Read between the lines

read-between-the-linesI remember when I was in grade nine, my English teacher gave us a comprehension. It was followed by a series of questions pertaining to that very specific composition. After reading it multiple times, I failed to grab an answer. I asked her, how to find the answers which are not there? She smiled and said, “Read between the lines.” Now I know how some messages are subtle.

Exposure capping

Have you ever encountered a situation when you unknowingly reach for an unknown product on basis of familiarity? You do not know anything about it, but have seen it thousands of time on television set, and have heard its name multiple times via media means. Media has bombarded the minds of viewers with massive promotional advertisement. What is seen is what is selling.  The message stored in our subconscious. The tactic is exposure -to show them explicitly that it gets stored in the brains. Is everything we are being exposed to worth watching?

All that glitters is not gold

Media magnificently wraps the slime and slut into the realm of doubtless, envisage, mushy, and cheesy stories. This all causes their heart to skip a beat and they long for all this in their lives. It is for this fantasy that they go for unlawful relationships. Hearts and flowers steal the show. What are we offering them? A world where-

Adultery justified

Modesty rationalized

Morals marginalized

Personal matters publicized

Religion paralyzed

Violence generalized

Women advertised

Filth idealized

Ummah immunized

Bypass your conscious mind Have you ever heard of the word,“subliminal message”? It is anything that sends you a message without your knowledge, which is usually picked up on by your subconscious mind. It might be a text, graphic, pictorial or any other auditory means.

You will find numerous examples of these explicit messages that are hidden in cartoons. Cartoons are no more cartoons nowadays. They offer violence, aggression, erotic messages, brutal killings, and homosexuality. Don’t brush it under your carpets. It is time to recognize the problem and to work for its eradication


 A known cartoon lion king has been objected on a scene when the lion blows off dust from a cliff. The dust forms a word SEX which is a subliminal message. Kids absorb it and it surely messes up with their belief. Why do you see such crimes appalling and common?


This is another example of a hidden message that we parents are blindly offering to our little ones with innocent minds. We are the reason behind exploiting their minds. If you love them truly, you will surely make a way to filter and detox the receiving grime in the name of entertainment. In a lighter tone- just for a laugh- when your husband asks you to not to spend much time in shopping, you spend hours and hours by ignoring his reprimand.  You do what you want. We are all in our comfort zone, happily spending time on cell phones, video games, televisions, and other electronic gadgets. We are badly snatching the right of our kids and spouse upon us. The situation turns bleak when family time is replaced by screen time. We are now introverts and lack the empathetic skills to socialize. We lack time for our kids; have no devotion to educate them, to protect them. Later, we have no right to cry over the spilt milk.


Some adverse effects of media exposure

  1. There are various types of physical mutilation that media entertainment provides. Long hours of screen time badly effects
    1. memory
    2. attention span
    3.  cognition
    4. Impaired Eye sight
    5. Weight gain.
    6.  A kid who is exposed to all sorts of filth gets immune to the depicted sins; hence, readily absorbs on both levels of consciousness and unconsciousness.
    7. High level of anger and violence. Sample of Wisconsin and Maryland high school and junior high school students confirm the correlational link of aggressive behaviour and delinquency.
    8. Indecency in dressing. Princess Jasmine and Ariel half naked. Our girls dream of those dresses as they are worn by princesses.
    9. Blindly following the cartoon characters- nearly worshipping them. A kid jumped off his roof by wearing a cloak and died, as he dreamt to fly like the spider man.
    10. Lost heritage, cultural and Islamic values. Doctor Victor b. Cline, the psychologist, says that: “the media are powerful teachers of values and ethical behaviour, and sometimes may play a more significant role than the church.”
    11. Sleep and eating disorders. Media wrongly inform our opinions and desires. To quote, leading to the desire of white skin and zero figures through persuasive ads and programs. Leading to disorders such as bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
    12. Today Video games offer life-like characters and rich, graphic imagery that delivers very realistic experiences. Studies have shown a correlation between playing video games and unhealthy outcomes for children, such as isolation and loneliness, obesity, belief in gender stereotypes and increased aggressive behaviour.
    13. Violence and massacre. Tom and Jerry shows extreme brutal hitting.
    14. Hidden erotic messages mature the reproductive system and sex hormones; thus, kids today are reaching their puberty earlier.
    15. Increase rate of rapes.
    16. Learn abusive language.

How can we protect them?

Befriend your child and educate, do not dictate!

Being parents, we are responsible to instill the love of Allah (swt) and educate them about the things which are disliked by Allah (swt). Start telling them at an early age about the things that pleases and displeases Allah (swt) as young minds are more absorbent. We often offer them screen time because we have work to do, or to have some me time, or to keep them calm and motionless, tied to their place. Everything can wait but time will not. This is the crucial time as iron can be molted when hot. This is the high time that you divert their minds towards healthy habits like book reading, helping around the house (for instance, to pick cushions up and put on right places).

