The Real Happiness

Vol 7 - Issue 1 The real happinessBy Qainaf Najam

Gasping for breath, he strained his eyes in search of water, but all that lay ahead was the vast barren desert with the sun shining with its full fervor. He sat down, exhausted and hopeless. He was a tourist, a foreigner to this land, lost and roaming around in this desolate desert for over a week now. All his food supplies had finished the day before and no communication with the outer world was possible in this remote area. He stood up again with fresh hope and determination to set forth in search of water. After walking for miles, he saw an oasis. He rubbed his eyes thrice to make sure it wasn’t a hallucination. He felt happiness, like he had never experienced before. He felt ecstatic and ran towards it. He drank like a thirsty crow and soon as he was done, he felt the ecstasy slip away from his body. All that remained was his usual self, fresh as a cucumber after quenching his thirst.


“Mom, I am so excited. I didn’t sleep a wink”, 24 years old Aila squealed with delight at the prospect of what lay ahead. Years of hard work had paid off and it was her turn to sport the cap and gown. Her mom smiled at her lovingly as she made breakfast for her.

At the convocation, Aila couldn’t sit still. She kept jumping up and down and roaming around with her friends, happiness etched in every line of her face. The look of pure delight on her face as the graduates threw their caps in air was impossible to catch in camera’s eye!

A week later when a relative called to congratulate her, she just smiled – the zeal and joy of the convocation day was long gone!


“Man, why do you do all this?”


“I mean – the charity school…the hospital…the volunteer work you do…How does that benefit you?”

“That is not ‘charity work’, Salik… I’m doing that for myself.”

“For yourself, Usman? But how is a school for the needy and a hospital for the poor any good to you?”

“Why do you go to job?”

“To earn a living, so I can support my family and live a happy and peaceful life.”

“What will happen if you don’t earn anything? Will the world end?”

“Yeah, for me, it will. Because, I won’t be happy and there is no point in living when you are not happy.”

“Exactly. So basically you are working in order to be happy. It’s for your own sake…right?”

“Yes, of course!”

“So that is why I am doing what you call ‘charity and volunteer’ work. You chose to be your boss’s servant; I chose to be my God’s servant. For you, the world will end if you don’t earn money, for me, my ‘Akhirah’ will end if I don’t earn reward in this world. So I am happy doing my job for my real boss!”


There are three kinds of happiness – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Unless all three are satisfied, you don’t get what is called the real happiness.

Physical happiness refers to the joy every person experiences when their physical needs and desires are fulfilled. Emotional happiness is characterized by feelings you have when you achieve something that you set out for in your life. While physical and emotional happiness is a bodily need, spiritual happiness feeds the soul. Spiritual happiness increases as you increase your spiritual acts. Allah (swt) says in the Quran,

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! “ (Ar-Rad 13:28)

The real essence of spiritual happiness is attained when you direct your physical and emotional happiness in the right way and then they fall under the category of spiritual happiness. That is the point where you achieve peace of mind.

“Whosoever believes and does righteous good deeds upon such shall come no fear, not shall they grieve!” (Al-Anam 6:48)

Pornography Addiction – The Dark Side of Cyberspace

Vol 7 - Issue 1 Pornography addiction

With stomach-churning horror and disgust, I watched an interview with an 18-year-old American girl, calmly describing her choice of profession as a ‘porn star.’ She had made more than a hundred films since turning the legal age of eighteen.

The Internet has catapulted the profits made by the ‘adult industry’. No longer restricted to magazines and videotapes, pornography on the Internet does away with the need to leave our home. It now conveniently brings graphic sex to our homes. They are easily accessible at the click of a mouse in the form of animated or real videos and pictures.

As an individual starts to view pornography, at first he just wants to satisfy his curiosity. Eventually, if not curbed, the action becomes a habit, and soon, without even realizing it, a compulsive addiction sets in. The causes of pornography addiction are the desires of the Nafs coupled with the insinuations of Satan.

