Boxer Amir Khan Gets Engaged In Gala Ceremony

Aamir Khan and Faryal Makhdoom were engaged January 29th, 2012.

Like the famous Beatles’ song says, all you need is love.  In a ceremony at Bolton Wanderers’ Reebok Stadium that cost more than 150,000 pounds, 25 year old boxing sensation Amir Khan was engaged to New York native Faryal Makhdoom in the company of 1,000 of their closest friends and family.  Guests included boxer Ricky Hatton and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney.

According to the UK Mail Online, the soon to be Mr. Khan says she does not want to watch her soon to be husband fight, and while he was fighting Lamont Peterson in December, she was back in the hotel room ‘praying with his mother.’

Regarding his bride-to-be, Khan said, “A lot of girls back home have said to me, ‘Your girl is beautiful’ — and that’s great because people can be so jealous. But Faryal is so humble. Anybody who meets her is going to fall in love with her. She’s got no edge, she’s just a terrific person.”

Said Ricky Hatton, “He had a bit of bad luck in his last fight but this will be a nice day and we can have a bit of fun.”

Our best wishes, prayers and congratulations go out to the young couple.

Liam Neeson Finds the Call to Prayer to be “The Most Beautiful, Beautiful Thing”

While filming Taken 2, Liam Neeson reportedly became interested in Islam.

According to Neeson, who spent time filming in Istanbul:

“The Call to Prayer happens five times a day and for the first week it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit and it’s the most beautiful, beautiful thing”

He is also reported to have said:

“There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.”

Neeson, who was raised Catholic and named after a local priest in Northern Ireland, has always delved deeply into matters of faith.  Said Neeson:

“I was reared a Catholic, but I think every day we ask ourselves, not consciously, what are we doing on this planet? What’s it all about?” he has said. “I’m constantly reading books on God or the absence of God and atheism.”

According to UK’s Daily Mail, Neeson had caused a stir by claiming in 2010 that the lion character, Aslan, of C.S. Lewis’ story Chronicles of Narnia, was based on all spiritual leaders – including Muhammad.

Liam Neeson has starred in many movies including Star Wars: Episode I – The Phanton Menace, Michael Collins, Schindler’s List, Batman Begins, and Taken.  His latest film, The Grey, was released January 27, 2011 worldwide and has received a 4 out of 5 star rating on Rotten Tomatoes.com

If Mr. Neeson does accept Islam, he will be in the ranks of other famous celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Yusuf Islam, who was also intrigued by the sound of azhan while on vacation in Marrakech, Morocco.  After being told the azhan was music for God, Islam said:

“I thought, music for God? I’d never heard that before – I’d heard of music for money, music for fame, music for personal power, but music for God!”

Since then, Yusuf Islam has contributed much in the way of religious music, charitable work and educational contributions to society.  It appears as if Liam Neeson may be seeking out a similar path.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: Pakistan’s First Oscar Nominee

Oscar nominated Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Whoever said Pakistanis are only good at dramas and movies like Maula Jatt never met Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Pakistan’s first Oscar nominee for her soon to be released documentary, Saving Face. Obaid-Chinoy, a journalist and documentarian, had previously won an Emmy for her documentary entitled Pakistan: Children of the Taliban.  For her journalistic work on life in Muslim countries, Mrs. Obaid-Chinoy also received the Livingston Award.

Saving Face is about the experiences of a British Pakistani plastic surgeon who donates his time to heal acid victims in Pakistan.  It is set to be released in March of 2012 while the Oscars are set to be held February 26th.

Obaid-Chinoy working on her Oscar nominated Saving Face.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is also the founder of the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, dedicated to the preservation of Pakistan’s history.  She is a featured TED 2010 fellow who asserts that:

“By bringing the voices of the ordinary people faced with extraordinary challenges to television screens around the world, I hope to affect change in one community at a time.”

American Cuisine Done Well at RJ’s Cafe

If you’ve ever felt like the guy in the “Halal. Is it Meat You’re Looking For?” song, read on.

For those readers who, like me, have on occasion found themselves craving for a superbly done New Zealand lamb chop in tandoori seasoning while driving home from work, check out RJ’s Cafe, located in Beltsville, Maryland.

Conveniently nestled in an otherwise nondescript corporate center, RJ’s Cafe is a family operation run by two culinary veterans and brothers: Abdul Hameed and Chef Abdul Basit Khan.

