Friday, November 30, 2007

It's a small world

This is my all-time favourite sing-along-song :)

It's A Small World

It's a world of laughter, a world of tears,
It's a world of hopes and a world of fears,
There's so much that we share,
It is time we're aware.
It's a small small world.

It's a small world after all,
It's a small world after all,
There's so much that we share,
It is time we're aware.
It's a small small world.

There is just one moon and a golden sun,
And a smile means friendship to everyone,
Though the mountains are high,
And the oceans are wide,
It's a small small world.

It's a small world after all,
It's a small world after all,
There's so much that we share,
It is time we're aware.
It's a small small world.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Native Deen: Zammilooni Zammilooni

I'm not into anasheed, but this is nice!

Coincidentally, a friend mentioned this incident a few days ago.

Bring your resting heart rate down

What is your resting heart rate?

This is a person's heart rate at rest. The best time to find out your resting heart rate is in the morning, after a good night's sleep, and before you get out of bed. The heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute when we're at rest. Resting heart rate usually rises with age, and it's generally lower in physically fit people. The more well-conditioned your body, the less effort and fewer beats per minute it takes your heart to pump blood to your body at rest.

What is maximum heart rate?
Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR) is the highest number of times your heart can contract in one minute. Max HR is the most useful tool to be used in determining training intensities, because it can be individually measured or predicted.

How to determine maximum heart rate?
You can define your maximum heart rate by
1) having it measured in an exercise test
2) using age-predicted maximum heart rate formulas.

Predicted Maximum HR There is a mathematical formula that allows you to predict your Max HR with some accuracy. It is called the "age-adjusted formula".

WOMEN: 226-your age = age-adjusted Max HR
MEN: 220-your age = age-adjusted Max HR

If you are a 30-year-old woman, your age-adjusted maximum heart rate is 226- 30 years = 196 bpm (beats per minute).

These formulas apply only to adults. The generally accepted error in age-predicted formulas is + - 10-15 beats per minute, which is due to different inherited characteristics and exercise training.
Ideal For Benefit Desired Intensity Level (% Maximum heart rate)
Light Exercise Maintain Healthy Heart/Get Fit 50% - 60%
Weight Management Lose Weight/ Burn Fat 60% - 70%
Aerobic Base Building Increase Stamina Aerobic Endurance 70% - 80%
Optimal Conditioning Maintain Excellent Fitness Condition 80% - 90%
Elite Athlete Maintain Superb Athletic Condition 90% - 100%

For example, if you want to Lose Weight/Burn Fat: do your favorite exercise at 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate, based on your age, for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week. To program your Heart Rate Monitor into your Ideal Weight Management Zone, use the Target Heart Rate Chart above.
From: Heart monitors

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Robinson MBA

This looks good.

Program Highlights:

  • Full-time, 14-month program.
  • 4-continent experience - Students will be in residency in Atlanta, Paris, and Rio de Janeiro and spend 2 weeks in China.
  • Courses are integrated across the partner schools, providing students with a true global perspective.
  • Leadership & Commercial Diplomacy - Students will examine the interplay between the public and private sector. Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the regulatory environment and legal issues as they compare and contrast across four countries and four trading blocks. Learn more>>
  • Short week in Washington D.C. - This includes working visits to the Department of Commerce. Other international agencies, such as the WTO and the EU Directorate are also part of the program.
  • Internship / Field Study -The internship/field study takes place at the end of the program for approximately 16 weeks. It is the culmination of the classroom and experiences applied in a live situation.
  • Students will have the option of obtaining a functional certificate through the selection of additional electives, thereby demonstrating a depth of knowledge in a particular discipline. This option is in addition to the 14-month program.
  • Graduates receive:
    • Robinson College of Business MBA degree. Robinson is AACSB accredited.
    • Master's degree from IAE. IAE is EQUIS accredited.
    • Certificate from COPPEAD. COPPEAD is EQUIS accredited.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Lifetime achievement award

I'm working on putting together a list of nomination criteria for a lifetime achievement award for a professional organisation. The exercise has been quite interesting, with questions like:

  • How long is a "life time"?
  • How do you compare achievements in different profession?
  • Minimum percentage of community contribution?
  • How much should be the person known in the circles around him?
  • Education level?
  • Should self-nominations be allowed?
  • ...
In the next 10 years, what type of work would you do, to win a lifetime achievement award?
I'm still working on the criteria, but here are my thoughts.

