Say ‘No’ to Shisha Smoking

By Nazish Shekha

When the ban on smoking tobacco in public places came into effect in 2007 in many parts of the world, the traditional way of shisha (water pipe) smoking was included in the ban. This surprised many shisha users, as there is an age-old belief that shisha is a ‘safe’ way of smoking. In a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO), shisha smokers may inhale as much smoke in one session as given off by a hundred cigarettes. So, shisha smokers and those sitting around them, are exposed to the same risks as other forms of smoking.

Its other names include the hubbly-bubbly, narghile or the hookah, depending which part of the world it is used in. It is used all over Asia and Africa. As shisha smoking is a social activity, in many villages it is done together as a family, where children are also encouraged to join in. In Arab culture, offering the shisha to a guest is a sign of respect. In the past twenty years, it has become a popular feature of Arab cafés worldwide, as it is associated with Arab culture.

It is thought that the shisha came about in the seventeenth century in India. Emperor Akbar’s Hakim is said to have invented the shisha. The idea was that when smoke passed through the shisha, all of the harmful qualities would be removed. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Contrary to popular belief, even nicotine does not get absorbed in water and gets passed on to the smoker. (Nicotine is a component of tobacco, which is associated with addiction to smoking).

The Shisha apparatus has four main parts to it. The head is where the tobacco is placed. Usually charcoal is used to light the tobacco. Smoke then passes through the body, bubbling into the bowl of water and coming out through the hose to the smoker.

The flavoured tobacco tends to contain about 80 to 85% fruit and 10-15% tobacco. One session usually lasts for about 45 minutes. The ingredients are packed in aluminum foil. Depending on its quality, aluminum foil can react with burning charcoal to give off aluminum fumes, which can cause cancer.

When smoke passes through water, its humidity increases – thus it tends to stay in the lungs for a longer time. This increases the exposure to tobacco pollutants. The main pollutants are tar and carbon monoxide (CO).

According to a report published by the French Anti-Tobacco Agency (as reported in AFP), smoking shisha gives off as much carbon monoxide as 15 to 52 cigarettes, and as much tar as 27 to 102 cigarettes. Even minimal exposure to cigarettes is harmful. Carbon monoxide is poisonous to the red blood cells of the body. This has an effect on the amount of oxygen reaching the vital organs of the body.

Tar is associated with lung cancer. Although a lot more research on the effects of shisha smoking is needed, initial findings in Saudi Arabia and Egypt point toward a link between shisha smoking and different types of cancer.

In a typical shisha session in a café or some other sort of gathering, the shisha gets passed around, so the mouthpiece is shared. This can lead to communicable diseases like Hepatitis C and other viral infections.

Tobacco use will kill one billion people in the twenty-first century, if the current smoking trends continue. In addition to the fact that the smoking habit is unhealthy for the smoker, it is also harmful to other people. Shisha has been discovered to be a major source of pollution in closed and public areas like Shisha Cafes. This is the reason why many countries are observing the ban on public smoking.

Another problem associated with smoking any form of tobacco is that it can be expensive. This is especially true about shisha. Expensive and addictive habits can have a negative impact on a person’s personality and lifestyle. Things can get out of hand and disrupt everyday lives. It can also lead to other more destructive habits.

Looking at the detrimental nature of smoking tobacco, we as Muslims should strictly discourage smoking. Although there is no direct reference in the Quran and Hadeeth against smoking, we have been taught in our religion that we should not harm others in any way. Smoking in any form is regarded as a nuisance by non-smokers.

Our religion asks us to live in a responsible way. This means that a Muslim should care about the use of time and resources – to ensure that he/she does not waste it. The time and money spent on smoking a shisha could be utilized in a more rewarding way.

One of the greatest gifts from Allah (swt) is our health. We should be thankful for this blessing and avoid using things that would put it in jeopardy. The evils of tobacco were unknown almost four centuries ago when Hakim Abul Fath invented the shisha. With the knowledge available about shisha smoking today, it is important that we forgo it.

Making the Write Impression

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Making the write impressionThis time my column is devoted to strategies for effective writing and discovering potential writers within our classrooms. Teachers continue to wonder: “How do I prepare my students for assignments and perceive them as writers?” We can achieve great things, if we convince students from the beginning that writing is worthwhile. It is also advisable to teach students that vocabulary and reading habits can help them express themselves better.

First of all, an assignment should be given on the writer’s own life, rather than on “What I did during Summer Vacation”. When students have finished writing, their attitudes will become clear to you, and, thus, you will have a clue what to teach.

