Posts from March 2015

Some things to do when you’re alone

March 30, 2015

Bake. Something I desperately miss. Not that I usually have the energy these days but more than that I really dislike the kind of ovens we have here in Jordan. Anyway, baking is a wonderful activity to do solo. Just the joys of mixing, pouring, baking and icing I find it quite relaxing, you might as well.tumblr_nlnkizzaOD1qmgc0qo1_1280

Organize. Well this list is certainly turning out to be advice for myself first. Being home alone -with not much to do, is the perfect opportunity to spruce things up, change things around and even get creative.984c6d3678f9e79445a267eccf3dfc4e

Read and sip. There are few things better than a good book and coffee (or tea). Pick up a good novel, sit back and enjoy. Relish in the moments when you really don’t have much to do since they’re probably few and far between.tumblr_mrhlzzAMUR1scz75yo1_500Pictures :: here

Let’s get serious about Leisure

March 16, 2015

bb943d578ca604518c2074c39323ed5dIf you’re tired of finding yourself wandering the inner depths of the Internet at 2am this set of tips will help you curb your Internet usage without curbing your curiosity. Read below for tips on how to enjoy your leisure and stop wasting time.

I stopped watching TV about two years ago and I naively thought all my procrastination problems would be solved. No more wasting time on entertainment for hours, I was going to be more productive in school and as a Muslim. Well, nice try. As the TV went off I began spending and increasing amount of time on the Internet until it replaced TV as my source of entertainment. Now that I’m in Jordan learning Arabic I realize I have to get some control over my Internet use. I’ve had a few successful days so far and I can’t help but share –something tells me I’m not alone in wanting to curb my internet use.

Think about non-electronic leisure you enjoy

The very first step is to ask “What else do I like to do?” Maybe it’s cooking, reading, journaling, or taking a walk outside, you have to first remind yourself that there are other things you enjoy doing. Sometimes we want to end our leisure in hopes of being more productive but I find that can be (at times) counter- productive, we need some leisure in our lives to renew ourselves for more serious work. And if we attempt to cut leisure out entirely we can find ourselves miserable or worse returning back to our old habits out of mere boredom. Hafsa, the wife of Prophet Muhammad, peace to him, was known to write poetry, so was the scholar Imam Shafi’I, leisure enriches our lives and sometimes helps us tap in to new talents. Non- technological group activities also give us time to relax with our family and friends.

Write out a time you want to use the computer and how long
Now we get to our actually computer usage. Sometimes we find ourselves on the computer at 11pm and wonder how exactly that happened? Or we spend an hour in the morning checking the net and barely leave ourselves time for breakfast, or we use our computer in the afternoon to distract ourselves from work/ homework. The best and worse time to use the computer is particular to your life but there is a best and worse time. Think about when that is and commit yourself to only using the computer when it’s most optimal. It may seem fun at the moment but if your computer use always ends in a feeling of regret how much fun is it really? Next, ask yourself how long you want to spend on the computer –be realistic! Excluding work that involves computer usage –which should also be structured, how much time do you want to spend on social media? Checking your favorite blogs? Reading the latest articles etc.? Again, be realistic. It’s better to start out with a 3-hour limit and slowly cut down to one hour than to cut it to one hour and fail miserably. It may also help to set a minimum and maximum limit so that once your minimum time is up it serves as a reminder that you should start closing out the tabs before you reach your maximum time limit.

What do you want to do?
If your serious about cutting down your computer time this may be the single most important step. I know that I usually waste time on the computer because I surf from one thing to another completely directionless. Ask yourself what exact you want to do online before opening your Internet browser. If you do want to surf that’s OK but give yourself a limit. For example: Visit 5 of my favorite blogs, check my social media, and read the latest article on my three favorite online magazines. Whatever you don’t get to do before your time is up, it’s OK, just leave it up and check it out tomorrow.

Make distinct time for leisure
Growing up I remember my dad coming home and seeing us –me and my little sister, on the couch books in our lap and eyes glue to the television –“Are you doing homework?” he would ask. We would always say yes but add that we were “Almost done”; nevertheless he commanded the TV must go off until we were finish. This is a valuable lesson that I finally understand. Leisure spoils work. But not only this, work spoils leisure as well. When you’re checking and responding to work related emails between looking at your favorite interior design blog –are you given either it’s full due? The email misses out on some of your attention but you also miss out on truly enjoying your leisure time with your mind flipping back and forth between leisure and work. When it’s time to relax, relax.

IMG_6679Turn off the net
If you live by yourself or can get everyone in your household on the same page, decide on a time to turn off the net. Maybe 8pm or maybe 10 pm but some time before bed do something dramatic and plug out the wireless plug. This will stop you from wondering how exacting you ended up with a screen in you face surfing the net at 1am. If you can’t do that then at the very least click the ‘off’ button on your wireless device.

