23.10.03

GLORIOUS RAMADHAN

: Invitation this Ramadhan
Posted by: Ramadhan.Org Admin on Oct 16, 2003 - 11:28 PM


Ramadhan is a hive of great activity. Alongside our usual responsibilities, a great deal of others are added that take our time and energy. We welcome Ramadhan with hope and longing and seek to mould that vision throughout the month. Ramadhan is that friend that visits us after a long time, whose visit is both beneficial and enjoyable, despite the fact that it ends all too quickly. Despite all of this it is important to visualise what we seek from Ramadhan and the vision we must aspire to both individually and as an Ummah of which we are irreversibly a part of.


Ramadhan is significant for a number of reasons apart from those which are obvious. Apart from the important command to undertake the fasting, it is significant because of the mentality that accompanied the believers in the past to attain feats that we today remember with a sense of pride. We name our sons after the great commander Salahudden Ayyubi, who was reported to have liberated the land of Al-Quds (Palestine) in this month. We marvel at the great victory at Badr, outnumbered and comparatively ill equipped in relation to their enemy, yet they overcame the odds and delivered the forces of kufr a decisive blow. We remember how the Muslims were rejected by the Mushrikeen of Makkah, yet they managed to return back and liberate it in this glorious month. It is a month yearning to shine with victory, yet our reality today is one of defeat. The actions of Salahudden were undone in1948 , and the entire Muslim lands are analogous to one big prison camp, yet even prisoners are informed of the length of their sentence, we yearn to be freed from this rotten situation, yet we cannot envision the victory we so yearn.

We are told that we should leave the past in the past and deal with present day concerns, yet can we turn away from the guidance revealed to Humankind in this month? The past has died, but the vision Allah commanded the Muslims to apply, the vision which our forefathers fought to achieve, are still with us today. Ramadhan is as good a month as any to explore the causes for our weakness as Muslims, and the remedies we must seek in order to redress this balance.

We seek to provide the Islamic Ummah with the tools required to access the victory, to work to stand tall as witnesses unto mankind. We ask that you join us in this endeavour and then utilise Ramadhan to comprehend the steps needed for this Islamic Ummah to worship Allah in the truest sense, so that His orders comprehensively govern our lives.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha’ban saying: “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which a night is better than a thousand months; a month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (his month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Paradise. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.”
The Sahaba asked: “Oh messenger of Allah nobody of us finds means wherewith to give food to a fasting man!”
He (saw) replied: “Allah will bestow this reward on one who gives food to a fasting man even if it is a sip of milk or a date or a sip of water. And whosoever gives satisfaction to a man, Allah will give him a drink from my fountain which will not make him thirsty till he will enter Paradise. And it is a month of which the beginning is mercy, the middle is forgiveness and the end is freedom from the fire. And whosoever makes light the (burden of) his covenanted slaves therein, Allah will forgive him, and He will make him free from the fire.”
(Reported by Salman al-Farsi, Miskat ul Masabih, Volume3 , Pg 516 hadith no.8)

