Sunday, February 28, 2016

Musicians of the Arab World- Cheb Khaled

الموسيقى العربية translation : Arab Music

I was so excited when I found out that this weeks report involved music!! I love music so much and believe that it connects the world; you don't have to understand a language a musician is using but just FEEL the emotions coming from them as they play an instrument or sing. The musician that I am going to write about is Cheb Khaled; he is actually one of the reasons why I was drawn to the Arab world.

Khaled Hadj Ibrahim (Cheb Khaled), is an Algerian musician. He was born February 29,1960. There is really not much information about his childhood or anything, but we now jump into the most interesting part of his life... His music! At the age of 14 Khaled started his own band "Les Cinq Etoiles" and this is when his career kicked off. Later on after starting his band (behind his parents back), Khaled got into a lot of trouble especially by his father for not investing his time in school but rather music. Khaled got expelled from school at age 14 and from then his music career started getting a lot of attention. There was a new movement in Algeria with music that was deemed as "morally wrong", and the young Ibrahim was one of the most influencial in this movement. The type of music was known as the "Rai Movement".

One thing that is different about Cheb Khaled's music is his modern twist. The first song I heard by him was Hiya Hiya, and he featured Pitbull in this song. I was taken by surprise and started listening to a lot more of his music. My ultimate favourite song by him has to be Yamina. This is an old poem (love story), that Cheb Khaled took and made his own.

The lyrics are :Hada elyoum sa'eed mbarak Kiwafitak Yamina
This day is a happy & blessed day ( my lucky day ) Because I met you , O yamina
Ya taj alkhoodat khbarak , El mard eli beek hlikna
Your news are like crowns & your desease killed us
( × 2 )

Mali taka a'leek nshoofk Wi nsaksi fi elnas khyana
I don't have any window that overlooks you & I ask people about treason
Mithawil kalbi min darak,kan almoula yikbal mina
My heart is really hurt because of you , God might have accepted our prayers
( × 2 )

Wah wah wah Yamina , Ma a'tham zinak almklooa'
Yeh , yeh Yamina ! How great your beauty is , crazy girl !
Wah wah wah Yamina , Ma a'tham zinak Yamina
Yeh , yeh Yamina ! How great your beauty is , O yamina !

Bilhima shahreen nwadi , 7ata dubt thwab elmilha
I have been feverish for two months , until I melted like salt
Kul lila winhar innadi , Ma yihlash innam allmha
I call out day & night , I can't miss the glance

Rah eldar sfi min jasdi , Orbi a'aff osibt elraha
I have no harm anymore , God healed me & I got better
Nid'i allah ana nzoujak , Alshr' walhak m'ana
I pray god to mary you , The religious law gave us the right for that
( × 2 )

The first time I heard this song I felt the love that Cheb felt and quickly looked up the lyrics and to my guess I was right about the song being about love.
It is clear that Cheb Khaled's music is very versatile in the sense that it is modern but has characteristics of much older music which is very impressive.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Reflection 2 : Al-Andalus

Today we learned about the rich history of the Al-Andalus. And you may wonder what exactly is
Al-Andalus? If you are like me and have no idea what in the world it is, well you are about to be enlightened. Al-Andalus is known as the  Muslim Spain. It is the territory that was occupied by Muslim and became their empire in Southern Spain. The city of Cordova became one of great importance in the world during the Middle Ages.
Arab culture advanced to interpenetrate the Christian culture of the early Middle Ages. Climax of the Muslim civilization came between the 9th and 11th century. During 750 the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus was overthrown by the Abbasid family. Abd-al-Rahman was the only remaining successor from the Umayyad dynasty who ran and escaped to North Africa. He then declared himself caliphate and later regained Spain back. Under Abd-al-Rahman, Spain became the first province to shake off the authority of a recognized caliph in Islam. Later on in his reign, he managed to build great cities and have the most amazing palace. One thing that fascinated me about Abd-al-Rahman was how intellectually strong his people were. For example he built a library and this library had approximately 400,000 books. These books were all HAND WRITTEN which is an amazing thing to accomplish especially during that era.

There is no doubt that the Muslim/Arabs influenced the Spaniards. Till this day, the influence of the Arabs can be seen in music,art,poetry and even language in Spain. The song above is a great example of how culturally rich Spain was during that period. The lyrics of the song are not only in Arabic, but also in Spanish and were composed by a Jewish composer Jehuda Halevi.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

Arab and Muslim contributions to world civilization

The people of the Arab and Muslim have contributed a lot to this global civilization with revolutionary medicinal techniques, mathematical and geographical achievements.

One person who stood out the most to me is Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, he was a Muslim astronomer and mathematician who is known as the father of algebra. Mūsā al-Khwārizmī was a scholar who worked in Baghdad close to the caliphate al-Maʾmūn at the school “House of Wisdom”.The House of Wisdom acquired and translated scientific and philosophic treatises, particularly Greek, as well as publishing original research. Al-Kwārizmī’s work on elementary algebra, Al-Kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr waʾl-muqābala (“The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing”), was translated into Latin in the 12th century, from which the title and term Algebra derives. Algebra is a compilation of rules, together with demonstrations, for finding solutions of linear and quadratic equations based on intuitive geometric arguments, rather than the abstract notation now associated with the subject. Its systematic, demonstrative approach distinguishes it from earlier treatments of the subject. It also contains sections on calculating areas and volumes of geometric figures and on the use of algebra to solve inheritance problems according to proportions prescribed by Islamic law.

The introduction of algebra to Europe was monumental and revolutionary. Can you imagine having to use to Roman numerals on a day to day basis? It would take a lot of time to jot down a number like 123400. The Qu'ran played an important role in the educational advancements of the Muslim/Arab people, because it encouraged obtaining knowledge. Symmetries are also largely used in temple (mosque) designs. It is clear that numbers and geometrical shapes are a common trait in Arab and Muslim countries.
Some examples of the complex symmetries used in Islamic temple decoration
Some examples of the complex symmetries used in Islamic temple decorations


Sunday, February 7, 2016

What is happening in Syria?

Weekly Report 1: Syria

Weekly Report 1: Syria

In the mist of the current chaos in Syria, one may have questions about why and how the situation in Syria escalated so quickly ? I will try to answer these questions by first going back in time to see how this problem began and see if there are any possible solutions to this issue.

Formally known as al-Qaeda in Iraq around 2003; Isis is a militant Islamic group that derived from the al-Qaeda jihadist group. In 2011, AQI changed its name to what we now know it as Isis/IS/ISIL which stand for Islamic State of Iraq,Islamic State,  Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant etc. Isis is responsible for a lot of murders not only in Syria (Middle East countries), but also in Europe as well (the Paris attacks). Isis has this idea of creating an Islamic State, and they are going to do whatever it takes for them to do so.
Given the great threat Isis gives to the whole world, a lot of western countries (Russia,France,UK,USA) have stepped in to stop Isis. The intentions of the western countries seem to be of good reason, but not so much certainty with Russia’s involvement. Putin’s decision to intervene, was win-win for him: if the Russian attacks succeed, he’s shown leadership; if they fail, the intervention will have killed lots of bad people, to the world’s benefit, and the blame for the failure will still rest mainly on the United States and its coalition for not cooperating with Russia. Besides the point, the situation in Syria is chaotic and more countries should get involved in trying to stop Isis.

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