Downsides of alcohol outweigh health benefits

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I post this article since Shaykh Hamza Yusuf spoke about it at the RIS 2007 Knowledge Retreat.

The irony of the this article for me is that this article’s message is a totally Islamic message is that it is being stated in plain english by non-muslims.

Where are the muslims advocating for curbs on Alcohol abuse and advertising?

This was part of the point Shaykh Hamza was making that we have to be a part of this community.

Which means actively participating in and protecting the interests of Canada.

We are living here and must do what is in our “capacities” to effect positive change as Dr. Hakim Jackson also reiterated in his lectures.

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Downsides of alcohol outweigh health benefits

We ask the experts to settle common questions we’ve all wondered about.

QUESTION

Recent studies have found a link between alcohol consumption and a higher risk for certain cancers. Is alcohol the new smoking?

Print Edition – Section Front

ANSWER

“Cocktails anyone?” the promotions ask. During this season of celebrations, it is easy to think about alcoholic beverages solely in the context of their glossy and enticing holiday-oriented promotions.

And while it’s true that there are health benefits for some older adults who have a few drinks a week, our culture’s overwhelming emphasis on the positive side of drinking can lead to an imbalanced and dangerously misleading perception of alcohol.

The downsides include the still-too-common risks of drinking and driving, domestic violence, fights and public disruption, as well as the lesser-known risks for prevalent chronic diseases such as cancer. Research conducted under the auspices of the World Health Organization has identified more than 70 types of trauma and chronic disease where alcohol is a contributing cause.

In developed countries including Canada, alcohol is considered the third-highest factor in contributing to death, disease and disability (of 26 examined), just below tobacco and high blood pressure, and above high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and illicit drugs.

A study based on 2002 health and law-enforcement statistics produced a conservative estimate of $14.6-billion in costs attributed to alcohol in Canada (not including social problems), compared to $17-billion for tobacco.
Since that time, both the overall consumption of alcohol and the incidence of high-risk drinking have continued to increase in Canada, and both have been shown to contribute to damage. There are a number of cancers where alcohol is a contributing cause, such as cancers of the digestive and gastrointestinal tracts. The WHO-affiliated International Agency for Research on Cancer recently highlighted alcohol as a contributing cause for colorectal and breast cancers.

For breast cancer the IARC found that “even for regular consumption of 18 grams of alcohol per day, increase in relative risk is statistically significant.” Eighteen grams is less than one-and-a-half glasses of table wine, mixed drinks or beer. The health benefits for older adults can largely be achieved by drinking 13.6 grams, such as a glass of table wine or can of regular-strength beer, every other day.

It is possible to reduce overall consumption as well as high-risk drinking, defined as five or more drinks per occasion. For example, France and Italy – once among the heaviest alcohol-consuming countries in Western Europe – have reduced their overall rate of alcohol consumption by about two-thirds over 30 years.

However, in Britain Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently called a crisis meeting to deal with serious alcohol issues. Britain is struggling to contain high rates of trauma, public disruption and chronic disease resulting from easy access to alcohol, long hours of sale and heavy promotion.

The advice to “celebrate responsibility” will only produce the desired results if reinforced by responsible public policies such as more effective controls on alcohol promotion, prices that keep pace with the cost of living, and no further increases in hours of sale or density of alcohol outlets.

Until then, the negative aspects of alcohol will substantially outweigh the protective effects on cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes associated with moderate consumption – such as less than two drinks a day.

Drs. Juergen Rehm and Norman Giesbrecht are senior scientists at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

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globeandmail.com and The Globe and Mail are divisions of CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc., 444 Front St. W., Toronto, ON Canada M5V 2S9
Phillip Crawley, Publisher

Pornography Statistics – Sex in Arabic

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According to the Alexa Research the No. 1 search term used at search engine sites is the word “sex”. Users searched for “sex” more than other terms such as “games,” “travel,” “music,” “jokes,” “cars,” “weather,” “health” and “jobs” combined. The study also found that “pornography/porno” was the fourth-most searched for subject.
Alexa Research

That should not be very surprising, but what is disturbing is that “Sex” used to be until recently No.1 search term in the Arabic according to Google Trends. And Egypt is the top country in which the word “sex” has been searched for during all years for which data is available. These are raw statistics no manipulation possible here.