9.8.03

Best Diet for a Healthy Heart

It's Not How Much, but What Kind of Fat That Matters

Forget the "fat-free" mantra of the 1990s already. It's time to move on. Researchers now say it's more important to watch what kind of fat you eat and put more fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on your plate if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease and live a longer, healthier life.
A review of studies linking diet and heart health in the Nov. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association shows a combination of those dietary strategies is best way to protect yourself against heart disease.
"There has been lots of confusion on the role of nutrition in heart disease, with some promoting a high-fat diet and some promoting a low-fat diet. So we took a careful look at the science," says study author Frank Hu, MD, PhD, associate professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Researchers examined nearly 150 studies on the role of several dietary factors in preventing heart disease and found three major approaches emerged as the most effective:
1. Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats (especially polyunsaturated fat).
2. Increasing consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil or plant sources such as soybeans or canola oil.
3. Eating a diet high in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains and low in refined grains.
Hu says no single diet is ideal for everyone, but the study suggests a combination of these approaches can have a dramatic impact on reducing heart disease.
Until recently, most major dietary guidelines have focused on keeping the amount of fat a person consumes each day at about 30% of the total daily calorie intake. But Hu says it's confusing to ask people to follow strict criteria for a low-fat diet.
"Stringent criteria for total fat resulted in a low-fat campaign, and this actually backfired," says Hu. "The public began eating more refined carbohydrates and sugars, and it may have something to do with the current increases in obesity and diabetes we're seeing."
Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, associate chairwoman of the American Heart Association's (AHA) nutrition committee, says the tide began to turn on fat limits in 2000, and most major health organizations, including the AHA, have since removed such limitations.
"The emphasis now is on limiting saturated fats and trans fats," says Lichtenstein, who is also a professor of nutrition at Tufts University.
Saturated fats are found in animal products such as meat and dairy goods, and trans fats are found in processed snack foods and hardened fats such as margarine.
Hu and Lichtenstein say there are several easy ways to get more "good" (unsaturated) fats in your diet while cutting out the "bad" (saturated and trans fats). Some of their tips include:
· Dip your bread in olive oil (a good source of unsaturated fat) rather than butter or margarine.
· Use plant-based oils such as soy, canola, or corn oils, in cooking and baking rather than shortening, butter, or margarine.
· Switch from standard, stick margarine to softer ones that come in tubs, which contain less trans fats -- if you must use margarine.
· Eat red meat in moderation and avoid highly processed meat products such as bacon and sausage that are higher in fat. Trim the fat and skins from all types of meat, pork, and poultry.
"You can have a healthy, higher-fat diet with good fats and also have a healthy, relatively low-fat diet if most of the carbohydrates are whole rather than refined," says Hu.
Whole grains carbohydrate sources, such as whole wheat bread, oatmeal, and popcorn, are less processed and contain more fiber and nutrients than their refined counterparts such as white bread, bakery products, and most pastas.
Lichtenstein says the findings of this study are consistent with the AHA's dietary guidelines, which were also revised in 2001 to include at least two servings of fish per week. Studies have shown that people who consumed two or more servings of fish per week had a 30% lower risk of heart disease.


31.5.03

11:35 PM | Mior Azhar]
10 steps to get better grades in school

Every parent knows that success in school is important for success in adult life. Parents want to help ensure that success, but what, exactly, can they do to help? Here are ten steps to helping your child succeed in school this year.
1. Develop a schedule. Many families today are incredibly busy. In the rush to meet all the demands upon each family member from school, work, sports, arts and socializing - school sometimes gets crowded to the rear. One way to prevent that from happening is to develop a firm but flexible schedule - allowing sufficient time to meet each of the essentials.
2. Don't Overextend. Many times, when a family begins creating a schedule, it becomes clear that there are simply too many activities to fit. School success may require being a little less involved in extra-curricular activities. It may also mean that parents find they have to cut a few of the extras out of their lives, too.
3. Get plenty of rest. Many students simply do not get enough sleep. Eight hours is actually the minimum number of hours a child should sleep each night. It is best to get more sleep. And don't count on weekends to "catch up" on missed sleep. It simply doesn't work that way. Adequate sleep is needed for each day to ensure optimal school performance.
4. Eat right. Poor nutrition and skipped meals lead to the same feelings of exhaustion and weakness that come from lack of sleep. Schedule in meals that include a good breakfast and minimal fast food. Make sure there are plenty of healthful snacks available for after school - like fruit, raw veggies, cheese and pop corn. And watch that soda consumption, too much sugar can make you feel sluggish.
5. Stay well stocked. Purchase good school supplies and keep them in stock. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering you are out of glue or your markers are all dried up, just as you are beginning the project that is due tomorrow.
6. Make homework a priority. Skipped homework can shipwreck an otherwise excellent grade average. Be certain to allot sufficient time for homework to be completed in a distraction-free atmosphere. Preferably the time should be after the student has had a chance to unwind from school yet still early enough to feel fresh and alert.
7. Lavish praise…especially when your child is struggling in a particular subject. Be certain he knows that many people struggle in that subject; it does not mean he is stupid. Praise each success as he progresses…no matter how small. Offer help, or even tutoring if needed, but don't force help if your child prefers to work independently. Sometimes the goals that are met after a tough fight are the most enjoyable.
8. Keep communication open. Take time every day to listen to your child. Be certain every conversation is not dominated by you. Let your child tell his experiences at school, with his teacher and with other students, then if problems arise, you have a better understanding of the circumstances that may have led up to them.
9. Keep expectations realistic. It is good to expect your child to do well in school - to be polite and to complete assignments neatly and on time - but do not expect every assignment to net an A. Keep goals reachable to avoid frustration and poor self-image.
10. Be honest. Many children naturally want to do as well as their parents - or better! So, when you reminisce about your own school days, be certain to tell about your failures as well as your successes.

