Tackling Emotions in Settling Differences

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Maliha had just returned from her 6-years-old daughter Anum’s school. She unfolded the now crumpled report of Anum that confirmed Dyslexia. Anum’s teacher was very caring and reassuring that Anum was an extremely bright kid, who just needed special attention and a different means to learn. Maliha’s child was different. How would she break the news to Ali, her husband? Anum was her father’s apple of the eye, the only child born ten years after their marriage.

Maliha knew this wasn’t the end of the world. But the string of tears just poured, staining her face. She decided to relieve her own pain, so she could be strong later when informing Ali. They could go out tonight to a quiet place, where she could gently explain to Ali all that Ms. Sarah (Anum’s teacher) had talked about. She carefully re-read the information Ms. Sarah had given her. Maliha mapped out in her mind the conversation that she would hold with Ali. She arranged Anum’s babysitting with her grandmother. She planned everything meticulously.

Meanwhile at the office, Ali had a monstrous day. He broke into an argument with his demanding boss. His top of the line worker had an accident and fractured his leg. One of Ali’s important customers filed a complaint about the company’s poor service. It was a trying day, and by the evening, Ali was glad it was finally over. All he wanted to do was go home, play with Anum, have his favourite meal and hit the bed. He had to be in the office very early next morning to prepare a compensation plan for his disgruntled client and present it to the senior management. That required much thinking.

When Ali arrived from work, he looked drained much to Maliha’s immediate disappointment. She suggested that they dine out to relax and change the mood, which was the last thing Ali wanted to hear.  He suggested otherwise. Ali wanted to eat at home and retire early to bed. Maliha insisted that she wanted to eat out without explaining anything. Ali was now very irritated, as he couldn’t understand why. He had had such a rotten day, and it was still not over with Maliha mindlessly nagging him about a stupid evening out.

They both projected what were their positional bargains, their own stances without finding out the reasons, why the other person was disagreeing. Both had valid reasons to differ but never communicated to each other. The hidden intent behind these differences remained concealed, until it was too late. Maliha and Ali, who were already vulnerable and wounded from previous experiences, locked horns and ended up in a battle.

This is what we experience almost daily with strangers, acquaintances and our dear ones – situations in which the hidden intentions are not communicated, assumptions are made at face value, and wrong results are derived from faulty calculations. The art of creating agreements is lost.

Could Ali and Maliha have handled the above situation differently? Maybe. Here is a guideline that “Timelenders” (a management consulting and training firm) offers for tackling emotions in settling differences:

  1. Be calm.

When you sense a disagreement with someone, do not opt for emotional outbursts. This may seem difficult initially but with conscious thought and practice, volatile emotions can be tamed.

  1. Recognize the other’s emotions.

Make a shift of priorities to understand the other person’s sentiments. Sometimes we are so consumed by our own feelings that we ignore the other person’s heartache altogether.

  1. Make your own emotions explicit.

Clarify how you feel, without expecting others to guess or take initiative figuring out your worries. No one is a master psychologist or owns a crystal ball to know what is going on in your life.

  1. Allow the other side let off steam.

If tempers are high, let the other person say what he/she has to. They won’t be listening to you in any case, if you try to out speak them, since they will be wrapped in their own miseries.

  1. Keep an eye on the emotional bank account.

It is easier to settle differences with people you have been nice to. If you have shared positive experiences and had a good relationship with them, there would be no grudges hindering or haunting from the past. Always try to treat everyone courteously, so they remember your past goodness.

A word of caution: possible communication challenges might occur, so:

  1. Keep an eye on the non-verbal communication.

Many people are not effective with words and are unable to explain their actual stance. In such cases, try to follow their body gestures, silence, etc.

  1. Listen actively and acknowledge what is being said.

When they speak, listen intently. Comprehend later. Judge lastly. Do not reverse the sequence. Also, do not multitask during a disagreement in order to avoid further irritation.

  1. Speak to be understood.

Don’t mumble, throw jargon, talk sarcastically or in under currents, so as to leave the other person wondering, what you actually meant.

  1. Don’t speak from the gallery.

Do not involve others in the conversation or talk in front of people who have nothing to do with your disagreement. Address only the parties involved.