At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago.

These are statistics that should wake you up to the size of the problem.

Breakdown of the Porngraphy Statistics

Internet Pornography Statistics: 2003

Internet Filter Software—Shield Your Family from Pornography

And finally the disease has hit home. We even have a Muslim Porn star now – SAEEDA VORAJEE or Sahara Knite as she is known in the porn industry.

Sahara has received death-threats and was disowned by her parents (only her youngest brother sticks by her). The opposite reaction came from her fans, they love her and she’s considered a great talent in the porn-biz. But the reason for Sahara’s entry into porn was not to break with convention and traditional values; she was simply bored in her previous job!

Israel Wins Prize – Worst Violator of Human Rights

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Israel’s Infrastructure Warfare

By Mike Whitney

07/02/06 “Information Clearing House” — — Israel is now openly engaged in infrastructure warfare, the wanton destruction of the basic platforms of human survival. The bombing of the electric power plant has thrust the world’s most densely populated area into darkness; cutting off the vital flow of energy to hospitals, assistance centers, and the pumping stations which provide the city’s water. At the same time, Israel has bombed large sections of the main roads, government buildings, water lines and bridges. The Associated Press said, “Israeli tanks and bulldozers crossed the Gaza Strip and began razing farmland east of Khan Younis”.

“Razing farmland” is critical in understanding the real motive behind the current aggression. The attack is directed against Palestinian civilians, not terrorists and not Hamas. Israel is purposely destroying the means for continued human survival in Gaza.

We can now see that the practical application of the Israeli axiom, “to destroy the terrorist infrastructure” actually means the gratuitous decimation of civilian life-support systems.

Officials from the World Food Program, which feeds 600,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza, have warned of an impending humanitarian crisis saying that Palestinians are already living on one meal a day and that there has been a steady increase in malnutrition, anemia and kidney problems from poor nutrition.

At a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday, Dr. Riyadh Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine, said that the Israeli invasion “was clearly premeditated and planned” weeks if not months before the capture of the Israeli soldier. Mansour added that the bombardment and military assault were clearly designed to “punish and terrorize the civilian population.”

Members of the Security Council quickly moved to pass a resolution condemning the Israeli invasion but were blocked by the United States. As long as the US occupies a place on the council, Israel’s attacks on Palestinian civilians will go unpunished.

The unfolding crisis in Gaza was predicted by Uri Davis, Ilan Pappe, and Tamar Yaron in July 2005. Their statement reads:

“We believe that one primary, unstated motive for the determination of the government of the State of Israel to get the Jewish settlers of the Qatif (Katif) settlement block out of the Gaza Strip may be to keep them out of harm’s way when the Israeli government and military possibly trigger an intensified mass attack on the approximately one and a half million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom about half are 1948 Palestine refugees. The scenario could be similar to what has already happened in the past – a tactic that Ariel Sharon has used many times in his military career – i.e., utilizing provocation in order to launch massive attacks.”(Justin Podur, znet)

Clearly, Israel’s motives for the invasion have little to do with the abduction of Gilad Shalit by Hamas militants. In fact, Israel has stubbornly refused to negotiate for the release of the 19 year old corporal; preferring instead to carry out its carefully considered plan for making life untenable in Gaza. This suggests that the invasion is actually another attempt to ethnically cleanse the land of the native people by cutting off their access to vital food and supplies.

The strategy for purging the land of its indigenous people is a recurrent theme in Israeli politics dating back to the inception of the state in 1948. Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon summarized it this way: “You don’t simply bundle people into trucks and drive them away. I prefer to advocate a positive policy, to create, in effect, a condition that in a positive way will induce people to leave.”

Sharon, of course, is advocating a form of “transfer” which “creates the conditions” that will drive people off the land rather than marshalling armies to achieve the same goal. This is what is presently taking place in Gaza.

