Risk Management & Patient Safety Models in Healthcare

In 1996, Flight 595 crashed violently into the Florida everglades killing all passengers & crew onboard the flight.1 Investigation of the tragic incident was met with worldwide media attention when it was later discovered that amongst the many improvised standard operating procedures1, an undetected fire had exploded in the cargo compartment and had swiftly raged into the cabin1. The colloquial phrase ‘to err is human’ is best reflected by the qoute:

‘If you want to prevent mistakes you recognise that humans are always going to be error prone, and so you try to design error proof systems’7

Professor Lucian Leape [Harvard School of Public Health]7

Once people err, a paroxysm of psychological vehemence floods into the human psyche with a combination of anger & embarrassment1, but in most cases these lack the foresight into the long term repercussions of such performances, which could potentially be devastating especially to those who had no prior congruity per se1. Whilst the advancement of technology has radically changed our framework of engagement and functioning, it still needs to be acknowledged that the Achilles heel that remains within the methodology is the lack of immunity of people that operate such systems who are still fallible to mistakes1.

The world of healthcare is far from veracious to error. Currently the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that at least 1 in 10 patients are harmed in highly financed and technologically astute medical facilities in the first world2. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimates that 1.5 million patients in the United States experience an adverse drug event each year, which is approximately at least one death every day. In 1999, the IOM estimated that there were roughly 98,000 preventable hospitable patient deaths3. The UK National Patient Safety Agency reports medication errors in intensive care over a period of 12 months: that roughly 2428 out of 12,084 incidents were associated with medication use involving >350 different drugs9. 61% of medication incidents were associated with drug administration9 and 5% of medication incidents were associated with staff miscommunication during transfer from theatre or recovery9

In Ireland ~6785 medication incidents6 were reported in 2008 as illustrated in figure 16. A publication by the Irish Medical Journal states that 6179 reports were received in total over a period of one year from 8 Irish hospitals10. 95% of reports did not involve patient harm. 47% of the error reports related to the prescribing stage of the medication use process and 9% to the pharmacy dispensing stage.10

Pir Mohammed et al have investigated that 29.6% of adverse drug reactions were from NSAIDs alone14. Therefore it is imperative to explore a wholelistic analysis upon the causes & comprehension of such setbacks and elucidate strategies in overcoming these challenges.

In a study conducted in Nottingham, error reporting rates from community pharmacies ranged from 0.2%–1.9% from 32 403 items dispensed in that timeframe24. Another paper assessed that nursing and pharmacy staff members are likely to believe they will be blamed and criticised for an error, although they are still more likely to report an error than are doctors.25 As part of effective risk management it is also extremely important to establish a reporting culture where these type of mistakes are documented  , otherwise without a detailed analysis of mishaps, incidents and near misses institutions will have no way of uncovering recurrent error traps or of knowing where the flaw is until the inevitable occurs. It is hoped that sharing the learning from local medication safety incident and near miss reporting can result in raised awareness of the importance of the issue and the need to take steps to improve medication use processes nationally to minimise future risk to patients.

 

  1. Models of Errors

(i) The Swiss cheese Model of Error

According to Professor Reason4 the human error problem can be judged according to an individualistic person approach and as an organisational pattern. Both models of error present distinctive features of critique within each cogitative framework.4

 The person approach primarily focuses on individual enervation and protocol offences within the organisational edifice based upon individual circumstances which can range from apathy, negligence, incompetence, unenlightened to standard procedures with counteracting measures taken to overcome them4. On the other hand the system approach acknowledges the limitations of human intervention but focuses more on the organisational pitfalls & environmental work factors that contributed to subsequent chain of events that ultimately lead to medication errors.

The Swiss cheese error model of system accidents illustrated in figure 24 is metaphorical of defensive layers within a system that would in normal circumstances prevent miscalculations;4 active & latent conditions can cause transitional adjacent fallacious layers that allow the passage of hazards thereby causing consequential damage. Active acts being unsafe actions undertaken by people such as protocol violation: whereas latent acts being factors that lie dormant within the system for extensive time frames and fusing with active mistakes to cause resulting adversity. 4

Several documented reports have highlighted the need for system reforms: The Cambridgeshire Inquiry 200012 discussed about the fatal consequences of methotrexate overdose in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Post-hospital discharge the patient was inadvertently prescribed 10mg once daily by her GP12, which was subsequently dispensed by a locum pharmacist. Continuous latent & active factors combined resulted in the hospitalisation of the patient and ultimately their death by methotrexate toxicity12. In hindsight it is unwise to simply conclude the causative effects simply due to human errors because the incident is encrusted by a far more complicated chain of human, methodological, structural & social interactions that have aligned consecutively to allow the penetration of the adverse accident8. Data provided by NHS Litigation Authority claims and literature review with respect to methotrexate usage over a ten year period in the UK highlights that 137 adverse incidents were identified, of which 25 had died as a result, and 26 in serious harm requiring hospitalisation.13

Recommendations from the inquiry with regards to preventing such risks from reoccurring include special warning indication, standard operating procedures to be in place in pharmacies when dispensing cytotoxics, manufacturer consideration of changing the packaging of different strength methotrexate.

 The person approach is slightly myopic by its primary focus on the individual origins of error it isolates unsafe acts from their system context. Hence why two very distinct attributes is overlooked: firstly, anyone within the system is prone to error and secondly mishaps are bound to happen in an analogous sequence. Therefore an identical array of deviations can potentially reoccur given the same set of conditions. Evidence to this was the 2007 incident in which the newborn twins of Dennis Quaid were among three patients who were given 1000 times the prescribed dose of heparin15. Interestingly one year later up to 17 infants in a NICU in Texas were subject to heparin overdose caused by a similar mixing error which again reinforces the idea that clinicians and hospital systems need to examine current practices and make appropriate changes to risk-prone practice patterns and system processes.15

The Swiss Cheese Model does however have its substantial variability in interpretations to individuals as to what the various features of the model represent. The strangest notion appears to be the representation of the medical error itself.16, 17 One of the criticisms of the model is insufficiently specificity regarding the nature of the holes in the cheese and their inter-relationships.16, 17 One needs to know what these system failures or “Swiss cheese holes” are, so that they can be identified during accident investigations or better yet, detected and corrected before an accident occurs.16,17 But with the diversity of subjective views it raises pertinent questions about the current status of a “culture of safety” among quality and safety professionals.16,17 Until there is an overwhelming majority or consensus on what the model means, the emergence and dissemination of a shared culture of safety may prove difficult. The model is almost too successful in placing emphasis on systemic causes of patient harm, as opposed to an individual’s failure.16, 17

 

(ii) The SHELL Model of Error

 The SHEL model examines more upon the analysis & impact of human resources into health care system, the models illustrates the interrelationship of three types of resources and their facilitating environment (E) as illustrated18. The concept is named after the initials of the components: software (s), hardware (H), and liveware (L). It was indicatively devised and augmented to advance aviation exercises and to elucidate the fundamentals of organisational administration in Ariel navigation, it is frequently cited in the investigations of calamities and misadventures19.

