Posted in happiness

His Highness Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee – Lights, arts and decorations in Karachi


2017 was a blessed year for Ismaili Muslims in Pakistan as our spiritual leader, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan visited the country. The localities where our community resides was lit-up beautifully and I would like to share these photographs.

Rahimabad Jamat Khana:

Murals at Rahimabad Jamat Khana:

Platinum Jamat Khana:

PASK Jamat Khana:

Garden Jamat Khana:

Nizari Jamat Khana:

Pic Courtesy: Amin Pirbhoy and Zohaib Huda

Murals at Nizari Jamat Khana:

Will be uploading soon

Posted in islam, religion

The origin of the art of Islamic calligraphy is attributed to Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib


Ismailimail

“The beauty of writing is the tongue of the hand and the elegance of thought.”
Ali ibn Abi Talib

Blue Qur'an Bifolium from the “Blue Quran,” dated North Africa, 9th-10th century. Sura al-Furqan (The Criterion), 25:55 – 64. Aga Khan Museum

From the Greek kallos (beauty) and graphein (to write), calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. Although the development of sophisticated calligraphy as an art form is not unique to Islamic cultures, it has been used to a much greater extent and in varied ways, and in all art forms and materials in Islamic civilisations.

Sources credit Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad and the first Imam of the Shia, as the developer of the Kufic script. This is the oldest style of Quranic calligraphy, named after the city of Kufa in Iraq, where the script is believed to have originated. Hazrat Ali taught that each letter of…

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Posted in education

Is it more work to work with more people?


Is group-work or cooperative learning same as collaborative learning?

For me, collaboration needs to be more than just being a group. You need to capitalize on the synergy of ideas, knowledge and skills. Each member should have a particular role based on their strength or interest. You need to be inter-dependent in a collaborative task where the final product is only possible with everyone’s input and there is no free-loading.

Brindley, Walti and Blaschke (2009) also provide some characteristics/strategies that help to take forward group work beyond cooperation to collaboration such as a clear purpose of collaboration and expectations of roles, the balance between structure and learner autonomy, relevance for the collaboration and monitoring.

With so many roles and equally many contributors, how can you keep track of the work?

In the real, you are required to work with others and not alone (Shaw, 2006), so it is an important skill to stay connected or structured even in a non-linear task/way of working. It is important to set up group rules, make sure the purpose of the collaboration and expectations are clearly explained and understood by all contributors from the outset. The group should capitalize technology to collaborate more efficiently and monitor each other’s contribution (e.g. using Google Drive).

Is collaborative learning only about a project or long-lasting relationships?

Long-lasting relationship is first litmus test of effective collaborative learning (unfortunately, you can only know about it in a subsequent project) because you try to work on common purpose and create a community of practice. Both the product/project and the process of group work should be meaningful (Swan, Shen, & Hiltz, 2006).

If it is based on long-lasting relationships then does it create stagnation and homogeneity in terms of community membership?

Yes, it can. It should always be a community than a lobby. Therefore, an addition of new members and creating an open environment and power balancing is really important.

References:

Brindley, J.E., Walti, C., & Blaschke, L.M. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3)

Shaw, S. (2006). New reality: Workplace collaboration is crucial. Eedo Knowledgeware Whitepaper.

Swan, K., Shen, J., & Hiltz, S.R. (2006). Assessment and collaboration in online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(1), 45-62.

Posted in freedom, pakistan, pluralism, religion, social evils

Pakistan’s Easter 2016 – Not a beginning to be proud of.


Easter is wonderful occasion celebrating new beginnings with the arrival of spring. With treats like marzipan and hot cross buns, the festivities are such a treat. Like every year, I got a generous share from my Christian friends. I have known many Christians and I have not seen any of them belittling their other sects. Catholics and Protestants live so peacefully. Some segments of Muslims in Pakistan do not. They are so much into sectarian divide and violence that sometimes it is just a shame. And then there are others, who then try to bridge the gaps and portray the best possible character.

Yesterday, many Christians and people from other religions – mostly children and women, lost their lives on a day when new beginnings are celebrated. Such a shameful act. We can blame the government and get angry on the Taliban terrorist but their nexus is so complex that one can’t help much – they are bloody corrupt. However, the mindset of discrimination also exists far and wide in the disguise of being both religious or moderate and it is time to face the mirrors. So, if you have ever professed your religion and your interpretation of your religion as the best or only truth, then you are as much to blame. If you have ever thought or said anything demeaning about another sect or minority in order to feed your false pride, you are equally to blame. Because even you are myopic even to consider only your religion is superior, you are demeaning the other, and one can surely be not the ‘best’ follower. Everyone sins. If you have curbed any human right in the name of religion, you have done bad, if not worse or worst.

I have been harassed by such people in my teenage years. When my chemistry teacher (and not Islamic Studies teacher) at my school started discriminating students based on their sect, I should have understood that Pakistan is brewing to be this messed up and as an adult, I should anticipate this kind of world. I was naive; we are naive. 15 years later, we are truly messed up. Messed up people who are Qadri apologists, blasphemy law supports, India haters, West haters, people who cry on not getting Iqbal Day holiday, people against Holi/Holy holidays, or destroyers of happy celebrations of our brothers and sisters.

Thanks to some of the so-called teachers, not only in Madrassahs but all over, in families, in mosques, in political parties. Let’s face it, many people who are considered honorable in certain societies, are the biggest hate mongers/preachers because they are themselves so corrupt that they can’t see the wrath of their fears. The minute you identify one, just bombard them with questions regarding their intention. This nation needs reality checks every minute. Asking a question requires guts, which we do not encourage or teach in our society, but we need to show some courage now. So after Mullah in the mosque gives a sermon or some uncle, teacher or friend gives advice in a drawing-room, let’s pretend that we have a Q&A session to follow. I am sure many of the people will not utter a word, forget the questions because they are fearful that mobs would just harass them and incite their fears over others. We have become so afraid of God that we have forgotten the softer side of love.

We need street smartness to religion. We have become book-worms. We need intellectuals of religion who can question in order to understand better. Those who teach their kids to question, are confident and greatest teachers who do not run on their ego.