“Word Wise”

Word Wise“Mummy!”

“Daddy”

“Come Quickly!”

“HURRY!”

I am sure you have heard these phrases often enough and usually when you are in the middle of something you cannot turn away from: talking on the phone, frying dinner, or taking that much needed shower. If you are like me, you probably respond with:

“Coming!”

“I’ll be done in five minutes.”

“Be there in a minute.”

“Give me a second.”

Then you desperately try to finish your work within the next ten minutes and make a mad dash to see, what your little one’s emergency is (usually a squashed bug, a request for a cup of water, or a need for changing shirt because of a spilt cup of water).

This seemed like the usual scheme of things for me, until Mr. Suleman Ahmer (“Timelenders”) stated the obvious: one never completes a shower in five minutes. This seemingly small statement, amongst many words of wisdom and stories of experience (which you can enjoy by attending Mr. Ahmer’s “Strategic Time Management Training Course”), was a splash of cold water in my face. I came to realize, how carelessly we use words, and why our children do not take us seriously.

It all begins with a simple concept: keep your word – all the time, every time. Whenever we say we are going to do something, we are making a promise, without actually saying the word ‘promise’. If we say we are going to finish our work in a minute, it means we will stop our work in a minute. Otherwise, we will break our promise – hence, we should be more realistic regarding the time we need for completing our tasks.

Parents are practical examples that children learn from. They watch us go through our usual mundane routines, adopting things we never give much notice to. Imagine a child, who tosses his book bag on the floor and calls out, “Honey I’m home! What’s for dinner?” Thus, when we break our word, we teach our children several things:

1. Time (especially yours) has no value: Have you ever wondered, why it takes so long for your child to come to you, when you have been yelling: “Come here right now!” for at least five times?

2. You are not to be taken seriously: How many times have our children promised to do (or not to do) something and then done exactly the opposite?

3. You are not to be trusted: Every time you tell your child you will get him something and you do not, you tell her that you cannot be trusted. Do not most children insist that the grown-ups say ‘promise’ in answer to their requests?

4. Allah’s name is to be taken lightly: We use the term ‘Insha’Allah’ to buy time. A familiar scene: at the supermarket, a child is screaming for a toy, and the harassed parent promises to buy it later, Insha’Allah. No longer is such a promise acceptable – the child will yell: “Don’t say Insha’Allah, say yes!”

Breaking promises and teaching our children to do so is not taken lightly by Allah:

“…And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant, will be questioned about.” (Al-Isra 17:34)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: whenever he speaks, he lies; whenever he is entrusted, he proves to be dishonest; whenever he promises, he breaks his promise.” (Bukhari)

Just as dishonesty and lying are major sins, breaking promises falls into the category of a sin, which will be forgiven only on the following conditions:

  1. Ask forgiveness from the person to whom you made the promise,
  2. Ask Allah to forgive you (make Taubah).

This seems easy enough, but before you go and ask your 4-year-old to forgive you, keep in mind that his statement will not be considered valid, till he reaches the age of puberty.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There are three (persons) whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, a boy till he reaches puberty, and a lunatic till he comes to reason.” (Abu Dawood)

A child below puberty is innocent, which is why he may forget the promises you made (though Allah still remembers them). Because of this, we have to wait till his puberty age, before making our apologies.

This puts most of us in a dilemma – if our children are very young, we may have to wait a while before we can speak to them about our broken promises. A brother suggested writing our apologies in our wills, since we cannot predict, if we will still be around, when our children are old enough for forgiving us. Another brother, understanding the gravity of this sin, went to his parents and forgave them for the promises they had broken to him, Subhan’Allah.

Now, that I understand the weight my words hold, I no longer use such phrases as “in a minute” or “give me a second.” I take myself more seriously and make Dua that my children will too. May Allah (swt) help us make realistic promises, keep our word, and teach our children to keep their promises as well. Ameen.

Remember – Promises are meant to be kept.

Murabaha: An Islamic Sale

Vol 1-Issue 2   Islamic FinanceDifferent types of Sales in Islam

Sales are divided into two categories with respect to cost and price:

1. Bargaining Sale (Musawamah): where the buyer and the seller agree on the selling price without taking into consideration the cost of the merchandise.

