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25 November 2012

Power of Prayer

Prayer, which is an important connection with Almighty Allah, is demanding in the sense that we demonstrate  our weakness in front of Almighty Allah. Our Lord reveals that prayer is an important act of worship with the verse, "Say: ‘What has My Lord to do with you if you do not call on Him?..."(Surat al-Furqan, 77)

Actually the need to form a connection with Allah exists in every man’s character, entailed in  creation. However, while praying is an inseparable part of their lives for believers, for some people it is an act of worship to be remembered only when they face with difficulties or life-threatening situations. However, this is a big mistake because what is truly good is to ask for Almighty Allah’s help both in difficulty and ease and to take refuge in His mercy.

Being Determined in Prayer

Allah has made it possible for His servants to reach anything that He sees as good and beautiful. However, being determined in the prayer being made is just as important as the prayer itself.  Praying with patience is an indication of the need for the desires prayed for, of the inconvenience about this matter and most importantly an indication that one's  closeness to Allah has increased. Being determined in prayer makes the believer more mature and bestows on  him a strong will and character. A believer who shows determination in prayer gets much in return by earning a deep faith, which is more valuable than most of the things he asked for. It is revealed in the Qur’an that one needs to be determined in prayer as such:

"Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. But that is a very hard thing, except for the humble:"(Surat al-Baqara, 45)

Our valuable Prophet (saas) has stated how much he needs Allah sometimes by praying for years on  and our Lord, the All-Merciful, has given what he asked for at the best time. The fact that Allah accepts every prayer, both open and hidden, is due to His Mightiness and Grace. Allah never leaves any thought which crosses one’s mind without a return. However, “accepting a prayer” does not mean something happening as it was asked for because sometimes a person may be demanding something harmful to himself. Almighty Allah reveals as such about this matter:

"Man prays for evil just as he prays for good. Man is prone to be impetuous."(Surat al-Isra’, 11)

Allah knows best what is good and what is bad for a person because He is the One Who appreciates everything. As with His every work, there are many wonders hidden in the way He accepts prayers. For example, the Prophet Jacob (pbuh) rejoining his son the Prophet Joseph (pbuh) after many long years, the Prophet Joseph (pbuh) gaining power and rulership after staying in prison for a long time, the Prophet Ayoob (pbuh) being saved from the pain caused by satan; all of these occurred after showing great patience and continuous prayers. Almighty Allah has accepted the prayers of these sincere servants of His at the best time for them and has made them mature, educated them, increased their loyalty and sincerity and turned them into servants worthy of high degrees in Paradise.

How Does Allah Accept Prayer?

When a believer prays, he knows that Allah hears him and will always accept his prayer in any way. This is because he realizes that events do not take place in a coincidental way, but according to the destiny determined by Allah and in the way He wills. Therefore, he has no doubt that he will not have any return for his prayer. Praying with this sincere spirit causes great goodness by Allah’s leave. In one verse, it is revealed that our Lord will always accept a prayer as a manifestation of His name “Al-Mujib” (One Who accepts the demands of those who beg to Him).

If My slaves ask you about Me, I am near. I answer the call of the caller when he calls on Me. They should therefore respond to Me and believe in Me so that hopefully they will be rightly guided.”(Surat al-Baqara, 186)

The reason that something asked for in a prayer is given with delay, or accepted in a completely different way, could also be that our Lord tests His servants. Allah may grant His blessings after certain periods of time in order to test the patience of His servants and to make them mature according to a certain reason.

Due to this and similar reasons, it cannot be expected that every prayer is realized as it is asked for and as soon as possible. As it is stated by the great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman, Allah may give less of something asked for in prayer or sometimes more of it as a reward or because of the reasons we mentioned above He may not grant them at all. However, in every condition, Allah accepts the prayer of the one who prays to Him.

How Did Our Prophets Pray?

Praying is a way of submitting to Allah and all people need prayer. The most erudite examples of this is that all Prophets pray to Allah by submitting to Him in every matter as revealed in the Qur’an. In the prayers of our Prophet (saas) and all other prophets, we see both their submission to Allah, the fact that they see Allah as their sole friend and helper and that they praise our Lord’s glory with His most beautiful names.

The Prayer of Our Prophet (saas)
In the prayers of our Prophet Mohammad (saas), the most beautiful examples of citing Allah with His names are revealed. One of the verses in which our Prophet (saas)’s prayers are mentioned is as follows:

Say, ‘O Allah! Master of the Kingdom! You give sovereignty to whoever You will You take sovereignty from whoever You will. You exalt whoever You will You abase whoever You will. All good is in Your hands. You have power over all things.”(Surah Al ‘Imran, 26)

In the narrations, it is noted that our Prophet (saas) prayed to our Lord to give him a good morality and good nature.

“O Allah! Enhance goodness and ethics! O Divine! Remove from me bad morals! .” (Tirmidhi, Imam Ahmad and Haqim; Hujjat al-Islam Imam Gadhali, Ihyau Ulum id-din, volume 2, Translation: Dr. Sitki Gulle, Huzur Publishing, Istanbul 1998, p.789)

The Prayer of the Prophet Noah (pbuh)

The patience of the Prophet Noah (pbuh), who called his society to the true religion for years with an exemplary determination, was praised in the Qur’an. The Prophet Noah (pbuh) struggled against his society that acted with enmity towards him and the believers who were with him. The fact that the Prophet Noah (pbuh) turned to Allah in every situation, and prayed by hoping for his help sincerely is a great example for believers. In one verse, it is revealed that Allah knew the condition the Prophet Noah (pbuh) was in and that he prayed as follows:

He called upon his Lord: ‘I am overwhelmed, so help me!’”(Surat al-Qamar, 10)

Allah accepted the Prophet Noah (pbuh)’s prayer and commanded him to prepare for the Flood, which was going to take place in future. The Prophet Noah (pbuh) began to build a massive  ship by the command of Allah, even though there was no sea or lake nearby. During the construction of the ship, he was continuously subject to spiritual pressure  by his society. When the time came Allah’s promise was realized and the flood disaster took place.

