Wednesday, March 30, 2005
But what was amazing was the kind of crime they cracked down on: vandalism and littering. The result was greatly reduced violence. Why? Because a neglected environment of garbage on the ground and broken windows sends a message that nobody is in charge and nothing matters. In a clean, well-maintained atmosphere, there is a sense of order, an underlying message that things matter.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see. Do you see a neglected person who doesn't matter? Or do you see a well-maintained person who matters very much. How you treat yourself and how others treat you hangs in the balance.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
The Holy Quran foretells about the Oil
Allah Subhanahu Says: " (Your Lord) who brought forth the pasturage, then turned it into a black gussa (floodwater)."
Reading these verses, a person who knows geology will immediately perceive that this sentence is describing Oil. Of course, the important thing is that this information is provided in the Quran, sent down 14 centuries ago. As everyone knows, the first Flora on earth was the giant ferns and pastures of algae. These vast pasture, the forerunners of life on earth, were later pushed underground through great geological upheavals, and transformed into Oil through a special process of chemical reduction.
Fields of ferns were the first of the vast pastures to be formed on earth. If these pastures had remained as they were, the oxygen in the atmosphere would have increased uncontrollably and the atmosphere would have ignited at some point. In accordance with the measure and preordination explains in verse 3 of the same Surah, all the flora was buried underground after fulfilling its function. It was transformed into gussa (oil) under the influence of the great geological events. Hence, subjects that could fill volumes have been summarized as major headings in these verses. The science of geology accepts that 5 billion years have elapsed since the primeval fireball stage of the earth. This time has been into four classic eras, and these have been subdivided extensively into various periods. The first, encrusted, period of the earth is excluded from these four eras. This era is believed to have lasted 4.5 billion years.
The first era is estimated at half a billion years. In general, this was the age of the giant flora, and petroleum was also formed in this era. There is general agreement that the second period lasted 170 million years and the third, 65 million years. The fourth period is recognized as pertaining to the present form of the earth, with the history of 2.5 million years. Various methods are used for computing these periods. Oil was mainly formed by the decomposition of coastal ferns and algae trapped between rock strata through the action of various bacteria. Several theories exist about the formation and accumulation of oil, none of which is proved unequivocally. It has been claimed that seaweed also played an important part in oil formation. Of course this view would also conform the sacred verse. These latter views on oil are more significant. According to these views, oil was formed by the decomposition of seaweed and the coastal algae and fern, and then accommodated itself to the structure of the geological strata, flowing as rivers to form subterranean lakes of oil. As a result, the remains of small sea animals can sometimes be found in oil beds.
Let us now reread the sacred verse: "And then He turned it into black flood water" Oil, which is a black fluid, flows in black subterranean rivers. "Floodwater" is the clearest expression describing this underground flow of oil. Hence this verse has also informed us of the flow of oil rivers, called 'oil migration' in the industry, 14 centuries ago!
(Excerpts from "Verses from The Holy Quran and the facts of science")
The Gilbraltar Barrier
Allah Subhanahu Says: "He has let forth the two seas that they should meet together. There is a barrier between them which they do not overpass."
Let us perceive this phenomenon in scientific terms. The French scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, famous for his underwater researches, has discovered that the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean differ in terms of their chemical and biological constitution. Captain Cousteau conducted various undersea investigations at the Straits of Gibraltar in order to explain this phenomenon, concluding in effect that:" Unexpected fresh water springs issue from the Southern (Morocco) and Northern coasts (Spain) of the Gibraltar. These mammoth water spouts gush forth towards each other at angles of 45, forming a reciprocal dam like the teeth of a comb. Due to this fact, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean cannot intermingle". Indeed, subsequent to this assessment, Cousteau was amazed upon being shown the above verses, and was filled with admiration for the Quran, and accepted Islam.
The separation of two seas by the straits connecting them has an inner meaning. The sea bears more living things than does land. With the almost infinitely tiny organisms we call plankton, their countless flora and fauna of all kinds, the seas are a theater of divine handiwork in their own right. It is also obvious that different organisms will inhibit differing environments. This is one of the reasons why divine power does not allow the seas to mix. This meaning, however, further invites our attention in Verse 22- especially to the plankton composition of the seas and to the flora and fish distributions that change with variations in temperature. This verse announces the presence of pearls and coral in both seas. Hence, the reason for separation is not simply the chemical composition of the sea, since pearls and coral exist or disappear in accordance with the chemical properties of the sea. In this way, the non mixing seas prepare the living environment of the most beautiful undersea gardens and fish, sources of endless pleasure when viewed in their natural medium.
