Raakin Iqbal Speaks

“Never be afraid to try, remember… Amateurs built the ark Professionals built the Titanic”

Pakistan should remain as an ‘Islamic Republic’

The elections now over, we going to see who is going to be bickering 1st on how the country function. Will it be the Mullah’s? Or will it be the Liberals? On one side, The Liberal force who believe that Pakistan should become into a secular state (much like India & U.S) and the Mullah’s who believe essentially Pakistan should become the next Saudi Arabia, if not harsher (attempt by Zia-Ul-Haq). It really comes down to what is more practical? What is the level of faith currently being practiced? If anything is wrong on both cases, how can we correct it?

As a guy who works in the entertainment industry and works out ways to how Pakistani Music can be further revolutionized and become a true element in the World Genre category, you may find it at surprising. But I prefer Pakistan to remain as an ‘Islamic Republic’. Currently if, you ask anyone their opinion about the right wing or even the Mullah’s, they will say to you that they have ruined the country [paraphrasing] which I do agree with. However, we can all agree that some of these guys [some crazy mullah’s] probably hold a ‘Jahali’ [Fake] degree in Islam/Quran/Islamic Culture Ideologies. But with the current events taking place (radicalization, etc…) clearly their school of thought is compromised and questionable, which leads me to cite the following verse from the Noble Quran:

“Obey your Allah and your messenger and who have authority. But if they differ, go back to Allah and the Prophet. But if teachings differ. Then go back to the Quran and the Hadiths.”

– Holy Quran, Surah Nisaa (Chap 4 v.459)

If we take a moment and follow the fundamental rights given to Muslims from the Holy Quran, a lot of the rights that are not followed and are fact a birthright to the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The interesting fact is these same rights (decent majority) are as well listed in the Pakistani Constitution.

Minority Rights

The Human Rights Watch published in 2012, “Pakistan had a disastrous year in 2011…” (Human Rights Watch). Other than the occasional “Islamic” Militant attacks, you have current ethnicities such as the Shia, Christians and Ahmadiyya who are targeted by such hate groups. Certain groups have no rights at all such as freely practice religion, take part in a government office, etc… But we can’t just BLAME the militant’s on such hateful crimes against Islam, but also hold the government accountable for not following their own constitution. In the Noble Quran & Pakistani Constitution it states:

Noble Qur’an: “O Mankind: We created you from a male and a female; and made you into tribes and nations that you may get to know each other. And verily, most honored before God is the most virtuous.” – Qur’an English Translation [49:13]

And verily this Brotherhood of yours is a single Brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore fear Me (and no other). But people have cut off their affair (of unity), between them, into sects: each party rejoices in that which is with itself. But leave them in their confused ignorance for a time. – Qur’an English Translation [23:52-54]

Pakistani Constitution: “Equality of citizens” (Article 25)

“Non-discrimination in respect of access to public place” (Article 26)

“The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services” (Article 36)

An Islamic State would have to follow what Islam clearly states. As clearly stated above, the Holy Quran delivers the clear message that people are made equal in Allah (S.W.T) eyes. One’s true test of character is not decided by what “tribe or ethnicity” but rather how virtuous and pious the individual is. Islam stresses the point that all of the God fearing believers of this world are a part of a single brotherhood (unisex). Along with the minority, you also have women rights.

Women Rights:

As the Western Media continues to tarnish the true representation of our beloved faith, women rights and choice of freedom is referenced in the Noble Quran and the Hadith’s. A Pakistani Islamic State would give the rights to women in all social aspects such as marriage, choice, inheritance, role of citizenship, education and the list continues. A lot of these rights are not either exercised by women in Pakistan or are withheld by the men due to the culture that has been around for only Allah knows.

I want to point you towards some key points that will help you understand that fact that men and women according to the Holy Quran are equal.

“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” [Noble Quran 2:228]

Currently, there are countless reports of women treated unfairly, violence, rape, traffic, and other forms of domestic violence (i.e. as we see in a lot of Pakistani Dramas). If Pakistan is going to be a true Islamic State and one of the key factors comes towards women rights, then I shall cite the following:

“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should you treat them with harshness, that you may take away part of the dowry you have given them – except when they have become guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If you take a dislike to them, it may be that you dislike something and Allah will bring about through it a great deal of good.” [Noble Quran 4:19]

One of the key question that arises on what rights should women have in an Islamic State when it comes to clothing. As everyone is most well aware of the following passage:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is acquainted with all that they do. And say that the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.

—Sura 24 (An-Nur), ayat 30-31, Holy Quran

Though the Noble Quran clearly states that Women should be dress modestly, we cannot ignore what the Hadith’s which state:

Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: “Aisha used to say: ‘When (the Verse): “They should draw their veils (Khumur) over their necks and bosoms(juyyub),” was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their faces with the cut pieces'”

– Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:282, 32:4091

Narrated Anas ibn Malik: “I know (about) the Hijab (the order of veiling of women) more than anybody else. Ubay ibn Ka’b used to ask me about it. Allah’s Apostle became the bridegroom of Zaynab bint Jahsh whom he married at Medina. After the sun had risen high in the sky, the Prophet invited the people to a meal. Allah’s Apostle remained sitting and some people remained sitting with him after the other guests had left. Then Allah’s Apostle got up and went away, and I too, followed him till he reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room. Then he thought that the people must have left the place by then, so he returned and I also returned with him. Behold, the people were still sitting at their places. So he went back again for the second time, and I went along with him too. When we reached the door of ‘Aisha’s room, he returned and I also returned with him to see that the people had left. Thereupon the Prophet hung a curtain between me and him and the Verse regarding the order for (veiling of women) Hijab was revealed.”

