Modern Stress And Its Cure

Well here I am again, sharing something I received in my inbox today. I hope you find it useful. May Allah relieve the stress in our lives.

Modern Stress And Its Cure From Quran by Shahin Akhtar MD

Stress is the most common aliment of modern age. It has been implicated in the causation of peptic ulcer disease, coronary heart disease, depression, auto immune disease, hypertension, diabetes and even cancer. In milder form it manifests in form of unrest, violence, at work, school and home. Common medical problems like tension headache, insomnia, and obesity are also attributed to unusual stress. None of us are free from stress but some deal with it better than others.
Stress results from the following factors:
  1. Fear of the unknown and trying to see through and control the destiny.
  2. Losses in our life of people and things dear to us and our inability to recover those losses.
  3. Inner conflict between our heart and mind between what is known to be the truth and our failure to accept it as truth. Acceptance of truth may require changing our habits and way of life which we may adhere to for some reason like pleasure, joys, taste, pride in race or heritage etc.
Let us examine how Quran deals with such situations.
Our losses are a trial for us:
“Be sure we will test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives, but give glad tidings to those who are steadfast, who say when afflicted with calamity: To God we belong and to him is our return. They are those on whom (DESCEND) blessings from God and mercy and they are the once that receive guidance. 2:155
Thus in Islam, we do not have concept of the ownership of goods and life. Everything belongs to God and returns to him. So if we don’t own that thing why mourn our loss?
  1. Our destiny is predetermined. We do not have control on that part. What we have control over is a limited free will, that is our actions, our choice to do good or bad, to believe in God or not to believe in Him, but we have no control over tomorrow’s event not related to our actions i.e. whether my wife will have a son or daughter, whether his/her eyes will be brown or black, or whether I will have an accident or not tomorrow. Worrying over such things is of no use.
  2. Rejection of faith in Quran is called a disease. This denial of truth is due to arrogance.“In their heart there is a disease and God has increased their disease and grievous is their penalty because they lie to themselves.” 2:10
Therefore after lying to ourselves, we set up an inner conflict – between heart and mind. In order to contain that conflict the mind sends signals to glands for secretion of harmones like adrenaline which leads to rapid heart rate, perspiration, tremor, the basis of lie detector test.
This lying conflict could be due to “SMALL” crimes like theft or adultery, or big crimes like rejection of God.
3 Stages of spiritual development of soul age
  1. Nafsul Ammara: -The Passionate soul “I do not absolve myself Lo the (human) soul is prone to evil, save that whenever my Lord has mercy. Lo, Lord is forgiving; merciful.”12:53 (Surah Yusuf)This soul inclines toward sensual Pleasure, passion and self gratification , anger, envy, greed, and conceit. Its concerns are pleasure of body, gratification of physical appetite, and ego.Hadith “your most-ardent-enemy is your evil self which resides within your body”(Bukhari).If this evil soul is not checked will lead to unusual stress and its resultant effects.
  2. Nafsul Lawanunah (The Reproaching Soul). “Nay, I swear by the reproaching soul”75:1This soul is conscious or aware of Evil, resists it, asks for God’s grace, and pardon, repents and tries to ammend and hopes to achieve salvation.“And (There are) others who have acknowledged their faults. They mix a righteous action with another that was bad. It may be that Allah will relent toward them. Lo! Allah is relenting, merciful.”9:102Hadith “These are two impulses within us. One spirit which calls towards good and confirms the truth. He who feels this impulse should know that it comes from Allah. Another impulse comes from our enemy (Devil) which leads to doubt and holds untruth and encourages evil. He who feels this should seek refuge in Allah from the accursed devil.”This soul warns people of their vain desire, guides and opens the door to virtute and righteousness. It is a positive step in spiritual growth.
  3. The satisfied soul (Nafsul Mutmainnah). “O (you) soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction. Come back to your Lord, will pleased (yourself) and will pleasing unto him. Enter you then among my devotees, enter you in my heaven.” 89:27-30
This is the highest state of spiritual development. satisfied soul is the state of bliss, content and peace. The soul is at peace because it knows that inspite of its failures in this world, It will return to God. Purified of tension, it emerges from the struggle with obstacles blocking the peace of mind and heart.
What should we do in panic and despair? In panic non-believers behave differently than believers. They have no one to return to, to ask for mercy and forgiveness, their life is this life, which they cannot control, thus get more depressed and increase in their state of wrong doing. Then we will see that if they are used to casual drinking will start drinking more and become alcoholic, or a barbital criminal.
On the other hand a believer should do the following:
  1. Increase dhikr (Remembrance of God)
    “who have believed and whose heart have Rest in the remembrance of God. Verify in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest.” 13:28
  2. Increase their prayer.
    “O you who believe, seek help with steadfastness and prayer. For God is with those who are steadfast.” 2:153
  3. Ask forgiveness
    “And I have said: seek forgiveness from your Lord. Lo He was ever forgiving.” 71:10
In addition to above we are also asked to continue to struggle to up-grade ourselves.
” surely God does not change the condition in which a people are in until they change that which is in themselves.” 13:11
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) taught us a du’aa’ by which we may ward off worries and distress. Ahmad (3528)narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“There is no-one who is afflicted by distress and grief, and says:
‘Allaahumma inni ‘abduka ibn ‘abdika ibn amatika naasyati bi yadika, maada fiyya hukmuka, ‘adlun fiyya qadaa’uka. As’aluka bi kulli ismin huwa laka sammayta bihi nafsaka aw anzaltahu fi kitaabika aw ‘allamtahu ahadan min khalqika aw ista’tharta bihi fi ‘ilm il-ghayb ‘indaka an taj’al al-Qur’aana rabee’ qalbi wa noor sadri wa jalaa’ huzni wa dhihaab hammi.
(O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your maidservant; my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every name belonging to You which You have named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the Unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety),’ but Allaah will take away his distress and grief, and replace it with joy.”
He was asked: “O Messenger of Allaah, should we learn this?”
He said: “Of course; everyone who hears it should learn it.”
In summary, I conclude that stress results from lack of inner peace due to conflicts within us and leads to external disturbances in our behavior and health. Inner peace can only be achieved by believing in God, the All Mighty, and remembering him frequently and asking for his help and forgiveness in times of difficulties.