2. Trust sales: where the buyer and the seller agree on the price of the merchandise, taking into account its original cost. This type of sale is further subdivided into three types:

a. Murabaha: where the price of the merchandise includes an amount greater than the original cost.

b. Tawliyah: where the price of the merchandise is equal to its cost (i.e., with no profit, nor loss).

c. Wadhee’ah: where the price of the merchandise is less than its cost (i.e., a loss).

Necessary conditions for the validity of the Murabaha sale

1. The buyer should know the cost of the merchandise. If he feels that there has been any deception in setting the price, he has a choice to revoke the sale.

2. The profit should also be known

3. The price and merchandise should not be of the same type (or commodity), otherwise it becomes Riba (Riba Al Hadith, in particular). For instance, if gold is traded with gold, with a difference in the amount it would be riba, and therefore not allowed.

How Murabaha is carried out today

A person wants to buy merchandise but cannot pay its price in cash. He asks the Islamic bank to buy it for him and pay its price in full. Thereafter, the bank buys the merchandise or imports it from the local market and sells it to that person in installments, with a fixed profit that is agreed upon in advance.

Answers to some objections

Skeptics argue that the Murabaha contract involves the sale of the merchandise that is not in the possession of the seller. However, one of the conditions of the Murabaha sale is to ratify the contract only after the bank is in possession of the merchandise. Therefore, this allegation becomes baseless. Another objection raised is that it is a type of loan sale, and a way to circumvent Riba. Once again, this is a false claim because the selling and the buying occur effectively.

Yet another objection raised is that there are two sales in one, which has been forbidden by the Holy Prophet (sa). However, a closer look at the transaction shows that this is not the case. In a Murabaha transaction, the person does not say, “buy this merchandise from me and I will buy it from you at a higher price.” The deal is about a merchandise that the client wants to acquire by buying it in installments from the bank, whom he has asked to purchase from the merchant.

Opponents of Murabaha argue that the promise to buy in a Murabaha contract constitutes an obligation that was not enjoined by the Shariah. However, it is to be noted that the mutual promise between the bank and the client, that includes the promise of the client to buy, and a promise from the bank to execute the sale once it is in possession of the merchandise, is simply a promise and not an obligation. Many Quranic verses and many Ahadeeth have encouraged the fulfillment of promises.

(Adapted from “Selling at a Profit: Murabahah”; Al Jumuah, Vol 12, Issue 11)

Perk up your Home

Noorjehan Arif gives tips on low budget makeovers for your home

The house is a home lived in with love and a sense of belonging. Yet, with time, homes tend to lose their charm to the people living in them. More charm can be invoked and the home can be made to look elegant and well designed with a few changes only. Full-fledged innovations and renovations, exploiting a lot of time, money and effort are not required. Here is what you can do with minimum budget, time, and effort.

