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Resist the temptation to mock others

In Sura Hujarat (49:11), it says: O believers, let no group make fun of another, for they may be better than them.

Reflection: Mocking means to say something which degrades someone and puts them down. It could be a verbal "joke", a rolling of the eyes, an imitation of gait, word or accent or something even more subtle than that. The aim of mocking is to ridicule the other and make others laugh at the person.

This is often done in the guise of humour and the person who is mocking may lead others to believe that they are humourless or boring if they don't 'get the joke'. When called out on what they are doing, those who are mocking may tell others to "chill out" or "don't take it so seriously".

Yet, if the language of mockery removes the property of humour, the statements show up as merely nasty. Humour appears to give a gloss of moral invisibility to statements "made in jest"—but perhaps we should be more hesitant and reflective about what we're participating in and doing. And...

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Be a force for good

Sura Maidah (5:2) says: O, You who believe . . . help one another in goodness and piety.

Reflection: Cooperating with others in goodness is one of the basic principles for a society build on spiritual and ethical values. When people of faith work together, they motivate and provide encouragement and enthusiasm for each other. The energies of the universe synchronize to further a cause which is thus initiated.

Why? All of us have different and complementary talents. When we cooperate and work together as a team, we create synergy, which is an interaction of multiple elements to produce a result greater than the sum of their individual effects. To put it simply, when two people combine different talents to cooperate on a worthy project, their efforts produce the equivalent not of four people but rather the work of twentytwo.

How: Sometimes we want to go it alone, either because we find it difficult to work with others, or because we want the limelight of good actions on ourself. Or we...

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Be a good neighbour

Sura Nisa verse 4:36: And do good to parents, the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the near neighbour and the distant neighbour.

Reflection: Islam is all about honouring our vertical relationship with Him and our horizontal relationships with others. One of the categories of people whose rights we need to be mindful of are neighbours.

Islam considers forty homes around ours, in all four directions, as being neighbours and the verse specifies that we need to do good to both the near and the distant neighbours.

In other words, doing good should extend to the whole neighbourhood or community in which we live.

Why? Such a simple commandment that can greatly improve the quality of our lives and society as a whole. When we live in neighbourhoods that are strongly connected and secure, our daily lives are enhanced and our children benefit.

How? What does being a good neighbour mean to you? Are you careful of not being a nusiance? Do you watch out for their property in their absense or...

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Seek counsel and consultation

Sura Shuraa verse 42:38. And their rule is to take counsel among themselves.

Reflection: This sentence in verse 38 is part of a passage that describes the people for whom the Hereafter will be so much better than the world. One of their qualities is that they seek counsel from one another.

Islam recommends that believers seek advice from each other, and discuss things to get the opinions of others.

Why: When we are in the midst of a situation or a problem, it is often challenging to see the big picture or reflect on how our behaviour is playing out in the situation. Our own self interest and ego often results in tunnel vision, which leads to actions not in our ultimate best interest.

Seeking counsel and consultation from a spouse, a good friend, a trusted colleague or a trained professional at such a time can be hugely beneficial. (There is a reason that the most successful CEOs and leaders all have personal coaches and consultants . . .)

This sounds like a modern idea, doesn't it?...

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Give full measure

Sura Isra, 17:35 And give full measure when you measure, and weigh with the straight balance. That is better and more virtuous in the end

Reflection: To give full measure when you measure, and weigh with the straight balance means to measure honestly rather than cheating people when trading goods and currency by using a balance that falsely overstates or understates the weight of what has been put upon it. It also means in a general way, to barter or exchange goods fairly and honestly so that what is given is equal to what is received.

Why: Trust is the basis of an evolved society. When transactions are carried out on the basis of trust, transactions are speeded up and less resources are needed for monitoring and accounting. In Switzerland for example, the entire transit system runs on the basis of trust. You buy your own ticket and only very rarely are random checks made. It is even rarer for those checking to catch someone who has not paid.

How: Let us look at our lives and see...