Chef Abdul Basit and Abdul Hameed Khan operate RJ's Cafe.

Established in 2008 as the culmination of many years of experience in the culinary industry, RJ’s is not your run of the mill desi restaurant.  RJ’s, named after Abdul Basit and Abdul Hameed’s parents, Rashid and Jamila, is run by people who are experts in good food.

Chef Abdul Basit has been cooking professionally for over 15 years and is a self-described “foodie.”  Chef Abdul Basit Khan has experience working for many years as an executive chef at the Grand Hyatt Park Hyatt and at other upscale restaurants.

Chef Abdul Basit Khan at work.

The menu at RJ’s has something for everyone.  From rib eyed steak to tandoori pizza and everything between.  If you don’t see what your palate fancies, however, don’t fret.  Chef Basit, an expert in American, Indo-Pak and Chinese cuisine aims to please and is always trying new things in the kitchen.  Regarding his broad range of cooking interest, he explains “Recipes just pop in my head and I like experimenting.”  His favorite dish: the rib eyed steak with sauteed onion and mushroom with garlic and herb.

You can often find Chef Basit’s sons Muhammad Zed, who became a hafiz at age 14, Danial and Attar Khan or one of his two daughters assisting at the restaurant.  As Chef Abdul Basit says:

You really have to know the food… By smell… I can tell the salt content and the seasoning I’ve put in there… [the customer’s] reaction tells me whether its good or bad… and thats the secret of my cooking.

The other half of this dynamic duo is Abdul Hameed Khan, who manages the business.  Abdul Hameed has been working in the culinary industry since 1977.  He has worked in a management role at Chris Fields, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Whole Foods.  According to Abdul Hameed:

What drives us is the passion.  What drives the passion is the quality service and cleanliness.  Our motto is “quality is our recipe.”  Thats what drives us.

Abdul Hameed greets all diners at RJ's with warmth and cheer.

When you enter RJ’s, you will most likely be greeted by a smiling Abdul Hameed.  Always cheery and welcoming, Abdul Hameed truly makes the customer feel at home.  Abdul Hameed will have the answer to any question you may have.  When asked what his favorite dish is, his reply was quick: Hawaiian style rib-eyed steak.  Abdul Hameed’s son, Muhammad Shafiq, is also an upcoming chef who works with the family at RJ’s.  He recently placed third out of a 24 school competition at a Maryland state level cooking competition.  Out of the four top placing contestents Shafiq was the only junior.

Another reason to like the folks at RJ’s Cafe is because they care about the community.  When one enters, they will see letters from the local school board and Police expressing gratitude for RJ’s commitment to service.  One such example of this commitment is RJ Cafe’s involvement with a program at the nearby High Road School whereby two students come in to RJ’s to learn cooking.

So next time you’re in the mood for a good halal steak, burger, or tandoori pizza with a side of hospitality and good conversation, give RJ’s Cafe a try.  You can also see more reviews of RJ’s Cafe at Sameer’s Eats and zabibah.com.

"Nom nom nom" is all one hears as Faiz eats his fried chicken steak with home fries.

Omar Hamoui: Innovator, Leader and Entrepeneur Who Is Unafraid To Lose and Wins

Ever wondered what you could make on that cool new laptop with knowledge, vision and a ton of hard work?

Omar Hamoui, former CEO of Admob.

Meet Omar Hamoui, the former CEO of AdMob, a company whose focus was mobile advertising and was purchased by Google for $750 million dollars in November 2009. AdMob was one of the pioneers in mobile advertising, an area that focuses on the advertising mobile phone users see when they browse websites designed specifically for their mobile phones. AdMob was hugely successful, receiving many awards such as The Mobile Premier Award and “Hottest Silicon Valley Companies” by Lead411 in 2010. Omar Hamoui was also named one of the Top 15 Mobilize Influencers of 2010. Omar Hamoui left Google in late October 2010, and continued pursuing creative new ventures independently and through his company, Churn Labs.

What makes Hamoui remarkable is his fearless spirit to do things different. In the above posted video of Hamoui addressing UCLA’s Muslim Student Association (“MSA”), he discusses doing things differently:

Ultimately if you look at a lot of people who are different and do things that are outside the norm , they do things that are outside the norm. If your plan is to do something different, you actually have to do different things. Most people want to be different but they are unwilling to go through the process of doing somewhat crazy things.