The Prayer of the Prophet Jonah (pbuh)

In the Qur’an, it is revealed that this valuable prophet of ours separated himself from his people, as they did not respond to his calls. (Surat as-Saffat, 139–142) As it is revealed in the verses, following this, there was a draw in the ship that the Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was traveling on and as a result of the draw it was decided that the Prophet Jonah (pbuh) was to be thrown into the sea. On top of these events, the Prophet Jonah (pbuh) submitted to Allah and prayed to Him. Allah revealed this event as such in the Qur’an:

And Jonah  when he left in anger and thought We would not punish him. He called out in the pitch darkness: ‘There is no god but You! Glory be to You! Truly I have been one of the wrongdoers.’ We responded to him and rescued him from his grief. That is how We rescue the belivers .”(Surat al-Anbiya’, 87–88)

As it is revealed in the verses the Prophet Jonah (pbuh) confessed his condition sincerely in his prayer.  He prayed to Allah and waited for His help. Our Lord, Who has infinite mercy, accepted the Prophet Jonah (pbuh)’s redemption and saved him from the stomach of the fish by accepting his prayer.

The Prayer of the Prophet Job (pbuh)

In the Qur’an, the Prophet Job (pbuh)’s patience was mentioned as an example to believers. The Prophet Job (pbuh) who received  revelations from Allah and who was a selected servant (Surat an-Nisa, 163) experienced  serious trouble and went through a difficult period. However, despite all of the heavy tribulations  he was in, he always set an example for believers with his patience and submission to Allah. (Surah Sad, 44) The sincere prayer of this holy prophet of ours was revealed in one verse as follows:

And Job when he called out to his Lord, ‘Great harm has afflicted me and You are the Most Merciful of the merciful,’”(Surat al-Anbiya’, 83)

It is revealed in the Qur’an that Almighty Allah accepted the prayer of the Prophet Job (pbuh) who was one of His sincere servants:

We responded to him and removed from him the harm which was afflicting him and restored his family to him, and the same again with them, as a mercy direct from Us and a Reminder to all worshippers.”(Surat al-Anbiya’, 84)

Prayer, which is an important means to reach Almighty Allah, the All-Knowing and the All-Hearing, Who is nearer to man than his jugular vein (Surah Qaf, 16), is an act of worship believers carry out in every occasion and condition. However, when believers do this, as it is revealed in the verse “But you will not will unless Allah wills...”(Surat al-Insan, 30) they behave in a manner conscious of the fact that everything is always under the control of our Lord and that everything is realized by His will.

There is a Response to Sincere Prayers in Both the World and the Hereafter

Prayer leads the person towards what is going to happen in his destiny;Allah is the One Who determines destiny and creates prayer. However, the blessing that comes following a prayer contains  prosperity in this world and a good return in the Hereafter. A person’s whole life is a result of the active or verbal prayers previously made, whether he realizes it or not. Active prayer is our actions and efforts put forth on the subject of prayer by Allah’s leave. When this effort is not for the good pleasure of Allah –as is the case  with  some people- it could still be a means for an individual to reach his or her wishes, by Allah’s leave. People who do not have faith but carry out their active prayers with great ambition, for example, those who work and earn a lot, becomes rich or becomes expert about a subject and becomes famous, have reached that degree through their active struggle by holding onto causes, and again by Allah’s leave. However, active prayers that are not made for the good pleasure of Allah will bring no benefit to the individual in the Hereafter even if a person reaches  his or her objectives  from time to time in this world.

No Other Than Allah is Prayed To

By the verse revealed in the Qur’an, "O Prophet! Allah is enough for you, and for the faithful who follow you."(Surat al-Anfal, 64), believers know that Allah is the only One Whom to ask help. He is the most superior, the most powerful and the One Who sees and hears everything. Allah is the One Who is excluded from all deficient features, and Who is the Owner of eternal power. All power in the universe is in His hands. So help and forgiveness should be asked for only and only from Allah, Whom everyone is need for and Who Himself does not need anyone. In the Qur’an it is revealed that it is wrong to pray to others than Allah and that Allah is the sole authority of prayer:

 “So do not call on any other god along with Allah or you will be among those who will be punished.”(Surat  ash-Shu‘ara’, 213)


Prayer is an example of Allah’s mercy and compassion for His servants. Believers can pray to Allah at every moment and under  every condition and they are peaceful that Allah will accept these prayers in the best ways. In this way, they can tell their deepest secrets and the most hidden desires to Allah, and live the goodness, prosperity and beauty that comes from the knowledge that Allah is the only friend , guide and helper. We can see the biggest secret in Allah accepting prayers in the lives of prophets as we have mentioned in some examples. There is a relation in praying and carrying out the actions Allah commands. The physical effort shown for Allah’s good pleasure, mercy and Paradise is an act of worship as important as prayer. Allah revealed in the Qur’an about the importance of effort:

But as for anyone who desires the akhira, and strives for it with the striving it deserves, being a believer, the striving of such people will be gratefully acknowledged.”(Surat al-Isra’, 19)

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18 November 2012

Maintain Good Relations with People Around You

No matter how productive or positive a person is, they can face a temporary “inability-to-be-productive-error” which makes us indulge in many common social mistakes such as not wanting to maintain good relations with people around us.

