life

Leave it at home!

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I read this post today on facebook, and remembered a simple lesson I had learned years ago at school; it was a hadith by Prophet Muhammad; when giving a charity, your left hand shouldn’t know what the right had already given.

But today not just the left-hand knows about you giving charity but the entire globe. Why is that? Why should people in need be humiliated, and be pictured crying and begging for money? Why those benevolent hands intend to show off rather than be thoughtful and grateful?

Some said that this motivates others, reminds others, helps others to take part and help the poor, but I, and I’m sure there are others, have learned the lesson, without a practical demonstration; I mean the teacher didn’t open her purse and invite the most miserable in the class to give her some money.

I’m not against giving details or making people aware of others’ suffering, and I believe many people are having good intentions, but I’m just wondering what if those in need object, and refuse to be pictured, would they still receive any charity? Would those benevolent hands turn their cameras off and give charity? Would it be better to be humane rather than popular?

Please think before taking pictures.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

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Education, Writing

Marva Collins

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Teaching is a talent.

Would we go back a bit to recall those special memories about teachers that had really taught us something special, something we still remember? Are there any? Or Your teachers had that traditional style that gives students no more than what’s already been in books.

Marva Collins was a talented teacher, believing that every child has a right to learn and can learn. She hasn’t got a certificate in Education; her degree was in secretarial science, but her teaching methods became far better than many of those highly qualified teachers. So what was special about her?

Collins resigned from the teaching position at Chicago public school because she didn’t believe in the system that teaches to the test and eliminates children with learning disabilities. She launched Westside Preparatory School which was a one-room school with eighteen students of different abilities. There, she cared for every single student in the class. She gave good quality and quantity of education, she gave love and respect, and her students learned how to be themselves and to choose a better way of living.

These are some of her phrases which she used to inspire her students;

‘’You have the choice, the right to choose what kind of person you want to be.’’

‘’This is my life to use or to throw away.’’

‘’You are not in school for your parents, for your teachers, or for anyone else. You are here for yourselves.’’

There is a movie available on Youtube about her story. It’s great, why not watching?

Happy New Year!

With all best wishes,

Nahla

 

Faith, Writing

Noah Ark

 

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People at the time of Noah, laughed at him building a ship in a city where there was no sea, not even a river. Why you are wasting your time? They mocked; gathering all the children to laugh at their wise who for them had lost his mind. Noah didn’t give up; he kept building and building. One day the ship was ready; apparently, it was the most amazing ship at that time. That day, something much more awful, much more destructive, much more terrifying happened. Was it something like a Tsunami, something like any of those torrential hurricanes, or was it an earthquake with a magnitude of 10 or more? Whatever it was, something unbelievable, unexpected, did happen. But now ship floated saving those believing souls.

It’s the story of faith, hope, and reward.

Do you know that Noah Ark has become such an inspiration that a group of people have already constructed a similar craft to remind people all over the globe of the story of Noah’s unthinkable and unsinkable ship?

I hope you would enjoy watching this video; it’s very interesting.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

 

 

life, Writing

Alchemist

 

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They said; ‘the moment you think to give up is the perfect timing for winning.’ Is this true? Sometimes we think that’s it, I have been trying more than enough and there would be no way to succeed or win this or get that. But at the same time, things become different and a silver lining is shown up not just to give us hope but to help us see those other routes, to think of those other possibilities and to perceive the hidden wisdom behind all of these changes and stages in our life.

When writing this blog I remembered Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Have you heard about it? Did you read it? It’s really good. If you did, you would agree that the moment Santiago believed he had lost everything and he should give up, was the moment when he won; when his dream came true.

I believe if we write our own stories, we would definitely find lots of those perfect timing moments.

PS,  I bribed my son to read it. He did but he liked it so much.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

 

Writing

Handwriting or typing

 

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Typing is much easier, especially when writing a long essay, dissertation or an assignment. It is also easier for editing and word counting and so on. When I was an undergraduate student (hmm many years ago), it was possible to make a handwriting submission for essays. Typing was allowed but was not compulsory. At that time, I did not have my own PC, so I used to have them all handwriting. I discovered the difference when I started my postgraduate studies, and I will never think or recommend handwriting for long writing tasks.

