Saturday, 31 January 2009

Balance

No-one needs this more than me...

"Many people seem to think that success in one area can compensate for failure in other areas of life. But can it really? Perhaps it can for a limited time in some areas. But can success in your profession compensate for a broken marriage, ruined health, or weakness in personal character? True effectiveness requires balance..."

(Source: 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People', Stephen Covey)

Need to balance priorities. Put first those who will pray for you when the dust has settled. Not your work. Not your friends.

Shutdown

I don't know if it was the cold weather, injuries needing to heal, absence from exercise, years of overworking myself catching up with me or dissatisfaction with the commitments I find myself in, but every day of this week I slept ten hours at least (with a slight interruption each day for Fajr prayer).

Truth be told though, as a result (I think), these past few days I have looked and felt better than I have for a long time.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Southpaws

Got kicked in the jaw yesterday. Felt a bit funny over breakfast. Fine now, alhamdulillah.

Lesson learnt:

With south paws, those who stand right foot forward, keep your left hand up (defending) more (higher) than your right hand allowing your right (hand and leg) more freedom to attack and pester. This is because his more frequents attacks will come from his (jabbing) right side (your left side) and his power shots will come from farther (his left side, your right side) allowing you a bit more time on that side for reaction.

All that whilst reiterating: keep outside his lead (right) foot and you own him.

Who would have thought fighting could involve so much thinking?! "Human chess" as they say. ;)>

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Challenges of Parenting in the 21st Century

Some notes (below) from a workshop I attended today. The 2-hour workshop was organised by Al-Risalah Trust and Turath Publishing, and presented by Edris Khamissa (an international educationalist and trainer, website: www.ehk.co.za).
  • Parenting is not your relationship with your children, it is your relationship with your spouse. Invest emotionally in your children. Speak softly. Children mimic behaviour.
  • One of the most cited reasons for divorce: parents differ in how to raise children.
  • Stages of child development and the parents' role: 0-7 years - bond with them; 7-14 years - instruction, learning; 14+ years - become their friend and confidant.
  • What is self-esteem? Part of it is recognising that you are a unique creation of Allah (SWT). Tips for developing self-esteem in children: praise them, encourage them, listen to them, highlight positives. An example of the latter, say: "Son, you will be a leader of this Ummah."
  • Communication: The non-verbal (facial expression, tone of voice, body language) is more important than the verbal (words). The Prophet (SAWS) would face a person when communicating with them, to make them feel important, and he (SAWS) would be the last to withdraw his hand from a handshake.
  • It is far worse to break the heart of a believer than to break the Ka'bah. The Ka'bah can be rebuilt.
  • Mothers! A question: Are you a "housekeeper" or a "housemaker"?
  • Exercise to try: Ask children at my youth club, "If I gave you a million pounds, which you had to spend within a month, what would you do with it?" Also, "What good deed have you done today?" The latter in the spirit of the Hadith involving Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (RA).
  • Teach your children how to express love. Show/tell them you love them.
  • Those of you who have never hugged your wife in front of your children, please do so today.
  • Task to do: Find my old high school English teacher and thank her for instilling in me self-belief.
  • Make Du'a for each of your children by name, every day.
  • Children must be taught consequences of positive and negative behaviour. Punishments and rewards!
  • Question: Can a woman realistically work and successfully "make a home" (raise children)? Answer: It depends, particularly on the extent/availability of support in the form of extended family (grandparents etc). The father's role in comparison with the mother's is "a guide on the side".
  • About TV: Inculcate in your children reading habits. Every child should be walking, talking and thinking. When watching TV they neither walk, nor talk, nor think. Also, why invite nudity and obscenity into your house?
  • About computer consoles: They are addictive, asocial and breed individualism.
  • Build/utilise the concept of Shura (consulation) in the home. Communicate with one another. Set goals together: family goals and individual goals. Evaluate your goals regularly, together.
  • There is no good in him who neither befriends nor is befriended.
  • Before you introduce yourself to your children introduce them to Allah.
  • Show your children more love when they do something wrong. Start (the "disciplining") with hugging them. Affirm: "I do not like what you have done but I love you." Whatever wrong they have done question whether it is your (the parents') fault. For example, if your son/daughter has been caught cheating on school exams, is it because you have pressured them too much? Adopt role play: Ask the child what he/she would do if their child did that misdeed.
  • If, after doing a wrong, your child responds, "sorry for disappointing you dad (mum)". That is the wrong answer. If your child responds instead, "I am sorry and I ask Allah to forgive me". That is the right answer. Taqwa is the goal.