If the writings turn out to be very powerful, the best work of the year should be put in a sturdy folder, with the titled cover and illustrations, as if it were a real published book. Students will have a fantastic experience, adding an “About the Author” page and trying to make their book more interesting for people to read it. To add importance to their work, the book will have a table of contents (including the title of each piece of writing and the corresponding page number). Tell the students that there should be at least three illustrations made on the computer or drawn on a piece of paper.
Writing Stories in the Classroom

Explain to students that you are doing an activity to teach the beginning, the middle and the ending of a story. Ask one student to write the beginning of a story and then pass it on to another student to write the middle part. The story is passed over again, and a third student writes the conclusion. The story should be passed around the class, so that each student would have the opportunity to write a beginning, a middle and an ending. Those, who are not writing, are asked to illustrate the part they have completed. When the story is finished, it is given back to the first student, who started it. He or she then reads it to the others.
Developing a Character
Using The Hundred Acre Wood (in A. A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh”) is a good way to learn about characterization. Several characters are very similar to us. The students are asked to choose a Pooh character that is the most similar to them, compare and contrast the character with themselves. Thus, they will learn a lot about characterization and themselves.
Power Writing

This activity takes only six minutes and involves students in a creative brainstorming. Words ‘duck’ and ‘apple’ are written on the board. Students are asked to choose one of the words and at a given signal write as much as they can about the topic selected. When one minute is over, the students are asked to count the words they have written. Write the numbers on the board. The second round starts, when the students select another word (‘umbrella’ or ‘beautiful’). Then, they repeat the process for one minute.

In the third round, the students choose another word (‘sock’ or ‘blue’) and do the same thing as before. In each round, the students choose a word, write down their own thoughts, then count the words after a minute of writing and record the results. It will become totally obvious from the chart of the three rounds that the activity promotes quantitative thinking and writing. Practising quantity is an important part of a comprehensive writing program, because students learn to write mostly by writing.
Encouraging Students to Learn about Grandparents

Ask your students to approach a grandparent or any other elder family member. The students can as well call them up and say that they would like to learn more about their grandparents’ lives. In order to help the students, you may suggest some questions, such as “What was your school like?” or “What did you like to eat as a kid?” Then, they can move on to such more general themes as “Why did you become a judge?” or “What was your wedding like?” While the grandparents are talking, the children should take notes. The written story then should be a general outline of what has been said: and whatever details they think are interesting, important or funny should be included. Students should decide which part of the story they want to tell. They then should make a rough draft that would include a beginning, middle and ending of the story.
Developing a Story
Several desks are arranged in a circle (four to seven students can participate in the activity). The students should get a sheet of paper and put their name on the back. Tell them to write down a story on any topic. Use a timer and at the end of a short period (about one minute or less, using your own judgement depending on your students) time is stopped. Papers are passed to the right rapidly, time is started again, and the students continue the story started by the first student. Go on, until the first student gets his or her paper back. There will be lots of giggles and excitement, as students try to read and write fast. Ask students to read the finished paper aloud. You can replace writing with drawing a picture, when working with younger students.
Writing a Journal Entry Every Day
Just as there are different teachers and users of language, the daily journal writing can also take many forms. Teachers may use journal writing to reach specific goals. Journals can either be left uncorrected or checked occasionally for polishing the skills of students. Some teachers prompt students to start writing. There also are some teachers, who leave the direction and flow of journals up to students. “Once students have built extreme confidence in their writing skills, they are not afraid of taking up any writing challenge that they might come across,” says Asma, a high school teacher. “Every time, when students enter the classroom, for the first five minutes they work on their journals,” says Asna, a primary school teacher, “this helps the class calm down.”

Are you Welcoming Satan into your Home?

By Ruhie Jamshaid

The home is our sacred abode. It is a place away from the hustle and bustle of life that we retire to, in order to mend our souls and ‘recharge our batteries’. Home is a place of calmness and reflection, where we can be who we are and get in touch with our innermost selves. Therefore, our home, more than any other physical entity that we possess, needs to be protected from the lure of Satan.

Allowing Satan’s presence in our homes can strip our mental peace and undermine our faith and closeness to Allah (swt). Therefore, it is important to shield the four walls of our hearth and home from the presence of Satan. To do so, we need to recognize the characteristics of homes which openly invite his evil.

Homes Devoid of the Remembrance of Allah (swt)

When Allah (swt) ceases to exist in our hearts and minds, Satan finds a place to be in it. It is important to continuously remember Allah (swt) through Dhikr. The remembrance of Allah (swt) can take many forms: with the heart and mind, through prayers, reading of the Quran or other Islamic literature or simply by discussing certain Islamic issues. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The example of a home, in which Allah is remembered, and the example of a home, in which Allah is not remembered, is like comparing the living and the dead.” (Muslim)

Homes, where Salah is not performed regularly, open their doors to evil. Indeed, Salah is the first line of defense against the evil whisperings of Satan. Praying together as a family has a manifold effect against Satan. It is a good idea for family members to pray together in Jamah, even with the servants joining in.

