[Ahmad Family Comic] Whoever fears Allah… (Part 1)

In this episode of Life with the Ahmad Family, Fatima’s friend Hania wants to wear the Hijab but she is scared about her boss. Fatima encourages her friend that Allah makes a way out for those who fear him. What happens next…?

Click to enlarge


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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

[Comic] Sunnah Manners of Drinking

In these enlightening one-liners from Life with the Ahmad Family, Jamal and Omar demonstrate some of the Sunnah etiquette of drinking…



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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

[Comic] Love is…

In this episode of Life with the Ahmad Family, Jamal shares some words of wisdom for all his fans…

Ahmad-Family-Love Is..

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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

[Comic] Deen for Sale

In this episode of Life with the Ahmad Family, Abdullah’s friend, Waleed, takes ‘Islamicizing’ business to a whole new level…

Ahmad Family-Deen-for-Sale

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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

[Comic] The “Reality” of Oppression

In this episode of Life with the Ahmad Family, Umm Jamal gives her friend a different perspective on what oppression really is…


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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

[Comic] Hijab


To see other comics of The Ahmad Family, click here.

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Absar Kazmi may be contacted at absar.kazmi@gmail.com


Interview with Absar Kazmi – An Illustrator by Profession

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Interview with Absar KazmiTell us something about your educational background.

I completed my BSC in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA, in 1998. Since then, I have been working in various IT firms, both locally and abroad.

What inspired you to become an illustrator?

My family travelled a lot while I was growing up. When I was 5, we moved to Kenya. We often used to go out on safaris in Kenya’s world renowned game parks, and I remember that, while out on these trips, I would pay very close attention to the animals – how they looked and how they moved. As soon as I would get back home, the first thing I would do, even before changing or washing up, was to take out my sketch pad and draw all the beautiful animals I had seen – I think this is where the passion was born. I remember when people would ask me, what I wanted to do when I grow up, I would tell them I wanted to be a cartoonist. As I grew up, the passion grew. I would have dozens of sketch pads lying all over my study table full of all sorts of drawings of animals, superheroes, wrestlers, etc. I think I probably spent hours alone in my room, drawing everything that came to mind. Since I was very interested in drawing superheroes, I was always very keen to observe the structure of the human body and how people moved; whenever I saw something unique, I could hardly wait to get home and try to draw it.

As I grew older and more aware of the Deen, I realized that drawing humans and animals was not permitted; thus, a lot of my drawings, rather most, were unacceptable in Islam. With a heavy heart, I gave up my passion and began focusing elsewhere. I think for at least ten to twelve years I didn’t even touch a sketch pad. Then, over the past few years, I began reading various Fatawas from scholars all over the world and concluded that illustrations can be done, while keeping certain guidelines in mind, e.g., not trying to imitate creation. Thus, drawing incomplete images by removing such things as eyes or ears is still permitted. Also, drawing caricatures or cartoon type images is considered permissible, because such pictures are not meant to look like real animals or humans. In fact, some scholars, e.g. Ibn Uthaymeen, actually encouraged this work, so as to offer a morally wholesome alternative for Muslim children to what they are usually exposed to on television and other media.

Once I got married, my wife noticed the skill that Allah (swt) had blessed me with. She encouraged me to begin drawing again. Initially, I wasn’t very responsive, but then she practically forced me by getting for me a few projects from “Reflections” school. Thus, slowly I began relearning my forgotten skill… and as I did, I realized the sense of fulfillment that I received with each illustration I completed. I had been suppressing all this time the gift I was born with, not allowing it to develop. In conclusion, I suppose my main inspiration would be my wife, who convinced me (forcefully) to pursue my childhood dream.

What are some of challenges that you faced, when you embarked on your career? How did you overcome them?

There were a number of challenges that I faced, when I began seriously considering a career in illustration. First and foremost, I wasn’t sure I was talented enough. So many years had passed, since I had really sat down and tried to draw anything that I thought maybe I might have lost this skill altogether.

Secondly, there are so many talented artists out there, who have actually studied art in college and are experts in illustrating using all sorts of media, e.g. water colours, acrylics, pastels, digital art, etc. I really wasn’t sure I could compete with them, considering I had only taken a few art classes in high school.

