Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Matrimonial Relations
Al Nisa (The Women) - Chapter 4: Verse 34
"Men are supporters of wives because God has given some of them an advantage over others and because they spend of their wealth. So the ones who are in accord with morality are the ones who are morally obligated, the ones who guard the unseen of what God has kept safe. But those whose resistance you fear, then admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place, then go away from them; and if they obey you, surely look not for any way against them; truly God is Lofty, Great."
In the light of other verses of the Quran, the collective injunctions of Shariah and the overall Prophetic ideals and traditions, Sunnah, we find that the real spirit of the matrimonial relations is shaped by the sentiments of “affection” and “compassion” and the obligations of “patronage”, so that the governing factors in such relations are “affection, compassion and benevolence.”
The Arabic word "qawwamun", with its preposition "'ala" which describes the relation of men to women in the above verse, does not imply any superiority, but simply means "taking full care of". The distinctiveness between men and women is related to the woman's pregnancy, delivery, and nursing, which make it necessary that the man should have the responsibility to provide for her needs and the needs of the children, at least when she is hindered with such a distinctive natural function of reproduction. This hindrance is not permanent, and it cannot be a reason to keep the women at home all her life, and neither does it hinder her intellectual and psychological merits. She is not supposed to bear children or raise them all her life, and at a certain age children have to go to school.
The issue of “chastisement” strongly arises a problem to the structures of the family and human relations and receives exceptional interests because it is referred to in this Quranic text (by almost all translators) and because its historical and traditional interpretations were purported by most people to denote slap, flap, flog, beat, strike, punch, etc.
This would definitely involve a strong sense of pain and humiliation regardless of the extent of the physical suffering itself which may vary, according to some fatawa, around few strokes with a siwak (tooth cleansing) stick or the like, as rendered by Abdullah b. Abbas in responding to an inquiry regarding the construal of the “mild chastisement.” On the other hand, we find some fatawa regulate “chastisement” so that it must not exceed forty strokes, and “no retribution between man and his wife (in regard to chastisement) except for wounds and murder.”
Considering the context and situation, the purpose of reconciliation, the Islamic doctrine of human sanctity and dignity, the right of self-determination in Islam, the consensual nature of the nuptial association, and the ability of nuptial partners to gracefully dissolve such association without coercion or intimidation, the denotation of daraba in this citation cannot imply the infliction of injury, pain or disgrace. The most candid construal is to imply separation, departure, partition or seclusion.
This type of arrangement, where the spouses leave each other for some time, would help to streamline the bitter relationship because it is a step that goes farther than admonishing and refusing to share bed. Now, the spouses will have ample opportunity to rethink the whole situation, to ponder the eventual consequences, and to realize the inevitable conclusion of rejection, namely, divorce. At this point, they will have a full chance to re-examine their intent and conduct and to decide whether they want this threshold of separation to be a lasting state!
Compiled From:
"Chastising Women: A Means to Resolve Marital Problems?" - AbdulHamid A. Abu Sulayman
"The Subime Quran" - Laleh Bakhtiar
"Are women created only for family life?" - Fathi Osman

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Promoting Higher Good
After three major battles and a few smaller skirmishes with his Meccan adversaries, Muhammad (peace be upon him) established something close to a military parity between his adopted city of Medina and his hostile hometown of Mecca. At this point, he boldly led a sizeable group of Muslim companions to Mecca, where they intended to make the minor pilgrimage (umrah) and worship God at the Abrahamic shrine of the Kaba. Before they reached the city, they were stopped at a place called Hudaybiah by representatives of the Meccans, who wanted to prevent Muhammad and his companions from entering the city. Much to the concern of many of his companions, Muhammad agreed to postpone the pilgrimage for a year as part of a peace treaty he negotiated with a Meccan representative there on the spot. The treaty included a non-aggression pact for ten years, as well as Muhammad's promise to send back any young Meccan who came to him as a convert without the explicit permission of his Meccan father or guardian. On the other side, any Muslim or resident of Medina wanting to seek asylum in Mecca would not be sent back.
For this and other reasons, many of his companions voiced very strong objections to the Prophet's decision, but he went ahead anyway, commanding the Muslims to abide by every bit of it. What they did not know was that Islam would spread considerably while the treaty was in effect and that, once the treaty was violated and dissolved a few years later, it gave justification for the Muslims to march on Mecca to take the city without bloodshed.
This telling episode demonstrated to Muhammad's companions and to all future Muslim leaders that the Prophet, as leader, was not to be accountable to their wishes, no matter how strongly felt or voiced. Instead, he was bound by a higher accountability, which included the higher goods of peace, security, and the eventual winning of Mecca without violence. This admittedly difficult element of Muslim leadership has challenged Muslim leaders of every place and time. In what ways are religious leaders challenged to go against the wishes of their communities in order to promote a higher good? Is being sensitive and responsive to our communities the same as being obedient to their wishes and demands? If so, then who is leading whom? In what ways does our accountability to God cause us to clash with the wishes of those we are supposed to lead? These and other questions naturally arise from the Prophet's decisive turn from military action to negotiation and beyond.
Compiled From:
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 109, 110

Hadith Forgery
[continued from previous issue]
History and Context
3. Heretics
The Kharijites are on the whole considered to have avoided fabricating hadith, which is due mainly to their belief that the perpetrator of a grave sin is no longer a Muslim. Since they saw the fabrication of hadith in this light, they avoided indulgence in forgery as a matter of principle and a requirement of their doctrine.
The heretic faction known as al-Zanadiqa, owing to their hatred of Islam, fabricated hadith which discredited Islam in the view of its followers. Included among such are: "eggplants are a cure for every illness"; and "beholding a good-looking face is a form of worship".
4. Fanaticism
Racial, tribal and linguistic fanaticism is yet another context in which hadith has been fabricated. Ahadith were thus fabricated on the superiority of Arabs over non-Arabs, which were then reciprocated by forgeries on the superiority of Persians and Romans, Abyssinians and Turks over the Arabs. Note for example the following: "Whenever God was angry, He sent down the revelation in Arabic but when contented, He chose Persian for this purpose." The Arab fanatic too matched this abomination by claiming that "Whenever God was angry, He sent down the revelation in Persian, but when contented He chose to speak in Arabic." These and similar other forgeries relating to the virtues or superiority of certain tribes, cities and periods of time over others have been isolated by the scholars of hadith and placed under the category of forged ahadith.
[to be continued ...]
Compiled From:
"A Texbook of Hadith Studies" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 68, 69

