1-How do you manage to reconcile your vegan perspective of the struggle and Islam with the Ritual slayer of sheep at the Eid Celebration? What processes allow your mind to reconcile these two apparently opposite fields.?
I know that is one of the hardest issues for people to understand, specially for those who have adhered to a cruelty-free lifestyle, like veganism, when it comes to Islam, but to be perfectly honest with you, this was only a issue to me while I relied on the knowledge of other people to make my own conclusions. It's great that we get the chance to learn from people who know better than we do about a specific subject, but nothing compares to knowing the facts for yourself, in first hand. Premeditated or not, the knowledge that we get from other people, is not free from conditioning. It's a mistake to believe that all the knowledge that we get from other people might not reflect in some way their own experiences, their own ideas and personalities. With that in mind, and to be able to live well with my veganism and my religion, with no need to make any kind of the mental processes that you mentioned to help me through that apparent incompatibility, i've studied the facts and the history that revolves around Islam and the revelations from Allah (swt) to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and that gave me the knowledge that I needed to understand that not only veganism and Islam are not opposite fields but also that Islam reinforces the way things should happen within the equilibrium of the natural order and finally that if communities had not brake away from that natural way we wouldn't find ourselves in the need to fight for liberation of Nature and animals.
I see veganism as a necessary step in order to fight back corporations that exploit Nature and animals. I don't believe it's a natural way for the human being, but it's rather an extreme measure against the extreme environment of exploitation and disrespect for life going on in the world today. In a natural state of existence, all beings are equal, and the means of survival vary deeply across the world and I see as a natural behavior the need for some communities to kill animals to ensure their survival. We can take the native american indian tribes as an example of people who are closer to the natural ways to an extent that we have never been, and they are not vegan nor should they be, because they're living according to the very same natural laws that our communities are not respecting. So they don't need to be vegan, we do. Because they're not the ones living the way they shouldn't, we are. This is key to understand what I'm about to explain.
When the Holy Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (saw), more than 14 centuries ago in the Arabian Peninsula, the living conditions were, and still are, extremely different from the ones we're familiar with. Throughout the ages this area has become increasingly more desert and less cultivable soil, so people's survival depend greatly on animals. More than 14 centuries ago, Arabia was living in one of it's darkest ages, a period where corruption and weak morals were running societies into depravation and chaos. Men were marrying their mothers and daughters. Fathers were burying their daughters alive. Human life held no value at that time, and so didn't other animal life.
It was then that Allah Almighty revealed verses where people were told to treat animals kindly and with respect, for animals were just like humans.
“And there is no animal that walks upon the earth nor a bird that flies with its two wings but (they are) communities like yourselves; We have not neglected anything in the Book, then to their Lord shall they be gathered.” (6:38)
One can only imagine the impact of such words in people's lives. So this is really important. Obviously the Qur'an does not prohibit the eating of meat, it wouldn't make sense because that's the only way people survive there, but it says something greater than that, that animals are like humans, they form communities just like humans, and also to the Creator they shall return. The Qur'an also says clearly that if one must kill an animal, than do it knowing the value of the life you're taking, do it mentioning the name of Allah (swt), for only by His mercy everything exists and only He gives and takes life. So it's quite clear that not only killing an animal has been restricted to something that should happen only for a good reason, means of survival, but also that when that's the case, it must be done following very strict guidelines. Mind how low the value of life, even human, was held before Islam and how high it was set after the revelations.
Also, even-though eating meat was the only means of survival, never does the Qur'an encourage the eating of animals. Our Prophet Muhammad(saw) did eat meat, but only on very rare occasions, and this is also so important, because the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was and is the role-model for all muslims and all mankind, and this was the example he set for everyone to follow.
Now regarding the animal sacrifices. The Holy Qur'an was not revealed as a whole, but in parts, and this took 22 years, and many of these revelations dealt with specific situations happening in that time and place, so we must take that into consideration and not look at it as if we're dealing with the same situations today. This is to say that we need to know how the Arabian communities lived before reading the verses, so that we understand the words in their right context.
At that time, animal sacrifices were really usual, as tribute to the gods in Arab pagan rituals, etc. Even monotheist adherents did this, both Jews and Christians, to please the One and ask for forgiveness for their sins.
