Tag Archives: Laila tul Qadar

Reign in the red monster

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 By Farkhanda Qaiser

As the fasting month progressively moves to hotter weather over the years, one’s patience is tested to the maximum. Reigning in your anger at the traffic jam especially when your car AC is out of order; cursing the university authorities for not giving you vacations in Ramzan and further deteriorating matters by keeping half a dozen tests in just two weeks and last but not the least fasting in this intense heat with cruel load shedding hours proves to be the last nail in the coffin for any sane person.

In such a scenario, it becomes pretty easy to get into arguments even with the tamest of people you come across. After having had my share of arguments in this month, I decided to find a remedy. Luckily my father happens to be reading a self-help type of book these days called, ‘The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking’ by Dale Carnegie. So I just flipped through its pages until I found what I was looking for.

In a chapter titled ‘Get a Yes-Response,’ Mr. Carnegie explains how to win an argument. He says ‘It is much more advantageous to begin by stressing something that you and all of your hearers believe, and then to raise some pertinent question that everyone would like to have answered. Then take your audience with you in an earnest search for the answer. While on that search, present the facts as you see them so clearly that they be led to accept your conclusions as their own. They will have much more faith in some truth that they have discovered for themselves. The best argument is that which seems merely an explanation.’

Even though the context of this paragraph is different because the author is illustrating how an orator can mesmerize his audience into believing what he wants but the essence remains the same. This essence is that of finding a common ground of agreement with those who differ with you. Mr. Carnegie further goes on to demonstrate with an example:

On February 3, 1960, the prime minister of Great Britain, Harold Macmillan, addressed both houses of Parliament of the Union of South Africa. He had to present the United Kingdom’s non-racial viewpoint before the legislature body at a time when apartheid was the prevailing policy. Did he begin his talk with this essential difference in outlook? No. He began by stressing the great economic progress made by South Africa, the significant contributions made by South Africa to the world. Then, with skill and tact he brought up the questions of differing viewpoints. Even here, he indicated he was well aware that these differences were based on sincere conviction. His whole talk was a masterly statement reminding one of Lincoln’s gentle but firm utterances in the years before Fort Sunter. “As a fellow member of the Commonwealth,” said the Prime Minister, “it is our earnest desire to give South Africa our support and encouragement, but I hope you won’t mind my saying frankly that there are some aspects of your policies which make it impossible for us to do this without being false to our deep convictions about the political destinies of free men to which in our own territories we are trying to give effect. I think we ought as friends to face together, without seeking to apportion credit or blame, the fact that in the world of today this difference of outlook lies between us”

No matter how determined one was to differ with a speaker, a statement like that would tend to convince you of the speaker’s fair mindedness.

So you see how you can put across your conflicting perspective in such a way that it doesn’t seem conflicting anymore. Let’s see an example closer to home to understand this concept better. These days we see many people who either don’t fast or fast but don’t offer prayers regularly due to a multitude of reasons. Topping the list is the simmering heat. How would you reason with these people? One common way is by reminding them of the burning heat of the Hellfire – manifold in intensity to this worldly heat. While this tactic may achieve the desired result in some cases but could worsen matters in others. So what manner of speaking should you adopt then?

Well how about beginning with the blessings of the Holy month of Ramzan?  The fact that all prayers and good deeds are rewarded much more than in any other time of the year. Compounded with this the huge bonus that Satan has been chained behind bars so cannot mislead us to do wrong.  Thus we have been facilitated to proceed in the right direction. Why should we not avail this opportunity to the fullest? This is our opportunity to train ourselves to exercise self-control whether it is by restraining the urge to eat and drink despite those hunger pangs or by softening our words when we feel like yelling at our subordinates or colleagues.Most importantly, we must learn to reign in that red monster of anger because doing so would save a lot of trouble. Therefore Ramzan is the time for rewards and training in mock battleground without the actual enemy (Satan) marching against us.  Fasting in this month will help us in our training while offering prayers will discipline us for our future life as well.

When you present the explanation in such a manner, your listener will definitely be forced to re-think his approach to the concept of fasting. He’d realize that fasting is not just about starving rather it’s a complete institution meant for schooling the deluded Nafs. And he’d even be compelled to benefit from this bounty.

Moreover, this blessed month is also the prime time to offer repentance for the past sins and vow to correct the wrong doings. Particularly in the last ashra and specifically on the Laila tul Qadr (The Night of Blessing – when the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him).

If we are able to collect even an iota of the blessings of this month then we are indeed successful. But remember RTR – Rewards, training and repentance…! Make sure you don’t miss out on any of them. And remember me in your prayers as well.

Happy Ramzan to Everyone…!

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The Traits of a Successful Nation Episode 2: Conscience

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

On this blessed night – Laila tul Qadar – the 27th of Ramazan, I sit down in front of my laptop and endeavor to spread whatever little I’ve learnt from life’s lessons.

Allah says in the Holy Quran (I tried looking for the exact verse but couldn’t find it so if any of you know which Surah and Ayah it is, you’re welcome to share it) and here is the gist of it:

They have eyes but they do not see, they have ears but they do not hear because their hearts have been sealed off.

So however much I might blog or cry myself hoarse about the traits of successful nations, if you do not wish to learn and change yourselves, then it’s all in vain. So the point remains, it’s YOU who can decide whether you want to change or not. You are guarding your gate of change and only you have the key to it. No motivational speaker, no scholar, no teacher, no parents and no friends can make you take that step. It’s solely in your power.