Regime Change in Ramallah

Israel’s attacks on the democratically-elected Hamas government have been instructive but not surprising. Soon after the January elections, Israel resolved to remove Hamas from power regardless of the cost. Apart from the daily assassinations and incitements, Israel has spearheaded a blockade of food, medical supplies and financial resources to the desperate people in the occupied territories. Israel has also supplied Mahmoud Abbas’ loyalists in Fatah with truckloads of weapons in a conspicuous effort to destabilize the government and promote internecine warfare. The move has weakened support for Abbas and made him look like an Israeli agent. (His smiling appearance with Olmert in Jordan soon after the bombing of 7 family members on a beach in Gaza, has done nothing to restore Abbas credibility among his people)

At 2 AM on Sunday morning the Israelis bombed the offices of Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya; a chilling reminder that the territories are ruled from Tel Aviv not Ramallah. Just a day earlier, Israeli Special Forces rounded up 64 members of Hamas including legislators, cabinet ministers, and officials. The illegal arrests have been roundly criticized by leaders across the political spectrum, and particularly harshly by Aengus Snodaigh, member of the Irish Parliament. Snodaigh said that the arrest of Hamas government officials “demonstrates the true nature of Israel’s commitment to ‘not so democratic’ values” and that “Israel was one of the most despicable and abhorrent regimes on the planet.”

Snodaigh backed up his claims noting that (according to the UN Secretary General for Public Affairs) the “in the month prior to the capture of the Israeli soldier at least 49 Palestinians, including 11 children, were killed by Israeli forces and 259 injured.” It should also be added that since Israel withdrew from Gaza in September of 2005, they have fired between 7,000 to 9,000 heavy artillery shells into Palestinian civilian areas.

Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz confirmed that the arrests “had been planned several weeks ago” which proves that Corporal Gilad Shalit’s capture has been used as a mere pretext to execute Israel’s broader policy objectives. (Ethnic cleansing and transfer)

Ironically, the arrest of Hamas’ officials could be beneficial to the cause of Palestinian liberation. After months of trying to topple Hamas through roundabout methods, Israel has taken a more direct route by simply arresting those who they oppose. This underscores an important point about the realities of life under occupation. There is no democracy under occupation because all the crucial aspects of sovereignty have been foreclosed. No Palestinian leader controls his borders, air-space, military, resources, commerce, or even food and medical supplies. What good does it do to create the impression that Palestinians are free by conducting elections?

The West Bank and Gaza are giant concentration camps. Elections create the unfortunate illusion of democracy and normality. It is a cynical public relations hoax intended to assuage the world’s conscience and put people to sleep.

By arresting government officials, we can see that Palestinian democracy only exists when it suits Israel’s interests. It is a complete sham.

The reality of occupation is evident by the facts on the ground and in the photos now appearing from Gaza of bombed-out buildings, traumatized children, bereaved parents and utter hopelessness.

Israel has robbed the Palestinian people of their freedom. The elections were a fraud. The issue continues to be occupation, and occupation alone.

Interesting Trivia Questions and Answers – Useless Facts

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In the 1400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have “the rule of thumb”

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Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled “Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden”…and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.

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The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.

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Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.

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Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

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Coca-Cola was originally green.

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It is impossible to lick your elbow.

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The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work:

Alaska

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The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this…)

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The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

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The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $ 16,400

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The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour:

61,000

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Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

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The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

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The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

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Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:

Spades – King David

Hearts – Charlemagne

Clubs -Alexander, the Great

Diamonds – Julius Caesar

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111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

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Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn’t added until 5 years later.

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Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?

A. Their birthplace

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Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?

A. Obsession

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Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter “A”?

A. One thousand

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Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?

A. All were invented by women.

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Q. What is the only food that doesn’t spoil?

A. Honey

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Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?

A. Father’s Day

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In Shakespeare’s time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes.

When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase……… “goodnight, sleep tight.”

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It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

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In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts… So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them “Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.”

It’s where we get the phrase “mind your P’s and Q’s”

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Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. “Wet your whistle” is the phrase inspired by this practice.

