Mullah Omar/Ayatollah Khamenei to Star in Rumi Biopic

Breaking News.

Los Angeles, California.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar was selected by David Franzoni, the Oscar-winning writer of Gladiator to play the role of 13th century Sufi mystic, scholar, philosopher and poet Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamemei will play the part of Shams-e-Tabriz.

ayatollah-ali-khamenei-smile

Initially, Franzoni after much research, had selected Leonardo DiCaprio to portray Rumi and Robert Downey Jr. to play his friend, instructor and companion Shams-e-Tabriz, but after being deeply moved by the outcries of whitewashing, he decided that in order to be politically correct, only an Afghani should play the part of Rumi who was born in Balkh, which is in present-day Afghanistan and as Tabriz was born in Tabriz, Iran – no one would be better suited than Ayatollah Khamenei (he hopes Khamenei’s birth in Mashhad, Iran will not complicate matters should the Twitter Brigade ask for a birth certificate). Franzoni, who has in the past written great screenplays like King Arthur, Amistad, and Gladiator, hoped this new casting would bring no objection or accusations of whitewashing from the Twitter Whiner Brigade, a powerful group of activists who although never have made a film, are well versed in the art of whining on the Internet from the comfort of their chairs.

In his speech at the Motion Picture Academy’s annual dinner,  Franzoni stated his film could have lost billions by mistakenly casting DiCaprio and Downey Jr despite their being the most bankable stars in the industry today.

“Besides, Mullah Omar and Ayatollah Khamenei’s onscreen chemistry will bring out the sensuality that was lacking in his earlier cast – the world will be drooling over these new hunks.”

“We, the veteran film makers of Hollywood – despite historically being the world’s oldest, largest and most commercially successful film industry – are completely clueless when it comes to making and casting people for successful films. We have proven again and again, that people who produce, direct, write or finance films should have absolutely no say in whom to cast, this should be left to the professionals. I hope to set a trend by engaging the Twitter Whiner Brigade to select casting for all my future films and also have been in talks with President Trump to create a bill making it law that casting for a film will only be serviced by the Twitter Whiner Brigade.”

President Trump has promised to build a wall around Hollywood and make the Taliban pay for it.

(Disclaimer: This is satire)

The American Inquisition: Religious Intolerance at Ground Zero

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.” – Thomas Jefferson (Author of the Declaration of Independence)

By now, almost everyone’s aware of the NYC mosque controversy has made its way to mainstream news media, Twitter, Facebook and talk radio. It is breeding a rising hysteria against Muslims. Many protests have gathered now against proposed mosques around the country – in other parts of NYC; Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and Midland Beach, Staten Island and in other states – California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Wisconsin to name a few mosques that are being opposed.

The big issue in the news this time is a building of an Islamic community center aimed at multi-faith dialog called Cordoba House, open to all faiths in Lower Manhattan more than two blocks away from “Ground Zero” where the World Trade Center once stood. It will house an auditorium, spa, basketball court, swimming pool, classrooms, exhibition space, community meeting space, 9/11 memorial, and, yes, a prayer space for Muslims. That is what the bigots of America find objectionable.

I lived in NYC for 13 years. In this frenzy what people seem to miss is – there was actually a “mosque” (prayer hall) in the World Trade Center itself where people gathered for Friday prayers. Every year Ramadhan is still celebrated in the Pentagon where 184 people died on 9/11. Ramadhan is also observed in the White House every year when the President hosts Iftar dinner. But since this is an election year, politicians have tried to build up the extremist hysteria further – Sarah Palin (on Twitter), Newt Gingrich, Rick Lazio (campaigning to be the next Governor of New York) and others are joining the frenzy of Islamophobists and bigots. On the other hand, I applaud CNN’s Fareed Zakaria for his actions. He returned a medal and award he got in 2005 back to the Jewish Group ADL for their opposition to the community center.

The Cordoba House (the “mosque” as our biased media calls it) is named after the city of Cordoba, Spain – which was capital of Muslim Spain. Around the 10th century that was the most populated and coolest city in Europe.

The Muslim period in Spain (Here’s an article on the subject http://tinyurl.com/2eykgqt) is remembered as a “golden age” – where Muslims, Jews, and Christians living in peace built a vibrant and extraordinary civilization. It had universities and libraries, public baths, roads with street lamps. Literature, poetry and architecture flourished. They had built a flourishing culture and prosperous civilization during a period when London was still a mud hut village and most of Europe was still in the “Dark Ages”.

The Muslim period in Spain began in 711 AD and ended in 1492 AD with the Spanish Inquisition (religious persecution of Muslims, Jews, non-Catholic Christians by the Catholic Church which had banned all other religions). If anyone was found believing in Judaism or Islam, they would be called “heretics” and burnt at the stake.

The founders of America did not declare this a Christian nation but one for any believer or non-believer of religion. Read Thomas Jefferson’s Bill of Religious Freedoms. Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Bill of Religious Freedoms:

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”

The US Constitution guarantees that Muslims in this country have as much rights as do Jews, Christians, Hindus to live or worship freely as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others to do the same. Muslim heritage in this country goes back to Christopher Columbus and his famous voyage of 1492. Columbus’ pilots were Muslim.