Liveware consists of the all the human components of the system that interacts dynamically with the other components of the model: such as the medical physician, pharmacists, nurses, the patient and everyone that interacts throughout the patient care process.19 Software includes all of the protocols, regulations, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and policies that are followed within a working environment.18 Hardware encompasses all the medical devices, operating machines, surgical instruments, diagnostic equipment, theatre or computer system that is used to deliver healthcare.19 Environment compromises of the medical setting where all the previous factors interact continuously, it includes the operating theatre, patient wards, and consultation rooms. However environment is not just restricted to an area of space but is also manifested by economic, political, intellective and communal factors which are all part of clinical setting.

The SHEL model provides a roadmap to ascertain where lapses or potential for absurdities might enter into the health delivery system via human intervention.18 It is particularly useful tool in being specific towards the synergy amongst the behavioural aspects of individuals and the relevant factors of the system thereby facilitating an insightful investigation & assessment of risk in health care.18

An application of this model can be seen with regards to the background elements that contributed to the fatal accident at the Queen Medical Centre, Nottingham where a patient with leukaemia was accidentally administered vincristine intrathecally by an SHO under the direct supervision of a specialist registrar. An inquiry compiled by the department of health had discovered almost 50 different variables along the chain of events that had facilitated the adverse action. It’s estimated that from 1968-2006, there have been 55 cases worldwide of inadvertent intra­thecal administration of vincristine.11

The incident was amalgamated with many abstruse circumstances such as environmental, professional, methodological & collective cooperation that facilitated the lethal event.9

If the incident is assessed through the lens of the SHEL concept then it can be perceived that the fault in the Liveware–Liveware interaction was the extraordinarily poor communication that was exercised by staff at Queen Mary with complete disregard for adequate handover of medical notes or documentation of messages.18 Examining it from the Limeware-Hardware point of view, the needle of the intravenous vincristine should have been distinct in design to the intrathecal needle facility.18 The Liveware-Software interaction would suggest that there was lack of an inaugural course as part of the hospital curriculum with regards to cytotoxics drug administration.18 Assessing the Limeware-Enviorment it can be derived that the chain of command for chemotherapy medication was completely ambivalent with the freedom of access to all with regards to the facility.18

Whilst the SHEL model has substantiated its efficacious role in human error management it emphasises heavily upon the interaction human factors and their surroundings whilst overlooking the systematic defensive barriers that could have prevented the error from occurring. The model focuses upon changing and facilitating dynamism within the human factors to allow congruency within a set system however fails to acknowledge that if the system is not standardised to tolerate error and manage its damaging effects.

It is important note that the factors seem to always been in a state of constant transmutation and not simply stagnant e.g. turnover of medical staff, advancements of technology, updated clinical findings in practise, emerging of newer medications, improvements of managerial strategies and change in organisational mission & vision: all contribute to the common question whether solely focussing on the human approach with any focus on systemic integration will avertedly be sustainable for the future of the institution.g

 

III. Improvements in Pharmacy Practise

 Within the context of community pharmacy setting it is important to readdress the outlook on errors and mishaps as a combination of the above theories and implement them into practical setting of quality healthcare especially with the intimate interaction that community pharmacies have with the general public. Medication safety initiatives need structural design to encourage reporting of any incidents that might occur and to harmonise improved medication usage processes and therefore ensuring patient safety.

Incidents involving medication errors may occur anywhere in the distribution system of community practise. It is a multi-factorial intricacy that can arise in prescribing of medicines, repackaging by manufacturers, dispensing by pharmacists, administration of the medicines especially cytotoxics or even an incorrect monitoring of a treatment regimen. Amongst the many factors in addition to job stress, lack of product knowledge or training, or similar labelling or packaging of a product may be the cause of, or contribute to, an actual or potential error may include poor communication between personnel, no adherence to protocol or patient misunderstanding in directional usage. Below are some areas that need to be strategically considered when planning a methodology in prioritising patient safety.

 

(i) Standard operating procedures (SOP) in practise & clarity in drug dispensing

 In every healthcare department there needs to be protocol guidelines of work ethic & delivery with respect to its function and which are able to show that they operate systems of practice which are safe and which encourage continuous improvement. The conception and implementation of SOPs will allow pharmacies to have a logical, coherent & systematic approach in dispensing of medication where it be checking the prescription, updating computer software in detecting interactions or dosage inconsistencies, clarity in the instructions of the label, having a double checking system in place to reassess the final product. Where these authoritative procedures are not in place or adhered to it increases the likelihood of errors occurring.

The many benefits of SOPs include the fact that it was be as a reference tool on policies and procedures for all members of staff whether permanent or temporary to relate to, it aids is designing an induction programme for training of newer team colleagues, insightful in review & assessment after an adverse event and provides detailed perspective on improvement in standards & quality of care.

Pharmacists need to establish that the final dispensed product is perfectly correct and adequate with clear unambiguous directions to ensure patient safety. The pharmacist also needs to ensure the safe use of the drugs it approves by identifying and avoiding proprietary names that contribute to problems in the prescribing, dispensing, or administration of the product. Because an early identification of potential confusing branded names is crucial in order to place preventative methods to ensure these incidents don’t occur during busy hours & times of distress. Common medications that may be easily muddled up in practise include: Lipitor & Lipostat, Lasix & Losec amongst others.

 

(ii) Clear & Open Communications

As part of the professional requirement by the PSI code of conduct for pharmacists, it is pertinent that an honest and open means of communications is upheld when explaining to patients & carers the advent of adversity. It is important that medication incidents are presented with integrity, unambiguously, accurately and transparency. Acknowledgment of the mistakes backed up with an apology needs to be certified with a descriptive account of the accident with a guarantee in a plan of rectifying the error and putting systems in place to prevent any similar catastrophe in future. Barriers that may prevent this need to be dispelled because of the breach of professional conduct and the corrosion of public confidence.