So what do you think of Allah as?

Read this in a post and reminded myself that Allah is most Merciful and inshaAllah He will give us the best of both worlds. 🙂 And reminding you all as well!

 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in a Hadith al-Qudsi tells us the words of Allah as He talks to His slaves:

“I am as My slave thinks of Me.”

So if a slave thinks the Almighty is merciful, he will find His mercy, and if he is disappointed and imagines Him angry, he will find Allah in anger. Further, the Hadith says:

“I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to Him an arm’s length; And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to Him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”

This is how Allah addresses the slaves who spend time making mention of Him.

Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 3

Kashmiri Wedding

Kashmiri Wedding - Part 3

For those of you who have visited my blog before, you might have already read a little something about the Kashmiri Wedding here.

While preparation of food (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding)  is a very elaborate and lavish affair, the process of finding your soul-mate, the koshur-way is a complicated and tiring process (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 2. )

While talking of the match-making process, I had actually talked of how the ‘thap’ or ‘catching the bride’ is done. 🙂 [It is nothing like it sounds really – don’t start visualizing the savage men running after and catching women. It is a very simple (though in cities it can get very complicated .. but that is another topic), affair. The girl meets the boy’s family and is given a gift as a proof of consent for the marriage.

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - Kashmiri Wedding

Dry Fruit, Cakes, Chocolates - spread the word - its the thap!

Now after the ‘thap’ has been done, the marital knot has to be formally declared and this is done in so many phases. (Yes, this is also rather complicated). The boy’s family sends sweets, cakes, dry-fruits and chocolates (now-a-days) to the girl’s family. This is for the girl and for distribution to family, neighbors and friends to announce the ‘thap’ (literally catching) or ‘gandun’ (literally tying up). The girl’s family reciprocate and send their lot of sweets etc. to the boy’s family which is again distributed among their relatives, friends and neighbours.

This marks the official announcement of the marriage intention.

The next stage is the very lavish function called ‘Nishayn’ (literally would translate to symbol) or the ‘Engagement’ ceremony. This is a very formal occasion and is mostly a bride’s family function where the groom’s close family and friends are invited to a very lavish (this is one of the most extravagant feast, far superior to the regular wazwan) feast.

