Anger Management

Vol 4-Issue 1 Anger ManagementAnger has been termed as a strong feeling caused by extreme displeasure. It is a natural response to a particular circumstance. However, a pertinent question here is – can it be avoided? More significantly, can it be controlled? And if not, how detrimental can the consequences of a blind rage be?

Dr. Mamdouh N. Mohammad, an educational consultant and acting director of American Open University, reasons: “Situations that cause anger are not always avoidable; anger can and should be controlled. When anger becomes a habit without efforts to control it, a person will face great difficulty in building quality interpersonal relationships.”

A rapidly intolerant and self-centered culture is growing around us, where at times anger is even justified for making personal gains. Seldom people appreciate the need to defuse a potentially volatile situation and rather feel triumphant in a showdown, no matter how ugly it may turn out to be.

Islam, with all its wisdom and efforts to maintain peace and order in the society, has presented remarkable and doable strategies for controlling our negative emotions. This is simply called ‘anger management.’ Following are some workable solutions for those, who have the courage to break this bad habit and live a less stressful life.

Sensing of one’s moods

Quite often, in the midst of a heated argument, a person’s muscles begin to tense and pulse increases rapidly. Some people even become out of breath, and their voices raise. These are all signs of a temper simmering within.

The Prophet (sa) has advised us to pay close attention to these signs: “Beware of anger, for it is a live coal on the heart of the son of Adam. Do you not notice the swelling of the veins of his neck and redness of his eyes?” (At-Tirmidhi)

Changing of circumstances

Prophet Muhammad (sa) also emphasized the relaxing of one’s muscles. Abu Tharr (rta) narrates the Prophet’s (sa) suggestion: “The Apostle of Allah (sa) said to us: ‘When one of you becomes angry while standing, he should sit down. If the anger leaves him, well and good; otherwise, he should lie down.’” (Abu Dawood)

The idea is simple – the person must change the circumstances, under which he first became angry. His altered position will assist him in relaxing of his tense muscles. Also, getting up and washing one’s face helps. Atiyyah narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution (Wudhu).” (Abu Dawood)

Assessing potential settings

One of the best ways for a person to control his anger is to become more aware of his personal habits. Ask yourself: “What ticks me?” Every person is prone to irritation. If possible, replay the number of times you have lost your temper and examine, what was the launching pad? Most people do not make the effort to understand the kinds of settings or situations that lead them to their blind fury. Once this is identified, precautions can be taken to avoid them.

Beware of the snowballing effect

Another important element in controlling anger is not to allow frustrations to build up. Many individuals agree that they keep suppressing anger, until it gets too much to keep within and they blow up. Hence, all their initial efforts prove futile.

The solution is to take an inventory of one’s feelings occasionally. If an irritant has caused in you some sort of negativity, immediately try to disengage with it. Reciting ‘Aoudo Billahi Mina Shaiytan Ni Rajim,’ offering Salah, diverting one’s mind to some other chore, and complaining to Allah (swt) help. Yes, literally pour your poison out in front of Allah (swt), before you end up inflicting self-damage.

Avoiding the bait

At times, one is unconsciously pulled into a whirlpool by no fault of his own. There are such individuals around us, who seek pleasure by provoking us, especially if they are aware of the bait we get hooked to. We consciously have to practice avoiding those baits.

Once, a Jewish man greeted the Prophet (sa) by saying: “Death be upon you.” He used the Arabic word ‘Sâm’, meaning ‘death’, in a parody of the Islamic greeting for peace, which is the word ‘Salâm’. Though the Prophet (sa) knew exactly, what the man had said: he paid it no heed and gently replied: “And upon you.” He did so without repeating the misused word ‘Sâm’ and behaved, as if he had not noticed it.