In the Qur'an however, Allah (swt) places all emphasis in the voluntary submission and devotion to Him as the sacrifice He wants us to offer. The Qur'an does not encourage directly in any verse the sacrifice of animals, but acknowledges the fact that it is a gesture of great piety and good will to thank and please Allah (swt). Again we need to remember how these people lived in that time, they were extremely poor and had no material possessions. If anything, they had few animals to provide for their sustenance and animals were what "most valuable" they had. So it's obvious why this gesture was indeed one of great piety. Maybe it's hard for most of people, living in white capitalist countries, to understand the real dimension of sharing what little you have left with others, but if they ought to understand life in a perspective less simplistic and based in standards other than materialistic ones, they should at least try read this with an open heart and no pre-conceptions or prejudices.
"It is not their meat nor their blood, that reaches Allah (swt). It is your piety that reaches Him. He has subdued them for you, that you may show your appreciation by glorifying Allah (swt) for guiding you. Give good news to the charitable. (22:37)
Also, in the very social structure, these sacrifices had great significance because the meat was (and still is) shared with the poorest people of the community and with their families.
The Qur'an talks about sacrificing something that is very important to each individual, but like we saw in the verse, it's clear that it's not the blood of the meat of the animals that Allah (swt) wants. So we also understand, by knowing how the Arabian societies were at that time, that animals are mentioned in relation with sacrifices because it was what people used to to, and also what they felt, was the most important "valuables" they possessed to offer in humble remembrance and in giving thanks to Allah Almighty.
It's clear the role of the sacrifice of animals in the arabian society in the context of this words, and it's also clear that we're not living in that time anymore, so the idea that a muslim must offer an animal in sacrifice is related more with tradition than with religion. Nowhere in the Qur'an says that doing that is inherent to being a muslim, but it's inherent to being a muslim, not only in the Qur'an but also in the examples of the Prophet Muhammad (saw), to be compassionate towards all life, pious and respectful towards all the creation.
"The seven heavens declare His glory and the earth (too), and those who are in them; and there is not a single thing but glorifies Him with His praise, but you do not understand their glorification; surely He is Forbearing, Forgiving." (17:44)
In the Qur'an it's set for humans to understand a pattern of comparison between Allah's (swt) creatures, saying that animals are indeed muslims, because they are submitted to Allah's (swt) laws. It's not a muslim's choice to ignore the changes that happened since more than 1400 years ago, and today for many of us muslims, there are other dietary choices, we know how eating meat is related to very serious health problems and how it is connected to massive environmental destruction. Plus the basis of capitalist modern cultures is deep related to animal cruelty and exploitation, something which is not Halal and so, not to be supported by muslims.
So to sum it all up, what I did was nothing more than studying and knowing the history of my religion, understanding how it all came to be in that time and place, before engaging in attempts of interpret the Holy verses, something that would result only in misinterpretations and nothing other than untruth.
2.how do interpret passages of the Quran which literally mention that women are in fact one step below man, and how does that fit in the struggle for the liberation of all.
Let me begin by just saying that Islam does not in any way make any distinction in terms of superiority between female and male individuals. They are equal in the eyes of Allah (swt) and both have the same obligations as muslims. Secondly it's important to understand that female and male are not the same, but complementary to each other, and so obviously that equality can only be expected in the grounds of where it is possible. For instance, only women can give birth to a child, so it's not expected of men to do this or know what women go through while experiencing it, and so it's not that women are superior or inferior to men, because there's no ground to consider equality in this situation. This means that, in the Qur'an, women and men are equal where equality is possible and, where it's not because of their differences, they're not.
"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." (49:13)
The Qur'an says that female and male were made for each other, to find completeness only in the other and not alone or with the same, so men are not supposed to behave as women nor women as men.
Often we see in the western societies, that this issue has been addressed in a way that seeks to find equality for women in the sense that they can/must act as if they were men, and this is absurd. This has become a case of women not striving to BE women but to BE AS men, by following their steps, be it wrong or right.