Following are some non-verbal communication one needs to be mindful of:

  1. Speech pace and pauses
  2. Pitch and tone
  3. Use of space and distance
  4. Body motion and gestures
  5. Body posture
  6. Facial expressions
  7. Gaze
  8. Touch and body contact

In 1967, psychologist Albert Mehrabian analyzed the impact that a speaker’s attitudes and feelings leave on an audience. Following is what he discovered:

Imagine: in a conversation or presentation, visual content (your body language) has 55% of impact on others. Similarly, the way you present your words has 93% of an impact on the other person. If your verbal language and body language is out of sync, you can never be taken as a genuine person. If you want to apologize, your voice and expressions must convey it. If you want to appreciate someone, you cannot furrow your brows and twitch your nose when complimenting. Similarly, if you are concerned about someone, you can’t laugh and look merry about it. Your intentions have to be communicated with actions (co-related body gestures).

Differences and disagreements are part of life. They are natural and set us apart from machines. They facilitate us to mature as humans. They truly bare our soul. In such times, we are tested for our wisdom, grace and character.

Face the Facts

Did you know that our face can support:

  1. 8 positions for brows and forehead,
  2. 17 positions for our eyes and eyelids,
  3. 45 positions for our lower jaw,
  4. 43 distinct and separate muscle movements in the face giving us a combination of 10,000 identifiable facial configurations,
  5. Fleeting facial expressions that last for four hundredth of a second.

Subhan’Allah! If Allah (swt) is the Creator, we are a marvel of His creation.

Reaping the Rewards of Ramadan

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Annually, Ramadan gives us the greatest discount to stock up Hasanat for our Akhirah account. The rate is exceedingly profitable, so it is important to consider the best ways of using this opportunity for everyone in the family, especially the head of the household.

Time Management

Proper time management is the key in order to avail limited time offers. A daily schedule helps stay focused on what is important. Wasting valuable time by sleeping away the hours should be curtailed. Rather, sleep should be kept to the minimum. Watching TV should be limited to only those broadcasts that are truly beneficial, like live Taraweeh broadcasts from the Haramain. Similarly, ensure that all Eid shopping is out of the way prior to Ramadan, so that the entire family can utilize the last ten days for worship in the best possible manner.


Time should be reserved for personal and collective worship, throughout the day. This includes the daily Adhkar, Quran recitation, Qiyam, congregational prayers, Taraweeh, etc. As the head of household, encourage your family to participate in worship. Take the younger ones with you for the prayers, especially Taraweeh. Even if they do not participate fully, just being in the Masjid and seeing worshippers pray together in the special Ramadan atmosphere leaves a lasting impact on their young hearts and minds.


Learning is another beneficial activity that one should establish both at an individual as well as a family level. Personally, one can use Ramadan to memorize a portion of the Quran or understand its meaning, or study some Ahadeeth daily. The family can also learn together. Last Ramadan, while walking to and from the Masjid, my son, who was six, memorized some Surahs of Juz Amma just by repeating after me. Older kids can be asked to research the background of these Surahs and report back to the family when the family is together, for example, while driving, sharing meals or sitting down for a family study circle. The younger ones can be asked to draw and colour whatever they have heard.


Ramadan is also a time for sharing, whether it is food, clothes, wealth or knowledge. Some may disagree, but I have found that rather than arrange Iftar parties throughout the month for the rich, where people participate in food orgies and end up missing Taraweeh prayers, it is better to supply food to the less privileged members of society, for example, the needy, students, bachelors, orphans or travelers. Taking your kids with you for daily rounds of food distribution engenders a love of giving and an appreciation of the blessings they have in their lives. Projects can also be developed through Zakat money, which many Muslims choose to pay during this blessed month.


To free up time for all of the above activities, both for us and for our families, it is important to keep food shopping, preparation, presentation and consumption to a minimum. A simple meal can suffice daily for Iftar as well as Suhoor. Husbands can help by doing groceries quickly using a shopping list at a less crowded time of the day and not picking faults in food presented to them. They can go for a simple Iftar of dates and water and have dinner after Magrib prayers. This will ensure that the ladies of the house get sufficient chances to reap the benefits of these days and do not have to spend extra time in the kitchen.

Sons, husbands and fathers play a big role in helping to maximize the benefits of Ramadan for themselves and their families. A family, which is led properly to utilize Ramadan time for worship, learning and charity, can hope to achieve the real spiritual goals of this month, Insha’Allah.

Tips for Productive Mornings

19 did you know

Snoozy makes you woozy

Get up with your alarm clock. Don’t press snooze! Show discipline at the start of your day by waking up right away, and the rest of your day is most likely to be full of discipline and quality, Insha’Allah.

Wake up before Fajr

This may feel like a huge task, but you can even start by waking up fifteen minutes before Fajr. The last third of the night is an extremely special time, where you can connect with Allah (swt) on a deeper level through Tahajjud, Dua, and Astaghfar.