It was narrated that Abu Hanifa said to Dawud al-Taa’i, “Why do you prefer seclusion?” Dawud replied, “To struggle against myself to leave disputing.” Abu Hanifah said, “Attend meetings, listen to what is said, and remain silent.” Dawud said, “I have done so, but I have found nothing heavier than this.”

Man is undoubtedly a social creature – no matter how hard you try to draw a safe circle, you have to socialize and progress in society. While you can’t always choose who crosses your path, let’s look at 5 ways you can maintain good relationships with the people around you.

Tip #1 Positivism never fails:

The first most important tip is to be kind to your own self, be merciful to your soul, let it breathe full, nourish it with positive thoughts and let that shine out to the whole world. This will make people around you get immersed within your positive vibes. Throw yourself in the sea of negativity about everything and everyone and nothing will reach you back except the echoes of people who will be too afraid to communicate with you or either reluctant to be around you for any good reason. So be positive; a positivist never fails.

Tip #2 Control your tantrums:

How easily we get annoyed by even the slightest of things! And how hard it becomes to overcome this tantrum behavior. But without self control, you cannot achieve excellence. So give your best to all people – family, friends, and strangers – for the sake of your own soul and don’t throw your tantrums over people. Those who have done you no harm do not deserve it, and those who have made you angry don’t care of your anger; so why the fuss to exhaust yourself? Think about it.

And speak nicely to people#Quran2:83

Tip #3 Bring kindness in your speech and actions/be wise: It liberates.

When was the last time you did something embarrassing like raise your voice in an argument, only to regret your decision? The damage it brings is more to our own selves. We hurt ourselves and we hurt others. Secondly, we disappoint even the loved ones around us with such intense low-to-the-ground behavior. Th result? Jeopardized relations. If you’re a victim of it, you just need to spend 2 quality minutes working it out. This exercise is called Recall and Heal. Think of a situation which had been harmful for you in the past, perhaps where you think you could have practiced self-discipline but didn’t. Now recall your response made to it when it occurred. Was it too controlled or foolish and avoidable? Learn a lesson from this embarrassment and make a note to yourself to go wise next time with people. It makes you a wise person and liberates.

If they pass by some vain speech or play, they pass by it with dignity.#Quran 25:72

Tip #4 Don’t mind the strangers:

There are people with whom we interact on a daily basis and people who we see occasionally (and perhaps do not even interact with), but our reputations do. These strangers can be our far off relatives or colleagues or very old friends. Please do not forget, it’s equally important to keep good relations even with those strangers that we hardly know. Treat them well. If you happen to be in the same environment as they are, be soft with your eyes when passing by them. Use your body language to interact positively without using words. If angered by them, keep silent. This keeps our contacts tied to us in good shape and also makes our stranger enemies still respect us.

Tip #5 Moment for reflection:

Your reward is with Allah and not with people, so take a moment to reflect. Once you realise this life is a test and your actions are observed by Allah Almighty, you’ll begin to absorb the bigger picture – and then the affairs of this world seem to look so small. Forgiving people becomes easy. Ignoring the mistakes of people and going smooth with them becomes your nature. Why? You have finally given up the malice of your heart for the happiness of Allah!

If you give your best to the people and then wait for your reward from your Lord, you become abundant with blessings without you even knowing it. SubhanAllah. That’s the beauty of practicing good manners like the Prophets and Pious people of Muslim Ummah.

And now to raise your spirits high, let me end on a positive note:

Peace be upon you, because you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!#Quran 13:24 

16 November 2012

Picture Perfect: FREE GAZA

Paris Square covered by Muslims and non-Muslims who have chosen this way to protest Israel holocaust in Gaza.

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15 November 2012

Hadith Info: Price also Forbidden

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When Allah forbids a thing, He also forbids its price.[Abu Dawud]

Some people who lived outside Madina did not know about the absolute prohibition of alcohol. One day Amir bin Rabi’ah (radi Allahu anhu) returned from a journey and presented a bottle of alcohol to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) – a bottle full of alcohol!

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) never drank alcohol, neither in the pre-Islamic days of ignorance, nor in Islam. However, people still used to offer him gifts some of which he wouldn’t use himself but give to others or sell. People would sometimes give him gold or silver which he would not wear but give to his wives or others.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) looked at the alcohol in surprise and said, “Don’t you know that this has been forbidden?

Amir bin Rabi’ah (radi Allahu anhu) replied, “Forbidden? No! I didn’t know about it, O Messenger of Allah!

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Yes. It has been forbidden.

Amir (radi Allahu anhu) then took the bottle away. Some people suggested that he should sell it. When the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) heard about it he said, “No. When Allah forbids something, he also forbids its value.” Upon hearing this Amir poured the alcohol on the ground.

Notice how the Sahabah immediately acted upon the teachings of Islam, putting aside all other considerations!

Notice how briefly and to the point the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) gave instructions and made corrections. He didn’t go on and on about it.

Notice that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) did not question the Sahabi’s integrity by saying such things as, “How could you not have known that alcohol is now forbidden!” He never doubted the intentions of the people around him, nor abused them.

This Hadith makes clear that when something is forbidden to consume (such as alcohol), then it is also forbidden to sell it and use the money. Notice that the Sahabi did not gift the bottle on to one of the non-Muslims around either.

12 November 2012

The Red River in your Body - (Blood Circulatory System)

Did You Know...?