Trami for the groom

Will the groom eat all of this?

The groom isnt forgotten. A trami filled to the brim with delecacies made of meat is sent to the groom’s house.

The ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Engagement’ could itself be of two types – the simple ‘Nishayn’ or the ‘Nikah-Nishayn’. The regular ‘Nishayn’ or engagement has no binding effect and is more of formalizing the marital consent (to be done in future). The Nikah-Nishayn is where the actual marriage is solemnized and the ‘nikah’ is done. It might probably a very long set of rituals – but well this is the Kashmiri Wedding – in most of the cities and towns in Kashmir.

(Sidenote: While the weddings in Srinagar and other cities and towns of Kashmir are filled with seemingly never ending functions, the weddings in the village side are rather simple. I will cover that in a different post).

Henna on bride's hand

Henna on bride's hand

Now getting back to the Engagement function. The bride is to get her henna on her hands the night before her engagement day generally. The engagement itself is a very formal occasion where protocol demands utmost care in handling the guests.  According to protocol, the guests are served:

  • Juice and a fruit of  dry fruit (Rani juice was kinda in fashion the last time I attended an engagement party 😉 )
  • fServing the guestsollowed by Kahwah, with huge peice of black forest or some other pastry and kulcha
  • followed by the wazwan itself
  • followed by either firni, or halwa, or some other sweet
  • followed by the guests getting their little basket of dryfruit (with money inside) to take back with them
Parting gifts

Parting gifts for the guests

The groom’s family usually comes with their load fulls of gifts for the bride which usually includes many gold coins – called ‘pounds’ and ‘sets’ and etc. etc.

Finally the guests leave and the bride’s family hopes that no guest has been offended.

It’s rather tragic that so much money is spent lavish functions which have no meanings. Traditionally, though Wazwan was part of Kashmiri weddings, there have been major changes which just make weddings complicated and (somewhat sad portrait of the Kashmiri society).

Well.. ofcourse the engagement is the beginning of yet another series of visits and then the final wedding etc. Will write about it again in future. Till then, don’t feel nauseated thinking of the trami full of meat (shown above.) You can still think of the good old trami with 7 traditional dishes which was good to eat and pleasing to the eye.

Rat Attack

I never thought it would come to this. I have been closing the windows and even suffocating myself in this heat just to make sure that the rats that I have heard of don’t walk in. Yes it’s a pigeon infested area, with rats running around happily. I saw one outside our bedroom window once and I never left the window open.

And here I was, walking into the kitchen to get my glass of water before I go to sleep and I had a feeling that there was someone – something – behind me. I switch on the lights – and eeeeek! a rat – or maybe a mouse – but it was ratty indeed — quickly made its way out from the exhaust fan opening.  It all  happened in a flash and I was calling for help.

We checked and put a plastic cover hoping this would stop the rat from walking in again.

I slept and woke up again at 12:30 a.m. with a feeling that the rat was nibbling at my toe. It was a very freaky sensation. I woke up and looked around – no it was my imagination getting the better of me. I snuggled close to my son and just hoped that what I felt was just my imagination.

Imagination it was, but my inner self was telling me that the rat is here. And the rat had been to the kitchen and devoured the red juicy tomatoes I had brought the day before. I looked at the tomatoes in utter disgust – small holes in each of the tomato.The rat had made a small hole in the plastic bag and enjoyed his meal.

I cleaned up the mess and spent the day hoping that the rat wouldn’t come again.

At night we put a heavy duty plastic cover. This should hopefully keep the rat away.I just made sure that I close the kitchen door. Whatever happens inside the kitchen, I don’t want to even imagine the rat close around.

I woke up at half past 12 midnight. I heard something. It must be the rat. I closed my eyes —  I am not going to check. No point,  I wont be able to do anything about it.

It was 5 in the morning, when I heard another sound of something falling.. I couldn’t sleep anymore. I opened the kitchen door cautiously, switched on the light and made some noise at the door. I wanted the rat to know that I am here and the party is over.

To my horror.. I saw one – two – three mice walk out from the exhaust fan. I was trying to make sense of it all. Walked a step further in the kitchen and one more decides to leave. Yuck!

