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50 Loving Sentiments We Should All Say More Often

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By: Jade Small

Source: http://www.the-open-mind.com/50-loving-sentiments-we-should-all-say-more-often/

info-pictogram1 All too often, we take the people we love the most for granted: our lovers, family members, friends, and even our children. We forget the enormous power of our words, as we carelessly lash out when under stress. We stick our noses in our laptops and smartphones, assuming our loved ones know what we are failing to verbalize, sometimes until the relationships are disconnected or damaged beyond repair.

Make a choice to consciously nurture your relationships with verbal communications of love. Be kind and sincere. Ask open-ended questions with an open heart. Listen empathically and non-defensively. Remember, there are no conditions, no strings, no expectations, and no manipulations. Simply, love to love.

1. I am here for you.

2. Thank you. Thanks for all you do for me and all the ways in which you add value to my life.

3. You are beautiful. What I find most beautiful about you, inside and out, is: _____.

4. How are you? Truthfully, fully and completely — how are you, really?

5. Tell me about your dreams.

6. Tell me about your fears.

7. Tell me about your beliefs about life, love, the world, etc.

8. I am thinking about you.

9. I appreciate you.

10. I care about your feelings.

11. You are important to me.

12. I made a mistake and I’m sorry. I sincerely apologize. Please forgive me.

13. I value our relationship.

14. I am grateful and fortunate to have you in my life.

15. What can I do to support you?

16. How are you feeling about our relationship?

17. How are you feeling about me?

18. The qualities I love about you most are: _____.

19. I notice and really appreciate your efforts and growth in these areas: _____.

20. What’s most meaningful to me about our connection is: ______.

21. Great job! Nice work! Well done.

22. These are the ways in which you have touched my life and made me better: _____.

23. It’s an honor to know you and to be close to you.

24. I want the very best for you.

25. I cherish the following experiences we’ve shared: _______.

26. I trust you. I trust in our relationship.

27. I forgive you. I let go of my resentments.

28. These are all of the wonderful, positive qualities I see in you: _____.

29. Your greatest gifts and strengths are: _____.

30. I respect you.

31. I respect your decisions even though they’re different from mine or what I’ve recommended. You’re free to make your own choices.

32. I support you in any and every way that I can.

33. I believe in you.

34. I lovingly and trustingly give you the time and space you need.

35. You can achieve anything you want in life.

36. You are special. You are divinely and uniquely YOU.

37. You are free to be your authentic self in the context of our relationship.

38. I welcome you to be honest and truthful with me.

39. I desire to have/maintain an intimate and loving relationship with you.

40. You elicit the following positive emotions and feelings in me: _______.

41. You are not responsible for me, for my bad behaviors or my poor choices.

42. What would you like from me or from our relationship?

43. It’s not your fault. I don’t blame you.

44. I support you in taking care of yourself.

45. Your feelings are understandable and normal responses to everything you have been through.

46. I do not expect you to be perfect. I absolutely understand you are a human being and that none of us are perfect.

47. I acknowledge my areas of needed improvement including ABC, and am working on them by doing XYZ.

48. It’s important to me to know and understand you.

49. I come to you with an open heart and an open mind.

50. I love you fully, completely, and exactly as you are.

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Hijab: What Is It All About?

Hijab, My Choice, My Right, and My Freedom

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Source: onislam.net

The status of women in Islam is often the target of attacks in the secular media.

The hijab or the Islamic dress is cited by many as an example of the “subjugation” of women under Islamic law.

Yet, the truth is that 1400 years ago, Islam recognized women’s rights in a way that grants them the utmost protection and respect, a combination other systems fail to offer.

Islam granted them freedom of expression, political participation, business and financial rights, and asked the rest of society to hold them in high esteem and offer them due respect as mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters.

What is it about hijab? Why are Muslim women still wearing it?

How can a piece of cloth attract so much attention?

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Palestinian leaders poised to join ICC in order to pursue Israel for war crimes

Diplomats expect plan to join international criminal court and call for investigation to be used as bargaining chip in Cairo talks

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki

The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad Malki, said after meeting ICC officials that Israel had left him no choice but to seek accession to the court. Photograph: EPA

By: Julian Borger and Ian Black

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/

Palestinian political leaders are poised to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) with the aim of putting Israel in the dock on war crimes charges, officials said today.