In the video, Omar Hamoui explains that as an undergraduate he attended UCLA and was a Pre-Med and Engineering double major as a Freshman. He changed from Pre-Med to Engineering and had to explain the change to his family. Eventually Hamoui’s path would lead him to University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, which he left in 2006 to start AdMob. AdMob was born out of Hamoui’s frustration at the expensive cost of mobile advertising for a program he developed in 2005 called Fotochatter.

Hamoui wasn’t afraid of going it alone. When AdMob was funded by the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, he was driving solo – one man with his laptop. As Hamoui advises: “If you are a person with a laptop and an idea, don’t worry about messing up the 100m dollar business you think you will someday be.” According to Jim Goetz, a senior partner at Sequoia, “[Hamoui] ignored the carriers, he ignored the ‘walled garden.’ When he started, there was no economy around mobile. It was the inception of this market. He’s a special entrepreneur, and he built an extraordinary business in a short time.” His business acumen was bulwarked by his fearlessness. He was unafraid to try new things and fail. Hamoui had tried 7 different start-ups since 1998 before AdMob. That is dedication.

Hamoui also believes in staying true to one’s beliefs. In the MSA video he discusses staying true to Islam by keeping his promises as a businessman, although it meant foregoing some very lucrative deals. He also discussed his principal of not drinking alcohol in an environment where everyone else is drinking. When asked what instituions Muslims need most and are lacking right now, Hamoui pointed to Islamic endowments or waqif, non-profit funds that are designated for specific purposes such as education, for example.

Among Hamoui’s recent investments are Gigwalk, Card.io, and Offermatic. One of Hamoui’s latest venture is Churn Labs, an incubator of creative ideas that developers come up with when left to their imagination. One of his latest apps is called Gnonstop Gnomes, in which cute gnomes can be dragged and dropped between phones.

This is Lucky Saleem Junior, my gnome, developed on Hamoui

Hamoui’s story is inspirational for all people who aspire to be entrepreneurs, but especially for those young people who are technologically forward thinking. If you have an idea that you think can help improve the world around you, explore it – you never know what may come of it if you do.

Engy Abdelkader: A Few Good Muslim Men — Honoring Those Who Honor Women

Reposted from The Huffington Post: Engy Abdelkader: A Few Good Muslim Men — Honoring Those Who Honor Women.

If the stereotypical Muslim woman is an oppressed one, then the archetypal Muslim male is responsible for her condition. In news stories, popular entertainment media and even video games, the image of the violent, misogynistic or abusive Muslim man is present time and again.

To be sure, bad apples exist in every religious, ethnic and racial group. But there is a dearth of positive Muslim portrayals to counteract such negative images on TV or the big screen. As a result, your everyday regular Omars and Mohammeds are sometimes viewed with suspicion and fear.

As 2011 draws to a close, we take a moment to recognize the following Muslim men — fathers, brothers, husbands, academics, advocates and religious leaders — selected by others for their individual contributions to the lives of women and, thus, humanity at large:

Asim Rehman (36, New York): Asim is in-house counsel who volunteers his time representing domestic violence victims. Asim’s wife describes him as a “fabulous” partner who encourages her intellectual pursuits. Asim has turned down professional opportunities requiring relocation so that his wife can remain in her NYC post, which she loves. The couple is expecting their first child and Asim “cooks, cleans and grocery shops without complaining.” His wife says she “can’t imagine a better partner than Asim.”

Shyam K. Sriram (32, Georgia): A college professor, Shyam is known for his stance against violence against women and girls. In less than one year, he helped a fledgling initiative — Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence — become a viable one. Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence trains Muslim men how to teach others that violence against women and girls is Islamically impermissible.

Abed Awad (42, New Jersey): Abed was recognized by his colleagues for the work he has done on behalf of Muslim women both as a past Board Member of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, and on the legal front. An accomplished attorney with his own practice, he has earned a reputation for defending women’s rights in religious divorces and other family law disputes.

Davi Barker (30, California): An artist and writer, Davi’s wife — an activist, attorney and community leader — described him in this way: “He is exactly what I dreamed of when I thought I wanted to marry a man who lived his life and marriage through his faith. Religion, and more specifically ‘love and mercy’ dictate everything he does in our relationship. His support is what makes my work as [head of a civil rights organization] possible. From being understanding when I have a difficult case or am coming home late regularly to helping with the graphic design for [my organization] and carrying more than a fair share of chores around the house … I couldn’t do this without him.”

