Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A "70 excuse" exercise

The other day a friend and myself were waiting for someone near a subway station. The two people we were waiting for were late by quite a bit.  While waiting, we decided to count 70 excuses for the people being late.  Making 10 excuses was easy, but it was struggle after that and we were having to be very creative. By the time we got to 21, the individuals we were waiting for arrived.  It turned out one of the excuses we made was actually true.  The struggle to make so many excuses made one reflect on how much benefit of doubt one has to give other people. The teaching of making 70 excuses is sourced from what follows:

Hamdun al-Qassar, one of the great early Muslims, as narrated by Imam Bayhaqi in his Shu`ab al-Iman [7.522] said: exercise

"If a friend among your friends errs, make seventy excuses for them. If your hearts are unable to do this, then know that the shortcoming is in your own selves[ibid]"

Shaykh Faraz comments:

This is because the default assumption about all humans and their actions is that they are sound and free of error. This is considered our operating certainty.

After this, if we find something that makes us doubt about them, we are not permitted to leave this operating certainty that they did not err for mere doubts or misgivings.

Allah Most High commanded us:

"O you who believe! Shun much doubt; for lo! some doubt is sinful." [Quran, 49.12]

The doubts and misgivings about others that are sinful are those that do not have a sound basis that would be sufficient to leave our operating assumption about others that they are upright and their actions free of error.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Amazing new Nasheed Artist: Nader Khan singing at RIS-2008

A new nasheed artist from the Toronto area-alhamdulillah. He will be singing at Reviving the Islamic Spirit Bazaar stage. His CDs will be on sale at different booths as well. 10 signed copies of the CD will also be available at RIS.

Nader Khan-He sings with his voice and heart. Mashahallah.

Clips of his nasheeds from his upcoming album on his facebook page:

His website:

Nader Khan is a Canadian Muslim singer/songwriter, who grew up in India and Saudi Arabia. He's been performing in the GTA since he first arrived in Canada in the early nineties. His first album is scheduled to release later this month (Dec 2008) at the RIS 2008 Convention in Toronto.

Nader produces his albums through Relief Works, a unique initiative that promotes local and international relief efforts via Islamic music and arts, in pursuit of Divine pleasure through beauty, excellence, and service of His creation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book Review: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is an insightful, thought-provoking and engaging book. It answers questions and dispels myths about success which often boggle our minds.

The book's core theme is that while skill and talent is an important ingredient for success , it is just one among many ingredients. Other important factors for success are things like opportunity, luck (in being placed in circumstances that were just right for success), lineage (!) and hard work.

Gladwell backs his arguments with concrete examples and research which helps one being convinced of what he is saying.

A must read book for sure. Read his interview about the book here in which he says:

"When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It's because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances— and that means that we, as a society, have more control about who succeeds—and how many of us succeed—than we think. That's an amazingly hopeful and uplifting idea."

You can read a book extract here.

As a Muslim, one reads this and really starts believing success is not of one's own doing-it is Allah placing us in the right place at the right time with the right people-though his mercy.

And Allah alone gives success.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jemal Jelil: The Top 3 Reasons Why Marriages Fail For Men"

Jemal Jelil from
The Top 3 Reasons Why Marriages Fail For Men"

Before I list why marriages fail for men, lemme define what I mean by a man's marriage failing.

What I mean here when I say that a marriage fails is that your wife has lost interest in you. Or at least, she's not as interested in you as you'd like.

If it gets bad, she eventually expresses her disinterest in you by either: a) wanting to leave you, or b) cheating on you.

And it may happen in degrees, but to whatever extent she's disinterested, the marriage is failing.

So if you want to keep her interest, don't let these 3 reasons why marriages fail happen to you:

Just Husbands dot com

A local friend who has been married for many years has started a blog/website for husbands ( or those preparing to be husbands). He gives a lot of practical advice. I would encourage you all to check his website out:

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hatim al-Assamm on the Prayer.

It is related of Hatim al-Assamm, may God be pleased whim, that he said, in answer to a question about Prayer: ' When the time of prayer is at hand, I make a proper ablution, go to the spot where I intend to pray and sit there till all my limbs and organs are in a collected state. Then I stand to preform my Prayer, placing Ka'ba between my brows, the Bride-over-Hell beneath my feat, Paradise to my right and Hell to my left, and the Angel of Death behind me, thinking all the while that this is my final Prayer. Then I stand between hope and fear, I carefully pronounce " Allahu Akbar!" Then I recite the Quran harmoniously, bow in humility and prostrate myself submissively. I then sit on my left haunch, spreading out the top of my left foot and raising my right foot on the toes. I follow this with sincerity. Then I wonder whether or not my Prayer has been accepted.'

Taken from Imam Ghazlai's Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship translated by Mukhtar Holland.