The Sacred Island

Often, we look at religion as something of an obligation in terms of rituals and events that don’t connect to our personal life. But if we break it down, its beauty can be found in each and every aspect of our life – from a person’s character to saving the environment.

In Islam, we believe that God has sent us down on Earth with a purpose. The purpose is not to fulfill our wishes, do what we want, create disturbance and then die. In fact, it is very simple and eloquent. To serve humankind and to submit to His will.

My point is that we need to be really careful of what our lifestyle is. Analyse whether you are fulfilling you needs or your wants and then start minimizing. Simplify your lifestyle. De-clutter and observe your surroundings. Gaze at the sky and marvel at His creation. Roam the Earth and appreciate what you are given with. It may sound cliché but the fact that you’ve internet to read this right now is a blessing.

The Qur’an says “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation..” [29:20]

Preserve your environment. Consume less. If we become mindful of the littlest of our actions, we can make a potential change.  This all connects to the following documentary I watched a few days ago [The Sacred Island]. Make sure your not only watch it but start analyzing your actions.  Let’s protect our beautiful Earth.

 

Karachi & Mockingjay

Since the attack on Karachi airport, social media has been taken over by a frenzy of posts and pictures of the event. I don’t know how beneficial or productive it is but one thing is evident, everyone is frustrated.

Yesterday, when I finished Collins’ novel Mockingjay, my mind started drawing parallels between the reality of Pakistan and the novel. To put it in simple words, the authorities have fooled us into believing that whatever they are doing is for the best of us when in fact, no body is safe from the terrorist outfits.

The Capitol ruled the districts because they had successfully divided the districts into twelve parts diminishing the power of unity. The capitol was able to destroy their lives because they did not speak up against it and who ever did was killed shortly after.

If we look closely at just these two points, I can effortlessly say that we need to do a lot more work in this game. In order to regain security and freedom of speech, we need to strengthen the brotherhood instead of letting the extremists kill minority sects. You can do that by showing solidarity with those who are targeted. Be a good neighbor, at the very least. Start with good intentions. Stay hopeful. Realize that our actions (no matter how small they are) are more powerful than words, and if we put in the energy to do anything for the best of humanity it won’t go to waste. Newton’s law says so too.

Today, it’s someone else, tomorrow it could be me.

Stay safe.

 

Lessen your news channel time

In today’s age, we are inundated with information as soon as we turn on any news channel. And more often than not, they are about blood, more killings and stuff that will break us if it happened to us. But we have become so accustomed to it that we just shrug our shoulders and move onto another channel, another news. Sigh. I am not saying that one should not keep up with the news. In fact, I am a strong proponent for it but there’s a limit to everything. Constantly listening to such news not only hardens our hearts but also makes us of people who do not care.

Instead, we should do things that will improve our character and help us develop into a better human being who don’t just watch such news but actually take part in social activism. Such as;

  1. Read a book of your interest
  2. Plan family activities
  3. Join a social community group
  4. Write to your MP about current issues that plague your community
  5. Write for your local newsletter

One can do much more than this but do we really? I have tried to limit watching news channels and have filled up that time with productive things. One person at a time, we will build a community that’s more enlightened and actively working towards goals that benefit everyone.

Lessons learnt from a honeybee

images

A honeybee is magnificent creature that benefits the community more than it benefits itself. As summers are approaching, some are looking for jobs while others are looking for perfect vacation spots. I myself have been planning to make this summer more productive for myself based on how a bee lives. Yes, a honeybee. You might be surprised at what this little creature can teach us. It is humbling when we realize how forgetful and selfish humans are at times. There are three things a bee does: it eats well, sits well and does not disturb other bees.

A bee never sits on a flower that has been used by a bee from another hive. It looks for a fresh and pure flower that has not been used before. In other words, it finds the very best and then indulges itself in it. We as humans should realize that we are supposed to be high achievers. We should not settle for less but work harder and smarter to reach for the best. This rule is applied in every relationship that you carry. It may seem impossible at first, but we can do it little by little. You can too!

Second, a bee sits well meaning that it never puts its pressure on the flower’s stalk. Rather, it hovers over the flower while extracting the nectar to prevent causing any damage to the flower. Never put too much pressure on the people you’re in a relationship with. Before you think about demanding something, give more and then demand. This doesn’t risk the life of the flower but rather gives more to the flower than it takes away from it via pollination. It gives them life.

Third, bees never disturb other bees and never take what is supposed to belong to another bee. Unfortunately, by living in a corporate society we have a developed a cut-throat attitude. We are always looking out for ourselves never even once thinking about the corruption we are causing on earth. We celebrate Earth day but have we ever realized the daily impact our actions have on the environment. We better realize it before its too late.

Humanity should take precedence over everything. Don’t be too stingy and help others out. If you have a piece of information that can help someone else, share it with those in need. What’s yours will not pass you by, then why hide it? Never wait for an opportunity to come at your door. Create an opportunity and help your community. A community that sticks together will heal many surrounding communities.

*based on a lecture by Nouman Ali Khan

Specialize in what you do

I sometimes listen to Nouman Ali Khan who is a very famous Imam/Ustadh/Shaykh here in North America. And unlike other scholars, his talks are simply magical which is because a lot of youth can relate to what he talks about.

Recently, I heard him talk about why one should specialize in their respective fields. We live in a day and age where we have an overwhelming amount of information about everything but not an in-depth knowledge of a particular subject. The astonishing thing is that “knowing about everything” is also being preached a lot.

Just as an example, students quite often like to take a variety of courses to have a taste of everything. Now, the question is that what if a student takes one or two fields and digs deeper in them?

I am more interested in the narrative of people who specialize because it makes you humble and gives an appreciation of the order of things in your field.

Apply it in any aspect of your life and leave a comment below if you feel its making a positive change. As Steve Martin said, “be so good they can’t ignore you”. 

Back to learning

September 5th will be my first official day of classes. Second year starts with some fears, motivation, and dedication. This summer was fully used to give my mind and body some well-deserved rest. As school got near, I started thinking more and more about my future goals. Where do I want to see myself in a year, two years, three years, and so on. It is indeed a very over-whelming feeling when you have chosen what you want to do yet there are so many things that you need to do to get there.

If you have a dream and you know it’s a hard catch, don’t stop. Stay away from negativity and get on the bandwagon of ‘dreaming with dedication’. You will get there eventually.

Wish you all a great school year.

Eastern values

I have been busy for the past 8 months and now that I am free, I feel like I am being tortured by not having something to do. Being busy is a blessing in itself, eh? But that’s a topic for another day.

While I was away from family, I learnt a lot of things. First off, I have never been away from family and so as you can guess, it was a big adjustment on my part. Waking up on my own, dreading to go to early morning classes, preparing my own food, etc. It is a lot of responsibility.

Taken from: outlish.com

Taken from: outlish.com

In a usual western world, it’s not a big deal being on your own rather people seem to enjoy the freedom. Our eastern values teach us collective individualism and I have overtime started to love it even more. A little dependence doesn’t hurt but rather, creates love and respect. I think it’s these values which make us successful not only at workplaces but also our homes. These are the values which teach a father, that when he comes from work, he has to spend some time with his children. That’s his original duty. These are the values which teach our mothers that a proper up-bringing of their children is more important than having to earn money. All a child needs is a mother’s love and father’s attention.

If you have read this post, then all I want you to do is that the next time your parents ask you something, don’t talk rudely. Be polite in manner. I can assure you that if you are being nice to them, the world will be at your feet. Keep your eastern values alive. That’s what makes you different in a western world.