Clear communications is also an essential element of successful teamwork amongst pharmacists and the OTC staff in community but also dealing with other healthcare professionals needs clarity with regards to respective roles and responsibilities. Pharmacists need to network effectively with patients, GPs, nurses, patient carers in order to ascertain all the relevant information with regards to patients’ conditions, treatment regimen & preference. Important findings, interventions & interactions with patients or their carers need to be documented using patient medication history & clinical notes.

 

 

 

(iii) Effective leadership & teamwork 

‘Vision without a task is merely a dream, a task without vision is simply drudgery, vision with action can change the world’21

[Professor John Adair, UN Chair of Strategic Leadership]

Professor Ken Blanchard & Professor Spenser Johnson present an intriguing management model called ‘The One Minute Manager’20 that focuses primarily upon attains business goals whilst maintaining the integrity & morale of people within the work force, their model emphasises upon goal setting with definite and tangible outcomes, performance feedback via appraisals and reprimands upon productivity fluctuations.20

Strategic leadership is not just about technical planning but about converting the plan into action, part of this is building up a spirit of teamwork in which all members of the healthcare team feel equally valued and respected therefore the hierarchy of traditional organisational culture needs to be shifted towards a more pragmatic and amiable approach thereby raising morale and developing inter disciplinary trust.21 Decisions need to move away from an autocratic approach to a more participative procedure to ensure decisions are taken by means of a democratic consensus. Within a community pharmacy setting: Goals can be set with all members of staff with tangible outcomes and decision making procedures must encourage team participation to ensure congruent work ethic and performances thereby minimising the chances of a hazardous environment prone to error.21

 

(iv) Patients involvement with their personal healthcare

 Involving patients and families in the process of their care ensures that there are additional sets of eyes on the process. Perhaps more importantly, these are sets of eyes which are directly interested in a positive outcome.  Explaining to patients’ and families’ expectations for what should happen, and encouraging them to ask questions at any point in a treatment plan, enables them to act as their own advocates in the course of care.

Patients are also a good source of information. In many cases, they are seeing processes for the first time which are daily occurrences for medical professionals therefore feedback from patients is crucial with regards to their understanding of their medication indications, dosage & compliance. The emerging role of medication reviews will be interesting to see how it impacts upon healthcare in the Irish context.

 

(v) Reporting of errors

A high medication error and adverse drug reaction reporting rate is a desirable first step in enabling pharmacists to tackle medication safety risks to their patients. The pharmacist needs to take the responsibility in evaluation, monitoring and take appropriate action on reports of medication errors which will provide useful information to outside health professionals & other organisation in preventing medication errors.

 In conclusion high reliability organizations produce reliable results that are not dependent on providers being perfect.10 Healthcare leadership must see medication errors as challenges within their system, not just solely with their personal. All medical errors associated with adverse events may provide insight for system development. Readjusting both systems & human factors should produce better long-term results to hopefully grasp the distant vision of healthcare which is the provision of medicine to patient in safe, qualitative and efficacious manner.10

 

References:

  1. Strauch B. Investigating Human Error: Incidents, Accidents, and Complex Systems. 2nd Ed Ashgate publishing limited: 2004.
  1. Development of the core competencies for Patient Safety Research. Patient Safety Research Education and Training Working Group: World Health Organisation, July 2010.
  1. The Patient Safety Research Training and Education Expert Working Group of WHO. Patient Safety. Competencies for Patient Safety Research. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2010. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.who.int/patientsafety/research.
  1. Reason, J. Human error: models and management. British Medical Journal. 2000 March 18;320(7237): 768-70.

Department of Psychology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL.

  1. Top 5 Clinical Event Types recorded in 2008. STARSweb 2008 Statistics. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.stateclaims.ie/ClinicalIndemnityScheme/publications/2008/CISMoreStats2008.pdf
  1. Lucian LL. Scope of Problem and History of Patient Safety. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics in North America. 35 (2008) 1–10.
  1. External Inquiry into the Adverse Incident that Occurred at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, 4th January 2001. London: Department of Health, 2000.
  1. N. Thomas, U. Panchagnula. Medication-related patient safety incidents in critical care: a review of reports to the UK National Patient Safety Agency. Anaesthesia. Volume 63, Issue 7, Pages 726-733, July 2008.
  1. Kirke C, Delaney T, O’Brien P, Robinson K, Creaton G, Relihan E, O’Hanlon N, Conyard E, Colohan G, Ni Shuilleabhain M. Medication safety in hospitals. Irish Medical Journal. 2009 Nov-Dec;102(10):339-41.
  1. Lagman RN, Tigue C, Trifilio S, Belknap S, Buffie C, Bennett C. Inadvertent intrathecal administration of vincristine. Community Oncology. January 2007. Adverse Events Alert. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.communityoncology.net/journal/articles/0401045.pdf
  1. Methotrexate Toxicity. An Inquiry into the Death of a Cambridgeshire Patient in April 2000. Cambridgeshire Health Authority, July 2000. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.blacktriangle.org.uk/methotrexate-toxicity.pdf
  1. Towards the safer use of oral methotrexate. National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) Report. 29 Jul 2004. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.nrls.npsa.nhs.uk/EasySiteWeb/getresource.axd?AssetID=59985&type=full&servicetype=Attachment methotrexate deaths worldwide
  1. Pirmohamed M, James S, Meakin S, et al. Adverse drug reactions as cause of admission to hospital: prospective analysis of 18 820 patients. British Medical Journal 2004; 329:15-19.
  1. Otoya M. Heparin Safety in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Are We Learning From Mistakes of Others? Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2009, Pages 53-61.
  1. Perneger T. The Swiss cheese model of safety incidents: are there holes in the metaphor? BMC Health Services Res. 2005; 5: 71. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1298298/
  1. Revisiting the Swiss Cheese Model of Accidents October 2006. Eurocontrol Experimental Centre. European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation.
  1. Bradshaw B. The SHEL Model: Applying Aviation Human Factors to Medical Error. Texas Osteopathic Medical Association (Texas D.O). January 2003; 17.
  1. Molloy G, O’Boyle C. The SHEL Model: A Useful Tool for Analyzing and Teaching the Contribution of Human Factors to Medical Error. Academic Medicine, Vol. 80, No. 2, 2005.
  1. Toft B. External Inquiry into the Adverse Incident that Occurred at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, 4th January 2001. London: Department of Health, 2000.
  1. Blanchard, K. & Johnson, S. The One Minute Manager. New York: Berkley Publishing, 1981.
  1. Adair J. The Leadership of Muhammad. Kogan Page Limited. 2010.
  1. Kirke C, Delaney T, O’Brien P, Robinson K, Creaton G, Relihan E, O’Hanlon N, Conyard E, Colohan G, Ni Shuilleabhain M. Medication safety in hospitals. Irish Medical Journal. 2009 Nov-Dec; 102(10):339-41.
  1. Clarke J, Lerner J, Marella W. The Role for Leaders of Health Care Organizations in Patient Safety. The American Journal of Medicine Quality, 2007;22:311-318.
  1. Chen YK, Neil K, Avery A, Dewey M, Johnson C. Prescribing errors and other problems reported by community pharmacists. Journal of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2005 December; 1(4): 333–342. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1661637/
  1. Sarvadikar A, Prescott G, Williams D. Attitudes to reporting medication error among differing healthcare professionals. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2010) 66:843–853. [Citied 2011 June 3] ; Available from URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20532494
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Worldly Benefits Attained Through Abandoning Sinful Behavior 