  1. Flowers are the best way to improve on the freshness and appeal of any room. A glass vase filled with flowers can add to charm. Large vases with drooping and twisted flower arrangements look better in larger parts of the house like the living room or the guest room making them the focal point of that room. While small arrangements blend well with smaller parts of the house like bedrooms.
  2. Cushions decoratively piled on a bed or sofa can compliment an otherwise drab look. They add a touch of comfort and luxury to a room especially if they are made of lace, velvet, chenille or luxurious, textured fabrics like silk. Additionally, they can add new dimensions to the room by their different shapes and sizes. Larger sized cushions can be placed beside the bed for an extra seating place, while small cushions can be strewn around on the bed and on chairs.
  3. Simply changing or adding colours can do wonders for any room. Splashes of colours in children’s or teen’s bedrooms can make them ‘ultra-cool’. Bed sheets and curtains are one certain way to do that. Brightly patterned bed sheets and light coloured curtains will light up the room without too much of a hassle.
  4. For bed sheets, go for bold designs and prints to add colours but make sure the base colour (background) is light or pastel. Light or pastel base colors will help in blending of the particulars with the room’s general décor while the bright patterns will add the much-required colour. A breezy fresh look can be created for the room by sheer curtains as well. In case you are livening up a serious person’s room, simple non-patterned curtains and bed sheets, or ones with slight patterns and light base colours work marvelously.
  5. One sure-fire way of “doing-up” a room or the entire home for that matter, is eliminating clutter. Clutter not only takes up a lot of space, it also makes any room unappealing for living in. So, clear away paper work, trash and old items, and utilize or give away things you don’t need. Clearly, your home will feel more restful and peaceful to live in.
  6. Frames are another easy way to add a new look to any room of the home. There are several types of frames including pictures, collage or glass paintings. You can have a pick from various shapes, sizes, types like glass or canvas paintings and kinds of frames. Several types of wall hangings can be arranged on the wall including mail sorters, key holders, or even simple hangings like those, which have an Ayah or Surah written or painted on them.
  7. If you have some money to spare in your budget then scour flea markets (Sunday Bazar) etc., a sure and easy way to find cheap and quality stuff to decorate your home. There are several things to choose from in such flea markets. From table lamps to decorative paper weights and from different types of racks for your kitchen like spice racks and cutlery racks, to small decorative pieces for the living room, there is a choice for each and every person while little money is required to splash on such items.
  8. You have thought of it all, your home looks gorgeous ready to be featured in those beautiful home magazines, think again. You can do one more thing – rearrange the furniture. This one aspect of home décor has such limitless possibilities that you are sure to find one that will make your home a dream home for yourself and your family. You can put sofas diagonally against the wall and create a wide space look, or eliminate a piece of furniture to clear up space. It all depends on you and your creative ideas.
  9. Bookshelves have a very special purpose and that is to provide space for those volumes of books, which otherwise you would have to store in boxes. Put a few articles on the shelves, which hold a special meaning to you, like that mug your friend gave you on last Eid.

Learning Through Play!

PlaySafe learning through toys

  • Use recommended age labeling as a guide and look for warnings and other safety messages on toy packaging.
  • Consider the home environment and the ages of other, particularly younger, children in the home. A toy intended for an older child may be unsuitable and possibly dangerous in the hands of a younger child.
  • Be especially careful when selecting toys for children younger than three. Avoid toys with small parts that could be swallowed or inhaled, including small balls and un-inflated balloons, and those with sharp points or rough edges.
  • No matter how old a child is, if he or she is still mouthing objects, be sure toys or pieces of toys are too large to swallow or to become lodged in the mouth or throat.
  • Check for sturdy, well-sewn seams on stuffed animals and cloth dolls. Be certain that any decoration is securely fastened and cannot be pulled or bitten off.

What to look for at child care or preschool

  • Teachers asking and answering questions, talking and listening to children
  • Children read to, at regular times and at children’s request
  • Labels on containers, shelves, and other classroom objects
  • Children’s ideas and stories written and displayed
  • Blocks and other materials for building, sorting, and manipulating
  • Opportunities for running, jumping, climbing, and dramatic play
  • Learning through activities and projects rather than direct instruction in skills and facts

Games for pre-schoolers

Vocabulary: Teach vocabulary through pictures and objects

I spy game: I spy with my little eye in this class beginning with “b”

Riddles: It flies in the air and has wings. It chirps and loves to eat worms. (Bird)

Memory Game: Teacher shows objects on a tray and then removes few from them, children to guess which are missing.

Mystery Game: In a bag keep things beginning with “b”. Children have to feel and name them. (bat -bell – bottle)

Concepts: large, larger, largest

Art Activity: Painting With Carrots

Cut real carrots with 2-3 pieces. Use them like rubber stamp – dip in orange tempera and print to make a letter c.

A child’s imagination knows no boundaries. It has wings that can fly higher than we could ever imagine! The best way to teach them is to play with them. Our words, actions, gestures are the tools that help them learn and grow into individuals with emotions, perspectives and attitudes.

It goes without saying that our choice of toys will greatly impact the moulding of a child’s personality. For example, a child growing up with books will develop deep intellect and power of reason. A child playing with educational toys will learn to explore and use his motor skills more adeptly. A child playing outdoors, will be a rough and tough one. Similarly kids playing with violent toys, highly stimulating video games etc. will raise restless and reckless adults who lack stability and focus in life.

Another important factor is not just to buy toys for kids but spend some quality time playing with them. Truthfully there is much developmental opportunity for parents and teachers to observe child behaviour and enhance learning just at play. It factually reveals a child’s personality in the making and facilitates grown ups to adjust their parenting styles and attitudes accordingly.