“Israel has left us with no other option,” Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, told reporters after meeting ICC officials in The Hague to discuss the implications of signing the Rome Statute. It would make the Palestinian state a member of the court with the authority to call for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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The Souls Journey After Death In Islam

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By: Huma Ahmed

Source: http://www.islamicinformation.net/

Imagine yourself at the moment of your death.

What thoughts cross your mind? Memories of family and friends? Panic? Regrets? Remembrance of Allah? What is death? What happens to us after we die? What is life in the Hereafter like, this new and strange world after death? Do we lose consciousness of this life? Where does our soul go? Do we feel and think the same?

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These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

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By: Ashley Lutz

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/

This infographic created by Jason at Frugal Dad shows that almost all media comes from the same six sources.

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Oyon Ajmain: After Ramadan Thoughts

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By: Oyon Ajmain

These last two days after Ramadan everytime in the daytime when I feel hungry or thirsty I stop myself from eating, because in the back of my head I still have Ramadan on my mind and it feels unnatural to eat during the day after not eating in the day for so long. Alhamdulillah we have the ability to go outside and just eat something anywhere we want and go to our fridges and eat something at any given time of the day, whether it be at 4am or at 2pm. Imagine all those kids in Gaza, Syria, Africa and all of the other oppressed and third world countries, where the children don’t get to eat for so long in their life that they must find it unnatural when they get given food. The happiness they must feel is not even close to the happiness we feel when we can eat during the day, after Ramadan passes. For them the struggle is everyday and they have no choice about it.

So please take some time out today to just say Alhamdulillah for what Allah has given, make sincere du’a for the less fortunate that their thirst and hunger may be quenched and if you can then donate to a charity that you know can make a difference inshaAllah.

8 RAMADAN NIBBLES FOR NEW MUSLIMS

Ramadan-2014

Source: http://muslimmatters.org/2014/07/15/8-ramadan-nibbles-for-new-muslims/

By: Olivia

I’ve had some awkward Ramadans as a new Muslim. When I converted it was the holiday season here in America, and I’ll never forget the look my cousin gave me when I told her at Thanksgiving dinner that I wasn’t going to eat because I was fasting. Seriously, it was meme-worthy.

I also fasted while attending an American high school, where you have to go the cafeteria at lunch, so I found myself doing a lot of sitting and staring at food and generally feeling hungry while my friends made wisecracks. Because at sixteen, I was way too lazy to get up for suhoor.

“Aren’t you hungry, Liv?” they’d ask while I tried very hard not to salivate onto the laminate tabletop in confirmation.

Ramadan can be a weird thing to explain to family and friends. The concept of fasting, though it once existed in Judeo-Christian teachings, has mostly been abandoned to the point of forgotten. I was Catholic and the closest I ever got to “fasting” was giving up something of my choice for Lent, which was usually something both trivial and an indulgence to begin with, like giving up candy bars.

I have found in my own situation that to my non-Muslim family and friends, Ramadan seems extreme, like something you would associate with ascetic monks or starving people in third-world countries.

Ramadan can be a lot to take in for a new Muslim, a strained time with not-Muslim family, friends, and co-workers/peers as you explain your extreme worship (yes fasting seems extreme to non-Muslims) while simultaneously not trying to feel like an awkward loner around community iftars and Taraweeh.

After all, it is a kind of “holiday” wherein we see an abundance of various traditions, some faith-based and others cultural, like the foods people eat and how they take their meals. Sitting on the floor and eating communally can be odd for many new Muslims, as can some of the menu items.

I never even tasted a date until my first Ramadan and let me tell you, I was a little intimidated by the brown squishy thing EVERYONE was eating. Like I had to eat this thing or I’m doing something very unramadan-ish.

At no other time of year, except maybe for Eid, can feelings of sadness or loneliness become more apparent to a convert; feelings like you don’t fit in, missing your own family holidays or wishing you had your own Muslim family, and feeling like for all the hard work you’re putting in, you aren’t really feeling the joy coming back to you.

You have no loved ones to share iftar with; you have no one to attend Taraweeh with, no one to feel groggy with at suhoor. While it’s easy to say it shouldn’t matter if you have anyone with you, you’re doing it for the sake of Allah, I highly suggest that person spend a Ramadan alone and s/he will then see just how important camaraderie is during this blessed month.

If you’ve been raised around the “hubbub” of Ramadan, you may take it for granted. I will admit that even though I abhor shirk as much as the next Muslim, I still get a warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling at Christmas time which I shove aside, and it’s taken me years to cultivate an equally warm, fuzzy one about Ramadan with my own family traditions.