The third challenge was keeping within the boundaries of Shariah with this work. This is an area, which I feel still requires some scholarly research, as to what is Halal and what is not. I think many Muslims (including some Islamic publishing companies) have allowed themselves to venture outside the limits, due to the pressure of competition. In fact, some well known Islamic publication companies outright refused to work with me, unless I was willing to draw humans and animals with complete features. Last but not least, was the financial challenge. As a father of three little girls, although I love this work, I just wasn’t sure it was financial viable.

My way of dealing with these challenges has been not to jump right in but to start small. I have been getting some small projects here and there and at the same time have kept trying to hone and improve my skills. This allows one to develop a reputation in the market and also one’s portfolio, without taking a major risk. Also, what is very important, I have constantly tried to seek advice from other experienced artists, who are also Islamically conscious.

Describe some challenges which you are facing even now.

I think all of the above challenges still remain to varying degrees. Insha’Allah, I think there is a large demand for Muslim illustrators, considering the amount of Islamic books/ novels being published every year. Thus, I remain hopeful for a bright future.

How well has the field of illustration been explored in the Muslim world?

I may be wrong, but I think that this is an area that has been largely ignored by Muslims as a whole. Due to our cultural background, I think most of us in our youth were made to feel that the only respectable careers were in medicine, engineering, law or finance. I think careers in art, such as painting and calligraphy, and writing were not really encouraged (if not outright looked down upon). Thus, today as Ummah we find ourselves way behind many of the Western nations in such fields as media and literature. Have you ever tried searching for a good library in Karachi? Therefore, I think there is a huge world out there in the field of illustrations, just waiting to be explored by Muslims.

Is it financially viable for a youngster to pursue illustration as his/ her career?

I think if one has the talent, it is very much financially viable. Especially these days, when so much work is being outsourced from Western nations to the subcontinent, many people in the West are really searching to get good illustration work done at a reasonable cost. Thus one does not even have to limit oneself to one’s own country for this type of work.

Who is leading the way in the world of illustrations for Muslims, which can serve as role models?

You know, I have tried to search the Internet for major Muslim names in the field of illustrations but unsuccessfully. I would love to get in touch with some of them, in order to seek their advice. Muslims just don’t seem to want to venture down this road. Due to this harsh reality, you will find that many Islamic childrens’ books (I wouldn’t say most) are actually illustrated by non-Muslims. I think this is a field, which is really looking for a few good Muslim men (and women… ahem!).

What kind of work are you involved in presently?

Presently, I am working on some children’s books illustration projects with a local education institute. I am also working on some of my own projects, such as developing an educational game for Muslim children and other learning aids. I have developed a character I call Talib Jan, a young school boy; he is starring in some of my work.

What message would you like to give out to the youth?

It may sound very cliché, but I would honestly advise my young brothers and sisters that if you have a talent, and it is Halal, don’t waste it but pursue it with all your might. When Allah (swt) has given us a gift, then it is not right for us to refuse it. Don’t stray away from your talent, because you feel that other careers are more financially rewarding. Believe me – when people see, how talented you are and what terrific work you produce, Insha’Allah, the financial rewards will automatically follow. If you are doing something you are really good at, then you are more likely to enjoy it and feel rewarded doing it. However, always seek advice from your elders (especially your parents) and those whom you trust.

If you would like to get in touch with Absar Kazmi, you can email him at absar.kazmi@gmail.com

Information Warfare

Absar H. Kazmi exposes the new tactics of 21st century warfare and suggests the ways of curtailing its effects on Muslim society

In approximately 653 Hijri, Halaku Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, attacked Iraq. He deposed and killed the Khalifah, plundered the vast resources of the Islamic State, massacred the citizens, and took complete control. For any common observer it was clear that a ruthless and powerful leader had taken advantage of his strength to conquer and oppress a weaker people. Halaku Khan himself would probably not have denied this.

A few years ago, Iraq was attacked again. The leader was deposed and recently killed; the vast resources are being plundered; the citizens are daily being massacred and raped. However, this time, strangely enough, the conquerors are claiming that they are not oppressing the people at all; rather, they are liberating them.

In these strange days, when the so-called ‘civilized’ nations have united in war against ‘terror’ (all those, who would dare to oppose their system), we see a conflict – both physical and verbal. Many of us fail to see that contrary to the days of old, today the greater war is not the physical war with guns, tanks, and cluster bombs, and it is not limited to any particular geographic location. Rather, the greater war of today is an intellectual war – a battle to win the hearts and minds, a war, in which the weapon is information. The true winner in this war of information is the one, who manages to control the public opinion. The physical battles we witness are merely symptoms of this deeper and much more sinister conflict.