Make Fajr ‘the event’ of your day

Rather than performing a hit and run type of prayer, aim to perfect Fajr as much as possible. Wear nice clothes and focus on what you recite during prayer. For extra reward, follow the Sunnah by making your recitation short in the Sunnah prayer and long in the Fard prayer of Fajr.

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Preparing for Ramadan

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“O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Shaban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health). Ameen.”

When I told a friend that I was doing research for an article on preparing for Ramadan, she said: “What are you going to write? We know everything there is about Ramadan. We’ve been hearing it over and over again!”

It’s true that Ayahs and sayings related to Ramadan will be the same, because our Deen is complete and will remain so till the end of time. But the fact that we have heard them many times makes us more accountable. We have no excuse to forget the guidance. We shouldn’t tune out thinking “Oh, I’ve heard this before.” Instead, we need to pay extra attention to revising, internalizing, applying and then sharing this knowledge.

For instance, your husband has asked you to pay the telephone bill. If he reminds you once, you could forget. But if you forget after being reminded several times and seeing that note stuck on the refrigerator, you will be left with a late fee and a lot of explaining to do. You heard the same message over and over again and still paid no attention.

Alhumdulillah, we have been taught the basic tenets of Ramadan since we were children. Let’s make Dua to take it a step further this year. We are the selected recipients of this blessed month. There are many non-Muslims and Muslims alike, for whom Ramadan comes and goes without making an iota of difference in their lives. Allah (swt) says that unlike other acts of worship, fasting is only for ME. What an honor! We have the opportunity to do something, for which Allah (swt) will personally decide the reward.

Just like we make preparations well in advance when a favourite guest is coming, we have to prepare in advance for Ramadan, so that we don’t waste time during the precious month.


  • Gather books/tapes/Dua pamphlets in one place, so you avoid wasting precious Ramadan time looking for stuff. If you have loaned some books to a friend or vice versa, see that they get to their respective owners before Ramadan. If you know you have two hours to complete an exam, you wouldn’t want to waste time sharpening pencils or looking for erasers, would you?
  • Host or attend a ‘Welcoming Ramadan’ talk and invite friends, who usually do not frequent these circles.
  • Plan where you will be going for Taraweeh. Find out which venues welcome women. Make child care and transportation arrangements beforehand.


  • Make small packets of dates with the Dua for breaking the fast. Pass these out to people in the Masjid, or your family and friends two weeks before Ramadan. This way you can hope for part of the reward each time they break their fast.
  • Complete your to-do list or postpone unimportant stuff for after Eid.
  • Buy small gifts for the children to mark the beginning of Ramadan. Blow up some balloons and give out candy, so that they know this is a special time. Hang up a Ramadan calendar, so they can count the days till Eid.
  • Complete Eid shopping for clothes beforehand. When I was in school, I used to envy my friends, who would go Eid shopping during the last ten days of Ramadan for bangles on ‘Chand Raat’. My mom made it a point to get us what we wanted for Eid before Ramadan began. We might not have understood the beauty of the lesson she was teaching us then, but, Alhamdulillah, now when I make my decisions about Eid shopping, I emulate her. If you really do need to go to the bazaar, get what you need and don’t loiter around.
  • Buy Eid gifts for family, friends and domestic help and don’t forget the kids. It is up to us, how important we make Eid for our children. If you’re planning to throw an Eid party for them, do the preparations before Ramadan or schedule the party at least a week after Eid.
  • Involve kids in wrapping gifts for the domestic help, so they see you giving them something new, as opposed to your old stuff all the time.


  • Make up the missed fasts before Ramadan.
  • Plan an ideal day by using the natural pegs of Salah. For example: “Between Fajr and Zuhr, I would like to memorize three Ayahs, and between Zuhr and Asr, I would like to listen to a Seerah tape.”
  • Evaluate your previous Ramadan and set goals for this year. Two days of a believer’s life should not be the same, just like each day should be better than the previous one. Similarly, two Ramadan’s should not be alike. Think about what you could have done better and avoid making previous mistakes. Set special, specific goals for the last ten nights of Ramadan.
  • Identify time wasters. Is it a talkative friend, an addictive computer game, the TV or surfing the Internet? Resolve to stay away from these things in Ramadan.

Household Duties

  • Freeze, freeze and freeze. Samosas, rolls, Kebabs, Chutneys – whatever your family enjoys. Make it beforehand, so you spend minimum time in the kitchen.
  • Practice moderation. Fasting is not postponing three meals only to make up for at Iftar. Eat what you like but in moderation, so that you are not so full that you can’t even go in Ruku at Maghrib!
  • If you are obsessed about cleaning, do all the detailed tasks before Ramadan, so that you and yours can take a breather. If you are fortunate to have help around the house, plan on being easy on them, as they will be fasting, too.


