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30 October 2011

Hajj - An Introduction

Hajj literally means 'to set out for a place'. Islamically however it refers to the annual pilgrimage that Muslims make to Makkah with the intention of performing certain religious rites in accordance with the method prescribed by the Prophet Muhammad   .

Hajj and its rites were first ordained by Allah in the time of the Prophet lbrahim [Abraham] and he was the one who was entrusted by Allah to build the Kaba - the House of Allah - along with his son Ismail [Ishmael] at Makkah. Allah described the Kaba and its building as follows:

"And remember when We showed Ibrahim the site of the (Sacred) House (saying): Associate not anything [in worship with Me and purify My House for those who circumambulate it [i.e. perform tawaaf] and those who stand up for prayer and those who bow down and make prostration (in prayer etc.)." [Quran 22:26]

After building the Kaba, Prophet Ibrahim would come to Makkah to perform Hajj every year, and after his death, this practice was continued by his son. However, gradually with the passage of time, both the form and the goal of the Hajj rites were changed. As idolatry spread throughout Arabia, the Kaba lost its purity and idols were placed inside it. Its walls became covered with poems and paintings, including one of Jesus and his mother Maryam and eventually over 360 idols came to be placed around the Kaba.

During the Hajj period itself, the atmosphere around the sacred precincts of the Kaba was like a circus. Men and women would go round the Kaba naked, arguing that they should present themselves before Allah in the same condition they were born. Their prayer became devoid of all sincere remembrance of Allah and was instead reduced to a series of hand clapping, whistling and the blowing of horns. Even the talbiah was distorted by them with the following additions: 'No one is Your partner except one who is permitted by you. You are his Master and the Master of what he possesses'.

Sacrifices were also made in the name of God. However, the blood of the sacrificed animals was poured onto the walls of the Kaba and the flesh was hung from pillars around the Kaba, in the belief that Allah demanded the flesh and blood of these animals.

Singing, drinking, adultery and other acts of immorality was rife among the pilgrims and the poetry competitions, which were held, were a major part of the whole Hajj event. In these competitions, poets would praise the bravery and splendor of their own tribesmen and tell exaggerated tales of the cowardice and miserliness of other tribes. Competitions in generosity were also staged where the chief of each tribe would set up huge cauldrons and feed the pilgrims, only so that they could become well-known for their extreme generosity.

Thus the people had totally abandoned the teachings of their forefather and leader Prophet Ibrahim. The House that he had made pure for the worship of Allah alone, had been totally desecrated by the pagans and the rites which he had established were completely distorted by them. This sad state of affairs continued for nearly two and a half thousand years. But then after this long period, the time came for the supplication of Prophet Ibrahim to be answered:

"Our Lord! Send amongst them a Messenger of their own, who shall recite unto them your aayaat (verses) and instruct them in the book and the Wisdom and sanctify them. Verily you are the 'Azeezul-Hakeem [the All-Mighty, the All-Wise]." [Quran 2:129]

Sure enough, a man by the name of Muhammad ibn 'Abdullaah was born in the very city that Prophet Ibrahim had made this supplication centuries earlier. For twenty-three years, Prophet Muhammad   spread the message of Tawheed [true monotheism] - the same message that Prophet Ibrahim and all the other Prophets came with (Adam, Noah, Moses & Jesus) - and established the law of Allah upon the land. He expended every effort into making the word of Allah supreme and his victory over falsehood culminated in the smashing of the idols inside the Kaba which once again became the universal center for the worshippers of the one True God.

Not only did the Prophet rid the Kaba of all its impurities, but he also reinstated all the rites of Hajj which were established by Allah's Permission, in the time of Prophet Ibrahim. Specific injunctions in the Quran were revealed in order to eliminate all the false rites which had become rampant in the pre-Islamic period. All indecent and shameful acts were strictly banned in Allah's statement:

"There is to be no lewdness nor wrangles during Hajj." [Quran 2:197]

Competitions among poets in the exaltations of their forefathers and their tribesmen's achievements were all stopped. Instead, Allah told them:

"And when you have completed your rites [of Hajj] then remember Allah as you remember your forefathers; nay with a more vigorous remembrance." [Quran 2:200]

Competitions in generosity were also prohibited. Of course, the feeding of the poor pilgrims was still encouraged as this was done during the time of Prophet Ibrahim but Allah commanded that the slaughtering of the animals which was done for this purpose should be done seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than fame and the praise of the people. He said:

"So mention the name of Allah over these animals when they are drawn up in lines. Then, when they are drawn on their sides [after the slaughter], eat thereof and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks." [Quran 22:36]

As for the deplorable practice of spattering blood of the sacrificed animals on the walls of the Kaba and hanging their flesh on alters, then Allah clearly informed them that:

"It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwaa (piety) from you that reaches Him." [Quran 22:37]

The Prophet also put a stop to the practice of circling the Kaba in a state of nudity and the argument that the pagans put forward to justify this ritual was sharply rebutted in Allah's question:

"Say: Who has forbidden the adornment [i.e. clothes] given by Allah which He has produced for His Slaves?" [Quran 7:32]

Another custom which was prohibited through the Quran was that of setting off for Hajj without taking any provisions for the journey. In the pre-Islamic period, some people who claimed to be mutawakkiloon (those having complete trust in Allah) would travel to perform Hajj begging for food through the whole journey. They considered this form of behavior a sign of piety and an indication of how much faith they had in Allah. However Allah told mankind that to have sufficient provisions for the journey was one of the preconditions for making Hajj. He said:

"And take a provision [with you] for the journey, but the best provision is at-Taqwaa (piety)." [Quran 2:197]

In this way, all the pre-Islamic practices, which were based on ignorance, were abolished and Hajj was once more made a model of piety, fear of Allah, purity, simplicity and austerity. Now, when the pilgrims reach the Kaba, they no longer find the carnivals and the frolic and frivolity that had once occupied the minds of the pilgrims there before. Now, there is the remembrance of Allah at every step and every action and every sacrifice was devoted to Him alone. It was this kind of Hajj that was worthy of the reward of paradise, as the Prophet said: "The reward for an accepted Hajj is nothing less than paradise."