 

                                            THE IMPORTANCE OF ‘I’

Here is a joke that you might have heard but probably missed out the lesson in it.

Two friends, Santa and Bunta went to give a job interview. Santa was the genius one who was pretty much confident about himself. Bunta was the average slacker who was too scared of the unknown so he asked Santa to tell him all answers after his interview. Santa, being the kind friend, agreed.

Santa’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When was your country born?

Santa: The struggle started in 1857 and was completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your Prime Minister?

Santa: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no 3:  What is the reason for high birth rate inIndia?

Santa: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Perfect interview ends and Santa comes out, tells all answers to Bunta as promised.

Bunta’s interview starts:

Question no. 1: When were you born?

Bunta: The struggle started in 1857 and completed by 1947.

Question no. 2: Who’s your father?

Bunta: Changes everyday but nowadays its Vajpayee.

Question no. 3: Are you insane? What are you saying?

Bunta: Research is going on, when I’ll know, I’ll tell you.

Disastrous interview ends.

So why did Bunta fail to pass the interview? He tried to copy somebody else’s answers to his life. But that’s not how it goes. No one has your life answers. No one can tell you what to do that’ll make your life perfect. You are the only one who knows that!

It’s said that when Allah was making this earth, he asked the angels that where I should hide the life secrets. Angels said, either high up in the skies or deep down in the oceans. To that, Allah replied, no the human being is really clever, he’ll dig out the answers from these far off places. So instead the Almighty hid the life secrets in a person’s heart. Just as Iqbal says,

Apney mann main dub kay pa ja suragh-e-zindagi

Tu agar mera nahi banta, na ban, apna tou bann

 

And then there’s the whole concept of ‘khudi’ that Iqbal explains but lets leave that for another time.

So the importance of I is evident from the fact that even in the aero plane, when they’re giving the security instructions about wearing the oxygen mask in case of low atmospheric pressure, they emphasize upon the fact that first you should wear the mask yourself and only then move on to helping others.

Moreover, even in the most selfless statement that you can make, in which you’re laying down your heart for someone in which you say,I Love You to someone, you say I first!

So once you’ve learnt the great significance that you have in deciding the course that your life takes and once you have mustered up the will and courage to take your life to greater heights and once your eyes and ears are open then you start learning.

As it’s said, ‘When the student is ready, then the master appears.’

CONSCIENCE:

In this second of series of blogs where we’re trying to learn the traits of successful nations from countries like Japan which survived the nuclear blasts and emerged to become one of the biggest economies of the world, we’ll talk about the conscience of a nation!

Following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami of March 11 this year, there was an accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that led to power failure in some part of the country. This power failure had occurred inJapanafter 40 years. (Well yes, the last power failure inPakistanwas probably just a few minutes ago) However the way that people reacted to this failure was simply remarkable. People who were shopping in malls and had picked up stuff from the shelves, kept the stuff back and silently moved out of the shops. This is called ‘conscience’ of a nation.

We sure are lacking in it. We have grown so used to doing illegal stuff that it no longer seems wrong.

We cheat in exams. So what? Everyone does it.

We break traffic rules. So what? I’m getting late for office

We litter around in public places. So what? The sweeper will pick up the stuff anyway.

We are hardly ever punctual for our meetings. So what? No one is on time.

We don’t use environment friendly fuels in automobiles. So what? Am I responsible for the entire planet?

We raise prices during Ramazan and Eid. So what? This is the best time for earning profits.

We sell poor stuff for higher prices. So what? The customer must know the difference himself.

We accept not-properly-titled receipts from shopkeepers. So what? The government must keep a check on all retailers not paying taxes, why do I bother?

We pick up random stuff from the shelves in shop and don’t return them on their proper places. So what? The shopkeepers can sort them out, I don’t have time.

We steal electricity. So what? Electricity is a national resource and public property, I’m not stealing it.

Why do we not bother about all these issues?

Oh, as if one person doing his responsibility will make a difference.

If I tell a shopkeeper to give me a proper receipt or else I won’t purchase from his shop and even if he does so, what difference would that have made? The government will get only a small amount of tax from my receipt. All other thousands of customers who come and go daily and don’t ask for titled receipts, theirs was a larger amount that didn’t go into tax. Hah! There you go! No use doing this activity and besides our government is corrupt anyway. Whatever tax we give them to be spent on the country, they use it to buy expensive sports cars and import huge pets from abroad. So we’d rather not give any tax at all.

Well, we should be doing our part of the deal and be satisfied that we are listening to our conscience and doing the right thing. Such behavior may impress others and you never know how many followers you might have. Moreover, you have NO right to blame the government when you yourself are not fulfilling your responsibility!

So it all boils down to the fact that you must take a step in the right direction not caring whether it’s enough or not. You must listen to the call of your conscience and be content that you’re doing the right thing. After all a society is made of individuals and if every individual starts doing this then we sure will have a revolution in Pakistan!

Signing off,

Remember me in your prayers especially that I and all my fellow medical students pass in our Profs. Ameen!

P.S. The major content of the blog is taken from the motivational session ‘Magic with Medicine‘ by Umair Jaliawala held on 1st August 2011 in KEMU Auditorium, Lahore.