Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

There Was An Old Woman Who Swatted A Fly…

// May 30th, 2013 // No Comments » // Blog

A big, fat fly, was buzzing around my room today. Odd, because it has been rainy and cold since Monday (i.e., not typical big, fat fly weather). In fact, I think it might have been the first fly of 2013.

As I feebly tried to shoo the little buzzer out of my room, I half remembered a Quranic verse – something about not being able to defeat a measly fly. I could relate.

An hour later, I am sat with the Qur'an as part of my daily ritual. I try to be consistent in reading a little every day, but the reality is, some days I read one page, some days three, and some days none (astagfirullah).

So it was a shock when I unexpectedly came across this ayah:

“You people, here is an illustration, so listen carefully: those you call on beside God could not, even if they combined all their forces, create a fly, and if a fly took something away from them, they would not be able to retrieve it. How feeble the petitioners are and how feeble are those they petition!” [Qur'an, 22:73]

When 'coincidences' such as this occur, it's quite an event as I know it is not something that I could have planned, even subconsciously. I always respond the same way: my eyes pop, my jaw drops, and sometimes, I even giggle – I think that's a natural response to a surprise, right?

There is so much that can be taken from this experience. But the lesson that touches my heart the most is that Allāh subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) (glorified and exalted be He) remembered me.

Pathetic, little me is on the radar of the Supreme Being.

Honestly, I needed that reminder. Allahu akbar.

Love For Other People What You Love For Yourself

// May 17th, 2010 // 1 Comment » // Blog

The following story was published back in March as part of a MuslimMatters post titled “On the Fingers of Abu Hurayrah…..Towards a Noble Life“. Since then, it has come to mind so many times during the course of normal, everyday interactions, I had to track it down, and bookmark it here.

“Love for other people what you love for yourself and you will be a (perfect) Muslim.” – Prophet Muhammed, sallalahu 'alayhi wa salam

An extraordinary example of putting this teaching into practice is that of some of our righteous predecessors.

Ibrahim al-Nakha'ee (rahimahullah) was a'war al-'ayn (blind in one eye), and his student Sulayman ibn Mihran suffered from weak eyesight (a'mash al-'ayn). Ibn al-Jawzi related a story about them in his book Al-Muntathim that they were walking in the streets of Al-Kufah headed to the masjid.

As they were walking, Imam Al-Nakha'ee said, “Sulayman, can you take one road and I take another? For I fear that if we were to pass together by the foolish people, they would say, 'A'war – one eyed – is leading an a'mash – bleary eyed- (through the road) and they would then have backbitten us and fallen into sins.”

So Sulayman replied, “O Abu 'Imran! What is wrong then when we are rewarded while they are sinful?”

Ibrahim al-Nakha'ee replied, “SubhanaAllah! Bal naslam wa yaslamun! Rather, that we be safe (from their backbiting) and they be safe (of sin) is better than if we are rewarded and they are sinful!”.

[al-Muntathim fee Tareekh al Muluk wal Umam]

This is a form of altruism that we all desperately need to adopt. There is a lot of bitterness, enmity and ill-will amongst us. We need to improve ourselves and one another with a far more loving attitude. May Allāh make it easy for us, āmīn.

Macro Gone Mad

// May 9th, 2010 // 3 Comments » // Photos

I've gone a little 'macro' nuts, lately. I dig how the shallow depth of field makes the most mundane of things look, like, totally awesome, māshā’Allāh.

Scratched But Not Out

Alien Invaders Crystal Vision Entwined I Dream of Cream What A Load of Rubbish! Good Day

Btw, I've realized just how lazy I've become wrt my camera. When I bought my first digicam way back in 2002 (a Minolta summit or other), I was so excited by my shiny new purchase, I insisted on fiddling with every manual setting available. These days, I normally shoot on auto-mode. It works out okay in well-lit environments, but the picture quality becomes extremely naff (I mean, more so than I'd expect) in anything less than daylight. I keep reminding myself that I need to figure out the best settings for indoors – especially as I hate using the flash – but bah… laziness.