  • Limit lavish Iftar parties as much as possible. When you want to share a meal, send Iftar to the Masjid, deliver it to your neighbour in advance or find a deserving family. This way, you’ll be reaping the benefits of providing Iftar without having to take out fancy tableware and wearing your prettiest clothes!
  • Take out your phone book and call a relative you haven’t been in touch with ‘because she never calls.’ There might be some hurt feelings or unresolved issues that you can sort out before Ramadan.
  • Offer to watch a friend’s child, when she tries a mini-Itekaf for a few hours. She could return the favour on the days she doesn’t have to fast.

Family Time

  • Decide on a new Sunnah you want to adopt as a family. Miswak? Wudhu before bed?
  • Provide a list of options and have fun choosing.
  • Delegate chores to children according to their age. Your work load will be less, and they will get into the spirit of Ramadan.
  • Make a Sadaqah box and keep it in the kitchen. Encourage family members to pitch in every day.

This very moment, make Niyah to recharge your batteries and make this the best Ramadan yet. So even if, for some valid reason, you are unable to do all that you have planned, you can get reward for your intention, Insha’Allah.

Handy Tips to Perform Umrah with Children


By Sadaf A. Omar – Freelance writer with an interest in religion, history, and ethics

Tour operators promise you the most fulfilling spiritual journey – an Umrah package that takes care of your entire travel itinerary, a five-star hotel room that overlooks Masjid al-Haram, and a buffet breakfast. It does sound perfect until you start preparing for the journey and realize that an Umrah trip with children is likely to be a spiritually and physically exhausting experience, rather than the invigorating one you had envisioned.

I recently went for Umrah with my family, including four children ranging between the ages of one-and-a-half and thirteen. Experience is the best teacher, and I hope the following tips will ease the experience for other families planing the same journey.

Choose Wisely

Apart from budget and time constraints, keep in mind the ages and physical stamina of your children. The commute to and from the Masjid five times a day is tiring. This is especially true for Makkah, where the walk is often uphill. Also, it is difficult for younger children and even children in strollers to traverse thick crowds. Parents are often forced to carry children which is an exhausting task in itself and even more so after the rigours of daily Tawaf or Umrah. Therefore, choose a hotel that is reasonably located near the Masajid.

Also, if possible, try to include a buffet breakfast or dinner meal in your package. This will save you the time and hassle involved in procuring an appropriate meal for your family within the short time slot between prayers. A buffet spread allows choices even for the pickiest eaters among your brood.

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Top Five Ways to Boost Your Iman

7 boost Iman(1) Recite and reflect upon the Quran. Scientific studies have proven that simply listening to Quranic recitations has a miraculous effect upon the hearts and bodies; it has the quality of healing the souls. It is suggested by religious scholars that whenever you are depressed or feel low, listen to the Quran as it has a significant impact upon your mood. You must be aware that Allah (swt) is speaking to you, and you must strive hard to understand His dialogue. This will help you soften your heart, raise your Iman, and bring tranquility within your soul.

(2) Perform Salah regularly. Another factor to increase one’s Iman is the offering of Salah regularly, and at its appointed timings. It is narrated by Jabir ibn Abdullah (rtam) that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The similitude of five prayers is like an overflowing river passing by the gate of one of you in which he washes five times daily.” (Muslim) Apart from increasing our level of Iman, Salah gives us an opportunity to have an audience with the Rabb-ul-Alameen in which we can ask for His help and mercy. It is necessary that we engage in this ritual without accelerating our pace, and being aware of His presence.

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Losing it the Healthy Way

losing weightThe trendiest topic in town, which has been the subject of countless arguments and has been researched mercilessly, is weight loss. You only have to type the word “weight” in the Google search bar, and the first suggestion will be “weight loss”. All of us at some point in time may feel the need to lose excess weight. Speaking as a medical student, in this day and age, if you really want to avoid or improve chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular and hormonal diseases, you will have to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and maintain a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index).

Yes, we’ve all heard about “diet and exercise” playing a cardinal role in weight loss, but how do you actually achieve it? We diet for two weeks and then gain the lost weight right up! We go to the gym for a few days, see no change, and then drop the whole idea. Some people even follow aggressive diets that cause nutritional deficiencies; these manifest themselves in extremely irritating ways such as mouth ulcers, sore gums, joint pain, spots on the face, marks on nails, paleness of the skin and conjunctiva of eyes.

If you really want to lose weight and not regain it, you will have to follow a structured plan which does not threaten to compromise your health.

