Monday, January 20, 2014

Excellent article! -- Maximize Use of Your Time With These Tips From the Seerah --

Written by: Taha Ghayyur on ProductiveMuslim

Time is limited. Death is certain. However, our intention to live a productive life and to serve Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His creation will itself be enough to count as a positive action.

If you study the seerah (life of Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)) with specific focus on his daily and regular routines, it is an eye-opener. How meticulous he was in planning every aspect of his day; how he prioritized tasks; how serious he was about keeping his word and how he kept his speech precise and not indulging in idle talk. He was the best of creation, Khayru-l-Khalq, and it is natural we should learn from his example. Below are five lessons on time-management that we can draw from the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) enormously productive and purpose-driven life.

1. Be an Early Riser

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e., what they do early in the morning).” [Ibn Majah]
Schedule your important tasks earlier in the day, especially those which require mental exercise, and watch the barakah (blessings) from Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) do the magic. If you have problems staying up after Fajr, here’s an article that discusses tips on how you can do just that. In a nutshell, they are:
  • Go to bed early and rest
  • Untie your three knots
  • Perform the prescribed dhikr (remembrance of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)) after Fajr
  • Aim to pray Duha
  • Recite/reflect on/memorize Qur’an
  • Exercise
  • Have a list of tasks ready

2. Schedule Your Day Around the Five Daily Prayers

It was narrated that ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) which action is most beloved to Allah? He said: ‘Establishing prayer on time, honoring one’s parents and jihad in the cause of Allah.’” [Sunan an-Nasa'i]
Narrated Al-Aswad bin Yazid: I asked ‘Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) “What did the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) do at home?” She said, “He used to work for his family, and when he heard the adhan (call for the prayer), he would go out.” [Bukhari]

No compromises. The discipline to give up all your work and life’s distractions to perform salah strengthens your willpower to live a purposeful life. Just as you endeavor to be punctual for meetings with your colleagues or project team mates, you should perform your salah on time.

While some of us who are students or working professionals may find it difficult to pray on time, we can overcome this by discussing the issue with your colleagues or friends. If you find yourself constantly finding pockets of time to peform your salah, your khusyu’ will be affected. Performing your salah on time will energize you — once you have fulfilled your most important obligation, the rest will become easy for you.

3. Prioritize and Be Consistent 

If we look into the seerah, we can deduce that the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) day was divided into three main parts.
  • Spiritual development: This was the time he dedicated solely to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). It was typically the late part of the night when the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) would recharge himself spiritually for the next day and boost his resolve to face the challenges in his mission. It was during the night that he engaged in intimate communication with his Lord, the Source of all strength and empowerment, through qiyam (night prayer), dua (supplication) and dhikr.
  • Family affairs: The prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was consistent in making time for family matters.
    Anas ibn Malik said: “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the most merciful of people towards members of his family. He had his son (Ibrahim) suckled in part of Madina and the husband of his wet-nurse was a blacksmith. We used to go to him and the house would be full of smoke from the bellows. He would kiss the child and take him in his lap.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
    Narrated ‘Aisha: that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “The best of you is the best to his wives, and I am the best of you to my wives, and when your companion dies, leave him alone.”
     [Jami' at-Tirmidhi]
  • Personal/Social affairs: He consistently made time for his followers so no one felt neglected or had their affairs swept under the carpet. This was the time when men and women would come with their personal, marital, financial, spiritual and even health problems. This is when he would receive delegations from other nations and faith group or attend to nerve-racking issues of politics, conflicts and leadership.
Figure out the real priorities in your life. What is worth spending an hour on? What comes first? What is a must-do and what is good-to-do? Allocate time consistently to activities that matter. Unless you plan for and schedule time for community work, studies or attending to parents, your spouse or children on a daily basis, they are not considered important enough to you. Chances are, you will eventually start neglecting these high priority actions.