May Allah grant us all the ability to visit His House and perform the Hajj in the manner of the Prophet Muhammad  . Aameen.

"Labbaik Allahumma labbaik... (Here I am present, O' God, I am present...) This is the chant which the pilgrims say when they are traveling for pilgrimage."

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28 October 2011

Picture Perfect: Hijab Judgment

Poem: I'm Busy

Everyday as i wake up at dawn
My mind start working the moment i yawn

There were many things to do, o dear!
That's why i hastily did my Subuh prayer

I didn't have the time to sit longer to praise the Lord
To me rushing out after prayer is nothing odd...

Since school, i had been busy every minute
Completing my tutorials and handing it in

My ECAs took up most of my time always
No time did i have to Allah to pray

Too many things to do and zikir is rare
For Allah, I really had no time to spare..

When i grew up and started my career
Working all day to secure my future

When I reached home, I prefered to have fun
I chatted on the phone but i didn't read the Quran

I spent too much time surfing the Internet
Sad to say, my faith was falling flat...

The only time i have left is weekends
During which i prefer window shopping with friends

I couldn't spare time to go to the mosque
I'm too busy, that's the BIG EXCUSE...

I did my five prayers but did so quickly
After prayer, I didn't sit longer to reflect quietly

I didn't have time to help the needy ones
I was loaded with work as my precious time runs

No time at all to visit a sick Muslim friend
To orphans and elderly, I hardly lent a hand

I'm too busy to do community service
When there were gatherings, I helped the least

My life was already full of stress
So i didn't counsel a Muslim in distress

I didn't spend much time with my family
B'coz i thought, doing so is a waste of time...

No time to share with non-Muslim about Islam
Even though I know, inviting causes no harm

No time to do Sunnah prayers at all
All these contribute to my imaan's fall..

I'm busy here and busy there
I've no time at all, that's all i care

I went for religious lessons, just once in awhile
Coz i'm too busy making a pile...

I worked all day and i slept all night
Too tired for Tahajjud and it seemed not right

To me, earning a living was already tough
so i only did basic deeds but that's not enough..

No time at all, to admire God's creation
No time to praise All_h and seek His Compassion

Although I know how short is my life
For Islam, I really didn't strive..

Finally the day comes, when the Lord calls for me
And I stood before Him with my Life's History

I feel so guilty b'coz i should have prayed more
Isn't that what a Muslim lives for?

To thank Allah and do more good deeds
And the Quran is for us all to read..

Now at Judgement Day, I'm starting to fret
I've wasted my life but it's too late to regret

My entry to Paradise depend on my good behavior
But i've not done enough nor did proper prayer

My "good deed book" is given from my right
An angel opened my "book" and read out my plight.
Then the angel chided me....

"O You Muslim servant, you are the one,
Who is given enough time, yet not much is done

Do you know that your faith is loose?
saying "no time" is only an excuse.

Your "good deed book" should be filled up more
with all the good work you stood up for..

Hence, I only recorded those little good deeds
As I say this, I know your eyes will mist..

I was about to write some more, you see
But i did not have, THE TIME to list".......


26 October 2011

Health Benefits of Orange

" And from the dates and grapes, you extract wine as well as healthy nourishment. Surely, there is a sign in it for any nation that thinks " [Quran 16:67]

Delicious and juicy orange fruit contains an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals for normal growth and development and overall well-being.

Botanically; orange is the citrus fruit belonging to the family of Rutaceae of the genus; Citrus (which also includes pomelo, tangerine (mandarin orange) and grapefruit). Scientifically the fruit is named as "Citrus sinensis".

Orange is a tropical to semitropical, evergreen, small flowering tree growing to about 5 to 8 m tall and bears seasonal fruits that measure about 3 inches in diameter and weighs about 100-150 g. Oranges are classified into two general categories, sweet and bitter, with the former being the type most commonly consumed. Popular varieties of the sweet orange include Valencia, Navel, Persian variety and blood orange.

Fruits belonging to citrus group are described as “hesperidium”, (A hesperidium is a scientific term to describe the fruit structure belonging to citrus group. In fact, the fruit is a modified berry with tough, leathery rind. Oranage peel contains many volatile oil glands in pits. Interior flesh is composed of segments, called carpels, made up of numerous fluid-filled vesicles that are actually specialized hair cells).