If your plan is
  • to work a 9-5 job and support your family, and volunteer once in a while because that's all you can handle,
  • Or, if you have no career goals but simply want to serve the community, like running a soup kitchen,
  • Or, having a goal such as setting up a school for orphans by putting all your money behind it
you're not going to get an award in this world.

Now, this award is quite different from the type of work you would do to raise your rank in front of Allah (swt)- That's a completely different story, because Allah (swt) loves a charitable act that's done in such a way that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand has given, or a youth who's attached to the masjid, or those who serve their parents; you can't get an award in this dunya for that type of worship.

So, what kind of work do you need to do to get an award both in this dunya, and the akhira?

Sunday, November 25, 2007


What's that one dua that you really want Allah (swt) to answer?

Think hard and leave a comment :)

Alhamdulillah uncle's out of ICU today! Jazakumullahu khairan katheeran for your duas, comments and emails.

Creamy Mango Cheesecake

This low-fat cheesecake is as creamy as any other, but makes a healthier dessert option, unlike the Chocolate Rhapsody (but there's no comparison, chocolate rules!).

1 1/4 cups rolled oats
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 large ripe mango
1 1/4 cups low-fat soft cheese
2/3 cup low-fat natural yogurt
finely grated rind of 1 small lime*
3 tbsp apple juice
4 tsp gelatin**
fresh mango and lime slices to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Mix together the oats, butter and honey; press into the base of a 8in loose-bottomed cake tin. Bake for 12-15 min. Cool.

2. Peel, stone and roughly chop the mango. Process with the cheese, yogurt and lime rind until smooth. Heat the apple juice until boiling, sprinkle the gelatin over it, stir to dissolve, then stir into the cheese mixture. Pour into the tin and chill until set. Turn out and decorate with mango and lime slices.

* Make sure the lime is grated well, otherwise the small bits will taste quite bitter. Some people like that taste, but I don't. Or, you can get grated lemon rind @ Bulk Barn at the rate of $100/kg!

** If halal gelatin is not available, use what I used: agar agar.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's as if

my life has a new purpose now.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In the last 6 days

I received two emails that I can't stop thinking about. One from a student in an Arabic course I was TAing, and another from a friend in Kampala, Uganda. I haven't met either, but I feel a strong connection with both.

The first is no ordinary student. She's an obs/gyn physician, a mother of two, who was taking some 5 courses online, which was quite impressive mashallah. However, during the course, her father had to undergo two surgeries. Then, between a cardiac arrest and a resuscitation, she had to travel to another city because:

I found that my husband wasn't feeling too good. I convinced him to get some bloodwork/labs done - and he landed in hospital with a rare type of an auto-immune kidney condition, Glomerulonephritis. This was in the middle of Ramadan, and Alhamdulillah, it was the fadeelah of fasting that this disorder could be diagnosed in it's early stage before it could affect other organs. He is now on heavy medications, but Alhamdulillah, doing much better.
I was in Chicago last weekend to check on my father, they moved him to a rehab center from the hospital, Alhamdulillah, so that he can get some physiotherapy to tone him up,since he has become very frail and weak and hardly able to sit up or stand up by himself (for a person who used to walk 5-7 miles a day, it's hard to imagine.)
Subhanallah, while I was reading s.Ankabut in Ramadan, I felt the weight of the 2nd ayah, and strangely, it was so reassuring that it helped me all through my ordeals. Remember I over enthusiastically joined a whole bunch of classes at Sunnipath, so I could enrich my knowledge more and uplift myself more towards taqwa and 'husn khuluq.
I had a lot of free time on my hands at that time and so I wanted to make the best of everything - according to one of my favourite hadith where the Prophet,SAS said, "make the best of the 5, before the other 5 overtake you......" You must be knowing this. I had also started memorizing the Quran,learnt tajweed, started learning Arabic etc- at a slow and steady pace. So thats why I went all-out with sunnipath,
because I was so happy to discover it! Anyway, Alhamdulillah 'ala kulli 'haal.
I haven't yet had a chance to go back on the sunnipath site to review my classes.I believe they'd just be there for a semester. I wanted to join the same arabic course I was in so I could be with my old batchmates with sh.Sulayman in the next semester, but it was simply impossible. Both my kids also couldn't continue this semester-
the days just flew! I might repeat all my courses in subsequent semesters, I feel so incomplete.
You have always been in my heartfelt duas, Humairah, even though I couldn't be in touch with you. ( right from day-1 when you had sent me such a reassuring email when I was so overwhelmed with my classes!!)