[edit]
Greatness of Allah

The following speech was given by a scholar last week. Here is the summary:

The Shaikh said that our actions are based on how much belief we have in our hearts. If our belief is strong, then our actions will be strong. Then he mentioned that every effort has a name, a place where it is done and a result. For example, Farming is a name of an effort. Farming is done on land and the result is fruits, vegetables, etc. Similarly, Da'wah il-Allah (calling people towards Allah) is a name of an effort. It is done on the hearts of people and the result is guidence (Hidaya) from Allah.

Then the Shaikh discussed about the Greatness of Allah. He said that if two students come to a teacher with questions and starts asking at the same time, no matter how knowledgeable the teacher is, he will tell one student to talk at a time. Because, he is unable to understand both at the same time. But on the other hand, Allah told us that if the first human being till the last one to born along with all the Jinns, if they were to gather in a field and start asking from Allah, Allah can hear all of them at the same time and reply to all of them at the same time. Even though the people are speaking in their own languages, in own tone and ways, yet Allah is able to hear and understand them all. Allahu Akbar! If a student is far away from the teacher and talks, then the teacher has problems understanding what the student is saying. However, no matter how far we are, Allah can hear us, distance doesn't affect the hearing of Allah.

Allah is able to see what is under the water of the ocean and what is under the dark soil of the ground. If you are walking with some friends and suddenly you look at something haraam, the friends might not have seen you doing it but Allah has seen the treachery of the eyes and He knows what the hearts conceal.

Allah knows how many hairs there are on your head and on the head of each individual on earth. He knows how many hairs have fallen and how many hairs will grow. He knows how many hairs will turn grey.

This Great, All Mighty, Allah didn't keep our success in wealth. He kept our success in following Islam. People used to look at Karoon and say: How lucky is Karoon. If we only had this much wealth. However, Allah Ta'ala showed the whole mankind that the same wealth brought destruction to karoon for not obeying the commandments of Allah.

Success is not in strength. The people of 'Ad were very powerful. They used to say "Who is stronger than us?" Allah sent them a messenger to remind them that "Don't they think that He who has created them is stronger than them?" But the people refused the messenger. Allah sent strong wind which destroyed each and every one of them. Not even one of them was alive. Now who is stronger?

Allah is able to protect in any condition. When Ferawoon decided to kill all the boys born in Bani Israel, his ministers approached him saying that these are the boys who grow up and become our slaves. If he is going to kill them then who is going to serve us? Then Ferawoon decided that one year he will kill and another year he won't. If Allah wanted, He could've made Musa (AS) born in the year when Ferawoon was not killing. But Musa (AS) was born in the year when Ferawoon was killing. And Harun (AS), Musa (AS)'s brother, was born in the year when Ferawoon wasn't killing. And Allah protected Musa (AS).

We cannot see Iman (faith) but we can see the effects of Iman. For example, we cannot see wind but we can see the effects of wind (branches of trees moving, our hairs flying, etc.) The same way, the effect of iman is that we do good deeds. An old man being able to get up for Tahajjud in a winter night shows us the effect of iman.

The Shaikh said that he attended a Janaza last monday where a whole family had died. The brother who died used to be extremely rich and owned his own private plane. He was going to visit some place with his family (Himself, wife, two sons and two daughters). The plane crashed on the way and all of them died. The moment before boarding the plane, he didn't know what was to come.

Today, our death shroud could already be in the store yet we have big big plans.

May Allah give us the understanding of this worldly life which is nothing but a deception.


Why so much problems?

The following speech was given by a visiting scholar from the land of Sri Lanka. Here is the summary:

He said that the condition of the world is very bad today. Every countries are facing terrible situations whether the country is rich or poor. Since all conditions are from Allah then is Allah oppressing us? No. Allah doesn't oppress anyone. Allah made oppression haraam on Himself and made it haraam on us. There is a thin white outer coating over the date seed which is so thin that it rips off when you open the date. Allah informed us that He will not do even that amount of oppression to us. Then where are all these problems coming from? They are from ourselves.

This world is a place of means. If we don't eat then we feel hungry and if we don't drink then we feel thirsty. If we hit someone with a iron rod, then he will feel pain. So, there is a system of cause and effect. So, the bad condition that we are facing today is from the effect of what the people are doing all over the world. Because our doings are bad, that's why the condition is bad.

