Monday, 31 December 2007

Interesting Sites

Quran Explorer
Free Rice

I am trying to figure out how the spooky wizardy one works :O

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Salat al Hajah --The Prayer of Need

Salat al-Hajah is a prayer offered for the accomplishment of a particular purpose or need. It consists of a fresh ablution done carefully, followed by a calm prayer of two rak'ahs, then a sincere supplication that states what one wishes to be accomplished and requesting Allah Ta'ala's help in its accomplishment.

Abu Darda (RA) relates that the Messenger of Allah (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said, "Whoever performs ablutions well and offers two voluntary rakahs and completes them to perfection will be granted by God whatever he prays for, either immediately or in God’s good time."
[Ahmad - Sahih]

La ilaha ilAllahul Halimul Karim. SubhanAllahi Rabbil 'rshil adheem. Alhamdulilahi Rabbil 'alameen. As'aluka mujibaati rahmatik. Wa aza'ima magh-firatik. Wal ghanimata min kulli birr. Was salamata min kuuli ithm. La tada' li dhamban illa ghafartah. Wa la hamman illa far-rajtah. Wa la hajatan hiya laka ridan illa qadaytaha. Ya arhamar rahimin.

"There is no god but Allah the Clement and Wise. There is no god but Allah the High and Mighty. Glory be to Allah, Lord of the Tremendous Throne. All praise is to Allah, Lord of the worlds. I ask you (O Allah) everything that leads to your mercy, and your tremendous forgiveness, enrichment in all good, and freedom from all sin. Do not leave a sin of mine (O Allah), except that you forgive it, nor any concern except that you create for it an opening, nor any need in which there is your good pleasure except that you fulfill it, O Most Merciful!"

The inward manners of supplication is exhibiting our neediness and absolute slavehood to Allah, consigning one's matters to Allah, and knowing that the only one who gives or benefits is Allah Most High. With this, one should be certain that Allah Most High answers our duas, but in the way He knows is best for us.

Source: Mutmainaa & Sunnipath

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The seven great medical myths

Reuters: - Reading in dim light won't damage your eyes, you don't need eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and shaving your legs won't make the hair grow back faster.

These well-worn theories are among seven "medical myths" exposed in a paper published Friday in the British Medical Journal.

Despite frequent mentions in the popular press of the need to drink eight glasses of water, researchers found no scientific basis for the claim.

The other six "myths" are:

*Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight

The majority of eye experts believe it is unlikely to do any permanent damage, but it may make you squint, blink more and have trouble focusing.

*Shaving makes hair grow back faster or coarser

It has no effect on the thickness or rate of hair regrowth, studies say. But stubble lacks the finer taper of unshaven hair, giving the impression of coarseness.

*Eating turkey makes you drowsy

It does contain an amino acid called tryptophan that is involved in sleep and mood control. But turkey has no more of the acid than chicken or minced beef. Eating lots of food and drink at Christmas are probably the real cause of sleepiness.

* We use only 10 percent of our brains

This myth arose as early as 1907 but imaging shows no area of the brain is silent or completely inactive.

* Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death

This idea may stem from ghoulish novels. The researchers said the skin dries out and retracts after death, giving the appearance of longer hair or nails

*Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals

Despite widespread concerns, studies have found minimal interference with medical equipment.

My Cat is a Mechanic, Yours?

* that's not my cat, nor my car.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Scientists create Fearless Mouse

By tweaking genes to disable certain functions of the olfactory bulb (the area of the brain that receives information about smells directly from olfactory receptors in the nose) researchers have used genetic engineering to create a “fearless” mouse that does not try to flee when it smells cats, foxes and other predators.

The research indicates that behavior in the mammalian brain is determined both by instincts coded into the genes and by “associative circuitry” that allows responses to be learned through the environment.
Read More

This recent discovery reminded me of a movie I watched ages ago in which humans were genetically engineered to show no signs of failure and mercy and hence serve as lethal weapons in war. Lets hope that the discovery is not misused.

Who is Your Ismail?

Most of us are aware of the famous true story of Hazrat Ibrahim's (A.S) sacrifice.It was a test of his faith and he passed it with flying colors.

Hazrat Ibrahim (AS), instructs that we should owe absolute duty only to God, and it is our relationship to God which ought to transcend and determine our relation to family/nation and not vice-versa. The Ismail of Ibrahim was his son. But for you, who is your Ismail? What is it? Your degree? Your reputation? Your position? Your money? Your home? Your car? Your beloved? Your family? Your knowledge? Your title? Your dress? Your fame? Your soul? Your spirituality? Your beauty? Your strength? Your career?

How does one know? Well, you know this yourself. One can only give its signs to you.

Whatever is in your eyes, which holds the place of Ismail in the eyes of Ibrahim! (Hazrat Ibrahim was Hazrat Ismail's beloved son, the fruit of his life, the joy of his heart, the meaning of his living and staying)

Whatever weakens you on the way of faith!