I just stared at the exhaust fan (which was covered in the heavy duty plastic bag) where I had seen the tails disappear.  I couldn’t do anything about it. But I couldn’t sleep either. I just left the lights on.

It seems that the rat had enjoyed his meal the night before and called his friends to the party. Too bad, I had made sure there wasnt anything to be eaten there so too bad for them.

But too bad for me too. I have been washing and cleaning today. I still have the last batch to wash in the sink. Arrrrghhh…

RatsAnd I think of Ratatouille and wonder how I ever liked that movie. And then I think of Cinderella and the rats .. and ewwww…

I don’t want the rats around.  Somebody help!

Osama gone. Who’s next?

MegaMind

Who's the bad guy?

Now that Osama has been officially declared dead, I wonder who is going to be the next ‘bad guy’.

The fight between good and evil always exist (well the good needs to do a lot of good to itself, and needs a bad guy to bear the brunt of it all). We have seen major BIG bad guys defeated – the soviet communists, then the evil Saddam and  recently the Bad Osama.

Now the bad guys are dead, should we expect peace?

I really doubt it. I am just waiting for the announcement of the next bad guy! Any guesses anyone?

PS:

While we are waiting for the annoucement, why dont you watch MegaMind. Since I just watched it yesterday, I wonder, what would happen if the bad guy becomes the good guy? Or will the ‘good’ guy ever let the ‘bad’ guy become good?

Abortion

Someone shared this note with me on Facebook, and I share it with you all!

A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said:

“Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 yr. old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together.”

So the doctor said: ‘Ok, and what do you want me to do?’

She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’

The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence he said to the lady: “I think, I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you too.’

She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.

Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is.

There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.

The lady was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!

‘I agree’, the doctor replied.. ‘But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.

The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mom that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!

Childhood

Close your eyes and think of yourself as a child. Think of what used to amuse you and what made you happy.

The little pleasures of life.

As I do that, I think of our garden and me sitting in the porch looking at the little in our garden tree with yellow flowers all over it. Yes its spring and the grass is turning green. Everything looks fresh. And a yellow flower in my hand.

And the day is ending, darkness hiding the bright day light. Its time to go inside.

What do I cook today?

What do I cook today

What a question? Some years back, I used to feel so disgusted (and I mean DISGUSTED), when I saw women discuss what they cooked every single day! I mean seriously, when there is so much happening in the world – so many things to ponder upon, why in the world are women stuck to this? (and of course the discussion of other not-so-noble things)

But today I understand!

And it doesn’t feel good to have belittled them.

It might not be the most crucial topic of discussion, nor would it affect the

world.  (But then how much of the intellectual discussion people have really has any influence on the world?) But I have come to realize that it is a routine that women mostly get stuck in (whether they like it or not is a different question). And had not they got stuck in that, we wouldn’t know what it feels like to yearn for the food that  your mother cooked!

Food is good, so what’s wrong with cooking? 😉

I am back!

Well this isn’t the first time I have written I am back, or as I read a tweet from Rubban, BRB – my brb didn’t quite become a brb all this while. Where have I been? I have been hibernating…and that’s the closest I can get to explaining my absence.

I have been here.. online most of the time but still not writing. My train of thoughts that are so sakooterish went hidden somewhere.. and I just couldn’t get myself to write. I guess there have been too many changes that life has brought. And seriously, its good to be back.  I haven’t rummaged at my key board like this for ages.

First of all aplogies to my dear readers. I do understand many of them just gave up on me. I was about to give up on myself but I shall not. Thats my ninja way.. (sidethought: I have been watching too much naruto lately).

Anyhow, the reason I disappeared was – actually there is no one reason. There are many reasons. I got married, have a beautiful son now Alhamdulillah.. and there have been too many things going on in my mind – from the BIG reason that we live our life as we do to actually reaching that purpose. (Oh that is another of the headache’s I’ve been having.)

Other than that, on a professional end, I started off with a design studio and am working hard to do good work for my clients.

I havent had time to do good photography except some rare opportunities that I make most of. I haven’t been reading (other than all that technical stuff.. #&$^#&$(*).

🙂 Seriously, it feels good to be back! Alhamdulillah! and I hope this time I continue and don’t fall back…