Health benefits of oranges
  • Nutrients in oranges are plentiful and diverse. The fruit is low in calories, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, but is rich in dietary fiber, pectin, which is very effective in persons with excess body weight. Pectin, by its action as bulk laxative, helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. Pectin has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing its re-absorption in the colon by binding to bile acids in the colon.
  • Oranges, like other citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C (provides about 60% of DRI); Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and also, scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the blood.
  • Orange fruit contains a variety of phytochemicals. Hesperetin and Narigenin are flavonoids found in citrus fruits. Naringenin is found to have a bio-active effect on human health as antioxidant, free radical scavenger, anti-inflammatory, and immune system modulator. This substance has also been shown to reduce oxidant injury to DNA in vitro studies.
  • Oranges also contain very good levels of vitamin A, and other flavonoid antioxidants such as alpha and beta carotenes, beta-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoids helps body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
  • Orange fruit also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium and calcium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Nutrient Value

Energy 47 Kcal
Carbohydrates 11.75 g
Protein 0.94 g
TotalFat 0.12 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary Fiber 2.40 g
Folates 30 mcg
Niacin 0.282 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.250 mg
Pyridoxine 0.060 mg
Riboflavin 0.040 mg
Thiamin 0.100 mg
Vitamin C 53.2 mg
Vitamin A 225 IU
Vitamin E 0.18 mg
Vitamin K 0 mcg
Sodium 0 mg
Potassium 169 mg
Calcium 40 mg
Copper 39 mcg
Iron 0.10 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Manganese 0.024 mg
Zinc 0.08 mg
Carotene-β 71 mcg
Carotene-α 11 mcg
Crypto-xanthin-β 116 mcg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 129 mcg
Lycopene 0 mcg

Citrus fruits, as such, have long been valued for their wholesome nutritious and antioxidant properties. It is scientifically established that citrus fruits, especially oranges, by virtue of their richness in vitamins and minerals, have many proven health benefits. Moreover, it is now beginning to be appreciated that the other biologically active, non-nutrient compounds found in citrus fruits such as phyto-chemical antioxidants, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber have been found to be helpful in reduction in the risk for cancers, many chronic diseases like arthritis, and from obesity and coronary heart diseases.

Dua/ Prayer
Allahummaghfirlii warhamniy wahdiniy wa 'aafiniy warzuqniy wajburniy war fa'aniy.
(Oh Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me, and keep me on the right path, and keep me healthy, and provide me with halal sources of living, and complete my shortcomings and make my rank high).

24 October 2011

Brain Vs. Computer

Generally Speaking many of us think that computers are many many times faster, more powerful and more capable when compared to our brains simply because they can perform calculations thousands of time faster, workout logical computations without error and store memory at incredible speeds with flawless accuracy.

But is the the computer really superior to the human brain in terms of ability , processing power and adaptability ?

We now give you the real comparison.

Processing Power and Speed

The computer

The most powerful experimental super computers in 1998, composed of thousands or tens of thousands of the fastest microprocessors and costing tens of millions of dollars, can do a few million MIPS. These systems were used mainly to stimulate physical events for high-value scientific calculations.

Here, we have a chart of processor speeds for the past few years.

YearClock Speed (MHz)Instruction Rate (MIPS)
1992200200 (400)
1993.5300300 (600)
1995400800 (1600)
1996.55001000 (2000)
19986002400 (3600)
1999.57002800 (4200)

From the chart above, we can observe some break through s in microprocessor speeds. The current techniques used by research labs should be able to continue such improvements for about a decade. By then maybe prototype multiprocessor chips finally reaching MIPS matching that of the brain will be cheap enough to develop.

Improvements of computer speeds however have some limitations. The more memory it has, the slower it is because it takes longer to run through its memory once. Computers with less memory hence have more MIPS, but are confined to less space to run big programs. The latest, greatest super computers can do a trillion calculations per second and can have a trillion bytes of memory. As computer memory and processors improve, the Megabyte/MIPS ratio is a big factor to consider. So far, this ratio has remained constant throughout the history of computers.

The human brain

We can only estimate the processing power of the average human brain as there is no way to measure it quantitatively as of yet. If the theory of taking nerve volume to be proportional to processing power is true we then, may have a correct estimate of the human brain's processing power.

It is fortunate that we understand the neural assemblies is the retina of the vertebrate eye quite well (structurally and functionally) because it helps to give us a idea of the human brain's capability.

The retina is a nerve tissue in the back of the eyeball which detects lights and sends images to the brain. A human retina has a size of about a centimeter square is half a millimeter thick and is made up of 100 million neurons. Scientists say that the retina sends to the brain, particular patches of images indicating light intensity differences which are transported via the optic nerve, a million-fiber cable which reaches deep into the brain.

Overall, the retina seems to process about ten one-million-point images per second. Because the 1,500 cubic centimeter human brain is about 100,000 times as large as the retina, by simple calculation, we can estimate the processing power of a average brain to be about 100 million MIPS (Million computer Instructions Per Second ). In case you're wondering how much speed that is, let us give you an idea.

1999's fastest PC processor chip on the market was a 700 MHz pentium that did 4200 MIPS. By simple calculation, we can see that we would need at least 24,000 of these processors in a system to match up to the total speed of the brain !! (Which means the brain is like a 168,0000 MHz Pentium computer). But even so, other factors like memory and the complexity of the system needed to handle so many processors will not be a simple task. Because of these factors, the figures we so childishly calculated will most probably be a very serious underestimate.

So who has more processing power?

By estimation, the brain has about 100 million MIPS worth of processing power while recent super-computers only has a few million MIPS worth in processor speed. That said, the brain is still the winner in the race. Because of the cost, enthusiasm and efforts still required, computer technology has still some length to go before it will match the human brain's processing power.

The brain has "built-in back up systems" in some cases. If one pathway in the brain is damaged, there is often another pathway that will take over this function of the damaged pathway.

There is no "off" for the brain - even when an animal is sleeping, its brain is still active and working. The computer only changes when new hardware or software is added or something is saved in memory. There IS an "off" for a computer. When the power to a computer is turned off, signals are not transmitted.

The computer is faster at doing logical things and computations. However, the brain is better at interpreting the outside world and coming up with new ideas. The brain is capable of imagination.