– Sahih al-Bukhari, 7:65:375, Sabhih Muslim, 8:3334

Does that mean that it should be mandatory in an Islamic Republic that a woman should be covered to accordance what the Hadith’s state? Not necessarily, a true Islamic Republic would give the option to women in what choice of dressing they desire. Certain Women realize that what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state were only revealed truly benefits them. But, the reason why I state that is the Holy Quran is very much clear on punishments of the choices we make (general context) and should be ready to account for them to when Allah (SWT) feels it’s time. In the matter of clothing for example, if one decided to wear the something reveling and go to the market, just know what the social/cultural reprocaustions that may occur and the possible attention (God forbid) you maybe attracting:

“And had Allâh willed, He could have made you (all) one nation, but He sends astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. But you shall certainly be called to account for what you used to do.” [Qur’an 16:93]

Education for women is an important must! Khadeeja, was a successful businesswoman in her own right. The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) often said:

– “Acquisition of knowledge is binding on all Muslims, male and female.”

– “The person who goes forth in search of knowledge is striving hard in the way of Allah, until his/her return.

In an Islamic Republic, Women would be treated as equals and also have access to education channels. The problem is that a lot of people who are on both sides of the spectrum fail to see all of what is a birthright to the citizen of this Islamic Republic.

On August 14th, 2011, Mr. Rasul Bakhsh Rais posted an opinion piece for the Express Tribune stating that ‘Pakistan had stepped away from Jinnah’s Vision of Pakistan’. This has been a very common cry amongst progressives. He says in the article, “In a nutshell, he [Jinnah] wanted citizenship not religion as the founding principle of the new state” (Rais). However, I respectfully disagree with Mr. Rais on the notion that Jinnah did want have a state for the Muslim Majority and provide equal rights to the minorities as clearly stated in the Holy Quran as founding principles. Jinnah mentioned it numerous times in his speeches that ‘Islam’ would be the bases of morals and laws of the founding state. In a speech given on the 25th of August 1947, he talked of securing “liberty, fraternity and equality as enjoined upon us by Islam”. Another key historical event to be recalled is when he called upon the mammoth Lahore audience and said, “Pakistan as a bulwark of Islam”, to “live up to your traditions and add to it another chapter of glory”, adding, “If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours” (30 October 1947). As how liberal Jinnah is stamped upon, Jinnah was an educated man and having one of the greatest poets/philosophers, Allama Iqbal, on this side, Jinnah new the very founding principles that Muslims and minorities deserve rights to what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state.

An Islamic Republic should consider certain practices by the Caliph’s as a way of true leadership. A great example of one of the many true leaders of not just faith but also true statesmen is Hazrath Umer (May Allah Be Please and Bless Him). In order to prevent corruption, he paid his statesmen, police, justice, etc… not double but tripled their salaries. If the members of your governing and enforcement body are well compensated, it gives them a sense of purpose to construct and enforce the rule of the land. The people who had an obligation and duty to keep the growing Islamic Republic were well compensated and needs were met (providing for family, livable conditions, etc…) and they did not have to resort to any foul practices.

This particular practice can be seen in countries who are ranked the least corrupt nations. According to the 2012 Corruption Projection Index, Denmark received the highest score in the least amount of corruption. The Median Monthly Disposable Salary is 18,000 kr and the average cost of living (Food, Living, Utilities, Transportation) is about 8,000 kr. The Average salary is about $12,000

Our Islamic Republic would take a page of history (and many other that do not conflict with foundation of the Holy Quran and Hadith) and apply it to the real world. Currently the Police is one of the many establishments that looked down upon, easy sells and in certain areas, just lazy. It’s sad and a frightening thought that these guys duties is to protect us and you can get out of a speeding ticket by offering them a Klondike Bar (sarcasm)?

Another interesting thing that Hazrath Umer did to keep the balance between regulations and the people was to create a Council that allowed people to file corruption cases against officials (knowing that witnesses were being provided). This was the moment that people also had a share in giving feedback to on Hazrath Umer’s officials were behaving and Hazrath Umer himself would preside over that. Yet again, these are very much the practices that the current Islamic Republic of Pakistan are not following and the results are clearly showing.

Because of the way, how the faith is interpreted by a lot of the religious parties. It has created a very bad taste and people are now stating to wonder how would Pakistan be faith did not exist in certain elements or at least there is a separation of ‘Mosque’ and State. At times mistakenly defining it as ‘Jinnah’s Vision’. If practices were to followed and matched to what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state, then it gives the freedom and practice on how Pakistan can stay true Islamic Republic and the people have the choices [Freedom] to how they live their lives within the boundaries of what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s state. When it comes to Sharia, A lot of grey area leading room for wrong interoperation. Factors such as time must be taken in account when a punishment is to be assigned. My personal feeling has been that we can go into exact details of what the Holy Quran and Hadith’s say what is right and what is wrong. However, what must be kept in mind is Pakistan would not be an Islamic State without any minorities. The very rules that establish our basic rights should come from the Noble Quran and Hadith’s. Had Pakistan been founded as a theocracy (of some what) like Saudi Arabia, then this entire blog post would be thrown out. However, as Jinnah’s true vision of this Great Islamic Republic of Pakistan was,

“The creation of a State of our own was a means to an end and not end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own lights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play” (11 October 1947).