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A Chip off the Old Block

chip off the old blockThe best thing a man can teach his children is good manners. However, quite often, while raising kids, parents do not take dining etiquettes into consideration. They assume that children will learn them either naturally or simply through observation. In contrast, we find our beloved Prophet (sa) meticulously coaching and training not only kids but adult Sahabah at the dining mat. Here are the top five things he (sa) taught them:

Begin with the right intention and Allah’s name

Umar bin Abu Salamah (rtam) reported that Muhammad (sa) said: “Mention Allah’s name (i.e. say Bismillah before starting to eat), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near you.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

It is necessary to pronounce Allah’s name before dining in order to attain Barakah, and be mindful of not transgressing the boundaries of moderation. Overeating is highly distasteful in Islam and a sign of indulgence in Dunya, leading to a weak Iman. We especially forget to utter Bismillah when we are eating out, partying at someone’s house or away from our home or routine.

The Prophet (sa) also instructed to eat with our right hand. It is Satan who eats with his left hand. Fathers of left-handed children need to help their kids learn this from an early age; otherwise, it becomes second nature, which is cumbersome to break.

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Lunch Box Ideas for Busy Moms

lunch box ideasA handy checklist to help you pack a healthy mid-day meal for your kids:

  • Provide water or other fluids to your children in order to avoid dehydration.
  • Add a portion of dairy product, such as cheese slices, yoghurt, or milk.
  • Add a portion of salad, such as carrots or cucumber. Make sure it looks appealing enough for your child to eat all of it.
  • Once a week, include sweet items such as cupcakes or muffins, as an occasional treat.
  • Add a portion of easy-to-eat fruits, such as bananas, grapes, apple wedges or peeled slices of orange.
  • Add a portion of foods rich in carbohydrates, such as bread or noodles.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping – The Key to Healthy Living

grocery shoppingThe grocery store is an adult’s entertainment resort, similar to what Disneyland is for a child. You have before you a warehouse full of food, a big trolley, and plastic money to swipe. You see at the store young adults, bachelors, newlyweds, the not-so-newlyweds, new parents, grandparents, and children. Some are busy on the phone getting last minute instructions and confirmations. Others take their time to pause at each shelf and read the labels. With a look of fascination or bewilderment, they go aisle-by-aisle exploring the supermarket.

The trolley is loaded with raw ingredients, frozen food, ready-to-cook meals, instant foods, cereal boxes, syrups, sugary treats, bread spreads, cake mixes, and what not. The food looks (deceptively) healthy, they assure themselves as they push their trolley to the check-out counters.

We make a few mistakes while going for grocery shopping. Most people do go with a shopping list in hand but the question is do we stick to it, and how much?

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Connecting with Children – Handy Tips for Dads

In today’s globalized society, we often see that upon entering teenaged years, kids become strangers to their parents, especially the father. This was not the case in the past, as demonstrated by the relationship between Prophet Yusuf (as) and his father. We see that even as a youth he confided his secrets to him and came to him for advice. Why are our teenagers ignoring their fathers today? Perhaps it is due to some deficiencies in the ways fathers connected with their kids in their early years.

Listen to Them

Perhaps the most important factor is for a father to listen to his children. He must try to understand their psychology and unique personality. He should endeavor to understand what motivates and discourages his child. By doing so, the child will develop a trust for his father. He will see him as someone he can turn to for comfort, advice, guidance, support and empathy.

Play with Them

As many of us grow old, we lose the zest for life that is a vital characteristic in children. Fathers should attempt to regenerate that enthusiasm, while interacting with their children. While visiting a public park in New Jersey, I read a sign, which said: “Families that play together stay together!” Play can be traditional games like Oonch Neech, Baraf Pani, Aanch Macholi, four corners, tag or regular sports, or such board games as chess, scrabble, snakes and ladders, etc. By playing with children, fathers are strengthening their relationships with them.

Teach Them

Part of considering a father as a source of knowledge and wisdom comes when the father regularly engages in teaching children. He should not only help them with homework, but read to them beneficial books, and take them to museums, science centres, libraries, book fairs, planetariums, zoos and botanical gardens. When the child asks him for something he does not know, he should admit his ignorance and research the topic with his child using references and the internet. Among the subjects he teaches, he should not neglect religious subjects, as most answers to difficult questions that a teenager goes through are found in our beautiful Deen.

Take Them Out

Fathers should take children outdoors to beaches or parks on a weekly basis. This not only refreshes the children, who are cooped up at home throughout the week, but also makes them realize the handiwork of our Creator all around us. By sharing their amazement of marvelling at flowers, birds, trees, sea, sand, shells, stones, fish, animals and changing seasons, a father implicitly emphasizes his natural relationship with his children.

