"every day is a new beginning"

Month: December, 2011

Clash of Civilisations, or not? Some thoughts.

Someone previously inquired if I considered myself ethnically as belonging to the Muslim culture. This individual was reflecting on the definition of ethnicity which categorized individuals according to common characteristics belonging to a particular cultural behavior. In many ways, Muslims living in the West are both, part of the Western culture and part of the Muslim culture, obviously. Then not only a mixture of cultures but also of sub-cultures. I do not see a clash of values, not unless one is imposed upon the other.

In a multi-ethnic society, as the one I live in, some of the values are very similar, working diligently, honesty, cleanliness, respect for the environment and so much more. However, gender interaction, prayer schedules and entertainment for instance are some of the issues which are in opposition.

Islam requires (more) modesty between genders. This has been a difficult process for me, as in my personal development, I grew quite fond of the niqab, with respect for the Islamic understanding. Working in some environments with the niqab isn’t acceptable. Interacting with the opposite gender has and is still quite difficult. Muslim men and women should lower their gaze, yet it’s important to interact by looking in a Western society, flirtatious behaviour is acceptable and part of the norm in this society, yet modesty is to be upheld according to the Islamic faith. Prayer schedules, a life of a Muslim evolve around prayer five times daily. Prayer is not catered for or respected by some organizations, such that designated prayer areas and times are not noted seriously. Muslims are commanded to pray five times daily, it is such a valuable part of our faith, it’s in fact a fundamental principle of Islam. Entertainment, we are allowed to relax, sporting activities, family outings, dinning out jokes, etc, but it should all be within the Islamic guidelines. Yet, many of us are influenced strongly with the entertainment media and exposed to unacceptable viewing and listening through, gaming, movies and music content, harming our ourselves.

Acknowledging these matters, makes me see that it would be so much easier for a Muslim to become a better citizen by educating others on the topics of gender interaction. prayer and entertaining values. In our workplaces for instance we should at least try to inculcate these understandings. It’s critical to our very faith and in the betterment of individual and citizenship purposes.  Unlike living in a state whereby gross generalizations prevail and no distinctions are made between the criminal and his faith.

And, this is whereby a correct methodology is needed for living in the western world with an Islamic culture. As much as,  cross cultural lifestyles are challenging, by nurturing positive values one will become successful, the key is  constantly detoxifying, deducing, and infusing. Challenging, indeed. The correct methodology is nothing more than a sunnah character with a focus on a sunnah lifestyle. A pristine personality, outlook and practices. A methodology in which I do not find imposing itself upon others.


The Sunnah of Sleep

Continuing on the quest towards adapting a sunnah lifestyle, below are videos from a Lecture by Muhammad Al Shareef explaining the Sunnah of Sleep.

The Sunnah lifestyle

In a needed attempt to revive the sunnah in my life, I will be posting several topics pertaining towards this effort.

“He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad), has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (O Muhammad) as a watcher over them.” (An Nissa’:80)

Hadrat Malik bin Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said, “I have left amongst you two things. You will not go astray so long as you hold fast to them. These are the Book of Allah, and the Sunnah of His Messenger.” (Malik)

Hadrat Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) said, “Whoever will hold fast to my Sunnah when corruption shall prevail among men will earn the reward of a hundred martyrs.” (Baihaqi)

To follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is indeed the way for success!

Is Caffeine Making you fat?

An Excerpt from the book The Decaf Diet, Is Caffeine Making You Fat?
by Eugene Wells
As Americans, we are on the verge of a national health crisis. Not only are we fatter than ever before, but we are getting fatter faster than ever before. The obesity epidemic is spiraling out of control and if we don’t come up with some effective nationwide solutions soon, researchers believe that the United States may experience its first modern decline in life expectancy, as a result of obesity’s associated health problems. Obesity and the diseases that come with it – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and many more – are the largest threats to our national health. We need solutions, and we need them fast.
One dietary factor that we seldom consider in our weight loss efforts is caffeine, which most of us regularly consume in the form of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. How do these caffeinated beverages and foods affect our weight loss efforts? For years, the discussion of caffeine’s impact on weight gain has been confined to the dark corners of internet chat rooms and forums, where some coffee drinkers were beginning to make connections between their caffeine habits and weight gain. Now, we have access to a wealth of new research that proves their suspicions correct. Caffeine does make us fat, by contributing to overeating and by slowing metabolism.
Caffeine contributes to overeating and slows metabolism in a number of different ways. In this article, I will focus on caffeine’s impact on our stress levels, which causes an increase in hunger, muscle breakdown, and a relocation of fat stores to the body’s center. More precisely, caffeine raises our cortisol levels, and cortisol is one of the body’s chief stress hormones. With regular caffeine use, our cortisol levels become chronically elevated, making weight loss and the maintenance of a lean physique difficult.
First, elevated cortisol levels promote appetite, contributing to overeating. Second, elevated cortisol levels also lead to muscle breakdown, reducing our fat-burning muscle mass. Finally, elevated cortisol levels make our bodies prefer to store central and visceral fat, contributing to the “pot belly” look. By stimulating cortisol and its fat-promoting effects, caffeine contributes to positive energy balance and makes weight loss more difficult.

Since caffeine has these fattening effects, cutting back on our caffeine intake is helpful in maintaining a lean physique. While decreasing caffeine is advisable, given the difficulty in reducing caffeine intake and the centrality of daily caffeine use at the workplace, mitigating caffeine’s fat-promoting effects while continuing to drink coffee, tea, and soda may be a more practical strategy than eliminating our caffeine use altogether.
So what can we do to counteract caffeine’s effect on our stress levels without quitting caffeine altogether? The best way to keep your cortisol levels in check is by adopting and maintaining a diet that is high in vitamin C, which is effective in lowering cortisol and keeping this stress hormone under control. To maintain healthy levels of vitamin C in your body, you can eat fresh fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, fresh greens, and berries. If you are under a lot of pressure at work and find yourself increasing your caffeine intake, then you can add an additional green salad or some citrus fruit to your diet in order to help blunt caffeine’s cortisol-raising effect. By making fresh fruits and vegetables a regular part of your diet, you will be reducing at least some of caffeine’s fat-promoting effects.
Eugene Wells discusses other ways in which caffeine causes us to overeat while slowing metabolism in his book, The Decaf Diet: Is Caffeine Making You Fat? available at Amazon.com. Wells also describes what we can do to blunt caffeine’s fattening effects when we choose to use it, and how we can reduce our overall level of caffeine consumption to achieve and maintain a lean physique.

Source: Organic Lifestyle Magazine

Can’t live without Him

His beauty surrounds us, signs everywhere

His presence beckons fiercely,

Outpourings of secrets with gentleness and care

A powerful illumination

brighter than the moon on a darkly night

A magnificent love that’s only His.

To reach Him, we are powerless to resist

His calling, His absolute waiting.