Take a Muslim’s attitude- Express gratitude

StarsSome people seem absolutely beautiful. They appear in the form of stars during pitch dark nights, scattered all over the sky, emitting light and illuminating the surroundings. They enter your life like a sailing ship-sailing smoothly through, silent and calm, making its way to the shore. They touch your life as easily as it can be because they bring peace, tranquillity and meaning to it. They, in the midst of despair, bring you hope. They, during the times of turmoil, bring you ease. They, in different moments of your life, throw colours on your canvas; thus painting your picture a little brighter and more beautiful. Some people are beautiful, just like the stars- shining bright and making you see things which you had never seen before- because it was dark; because it was hard, without them.

Unlike the tremendously significant ties of your family, these people appear in different stages of your life. Some of them will leave as you proceed, while others will stay. They have different names, but they are there. In one way or the other, your life will remain flavoured with their presence.

We humans are social beings, and are obliged to stay connected with people around us. We need communication in order to progress. Our personal, as well as, societal development depends on our ability to interact with other humans. The more we intermingle, more people we relate ourselves to. In the course of this networking, we sometimes meet people who appear more like us, who behave similar to our behaviour and even accept us the way we are. Our frequencies resonate with each other. We feel love, affection and fondness for them. We call them friends!

Look around-

Do you feel compassion in their eyes?

Do you see unconditional love in their actions?


Get closer-

Do you feel them?

A helping hand,

a lending shoulder,

a warm hug

or an encouraging nod?

Do you see them?

A friend in need, is a friend indeed!

Every man since the beginning of time till today, including the Prophets, who had support of Allah (swt), the Supreme, has had companions. The Beloved Prophet of Allah (swt), Muhammad (sa) was in close friendship with many Sahabah (ra) including Abu Bakr (ra). They were close and supported each other in the hardest of times; until our Prophet (sa) took his final breath. Their brotherly love was cherished equally to such an extent that the Messenger of Allah (swt) said:

“If I were to choose from my Ummah anyone as my bosom friend, I would have chosen Abu Bakr.” (Muslim)

How beautiful is this bond where you can associate yourself with someone who will embrace you with every detail you hold! You will be loved by your friend irrespective of your appearance or failures. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, if you are surrounded by faithful friends, your life will be treasured. Your happiness will be multiplied, while your sorrows will get a little less painful. They will see pain in your eyes even when you have had the loudest laughs. Your success will be celebrated.  Your failures will be shared.

No matter how strong you have been all your life, you would always need someone like this. Even if you have touched highest of the milestones in your life, you would always cherish that hand helping you get up; that shoulder lending you a support; and that hug making it all worth it, in the end.

But it doesn’t end here- We Humans do not function according to a manual which is why our relationships are difficult in all their glory. We posses friends who are critically important in our lives, yet they do not get the appreciation they deserve. They are not told enough that they matter. In the rough stages of life where everything gets in our way, yet they help us get through the most complicated phases of our life; we forget to acknowledge how helpful they had been. It’s ironical how less we appreciate their presence, but how immensely dependent we are on them.

If you have a sincere friend, you have struck gold!

If you have one friend who you can count on, even at the darkest hour of your life, consider yourself the luckiest person on this planet. Without him, the upsetting realities of this life would tire your soul. Not sharing your worries or the happy moments will drain your energies out.  Let’s face it, without your sincere friends; your life will be less colourful and more difficult.

Just remember that your strength in your life isn’t flawed when you appreciate them. Your austerity doesn’t change when you cherish them; and your milestones will still be yours, if you credit them for who they have made you in tiny bits of their support or love.

In his book, How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie says;

“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”

It doesn’t have to be a day, an event or a fancy occasion to tag a card along. It can be today, it can be right now. If you haven’t told them, let them know now. Tell them, they matter! Appreciate their efforts in bringing you up. Acknowledge their support in all those gloomy days. Be grateful for their applause, their hugs, their kisses and their love. Whatever it takes to say, “Thank you.” do it today.

“Anyone who doesn’t thank people has not thanked Allah (swt).” (Abu-Dawud,Tirmidhi)

The Hidden Message

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The Hidden MessageBy Nida Fareed

I look up at the stars. I am amazed. The dark blanket of the sky, which scares most of us when it is a velvet black makes for an enchanting gaze for the eyes when jewelled by the glittering stars.

But it is not the beautiful sight that captivates me. I am overwhelmed by something else. The stars continue to twinkle even when no one is looking or praising them. The stars continue to sparkle even when the clouds blanket them. The stars continue to shine even when the rays of the sun overtake their meager shimmer. They don’t stop doing what they are created for. They are fulfilling their purpose and submitting to the will of Allah (swt) everlastingly.

In performing that purpose of sparkling, they not only beautify the darkness of the night, but also provide way to the lost travellers and drive away the Shaitan.

I remember the verse of the Quran, in which Allah (swt) says: “And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.” (Al-Mulk 67:5)

Also, in another place, it is said: “And landmarks (signposts, etc., during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves.” (An-Nahl 16:16)

I think of how purposeful is everything created by Allah (swt). Then, I think about the purpose of my creation. What am I created for? What am I supposed to do? Why did Allah (swt) choose to bring me into this world?

And then I remember: “And I (Allah) created not the Jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

If I am created for the purpose of submitting to the will of Allah (swt) and worshipping Him, and if I do it with all my heart, then the stars have a message for me.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), not only add value to themselves by becoming the jewel of the sky, but also make their unpleasant, dark surroundings spectacular. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can be not only a gem myself, but I can turn my surroundings into beauty.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), are a source of help for the travellers lost on the obscure and path. I can also be a source of guidance and comfort for those on the wrong path, who are lost in the obscurity of the evils of the world, if I submit to the will of Allah (swt).