There are specific flowers covered with squat plants under the sea. Some of these (Lepas fasicularis) are lotus-like flowers which are prettier than orchids. On the ocean floor where sunlight cannot penetrate, ornate insects and wonderful spiders living thousands of meters beneath the sea lead their lives by means of the radar systems they are equipped with.
Again the fish Acanthurus triostegus has thousands of fluorescent spots on a red background that both light up its environment and ease its life. Nearly thirty different color hues have been distinguished on a fish living at such lightless depths. These creatures, representing the pure art of the Allah Subhanahu, are the manifestation of the inner meaning of the oceans' non transgression secret.
How do these divine patterns and decorations come to be displayed at the bottom of the sea, normally inaccessible to eyesight? The Surah al-Rahman discloses the infinite beauty of our Creator's art by relating these insights in Verses 19 through 25. Then, after 14 centuries have elapsed, atlases showing the creatures of the ocean are published, and the secret of these verses is experienced.
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.
Yaks are not really all that talkative.
And bald eagles have feathers all over their heads.
People are also tagged with nicknames, reputations and images that might not fit who they really are. Maybe this has happened to you.
Don't judge a book by its cover or by its name. Everybody has good inside. Make sure you remain open to that.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
1. the sky
2. the ocean
3. a pessimist
Pessimists see the sad, lonely, hopeless side of life. They can't help but feel blue.
Expect good things. The sky is blue. The ocean is blue. You don't have to be.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Do you remember a time when you really felt enthusiastic towards something?
During those times, you would have probably had an extra sense of certainty, dedication, commitment, creativity, perseverance and, most importantly, an abundance of energy.
You would have felt inspired and felt as if there was an external force supporting you.
When we are enthusiastic, we automatically tap into resources within us that we do not usually use.
The first step to success is to feel enthusiastic. Once you have that, you will find an ability, within yourself, to deal with every challenge that you face.
How enthusiastic are you? Are you enthusiastic about what you do? If you have answered yes to both of these questions, then you will surely succeed.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Ashura - the eid of sorrows and lamentations, is the anniversary of the Martyrdom of Karbala, where the Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) grand-son, Hussein (AS), was martyred along with 71 others.
The martyrs of Karbala were without water for 3 days when they were martyred.
Despite this, and the turmoil as their fellow Muslims and family members were martyred, they remained calm and at peace.
Indeed, they were at peace whilst their captives, who were not hungry, nor thirsty, nor losing those who they loved, looked troubled and ill at ease.
Throughout history, if we look at the way in which the Great Martyrs have died, whether it is Hussein (AS), Jesus or Joan of Arc, they have been at peace, despite the great tragedy that was happening to them.
Hussein (AS) spent his last hours praying for the Muslims that would follow him. Jesus prayed for forgiveness for those who had wronged him, whilst consoling those who knew that they were losing their leader. Similarly, Joan of Arc simply held a crucifix in her hand as she was burnt at stake.
The greatest question we must ask ourselves is how can such people be at peace during such difficult times? How can they undergo pain and suffering that we cannot even comprehend, yet remain strong and courageous?
More importantly, why can’t we be peaceful and strong, even when our problems and suffering is nothing compared to what they have endured?
# Leaders take responsibility. Sure, it's easy to take responsibility when things go right, but what about when Plan B flops?
Friday, March 04, 2005
Dr. Burhanuddin Saheb is the 52nd Dai-ul-Mutlaq to carry on the mission of Imams (successors to the Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law). He represents the ultimate spirtual authority for a million people in Bohra communities throughout the world.
Besides being a religous leader, he is also a scholar and philosopher whose writings are highly regarded in the Islamic world. He has been received by heads of state such as Queen Elizabeth and President Anwar Sadat.
While in Hongkong, he will meet the Chairman of the Urban council, Mr. A.de O.Sales, leading businesmen and members of the diplomatic community. But primarily he is here to attend to his followers, most of whom are businessmen. (The Bohra community is basically a trading one ; the word Bohra actually means a trader.) Yesterday, seated on a white draped throne, he gave personal audiences advice on a variety of problems, religous, economic and maritial.