Scientists understand how computers work. There are thousands of neuroscientists studying the brain. Nevertheless, there is still much more to learn about the brain. "There is more we do NOT know about the brain, than what we do know about the brain"

After all, it's the brain that invented the computer, the one who invented the brain is truly far beyond our imagination. Thank God for giving us a wonderful brain.

"In fact, We have doomed to hell many of the jinn and the humans. They have a brain, but with it they fail to think. They have eyes but they do not use them to see (the truth). They have ears but they fail to hear (the truth) with them. They are (just) like cattle; in fact they are worse. Such are the heedless ones!" [Quran 7:179]
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Amazing Facts of Human Brain (Biological Computer)

It is hard to believe a computer can grow by itself in the nature, our brain is much more complex than a super computer and one of the master piece of creations of God, the studies of the brain has not yet concluded even with the advanced cutting edge technologies are available.  

God says in his final revelation,

"He is the One who granted you the hearing, the eyesight, and the brains. little is it that you give thanks." [Quran 23:78]

It’s been likened to a powerful super computer. Famous brains have been cryogenic-ally frozen, in the hopes that one day; the most famous minds of our time will be resurrected once more.

Most of us take our brains for granted, never thinking about the amazing organ, which, even more than our hearts, is so critical to our survival. Think about it. Without your brain processing information, you would never know what you’re hearing, seeing, smelling, or feeling. You would never dream, have no reasoning power, or have any memory of anything that happens.

Of course, without the brain, or with a brain of a lesser capacity, its doubtful humans would ever have clawed their way to the top of the food chain. We’d still be living in fear, somewhere on the plains of what, admittedly, would probably be an unspoiled world.

We’d be incapable of most of the feats that have so stirred pride, and shame, among us. No great cities would exist, nor would we spend years growing our knowledge before finally venturing out into the working world, bent on making our mark. We would never have developed our appetite for knowledge, or entertainment, and, the world as we know it, simply would not exist.

However, quite aside from the great things the power of our minds have helped us achieve, the human brain is, in itself, a fascinating organ, and here are our top ten interesting facts about this mighty biological computer.

It Has a Storage Capacity In the Terabytes

Anyone who has a computer will know what a gigabyte is. You might not know what a terabyte is though. A terabyte is a storage capacity that is a little over a thousand gigabytes.

Scientists have discovered that the human brain has a storage capacity of between three and one thousand terabytes, depending on the individual. Then consider that Britain’s National Archives, which store nine hundred years of information for an entire country, takes up only around seventy terabytes. That means that you are probably entirely capable of storing that entire body of information in your brain, with room to spare.

It’s also been said that your brain can hold over five times the amount of information in the Encyclopedia Britannica, or just about any other encyclopedia out there. What that means is that your capacity for learning, and retaining information, far outstrips any computer currently out there, or which is likely to be in existence any time soon.

With such an awesome storage capacity, everyone has the ability to learn, and remember, all the things that we need to know to survive, and a whole lot more besides.

Your Brain Operates on Current

Yup. Just like that computer, your brain uses electrical power, generated in your body, to operate.

In fact, even when we are asleep, the electrical energy generated by your brain is about comparable to that used by a 10 Watt light bulb. So, when you see those pictures in cartoons of people having ideas, with light bulbs over their heads, it’s not merely fantasy. You are actually using that much power, if not a little more, to have that brilliant thought.

Of course, because the brain functions on electricity, that could explain why certain devices, like cell phones, and power lines, can interfere with that activity in the long term, and lead to damage. So, take care which electrical appliances you use, and limit their impact on your own personal super computer.

Nerve Impulses Travel As Fast As Race-cars

You’ve probably never wondered why, when you experience a tactile sensation, whether it be pain, heat, cold or anything else, in an extremity like your toe, that’s far away from your brain, you experience it instantaneously.

The reason for this is that your brain, and central nervous system, sends messages at the very efficient, and fast, rate of around one hundred and seventy miles per hour. This means that while there is a split second delay in your experience of that sensation, it’s not much, and your nerves, and brain, send and receive signals at the same speed as many luxury sports cars drive!

Consider the number of messages rushing around your body at that speed right now. Isn’t it amazing to thing that those little electrical impulses are what lets us experience the world around us?

Of course, it’s not only the impulse, but the response that’s important – think about it – your brain receives the message that you are experiencing pain, and, virtually instantaneously, you react – jerking away from the source of the pain.

Your Brain Uses 20% of The Oxygen You Breathe

It’s amazing to think that while our brain makes up only about two percent of our body mass, it needs around twenty percent of the oxygen we breathe in order to keep functioning.

It’s because of this that we die so easily when we are deprived of oxygen. Without the brain functioning, all those little messages that race around our bodies all day, every day, won’t reach their destinations. This means the organs and cells of your body will shut down very soon after you’ve been deprived of oxygen, even if only for a few minutes.

Again, the parallels with computers are there: if your laptop runs low on battery power, it will go into standby mode. Just like the brain first enters a comatose state. If power (or oxygen) remains scarce, the computer (and your brain) shut down. That’s when we are brain dead.

Higher IQ = More Dreams

It’s a proven fact that the higher your IQ (Intelligence Quotient) the more you dream. Scientists studying the phenomenon of dreams have discovered that while everyone dreams, the frequency of dreams is notably higher in those of above average intelligence.

Of course, if you never seem to dream, don’t take that as a sign of a lack of intelligence. Research has also shown that in many instances, your dreams last only a few seconds, hardly long enough to even register. Then again, most of us don’t remember any of our dreams, and it’s usually only for a few fleeting seconds, when we have been awoken in the middle of a dream, that we even remember them at all!

