Friday, February 27, 2015

Keepin' the Love Alive: My Tips for Re-igniting Your Marriage

Alhamdulilah I've been married for 6 years to the woman I was crazy about since I was in High School. When I did marry her, I was met with resistance from family and friends saying that I was too young--I hadn't finished college yet, had barely any money, and was still living with my mom and dad--but I wasn't going to budge. I had found the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and didn't want to waste any time making it official.

Marriages, I have learned, are not easy. (A collective "duh!" from everyone reading, I know.) A piece of advice I received recently is that marriage is a 24/7 Job. That is not a bad thing at all. It just means that it's something that always requires work and is always a work in progress. There is a deception that when you have finally snagged the person you're in love with, everything will be effortlessly perfect and easy; problems and arguments will be either small or non-existent. Every year things will get even better and perfect and lovey dovey until you leave this earth. There's theories where the only time you have real problems is if you married the "wrong" person.

The fact is even if you're with the love of your life, things won't be all sunshine and rainbows. Just like you need constant maintainence and upkeep and progression as an individual, your relationship with your significant other needs to be worked on and evaluated all the time whether you've been together a couple of years or over a decade.

Complacency is a real issue. I read about relationship complacency in articles and heard about it in movies and such and you would think, "Hey It'd never get like that with us, we're crazy about eachother!" But it can happen to ANYONE. Why? Because of life that's why. External forces can effect your relationship and at worst, can make you lose the spark or fire that you once had. Job problems, bills, having children, money issues, personal issues etc. can become such a distraction that you lose sight of your spouse. You get into a routine and get so used to it that you don't evaluate anymore. It just becomes normal. And if you describe your relationship as "normal", that's not necessarily a good thing even though it isn't bad either.

I look back on the quote/unquote "honeymoon" phase and how in the beginning when I first met my wife I was a hopeless romantic. Cute little gifts and presents and thoughtful things I'd do all the time whether long-distance or up close. For a long while that ended and I made excuses which had to do with money, with my time, with stressing about work, not being in the mood because the bills are due or I have to pay a parking ticket or something or the other. And I have learned that's the worst thing you can do.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

PhilAsify the Love Guru?

What a terrible, terrible movie.
Though I haven't blogged much during my hiatus from PhilAsify 101, I did keep up with the activity the blog had gotten over the 6 months I was inactive.

I was surprised to see that I would have on average 100 page views daily of people clicking on PhilAsify from all over the world. A modest amount sure, but for me it's pretty huge that at least 100 pairs of eyes read my blog or come across it everyday which is humbling to say the least cause I can't even get my close friends to even read a Facebook status I put up much less my blog. For strangers who don't know me to click on an article of mine they found interesting and check it out is really astonishing to me.

Also despite not having new content up during the timespan, I noticed I would get comments for my different blogposts. Most of them would be comments on what I've learned has been my most popular blog post to date: Dating In Islam: Why Muslims shouldn't date and really why you shouldn't either. Which I guess shouldn't be surprising to me because if you go into google or any search enging and type "Dating" and "Islam" together, my article will likely be on the front page of results. I'm sure it's my top viewed article because the muslim youngster go ahead and search the topic using those keywords because they're just curious to have a perspective on the matter.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My Thoughts on the Chapel Hill Tragedy: Islamophobia Rears Its Ugly Head

The Internet was going nuts today after tragic news broke of three young Muslim students who were gunned down by a older white man over what the news glossed over as a "parking dispute". 

You can read the full story at the link below. LINK:

Police say a dispute over a parking space spurred the murder Tuesday of three North Carolina college students, but the Muslim father of two of the victims insisted Wednesday that his daughters' neighbor and alleged killer had menaced them before and was driven by hate.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Although a Facebook page in Hicks' name that described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and blasted “radical Christians and radical Muslims" for causing strife in the world prompted rampant suspicion the crime was motivated by hate, police said Wednesday it was about a parking space at the condominium complex where the murders took place.

Those killed were Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; his wife, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21; and her sister, Raleigh, N.C. resident Razan Abu-Salha, Chapel Hill Police said in a statement.

“It was execution-style, a bullet in every head,” the women’s father, Dr. Mohammad Abu-Salha, a psychiatrist, told the Raleigh News-Observer.
“This was not a dispute over a parking space; this was a hate crime. This man had picked on my daughter and her husband a couple of times before, and he talked with them with his gun in his belt. And they were uncomfortable with him, but they did not know he would go this far.”

Abu-Salha said his daughter, who lived next door to Hicks, wore a Muslim head scarf and told her family a week ago that she had “a hateful neighbor.”