Naïve people might assume that only unmarried ‘perverts’ are hooked to Internet porn. Actually, statistics reveal that girls, boys, men and women of all ages are pornography addicts, regardless of whether they are single, divorced or happily married with children.

It goes without saying that viewing pornography is Haram in Islam. It is Zina (fornication) of the eyes and hands that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) described: “The eyes commit Zina, the hands commit Zina, the feet commit Zina, and the genitals commit Zina.” (Ahmad)

The Fatwa Committee of states in response to Question No. 42165:

“It is not permissible to look at pornographic pictures that show the charms of women, either on Internet websites or in newspapers or magazines, etc. That is because looking at them is a means of enjoying them and knowing the beauty of the woman in the picture.”

Symptoms of pornography addiction

  • Not using the computer in a common area, such as the living room; always using it only in complete privacy.
  • Being extremely private/possessive about one’s laptop or computer, e.g., disliking anyone else using it, turning it on or even touching it.
  • Staying locked up alone for hours in a room at the computer.
  • Using the computer mostly at night, when others are asleep and the house is quiet.
  • Being irritable and grouchy around family, for no apparent reason.
  • Being unusually defensive about religiosity.

When the blog published “Pornography Addiction among Muslims,” several Muslim men and women anonymously revealed their personal struggle with pornography addiction. One married Muslim man of 25-30 years stated:

“I fell into the Fitnah when I was in my teens. I don’t want to go into the details, but soon after I was introduced to pornography, I was hooked on it. What fanned the flames of desire was access to the Internet. When I was new to the sin, I would never have dared to buy a dirty magazine from the local store, out of a sense of shame and embarrassment. But the Internet made everything accessible to me, and I could see what I wanted when I wanted, all in the privacy of my own home. Another problem was that my family resisted, when I suggested that I marry in my early twenties.”

It is indeed a grave problem that thousands of men of the Muslim Ummah are stuck in the vicious cycle of pornography addiction. Sadly, persistent masturbation whilst viewing dirty websites, gradually renders them impotent, so that when the younger ones do get married, their problems are compounded rather than solved. Another byproduct of mass-scale viewing of pornography is the rise of homosexuality among Muslim men.

Parents’ usual attitude on finding incriminating evidence on their children’s computers follows a typical pattern: at first, shock and denial; giving their son/daughter a huge shouting/spanking, followed by complete confiscation of Internet privileges. Eventually, however, as months pass they relent and choose to look the other way, telling themselves nonchalantly: “He’ll outgrow it. How can we stop him?” The same applies for discovery of pornography by wives of addicts; only, they are more hurt and at a total loss as to how to stop their husbands.

If, as a parent, sister or wife, you come across incriminating material on the computer, what should you do? Here are some tips:

  • Abstain from thinking that your child/brother/husband is a pervert. He is a victim, who has been afflicted severely by the pornography Fitnah. Don’t judge him – he needs your sincere help.
  • Do NOT tell anyone about his addiction to unburden yourself. Allah (swt) has commanded us to cover other people’s faults and sins. Tell someone only if they will be able to help you put a stop to it, e.g., if a sister discovers her brother’s pornographic pictures, she may tell their mother.
  • Gain knowledge of why Allah (swt) has forbidden the viewing of sexually explicit material. Go to the website, search with the terms “pornography addiction Muslims” and read the articles that appear.
  • Do not consider yourself better than pornography addicts – this is another trap of Satan; tell yourself that perhaps, in the long-term, Allah (swt) might accept their repentance and grant them a higher level of Jannah.
  • Before a confrontation, plan on what you will say and how you will say it. Maintain a normal tone and abstain from hurling accusations or passing judgements.
  • Sincerely have pity for the victim of pornography. Make sincere Dua for them to be able to stop.
  • If you have the authority to do so, confiscate their Internet privileges.