This false realization of equality has reflected itself in serious changes that not only aren't the result of real equality between female and male individuals but also have changed social behaviors for worst. For example, in order to occupy a position of so called equality, instead of guarding their modesty and morals and defending these good values in societies, women have become increasingly promiscuous and immoral achieving that so called equality in the wrong doing. The motivation behind it is quite simple, if men can do wrong to women, women in order to be equal, should be able to do wrong to men as well. This so called feminist agenda has created divisions even inside the feminist movement, and some feminists feel that pornography, possibly the most disgusting and degrading industry that's been exploiting women and their sexuality for ages, is indeed good for women, as long as it's women who control the business because it only portrays women, not as sexual slaves or pleasure objects, but as women in power. This is so absurd that seems almost like a bad joke.
So to understand the Qur'an in this matter, we need to know in what grounds do we consider equality, and than we need to know how women's lives in Pre-Islamic era were, because that's the only way we can analyze correctly the significance of the Qur'an, and the changes it made to women's lives. To understand how revolutionary the Qur'an was, we need to compare the Islamic era with the times before, not with the present time we live in.
In the Pre-Islamic era, women were simply not treated as human beings. They were regarded as material possessions and were treated that way by the male "owner". Inheritance was a something that was granted only to men, and women were themselves inherited in cases of death of their indebted husband. Women were only allowed to leave the house of the "owner" unless she paid a ransom, but because they had no possessions, this was virtually impossible. Women had no right to choose or consent being chosen as partner for marriage, they also couldn't remarry if they were divorced. They were not allowed to eat certain types of foods and were seen as no good to their own families, so when a female child was born it was seen by the father as a sign of disgrace. In this time female babies were buried alive by their own fathers.
It was in this time, where women were treated like commodities, that the Qur'an was revealed, and women were a topic addressed comprehensively in different aspects of life, like the relationship with Allah (swt), their role as part of humankind and the communities and the relationship with man as their partner and husband. So not only were women worthy of the same respect as men, but Islam gave them a place in the communities and in social life that they have never had. The Qur'an clearly says that women are in every possible sense equal to men.
"The submitting men, the submitting women, the believing men, the believing women, the obedient men, the obedient women, the truthful men, the truthful women, the steadfast men, the steadfast women, the reverent men, the reverent women, the charitable men, the charitable women, the fasting men, the fasting women, the chaste men, the chaste women, and the men who commemorate Allah frequently, and the commemorating women; Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward." (33:35)
In Islam women are not the source of evil, as hold by many religious doctrines that are the basic foundation of western civilizations to this day. They are equal to men as human beings, as muslims with their religious obligations and with the similar rewards and punishments in this world and the Other. Women have, like men, the same obligations and rights of guarding chastity and integrity, and to get education and seek knowledge. Also they have the same rights as men to own property, buy and sell without any restrictions or limitations.
This is how revolutionary the Holy Qur'an was for women, more than 14 centuries ago, it has brought equality between female and male individuals to a level that can't be even compared to what any feminist movement has accomplished to this day. Some of these things are not happening even in today's modern societies.
So it's not a question of how I interpret the verses, it's how they can be correctly interpreted, and that's only by knowing the history and knowing how the situations, the verses are dealing with, were at the time. That is crucial to help understand somethings that in the present, may seem of putting women "one step below man" but in the historical context clearly weren't.
3. Is there any branch of Islam that you feel closer to? if yes which and why.
This is something that I prefer to keep for myself. Obviously, I have grown closer to a math'hab, but I prefer not to talk about it, only in the sense that I don't think it's good for the Ummah for us muslims to keep surrounding ourselves with walls from other muslims, creating divisions over little issues that evolve later to something bigger, to an extent that people end up blindly following their own math'hab views and rejecting others, narrowing their acceptance of truth. This is contrary to the teachings of our Prophet (saw) plus I don't support divisions within the Ummah. The Prophet Muahammad(saw) said:
"The Jews split into 71 sects, and the Christians split into 72 sects. My nation is going to split into 73 sects, and all of them will be in the Hellfire except one."
Then someone asked, "Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?" He replied,
"They are those who are upon what I and my Companions are upon."
I believe muslims must follow the Qur'an and the Sunnah above all, and remain united in the Din, so that we're from those who are upon what the Prophet (saw) and his Companions (pbut) were upon.