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday Nasihah (sorry its a little late)

Living The Quran
Al Jathiyah (Kneeling Down) - Chapter 45: Verse 23
"Have you seen the kind of person who takes his own whims as his gods? God has left that one astray - sealing his hearing, veiling his heart and covering his sight. So who can now guide him after God (has withdrawn His support)? Won't you take a reminder?"
One who comments on the eloquent text of a great man of letters or a great poet must study it closely and make fine distinctions in his commentary until he has explained the intended meaning of the text. The research gives expression to the purpose of the author of the text, and it sustains the meaning commensurate with the rhetorical norms of the writer. This is more obligatory and necessary when the text is a religious or sacred one, such as the text of the Quran, or a text of the Prophet, which attained the summit of human eloquence, and which turned within the horizon of the Quran, clarifying and detailing from the Prophet what was in the Book revealed to him.
It is enough for some words that one refers to the dictionary of the language for their explanation. However, some words are not understood except in the light of their context, and their purposes, and their local and historical situations.
We see how some have intruded what is foreign in the sciences of the Law, play in commentary on the words of the Quran and the hadith. It is a matter of regret to all with a kernel of knowledge, and to all with a conscience, for these are commentaries that do not rely upon the logic of religion or of language or of science. They are following only their whims, and as Ibn Abbas puts it, whim is the worst of what is worshipped on earth.
Compiled From:
"The Holy Quran: Guidance for Life" - Yahiya Emerick, p. 360
"Approaching the Sunnah" - Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pp. 182, 183

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Vulnerability and Power
The Prophet, peace be upon him, knew where both his vulnerability and his power came from, when so many enemies tried to deceive, lure or destroy him. The signs in creation, his ability to marvel at events or at the seemingly slight details of life, to recognize the heart's charity in a person's generous word ("A benevolent word is charity." [Bukhari]) or through a fellow being's smile ("The smile you offer your brother [your sister] is charity." [Tirmidhi]), gave him that strength to resist and persevere. Being constantly with the One, and remembering His presence through a look or a gesture as the presence of the Friend and Protector rather than that of a judge or a censor - such is the meaning of excellence (al-ihsan), of the power of the heart and of faith: "Excellence is worshipping God as though you see Him, for if you do not see Him, He indeed sees you." [Bukhari, Muslim]
His companions recognized those qualities in him, loved him, and drew their spiritual energy from his presence among them. He taught them to constantly deepen that love: "None of you believes [perfectly, completely] until I am dearer to him than his father, his son, and all humankind." [Muslim] They had to carry on their spiritual and loving quest, love the Prophet, and love one another in God.
Compiled From:
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, p. 135

Hadith Forgery
[continued from previous issue]
History and Context
1. Personality Cults
Forgery in hadith is believed to have begun in the context of personality cults which aimed to credit or discredit leading political figures with exaggerated claims. An example of this is the following statement attributed to the Prophet: "Whoever wishes to behold Adam for his knowledge, Noah for his piety, Abraham for his gentleness, Moses for his commanding presence and Jesus for his devotion to worship - let him behold Ali.
2. Political Differences
Political differences between Ali and Abu Bakr, Ali and Muawiya, Ali and Aisha, between Abdullah bin Zubayr and Abd al-Malik bin Marwan, and generally between the Umayyads and Abbasids were among the causes of hadith forgery. Numerous fabricated hadith have thus been recorded in condemnation of Muawiya including, for example, the one in which the Prophet is quoted to have ordered the Muslims "When you see Muawiya on my pulpit, kill him." The fanatical supporters of Muwayia and the Umayyad dynasty are, on the other hand, known to have fabricated hadith such as "The trusted ones are three: I, Gabriel and Muawiya." Political motives also seem to be behind the so-called hadith, for example, that "When the caliphate reaches bani al-Abbas, it will not leave them until they surrender it to Jesus the Son of Mary."
[to be continued ...]
Compiled From:
"A Texbook of Hadith Studies" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 67, 68

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meeting My Fans

Well this is a little tongue in cheek but I have met up with some of my followers/commenters and this past Sunday I met up with a convert sister who homeschools and just recently had a baby boy. It was nice to meet her and her family and I know she is so busy now with 4 little kids and won't really have time to visit my blog. I've also met some of my readers at RIS and other places like bazaars and MuslimFest. Insha Allah I'll meet even more of you in the future. If any of you are getting together, why not try and make these cheesecake brownies I made to bring to my new friends' baby's aqiqah.

 Cheesecake Brownies

100g dark chocolate (4 pieces about)
125g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
To make:
Melt the chocolate and margarine either in a microwave or in a ceramic bowl over a pan of simmering water.
When melted allow to cool slightly then add the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
Fold in the flour.
Turn out into a greased baking tin.
Cheesecake layer with 250 grams Philadelphia cheese, 1 egg and 1/3 cup sugar beaten together well and then swirled over the top of the brownie.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes until set and a knife comes out reasonably clean.

This is enough for a small family. If your family is big or you expect guests then double it. I would even consider quadrupling it. Nothing lasts for long in this house. I would also add condensed milk to the cheesecake topping myself if I make it next time. These brownies taste better the next day. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Feeling Blue.