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Stop the blame game

In Sura Ibrahim, verse 14:22, it says: And do not blame me but blame yourselves.

Reflection: This verse from Surah Ibrahim is part of a conversation when Shaytan is telling mankind that instead of blaming him they should blame themselves.

Blaming others for our choices in life is SO easy isn't it? It also feels good in the moment because we do not have to deal with the pricks of conscience or negative emotions that accompany our poor choices and actions.

Ultimately however, blaming others is immobilizing and creates a feeling of powerlessness.

Why? If we convince ourselves that power and responsibility lies outside of ourselves, and someone else is to blame for what we are doing, it follows that we have no control or agency to change our situation. This leads to a victim mentality. Not a very inspiring way to live, is it?

We have been give free will to make choices in our lives, however limited or unpleasant those choices appear in the moment. When we accept this gift of choice, we...

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Developing a personal relationship with the Quran

Today we begin a series of conversations on the love letter of the Divine to mankind – the Holy Quran. His word, sent to comfort and guide us through our life on this planet until we meet Him.

What does the Quran mean to you?

What role does it play in your daily life?

Does it guide you when you are confused, stop you from harm, encourage you towards good, comfort you when you are distressed, heal you when you are sick?

In Sura Isra (17:82), Allah says: We send down from the Quran what is a cure and a mercy to the faithful.

Such a beautiful verse. The medicine is here. But often we are so enraptured with the wrapping of the medicine that we do not unwrap and ingest it so that it may heal us spiritually, emotionally and physically.


So let us unwrap this medicine and partake of its healing mercy by developing a close personal relationship with the Quran.

Let's see how we can do this as simply and practically as possible.

We will, In sha Allah, be covering some action verses of...

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Welcoming the month of Ramadan

During the holy month of Ramadan, we will inshallah be focusing on living the message of the Quran in our daily lives.

We inshallah take a verse a day and explore how we can live the timeless message of the Quran in the 21st century. As always, it is intended that the Daily Wisdom emails will be short, inspirational, action oriented and applicable to dealing with challenges of modern life.

If you have already receiving the Daily Wisdom, you will continue to receive the Ramadan edition. If you are not currently receiving it, please sign up here to get it in your box every weekday. You will NOT get it if you are not signed up.

Today inshallah, lets reflect on the Sermon of the Holy Prophet (saw) welcoming the month of Ramadan. If you would like to listen to an audio version, please click here.

The Holy Prophet (saw) addressed his followers on the day before Ramadan and said:

O People !
Indeed the blessed month of Allah has approached you laden with His Mercy, blessings and...

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How to use and ask the Questions

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been exploring the wisdom in The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever.

The book really helps the reader recognize how we can be "advice giving maniacs" and how we often don't even know what the problem is, but we've got some thoughts about how to go around fixing it. (it is SO easy isn't it – to give advice on how to fix problems we don't know much about!!)

I hope that you have been playing with the questions at work and at home and are beginning to explore the power of these simple questions to make us effective in our interactions and communications with others. Once we begin 'playing' with the questions (however imperfectly) and notice the power, we are likely to want to do more of it.

In the book, Stanier offers great suggestions on how to use the questions in what he calls "Question Asking Master classes" and on how to practice the questions so that they become a habit. If you are looking for what...

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The Learning Question

I love love love Stanier's learning question. The learning question is a great way to distill the wisdom from every interaction and leave people with real value for their time and yours.

The learning question allows us to gain insights from both successes and mistakes. It turns every conversation into a self growth moment.

The learning question is this: "What was most useful to you about this conversation?"

There is solid neuroscience embedded in the learning question. In Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning Brown, Roediger and Mc Daniel say that the most important thing about learning is to "interrupt the process of forgetting". They explain that forgetting starts happening immediately, so by asking this question at the end of a conversation, we create the first interruption it that slide towards "I've never heard that before".

Apart from helping us remember the major takeaways from an important conversation, the Learning Question does two other important things:

...

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