However, Aisha (rta), who had also heard what the man really said: immediately retorted: “And death be upon you and a curse as well!” The Prophet (sa) said: “Take it easy, Aisha. Allah loves kindness in everything.” Aisha (rta) complained to the Prophet (sa) saying: “Didn’t you hear what he said?” The Prophet (sa) replied: “Did you not hear my reply? I responded to his offensive supplication. My supplication will be answered by Allah, while his supplication against me will not be answered.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Remembering Allah’s (swt) and His Apostle’s (sa) pleasure

Abdullah ibn Umar (rta) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “No one has swallowed back anything more excellent in the sight of Allah, Who is Great and Glorious, than anger he restrains, seeking to please Allah most high.” (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

On another occasion, Saeed Al Khudri narrated: “The Prophet (sa) mentioned anger saying: ‘Some are swift to anger and swift to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; some are slow to anger and slow to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; but the best of you are those, who are slow to anger and swift to cool down, and the worst of you are those, who are swift to anger and slow to cool down.’” (Tirmidhi)

We also have a responsibility to take care of our health and well-being. Studies have shown that anger is linked to stroke, high levels of cholesterol, and coronary heart diseases; therefore, we must manage our anger in a healthy manner for our own sake.

As for disposition towards others, our choices in reaction to different situations significantly decide the ambience of our home, the culture of our organization, and our overall image as a person. Most certainly, nobody wants to be identified as a grouch on the brink of a sudden eruption. Also, by such unpredictable mood swings we tend to lose respect and drive away the people we love and care about. Consequently, even if we are a well-meaning individual, because of our volatile temperament nobody understands our true sentiments.

Anger is never a wise choice for expression. Next time you are tempted to resort to anger, stop and think for a while. There is always a more effective means of communication or even protest. May Allah (swt) grant us all the strength to ignore Shaitan’s whispers. Ameen.

Attitudes followed by anger


Benjamin Franklin once said: “Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame.” Undoubtedly, regret is one of the most common emotions people feel after an angry outburst. But, unfortunately, it does not mend the damage of the initial angry episode. Anger causes serious implications, such as broken relationships, physical abuse, divorce, loss of respect, and even murder.

Regret is only worthwhile, if earlier mistakes are not repeated. But if it is a common occurrence after every fight with no improvement, then it is of no value.


For some individuals anger is a way of life. It is their language to communicate and their means of getting by. Unfortunately, they don’t even acknowledge anything to be wrong. In fact, they feel proud of themselves, if they are able to abuse others, put people down, or throw in a few punches to get their way.

This is the most dangerous of all attitudes – the sense of right and wrong gets displaced. Just as Satan challenged Allah (swt): “I am better than Adam.” Such individuals justify their position and feel no need to change themselves.

For such individuals, sincere and earnest Dua (prayer) is the only solution, so that their hearts soften and take heed of guidance by Allah’s (swt) will.


Once a man was harshly abusing another man, who was gently trying to handle the situation. The abuser went on till his heart’s content and finally walked away. A third man being the spectator of this brawl came to the gentle man and asked him quizzically: “You were behaving like a gentleman with that foul mouthed person. Why didn’t you get even with him?” The gentle man smiled and answered: “I was treating him the way I am. I didn’t want to be pulled down to his level. Instead, I thought of bringing him up to my own.”

Sadly, such grace is not witnessed often today, except among people of high Iman (faith), who can elevate themselves above the momentary madness. They have the courage to put a reign on their tempers and tongues.


Uzma Rizvi, a Hiba writer, in her research found that Dr. Tony Fiore in “Three Tips to Forgiveness: A Key Factor in Anger Management” tells of a 1996 study, which showed that the more people forgave those who hurt them, the less angry they were. He talks about two studies of divorced people, in which the forgivers of former spouses lived on with a “higher sense of well-being and lower anxiety and depression.”

Allah (swt) states recommended qualities of pious individuals: “And those who avoid the greater sins, and Al-Fawahish (illegal sexual intercourse), and when they are angry, forgive.” (Ash-Shura 42:37)

Indeed, to forgive is divine, but as someone rightly said: “Every successful and content individual has a huge graveyard, where he buries the mistakes of people he knows and not knows.”

