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Something that we do often take for granted. April 9, 2010

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This is about a man who tells how his booking an air ticket for his father, his first flight, brought emotions and made him realize that how much we all take for granted when it comes to our parents.

My parents left for our native place on Thursday and we went to the airport to see them off. In fact, my father had never travelled by air before, so I just took this opportunity to make him experience the same.

In spite of being asked to book tickets by train, I got them tickets on Lufthansa.

The moment I handed over the tickets to him, he was surprised to see that I had booked them by air. The excitement was very apparent on his face, waiting for the time of travel. Just like a school boy, he was preparing himself on that day and we all went to the airport, right from using the trolley for his luggage, the baggage check-in and asking for window seat and waiting restlessly for the security check-in to happen.

He was thoroughly enjoying himself and I, too, was overcome with joy watching him experience all these things.

As they were about to go in for the security check-in, he walked up to me with tears in his eyes and thanked me. He became very emotional and it was not as if I had done something great but the fact that this meant a great deal to him. When he said thanks, I told him there was no need to thank me.

But later, thinking about the entire incident, I looked back at my life.

As a child how many dreams our parents have made come true. Without understanding the financial situation, we ask for football, dresses, toys, outings, etc. Irrespective of their affordability, they have satisfied to all our needs. Did we ever think about the sacrifices they had to make to accommodate many of our wishes?

Did we ever say thanks for all that they have done for us?

Same way, today when it comes to our children, we always think that we should put them in a good school.

Regardless of the amount of donation, we will ensure that we will have to give the child the best, theme parks, toys, etc. But we tend to forget that our parents have sacrificed a lot for our sake to see us happy, so it is our responsibility to ensure that their dreams are realized and what they failed to see when they were young, it is our responsibility to ensure that they experience all those and their life is complete.

Many times, when my parents had asked me some questions, I have actually answered back without patience. When my daughter asks me something, I have been very polite in answering. Now I realize how they would have felt at those moments.

Let us realize that old age is a second childhood and just as we take care of our children, the same attention and same care need to be given to our parents and elders.

Rather than my dad saying thank you to me, I would want to say sorry for making him wait so long for this small dream. I do realize how much he has sacrificed for my sake and I will do my best to give the best possible attention to all their wishes. Just because they are old does not mean that they will have to give up everything and keep sacrificing for their grandchildren also. They have wishes, too.’

Take care of our parents. Don’t take them for granted and make them feel small and unwanted in their old age. They too have feelings/dreams/ hope/aspirations /wishes (and many broken/shattered ones) too while sacrificing them to give us our needs and our wants.

If you think this is worth reading, pls share it with others too.

“Life is a comedy for those who think… and a tragedy for those who feel.”

Prophet Muhammad {PBUH} The ideal husband September 14, 2009

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Prophet Muhammad personifies the roles of perfect father and husband. He was so kind and tolerant with his wives that they could not envisage their lives without him, nor did they want to live away from him. He married Sawdah, his second wife, while in Makkah. After a while, he wanted to divorce her for certain reasons. She was extremely upset at this news and implored him, “O Messenger of Allah, I wish no worldly thing of you. I will sacrifice the time allocated to me if you don’t want to visit me. But please don’t deprive me of being your wife. I want to go to the hereafter as your wife. I care for nothing else” (Muslim).

The Messenger did not divorce her, nor did he stop visiting her.

Once he noticed that Hafsah was uncomfortable over their financial situation. “If she wishes, I may set her free,” he said, or something to that effect. This suggestion so alarmed her that she requested mediators to persuade him not to do so. He kept his faithful friend’s daughter as his trusted wife.

Separation Calamity

All of his wives viewed separation from the Messenger of Allah as a calamity, so firmly had he established himself in their hearts. They were completely at one with him. They shared in his blessed, mild, and natural life. If he had left them, they would have died of despair. If he had divorced one of them, she would have waited at his doorstep until the Last Day.

After his death, there was much yearning and a great deal of grief. Abu Bakr and `Umar found the Messenger’s wives weeping whenever they visited them. Their weeping seemed to continue for the rest of their lives. Muhammad left an everlasting impression on everyone. At one point, he had nine wives and dealt equally with all of them and without any serious problems. He was a kind and gentle husband, and never behaved harshly or rudely. In short, he was the perfect husband.

Each of his wives thought that she was his most beloved.
A few days before his death, he said, “A servant has been allowed to choose this world or his Lord. He chose his Lord” (Al-Bukhari). Abu Bakr, intelligent and smart, began to cry, understanding that the Prophet was talking about himself. His illness got worse daily, and his severe headache caused him to writhe in pain. But even during this difficult period, he continued to treat his wives with kindness and gentleness. He asked for permission to stay in one room, as he had no strength to visit them one by one. His wives agreed, and the Messenger spent his last days in `A’ishah’s room.

Most Beloved

Each wife, because of his generosity and kindness, thought she was his most beloved. The idea that any man could show complete equality and fairness in his relationships with nine women seems impossible. For this reason, the Messenger of Allah asked God’s pardon for any unintentional leanings. He would pray, “I may have unintentionally shown more love to one of them than the others, and this would be injustice. So, O Lord, I take refuge in Your grace for those things beyond my power.” (At-Tirmidhi).

What gentleness and sensitivity! I wonder if anyone else could show such kindness to his children or spouses. When people manage to cover up their lower inborn tendencies, it is as if they have done something very clever and shown tremendous willpower. But they sometimes expose these very defects unconsciously while bragging of their cleverness. The Messenger, despite showing no fault, sought only God’s forgiveness.

His gentleness penetrated his wives’ souls so deeply that his departure led to what they must have felt to be an unbridgeable separation. They did not commit suicide, as Islam forbids it, but their lives now became full of endless sorrow and ceaseless tears.

The Messenger was kind and gentle to all women, and advised all other men to follow him in this regard. Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas described his kindness as follows:

`Umar said: One day I went to the Prophet and saw him smiling. “May God make you smile forever, O Messenger of God,” I said, and asked why he was smiling. “I smile at those women. They were chatting in front of me before you came. When they heard your voice, they all vanished,” he answered still smiling. On hearing this answer, I raised my voice and told them, “O enemies of your own selves, you are scared of me, but you are not scared of the Messenger of God, and you don’t show respect to him.” “You are hard-hearted and strict,” they replied. (Al-Bukhari )

`Umar also was gentle to women. However, the most handsome man looks ugly when compared to Joseph’s beauty. Likewise, `Umar’s gentleness and sensitivity seem like violence and severity when compared to those of the Prophet. The women had seen the Messenger’s gentleness, sensitivity, and kindness, and so regarded `Umar as strict and severe. Yet `Umar shouldered the caliphate perfectly and became one of the greatest examples after the Prophet. He was a just ruler and strove to distinguish right from wrong. His qualities enabled him to be caliph. Some of his qualities might seem rather severe; however, those very qualities enabled him to shoulder very demanding responsibilities.