[1] Maintaining personal integrity (muroo’ah)

[2] Keeping your name and reputation clean

[3] Protecting your social status

[4] Preserving wealth that Allaah has provided and made as a means to take care of worldly and religious benefits

[5] A wholesome life

[6] A properly rested body

[7] A strong heart

[8] A clean soul

[9] Happiness of the heart

[10] A relaxed chest

[11] Security from the worries that affect the wicked and disobedient

[12] Less worry, sadness, and grief

[13] Inner strength of personal honor, not yielding to disgrace

[14] Safeguarding the light in one’s heart from being extinguished by the darkness of disobedience

[15] A way around (or out of) what confines the wicked and disobedient

[16] Being granted provisions easily from avenues unthought of

[17] General ease being granted in affairs that are difficult upon the people of disobedience and sinning

[18] Having acts of obedience made easy for you to perform

[19] Having knowledge made easy for you to attain

[20] The general speech of the people in your favor

[21] Lots of supplications are made in your favor

[22] The delight that can be seen on your face

[23] The respect that is placed in the people’s hearts for you

[24] Their support and defense of you when harmed or oppressed

[25] Their defense of you in the presence of those who backbite you

[26] Quick responses to your supplications

[27] The dispelling of unfamiliarity between you and Allaah

[28] The closeness of the angels

[29] Distance from the human and jinn devils

[30] The people outdoing each other to serve you and take care of your needs

[31] Their seeking your love and companionship

[32] Not being afraid of death, instead you are happy to meet your Lord and to reach your final abode

[33] The insignificance of this world in your heart

[34] True reverence of the Hereafter in your heart

[35] Vigilance regarding the great dominion (of Paradise) and the great success that lies within it

[36] Tasting the sweetness of obedience

[37] Attaining the sweetness of faith

[38] The supplications of the Angels who bear the Throne, and the other Angels as well

[39] The joy of the angels who write your deeds, and their constant supplications in your favor

[40] An increase in intellect, understanding, faith, and knowledge

[41] Attaining the Love of Allaah, His Attention, and His Happiness with your repentance.

– al-Fawaa’id of Ibn al-Qayyim

How to get a driving license in Saudia Arabia for Islamic University of Madinah Students

How to get a driving license in Saudia Arabia for Islamic University of Madinah Students ( Click here to download PDF – its much clearer!)

 

Required Documents to Bring Where to get it Check list √
Iqamah You should have it always duh!
Original Driving License If you have it from back home
2 passport photos Beside Fuaol breakfast place in uni or any photography shop
Photocopy of Iqamah Khadim at-Talib (pink sign shop in uni)
Photocopy of Passport Khadim at-Talib (pink sign shop in uni) This wasn’t required for me but just in case
Photocopy of Driving License Khadim at-Talib (pink sign shop in uni)
Photocopy of student Card Khadim at-Talib (pink sign shop in uni) This wasn’t required for me but just in case
Tareef at-Talib Shuouna Tullab i.e. Student Affairs Office. The office is the black window located on the left hand side as you enter the building
Translation of your Driving License Kabool & Tasjeel (Next door to student affairs on 2nd floor on the left hand side of the hall)
220 Riyals for 5 years and 400 (or more) for 10 years Your bank!
Green folder (Its one of those ones that goes in metal cabinets and hangs off two metal bars on the sides) Khadim at-Talib (pink sign shop in uni) This wasn’t required for me but just in case as everyone has it in the office

 

Step by step Guide Place Description Required Documents (Check list √)
Step 1 Dala Madrasa/Maktabah Marour in Tabook Street – 10 Riyals taxi from Islamic University of Madinah
  • This is a place with a green sign and as you enter it you need to take the first right into the building

 

  • Speak with the person (tends to be a police officer) on the left hand side of the hallway and ask him for a form for making a license

 

  • He will give you a form which he will attach one passport photo of you and write your details (name and iqamah)
Iqamah Card
2 passport photos
Step 2 Central Blood Bank, King Fahad Hospital – 5/10 Riyals taxi from Madrasa Maroor
  • Go here next and look for the Central Blood bank. Ask any of the staff especially Philipinos as they are very helpful. Its located at the back of some buildings behind the Cardiac Centre.

 

  • Enter the facility and show reception your form that will make you turn left into the lab technician’s room.

 

 

  • The technician will do a quick pin prick blood test and find out your blood type.

 

  • Next he will ask you to go next door and do an eye test with the ophthalmologist who will stamp and sign your form from the marour office
  • Your form from Maktab al marour
Step 3 Dala Madrasa/Maktabah Marour in Tabook Street – 5/10 Riyals taxi from King Fahads hospital
  • Hop back here and get ready for the long haul!