For younger kids, install software that will limit their view of things that they are not supposed to see. In joint family, it is rather difficult to convince about the hazards of television. Supplicate a lot to Allah (swt) and with wisdom limit and distract your kids. Do not run after your kid every time you catch him watching television by saying Haram Haram (unlawful). Your role is to educate and not to compel. It is normal that a kid will fall for the beats and cartoon. Offer him with a substitute. There are many Islamic cartoons available on To name few, learn Quran with Zaky, Adams world, Hurray for Baba Ali, and nasheeds without music. If they have seen anything, that carries a bad message. Try to detox it later by talking about it. Make a list of things that fall under sin and things that are worthy of rewards. Make them yearn for Jannah (paradise). Islam is not about individualism, but rather it talks about communism. Build an ambience around that is free of the things which Allah (swt) doesn’t like. This will take time, but it will surely bring sweet fruits later. Tell him television itself is not bad. What it advertises and displays is wrong. Tell him how we can  make good use of it by watching animal channels and others educational programs.

Mirror mirror on the wall

Yes, your kids follow like  your own shadow or reflection. Model the behaviour you yourself want them to have. You need to limit your screen time. There should not be a television in bedroom. When dramas and movies are your weakness, and you fail to resist the allure to watch; when you are glued in front of the television and ignore when your husband shows up; when you give your kids a shut up call because they are interrupting while you are involved in a mesmerizing scene- then don’t expect them to be away from this filth. Neither, demand them to obey you or respect you. You are committing a sin and this sin will follow even after your death too. Your kids will follow your footsteps. As it is said in Surah Yaseen,


Verily, We give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before (them), and their traces, and all things We have recorded with numbers (as a record) in a Clear Book. (Surah Yaseen 36: 12)

Don’t try to fit in, when you are born to stand out!

Peer pressure is the most important factor that regulates our thought process and desire. I remember during my schooling, I used to feel like a fish out of water. I was not allowed to watch movies alone without my mother’s supervision. My classmates would talk about all sorts of movies, scenes, slang words and my jaws would drop to the floor. Be very vigilant when it comes to choose an education system as kids blindly follow the crowd around in order to fit in. In addition, a time comes when teachers have more powerful impact as compared to parents. Bon fires, farewells, trip to Cineplex, movie nights, are the events endorsed with music and filth. During my college years, a friend of mine refused to pay for the farewell arrangement charges. Her father said that I will not spend for unlawful things. Hats off to her and her parents for bringing her up in the most desirable way, that will gain the pleasure of Allah (swt). Give your child confidence that the false opinion of his peers will not shatter his roots nor tear apart his self-worth. Backward, extremist, loser are some of the attributes given to such kids who don’t watch television, or are unaware of the upcoming song or movie. Again it goes back to parenting. Be your kid’s best friend, before the world offers him wrong friends. I was uncomfortable to read that it is Talibanization and extremism to say watching television is sin.


It’s high time

Do we need a trumpet to be blown on our heads? How are we turning a blind eye to the so openly served nonsense to our kids and youth? Dating, extra marital affairs, polygamy (yes, it is allowed in Islam; for my male readers but only if a man can afford and do justice), betraying your spouse, drinking, gambling, myth of eternal love, dancing parties, you name it and you get to see it. Everything is becoming a norm and our kids are being brain washed to accept the immorality. Who is to be blamed? Is it the fault of media for dishing out such lustful and indecent dramas and music? Or is it entirely the fault of your children who are not more than a couch potato? A kid of today is passive and aggressive; he contempts elders and ridicules their principles; he burns his lid off mostly by throwing tantrums and fit.

Nevertheless, it is not too late. Make intention and then fasten up your belt. Do your best and supplicate to protect your kids from the trials of today.

A note for media people

Media people are responsible for what our kids see and they will be held accountable for what they offer. Be cautious! As you will soon be standing in front of the Lord of the worlds. They are holding the blame of others sin too. A movie is ban on account of being x-rated. The tactic is simple. If you want to have a mega hit and massive sale, ban the product. Out of curiosity, people will come to see. Allah (swt) knows the intention behind. Whether the Niyyah (intention) behind naming it eighteen plus is to limit the audience or increase the viewership.

(Part 1) Public restroom etiquettes: Meet the elephant in the room!

restroomI’m sure that it’s an international issue, but I’m going to specifically discuss public washrooms around the religious sanctities since Tahara (cleanliness) is our half faith. In my travels, it has become clear that people don’t understand how to behave in the washrooms, let alone take care of Tahara.