The second is a request:
Sister,I would like to introduce you to a muslim brother who is in some kind of need,may be you may be knowing some one who can help him out,he is currently a finalist student at the East African school of library and Information science,Makerere University studying the same course which I did,Bachelors in Library and Information science majoring in the field of Records management
he is now in his second last semster and if all goes well,he may graduate next year inshallah,but he has got one stambling block as regards with his education as Allah says in Quran 2:155-157
His father got some serious problems,he is currently out of work which has unabled him to clear up his tuition fees in time and yet he is remaining with less than two weeks to start for his end of semster one examinations.
I kindly request you sister,incase you know of any Muslims or organizations out there who can help him out with any thing towards his tuition,to please try for him as he also tries from other sources Inshallah.

It's simply superb how the Qur'an gives hope to people in so many different ways. What a blessing to be just Muslim. Have you thanked Allah today for blessing you with Islam?

The two verses:
29:2 Do men think that on their [mere] saying, “We have attained to faith”, they will be left to themselves, and will not be put to a test?

2:155-157 And most certainly shall We try you by means [125] of danger, and hunger, and loss of worldly goods, of lives and of [labour's] fruits. But give glad tidings unto those who are patient in adversity who, when calamity befalls them, say, "Verily, unto God do we belong and, verily, unto Him we shall return." It is they upon whom their Sustainer's blessings and grace are bestowed, and it is they, they who are on the right path!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Love Story

Please note that this is not a detailed account. There's way more love in the real story.

I used to see her almost every 6 months, and till today it surprises me that I would remember her each time I saw her. We would have a minimal exchange of salams, and perhaps a how are you, and walk off. That was how we used to meet for some 3 years. Then, at the beginning of 2006, I didn't know how fast my life would change, and how beautiful that change would be. I began to see her every week. At first, it was the usual exchanges. Then it turned into wider smiles, and many weeks later, peels and peels of laughter.
It was still quite early to discover my love. What was it about her? To be honest, I still don't know. There were others around us, and we were a tight group. We had no choice- we were in the same car on both days of the weekend, and that too twice.
The discovery happened one day, when we were faced with a challenge. Out in the suburbs, we were stuck in a cold building, with no immediate rescue. In front of her, I could not but be brave. I decided to run as far as I could, or at least to the end of the road, and get a French Vanilla for her from Tim Hortons. Ah, to my delight, she decided to accompany me.
What could be more beautiful than that? The weather, unlike in the cold building, was nice outside. We jogged, ran, walked, and then did a little bit of all three together. I didn't want the moment to end, but Tim Hortons was not too far.
With our drinks in our hands, we had a grim look on our faces on how we'd get back. I wasn't too grim, I was just happy I could gaze into her bright eyes, through her glasses.
That day changed everything. We began to talk a lot. Then I had to leave in May, and the separation was painful. I wanted to make it special, so I decided to surprise her with my all-time favourite drink, at my all-time favourite tea joint Bubble Tea 168, a few hours before I had to be at the airport. I knew I was returning soon and that was a great relief. Every day of my vacation, I would update her about what I was upto. I was half way across the globe from her, in a different timezone, yet, our love adjusted to any virtual adaptations required. It was great. When I got back, we just grew closer and closer to each other.
I never thought the day that is today, was so near.

She was in tears towards the end of last year when I was @ the airport for the second time that year, at the departure terminal. Both of us didn't know when we'd see each other again. And then the most amazing thing happened. I talked to her more than anyone else in the world. We were connected as if were in the same room. Hours daily, on MSN, Google Talk, Vonage, emails on top of emails, and in so many other ways. We were so attached that it would be too painful to go without knowing where she was every 6 hours. Have you ever heard of a love like that?

Alhamdulillah Allah (swt) facilitated our meeting in the summer again. I tried to see her as often as I could. We would make the silliest excuses. Luckily I was staying close to her workplace. She got me an aircard, so I had the internet with me wherever I went- At the Toronto airport on my way to Ottawa, and back, in the cabs to the hotel, in my hotel room, and even on the stage when I was sitting next to the speakers! She was such an angel, that despite her feelings for me she let me cancel a night's plan with her because someone else asked her for it. One of our funniest meetings was on a day when something important happened with both of us- I had passed my fitness instructor's practical test and was officially certified, and she had her wisdom tooth removed. We took pictures that day- and I don't drool over them considering the fact that her face was swollen and I was in my fitness clothes. Yea, not the best shot, but she's always beautiful.
She never left my side...