Anger for Allah (swt)

our role modelAt a time when conflict, distress, and war are rampant, Muslims are facing persecution. As Fitan descend one after another, we, as Muslims, desperately need to mould our reactions to deliberate provocations, according to the lofty moral conduct exemplified by our Prophet Muhammad (sa). At one extreme, we react to traumatic events by abusing, insulting, and threatening to kill the enemies of Islam; on the other end, we befriend some prejudiced non-Muslims so whole-heartedly that we don’t feel anything, when they degrade Islam.

How do we direct our anger to ensure that it lies within the boundaries of ‘anger for the sake of Allah (swt)?’ How do we know, when it is praiseworthy to remain silent and forgive our enemy, and when it is commendable to react with appropriate emotions and words of Naseehah?

Prophet Muhammad (sa) is well-known for practicing self-control when angry. He expressed his fury at the most by a change in facial expression: his cheeks would turn red, and he would become silent. In some cases, he would make a statement of mild or stern rebuke, in order to correct serious errors made by his companions. The term ‘personal revenge’ never existed in his vocabulary.

How and when the Prophet Muhammad (sa) expressed his anger is best described by Aisha (rta): “Allah’s Messenger never once struck anyone with his hand – not a servant of his nor a woman – except when he was fighting in war. He would never seek to punish anyone for their abuses, except when one of Allah’s prohibitions had been transgressed; then, he would do so only for Allah’s sake.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood, and Ibn Majah)

One of his duties as a Prophet, however, was to ensure that Allah’s (swt) laws and Hudood (restrictions) were not violated. Hence, errors by Muslims in implementing Deen were immediately corrected. Because of this, Allah’s Messenger (sa) expressed his anger on certain occasions. The following Ahadeeth illustrate this point.

Zayd ibn Thabit (rta) reports: “The Prophet chose a place, where he went out at night to pray. Some men saw him doing that, and they prayed with him. They came every night to do that. One night, the Prophet did not come out to join them. They started to make some noises like little coughs, raised their voices, and even threw pebbles at his door. He came out to them in a state of anger and said: “Look, you people! You continued doing what you did, until I thought it might be made obligatory for you. Pray in your own home, because the best prayer a person can offer is the one he offers at home, except for the obligatory prayers.” (Bukhari, Abu Dawood, and An-Nasai)

Once, the Prophet (sa) found his companions disputing with each other over the issue of the divine decree (Qadr). The Prophet’s (sa) face became furious, and he said: “Was this what you were ordered to do? Is this what you have been created for? To toss the verses of the Quran around like that? This is how the nations before you fell to their ruin.” (Ibn Majah)

Another action that angered the Prophet (sa) was when people asked him too many questions. Zayd ibn Khalid (rta) reports: “A man asked the Prophet (sa) about what one should do with what one might find in the street. The Prophet (sa) said to him: ‘Publicize it for a year, and then make sure to know its description and spend it. Should its owner come up, give it back to him.’ The man said: ‘What about a lost sheep?’ The Prophet (sa) said: ‘It belongs to you, your brother or the wolf.’ The man further asked: ‘What about a lost camel?’ The Prophet’s (sa) face was reddened with anger at this question, and then he said to the man: ‘What do you want with it? It has its own hoofs and drink, until its owner finds it.’” (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah)

There were some incidents in the Prophet’s (sa) life that made him angry even with his dearest companions.

The Sahihain report a Hadeeth, in which Usama Bin Zayd (rta), a beloved companion of the Prophet (sa), tried to intercede on behalf of a Quraishi woman convicted of theft. On hearing Usama (rta) speak for her, the Prophet (sa) became angry, and his face changed color. He replied: “Are you interceding concerning one of the punishments prescribed by Allah (swt)?” He further said: “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, was to steal, I would cut off her hand.” Then, he ordered the hand of the woman, who had stolen, to be cut off.

Muslim narrates a Hadeeth about Muadh Bin Jabal (rta) lengthening the Isha prayer so much that a man left the congregation and reported the incident to the Prophet (sa), who rebuked Muadh (rta) by saying: “Muadh, do you want to become a Fattaan (person putting people to trial)?” He then instructed him to recite just the shorter Surahs in the night prayer.