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), drive away the Shayateen for the benefit of the mankind. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can also counter the enemies of Islam for the benefit of the Ummah.

Allah (swt) has hidden messages for us not only in the stars that He has created, but in everything that He has shaped – the Sun, the moon, ants, bees, roads, trees, seas, mountains… everything. But it is for the eyes to search and not just to look, for the ears to listen and not just hear, and for the mind to ponder and not just accept unknowingly. Only then we will find the true path to success in this world and the Hereafter.

Catching Kids Being Good

kids being goodRewarding a behavior is the most effective way of promoting good conduct. Teachers can re-enforce youngsters by a smile, a ‘thank you’, some praise, or food. However, many believe that this method does not actually work – they continue to insist on their negative approaches that often make things worse, not better. Set up the child for success if he is not presently demonstrating the desired behavior. When a child displays positive behavior, recognize it. Do not hold a grudge. When first building a behavior, reward it each time as quickly as possible. The following are some reward suggestions that will encourage kids to strive for ‘being good’.

Tree of Achievements

For increasing the self-esteem in children, make a tree of achievement for each classroom. Make a display with a bare tree on a hillside or in a field and place a basket of brightly coloured leaves below. Whenever a child works hard or shows kindness, their name along with their good deed get written on a leaf and put up on the tree. This will encourage positive behaviour, and the children will love it.

Golden Wall

Use a ‘Golden Wall’ to encourage the circle time in the classroom. Write out the ‘golden rules’ from top to bottom on a wall. Every time a child adheres to some golden rule or successfully displays the focus golden rule of a particular week, write his / her name on a piece of paper and stick it to the Golden Wall. At the end of a half term, tear off all the labels from the wall and count them. The more a child’s name is on the wall, the higher are his / her chances for winning an award.

Behaviour Ladder

Age Range: 5 to 11

Draw a ladder onto a big piece of paper and write the names of children on little cards. Every time a child achieves something in any area, he / she moves a step up on the ladder. Similarly, the child moves one step down, every time he / she does something negative. For winning a secret prize, the child has to get to the top of the ladder.

Warm Fuzzies

The teacher makes on computer 25 squares of small grid for each child and places them on their desks. When a child works quietly on a task, produces excellent work, does homework, consistently follows class rules, the squares get stamped. Children also give them to each other for positive reasons at ‘warm fuzzy time.’ When the grid is filled, the student gets a certificate and sometimes a prize. Then, children aim for the next award, which is 50, 75, 100, 125, etc. Kids enjoy this type of rewards that promote positive behaviour.

Target Tree

Every half term, each student cuts out an apple and writes on it his / her personal target. Then, this apple is hung onto a tree prepared by the teacher. When the child achieves the target, he / she receives 2 merits. The next half term, a new apple gets added onto the tree.

Behaviour Train

Place on the wall a large train engine with several carriages behind. Represent each child in a carriage by writing his / her name and drawing a cartoon character. There should be on the wall also a ‘Missed Playtime Station.’ If during a play session a child misbehaves, his / her carriage gets removed from the train and placed in the station. The carriage can return to the train only if the child modifies his / her behaviour before the next playtime.

Prize Token

Give children a prize token anytime they work well on a task, produce a lovely work, answer a question correctly, etc. Children write their names on a piece of paper and put them in a prize jar. Keep on reminding children throughout the day: “Who is doing the work quietly so that I can give a prize token?” You will be surprised to see that students will stop talking and will get back to their work. At the end of the day, draw the names out of the prize jar. If students have been really good, give out a few more prizes; however, if they had misbehaved, warn them that no names would be drawn from the prize jar, unless they improve their behaviour.

Super Stars

This reward system is very simple and designed specifically for younger students. Teacher draws a star and leaves below it some space for writing the names of students. This becomes a ‘Super Stars’ list, into which the teacher writes then names of students any time they do something praiseworthy. When the class is rowdy, the teacher should say: “Twinkle, twinkle super star – can I see where you are?” This gets the attention of students and puts them back to their work. Super Star students can do some special tasks for the teacher.

In order to encourage appropriate behaviour everyone needs to be challenged and motivated. An effort that goes unrecognized or earns no appreciation has no chances to last. Even Allah the most Gracious, has offered Jannah as a reward for all the hard work good believers put in day in and day out. This motivation helps us stay guided and builds an eagerness to do our very best.

Positive attitude and expectation of a teacher from his student eventually enables the child to realize he has the potential to be good. Otherwise he would not have been asked to do good consistently. On the other hand labeling a child as a failure or demonstrating suspicion and anger over his undesired attitude only sends one message that the child is incapable of any improvement or change.

A List of Ideas for Earning Rewards

  • Have the teacher phone your parents to tell them what a great kid you are.
  • Draw on the chalkboard.
  • Be the first in line.
  • Choose any class job for a week.
  • Do all the class jobs for a day.
  • Be a helper in the room with younger children.
  • Help the librarian.
  • Choose a book for the teacher to read to the class.
  • Keep a stuffed animal on your desk.
  • Use the computer.
  • Be the first to eat.
  • Have a special sharing time to teach something to the class, set up a display etc.
  • Read to someone else.
  • Choose a movie for the class to watch.
  • Get a fun worksheet.