A few months ago, there was a minor hiccup- Access to instant messaging programs on her blackberry was blocked. So what? There are so many other ways. This world can do whatever it wants to there's no separating us.
That is, until today.
Today I'm so happy for her. It's what she calls, "sweet pain". I just don't know if the pain is sweet, or if the sweet is painful. But even that doesn't matter. She's embarking on to the phase of her life that I always knew would come, sooner than later. And I knew that phase would be without me. But to be honest, me not being there does not matter to me. Because I know she'll remain in my heart forever, and me in her heart.
There's much happiness to come, she just doesn't know. She might think it's a separation, but to me, it's just a new kind of bond.
We've never run out of things to talk- ever. And now, there will be newer things to talk about!
I just want to say two things:
One, remember the hadith: 'The whole world is a provision, and the best object of the benefit of the world is the pious
I love you.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hajj Memories

As salamu alaikum
I've been very unfair with myself for not completing a written record of my experiences at Hajj this past year. So many times I'd open up the word document, with the intention of typing the daily log, but I'd lapse into memories of what happened, and close the document unchanged.

This past year, my flight was on 24th December, the day I turned 23. It was a very different beginning for a "new" year in my life, because everything had changed- my circumstances, my surroundings, the people I was with, my goals in life, my career- all at once. Alhamdulillah I was prepared.

Inshallah I want to go for Hajj again soon. But first, I'll start posting what I've accumulated in words so far.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Leadership Secrets

Leadership Secrets is a a new course at Al Maghrib Institute.

What will the seminar cover?

Topics like:

- what were the guiding principles that made their da'wah so successful?
- how were they able to reach so many humans throughout time?
- what was their connection to Allah?
- how did they spend their time?
- how did they deal with the tests and trials of their time?
- their akhlaq (upright character) and how they carried the knowledge
- the female scholars and their contributions in this ...

[From Al Maghrib Blog]

I wanna throw tantrums like a kid! I can't take this course.. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!
Although I will hunt down every last student who takes good notes :D

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Amidst other posts

I want to write up the reviews on the 5-6 books that I had read upto Ramadan. Plus there's a Matters of the Rock post that needs to be published. I just packed up my books for tomorrow. I've never used all these books in the same week, let alone a day! But inshallah I hope to study lots tomorrow (and me not being the type of person who ever studies, that's very ambitious).

Two weeks ago, when my brother and I were driving back from Baniyas on a Thursday, he did something that's left a great impression on my mind. It's quite amazing how Rizwan's intuition has developed, and more amazing how he puts it into action.

A young girl in her school uniform was trying to cross the road. She was on our left. There was another driver on our right just ahead of us by a few feet. Everything happened within 15-30 seconds. The driver swerved a bit into our lane and back. Rizwan could see the driver from his driver's seat, but I couldn't. Instantaneously, Rizwan sped up and honked like crazy. I reacted and almost shouted @ him to stop honking, and let the other guy drive as he wills. He ignored me, and drove ahead. He kept looking in the rear view mirror of the car and finally said, "Idiot!"
I asked him, "What happened? If a car's ahead of you, you should let it choose the lane. Why did you speed up?"
And he goes, "didn't you see what happened?! You're so stupid. The guy was going after the girl. After this, he's never ever going to go after the girl again". He made a mental note of the license plate number in case he'd ever meet him again.

I was quite impressed. It's not the first time my brother has taken a stance like that. He's always very vocal when it comes to gender issues and people crossing their limits. And Rehan's like that as well. I remember when a series of assaults happened on campus, Rehan sent my friends an email with something like: "Dear Bajis, please be careful on campus. I'm your official escort and you can call me anytime."
My friends talked about it for months!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bypass surgery

Subhanallah...everyone close to me is going through a major trial or tribulation. Please pray for Naseer uncle, who is scheduled to have an 8-hour heart bypass surgery next week for the second time. His operation is in a hospital in Abu Dhabi, and he will be admitted this week. Between my brother, my father and me we're trying to work out the logistics of driving aunty there, spending the day, and returning back at night (since she can only stay with him after the surgery, not before).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2 hours in Antarctica

Rosemarie and Pat Keough’s two hour presentation, Passion and Obsession, on their life and photography in Antarctica on October 31st was one of the most inspirational, beautiful and enriching experience I’ve had in a long time. It was truly a privilege to be in their presence and learn so much about the highest continent through their eyes. Some facts that would interest you:

  • The interior of the continent is technically the largest desert in the world and the snow feels like sand.
  • 24 hours sunlight throughout the day can easily cause insomnia.
  • 99.6% of the continent is ice with 70% of world’s freshwater.
  • 200 people get to go every year.
  • Antarctica is home to more than 70 lakes that lie thousands of meters under the surface of the continental ice sheet. They are at 22 degrees Celsius with honey comb structures of ice.
  • Antarctica does not have a cloud cover (due to global warming) unlike the Arctic.
  • Antarctica is home to many volcanoes, only Mount Erebus is known to be active.
I was in awe as they described the making of their award-winning book ANTARTICA with state-of-the-art combination of “hollow-back split board” and the “classic European full-leather” styles of fine morocco binding. The book weights 19.2 pounds, a marvellous effort of four artisans, assisted by two sewers over the span of 10 years for a total of 950 copies that will be preserved forever.
It’s almost unfair to talk about their work without the actual photographs. Rosemarie talked about how she spent five hours in the snow with her chin sticking out for almost a month just to focus on and photograph a section of the largest penguin colony. Pat explained his amazing relationship with his wife and how it helped saves their lives in the worst of storms and many other narrow near-death experiences such as hanging off cliffs! Everyone in the audience noticed how both of them would complete the other's sentences very seamlessly. When they first met, it was on a one-month cruise so they had no choice but to get along, and more than 2 decades later their love has only grown.
I explored twenty four months of their lives, as they switched between the pictures of the polar plateau of the interior, the majestic mountainous coast, multitudes of off-lying islands, icy seas, stormy Southern ocean, and delightful colonies of different penguins species, fur seals, mosses, lichen, and many types of algae.
White, with hints of subtle colours, had never been so beautiful before. At one point during the presentation, I was quite moved, longing to take the daring trip myself. You do not have to be a photographer to appreciate the depths of the Keough’s unparalleled photography that included a variety of perspective, geometrical contrasts, panoramic views and close-ups all taken with their plain 30-year old Nikon camera!
The presentation ended with Pat and Rosemarie talking about their cause- Donating all the profits from the books sales to the Save the Albatross Foundation, and other international wildlife charities. There’s much work to be done, if we want to save our environment.
You can visit their website at: and read more about their work.

Time Magazine:
Los Angeles Times:,0,459112.story?coll=la-news-environment

I wanted to know how this affected them spiritually. They responded that both of them were not religious, but there's definitely that sense of smallness, and the supremacy of nature when they are out there. Pat said that it's extremely energising (and he did a light bounce) and wondered why people get into drugs- all they need is a trip down there! Subhanallah. In winters the ice doubles to twice the original distance. It's easy to tell the different species of penguins apart, especially the Macaroni (hair-styled) penguins. The abandoned shacks preserve the smell of sweat and tobacco until today. Aren't these miraculous signs of Allah (swt)?
I thought about the challenges a Muslim would face if he/she would venture into the cold- How to pray, and how many times a day? In which direction? Our religion has answers to all these questions, Alhamdulillah.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Missing Blogger Update

Some people are rather disturbed about the missing blogger, hence we decided to give a short update. Aside from people driving her crazy, the other major cause of her disappearance is, a sudden realisation of what she's really upto.
To illustrate rather vividly:

Actually, that wasn't a vivid enough illustration.
What's happening on weekends is rather interesting. Between 5:30 and 8 both days she has Shariah program class. However, 6-7 on both days, she has to TA courses on SunniPath. Which means that she misses 2 hours of her Arabic lessons, and hence has to listen to 5 hrs of recording each week. Plus, one of the courses she TAs is actually both days as well, but she skips one hour because Alhamdulillah there's another TA on the course who attends that hour, so that's another hour of recording to catch up with. Let's not even talk about the recordings from last semester she wanted to catch up on during Ramadan but never got around to...

Besides her 2 halaqas, and (bi)weekly Tuesday evening meetings, she's working on writing articles, proof-reading some literature for, organising CAMP's chapter and an overwhelming amount of leadership summit organisational work. So she decided to book off time for sleeping on her schedule before she forgets to do that (which of course is an exaggeration).

At this point, this is all the information we have. Stay tuned!