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Developing faith and character in our kids

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By: Shaykh Abdullah Kapodravi

Source: ilmgate.org

On 7th April 2006, Shaykh Abdullah Kapodravi (db), a prominent scholar from India, made an impromptu speech before Salat  al-Jumu`ah Jumma Masjid, Batley, England. He highlighted the dangers facing Muslims in today’s turbulent times, pleading Muslim parents to focus on their responsibilities, and asking the audience to implement the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. The Shaykh is a prolific writer, orator and educationalist, who served as chancellor of Darul Uloom Tadkeshwar, India for 28 years. He has traveled extensively in the Islamic world and the West. He is aged 74, and currently resides in Canada. The speech was translated and edited by Sulaiman Kazi.

All praise is due to Almighty God, Allah, and may He, the Exalted, bestow His peace and blessings upon Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, upon his good and pure family, as well as upon all of the noble companions, and upon those who follow them in righteousness until the Day of Judgment.

Friends, a very serious issue that confronts the Islamic world today is the character of our youth, which is far removed from Islamic teachings. When I read newspaper accounts about the behavior of our youth my heart cries with pain. I anguish where is the Ummah heading? Could anyone have imaged that in this Ummah a mother would have an illicit relationship with her son? Lamentably, this is happening. A Muslim youth would be drinking? A Muslim youth would be stealing? A Muslim youth and s/he has no respect towards his/her elders? Bad character is manifesting itself everywhere. And the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, was sent into the world to correct human conduct and morals. As the famous poet Shauki said: “In the world communities are raised with noble conduct, communities are obliterated with bad character.”

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How Smoking Harms Your Vision

Source: http://www.allaboutvision.com/smoking/

Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. It harms nearly every organ in your body — including your eyes.

Adverse — and often fatal — health effects of cigarette smoking such as heart disease and cancer are all too familiar, but sight-threatening vision and eye problems generally are less well-known.

Here are more reasons you should kick the habit:

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Smoking and Cataracts

Cataracts (clouding of the eye’s natural lens) are a leading cause of blindness in the world. More than 50 percent of Americans will have a cataract or have had cataract surgery by age 80.

Smokers significantly increase their risk of developing a cataract compared with non-smokers. In fact, studies show that people who smoke double their chance of forming cataracts, and the risk continues to increase the more you smoke.

Smoking and Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the center of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, central vision needed for everyday tasks such as reading and driving.

Macular degeneration causes “blind spots” and often severely impairs central vision. AMD is the leading cause of permanent vision loss among Americans age 65 and older.

Studies show smokers can have a three-fold increase in the risk of developing AMD compared with people who have never smoked. And female smokers over age 80 are 5.5 times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers of the same age.

But it’s not all bad news: because smoking is the biggest controllable risk factor associated with AMD, quitting smoking at any age, even later in life, can significantly reduce your risk of developing AMD.

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Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of eye conditions that cause vision loss.

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Giving up sins: An Easy prescription

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By: Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb

Source: http://yunuspatel.co.za

There are many, many Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world who due to various negative influences and bad elements, find themselves ‘de-railed’ from Deen. Many others sit on the fence, wanting to enjoy or benefit from both sides of the fence – engaging in sins as well as being practical on certain teachings of Deen. However, deep in their hearts is the desire to get back on track, and once again become good, practical Muslims; to jump off the fence and enjoy the green pastures of Islam. So they write, e-mail, phone, fax seeking guidance and direction.

The main weakness is indulgence in sins; sometimes many sins and excessive indulgence in those sins. A standard prescription that I give as a reply, is as follows. Alhamdulillah, many who followed through with the prescription have found a whole new life – of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.