Consultation

The Prophet did consult with his wives. The Messenger discussed matters with his wives as friends. Certainly he did not need their advice, since he was directed by revelation. However, he wanted to teach his nation that Muslim men were to give women every consideration. This was quite a radical idea in his time, as it is today in many parts of the world. He began teaching his people through his own relationship with his wives.

For example, the conditions laid down in the Treaty of Hudaybiyah disappointed and enraged many Muslims, for one condition stipulated that they could not make the pilgrimage that year. They wanted to reject the treaty, continue on to Makkah, and face the possible consequences. But the Messenger ordered them to slaughter their sacrificial animals and take off their pilgrim attire. Some Companions hesitated, hoping that he would change his mind. He repeated his order, but they continued to hesitate. They did not oppose him; rather, they still hoped he might change his mind, for they had set out with the intention of pilgrimage and did not want to stop half way.

Noticing this reluctance, the Prophet returned to his tent and asked Umm Salamah, his wife accompanying him at that time, what she thought of the situation. So she told him, fully aware that he did not need her advice. In doing this, he taught Muslim men an important social lesson: There is nothing wrong with exchanging ideas with women on important matters, or on any matters at all.

She said, “O Messenger of God, don’t repeat your order. They may resist and thereby perish. Slaughter your sacrificial animal and change out of your pilgrim attire. They will obey you, willingly or not, when they see that your order is final” (Al-Bukhari).

He immediately took a knife in his hand, went outside, and began to slaughter his sheep. The Companions began to do the same, for now it was clear that his order would not be changed.

Counsel and consultation, like every good deed, were practiced by God’s Messenger first within his own family and then in the wider community. Even today, we understand so little about his relationships with his wives that it is as if we are wandering aimlessly around a plot of land, unaware of the vast treasure buried below our feet.

Two Halves

Women are secondary beings in the minds of many, including those self-appointed defenders of women’s rights as well as many self-proclaimed Muslim men. In Islam, a woman is part of a whole, a part that renders the other half useful. We believe that when the two halves come together, the true unity of a human being appears. When this unity does not exist, humanity does not exist — nor can prophethood, sainthood, or even Islam.

Our Prophet encouraged us through his enlightening words to behave kindly to women. He declared, “The most perfect believers are the best in character, and the best of you are the kindest to their families” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi). It is clear that women have received the true honor and respect they deserve, not just in theory but in actual practice, only once in history — during the period of Prophet Muhammad.

This World or the Next

The wives of the Messenger were given the choice of remaining with him or leaving:

[ O Prophet, say to your wives: “If you desire the life of this world and its glitter, then come! I will provide for your enjoyment and set you free in a handsome manner. But if you seek God, His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, verily God has prepared for you, the well-doers among you, a great reward.” ] (Al-Ahzab 33:29)

A few of his wives who wanted a more prosperous life asked, “Couldn’t we live a little more luxuriously, like other Muslims do? Couldn’t we have at least a bowl of soup every day, or some prettier garments?” At first sight, such wishes might be considered fair and just. However, they were members of the family that was to be an example for all Muslim families until the Last Day.

The Messenger reacted by going into retreat. The news spread, and everyone rushed to the mosque and began to cry. The smallest grief felt by their beloved Messenger was enough to bring them all to tears, and even the smallest incident in his life would disturb them. Abu Bakr and `Umar, seeing the event in a different light as their daughters were directly involved, rushed to the mosque. They wanted to see him, but he would not leave his retreat. Eventually, on their third attempt, they gained entry and began to rebuke their daughters. The Messenger saw what was happening, but only said, “I cannot afford what they want” (Muslim).

The Qur’an declared [ O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women ] (Al-Ahzab 33:32).

Others might save themselves by simply fulfilling their obligations, but those who were at the very center of Islam had to devote themselves fully so that no weakness would appear at the center. There were advantages in being the Prophet’s wives, but these advantages brought responsibilities and potential risks. The Messenger was preparing them as exemplars for all present and future Muslim women. He was especially worried that they might enjoy the reward for their good deeds in this world and thereby be included in [ You have exhausted your share of the good things in your life of the world and sought comfort in them ] (Al-Ahqaf 46:20).

Life in the Prophet’s house was uncomfortable. For this reason, either explicitly or implicitly, his wives made some modest demands. As their status was unique, they were not expected to enjoy themselves in a worldly sense. Some godly people laugh only a few times during their lives; others never fill their stomachs. For example, Fudayl ibn `Iyad never laughed. He smiled only once, and those who saw him do so asked him why he smiled, for they were greatly surprised. He told them, “Today I learned that my son `Ali died. I was happy to hear that God had loved him, and so I smiled” (Abu Nu`aym, Hilyat al-Awliya’ ). If there were such people outside of the Prophet’s household, his wives, who were even more pious and respectful of God and regarded as Mothers of the Believers, would certainly be of a higher degree.

It is not easy to merit being together with the Messenger in this world and the hereafter. Thus, these special women were put to a great test. The Messenger allowed them to choose his poor home or the world’s luxury. If they chose the world, he would give them whatever they wanted and then dissolve his marriage with them. If they chose God and His Messenger, they had to be content with their lives. This was a peculiarity of his family. Since this family was unique, its members had to be unique. The head of the family was chosen, as were the wives and children.

The Messenger first called `A’ishah and said, “I want to discuss something with you. You’d better talk with your parents before making a decision.” Then he recited the verses mentioned above. Her decision was exactly as expected from a truthful daughter of a truthful father: “O Messenger of Allah, do I need to talk with my parents? By Allah, I choose Allah and His Messenger” (Muslim).

`A’ishah herself tells us what happened next: “The Messenger received the same answer from all his wives. No one expressed a different opinion. They all said what I had said.” They did so because they were all at one with the Messenger. They could not differ. If the Messenger had told them to fast for a lifetime without break, they would have done so and endured it with pleasure. However, they endured hardship until their deaths.