  • The heart beats 2 1/2 billion times during a person's life?
  • Arteries, vessels & capillaries would reach 100 thousand miles if stretched out end to end?
  • On average, the heart pumps 75 gallons of blood an hour for a lifetime of 70 plus years?
  • One person's red blood cells, if stacked, would reach 31,000 miles high?
  • The heart is the body's strongest muscle?
  • Even rigid metal pipes would soon burst from the pounding force of the heart?
  • The heart rarely fails of its own accord?
  • New arteries can be formed to bypass blocked arteries?
  • Death would soon result if our body temperature rose only 9° F above normal?
  • In the time it takes to turn this page, your body will lose about 3 million red cells… and your bone marrow will make as many more?
  • Every red blood cell contains 1,080,000 oxygen atoms?
  • During exercise the body can require more than 75 gallons of oxygen per hour?

"There are signs for the believing nation in the creation of their (own) selves, and the creation of the animals He has scattered (across the world)." [Quran 45:4]

Red River of Life

Day and night, non-stop  mechanics rush to numerous sites to repair and replace damaged parts, supply vehicles deliver fuel, plumbers are busy repairing leaks and breaks. A cleanup crew continually traverses the ways removing debris, and a police force keeps the peace while an army repels attacks and destroys the enemy.

All this—and more—is part of an elaborate network, which is centrally controlled by an electronic system receiving commands from a super computer beyond description.

Does it sound like an advanced nation in a science fiction movie? No, it is a mechanism right within our bodies. It all belongs to a complex river of life. We call it our circulatory system. But it is far more than that. It is a marvellous feat of engineering, the work of our all-wise Creator.

The Circulatory System

Seventy times a minute, two ounces of blood bursts forth from the left side of the heart to begin its journey through the body. The heart, the body's strongest muscle, delivers a pounding force against the artery walls 70 times a minute, more than 100,000 times every day—some 2-1/2 billion times during a person's life. Not even rigid metal pipes could stand this pounding for long! But the God of creation designed the arteries especially for the purpose.

With each impact, the arteries stretch and the strong muscles coiling around them recoil, sending the intermittent waves of blood through a never-ending river of arteries, vessels and capillaries. Stretched out, they would reach 100 thousand miles, long enough to reach around the earth 4 times. So dense is this network of capillaries that no cell in the body is more than a millionth of an inch away from the blood supply. The capillaries are so thin that the tiny red cells must line up in single file and bend and twist to get through.

The farther away from the pumping station, the greater the surrounding muscle, which may wrap two or three times around the smallest arteries. Rhythmically squeezing and relaxing, they force blood to the 10 billion capillaries that fan throughout the body while one-way valves prevent the blood from flowing backwards.

In the outermost branches of this system, blood flow slows to less than a fraction of an inch a second as the blood drops off its load of nutrients and oxygen and picks up a load of waste for its return trip. Finally the blood arrives in the right side of the heart and is immediately pumped to the lungs with the nearly toxic waste. Here it exchanges carbon dioxide for another load of oxygen. (In order to maintain a delicate pH balance, less than 10% of the carbon dioxide is exhaled as another load of oxygen is grasped. And remember, blood is being delivered to the lungs at the rate of about two ounces 70 times a minute at rest. That is an incredible 75 gallons (or more) per hour for a lifetime of perhaps 70 plus years!)

Surely, an all-wise Creator had to be the designer!

The Lungs

The food we eat provides the fuel to keep the cells of our bodies alive and functioning. But for the fuel to burn there must also be a continuous supply of pure oxygen at the incredible rate of about 4 gallons per hour. (And this is when the body is at rest! It can suddenly require more than 75 gallons of oxygen per hour during exercise.)

How did the Creator manage this miracle? Our lungs consist of some 300 million air-filled sacs laced with tiny capillaries that would cover 750 square feet if spread flat. Through walls only 10 millionths of an inch thick, the exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen takes place. While passing through a tiny capillary in the lungs, less than 1/50th inch long, it drops off carbon dioxide and picks up another load of oxygen before it returns to the heart to be launched into the arteries leading to every cell in the body. Renewed, the blood returns to the left side of the heart, where the heart again propels it into another journey.

But the exchange in the lungs is not so simple. The red blood cell consists primarily of water and a red protein, hemoglobin, its source of power to carry oxygen. In the centre of each molecule of haemoglobin (a construction of more than 10,000 atoms), are four iron atoms that act as a magnet holding fast to oxygen that has been absorbed as the red cell passes through a lung capillary. While one haemoglobin molecule can carry only 4 oxygen molecules, every red blood cell has about 270 million of these complex proteins. The iron atoms latch onto the oxygen as the red blood cells pass through the lungs. The haemoglobin is actually about 95% saturated with oxygen.

As a red blood cell passes by a cell of tissue needing oxygen, the red blood cell releases its cargo and at the same time removes deadly carbon dioxide given off by the cell's burning of fuel. But before the carbon dioxide can be removed, the red blood cell converts it into carbonic acid. The red blood cell then converts the acid to a bicarbonate plus hydrogen, which the blood plasma carries through the veins to the lungs.

But the lungs cannot exhale the bicarbonate. So the red blood cells break down the carbonate to carbon dioxide, which the lungs exhale.
Exchange of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide Between the Lungs and the Red Blood Cells 
How could this complex process be the result of any senseless cause-and-effect random selection? The credit must be given to a higher Intelligence far surpassing human understanding.

Red Blood Cells by Design?

Capillaries are so thin that
 the tiny red cells must line up,
single file, and bend and
 twist to get through
Even the physical properties of the blood cell show very special design which could never have come about by evolution. Look at the physical shape of the red blood cell, for example. The red blood cell must be designed so that it can provide maximum volume with maximum speed in absorbing gases. And it must be flexible and strong enough to pass many times through canals narrower than itself without being damaged. If you were the designer, how would you design it?