The amazing power of Quranic recitation, especially a few designated Surahs, cannot be underestimated. Surah Al-Baqarah and Ayat-ul-Kursi have been specifically cited as the keys to keeping Satan away. The Prophet (sa) said: “Recite Surah Al-Baqarah in your houses, for the Satan does not enter a house in which Surah Al-Baqarah is recited.” (Jami)

He (sa) also said: “When you go to your bed, recite Ayat-ul-Kursi: ‘Allah! There is no god but Him, the Ever-Living, the One Who Sustains and Protects all that exists,’ to the end, for then there will remain over you a guardian from Allah, and Satan will not come near you until morning.” (Bukhari)

Having Allah (swt) continuously in our consciousness within the folds of the home dishevels Satan and his evil devices. It is important to have Islamic audiotapes, visual CDs and books within easy reach for every family member, including children. Easy access to Islamic knowledge ensures the seepage of Allah’s (swt) words into our consciousness, thereby upsetting Satan. Un-Islamic programmes on television or mindless music serve the contrary – inviting Satan to be a part of our home.

We must also inculcate the habit of remembering Allah (swt) regularly in the little, daily things we do. Doing so lays down barriers to Satan’s entry into our lives at every little step.

Homes Devoid of Practicing Sunnah

Nowadays, western pop stars and Hollywood actors are looked upon as examples to emulate. For the believing Muslim, there isn’t and there shouldn’t be anyone more ideal than the Prophet (sa) to follow. His every action was for pleasing Allah (swt) and ‘upsetting’ Satan. Therefore, it is important to emulate the Prophet (sa) as closely as we can within our homes to avert Satan’s grip on those that dwell in our abodes.

One of the dictates that the Prophet (sa) abided by strictly within his own home was that of kindness. He said: “When Allah wills some good towards the people of a household, He introduces kindness among them.” (Ahmad)

He (sa) also said: “Allah is gentle and loves gentleness. He gives for gentleness what He does not give for harshness nor for anything else.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (sa) showed kindness towards his family in several ways. For example, he would help his wife Aisha (rta) with housework or be playful and gentle with his grandchildren. The acts of consideration and kindness serve to sow the seeds of love and peace within our homes, thereby expelling Satan’s influences of anger, hatred and discord.

The Prophet (sa) also advocated certain rules for safeguarding the home. They included guarding the secrets of the home, seeking permission before entering rooms, especially the parents’ room, and avoiding staying overnight away from one’s own home to safeguard the morals of members of one’s family.

Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet (sa) forbade being alone and said that a man should not stay overnight alone or travel alone. (Ahmad) Not only will he be alone, but his wife and children are likely to be left alone in the home, without any protection or companionship.

Homes Conducive to Evil and Evil Deeds

A home, where every member of the family seeks to practice righteousness and justice, alienates Satan. Every household member should be encouraged by the head of the house to be fair and just towards others, including the servants, because just behaviour lessens reason for discord, thereby discouraging Satan from sowing his seeds of evil.

Mingling with and inviting only righteous people into our homes is also a good strategy for expelling Satan. We greatly benefit practically and spiritually from the company of righteous people. Our Prophet (sa) said: “Keep company with a believer only, and let your food be eaten only by the righteous.” (Abu Dawood and At-Tirmidhi) Therefore, it is important to ‘invest’ in meaningful friendships that invite Allah’s (swt) pleasure and Satan’s displeasure.

It is also wise to pay attention to decorations in our homes. It has become fashionable to display strange aesthetic idols and to make our homes modern in design. Instead of incorporating photos and statues in our homes, it is a better idea to decorate our homes and hearts with beautiful calligraphy of Surahs and Allah’s (swt) names. If the accursed Satan meets Allah’s (swt) words at every nook and corner of our home, he is sure to be disheartened!

Conclusion

A home is built by the people living within – by their actions and deeds. If a house has dwellers that have united in marriage with the sole intention of building an Islamic home, it has already laid the first ‘brick’ in the foundation of closing its doors to Satan. Due to his evil disposition, Satan will be persistent in diverting believers from the path of Allah (swt) and the battle to shut our doors to his mischief will be an ongoing one. However, if we, Insha’Allah, guard the sanctity of our abodes by following the dictates of our religion, we will overcome the evil and bring blessings to our homes.

Setting up a Home Business

Vol 6 - Issue 1 Setting up a home BusinessBy Noorjehan Arif

When both parents are working, it is difficult to figure out where the children should go and how they should be managed. When one is single, he or she does not have to worry about nagging children, the house falling apart, dirty laundry and what not. In quite a few cases, both men and women decide to have a home setup where they could work, earn money and still keep the house sane.