Some of his wives had enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle before their marriage to him. One of these was Safiyyah, who had lost her father and husband and had been taken prisoner during the Battle of Khaybar. She must have been very angry with the Messenger, but when she saw him, her feelings changed completely. She endured the same destiny as the other wives. They endured it because love of the Messenger had penetrated their hearts.

Mothers of the Believers

Safiyyah was a Jew. Once, she was dismayed when this fact was mentioned to her sarcastically. She informed the Messenger, expressing her sadness. He comforted her saying, “If they repeat it, tell them, ‘My father is Prophet Aaron, my uncle is Prophet Moses, and my husband is, as you see, Prophet Muhammad, the Chosen One. What do you have more than me to be proud of?'”

The Qur’an declares that his wives are the Mothers of the Believers (Al-Ahzab 33:6). Although 14 centuries have passed, we still feel delight in saying “my mother” when referring to Khadijah, `A’ishah, Umm Salamah, Hafsah, and his other wives. We feel this because of him. Some feel more love for these women than they do for their real mothers. Certainly, this feeling must have been deeper, warmer, and stronger in the Prophet’s own time.

The Messenger was the perfect head of a family. Managing many women with ease, being a lover of their hearts, an instructor of their minds, an educator of their souls, he never neglected the affairs of the nation or compromised his duties.

The Messenger excelled in every area of life. People should not compare him to themselves or to the so-called great personalities of their age. Researchers should look at him, the one to whom angels are grateful, always remembering that he excelled in every way. If they want to look for Muhammad they must search for him in his own dimensions. Our imaginations cannot reach him, for we do not even know how to imagine properly. God bestowed upon him, as His special favor, superiority in every field.

Lailatul Qadr September 14, 2009

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ﻪﺘﺎﻜﺮﺒﻮﺍﺔﻤﺤﺭﻮ ﻡﻜﻴﻠﻋﻢﻼﺴﻠﺍ

Untuk perkongsian bersama…

Hari ini, bermulalah detik 10 malam terakhir Ramadan. Tarikh 20.09.2009 – bersamaan dengan Malam 21 Ramadan.

Yang mana terdapat di dalamnya Malam Lailatul-Qadar….iaitu Malam yang lebih baik dari 1,000 bulan dan ganjarannya pahalanya diberikan oleh Alla s.w.t pada mereka yang mendapatnya.

Kenapa 1,000 bulan?

Kerana 1,000 bulan itu bersamaan dengan 83 tahun….mengikut pada jangka hayat manusia.  Jika kita hidup selama 83 tahun beribadat kepada Allah s.w.t, maka Malam Lailatul-Qadar itu

adalah bersamaan dengan ibadat kita kepada Allah s.w.t selama kita hidup.

Persoalannya, bolehkah kita hidup hingga 83 tahun ?

Kebanyaakkan, dari umat manusia dalam umur 40 tahun pun sudah pergi menemui Illahi, apatah lagi …hendak menunggu hingga 83 tahun.

Mengikut Hadith Nabi Muhammad S.A.W., “Carilah Malam Lailatul-Qadar itu pada Malam-Malam Ganjil” iaitu pada Malam 21, 23, 25, 27 dan 29.

Terdapat tiga (3) cahaya yang akan menyinari iaitu : –

–     Nur (cahaya) – dari Allah s.w.t,

–     Cahaya dari para malaikat-malaikat dan jibril yang akan melebarkan sayapnya membawa seribu kebaikkan bagi tahun-tahun yg akan datang

–     Cahaya fajar yang menyinar di awal pagi

Oleh itu, janganlah kita melepaskan peluang ini. Berniat sahaja sudah cukup ada ganjaran serta pahala di sisi Allah S.W.T. dan ianya akan lebih baik jika kita dapat mencarinya.

Kerna, yang pasti kita tidak akan tahu bila saat dan ketikanya kita akan mengadap Illahi.

Mengikut Tazkirah pagi tadi bersama dgn Ustaz Wan Sohor Bani Leman, kajian yg dilakukan oleh Imam Ghazali, perkiraan beliau mengatakan bahawa pada tahun ini 1430H,

Malam Lailatul-Qadar berlaku pada Malam ke – 23..iaitu pada hari Sabtu, 12.09.09 malam Ahad… Wallahu ‘alam bis sawab..

Begitu juga dgn email di bawah ini, apabila Awal Ramadan jatuh pada hari Sabtu, 22.08.09, maka Malam ke – 23 adalah Malam Lailatul-Qadar… Wallahu ‘alam bis sawab..

Namun yang demikian, janganlah kita lupa pada Malam-Malam yang lain kerana yang pasti, Malam Lailatul-Qadar itu adalah

Rahsia yang hanya ALLAH S.W.T sahaja yang mengetahuinya.

Apa yang perlu dilakukan pada Malam-Malam tersebut ?

Melakukan Solat-Solat Sunat, Qiamulail, Membaca Ayat-Ayat Suci Al-Quran, Berzikir dll.

Selamat Menempuh Malam-Malam Lailatul-Qadar.

Semoga ibadat yang kita lakukan dengan Ikhlas ini mendapat keredhaan di sisiNya….Amin.

Wassalam

Hukum Iktikaf

Hukumnya sunat muakkadah (Yang benar-benar dituntut) pada 10 hari terakhir ramadhan kerana mengharapkan malam lailatul-qadar.

Jadual Malam Lailatul Qadar

Berkata Imam Ghazali Rahimahullah “lalilatul qadar itu ialah pada malam-malam ganjil didalam sepuluh hari terakhir ramadhan.” . Beliau juga memberikan formula mendapatkannya seperti jadual dibawah:

KEADAH AWAL BULAN RAMADHAN MALAM LAILATUL QADAR
Jika awal ramadhan, jatuh pada hari…….. .(lihat column di sebelah) Ahad atau Rabu Malam 29 Ramadhan
Isnin Malam 21 Ramadhan
Selasa atau Jumaat Malam 27 Ramadhan
Khamis Malam 25 Ramadhan
Sabtu Malam 23 Ramadhan

Berkata Sheikh Abu Hasan “semenjak aku baligh, aku tidak pernah terlepas mendapatkan malam lailatul qadar dengan kaedah tersebut”

Kaedah ini diambil dari kitab Mathlak Badraian karangan Muhammad Daud Al Fathani, Rujuk Mukasurat 65

TOLONG SEBARKAN KEPADA KENALAN ANDA, moga-moga ianya berguna dalam kita meniti hari-hari terakhir ramadhan kerana mengharapkan ganjaran malam lailatul qadar itu tinggi nilainya seperti beramal 1000 bulan (Rujuk Surah Al Qadr) iaitu bersamaan 83 tahun. Kita tidak dapat yakini, adakah kita dapat lagi menemui ramadhan di tahun hadapan kerana ajal maut tidak memilah umur, masa dan  tempat . Olehitu janganlah kita mendabik dada akan sempat hidup lagi dihadapan hari. Lakukanlah dalam urusan duniamu seolah-olah awak akan hidup selamanya, dan buatlah urusan akhiratmu seolah-olah awak akan mati esok hari. Wallahu ‘alam bis sawab..