Then, the other day, I lent my Canon to another sister from the ISoc, and within a few minutes she'd taught me five new things about the camera, like how to control the flash intensity (I had no idea I could do that), and change the aspect ratio to widescreen (though I'll probably stick to doing that during post-processing). This is one of the few times in my life that I've been outgeeked by a fellow Muslimah! I am totally going to leech off of her knowledge, inshā’Allāh. In a good way.

In other news, the first meeting of the Sisters Film Club went well, māshā’Allāh, in spite of clashes with the Muslim Medics AGM, and general exam stress all round. We have our sights on the first project, which should be ready for June, inshā’Allāh. More details as they become declassified for public release.

The Surprising Science of Motivation

// November 17th, 2009 // 2 Comments » // Blog

I've been quickly getting through my pile of unwatched TED videos, during my daily one hour commute to and from uni. Everyday I say to myself: “Wow! I must post this on the blog!”, only to forget… which is probably a good thing, considering the number of “wow” moments I have recently experienced which would lead to the blog becoming a TED mirror site.

Anyway, the following video evoked a much larger 'wow' than the rest, because of the extent that the advice contained therein is so contrary to widespread public opinion. The engaging speaker, Dan Pink, proves that when it comes to motivation, the carrot and stick approach doesn't always work. Who knew?

Consider the impact that such research has on the city's 'bonus culture', which has been dominating the headlines of late? And of greater import: the nature of mainstream education. I feel like I've been bred to only perform in the presence of pressure, which means I'm always leaving things to the last minute. If only I could work effectively without threats of failure looming over my head!

Therefore, I urge you to watch the video… but I won't offer you any extra incentives to do so. ;)

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

My Dream Boy

// November 13th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

Inspired by this post.

About a month ago I dreamt that I was on a journey with someone – a man; someone I'm somewhat familiar with in real life. We had stopped somewhere en route, and were using the computer room.

Swinging round in my swivel chair, I came to face to face with a young boy, maybe six years old or so. I said “hi”, in the kind of gentle way that you would with a small child… but for some unknown reason, he responded by launching into an unannounced bear hug! It felt like the type of sincere embrace that a child would give if they were scared, lonely, and needed reassurance.

I didn't know the boy at all, but I was so moved by this simple gesture, by his implicit trust in me, that I couldn't let go. As his chest lay upon mine, I felt my heart beat so strongly – almost painfully. I suspected that someone had abandoned him there, and that he had latched onto me like a lost puppy, hoping that I would love him. The whole experience evoked such a powerful maternal instinct in me; I just knew in my bones that I was meant to protect him.

I turned to my travel companion (whilst still engaged in the bear hug), who was sat on a nearby terminal. And as soon as I did, I saw a little girl do the exact same thing to him! I knew – as one usually 'knows' in dreams – that the little girl was the little boy's sister. They had both been abandoned.

We carried the children to our car – a large, black 4 x 4. I was so sad. I wanted to take them with us. I wanted to make them mine, and never let them be alone again. In the background, I listened to my companion share his opinions on how unfortunate the whole situation was… but I could tell without asking that he was unwilling to take the children. He was being the sensible man; I, the emotional woman – though I reluctantly understood his perspective, and didn't argue. I remember the solemn look on my face, and how I secretly hoped that it would be enough to make him change his mind.

Well, it seemed to have worked! Because as the dream advanced to the next 'scene', it was several years in the future. The travel companion and I were now married (I assume we weren't before), and the children were ours.

There was more to the dream, which has now been forgotten, and so I assume it was less significant. The strangest part, however, happened after I awoke. I made the opening takbir for Fajr salat. I went to place my hands on my chest, and subhanallah, I felt the same strong, painful, feeling of empathy in my heart, as I did during my embrace with the little, lost child.

As I prayed, I wept. All for the love of my dream boy.