 

  • Go back to the marour office and give all forms to the officer

 

  • Make sure to mention to him that your using your western license (Europe and North America)

 

  • He will ask that you go see the Sudanese translator in the back that needs to stamp the IUM translation. This gentleman is located in the back of the building you are in so go outside of the building (not of the complex) and turn right and go to the open window hut/gazebo and ask the brother to stamp it after he views it

 

  • He will hand a form to you need to fill out as part of the application

 

  • After you finish filling it out, he will do something with it and ask you to get it signed by his supervisor who resides two doors down on the left hand side

 

  • Now you need to pay your fee so go back to Mr Sudan and go to his colleague and pay for as long as you want the license for, he will hand you a receipt

 

  • Go back into the building and go to window number 6 and hand in all the forms and the receipt

 

  • Your license will be ready by tomorrow Insh’Allah J

 

  • Now go pray in Masjid al Nabwi and make duaa and have patience!
Iqamah
Original Driving license
2 passport photos
Photocopy of iqamah
Photocopy of passport
Photocopy of student card
Tareef at-Talib (From Shuouna Tullab i.e. Student Affairs Office)
Photocopy of Driving License- Translation of Driving License from Kabool & Tasjeel (Next door to student affairs on 2nd floor)
400 Riyals (depending on how long you want the license for but 5 years is 220 riyals)
Malik Fahad hospital endorsed form
Green folder (depending on how the rules are)

 

Rich Muslim, Poor Muslim: A Muslims Guide to Fame & Fortune

“Whoever sees sincerity in his sincerity, his sincerity is itself in need of sincerity. The destruction of every sincere person lies in his sincerity to the extent that he sees sincerity in himself. When he abandons seeing sincerity in himself he will be sincere and purified.” – From words of the Pious Predecessors

Shaykh/Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad (May Allah bless and protect him) related to us a comment attributed to Ibn Al-Qayyim  that if a person is sincere and really enjoyed engaging in a certain act of worship e.g. supererogatory prayers, prostration, reciting Qur’an et al, then perhaps Allah The Most High will take his soul whilst that person is engaging in that act of worship. And likewise if a person is persistent in committing a sin then perhaps Allah will take that person upon that transgression and disobedience.

Subhn’Allah its really bewildering, and Allah knows best to see how there is a plethora of stories of righteous people whose end was a testimony to their habitual practices. Uthman ibn Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) was killed whilst he was fasting and reciting the Qur’an, Imam Muslim (May Allah have mercy upon him) passed away after spending a long night searching up a hadith, Shaykh Abdul Hamid Kisck (May Allah have mercy upon him) died whilst he was in prostration. In all these cases these people were known for their righteousness (certainly in the case of Uthman because of the Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) validation) and perhaps because of their sincere love for this action did Allah The Ultimate Inheritor receive them in that state of worship.

It therefore raises a very important internal question inside all of us, do we take the  matter of internal rectification and reformation into consideration and whether the ramifications of its negligence will de-facto lead to chaos both in our internal equilibrium and external demeanor. The colloquial phrase that ‘You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks‘ might raises some eyebrows and possible a few smirks among a few of us but our wise elders and seniors (May Allah bless and protect them) will most definitely be in congruent with a heavy sigh that yes unfortunately giving up bad habits becomes mission impossible with no Ethan Hunt to pull us out and more pertinently initiating a best practice ethic becomes painfully difficult in the later part of an individual’s life. There is always exceptions to the rule of course but i think if we all agree that to change ones self at a senior age is far more cumbersome than modifying yourself in the prime of youth. 

 “The one who shows off has three characteristics: he is lazy when by himself, he is lively and energetic when with others and he increases in his actions when he is praised and decreases in them when he is criticized” – Ali ibn Abi Talib

If a person doesn’t for example develop the habit of fasting regularly and sincerely for Allah besides Ramadan, the day of Arafah and Ashoora. They will find it very arduous and sometimes even burdensome to do even one extra fast on a Monday or Thursday. If a person persists upon backbiting, lying, swearing then their tongue will become accustomed to these deadly sins and furthermore embedded within their psyche permanently just like salivating or answering the call of nature. If an individual doesn’t train their heart to resist jealousy or envy or self-praising boastful speech and redirect it towards a meritorious route then that will be embodied within the just like LDL-cholesterol causes cholesterol to re-enter the blood circulatory system.

As Muslims we need to conceptualize change it doesn’t just solely come from learning through books and teachers, but comes from holistic tarbiyah of ones self. You can plant a seed in the ground but you need to water it, nourish it and adjust for ideal environmental temperatures to see it grow. A colloquial example of this is the issue of certain Islamic personalities and their styles in addressing diverse audiences. Whilst some speakers are exceptionally articulate in intellective speech but put them on a podium to a bunch of high school kids and you have the best non-benzodiapine/z-class hypnotic out there, similarly there are Muslim activists who can roil up a horde of MSA/ISOC (depending on where you live) university students to ‘get out there and save the world from poverty/drugs/IMF’ but when it comes to critically presenting the canons and nomenclature of Islamic thought with magnanimous intellectual explanations to an astute audience of leaders and academic well versed in scholastics then you are asking for a grand opening followed by an unfortunately swift ground closing.

Thus it is imperative that each and every one of us cross examine ourselves personally with a personal analysis to identify strengths, weakness and execute a pragmatic plan in trying to induce within ourselves a dynamic personality, mitigate any weakness and cover any potential gaps that remain within our characters to the best of our abilities.

If we analyse the life of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) we will come to acknowledge that he was the embodiment of the most dynamic personality that ever existed in the history of humanity. He possessed a multifaceted skill set coupled with wisdom and a deep understanding of contexts which enabled him to face up to any scenario that befell his way.

When challenged by unbeaten champions of wrestling, he would accept their offer to duel and pin them to the ground. When one of his wives became upset at him, he understood the psychology of women as to why she has reacted to this and how he needs to respond appropriately to rekindle the love & harmony so much so that every single wife of the Prophet testified that he was the exemplary, romantic, mystical hero that every woman dreams to take her as a bride on horseback riding into the sunset. When it came to war and tactics, he took council from his subordinates and was decisive in decision making. When a child would ask him something, he would give the child full attention  and publicly show loving affection to his grandsons Hassan & Hussain which illustrates the Prophet Muhammad’s insight to child psychology by illustrating the importance of giving children recognition, approval and love to foster their development into healthy adults.

33:21

‘There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent example for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often’

[The Confederates 33 : 21]

The Seerah is elegantly decorated with a galore of gems which all indicate how the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was able adapted his personality to the befit any situation presented to him.

Ibn Al-Qayyim elucidates insightful wisdom that  from the very inception of Islam, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was surrounded by companions from all different socio-economic background. From the most famous & wealthiest aristocrats of Quraish was Abu Bakar As Siddique, from the bottom scale of the ladder was the immigrant & slave Bilal ibn Rabah, from the gilt-edged elite female personalities was his wife Khadijah bint Khuwailid and from the youth was Ali ibn Abi Talib, which signifies that the message of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) appealed to people from all walks of life, status, gender and age.