4. What did change in your life and in your perspective of yourself and the world since you reverted to islam? including reactions of people around you like family, friends, work colleagues and so on.
I consider myself to be one of the blessed by the Creator to be able to find, with the mercy of the Most High, light and truth in Islam, after being immersed in confusion and deceit disguised as true Christianity of the Church of Paul. I was raised a Catholic Christian and have always been very interested in knowing more about the Christian belief system, but I was soon shut down by ignorant preachers who didn't knew themselves how to explain much of what this system is all about. I was a lot into reading history and philosophy, and existentialism was my main subject of study so while I was reading most of Nietzsche's books I got more and more distanced from religion for the years to come. When I felt I needed to get back to where I left it, I studied the early teachings of the first Christians, the true followers of Isa (Jesus) and then Islam. So I think I came a long way, alhamdulillah, and when I finally took the Shahada, I felt my walking back to meet my natural self had started as well, so I wouldn't describe it as just a change, I believe it's something bigger, similar to die and born again in a new life, despite the fact if you had been practicing any religion prior or not. I put my heart and soul in the practicing of every religious duty, and I'm feeling getting farther from my old worldly perspective of life, something that I never realized I had, and feel much closer to the way I was intended for, alhamdulillah.
This represents many hours of absence from daily life, not necessarily in meditation alone, but not having much contact with anything outside most of the day, just being closed to distractions and using that time to evolve. This can result in so many good changes as well, and to better your morals and right conduct are just examples.
This path has been throughout this years too many times an overwhelming experience, and some of these times I realized I wasn't too interested in the life around me - not intentionally, but due to focusing on the straight path rather than everything else - and that was probably the most my family and friends felt the impact of such a disciplined and dedicated lifestyle. Other than that, I don't think the changes did surface to a point where they were visible to other people, and even when it comes to performing Salah, I used to pray before, and even though this didn't happen in a such a strict time schedule, my loved ones were already used to it.
I also plan my life in a way so that the practicing of my religion comes always first, alhamdulillah. I work at home so that I can manage my time freely, I don't plan trips or anything else for that matter during Holy Ramadan, I don't do anything other than read and study my religion on every Friday of the week, and most of the times, I don't make plans to go somewhere if there's a chance I will not be able to perform Salah in the right time and in an adequate way.
I know most of muslims can't afford to do this, but also I think this was made easy for me by Allah Almighty because of the simple lifestyle that I live, since I'm not striving to have material success. I don't drive a car nor I want to, I don't own a house nor I want to and I'm not building a professional career nor I want to, so it's easier for people who live like this, alhamdulillah.
5. In terms of escathology how do you understand the promissed coming of the Mehdi with Isa Al-Masih to destroy the Dajjal and its system? how do you envision it? what shall we expect from it? what can we do about it?
I believe the death of the Dajjal, the false messiah, at the hands of Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, will reflect a time of reinstatement of the pure natural way and with that, peace and truth will reign finally. It will be the destruction of everything that's fake and consequently contrary to the natural order, represented in the defeat of the Dajjal and the ones who believed and followed him. I consider this event as the most significant of that time, as it is the only that's mentioned in the Qur'an.
"He (Isa) is to serve as a marker for knowing the end of the world, so you can no longer harbor any doubt about it. You shall follow Me; this is the right path." (43:61)
There are only very few authentic Hadiths, where the coming of the Mehdi is confirmed by our Prophet (saw), and to the best of my knowledge, there is no hidayah (guidance) that we need more than what Allah Almighty has mercifully already given to us in the Qur'an and the Sunnah, so we muslims don't need to wait for the Mehdi to lead us to the straight path but rather we need not to neglect the fulfillment of our duties on our life, right here, right now.
When the Mehdi comes, we must act no different than what we do now, be true muslims and recognize the Medhi, making use of the knowledge that we have about it to make sure who he truly is, and ultimately follow him, in the establishing of justice on the earth.
However, the preparing for the Qiyamah (Day of the Resurrection) - which is inevitable for each and everyone of us, and is a basic and fundamental principle of our faith - must be taken in consideration as to why we should worry now, today and everyday about improving our conduct and morals, our submission to the One, Who created the heavens and the earth.
