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Say what you mean (DW#606)

O you who believe! be careful of (your duty to) Allah and speak the right word [Quran 33:70]

The verse from Sura Ahzab exhorts believers in particular to speak "Qawlan Sadid", words that are truthful, just, appropriate. 

The reward for such language in spelled out in the following verse where Allah says:

that He may set your deeds aright for you, and forgive you your sins. [Quran 33:71]

The expression qawl sadid signifies, literally, "a saying that hits the mark", words that are truthful, relevant and to the point. It is speech that is upright and free from any corruption. It means speaking in a way such that the outward expression corresponds to the inward meaning of what we trying to say. This applies specially when we are giving testimonies or bearing witness to something but is also a widely applicable principle of communication. 

How and when can we use this? 
1)    In our relationships: Very often even in our closest relationships, we do...

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The root of good words (DW#602)

Yesterday we discussed verses 24 & 25 of Sura Ibrahim where the Quran compares good words to a good tree:

Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven,Yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord? And Allah sets forth parables for men that they may be mindful.[Quran 14:24-25]

Today let’s deepen our understanding of this parable by exploring a narration from Imam Ali (as), where he says:

Speech is implanted in the heart and deposited in the thought, strengthened by the intellect conveyed through the tongue; its body is the letters, its soul is the meaning, its adornment is punctuation and its order is reason.

This profound saying has so many layers of meaning that it is not possible to do it justice here. For today, let us simply reflect on the process of communication.

What comes out of our mouths is not the beginning of communication. The thought and...

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Be grateful to God and to your parents (DW#599)

Be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents [Quran 31:14]

Today’s verse continues our discussion from yesterday about showing ehsaan (excellent courtesy) and rahma (loving-kindness and compassion) towards parents.

An essential part of the courtesy towards parents is to show them gratitude. The gratitude towards parents in this verse is linked to gratitude towards God Himself. It is through the medium of our parents that He gives us existence and it is through them that He nurtures us and raises us from weakness to strength. Parents then, are a means of transmission of Allah’s bounties towards us.

This verse is particularly applicable today where the world seems to have shifted to a child-centered place. Parents struggle to set boundaries and children feel more entitled to material and nonmaterial possessions and accommodations than ever before. Putting this verse into action would perhaps begin to redress the balance of entitlement and gratitude.

 

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Remember your mother’s labours (DW#598)

Continuing our theme of loving-respect towards parents, today’s verse is from Chapter 31, Sura Luqman where Allah says:

We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [Quran 31:14]

This verse also emphasises the children’s duty of loving-kindness, compassion and excellent courtesy (ehsaan) towards parents. The verse then shifts to the particular contribution of the mother in bringing up children. Islamic narrations are clear on the principle that the mother’s status for the child is higher than that of the father. This verse explains why.

Since the mother bears the child, nurses him and does the hard physical and emotional labour related to child-rearing, her contribution is recognized and acknowledged. The verse alludes to the hardships of pregnancy, labour and breast-feeding. This is the time when she is the one who is greatly impacted by the child. It is...

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The overthinker’s guide to taking action (DW#590)

If you need to figure everything out before taking the first step, PLEASE STOP.

Continuously learning without application is a particularly dangerous rabbit hole to fall into (don’t ask me how I know). Researching and trying to find out more and more about something before putting it in practice makes us feel like we are taking action.

But knowledge rarely changes our lives. Only taking action on what we know can do that.

So here is a suggestion:

Take action on what you already know before learning anything else. Act before researching. Act before you feel like you are ready to take action.

You may be surprised to find that taking action on what you already know will make learning more and further research much more effective.

Do something. Make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Find out where you went wrong. Do better next time.

Ready. Fire. [Improve your] Aim. Get it?

Here are examples for using this idea:

I can’t read anything about fitness unless I have...

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Choosing what to do (DW#589)

A great way to stay focused and not get distracted is to think about what you want to be true in x amount of time.

What do you want to be true in 30 days from now?

If I want my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers to be down by x amount, what should I be doing today to make that happen?

If I want to buy a new computer in 60 days, how much should I be saving today or how many extra hours a week should I be working to make that happen?

If I want to publish a book in three months, how much should I be writing today and every day to make that happen?

As Benjamin P. Hardy said:"Once you know what you want, it becomes painfully obvious what you don’t want. Thus, you won’t be seduced by the many good things in life distracting you from the better and best."

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Slash your to do list (DW#588)

One reason we procrastinate is that we are overwhelmed. We have more on our to-do list than is humanely possible to do in one day. Deep down we know we cannot possibly accomplish it all. And since we don’t know which ones we should let go of, we simply give up.

Sound familiar?

[Research shows that we greatly over estimate what we can accomplish in one day. AND we greatly under estimate what we can accomplish in a month or a year]

So, what if you could only choose to put three things on your to do list on any given day? Which three things would you choose?

Hint: think about putting things that are related to your life’s purpose. Things that are important but not urgent. Things that will never get done unless they get scheduled.

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When is not getting something done NOT procrastination? (DW#587)

It is past 11pm as I type this. My hitherto unblemished record of getting Daily Wisdom out consistently almost got tarnished.

But it was not because of procrastination.

Sometimes, I am not very good at judging how long other commitments are going to take and no matter how hard I try, I miss a deadline. Maybe I need to do a series on learning how to keep some margin in life!!

Thank you for your understanding!

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Implementation intentions for parenting (DW#586)

We have been exploring examples for implementation intentions for different areas of our lives in order to give ourselves the best chance of reaching our goals in these areas. 

Here are some examples of implementation intentions for common obstacles in parenting. 

·     If my child drops something, I will help them clean it up without drama
·     If my child wants to tell me something, I will stop what I am doing and listen
·     If my child makes a mistake, I will take the time to give them feedback 
·     If my child wants to learn a new skill, I will train them
·     If my child asks a difficult question that makes me feel uncomfortable, I will be brave and engage in the conversation
·     If my children are fighting I will not join the chaos
·     If...

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Mental rehearsal (DW#577)

Yesterday we talked about how it is not enough to simply dream of an exciting future. 

Let me repeat that. 

It is not that dreaming of an ideal future is not important to manifest your dreams. 

It is. 

Very. 


However, it is not enough. So what’s missing?

You also need to visualize and plan for the work involved in achieving that goal or manifesting that dream.

Dr. Joe Dispenza in his book You are the Placebo, talks about how you can determine your future. One of the key ways, he explains, is through "mental rehearsing". 

[Controlling your destiny] "is possible through mental rehearsal. This technique is basically closing your eyes and repeatedly imagining performing an action, and mentally reviewing the future you want, all the while reminding yourself of who you no longer want to be (the old self) and who you do want to be. This process involves thinking about your future actions, mentally planning your choices,...

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