Those rights granted to us from the Noble Quran and authentic Hadith’s.

Works Citation:

Pickthall, Marmaduke William, and Mohammed Fateh. Holy Quran. Delhi: Taj, 1983. Print.
Rais, Rasul B. “Jinnah’s Vision of Pakistan.” Jinnahs Vision of Pakistan Comments. The Express Tribune, 14 Aug. 2011. Web. 19 May 2013. <http://tribune.com.pk/story/231323/jinnahs-vision-of-pakistan/&gt;.

How Maulana Fazlur Rehman got the Political Fatwa Wrong

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuhu.

May the Blessing of Allah be upon you.

As a majority of us know, the Pakistan elections are coming up in the matter of weeks. Normally in the U.S, candidates and reputable Super-Pac’s will launch negative attack ads that focus on key political aspects, such as voting record, statements, and third party newspaper critics. However, in Pakistan a brand new trend of issuing ‘Political Fatwas’ is emerging amongst the Islamic Parties. These fatwas are baseless and are even violating the Pakistani’s Constitution, but mainly the Noble Quran & Sunnah.

According to the Express Tribune article (Link below), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), issued one of these bad boys against Imran Khan’s, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), either known as the ‘Movement for Justice’ or ‘Pakistani Turncoat’s. Their  leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman (who went from a leader to “Supreme Leader” by adding extra cheese and sour cream) issued a fatwa stating that voting for PTI is “haram”. How does he justify it? Well here are bullet points according to the Express Tribune Article:

– “The Yahoodi (Jewish) lobby’s money is working (for Imran)”
– “A person who could not make his own children Muslim nor Pakistani, is dreaming of becoming prime minister of Pakistan and making the country an Islamic welfare state”

and my favorite one:

“I am asked, ‘what is the proof that he (Imran Khan) is an agent of the Jews,’ I say there is only one proof and it is my own responsible personality. I am so righteous that I would never talk ill against anyone.”

Now in the U.S, we do see our occasional personal and character attacks on politicians running for office. But in this matter, Pakistan should take the higher road because it claims to follow the Noble Quran & Sunnah. The Pakistani Constitution clearly states:

“Steps shall be taken to enable the Muslims of Pakistan, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with the fundamental principles and basic concepts of Islam and to provide facilities whereby they may be enabled to understand the meaning of life according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah”  – Article 31, Fundamental Rights and Principles of Policy.

Could we argue and say that Mr. Rehman (along with the other politicians who use personal attacks to rally their base) are in violation of the very fundamentals laid out in the constitution? Clearly making personal character attacks are in violation of the Holy Quran & Sunnah. According to the Noble Quran, he is already violating the following because it is slander or character assassination. Please refer to the following verse from the Holy Quran:

“Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.” (24:11)

Mr. Rehman cannot justify a fatwa or in any case a statement by saying, “I would never talk ill against anyone”. According to the Noble Quran, for any statement to be considered not slander or character assassination they must provide witnesses. In the Holy Quran in 24:13 [translated], “Why did they not produce four witnesses against him Since they have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah, they are the liars”.

It makes me wonder how do these guys pass such baseless fatwa’s? In the Holy Quran and Sunnah, a fatwa is passed based on knowledge and facts. Not based on heresy. This reminds me of the following verse [Translated], “When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great” (24:15).

The definition of a fatwa according to the Islamic Supreme Council of America, is an Islamic legal pronouncement. It is issued by an expert in religious law (mufti), pertaining to a specific issue, usually at the request of an individual or judge to resolve an issue where Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) is unclear. To Call Imran Khan a ‘Jew’ or a ‘Agent of the West’ doesn’t question Islamic jurisprudence. Basically, it’s not rocket science to say that Mr. Rehman’s ‘Poltical’ Fatwa is baseless, along with violence of Pakistani Constitution and suprior violence of Holy Noble Quran. For reference, here are the qualifications of a fatwa:

  • Know the verses of Qur’ān pertaining to the ruling at hand;
  • Know the reason behind the verses of Qur’ān related to the ruling – when each was revealed and why;
  • Distinguish the supportive and oppositional verses of the Qur’ān;
  • Know all the hadith pertaining to the ruling and the soundness of their chain of transmission;
  • Be familiar with the legal precedents of the issue before him, including the arguments or consensus reached by earlier scholars; and
  • Be well-versed in the syntax, grammar, pronunciation, idioms, special linguistic uses, customs and culture prevalent at the time of the Prophet (s) and succeeding two generations.

(Source: Islamic Suprem Council)

Now if Mr. Rehman was to define a fatwa as according to Urban Dictionary, “a strong declaration given by some bearded freak that civilized people completely ignore”, then that defeats me and this entire blog post. May Allah guide us to the straight path In Shaa Allah.