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At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

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DEALING WITH WORRIES AND STRESS

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DEALING WITH WORRIES AND STRESS

ENGLISH TRANSLATION
BOOK BY SHEIKH MUHAMMED SALIH AL-MUNAJJID

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Kinds of Worry and Stress
3. Islam’s Treatment for Anxiety and Worry
4. Writings of Immam Ibn al-Qayyim on Treating Distress and Grief
5. Du’aa’ (Supplication)
6. Reminder

INTRODUCTION

Praise be to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, the Master of the Day of Judgement. I bear witness that there is no god but He, the Lord of the earlier and later generations and Sustainer of heaven and earth. Peace and blessings be upon the one who was sent as a Mercy to the worlds. I bear witness that he is the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Peace and blessings be upon him, upon all his Family and Companions, and upon those who believe in his guidance and follow in his footsteps until the Day of Judgement.

It is the nature of this life that people will suffer from worries and stress, because this world is the place of disease, hardship and suffering. Hence among the things that distinguish Paradise from this world is the fact that there is no worry or stress there: “No sense of fatigue shall touch them, nor shall they (ever) be asked to leave.” [al-Hijr 15:48 – interpretation of the meaning]. Nothing ever upsets the people of Paradise, not even the slightest word: “No laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk) will they hear therein, nor any sinful speech (like backbiting, etc.), but only the saying of Salaam! Salaam! (greetings with peace).” [al-Waaqi’ah 56:25-26 – interpretation of the meaning].

It is also the nature of this life that people have to put up with suffering and hardship for various reasons, as is indicated in the Qur’aan (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily, We have created man in toil.” [al-Balad 90:4]. So people feel regret for what has happened in the past, anxious about what may happen in the future, and worried about what is going on in the present.

The things that cross our minds and make us feel distressed are things in the past that have caused grief, things in the future that we are worried about, and things in the present which concern us.

People react differently to stress and worries, depending on how many things are concerning them, whether the worry is continuous or not, and on whether they have faith in their hearts or are rebellious and sinful. We may describe people’s hearts as being of two types: either the heart is the throne of Allaah, filled with light, life, happiness, joy and all the treasures of goodness; or it is the throne of Shaytaan, wherein is distress, darkness, death, grief, worry and anxiety.

People’s worries and concerns will also differ, according to the differences in their motivations, circumstances and individual responsibilities.

One type of worry or concern is that which may be described as worthwhile worries that are a good sign, such as a scholar’s anxiety to resolve difficult issues concerning which the Muslims need an answer – especially when the matter is very serious and there appears to be no solution. Another example is the concern of the Muslim leader about the problems of the people under his care. This is what made the two ‘Umars (i.e. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab and ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez) and other leaders worried and anxious. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab used to think about how to prepare the army whilst he was praying, and he was excused for that; he also used to worry about the animals stumbling in the land of ‘Iraaq. ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez used to express his suffering thus: “I am dealing with something with which no one could help me except Allaah. The elderly have reached the ends of their lives with it (in this situation), the youth have grown up with it; the foreigners have learnt Arabic and the Bedouin have migrated to the cities in these circumstances. [It is so well-entrenched] that they think this is religion, and they can see the truth nowhere else but in this.” When the khilaafah passed to him and the people gave their bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to him, he came home, feeling anxious and stressed. His freed slave said to him: “Why do I see you so anxious and stressed? This is not how you should be on such an occasion as this.” He said, “Woe to you! How could I not be anxious when there is no one in the East nor the West of this ummah who is not demanding his rights of me or asking me to help settle some matter with another person, whether he writes down his request or not, whether he asks me directly or not?”

The more any decision had to do with the fate of the Muslims, the greater the anxiety and stress involved. Hence when ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf was entrusted with the task of selecting the next khaleefah for the Muslims, after the death of ‘Umar, he did not sleep during that period, because he was so busy consulting the Muslims, even the old women.

Other types of commendable concern include: the concern of the dai’yah who is striving to spread Islam and convey the message, guiding others to the path of Guidance; the concern of the worshipper to ensure that his worship is correct both in intention and practice; and the concern of the Muslim for the suffering of his brothers in faith throughout the world…

Kinds of anxieties that may result from committing sin include: the distress suffered after shedding blood wrongfully; or the anxiety of a woman who is pregnant as a result of fornication or adultery.

