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Respect the earth (DW#410)

Sura Rum: Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought (Quran 30:41)

Corruption (fasad, in Arabic) is often defined as: "A thing leaving a balanced state." In other words, corruption is when something becomes ruined, contaminated, polluted or out of balance. Its opposite is salah/islah is to rectify, correct, or set right. In other words, to bring a thing back to some sort of equilibrium and balance.

This verse reminds us that we need to be muslihun – people of islah, not mufsidun – people of fasad; of how we are to be people who set things aright, not sow mischief throughout the earth. We are called upon to be healers, not corrupters.

Here is the foundational principle of the Qur’an’s "earth ethics" or the ecological view in Islam: That we are stewards of this earth and that we need to respect the balance in Creation and not to disturb this...

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Worship and service are inseparable (DW#408)

In Sura Maida, the Quran whilst talking about whom to take as guardians friends or protectors, says: those who keep up prayers and give alms while they bow[Quran 5:55] 

The verse refers to an incident in the life of the Holy Prophet (saw) which is reported by his companions. The companion reports: ‘Once I performed the noon prayers in a mosque, behind the Prophet (saw) then, a beggar came in but no one attended to him. The beggar extended his hands towards the heaven and said, ‘O God, bear witness! Here, in the mosque of the Prophet of God (saws) I asked (to be given something), but no one attended to me.’

Ali (as), who was in the state of ruku’, saying his prayers, gestured with his hand, inviting the beggar to take a ring which was on his little finger. The beggar stepped closer and removed the ring from Ali’s (as) finger. This incident took place in the presence of the Prophet (saws)’. Ref 

This verse is...

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Be fair (DW#406)

Sura Maida, verse 42: Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Quran 5:42)

The verse Indeed Allah loves those who act equitably or with justice appears in several places in the Quran (5:42; 49:9; 60:8) and it means that we should deal with others on the basis on timeless ethical principles revealed by God and not in accordance with our own personal arbitrary whims or likes/dislikes. It also means that we should give everyone their due and be conscious of the obligations that we have to people in our family, community and society. 

Justice or acting equitably can be very challenging when it is against our own interests or those of our loved ones. 

But in order to become those who are loved by Allah, no less is demanded of us. 

In Sura Nisa, Allah reminds us that the command to have fair-dealings with others applies even if we have to go against our loved ones. Justice, He reminds us, trumps relationships and needs to be maintained without fear or favour.

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Rely on Him (DW#403)

Verse 159 from Sura Al-Imran: So by mercy from Allah, [O Muhammad], you were lenient with them. And if you had been rude [in speech] and harsh in heart, they would have disbanded from about you. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult them in the matter. And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him]. (Quran 3:159)

This verse refers to the Holy Prophet(saw)’s demeanor with his companions after the disaster on the battlefield of Uhud when some companions flagrantly disobeyed him. The Prophet did not reproach them harshly although the disobedience had led to a major defeat for the Muslims. 

Here the Quran testifies to the gentle nature of the Prophet (saw) which endeared him to all, and it is reckoned as one of the Mercies of Allah. One of the Prophet's titles is "A Mercy to all Creation." At no time was this gentleness, this mercy, this long-suffering with human weaknesses, more valuable than...

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Do what good you can, as soon as you can (DW#399)

"It is they who hasten to every good work and these who are foremost in them."
(Sūratul Mu’minūn, 23:61, Holy Quran)


Have you ever had a intention to do something good (give charity, help someone, reach out to someone going through a tough time, visit a loved one) and thought you would do it later but then never got around to it? 

Research now confirms that the more you delay something, the less likely it is that you will actually do it.

Piers Steele, who won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in psychology for his work on motivation says that "As the deadline for any task gets pushed further into the future, Delay increases and our motivation to tackle the tasks decreases."

This means that if you have a goal to do something good in the future, no matter how excited we are in the present, it will be hard to sustain this motivation when the goal is in the future. Plus, life, as they say, will certainly get in the way. In other words, the sooner you take action on...
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Recognize the power of a good word (DW#397)

In Verses 24-25 of Chapter 14, Sura Ibrahim, the Quran says: A good word is like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in the sky, yielding its fruit in every season with the permission of its Lord.

Words that are true, kind and wise have immense lasting power. The Quran compares them to a fruit bearing tree which planted once continues to bear fruit season after season.
Similarly, when we speak words to others which are kind and supportive, the impact of such words lasts beyond the time we speak them. Just as hurtful speech continues to hurt long after it has been spoken, kind words can continue to heal, inspire or provide support long after we have said them.
So let us watch our words. Let us aspire to speak only that which will yield fruit for those who are the audience of our speech.
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The law of modeling (DW#395)

The Law of Modeling says that "It’s hard to Improve When You Have No One but Yourself to Follow."  

Whatever we are trying to achieve in life, someone else has already done it and is successful at it. Maxwell’s law of modeling is about finding mentors and role models that you can follow and work with to achieve what you want to. 

Although Maxwell talks about finding a mentor or a coach to work with you on your journey, I believe that we can use the law of modeling much more broadly. 

For example, if you want to improve your communication, look around you. Do you know an excellent communicator? Notice how they speak and how well they listen. What makes them effective? 

Do you want to become healthier? Who do you know has transformed their fitness and health levels for the better? What did they do and how did they do it? 

Even if we are successful in one domain of our lives, we can learn and model in other areas of our lives. For me the law of modeling...

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The law of curiosity (DW#394)

Have you noticed how curious children are? They constantly want to know how things work or why they are the way they are. They rarely accept things at face value, an explanation is almost always required. 

As we age, many of us begin to lose this natural curiosity. 
In order to grow, learn something new or get better at anything, we need to get our curiosity back. 

Maxwell suggests ten ways to re-cultivate our natural curiosity. Here are my favorites: 

Have a Beginner’s Mind-Set

When you first begin something, a job, a hobby, a sport, or anything else, it is natural to be curious and ask questions. We are not expected to step into something new knowing all the answers. But as we gain experience, we are expected to stop with the questions and curiosity.

Maxwell says that in order to grow, we must keep our beginners’ mind-set. Instead of being a know it all who see themselves as experts, beginners spend their time asking questions like "how can we do...

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What are you willing to give up? (DW#393)

Many of us want to do it all and have it all. 

A wise teacher of mine once told me: yes, you CAN have it all – just not at the same time! 

She was trying to explain what Maxwell calls the Law of Trade-Offs: that you have to give up something in the short term to get something in the long term. 

If we want to grow in the health domain and get fitter for example, we have to give up the desire to sit on the couch in the short term to gain health in the long term. To put it another way, we need to be able to delay instant gratification in order to reap greater rewards later. 

Given that all of us have limited time and resources, this law makes sense, right? I remember when I was writing the book, I gave up watching TV for a whole year. It was not easy in the short term but soooo fulfilling when it got done. 

What are working on and what are you willing to trade to get it done? 

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The law of environment (DW#392)

Maxwell reminds us that growth thrives in conducive surroundings. 

In nature, spring is the time for growth when conditions are right with warmer temperatures, longer days and more sunlight. On the other hand, when environmental conditions are not ideal, growth is stunted or delayed. 

Similarly, for human beings to reach their full potential, we can flourish in the right environment. You and I experience personal growth when we surround ourselves with people and opportunities conducive to our development.

So what are some indications of an environment conducive to growth? 

A place where we are continually challenged: A good growth environment puts pressure on us to improve. If our daily work is too easy or comfortable, then we shortchange ourselves and stunt our development. It’s okay and even healthy for us to be in over our heads from time to time. It forces us to swim against the current so to speak and we grow stronger as a result. 

A place...

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