Sources/Citation

Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation & Commentary. Elmhurst, NY: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, 1987. Print.
“The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.” The Constitution of Pakistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013. <http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution&gt;.
HISHAM KABBANI, SHAYKH MUHAMMAD. “What Is a Fatwa?” Islamic Supreme Council, n.d. Web. 05 May 2013. <http://www.islamicsupremecouncil.org/understanding-islam/legal-rulings/44-what-is-a-fatwa.html&gt;.
“Political ‘fatwa’: Voting for PTI Is Haram, Says Maulana Fazl.” Political Fatwa Voting for PTI Is Haram Says Maulana Fazl Comments. The Express Tribune, 05 May 2013. Web. 05 May 2013. <http://tribune.com.pk/story/544667/political-fatwa-voting-for-pti-is-haram-says-maulana-fazl/&gt;.
“Urban Dictionary: Fatwa.” Urban Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013. <http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fatwa&gt;.

A letter to Pakistanis about President Barack Obama

As we are well aware, and not to point out the elephant (or donkey) in the room, but we are in the leap year of elections! Now as you all do know, elections are something taken “not too seriously” by a great majority of Pakistanis, which is very unfortunate. Voting is something that is our birthright and a privilege to others in different nations, even in Pakistan. Pakistan just had their democratic elections a few years ago and surprisingly, the government hasn’t been toppled yet (I guess I am going to have to pay my college $100 on that bet). Anyways, I am going off topic, my letter to my Pakistani brothers and sisters are to give them a sense of clearance and priority.

As the brutal election/Olympic year continued in 2012, I have had my fair share of conversations with the “uncles” and even aunties (as I tried keeping their minds away from getting me rishta-fied) about who they feel their vote would go to; President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney in the upcoming elections? And you maybe surprised with whom they would vote for…Mitt Romney.

Why you ask? Well you would imagine a very complex answer like, “Beta tumhe samaaj nai ayega,” Urdu for “You wouldn’t understand son,” but since they do know of my political interests and how I am currently studying at Georgetown, they justify their vote by saying, “Well Obama killed so many Pakistanis with flying airplanes [drones]”. And as I sit there waiting for more reasons to continue as to why they won’t vote for Obama, they stop and I respond, “So is that it? Or are there more reasons.”

And here is why I begin to start scratching my head and felt like writing this post:

 

Dear U.S Voting Pakistanis,

As you already know the elections are coming up and this is the moment where we all as a community can unite and make a difference. It comes to my attention that a lot of us are split in voting, either for President Obama or Mitt Romney, unlike last time where a majority of us voted in unison. After having many different conversations, it feels like the ones who are not voting for Barack, is because of his intense utilization of the Drone technology in the “War on Terror” and not much of the OBL raid.

Yes truth be told, the death count is large. For every one terrorist killed, it was seven civilians (varies due to no official report being published). I am not justifying that, but I am saying that we need to get our minds out from the narrow path. Do I sound insensitive? Yes I do. But the real question is, am I insensitive? No I am not. Our issue in general is that we always seek one avenue conviction and immediately, justify it. But truth be told, we need to think practically, in long-term and what benefits us as a community of Pakistanis in the United States.

Lets first focus on healthcare.  Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. I am sure we as a community have had issues where our loved ones are diagnosed with a God forbidden disease and when we seek treatment, we have to pay a cost that can forever change our lives. We pay insurance companies to look after our families, our well being, and us. But back then, if you had pre-existing issues like (to name a few), Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Hypertension, Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), etc. you were denied coverage. You then had to fork up a pretty big bill that either you could afford (by managing to change a part of your lifestyle) or not afford at all. With the passing of Obamacare, you won’t have to worry about that. You are given a hand in need when necessary.

Another thing what we need to focus on is education. President Obama has made more Pell grants available to those who qualify. You ask what is a Pell Grant? Basically the federal government provides for students who need it to pay for college. They are limited to students with financial need, who have not earned their first bachelor’s degree or who are not enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs, through participating institutions (via StudentAid.ED.Gov). Other than that, Obama has help kept the student loan interest at a low whereas the opposing party wants to increase it in some way, shape or form. We Pakistanis have a lot on our plate and we as families prioritize education at the top. But when supporting for your family comes in the way of sending your kids to college, it really hurts a Dad or Mom who has to find ways to finance their [and children’s] dreams. But aaj kaal (these days) students are working multiple part-time and at times, full-time jobs to finance their education. If we vote for the GOP and Mitt Romney, they are going to take away our benefits as students, lovers of education and the key reason why we migrated to the U.S.

When President Obama took office, we were losing thousands of jobs on a monthly basis because our economy hadn’t tanked fully. We hit one of the hardest moments in our lives since the Great Depression. However, it was his policies, actions, and commitment that got us out of that initial hole and still to this day, we are getting out of it. But at least the economy is going up. Our homes are slowly gaining value, banks are loaning money again and there are now mortgage relief programs set aside.

We obviously as Pakistanis cannot look at this from an angle which is short-term. Obama made such promises to us the Americans and Pakistani Americans that he would try to get us out of this mess created by Bush. Though the results wouldn’t take place over-night, he guided our economy and job growth to help us prosper.

When you approach the voting booth come November. Yaad karo (remember this): why did you migrate to Umreeka (America), my fellow Uncles and Aunties? You had left your country to find better work and a better place for your kids to grow up and roshin (brighten) the family name and pride and to seek opportunities! Think of all those hours you have worked those part time jobs to even the full time ones to support your family and your kids’ future. Do you want our basic fundamental rights to be taken away?