4. Hasten in Doing Good

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had a sense of urgency in doing good and warned others against procrastination.
Narrated ‘Uqba bin Al-Harith: Once the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) offered the Asr prayer and then hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. I (or somebody else) asked him (as to what was the matter) and he said, “I left at home a piece of gold which was from the charity and I disliked to let it remain a night in my house, so I got it distributed.” [Bukhari]
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) having said: Hasten to do good deeds before six things happen: the rising of the sun from the west, the smoke, the Dajjal, the beast and (the death) of one of you or the general turmoil. [Muslim]
Procrastinators do not appreciate time nor the means and the opportunities that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gives them to be productive. Each day has its own share of work and each time has its own share of obligations. Therefore, in the Prophet’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) life, there was no such thing as idle time. Use every single opportunity to do good. Don’t wait to ‘get old’ to fix your life. If you are not willing to live a purpose-driven, productive life now, then how do you expect to live such a life when you are old?

5. Honoring the Time of Others

Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was sensitive to his companions’ raḍyAllāhu 'anhum (may Allāh be pleased with them) time and needs. His khutbahs (sermons) were brief, concise and powerful.

Abu Wa’il reported: ‘Ammar delivered to us the sermon. It was short and eloquent. When he (Ammir) descended (from the pulpit) we said to him: Abd al-Yaqzn, you have delivered a short and eloquent sermon. Would that you had lengthened (the sermon). He said: I have heard the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) as saying: The lengthening of prayer by a man and the shortness of the sermon is the sign of his understanding (of faith). So lengthen the prayer and shorten the sermon, for there is charm (in precise) expression. [Muslim]

Similarly, he emphasised the importance of fulfiling one’s promises.

Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: Some women requested the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to fix a day for them as the men were taking all his time. On that he promised them one day for religious lessons and commandments. [Bukhari]

It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: Three are the signs of a hypocrite: when he spoke he told a lie, when he made a promise he acted treacherously against it, when he was trusted he betrayed. [Muslim]

Aim to arrive for meetings, classes and events 10 minutes before they are scheduled to start. If you are running late, inform the other parties. Honoring others’ time is part of fulfilling your promise. Breaking a promise not only causes inconvenience to others, but also causes you to lose their respect. The Qur’an says:

“… and fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be inquired into (on the Day of Reckoning). [Qur'an: Chapter 17, Verse 34]
Transforming your life into one that is much more productive, meaningful and enjoyable depends on one instantaneous decision: Managing your time the way our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us. Start NOW!

The life of our Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was an example to us in every way. This article has looked at just a few of those. What time-management tips have you extracted from Prophet Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) life? Please share with us in the comments below!


About the Author:
Taha Ghayyur is a writer, consultant and community organizer. He works as a freelance writer with WordMatters.ca and as the Development Manager with Sound Vision, a pioneer in Islamic multimedia in North America. He writes and speaks extensively on issues related to Muslim youth engagement, education, leadership, communication, self-development and community development.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

22 killed in blast at Pakistani army checkpoint; Taliban claim responsibility

By Sophia Saifi for CNN

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- At least 22 people were killed and 38 others injured in a blast at an army checkpoint in the northern Pakistani city of Bannu on Sunday, intelligence officials said.
The blast struck an army convoy traveling from Bannu to Miranshah, the officials said. The convoy included both military and civilian vehicles.

According to the intelligence officials, an improvised explosive device had been planted in an 18-seater van. The majority of those killed were passengers on that van.

In the wake of the attack, which he strongly condemned, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he was canceling a planned trip to Davos, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum starts there Wednesday.
"Our nation is united against extremism and terrorism and the sacrifices rendered by our citizens and personnel of law enforcing agencies will not go in vain," Sharif said, in a statement from his office.
Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also condemned Sunday's attack and has sought an explanation about the hiring of the private vehicles used in the convoy.

The main Pakistani Taliban faction, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the blast.
"The bombing was carried out to (avenge) the killing of Maulana Waliur Rehman, commander of TTP South Waziristan, who was killed on May 29, 2013, in a U.S. drone strike in Miranshah," TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said.

It's not the first attack carried out by the TTP to avenge Waliur Rehman's death. Gunmen opened fire at the base of one of Pakistan's highest peaks in June 2013, killing 11 people -- 10 tourists and a local guide.