"My followers are primarily engaged in trade and commerce," he said, "and my advice to them will be still to further their economic well-being." "Such economic well-being and progress must always bear in mind the dicates of religon, because Islam has laid down very clear and explicit principles regarding the conduct of commerce and trade."
Running a business on Islamic principles brings not only material profits but also spiritual satisfaction, he added. Dr. Burhanuddin Saheb gives as an example the Koranic law which forbids usury. He says it is not impossible, though it may seem difficult, for one not to give or receive interest in the context of international banking.
"Already in India and Pakistan, we are establishing banking institutions which will function on Islamic principles, and I always exhort my followers who have the means, to help their brothers with loans free of interest".
He exhorts his followers by all means to avail themselves of international banking facilities, but not to give or receive any interest on their deposited capital. The bank's profits would then go to the public, so that the maximum can benefit from the wealth of the country. This is where the sociological principle of Islam lies, he says.
At the centre of Bohra belief for centuries has been the concept of self-reliance. As an aide of the Dai-ul-Mutlaq explains, this belief is so much held that for a Bohra to go into somebody else's service is actively discouraged and actually looked down upon. It is much better to start in hardship with one rupee, and be working for oneself than be the highest paid executive in the service of somebody else. The idea of self-reliance is born out of the fundamental belief that I am a created being.
"He who created me will provide for my needs. It is God who gives, not man," he explains.
One should therfore develop oneself, both materially and spiritually to rely on the providence of God. This is why the Bohras have founded so many community centres abroad, says Dr. Burhanuddin Saheb.
"The idea is not to create an international community, but that instead of staying at home, people should be anywhere in the world where oppurtunity exists for trade and commerce."
"This is based on the traditional philosophy of the mission that every follower must endeavour to be self-reliant."
Dr. Burhanuddin Saheb quotes some Arabic verses which his father, the 51st Dai-ul-Mutlaq wrote:
- "You secure the services of the world, and you do not become a servant of the world".
- "If you can so live you will live with honour and success"
Coutesy: Zakir Haveliwala
Whenever Egyptian writers have taken care to rely on original Fatimi sources, namely, the books and records of Fatimi scholars, the result has been commendable. Such writings have been found to succeed better, than previous attempts, in presenting genuine facts and avoiding prejudice.
So long as their study has followed scientific methods, eschewing bias, the range of research has been wide, revealing a far-reaching outlook on branches of Fatimi learning.
However, because of the lack of source materials, studies in Fatimi history have at times been subject to error. The source materials indeed consist of the books written by Fatimi authors at the court of the Fatimi Imams, recording what they have seen and remembered of their Imams. They also cover the volumes written by Fatimi authors on the basis of the original books and records that were preserved by them.
The first set of authors who wrote voluminous books, gave discourses and prepared compilations and handouts were eminent dignitaries of the Fatimi period like Syedna Abi Hatim Al-Razi, Syedna Qadhi-en-Numan, Syedna Moyyed Shirazi and such other illustrious scholars. To them should go the credit for leaving a rich treasure-house of literature.
The second set of authors were those who, inheriting the Fatimi wealth of literature and also a keen perception of its background on the culmination of Fatimi rule in Egypt, based their writings on the original documents. They chose Yemen as their new centre of activity; and observing the evolution of the Fatimi civilisation, they assimilated it in their very being and manner of thinking . They not only preserved the Fatimi books, but also guided others to them, and themselves wrote volumes on the basis of the documents or communications sent to them by their Imams. The communications, woven on silken cloth, were preserved by the Yemen scholars for centuries. These too deserve praise for their efforts.
So, it may truly be said that the immense treasure of Fatimi literature consists of both types of books, firstly, those of contemporary dignitaries like Al-Majalisval-Musayerat, Iftiahud Dawat and Daaemul-Islam, all written by Qadhi-en-Numan bin Mohammed at the instance and under the patronage of the Fatimi Imam al-Moiz, who was the founder of Cairo and of the Al-Azhar University. There are many more of such books.
Secondly, there are the books written by Dais of Yemen, throwing light on the original sources. These scholars, benefiting from the environment and atmosphere of the Fatimi civilization, in which they had been brought up, imparted clarity to details and also produced valuable commentaries. Their writings make up a very big collection indeed.