Here are a few things to think about doing to make fasting be a little easier:

1. It’s okay to feel sad

You may go to the masjid during iftar or Taraweeh, and feel like a ghost. You may see all these smiling faces, people hugging and greeting each other, and feel a sad empty pit in your stomach. You may feel bitter Muslim friends are suddenly too busy with family affairs to remember you exist. Ramadan may feel really hard physically and equally so emotionally. It’s okay to feel sad, it doesn’t make you a bad Muslim. It’s normal to think about Thanksgiving or Christmas and your non-Muslim family holidays and feel a pang of longing. Don’t feel guilty and it doesn’t say anything about what kind of Muslim you are. It’s normal and insha’Allah your reward will be increased for the sacrifices you’ve made to follow the haqq.

2. Put suhoor next to your bed

This is advice from the teenager who missed it every day, but at least got to eat iftar in the early winter hours. Put it next to your bed, the water or juice, and when the alarm goes off, eat it right there and brush off the crumbs. There is blessing in taking suhoor and not doing so can make dehydration a real concern.

3. Have suhoor and iftar your way

Go Ramadan grocery shopping and buy some tasty things that you like and bring in suhoor and iftar your way, whether its some of those trendy vitamin waters, Doritos, or a king size candy bar. Do not feel like you need to eat ethnic Muslim foods, and if you don’t like dates, no big deal. Eat what you want to at suhoor and iftar, even if it looks like you just raided Nabisco, Little Debbie, and the Coca Cola Company.

After a long day of fasting, grab a Frappuccino or order a pizza. Don’t eat some lame, boring meal just because you don’t have a family to eat biryani with. To this day, even though I have a Muslim husband and four kids, my kids know its Ramadan not by a special rosewater drink or samosas, but because I have mini-cans of Coke and Fanta in the fridge and chips in the pantry.

And don’t worry about suddenly having to cook/eat zabihah meat (if you don’t eat it already) because it’s Ramadan (go ahead and crucify me for saying it) but just eat whatever you chicken/beef/lamb you’ve been eating the rest of the year (I’m not going to say goat because most of us converts keep goats as pets before we’d eat them for dinner).

Don’t make Ramadan twice as hard for yourself by suddenly going vegetarian either.

Which brings me to this point. Honestly, when I was seventeen someone gave me a bag of meat and while it’s the thought that counts, someone didn’t think that one through. (Just a note to all Muslims: giving a gift of raw meat is something totally unheard of in several non-Muslim societies, you may even insult someone by giving them a bag of bloody, raw animal. Nothing says, “I don’t fit here” like receiving one for many a new Muslim, and to make it worse its usually just a plastic baggie that doesn’t even have an expiration date on it).

4. Give family simple explanations

Explaining fasting is awkward because it sounds extreme; “You starve yourself from sunrise to sunset?”

“Isn’t dehydration bad for you body?”

When I said I fasted for the month many people thought I meant I didn’t eat at all for thirty days! Non-Muslims understand concepts like prayer, modesty, or the mosque, but fasting seems really out there. Have a generic explanation ready to go, and keep it as simple and relatable as possible. There are lots of reasons and benefits of fasting, so consider your audience. If I say, “I fast because Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed” there is a connection-gap there.

So, you’re celebrating the Qur’an…by starving yourself?”

If I say “We fast to experience the plight of the poor” or “we fast to learn self-control” or “we fast to experience delayed gratification, to remind us that if we’re patient we will be rewarded” those are reasons that non-Muslims can understand and won’t leave you explaining why dehydration is generally bad but for Ramadan you’re willing to make an exception to commemorate your holy book.

5. Don’t Avoid your Non-Muslim family

Not only can you feel alienated at Ramadan from the Muslim community, your family may feel alienated by you when you no longer join them for dinner or sit uncomfortably at the table with your nose in a book.

As someone who will be alhamdulillah, celebrating fourteen years as a Muslim this Ramadan, I am familiar with the urge to be as silent and avoidant as possible when it comes to non-Muslim family and the tension that can arise from awkward situations. Your family may feel like Ramadan proves just how much you’ve changed or drifted away, especially because the dinner table is considered the means by which families connect after a long day.

While it can be unnerving to attempt to dissolve tension with your family, you will thank yourself in the long run if you are. Instead of hiding out at dinner, let Ramadan be a special time that you make dessert for your family while they eat dinner. Be cheerful and smiling, ask them what they’d like. Show your family you still love them and want to be close to them and you want to compensate for missed meal time. Be proactive in spending quality time with them.