A narration in the Sahihain reports, how Allah’s Messenger (sa) once became angry at two of his young wives, Hafsa and Aisha (rta), when he entrusted one of them with a secret taking her into strict confidence, but she disclosed it to the other against his wishes. Vowing to stay away from them both for a month, he moved to an upper room in silent fury. As his wives cried in repentance, Allah (swt) revealed Quranic verses censuring them for having angered him.

Al-Darimi has a narration about Umar (rta) bringing the Torah before the Prophet (sa) and reading from it. The Prophet’s (sa) face changed color as he became angry, until Umar (rta) stopped. The Prophet (sa) then said: “By Him in Whose hand is the life of Muhammad, even if Moosa were to appear before you and you were to follow him, leaving me aside, you would certainly stray into error; for if Moosa were alive, and he found my prophetical ministry, even he would have definitely followed me.”

Aisha (rta) has narrated: “The Prophet (sa) entered upon me, while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he took hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. He said: ‘Such people, who paint these pictures, will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection.’” (Bukhari)

We can see, how Allah’s Messenger (sa) became angry, when Muslims exceeded limits of moderation in worship, disputed with each other about Deen, asked too many questions, referred to other sources besides the Quran, or inclined towards neglecting the restrictions ordained by Allah (swt). He expressed his anger, however, with constrained emotions and carefully-chosen but effective words of reprimand. That’s how we should also try to mould our fury: to be ignited only for Allah (swt), and expressed just as His Messenger (sa) did.

“The strong man is not the one, who can throw another down. The strong man is the one, who can control himself, when he is angry.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Understanding Anger

skd182362sdcskd182362sdcSumaira Dada presents excerpts from Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s lecture “Let Anger Go”

Anger is a feeling that each one of us must have experienced. Let’s understand what it is.

What is anger?

From Hadeeth we know that anger is “a burning ember in the heart of the son of Adam,” and its signs are the swelling of the veins of the neck and the redness of the eyes. (Ahmad and Tirmidhi)

The Arabic language with its vast vocabulary uses several words for “anger” that reflect its different stages.

Sukht – the first degree of anger: mere irritation, disliking or being displeased; usually used for an older person being displeased with a younger person. This kind of anger cools down very soon.

Ghaiz – the second degree of anger: the displeasure raises the blood pressure level. This kind of anger could be on one’s self or on others.

Ghadhab – the third degree of anger: a person is full of anger and is bent upon taking revenge, seeking to hurt others.

Is anger controllable?

Allah (swt) says…

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Those who spend (in Allah’s Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).” (Al Imran 3:133-134)

The word used in Arabic for repressing anger is Kadhama. It means ‘to tie’ or ‘to tighten,’ e.g., tightening the mouth of a hot water bag. Like the hot water bag, which holds back the water from burning anyone, a person controlling his anger does not harm anyone and sometimes even cools down!

The difference between the mankind and animals is that we can control our anger, while animals cannot. We, unlike the animals, are not helpless. We have been given a brain and can control our anger.

Hadeeth tells us…

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that a man said to the Prophet (sa): “Advise me!” The Prophet (sa) said: “Do not become angry and furious.” The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet (sa) said in each case: “Do not become angry and furious.” (Bukhari)

This Hadeeth shows that (a) if a person is able to control anger, a lot of his problems will be solved, and that (b) anger is a controllable emotion.

What are the causes of anger?

Some of the internal causes of anger are:

  • Disorder in personality, especially due to arrogance
  • Past incidents in life
  • Genetic pre-disposition
  • Non-fulfillment of basic desires
  • Physical ailment
  • High expectations of one’s self
  • Some foods

Anger can also have external causes:

  • Habits of family and friends that tick one off
  • Cultural values
  • Unexpected situations
  • Violence in the media and children’s games
  • Lack of proper training (Tarbiyah) of children (e.g., teaching how to express emotions)

How is anger expressed?

When people are angry, they shriek, yell, cry, bang doors, throw things, hit, torture themselves, take sleeping pills, attempt suicide, or take drugs eventually leading to addiction.

While some shriek and shout, others display passive aggressiveness by keeping silent, hiding within themselves the feelings of anger. Some others become sad and start pitying themselves, or even become jealous. Yet, others speak in a taunting tone most of the time – an expression of rage boiling over.