How does one get rid of this addiction? There are several tips and remedies recommended by Muslim scholars. The topmost tips are: to fear Allah (swt), keep busy in beneficial work, increase in good deeds, and go ‘cold turkey’ on the Internet (i.e., relinquish it completely) for a while. Gaining knowledge of the Quran and involving oneself with Dawah and outdoor activities (recreation, family) helps.

It is a bitter struggle to get out of pornography, but it is possible. The verses from the Quran that give most hope are:

Say: “O Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

“And turn in repentance and in obedience with true Faith (Islamic Monotheism) to your Lord and submit to Him, (in Islam), before the torment comes upon you, then you will not be helped.

“And follow the best of that which is sent down to you from your Lord (i.e. this Quran, do what it orders you to do and keep away from what it forbids), before the torment comes on you suddenly while you perceive not!” (Az-Zumar 39:53-55)

Math is Fun

Vol 7 - Issue 1 Math is Fun

Mathematics is a subject which most students love to hate – and certain teachers even hate to teach, because of the overt negative vibes. On the other hand, there are some students who are a joy to teach, simply because they are so skilled with numbers.

Following are some activities which teachers can use for inculcating math skills at elementary level classrooms.

Gaity, a kindergarten teacher, uses an activity involving six puppets: five monkeys and one alligator. She gives small laminated drawings attached to pop sticks to the children and asks them to sing the following song: “Teasing Mr. Alligator can’t catch me. Along came Mr. Alligator, quiet as can be, and snapped that monkey right out of the tree.” She has the children sing the song a number of times, until they have memorized it. Then, she selects six students: five to hold the monkey puppets and one for the alligator. In unison, the class sings the song, taking a monkey away each time. While they are singing, the teacher writes the subtraction problems on the board to go with each verse of the song, e.g., 5-1=, 4-1=, 3-1=, 2-1=… Then, the children solve each problem using the puppets. The alligator is supposed to serve as the subtraction sign.

Another activity is called ‘flying a saucer’. Before the class begins, the teacher writes a math fact on each of a number of paper plates. In the playground, the children line up with a paper plate in hand, and when cued, they throw the paper plate as far as they can. Then they scramble to pick up the plates, before the whistle blows, after which they line up again. One by one, ask the students to read out and answer the question written on his or her plate/s. The child that gives the right answer remains in the line and whoever does not has to sit. Any sitting student can ‘buy’ his or her way back into the game by answering a problem that someone doesn’t know in the next round.

Ghazala, also a kindergarten teacher, plays ‘winning the cheeto’ with her students. She writes the numbers she is working with on cards made out of construction paper. These cards are then taped to the floor forming a square. In addition, she also puts small pieces of paper with numbers on them in a box. For starters, she lets each student stand on a number and then, while the teacher sings, they walk around stepping on the numbers as they go. Once the song stops, they have to stop at the number they are on, and the teacher then draws out one of the pieces of paper from the box and calls out the number written on it. Whoever is standing on the number is the winner. This activity can be used to teach colours, shapes and alphabets.

For the activity called ‘number patterns,’ students learn to identify the number pattern on the board and write the missing numbers, e.g., 18, 15, 12, -, -, -. Make sure you explain the concept well and ask them prompting questions like whether the missing number is larger or smaller. To check if they have understood the concept, ask them to create their own number patterns and see if their partner can identify them.

For the activity ‘Cheerio and counting,’ ask the children to tell you their age, using their fingers. Give the child a number card with his or her age on it and ask them to put the correct amount of Cheerios on it. Talk about each number. After that, give them a piece of yarn and have them make a necklace, using the Cheerios as beads, while counting them as they go along.

‘How many balloons left’ is an activity that can be used as an introduction to a lesson on subtraction. Take three balloons, show them to the students, and have them count them out loud. Without warning, pop a balloon. Your students are bound to enjoy this. Then ask the children: “How many balloons are left?” Ask the children to convert what they just saw into a subtraction number sentence and write it out on the board for them.