Last night was testing night for the Tae Kwon Do students and ds2 (15) tested and passed for his Blue Belt. Ds3 (13) wasn't quite ready but will be testing soon for his as well. Dd4(7) wasn't ready to test for her yellow belt either so she will try for that at a later time. Dd3(12) and ds4(10) are still not attending nor ds5(5). Insha Allah they will return one day. Dd5(2) always wants to come but has no idea what tae kwon do is since she hasn't seen it since she was in the car seat! Sadly I was the only parent to forget their camera. As for me returning, well I'm still nursing a broken toe, again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Freedom of Conscience
Al Maidah (The Repast) - Chapter 5: Verse 92
"Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and be ever on your guard. But if you turn away, then know that Our Messenger's only duty is a clear delivery of the message [entrusted to him]."
Complete social justice cannot be assured, nor can its efficiency and permanence be guaranteed, unless it arises from an inner conviction of the spirit; it must be claimed by the individual, it must be needed by society; there must be a belief that it will serve the highest purpose of mankind. It must also rest upon some material reality to which the individual may cling while accepting the cost involved and being prepared to defend it. No man will claim justice by law unless he has first claimed it by instinct and by the practical methods that ensure the preservation of instinct. Similarly, society will not persevere with such legislations, even when it exists, unless there is a belief which demands it from within and practical measures which support it from without. It is these facts that Islam has in mind in all its ordinances and laws.
There is a way to achieve the realization of the powers latent in human nature together with the elevation of that nature above submission to the demands of material necessity; it is even the soundest and the safest way. This is what Islam aims to do - to integrate the needs of the body and the desires of the spirit in one unity and to satisfy by freedom of conscience the inner instinct as well as practical reality. So it is not unmindful of either side of the question.
Where equality has its roots in a profound freedom of the conscience as well as in law and its implementation, and if the instinct for it is powerful among the strong and the weak alike, then it will be accepted as a rise in status for the weak and for the strong as humility. It will join in the soul with a belief in Allah, and with the unity and mutual responsibility of the community; more, it will inculcate, a belief in the unity and solidarity of humanity. Such is the aim of Islam when it grants complete and absolute freedom to the human conscience.
Compiled From:
"Social Justice in Islam" - Syed Qutb, pp. 53, 54
Understanding the Prophet's Life
Balanced Attitude
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, regarded extremism in din (way of life) as a basic fault of the people before the advent of Islam. He said:
"Beware, do not adopt extremism, because your predecessors got annihilated by adopting extremist attitudes in din." [Muslim]
Extremist, rigid and strict attitudes did not exist during the time of Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet himself, as can be gathered from documented evidence, was very tolerant, he listened to others with respect, avoided arguments and quarrels and adopted the best available course of action even though it may have been suggested by someone else. There was a balance between his personal, family, social and public life.
Acquiring a deep and balanced understanding of Islam assists in leading a balanced and moderate personal and social life. However, some people are found to give more emphasis to certain aspects of Islam over others, or they place unjustified burdens on themselves that have no reference in the Islamic sources of guidance.
Islam enjoins wisdom, balance, moderation and tolerance in all affairs, and it condemns excessiveness, extravagance and fanatical attitudes. To achieve a balanced attitude, Muslims need to understand the objectives of Islam, stay close to Islamic guidance, and give as much weight to an aspect of Islam as the noble Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) and his faithful Companions gave, no more and no less.
Extremist attitudes, practices and customs, make their entrance into an organisation, community or groups, through various ways:
  • through views based on ignorance,
  • superficial knowledge,
  • imbalanced understanding, or
  • impatience.
Extremism is bred when certain verses of the Quran, sayings of the noble Prophet or certain of his deeds are exaggerated or understood out of their context. It even arises from exaggerated love or hate of someone or something.
Extremism is a disease and leads to intolerance, disrespect, inflexibility and cause conflict amongst people. These, in the long-run, destroy communities and are, therefore, alien to Islam because Islam is the "middle" way.
An extremist temperament is one of the major causes of Muslim disunity and weakness today. Cultivation of moderation and balance in people's temperaments is required for reforming the affairs of the world according to Islam. Muslims must avoid extremism and rigidity, learn and observe the ethics of disagreement is Islam, and show respect and tolerance to differing views and opinions that are within the boundaries of Islam.
Compiled From:
"Building A New Society" - Zahid Parvez, pp. 200, 201

Hadith Forgery
Extensive forgery in hadith was commonly known and acknowledged to have occurred in the early decades of the advent of Islam. It is believed to have begun following the turmoil over the murder of the third caliph, Uthman, which dealt a heavy blow to the unity of the umma.
A forged hadith or al-mawdu, may be defined as a report, invented by a liar, who has attributed it to the Prophet and it may include either the text or both the text and isnad (chain of transmission) of the report. Even if this is done with a pious purpose in order to promote what is deemed to be a good cause, it would still count as a forgery and no credibility would be given to the motive and purpose of a deliberate forgery.
Hadith forgery may be divided into two types: (1) deliberate forgery, which is usually referred to as hadith mawdu; (2) unintentional fabrication, which is usually referred to as hadith batil and is due mainly to error and recklessness in reporting. For example, in certain cases it is noted that the chain of narrators ended with a Companion or a Successor only but the transmitter instead extended it directly to the Prophet. The result is the same and fabrication whether deliberate or otherwise must in all cases be abandoned.
[to be continued ...]
Compiled From:
"A Texbook of Hadith Studies" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 66, 67

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unexpected News

Before I announced that my Quran teacher was leaving next month and we were scrambling to find other options. Last night she told me she had some news to share with me and it was that they were not leaving after all. I was really shocked. Thankfully she did not give notice to either her landlord nor did her husband quit his job so all's well that ends well. I think she is very disappointed and I am for her too even though the news benefits us. As a Muslim you should want for your brother/sister what you want for yourself and this is the attitude I always keep. We never know what Allah plans for us and there is khair in everything.

Monday, December 12, 2011

December Book Club Reminder

Boy oh boy am I ever late this month with the reminder. Married to a Bedouin is this month's title. To be honest I haven't finished last month's title nor the one before. I haven't even ordered this month's title. I'm going to check insha Allah if RIS has any of the titles I've chosen for next year. Just click on Book Club on the right hand corner to see next year's choices.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Nasihah - Worship Forever

Living The Quran
Worship Forever
Al Hijr (The Rocky Tract) - Chapter 15: Verse 99
"And worship your Lord until there comes unto you [the hour that is] certain."
The correct concept of worship or Ibadah is very comprehensive. Ibadah is, as ibn Taimiyyah stated, "a noun comprising every word or deed, internal or manifest, that Allah loves and approves. This includes prayer, zakat, fasting, pilgrimage, speaking the truth, fulfilling trusts, doing good to parents and relatives, keeping promises, enjoining good, forbidding evil, jihad, good behaviour towards neighbours, orphans, the poor, travelers, animals, remembering God and reading the Quran and so on." Al-yaqeen or "the certain thing" in this verse is a reference to death.
It is not uncommon to find people engaged in what they call "purification of the soul," while they do not pray the five daily prayers, fast the month of Ramadan and so forth.
One argument that is heard to justify the above way of living is that the ritual acts of worship, such as prayers, fasting and so forth, are only meant to help in purifying one's soul. Once one has actually purified one's soul, he is no longer in need of performing those types of acts. In other words, those acts are simply for some type of common folk who have not reached the enlightened and purified stage of those who do not pray or fast.
This is a fallacious argument for many reasons. First, those ritual acts of worship are not simply means to achieve a better end but they are also goals in and of themselves. In other words, in themselves they are acts of worship and good deeds that every human must perform. Second, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most noble of all humans and he never stopped performing those ritual acts nor did he ever hint that he or anyone else would ever be excused from performing them. In fact, in this verse Allah reminds him that worship continues till death.
Third, the soul passes through different stages and is always volatile. A person's faith is susceptible to increasing or decreasing. There is no evidence that there is a certain plateau that one may reach that ensures that he will never go back again to a lower level. There is also no evidence that there is a certain plateau beyond which one cannot improve himself further. Hence, the soul is always and forever in need of the acts of worship and other facets that keep it purified and along the Straight Path or that move it closer to Allah and His pleasure.
Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul: Concept, Process and Means" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 120-124