Sponsored Silence for Palestine

We got the kids to do a half-hour sponsored silence today (playing allowed but no talking) during the youth club and to raise money over the previous week for the Gaza Emergency Appeal. The kids really shocked me. We told them about it last Sunday and I thought they would forget. Instead, subhaana-Allah, they impressed. One kid and his sister raised £580 and £168 respectively, alhamdulillah. In total, we have £1900 in cash with lots more yet to come in, insha-Allah.

Protest for Palestine II

I attended yesterday's demonstration calling for an end to the ongoing barbaric holocaust of Gaza. The rally this time round was from Hyde Park Speakers Corner to the Israeli embassy. Subhaana-Allah, even more people turned up than the previous Saturday. Don't believe what you hear in the news!

A letter of condemnation I wrote to the BBC today:
I am absolutely disgusted with the BBC's coverage of the London Gaza demonstrations. I am glad I attended the previous two Saturdays so that I didn't have to rely on the clearly fictitous (to put it politely) numbers ("ten thousand") reported by the likes of BBC, Sky News and other UK media outlets. I would put the numbers at fifty thousand on Saturday 3 January 2008 and one hundred thousand on Saturday 10 January 2008 easy. Police officers at the event, who I asked for a second opinion, seemed to agree. Sky News I can understand reporting with a slanted agenda. But BBC? What am I paying my TV licence fee for? To be told fibs? And why did the BBC not show clear long-range or aerial footage/photos of the massive stretch of people who came out despite the extreme cold. Would that be revealing too much?

By the way, organisers put the number of people at the demonstration on Saturday 10 January as 100,000 not "75,000" as you report on your website (link below).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7809656.stm

A letter of commendation I wrote to the Guardian today:
I would like to commend the Guardian for its coverage of yesterday's demonstrations (link below). Particularly, for not doing as other sites/channels (including the BBC shockingly) have done and misinforming readers/viewers about the number of attendees as being only ten thousand. Despite opening the article with a very vague "tens of thousands", your reporters were kind enough to tell us the figure as reported by the organisers, i.e. "100,000 people". Thanks.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/10/gaza-london-protest-march


Awaiting their responses.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

In embarkment is empowerment

Stand stagnant,
weighed down by the earth beneath,
or traverse in stead,
clearing horizons.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Protest for Palestine

I attended the demonstration in London on Saturday, marching from Embankment to Trafalgar Square. If I wasn't angered by the lies and biased reporting beforehand, coming home to see the number of protestors reported as 10000 on BBC (and a vague "thousands" on the few other media outlets that bothered mention it) really did it. Any effect the march could potentially have had is nullified with a single lie, as simple as that. I would put the number at 50000 easy, if not more. Shame only those present will know. There were some helicopters in the sky, obviously taking pictures. Why not show some aerial shots? Funny that press coverage in the UK was restricted to close-ups.

I have complained to the BBC. In the meanwhile, the little I do watch, I am now watching on al-Jazeera and Press TV (the latter an Iranian channel). Forget the words; ugly heart rendering footage there you will not see on BBC or Sky News.

As for the protest and protestors, the (multitudes of) young men and women coming out in militant attire shouting aggressive "Takbeer"s (and "Ya Ali"s in the case of the large Hizbullah contingent), that really (always) baffles and saddens me. Some people just miss the point.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

(Muslim) Women

Women are hard to understand.
Muslim women even harder.
Word of
greater freedom, modesty, sense
Exemplified by
awfully excessive makeup
showcasingly tight clothes.
Calling out, "Look at me"
brighter than a rainbow.
Tying it all up in a headscarf
the question begs:
Contradiction of the woman, or
Confusion of man?