And the kids who are going to be casting their votes too also need to think practical as well. You know such change doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. By voting for the other party or not voting at all will just hurt us as a community. The facilities given to us, who our fathers and mothers have worked so hard to gain US benefit, will change. We all go to school, we all see costs going up, and imagine paying more for education. Majority of you reading this post are going to be in school or are in some form of an educational program. Imagine you worked so hard to educate yourself and built up these student loans and upon graduation, you cannot find a private sector job. Since Obama has taken office and implemented his policies, we have had a good growth in private sector jobs.

Overall what this post was about is that we cannot justify foreign policy on the basis of what has happened in Pakistan such as the drones, Osama Bin Laden Raid and all. We need to get ourselves out of this mindset and remind ourselves why we came to such a beautiful country; “the land of opportunity.” The Democrats have helped us advance in such times. From the times where the Republicans were calling for our heads and Republican media affiliates were calling us the terrorists (they still do today), Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have helped us and it is time we pay back the favor. Please do so by casting your vote and continue making a difference. Remember, I am no official campaigner for the Obama Victory Fund, but I am an American Pakistani who can relate to our community and who attempts to think rationally and this time and for the next four years, that choice is President Barack Obama.

Love | Peace & Raakin ROll

– Raakin Iqbal

Back

People,

I am back after my 3 years of hibernation from blogging because I decided to tryout other channels of “micro-blogging” such as “Twitter”. Now Twitter has its pros and cons but I felt like coming back to traditional blogging. Traditional blogging allows me to further discuss the topic at hand in-depth. But then you ask where was I in the past 3 years? Well lets say I was on a further search of within.

In the matter of 3 years, I have grown to become more wiser of an individual and developed more practical thought. I have decided that the following posts I am going to write about are going to vary in thoughts of business/entrepreneurship, public policy and international affairs.

So as the weeks go on, you will hopefully see more activity. All I do ask that if you are going to comment, please kindly comment in the format of substance. If there are sources or such to help your argument against mine, please do share. We all live in the cyber community to help further expand our thoughts, perception and knowledge.  As you read, keep an open heart and mind and try to think from a different angle.

Just as Wikipedia organizes the worlds information, blogs create the platform of discussion. To bring this post to a close, I would like to quote the following:

The essence of knowledge is, having it, to apply it; not having it, to confess your ignorance.

– Confucius

Creating your Identity

When it comes to any industry whether its Entertainment, Medical, Law, or what ever..You need to have an Identity” to be recognized. Now from what you may assume or define identity as a “name or something you as in individual is referenced as”. Like for example If I say Bill Gates..You say “Billionaire” (even though he isnt the richest man anymore)..If I say Tooba Siddiqui..You say Definition of a Pakistani Model/Actress….If I say SRK…You get Bollywood King (who also in recent reports shown has gained more popularity then TOM CRUISE)…or my favorite one is if I say John & Kate + 8..You say please burn them alive and save my television set….

So by just naming few big names in America, Pakistan & India gives you the idea what I am talking about. Like I personally can start a great story. When I had started, I was just Raakin…a 13 year old kid who wanted to do something BIG! A kid who would talk high about himself and somehow manage to make it happen. Then one day I was in summer school working on Alg and a guy comes up to me and starts to ask me a question

“I am writing a article about why smart kids are going to summer school..and I wanted to interview you..is that ok?”

I was like…Yea sure..handed him my phone number..not knowing I was just about to start on a Journey in creating what I am known for (For being Chuck Bass 😉 .. :O )..About 2 months later..That reporter made me front page news on the Washington Post and giving me the Title “South Asian Music Mogul”. And from there….I had the blessing of ever piece of work I would do..I would get featured for it…Every time something about me came out..It just built the motivation..(but I will talk about that later). I think one of the largest accomplishments I had done during my “Building Identity” phase was by producing my 1st ever Nationwide Rock Tour by the age of 19….That Landed me a BIG interview on Capital Hill…

One of my favorite identity quotes about me was:

“To call Iqbal a Type A personality would be shortchanging him: He is more of an AAA — as in the battery type”.

– America.Gov

Eventually I started to notice that if I went on Google.com Front page and start typing in my name and you know how Google attempts to suggest what you are trying to search..Well it would start popping up my name..So then that is when I started to notice that my identity foundation is almost complete. But other than my personal name as for identity, I started working on the name “HUQA” as my idenity…such as how you say “Virgin” and you get Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group, which controls Virgin Airlines/America, Virgin Music, Virgin Wireless, etc….So I am working on that some what Identical road. When you say “HUQA” ..Raakin Iqbal better be coming up in that conversation 🙂

So to start killing my runt down and start focus on technical side of this post….I would say utilize the social media age to your advantage..Like I use Facebook, MySpace, and 25+ other sites to built the identity of HUQA. Now after 2 years of killing my eyes and wrist bones..HUQA now is one of the most prefered names in the Washington D.C area and we have started to become known in Lahore, Karachi, Mumbai, and the U.K. Because we took a social media as a way to communicate with our followers and started updating the social profiles more than our own WEBSITE! (that is a bad thing..keep a balance)…

The greatest benefit that entrepreneurs have present-day that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs wished they had been the information media market age. We have marketing handed to us..so why not utilize it. Obviously it comes with its strategies and drawbacks..which I wont tell you cause thats my secret… 🙂

The Thanksgiving Holiday just passed and I had family over from Chicago. Well on one of the days, they were invited to a wedding and I had later on attended. My cousin had given him (his friend) a small intro about me that I am a dude who owns a business..thats all…So he asked me for a card..handed it to him…and he was like “Wait..HUQA? I heard of that name? You just had this really big production 2 weeks ago? Heard the Lighting was amazing!” Well I have heard of that before..from people..but I wanted to use that as an example to say how much our Identity is what makes us go forward.

