February 8

The Knots Prayer

Dear God:
Please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.


Erase the will nots,
may nots,
might nots that may find
a home in my heart.


Release me from the could nots,
would nots and
should nots that obstruct my life.

And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all of the “am nots”
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.
Amen.

Author Known To God

February 8

The Most Decorative Clothing

Misbahush Shar’iah, sec. seven, on "Clothing"; from Adabus Salat by Imam Khomeini

 

It is stated in Misbahush-Shari’ah that Imam as Sadiq (AS) said:

"The most decorative clothing for the believer is the clothing of taqwa, and the finest one is faith. Allah, the Almighty and Glorified, said: ‘and the clothing of taqwa, that is the best.’

As to the exterior clothing,
it is a blessing from Allah, as it covers the nakedness of the children of Adam. lt is a grace granted by Allah to His servants, the children of Adam (AS), which He did not grant to other than them.

To the believers, it is
a means to perform the duties imposed by Allah upon them. The best of your clothing is that which does not distract you from Allah, the Almighty and Glorified, rather it brings you nearer to thanking, remembering and obeying Him, and it does not bear you to conceit, hypocrisy, decoration, taking pride and boasting, as these are among the pests of the religion and bring cruelty to the heart.

When you put on your dress, remember Allah, the concealer of your sins by His mercy. Clothe your interior with truthfulness, as you dressed your exterior with your dress. Let your interior be under the protection of fear, and your exterior under the protection of obedience.

Take a lesson
from the favour of Allah, the Almighty and Glorified, as He created the means for making clothes to conceal the apparent nakedness, and He opened the doors of repentance and imploring in order to cover the internal sins and evil characters.

Do not uncover anyone’s faults, as Allah has covered your greater faults. Attend to your own faults, and forgive that whose state and affair do not concern you. Beware of perishing your life for the action of others, letting the others trade with your capital, while you destroy yourself.

Forgetting the sins is of the gravest punishments from Allah in this world, and of the most effective causes for the punishments in the Hereafter.

As long as the servant is engaged in his obedience to Allah, the Exalted, in recognizing his own defects and abandoning what is disgraceful in the religion of Allah, he will be isolated from the plagues, plunging in the sea of the mercy of Allah, the Almighty and Glorified, and will win the gems of the advantages of wisdom and expression. But as long as he is forgetting his sins, unfamiliar with his defects, resorting to his own might and force, he will never be successful."

February 7

Saying Grace In A Restaurant – Priceless!

**Sometimes we forget* *the really important things in life.*

Last week, I took my grand-children to a restaurant.

My six-year-old grand-son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said, "God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Nana gets us ice cream for dessert.  And liberty and justice for all!  Amen!"

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark, "That’s what’s wrong with this country.  Kids today don’t even know how to pray.  Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"
Hearing this, my grand-son burst into tears and asked me, "Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table..
He winked at my grand-son and said, "I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my grand-son asked.

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream.
 
A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my grand-children ice cream at  the end of the meal.
My grand-son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her, "Here, this is for you.
Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."**

**The End

I love this story!
Please keep it moving.
Sometimes, we all need some ice cream.*

**I hope God sends you some ice cream today*****

February 2

The Wooden Bowl

nonameI guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-yearold grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

‘We must do something about father,’ said the son.

‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded,

‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.

‘ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table..

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:

A rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life..’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.You nee d to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you

But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,
your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

January 31

Martyrdom Of Our 11th Imam A.S.- 8th Rabbiul Awwal

Condolences to all mu’mineen on the martyrdom anniversary of our 11th Imam a.s.

Imam Hasan Askari (A.S.) Introduced the Saviour of Humanity

Imam Hassan al-Askari imam hassan al-askari(A.S) has said:

"There are two characteristics, which surpass all others:

Having faith in Allah, and Benefiting one’s brothers (in faith)." (1)

One of the major responsibilities of Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S), for which he endeavoured earnestly, was to introduce the Imam after him to the Shias and to inform them of the next Imam’s occultation.

At the time, the Abbasid dynasty, having had heard the words of the previous Imams (A.S.) and those of Prophets’ (A.S) about the saviour that would be born to Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S), were in close watch of Imam Hassan’s (A.S.) residency to make sure he would not have a son. Thereupon, Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S) had to hide his son from the guards sent by the government and in that manner save his son’s life.

After the martyrdom of Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S), Imam Mahdi (A.S) went into the periods of his short and long occultation, whereupon most Shiias were deprived from seeing their Imam. Upon this matter, at the time of Imam al-Askari (A.S) it was necessary to introduce Imam Mahdi (A.S) to certain Shiias, and clarify his processes of occultation. Many narrations have been recorded on this matter, but in this excerpt we will refer to only one.

Ahmad ibn Is’haq, one of the reliable companions of Imam Hassan al-Askari (A.S), has narrated: "In one of my visits to the Imam, I had intended to ask about his successor. Yet before I had spoken, the Imam (A.S) said: ‘O Ahmad ibn Is’haq! From the creation of Adam, Allah (SWT) has never left the earth without His successor on people, and will never do so until the Day of Judgment…

‘I asked: ‘O son of the messenger of Allah! So who is the successor and Imam after you?’

Imam Askari (A.S) stood up immediately, and entered the house. He then returned carrying a three year old boy, whose face was filled with a halo of light. He said: ‘O Ahmad! If it were not for your eminence in the eyes of Almighty Allah and His chosen people, I would not have shown you my child. His name and nickname are the same as that of Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.W); and it is he who will fill the earth with justice after it has been corrupted with oppression…By Allah (SWT)! He will live through a long occultation from which people will not survive perdition and deviation, except for those who stand firm on believing in his Imamate, and those who are honoured with the opportunity to pray for haste in his reappearance."