A sphere? Let's test it in a coloured liquid. At first it begins to soak up liquid very rapidly, only to be bogged down as the liquid approaches the centre  Obviously not a good choice. Perhaps a disk would be a better shape? Well, it soaks up the liquid all right, but will it hold up? Extraordinary distortion of the red cell occurs as it passes through minute blood vessels with diameters less than itself. Then it must spring back to its original shape. It must make about 75,000 trips through these narrow passages and back to the heart. A simple disk would not meet these requirements. It would probably tear very soon, or-worse-clog the system.

What would be an ideal shape for the red blood cell? A computer-generated design, from a complex equation formulated by science engineers, produced a graphical discoid image. It was dimpled on both sides with rounded edges, the exact shape of the red blood cell. Doesn't this show that an intelligent Mind designed it? Who, but God?


Earlier, we compared our circulatory system to an advanced nation with military, police and civilian components working around the clock. The red blood cell is only one part of this complex system. Let's look briefly at several other components at work.

The life of every cell in the body is dependent on its receiving an uninterrupted supply of nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, salts and vitamins, the balance being carefully regulated (improper regulating could lead to death). To supply this never-ending demand is the task of the continuously flowing red river, the blood.

About 55% of the blood is plasma. Plasma carries the many delicately balanced nutrients, repair mechanisms, a means to clean up dead cells, and an army of cells to combat disease and other foreign materials that may enter the body. It also provides a mechanism to dissolve blood clots.

Plasma, which is 90% water, is the substance which makes it possible for the other constituents to reach to all parts of the body. Dissolving and distributing the food we eat, it carries minerals, salts, proteins and fats to every cell.

Blood consists of a diverse society of living, thriving cells which perform specific tasks and co-exist in strict proportions. This balance of these cells to each other is even more critical than the balance of nutrients. A decline in any one of the cells can endanger life.

For the elaborate community to function harmoniously, maintenance is necessary.

The Maintenance Crew

Principal Varieties of
Blood Cells
Platelets are the maintenance crew for the banks of the river traversing through our body. When a blood vessel is cut or ruptures, blood platelets stick to fibers in the damaged area of the vessel, swelling and shooting out tiny spikes to plug the hole. At the same time they signal for help, and other platelets respond by rushing to the site. If the tear is too large to be sealed with platelets, the damaged tissue sends for reinforcements and a liquid protein begins to congeal into long, tough fibers, trapping more platelets in the tangled web until the rent is plugged.

What has prevented some people with more serious injuries from bleeding to death? If all else fails, the arteries shrink, reducing the blood supply to the injured area until sufficient clotting can plug the leak. This process is associated with shock.

Did so elaborate a system of repair and maintenance come about by chance?

Warriors Fight a Never-Ending Battle

The white blood cells consist of three classes of cells and several sub-classes, each with their unique responsibilities. Collectively they fight infections, defend against parasites, take part in hypersensitivity and inflammatory reactions, digest many types of foreign cellular materials and build immunities.

White blood cells, the largest and most numerous of all the blood's cells yet less than 1% of the blood's volume, perhaps lead the most active lives. They wind their way through the blood stream, stalking and devouring bacteria, viruses and other tiny invaders-truly, a well-equipped military force against attack.
How are these many cells which make up the blood produced?

An Unprecedented Manufacturing Facility

The centralized computer, the brain, regulates the manufacturing plant which operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week. As the need rises and falls production increases and decreases to keep a delicate balance of the various cells making up the blood. Let us look at the red blood cell again.

There is an ever-changing need for oxygen as we sleep or exercise, rest or think. The bone marrow will slow or speed production of these red cells to meet the oxygen demand. However, red cells die after about 120 days and must be replaced.

In the time it takes to turn this page, your body will lose about 3 million red cells and your bone marrow will produce the same number. Red blood cell production can be increased up to eight times if the need arises. Greater production of cells means greater demand for oxygen. So great is the demand for oxygen (about 4 gallons per hour) that there are almost countless red blood cells in the body. If stacked, they would reach 31,000 miles high. Yet they are so tiny, it would require 12,500 to measure only one inch high.

There is even a recycling crew.

As red cells age and wear out they are broken down. Nearly all the protein and iron is reused & emdash;a very efficient recycling procedure.

But none of these vehicles could travel on the red river without a pumping station.

Central Pumping Station

Blood circulation depends on a central pumping station that must work 24 hours a day, non-stop  Other muscles soon give out but the heart must keep on working for a lifetime.

A single pause for no more than five minutes would result in death.

The heart, no larger than a fist, is divided into four chambers. The left side receives blood into the top from the lungs and the bottom pumps it to all parts of the body. The right side receives blood into the top and the bottom very gently pumps it into the lungs.

Though its workload is tremendous, rarely does it fail except for some reason other than itself. But if the heart is damaged, by an almost miraculous cooperation many components immediately join forces, converging on the site. If the injury is not too great, white blood cells clear away debris. Within weeks, scar tissue has replaced dead muscle and the heart is patched with stiff, electrically inert fibres  Though the patch cannot contract, the remainder of the heart goes on working, providing life to the body's cells.

If an artery becomes blocked, alternate routes are established. Small new arteries, or collaterals, grow from branches above the blocked artery and connect to small arteries below the blockage. While this level of protection varies, tests have shown that in some instances normal blood flow to the heart is restored.

Controlled by the brain, the heart rate rises to meet our needs. When we sleep the heart is working at its slowest pace. During exercise it speeds up to supply more blood to the muscles as they burn more fuel. In extreme cases like responding to a sudden threat of death, the heart may speed to a soaring 200 beats per minute, pumping blood with its nutrients so the body and mind can spring into action.

