29 Ramadan 2018: Salvation through Speech

The prophet (pbuh) said: It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and the man who continues to speak the truth and endeavours to tell the truth is eventually recorded as truthful with Allah (God), and beware of telling of a lie for telling of a lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell-Fire, and the person who keeps telling lies and endeavours to tell a lie is recorded as a liar with Allah (God). (in Muslim)

When I looked at the sayings of the prophet, speech can be classified into;

(a) good speech;

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who believes in Allah (God) and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent” (in Muslim)

(b) good lies;

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The person who (lies) in order to conciliate between people is not a liar, when he conveys good or says (something) good” (in Bukhari and Muslim)

(c) jokes;

Abu Hurayra reported that the people said, “Messenger of Allah (God), you joke with us!” He replied, “But I only speak the truth” (in Albani)

(d) advice;

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The deen (religion) is naseehah (advice, sincerity)”
(f) Suspicion; and
The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Beware of suspicion, for suspicion amounts to the worst form of lying.” Agreed upon.

(g) Falsehood.

May we be of those who say the truth, what is good, bringing people together and giving sincere advice.

Photo by rawpixel on unsplash.

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8 Ramadan 2018: Accepting Ourselves

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely. – C.G. Jung

We can’t talk about acceptance and not look inward.

I believe in continuous and never-ending self-improvement, however, what I have come to discover in the past year is that the negative aspects in our lives are but manifestations of not accepting oneself and making continuous and never-ending self-improvement focused on making our surroundings more conducive for who we are.

Let me explain.

The lazy teenager is not lazy, they are not aware of, and not embracing, the unique strengths they have and setting out to bring those out as opposed to their weaknesses.

The rude neighbour next door is not rude, she just does not know how to assert her needs for a comfortable and clean building as others leave their garbage in the hallway or play loud music late at night.

The quiet and shy colleague is not arrogant, he just values introspection and has a difficult time pursuing and participating in small talk.

So in these three examples, more often than not, the teenager, neighbour and colleague all know what others think of them, and often adopt one of two approaches; they either enter into a never-ending struggle to be someone they are not, or embrace who they are and aggressively challenge the whole world around them. In both cases, these are manifestations of not accepting oneself.

In this post, I ask god to give us the strength and means to recognise and understand who we are, accept it, and then focus on a never-ending and continuous journey of improving our surroundings to give the best of ourselves to the world around us.

 

Photo by abigail low on Unsplash

 

21 Ramadan 2017: Forgiveness

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. – Lewis B. Smedes

The definition of despair is the loss of hope and confidence. Despair is about pain, melancholy and sorrow.

One of the reasons of despair is people … people who hurt. People who abandon. People who disappoint. And the only way around that is to forgive and make peace with others.

Peace with others is looking back at what disappointed us and especially when the person in question is not directly hurtful, blame it on circumstances and the will of god.

Peace with others is about accepting people as they are, faults and all and not pick on what they did, said or didn’t say or didn’t do, just work around them, avoid putting them in a situation to hurt you and accept that we may not all like each other but we can accept each other.

Peace with others is recognizing those who are directly hurtful and avoid situations where we depend on them for anything and use words of respect and goodness and power of silence when dealing with them.

Peace with others is shifting the focus from others to ourselves and being generous with others in terms of sharing of knowledge, goodness and spreading of positivity.

May we find the strength within us to forgive others and not pick on what people do and don’t do and just walk on earth with peace in our hearts full of patience and mercy on all.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

19 Ramadan 2016: Don’t wait for it, Just do it!

Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. – Abraham Lincoln

RLYou have some advice? Give it! You have something someone can benefit from? Offer it! You have ideas worth sharing? Go ahead! You have a solution to someone’s problem? Tell them! You have a piece of knowledge that affected you in a positive way? Share it!

One day … everything you gave, offered, shared, or taught, will be remembered by all and will be important when it really matters and when it really counts be it in life or in the life hereafter.

Don’t worry about what people might “think”. Don’t worry about how people will take it. Don’t worry about looking self righteous. And no … you are not a hypocrite! unless you are totally doing the opposite of what you advise or share.