Everything about Ramadan 1430 September 14, 2009

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In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power: And what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by God’s permission, on every errand: Peace!…This until the rise of morn!

Surah 97 The Holy Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an contains a short surah dedicated to Laylatul Qadr. Surah Al-Qadr is the 97th surah and consists of five verses. However, these short verses carry great meaning and guidance. They tell us all we need to know about the essence and spirit of Laylatul Qadr.

Laylatul Qadr falls sometime within the last 10 days of Ramadhan.

“Seek it in Ramadan in the last ten nights. For verily, it is during the odd nights, the twenty-first, or the twenty-third, or the twenty-fifth, or the twenty-seventh, or the twenty-ninth, or during the last night.” Sahih Hadith Ahmad 5:318
Laylatul Qadr is the most blessed night. A person who misses it has indeed missed a great amount of good. If an individual wants to obey his Lord, increase the good deeds in his record and have all past sins forgiven, they should take part in Laylatul Qadr.

“Whoever stays up (in prayer and remembrance of Allah) on the Night of Qadr fully believing (in Allah’s promise of reward for that night) and hoping to seek reward (from Allah alone and not from people), he shall be forgiven for his past sins.” Sahih Hadith Bukhari / Muslim
We should strive to find this night, and then pass it in worship and obedience. If this is done for the sake of Allah, with sincerity, then all past sins will be forgiven. However, if a person misses out on worship during Laylatul Qadr they truly are a deprived person.
This night is full of reward and blessing and is equivalent to a thousand nights of worship. Anyone who takes part in Laylatul Qadr will have worshipped an equivalent of eighty three years and three months. It is as if a person has spent an entire lifetime in non-stop worship.

“The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.” 97:3 The Holy Quran
“Allah’s Messenger, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, looked back at the previous communities and saw that his community lived for a much shorter period in comparison to them. He was concerned about how his community would be able to gain as many rewards as those of the previous communities. So when Allah the Exalted saw the concerns in the heart of His Beloved, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, then he, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, was given Laylatul-Qadr, which is more virtuous than a thousand months.” (Imâm Mâlik, Muatta)
Worship during this night can take on many forms. Here are a few suggestions to help you through Laylatul Qadr:

• Plan ahead if you are working. If you are going to spend a night awake in worship, book the following day off.

• Take regular breaks during the night to avoid getting over-exhausted. Try switching between different forms of worship instead.

• Perform Itikaaf (seclusion in a mosque for worship) – If possible, take a vacation for the last 10 days of Ramadhan. If you cannot stay at your local mosque ask family or friends to help out during your Itikaaf at home. If you cannot spend all 10 days in Itikaaf, then do as many days as you can – even if it is only one day.

• Increase the recitation of the Qur’an, and reflect on the meaning of the verses, especially the verses used in Salah. This will help you concentrate.

• Increase Salah (prayer).

• Find out if there are any events organised, and take your family along.

Doing all of the above activities may be too much to do throughout the night but is far better than social gatherings and meaningless talk that we stay awake for.

If your Arabic is not very strong then there are many good English translations of Qur’an and Hadith, which can be used instead. Other useful reading might include books of tafsir (Qura’n commentary), books on the lives of the Prophets (upon whom be peace), and books of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) as well as Du’a books.

The days of Laylatul-Qadr are an important time for worship, especially the last 10 days. We should pray sincerely from our hearts in order to be saved from the hellfire. This is a good opportunity not only to pray for ourselves but also for our fellow brothers and sisters, for if we can not do anything else then our prayers will help.

Ibn Abbas (RA) heard the Prophet (SAAWS) advising someone, saying, “Take advantage of five before five: You’re youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you become occupied, and your life before your death.”

May Allah help us to purify our hearts, strengthen our faith, and enable us to meet every challenge, and overcome every difficulty in our lives. May Allah allow us to serve Him with sincerity in our work, study, professional, business, family and social lives. When the time comes for us finally to return to Him, may Allah admit us to the companionship of those whom He loves.

Reference (http://www.ramadhanzone.com/laylatul_qadr.asp)

Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan August 22, 2009

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Bi s millahHirRahmanNiRahim.   Assalamu alaikum w.b.t.

Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan
Most Musl ims who fast Ramadan focus on the benefits and rewards of it. But in doing so, we often make mistakes that instead of adding to our experience actually detract from it. Mistakes that can make us commercialize Ramadan as so many other religions have commercialized their sacred days. Insh’Allah the following serves as a reminder to myself first and to all Muslims. May Allah help us to spend our time wisely this Ramadan and help us to avoid these mistakes. ameen
1. Taking Ramadaan as a ritual For many of us Ramadaan has lost its spirituality and has become more of a ritual than a form of Ibaadah. We fast from morning to night like a zombie just because everyone around us is fasting too. We forget that its a time to purify our hearts and our souls from all evil….we forget to make dua, forget to beseech Allaah to forgive us and ask Him to save us from the Fire. Sure we stay away from food and drink but that’s about all.
Although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Jibreel said to me, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person to who Ramadaan comes and his sins are not forgiven,’ and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person who lives to see=2 0his parents grow old, one or both of them, but he does not enter Paradise (by not serving them) and I said, ‘Ameen’. Then he said, ‘May Allaah rub his nose in the dust, that person in whose presence you are mentioned and he does not send blessings upon you,’ and I said, ‘Ameen.” (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, others. Saheeh by al-Albaani)
2. Too much stress on food and drink For some people, the entire month of Ramadaan revolves around food. They spend the ENTIRE day planning, cooking, shopping and thinking about only food, instead of concentrating on Salaah, Quraan and other acts of worship. All they can think of is FOOD. So much so that they turn the month of ‘fasting’ into the month of ‘feasting’. Come Iftaar time, their table is a sight to see, with the multitudes and varieties of food, sweets and drinks.. They are missing the very purpose of fasting, and thus, increase in their greed and desires instead of learning to control them. It is also a kind of waste & extravagance.
‘…..and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not Al-Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance) ‘ [al-Araaf :31]
3. Spending all day cooking Some of the sisters (either by their own choice or forced by their husbands) are cooking ALL day and ALL night, so that by the end of the day, they are too tired to even pray Ishaa, let alone pray Taraweeh or Tahajjud or even read Quraan. This is the month of mercy and forgiveness. So turn off that stove and turn on your Imaan!
4. Eating too much Some people stuff themselves at Suhoor until they are ready to burst, because they think this is the way to not feel hungry during the day and some people eat at Iftaar, like there is no tomorrow, trying to ‘make up for the food missed.’ However, this is completely against the Sunnah. Moderation is the key to everything.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach; for the son of Adam a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. If you must fill it, then one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for air.’ (Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah. saheeh by al-Albaani).
Too much food distracts a person from many deeds of obedience=2 0and worship, makes him lazy and also makes the heart heedless. It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, I do not think so.
5. Sleeping all day Some people spend their entire day (or a major part of it) ‘sleeping away their fast’. Is this what is really required of us during this noble month? These people also are missing the purpose of fasting and are slaves to their desires of comfort and ease. They cannot ‘bear’ to be awake and face a little hunger or exert a little self-control. For a fasting person to spend most of the day asleep is nothing but, negligence on his part.
6. Wasting time The month of Ramadaan is a precious, precious time, so much so that Allaah calls this month ‘Ayyamum Ma’doodaat’ (A fixed number of days). Before we know it, this month of mercy and forgiveness will be over. We should try and spend every moment possible in the worship of Allaah so that we can make the most of this blessing. However, there are some of us who waste away their day playing video games, or worse still, watching TV, movies or even listening to music. Subha an Allaah! Trying to obey Allaah by DISOBEYING him!
7. Fasting but not giving up evil Some of us fast but do not give up lying, cursing, fighting, backbiting, etc. and some of us fast but do not give up cheating, stealing, dealing in haraam, buying lotto tickets, selling alcohol, fornication, etc. and all kinds of impermissible things without realizing that the purpose of fasting is to not stay away from food and drink; rather the aim behind it is to fear Allaah.
‘O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)’ [al-Baqarah 2:183]
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allaah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.’ (Bukhaari)
8. Skipping Suhoo r (sehri)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Eat suhoor for in suhoor there is blessing.'(Bukhaari, Muslim). And he (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘The thing that differentiates between our fasting and the fasting of the People of the Book is eating suhoor.’ (Muslim)
9. Stopping Suhoor at ‘Imsaak’ Some people stop eating Suhoor 10-15 minutes earlier than the time of Fajr to observe ‘Imsaak’. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: This is a kind of bidah (innovation) which has no basis in the Sunnah. Rather the Sunnah is to do the opposite. Allaah allows us to eat until dawn: ‘and eat and drink until the white thread (light) of dawn appears to you distinct from the black thread (darkness of night)’ [al-Baqarah 2:187]
And the Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘….eat and drink until you hear the adhaan of Ibn Umm Maktoom, for he does not give the adhaan until dawn comes.’ This ‘imsaak’ which some of the people do is an addition to what Allaah has prescribed, so it is false. It is a kind of extremism in religion, and the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said:
‘Those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed, those who go to extremes are doomed.’ (Muslim) 10. Not fasting if they missed Suhoor
Some people are too scared to fast if they miss Suhoor. However, this is a kind of cowardice and love of ease. What is the big deal if you missed a few morsels of food? It’s not like you will die. Remember, obedience to Allaah overcomes everything.
Saying the intention to fast ‘out loud’ or saying a specific dua to start fasting The intention is an action of the heart. We should resolve in our heart that we are going to fast tomorrow. That is all we need. It is not prescribed by the Shari’ah for us to say out loud, ‘I intend to fast’, ‘I will fast tomorrow’ or other phrases that have been innovated by some people. Also, there is no specific dua to be recited at the time of starting the fast in the correct Sunnah. Whatever ‘dua’ you may see on some papers or Ramadaan calendars, etc. is a Bid’ah.
11. Delaying opening fast Some people wait until the adhaan finishes or even several minutes after that, just to be ‘on the safe side’. However, the Sunnah is to hasten to open the fast, which me ans opening fast whenever the adhaan starts, right after the sun has set. Aa’ishah (RA) said: This is what the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to do. (Muslim)
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to open the fast.’ (Bukhaari, Muslim) Determine to the best of your ability, the accuracy of your clock, calendar, etc. and then have tawakkul (trust) on Allaah swt and break your fast exactly on time.
12. Eating continuously until the time for Maghrib is up Some people put so much food in their plates when breaking their fast and continue eating, enjoying dessert, drinking tea, etc., until they miss Maghrib. That is obviously not right. The Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) was that once he broke his fast with some dates, them he would hasten to the prayer. Once you are done with the prayer, you can always go back and eat some more if you wish.
13. Missing the golden chance of having your Dua accepted The prayer of the fasting person is guaranteed to be accepted at the ti me of breaking fast. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Three prayers are not rejected: the prayer of a father, the prayer of a fasting person, and the prayer of a traveler.’ (al-Bayhaqi, saheeh by al-Albaani).
Instead of sitting down and making Dua at this precious time, some people forego this beautiful chance, and are too busy frying samosas, talking, setting the food, filling their plates and glasses, etc. Think about it….Is food more important than the chance to have your sins forgiven or the fulfillment of your Duas.
14. Fasting but not praying The fasting of one who does not pray WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. This is because not praying constitutes kufr as the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Between a man and shirk and kufr there stands his giving up prayer.’ (Muslim)
In fact, NONE of his good deeds will be accepted; rather, they are all annulled. ‘Whoever does not pray ‘Asr, his good deeds will be annulled.’ (Bukhaari) 15. Fasting and not wearing Hijaab
Not wearing the Hijaab is a major sin as it is obligatory for Muslim women. (See Surah Nur, Surah Ahzaab). So fasting and not wearing hijaab certainly takes away enormously from the rewards of fasting, even if does not invalidate it.
16. Not fasting because of exams or work Exams or work is NOT one of the excuses allowed by the Shariah to not fast. You can do your studying and revision at night if it is too hard to do that during the day. Also remember that pleasing and obeying Allaah is much more important than ‘good grades’. Besides, if you will fulfil your obligation to fast, even if you have to study, Allaah will make it easy for you and help you in everything you do.
‘Whosoever fears Allah, He will appoint for him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect, Allah is Sufficient for whosoever puts his trust in Him.’ (Surah at-Talaaq 2-3) 17. Mixing fasting and dieting
DO NOT make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet. That is one of the biggest mistakes some of us make (esp. sisters). Fasting is an act of worship and can only be for the sake of Allah al one. Otherwise, mixing it with the intention of dieting may become a form of (minor) Shirk.
18. Praying ONLY on the night of the 27th Some people pray ONLY on the 27th to seek Lailat ul-Qadr, neglecting all other odd nights, although the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) said: ‘Seek Lailat ul-Qadr among the odd numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadaan.’ (Bukhaari, Muslim).
19. Wasting the last part of Ramadaan preparing for Eid Some people waste the entire last 10 days of Ramadaan preparing for Eid, shopping and frequenting malls, etc. neglecting Ibadah and Lailatul Qadr. although, the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) used to strive the hardest during the last ten days of Ramadaan in worship (Ahmad, Muslim) and not in shopping. Buy whatever you need for Eid before Ramadaan so that you can utilize the time in Ramadaan to the max.
Aa’ishah (RA) said: ‘When the (last) ten nights began, the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam)) would tighten his waist-wrapper (i.e., strive hard in worship or refrain from intimacy with his wives), stay awake at night and wake his family.’ (Bukhaari and Muslim).
20. Iftaar parties Although inviting each other for breaking fast is something good and encouraged, some people go to extremes with lavish ‘Iftaar parties’ with all sorts of disobedience to Allaah, from flirting, mixing of the sexes and hijaab-less women, to show-off and extravagance, to heedlessness to Salaah, and Taraweeh to even music and dancing.
It’s not too late to rectify ones mistake and do good for the sake of Allah. [15:49] Inform My servants that I am the Forgiver, Most Merciful.