We as Muslims need to reform our characteristics towards the Prophetic style of dynamism. We need to harness our skills in diplomacy, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, resourcefulness, tolerance, patience, meticulousness and so much more if we are to progress as an Ummah of sincere leaders. According to Shaykh/Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad (May Allah bless and protect him) postulates that >60% of our challenges as an ummah will be mitigated if we engage ourselves in a team based activity (Local Masjid, ISOC/MSA/Muslim Union, Charity endeavors, Dawaah initiative et al) or an organisation. Looking back at the Seerah, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was a Shepard and a business manager in his younger years. His travels across the Middle East, his interactions with a plethora of cultures & religions in Makkah and his family life with his beloved wife and four daughters all helped pave the way for him to being the timeless role model that befits everyone across the globe.

How to Protect A Good Marriage

1. Love them the way you want them to love you, speak to them the way you want them to speak to you, spend for them the way you want them to spend on you

2. Ask her about ‘what she feels when something happens’

3. If you are angry talk about it, don’t bottle it up.

4. Communicate with a gentle tone not in harsh.

It is important that both partners are able to discuss every aspect of married life openly and on a regular basis. A marriage without two-way communication will not last long.

5. If you are content with yourself it will pass on to others

Seeking fulfillment from one person, and projecting your unhappiness onto him when he doesn’t measure up will quickly destroy your marriage. If you feel unhappy, first examine reality. You will be happier if you shape your expectations to fit the reality of your situation. Expecting others to be the main source of your happiness is unrealistic. 

6. Don’t let money be everything

For the most part, it is the lack of open communication about money problems that jeopardizes a marriage more than the financial problems alone. Everyone has financial issues concerning bills, debts, spending and budgets. How a couple deals with those issues can make or break a relationship.

7. Be affectionate 

8. If you lie once, it will be very difficult to believe one another after

9. Do not avoid a hard conversation

The last point is crucial, if you cant open up that could indicate trust issues about keeping the affairs of a marriage private. And if that is the case then please reassess your marital communication.

A Wife’s Guide in Destroying her Marriage

 

Found the below points from an online post taken from a lecture by Shaykh Yahya Ibrahim (May Allah preserve him) in his Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tour. I have added some extra points from academics and anecdotes from friends to further clarify in case there is any discrepancy  regarding some points as the Shaykh has highlighted some pertinent issues that every couple needs to seriously consider before tying the knot and moreover when they say ‘I do’. Note: I hope someone can forward me Shaykh Ibrahim’s points on how a man can ruin his marriage as I couldn’t find it online and it is an equally important topic. May Allah The Most High The Most Loving bless us in our affairs and guide us to what is best in the dunya and akhirah and bless our marriages with love and mercy. Ameen

1. Discussing your problems with your friends and family members and beginning/ending the conversation say ‘Please don’t tell anyone’.

Reality Check: According to Kerry Miller, What you might think of as harmless complaining to friends and family can actually break your husband’s trust. It threatens the safety of the “couple bubble” you’ve created together. Men find this extremely humiliating and hurtful. If you really need to vent, consider talking to a doctor or therapist to keep things confidential.

2. Repeat yourself often by nagging because he is more likely to listen this way

Reality Check: Deborah Demander states that although men are stronger, women have the advantage when it comes to verbal strength. Women are adept at brandishing the sharpest words in order to shame, demean and belittle their man. Words are like toothpaste. Once they are out, there is no getting them back in. Regardless of how sorry you are afterward, the damage has been done. Men can become overwhelmed by the barrage of criticism coming at them. The result is they shut down, withdraw, and seek kindness and approval elsewhere.

3. When your husband is very angry/stressed/aggravated, you further enhance his temper by pushing his buttons until he explodes in a fit of rage

Reality Check: If is angry walk out of the room and let him be for some time, Dr. John Gray explains this in his book ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’ that men need time out to fix their problems by over thinking them and venting to themselves. Sometimes in a fight situation he is better off cooling down, sleeping over it and come back happy or in the mood to speak but further egging on the situation is only going to reciprocate foul expression and finally resorting to destructive sentences.

4. Treat them mean so that he will always be on edge & inaccessible

5. When your husband upsets you makes sure your children learn that he is a terrible man

BreakupMothers often parent differently than fathers, but not necessarily better. For instance, some studies show that parenting styles more common with dads, such as rough-and-tumble play, offer children unique developmental benefits. “Men’s resentment grows as their children develop with gaps in their competency and independence, two attributes men rate highly,” Gonsiewski says. “When a woman doesn’t trust her husband to parent she sends a message that he’s wrong and only she’s right.” Instead, “reinforce your husband for the positive contributions he makes to your children’s lives,” Dr. Haltzman recommends.

6. Withholding sexual intimacy as your ace in the hole.

While women generally need emotional intimacy to make love, men express emotional intimacy through sex, says Marla Taviano, author of Is that all he thinks about? When a wife turns down sex, in her husband’s mind, “she’s turning him down as a person,” explains Taviano. Using sex as a bargaining chip to get your needs meet isn’t negotiating—it’s emotional blackmail, which can alienate him. “Withholding sex may make your partner feel less love from you and give you less love in return,” says Dr. Haltzman.

Deborah Demander describes this point as:

Men are wired differently than women. They need physical release through sexual intimacy. When you refuse to meet that need, you are making a much deeper statement; you do not care about or respect his needs. As much as you need emotional release and closeness, he is wired to need physical release and closeness. Neither is wrong. You are just different. While you want your emotional needs met, it is important not to lose sight of his needs. Think of it this way; what if he stopped talking to you for three days? How about a week? What if he didn’t talk to you for a month? Unconscionable. Likewise, it is unfair for you to cut him off from what he needs.

7. When your friend gets something, you want to get something better instead and be one step ahead

Reality Check: There are several problems here, it shows to your husband that his hard work and effort is simply not good enough and that other women have it better and also that your a thankless person who just cant get enough of materialism. Demander says one of the quickest ways to destroy your marriage is to spend all your time acting miserable and unhappy especially when it comes to materialism. One of the goals of marriage should be peace and happiness. It is to this end that you have an obligation to be happy. If this is one of the goal ie to be happily married, it is up to you to exercise self control. There is no need to express every angry, bitter or resentful thought. By owning your own problems, you can take responsibility for your own happiness.