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Bukhari and Muslim report from Ibn Masud that God's Messenger said: "A man (or woman) is with him (her) whom he (she) loves." This hadith is a source of hope and consolation for those unable to adhere completely to the Divine Commandments. Those who love the Prophets and pious people will be in their company in the Hereafter. Therefore, whoever desires this should love them sincerely and follow them as best as they can. Those who love the enemies of God will be with them in Hell.
Nuayman, a Companion, could not stop drinking alcohol. He was punished several times. Whet yet another Companion reproached him, God's Messenger warned that Companion: "Don't help Satan against your brother! I swear by God that he loves God and His Messenger." [Bukhari] Thus, those who are trying their best to reform themselves, as long as they continue to perform their obligatory duties and try to refrain from major sins, should be encouraged, not reprimanded. This is a prerequisite of their love for God and His Messenger.
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 101. 102
Call to Eradicate Domestic Violence
As Muslims, we base our ethics and behaviour on the teachings of the Quran and the authenticated example of the Prophet Muhammad, who never hit a woman and taught the men that “the best amongst you is he who treats women the best”. The Quran unequivocally emphasizes the sanctity of all life, forbids all forms of coercion in matters of religion, and reminds us all that each of us is accountable for our actions directly to God, the only Judge.

There is no room within these teachings for any person, by virtue of gender or position within the family, to seize control over the life and bodily security of another. Domestic violence and, in the extreme, practices such as killing to “restore family honour” violate clear and non-negotiable Islamic principles.

Let us declare our commitment to intensify our efforts to eradicate domestic violence from our communities through:
  1. Working within our community and with other communities to raise awareness of harmful (and sometimes lethal) attitudes that lead to this violence.

  2. Working within our communities to raise awareness about the serious psychological, judicial, social and religious consequences of such practices, through Friday sermons, public lectures, workshops, and other means.

  3. Morally opposing the use of the word “honour” when describing such killings to ensure no positive connotation is implied directly or indirectly in connection to such heinous crimes.

  4. Working with community leaders and Imams in order to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary resources and training so that they can offer mediation, conflict resolution, and domestic violence counselling in a manner that reflects professional standards, contemporary research, and religious scholarship.

  5. Educating parents and youth about existing resources that can help them deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings far before it gets to the point of violent confrontation.

  6. Teaching parents and youth how to deal with intergenerational conflicts and misogynist leanings.
Compiled From:
"Call to Action to Eradicate Domestic Violence"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cakes for Eid

The cars cake was made by me as per ds5 (5 yrs) request for Eid ul Adha. The carriage cake was made by dd1 as per dgd (4 yrs) request for eid ul fitr. I still have a Hello Kitty cake to make and that would be mainly for dd-i-l who loves Hello Kitty. I guess you are never to old to love Hello Kitty hey?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Perhaps I Offended You?

I called up an old friend today and we got to talking. Talking about the famous one-way street. Perhaps you know it. You meet someone and exchange numbers and then you call them. Perhaps they call you. Perhaps not. Perhaps you meet together or maybe not. Then you call them, and call them. Then you ask yourself , what's wrong with this picture? I always assumed the other person had a clash of personalities with you or something. You never seem to find out the answer. But this friend says what she does is leave a message on their answering machine saying please forgive me if I've done anything to offend you. SubhanAllah! I never thought of doing such a thing. I never thought I could have really offended anyone. I only thought I wasn't on the same wave-length or maybe they were too busy. We also talked about how people are so quick to talk behind your back instead of confronting you. If you've done something to offend someone then they should make it plain so that you can either a) defend yourself, tell your side of the story or b) agree that you were in the wrong and ask for forgiveness. Since so many are not the type to confront people then I think its an excellent idea to do as this friend does. Insha Allah I hope the people who have cut me off have never been offended by me and if they have will one day give me the right to do either a or b. In the meantime I hope I have not offended any of my readers.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's Holding You Back?

You've studied it all, it all makes sense but something is holding you back! You're still not ready to take shahadah. Why? I think if you ask most people who have already converted to look back and name the reasons they held back for so long, they will usually be two things; hijab and polygamy. That would be for women. I can't speak for men but I'm sure that abstaining from alcohol and lowering their gaze would be tops on their list but I could be wrong. Aside from that many state the loss of friends, family and jobs. Everyone has their reasons. Someone, related to me, is interested in converting and the thing that is holding them back is lack of community support. If this person converts they will never have an imam to turn to since there is none, a mosque that's always open as there is no imam to open it for all the prayers, a community that will embrace you socially as they have no interest in including converts and  a mosque that teaches Islam and Quran as they refuse to teach adults as only children are paid for by the Ontario Gov't. Converting for this person would be like falling into a black hole. Not that becoming Muslim is a negative thing since it is fulfilling and uplifting on its own but no man is an island and we were never created to go it alone. Of course there is me but I'm only one person and I cannot teach Quran as I am still learning myself and on top of that our Quran teacher is leaving to go overseas in a month. (this teacher lives two towns over from my relative). I think most people would say take the leap and convert and trust in Allah but where are those same people when the converts become disenchanted and give up hope and give up Islam? Are you your sister's/brother's keeper? Yes you are! I heard that during last jumuah prayer a woman converted to Islam. I have no idea who she is or how she came to our mosque but I wonder how she will cope in a community that doesn't care. Will you adopt a convert today? We are not asking that you give up your daily coffee, just take a convert out for one. Let's build this ummah! What say you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Secret of the Spirit
Al Isra (The Night Journey) - Chapter 17: Verse 85
"They ask you concerning the spirit: say, 'the spirit is of my Lord's command. Of knowledge, what you have been given a little."
Our human nature, at its very core, is believed to be somehow in direct touch with the Divine, and for this reason the human heart or spirit is left undefined in Islam, indeed just as God is left undefined, known only by attributes that reflect aspects of the Divine nature but never capture the totality of God's essence.
Interestingly, this ambiguity concerning the true nature of the spiritual "heart" or spirit was put to the test during the Prophet's (peace be upon him) own lifetime. Of the many groups and individuals who resisted and resented Muhammad's claim to prophecy in the seventh century, some sought to confound him with religious and spiritual questions of considerable nuance and subtlety. One of the most famous of these questions concerned the spirit or soul. According to the account of the earliest biographer of the Prophet, when Muhammad was pressed to explain the spirit's true nature, he waited, seeking God's help. Divine help eventually came, but in a way that raised more questions than it answered. The Prophet offered them nothing more than this verse, and his companions and subsequent generations of followers all agreed that the Prophet's restraint in this matter was binding upon them all. In this way, the Islamic tradition came to cover the mystery of the spirit or soul with a heavy silence. Even after, the matters was referred to as the "secret of the spirit" and was deemed to be among the restricted topics concerning which open discussion and speculation were forbidden.
Compiled From:
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 123,124