Worship with Them

Lastly, a father should establish worship with his family.  He should regularly take his children to Masjid for prayers, and make them participate in the Friday prayers, Takbeerat of the Eids, the Taraweeh prayers, Qiyam al-Lail, Salat ut-Tasbeeh, lectures and Halaqas. He should sometimes pray at home as the Imam of his family. By doing so, a father sends the message to his family that although he is in charge, he is also ultimately answerable to Allah (swt).

We do not know what destiny Allah (swt) has written for each child, but by taking the above steps, fathers will be assuring themselves that they have attempted to fulfill their responsibilities in the child’s early years. The only recourse left after that to fathers is to make supplications for their children, as the supplication of a father for his child is accepted.

Natural Treatment for Hairfall

hair fall solution

Remedies and tips to revive your hair

* Healthy Meals Help

A balanced diet with a strong emphasis on the daily intake of calcium and iron contributes to the growth and health of hair. A regular allowance of protein from lean meat products coupled with assorted grains, beans and dairy items play an important role in adding strength to one’s hair. Hair loss patients could also include in their diet, fish, which are rich sources of omega 3-fatty acids. These reduce inflammation and make the scalp healthy. A daily consumption of vitamin C which may easily be procured from fruits helps reduce hair breakage.

* Shampoo, not as often as you think

This goes without saying that one needs to wash their hair regularly, but how often they should shampoo mainly depends upon one’s scalp and hair type. Research has shown that there is little or no reason one should shampoo their hair everyday, for hair is a fibre and washing it daily will worsen its condition. Also, oils from the scalp do not travel down the hair quickly, so frequent shampooing would result in dry hair, which in turn makes them frizzy and unkempt. Daily shampooing could only be necessary for more oily scalps. Otherwise, all the other hair types, be they short, thin or straight can safely skip a day. Also, apply shampoo to the top of your hair and not to the ends, for this will dry them out.

* A hair on the head is worth two in the brush

Likewise, brushing one’s hair frequently would make your hair look worse. Try and exercise some control while combing your hair. Use a boar bristled brush for brushing your hair. It massages your scalp and helps circulate the oil from the roots to the tips of the hair, and thus prevents split ends. For brushing wet hair, use a comb with wide teeth so that the hair strands do not break. Also, avoid pulling through your hair. Instead, you may disentangle any knot you come across gently with your fingers.

* A little oil is good

Apply oil to your hair at least twice a week. This will moisturize the roots and tips, thereby preventing them from looking dull and unhealthy. You could also massage your scalp gently.

* Blow-dry is not worth a try!

Blow-drying and flat ironing of hair should be avoided as much as possible, for the heat just does not do them any good. Try to air dry them, instead of blow-drying. You should save your hair for blow-drying for special occasions only. Also, avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun.

* Bask in a mask

Try using a hair mask once a week. Wet your hair. Then put on the hair mask, and let it rest on your hair for at least ten minutes. Then rinse with cold water. This contributes to the vibrancy and health of one’s hair.

Easy recipes for some home-made hair masks

Egg Mask

  • Beat two eggs along with their yolks with two tablespoons of water.
  • Massage the hair with the mixture just made.
  • Keep it on for ten to fifteen minutes and wash it off with a gentle shampoo.

Yogurt Mask

  • Beat an egg without its yolk until it is frothy.
  • Add about six tablespoons of yogurt to it.
  • Massage your hair with this concoction.
  • Let it rest on your hair for 15 to 30 minutes and wash out with a mild shampoo.

Milk and Honey Mask

  • Mix a tablespoonful of honey with a cup of full fat milk.
  • Apply the mixture on hair.
  • Wash it off with a mild shampoo after 15 minutes


How to Combat a Delicate Situation

which_way[1]In many a circumstances, it so happens that a situation arises when a person responsible finds himself unable to overcome a grave problem. A delicate situation comes across the normal working of a person suddenly, and the person facing it, after repeated efforts, thinks that the doors to its solution are all closed. He then gets disappointed and abandons his further efforts, leaving the problem in a status-quo position that may cause further harm. However, one must not succumb to the problem. One should keep striving to locate the solutions because accepting challenges and solving problems are characteristic of boldness. Any problem, as delicate as it may be, can ultimately be overcome, with the condition that certain qualifications are met.

These qualifications are precisely described below:

1. Awareness of the Problem

Persons coming across a grave situation must be fully aware of its exact nature. The one who is unaware of what the problem is will obviously fail to find a way out of it. This qualification is the basic key to success. This is the awareness of the issue that leads the person to start in the right direction.