A Thermostat in the Brain

The red river of life plays a vital role in maintaining body temperature within very close tolerances. We would soon die if it rose only 90F above normal. Body temperature is constantly monitored by a thermostat in the brain. Every cell is like a tiny motor burning fuel and giving off heat, which increases with exercise. Infection or exposure to excessive ambient temperature also increases body heat. When our body temperature has raised only a fraction of a degree, our cooling mechanisms turn on-valves open and more blood is directed to the skin, where the heat is rapidly dissipated, aided by the evaporation of sweat.

On the other hand, if body temperature drops, the heart slows, vessels in the skin are constricted and blood is rerouted to deeper paths away from the cold.

Were we to travel from sea level to the top of the highest mountain we would be breathless and dizzy at first because of the lack of oxygen in the thinner air. But our heartbeat would quicken and our bone marrow would increase its production of red blood cells by as much as 50%. Soon we would have adapted to the new environment.

After having seen how the blood works to supply nutrients and to clean and purify, can't we better understand the use of it as a symbol of purification by the magnificent creator.

"He created the heavens and the earth for a specific purpose, designed you and perfected your design, then to Him is the final destiny." [Quran 64:3]

  • Moody Video, “Red River of Life,” ©1957, 1986 and 1998. 
  • The Incredible Machine by National Geographic Society.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, 1999 CD 
  • North Carolina State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • The Franklin Institute On-Line, on: The Heart, Vessels and Blood
  • University of Tasmania, Faculty of Health and Science
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10 November 2012

Picture Perfect: Earth Without Borders

Islam calls to LA ILLAHA ILLALLAH (There is no deity but God)

It doesn't call to Nationalism.

Yes we have tribes and Allah, Almighty has beautifully described the reason for tribes and groups of people -

"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)." [Quran 49:13]

08 November 2012

Generosity in Islam: The Power of Giving

As human beings, we have an innate sense of morality. No matter what religion, race or colour we are, certain qualities serve as the moral standard.

We admire justice, bravery, honesty and compassion. Also, we abhor those who demonstrate treachery, cruelty or corruption. Moral standards are universal, and one of the most important aspects of Islam is adherence to high moral standards and good manners in society.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught Muslims to have the best manners and distinguished characteristics. The Prophet’s own high standard of morals and manners made him the best example for Muslims to follow. God said in the Quran:

"And verily you, O Muhammad, are on an exalted standard of character." #Quran 68: 4

Generosity was among the countless good qualities of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) . He was the most generous of people and he used to be most generous in Ramadan.

One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  offered prayer in the mosque and then hurriedly went to his house and returned immediately. A companion asked why he left and he replied:

I left a piece of gold at home which was given for charity and I disliked letting it remain a night in my house, so I brought it to the mosque to distribute. (Al-Bukhari)

Our worldly possessions are bounties from God, who is the Most Generous. Muslims believe that everything originates from God and everything will return to Him. Thus, it is logical to behave as if that which we possess is merely a loan, something we are obligated to preserve, protect and ultimately share.

Whenever Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) met a miserly person, he advised him to be more generous and charitable. Ibn `Abbas said that he heard Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saying: “The believer is not the one who eats when his neighbour beside him is hungry” (Al-Bayhaqi). Another companion heard the Prophet saying: “The believer is simple and generous, but the wicked person is deceitful and ignoble.(Abu-Dawud)

Definition of Generosity

Princeton University wordnet defines generosity as the willingness to give freely. Islam encourages this concept of generosity so much so that it is embedded in one of the five pillars of Islam, the obligatory charity known as Zakat. In Arabic, the termzakat literally means purification of the heart however; it is also the payment, from surplus money, of an obligatory charity designed by God to provide for all the needy members of the community. It is a fixed calculable amount.

There is also another form of generosity in Islam called sadaqah (optional charity). Linguistically, sadaqah means truthfulness, and some scholars have described it as the heart being truthful to its Creator. Anything given generously - freely to others - with the intention of pleasing God is sadaqah. Sadaqah can be as simple as a smile, helping an elderly person with their groceries or removing objects from the road or path.

Even in the direst of circumstances, a true believer is the one who gives generously.

Generosity can be viewed as a wise investment in the future. Generosity or sadaqah may pave the way to Paradise because with every generous act comes great reward from God. However, being generous does not only mean giving freely from what you have in abundance. Generosity does not lie in giving away something that is no longer useful but in giving freely from the things we love or need.

Aisha (the wife of the Prophet) said: “A lady, along with her two daughters came to me asking for some alms, but she found nothing with me except one date which I gave to her and she divided it between her two daughters.(Al-Bukhari)

God tells us in the Quran that whatever we give away generously, with the intention of pleasing Him, He will replace and multiply. God knows what is in the hearts of men.

God says: "Say: Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and also restricts it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in God’s Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers." #Quran 34: 39

The Value of Generosity

The companions understood the value of being generous. Abdullah ibn Umar was seen in the market buying fodder for his camel on credit. One of the men queried this knowing that Abdullah had received 4,000 dirhams and a blanket the previous day. It was explained that before nightfall Abdullah had distributed the money amongst the needy. He then took the blanket, threw it over his shoulder and headed home, but by the time he arrived even the blanket was gone, he had given it to a needy person.