When the Hour comes, we will be held accountable for all our actions, and contrary to what ignorant views say, it's not meant by an angry God to punish people with no mercy, but rather ultimate justice made to every action that we did during our entire life.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) explained "Allah, the Almighty, says: Whosoever does a good deed, will have (reward) ten times like it and I add more; and whosoever does an evil, will have the punishment like it or I will forgive (him); and whosoever approaches Me by one span, I will approach him by one cubit; and whosoever approaches Me by one cubit, I approach him by one fathom, and whosoever comes to Me walking, I go to him running; and whosoever meets Me with an earth-load of sins without associating anything with Me, I meet him with forgiveness like that". Remember also the Hadith Qudsi "My (Allah) mercy prevails over My wrath" and let it be no doubt that Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful and All Forgiving and that, as it should be, we will be made justice and we'll get what rewards and punishments we deserve, and nothing more/less than that.
It's amazing how so many people have become comfortable with the understanding that there's no Creator, that everything just came out randomly, and that there's no purpose or meaning for life. This to me reflects how deep the modern capitalist societies and their culture have affected people in their most intimate and basic understandings. It's plane ridiculous that people ignorantly make no distinction between what modern Christianity is and ignore the history of things, ignore that before Paul decided to misrepresent the teachings of Isa (Jesus) and mix it with Greek pagan traditions, there was already knowledge of what Our Creator intended for us.
Religion is intended to make life easier for people, to make the relationship with the Creator more disciplined. However it's not the religion that makes the Creator, and therefore the Creator exists independently of whatever religion, and if people feel uncomfortable with institutionalized religions, they just need to find an alternative way to practice this relationship. Not following a particular religion must not be used as an excuse to not practice and thank the Creator.
In the end we'll meet true justice and Allah (swt) knows best.
6. Being an anti-capitalist vegan straightedge, how do you conciliate the practice of Islam with your lifestyle and what relevance does it have in it? Do you feel that being a muslim strengthens in any way your ideology?
I will start with the last part of your question by saying that being muslim is to refill that part of your own self which has been emptied during your growth in modern societies. Being muslim means that you recognize that there's One Creator and that your life is, as all other things in the planet are, naturally submitted to Him. Therefore when you're born, you are in this original state. It is not until you're able to assimilate the influence of the corporate controlled modern culture that you grow out of this natural state.
It's bad for the modern world that people remain closely attached to their natural ways and live accordingly, because knowing their purpose of life, people will never come to that point in their lives where they end up giving in to materialistic consumption to fill that void. This is why atheism has become so popular in capitalist societies, people are stripped out of the meaning of their lives to become craving clients for the products that the materialistic modern world, ruled by corporations, has to sell.
When we realize that we do have a purpose for being here, that we're not here by chance, we won't need to - nor we will - find anything in the materialistic world to fill that space and to fit that role. We don't need to find a way or create a final goal to focus on and live throughout our life trying to achieve it. We already have that way and we already have that goal.
Like all other beings, we are part of a structure of life, and we too play a role in the way it works. As soon as we understand this, everything we've been told falls apart. We will find that all the materialistic ambitions of owning things, of buying and selling, of having professional careers and occupying a status position in the capitalist society, are only void concepts created by modern man to make people play their part in the modern world, and keep the system running, and keep the money flowing.
This brainwash process has been so deeply and meticulously done that people today hardly take the time to think carefully about what their purpose of life is. If you ask most of the people they will say not what they have concluded through their own observation and rationalization, but rather they will say what they have been fed by the media, by the school system, by their parents or by other people, because these answers are available everywhere, and it's supposed to be like that, so that you don't have to think about it and leave it that way. In the Qur'an, Allah (swt) says:
"And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is over all things competent. Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding-Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire." (3: 189-191)
In these verses Allah (swt) makes us think about how perfect all things are and how precisely it function, something that exists way beyond human perception and realization. How can something like that came to be by accident? The human being has been able to create great things, considered impressive by most. Big buildings and bridges, cars, ships, airplanes, satellites, orbiting space stations, all of these really complex creations by the human being, but still, impossible to be compared with some of the living organisms in this planet, among which is the human being. How can such incredibly complex organs like the brain, the heart, the kidneys or the liver came to be by chance? If a satellite or an airplane could have never been created by accident, how could that happen with all the beings and all the planet with its inherent dynamics? How can the Universe came to be? Our galaxy is only one of the more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, with more than 200 billion stars, working in a precise order that allows a coexistence between everything without conflicting with each other. How can one possibly think that this all came to be so perfectly by accident. That's just how foolish and ignorant atheism is. Of course this was created and all praise and devotion is to the One Who created it. You can call it The Being, The Force, The Creator, that's irrelevant. What's important here is that we consider the truth and pay tribute to Him, for He's The Reason we're here, and The Reason everything exists. When someone gives us a gift, we at the very least say thank you. What about the One Who gave us food and water, Who gave us our brain, heart and eyes, Who gave us our family and friends. Is He not worthy of worship and eternal gratitude?