Imam Mohamed Magid (40ish, Virginia): Imam Magid is the Imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) located in Sterling, Va. He is also President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Imam Magid was referenced by a congregant who characterized him as, “One of the biggest advocates out there for women’s rights.” He conducts domestic violence prevention training seminars for other Imams around the country and serves on the Board of Directors of Peaceful Families, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence in Muslim families.

Omar Sharif (29, California): Omar was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Uganda who spearheaded numerous small business projects which placed women at the forefront.

Mohamed Tantawi (38, New Jersey): Mohamed’s wife says of him: “He’s a great pediatrician, he does most of the cooking (and well too), he sings at Carnegie Hall. Most importantly, he does all that is in his power to preserve our family dynamic, one in which he is an active partner.”

Ahmad Hussain (28, California): Currently in Nashville, Tenn., completing his surgical residency, Ahmad was also suggested for inclusion on this list by his wife, a filmmaker in California. She remarked about the breadth of sacrifices Ahmed has made for her. For instance, when she indicated her willingness to sacrifice her filmmaking career which requires her to spend half her time in Los Angeles in order to stay with him in Tennessee, he was adamantly opposed to her doing so: “He said he wouldn’t be happy with himself if he kept me from becoming a filmmaker. He said it makes him happy to see me doing these things. … I know it kills him — he’s tired, he’s lonely, he’s hungry — but he can’t be convinced.”

Abdul H. Abdullah (67, Georgia): Abdul is the Chief Financial Officer of Baitul Salaam Residence for Abused and Neglected Women and Children. In addition to contributing his time and money to the organization, he also allows battered women to seek refuge at his private family business when they are in trouble.

Taraq Chand (late 60s, New Jersey): A father of four daughters and one son, he has taught his children that Islam supports women’s rights. As a result his daughters are all professionals: a doctor, chemical engineer, pharmacist and soon-to-be-lawyer.

Sheikh Abdala Adhami (Washington, D.C.): Sheikh Adhami is an Islamic scholar who has been serving the Muslim community in the U.S. for more than 20 years. A Washington, D.C. native, he was praised by several women including a New Jersey Muslim mom who described him in the following manner: “Simply a magnificent person, he spoke endlessly on women’s rights in Islam, with the notion that women should know their rights and men should know in order to protect these rights, and any infringements on those rights are seen as a crime in God’s eyes. He spoke of the many prominent women throughout Islamic history… and how men would travel far and wide to study at their feet. He lectured on how women, even at the time of the Prophet [Muhammed], owned their own businesses and how this money was solely theirs — to be shared with her family at her discretion, and any money she gave to her family was a charity… [His message] was in stark contrast to what we hear from the Taliban. It brought a peace and comfort and nourished a true connection with one’s Lord — and that is what religion is supposed to do.”

Nabile Safdar (35, Maryland): An accomplished doctor who recently returned from a volunteer mission to Haiti where he provided much needed medical care, Nabile is a father to three young daughters. He delivers religious sermons to his local community preaching against spousal abuse while urging men to treat women with dignity and respect.

Ezat Yosafi (Connecticut): Born in Afghanistan, Ezat was recognized by his daughter, posthumously. She attributes her professional accomplishments as an attorney to her father’s guidance and advice. He passed away in Connecticut in 2008.

Furqan Ahmed (27, New Jersey): Furqan’s wife says that he is “someone who has made law school a more tolerable experience. … It is not easy to be married to a law student as law school … involves such a dedication of time and effort. But he really pushes me to do more and presses me to follow up with law firms. … I think it is really helpful to have someone who is a partner in all aspects.”

Ali Hussain (63, Massachusetts): Ali’s daughter notes, “He’s coached me in multiple ways with my career, helping me overcome hurdles, to be confident in new situations, maintain integrity, be bold yet gracious in asserting my needs. He also encourages [my sisters and me] to dream big and sometimes dreams for us even bigger than we do.”

Prophet Muhammad (posthumously): He is considered by Muslims to be the seal to a long line of God’s prophets and messengers beginning with Adam. The Prophet Muhammad’s private relationships were based on open communication and mutual respect. He never asked anyone to wait on him and participated in household chores and childcare; he used to mend his own clothes, play with children and perform chores around the home. He promoted and nurtured the education of women (e.g. Aisha bint Abu Bakr). He never raised his hand against anyone in his household. He chastised the Muslim men who dared to strike their wives. In the words of the woman who praised him, “He was kind and respected women and asked men to do the same.”