GOOGLE is trying to take our website YOUTUBEISLAM from us to make money and spread evil. August 2, 2009

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Bismillah Rahman Raheem

Salam alaykum (peace be upon you),

I need your help, inshallah. Please do something for me and for Islam right now, inshalllah. First, read this and then join me and those who believe in Allah – to stop a very horrible crime about to be committed by some very powerful and forceful people. Help me put this information all over the Internet and around the world – we can do it, inshallah.

Let me start at the beginning . . .

Can you imagine my shock when I opened up an email telling me our website domain name (YOUTUBEISLAM.COM) is being taken over by GOOGLE and their video site – YOUTUBE?
Here is more or less what we were told:

NOTICE: Effective August 5th, 2009 Google (owner of YouTube.com) will take over your domain name: YOUTUBEISLAM.COM.

Although we have purchased the name “YOUTUBEISLAM.COM” and have renewed for several years through GODADDY.COM it seems GOOGLE has enough influence to just simply take our domain name from us – and by the way, we have even paid for it all the way through to next year.

First, their lawyers contacted us saying they were going to take our domain because we copied their logo. We didn’t even come close to their logo. (look for yourself www.YOUTUBEISLAM.com/images/logo.gif)

They next came up with saying our name was too similar to their name. We changed the name and the layout to read:

Yo Utu Beis Lam.com and we even registered that as a trade name.

We changed the logo and the images to reflect the new name.

They said they went into “arbitration” (of course we were not invited to that meeting) and then our registrar (GODADDY.COM) notified us they are “transferring” our domain name over to GOOGLE.

We have always maintained the highest of standards on our site – We never allowed any videos with inappropriate material. We did not allow videos that insulted or put down other religions. No dating or suggestive materials. No bad language. Only topics fit for all the family.

We paid for the bandwidth from our own pockets to make sure everything was always as it should be without having people click and wind up on websites attacking beliefs or making fun of believers and certainly nothing to hurt people’s feelings.

Above all, we did not put up any ads (especially not GOOGLE ADS) on our site.

(Could this be why they want it so bad?)

Or is it just so they can advertise their thousands of customers who would be happy to introduce thousands of paying advertisers to ways of entering into the homes of trusting Muslims who will think the website still belongs to Yusuf Estes and his dawah team?

Maybe they just don’t like Islam?

Or possibily they don’t like seeing so many new people entering Islam from our work?

Why does  GOOGLE – a company who bought YOUTUBE for billions of dollars – want to take away our little website?

Good question.

I think you know the answer.

But do we have to let them do this without at least telling others about the unjust way of dealing of these people?

Are we just going to sit there and do nothing, while they destroy our work, our efforts, our viewers trust and above all – destroy the chance for many people to know the truth about real Islam in simple English language.

We don’t have to.

We can make a difference, maybe even stop these cowards. Let’s join together, all around the world and make a difference.

Let’s tell everyone what is going on and what they can do to help….

1. Get a good copy of this page and make sure it is easy to read

2. copy it

3. Make sure to mail it out to everyone and ask them to do the same

4. Send text messages – Like this: “Google trying to steal Yusuf Estes website – www.YoutubeIslam.com Help us stop them – www.GuideUS.TV for details”

5. Call people you know, or fax them, and tell them the same basic statement, asking them to share this message in every way possible.

6. Send regular mail to Google ask them not to steal our only ad-free, family video website and leave it for us to use.

7. Email the people at Google and tell them we all use their other services and appreciate the good things they offer for people to use, but please let us keep our family oriented website for true Islam in English.

8. Send faxes to Google and ask them to do the same thing.

9. Contact the local newspaper, the TV and radio people and tell them we are not happy with what GOOGLE is doing to our website for true Islam.

10. Remind everyone to do this each and every day until the news people pick up this story and it is heard around the world. Do it every day.

11. Tell everyone about our live broadcasts on our other websites and how important it is for us to have our own TV station in America – for Muslims to have a voice. A voice for Islam.