What is today happening in America, where Muslims are being prevented from building a place of worship, is just plain hatred, bigotry and racism and nothing but the Spanish Inquisition all over again.

President Obama made a statement in his Ramadhan Iftar Dinner speech which I highly recommend reading – here’s an excerpt:

“But let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.”

Read President Obama’s full speech at:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/08/obama-ramadan-iftar-remarks-text.html

http://www.bendib.com - America's Most Wanted Cartoonist. The pen is funnier than the sword. Cartoons that speak truth to power.

Maula Mere, Maula Mere

The other day I was playing this song in my car and thinking about my beautiful wife – Mahi Jaan. I called her and tried singing the words to her but I was causing such a traffic jam on the 405 so gave up. She was probably worried that the Bel Air residents would come out wondering what shattered their windows or “Who let the dogs out?”. Let’s face it – We all don’t have magical voices like Tahir.

But as I listened…suddenly everything I looked at turned into sheer beauty….on the 405, the San Fernando Valley below me. On the 101, the sun rising so majestically, yet delicately veiled by gentle clouds, the mountains in the eastern distance still wearing their white caps….

Oh boy, it was indeed a mystical experience. As Carmen would say “QUE BONITO ES EL AMOR!”

Funny thing was that Hitesh also happened to think of the same song on the same day! Coincidence? Maybe he was also enveloped with sheer beauty everywhere – since London is such a beautiful city.

Here is the song with such beautiful and expressive poetry. I also have translated the lyrics to English below, to be as close as possible to its original Urdu meaning and in most places have used the literal meaning of the words but sometimes the symbolic to try stay true to its Sufi poetic form.

Enjoy!

Singer: Roop Kumar Rathod
Lyrics: Sayeed Qadri

You can listen to it here on YouTube:

Maula Mere Maula Mere

    Maula mere, maula mere, maula mere, maula mere

    Aankhein teri, kitni haseen
    Ke inkaa aashiq, mein ban gayaa hoon
    Mujhko basaa le, inme tu

    Ishq hai…

    Maula mere, maula mere maula mere, maula mere

    Ke inkaa aashiq, mein ban gayaa hoon
    Mujhko basaa le, inme tu

    Mujhse yeh har ghadi, meraa dil kahe
    Tum hi ho uski aarzoo

    Mujhse yeh har ghadi, mere lab kahe
    Teri hi ho sab guftagoo

    Baatein teri itni haseen,
    Main yaad inko jab kartaa hoon
    Phoolon se aaye, khushboo

    Rakh loon chhupaa ke main kahin tujhko
    Saayaa bhi teraa naa main doon

    Rakh loon banaa ke kahin ghar, main tujhe
    Saath tere, mein hi rahoon

    Zulfein teri, itni ghanee
    Dekh ke inko, yeh sochtaa hoon
    Saaye me, inke main jiyoon

    Ishq hai…

    Maula mere, Maula mer, Maula mere, Maula mere

    Meraa dil yahi bolaa, meraa dil yahi bolaa,
    Yaara, raaz yeh usne hai mujh par kholaa
    Ki hai ishq mohabbat, jiske dil mein
    Usko pasand karta hai Maulaa mere

    TRANSLATION:

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master,

    Your eyes, how beautiful they are
    That their lover, I have become,
    Captivate me within them

    It is passionate love…

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master

    Your eyes, how beautiful they are
    That I have become their lover,
    Captivate me within them

    Every moment, my heart keeps saying
    That you are its deepest desire

    Every moment, my lips keep saying
    Only you should be all they talk about

    Every word you speak, so charming
    That whenever I reminisce them,
    I smell the fragrance of flowers

    Let me take you and hide you somewhere
    Where even your shadow cannot reach

    Let me build you a house somewhere
    Where only I, will be with you

    The tresses of your hair, so rich
    I glance at them and imagine,
    In their shadow is where I’ll live

    It is passionate love

    O’ My Master, O’ My Master

    My heart has spoken, my heart has spoken
    O’ friend, this secret, it has revealed to me…
    Whoever has passion and love in their hearts,
    They are the beloved ones of my Master

Haq Ali Ali Ali Maula Ali Ali

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (1948-1997) was a great Peaceful Warrior. A singer from Pakistan that went on to become the world’s greatest singer of Qawwali, a boisterous and passionate music of mystical Islam. His name is revered the world over – from Bollywood to Hollywood.

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is considered one of the greatest singers ever recorded. He holds the Guinness world record for the most recordings of any Qawwali artist and has recorded 125 albums. He was gifted with a six-octave vocal range and during his performances it was very common for him to sing at a high-level of intensity for several hours. One of my favorites is his live performance in Paris – the entire performance spans 5 CDs.

His family have been musicians and singers of Qawwali (Islamic devotional music) for six centuries. Nusrat’s father, himself a singer, died in 1964 when Nusrat was about 16. His father had wanted his son to become a doctor because Qawwali is a very challenging style to learn. Ten days after his father’s death, Nusrat had a dream where his father came to him and told him to sing, touching his throat. Nusrat woke up singing, and gave his first public performance at his father’s funeral ceremony forty days later.

