Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson -- [ A Reflection ]

The King of Pop had died. A legend has been born. The world tried to break you.....may you break free in heaven. Rest in peace Michael, I'll be missing you. Farewell :-(

"Every soul shall taste death. And We test you by evil and by good by way of trial. To Us must you return."

[ The Holy Qur'an 21:36 ]

I’m not going to make this article a theological writing piece; but nonetheless I figured its necessary to remind ourselves of the ‘reality’ of death through the Divine legislation of the Holy Qur’an which serves as a constant torch of guidance through the darkest of alleys that the twists and turns of our life winds us all up with.

I remember as a child growing up to Michael Jackson's songs, partaking with utter zest and zeal in the hysteria that had gripped the 80’s and the 90’s, whilst crooning to his catchy tunes and offbeat lyrics.

“The King of Pop”, as they’d call him; became an integral facet of contemporary music in general and mainstream media in specific. Everything from movies, advertisements and sell out concerts, is what defined the captivating craze of the ‘MJ Mania’ that overwhelmed audiences of all ages.

As a pre-teen, my mother would give me pocket money, about 50 Rupees a month; and I remember how I’d save up and spend days waiting just to hit the music store and buy the next MJ album that I could grapple my little paws on. By the time I reached 13, I had the original box set of all his albums from “Off the wall” and “Thriller” to “Bad” and “Dangerous”

Heck, I even got my groove goin’ and the mojo running’ when it came to the majestic ‘Moon Walk’. Yep, trying to mimic Jacko at every opportunity and chance I’d get; the moonwalk would be something that would take one to a whole new world of fantasy, enchantment and magic; a world where anything would be possible; well at least for a 13 year old. Of course, my moon-walking shenanigans came to an end the day I slipped trying to replicate the noble deed whilst taking a shower and falling flat on my bum. It’s funny how the scorch of sheer pain can help a person start a new leaf eh? Hmm.

In essence, apart from having the honor of being one of the most successful recording artists of all time, one of the most celebrated musicians in modern history and possessing the coveted title of the highest selling album of all time (Thriller); Michael Jackson has left an imprint on the lives of people around the world in ways that many politicians, social workers, humanitarians and religious figures never even come close to in a lifetime.

His music has been the intrinsic sound of the soul; a soul that everyone at one point or another regardless of age, nationality, language or social status could relate to. He has had more following than the Dalai Lama, more sell out stadiums than Manchester United and ofourse more controversy than Rosie O’Donnell caught like a deer in the headlights with a stolen Double Cheeseburger from McDonalds at 2 am.

However, inspire of the allegations, accusations, mudslinging tactics, denigration of image, demeaning of character and a plethora of other personal battles that MJ had to fight through (regardless of them being true or not), I’d like to think that at least as a ‘human being’ – if not as a prodigious musician or a revered celebrity - he has truly made a ‘difference’ for the ‘good’, in the lives of people around the world from every part of the known hemisphere; more than the ‘bad’ that people have attributed his persona with.

Even as a child inspire of the grit and grind of the industry and the lifestyle that came with it, MJ as the lead vocalist of the group “The Jackson 5” alongside his brothers; touched hearts, moistened eyes and stirred consciences that inevitably changed the course of many peoples lives in more ways than one; something that it still continues to accomplish till this very day and most certainly will even after his passing. One of my favorite songs from The Jackson 5 was: “I’ll be there”, a song that my late mother used to tell me so much about when she’d reminisce about the Jacksons, while growing up to them back in her own teenage years as a kid.

I'd like to point out one very important thing to hate mongers and people who have nothing better to do than 'judge' another human being whilst undermining their 'worth' faster than a declined paycheck:

At the end of the day, regardless of religion, caste, nationality or gender – we’ve all been put in this world for a reason by the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and the reason is simple: “Righteousness”. Righteousness comes in many forms, whether it be moral, ethical, religious, social or otherwise; at the end of the day when all is said and done, any human being who can influence the life of another for the ‘better’, is more 'human' in my book than the people who ‘talk’ much yet actually ‘do’ less.

Moreover, after years of consistent untrue and hyped up rumors ( some stemming as far back as the early 90’s), It had finally recently been confirmed that Michael Jackson had embraced Islam after all; a reversion that many had attributed to the efforts by his elder brother Germaine Jackson who became a Muslim many years back in the late 80’s himself.

As Muslims, we know that Allah swt alone is the ‘Knower’ of the ‘seen’ and the ‘unseen’ and hence it is Allah swt alone that knows what we harbor in our hearts. He is The Omniscient, The Exulted, The Supreme and most of all : The Best of Judges

"Say: Whether ye hide what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it all” [The Holy Qur'an 3:29]

If Michael truly did proclaim the ‘Shahada’ with an open heart, a humble mind and a sincere natural disposition of submission to the Almighty, then I can only say one thing:

Michael, Allah swt has blessed you with the gift of Islam and the beauty of true guidance through the bounty of His endless mercy, by the end of your illustrious life, just before the cold bite of death grasped you in its unrelenting womb. That alone, is a one of the biggest signs from God that unflinchingly reminds us:

“And whomsoever Allah wills to guide, He opens his breast to Islam” [ The Holy Qur’an 6: 125 ]

“Whomsoever Allah guides, he is the guided one, and whomsoever He sends astray, those, They are the losers” [ The Holy Qur’an 7:178]

There are people who would say: What difference does it make if MJ is dead? Does it really affect or change peoples lives?