In the 10th century, Hijri (A.H.946), this valuable library was brought to India when the Fatimi dignitaries transferred their centre of activity from Yemen to this country. It is possible that in the process of shifting, a small portion of this priceless heritage was destroyed or lost on the way owing to the long distances of travel by sea and land between the two countries. Be that as it may, the fact remains that the bulk of the collection is today preserved in the library of His Holiness Dr. Syedna Taher Saifuddin who is the 51st in the line of Fatimi dignitaries, the Dai-el-Mutlaqs.
When his Holiness visited Egypt in the year 1356 A.H. soon after performing the Haj, the Egyptian Government gave him a memorable reception. This naturally flowed from the warm feelings that the Egyptian people have towards Fatimi rule, which was established about a thousand years ago and which continued for two centuries, representing a very benign influence in Egyptian history.
Moved by these sentiments, the Egyptian Government presented to his Holiness valuable pieces of cloth woven during the Fatimi period and treasured in the national museum. There are 39 such pieces, each of which is preserved in a glass frame, the oldest of them going back to the time of the Imam Al-Moiz-Le-dinillah. The Egyptian Government also presented to him gold coins of the Fatimi period. No wonder, then, if His Holiness has looked upon this as a reward of providence for the the services rendered by him to the Holy Ka'ba at Mecca the curtains of which he had got prepared . These deeply-cherished Egyptian presents have been carefully preserved by His Holiness at his residence in Bombay.
Stirred by the same sentiments and the sense of close affinity existing with Egypt since the Fatimi days, His Holiness was naturally very happy to welcome His Excellency Gamal Abdul Nasser on his historic visit to India and greet him with warm regards and affection, more so as His Excellency not only represents the people of the United Arab Republic, but also symbolises the renaissance of Arab Nationalism and the forces of peace and tranquillity.
The Aligarh Muslim University was highly honoured by His Excellency's visit. His Holiness as Chancellor of the University welcomed him to the historic institution, and expressed the hope that it would be a prelude to the strengthening of educational ties between this University and the Universities of Egypt. To commemorate the happy occasion, His Holiness presented him with source materials of Egyptian history in the form of microfilm copies of the valuable manuscripts of Uyunul-Akhbar, which would constitute an important addition to the national library of Egypt.
Uyunul-Akhbar, comprising old Yemeni manuscripts preserved in the library of His Holiness, is considered to be the most authentic source book of Fatimi history. A portion of these manuscripts is in the hand-writing of the author himself, Syedna Idris Imaduddin (872 A.H). The text of the book , running into seven volumes, bears eloquent testimony to the care taken by him in presenting without any bias established historical events. The attractive style of the writings and their accuracy speak volumes for the attention given to calligraphy and collation.
The book presents Islamic history from its inception to the time of the Fatimi Imams. In dealing with the subject, the author has made the personalities of the Imams the pivot around which the story moves . Selecting the oldest and most authentic documents with care and objectivity, he has probed through them to the facts of the past, bringing out the impact of the hidden forces of history . By painstaking research and scientific criticism, he has salvaged from old documents much that had lain hidden under prejudice. Syedna Idris Imaduddin is thus the first Fatimi historian to compile a book with selective , accurate details, thus ensuring for it an unrivalled place among writings on the subject.
Of special significance is the fact that Uyunul-Akhbar throws valuable light on the history of Egyptian thought and culture and on the remarkable services rendered by Egypt in the sphere of religion and science under Fatimi inspiration.
The author, Syedna Idris Imaduddin , was the 19th Dai in the line of Fatimi dignitaries. He was born in the year 794 A.H. in a fortress of Shibam, a high mountain in the western region of Yemen near the Red sea. He passed away at the same place at the age of 78 in 872 A.H. His grave, high on the top of the mountain, is as well known today as the water-place beside which he used to carry on his literary activities. The manuscripts , presented in the microfilms, were copied in Yemen either at the time of the author or soon after his death, and collated with the original in the author's own handwriting.
This gift from His Holiness indicates his appreciation of the literary services being rendered by scholars all over the world who strive to establish historical facts and carry on studies in Fatimi literature without bias. It also betokens His Holiness's interest in helping research with manuscripts and other source materials available in his library.