Which is why, if you decide to explore the meaning of your dreams, you’re told to keep a pen and paper right next to your bed, so that you can write down what you dream as you wake up. Leave it a few moments, and most of the ordinary dreams we have will disappear like mist.

While on the topic of dreams too, no one knows exactly why we dream what we do, or how dreams work, but it’s been thought that they are your subconscious mind’s way of communicating with the lucid or conscious part of the brain.

Your Brain Is More Active at Night

Strange as it may seem, your brain actually shows more activity at night than during the day.

Despite all the moving around, thinking, and complex calculations you do every day, your brain actually shows more activity at night than it does during the day. In fact, when you shut down at night, to go to sleep, your brain wakes up, and starts doing it’s thing.

Of course, we still don’t quite know what it’s thing is, since scientists are still puzzled as to exactly what it is that your brain works so hard at every night, but it’s certainly got something to do with all those dreams you’re dreaming.

So, it stands to reason, that if you want to give your brain a workout, you should go to sleep, and it also explains why getting enough sleep is so important to staying mentally sharp.

Not All Neurons are Created Equal

While it’s true that most of the information in your body is whizzing about at breakneck speed most of the time, there are some types of neurons that take their time to transport information back and forth.

Not only do different neurons process different types of information, and in different ways, but, in fact, some types of neurons transport information as slowly as half a meter per second, or 1.8 kilometers per hour, while others can reach the unheard of velocities of up to one hundred and twenty meters per second or up to four hundred and thirty two kilometers per hour.

It all depends on the type of neuron, and the type of information being carried, how fast it’s transmitted around your body, and to your brain.

Neurons Keep Growing

For many years, scientists and researchers thought that neurons, the brain, and your central nervous system, cannot regenerate, or grow. Basically, the concept was that we are stuck with what we've got.

That’s all changed though, and although they have discovered that the brain and it’s complex network of neurons does not behave in quite the same way as the other tissues in the body, they can, and do, regenerate.

We’re still not quite sure how to use this regeneration to treat disease and disorders of the brain and nervous system though, and it does mean that the fields of neural study are more complex than they were formerly thought to be.

What this does mean is that even though brain or nerve damage is still a very bad thing, there is, potentially, a remedy for this type of damage, and, with enough research, and in time, we should be able to cure most, if not all types of brain and nervous system damage.

Your Brain is 80% Water

Just as we need oxygen to keep our brain’s complex electrical processes going, we need water to keep our own personal super computers in good working order.

Have you ever experienced a headache, only to discover that an aspirin, and a glass of water, does the trick? There’s a good chance it was not the aspirin, but the water, that did that.

Our brains, far from being the solid, stiff grey mass we see in movies and on TV medical shows, is actually a squishy, pinkish, jelly like organ, that has many blood vessels and is made up of around eighty percent water. It’s only after the brain is removed, and starts to dry out, that it begins to become the solid mass we’re more familiar with.

When the brain and the tissues around it becomes dehydrated, and the membranes around it begin to chafe, causing inflammation. We experience that as pain, which explains your headache. That also explains the splitting headache that so often accompanies a hangover – alcohol is a diuretic, which causes dehydration, so it takes water away from your whole body, including your brain.

So, when your mother told you to drink eight glasses of water every day, she wasn’t joking – you don’t only need it for your body, but for your brain too.

Your Brain Does Not Feel Pain

Your brain processes every sensation, including pain, that you experience every day, but did you know that the brain itself has no pain receptors? This means that the actual brain tissue, or grey matter as we like to call it, cannot experience pain.

Of course, there are lots of tissues and membranes, as well as bone and other types of tissue that surround your brain, so if you bump your head, or experience any other sort of injury, you will most certainly still feel it!

It is also these tissues, when dehydrated, which can cause the dreaded “headache” although many other factors, including tension or even bad posture, can cause you to have a headache.

So, while you could potentially damage your brain without even being aware of it, the tissues, bone and membrane’s that surround your brain do the job of alerting it to danger. Just another way nature has been brilliant in protecting you!

Yet some doubt in the existence of God, It is really hard to believe how could mankind use his brain to fulfill his needs and wants but fail to accept and thank the engineer who created his brain.

"Do they not ponder about their own selves? Allah has created the heavens and the earth, and everything in between for a specific purpose and a predetermined period. But most people just fail to accept (the inevitability of) the meeting with their Lord (on the Day of Judgment)." [Quran 30:08]

21 October 2011

Sunnah & Science : The Sun does not Stop or Disappear

Ibn 'Abbas (R.A.) narrated that the Prophet   was asked:

"Where does the sun set, and where does it rise from?" The Messenger of Allah   answered, "It is going in a (nonstop) regular motion; it does not cease or disappear. It sets in one place and rises in another, and sets in another place and rises elsewhere and so on. So, some people would say the sun has set and others would say it has just risen (at the same moment)."

Explanation of the Hadith

This hadith refers to the fact that there is a continuous alternate sunrise and sunset on earth. This could only take place if the earth is spherical or spheroid, and is, at the same time, continuously rotating round its axis facing the sun. This motion pattern leads to the continuous alternation of day and night on its surface, until life on earth comes to an end, i.e. until the Day of Resurrection.