An Inspirational, Must-See TED Video

// September 23rd, 2009 // No Comments » // Blog

I've been watching a few of the latest-release TED videos the past few days, mainly because I know once I download them, it'll be a while until I actually get round to viewing them. I posted links to a couple on my Twitter stream yesterday, but I decided this video deserved its own blog post, to become a part of my permanent archives, inshā’Allāh.

It's only six minutes long, and you must watch it now!

At age 14, in poverty and famine, a Malawian boy built a windmill to power his family's home. Now at 22, William Kamkwamba, who speaks at TED, here, for the second time, shares in his own words the moving tale of invention that changed his life.

Don't you feel inspired? And also, flippin' grateful for every, little thing? I am so amazed my his initiative. Bravo, young man! Māshā’Allāh.

I love Science even more now.

Don't waste the good feeling: donate to Muslim Hands education fund, so more young people can have access to the basic materials they need to succeed, inshā’Allāh.

Workshop on How to Teach Qur’an to the Blind & Visually Impaired

// September 21st, 2009 // 2 Comments » // Blog

The following was forwarded to me by e-mail. Please pass it on! Also, please contact the organization directly for more information, or if you wish to mirror their work in your own locality, inshā’Allāh.

Baseera Institute will be launching on 16-20th Oct, 2009, inshā’Allāh. It is a charity dedicated to teaching the quraan to the blind and visually impaired, and is set on a similar model to Madressa Noor in South Africa.

Inshā’Allāh we will be holding braille workshops for people who wish to teach quraan to the blind and visually impaired from 16-20th Oct, 9am-5pm.

If you know anyone who is blind or visually impaired who wishes to study the quraan then bring them along, or if you are generally interested in our charity project come down.

I have attached the poster with all the details to this email [see below]. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

We also have a group on facebook ”Baseera Institute”. If you have not already done so please join and I will send you regular updates.

Click poster to enlarge.

TED: Focus on Biology

// September 3rd, 2009 // 6 Comments » // Blog

I spent a couple of hours on the tube today, and decided to catch up on the mountain of TED videos I have sitting on my iPod. I went through about five in total, three of which had a Bio theme. I found these to be particularly interesting (said the Biologist) for different reasons, and thought I'd share.

Janine Benyus shares Nature's designs

This talk was about the fascinating field of Biomimicry. I swear, if I had the talent to invent, this would be my work. I love the presenter's humility. I don't know how anyone could not be humbled by the creative genius of natural design, as revealed in the video.

Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day; there are indeed Signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Allāh, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” [Qur'an: 3:190-1]

Kary Mullis' next-gen cure for killer infections

A very short video, but intriguing nonetheless. I wish he had gone into more detail about how exactly they plan to target the infectious organisms via the DNA linker (?). I guess I'll have to look it up at some point. I also think it's premature to say “mission accomplished” at this stage, as not everything transfers smoothly from lab work to clinical trials.

Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes

Now, before you all go crazy on me: I am not posting this video because I agree with her theory. I just think it's a brilliant example of dogmatic thinking amongst scientists – even evolutionary biologists. Plus, she's funny!

A Pre-Ramadan Thought

// August 19th, 2009 // 5 Comments » // Blog

I left a comment on Organica's latest post, which I wanted to share here, mainly as a reminder to myself:

“It is much easier to do good deeds in Ramadan because your nafs is weakened by fasting, and the shayateen are locked up. This illustrates that there is something inherently good about humanity, which shines through when worldly temptation is removed.

It's a lesson for us to seek that [good] out within ourselves and others all year round, inshā’Allāh.”

An early Ramadan Mubarak to you all!

The Lake District

// July 16th, 2009 // 3 Comments » // Photos

Here are some photos from my recent trip to the Lake District.

19 18 15 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

The following is my personal favourite; click to enlarge.

Jazakallah khair to brother Mohammed for inviting me to Cumbria, and granting my father and I a personalised tour of the area.

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