  • The ideal is that we abstain from sins, out of love for Allah Ta’ala. He has granted us so much – He has granted us everything and it is the nature of human beings that we love the person that is kind and generous to us. Then what of Allah Ta’ala who has provided us with plentiful – with everything? The sight, hearing, speech, the organs that are functioning in such an amazing manner, the limbs – all in our service – for eating, drinking, walking, sitting, etc. The gifts of wealth : the clothing, shelter, transport, food, drink, and so many other comforts. …We use them all, but do we keep in mind, the Generous Benefactor ? Do we give thanks for these bounties or show any appreciation to the Giver ?
  • Developing the conscious awareness that Allah Ta’ala is with us : He is watching us, He is hearing us, He knows all and everything about us; We cannot hide from Him; We cannot conceal our actions from Him. Then should we not feel ashamed that in His Presence, we are disobeying Him? Are we not showing ingratitude to the Benefactor, when engaging in sins in His very Presence ?
  • Keep in mind that the angels too are witness to all our actions; that the earth is recording our behaviour and that all of it is also noted in our books of deeds – that we are accountable to Allah Ta’ala on the Day of Judgement. Added to this, our actions are also presented to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), so we should give thought to whether our actions are a source of joy or grief to him. …In this manner, we will develop that shame and modesty which will make it easy to restrain from Haraam.
  • Muraqabah is meditating on the actions engaged in during the day : We should reflect over our deeds for the day and seek forgiveness for shortcomings and resolve not to return to those bad deeds. We should also express gratitude on good deeds and make dua for an increase in them.
  • Ponder over the fact that the Angel of Death does not give respite. It must not be that whilst obeying the nafs in sinful pleasure, the Angel of death visits; and departure is in disgrace, and return to Allah Ta’ala is at a time when He is angry, and that death is an embarrassment to the person, family and community who find out that death came in sin. May Allah Ta’ala protect us all from death in a state of transgression, but this is very much a reality.…Death visits – more often, very unexpectedly, and no true Muslim would want to be seized by the Angel of death when Allah Ta’ala is displeased. I often say : We now have instant tea, and instant coffee, and instant cereal and instant pudding and so many other things on the market are instant – we are also living in times when death is just as instant. So any sin is too much of a risk in the face of the reality of death. …The Hadith is explicit : That we will be resurrected on the day of Judgement as we have died and we will die as we have lived. …Would any Muslim want to rise up on the Day of Judgement in sin, for all of mankind to witness what kind of life he led?
  • Ponder over the fact that Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with the gift of sight, hearing, health, wealth, and so much else – and has also granted us the gift of respect. However, what He gives, He can also take away. He has explicitly stated that ingratitude for His Gifts will draw very severe punishment. So is sin not abuse and ingratitude for the gifts of sight, of heart, of mind, of limbs ?

A little contemplation on the consequences of such behaviour and a little bit of mujahada – which entails ‘not doing’ and Alhamdulillah, the sicknesses are cured.

Together with this :

  • Attend the talks of the learned Scholars of Islam whenever possible, or listen to recordings of their talks and read their books to gain benefit of pious, righteous company. Join and participate in the Deeni activities with those who follow the Qur`aan and Sunnah. On will, Insha-Allah, find a great improvement in one’s condition by keeping the right company.
  • Make the effort to read Salaah punctually. Men should make every effort to read their Salaah in Jamaat.
  • Read good, Islamic literature. Abstain from magazines or books that have filthy and indecent contents and pictures.
  • Give up television viewing. …90% of the content is Haraam. If a person offers a full glass of clean and pure water, and mentions that there is just one drop of urine, would any sensible person, drink it ?
  • …Then when the major content of television is Haraam, what would we then say ? When the gaze, heart and mind are consuming and digesting so much of Haraam viewing, what else would be the end result except indulgence in the same Haraam.
  • Lower the gaze from the opposite sex.
  • Dress as a Muslim should – Wearing the pants above the ankle and keeping the beard, one fist in length must not be considered as insignificant actions. These are teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) which he has emphasized. Although it is permissible to wear the shirt and pants, the dressing of the righteous (i.e. the kurta) has a speciality which benefits in different ways. A person with this appearance will think a hundred times before engaging in an open sin, when he is being recognized as someone who must be very pious. So this attire and appearance will offer a protection, Insha-Allah. Women too should dress modestly as is prescribed by Shariah.
  • By doing these few things, you have won more than half the battle. And it is not as difficult as Shaytaan and nafs will whisper. A little courage, a little effort and a little sacrifice are all that is required.

Of course, these are just basic aspects of Deen, which everyone can implement immediately and easily. There is a need to fulfill the Obligatory Injunctions such as Salaah, Zakaat, Fasting in the month of Ramadaan, etc. and to fulfill the rights of family, neighbours and others. There is a need to read the Qur`aan Sharief regularly, together with some authentic commentary – a little at a time, as well as giving time to studying some book on Islamic Jurisprudence and reading the life and teachings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , etc. A reading of the books of virtues of actions such as Salaah, Fasting, Haj, Sadaqaat, Zikr, etc. by Shaykh Zakariyyah Saheb (Rahmatullah ‘alayh) will create enthusiasm in the heart for action.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us His Love and the Love of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , such that it becomes easy to give up all sins and submit to His Obedience. May He protect us all from the mischief of nafs and Shaytaan. May He fill our hearts with Love for this beautiful Deen and inspire us in being a practical and good Muslims and be true role-models to our community.

Astronauts who live in space for extended periods of time are at risk for developing solipsism syndrome (IMAGE)

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