What are the harms of anger?


A negative effect on complexion, bones, gait; an increase in heart palpitation, blood pressure; chances of a heart attack also increase. Some people experience a sudden burst of anger and cannot control their body movements (especially their limbs!) and their tongues. Nerves stay under pressure; in some severe cases, anger has been pointed out as the cause of diabetes.


Loss of sensible thought, creativity, and wisdom. Cooling of anger brings only embarrassment, shame, and sadness. Constructive activities are put on hold to rectify the wrongs done.


A washing away of good deeds. Sometimes one does a lot of good deeds but then becomes angry and in anger blurts out words that spoil all the good deeds done.

Allah (swt) says: “O you who believe! Do not render in vain your Sadaqah (charity) by reminders of your generosity or by injury.” (Al-Baqarah 2:264)

The Prophet (sa) said: “Anger spoils faith (Iman) as [the bitterness of] aloes’ sap spoils honey.” (Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidhi)


Relationships are spoilt because of angry words. Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated: “The Prophet (sa) said: ‘A Mumin is an embodiment of love and affection, and there is no good in one, who neither loves nor is loved.’” (Ahmad)

Anger brings harm in its wake, e.g., an employee loses his job because of sharp words exchanged with the boss; a vendor loses a customer due to an exchange of angry words.

What is the benefit of controlling anger?

Obtaining the pleasure of Allah (swt). Ibn Umar (rta) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “There is no sip greater in reward near Allah than the sip of anger; the servant suppresses it seeking the pleasure of Allah.” (Ibn Majah)

Why has Allah (swt) kept anger in us?

To change things around, we need the energy of anger. Sometimes one in anger does those things that one could not have done otherwise. Allah (swt) has kept anger in our hearts for stopping the wrong – Jihad against evil is the best expression of positive anger. The Prophet (sa) said:Whoever amongst you sees an evil, should change it with his hand. If he is unable to do that, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do that, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of Iman.” (Muslim)

Anger needs to be channeled properly, because one cannot stop it from coming. Expressing anger at the right time, in the right way, and at the right level can be beneficial.

Abu Hurairah (rta) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The strong is not the one, who overpowers in wrestling, but the strong one is he, who controls himself in anger.” (Bukhari)

Abuse to Earth – Are we Accountable for it?

Vol 4-Issue 1 Abuse to the EarthI was inspired to write this article, when my 5 year old son informed me about celebrating the Earth Day at school. It is common perception that scientists, researchers, climatologists, environmentalists, and economists must resolve the problems plaguing our planet. We are most content and stay aloof, thinking it to be someone else’s job, or worst, someone else’s challenge to fix everything that has gone wrong.

I was surprised to learn that the Quran has addressed ways to handle ecological issues in about 500 verses. And why not? If the Creator can give us laws for our spiritual guidance, won’t He equip us with the knowledge of physical well-being of humanity.

Some concerned green activists have been harping that it is the responsibility of the inhabitants of the Earth to protect and preserve its resources. Most of their laments have fallen upon deaf ears, and the Earth continues to ail. Islam goes a step further. Yes, Muslims out there, please, read this carefully. We are not just responsible but accountable for the resources we are expending in this world.

Allah (swt) states: “The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses (exactly) calculated with measured out stages for each (reckoning). And the herbs (or stars) and the trees both prostrate themselves (to Allah). And the heaven: He has raised it high, and He has set up the balance. In order that you may not transgress (due) balance. And observe the weight with equity and do not make the balance deficient.” (Ar-Rahman 55:5-9).

“And do not do mischief on the Earth after it has been set in order; that will be better for you, if you are believers.” (Al-Araf 7:85)

Al Hafiz B. A. Masri, an environmentalist, author, and the first Sunni Muslim to be appointed Imam of the Shah Jehan Mosque Woking, Surrey, states: “Mankind’s freedom of choice, based on knowledge and intelligence, places on it the added responsibility of caring for the rest of God’s creation and for those very resources of nature, which help all kinds of life to stay alive.”