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Dealing with Disabled
On one particular day, the Prophet met notable Quraish leaders Utbah ibn Rabiah and his brother Shaybah, Amr ibn Hisham better known as Abu Jahl, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and Walid ibn Mughirah. He had begun talking and negotiating with them and telling them about Islam. He so much wished that they would respond positively to him and accept Islam or at least call off their persecution of his companions.
While he was thus engaged, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, a blind companion of the Prophet always eagher to memorize the Quran, came up and asked him to read a verse from the Quran. "O messenger of God," he said, "teach me from what God has taught you."
The Prophet frowned and turned away from him. He turned his attention instead to the prestigious group of Quraysh, hoping that they would become Muslims and that by their acceptance of Islam they would bring greatness to the religion of God and strengthen his mission. As soon as he had finished speaking to them and had left their company, he suddenly felt partially blinded and his head began to throb violently. At this point the first sixteen verses of Surah Abasa were revealed, rebuking the noble Prophet on account of Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, sixteen verses that have continued to be recited from that time till today and shall continue to be recited.
From that day the Prophet did not cease to be generous to Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum. to ask him about his affairs, to fulfill his needs and take him into his council whenever he approached. In fact, in later years, he often greeted Ibn Umm Maktum with these words of humility: "Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me."
When God rebuked the Prophet on account of his behavior toward Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, He does not dwell on the latter’s disability except to refer to him as the “blind man.” In other words, the Prophet is not being admonished on his insensitivity towards a handicapped person, but rather on his negligence of someone who came to him to learn.
The Prophet’s behavior toward disabled people is an example par excellence for us. In addition to greeting Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum with respect and humility, the Prophet designated him as the leader of Madinah many times in his own absence. As far as the Prophet was concerned, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum's blindness was not a hindrance in his ability to carry out his duties.
Even though the Prophet was sensitive to the particular circumstances of his disabled companions, he did not consider these to be things which should stand in their way of leading normal lives. Rather, he was intent upon focusing on their inner beauty and amorphous souls – just as he did with all of his companions.
Therefore, putting aside our own prejudices and assumptions, we must recognize that disability in and of itself is not necessarily a hindrance or disadvantage. No doubt, it causes the afflicted person far more difficulty than someone who is not in his/her position. This is all the more reason why we should make extra efforts to provide facilitation to disabled individuals by ensuring not only their physical comfort through appropriate measures but their mental and emotional ease as well. The latter can only be accomplished if we view them beyond their physical state, just as the Prophet did.
Compiled From:
"Companions of the Prophet" - Abdul Wahid Hamid
"The Treatment of Handicapped People in Islam" - Saulat Pervez

Securing Women's Rights
We have been used to thinking that women have been created for the family life and for raising children, and thus their natural place is in their homes. Nothing in the Quran or Sunna clearly supports such a view or assumption. Such a division of labour between the husband who earns the living of the family and the wife who stays at home doing housework is a societal experience, which has occurred for a very long time throughout history in so many societies, including the Arab society at the time of Islam, and the subsequent Muslim as well as other societies until recent times when change has come out. Women learn and work equally to men, and the family responsibilities are requiring more financial resources. Caring about the home has to be reviewed, and the Prophet's traditions indicate his assistance to his wives.

However, such a modern experience of women's work and the consequent need for husband's help in the housework in so many countries does not necessarily mean that it is an eternal natural law. Social change never stops; and norms are introduced, maintained or abandoned according to their practical benefit.

In English, the verb form "to husband" denotes the mastery and management of the house, and "husbandry" may mean the control of resources and careful management or the production of plants and animals. The word "groom"- used in bridegroom - is related to feeding. This may merely reflect a societal tradition that has existed throughout history. The Arabic language, however, differently uses the same word "zawj" meaning mate or companion of the other, for both husband and wife. Some may add the feminine suffix "h" to "zawj" to indicate that the word in a particular context means wife, but this is not a linguistic rule or obligation, and the Quran uses the word "zawj" and its plural "azwaj" to mean wife and wives respectively [e.g. 2:35, 102, 232, 234, 240, 4:12, 20, 6:139, 7:19, 13:38, 20:117, 21:90, 23:6, 24:6, 26:166, 33:4, 6, 28, 37, 25, 50, 53, 59, 60:11, 66:1, 3, 5, 70:31, as well as for husband and its plural [e.g. 2:230, 232, 58:1]. One may argue whether a woman's work is better from various angles for the family than her stay at home or not. I may go further to say that some Muslim women, and non-Muslim as well, may prefer to stay at home, but this does not mean that this is God's law that is explicitly spelled out in the Quran or the Sunna. The discussion has to be moved from theology to sociology, or from the divine laws to the human thinking and experience.