Read more here

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You know what the saddest part of this whole deal is? [The deal of "you bomb us we blow ourselves up" thing] ? That every side suffers. Ultimately, the Pakistan Army suffers losses,  the civilians suffer losses, the talibans suffer losses, their families suffer losses, businesses suffer losses, education suffers... everybody and everything suffers. One would think our country's concerned government and the foreign governments intimately concerned with our internal affairs would seek a solution in which there is minimum loss for all. And maximum safety.

But when that option is opened..... this happens.


Does this leave any doubt as to where our "friends" want us to be - in terms of peace and prosperity?

*snort* --> Egypt’s post-Morsi constitution gets almost total voters’ approval

An article (among many such others in the news today). I will add some comments below its contents (my comments in bold).

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Exactly 98.1% of Egyptians said yes to the new constitution in this week’s referendum. The outlawed Muslim brotherhood says it does not recognize the vote, which saw some 20 million, or over 38% of registered voters, participate.

What a surprise... The 98.1 figure is made to sound like a sweeping majority. Please don't overlook the fact that it was only 38% of registered voters who came out. And these are figures provided by the people who wanted the yes vote!
Oh, the irony!

Nabil Salib, head of the Supreme Election Committee, said the vote was an “unrivalled success” while no major political faction was pushing for a “no” vote, as many Egyptians saw approving the constitution as the first step towards restoring stability.

Haha, at "no major political faction" "pushing for a no vote" ... yeah as if they would be allowed to push for a no-vote as a major political party. That major political party has seen one of the worst forms of political and humans rights violation in history. Its leaders jailed, its supporters (civillians) killed and injured in the thousands, its party declared a terrorist organization and its members generally persecuted. Sure, no major party pushed for a no-vote - but not because it didn't want to, only because you pushed them out of the picture - because you have the weapons and they don't. Epitome of fairness!

And the secular groups are figuring this out too. For, even expressing concern at this farce of a "referendum" brought about arrests and persecution.

"Now that God has supported us in legalizing our constitution, we ask for his aid in achieving the remaining two stages of the road map: the presidential and parliamentary elections," Salib said.

They take the name of God, as if they're actually following His Commands. What a supreme irony! As if it was on Allah's Will that they killed so many thousands and paved the way towards their so called "legalization of constitution".

One of the contentious issues in the constitution was an article stipulating that Sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was the case during the toppled regime of Hosni Mubarak. Egyptian Christians and liberals on the constitutional committee attempted to remove all mentions of Sharia law from the constitution, but the ultraconservative Salafi party, Al-Nour, insisted the reference to Sharia law remain, albeit in a watered-down version.

Its so simple. They want their ideology to prevail, and Islamic ideology to be completely separated from politics. They know that the mention of Shariah is not going to do squat in stopping the persecution and generally everything AGAINST the shariah this egyptian regime is doing. YET, they don't want the words. That is the extent of their intolerance. 

What do we do? We compromise and keep compromising - until we have nothing left in our hands which we can call our own. Nothing. 

And that is the result of participating in system which is inherently unIslamic. I'm beyond surprised the strict salafi brothers can't see it. Or maybe they choose not to!

However, the new constitution in terms of liberal values is generally is seen as an improvement on the Muslim Brotherhood constitution of 2012 as it eliminates various articles that gave legal and political authority to Egypt’s highest Islamic Institution, the Al-Azhar University.

See? When I said they want their ideology (liberalism) to prevail as state law - and Islam to be completely kicked out from the political scene. 

Another principle article was bans formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds -a setback for the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in December last year because of its ideological differences and continual protest against the military since it was ousted from power in the military coup of July 3.

Ho. Talk about "ruling a/c to Shariah" .. this is the extent of the word "Shariah" in that constitution. The very next lines in the constitution defy Shariah. No political party who wants to implement Islam. Wonder what they're so scared of. I wonder if Morsi put down such stipulations (no political party on the basis of liberalism)! It's indeed true.... those who choose to be blind, can never see! 

 Source: RT