Whatever stops you in your movement! (movement in the light of Islam, in accordance with Islam)

Whatever brings doubt to your responsibility! (responsibility as imposed by Islam)

Whatever has enchained your freedom!

Whatever leads you to compromise and justification! (justification of a wrong action)

That very thing which deafens your ears before the Message of Truth!

Whatever calls you to remain with yourself! (away from Allah)

Whatever causes you to flee from your duty! (duty as imposed by Islam)

Whoever or whatever keeps you behind (faith) in order to remain with her/him or it!

Brothers and sisters, these are the signs of our Ismail's. Let us search for them in ourselves and let us slaughter them to move towards Allah Almighty and to remove the real knife from the throat of the oppressed Muslims the world over.

Let us revolt against the heartless worshippers that we have become. Remember, our Eid is not an Eid of victory. It is the Eid of sacrifice (Azha).

Click here to read complete article from the Iqra Islamic Magazine
*editors note-- Added a few words to original article.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Numb hands, Numb heart

Last night my hands were frozen and stiff due to the cold.It was probably below zero outdoors.I couldn't flex my fingers at ease.My fingers had gone bluish and kinna numb. They felt heavy and hard.So I put them under a shower of warm water.The water was really hot, I could sense it because of the steam around the sink. But to my surprise my hands felt more cold.The warm water stinged initially and it hurt more. Ouch!!! A bit later my hands soothed up, went through a melting effect and my sense of touch was back. Phew!
Extraordinary,Is it?
Sometimes life takes dangerous turns and we end up being in an emotional imbalance.The depression seems to be life long.Nothing seems to make us happy.We keep hurting,and all we feel is pain. We become numb to all feelings except sorrow. But if we keep exposing ourselve to the good, to the care, to the love, and continously try to fight the negative forces eventually the emotions will stop stinging.The good shall win.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

On Establishing Peace

"To make peace between two individuals (in comparison) is worthier than one's entire prayers and fastings."
~ Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)

If you see old Indian movies, plenty of the story lines would involve two die-hard best friends turning into aggressive enemies and a common third party who would continously litter the relationship, add to the bitterness and exploit the situation to their advantage. And as the story proceeds generations pass, the culprit is unvieled and towards the end of the movie the friends turned foe turn friends again and to the joy of everyone all is good in the end.

What is depicted in the reel life is actually what does happen to some in real life.Sadly, all real life stories don't have happy reunions.And also, although there is an entire possibility that a crooked third person exists to break the friendship\relationship apart, sometimes there is no third party adding fuel to the firey situation but the twosome themselves. Rather there could be a common well wisher who attempts to restore peace but in vain. Ego,anger or any other element stops either of the two from restoring friendship. Or maybe one of the two people tries to make harmony but is shunned by the other.Life goes on and the close friends turn into strangers and die with perhaps lots of regret at heart.

People are important, relationships are important but then what is so important that it holds back two people from restoring peace amongst themselves. I understand situations can get intense,extreme and seriously offensive but I fail to understand where does the love go? Where does the care go? Where does the good go?. How can somebody chose to be at unrest with another for life, be it somebody close or not?

No matter whose fault it is, and who is wrong, why doesn't one be the first to extend the hand of peace? Does it degrade ones honor, self esteem or pride? I don't think so. No body is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes.It's inevitable.But sadly everybody doesn't have the capability to accept a mistake and take responsibilty for his actions. Also no body likes to be criticized. I personally feel criticism in the right manner is totally healthy and helps one nurture himself. One of the Imam's said : "The most favorable friend to me is that who shows me my flaws"

Coming to the hadith, it simply stunned me. It's incredilble. Just look at the reward for establishing peace between two individuals. 'worthier then one's entire prayers and fastings' It massive.It's worth an effort.The Hadith speaks for itself.

So next time if somebody honors us by confiding in us and shares with us an upsetting situation apart from saying words of comfort and offering some advice we should encourage our friend to initiate peaceful talk.And if we happen to be a mutual friend, then it would be a good idea to hear both sides of the story and try to get both parties talking and sorting their issue out in a just and fair manner.

Normally we feel we would be interferring in anothers personal issue or don't want to take such a responsibility or an added burden Sometimes we are least bothered about another's fight and just like hearing the details for the sake of gossip. Not good!
I believe if we happen to be a sincere mutual friend of two friends in distress we'll be driven to help out our friends out of care, even if there is no incentive of reward. We wouldn't be concerned about our person gain. Would we?

