. in reality prophet muhammad was illiterate. he couldn't read or write, and someone who can't consume literature certainly wouldn't be able to suddenly begin spouting expertly crafted recitations accurately detailing phenomena and scientific facts he never could have experienced for himself.
wait. if muhammad couldn't write then how come we have the qur'an written on paper?
a fair question. i'm glad you asked. it's not surprising that muhammad couldn't write. most people in the desert over 1400 years ago couldn't. we still have countries and areas with abysmal literacy rates. however there were still scribes who lived among and around him that would write these revelations to aid their own memorization.
i'm interested in reading the qur'an. where should i start?
i'm glad you asked! there are tons of free apps and websites out there. my personal favorite is quran.com. it features all 114 surahs. hover over (or click on if you're mobile) an arabic word to highlight it and get a basic translation. at the top you can choose to listen to various reciters and your preferred translation (including non-english ones).
i recommend selecting the "sahih international" english translation along with the reciter "mishary rashid al-afasy." you can choose multiple at once for comparison but know that some translations use more old english than others (yusuf ali, pickthall) which will probably confuse you. not saying those translations are bad, just letting you know ahead of time to avoid confusion.
the qur'an differs from other books in that you can begin reading it from wherever you want as long as you read the surah from the beginning. longer surahs tend to come earlier while the shorter ones often inhabit the end. in fact, the second surah is the longest in the qur'an at 286 ayahs, and a lot of them are beefy. (i just noticed that i mentioned beef. baqarah means cow. funny coincidence. anyway!) those beefier this can discourage you, so i'll link a few surahs on the shorter side to help you grasp some basic concepts of islam. i recommend reading them in this order.
- surah 001 - al fatihah
- surah 112 - al ikhlas
- surah 103 - al 'asr
- surah 107 - al ma'un
- surah 098 - al bayyinah
- surah 094 - ash sharh
- surah 090 - al balad
- surah 088 - al ghashiyah
- surah 100 - al 'adiyat
- surah 110 - an nasr
a gentle reminder: if you come to the qur'an with preconceived notions or assuming you already know everything about a surah then you won't benefit from reading it. if you can admit to yourself that you know nothing then you will learn. if you can admit to yourself that you may not know as much as you thought then you will learn.
okay, i read the surahs you linked. now what?
ultimately that's up to you! this was merely a quick, non-comprehensive intro post. i'm not sure if i'll even get to write more--although i'd love to!
this information is merely a starting point. i'm just one person so i may not be able to answer all (or any) of your questions because i myself am learning. check out some islamic sources that i'll link below to help you understand what you come across!
you will encounter many unfamiliar terms.
- tafsir ibn kathir (aka what's gonna help you understand what the qur'an ACTUALLY means)
- bayyinah institute on youtube
- qur'an weekly on youtube
- saad tasleem on youtube
- saad tasleem on facebook
- omar suleiman on facebook
by the way, the aim of this page isn't to convert anyone (although that would be cool)! it's to help people understand the way of life God's been teaching us all along. islam is a pretty practical approach to life. the more you study, the more you'll understand it.
may Allah guide, protect, and have mercy on us all! ameen.
links to the parts of the "what is this islam thing?" series below!
part 0 | part 1 | part 2 | part 3
hello everyone! thanks for checking this post out.
the religion that muslims practice. it's a religion of peace and submission to Allah.
Allah (proper noun)
literally just the arabic word for God. arabic speakig jews and christians also say Allah. (for some christians this is God "the father," though muslims believe that Allah never had, has, or will have children or spouses.)
someone who practices islam. note that we are a religious group, not a race or ethnicity.
an adjective that describes something related to islam. note that terrorism is evil and has no place in islam, so "radical islam" is not really islam at all and "islamic terrorists" are actually going against the teachings of islam by killing people.
not so fun fact: many of these terrorist organizations target and kill muslims sooo yeah definitely not islamic behavior.
all praise and thanks belong to Allah (God).