Have a clear, sincere intention to make the world a better place for the sake of god and leave shyness and worry aside, and be the best you can be under god’s light and guidance using the best of manners and the best of language.

On this blessed day of Ramadan, I wish us all strength, courage and generosity to share with others what we wish others can share with us.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

17 Ramadan 2016: Negativity breeds Negativity

Speak good or remain silent – Prophet Muhammad PBUH

RLSome fears are justified. We have some control over them and are directly related to our actions.

There are fears however, that seem to float around us, nagging at us without truly knowing if they are justified or not. They just linger and become more or less prominent depending on places, people and situations around us.

“Everyone is losing their job” … “Robots are replacing us” … “All these graduates will not find jobs” … “Debts are increasing” … “Crime is on the rise” … “No one cares anymore” … “Social Media is so bad” … “racism is increasing” … etc etc etc

These are some examples of spreading negativity today that breed further negativity and fear.

Let me ask you this, what would telling people that everyone is losing their job accomplish? What would telling people anything that is negative and out of their control benefit them?

Artificial intelligence, recession, unemployment, crime, society … there is no way any one person can predict and plan for them. In fact, the more people talk about them, the more people fear living life in abundance and enjoying the blessings that they have while others don’t.

The truth is that …

… you have a job!

… your role is important!

… there are effective and mature graduates who plan their education journey well and find jobs!

… some people are making more money!

… crime has gone down in some areas!

… you are surrounded by people who love you!

Let us not let negativity and fear take over our lives, and let us embrace the blessings we have and cross the “bridge” when we need to … believe me, you can handle anything that comes your way!

Speak good … share happiness … give hope to both yourself and others!

… otherwise, keep silent and be thankful for you for what we have.

STOP THE NEGATIVITY

 

 

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images / freedigitalphotos.net

10 Ramadan 2016: “How are you?”, Connecting while home

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.― Vera Nazarian

RLYes, “how are you” is not only powerful while away, but also while at home.

In an ever increasing, virtually connected world, we are missing the warmth, connectivity and empathy that comes with physical, face to face, contact.

Again, similar to when we travel, nothing connects the human race like connecting with the human purpose, human heart and human mind. This connection comes about from three simple words, “how are you?”.

While at home, these three words connect us with others and opens the door to discussions, sharing of information and more importantly, pressure release because for a moment, we are not alone.

The irony is not only does this benefit the recipient, but it benefits us when we say it.

So next time I am in an elevator, paying for a service or riding the taxi …

 

Image courtesy of winnond / freedigitalphotos.net

4 Ramadan 2016: Appreciation … Key to the Hearts

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.- William Arthur Ward

GiftIf you knew that this would be the last time you see your friend, what would you say?

If you knew that this would be the last time you talk to your mom, what would you say?

If you knew that this would be the last time you hug your child, what would you say?

If you knew that this would be the last time you spend time with your spouse, what would say?

… I would imagine it would be, “thanks for everything”.

Be it woman or man, adult or child, young or old, all want to be appreciated both in actions and in words. Being appreciated is all people need to feel and give love and feel worthy. The need to feel appreciated is part of who we are, it is part of our DNA.

More recently, I have started to ask myself why we don’t also appreciate strangers who may need someone to acknowledge the effort they put forward to fulfill a product or service.

Appreciation, is the key to the hearts to those we love, those we are neutral towards and those we do not know.

Appreciation is maybe all that is needed in today’s fast paced and over-scheduled lives.

Make it count by saying … thanks!

Thanks to god first and foremost for giving us the opportunity to live to see another Ramadan where we can ask for forgiveness and seek blessings from the all-generous giver.

 

 

Image courtesy of Anusorn P Nachol / freedigitalphotos.net

2 Ramadan 2016: Strangers … The New Support Network

No one is ever really a stranger. We cling to the belief that we share nothing with certain people. It’s rubbish. We have almost everything in common with everyone. – Mark Haddon

HC

From war, disease and poverty to fear, stress and loneliness; our days seem to be more gloomy, no?