8. If your husband is having trouble with his family, you need to get involved too

Reality Check: Stop right here and please step back. You don’t need to get involved unless he asks you to and this should be done under serious consideration for backlash with his family especially his parents. Although its a separate point but the effect of point number 9 is the exact same. If the problem is with you then this might create hatred in your heart for his family making him further rift away from you. Plus adding to this it might be a case where the man needs to relax and take his mind away from his own families problems and by you persisting to get your nose in, it might dampen his spirits by thinking you don’t trust his judgement. Always ask to be sure on how he wants to deal with this and how you can help.

9. Complaining to your parents/family about your husband

Reality Check: This issue is one that has paved the way to divorce for one brother I know because it destroyed his relationship with his in laws who actually got his parents involved into the fiasco (Interesting this was between Arab families and not as you might assume an Asian dispute). Many many couples have broken apart because of this issue, Its sad to say that the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is lost in that let the couple deal with it themselves and this is further illustrated by the stories of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatima bint Muhammad. Demandar describes this point perfectly that the ramifications will be a permanent rift between your family (especially the women folk like your mother and sisters) and your husband.

Not only will this diminish your husband in your eyes, it will poison those closest to you. You force them to take sides, and of course they choose your side, because they want to be loyal to you. They will not look at your husband the same. Once you are over your tirade, they will still be mad at him. Your close friendships and relationships will remain irreparably altered against your husband, in time, this can destroy your marriage.

A South African elder once said to me that his sisters were told by their father to never come to our home with a facial expression of the bereaved returning from a funeral, sort your problems out yourself and you (and we) will be happy. Despite their many troubles the girls and family remained happy. The Sunnah works try it please people!

10. The silent treatment is the best way to express yourself

Reality Check: A wife giving her husband the cold shoulder for a long period of time is equally as alarming as a man venting his marriage problems to other people. Please dont keep him in the dark, it will destroy him and you too. Remember the hadith of not speaking to your bretheren for more than three days.

11. If your husband makes an achievement or does something right don’t encourage him but when he fails bury him 6 foot under the ground!

“Men will never ask for it,” Gonsiewski says, but regular doses of praise are important. “They need to hear that their wives are proud of them.” Scott Haltzman, MD, author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women, notes that men tend to be more action-oriented than women, which means they show affection in different ways. “He may empty the dishwasher as a way of saying he cares about you.” Haltzman’s suggestion: “Pay attention to what he does, and let him know you notice.”

12. Argue in front of the children using vulgar words and emotional abuse

Reality Check: Self-explanatory but doing this will destroy his foundations because he knows that the children will always take the mothers side especially if they are young, naive and innocent. When the same kids grow old they will regret taking sides and be more inclined to peace in the household and question the mothers tactics of abusing their father so veraciously thereby causing you to have a backlash with them. Whats worse is that the sons might treat the future spouses with animosity and the daughters fighting tooth and nail with their husbands to be because they saw the mother doing so to daddy, In the end nobody wins.

13. Having trust issues, being suspicious and expressing it like ‘I feel shes after you, can i check your phone’

Reality check: this can be daunting for a lot of couples, the issue of other genders being involved and yes it is normal to be jealous of them however the lie is drawn when you react extremely poorly to a situation that isn’t even his fault e.g. a lady coming over to ask for directions. Men are visual creatures, Dr. Meunier says, so it’s not surprising that a typical heterosexual man would notice a good-looking woman. “Women who understand this and don’t take it personally minimize unproductive fights about jealousy.” When a wife overreacts to a situation, her husband will likely feel defensive, and eventually, resentful. Dr. Meunier’s advice? “Chill out.”

14. TV is the first thing on and last thing off and it becomes the babysitter for your children

Reality Check: The most horrific thing a man can comprehend is if his children receive poor upbringing from the mother. Parenting is a critical responsibility but the reality is that the mother spends more time with then children than the father and this further deflates his confidence.

15. Talking about previous relationships (couting, engagment or even intimate) with other men

Reality Check: If he says to you ‘so why dont you back to him’ its because you have just completely desecrated his human feelings by comparing him to someone else who you left or didn’t go for and are now praising. It will being to him feelings of insecurities and a de-surfacing of mental peace because now someone else is brought into the picture. Just imagine if he said such and such is beautiful or she is the best homemaker ever, how would you feel?

16. Treating your husband like a child.

“A big issue I see in couples is a man resenting his partner because he feels she talks down to him,” says Mary Kelleher, LMFT. This can leave him feeling “less-than,” and nothing triggers resentment faster than inadequacy. So avoid threatening his independence—the way pressuring him to go for a promotion so he’ll bring home more money may be perceived—suggests couples therapist Vagdevi Meunier, PsyD. “No one wants to feel ‘managed’ by a spouse,” Dr. Meunier says. 

The Boy And The Apple Tree

A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples, took a nap under the shadow…he loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him. Time went by…the little boy had grown up and he no longer played around the tree every day.

One day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad . “Come and play with me” the tree asked the boy. “I am no longer a kid, I do not play around trees any more” the boy replied. “I want toys. I need money to buy them.” “Sorry, but I do not have money… but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money.” The boy was so excited. He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. The boy never came back after he picked the apples. The tree was deeply saddened.

One day, the boy who now turned into a man returned and the tree was excited “Come and play with me” the tree said. “I do not have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me ? ” ” Sorry, but I do not have any house. But you can chop off my branches to build your house.” So the man cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the man never came back since then. The tree was again lonely and upset.

One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted. “Come and play with me!” the tree said. “I am getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat ?” said the man . “Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy.” So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for a long time.

Finally, the man returned after many years. ” Sorry, my boy. But I do not have anything for you anymore. No more apples for you …” the tree said. “No problem, I do not have any teeth to bite” the man replied. “No more trunk for you to climb on” “I am too old for that now” the man said. “I really cannot give you anything… the only thing left is my dying roots” the tree said with tears. “I do not need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years” the man replied. “Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest, Come, come sit down with me and rest.” The man sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.