Naila, a grade one teacher, uses the activity ‘going on a shape hunt,’ in which she gives the children a writing pad and pencil and asks them to explore the playground looking for objects with circular, triangular or square shapes. The children are to sketch the objects they find in their writing pads. Back in class, she asks the children to draw one of the objects, label it as a circle, triangle or square and colour it. Afterwards, students can share their works of art with others and discuss their findings.

All in all, one can definitely surmise that teaching mathematics does not have to be a boring activity at all, either for the teacher or for the students. Both can have fun in their math class – all you need is a little creativity to take the lesson further than the textbook/workbook and homework exercises.

Review: “The Hadith for Beginners”


“The Hadith for Beginners”

Author: Dr. Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqi

Publisher: Goodword Books Pvt. Ltd

Availability: Paramount Books and

Language: English

Pages: 223

“How reliable is Hadeeth literature?” is a question that has sown seeds of doubt in a lot of minds. The book “The Hadith for Beginners” is a highly informative, adequately referenced work that weeds out these roots of doubt. Serious readers will find this work a helpful guide on Hadeeth literature. Although the book is aimed at beginners, it will be helpful to have a teacher to guide one through. Previous knowledge of Hadeeth sciences will also come to good use.

The book is divided into eight chapters beginning with the importance, origin and development of Hadeeth. The periods of development in Hadeeth literature have been divided into two parts: the period of the Companions and the period after the death of the Companions. Short introductions of various works of Hadeeth literature, such as the Six Canonical Collections and various Sunnahs (for instance, the Sunnah of Said Ibn Mansur and the Sunnah of Al-Bayhaqi), have been included.

The author has also written on the sciences of tradition (Ulum Al-Hadeeth) and has included short introductions to the books written on Asma Al-Rijal (biography and criticism of the narrators of Hadeeth). A point to note is the interest taken by Western scholars in these works. For instance, the extant manuscripts of the Tabaqat of Ibn Sad were edited by a group of German scholars and published in eight volumes over a period of twenty years by the Prussian Academy of Sciences!

Due coverage has also been given to the contribution of women scholars of Hadeeth. In fact, the author has cited works of Asma Al-Rijal, where the writers have included articles on women traditionists. The author also notes, perhaps with some sadness, that the interest of women in Hadeeth sciences seems to have declined from 10 AH onwards.

The book is an eye-opener for those unaware of the great efforts and sacrifices made by scholars in collecting, compiling and disseminating Hadeeth literature. For instance, we are told of Al-Bukhari, the famous traditionist, who lived on grass and herbs for three days during his travels in search of Hadeeth. We also learn that Imam Al-Shafi (the founder of one of the schools of Islamic law) wrote the Hadeeth on pieces of bones, because he was too poor to buy paper.

On one hand, there were those, who put in great efforts to maintain the authenticity of Hadeeth, while, on the other hand, there were people like Muhammad Ibn Ukkasha and Muhammad Ibn Tamim, who forged more than ten thousand traditions. Nuh Ibn Abi Maryam, a theologian of great reputation, admitted having forged Hadeeth for the sake of God and in order to attract people to His Book.

It is evident that Dr. Siddiqi has put in long years of hard work in composing this book. Although the work was begun in 1930, it was not until thirty-one years later that the necessary funds were obtained to publish the book. The book dispells the doubts cast on Hadeeth literature with force that the reader will appreciate.

Digital Photography – The Latent Issues

By Zainub RazviVol 7 - Issue 1 Digital Photography

The issue of photography is a contentious one in Islam, with there being a difference of opinion among the contemporary scholars about its permissibility. However, as Shaykh Faraz Rabbani summarizes, “the scholars who hold photography of humans and animals impermissible generally make exception of situations of need – such as documentation and educational purposes” and “the scholars, who permit photography of humans and animals, condition this with the images being within Shariah limits (such as no nudity or vice).”