I want to close off this blog by Quoting Richard R. Grant.

“The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose.”

– Richard R. Grant

Redemption

Hello! Well as you can see it has been QUITE some time since my last post. If you look at it. My last post was back in May when our event season was about to pick up. I thought Id be able to manage work load, 12 credits and this blog post but it seemed I failed on the blog post side. So now with the season coming down to the wraps and our staff here @ HUQA & 2 Republic are now gearing for next year and continuing to work on our year-round projects such as our albums we manage & distribute on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and 90+ other stores.

2 Republic Music Group started off by distributing the 1st Pakistani Artist ever on iTunes 6 years ago, which was CALL (Jilawatan Album). 2 Republic was a HUQA beta program to allow HUQA to expand further in the entertainment field. Well now its slowly better solidifying its base and we may make the big announcement sooner.

But anyways let me get started on this post then…I want to take the next 3 1/2 months to summarize and put my self together. Learn from all the tracks I have left. Its always great to stop time and just rethink your self. Like just an interesting trivia or what I noticed…People from the Asia-Pacific Islander (China, Indonesia, Japan, etc…) background always seem to sit down when they think. Like for example, when they leave the house to go somewhere. They will stop, sit on a set of stairs and take a deep breath and think “Did we forget anything?” They say by sitting down, the blood circulates through your mind and helps the recall better versus you standing up in panicking mode and attempting to recall.

So taking that from my notes, I stopped my fast pace life and just want to sit down and feel as if I am redeeming my self. This is a moment that will also tell me who my real friends are as well. I know somethings I need to change is my sleeping schedule. Working during season only gave me 3-4 hours of sleep daily. Which causes me to look really ugly. If you talk to any of my ex’s who have tried to get to know me will tell you I hate the black circles or bags that are formed from lack of sleep! It just makes you depreciate your age face by a good 3-8 years.

Other than my sleeping schedule, I need to better regain my faith. I feel as I am loosing my religious side to a “non-existent parallels”. such as I live my life by blocks in a day. I do one thing..and just move on to the next. Not taking anytime to sit and thank God for all that he has given me. Which I am sure he is mad @ me cause I know i’d be mad if I helped someone out and they cant return by just saying a “Thank You”.

Redemption also covers my interactions. The people who I live and interact with everyday..They have been there from my start as a confused Family DJ who would carry his CD case around with him everywhere to one of my largest shows which we did production for was the Grammy Brian McNight gig..and those special people is my family. Without the help of my family, I would be no where…Which is why entrepreneurship is more supported in the USA then in Pakistan. It seems the concept is slowly grasping in India which is always a great plus for INNOVATION!

I am not writing this post to tell you where I feel I may have gone wrong. But writing this to maybe suggest that by going through a redemption process really makes you feel more pure and stronger as a human bean. Well you recollect your self, just be critical of your self. Don’t by shy or attempt to blind out bad mistakes…If you feel you betrayed someone, then don’t stop and mentally prove to your self why it was right. I know I made a few bad business deals which at sense feels embarrassing…so embarrassing that only a peanut could do a better job then me @ this…So I give you Redemption!

Hanging with Pakistani Pop Sensation, Ali Zafar (Who I met in Pak Series Contin…)

Well If you haven’t been following this mini series of posts I have been writing about the Past Pakistan Trip I made back in December 08. This post is really long over due so I thought I would get this post finally out of my draft box and get it out there.

When I visited Pakistan, I had my 1st stop in Lahore where I had stayed with a good friend of mine who had also traveled to Pak in the same time frame but got there a day before I did. So him & his family were very kind enough to crash @ there place while my cousins in lahore were in Islamabad for a family wedding (Why I wasn’t @ that wedding and my mom was..out of my control..). I had reached out to all of my Lahori based Pak contacts and told them about my spontaneous visit to there mother land. Well from everyone who replied back setting up dates and time with me, one of them was Ali Zafar.

I met Ali Zafar back in 2007 of labor day.. when I got a Call from a good friend of mine saying “Ali is in D.C..You should connect with him”. Ali was in town for a concert which was taking place in the D.C area. When I had met him at his hotel around 9:15 PM, him and his manager (Haroon, one of the best artist managers I personally think 😉 ) had told me how Ali was looking for a few guitar and intrument parts for his concert the following day. So its already 9:30PM by that time and all the Guitar shops were either closed or closing by 9:30PM. After making a few phone calls, the nearby Guitar Center agreed to keep the store open for Ali Zafar until he had found what he was looking for. So a BIG shout-out to my buddies @ Guitar Center for keeping open for us…Big thanks to that contact who really helped me out 🙂 So Concert goes perfect (come on..performer like Ali Zafar..its only fun…) , I get the oppertunity to talk to Ali more, get to know more and everything…And even had them finalzie there album iTunes deal with us before they hoped on the plane to there next destination. They were here for a good 4 days..everyday, something interesting was happening and I personally had a great time… 

Ali had written back and given me a warm welcome via facebook and said to accompany him to private gig where Ali Azmat was playing. I was thrilled! and after getting all ready and all..we make a move towards his home and meet up with a few more of Ali’s friends and just enjoyed the ride to the Cafe. 

