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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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What are your core values?

The second question we will explore in our quest for self awareness and growth is this: What are my core values?

Values are a part of us. They highlight what we stand for. Values guide our behavior, providing us with a personal code of conduct.

When we honor our personal core values consistently, and live in alignment with them, we experience fulfillment in our lives.

Similarly, if we are not living in integrity with our core values or when we dishonor them, we experience guilt, remorse and anger. (In fact, when we are angry at someone else, it is often because one or more of our core values has been injured – think about this one)

Other ways to ask this question and get in touch with our core values are: What is the most important thing about me as a person? What do I stand for? What are the qualities that I would like to be known for?

It is important to remember that we cannot select values that we would like or believe that we 'should' have. It is a process of discovery and...

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What’s your iki gai?

The first question for personal reflection that we will explore in this series is: What is your iki gai?

Ikigai (pronounced [ikiɡai]) is a Japanese concept which means "a reason for being." Everyone, according to Japanese culture, has an ikigai. The Japanese believe that finding one's ikigai requires a deep and often lengthy search of self.

There is a reason why we need to pay attention to the concept of ikigai. The people of Okinawa in Japan are the longest living people on the earth today. They live an average of 7 healthy years longer than Americans and have the most people over 100, partly because they believe that everyone has an ikigai which gives meaning and purpose to their lives.

So strong is this belief that they do not have the concept (or even a word for) retirement in their language. Work that adds meaning and purpose to life is not something that the Japanese stop doing when they reach a certain age.

But an ikigai does not have to be purely work related.

For example,...

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I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

Bronnie Ware found that almost all the men and quite a few of the women she spoke to, regretted spending too much time working at the cost of spending time with family and loved ones.

This one did not surprise me at all.

It seems that as a generation, we have completely blurred the boundaries between work and non-work life. Our work has taken over all aspects of our existence.

With the advent of technology, work follows us home, on the dinner table, on the prayer mat, in bed, on vacation, in the shower . . . you get the picture.

It may be helpful to remind ourselves that no one on their death bed ever wished they had spent more time at the office. (attributed to Rabbi Harold Kushner)

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