“'Honest to God, he hates us for what we are and how we look,’” the distraught father quoted his daughter as saying.
My Thoughts:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I'm Baaaack...

Back from an extended sabaatical once again is your favorite PhilAsifer. It's been six months since I've posted new content on PhilAsify and I can explain, if you'd just let me!

My time away from writing was a mixture of several factors:

1) My job. I've been working longer hours lately to pay the bills and it's been eating away at my free time.

2) Fatherhood. Being a dad is great and all but it's tough when you're a writer because you need peace and quiet and a block of time to get cookin' and that usually isn't going down when there is a toddler amongst needing to be entertained and put to bed.

3) I've just been in a general slump that I had to work on. I wasn't feeling productive. I wasn't managing my time. I felt I was stuck in this hamster wheel and getting nowhere. SO I needed to re-evaluate myself and my goals and start taking steps to get out of that debilliating rut I was in.

I didn't want to come back to churning out new blog posts until my mind was right. The whole point of PhilAsify 101 was to be an outlet for me to express myself creatively through my passion of writing and telling stories and sharing my observations and commentary on today. To take on such a task you have to be in the right frame of mind to do so. I wasn't, so I didn't write.

Also while I was away, I was hard at work on a screenplay. Those who know me well, know it's my dream to write for Hollywood. But that's all it was. Just a dream. Dreams just stay in a persons head and don't translate to real life until you put in work. So that's what I did. 

I buckled down and started to take the necessary steps to make this dream a reality and long story short: I've completed the first draft of my first feature film. It still needs a lot of work but I can at least revel in that accomplishment because it's a big milestone for me.

I actually told myself that I wouldnt return to blogging until I finished the first draft. Now that I have knocked it out, here I am. I'm actually kicking myself because a lot has happened in the world while I was away that I could've given my two cents on. But let's not dwell on that.

I'm back to give you your regular dose of PhilAsify. So stay tuned people because like Marshawn Lynch I'm coming at ya, and coming at ya hard (only to not be given the ball when I need it most to win the big one).

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ceasefire - A Poem

Note: I actually wrote this poem about 5 years ago in my college poetry class. With all the continuing bloodshed and relentless violence and the fact that a ceasefire in Gaza only lasted 90 minutes, it's every bit as relevant now as it was then. #freepalestine

by Asif Balouch

Across my TV screen
the evening news invites me
to a world where smiles do not exist.
Where all that lies is images of horror,
devastation that knows no bounds.
where blood flows more than water.
Sad story follows tragedy repeatedly
in a torturous cycle.
I’ve seen enough
and am not the only one
that cries out for those liable
to bring forth a ceasefire.

To city halls we go and march,
embassies and consulates.
The demand of a resolution we sought
an end to the conflict.
Cardboard signs with words big and
bold spell out our disapproval.
A clear message to those in power:
"How much more lives must be lost
before you’ve had your fill?"
That would get you out of your passive state into actual activity?
Save some lives and save your souls,
bring forth this ceasefire!

It seemed the demands had been met,
the ceasefire had finally come.
Talks of peace now possible, rather
than a pipedream.
Short-lived, however,
is what peace came to be
as violence and bloodshed
reappeared uninvited.
Guns rattled,
bombs blasted,
bodies dropped,
and families returned to being
depleted of its members.
Children now orphans and only Childs,
while parents childless.
All due to the triggers of transgressors,
violators of the ceasefire.

A dispute over real estate becomes
a clash over faith and tradition.
Those that follow their holy books,
claim justification of their actions.
Yet they overl

ook the most important verses of their scriptures,
a blind eye to God’s commandments,
a deaf ear to the consequences.
Religion is not even required as a guide,
use your common sense!
At a young age we learn to share,
to bond,
to coexist,
compromise and work out differences.
Skills that are supposed to be instilled,
in the framework of human hearts and minds,
now another casualty of this war.
A call for resurrection,
for those fallen tools of world peace.
For if they were to return,
would there be a need to order a ceasefire?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

RIP Ultimate Warrior (There goes my childhood)

A sad start to the month of April. One of my favorite childhood wrestling hero's has passed away. The Ultimate Warrior died at the age of 54 from heart failure while walking with his wife to his car at a hotel. This was just 24 hours after he was on Monday Night RAW for the first time in 18 years and more than 48 hours removed from being honored at the 2014 Hall of Fame.

