The Wooden Bowl – Life Lessons

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The Wooden Bowl

I guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table.

But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. ‘We must do something about father,’ said the son. ‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl!

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometime he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, ‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.’ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work .

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things: a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that, regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life..’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch – holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.!

I’ve learned that you should pass this on to everyone you care about.

I just did

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Osama roams the streets in Colombia!

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Osama, pronounced as Fernando Aguirre is fighting the good fight against the drug dealers in Colombia.

Fernando Aguirre, locally known as Osama Bin Laden, patrols a slum in Bogota . Aguirre, who claims to be the son of al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, patrols the most dangerous slums of Bogota and lives from the contributions received from those seeking his protection. Aguirre informs police on petty crimes being committed and is allowed by authorities to brandish his fake rifle.

Picture taken on January 17, 2008.

From H. Rap Brown to Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin – The Transformation

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The Transformation of H. Rap Brown to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin illustrates the “Transformative Power” of Islam.

The best way understand that is to listen the speech he gave as H. Rap Brown in 1968 during a Free Huey P. Newton Rally and then compare it to Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s interview on the Block Report (Pacifica Radio), or read his Statement in the Circuit County of Montgomery, AL, at his Extradition Hearing in April 21, 2000.

In addition, Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin’s autobiography provides an excellent synopsis of his transformation.

He writes in Die Nigger Die: A Political Autobiography;

On society and revolution:

“When you understand your obligations to God then you can understand your obligations to society. Revolution comes when human beings set out to correct decadent institutions. We must understand how this society has fallen away from righteousness and begin to develop, Islamically, the alternative institutions to those that are in a state of decline around us. But we must first enjoin right and forbid wrong to ourselves. That is the first step in turning this thing around: turn your self around.”


As Steve Biko, another revolutionary figure very aptly said during a speech in Cape Town, South Africa in 1971 – “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Without first freeing “the self” – your mentality, your mind, your thoughts you will never overthrow the yoke of the oppressor.

And if you refer back to the origins of slave ownership and how to keep slaves docile, you will come across a figure by the name of Willie Lynch.

This speech was delivered by Willie Lynch on the bank of the James River in the colony of Virginia in 1712. Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies. He was invited to the colony of Virginia in 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners there. The term “lynching” is derived from his last name. His methodology for keeping the slave a slave was to keep his body strong and his mind weak – self enslavement.

Greetings

Gentlemen. I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies, where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves.

Ancient Rome’s would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we Cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along its highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasions. I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree, a couple miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, You suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

In my bag here, I HAVE A FULL PROOF METHOD FOR CONTROLLING YOUR BLACK SLAVES. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly IT WILL CONTROL THE SLAVES FOR AT LEAST 300 HUNDREDS YEARS. My method is simple. Any member of your family or your overseer can use it. I HAVE OUTLINED A NUMBER OF DIFFERENCES AMONG THE SLAVES; AND I TAKE THESE DIFFERENCES AND MAKE THEM BIGGER. I USE FEAR, DISTRUST AND ENVY FOR CONTROL PURPOSES.

These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences and think about them. On top of my list is “AGE” but it’s there only because it starts with an “A.” The second is “COLOR” or shade, there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, SIZES OF PLANTATIONS, STATUS on plantations, ATTITUDE of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine hair, course hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you a outline of action, but before that, I shall assure you that DISTRUST IS STRONGER THAN TRUST AND ENVY STRONGER THAN ADULATION, RESPECT OR ADMIRATION.

The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for HUNDREDS of years, maybe THOUSANDS. Don’t forget you must pitch the OLD black Male vs. the YOUNG black Male, and the YOUNG black Male against the OLD black male. You must use the DARK skin slaves vs. the LIGHT skin slaves, and the LIGHT skin slaves vs. the DARK skin slaves. You must use the FEMALE vs. the MALE. And the MALE vs. the FEMALE. You must also have you white servants and over- seers distrust all Blacks. But it is NECESSARY THAT YOUR SLAVES TRUST AND DEPEND ON US. THEY MUST LOVE, RESPECT AND TRUST ONLY US.

Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. IF USED INTENSELY FOR ONE YEAR, THE SLAVES THEMSELVES WILL REMAIN PERPETUALLY DISTRUSTFUL.

Thank you gentlemen.”

As you can see these methods go back a long ways in history, since they have proven very effective. Frederick Douglas, a key figure in the Abolitionist Movement, wrote a book entitled “Lets Make a Slave“. He takes his inspriration for this book the Willie Lynch method for man breaking and slave making.

We must all do what is in our capacities to free Imam Jamil. Keep Imam Jamil in your prayers and thoughts. What they have done to Imam Jamil can be done to anyone of us. Free your mind…

Links about Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

Facts and Current Information on the Imam Jamil’s Case

Campaign to Free Imam Jamil

Online Petition have Imam Jamil Released on Bond

The Black Panther Party Archives

Pan African TV Audio and Video Archives

Anonymous Japanese Donor gives for 33 years

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TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese police station Wednesday paid tribute to an anonymous donor who has handed in envelopes full of cash to give to the needy every month for more than 33 years.The police station in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, received the first envelope in August 1974, which contained 1,000 yen, or nine dollars at the current rate.

It did not bear a sender’s name but enclosed a piece of paper only saying: “Please use this for the unprivileged people.”

The envelopes kept arriving punctually every month with the enclosed money gradually increasing to 3,000 yen, 5,000 yen and eventually 8,000 yen, the police said.

The station received the 400th envelope on Tuesday, taking the total amount donated to 1,744,000 yen, the police said, adding that the money had been given to the town’s social welfare council.

“I just take my hat off for the act of continuing sending donations over three decades without expecting rewards,” said station chief Taisuke Kimura.

“We will continue working for the safety of this town in return for this goodwill act,” he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080109/od_afp/japanpolicecharityoffbeat
Wed Jan 9, 7:59 AM ET

When I read this article it reminded me of this Hadith about charity.

It is Narrated by Abu Hurairah that on the authority of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, (who said): “There is a man who gives a charity and he conceals it so much so that his left hand does not know what his right hand spends.” (B. & M-Msh. 6:6.)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His.

They are:

1. a just ruler
2. a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah
3. a man whose heart is attached to the mosque
4. two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting for that.
5. a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position but he says, I fear Allah
6. a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity
7. a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.

Narrated by Abu Hurairah & collected in Sahih al-Bukhari (english trans.) vol.1, p.356, no.629 & Sahih Muslim english trans.) vol.2, p.493, no.2248

In too many cases nowadays we give for the sake of the self, rather than for the act of charity and service to humanity. Warren Buffet gives more than $30 billion, with the all associated publicity and self congratulations.

This Japanese donor, in my opinion, has given a greater act of charity than Warren Buffet. There is no match. It was given for the right purpose.

What is even more amazing, is that fact that for 33 years the Japanese police received and distributed this money for the purpose for which it was intentioned.

Try doing that is some other Asian countries that have been the news lately. I won’t mention the names directly, but most people will know of countries with Police that are more corrupt and more criminal than the criminals themselves. Try sending envelopes with cash to the Police in some other countries and see what happens to it. Mostly likely it will stay in the Police and get distributed amongst the Police.

I say God bless this person and the Japanese Police for their integrity. Translating this example to our personal lives, an act of charity does not have to be in monetary terms, it can take on many other forms.

Abu Hurairah who quotes the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as saying: “A charity is due for every joint in each person on everyday the sun comes up: to act justly between two people is a charity; to help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it is a charity; a good word is a charity; and removing a harmful thing from the road is a charity.” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Some other Hadiths pertaining to Charity;

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The believer’s shade on the Day of Resurrection will be his charity.” – Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 604

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “Every act of goodness is charity.” – Sahih Muslim, Hadith 496

Subhan Allah!

Websites that you can visit for more Hadiths and related knowledge;

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/
http://www.islamawareness.net/Hadith/htopic_charity.html
http://www.islam-quran-sunnah.blogspot.com/
http://www.sunnipath.com/Library/
http://www.ishwar.com/islam

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)