Yes it’s a fairly gross subject; but this dormant ‘loo-phobia’ you may have, could soon be defeated by nature, hitting its panic button on you. You will start to see black spots floating in the air, and one of them of them will even speak to you. Nature does not always wait for the most opportune time to make its appearance; your days there (especially at Hajj) may be longer than your endurance. So, sometimes you are forced to visit the nearest facility. Unfortunately, the nearest restrooms are not always the most fun to call upon. And in case you can’t find one near, just follow your senses. Your nose will guide your way. Wherever it smells funny, there it is. But you won’t be laughing!

So consider this a refresher course – a guide to be crammed, forwarded or shared as needed. (Not for the weak hearted.) Just breathe into a paper bag, until you throw up. But till then, bear with me.

1) Clean after yourself

Now, this is a no-brainer. Bathrooms should be clean. There should be no sign of fecal matter (yours or anyone else’s). But since it’s not always the case, you will walk into a cubicle and walk right out again, mentally and emotionally scarred. To even get to the seat, you have to wade through a lake of mystery liquid that, by the laws of logistical probability, very likely isn’t water. And when you arrive, you may find that the last person to use it couldn’t decide, because it’s everywhere but in the bowl given, which isn’t rocket science. Feces are supposed to go in the water inside the toilet into the dark abyss.

“Duh,” you say, “everyone knows that.”

Oh really? Then why is it on the toilet seat and on the restroom floor approximately all the time?

There is a button located directly above the toilet paper that is marked with the word… wait for it… “FLUSH”. Press that! And if the water isn’t available, then you should’ve kept a water bottle with you. If it’s too late, then cry us some river, please, and get it flushed.

You shouldn’t expect free toilet paper, tissue or soap either. So carry them with you in small amounts.

P.S. If it’s like a cubicle, from which Ikea should learn space management, then don’t go in with big gallons of water (above 1 litre – definitely a ‘no-no’), because that will leave no space for you. And if you start to wrestle in there, deciding whether the bottle should occupy the space or you, making people outside lose it and giving up right beside the door of your cubicle, then you may not have many gymnastic abilities to try when stepping out.

2) Cover and let others stay covered

People naturally expect privacy in the restroom, but it’s far from priority for most.

You may get in to only find your second biggest fear happening (I say second biggest fear, because your first biggest fear is obviously being that person) – someone didn’t lock the door and is now smiling at you. Smiling is Sunnah – I accept. But in such circumstances, it’s frightening. But obviously screaming too is the worst option at that time. It will draw a large crowd. Just close the door immediately – don’t even wait to apologize. If the guilt is overwhelming, then offer them something from your bag/purse/wallet as a peace offering – definitely after they have stepped out of the cubicle. Or you can stand outside their door and beg for their forgiveness. If they were out of water (as you may have noticed in a split second), you could go to a bathroom close by and steal some water – but be sure to knock to make sure no one is in there. You don’t want to get stuck doing double bathroom apologies. It will get expensive and tiring. And you may lose your own control during the process.

There is a clear line that is not supposed to be crossed. Your Satr (part of body to cover) is from navel till knees. Keep it covered. Nobody wants to see it. (This is meant for men in Ihram also – people are there to attain closeness of Allah (swt) and your unawareness about your whereabouts could make a difference).

If you can’t find any stall empty, please, prefer the bushes over exhibition, because others may join you in your brave-step-taken; and now, you have a sin of the entire bathroom audience on you and this would yank the Haram meter up to a highest level.

3) Don’t steal toiletries

The person you saw smiling at you may have a reason behind it – no bathroom lock.

Now, I don’t know, if people think whether they are going to build their own toilet someday or open a bathroom business, that’s why they came in with screw-drivers and took all the locks away; or it’s their way of serial revenge – but that stuff is not for free and it’s not yours to take away. Let it be where it belongs. Or next time, you will be in that state, where one of your hand will be covering the space, from where the lock is kidnapped and another will be holding the door (while someone will be trying to open it) and you won’t be the one smiling this time.What goes around comes around. Beware!

Please don’t steal – be it locks, tissue paper, pipes, etc. Anything. You don’t want to owe toiletries to so many people on the Day of Judgment.

4) Don’t answer nature calls with a conversation

Now, here’s a fairly interesting pet peeve: talking. Holding court in the area, where people are relieving themselves, is not good for unbiased judgments. They might not want to be your audience or testify for anything in your favour. And worse than observing a forum, is having someone engage them in that conversation.

ou do know it’s not ok to talk while attending to your ‘business’, right?

And even, the most commonest-of-all-common senses say, “It’s just gross!”