Ahmad ibn Ishaq narrates: "The minute I asked Imam Askari (A.S): ‘Will any sign or miracle appear to make me confident?’ The child began speaking: ‘I am the remainder of Allah (Baqiatullah) on earth; the one who will take revenge on the enemies of Allah; and after seeing me, do not search for any other signs!"…

(Selection taken from," An Analysis of the Life of Imam Hassan Askari (A.S)", by Muhammad Baqir Qurashi) Footnote: 1- Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 489

January 29

Coffee Bean

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, she was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.

In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last, she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes, she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me, what do you see?’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked,
‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting.

However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavour.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

January 29

The Secret Ingredient

Author of this article: Anonymous

We become desensitized a little bit at a time. Some years ago, I walked into my office after a Sunday morning service to find a sandwich bag on my desk containing three chocolate brownies. Some thoughtful and anonymous person who knew my love for chocolate had placed them there, along with a piece of paper that had a short story written on it. I immediately sat down and began eating the first brownie as I read the following story.

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go to the theatre to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the internet, he denied their request.

"Ah dad, why not?" they complained. "It’s rated PG-13, and we’re both older than thirteen!"

Dad replied: "Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behaviour."

"But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That’s what our friends who’ve seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long, and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It’s based on a true story, and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites say that!"

"My answer is ‘no,’ and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion."

The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen. They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, "Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he’s going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies.

Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all."

About that time I began eating the second brownie from the sandwich bag and wondered if there was some connection to the brownies I was eating and reading the brownies in the story. I kept reading.

The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies, which he offered to his kids. They each took one.

Then their father said, "Before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love you both so much."

The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening. "That is why I’ve made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I’ve made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic; the best organic flour, the best free-range eggs, the best organic sugar, premium vanilla, and chocolate." The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad’s long speech.

"But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own backyard. But you need not worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think. "

"Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?"

"Why? The portion I added was so small. Just a teaspoonful. You won’t even taste it."

"Come on, dad, just tell us what that ingredient is."

"Don’t worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients."

"Dad!"

"Well, okay, if you insist. That secret ingredient is organic…dog poop."

I immediately stopped chewing that second brownie and spit it out into the waste basket by my desk. I continued reading, now fearful of the paragraphs that still remained.

Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.

"Dad! Why did you do that? You’ve tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you added dog poop! We can’t eat these brownies!"

"Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won’t hurt you. It’s been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won’t even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!"

"No, Dad, never!"

"And that is the same reason I won’t allow you to go watch that movie. You won’t tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?"

I discarded what remained of the second brownie, as well as the entire untouched third brownie. What had been irresistible a minute ago had become detestable. And only because of the very slim chance that what I was eating was slightly polluted. (Surely it wasn’t… but I couldn’t convince myself.)

January 27

Your Tongue Is The Translator Of Your Intellect

YOU CAN WIN THE KINGDOM IF YOU USE THE WISDOM.

The Clever Fisherman

As King Parveez and Queen Shireen were sitting in their palace one day, a fisherman who was selling fresh fish was brought in front of them. King Parveez decided to buy a fish and gave the fisherman 4000 dirham for it.
The fisherman was overjoyed. He thanked King Parveez and left.

Queen Shireen turned to her husband in anger and scolded him for paying so much for a fish. King Parveez let her have her say but said that the fish was purchased and that there was nothing that could be done about it.
However, the Queen was adamant and insisted that the fisherman be brought back.

"We will ask the fisherman about the gender of the fish," she said. "If he answers that it is female, we will say that we wanted a male fish and if his response is that it is male, we will say that we wanted a female fish! Either way, we will be able to return the fish and have our money back."

So the poor fisherman was called back and was asked the question. Fortunately, he was clever enough not to be caught out. He replied, "The fish is neither male or female. It is neutral."

King Parveez was so impressed by the ingenuity of the man that he ordered a further 4000 dirham to be paid to him. The fisherman thanked the King again but as he was about to leave with the heavy bag of money, one of the coins fell onto the floor. The fisherman immediately bent down to look for the coin. Queen Shireen was already upset that the fisherman had been given 8000 dirham.

"Look how miserly this man is!" the Queen exclaimed. "One coin has fallen out of his bag full of money and he searches for it instead of leaving it for some other poor servant to find."

The man heard this remark and said, "O Queen, it is not out of miserliness that I search for the coin but rather because it had the picture of generous King Parveez on it. I would not tolerate anyone to cause dishonour to the King by treading on the coin."

The King was so happy with this response that he immediately called for another 4000 dirham to be given to the fisherman. When Queen Shireen saw all this, she thought it was better to hold her tongue and let the man go with the 12000 dirham before the King decided to increase the amount again. (Lessons from Life)

Speech is an Art. If one knows what, when and how to talk then such a person will be successful in life. The Holy Prophet(S) has said,

"The beauty of man is in the clarity of his tongue". (Kanzul-‘Ummaal)

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib(A) has said, "Your tongue is the translator of your intellect". (Bihar al-Anwaar)

In other words, a person’s intellect and wisdom is recognized through his speech.

January 23

Cross Functional Collaboration

An Excellent example of Cross functional Collaboration.

There was a farmer who grew superior quality, award-winning corn in his farm. Each year, he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honours and Prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew his corn. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" The reporter asked.

"Why brother" the farmer replied, "Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen grains from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I have to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours to grow good corns."

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbour’s corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions and areas of life!

Those who choose to be in harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others live well. The value of a life is not measured by how long one lived it is measured by how many lives it touches.

Lessons to Learn from this Story:

Success does not happen in isolation, it is most often a participatory and collective process. So share the good practices, ideas and new knowledge with your team members and colleagues.