I find this saying of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) relevant :
"Someone who possesses knowledge on a subject but conceals it when he is asked will be bridled with reins of fire."
(Therefore, if a person possesses information that would help a bewildered person and improve his situation but he remains silent, he has surely committed a great sin.) Mapping this to the topic, if we are somebody with adequate information about a disturbing situation, we shouldn't wait to be asked for help, rather come forward on our own and save the day for our friends. If we feel, our friend is wrong, we should correct him politely with lots of humbleness and offer our guidance and not hold back out of the fear of offending him.

When we hear about disturbance between two people the least we can do it make a little prayer of peace for them. May Allah guide us all. Ameen

Peace 2 All.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Strong words from Hazrat Umar Farooq (R.A)

After receiving the surrender of Jerusalem and completing the tour of Syria when Caliph Umar was returning to Madina he led the prayer at Jabiah. On this occasion he delivered an address which is preserved in history. The major part of his address was:

"O ye people I counsel you to read the Qur'an. Try to understand it and ponder over it. Imbibe the teachings of the Qur'an. Then practise what the Quran teaches. The Qur'an is not theoretical; it is a practical code of life. The Qur'an does not bring you the message of the Hereafter only; it is primarily intended to guide you in this life. Mold your life in accordance with the teachings of Islam for that is the way of your well being. By following any other way you will be inviting destruction.

Fear Allah (The One True God), and whatever you want seek from Him. All men are equal. Do not flatter those in authority. Do not seek favors from others. By such acts you demean yourself. And remember that you will get only that is ordained for you, and no one can give you anything against the will of God. Then why seek things from others over which they have no control? Only supplicate God for He alone is the sovereign.

And speak the truth. Do not hesitate to say what you consider to be the truth. Say what you feel. Let your conscience be your guide. Let your intentions be good, for verily God is aware of your intentions. In your deeds your intentions count. Fear God, and fear no one else. Why fear others when you know that whatever sustenance ordained for you by God you will get under all circumstances? And again why fear when you know that death is ordained by God alone and will come only when He wills?

Allah has for the time being made me your ruler. But I am one of you. No special privileges belong to ruler. I have some responsibilities to discharge, and in this I seek your cooperation. Government is a sacred trust, and it is my endeavor not to betray the trust in any way. For the fulfillment of the trust I have to be a watch-man. I have to be strict. I have to enforce discipline. I have to run the administration not on the basis of personal idiosyncrasies; I have to run it in public interest and for promoting the public good. For this we have the guidance in the Book of God. Whatever orders I issue in the course of day to day administration have to conform to the Qur'an. God has favored us with Islam. He sent to us His Messenger (Muhammad, pbuh). He has chosen us for a mission. Let us fulfil that mission. That mission is the promotion of Islam. In Islam lies our safety; if we err we are doomed."

Source: Glimpses into the life of Umar Farooq

Monday, 10 December 2007

A potential solution to sleep problems

BusinessWeek: Forget taking pills or counting sheep. Just make sure you can answer yes to five simple questions, and you're on your way to a restful night

This evening before you go to bed, ask yourself the following five questions:

1. Did I avoid causing harm?

2. Did I make things better?

3. Did I respect others?

4. Was I fair?

5. Was I compassionate

If you can answer yes to all five questions, you will be almost guaranteed to have peaceful, uninterrupted slumber (assuming, of course, you have no physical problems preventing you from sleeping well). You will deserve this pleasant reward, because you took the high road when it might have been easier to take the low one. Read On

Friday, 7 December 2007

She must carry out that mission or go mad

Found this extract to be intense:

I' m only happy when I think that God exists and is listening to me; but that isn't enough to go on living, when nothing seems to make sense.I pretend a happiness I don't feel; I hide my sadness so as not to worry those who love me and care about me. Recently, I've even considered suicide. At night, before I go to sleep, I have long conversations with myself, praying for this idea to go away;it would be such an act of ingraditute, an escape, a way of spreading tragedy and misery over the Earth. In the mornings, I come here to talk to St Therese and to ask her to free me from the demons I speak to at night. It's worked so far, but I'm beginning to weaken.
I know I have a mission which I have long rejected, and now I must accept it. That mission is to be a mother I must carry out that mission or go mad. If I don't feel life growing inside me, I'll never be able to accept life outside me.

The Witch of Portobeloo
~Paulo Coelho

Some Words from Ethereal

Ethereal shares a memory to reflect upon humanity, respect for our fellow beings and how everyone is special in their own way:

So many people lose someone close to them at an early age. There are wars in this world that leave traumatized children. Sometimes it can be depressing but it can also make you stronger. Such people usually rise above others when it comes to showing compassion and love. They have lot of respect for lives around them.