Then the scholar talked about how Allah blesses those who are pious. If there is village where people fear Allah, then Allah will open the blessings of the heavens and earth over them. On the other hand, a village where people disobey Allah, Allah will cause the blessings of heavens and the earth to be closed over them. It may seem that the pious people don't have many things, but due to the barakah (blessings) from Allah, it's sufficient for them. The Shaikh gave an example of goats and dogs. The goats give birth to about 2 babies once a year. Every year millions of goats are slaughtered during Eid ul Adha. Then thousands during Hajj and thousands every day. Still, we don't hear an announcement saying that the goats are becoming extinct or that their population has decreases dramatically. On the other hand, dogs give birth to 2 or more babies every 4 months. So, the dogs give 4 times more birth than the goats. Also, the dogs are not slaughtered. But, we don't see the whole world full of dogs. That is because there is no barakah in dogs. The example of the pious people are that of the goats. Though there is little but it's enough for them. As for those who disobey Allah are like the example of the dog, they can have a lot but there is no barakah.


Well! We will start again and hopefully this time we will update this site regularly

22.4.03

10 steps to get better grades in school

Every parent knows that success in school is important for success in adult life. Parents want to help ensure that success, but what, exactly, can they do to help? Here are ten steps to helping your child succeed in school this year.
1. Develop a schedule. Many families today are incredibly busy. In the rush to meet all the demands upon each family member from school, work, sports, arts and socializing - school sometimes gets crowded to the rear. One way to prevent that from happening is to develop a firm but flexible schedule - allowing sufficient time to meet each of the essentials.
2. Don't Overextend. Many times, when a family begins creating a schedule, it becomes clear that there are simply too many activities to fit. School success may require being a little less involved in extra-curricular activities. It may also mean that parents find they have to cut a few of the extras out of their lives, too.
3. Get plenty of rest. Many students simply do not get enough sleep. Eight hours is actually the minimum number of hours a child should sleep each night. It is best to get more sleep. And don't count on weekends to "catch up" on missed sleep. It simply doesn't work that way. Adequate sleep is needed for each day to ensure optimal school performance.
4. Eat right. Poor nutrition and skipped meals lead to the same feelings of exhaustion and weakness that come from lack of sleep. Schedule in meals that include a good breakfast and minimal fast food. Make sure there are plenty of healthful snacks available for after school - like fruit, raw veggies, cheese and pop corn. And watch that soda consumption, too much sugar can make you feel sluggish.
5. Stay well stocked. Purchase good school supplies and keep them in stock. Nothing is more frustrating than discovering you are out of glue or your markers are all dried up, just as you are beginning the project that is due tomorrow.
6. Make homework a priority. Skipped homework can shipwreck an otherwise excellent grade average. Be certain to allot sufficient time for homework to be completed in a distraction-free atmosphere. Preferably the time should be after the student has had a chance to unwind from school yet still early enough to feel fresh and alert.
7. Lavish praise…especially when your child is struggling in a particular subject. Be certain he knows that many people struggle in that subject; it does not mean he is stupid. Praise each success as he progresses…no matter how small. Offer help, or even tutoring if needed, but don't force help if your child prefers to work independently. Sometimes the goals that are met after a tough fight are the most enjoyable.
8. Keep communication open. Take time every day to listen to your child. Be certain every conversation is not dominated by you. Let your child tell his experiences at school, with his teacher and with other students, then if problems arise, you have a better understanding of the circumstances that may have led up to them.
9. Keep expectations realistic. It is good to expect your child to do well in school - to be polite and to complete assignments neatly and on time - but do not expect every assignment to net an A. Keep goals reachable to avoid frustration and poor self-image.
10. Be honest. Many children naturally want to do as well as their parents - or better! So, when you reminisce about your own school days, be certain to tell about your failures as well as your successes.

21.4.03

ASSALAMUALIKUM AND SELAMAT DATANG


A blog to call our own. Wow! Finally. Now both Yan and I can write whatever we want and nobody is going to stop us. We will write about everything lah.

Okay, let's begin. It's already 9pm here in Subang Jaya and I am still at the office. Yan is at home desperately waiting for me to get home so we can have dinner. I know, she just called. And the kids - Alia, Asma and Arissa - are just adorable (hey, they are mine and of course they are adorable!). And they are hungry too.
Anyway, my body is still aching from that tug-of-war thing last week at the girls' sport's day. It was fun nevertheless.