His first major hit in Pakistan was the Qawwali, Haq Ali Ali which was performed in a traditional style and with traditional instruments (Harmonium, Tabla, etc). The song featured restrained use of Nusrat’s sargam improvisations and attracted a large number of listeners.

Here is the beautiful heart rendering Qawwali, Haq Ali Ali dedicated to Hazrat Ali (AS) by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – the poetry is sheer divine ecstasy.

Lyrics and Translation of Haq Ali Ali by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Ali imaam-e-manasto manam Ghulaam-e-Ali
hazaar jaan-e-giraamii fidaa-e-naam-e-Ali

Ali is the master of all, I am the slave of Ali
a thousand lives are to be sacrificed for Ali

Haidariam qalandaram mastam
bandaa-e-Murtaza Ali hastam
peshvaa-e-tamaam virdaaram
ke sage kuu-e-sher-e-yazdaanam

I belong to the Lion of God
I am an intoxicated ecstatic wandering dervish
I am a slave of Ali the Chosen One
I am the leader of all the drunkards [mystical intoxication]
As I am a dog in the street of the Lion of God [Sher-e Yazdaan is Persian for Lion of God].

kabhii diivaar hiltii hai, kabhii dar kaaNp jaataa hai
Ali kaa naam sun kar ab bhii Khaibar kaaNp jaataa hai

Sometimes the wall shakes, sometimes trembles the door
upon hearing the name of Ali, the fort of Khaibar trembles even now.

Note: During the battle for the Fort of Khaibar, Ali rooted out the heavy door of the fort and used it as his shield.

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

King of the brave men, Ali
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali.

patthar pe alam deen ka gaaRaa jisne
lalkaar kar Marhab ko pichaaRaa jisne

[One] who implanted the flag of faith on the rocks
[One] who challenged Marhab and defeated him.
Note: In the same war, Ali challenged and defeated the celebrated warrior Marhab.

Haq
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali

jap le jap le mere manvaa
yahii naam sacchaa hai pyaare
yahii naam tere sab dukh haare
isii naam kii barkat ne diye raaz-e-haqiiqat khol

my heart! chant this
[as] this is the name that is true.
This is the name that removes suffering
[and] the auspiciousness of this name opened the secrets of being.

shaah-e-mardaaN Ali
la fataa illah Ali
sher-e-yazdaaN Ali

King of the brave, Ali.
There is no one except Ali
[and] the lion of God is Ali.

tan par Ali, Ali ho zubaaN par Al Ali
mar jauuN to kafan par bhii likhna Ali Ali

My body chants Ali, so does my tongue
[and] when I die, then write Ali on my shroud.

baGhair hubb-e-Ali mudd’aa nahiiN miltaa
ibaadatoN kaa bhii hargiz silaa nahiiN miltaa
Khudaa ke bandoN suno Ghaur se Khudaa kii qasam
jise Ali nahiiN milte use Khudaa nahiiN miltaa

Without the love of Ali, desire is not fulfilled
not even the prayers are answered.
O! slaves of God listen carefully, by God!
One who does not realizes Ali does not realize God.

basad talaash na ab kuch vus’at-e-nazar se milaa
nishaan-e-manzil-e-maqsuud raahbar se milaa
Ali mile to mile Khaana-e-Khudaa saa hameN
Khudaa ko dhuuNdha to vo bhi Ali ke ghar se milaa

Don’t search for anything now, match the eternal search
match the footprints of the desired destination with guide
to get Ali is like getting a house of God
searching for God too, we found Him in Ali’s house.

diid Haider kii ibaadat, hai ye farmaan-e-nabii
hai Ali ruuh-e-nabii, jism-e-nabii, jaan-e-nabii
gul-e-tathiir Ali
haq kii shamshiir Ali
piiroN ke piir Ali

The sight of Ali in itself is prayer, so said the Prophet
Ali is the soul, body and life of the Prophet
Ali is the purified flower
Ali is the sword of the truth
Ali is the saint of the saints.

dast-e-ilaa kyuuN na ho sher-e-Khudaa Ali
maqsuud har ataa hai shah-e-laa-fataa Ali
jis tarah ek zaat-e-Muhammad hai be-misaal
paidaa hu’aa na hogaa ko’ii duusraa Ali
“Bedam” yahii to paaNch haiN maqsuud-e-qaaynaat
Khairunnisaa, Hasan, Hussain, Mustafaa, Ali

At the door of god why not be like the Lion of God.
Every intention has a reward, King of the Victorious is Ali
Like the progeny of Muhammad is unique and unmatchable
There is none born nor ever will, like Ali
These five are indeed the reason of creation;
Khairunnisaa (Fatima, prophet’s daughter), Hasan, Hussain (Ali’s sons), Mustafa (Prophet Muhammad), Ali

Haq
Ali Ali Ali
Ali Maula Ali

[The] truth!
Ali Ali Ali
Ali, [my] master Ali