Moreover, the Arabic word "qawwamun", with its preposition "'ala" which describes the relation of men to women in the Quranic verse 4:34, does not imply any superiority, but simply means "taking full care of". The verse reads: "Men take full care of women, for what God has granted some of them distinctively from the other, and what they may spend out of their possessions". The distinctiveness between men and women is related to the woman's pregnancy, delivery, and nursing, which make it necessary that the man should have the responsibility to provide for her needs and the needs of the children, at least when she is hindered with such a distinctive natural function of reproduction. This hindrance is not permanent, and it cannot be a reason to keep the women at home all her life, and neither does it hinder her intellectual and psychological merits. She is not supposed to bear children or raise them all her life, and at a certain age children have to go to school. Further, suppose that a woman may not marry or bear children, what, then, should keep her at home?
It is time to look to the woman as an equal human being, not just as a bearer and raiser of children, a cook, a home-cleaner, or a dishes and dirty-laundry washer etc. The family life and raising children require a join-effort of both the man and the woman. Since the woman has her right and obligation in obtaining an education according to the guidance of Islam, it is good for her personality and for the society, just as it may be good for the family itself to support the woman's right to work, and as long as this right is beneficial for all parties, it should be secured.
Compiled From:
"Are women created only for family life?" - Fathi Osman

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bits and peices.

I just finished reading The Happiness Project and thought I'd share this video about making 3 friends which is like asking me to find a needle in a haystack. I also want to share something else with you. I recently talked to my brother, the older one and he told me to watch a show called Fat,Sick and Almost Dead.  I can't seem to find it as a free documentary online nor at my library nor at the local video store. I hope I can find it somewhere! It looks very interesting. Finally I've discovered that there is such a thing as exercise videos without music. This one, Oxycise even has landscape backgrounds. So get out there, make some friends, drink some vegetable/fruit juice and get some exercise.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

You Made It to the Other Side

Life is strange. You dream about making it to the other side and after years you are there but no one told you there wouldn't be anyone there with you. You change your life so much that no one can recognize you or sync with you and no one is like you on the other side either. You have Allah but as for people, not so much. Your life is better in so many ways and yet there is no one to share that with. What a paradox! You don't long to go back because you remember how bad it was but can't even comfort yourself thoroughly with the present. I think there is no other side really on this earth but only in Jannah or else we'd see the fruits of our labours or maybe we are so close to the end that this is what it looks like...a true stranger in the dunia.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

10th Anniversary RIS.....who's all coming?

Out of 9 RIS conferences, I've been to only 3, but hey that's one third of the time, so that's pretty good eh? I know some people can't afford it and I notice they have tickets for people that need them and you can donate to that worthy cause too. Are any of you going? I intend to and dd2(19) will be coming too insha Allah. Ds1(26) and dd1(24) are not too sure yet. DS2(15) wants to come too this year which will be his first time although he has been to the ISNA conference before with ds3(13) as well. Check out the link here.

What I'm reading ...

I've been catching up on a lot of books I borrowed from the library and am still doing so and there are still books to get to from my own book club here. I've finished reading In the Land of Invisible Women which I was surprised that my library even had so I grabbed it. Out of so many accounts of going to hajj (that is just part of the book) this is the one that inspires me the most to go.  I like how she compliments Malaysian women so often in the book too. This is a pretty long book but will give you lots to think about.

Right now I am reading The Happiness Project. So far its kind of boring but I will continue. I also have to finish This Book is Overdue (yes I see the irony). Then there is Shanghai Girls written by Lisa See who also wrote another book I just read called Snowflower and the Secret Fan which is also a movie out on dvd now. This author is part Chinese and did so much research for this book in China and she is a captivating storyteller as well.After these I intend to read The Virgin Cure by Amy Mckay since I loved her last novel so much; The Birth House.

What have you been reading lately?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Al Isra (The Night Journey) - Chapter 17: Verse 106
"And (it is) a Quran that We have divided, that you may recite it unto mankind at intervals, and We have revealed it by (successive) revelations."
The Prophet's arrival signalled a new and exciting era in the history of Yathrib. Hitherto a small, insignificant agricultural settlement, Yathrib was suddenly wrested from the obscurity in which it had been shrouded. Not only did it become the centre of history in Arabia, but also the hub of a cosmological event of stupendous character. It became the focal point of Divine revelation.
More than anything, it was the sound of the Quran that transformed the whole atmosphere of the place, its every aspect and element, into a new and sublime reality. The Archangel Gabriel was a frequent visitor, descending with portions of the Quran, in response to the situation. For the Quran was not revealed in its entirety on one occasion, but gradually in portions.
Exegetes have described this special manner in which the Quran was revealed as Munajjamun (in portions). It was not revealed as former Scriptures were believed to have been, in the form of a complete book. The impact of the Quran was so great for this reason, that it interacted dynamically with people and events, every revelation being concerned with a concrete happening or event.
Compiled From:
"Sunshine At Madinah" - Zakaria Bashier, pp. 45-46

Understanding the Prophet's Life
Intellectual Capacity

God's Messenger, peace be upon him, always assessed a person's or an audience's spiritual and mental capacities accurately. He spoke directly to a particular individual at a particular time and under particular circumstances; he had no need for flattery or falsehood. One time Husayn, an eloquent speaker renowned for his persuasive rhetoric, sought to dissuade him from his mission. God's Messenger listened carefully to his argument and then initiated the following dialogue:
- Husayn, how many deities do you worship?
- Eight; one in the Heavens and the others on Earth.
- Which one do you call upon when misfortune befalls you?
- The one in the Heavens.
- Which one do you call when your goods are gone?
- The one in the Heavens.
God's Messenger asked a couple of similar questions, and, upon receiving the same answer to each question, asked: "According to you, the one in the Heavens alone answers your call. Yet you continue to associate partners with Him. Isn't this what I have been preaching? There is no deity but God. Become a Muslim and be saved." [Ibn Hajar] This apparently simple argument defeated Husayn with his own logic.
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 92, 93

Cool Concepts!
The Hijrah
Anyone who has fled from a dangerous or threatening situation to a place of safety has made hijrah. Anyone who has courageously said "no more" or "not today" to a destructive, unhealthy habit or relationship or situation and begun a journey to something better has made hijrah. Anyone who has broken free from a cage of restriction and entrapment, where all possibilities are closed and the light of hope has been all but blocked, and set out in search of a new place of hope and possibility and freedom has made hijrah. Hijrah is the dynamic principle that animates the very foundations of lived Islam, for it represents the daily migration to a better place, a better state, leading ultimately to a blessed reunion with the One who made us and opened up the prophetic pathways for us to come home.
Hijrah also stands unshakably as the cornerstone of Islam in history, for it was only after the Prophet made his historic migration to Medina that Islam, as a complete religion and way of life, came into full realization. For the very first time, the community was free to assemble and establish the complete and comprehensive way of life. For the very first time, the Prophet was able to lay foundations for a more organized and systematic expression of monotheism, foundations that - for many - are believed to manifest the ultimate synthesis of politics and religions in Islam. For this reason, Muslims have ever regarded the year of this hijrah as the first year of the Islamic calendar.
Compiled From:
"In the Light of a Blessed Tree" - Timothy J. Gianotti, pp. 101, 102