While the Muslim men included above are deserving of our collective support, recognition and accolades, this list is by no means an exhaustive one. Rather, these men are representative of many more Muslims whose names are not included here but whose lives and contributions are similarly noteworthy.

If I may humbly suggest, perhaps this year Hollywood can make the following addition to its collective list of new year resolution: more positive portrayals of the American Muslim community. After all, an image of the Muslim advocate effectively representing the rights of his (or her) female Muslim client in a religious divorce or the imam educating his congregation of Muslim women’s equal social status is a truer realization of art imitating life.

On the subject of accolades, a note about Muslim culture. “Mashallah” is a word frequently heard used between Muslims. It literally means “whatever God wills.” And it is often said in response to hearing about a person’s good deed or impressive accomplishment.

Mashallah.

Engy Abdelkader is a Legal Fellow with the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

FIFA Endorses Proposal Lifting Controversial Ban on Hijab

FIFA has proposed lifting a controversial ban on the Iranian national soccer team from competing in the 2012 Olympics.  FIFA had previously declared the banning was due to the hijab (headscarf) worn by the team’s players.  “Hijab” the refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general.  See more on hijab here.  During its December 16-17 Executive meeting in Tokyo, FIFA decided to lift a controversial ban on hijab worn by soccer players exercising their choice to wear a headdress according to their interpretation of their faith.

The Iranian Womens' Soccer Team, wearing hijab.

The ban was contested by the Iranian football federation chief Ali Kafashian and new FIFA vice president, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan, who asserted that

 “There is nothing religiously symbolic about covering your head.”

Prince Ali was answering criticism by three French womens’ rights organizations that wrote a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter stating “To accept a special dress code for women athletes not only introduces discrimination among athletes but is contrary to the rules governing sport movement, setting a same dress code for all athletes without regard to origin or belief.”

Prince Ali pointed out that: “You have players with face masks like [Chelsea goalkeeper] Petr Cech (pictured), you have players who wear headbands.”

Petr Cech of Chelsea dons a black face mask.

Said Ali: “There is nothing religiously symbolic about covering your head.”

FIFA has stated it will put forward the proposal to the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which governs association rules of soccer, at its next meeting on March 3rd, 2012.  The secretive IFAB consists of England alongside FIFA, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The proposal calls for the sanctioning of a safe, velcro-opening headscarf for players and officials.

Essentially, one of the criticisms of Iran is that they impose the hijab restriction upon its players.  Iranian players are not the only ones negatively affected by a ban on hijab, however.  There are at least three players in Jordan that want to wear hijab but currently cannot due to the restrictive rules against women’s clothing.

Prince Ali stated that the right of visiting teams to Muslim countries not to don the hijab should be respected.  “If a team goes to a country where players do cover the heads, that host country has to respect  the right of the visitors not to,” he said. [L]et there be mutual respect.”

The protests against hijab are coming from a country, France, that is known for its fierce secularism.  France bans the burqa, and has arrested women for wearing what Middle Eastern historian Christina Michelmore deems  a rejection of Western values.   Michelmore stated:

“They see it as part of their identity, as separate from this globalized McDonald’s world.”

Burqa-bans are counter-productive and harmful, according to Judith Sunderland, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch: “[Burka bans] violate the rights of those who choose to wear the veil and do nothing to help those who are compelled to do so.”

We hope that FIFA and IFAB uphold the right to play organized soccer for everyone, in accordance with their motto: “For the Good of the Game.”

Hijab wearing players just want a level playing ground.

Celebrating 70 Years of The Greatest

Muhammad Ali baffled his opponents.

In Roman times, the gladiator had a special role.  He entertained the masses by engaging in martial combat with another gladiator.  Most died by the age of 28 and were slaves.  The fictional story of a gladiator who used his sway over the crowd’s emotions to bring about societal revolution from despotism to a republican form of government could be seen in the movie The Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe.  The closest thing to a real gladiator in modern times is the man known as the G.O.A.T. (The Greatest of All Time), the boxer Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali’s career more than justifies his title as “the greatest.”  Ali was 56-5 with 37 KOs.  In the ring, he was best known for a braggadocio that today’s fighters such as Mayweather aspire to but can never match.  As Ali once said, “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

Ali was famous for calling the round in which he would knock out his opponent.