Another reason, why Allah (swt) has enabled the humans to serve the Earth, is because of the special and superior qualities bestowed upon them, of which concept of ethics reigns supreme. Allah (swt) states: “By Nafs (Adam or a person or a soul) and Him, Who perfected him in proportion; then He showed him what is wrong for him and what is right for him” (Ash-Shams 91:7-8)

The laws of nature have been laid down and enforced by Allah (swt), as this universe was His scheme. So, naturally He knows, what is required to run it most efficiently. Allah (swt) thus provided resources with due measure. Unfortunately, until a few centuries ago, it was believed that the space on the Earth was limitless and that its resources were endless. This led to wasteful usage of scarce and some non-renewable resources, ending up either in severe corruption or absolute exhaustion.

The lives of early Muslims bear evidence that the right to the use of natural resources is only in the sense of usufruct, which means being given the right to use another person’s property on the understanding that he will not damage, destroy or waste what is in his trust. The Quran states: “… and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly, He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those, who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Prophet (sa) said: “The merit of utilization lies in the benefit it yields, in proportion to its harm.” (Tirmidhi)

There is an Islamic legislation on the preservation of trees, plants, and the wildlife laid down some fourteen hundred years ago. According to these laws, certain areas, called Harim or Hima, are set aside, where development and cultivation is prohibited. The code of ecological legislation was based on numerous verses of the Quran and Ahadeeth, such as: “The world is green and beautiful, and God has appointed you as His stewards over it. He sees, how you acquit yourselves.” (Muslim)

Similarly, to preserve the habitats of animals, Allah (swt) clearly states: “There is not a moving (living) creature on Earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you…” (Al-Anam 6:38)

Allah’s Apostle (sa) says: “A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” (Mishkat)

Allah (swt) repeatedly draws our attention to the fact that plants and animals, just like human beings, need to be protected, in order for them to reproduce themselves and preserve their species. But it is a common knowledge that numerous species of animals are on the verge of extinction or have already been eliminated, due to nefarious designs of humans.

Forests are supposed to cover a third of the planet to regulate the world climate, keep the air clean of lethal gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, and provide us with medicines for chronic diseases. But human driven deforestation has tipped the balance of world climate, resulting in global warming and related miseries.

Islam really seems like an extremist’s way of life, when one reads the Hadeeth concerning mount Uhud close to Makkah: “It is a mountain that loves us and we love it” (Bukhari), or when on the occasion of an earthquake, Allah’s Apostle (sa) addressed it: “Be calm, Uhud!” (Bukhari) Such was the character of our role model, who respected, loved, and cared for anything created by Allah (swt), even if it were rocks and stones.

I sincerely pray to Allah (swt) that my child extends his duties as a responsible and accountable Muslim by taking care of his environment beyond his classroom in all the capacity he can. Let him live by our beloved Prophet’s (sa) example, who advised: “A true believer is one, who does not hurt others with his thoughts, words, or actions.” (Bukhari)


Allah’s (swt) Prophecy Comes True!

“Corruption has appeared over land and water on account of what man’s hands have earned.” (Ar-Rum 30:41)

Some leading cosmologists state that the Earth is 4,600 million years old. It has an estimated land area of 329 million hectares, out of which only 226 million hectares are available for use. The remaining 103 million are either barren, or inaccessible, or unsuitable for agriculture.

Similarly, three quarters of the Earth are covered by water, 98% of which is sea water, and 1% of which is in the form of ice. Thus 99% of the Earth’s water cannot be used directly for human consumption. It is only 1% of the total water supply that living beings depend upon.

Regretfully, the existing 226 million hectares of land and 1% of water are diminishing fast, because of our wasteful and unwise usage. There are vast hectares of land that are turning into deserts or being flooded. Pakistan is already witnessing this disaster.

Source: “Islam and Ecology” by Fazlun Khalid and Joanne O Brien

Hajj – A Personal Reflection

Vol 4-Issue 1 Hajj- A personal reflectionYou read about it, attend classes, talk to people who have been there, see it on TV, but nothing, nothing can prepare you for the first encounter with the Kabah.