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Nasihah - Social Jihad

Living The Quran
Social Jihad
Al Hujurat (The Chambers) - Chapter 49: Verse 15
"The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, then have not doubted, and have struggled with their possessions and their selves in the way of God; those - they are the truthful ones."
One may read this verse in the strict sense and maintain that it only addresses the question of armed struggle, and that this armed struggle imposes itself whenever there exists aggression. However, it would be reductionist to draw just that instruction. In a broader sense, a sense which is confirmed by the entire Quranic message and that of the traditions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, "fighting in the path of God" (jihad) means mobilising all our human forces, directing all our efforts and giving of our properties and our own persons in order to overcome all adversities whether they be injustices, poverty, illiteracy, delinquency or exclusion.
The Quran offers such latitude in the interpretation of the word jihad, which is of a learned and scientific nature, one which relies on dialogue, discussion and debate. On another level, it is the Prophet who presents an extensive interpretation of the word when he asserts, for example, that "Pilgrimage is a jihad". One realises that the troubles, efforts and suffering endured by the faithful during a few days in Makka, in order to give strength to their faith and answer the call of the Creator, are a jihad in the path of God.
We will not deny that there are struggles wherein circumstances lead us to direct confrontation, in order to oppose a purge here, a military occupation there, or other type of aggression such as the one we have witnessed in Bosnia and Chechnya. However, it cannot simply be a question of focusing our attention on these events alone and forgetting the broader type of fight which occurs daily and is, therefore, so much more urgent. Nowadays, our enemies, in the path of God, are hunger, unemployment, exploitation, delinquency and drug addiction. They require intense efforts, a continuous fight and a complete jihad which needs each and everyone's participation.
How many are those Muslims who want to fight beyond their own doorsteps, who want to offer, in the most sincere fashion their own persons for the cause of Islam. But, filled with this intention, they forget and remain blind to the fight that must be carried out here in their own locality, to the cause that ought to be defended in their own neighbourhoods, cities and in every country. To those who sought to assist Palestine in its fight against Zionist colonisation in the 1940s, and who perceived this expedition as representing the fulfilment of their ideal, Hassan al-Banna said: "Dying in the way of God is difficult, but living in the way of God is still more difficult." This jihad is a jihad for life, in order that every human being is given the rights which are his. The entire message of Islam carries this requirement as well as its necessary achievement.
Compiled From:
"Islam, The West and the Challenges of Modernity" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 66-69

Understanding the Prophet's Life

When the Prophet, peace be upon him, delivered his first sermon after arriving in Madinah, he instructed the Muslims as follows: "Introduce among yourselves the practice of Salam." On its importance the following hadith sheds more light: "You cannot enter Paradise unless you are believers. And this status you cannot achieve unless you have mutual love. Should I not identify for you something which would infuse mutual love among you? This is to spread greetings amongst you." (Mishkat)
While enumerating the obligations due to fellow Muslims the Prophet clarified that on meeting one another Muslims should say Salam. He urged Muslims to take the lead in offering greetings, stating: "The one initiating Salam is free from pride and arrogance." He also remarked: "Allah's mercy is on those who initiate Salam." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
The Prophet made a point of greeting others first whenever he passed by them. He would greet everyone, men, women or children. He pressed home the point thus: "When you meet your brethren, you should greet them. If you get separated by a tree or a wall, you should again greet as you come face to face again." (Abu Dawud) He exhorted his family members to initiate Salam. He told Anas: "O son, you should say Salam as you enter your house. It will bring blessings to you and your family members." (Tirmidhi)
Greetings can only enhance mutual love, provided they are performed with conscious effort. For greetings signify one's sincere wish for the other person's welfare. The same cannot, however, be said of the ritual Salam, as it is practised now, for it obviously does not contribute to love.
Compiled From:
"Inter Personal Relations" - Khurram Murad, pp. 42, 43

Cool Concepts!
Powerful Life
When you study the lives of all great achievers - those who have had the greatest influence on others, those who have made significant contributions, those who have simply made things happen - you will find a pattern. Through their persistent efforts and inner struggle, they have greatly expanded their four native human intelligence or capacities. The highest manifestations of these four intelligences are: for the mental, vision; for the physical, discipline; for the emotional, passion; for the spiritual, conscience. These manifestations also represent our highest means of expressing our voice.
Vision is seeing with the mind's eye what is possible in people, in projects, in causes and in enterprises. Vision results when our mind joins need with possibility. When people have no vision, when they neglect the development of the mind's capacity to create, they fall prey to the human tendency toward victimism.
Discipline is paying the price to bring that vision into reality. It is dealing with the hard, pragmatic, brutal facts of reality and doing what it takes to make things happen. Discipline arises when vision joins with commitment. The opposite of discipline and the commitment that inspires sacrifice is indulgence - sacrificing what matters most in life for the pleasure or thrill of the moment.
Passion is the fire, the desire, the strength of conviction and the drive that sustains the discipline to achieve the vision. Passion arises when human need overlaps unique human talent. When one does not have the passion that flows from finding and using one's voice to serve great purposes, the void is filled with insecurity and the empty chatter of a thousand voices. In relationship and organizational settings, passion includes compassion.
Conscience is the inward moral sense of what is right what is wrong, the drive toward meaning and contribution. It is the guiding force to vision, discipline and passion. It stands in stark contrast to the life dominated by ego.
Compiled From:
"The 8th Habit" - Stephen R. Covey, pp. 65, 66

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Nature Principal

Ever notice how some things keep popping up in your life? First I read this excellent post about Richard Louv's other book Last Child in the Woods on this blog and then in the mail I got my issue of Paradise Found from the Royal Botanical Gardens here in Ontario, Canada which mentions his second book The Nature Principal. The author is also going to be making an appearance at RBG this month. I've yet to read either of these books but you'd be preaching to the choir anyway. The sad thing in southern Ontario is that so much of the forests have been chopped down for farming and cities that it is a little depressing no make that a lot depressing and its hard to connect with nature. Northern Ontario where I grew up is awesome though. I try to get my kids into nature but its not enough by any stretch and in no way compares with my upbringing. I believe its a need for humans to commune with nature and get closer to our creator and we do a disservice to ourselves by shaving the trees off our landscapes and continuously building without any thought to this or to the future of our children and grandchildren.