Put away any electronics you don’t need after your net time is over
Literally put away. Put your laptop/ tablet outside of your bedroom –I suggest a bookshelf or closet. Out of sight out of mind. Since most of us use our phones as alarms (maybe something to reconsider for us technology addicts) putting your phone away is not an option but it is still useful to put it as far from you as you can while still being able to hear your alarm go off. Before doing so make sure your alarm is on and as loud as possible. This is a must so you avoid the trap of “making sure the sound is on” and end up on your Facebook newsfeed.

Calm the urge
The beautiful thing about the net is that it responds to our natural human curiosity but this is of course also the danger. Once you get off the net you will have a million and one different curiosity urges. You’ll want to know bits of information, you’ll wonder if your friend responded to your message or if anyone liked your pictures, it’s OK. But if you ever want to curb your Internet use, you can’t respond to it. The earlier you turn off the browser the harder it will be, just write it down. From the insignificant to the urgent, write down every urge you have that the Internet can fulfill and be patient. Tomorrow, by the grace of God you will wake up and if those things still matter to you, you can check it out then. See that’s not so bad.

**Final Tip** Remember the Prophet, peace and blessings to him, is said to have stated, “I do hate to see a man doing nothing for this world or the Hereafter. (1)” Whatever we do for leisure we shouldn’t indulge and we should try our best to firstly make our leisure halal (good and moral), intentional –leisure as a means to something of value, example: leisure to regain strength for worship, and as short as possible. And success is from the one who allows us leisure.

I’d love to know if any of these tips works for you, comment below or email me,

1. Abul-Qasim Attabarani, ”AI-Mu`jam Al-Kabeer”, 9/102

Don’t forget to pick up my book here: order a copy

It never hurts to dream

March 14, 2015

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Source :: here

It’s finally here

March 13, 2015

I’ve just released a compilation of 40 hadith narrated by ‘Aisha, the beloved wife of the prophet, peace to him. Here’s an excerpt from the book blog:

front cover 2 copy‘Aisha saw the birth of monotheism in Mecca at the hands of the prophet, peace to him. She saw her family make great sacrifices for Islam. She married the prophet, peace to him, as a young girl and stayed by his side until his death. Her father was the first Caliph. She lived through the caliphate of Omar and the death of Uthman. And led war in the great tribulation after the death of Uthman. But in case you have any doubts about her even in that moment hear this gem from our beloved, “The prophet, peace o him, mentioned that one of the believers would rise in insurrection and ‘Aisha laughed. He said, “Watch out Humayra (a nickname, meaning “little red one) that it is not you. Ali, if you have control over her be kind (Al Arba’in, p. 90)”. When Abu Bakrah was asked why he did not join in the Battle of the Camel as this tribulation was known he said ‘I heard the messenger of God say “Some people will rise in insurrection and be destroyed. Their leader will be a woman. Their leader will be in the garden.”(P.92)

‘Aisha was among the most prolific narrators of hadith among the wives of the prophet. She was incredibly strong-willed, a leader, a scholar, incredibly charitable, a saint. She is our mother and deserves more than a footnote in anyone’s history book.

I don’t have the ability to give her the kind of legacy that she deserves but I hope this little compilation will spark an interest in someone –or many, who can. And maybe one day Allah will allow me to follow in her footsteps of scholarship but today I am happy to begin with the speech she related from her beloved, peace and blessings to him, there’s a part of me that thinks that’s exactly where she might like me to start.”

The book is available here: order a copy

Depression hurts too

March 5, 2015

There are times in my life where I could say I’ve been depressed. The clinical meaning of depression is: a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems (source: There is also an amount of time it must last in order to be categorized as clinical depression. I’ll admit it, even writing about depression is depressing. I automatically think of some faint image of a woman who can’t get out of bed or can’t get off the couch and do anything of meaning. The saddest thing in a sense is that people who are depressed today have so many means of simply tuning the world out. This may be a saving grace causing someone not to kill themselves but it may also be a disadvantage, some of the greatest paintings, poems, and merely thoughts can come from a depressive state. Most of all without gadgets or entertainment to be distracted by you’re forced to live with yourself and your thoughts -again a difficult task that may have horrid consequences but a task that can also lead to great insights. But let’s talk about depression itself.

There’s a thing some of us often say to ourselves whether with full meaning or thoughtlessness that deserves examination. There are times when we say things like, “I hate myself”, “I’m such a loser” “I’m such an idiot (or other insult)”, “I wish I would die”. Let’s for a moment look at one of these examples and implement what I came to realize was an immensely strange paradox, “I wish I would die”. Here’s a question I began to ask myself: who is the “I” that wishes I would die and who is the “I” that should die? I use this example because it’s the best one in that it literally uses “I” twice. Do you realize how bizarre this is? There is a splitting that is happening right before our eyes and if we pay attention we gain not only insight but also freedom.