To such individuals, I would say this: Hopefully nobody's going to ask the same 'question' the day you die, which is why its best to 'atleast' humble oneself upon the news of death concerning another human being, if not more.

Death is the epitomy of reality and everyone is going to die one day.

What matters though is not 'how' you 'die', but 'how' you actually 'live' and step number one is to remind ourselves consistently of the fact that life by its very nature is too short, while the glitz and glamor of the world will never give anybody anything except a complimentary pass to the prison our mortality that we can never set ourselves free from, until death knocks on the door and slides in our last meal.

In closing, I’d like to quote something that ‘should’ resonate as a shining testament of ‘profundity’ through the essence of all human kind in general and the purity of passion with which this man we know as “The King of Pop” decorated the lives of millions by giving them the gift of ‘hope’, in specific.

“Think about umm.. the generations and say we wanna make it a better place for our children and our children’s children, so that they, they..they know it’s a better world for them”

– Words from an 8 year old cancer stricken girl at the opening of MJ’s song: “Heal the world”

We’ll miss you…now and always!

God bless!

Special Thanks to My Friend Ali Ashraf

Remember to:

Smile and believe that today will be the one you remember most. For it is your memory of this day that reminds you how magical life can be. To be able to see and feel those who touch our hearts make them such an important part of tomorrow. It is today that leads us to tomorrow and those we take with us make it all the more worthwhile.

Written by:
Renee’ Fremont

Sunday, June 21, 2009

PAKISTAN! ICC World T20 Winner 2009

Pakistan claim World Twenty20 title with eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka

Pakistan won their first major title in 17 years when they stunned Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the World Twenty20 final. A glance in a day in Pakistan and the life of the people of Pakistan.

Shahid Afridi again starred with both bat and ball to give Pakistan an eight wicket victory in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup. Afridi’s unbeaten knock of 54 runs off 40 balls backed up his miserly spell of one for 20 in four overs and earned him the man of the match award.

Sri Lanka hit 138/6 from their 20 overs, recovering from 2/2 and 70/6; Pakistan reached their target with eight balls to spare.

Sri Lanka won a good toss on a slowing strip but they were unable to rely on their key batsman, Tillakaratne Dilshan, the tournament’s top runscorer, who faced a fearsome over from left-arm quick Mohammad Aamir first up.

Abdul Razzaq claimed three wickets as Pakistan restricted Sri Lanka to 138-6, then coasted home easily with eight deliveries to spare. Shahid Afridi hit an unbeaten 54 off 40 balls and former captain Shoaib Malik made 24 not out during a match-winning partnership of 76 for the undefeated third wicket. Pakistan, runners-up to India in the inaugural edition two years ago, ended Sri Lanka's unbeaten run in the tournament with style.

Pakistan last won an official multi-nation tournament in 1992 when Imran Khan's team lifted the World Cup by beating England in the final at the Melbourne cricket ground in Australia. The win by Younus Khan's team gave Pakistanis back home reason to cheer as the cricket-mad nation has been deprived of international tours due to security concerns in the volatile nation. Afridi paid tribute to skipper Younus. "Younus gave me great confidence," said Afridi. "I told him that I wanted to bat at number three in the order and he said OK, if you're confident just go and play. Don't worry about anything."

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara said: "I'm proud of the way we competed. I believe we can go forward from here," he said. "We'll take this and come back stronger in next year's tournament. We have the best bowling unit in the world."

Pakistani openers Kamran Akmal and Shahzaib Hasan ensured there were no early scares as they put on 48 for the first wicket in seven overs. Sanath Jayasuriya broke through with his first delivery in the next over when he beat Akmal in the air with his left-arm spin and had him stumped for 37 off 28 balls.

Jayasuriya then took a catch to get rid of Shahzaib off Muttiah Muralitharan for 19, but Afridi and Malik took Pakistan home amid loud celebrations from their fans in the stands. Sri Lanka were dealt quick blows after Sangakkara won the toss and elected to take first strike on a slow wicket.

The Lankans slumped to 2-2 in the first nine balls and that became 34-4 before Sangakkara himself led the rescue act with a defiant unbeaten 64 from 52 balls. Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews put on 68 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket as Sri Lanka plundered 59 runs in the final five overs. Mathews returned unbeaten on 35 off 24 balls. Pakistan got off to a sensational start when teenage fast bowler Mohammad Aamer sent back the in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan with the fifth ball of the match. Dilshan, the tournament's leading scorer with 317 runs, miscued a pull shot off the speedy left-armer and was caught at backward square-leg by Shahzaib Hasan for zero.