The provision of ‘Shariah limits’ encompasses not just the content of photography, but also the people who are allowed to see these photographs. With the advent and widespread popularity of digital cameras, it has become much easier to share photographs than it was previously possible with traditional film photographs. Unaware of or unconcerned about the dangers of the unrestricted access to private photographs, people happily post pictures of virtually every aspect of their lives on the Internet.

Although Facebook and similar websites have privacy settings, many people don’t use them – be it genuine ignorance or callous indifference. Sidrah Ahmad says: “It is important to have a look at your privacy settings and be aware of who can search for you and what they can find. For example, I posted an album that had photos of my cousin’s children, and her cousin (who I was not friends with on Facebook) was able to see this album. Though she was no stranger to the children, I understand the harm in having photos on display for public view. [After this] I restricted all my albums to be viewable for ‘Just Friends’, which I recommend to everyone posting photos on Facebook.” Sidrah believes that major breaches can be prevented by making use of the settings available.

However, other people disagree. Amina Ahmed contends that “digital pictures can be very dangerous,” not simply because they open the floodgates for non-Mahrams to see the photographs, but also because digital pictures can be easily manipulated with. “People who can access your account may be able to copy/paste and then change the pictures. No matter how private the settings are, there are still risks that the pictures can be seen by strangers.”

This is a valid concern. We may be sure that our friends are trustworthy and will not misuse our photographs, but what if they do not observe the same levels of Hijab? Will they then show the necessary discretion if they are viewing the photos, especially when their brothers or father are around the PC? Also, once you agree to the terms and conditions of most of these websites, you give them the license to share your photos with third party businesses and customers. Even if that does not happen, the fact remains that the webmasters of any website can access all the user accounts, and this includes the uploaded photographs. That is why some people are completely against the idea of uploading pictures on any website, even if those photos are with Hijab.

So what can be done? The safest option is to never have yourself photographed without Hijab, especially from someone else’s digital camera. Try and use email when sharing photographs, and even then, remind people that you are very particular about who can view those pictures. Steer clear of uploading photographs on social networking websites, whether they are of yourself or your friends.

A similar policy needs to be adopted while organizing or attending segregated events during which otherwise Hijab-observing women will take off their Hijab. As an organizer, it is your responsibility to ensure that no pictures are taken by random guests.

If you are planning your own wedding and know that it will be impossible to discourage people from taking your photographs as a bride, go one step ahead in the planning phases and have a “no cameras allowed in ladies section” rule printed on the invitation card, so that people know beforehand not to bring their cameras. I personally know two families who printed such a caution on the wedding card. Even then, it can sometimes become necessary to ask a family member to make sure that no one is taking any pictures.

This is not to advocate that no pictures should be taken at all, but only to emphasize that there are dangers in being lax about who can take your pictures and who can see them. That seems to be the bottom line regarding digital pictures, no matter when they are taken, or how they are shared.

Pinching Paisas…

quart jar full of coins, pennies,nickels,dimes and quarters, with clipping path

Hiba continues its series on money management. In the second article of this series, Sumaira Dada, Noorjehan Arif and Aisha Ashraf Jangda talk to people and get tips on how to save money.

Whether you call it using resources responsibly, saving for future generations or just plain pinching Paisas, you know exactly what we are getting at. During the times of rising prices and falling incomes, we all need to look around for little tips on saving money. Here’s what we found.

First Step

The first step, in order to reduce the mountain of unpaid bills, is to start cutting off unnecessary expenses. Beena, a homemaker, cut down all the imported cosmetic items she used to buy. She started using local products instead. She also started making clothes for her children out of her old ones, all by herself! Monia, a Quran teacher, states that understanding the Quran helps in controlling her spending habit. On a witty note, she claims that wearing an Abaya helps reduce spending on clothes!