Why things have changed? The ‘Halaku Khans’ of today have realized something very important – it is much more effective to enslave a people psychologically than physically. A people enslaved only physically may not be ready for an immediate revolt, but hatred for their conquerors would always remain in their hearts. However, a psychologically enslaved people will come to regard the ideology and culture of their conquerors with awe and admiration, while beginning to perceive their own religion, culture, and even race as inadequate and inferior. Thus, they will willingly accept subjugation.

Living in the age of information, we may feel that we are somehow more aware of what is going on around us. We must realize, however, that often it doesn’t really matter how much information we can access but how that information is presented. Information presented incorrectly or selectively can literally make the good seem evil and portray the oppressor as the oppressed. The following are some of the manipulation methods used for achieving this:


If two unrelated objects are shown together enough times, eventually, people will begin to associate them. In the 19th and early 20th century, black people were often illustrated and described in the American media as ugly and stupid; therefore, they came to be regarded as such by the common public. Over the past few decades, the same media has helped to change this image by portraying the blacks as attractive, intelligent, and creative.

Outright Deception

An example of outright deception by the media is the recent uproar in Pakistan waged against the Hudood Ordinance. According to numerous local newspapers, many hundreds of women are currently serving time in prison, because they claimed they were raped but were not able to produce witnesses, as was supposedly stipulated within the Hudood Ordinance. The truth is that the Hudood Ordinance does not require any witnesses in the case of rape. Also, according to Mufti Taqi Usmani, a former chief justice, not a single woman was sent to prison for lack of witnesses, while he presided.

Playing with Words

In the media, people practicing Islam in its totality are often referred to as extremists, whereas those, who practice only selectively or do not practice at all, are referred to as moderates. The implication of this, of course, is that the Messenger of Allah (sa) himself was an extremist, because he brought these commandments and ordered all Muslims to follow them.

Another example is the recent war between Lebanon and Israel. For gaining public sympathy, the western media was constantly claiming that Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped by Hezbollah and Hamas. Soldiers do not get kidnapped – they are held as prisoners of war.

Selective Sharing of Information

There are numerous examples of half truths being used by the current American and British administrations in order to gain approval for their attack on Iraq.

The sudden exposure to western media coupled with such other factors as general lack of critical thinking, ignorance of Islamic ideology and history, as well as lack of Muslim role models, has had a devastating effect on Muslim societies. The Muslim youth have developed a major inferiority complex and have blindly begun to ape western culture. Many have also started calling for changes in Islam, in order to bring it more in line with western ideals. At the same time, these youth have begun viewing those working on promoting Islamic teachings as backward, naïve, and out of touch with reality.

It needs to be clarified that information, specifically the media, is a tool, which can be used for both constructive and destructive purposes. However, the way it is presently used, especially by the western powers, is clearly not in favour of Muslims or Islam. There are a number of things we can do to protect ourselves and our families from becoming casualties in this ideological war:

Learn History

Specifically, Islamic history. Attacks are already being waged against the character of our Holy Prophet (sa) as well as other personalities from Islamic history. We must arm ourselves with information, in order to defend our faith.

Think Critically

Don’t just take information for granted. Question what you hear, if it doesn’t make sense to you. Question this article! Learn to ponder and think about what has been said to you. Do not place teachers and scholars on such high pedestals that you are afraid to question them (respectfully of course). Imam Malik was once sitting near the grave of Rasool Allah (sa). He pointed to the grave and said: “You can accept or reject from anyone, except the owner of this grave.”

Verify Information

Allah (swt) has commanded us in the Quran to verify information, when it reaches us. Don’t just sit in front of CNN or FOX news, accepting everything you hear; rather, verify it against other media sources, such as Al Jazeerah and even Haaretz.

Minimize Television Viewing

Television is not a very interactive form of media, as we really cannot control, what we are viewing. Therefore, we must try to narrow down television viewing only to educational content and always accompany our children, while they are watching television.

Become a Role Model

There are very few Muslim role models in the world today. Thus, if we do not take the responsibility for becoming a source of guidance and inspiration to our own children, they will probably find some other source, which, most likely, will not be a source we approve of.

Finally, we must constantly pray to Allah (swt) as our beloved Prophet (sa) taught us: “O Allah, help us to see the truth as truth and give us the ability to follow it; and help us to see the falsehood as falsehood and grant us the ability to abstain from it.”