The gig was great..I didn’t know ill run into Atif Aslam there..After the gig we all went for dinner at a neat looking restaurant which I must say had great food. 

Through-out my stay in lahore, Ali was I would say my “Lahori advisor”. He would give me his recommendations and tell me the where to Hang-out was a must! I really my say it out there..A lot of people have said that these big Pak stars are quite mean and some may even deny your existence upon meeting them and personally I think a real genuine and must say original person like Ali Zafar are really rare in the industry. I wish him the best with his career and I know a great guy is going far! Kudos to you!!

A Failed Lollywood has to be a Privatize Lollywood?

Does the industry even still exist? What in the hell is Lollywood? Who gives a rats ass on what it is..That is the attitude I get from artists and movie personal’s who are apart of  “such an industry”. But we know in reality that without Lollywood, Bollywood would be nothing. Yes you Bollywood fan lovers who hate Pakistani talent. Without Lollywood, Bollywood would be a failed state of profession. Why is that? If we look at the facts and also the assumptions. Song writers in Lollywood would travel to India to make a quick buck on there songwriting master pieces. But 2 out 4 chances they would get kicked out of the country and striped of there musical lyrics. So it was really about your chance of luck. Some people made it lucky and got through it and maintained such a powerful presence in the Lahori musical & movie industry. Lets name a couple of names:

– The great Noor Jinnah

– Ustead Nusrath Falti Khan

There are many more names out there, but due to negligence of not promoting such “entertainment content” during past Pakistani governmental regimes, those names have been forgotten. So then who is really at fault for such a “faulty” industry? Well I would say its the not just the government of Pakistan, but also the people who are apart it and surround it (Generation X). So here is how I filter the blame:

Government- Because the government has constructed such a complicated and unstable legal system, activities such as copyright infringement, pressing charges, artist rights, etc… can never happen, when the time is necessary. Artist in particular need to rely on any organization they are contracted to protect them legally.

Ask Goher from Jal about the pain of pressing charges on Atif Aslam for stealing the lyrics of the music which he proclaims he wrote and produced? Also the government has set up no system for “free legal” advice for the people who can not afford a crapy Pakistani lawyer who wears a fake Hugo Boss black sport jacket. So many underground artists have been ripped off content wise by bigger named artists.

Belive it or not the whole “bar system” is a ripped hole. You can’t tell which Pakistani laywer got a degee from color printer or a xerox color printer. It just like what my cousin Ammar said, “In Pakistan, you can sue anyone…but its a pain in finding out how to do it?”.

In no way say I am poking fun @ Pakistani Lawyers, I am just saying that the legal “info”  you are getting trained in needs to be more organized and reformed.

other factor which I blame the government is not properly funding education and help import resources such as film cameras, buffs, production equipment, etc…Pakistan has a inactive film society which doesn’t even function properly!

People who surround it- There is no union amongst the people in the industry of reaching out and asking each other for help. I have noticed people who have foreign education in film studies or music theory know how to perfect such a skill and it will be because of these such people, the industry will some what flourish. But they can’t do it alone. I have seen that people have “inflated egos” . Like I have witnessed people who have made such amazing films or produced amazing tracks in Pakistan and when time to acquire credit has to be  done…the song/script writer is totally blow them off because they “wern’t employed propoerly or there current situation had them accept the 1500 RS +/- to not accept credit….

We need to face reality that if Lollywood is going to become such an industry. Then we need to hold hands and make it grow. Everyone one from all walks of professions in Pakistan can better form this unioun.

What just baffles me is when I am watching the Nadia Khan show and I see all these Pakistani Popstars come on and say “OO we need to build an industry…We have SOO much talent, etc..” Well when I tend to meet the Pakistani popstars..and I must say..they have great acting skills 😉 (how about you teach me some to) ..they become very arrogant and not take anything seriously..one of them had the nerve of saying “OO that was just a P.R stunt”. Are you {insert profound language here) kidding me? Its people like those I really start loosing respect to.

Look @ this. Adnan Sami left “Lollywood”  for Bollywood because his music would not get proper royalty payments. People made fun of this classic styles of music. And look, he left the country in whole and made it big in India. Lets look at this chain factor which I will make into microeconmics.

Just focusing on Adnan Sami:

Cause                             Effect                         Materials Growth or GD

Adnan Sami released his vinal          Indian Consumer Buys           material vendors of plastic, cd engineering, cassettes, paper grow!

Adnan Sami Makes $4million from 2000ish U.S tour           He spends in India          Local vendors and more cash circulation in India

Adnan Sami helps other young artists grow there talent       More singers to produce in the market          More media earners for more spend…

So just by looking at that very rough diagram, Adnan Sami returned his earned income from his media work back into the governement of India. And that example is just Adnan Sami, we also have SRK, Salmaan Khan, Kathernia Kaif, etc…There is a industry full of people.

So whats the:

SOLUTION?