At the same time, we are spending more and more time away from those who love us and make us feel better, whether it is because of increased globalization as people study and work elsewhere or because of digitalization that has made our interactions more virtual or simply because we are too “busy”.

We are also spending more time driving on roads, waiting longer for appointments, traveling and catching buses, riding elevators, ordering food, buying products, seeking services, working, etc… with strangers! We are constantly seeing, speaking, and listening to … complete strangers!

The irony is that as we interact with strangers more than ever … and our need for love, care and compassion increases … more than ever,

  • we treat strangers or get treated by strangers with a suspicious eye for one reason or another based on unspoken judgements …
  • we speak to strangers or get spoken to by strangers in a rude and abrupt manner …
  • we cut off strangers on roads or in lines or even when speaking and vice versa …
  • we are sometimes downright aggressive with strangers or are treated with aggression …
  • we all feel entitled, we all feel that we are to be served and not to be of service.

It is ironic because we are all lonely, stressed and afraid and instead of making it better for each other, we make it 10x worse!

The truth is, we are not strangers, we are all in the same boat and as the month of Ramadan blesses us with its many benefits, I can’t help but pray that we start to see each other through the lens of similarity.

I wish that we all treat each other the way we want to be treated and no matter how bad we have it, treating each other politely and respectfully will only result in finding support in the strangest of places!

Politeness is the flower of humanity. – Joseph Joubert

And this is how we can make it count, supporting those we may never see again.

Image courtesy of winnond / freedigitalphotos.net

27 Ramadan 2015: Don’t be afraid of …

When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice. ― Brené Brown

R27

… boundaries.

Should we have them? Do we need them? Will they hurt us now? Will they hurt us in the afterlife?

I wouldn’t say my mom was excellent with boundaries, but I wouldn’t say she didn’t have any either. She seemed to maintain an interesting balance – sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

What I learned from her however is that not setting any boundaries is not good. Not setting any boundaries comes down to fear, fear that the person who might be sometimes rightfully kept on the “other side of the fence”, will not accept it and will even go out of their way to hurt us in one way or another, directly or indirectly.

It is interesting to note however that those who seem to have many many boudanries set, or what I call, harsh inflexible boundaries set, are equally afraid of getting hurt or losing out.

So what works?

Like all things, it is balance.

There are boudanries that matter, and there are those that don’t.

For matters that may be harmful and involve yourself or your family, there should be a clear and consistent application of boundaries with active reflection and strength to ward off fears that may or may not be founded.

If these fears are founded, thank god you picked them up. If these fears are unfounded, thank god you did something about boundaries that will prevent future feelings of resentment, isolation and potentially negative behavior and mistrust towards others.

For matters that benefit ourselves or others … boundary-less. I would also ask myself why I would want to set boundaries in matters that bring benefits to many?

As we approach the last couple of days of this blessed month, may god make us witness more and more of them in our future, a big lesson that my mother’s life taught me is that …

Boundaries are essential.

When none are set, resentment sets in.

When too many are set, injustice towards others sets in. 

Set them in matters, specific to you and your family, that may be hurtful or harmful.

Let go of all boundaries in matters that benefit yourself and others.

 

Image courtesy of twobee / freedigitalphotos.net

25 Ramadan 2015: Always say the Truth

In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot. ― Czesław Miłosz

R25

I can definitely vouch for that.

The number of times mom stood up and spoke up with most, if not all people around her, in silence are countless.

What I can say though, as uncomfortable it may have felt at the time, is that she was pretty much right ALL the time.

I bet that she is so thankful now for the courage she had during such times now that she is in another world and life altogether where she can reap benefits of this courage.

It wasn’t that she was against people being who they are, on the contrary, she wanted to help people be the best that they can be and she used her courage to do that. Whether people accepted it or not, that was not her concern.

She never apologized for it and while there are times that this truth could have been said differently, her intention was in the right place and as she always sought forgiveness from god for any unintentional wrong doings, her intention alone is enough to give her rewards that only those who are lucky would attain.

At least now, anyone who was facing her in such a situation will always remember how ‘she said the truth’.

My mom taught me to …

always say and be a walking example of truth, honesty and integrity

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net