The victory is set to revolutionise the game in Pakistan, where cricket has been fraught by terrorism and politics. Pakistani players were not welcomed at this year’s IPL in the wake of the Lahore attack on the Sri Lankan team and it seems possible that this win will save Pakistan from some kind of international cricket exile.

“I think it is a gift for our nation” said Younus Khan afterwards, who was Pakistan’s top run getter in the tournament.

It will also give a phenomenal boost to the level of interest taken in the sport in a country where cricket attendance and television ratings has been on the wane for a number of years. All tours to the country have been put on hold and Pakistan will probably be denied the opportunity to host matches at the next World Cup.

Younus added, “Today I have decided to retire from Twenty20 cricket. I am already 34 and probably too old for this kind of cricket. One Twenty20 game expends a whole month’s worth of energy!”

“We have a number of talented cricketers who can really excel in this version of the game.”

The announcement created a stir at the press conference – Younus looked a proud and cheerful man. He spoke much of his desire for international cricket to return to Pakistan for the “youngsters.”

Younus dedicated the win to Bob Woolmer, the former Pakistan coach who died during the World Cup in the West Indies in 2007.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ICC World T20 Final: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

Pakistan will face Sri Lanka in the finals on Sunday.

This is rare good news for Pak cricket fans, and Pakistanis in general, amidst a constant stream of bad news. Hope it helps our national psyche and makes us all feel better as a nation.

If Afridi, Akmal and Gul continue their form, I am confident Pakistanis can beat Sri Lanka in the final. InshaAllah!

What do Stats Say ?

Well if statistics is any worth in Cricket, then stars do seem to align in favour of Pakistan. Do you know that Pakistan has the highest Winning Percentage in Twenty-20 Internationals in the world. Yes, Pakistan’s record is 75% wins out of 22 matches they’ve played so far. They are followed by Sri Lanks at 72.22% from 18 matches.

Complete list of ranking in terms of win% in Twenty-20 Internationals is as follows. It is valid up to and including Pak v/s SA semi final of the world cup.

1. Pakistan 76.08% (23 matches)
2. Sri Lanka 72.22% (18 matches)
3. South Africa 66.66% (24 matches)
4. Netherlands 60% (6 matches)
5. India 55.88% (18 matches)
6. West Indies 50.00% (16 matches)
7. Ireland 50% (9 matches)
8. Australia 47.82% (23 matches)
9. New Zealand 42.3% (26 matches)
10. England 40.00% (20 matches)
11. Canada 35.71 % (7 matches)
Zimbabwe 35.71% (7 matches)
13. Scotland 28.57% (8 matches)
14. Bangladesh 25% (12 matches)
15. Kenya 12.50% (12 matches)
16. Bermuda 0% (3 matches)

Ifs and Buts:

  • If Pakistan wins the toss they should bat first.
  • If they make 160-165 they will have a good chance.
  • If first 2 overs cost more than 25 runs Younis Khan should throw the ball either to Fawad Alam or Saeed Ajmal.
  • If Pakistan has to chase a target, Afridi should play before Misbah
  • If Pakistan is chasing a target closer to 180 Afridi can be sent to open the batting alongside Akmal
  • Last but not the least if Pakistan has to win, they need to be serious

  • T20 match at Lord's, London, 21 Jun 2009.


Match is Yet To Start
Umpires: N/A and N/A, Reserve Umpire: N/A


Player Matches Avg

Abdul Razzaq 5 29.5

Ahmed Shehzad 2 4

Fawad Alam 12 32

Kamran Akmal 23 20.73

Misbah-ul-Haq 21 45.82

Mohammad Aamer 6 0

Rao Iftikhar Anjum 1 0

Saeed Ajmal 7 0

Salman Butt 16 23.36

Shahid Afridi 22 16.68

Shahzaib Hasan 3 19.33

Shoaib Malik 23 29.59

Sohail Tanvir 13 5.67

Umar Gul 20 19

Yasir Arafat 5 16.67

Younus Khan (C) 21 25.41
Intikhab Alam
Player Matches Avg

Ajantha Mendis 8 0

Angelo Mathews 5 28

Chamara Silva 13 14.6

Farveez Maharoof 7 7.67

Indika De Saram 1 0

Isuru Udana 3 0

Jehan Mubarak 14 25.67

Kumar Sangakkara (C) 13 22.82

Lasith Malinga 13 18.67

Mahela Jayawardena 16 27.77

Muttiah Muralidaran 6 0

Nuwan Kulasekara 4 7

Sanath Jayasuriya 16 31.8

Thilan Thushara 4 1

Tillakaratne Dilshan 17 29.86
Trevor Bayliss

Monday, June 8, 2009

Colours of Pakistan

Photo Gallery: Glimpses into the daily lives of Pakistanis.