But Handwriting is so special. To give a birthday card, a thank you note or even lecture notes to your friend in handwriting is different. It becomes not only about words but also the person who wrote them. I read once that handwriting, even scribbles have a significance. Your handwriting tells more about your personality. It is also known that our handwriting is unique; even twins have different styles of writing.

Today my son asked me to write a note for his PE teacher because his legs are so stiff after his boxing club. These days everything is computerised. I usually send emails, text or call the school; to write a note sounds a bit weird today. I was in a hurry, morning time! when I found the paper, I could not find the pen, and when I found both I forgot why he can not do it but I wrote it anyway. When my son saw the note, he said;

‘Mama, am I unwell?’ he asked and laughed

‘No,’ I replied and remembered the main reason, ‘ but you can explain more to your teacher.’ I laughed too.

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla

Family

Five pound

 

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Though our dinner time always start peacefully, it has become my son’s habit to start teasing his little sister just before he finishes eating. There is 8 years gap between them but he always finds it funny to annoy her though he is not doing the same with his brother who is just 2 years older. How is this related to the 5 pound note? This is what I am going to explain now:

Yesterday, when having our dinner, I was not in that good mood and I did not expect to be that patient when watching one laughing and the other screaming. So I thought about discussing something and I started telling them something that though had happened last week but had just came to mind at that moment. I said:

“Last week when I was waiting for the bus to pick up Mariam (my daughter) from school, I saw a young man quickened his pace as if he was going to catch the bus though no bus at the bus stop. But he suddenly bend over and snatched a £5 note from the ground. He really picked it up so quickly as if he was snatching it and hid it in his pocket. He then walked more quickly and disappeared.”

My sons said: “What did you expect mama?”

I said: “Well, since it was not a clear scene, I expected that he would ask me or ask the old man that was just a few steps ahead if it was ours but he didn’t! I thought that the old man probably had dropped it as I was there for about a few minutes and I was totally sure there was nothing on the ground.  Also, it was not mine as I had not got any on that day.” I then asked: “What about you? What would you do?”

My older son kept quiet which was really the best thing to do at that time. It was my middle son who started arguing explaining everybody would do the same and nobody is going to ask; “Is this yours?” “It was just a £5 not £1000 mama”, he said.  Then he started questioning me:  if it was you or the other man seeing it first, wouldn’t you take it? Why did anyone leave it? It did not belong to any one.”

I replied:”Yes it did not belong to anyone and I just guessed that it was the other man’s. And yes it was not a classroom or a school so you know where to ask. But I just wondered why he did not even look round and pretend that he wouldn’t take it.”

Before my son say anything, my daughter decided to join in giving her own opinion which would definitely oppose her brother’s and make him wrong: “No we do not take it. It’s not ours”, she said. And this was the straw that broke the camel’s back as they remembered they had not practiced their everyday habit and they started all over again.

Was it better if we did not discuss any topic at dinner time?

All the best,

Nahla

 

Writing

Good intentions!

 

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The road to hell is paved with good intentions!

Sometimes we hear a person (may be we are that person) saying: “I did not want to do that wrong.” “I know that was wrong but I  have good intentions; only God knows what’s hidden in my heart.”

True; only God knows what is hidden in our hearts, but it‘s also definitely true that we are responsible for our choices and deeds; and we will not be asked about our intentions as long as they will not be turned  into real deeds.

How can a doctor, for example, decide to terminate the life of his patient by any medical means under the name of having good intentions to relieve him from more suffering? Isn’t it a crime disguised in good intentions?

How can a structural engineer design and supervise a building for social housing that look magnificent from the outside while lacking all those safe and accurate internal techniques. When the building collapse and innocent people die, he would probably talk about his good intentions to supply those poor homeless people with any shelter as soon as possible. Wonderful intentions! Indeed. Unfortunately, it cannot alter the fact that this is also a crime.

But isn’t it true that good intentions can also save us. In other words, if we think of good things, God will help us and we will reap what we sow! What’s the difference, then? Simply it’s again our deeds. In other words, in this case we have good thoughts; we want to follow good means to fulfil our good aims. In all directions righteousness are there to guide us.  This is why we will be rewarded for our good intentions even if we did not manage to do them.