6. Read the Qur’an in English or read what you can in Arabic.

Let me tell you, last year was the first Ramadan I finished the entire Qur’an after fourteen years of trying. I’m still happy I tried, and the reward for one who struggles is more than one for whom it is easy, but I was left with a sense of un-accomplishment many times.

Finishing the Qur’an in Arabic just wasn’t a realistic goal for me, but it is the one good deed, besides Taraweeh, that we focus on to the exclusion of all else and you feel lame if you’re not doing it (and you may not even be able to read in Arabic at all). Reading the Qur’an and understanding it is very valuable.

Another great idea is to listen to recordings of the tafseer, or explanation, of the Qur’an (I would recommend Nouman Ali Khan). Don’t feel demotivated because you can’t do what everyone else seems to be doing.

7. Taraweeh is great but its not fard

Yes, masha’Allah, it is great to go to Taraweeh, but it’s not obligatory and the sunnah is actually to pray by your own at home sometimes too. Once again, you may have to go to work every day or school and fasting plus staying out and praying late is burning you out. No, you’re not weak, and in fact in many Muslim countries people accomplish Taraweeh every night by sleeping through the majority of the fast or having adjusted work hours. Do what you can do, but remember that Taraweeh is optional while fasting isn’t, so its better to skip Taraweeh if it enables you to maintain your fast.
8. Fasting is Hard

I’m here to validate you; fasting is hard, especially in long, summer days. As a new Muslim, you may be intimidated and wondering if you can even do it. I’m here to tell you you can do it, but if for some reason you make a mistake, or cave in to a moment of weakness, all is not lost. (Note: I’m not *justifying* doing this, as it’s not allowed; I’m merely saying that *if* you fall into this sin, don’t give up hope and repent and move on).

Ask Allah to forgive you and make you stronger and keep going; finish the rest of the day’s fast. Do not fall into the trap of thinking, “now my fast doesn’t count” or “now I have to make the day up” or “now I ruined the fast” so the day is lost. Allah rewards you for every moment you are in a fasted state— your reward is continuous. If you cave in and take that drink of water, continue your fast and insha’Allah you will get rewarded for setting things back to right and persevering. Allah knows what is more difficult for some than others, and Allah created us so that we would sin and then turn back to Him in repentance. Don’t give up.

Fiqh for new Muslims is a sensitive issue should be handled with a personal approach.

May Allah accept all our good deeds during this blessed month and enable us all to grow firmer in our faith.

Safeguard your Imaan from Distractions

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Today world has so many things to make a person busy and settle down in this life forever. What a generation we are living in! Technological, architectural and ideological advancements have made this world an irresistible place to leave for good. It has given strong and indispensable reasons to choose the worldly life. Humans work all their lives to build mansions to stay, stock up money in their bank accounts as savings for retirement, subscribe to life insurance policies so that their life and the future of their families remain secured, and people buy cars, air-conditioners, smart-phones, etc to ease their process of living on this planet.

We have made arrangements for our entertainment and leisure, for food and clothing, for touring the world, and for enjoying each and every moment of life. Allah says in the Quran: وما الحياة الدنيا الا متاع الغرور

And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion (57:20; 3:185)

Despite of this verse revealed by Allah, we have been busy all the time to prepare ourselves for this worldly life and ignore the Hereafter. Allah says in the Quran:

يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا

Satan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan does not promise them except delusion (4:120) And

فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا

So let not the worldly life delude you (31:33)

But unfortunately, we have overlooked this piece of guidance from Allah and got trapped into the fake promises of Satan who has blocked our safe-passage to heaven through Earth. This world is not a thoroughfare. There are many misleading turns, directions and twists set by the Satan. These are designed and presented so beautifully that it becomes hard for a person to resist, so he follows them.

This clearly means that we have decided to settle in the world forever. People have forsaken the rights of Allah over them, they have abandoned prayers because they feel that prayers cause hindrance in their jobs, they make no difference in Halaal and haraam because this would keep them away from many delusive delicacies of this world. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) took hold of Ibn Umar’s shoulder and said, ‘Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveler along the path.” And ibn Umar would say, “If you survive till late afternoon, do not expect [to be alive in] the morning. If you survive till morning, do not expect [to be alive in] the late afternoon. Take from your health before your sickness and your life before your death.”(Recorded in al-Bukhari).

Allah says in the Quran:

زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَاللَّـهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ

Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return. (3:14)

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