Ali’s influence went far beyond the arena of boxing.  Muhammad Ali was always fighting for justice.  When his bike was stolen from him at the age of 12 in 1954, Ali began a boxing career that would last until 1981, close to thirty years later.  As Ali wrote in his 1975 autobiography, he had thrown his gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a diner and having a run in with a white racist gang.  He changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhamamad Ali in1964 upon becoming a follower of Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam; Ali later accepted Sunni Islam in 1975.

One of Muhammad Ali’s biggest fights took place outside of the ring.  In 1966, Ali attempted to declare himself a conscientious objector to the war based on his religion of Islam.  Ali stated:

“War is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an. I’m not trying to dodge the draft. We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.”

His words stirred the emotions of American society and culture much in the way his punches and speedy footwork left his opponents dazed.  Ali helped bring attention to the plight of African-Americans in the United States by his support of civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X.  Ali was quoted as saying,  “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong … They never called me nigger.”

Muhammad Ali’s refusal to enlist as a soldier in the Vietnam war led to his arrest and prosecution.  Ali was found guilty of the felony of refusal of induction into the U.S. military and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.  He was also stripped of his  title and his license was suspended.  On June 28, 1971, the conviction was overturned in Clay v. United States.

Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X

Muhammad Ali stood up for his beliefs, inside and outside of the ring.  In a 1971 fight with Ernie Terrell in which Terrell refused to calling Ali by his name, instead calling him Cassius Clay, Ali punctuated every jab and punch with the taunting question “What’s my name, fool? What’s my name?”

Ali stood up for his people and his religion.  In his own words:

“I’m gonna fight for the prestige, not for me, but to uplift my little brothers who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America. Black people who are living on welfare, black people who can’t eat, black people who don’t know no knowledge of themselves, black people who don’t have no future.”

After the horrible attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, Muhammad Ali said:

“What’s really hurting me – the name Islam is involved, and Muslim is involved and causing trouble and starting hate and violence. Islam is not a killer religion, Islam means peace. I couldn’t just sit home and watch people label Muslims as the reason for this problem.”

Muhammad Ali as a boxer was poetry in motion, and as a poet was just as effective.  When David Frost asked Ali in 1972 what he wanted people to remember him by after he was gone, he responded:

I’d like for them to say:
He took a few cups of love.
He took one tablespoon of patience,
One teaspoon of generosity,
One pint of kindness.
He took one quart of laughter,
One pinch of concern.
And then, he mixed willingness with happiness.
He added lots of faith,
And he stirred it up well.
Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime,
And he served it to it to each and every deserving person he met.

On Ali’s 70th birthday, I think its safe to say that the description fits.  Happy birthday to The Greatest.

Video: Ali in an Apple commercial “Think Different”

Child Prodigy, Arifa Karim, Leaves Legacy of Achievement and Inspiration

Arifa Karim left a legacy of achievement and inspiration.

Arifa Karim passed away at the tender age of 16 on Saturday, January 14, 2011, due to complications resulting from an epileptic attack she suffered on December 22, 2011.  She left a legacy of achievement, having been the youngest ever MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) at the young age of 9.  Her achievement led to her being invited to Seattle, WA to tour Microsoft and meet the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates.

Bill Gates and Arifa Karim

Arifa Karim went on to be awarded the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal by the Pakistani Government in 2005 as well as the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award in the same year.  She had additionally been honored with the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance.

Arifa Karim was multi-talented.  She was certified to fly a plane at a flying club in Dubai at the age of 10.

At her funeral Qari Ashraf stated “Arfa was not only extraordinarily brilliant in Information Technology but was also very fond of Hamd, Naat and Allama Iqbal’s poetry.”

Arifa Karim stands as a symbol of youth's potential.

Arifa’s father, Col. (Ret.) Amjad Karim Randhawa, said of his daughter:

She had a creative mind and always wanted to do something extraordinary far beyond her age.  Arfa always surprised her teachers and class fellows with her intelligence and thought-provoking questions.

It was Arifa Karim’s creative mind and drive to succeed that allowed her to achieve great things at such a young age.  She was unhindered by fear.  Although Arifa Karim’s life was cut short, her achievements were many.  Even more than for her accomplishments, however, it will be her indomitable spirit that Arifa Karim is remembered for and what children, young and old, will be inspired by for years to come.

May God bestow upon her an overflowing abundance of mercy.