Kinds of distress that result from wrongful treatment at the hands of others include that suffered because of mistreatment by one’s own relatives, as the poet said: “The wrong suffered at the hands of those who are closely-related is more painful to bear than a blow from a powerful sword.”

Distress suffered because of the calamities that happen in this world include: chronic or serious diseases, disobedience of children towards their parents, hostility on the part of one’s wife or mistreatment on the part of one’s husband.

Some kinds of anxiety result from fears about what may lie ahead in the future, for example a father may be worried about what will happen to his children after he dies, especially if they are weak and he has nothing to leave behind for them.

To read the rest of this book please follow this link to the PDF File (149k, 37 Pages)

MEANS OF STEADFASTNESS: STANDING FIRM IN ISLAM

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WASAA’IL AL-THABAAT

MEANS OF STEADFASTNESS: STANDING FIRM IN ISLAM

English Translation
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Means of Steadfastness in Islam
Situations where steadfastness is required
Conclusion

Introduction

Praise be to Allaah; we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides cannot be led astray, and whomsoever He leaves astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

Steadfastness in the religion of Allaah is a basic requirement for every sincere Muslim who wants to follow the Straight Path with determination and understanding. This matter is of great importance for a number of reasons, including the following:

1. The present situation of the societies in which Muslims live, the types of temptation to which they are painfully exposed and the kinds of whims and desires, doubts and confusion which have caused religion to become something strange, so that those who adhere to it are likened to something weird, and people say: “The one who holds on to his religion is like one who holds on to a burning coal.”

Anyone who has a brain will not doubt that Muslims today need the means of steadfastness more than their predecessors among the salaf did, and that the effort required is greater, because of the corruption of our times, and the scarcity and weakness of brothers and supporters who could help.

2. The high incidence of apostasy (riddah) and backsliding, even among those who are working for Islam, which causes Muslims to fear ending up the same way, so he seeks the means of standing firm so that he can reach dry land, as it were.

3. The relationship of this issue to the heart, of which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water.” (Reported by Ahmad, 6/4; al-Haakim, 2/289; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1772).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also gave another example of the heart: “The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub – alteration, variation, ups and downs). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.” (Reported by Ahmad, 4/408; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2364).

As a later poet said:

“He is only called insaan (man) because of his nasyaan (forgetfulness) And it is only called al-qalb (the heart) because it constantly varies (yataqallib).”

Making the one stand firm who is tossed about by the winds of doubt and confusion is a serious matter which needs tremendous means as befits the seriousness and difficulty of the task at hand.

It is part of Allaah’s mercy towards us that He has shown to us, in His Book and through the words and life of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) many ways of being steadfast in Islam. I will discuss some of them below.

To read the rest of this book please follow this link to the PDF File (73k, 26 Pages)

SHAKAWA WAHULOOL – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

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SHAKAWA WAHULOOL – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

English Translation
Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Sleeping and missing salaat al-fajr
Excessive laughter
Waswaas (insinuating thoughts from Shaytaan)
Staying up late
Short temper

Introduction

Praise be to Allah, we praise Him and seek His help, and we seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomever Allah guides, no one can mislead, and whomever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god except Allah alone, with no partner or associate, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:102 – interpretation of the meaning]

“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [al-Nisaa’ 4:1 – interpretation of the meaning]

“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds, and will forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement.” [al-Ahzaab 33:70 – interpretation of the meaning]

Some brothers have asked me questions in various talks and lectures, including questions about a number of problems, “diseases of the heart” (spiritual problems) and very real obstacles that they are facing. I answered these questions and enquiries in a series of studies entitled Shakaawaa wa Hulool (Problems and solutions).

This series has been reviewed for publication, and I now present it to my brothers in the hope that this action may be included in those referred to in the hadeeth of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him): “Whoever relieves a believer of some of the distress of this world, Allah will relieve him of some of the distress of the Day of Judgement… Allah will help His slave so long as the slave is helping his brother.” (Saheeh Muslim) I ask Allah to give my brothers and me the strength to do good deeds and to avoid evil, and to save us on the Day of Regrets, for He is the Best of those who are asked, and He is Able to do all things.

To read the rest of this book please follow this link to the PDF File (136k, 33 Pages)

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