Solution is that Pakistani government create a more stronger judicial structure and make pressing charges for copyright infringement, piracy, and rights more accessible. Start a “free legal system” for the poor and the new upraising Pakistani artists. Please make the bar harder to pass. I am sure I can pass it and I have no formal training as a Lawyer.

The people in the industry must make there own collation or a recongized unioun for the artist to be part of. I highly recommend having an outside orgnaization to take part in it. Because we all know..(its a typical insider’s Pakistani sterotype)…once a Pakistani in Pakistan starts a Unioun..Its a going to be all bribes…Should I bribe my self to become a singer to 😉

We should have more media concentrated schools and scholorships. Creating a few schools in the Punjab area and expecially in the Hyderbad area would be a BIG plus! How about giving our Pakistani Neighbors in Peshawar and Multan a chance to hit the limelight…

This is just a quick solution. Obviously we need a supporting party, and like I seriously do have 100-page Lollywood reformation plan…But I guess this Bolgpost wont do much…I guess I can just continue sipping cheap Coca-Cola @ Paki parites 🙂

iTunes Charging more than $0.99 per track?

Well I am not sure if my fellow iTunes users have noticed but the upcoming tracks have been converted to “iTunes + {Plus}” and the price has been increased from $0.99 to $1.29 a track!. Now I quite do not get the philosophy of why iTunes would do that. IN some sense I would see iTunes or Apple (what ever you prefer) taking advantage of there 80% market share. But it seems that its a risk that iTunes should have NOT taken.

In recent reports it shows that Amazon mp3 has taken away 25%+ away from iTunes within 2 years. Which Napster, Rhapsody still hasent in there longer existence. If you didn’t know, Sony attempted to take a Pie from the market but failed miserably…Shall I say Wasted Investment…

I saw this quote on a LA-Times Article and thought I’d do a pop-out for it…

“This will be a PR nightmare,” predicted former EMI Music executive Ted Cohen, who is managing partner of digital media consulting firm TAG Strategic. “It is for the music industry what the AIG bonuses are for the insurance industry.”

In 2008, Digital Music Downloads reached a industry hgh of $1 Billion. I personally believe that the record amount of people who have stopped downloading music on pirate networks will start up again. Its basically the Bully @ lunch time trying to take more cash out of you. ..

Apple Claims the new price hikes gives Record labels a way to create bigger discount packages for there consumers. But according to the LA-Times, about 30% of record labels are against this price hike.

But in the general sense its a “variable” pricing. Tracks will be prices in 3 different categories.

– $0.66
-$0.99
– $1.29

Obviously the most demanded and new tracks are $1.29 and the least are $0.66.

Well its something to see what happens, but I think this stunt is going to give AmazonMP3 more market share because of there $0.89 per track.

Offended & Proud by the Inauguration…

We are all grateful that America has finally moved on and elected the 1st African American to be the leader of the free world. I my self am a big Barack Hussain Obama. I volunteered at his VA location and also at the Young Democrats location in Fairfax. So I my self am a big supporter of Change.

So the question I am sure you are raising eyebrows is “Why are you offended by the Inauguration?” Let me basically start and build to my main point.

Don’t you hate it when someone introduces you and they either make a mistake or pronounce your name wrong? and not because of a common accident. But because there was some MEANING behind it? maybe hate? or to carry some message to your surrounding environment?

Like for instance when someone was introducing me and a close friend and she had some “beef” with my friend who had accompanied me purposely mispronounced her name. It really offended me. Why cant you treat someone as how you want to be treated?

So why was I offended? Approximately around 11:40 am on the televised broadcast. The announcer who was introducing all the senators, previous presidents, and other members of congress, he would clearly state there full name, such as “George Walker Bush”. But when he announced Mr. Obama’s name around 11:40 am, he did not say “Barack Hussain Obama” but instead “Barack H. Obama”. I was like “Ok..hmm..wow?”. Was that done on purpose? Hating an Islamic name? …Whatever…

Then as moment in history continued to unfold it self. A speaker came up (i forgot his name) and gave a speech which he referenced all the religious prophets and “religion heads” of all the major monotheistic beliefs. He mentioned all of them people who started a religion or belief but he failed to mention Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). Because I could’ve sworn he was a founder on the fastest growing religions in the world. It just questions me, was this done on purpose? is there some “secret hate against Muslims in the political system but no one cant show it publicly? Because remember, this nation is a “free nation”. Any religion can come out and practice what they feel. Because of this amazing Constitution which allows us to practice what we feel. Giving organizations such as CAIR, our local Mosques, and Islamic based charity based organization to practice good will in these United States of America.

Some proud moments includes quotes which Mr. Obama said in his speech. It rejuvenates us the General Public. a quote or two which really got my attention was, “Society judges you on what you build…not what you destroy”. I am guessing he is referencing to Iraq and other foreign policies the U.S has decided to get involved in. Another favorite was “The Challenges We Face Are Real”. Now with Mr. Obama in office officially, he has quite a lot of work to do. The economic down spiral, the two wars, and creating jobs. So these major elements are great challenges and now we have 4 years to see how the guy who gave us hope of change will act. 

But as I continue to witness History unfold (towards the end of the program), the speakers started to incorporate Islamic terms such as “Mosque” in there dialog. Now I am not sure was that if it was pre-planned in there speeches of if they realized that the people before them really screwed up and some nut who writes a entertainment blog will point it out and post something general about it.