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Why is it so hard to apologize?(DW# 762)

relationships wellbeing May 26, 2020
Yesterday, we talked about why it is important to learn how to apologize effectively.
 
However, it can be very challenging to do this.
 
This is how author Sharon Begley explains it:

Apologies are the Brussels sprouts of relationships. Research says they’re good for us, and, like a dinner of the green stuff after a lunch of burger and fries, they can erase or at least mitigate the ill effects of a transgression. But there’s something about both apologies and tiny bitter brassicas that makes us often choose something else on the menu, thank you very much.

 
In the next few days, let us explore some of the reasons why it is so hard to apologize.
 
Firstly, there is often a "magnitude gap" between how each side perceives an offense. When we hurt someone, it is very tempting to underplay our offence and chalk it down to their "sensitivity" rather than to take responsibility for our actions.
 
For the one on the receiving end of the transgression,...
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Why must we apologize?(DW# 761)

relationships wellbeing May 25, 2020
Today inshallah we start a series on apologizing.

Why is this important?

As human beings, we make mistakes all the time.

All. The. Time.

Despite our best intentions, we often end up saying or doing things that hurt other people, often people we love most. In fact, it is our closest relationships that are the most impacted by our shortcomings and slips.

And when our loved ones are hurt by us, it impacts our own wellbeing whether we recognize it or not.

It is now well documented that our happiness and wellbeing is best predicted by the breadth and depth of our social connections, that is, our relationships with spouses, friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Strong relationships are good for us on many different levels and so it is important that we repair relationships that are struggling or impacted by small hurt and big betrayals.

Not apologizing also impacts our relationship with ourselves, our self-esteem and our spirituality (we will explore this in the...

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Talk to the best listener(DW# 760)

Our verse for reflection today is from Chapter 12, Sura Yusuf (Joseph).

When Prophet Yusuf (as) is separated from his father Prophet Yaqub (Job) (as), Yaqub (as) is so grief stricken that his other sons fear for his life and wellbeing. To them, he replies:

I complain of my anguish and grief only to Allah [Holy Quran 12:86]

There are times in our lives when we are so distraught that we do not know where to turn. If we are lucky, we have good friends, family and others who can listen to us for a bit, who provide the much needed support and guidance at times when we are unable to make it through on our own. But we sometimes get frustrated when, despite their best intentions, they fail to truly "get us". Or we may be wary of stretching the limits of people’s goodwill and support. We are concerned that their patience with us will run out well before our troubles or grief have run it’s course.

 
At times like this, let us remind ourselves that His door is always...
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If we strive, He will guide(DW# 759)

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verse 69, the final verse of the this Sura says:

And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, (in Us) We will most certainly guide them in Our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. [Holy Quran 29:69]

This is the final ayat of this Sura. The chapter ends with an important statement that encapsulates the theme of the Sura: Although the journey of righteousness towards Allah is challenging, you do not need to traverse it alone. He will hold your hand, strengthen your spirit, stabilize your footing and steer you forward.

A beautiful promise that gives hope and meaning to the struggling wayfarer.

In this world, we are forever striving.  Everything we achieve comes as a result of striving and effort. To get anything in life, we have to try hard, fail, try again until we get somewhere. This verse reminds us to invest this effort wisely. For the best return. To strive...

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Prepare to return from whence you came(DW# 758 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], verse 57 says:

Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.[Holy Quran 29:57]
 

The only certainty is death. This verse reminds us of this fact of life. For human beings, the sojourn on this plane of existence is but a brief transit stop.

We are all, in a sense, waiting in the departure lounge. The tickets and visas for our travel have been arranged. We simply do not know when our flight is scheduled to leave. Unlike other journeys (mentioned in this Sura), the journey of death is choice less. Allah swt guarantees that we will all taste it. The choice lies in how we prepare for it.

For believers, we are reminded that the purpose of this transit stop is simply to gather provisions for the life that lies ahead.

The injunction to remember death at all times is of course not new to Islam. Philosophers and Stoics through the ages have always embraced the...

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Be in a state of constant remembrance(DW#757 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], we have been exploring verse 45, in which the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.
 
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer(Salaat) (establish prayer); surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

Towards the end of this verse, the Quran reminds about the most important point: certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest.

In other words, Salaat, like the other daily rituals is a tool. It is a tool for remembrance of God, which is the goal of every worship. The Quran in fact explicitly points to this in Surah Ta-Ha, verse 14 when Allah tells Moses: "…and establish prayer for My remembrance." [Holy Quran 20:14]

 
The daily, consistent and disciplined practice of...
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Establish prayer(DW#756 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], we have been exploring verse 45, in which the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.

Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer(Salaat) (establish prayer); surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

 
So the Holy Prophet (saw) is being told to announce that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to

1)    recite the Book,
2)    establish Salaat and
3)    engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

Let us explore the second one today: Establish Salaat/prayer

When the Quran talks about the five daily prayers, it uses the word:"aqeemus Salaat": establish prayer. Don’t simply pray but establish...

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The three keys to success(DW#755 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 45, the Quran lays out a three-point plan for success in this world and the next.
 
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and keep up prayer; surely prayer keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Holy Quran 29:45]

So the Holy Prophet (saw) is being told to announce that the way to keep focus in this world, and to seek strength through the trials of life is to


1)    recite the Book,
2)    establish Salaat and
3)    engage in constant Remembrance or Zikr.

Let us explore the first one today:

1)    Recite the Book:
 The Quran is the operating manual for human beings laid out by the Creator for the optimal functioning of human beings.
 
Since the Creator knows the subtleties of our...
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Attach to strength rather than frailty(DW#754 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 41, Allah says:

The parable of those who take guardians besides Allah is as the parable of the spider that makes for itself a house; and most surely the frailest of the houses is the spider's house did they but know. [Holy Quran 29:41]

This verse is likening the the security systems of human beings to the frailty of a spider’s web.

There are several rather interesting features about the web built by the spider:

It affords no protection: Although the construction of the web is a remarkable feat of architecture, and looks beautiful, it does not fulfil a basic need of a house: protection. The spider’s web doesn’t protect it from elements at all. Wind, fire, water all penetrate through it. The mere brush from a broom or a hand can destroy it. How frail is this house!
It is build from within: Whist other animals use materials from nature to construct their...
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Learn from history and from your travels(DW#753 )

Continuing with our reflections on verses from Chapter 29 of the Quran, Sura Ankabut [The Spider], in verse 20, Allah says:

Say: Travel in the earth and see how He makes the first creation, then Allah creates the latter creation; surely Allah has power over all things.[Holy Quran 29:20]

This verse invites us to travel the earth in order to appreciate the cyclical nature of creation and to reflect on the mysteries of the Universe.

Traveling has been mentioned often in the Quran to broaden our horizons and to gain insight and wisdom.

In verse 46 of Suratul Hajj, for example, the Quran says: Have they not traveled over the land so that they may have hearts by which they may apply reason or ears by which they may hear? [Holy Quran 22:46]

In other words, traveling affords us the opportunity to expand our thinking and learn from interacting with other cultures and ways of thinking.

Very different from the culture of modern tourism which fuels consumerism and hedonism,...

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