2. Confidence

The second quality attributed to combating the problem is the confidence of the person concerned. It is natural that confidence plays a pivotal role in confronting the issue. In its absence no success is guaranteed. But confidence of course is itself the outcome of a sound knowledge and experience. If someone possesses sufficient knowledge and experience, he must not get frightened with the gravity of the issue.

3. Observing the Rules of the Game

While attempting to solve the troubles, one must observe the entire prescribed rules of the game. That is, the person must be fully aware of where to commence from and in which direction to proceed. The formulae, principles, tools, and timings all must be kept in mind while resolving the complicated issue. Which formula to be picked first and where to hammer the last are the perquisites of success. An untimely step or a miscalculation may further develop fouls and complications.

4. Slow and Controlled Speed

Slow and steady progress toward the solution of a situation generates fruitful results. Hasty and superseding behaviour may ruin the entire effort. As complicated as the problem is, the caution should be made for its correction accordingly. People perceive commonly that since they possess all the qualities required, they therefore must hurry. Such a worried or over-confident conduct may ruin the entire labour, gaining nothing out of it.

5. Competent Team

A person determined to combat the grievance must also possess a competent team. If the members of his team are sub-graded or poorly experienced, the efforts may not materialize. An incompetent person may even spoil the whole of the team leader’s efforts. Principle of the division of work should likewise be applied in this respect.

With these qualifications as the basic tools, any delicate and mishandled situation may well be tackled wisely.

Heart-to-Heart on the Highway


Every morning, you can see children gaping vacuously at the passing landscape, as they travel to school. One wonders if this routine interval can be transformed into a healthy and productive period.  Following is a list of five noteworthy areas for conversation, which can be talked about along the way.

  1. The signs of Allah (swt). Contemplation, in reality, is a habit that parents can help form in their children. A scurrying squirrel, changing weathers and the beautiful symmetry of nature are all prompts for initiating insightful discussions about the Creator and His attributes. This observation, as mentioned in Quran, is a quality of true believers and develops profound love and awe for our Creator. Parents or teachers can also point to the attributes of Allah (swt), as they are being reflected in the surroundings, for example, a close encounter with an accident reminds of the attribute Al-Muhaymin (The Protector and The Overseer).
  2. Bounties and blessings. Point to the crumbling slums, beggars looking cravingly at food and little children rummaging in the garbage and have kids count the blessings that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon them. Make them notice those less privileged and teach them to be grateful for all that they have. Important structures and landmarks can be observed, too. Ask them who is the Creator of these edifices? Is it the architect or Allah (swt)? Isn’t it true that intelligence and ideas are all blessings from our Lord (swt), the Ultimate and Flawless Creator? He inspires people to build; they, in turn, invent and create things.
  3. School and family. This may be an apt time to listen to your child without interfering, or disrespecting his/her thoughts. Suspend your own judgement. Let him/her talk. Observe intently his thoughts and beliefs. Reviewing the times tables, solving problems concerning friends and teachers and discussing ideal school behaviour can also be done while driving to school. Sibling rivalries and other school and family related issues can be spoken about as well.
  4. History and current affairs. A severed nation is cut off from its past. Our curriculum does not do justice to Islamic history and even history in general. Hence, parents must supplement children in this field. Use these valuable minutes to revise concise lessons from history through audio lectures or passages from books. Discuss the glorious past of the Muslims and ponder over the current affairs; think about how to gain what we have lost. Go over the daily news, the situation of our country and Ummah, and talk about how they can contribute. Remember, kids will think and talk big, if they’re taught how to, by actively engaging them.
  5. Memorizing. Many a children have memorized portions from the Quran that were played in their cars. When not in a mood to chatter, put on recordings of short Quranic Surahs, Duas and Azkar (words of remembrance), and automatically they’ll be transmitted to the tongues of your young ones. Even if they don’t reproduce, it is all going in and settling in their minds. If practiced daily, no doubt, children and even parents will have memorized large portions of the Quran by the time they’re out of school!

Don’t undervalue the importance of time. Take advantage of every minute that you have to raise the leaders that you are entrusted with.

How to Achieve Simple Living

Simple Living

For us, as Muslims, the best example for conducting our lives lies in the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa). It is a well-known fact that he wore simple clothes, sometimes with patches.  He also had few spare clothes, but he kept them spotlessly clean. (Bukhari) His house was of simple clay with almost no decorations. His room contained a cot and a pillow stuffed with palm leaves.  He would sit on the bare floor or on a mat. Living simply in today’s world has many benefits:

  • Less debt. If we purchase less, we will have money in our pocket for the more important things like Sadaqah, Zakah and so on.
  • More savings. Not only will you be saving money by buying less, but you will be saving time and energy by not having to clean, maintain or fix all those possessions. You will have more time to spend on your priorities: family, friends, Dawah, reading, reciting or teaching the Quran.
  • Environmentally friendly. By possessing less, we are putting less into the landfills. Before tossing away anything, think: can I fix it, donate it, recycle/reuse it or compost it?
  • More contentment. Eventually, we will learn to be content with what we have, rather than what we don’t have. There will be no need to keep up with the latest trends. We will be less pressurized to impress with material possessions and can focus on impressing with good deeds and exemplary character. Instead of buying another toy for your child, spend and enjoy your time with them.