After the death of the Prophet, the people faced great hardship due to drought. They came to Abu Bakr asking him to provide them with enough to sustain them, but he was unable to help, the treasury was empty. Just at that time, the camel caravan belonging to Uthman arrived from Damascus. It was filled with foodstuffs and other goods. The merchants gathered at Uthman’s house offering him large amounts of money for the goods; however, he turned them down saying he was prepared only to give the goods to the one from whom he would receive the greatest reward. Uthman gave all the goods to the starving people of Madinah and did not charge them. He knew that God would reward him with something far greater than money.

Even in the direst of circumstances, a true believer is the one who gives generously.

The people came to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)  and asked: “If someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” He said: “He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: “If he cannot find even that?” He replied: “He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: “If he cannot do that?” He replied: “Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.(Al-Bukhari)

And God says in the Quran that He will repay the generosity of a believer.

"And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged."#Quran 2: 272

God is the one who provides for us and He expects us to share generously. We are encouraged to be benevolent and unselfish with our possessions, with our time and with our exemplary behaviour towards others.

By Aisha Stacey

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07 November 2012

Find all the small things that make your parents happy

It’s a classic movie scene, almost cliche: a grown child leaving home as his parents standby watching. The mother, usually weeping, is being consoled by her husband. Today's children think that it was the parents who were losing in these situations. Typically the child is beaming, excited at the new prospects that await, while the parents are sad as their progeny heads forth to tackle the world alone. In reality, that is not the case; in fact, it is the child who loses the most.

As we grow up, it seems as if we develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. We like to do things for ourselves – we enjoy setting our own schedules and determining what the most appropriate thing to do is. We are often disenchanted with authority and restrictions; this can lead to tension during those hormone-driven teen years.

It is not parents who lose in the relationship when their child leaves, but it is the child. It is simply amazing and unfortunate that we are often so blind as humans that we underestimate and overlook the blessings in our lives until we lose them or are about to lose them.

If I were to move out of my house for the last time, I would cannot help but feel an empty void. Thats me. My parents have always been there for me in the worst of times and best of times. Sure there might have been those communication mishaps where care and love could lead to frustration and anger, but in reality those were only small bumps and potholes along the road. Compared to the many times my dad and I “fixed” things around the house together or chatted endlessly on world affairs, or the times my mom  prepared meals for me especially or discussed social affairs, those strained moments seem like simply nothing. In fact, looking back, one can really see that any difficult times were founded in deep care for one another.

And your Lord decreed that you should worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both attain old age in your life, then do not say to them ‘uff‘ (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them, rather address them in terms of honor. And lower for them the wing of submission and humility through mercy. And say, ‘My Lord! Grant them Your mercy as they brought me up when I was small.#Quran, 17:23-24

This is just a reminder to my fellow brethren (especially the younger ones) to kick it with your parents. Find all the small things that make your parents happy and just do them! Be obedient. Buy your mom gifts (even if it’s just once!) and do something for your dad that he really appreciates. Why? Simply to make your parents happy. When we go out of our way to make our parents happy we are obeying Allah in being dutiful to our parents and we get a glimpse at what their lives have been like; it allows us to appreciate all that they have done for us. Every stage in life has a sweetness to it, and without a doubt one of the sweetest things is being with and learning from your parents. Do not miss out!

To my parents:  jazakum Allahu kulli khayran (may Allah reward you with good), may Allah `azza wa jal (the Mighty and Majestic) reward you both because I cannot come close to repaying you. I love you.

06 November 2012

Hadith Info: Visiting Rulers Hated by Allah

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Undoubtedly, Allah loves those rulers who keep the company of scholars (Ulama) and He hates those scholars who maintain ties with rulers. Because when scholars frequent the rulers then the scholars incline towards the world, whereas when rulers frequent the scholars then the rulers incline towards the Hereafter. [Imam Dailami]

If you find the religious leadership in your area hobnobbing with the rulers and elite, taking pride in knowing them, socializing with them, or working for them, know what Allah’s ruling is regarding them.

Sayyidna Obadah bin Swamet said: “If a pious learned man loves the rulers, he commits hypocrisy and if he loves the rich he commits show.” [Ihya Ulum Id-Din]

03 November 2012

Picture Perfect: Merging Oceans and Barrier

Two bodies of water were merging in the middle of The Gulf of Alaska and there was a foam developing only at their junction. This happens when glaciers of fresh water start melting and flow to join the ocean water which is more salty. Because of the difference in the salinity and densities of these two meeting ocean water bodies, a surface tension is developed between them that acts like a thin wall and does not allow them to mix.

"He has let loosed the two seas (the salt water and the sweet) meeting together. Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass." [Quran 55:19-20]

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01 November 2012

The Power of Forgiveness: An Islamic Perspective

God has granted intellect to human beings. The intellect entails responsibility. The more intellect a person has the more he/she is responsible.

When the intellect is missing, the responsibility is also not there. Little children are not held responsible, because their intellect has not yet developed. The insane are not responsible, because they have lost the intellectual capacity. However, part of our being human is also that we make mistakes. Sometime we make mistakes without deliberation and intention. But sometime we knowingly and deliberately sin and do wrong to others.

It is said: "to err is human and to forgive is divine." Both parts of this statement are very true. As human beings we are responsible, but we do also make mistakes and we are constantly in need of forgiveness. Islam speaks about two elements of forgiveness: a) God’s forgiveness; b) Human forgiveness. We need both, because we do wrong in our relations to God as well as in our relations to each other.  

God’s Forgiveness

There are many names of God given in the Quran. They are called “Most Beautiful Names” and they indicate many different and diverse attributes and qualities of God. Some of these names are related to His mercy and forgiveness. Let us look at some of these names:

1. Al-Ghafoor: The Most Forgiving. This name occurs in the Quran more than seventy times. There are other names from the same root, such as Ghafir and Ghaffar. The meaning of the Arabic word “ghafara” is to cover, to hide and from it comes the meaning “to excuse,” “to pardon,” “to remit” and “to forgive.” God does all these things. In the Quran, it is mentioned that God does not forgive the Shirk(without repentance) but He may forgive every other sin for whomsoever He wills. (Al-Nisa' 4:116) We must turn to God to seek His forgiveness.