Arriving at Jeddah airport, you are prepared for waiting at immigration, for the bus to take you to Makkah, for the traffic along the way. No problem. Your heart skips a beat, as you pass the sign on the road reading ‘Muslims only.’ You are now in the vicinity of the Haram. Did I say ‘Alhamdulillah’? I had heard this in Dr. Farhat Hashmi’s cassette and had resolved to say so.

Reciting the Talbiah is an energizer: “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaika La Shareeka Laka Labbaik. Innal Hamda wan Naimata Laka Wal Mulk. La Shareeka Lak.” The men on the bus recite it out loud and you get goose bumps. “Here I am, Allah, here I am.” It gets surreal from here on.

It’s just after Isha. Our group organizer advises us to leave our luggage in the bus and walk to Masjid-e-Haram for Umrah. We get off amidst a multitude of people. Are these all Muslims? Wow! But focus is somewhere else right now. Where’s the Kabah? You waited patiently all this time, but now find yourself struggling with the temptation to push to go ahead quickly. Patience, patience. Pulse rate is rising, you are disoriented and totally overwhelmed by the pulsating crowds and atmosphere.

Reaching the gates of Masjid-e-Haram, you remind yourself not to forget the Dua. Shoes off – “Assalatu wassalamu a’la Rasool Allah, Allahummaftahlee abwaba rahmatik” – you enter and inch your way to the centre. Feet firm on the cold marble floor, but the heart racing ahead. The arches of the mosque restrict the view of the Kabah; you strain your neck in desperation. And then the moment comes – finally, face to face with your Qibla: “Here I am, Allah, here I am.”

There’s something about that simple cube draped in a black cloth that makes the surrounding grand mosque with its towering minarets and the thousands of people in it just melt away. Your ‘I’ stumbles to ground zero in awe, your eyes water with the sheer honor of being there, with fear of blowing what might be your only chance of redemption, with feelings too deep and too personal to describe in mere words or to share with anyone other than The One.

8th of Zil Hajj plunges you head on into Hajj.

You become part of something infinitely bigger than your puny little self. Your heart swells with emotion to see the ‘us’ – Muslims of all colors and races. We may not know each other’s language elsewhere, but walking from Muzdalifah to Mina, everyone understands each other, when saying the Talbiah out loud. When ‘we’ speak the language of our Lord, ‘we’ are no longer ’them.’

Hajj seems a microcosm of life. The challenge is to find your centre and plug it in the source, while fumbling with the logistics of getting from Mina to Arafat, then Muzdalifah and back to Mina and Makkah. The key is to stick to the Sunnah of Ibrahim (as) and Rasoolullah (sa) and not to lose your cool or focus.

In our day to day life, Tauheed and Kufr are so woven together that often our senses get blurred. In the Harmain – Masjid-e-Haraam and Nabwee – because Allah’s (swt) presence is so vivid and tangible, in contrast, the presence of Shaitan is starkly visible. Step out of the mosque in Makkah and a glittering shopping mall is in your face. In Medina, the gold shops don’t shut even at Tahajjud! The devil is at Allah’s (swt) doorsteps. It is a chilling reminder – his promise to Allah (swt) was not in vain. Are we taking heed of the warnings of our Book and the Prophet (sa)?

Voicing Their Silence

Vol 4-Issue 1 Voicing their SilenceImagine landing at an airport in a remote corner of Europe. At the immigration counter, you are bombarded with questions in a language you’ve never heard before. You try to communicate with the immigration officer the best you can, but he just doesn’t seem to understand. In fact, even the people queued behind you seem to be unable to comprehend your language and start getting irritated by the hold up. Eventually, the officer pulls you aside, so he may deal with the others in line. You stand there feeling helpless, angry, and humiliated. This feeling would give you an inkling of what most deaf people often feel, when dealing with the ‘normal’ people.

Difficult enough as it is to live among the ‘hearing,’ finding a decent job is almost impossible. Unfortunately, Karachi has very little to offer its hearing impaired citizens, other than a few schools teaching the universal sign language. Now, KFC Pakistan endeavors to bring them into the work arena for proving to the public that they are an able and capable task force. KFC has opened an outlet dedicated and operated by the hearing impaired.