This is the basic understanding behind worshiping the One True God. To give thanks and ask protection and forgiveness for our wrong doings. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an:
"And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me." (51:56)
So this right here is the purpose, the reason why we came to be. Like all other beings, we exist to be grateful to The Creator, to surrender to Him and to His laws. Not to behave as senseless beings and fight for materialistic possessions, not to hurt other beings for no good reason, not to live life as if there is nothing to expect after our death and so we need to make the most of it seeking only as much pleasure as we possibly can with no regards for morals, rules or natural laws.
This is how beautifully simple life is, and how beautifully simple it's meant to be, and my lifestyle fits perfectly with my religion in a complete whole.
So being a muslim strengthens me in a great way as human being, with a natural purpose, and reconnects me with my natural self, the way I was supposed to be in the first place and that obviously strengthens my ideology as well, alhamdulillah.
7. You do all your lyrics, beats, recordings, production, etc, bringing back the true DIY to the music scene, where today it is nowhere to be found. Why DIY? Is it just a matter of being more practical and being able to control all the steps of the process or is it a rather political stance that you're also taking with this project?
Well, after so many years involved in the political punk/hardcore scene I think it came to a point where it's a natural thing, I mean, before you question yourself "who can do the job", you think "can I do it?". That mindset really empowers you so much.
All societies are organized in such a way that everything has been turned into business and for every human necessity a market has been set to explore and ultimately turn that need into profit. This works as long as people don't even try to do it themselves before seeking a so-called professional help and pay for it. Obviously there's many fields of action that someone without the right knowledge won't be able to perform, but even so, if you put your mind and effort into it, you can do everything alhamdulillah. The problem is that, being so busy trying to survive in their slavery jobs and having no time even to rest properly or spend quality time with their own families, people won't take the time they're left with to learn how to do stuff themselves, instead they do what everybody else does, they pay and keep the markets and economies alive.
So I guess it's more practical because you only rely on yourself to get things done the way you want, even though obviously if you’re learning from scratch how to work with really complex software, the quality of the final product is not amazing, but that's something that has very little significance to me, since I'm not after a musician career and all I want is to spread a message.
On the other hand it is a political stance most definitely, because like I said, by doing yourself you're setting your own alternative to commerce, to the markets, to the whole selling-buying concept, you're just being independent from capitalism or any other economic ruling system.
Not paying is really not taking part, because the system works only from the profit their corporations are making. Knowing this, it's essential for the system that people feel the need to own things, and people feel this only when they don't feel good by living simple, when they don't feel accepted in their own communities. Brutal advertising campaigns encourage people to buy things and create the idea of social acceptance only by the amount of things people own. Educational campaigns, that start in the very first day kids go to school, teach them that the greatness of human beings is measured upon the level of success achieved through their professional careers.
If people don't feel this fed up "necessities" they won't fit most social groups and people don't want to feel different, they want to fit in. If their friends have cars, own houses, buy expensive clothing, people will want all of that as well, so it's a vicious cycle that hardly stops, unless we want to take back our lives. Most people will find out that not only they don't need most of things they want to buy, but also that they don't need to be slaves in their jobs, they don't need to work so much for the rest of their lives, because that's only necessary for people who continue buying things, who have so many materialistic ambitions that are never satisfied because new products are always coming and what they accomplish today is worthless tomorrow, they will need to continue buying forever.