2. Al-'Afuw: This has another part of forgiveness. This name occurs in the Quran five times. Literally the word 'Afw means “to release,” “to heal.”“to restore, to remit.” Thus in relation to God it means “to release us from the burden of punishment due to our sins and mistakes,” "to restore our honor after we have dishonored ourselves by committing sins and making mistakes." Sometimes in the Quran both names: 'Afuw and Ghafoor come together.

3. Al-Tawwab: The Acceptor of Repentance. This name of God is mentioned in the Quran about 11 times. God accepts the repentance of those who sincerely repent and turn to him. The word “tawwab” gives the sense of “oft-returning” which means that God again and again accepts the repentance. We make sins and mistakes then we repent, He accepts our repentance. Then again we commit sins and make mistakes and when we repent, He again very kindly accepts us and gives us another chance.

4. Al-Haleem: The Clement. This name is mentioned fifteen times in the Quran. This means that God is not quick to judgment. He gives time. He forebears and is patient to see His servant return to Him.

5. Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim: The Most Merciful and Compassionate. These names are the most frequent in the Quran. Al-Rahman is mentioned 57 times and al-Raheem is mentioned 115 times. Al-Rahman indicates that God's mercy is abundant and plenty and Al-Raheem indicates that this is always the case with God. God is full of love and mercy and is ever Merciful.

O God, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me

The Quran teaches that God is a Judge and He also punishes, but God is not bound to punish. The justice of God, according to Quran is that God does not and will not inflict undue punishment on any person. He will not ignore the good of any person. But if He wishes to forgive any sinner, He has full freedom to do that. His mercy is unlimited and His love is infinite.

There are many verses in the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. In one of the prayers that the Prophet taught, he said: “O God, You are most Forgiving One, You love to forgive, so forgive me.” ( At-Trimidhi & Ibn Majah). We need God's mercy and forgiveness all the time. It is wrong to assume at any time that one will find eternal salvation without the forgiveness of God.

Human Forgiveness in Islam

Just as it is important to believe in God’s mercy and forgiveness, it is also necessary to base human relations on forgiveness. We cannot expect God's forgiveness unless we also forgive those who do wrong to us. Forgiving each other, even forgiving one's enemies is one of the most important of Islamic teaching. In the Quran God has described the Believers as: "those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive." [Quran 42:37]

Later in the same chapter God says: "The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon God" [Quran 42: 40] In another place the Quran says: "If you punish, then punish with the like of that wherewith you were afflicted. But if you endure patiently, indeed it is better for the patient. Endure you patiently. Your patience is not except through the help of God…" [Quran 16:126-27]

In one the famous sayings of the Prophet (peace be upon him) it is reported that he said that God commanded him about nine things. One of them he mentioned was “that I forgive those who do wrong to me.

Prophet Muhammad was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta'if to preach God’s message to its people, they mistreated him. They abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, God’s angel appeared to him and told him that God was very angry with the people of Taif and sent him to destroy them because they mistreated God’s beloved Prophet. The Prophet prayed to God to save the people of Ta’if, because what they did was out of their ignorance. He said: “O Allah, guide these people, because they did not know what they were doing.” (Al-Bukhari)

When he entered the city of Makkah after the victory, the Prophet  had in front of him some of his staunchest enemies. Those who fought him for many years, persecuted his followers and killed many of them. Now he had full power to do whatever he wanted to punish them for their crimes. It is reported that the Prophet asked them: “What do you think I shall do to you now” They expected nothing but retaliation and pleaded for mercy. The Prophet said, “Today I shall say to you what Joseph (referring to Prophet Yusuf -peace be upon him- as mentioned in the Qur'an, Yusuf 12:92) said to his brothers” “No blame on you today. Go, you are all free.” (Al-Albani)

Soon they all came and accepted Islam at his hands. He forgave even Hend who had caused the murder of his uncle Hamza. After killing him, she had his body mutilated and chewed his liver. When she accepted Islam, the Prophet even forgave her.

Justice, law and order are necessary for the maintenance of a social order, but there is also a need for forgiveness to heal the wounds and to restore good relations between the people.

A very striking example of forgiveness we find in the Quran in reference to the most unfortunate event of “Slander of Aisha.” Some hypocrites of Madinah accused her. They tried to put dirt on her noble character. One of the slanderers turned out to be Mistah, the cousin of Aisha’s father Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr used to give financial help to this young man. After he slandered his daughter, Abu Bakr vowed not to help him anymore. But God reminded Abu Bakr and through him all the Believers:

"Let not those among you who are endued with grace and amplitude of means resolve by oath against helping their kinsmen, those in want and those who migrated in the path of God. Let them forgive and overlook. Do you not wish that God should also forgive you. Indeed God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" [Quran 24: 22]

Abu Bakr  came out of his home and said: “Yes, indeed, I do want God’s forgiveness. He did not only continue to help him but he increased his allowance. Islam emphasizes justice and punishment of the wrong doers, but it equally strongly emphasizes mercy, kindness and love. Justice, law and order are necessary for the maintenance of a social order, but there is also a need for forgiveness to heal the wounds and to restore good relations between the people. We must keep in mind that as much as we need God's forgiveness for our own sins and mistakes, we must also practice forgiveness towards those who do wrong to us.

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi