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Daily reflections

Blaze the Trail, O Muslims!

I did something unusual today. Rather than sitting at home to complete my boring professor work, I went on a one day road trip to a mountain. It is called the Bear Mountain but the tracks were not easy to bear! Nor did I spot a bear along the way!

While making my way up, I was thinking a lot about the meandering trails. It reminded me about what my teachers used to tell me when I am young: Be yourself and blaze the trail for others to follow.

It is never easy to blaze a trail. One has to endure the pains of opening up paths that no one has threaded before. The trail blazer has to tell herself that she will stumble and fall. Bruises, cuts and broken bones would soon follow. And there will be voices in her mind saying: You should not carry on. There will be people saying: We can’t do it so can’t You.

But after all that has been said and done, the trailblazer who perseveres would soon reach the Peak of Her Objective. She sees the Horizons from a Superior Position. She can now can tell the world that Nothing is Impossible if the Mind says it is not. All is Possible when the Soul is Full of Faith.

At the Pinnacle of Bear Mountain, I wondered whether my people back in Singapore, particularly the Muslims, could persist the long walk up the meandering trails. To be Trailblazers, Exemplars and Models for Others. To Excel in All Areas of Life so much so that we become Indispensable. Yes we can! And we must begin by telling ourselves that no mountains are too hard to climb. No obstacles are difficult to overcome. We will be the Best of Mankind (Khaira Ummah) and an admirable group of people if we keep the Quran close to Our Hearts.

A stabbing incident occurred at a park just next to my apartment. Armed with a scissors, the deranged and homeless man pounced at joggers and anyone he encountered injuring five persons, one of which is a two year old boy. It was only after a Good Samaritan, most likely trained in some form of self-defense techniques, moved in to pin the assailant that the violence came to a stop.

I used to jog at the scene of the crime and always kept my own defenses low to enjoy the afternoon sun and cold breeze. But yesterday’s incident was a good reminder that no public place – at least in New York City – is safe from gangsters, muggers and persons living in desperation. And this is no exaggeration.

Police crime statistics have it that this latest incident is but one out of more than a hundred violent crimes in New York parks. It is utterly impossible for the police to be on guard at all times. The onus is upon us to keep ourselves safe and secure at all times as and when we chill out for some leisure and fun.

My friends in Singapore may take this issue lightly. Singapore is, after all, known to be the safest cities on earth. But we never know what would happen in moments we least expect. Criminals abound and the best way to protect ourselves is to learn some form of self-defense.

Be it judo, aikido, karate, Silat or what have you, these various martial arts would give us the fighting chance to put off any attacks from inhumane rogues. Here in New York, the City that Never Sleeps, self-defense is the best weapon one could have to survive.

Turn our homes into havens of knowledge

I visited an old friend yesterday whom I knew back in the days when I was student in London. A learned man whose speeches never fail to touch hearts, he is now married to his childhood friend – a scholar in her own right. They are now blessed with three beautiful children. As I entered into his house, what struck me as most apparent are not decorative items and nice looking vases, certificates and other trophies of success but books, books and books. Help yourself with books, was one of those things her wife said to me. We started talking about old times and, soon enough, the discussions veered into issues in society that require attention. On how ignorance in particular has besieged the Muslims.

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Teach our Children the True Purpose of Life

There is a tendency among today’s parents to reward their kids too much and too quickly even with the smallest things that their children have done. While it is good to give your child things in form of toys and other related stuff, there are studies that show that unmanaged showering of gifts can lead to a given child thinking that any good deed would logically lead to some tangible benefits.

This will be bad for the child later on in Life. Why? Because they will learn that material rewards are their primary sources of motivation not the inner feeling of doing things right for their own sake and for others. They will become persons in society who do good deeds for good things and not for the higher purpose of becoming good people.

Our duty then is to teach our children that life is more than about material rewards, money and so forth. Life is about maximizing one’s fullest potential. Our children and ourselves must learn that we will only fully discover our potential by making mistakes. For those mistakes and not the rewards, would eventually help us to overcome greater challenges in life in the road to become a Refined Human Being (Insanul Kamil).

I had a good chat just now with some close friends from Singapore. Some are capitalizing on the gold iPhone craze, seeking to maximize profits by selling to those who are tuned in, rather irrationally, to buying technologies without having a real need for it.

We talked about the conflict between maximizing profits against ensuring that whatever we buy and sell must lead to personal and the common good. The discussion had no real resolutions but it is clear to those who advocate the profit driven stance that we can buy and sell whatever in as long as those things are “halal” and that both parties in the transaction agree on the terms and price. Sounds simple but that is not all.
Continue reading “And Life is Not Only about Maximizing Profits, it is about the Common Good” »