Allah (God) is the greatest.
perfect/exalted is Allah (God).
as salamu alaikum (phrase)
"peace be upon you." it's the way muslims greet each other! what a wonderful greeting, especially said with a smile. the reply is...
wa alaikum as salam (phrase)
"and peace be upon you." this is how you reply! whe you reply you're also encouraged to say the following, which is longer...
wa alaikum as salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh (phrase)
"and peace upon you, and the mercy of Allah and His blessings." it's considered rude not to respond back when someone gives you salams because it's a religious duty AND why wouldn't you say hello back anyway?
the building in which muslims gather to pray together. usually prayers are being lead five times a day. the masjids are usually most full during the friday prayer and during ramadan. many masjids also serve as sunday schools. outside you'll usually find a parking lot, and probably a playground or field for kids to play in during recess.
the word for masjid in english is mosque but most muslims will say masjid amongst each other. when talking to non muslims we usually say mosque to avoid confusion.
it literally means "by Allah." you're basically swearing by Allah that what you just said or are about to say is true.
in islam we believe that the only thing worth swearing by is God. however some people use this phrase every sentence. we should try to be careful how much we use this phrase, lest we slip up and say something inappropriate or that we didn't mean to while using the name of God.
in sha Allah (phrase)
if Allah wills. it's similar to the english phrase "God willing."
we say this often when discussing plans for the future. we know that at any moment we could return to Allah (aka dying), so this particular phrase can keep from feeling arrogant/invincible because no one can tell you when you're going to die. we remember death not to be morbid, but to motivate us to do better.
because arabic has letters with no english equivalent you'll sometimes see the same word(s) written various ways. i like to write these words "inshaAllah."
links to the parts of the "what is this islam thing?" series below!
part 0 | part 1 | part 2 | part 3
i was worried these wouldn't get put out before the end of the indiegogo campaign. i doubt those goals will be reached at this rate since the campaign's about 2/3 full and activity momentum's slowed but you never know!
i'm glad we can purchase more than one access key. after all, the account linking features interests me most. i hope the usernames i want won't be taken by the time i sign up lol.
not much else new to say on the subject besides i'm stoked!
i grew up on nintendo so i'm definitely biased but man, imo video games are one of the most versatile and immersive tools out there. why did i refer to them as tools instead of as a medium? well, that's essentially what they are. they're story-telling tools. they're educational tools. they're whatever-you-program-them-to-be tools. heck, PETA's notorious for their violent and derogatory parody games to communicate their message. i think they could go about it with more tact, but that's just my opinion.
i don't have to tell you that video games have a bad rep. so does television. the criticism is nothing new. i understand the complaints. many of them aren't totally unfounded. however, a loooot of those "ban all videogames" or "video games are evil" folks haven't personally experienced enough games to make an informed opinion if you ask me.
sometimes it feels like they just parrot newscasters because they want an excuse to tell their kids instead of admitting they don't want to spend their money on the latest pokemon game. (which is fair enough. it is their money after all.)
you can probably tell which camp i'm in at this point. it's all about how you use video games. knives aren't inherently evil. you can use them to carve meat and prepare a meal. they're also capable of non-intended uses like opening packages. some people take otherwise harmless tools and turn them into murder weapons. the same can be said for pretty much anything else. perhaps you can't take someone out IRL with a game of smash bros... but no action is without consequence.
maybe you played the game in front of your five year old sister and now she thinks punching people to death is a form of affection. that's a problem. we gotta be careful how and what we play--sometimes with who. most parents buy kids toys or games without reading reviews or doing a little research. i've seen so many parents blindly buy their children extremely violent games that THEY PAID FOR and then get mad at the kid when they find out how graphic it is later... without remembering that they didn't look at the cover. that they didn't ask about the rating. that they just figured "if it'll make you shut up i'll get it" while buying it without hesitation.
we can't blame just one person or group on the effects certain games and genres have on our psyche. we gotta remind ourselves step back and try to see what we did wrong, what we may have overlooked or ignored. this isn't easy, but if we want better it's gonna take a little self-criticism.
alright, enough of the negatives. let's get positive!
as i said earlier, i love video games. i grew up playing them. i'm getting tired of typing so i'm just gonna bullet point the rest of this lol.
- games help with hand-eye coordination
- certain genres promote developing problem-solving and strategy skills
- plot and characterization can increase empathy, sympathy, and overall emotional intelligence
- they can improve spatial reasoning capabilities
- help fine-tune fine motor skills
- developing games often requires effective leadership/teamwork skills, mathematics, and a decent understanding computer sciences
seriously. i know ADD plays a role. my short-term memory and attention span are laughable. i tend to over-focus on details thus missing the bigger picture. i get sucked into browsing web page after web page. time almost seems to run away from me, even when i set alarms and whatnot. (in fact sometimes i don't even register the fact that the alarms are meant to help me.)
overall, mentally you could say i'm a mess lol. but it's okay. that's how i was born, and i can learn to work with what i've got.
i'm getting a liiittle better at doing what i gotta. however i still make the mistake of starting things i know i'll get carried away with. (*sideways glance at my 3DS.*) i'm not sure what techniques will work for me at this point, or how to discipline myself better, but i have a feeling i'll learn.
anyways, i got stuff to do soon so i guess i'll wrap this up. seeya 'round!