One of the most prominent phenomena linked to this spherical shape of the earth, is that there are different places of sunrise and sunset for different zones of the globe. Each of the sun, the moon and other celestial bodies, sets somewhere in the globe and rises in another. They are all rotating, regularly, in fixed orbits, which they never leave or depart from. Truly, Allah says:

"…They all float, each in an orbit." [Quran 36:40]

The Messenger of Allah  talked about all these cosmic facts in such accurate scientific style at a period of time when people thought that the earth was flat and stationary. This is definitely one of the signs, which testifies to the truthfulness of the message of Muhammad . For sure, no one in the Arabian Peninsula at the time of revelation, and for centuries to follow realized the fact that the earth is spherical and that it rotates around its axis facing the sun. Needless to say that at that time, no one was able to perceive the real or the apparent motion of the moon, the sun and other celestial bodies, as Arabia was but a simple and primitive environment.

The Glorious Qur'an refers to the spherical shape of the earth and its axial rotating, and to its revolving in its orbit around the sun. The Qur'an refers to these issues in many verses but in a subtle implicit way which may not astound the Bedouins in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula at the time of revelation, but still keeps the scientific fact in context.

Sun does not Stop or disappear

Among these verses are the following:

Allah the Almighty says:

"He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes the night to go in the day and makes the day to go in the night. And He has subjected the sun and the moon. Each running (on a fixed course) for an appointed term. Verily, He is the All-Mighty, the oft-Forgiving." [Quran 39:5]

1. The Glorious Qur'an also confirms in more than one verse that the earth is "spread out" without ending at an edge. This could only be possible if the earth is spherical or spheroid, as the spherical shape is the only shape, which could endlessly be spread out or extended. For example, Allah the Almighty says:

"And it is He Who spread out the earth, and placed therein firm mountains and rivers…" [Quran 13:3]

2. The same fact is also assured when the Qur'an refers to the East and the West in different forms. First in the singular, then in the dual form by indicating that there are "Two Easts and Two Wests", and in the plural form by referring to "Easts and Wests". This also emphasizes the fact that the earth is spherical and that it rotates round its axis while facing the sun. These verses also emphasize the fact that the Earth is tilted on its axis and that it does not orbit the sun in a perfect circle.

3. The fact that the earth is spherical in shape is also emphasized by the verses referring to the alternation of night and day. The Glorious Qur'an indicates how Allah makes the 'Night overlap (Kawwar) the Day and the Day overlap the Night' (Surat Az-Zumar: 5). Among the verses that indicate the spherical shape of the earth is the one referring to the passing away of the mountains in the same way the clouds do:

"And you will see the mountains and think them solid, but they shall pass away as the passing away of the clouds…" [Quran27:88]

All of the above facts mentioned in the Qur'an have urged Muslims, at the time of the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun, to measure the circumference of the earth very accurately. Their motive was the firm belief that the earth is spherical and that it rotates around its axis facing the sun. Moreover, the Muslim scholar and scientist "al-Bayyruni" divided the earth into lines of longitude and latitude, in his book:" Tahdid Nihayat al-Amakin li Tas-hih Masafat al-Masakin," which he wrote in 416 A.H (about 1040 A.C.).

The source of all this knowledge is the illuminating signs that are mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH), and each of them testifies to the truthfulness and the Divine nature of the Message of the last of the Prophets and Messengers. This accurate scientific knowledge could not be obtained except for a Divine Revelation.

Courtesy : Quran and Science

Picture Perfect: Gambling

"O you who believe, intoxicants, and gambling, and the altars of idols, and the games of chance are abominations of the devil; you shall avoid them, that you may succeed.
[Quran 5:90]

20 October 2011

The Quran & Hydrologic Cycle / Water Cycle

Scientists have found that there is a system in water movement…. The Holy Quran refers to this system in many verses….

"In the Seventh century B.C., Thales of Miletus held the theory whereby the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents; so the water fell upon the earth and penetrated into the soil. Plato shared these views and thought that the return of the waters to the oceans was via a great abyss, the 'Tartarus'. This theory had many supporters until the Eighteenth century, one of whom was Descartes. Aristotle imagined that the water vapour from the soil condensed in cool mountain caverns and formed underground lakes that fed springs. He was followed by Seneca (1st Century A.D.) and many others, until 1877, among them O. Volger . . . The first clear formulation of the water cycle must be attributed to Bernard Palissy in 1580. he claimed that underground water came from rainwater infiltrating into the soil. This theory was confirmed by E. Mariotte and P. Perrault in the Seventeenth century."

In the following passages from the Qur'an, there is no trace of the mistaken ideas that were current at the time of Muhammad:

Quran 50:9-11
"We [ Whenever the pronoun 'We' appears in the verses of the text quoted here, it refers to God.] sent down from the sky blessed water whereby We caused to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one above the other-sustenance for (Our) servants. Therewith We gave (new) life to a dead land. So will be the emergence (from the tombs)." 

Quran 23:18 -19
"We sent down water from the sky in measure and lodged it in the ground. And We certainly are able to withdraw it. Therewith for you We gave rise to gardens of palm-trees and vineyards where for you are abundant fruits and of them you eat." 

Quran 15:22
"We sent forth the winds that fecundate. We cause the water to descend from the sky. We provide you with the water-you (could) not be the guardians of its reserves." 

There are two possible interpretations of this last verse. The fecundating winds may be taken to be the fertilizers of plants because they carry pollen. This may, however, be a figurative expression referring by analogy to the role the wind plays in the process whereby a non-raincarrying cloud is turned into one that produces a shower of rain. This role is often referred to, as in the following verses:

Quran 35:9
"God is the One Who sends forth the winds which raised up the clouds. We drive them to a dead land. Therewith We revive the ground after its death. So will be the Resurrection." 

The Hydrologic Processes
Many different process lead to movements and phase changes in water

Condensed water vapor that falls to the Earth's surface . Most precipitation occurs as rain, but also includes snow, hail, fog drip, graupel, and sleet. Approximately 505,000 km^3 (121,000 cu mi) of water falls as precipitation each year, 398,000 km^3 (95,000 cu mi) of it over the oceans.