There is a short story, popular story in Arabic heritage, that can symbolise the significance of intentions;

One day a royal prince looking so ambitious, thinking about the kingdom and its subjects, decided to take a tour around his palace and was accompanied by his minister. It was a warm day and they decided to start early in the morning. They did not go that far when the prince suddenly saw a small house surrounded by a beautiful green garden full of neat small trees with glossy leaves and ripe fruits. The prince decided to get inside and have some rest at that garden. As soon as he stepped inside, he was amazed by the beauty of those red fruits hanging on the branches of their trees and glowing under the sun rays that had just started spreading and adding extra heat to the day.  A little girl came to welcome the visitors. She knew the Prince; of course who could not recognise the royal heir?!

Before the girl said anything, the prince said:

“We were having a tour around and we would like to have some rest at your beautiful garden.”

The girl replied: “Welcome your highness! This is a great honour.”

The prince then asked her: “Wouldn’t you offer us a fresh drink?”

The girl replied: “Of course your highness; I won’t be long.”

The prince rested under the shade of one of those beautiful trees enjoying the fresh breeze of the morning and smelling the soft fragrance of the garden and thought about how poor people were blessed with such a peaceful life. Then he decided to pay generously for his drink.

The girl came back in what seemed like a couple of minutes with a cup full of red juice. The prince said: “You were so quick! What kind of juice is this?”

The girl said:” Pomegranate; I picked just two from our trees.”

As soon as the prince started drinking, he believed that it was the best juice he had ever tasted! It was cold, fresh and so sweet that he drank it all and wondered if he could get one more before leaving which certainly was welcomed by the girl.

But this time something had changed, the prince’s good intentions changed into evil ones, he thought:

“How could not this magnificent garden with such beautiful pomegranate trees be part of my palace? As soon as I get back, I will give my orders to start making the proper extensions and this garden would definitely be mine.”

But this time, he waited too much for the girl to come with the tasty juice. What had been done in a couple of minutes, was taking more than an hour. At last the girl came with just a half cup of juice. When the prince started drinking, he tasted a complete different juice.

“Yuk! What is this juice?” He asked

“Pomegranate, Your highness!” the girl replied

“Where did you get it from? How many did you juice? And why were you so late this time?!” the prince angrily questioned.

“At the beginning, I picked two from the same tree as I did before but they were not enough so I picked 10 more pomegranates and still could not get enough juice. This is why I was late.”

The prince was totally shocked: “What happened then? If it was the same tree and you juiced more fruits, why its taste is different? Why is it so bitter?

Though little but she was so wise, the little girl said: “May be you have changed your intentions, your highness!”

The prince knew she was right.

Wasn’t she?

 

With all best wishes,

Nahla

 

 

Arabic, langauge, Personal, Writing

Our names

When we meet with new people, we sometimes ask them about the meaning of their names especially if their names sound new or odd. I am sure that my mother did not know the meaning of my name but she told me that she named me after a famous person that she admired at the time I was born.  My name was not that common at school or among our relatives and friends. There usually would be a maximum of two girls whose name was Nahla in any year group. Then, when I was in year 8 or 10, I had got my own Arabic dictionary from my school and the first thing all the girls checked was the meaning of their names.  It was the first time to know that my name means the first drop/sip of water one gets when drinking. I like it but I did not think that it has that special significance that others’ names have, e.g. beautiful, princess, night, morning, moon, etc. Then and after many years, when I was doing my Quran recitation exam, there was a lady registering our names. She looked very simple, old and funny all at once. She started giving every student a special prayer according to her name. And as soon as she knew my name, she said: “May Allah make you a fount of Knowledge!” I was a mother having two little boys at that time, and it was the first time to notice that my name is actually derived from the word ‘fountain’ usually of water but it can also be used in a reference to knowledge; It’s never late to learn! Before that incident, I used to like my name but after that lady’s prayer, I began loving it.

In the Arab world, we usually say that everyone has a share of his name. This means that your personality would probably reflect the meaning of your name. It’s just a saying! But why not thinking about it?

What about you? What is the meaning of your name?

Let me hear from you,

Wishing you all the best,

Nahla