Life can be so different from what we've been told, we just need to change our minds, re-think our own views on how to live it, and inshAllah be courageous enough to start making decisions that will lead us to what we really want from our lives and not what we were told we should.
8. Tell us about your lyrics. How does the whole process of writing happens, and what stuff inspire you the most to write about? Why do you write mostly in portuguese?
I’ve always been a lot into writing, although i’m not by any means a writer, but again, that’s not what's most important. Everyone should be voicing their opinions despite their writing skills, doing zines, panphlets, and whatever, that’s what matters really.
I still write a lot nowadays, it’s a good way of testing your knowledge and arguing skills. And I think a lot in what i’m writing about, so writing really turns into a productive process of thinking and arguing with myself, where I can test how good I know certain things and how right am I really in taking certain stands. Most of the times I will know after I write a text, if I need to read more or not about the specific subject, but surely if I don't I still manage to shape better my ideas and arguments about it.
My lyrics come from a very similar kind of process, i’m very strict and careful when it comes to writing lyrics. They must be as complete and inspiring as any good rebel manifesto and deliver the message also just as good. I think it’s a great privilege that people actually listen to what you’re saying, so it should be taken really serious.
I’m inspired by everything in life, good and bad stuff. I tend to focus a lot more on political issues for obvious reasons, but I explore more personal stuff now. For some time I used only a strictly political perspective, I kept out my religion, my views on relationships, social behaviors, etc. Chances are, now that people know that in this project i'm not keeping my religion out, they will say that some of the issues i'm addressing are from a muslim perspective, but this is clearly a simplistic and evasive way to avoid confrontation, because I didn't start being a muslim with this project and when people didn't knew what my religion was, my views were still the same as they are today. The only difference is, today i'm being as complete as I possibly can in a project, and I am a muslim anti-capitalist vegan drug free person, so there's no point in not merging it all in my lyrics as I do in my daily life.
For this project, most lyrics are in portuguese because i'm trying to make it easier for my people, focusing primarily on the people around me and talk to them, and that could only come fully by using our native spoken tongue. Still I do, and will continue on doing some lyrics in english inshAllah, as long as it’s a valid option, not just because. In the upcoming record, there will be one song in english about the zionist illegal occupation of Palestine.
9. Although this is a hip-hop project, it grew from the hardcore vegan straightedge scene. Is that your target audience with this project? Do you have any specific message to the hardcore scene?
It’s true, it grew from the political vegan straightedge hardcore scene and is deeply influenced and inspired by it in an overall perspective of how to use music to spread a message, which I think is the most important aspect of all that we can get from that scene.
This project is meant to reach as many people as possible. My goal is always the same, get people to think and ultimately change their own lives so that social change can happen. So yes, my target audience is also the hardcore scene even though political and social awareness are matters almost absent these days in the scene.
I'm sure most of us know some people who decided to leave the scene after so many years of dedication for their own different reasons. If these people have not sold out to conformity and are still active in the struggle, that's what matters the most. Personally I feel little if any connection with people that remain in the hardcore scene for ages just putting up shows and having bands and all that crap, even if they are vegan straightedge. As I see it, being vegan straightedge is something that can be really a good way to evolve to something else - not in a sense that at some point one will stop being one or the other -, to continue developing ourselves in the struggle, but on the other hand, it can also be just a means of social acceptance and status within a closed social group called hardcore scene. This basically means that i'm not down with someone simply because he/she is vegan and straightedge as that only means that one abstains from drugs - and if one's really true, from promiscuous sex also - and animal ingredients, which to me is far from making someone a real threat or a revolutionary.
If people decide to leave the scene, I can only hope that they make good use of the time they have now free and use it in a good way. Personally I think that we must give back, despite how much the scene has changed or how disappointed we are because of people not being interested in politics, or veganism, or ecology, etc. We all know of the cycles it goes through and if we don't stay there, keeping everything we stand for alive in the scene so that people can know about it, how can we expect for things to change from being just another music scene where everyone goes to shows and buys tshirts or CD's? It clearly has the potential and it has influenced so many people's lives, so it’s up to us to fuel it with positive values and ideas, so that people inside feel affected by it in the most positive way.