To cut the rising costs of electricity and fuel, you can control the excessive use of air conditioners during summer. Having mint-lemon drinks and wearing cotton and lawn clothes can do wonders in keeping you cooler! In winter, a better idea is to use warm clothes and blankets, which can help you, cut down on the fuel bill and also keep you warm.

Second Step

The second step is to be creative in fulfilling your needs. One enterprising grandmother used to make quilt blankets out of old cloth pieces! An aunt, who is known in the family for her taste in furniture, reused an antique sideboard from her mother, got it polished and painted so well that now she has placed it in her drawing room. A friend of my mother had a great idea of saving money on buying expensive paintings to put up around the house. She framed the 500-piece cardboard puzzles that her teenage children had discarded and hung them on the walls. Trust me; a framed puzzle usually catches any guest’s eye, just as it caught ours!

Third step

The third step is to start saving money with a group of like-minded people. Monia gives the idea of a Voluntary Committee (VC), a pool of funds, where every member puts in a certain amount of money on a monthly basis. At the end of the month, the entire amount accrues to a certain member. This helps to save a significant amount of money with little hassle. This discipline can be taught to teenagers as well, with an adult involved in safeguarding the money.

Quick Advice: Preparing an emergency fund is also very useful, as emergencies such as a job loss, illness, home or auto repairs, can be a significant drain on the finances. Most experts agree that you should keep between three and six months worth of your living expenses set aside in your emergency fund. Evaluation of your situation and the number of children in your family will determine what amount is best for you. Initially, you can begin with Rs.1000 a month and then increase the amount gradually. After a few months, you won’t even notice that Rs.1000 is missing, so you would be able to increase the amount you put aside. The best way to get started would probably be through your bank. Open up a new account in an Islamic Bank, if you currently don’t have one, and begin to save in it. The next step is to get into the habit of making regular deposits into this account. Once you make saving automatic, you won’t even have to think about it.

Working People

1) Saving Money at Lunchtime

We’ve all heard the advice to bring lunch from home to save money. But does it mean missing out on eating out with your co-workers?

  • Ask a few colleagues, if they’d like to join you in brown bagging lunch. Chances are they’d like to save money, too. You can set up a potluck in the break room or kitchen with everyone’s leftovers or favorite sandwiches. Not only you will get to know your colleagues better, but you will also be able to try a variety of foods. This may lead to recipe-swapping.
  • Avoid eating unnecessary and unhealthy snacks like chips, biscuits and ice-cream at work. They may be excellent munchies and you may want a crunch during that afternoon slump, but fresh fruits or vegetables brought along from home are more healthy and lighter on the stomach as well as your wallet.
  • Avoid eating out too often. Eating out is extremely expensive, and it leads to overeating, since the sizes of portions are larger than usual. If everyone at work decides to eat out, you could either eat your own food by staying back or simply order the cheapest option on the menu.

2) Saving Money on Commuting

Do you cringe at the price of filling up your gas tank? Consider cutting your fuel costs and saving wear and tear on your car by changing your commute. See if you can:

  • Search for an alternative route.
  • Avoid rush hours. Go to work half an hour earlier and leave an hour later.
  • Carpool with a co-worker or someone who works nearby.
  • Take a bus. You may enjoy the time usually used in driving to read or listen to translation of the Quran on your mobile.
  • Get your chores done along the way. Pick up grocery items or laundry, while you are coming back from work. This can save you time, money and fuel.

Save Money on Gifts

Have you ever had to give gifts to co-workers, because they’ve just got married or someone has just had a baby? Most organizations have a policy, where you can give a gift to colleagues or customers financed by the department budget. Find out if your organization has such a policy and utilize it, thereby saving your personal income.

Another way to save on gifts is to pass on gifts that you have received from others or be a little creative and design a card or clothes or even bake a cake. You can also pick a bunch of flowers from your garden. In fact, there are endless options of saving money on gifts – all it takes is some creativity and a willingness to pinch Paisas!