I had a friend in class 3. He was sort of forced upon me as our seats were fixed, front row center, by the class teacher. I was in another section before 3rd class so I didn't know him much and also didn't like him because he was a bit disorganized and mediocre at studies. In the beginning I wouldn't talk to him and would shun him if he tried so. All the while infront of the teacher so that she'd get my message. But she'd only let out a sweet little smile that would further frustrate me. I thought I wouldn't stand sitting with him. I was wrong. I don't know how it happened but after a few days I started to accept him in my life. I don't believe he ever had any problems with me, though. We started to talk. And then we got to know each other a bit. And then we started cracking jokes and doing funny stuff like mock fights during a class. We started to influence each other. We learned from each other. Before we met he was disorganized. I was a crackpot when it came to organization. I would get irritated and at times scold him for little things such as not drawing straight lines. Silly things these seem now. I used to get extremely incesed if things wouldn't go right... or straight. He taught me patience... by example. There were times when I would tease him. True he would give in and would tell me to stop but he'd never ever hit back. Never started anything unruly. Never teased or mocked me in return. I can still remember him calmly enduring all the scolding for not doing his homework. When we were promoted to 4th class only our classrooms changed. We even dragged our old desk from our old classroom because we got used to it. We spent one and a half years together. On the very first day after summer vacations I met a girl from my class with a worried look and she told me that he had died during vacations. In death he had taught me the greatest reality of life, death.


Also outward appearances are deceiving. It also shows how quick we are at judging others just by their outlook. Believe me one lesson I've learned in my life over and over again is to always to talk to people before making an opinion about them. I'll narrate a little story here:

In 7th class there was a boy in my class who was much taller than me. I thought of him as a bully who would sometimes tease me. In the summers I went on a week long trip and we had to live in tents. He also came along and were in the same tent as mine which I obviously disliked. As it happened I fell sick and he was the only one who cared for me. Later, in front of everyone he would pretend as if nothing happened. I didn't mention it to anyone but I'm sure he would have denied any knowledge of his good deed.

Hearts can change. They change. Even your enemies become the most faithful friends. Maybe the best deduction from this would be that it is wrong to hate any human.


Thursday, 6 December 2007

Gratitute, Expectations, Uncertainity

Maybe we're not supposed to be happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is. Appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

You gotta wonder why we cling to our expectations. Because the expected is just what keeps us steady, standing, still. The expected is just the beginning. The unexpected is what changes our lives.

To often the thing you want the most is the thing you can't have. Desire leaves us heart broken, it wears us out. Desire can wreck your life. But as tough as wanting something can be, the people who suffer the most are those who don't know what they want.

~Grey's Anatomy

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Passion & Persistance

A combo to my liking

10 Useless Matters

There are 10 useless matters:

1. Knowledge that is not acted on.

2. The deed that has neither sincerity nor is based on following the righteous examples of others.

3. Money that is hoarded, as the owner neither enjoys it during this life, nor obtains any reward for it in the hereafter.

4. The heart that is empty of love and longing for Allah Almighty, and of seeking closeness to Him.

5. A body that does not obey and serve Allah Almighty.

6. Loving Allah Almighty without following His orders or seeking His pleasure.

7. Time that is not spent in expiating sins or seizing opportunities to do good.

8. A mind that thinks about useless matters.

9. Serving those who do not bring you close to Allah, nor benefit you in your life.

10. Hoping and fearing whoever is under the authority of Allah and in His hand, while he cannot bring any benefit or harm to himself, neither death, nor life, nor can he resurrect himself.

However, the greater of these matters are wasting the heart and wasting time. Wasting the heart is done by preferring this worldly life over the hereafter, and wasting time is done by having incessant hope. Destruction occurs by following one's desires and having incessant hope, while all goodness is found in following the true path and preparing oneself to meet Allah.

How strange it is that when a servant of Allah has a (worldly) problem, he seeks help of Allah, but he never asks Allah to cure his heart before it dies of ignorance, neglect, fulfilling one's desires and being involved in innovations. Indeed, when the heart dies, he will never feel the significance or impact of his sins.

Source: IQRA Islamic Magazine

Monday, 3 December 2007

Nature 2


Photographer: Waqar Azim

Sunday, 2 December 2007


During an Engineering Project Management lecture I recently attended the professor asked the class to define the term "variance". Let me describe the class first.It's a post-graduate class.It contains students of varying ages and excluding my self the class is a class of geeks.It's an evening program so most students are professionals. They come from different engineering backgrounds with plenty of experience in their respective domains.Some are PhD students, while some of the others already have a masters degree under their belts. So discussions turn out to be a war of words between nerds.
Coming back to the question. Everybody raised hands in a jiffy. One by one the students gave a comprehensive definition of the term variance, some adding mathematical description and application details. I was trying my best to make sense out of every bit of what all of my learned class mates were saying. Clueless I sat and listened.
Amidst the discussion the Professor moved towards the board, picked the marker and wrote "K.I.S.S". Then he turned towards the class.
The whole class subdued.
A moment later the Professor exclaimed
"Keep It Simple Stupid"
While others made surprised faces,one student was rather amused by the remark. Hehe..that would be me.