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May 26, 2005

kr’s Life Lessons #2: Michigan Road Trip, Part II

Introductory Note: As you might have noticed, I recently changed my profile picture from the Prince of Persia to this picture of this fine, smashing lad. The best part about this picture is that no matter how bummed out or stressed you are, you can’t help but smile when you see this picture. I think I’ll keep it around for a few days and then go back to Prince of Persia eventually.

I pretty much only had one more thing to write about from the previous post about last weekend’s road trip.

We rented a brand new Toyota Highlander for the excursion to Michigan that had all the bells and whistles that are typically found on new cars these days. One of these was a navigation system, something which I hadn’t had an extended experience with prior to this trip. I had seen them in many cars and had sat in cars that had such systems, but this was the first time I actually used the navigation system to guide me to where I wanted to go. We were pretty frustrated at first as we couldn’t figure out how to use it for anything else but that nifty map that shows your car moving along the road. Even more annoying was that the whole way to Michigan, between Suhaib and myself, we couldn’t figure out how to use the voice-guided navigation feature wherein you just put in the starting location and the destination and the computer does the rest. Yes, we did have an instruction manual that probably contained the necessary information… but we’re guys… men don’t read no stinkin’ manuals. We’d rather continue in our obstinate ways than to succumb to such weakness.

Anyway, we finally got it to work on the way back, as we left from IAGD (the masjid with the spiffy basketball court from the previous post) and marked that as the starting location and then put in our destination. Having never used this technology before, I was like an aborigine marvelling at the electric lamp when the computer calculated, within a few seconds, multiple routes (shortest, no tolls, etc.) to get us there. After selecting the shortest route, the voice-guided system took over; the pleasant female voice of the computer told us where to make turns, when the next exit was coming up, periodically telling us to stay in what lane so as to be prepared for the next exit, etc. I was so amazed at this computer that I told Suhaib that this female computer voice was the closest thing I have to a wife right now; so I decided to name it New Yasmeen, in honor of the New Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn where we had eaten lunch on Sunday.

My wife, New Yasmeen… she’s intelligent, young, sings well, and always has your back… even if she does talk too much…

Apart from my childishness, the thing that impressed me with the navigation system was that even if we took a wrong turn (which we did, despite her best efforts to keep us on track), it immediately re-calculated ways for us to get back on track. And even when we didn’t follow that (as we decided, for example, to take a detour to Ann Arbor to stop by at Ahmo’s…), it continued to figure out and advise us with different routes to get us back on our original path. The GPS system didn’t even get mad at us for our mistakes; rather it continued to offer us ways to get to our destination, despite our seemingly best efforts to not follow its advice. Eventually, though, we got tired of hearing the voice, so we turned the system off and decided to rely on ourselves to get back to the route.

Even though we got back to the original path, I thought about what had happened and how this incident was a perhaps a parable for what happens with our lives. I realized that we’re all on an original path to get us through this world and guide us to our eventual destination–the everlasting abode of the Garden in the next world. Due to our weaknesses, we tend to stray from the path time to time. Perhaps one of the greatest mercies of God is that He’s given us a navigation system to get us back on track. This navigation system comes in many forms: the Qur’an, the company of righteous people, etc. Perhaps most fundamental and profound, however, is our own conscience, which speaks to us with that “inner voice” to guide us and correct us when we slip, just like the computer did. And just like the computer never judged our straying from the path, the navigation systems put in place by Allah never judge or make one feel bad–instead, they continue to offer guidance, methods, and support for one to get back to that exalted state.

(This is why the righteous people, which the Qur’an refers to as the people of sidq, if they truly are that, never judge others and instead are concerned with helping others, as a way of noble worship, to get back to their own original paths. Perhaps this is why such people are exalted and one is commanded to be with them: “O ye who believe, fear and be cognizant of God and be with the people of righteousness.”)… hmm, that was a long ellipsis.

Admittedly–and it is utter foolishness to do so–we often get frustrated by such navigation systems and turn them off (or not even use them, such as not even seeing the pages of the Qur’an for days), and become smug that we’re left to our own devices. We often even turn off that internal voice that is within us, even though in many cases that voice is the best judge of guiding us to what is right.