And by the way – on Sunday (today) we have a live broadcast on the Internet to tell everyone about all of this. It will be at 2 PM our time (EST) and will include Mutahhir Sabree myself and others.

Here is the site – link will be there, inshallah, to direct everyone to our program.

www.GuideUS.TV

12. Pray to Almighty Allah and beg Him to give victory for His deen and His message in English.

Thank you and may Allah Bless you and your family and make your efforts work for good for you and for all of us, ameen.

____________________________

As regards all the material – we are keeping all of it – and we will be making it available on our other websites, inshallah. Either of the follow:

1. www.GuideUS.TV

2. www.BridgeToFaith.com

3. www.WatchIslam.com

Make dua and ask Allah to keep this site and domain for His Sake, ameen.

Jazakallah khair was salam alaykum,

Yusuf Estes

www.YOUTUBEISLAM.com (while it lasts) – Article on this site: www.IslamNewsroom.com

Mikaeel (Murder) Conspiracy July 24, 2009

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Michael Jackson (MJ) was known as the most loving person in the world. He gave up most of his assets for charity and all his life, he fought for equality of the African Americans, AIDS victims, Against Drug Abuse, Against Abortion, Against Child Labor and secretly chanelled his properties for the hungry children of the world. However, he wasn’t peace at heart. He always think of himself as a child trapped inside a man’s body. Being Peter Pan is all his dream, never to grow up, forever a child. That inspires him to build Neverland – a heaven for children. Children of all ages and races are welcomed to Neverland. MJ had so much love to give.

However, he made a mistake which he didn’t know of the consequences. He saw the peaceful life his brother, Jermaine (Muhammad Abdul Aziz) had as a Muslim – true, Jermaine faced so much pressure that he moved to Bahrain .

In 1989, MJ made a press conference which shocked the world, “I have seen the Islam in the life of my brother, I have read the books about Islam. And I’d love to someday feel the calmness and peace of Islam….”

Since that, MJ’s life was never the same again.
He was accused of so many accusations against child molestation. MJ was not someone who can deal with much pressure as he is a ‘delicate child’.. All the extortion and black mail followed after that. Everything he did was being seen as wrong in the eyes of the Media. All these are to influence his fans to hate MJ. If he is hated, then he would not be influencial anymore.

For several years, he stayed in England . Getting motivation from a long time friend, Cat Stevens, who had converted into Islam – named Yusuf Islam. From him, MJ learnt how Yusuf had survived being Muslim. He made friends with a song writer, Zain Bhikha too, who wrote a song titled, “GIVE THANKS TO ALLAH”, which he wanted MJ to sing whenever he is ready.

Following his trial, MJ withdrew to Bahrain , where he was the special guest of sheik Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the son of Bahrain ’s king. It was then that Michael began to give conversion more “serious thought.”
MJ stayed in Bahrain for approximately 3 years. He studied Islam, the prayers and learn to read the Koran (al-Quran).

Finally, he came back to Los Angeles and in November 2008 MJ had formally converted to Islam in a ceremony at a close friend’s house in Los Angeles .
He perform Haj with the King of Bahrain and son on December 2008.

He had a hidden agenda when he wanted to make a final comeback. He announced in a press conference on March 2009, “This will be my final concert. I’ll see you all in July…..”

He planned that during his concert, he would announce that this is the FINAL concert as he wouldn’t be performing anymore. He will declare that he is a Muslim and will only sing with Yusuf Islam and Friends.
At the end of the concert, he will be singing the song, “GIVE THANKS TO ALLAH” with Yusuf Islam. That is the reason why he chose London as his final concert venue instead of the USA . It was because he thought he could escape the USA ‘s extortion, and that he could perform with yusuf Islam who is in England .

At 12.30am, 25th June 2009, he hugged his production manager and said, “After reherasing for 2 months, I am finally ready for the concert…”
Before leaving to sleep, he waved his dancers, “It was a good night everyone. I’ll see you all tomorrow…”
The next thing… He was pronounced dead at 2.26am….

When 911 was called, there are so much questions asked. It is as if they didn’t know who MJ is and where he lived. The questions asked are more towards to delay time.
The hospital said the autopsy result can only be obtained after 2 months – very illogical as even the worst African technology could obtain the result in less than 2 weeks.

MJ’s family members opt for second private autopsy as they started to feel something fishy is going on. The result came out in about 4 days – MJ was drugged with high dosage of anaesthetic – drug that brings about a reversible loss of consciousness, if used to much could stop the heart from beating.

Another result which was not aired in the media was, MJ’s stomach is empty of this drug, but his blood were filled with it – same case as the death of Marilyn Monroe.
The private doctors also found many needle marks, afraid to be forced injections given to MJ on his bed.

In CNN Live after a week, Barack Obama was interviewed. And he said, “I love MJ, I grew up listening to his songs. It is a great loss, but rest assured that there is no conspiracy in his death…”
Now, why must a President made such statement before the official autopsy result came out? How would he know that there is no conspiracy without the post-mortem result? Seems like someone is afraid of his shadows.

MJ was known to the world as a person who is against drug abuse. Why must he be addicted to drug, then? If he wanted to commit suicide, why rehearse for his concert? And why will he want to see his dancers the next day?

Enough about his death. I am sure people around the world is not stupid anymore. These supreme power can fool us during the Marilyn Monroe conspiracy, Martin Luther King and Princess Diana.. But in this MJ’s case, they left too many loopholes for those who think….!!

MJ left us with this unfinished studio-recorded song, GIVE THANKS TO ALLAH. You can download this song here: http://www.filefactory.com/file/ahb80ff/n/Micheal_Jackson_-_Give_Thanks_To_Allah_mp3

MJ’s family was about to give him a Muslim burial with the help of The Brotherhood of Islam. But, the CIA showed up at Neverland’s door – blackmailed them that if they do so publicly, Katherine (MJ’s mother) would be pull off from MJ’s 3 children’s custody as well as MJ’s estates. Instead, they’ll hire Debbie Rowe for the purpose, and the court will be in their favour. So much for democracy and fairness…

Finally, they agreed to let MJ have a Muslim Burial in Neverland. But in condition, must show to the public a Christian Memorial Service, as to prove to the world that MJ was never a Muslim.

So, Staples Centre was just a normal show. That’s why the coffin was closed and sealed.

MJ was buried days earlier. The Gold Coffin was empty. They were about to bury the Coffin according to Christianity ways in Hollywood – as in their deal with the USA Government.