Who is the “I” that wishes “I” should die? This “I” takes a stance whereby it declares itself worthy of death. But it is in fact not speaking to itself. There is a conversation happening between it and the other “I”. One is the persecutor and one the persecuted. It appears to be the same person; the I wants to swallow itself whole. But does that make sense? Is the persecuting “I” wishing death on itself? It would appear so. But I don’t actually think that’s what’s happening. The persecuting “I” is almost like an outsider of the self or maybe it is the self looking out either way it see’s a part of itself and mistakes it for the whole. Think of it this way, let’s say a person had a son who was killed and they want to avenge his death by killing the murderer. Let’s say the murderers’ name is Sam, so the mother says, “I want Sam to suffer and die” (sorry to be so grim). Does she want Sam to suffer and die? Or does she want the murderer of her son to suffer and die? But- you say, they are the same person! No they are not (they are, but bare with me). Does she want the father to two children to suffer and die? Does she want the loving husband to suffer and die? Does she want the caring teacher to suffer and die? No of course not -but, they are all the same person.

The same applies to the self. It is not that you want to die, if you forced yourself to pick yourself apart in to every aspect of yourself you’d realize that there are parts of you that you want to live and flourish but there are other parts of you that you do indeed wish to die. The overwhelming sadness, the inability to be productive, the loss of interest in life, you’d rather live without that but is that all there is to life? And to your life specifically? In our example of the murderer he may indeed deserve to die as a punishment for a crime he committed against another but not for who he is which is not all bad. The ability to see people as people and to see one’s self as a multitude of selves is a human battle but it is a worthy one.

Depressive people I believe and there is some evidence to back it up (see video above) see the world differently from other people. Depression for me is not just a period of time in one’s life but a slant towards the world that is a part of one’s personality (my current thoughts I could be wrong). People who remember the bad more than the good, people who recall what’s wrong more than others, people who feel more empathy and therefore more sadness for others than “normal”. For me, this is ok. There is nothing wrong with -like myself, being unable to watch the news because it hurts me to see people suffering and it feels wrong to numb the pain, it’s ok to realize the world is often a bleak place run by people without morality but with a lot of money, it’s ok to worry about the future of the world even past your life span. I think this way of being is not only ok but also useful. Yet it can be harmful when this is all you see. The full reality of the world is only known by God, we can only see what our eyes show us but when we only see sadness and that sadness wraps itself around us -instead of being an outlet for deep thought, creativity or productivity, this is when depression becomes an illness.

Much of our depression would be solved with a few things:

Having a purpose in life (God). People who don’t have a purpose in life die. 
Realizing that what you see in the world no matter how bad is a unique opportunity to give the world a much needed voice, a balance and an impetus for improving -but it is still the way you see things not the ultimate reality.

Stop being self-absorbed. My sheikh has said “people wrapped up in themselves make small parcels”, it’s also worth saying that someone with their hands over their face sees no light. Depression thrives off of our thoughts. If we live and absorb ourselves in our thoughts, they can kill us. Be willing to see someone else’s (many others) view on your life, on the world and take them as seriously as you take your own thoughts. Reflect and realize maybe you’re their insight is worth consideration, maybe things will get better -maybe you can make things better.

Go outside. In our modern times we spend a lot of time indoors. This means we spend a lot of time between four walls, under a ceiling, above a floor –in a box. The limitations this breeds in our spirit are frightening. The outside on the other hand is a vast place filled with the possibility of endlessness. There are no limitations, no four walls, no ceiling. Of course all of God’s creation has its limitations and its defects but it’s not so obvious in nature. I once went with my sister and my mom to a mountain top in New York (not sure exactly where) when we reached the top I had a small reflection about depression, “You can’t be depressed here”. Not only can you not be depressed you can’t be much of anything. I felt silenced and overjoyed. Looking down from the mountain and viewing the vast treetops I saw nothing but the perfection of God made manifest. Absolutely nothing seemed wrong. People wrapped up in themselves make small parcels, people wrapped up in mankind and manmade things are only a little better off. But freeing one’s self from the strains of modernity and connecting (and continuously reconnecting) with God you’ll forget about your sadness and you won’t even realize your forgetting you’ll just be in awe. God constantly tells us to look at his creation and reflect in the Quran; maybe escaping depression is a part of the secret. Though we can’t always go out to a mountaintop getting out of the house, walking with your own two feet and taking in the sky and the earth is also a step forward.

I realize the superficiality of this advice not because it isn’t useful but because if your depressed you can barely take this in. You can’t get out of bed and you can hardly dream of visiting some mountaintop. You just want the feeling to go away, you just want to be better. I know, I get it.

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