- AL-HAMDU LILLAHI RABBIL 'ALAMIN
- ALLAHU AKBAR
- ASSALAMU ALAIKUM
- WA 'ALAIKUM AS-SALAM
- LA ILAHA ILLALLAH
- SUBHANAHU WA TA'ALA
- SADAQALLAHUL 'AZIM
- IN SHA' ALLAH
- INNA LILLAHI WA INNA ILAIHI RAJI'UN
- JAZAKALLAHU KHAYRAN
- MA SHA' ALLAH
This is a verse from the Qur'an that we recite and say many times per day. Other than being recited daily during prayers, a mumineen reads this expression in every activity of his daily life.
The meaning of it is: "Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."
A mumineen invokes the praises of Allah before he does his daily work; and when he finishes, he thanks Allah for His favors. We are grateful to Allah for all His blessings. It is a statement of thanks, appreciation, and gratitude from the creature to his Creator.
This statement is said numerous times. During the call for prayer, during prayer, when we are happy, and wish to express our approval of what we hear, when we sacrifice an animal, and when we want to praise a speaker. It is the most often repeated expression in the world.
Its meaning: "Allah is the Greatest."
A mumineen praises Allah in every aspect of life.
This is an expression Muslims say whenever we meet one another. It is a statement of greeting with peace.
The meaning of it is: "Peace be upon you."
The other forms are: "Assalamu 'Alalikum Wa Rahmatullah," which means:"May the peace and the Mercy of Allah be upon you," and "Assalamu Alalikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatohu," which means :"May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah be upon you."
This is an expression that a Muslim is to say as an answer for the greeting. When a person greets another with a salutation of peace, the answer for the greeting is an answer of peace.
The meaning of this statement is: "And upon you is the peace."
The other expressions are: " Wa Alaikum as-Salam Wa Rahmatullah." and "Wa 'Alaikum as-Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh."
This expression is the most important one in Islam. It is the creed that every person has to say to be considered a Muslim.
The meaning of this statement is: " There is no god except Allah."
This is an expression that is used whenever the name of Allah is pronounced or written.
The meaning of this expression is: "Allah is pure of having partners and He is exalted from having a son."
We believe that Allah is the only God, the Creator of the Universe. He does not have partners or children. Sometimes Muslims use other expressions when the name of Allah is written or pronounced. Some of which are: "'Azza Wa Jall": He is the Mighty and the Majestic; "Jalla Jalalahu": He is the exalted Majestic.
S.W.T. These letters are abbreviations for the words of "Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala".
This is an expression used when we want to ask Allah's forgiveness.
The meaning of it is: "I ask Allah for forgiveness."
A Muslim says this phrase many times, even when he is talking to another person. When a Muslim abstains from doing wrong, or even when he wants to prove that he is innocent of an incident he uses this expression. After every Salah (prayer), mumineen perform a tesbih on this word.
This is a statement of truth that we say after reading any number of verses from the Qur'an.
The meaning of it is: "Allah says the truth."
The Qur'an is the exact words of Allah in verbatim. When Allah speaks, He says the truth; and when the Qur'an is being recited, a Muslim is reciting the words of truth of Allah.
When a person wishes to plan for the future, when he promises, when he makes resolutions, and when he makes a pledge, he makes them with permission and the will of Allah. For this reason, we use the Qur'anic instructions by saying "In Sha ' Allah."
The meaning of this statement is: "If Allah wills."
We are to strive hard and to put our trust in Allah. We leave the results in the hands of Allah.
When a Muslim is struck with a calamity, when he loses one of his loved ones, or when he has gone bankrupt, he should be patient and say this statement.
The meaning of it is : "We are from Allah and to whom we are returning."
We believe that Allah is the One who gives and it is He who takes away. He is testing us. Hence, a Muslim submits himself to Allah. He is grateful and thankful to Allah for whatever he gets. On the other hand, he is patient and says this expression in times of turmoil and calamity.
This is a statement of thanks and appreciation to be said to the person who does a favor. Instead of saying "thanks" (Shukran), the Islamic statement of thanks is to say this phrase.
Its meaning is: "May Allah reward you best"
It is understood that human beings can't repay one another enough. Hence, it is better to request Almighty Allah to reward the person who did a favor and to give him the best.
This is an expression that is used whenever we are excited and surprised or to express our happiness.
The meaning of "Ma sha' Allah" is: "Whatever Allah wants." or "Whatever Allah wants to give, He gives."
This means that whenever Allah gives something good to someone, blesses him, honors him, and opens the door of success in business, a Muslim says this statement of "Ma Sha' Allah."