These happened, because the USA is afraid of the rising numbers of Muslims in the world.

(Sheikh Ha**d)
The Brotherhood of Islam
Bulletin of Bahrain

The Unexpected July 6, 2009

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We are reminded everyday that life is nothing but a vapor.
No man knows the day or the hour!


Watch the man on the left walking, crossing the road where there is no car
.

It is so definite that the coast on the left is clear, and safe to cross..
Any person would see it is safe…
.  
T
ake  nothing for granted, not even for a split second! Be grateful for every  living minute



VIDEO CAPTURED BY TRAFFIC CAMERA !!!!

‘Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets,
So love the
people who treat you right,
Forget about the ones who don’t,

And
believe that everything happens for a reason.
If  you get a chance, take it.
If  it
changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy,
They just promised it would be
worth living.’

May I borrow 25 dollars? June 5, 2009

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May be you’ve read this before but just take it as another reminder.

Sometimes we also treated our parent like that – sent money regularly but seldom come back to visit them.

The worst part sometimes, we neglected our children and wife at home, too.

For all u know, they got enough money given by you but they lack care n love from you. Are you?

a great message

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’

DAD: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the man.

SON: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the man said angrily.

SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

DAD: ‘If you must know, I make $50 an hour.’

SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: ‘Daddy, may I please borrow $25?’

The father was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities. ‘

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down , and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ He asked

‘No daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy.

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the man. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $25 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you daddy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.’

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $50 worth of your time with someone you love.

What is Swine Flu? May 17, 2009

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What is Swine Flu?

What is swine flu?

Swine flu is a respiratory disease, caused by influenza type A which infects pigs.

There are many types, and the infection is constantly changing.

Until now it has not normally infected humans, but the latest form clearly does, and can be spread from person to person – probably through coughing and sneezing.

What is new about this type of swine flu?

The World Health Organization has confirmed that at least some of the human cases are a never-before- seen version of the H1N1 strain of influenza type A.

H1N1 is the same strain which causes seasonal outbreaks of flu in humans on a regular basis.

But this latest version of H1N1 is different: it contains genetic material that is typically found in strains of the virus that affect humans, birds and swine.

Flu viruses have the ability to swap genetic components with each other, and it seems likely that the new version of H1N1 resulted from a mixing of different versions of the virus, which may usually affect different species, in the same animal host.

Pigs provide an excellent ‘melting pot’ for these viruses to mix and match with each other.

How dangerous is it?

Symptoms of swine flu in humans appear to be similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.

These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue.

Most cases so far reported around the world appear to be mild, but in Mexico lives have been lost.

How worried should people be?

When any new strain of flu emerges that acquires the ability to pass from person to person, it is monitored very closely in case it has the potential to spark a global epidemic, or pandemic.

The World Health Organization has warned that taken together the Mexican and US cases could potentially trigger a global pandemic, and stress that the situation is serious.

However, experts say it is still too early to accurately assess the situation fully.

Currently, they say the world is closer to a flu pandemic than at any point since 1968 – upgrading the threat from three to four on a six-point scale following an emergency meeting on Monday.

Nobody knows the full potential impact of a pandemic, but experts have warned that it could cost millions of lives worldwide. The Spanish flu pandemic, which began in 1918, and was also caused by an H1N1 strain, killed millions of people.

The fact that all the cases in the US and elsewhere have so far produced mild symptoms is encouraging. It suggests that the severity of the Mexican outbreak may be due to an unusual geographically- specific factor – possibly a second unrelated virus circulating in the community – which would be unlikely to come into play in the rest of the world.

Alternatively, people infected in Mexico may have sought treatment at a much later stage than those in other countries.

It may also be the case that the form of the virus circulating in Mexico is subtly different to that elsewhere – although that will only be confirmed by laboratory analysis.

There is also hope that, as humans are often exposed to forms of H1N1 through seasonal flu, our immune systems may have something of a head start in fighting infection.

However, the fact that many of the victims are young does point to something unusual. Normal, seasonal flu tends to affect the elderly disproportionately.

Can the virus be contained?

The virus appears already to have started to spread around the world, and most experts believe that containment of the virus in the era of readily available air travel will be extremely difficult.

Can it be treated?

The US authorities say that two drugs commonly used to treat flu, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem to be effective at treating cases that have occurred there so far. However, the drugs must be administered at an early stage to be effective.

Use of these drugs may also make it less likely that infected people will pass the virus on to others.

The UK Government already has a stockpile of Tamiflu, ordered as a precaution against a pandemic.

It is unclear how effective currently available flu vaccines would be at offering protection against the new strain, as it is genetically distinct from other flu strains.

US scientists are already developing a bespoke new vaccine, but it may take some time to perfect it, and manufacture enough supplies to meet what could be huge demand.

A vaccine was used to protect humans from a version of swine flu in the US in 1976.

However, it caused serious side effects, including an estimated 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome. There were more deaths from the vaccine than the outbreak.

What should I do to stay safe?

Anyone with flu-like symptoms who might have been in contact with the swine virus – such as those living or travelling in the areas of Mexico that have been affected – should seek medical advice.

But patients are being asked not to go into GP surgeries in order to minimise the risk of spreading the disease to others. Instead, they should stay at home and call their healthcare provider for advice.

After the WHO raised its alert level over swine flu, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began advising against all but essential travel to Mexico.

What measures can I take to prevent infection?

Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.

General infection control practices and good hygiene can help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza. This includes covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible and disposing of it promptly.

It is also important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people and cleaning hard surfaces like door handles frequently using a normal cleaning product.

If caring for someone with a flu-like illness, a mask can be worn to cover the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission. The UK is looking at increasing its stockpile of masks for healthcare workers for this reason.

But experts say there is no scientific evidence to support more general wearing of masks to guard against infections.

What about bird flu?

The strain of bird flu which has caused scores of human deaths in South East Asia in recent years is a different strain to that responsible for the current outbreak of swine flu.

The latest form of swine flu is a new type of the H1N1 strain, while bird, or avian flu, is H5N1.

Experts fear H5N1 hold the potential to trigger a pandemic because of its ability to mutate rapidly.

However, up until now it has remained very much a disease of birds.

Those humans who have been infected have, without exception, worked closely with birds, and cases of human-to-human transmission are extremely rare – there is no suggestion that H5N1 has gained the ability to pass easily from person to person.