15 Reasons Not to Waste Your Life

Here is a great article from SoundVision. Take heed.

15 Reasons Not to Waste Your Life!

by Sound Vision Staffwriter

We all feel bad "wasting" time. We realize time spent on trivial things makes us lazy and unproductive. However, many of us fail to visualize the long-term consequences of killing time on futile matters, both in this world and the world that awaits us.
The following words of wisdom will help us appreciate how the most productive and influential leaders and scholars of Islam valued time.
1          Time can't return. Whatever time passes by will not return and cannot be replaced.
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi used to say, "The breaths of man are his steps to death!". Moreover, Imam Ash-Shafiee would say, "Time is like a Sword. Cut it (wisely), before it cuts you!" Therefore, kill your time productively, before it kills you!

2       Boxes are sealed. A teacher used the following analogy of boxes: Each hour is like a box that is sealed and placed in a shelf. On the Day of Judgement, these boxes (24 boxes/per day) will be opened and their contents will be displayed to us.

If we filled each hour of our day in life with good deeds, we will rejoice. If we filled these hours with useless amusements and sins, we will regret to see the contents of the boxes on that Day. How we fill them these 24 boxes every day is our choice. Only we have control over it. Once they are sealed as the day ends, only Allah has the keys to unlock them on the Day of Judgment.

3          The most priceless possession of man: life itself. An Imam used to remind his students, "Time is not just money. It is more expensive than gold, diamonds and pearls. Time is life itself!"

Hassan al
Basri: "O son of Adam! You are but a bundle of days. As each day passes away, a portion of you vanishes away." Can we afford to lose a portion of our body or soul everyday to hellfire through wastage of time on useless and un-Islamic things?

4            Accountability of youth and life. We will be asked about our youth and life on the Day of Judgment, both of which are related to time.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, warned us, "Man shall not be let go or discharged on the Day of Judgement until he has been questioned about FOUR things:
1- with regard to his Life: how did he spend it?
2- with regard to his Youth: in what ways did he expend it?
3- with regard to his Wealth: where did he earn it from and what did he spend it on?
4- with regard to his Knowledge: what use did he put it to?"

(Al-Bazzar and At-Tabarani)

Waste Life5          Better to be stingy with wasting time. Hassan al Basri, a renowned follower of the Companions, once said, "I have lived with a people who were more stingy with their time than you people are with your money."

6            Idle Person: A sign of Allah's dislike. Imam Ibn Qayyim stated, "One of the many signs that one is disliked by Allah is the wasting of his or her time." Allah allows a person who is neglectful of His message to be involved in activities that are worthless.

7             Disrespect to Time. Productive Muslims of the past would consider it disrespect to time, if they spent a day without doing any thing beneficial to their community or to themselves. One of them would say, "I do not regret anything as much as I regret a day in which my good actions have not increased."

8             Procrastination and Laziness are dangerous! We are not sure whether we will live until tomorrow to be able to do something good. Even if we live till tomorrow, are we certain that there won't be any obstacles in carrying out that action. Why putt off something good to an abyss of uncertainty? If we procrastinate and waste time today, what will motivate us to spend time productively tomorrow?

9         Ungratefulness to Allah's gift. Leisure and spare time are blessings from Allah which we grossly undervalue today. As the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, reminded us, "Good health and spare time are two of the blessings of Allah with respect to which many people are deceived." (Al-Bukhari)

10           Lose time, Lose peace.  Some pious scholars used to say that those people who kill their time in unproductive ways would lose peace and serenity from their hearts. They would be so overwhelmed with work deadlines and harmful amusements of this life that they would rarely have time to spend with their family, in remembering Allah, and on causes that matter- the real source of tranquility or sakina in life.

11             Ready for tomorrow? Let's remember the old Muslim adage, "Work for your world as if you are going to live forever and work for your hereafter as if you are going to die tomorrow."

12           Productivity shouldn't die with our death.  We should not miss any opportunity to do a good deed even if the world is ending. We are asked to be productive and optimistic even in times of crisis and chaos.

Prophet Muhammad said, "If the day of judgement is about to happen and one of you has a seedling in his hands, he should go ahead and plant that before he is overwhelmed by the day." (Hadith)

13            Return Allah's Trust. Time is a trust from Allah, it is our responsibility to use it in the most effective way pleasing to Allah. We all know how difficult and embarrassing it is to face someone, for instance our parent or teacher, after we break their trust by disobeying their instructions. How would we face Allah if we break His trust?

14            Being Productive is Sunnah (Prophetic tradition). As the Prophet advised us, "Every day, for every joint in the body a person should perform a charity; reconciling between two brothers is charity; helping somebody lift his baggage is charity; every step you take towards Salaah is charity; and every time you remove something harmful from the way is charity. (Bukhari and Muslim). This is how the Prophet, peace be upon him, encouraged us to fill our time with such productive acts.

15            Prophet's Time Management: This is how Prophet Muammad, peace and blessings buwould plan his day:
- He would divide his day into three parts: (1) for his family, (2) for spirituality and Ibadah (worship), usually a time in seclusion at night, and (3) for personal and social affairs (majority of this time would be spent dealing with people's problems, overseeing, educating, and mobilizing his community).

Tips on How to be Ultra Productive

  1. Write down what needs to be accomplished – Use paper, not mind to store this info. Leave your brain for ideas and thinking. Reduces stress.
  2. Break tasks down into the smallest unit possible – Determine the next action step. Start Now!
  3. Set Milestones & Reward yourself – Let others know about your deadlines to hold yourself accountable
  4. Prepare your environment for productivity
  5. Use your most productive hours for your most important tasks.
  6. Start with the quickest/easiest tasks first – If something takes 2-5 minutes to complete, do it right away.
  7. Only work on one task a time - no emailing, MSN messenger, or calling.
  8. Organize life on a daily and weekly basis - Treat each day as unique.Plan similar activities around the same time/on same days
  9. Carve out time for non-urgent activities- Check your emails/voice messages 3 times a day. Fix time for regular chores.
  10. Be flexible- Be willing to accommodate unexpected things for others and for Allah. Learn to negotiate with yourself.