This KFC outlet is specially equipped to be run by the hearing impaired – for instance, the bells, which are used to alert a cook, have been replaced with flashing lights. This outlet does more than give the deaf a vocation; it seeks to educate its customers about bridging the communication gap between them. The walls are decorated with images displaying the signs for such simple phrases as “thank you “and “I don’t understand”. The menus at the counter show the orders with the images of items and their sign language equivalents, so a customer may simply point out his desired meal, and for less inhibited, ‘sign’ the order.

Setting up a facility, which caters to their vocational needs, doesn’t mean that things have been smooth sailing for KFC’s team of 32 hearing impaired. Vigorous training to run the restaurant and serve the customers cannot build the courage and confidence they need to deal with ‘normal’ hearing customers. “They have had to deal will all kinds of customers,” explains Ahsan Farhan Naqvi, assistant business manager at the branch. There are those customers, who are very encouraging and specially come to dine here for supporting the staff; however, many have demonstrated much impatience, which naturally disheartens the team. In fact, a number of the initial hearing impaired team quit soon after the restaurant launched.

Currently, the outlet has some ‘hearing’ members, who supervise the running of the outlet and do deliveries. As learning sign language takes some time, they have been provided by communicators proficient in the language to act as mediators amongst the team and customers when necessary. Many from the hearing team are keenly learning the sign language through their everyday interaction with the rest of the team. But in the forefront at the counters, you will be greeted by a smile from the hearing impaired.

Ahsan explains that the KFC Gulshan branch team consists of educated and very capable young people. They can operate computers, fix electrical equipment, and have been handling most of the branch’s maintenance work as well. Karachi is lacking in opportunities for them, which is why they are thankful to KFC for providing them with the platform to bring about a positive change for the future generations.

Furthermore, KFC also offers its hearing impaired team career growth opportunities. As they strengthen their capabilities within the branch, they can apply for positions further up the KFC career ladder, just like any other ‘hearing’ employee. This symbolizes KFC’s promise of not making distinctions among its employees, which is difficult for most organizations dealing with the deaf.

Most organizations, in fact, are unwilling to take on the challenge of setting up a work environment conducive to the needs of the deaf at all, and many of the hearing impaired themselves hesitate to go out of their own home environments. Ahsan explains that though the schools for the deaf teach them sign language, they do not help build a strong command of reading and writing Urdu and English. This handicap decreases their chances of securing any meaningful employment.

Bringing this hearing impaired team together was not as easy as simply putting an ad in the papers. Forms for potential employees were initially sent to the “Deaf Reach Centre” (which teaches computer literacy) that eventually circulated them to other schools for the deaf. The response was slow at first. Many of the deaf, like most young people, were initially anxious to take on the world. However, their first interaction with the real world had been so daunting that they hesitated to consider this to be a true opportunity. Currently, though, there are over a hundred applications in pending, Alhumdulillah.

There are many young and proficient individuals out there, who can see, think, read, and write but just can’t hear our language. They need jobs. KFC has taken the lead in improving their futures, and others need to follow through for expanding their horizons. Allah (swt) has said: ”Who is he that will lend Allah (swt) a goodly loan, so that He may multiply it to him many times? And it is Allah (swt) that decreases or increases (your provisions), and unto Him you shall return”(Al-Baqarah 2: 245). A little investment in this world to overcome our handicap – our inability to communicate with the deaf, which can give us great returns in this world and the Hereafter. Insha’Allah (swt).


Islam Encourages Working in Spite of Disabilities

Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum (rta) was one of the early converts to Islam – a Sahabah, Muezzin, Muhajir, and governor of Madinah. He even bore the standard for Muslims during Jihad. He did all this in spite of his handicap – he was blind. He would, in fact, speak of his handicap as an advantage by saying: “Place me between two rows and give me the standard. I will carry it for you and protect it, for I am blind and cannot run away.” The Prophet Muhammed (sa) and his Ummah respected and accepted him as he was – a man worthy of honor.