Ultimate Warrior was my gateway drug into wrestling when I was a little tyke. My dad liked watching wrestling and I think when I was around 2 or 3 I got my first glimpse of wrestling either on a Saturday morning or Saturday night when my dad had just got home from work and was relaxing. Who was on the screen? The Ultimate Warrior. The long hair, the crazy promos, the colorful facepaint and tassles the big muscles I thought he was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. Sure a lot of the times you didn't understand a word he was saying but the dude was a ball of energy running to the ring and that music was awesome!

WWE did a tribute to him this past week and it is one of the most beautiful packages I've seen them make for anyone. When it gets to the part where they show his daughters, that's when I lose it, being a new father myself.

What's crazy is that his last address to the fans the night before his death was almost prophetic, like he knew he was going to die. I read that his family had a history of heart disease and his father even died at 57 from a heart attack. He had to have known from doctors that he didn't have much time left. So I'm guessing that's why he put behind his bitterness with his former employer, WWE, and accepted the Hall of Fame invite. He may have known his days were numbered but probably didn't think it'd be so soon as he had signed a multiyear deal as an ambassador for the company. My heart goes out to his beautiful daughters and his wife. Despite his criticisms, they lost a good man.

I'll miss you Warrior!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Charitable Viral Videos: Noble or Boastful?

A trend that is starting to catch fire on the interwebs are viral video pranksters going off the beaten path and showing off their charitable side by recording a video of them either helping out the homeless with a makeover, some money, groceries etc. 

Popular Youtubers like Vitalyzd, FouseyTube, MagicofRahat are just a few of those folks. Look at this recent video just released of MagicofRahat giving a homeless man a fake lottery ticket and following him to go cash his winnings.

The heartwarming video above I must admit brought tears to my eyes. These videos are usually very inspirational and emotional. It's no surprise videos like these go viral because it's not common for charitable acts to be seen up close and personal from a third person perspective. The majority of folks appreciate the random acts of kindness but others expose a different side, one that is usually disliked or overlooked. I'm talking about comments such as these:

Emotional porn? That's a new one.

While I do respect and appreciate the ultra-kind gesture that MagicofRahat and others like him did, detractors do raise a valid point and it is the reason why openly giving charity is kind of a slippery slope. You try to do something nice but when you publicize it, you're bound to get responses such as this and accusations of being a hypocrite, self-righteous and exploitative. 

It's a tough situation to be in especially if your intentions are to inspire others, raise awareness or get people reach into their pockets and give a little more. 

I don't think MagicofRahat or those like him are trying to say "Look at me, I'm a good person!". And as for those who say they are benefiting financially by having these videos go viral, while it may be true it's merely complimentary. They were getting PAID with their viral prank and comedy videos long before releasing videos of their noble deeds.

 I feel they are merely giving back because if it wasn't for all the views and subscriptions and support people gave them, they probably wouldn't have the income and fame to put them in a position to give like they do in those videos.

Being charitable or doing any good deed does trigger a response in our brain which emits a warm satisfied feeling within us and for some people it can be a drug. They want people to know about their kind act and be recognized and put that dopamine-induced pleasure their brain gets into hyperdrive. I know in the past when I have done something charitable and I feel all virtuous and whatnot, one of the first things part of me feels like doing is letting the world know. I feel like tooting my own horn and shouting "Look what I did, what have you done lately?"

 I learned real fast that not only does it make you come off like a jerk and a hypocrite, but it's a dangerous line to cross because you're pretty much removing any credit you were to receive by Allah because you're seeking praise of others. I'd much rather have Allah's reward than a "Cool story,bro!" from my peers.

Situations like this really gives you a better understanding of the phrase that both the Qur'an and the Bible mention: giving charity in such a way that your left hand doesn't know what your right hand is doing. It's much more respectable being the anonymous donor; the guy who swoops in, saves the day and just disappears into the night before anyone can ask for his name. It's why superheroes are superheroes.

If Superman was a real person and started spouting off all the times he saved the world from utter destruction, stropped that schoolbus full of children from falling off a cliff and the countless other acts he's done, we'd all be calling him an A-hole. If Spiderman took every opportunity to show folks a highlight reel of all the cool heroic crap he's done over the years, we'd all be throwing tomatoes at him (though he'd successfully dodge them all and wrap us up in his websling).

Whatever, dude.

 The best way I can conclude are with reminders given from the Qur'an:
If you give charity openly, that is good. But if you keep it secret, and give it to the needy in private, that is better for you. It will atone for some of your misdeeds. God is cognizant of what you do. (2:271).
O you who believe! Do not cancel out your charitable deeds by reminding others of your him who spends his wealth to be seen by the people (2:264)