Simple living means different things to different people. Figure out what it means to you. Using our Prophet’s (sa) example, you can start with the following:

  • Live simply in a clean, uncluttered and organized space.
  • Live within your means.
  • Stay out of debt.
  • Trim unnecessary stress.
  • Be content with your life right now.
  • Make a list of your priorities and set smaller goals to achieve those priorities. Actively work toward those goals, starting with just ten to fifteen minutes a day.


For an instant impact, start de-cluttering the room you are in. Here is a step-by-step:

  1. Take a basket and put in anything that does not belong in that space; then, put it in its proper place.
  2. If that thing does not have a proper place, ask yourself: do I really need this? Do you want to keep it, donate it, throw it (if it is broken beyond repair), fix it, reuse it or recycle it?
  3. If you keep it, make sure it has a place; if you want to donate it, start a donation box; if it needs tossing, throw it in the garbage; if it needs attention (like repairing), put it in another box.

Keep all this in your mind, as you go through each space in your home.

You can slowly work from room to room, initially to get things back into their proper places. Do this at your own pace, fifteen minutes daily or from top to bottom. Once the first round is complete, considering going deeper. Take it room by room, starting with drawing, dining, lounge, kitchen and bathroom areas first. Except for the kitchen, these rooms tend not to have a lot of storage area. They do have clutter hot points, like tables and counters, which provide a big impact when de-cluttered first. It will give you that positive boost and sense of accomplishment to continue simplifying.

Be respectful, though, of others’ space. Your husband, in-laws, or older children may not like you going through their things, so be sure to ask or, better yet, enroll their help in your project and get them to live simply, too.  It really helps if you work together as a team.

As you are moving room by room, make sure to dust, while you have the tables, counters and decorative shelves cleared. If the space looks nice, you will give it a second thought before placing something there. Cluttered spaces tend to attract more clutter; therefore, keep it clear.

Clothing and closet de-cluttering need special attention. You can tackle them using the following steps:

  1. Start by taking everything out and make a quick run through.
  2. Toss into the keep, donate or fix pile.
  3. Dust out the closet and examine each item before putting it back in. Is it something you really need or like? Does it fit?
  4. Group clothes by use: daily wear, party wear, etc., and then by colour.
  5. Turn all the hangers around backwards.
  6. As you wear each item, put it back into your closet with the hanger the correct way.
  7. After six months or when the season is over, you can see what you have worn and what you haven’t. We mostly wear our favorite few outfits anyway.

Break the Shopping Habit

Make a conscious effort to reduce spending by not shopping and staying away from malls for at least ninety days. Shopping can be a habit that needs to be broken. Purchase only when necessary. Also, if you stop going to the mall, you will not be tempted to buy unnecessary items. If you do purchase something new, get rid of the old item it replaced. If you wear fewer colours, there won’t be any need for all the extra accessories, shoes, purses, jewellery, etc.

If you do go the mall, set a limit and make a list beforehand. Ensure that you stick to it. Go with a specific purpose and not only for window shopping. Also, purchase quality over quantity. If you can spend a little more upfront for something that will last longer and get more use, it is well worth it.


Once you have de-cluttered and organized the house, it is time to move to finances and your computer. Make a budget and see if there is excess that can be trimmed from the budget. Are you and the kids in too many activities? This can take up a lot of money and time. Make more time to spend together as a family. This can also lead to trimming unnecessary stress, like over-committing yourself to school, social events, etc.

For your computer and desk area, go through all emails and paperwork to see if you need it anymore. If you need to keep it, put it into a proper folder, paper or virtual.

Congratulations! You are now on your way to a simpler life. Make a conscious effort to maintain what you have just accomplished.

  • Take fifteen minutes daily to de-clutter.
  • Twice a year, do a spring and winter cleaning from top to bottom; you may not need now something that you needed then.
  • When something new comes into your space, get rid of the old.

Lastly, be content with your life, as this is what Allah (swt) has given us. Be grateful for what you have. Say a lot of Duas and prayers for guidance to live simply and be an example for others.