This brings me to attending phone calls in the toilet. If there’s any sort of line, don’t use your phone in the bathroom. This is purely a matter of courtesy. Please, focus on the task at hand. If it’s called a restroom, it doesn’t mean you rest in there. No text or a selfie can be more urgent than what others, with bladders the size of a grape, in line need to do – every second for whom means the difference between dignified relief and a desperate sprint from the door to a dark corner of the nearest hill/jungle, which you shouldn’t be grumpy about, when you step on it.

5) Keep your creativity confined to your own walls

I’m all for creativity and art, but, please, limit your mediums to less-pukable ones. Nobody wants to see your art on the toilet floor or anywhere around it. I’m glad human being doesn’t possess superpowers, with which they could climb the walls, because you may have to deal with wall art as well – and, no, I’m not talking about graffiti. But I’m coming to that.

Keep your graffiti confined to your own walls. This is a public area. Not yours to claim or paint. Do not spray paint the bathroom doors with things that may force parents to blindfold their kids, when sending them in these toilets. (Now you know the reason behind that wreck). Then writing your number beside, seriously? I can’t even comment on this one. I’m out. Sorry – retiring from earth. I live in space now.

Heart not warmed yet? It will be microwaved because…

[To be continued Insha Allah…]

Trials as Blessings for the Believers

trials-and-tribulations“Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe” and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test).” (Al-Ankabut 29:2-3)

It is certain from the following verses of the Quran that Allah (swt) will test those who believed in one way or the other- as He tested the believers before. These tests may be in the form of hunger, loss of a loved one or health, or wealth as stated in the Holy Quran: “And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).” (Al-Baqarah 2:155)

Why believers?

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “This world is prison for a believer and heaven for the disbeliever.”

But why these tests are specified only for those who believe? What is the wisdom behind it?
Firstly, it is to check the level of their Iman – to make sure, whether they are strong enough to bear a calamity with an unwavering Iman; and secondly, to wipe out their sins – to purify them for the Akhirah.

Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “Trials will continue to befall the believing man or woman on himself, his child and his wealth until he meets Allah (swt) with no sin on him.” (Tirmidhi)

It was narrated by Anas (ra) that the Prophet (sa) said: “When Allah (swt) wills good for His slave, He hastens the punishment for him in this world; and when Allah (swt) wills ill for His slave, He withholds the punishment for his sins until he comes with all his sins on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi)

Aisha (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “The believer is not harmed by a thorn or anything greater, but Allah (swt) will raise him in status thereby, or erase a sin thereby.” (Muslim)

The wisdom behind testing the believers through trials and tribulations is that they are made to remember Allah (swt) on account of these adversities. This makes them accustomed to remember Him and keep their thoughts busy with Him. It is natural for the believers to seek and turn to Allah (swt) for help in adversities; while in the times of comfort they forget and neglect it. A believer’s heart only gets content and rest while he remembers Allah (swt) as it is stated in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Ar-Rad 13:28)

How to deal with trials and tribulations?

Allah (swt) has stated in the holy Quran that the most powerful methods to bear calamities and trials are being patient and seeking help from Him through prayer.

“And seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer) and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashiun (i.e. the true believers in Allah – those who obey Allah with full submission, fear much from His Punishment, and believe in His Promise (Paradise, etc.) and in His Warnings (Hell, etc.)).” (Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Inspiration from the Prophets (as)

a) Prophet Adam (as)

Allah (swt) forbade Adam (as) to eat from the forbidden tree in paradise; but he got impatient and listened to Iblees. As a result, he gained Allah’s (swt) wrath and was sent down to earth. It took forty years of Dua and patience by Adam (as) to be forgiven.

b) Prophet Yusuf (as) and Yaqoob (as)

Prophet Yusuf (as) was sent to prison for the crime that he had not committed, but he remained patient and was released after several years; while, on the other hand, Yaqoob (as) met his son after the patience of thirty-four years.

c) Prophet Ayoob (as)

Prophet Ayoob’s (as) story is the most famous story of patience and forbearance. He remained patient during his illness, which lasted for eighteen years, and kept supplicating.

The reward for the patient ones

The trials and tribulations faced by the believers, who remain patient and rely on Allah (swt), never go un-rewarded. This is what Allah (swt) has promised in the Holy Quran:

“And certainly, We shall test you with something of fear, hunger, loss of wealth, lives and fruits, but give glad tidings to As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).Who, when afflicted with calamity, say: “Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” They are those on whom are the Salawat (i.e. blessings, etc.) (i.e. who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided-ones.” (Al-Baqarah 2:155-157)

“And be patient; verily, Allah loses not the reward of the good-doers.” (Hud 11:115)

May Allah (swt) place us among the patient believers, to whom Allah (swt) has promised greater rewards. Ameen.