On our return trip, we were able to get home without any problems, despite having turned off the navigation system and ignoring it. Yet, the trip would have been much easier (and shorter) if we had heeded the computer’s advice, especially when we went off the route.

The return trip back to God and Paradise is much more difficult than getting from Michigan to Chicago (though going from Michigan to Chicago is kinda like going back to an earthly paradise…hehe). The navigation systems of Allah are critical to use as they will only make that journey easier

Hopefully, we don’t turn them off simply because we find them annoying.


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  1. Anonymous permalink

    oh goodnes…
    “I told Suhaib that this female computer voice was the closest thing I have to a wife right now”
    Thats sad..
    Mission for Zabeha Pork: Find kamran a wife..

  2. Man, female voices are just so much hotter than male voices / even when they fake computerized noises / New Yasmeen, u best watch out, cuz ur voice is tantalizing / every boy who listens while ridin’ will be gettin’ a surprise / n u, seein as u fine, and smart, u quite a find / so ur hubby better make sure no other boy crosses his lineKeep ur boy on track, NY.Congratsing the newlyweds,IJB

  3. Hehe, Yasmeen. Give credit for things you put on your Xanga.

  4. Anonymous permalink

    Heres a down payment on the eprops. I’ll come back later to fill er up

  5. Great post! Something to think about for sure…

  6. MashAllah, good post..I wrote something like that in one of my posts…but kudos to you for a good post!

  7. salam alaikum,
    nice parable KR, mashaAllah very well written post…if you like michigan that much just move here man, i know you had to put that sentence at the end of the post about “earthly paradise” to keep your cover…so none of your chitown boys would call you out on it…

  8. Anonymous permalink

    I spent a yeah in MI…and I swear kr tells the truth when he says that Chicago is like heaven compared to Michigan. Michigan is hell. Heck, theres even a Hell, MI. Sheesh. An eProps here and an eProp there (for asking me to post stuff on ur xanga…lol).

  9. i learned from this post that i misspelled “Anakin” in my post. 

  10. i used to live in michigan too… chicago winters are so much better than michigan winters..
    kr needs friends.

  11. MashaAllah, Great post and great analogies…

  12. Masha Allah, nice post.  When do you get the time to write up all this stuff?  Hope you’re not by your computer all day long staring at your xanga….

  13. hey hey, those who live in MI love it.  its an acquired love.  obviously Chicago is a much better city, but as a state, I’d say MI takes over…Deeeetrrrooooiiiiittt Bassskeeettballllll.
    Nice parallel’s w/ the Navigation system and the Lord.  And New Yasmeen is my wife too…the restaurant that is…I think I might go there for lunch after jumah tomorrow.  I miss you and Suhaib already, I’m a mess without you kr, I miss your scent…(Anchorman).

  14. I have to agree with Mawlana Nazim bro… these posts are awesome, MashAllah. Where do you find the time? Aren’t you supposed to be in medical school?
    Or have you mastered the sufi way of slowing time down so that you can get a lot of things done?

  15. Mashallah good post, though everyone should check out this post about KR:

  16. That was hilarious…
    I have a navigation system in my gut…my Auerbach and Mesenteric plexi guide me to the straight path…

  17. Salam, Thank you InshAllah I will feel better soon..I do agree with you..we do need to pray for people like that..and I do..but’s very insulting..I think as muslims we have soo much more respect for people of other faiths than other people do and it hurts to see that people can treat us like the scum of earth and think nothing of’s very hurtful..ok, I’m done going off on a tangent..I blame the illness..but thanks for the eprops

  18. ouch.. ‘at least ehy can play cricket’.. wow you just insulted Pakistan way more than KR could’ve done… i guess cricket is the only good part about pakistan..
    btw im paki so dont be hatin.

  19. KR, you need to get married if this is what it has come down to
    What would be really funny is if you ended up marrying a girl named Yasmeen in real life
    But yeah, this post was good

  20. I wonder if then New Yasmeen could get along with the Newer Yasmeen

  21. Anonymous permalink

    Fill er up.
    Good post studly

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