Home Business Options

There are various opportunities that women, especially of today, can explore to set up a home business: a daycare center, spa or beauty salon, or a boutique. However, there are various other options, which can also be considered:

Catering services – one can run a catering business from home to serve small gatherings and parties, such as business lunches in offices. Unique food combinations like Chinese and Oriental options are appreciated by people nowadays because of their health benefits. Regular options of Biryani and Haleem can also be an alternative. Of course, the service would run as a made-to-order arrangement to avoid waste and the hassle of storing extra food.

Grocery purchase services – due to the growing number of working women nowadays, grocery shopping has becoming a trying chore. To serve the need, one can advertise grocery purchasing services. You can earn commission and enlist the help of your children as well, making it a fun-filled family activity, rather than a business.

Event planning services – if one lives in a metropolitan city, there is always something happening. Even small cities always have weddings, engagements, Nikahs, business dinners and other social events that need to be organized. One can become a specialized business event or wedding planner, or a generalized event planner and organize various aspects of such events. Word of caution though that only the most social and outgoing people can pull this off.

A home-based business is ideal for those busy mothers who have children to look after, a home to cater to and a demanding husband. This kind of a setup, however, has its limitations because people might not take the business seriously and instead, consider it a hobby. There could also be personal interruptions like Ali snatching candy from Sarah or Sarah waking up from a bad dream.

Setting up a Home Office

To avoid mixing home and business, a part time or even a full-time office can be set up in a portion of one’s house. This, of course, depends on the type of business you have decided on. Setting up a separate office requires lots of work and involves obtaining the necessary office furniture, stationery and equipment.

 

Finding premises in a suitable location can be tough, considering the various options and critical factors to evaluate:

First and foremost is the cost of the location. If the rent space is costly, it may create a cash flow crunch too early in the business, which could prove detrimental to the business. On the other hand, choosing a cheap location might create a negative impression about you and the business setup.

A suitable community is also very important. If you have a problem adjusting to your surrounding environment and community, it will be very difficult to work in such circumstances, and most probably, your business would not flourish.

Another factor is competition. If the surrounding area has similar businesses and offices that are catering to a similar target market, it might become difficult to get established. You might infringe on the rights of others or spend most of your time fighting against the competition to obtain a limited number of customers.

Accessibility is another major factor to evaluate, when choosing a suitable location for the office. If customers will be visiting the office, it is important that it is visible and easy to find.

How did they Start?

Shahnaz runs a boutique that she established with a friend, who was her partner in the business as well. First, she established contacts with various people, who could help her in marketing the clothes and handbags she was making herself. Her partner would get all the material that would be required for the clothes and bags (fabric, beads, threads, etc.)

“At first, there was a nervous energy in both of us, because we were going to establish something of our own that we had to run profitably,” she said. “Then, this feeling turned to exhilaration when we made our first sales. But our target was maintaining healthy cash flows. Of course, a business needs cash coming in more than cash going out. Running on credit can create big problems, and we did not want to do that. After five years in business, we still run on cash and quite profitably.”

Irfana is an enterprising woman, who is currently settled in Australia. She owns an apartment in the posh area of Defence. She started her own beauty parlor ten years ago with the help of her husband and her sister. To start off with her own parlor, she needed to know the basic functions and tricks of the trade. Hence, she took various expensive courses across the city to learn the professional ways of makeup and beauty care. She used her knowledge on her clients and also employed a professional makeup artist for her parlor.

However, one must consider prayers as the only means of achieving success in any endeavor – without Allah (swt) being on our side, nothing has any worth.

Now that we have set up our business and prayed to Allah (swt) for its success, in the next article in this series we shall look into marketing and administrative issues to manage our business successfully, Insha’Allah.

Gleaning Ideas from the Web

The World Wide Web is a wondrous option to search for business ideas, articles and material to help setting up any kind of business. Here are some helpful links:

One of the most helpful sites across the web is http://www.toolkit.com/. It has various links and articles on how to set up a business and help material on managing it.

Another website similar in content is http://www.entrepreneur.com/ with scores of helpful articles and links.

Other helpful sites include: www.2minutecommute.com and www.businessopportunitiesandideas.com. Various business ideas and helpful material can be gleaned from these websites. Of course, one can use Google to search for other options and further help.

Top Home Business Options

  • Boutique
  • Hair and beauty salon
  • Daycare center
  • Food catering services
  • Grocery purchase services
  • Event planning services
  • Life coaching services (including tuitions)
  • Magazine and article writing
  • Landscaping
  • Interior decoration
  • Arts & Crafts

Top Must-Have Office Items

  • Business cards
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Stationery items
  • Files, papers and binders
  • Filing cabinet
  • Internet connection
  • Chairs and tables
  • Photocopying machine
  • Phone and fax line with a fax machine and answering machine
  • Computer and printer