Canopy interception
The precipitation that is intercepted by plant foliage and eventually evaporates back to the atmosphere rather than falling to the ground.

The runoff produced by melting snow.

The variety of ways by which water moves across the land. This includes both surface runoff and channel runoff. As it flows, the water may seep into the ground, evaporate into the air, become stored in lakes or reservoirs, or be extracted for agricultural or other human uses.

The flow of water from the ground surface into the ground. Once infiltrated, the water becomes soil moisture or groundwater.

Subsurface flow
The flow of water underground, in the vadose zone and aquifers. Subsurface water may return to the surface (e.g. as a spring or by being pumped) or eventually seep into the oceans. Water returns to the land surface at lower elevation than where it infiltrated, under the force of gravity or gravity induced pressures. Groundwater tends to move slowly, and is replenished slowly, so it can remain in aquifers for thousands of years.

The transformation of water from liquid to gas phases as it moves from the ground or bodies of water into the overlying atmosphere. The source of energy for evaporation is primarily solar radiation. Evaporation often implicitly includes transpiration from plants, though together they are specifically referred to as evapotranspiration. Total annual evapotranspiration amounts to approximately 505,000 km^3 (121,000 cu mi) of water, 434,000 km^3 (104,000 cu mi) of which evaporates from the oceans.

The state change directly from solid water (snow or ice) to water vapor.

The movement of water — in solid, liquid, or vapor states — through the atmosphere. Without advection, water that evaporated over the oceans could not precipitate over land.

The transformation of water vapor to liquid water droplets in the air, creating clouds and fog.

The release of water vapor from plants and soil into the air. Water vapor is a gas that cannot be seen.


Precipitation either evaporates into the atmosphere, gets taken up by plants, flows into streams, or infiltrates the ground and recharges aquifers. Groundwater flows from inland locations to lakes, streams, or coastal waters. On the seaward side, denser salt water enters sediments and establishes equilibrium with fresh groundwater. Tides and mixing along the freshwater-saltwater interface results in seawater circulation through the sediments.

The Holy Quran mentions the Hydrologic Cycle system in the verse: 

"And We send down from the sky water in measure, and We give it lodging in the earth, and lo! We are able to withdraw It" [Quran 23:18]

19 October 2011

Poem: Time for Apology

I write this poem in earnest
In the Name of Allah, The Greatest

Many a time I have made mistakes
Maybe I forgot to give and take

I ask for everyone's forgiveness
if I have ever caused unpleasantness

E-mails and letters I forgot to reply
Agreements which I did not comply

Promises which are not operational
An unkind word which was unintentional

Please make halal whatever I take from you
Whether it's time or space in your in-box too

There are times when I forget
These are also times when I regret

You know, we are all human beings
Prone to many misunderstandings

Put the past behind us, can you see
If you want life full of tranquility

Life is short and full of unpredictness
Hence I wish to ask for your forgiveness

Time to forgive others since it is a virtue
If you want Allah to forgive you too

17 October 2011

Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone?

Islam, revealed to humanity over 1400 years ago, came with the most just and easy solution to the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation in this world. If Islam is implemented in the world today, the problem of poverty, hunger and starvation would be completely eliminated within a year. Islam, revealed to us by Allah (swt), the most knowledgeable, wise and just, solves the problem of poverty and hunger through several methods

"This sense of equality is important. It is one of the defining characteristics which proponents of Islamic economics say make it different from the conventional western way."
BBC on the topic "Is Islamic finance the answer?"

Number of hungry people in the world

No one really knows how many people are malnourished. The statistic most frequently cited is that of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which measures 'undernutrition'. The most recent estimate, released in  October 2010 by FAO,  says that 925 million people are undernourished. As the figure below shows.

The number of hungry people has increased since 1995-97, though the number is down from last year. The increase has been due to three factors: 

1) neglect of agriculture relevant to very poor people by governments and international agencies.
2) the current worldwide economic crisis.
3) the significant increase of food prices in the last several years which has been devastating to those with only a few dollars a day to spend. 925 million people is 13.6 percent of the estimated world population of 6.8 billion. Nearly all of the undernourished are in developing countries.
In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. Thus, with an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, 13.1 percent, or almost 1 in 7 people are hungry.

Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone?

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9).  The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

What are the causes of hunger?

There are many but lets take the two main related factors here...What are the causes of hunger is a fundamental question, with varied answers.

Poverty is the principal cause of hunger. 

The causes of poverty include poor people's lack of resources, an extremely unequal income distribution in the world and within specific countries, conflict, and hunger itself. As of 2008 (2005 statistics), the World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less.3 This compares to the later FAO estimate of  1.02 billion undernourished people.  Extreme poverty remains an alarming problem in the world’s developing regions, despite some progress that reduced "dollar--now $1.25-- a day" poverty from (an estimated) 1900 million people in 1981, a reduction of 29 percent over the period. Progress in poverty reduction has been concentrated in Asia, and especially, East Asia, with the major improvement occurring in China. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people in extreme poverty has increased.  The statement that 'poverty is the principal cause of hunger'  is, though correct, unsatisfying.  Why then are (so many) people poor?  The next section summarizes Hunger Notes  answer.

Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger. 

Hunger Notes believes that the principal underlying cause of poverty and hunger is the ordinary operation of the economic and political systems in the world. Essentially control over resources and income is based on military, political and economic power that typically ends up in the hands of a minority, who live well, while those at the bottom barely survive, if they do. We have described the operation of this system in more detail in our special section on Harmful economic systems. 


The Obligatory Zakat:

Islam makes it obligatory on every Muslim to pay a certain "tax", called Zakat, on their accumulated wealth. The money collected from this Zakat is to be distributed among the poor and needy.

The Arabic word "Zakat" means both 'purification' and 'growth'. One of the most important principles of Islam is that all things belong to Allah (swt), and that wealth is therefore held by human beings in trust. Our wealth is purified by setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and encourages new growth in our wealth.

Zakat is due on accumulated wealth that has been in the possession of a person for at least one year. There are rules on how to pay Zakat on each type of possessions, such as gold, animals, crops, shares and so on. A certain percentage of each type of these possessions is to be paid as Zakat. Note that the Zakat is taken from excess wealth that a person is accumulating and has had in their possession for over a year. It is not paid on income. Therefore, people whose save nothing after covering their expenses with their income do not pay Zakat, and in fact may be eligible to receive Zakat money from others if their income does not cover all their needs.

The Zakat is to be distributed among people of the following categories, depending on need:

1) The Destitute: Those who don't have material possessions nor nor means of livelihood.
2) The Poor: Those with insufficient means of livelihood to meet basic needs.
3) The Indebted: Those who are in debt and have difficulty repaying it.
4) Stranded Traveller: The traveller who does not have enough money to complete their journey.
5) To Free Slaves: Zakat money is to be used to purchase slaves and free them. 6) New Muslims: Those who are new to Islam and require help to integrate themselves into the Muslims community.
7) In the Path of Allah: Zakat money can also be spent in the path of Allah. This can include many things, basically any project that helps Muslims or Islamic causes.
8) Zakat Workers: Those whose job it is to collect and re-distribute Zakat money get their salary from the Zakat money.

How Can Zakat Eliminate Poverty and Starvation?

If Islam was implemented in the world today, starvation would be eliminated from the planet within the first year. The Zakat due on agricultural products ranges from 5% to 10% of the produce. There is also Zakat due on various types of animals such as sheep, cows and camels. Imagine if 5%-10% of all agricultural production in the world, plus the required amounts on animals are distributed among the hungry and starving people of this world. The problem would be solved immedeatly. In the system we have today, some nations intentionally spoil a part of their agricultural production in order to maintain high prices for their produce. Can you see the difference between the system driven by human greed and the Islam which was imposed by Allah (swt), the most gracious and most merciful?

In addition, Islam can solve the problem of poverty. Consider the Zakat due on money. Zakat is due at 2.5% on money that has been in one's possession for over a year. Now consider this simple fact: Forbes Magazine reported that in 2004 there were 587 billionaires worldwide, with a combined net worth of $1.9 trillion dollars. If in 2004 these 587 richest people in the world paid zakat, we would have had $47.5 billion dollars distributed among the poor.

This calculation has just considered less than 600 individuals on this earth. What about if everyone contributed to a global Zakat fund in the same way? The total world GDP (summation of gross domestic product of all countries in the world) was estimated in 1999 to be $27,357.9 billion dollars. The 2.5% Zakat on this would amount to $683.95 billion dollars annually. These are just ball park figures to give the reader an idea of how much money Zakat can generate.

This Zakat money should not only be distributed for immedeate relief to the poor. It can also be given in the form of small business loans. For example, poor farmers can be given loans or even grants from this Zakat money to enable them to purchase the equipment and materials they need to lift them out of poverty. The same can be done for small business owners, or for the poor to set up small workshops or factories to lift them out of poverty once and for all. Within a few years, poverty would be eliminated or at least greatly reduced.

Optional Charity:

As discussed earlier, the obligatory Zakat imposed by Islam can easily solve the problems of poverty and starvation in the world. However, in addition to that, Islam greatly encourages Muslims to give extra charity. For example, the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) once said that the person who sleeps full while his neighbour sleeps hungry is not a true believer. Islam also always encourages charity in all situations. For example, for the persons who are not able to fast in Ramadan, they are required to feed some poor people for each day they do not fast. And there are many such examples.

Examples of Charity in the holy Qur'an and the Sunnah

Allah (swt) said: "And be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity" [Quran 2:110]

Allah (swt) said addressing the messenger of Allah, Mohammad (pbuh):

"Of their goods take alms (charity), so that you might purify and sanctify them, and pray on their behalf" [Quran 9:103]

When the messenger of Allah, Muhammad , sent one of his companions to call the people of Yemen to Islam, he asked him to tell them the basics of Islam, among which was: "... and tell them that Allah has made obligatory on them a charity that is taken from their rich and given to their poor..." [Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah (swt) said:

"So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah), and (in all sincerity) testifies to the Best, We will indeed make smooth for him the path to Bliss. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, And gives the lie to the Best, We will indeed make smooth for him the Path to Misery; Nor will his wealth profit him when he falls headlong (into the hell fire)." [Quran 92:5-11]

Allah (swt) said:

"By no means shall you attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which you love; and whatever you give, Allah knows it well." [Quran 3:92]

Allah (swt) said:

"O ye who believe! Cancel not your charity by reminders of your generosity or by injury, like those who spend their substance to be seen of men, but believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. They are in Parable like a hard barren rock, on which is a little soil; on it falls heavy rain, which leaves it (just) a bare stone. They will be able to do nothing with aught they have earned. And Allah guideth not those who reject Faith." [Quran 2:264]

Who is the cause?

They dont desire taste, they dont demand fine dining... They just desire food. Did God did this to them? God did nothing. We did this. We did all of what it is right now. So why not? Why not change it?

Courtesy: | BBC | Al-Islami

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