This is a story for everyone..
The tree is like our parents…
When we were young, we loved to play with our Mum and Dad….
When we grow up, we leave them only come to them when we need something or when we are in trouble…..
No matter what……
parents will always be there and…….
Give everything they could………
Just to make you happy………

You may think the boy is cruel to the tree, but that is how all of us treat our parents. We take them for granted we don’t appreciate all they do for us, UNTIL it’s too late. May Allah forgive us of our shortcomings and may He Guide us, Ameen

Love your Parents for the Al-Mighty Lord has stationed them as the first commandment after the axiom of affirmation of His worship alone:

17:23

17:24

And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” [Al-Isra 17:24]

Kaab Ibn Ujrah (May Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said came near to the mimbar and we came near the mimbar. When He (Peace be upon him) climbed the first step of the mimbar, He (Peace be upon him) said “Ameen”, When He (Peace be upon him) ascended the second step, He (Peace be upon him) said “Ameen”, When He (SAW) climbed the third step, He (Peace be upon him) said “Ameen” When He (Peace be upon him) came down, We said “Oh Prophet of Allah (Peace be upon him), we have heard from you today something which we never heard before” He (Peace be upon him) said When I climbed the first step, the angel Jibraeel (Peace be upon him) appeared before me and said:

“Destruction to him who found the blessed month of Ramadhan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness”  upon that I said ‘Ameen’. When I climbed the second step, he said, “Destruction to him before whom thy name is taken and then he does not make Dua for Allah’s blessing on me (by saying, for example Peace be upon him).” I replied ‘Ameen’. When I climbed the third step, he said “Destruction unto him in whose lifetime his parents or either one of them reaches old age, and (through failure to serve them) he is not allowed to enter Jannah”. I said ‘Aameen’. (Hakim, Baihaqi)

Revisiting the Key to Real Success!

Water Drop on Flower Petal Wallpaper

Words of wisdom from a few amalgamated reminders from the esteemed Shaykh/Dr. Haitham al Haddad (May Allah bless and protect him) to university students

Let us come back to the reality of the situation and internalize the truth of the matter. Why are you here? Whats your purpose? Whats your goal? Whats your target? Whats your aspiration? Whats your aim? What is it that you seriously want to achieve?

If we analyse the time spent by the average human being with the benign engagements of life we extrapolate that the average person spends most of their day revolved around sleeping, eating, driving, talking and family life yet without any type of internal goal as to why they engage in such activities only to come to the conclusion that it is for the sake of doing it and nothing more! Why spend 5,6,7,8….10,15 years in study only to then get a job and work until you die? Why study medicine, Islamic studies, engineering et al? why oh why? Whereas other Muslims are doing the exact same physical actions yet they are earning mountains of righteous deeds and building high palaces made of Gold and Silver in paradise. Why dear brothers and sisters?

51:56
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. [The Winnowing Winds: 56]
The above verse is frequently quoted in regards to ones purpose in life but the question that begs to be asked subsequent to this axiom of our existence, is how are we fulfilling this role? If every single thing we do not in conjunction or in accordance with this magnanimous task then what are we actually doing?  If we take the statement of Ibrahim (Upon whom be peace) where he says:
 
6:162

“Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. He has no partner.” [Al-An’am 06:162-163]

People would never engage in anything except that it has direct affirmation in the remembrance of Allah The Most High. The food on our table will be consumed for nutritional value to continue worshiping Allah, Our sleep with be enough (not exhaustive nor too miserly) to re freshen energy for our day to day transactions, every  free moment that we obtain shall be used to remember Allah The Most High. A person who acknowledges this and affirms it practically will never become tired and will always be cautious in questioning their inner self whether this act is for the sake of Allah The Most High or not and reminding that every single act will be accountable for on the day of judgement!

A scholar by the name of Ibn Abi Jamir once stated that he wished that there were scholars whose single sole job it was to remind people to rectify their intentions. In order that they may revisit this premise about whether or not this act is truly devoted to raise the word of Allah The Most High to the highest and to solely seek His pleasure hence de-facto ensuring that we consistently renewing this premise.

Flower Petal on Wet Stone Wallpaper

Imam of the Muhadditheen, Sufyan ath-Thawri once said;

“I have not treated anything more difficult then my intention, because it keeps changing.”

The scholar of the Salaf, Abdullah Ibn al-Mubarak said:

“Maybe a small action is made great by its intention, and maybe a great action is made small by its intention.”

There are many examples of contemporaries who strove to achieve this dream and are now praised by the Muslim Ummah. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen, Shaykh Bin Baz and Shaykh Ibn Jibreen (May Allah The Most Merciful bestow mercy upon them all) were known mostly for their humbleness, refined etiquettes and chivalrous attributes more than their extensive knowledge, yet none of them ever considered themselves to be scholars. One of the heads of the Haramain (Makkah and Madinah) known by the name of Saleh Al Kusair (May Allah The Most Merciful bestow mercy upon him) was also man of intentions, a man with his merits could have inherited any top class salary post of his liking in Saudia Arabia but was so humble that he published a book under a pen name to hide his good deeds, a story of the Shaykh was that once he traveled to South Africa via plane and upon arrival the invitees were frantically looking for him until they gave up their search, they later found out that he arrived to South Africa not adorned as a ‘Shaykh‘ but with simply sub-Indian style clothing so as to not show himself of someone of importance.

We need to constantly remember that failure to comply to this imperative trajectory faces the most destructive ramifications imaginable as stated by The Prophet Muhammad (Upon whom be peace):

“Whoever seeks knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, or to debate with the foolish, or to draw people’s attention, Allah will put him into the Fire.” (Narrated from Tirmidhi as taken from Mishkat).

On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (Upon whom be peace) say:

The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Quran that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to his His favours and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which Flowers, Seductive  Flowers Petals And Water Desktop Photo Wallpaper Background ~ Seductive  Flowers Petals and Water Desktop Photo Wallpaper BackgroundYou like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.

It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasa’i).

”….It must be noted that if Allah knows that a person is committed to achieving his goal He will help him to achieve it. It is amazing to read the stories that establish this point. Once Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, Musab ibn al-Zubair, Urwah ibn al-Zubair and Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab gathered together in al-Hijr next to the Kaʽbah and they said to each other let us wish. As for Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, he wanted to be the caliph over the Hijaz, Musab ibn al-Zubair wanted to be the governor of Iraq and to marry beautiful women. Urwah ibn al-Zubair desired to be a scholar of hadith and Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab wished for paradise. al-Dhahabi, the great historian said that everyone received what they desired (we pray that Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab will receive paradise)”

Dr. Haitham Al-Haddad [Do not live without a Vision – Islam21c (Click here to access it)] 

Which reminds me of the final ayah that we recite at least once a week on Fridays. When Allah The Most High, The Most Merciful states:

18:110

“So whosoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord.”

[Al-Kahf 18:110]

We ask Him by His Beautiful Names to bless with with that blessed meeting to see His Blessed Face. Ameen

Polygamy, Illness, Tears and Blindness [Four Stories]

The Prophet (saw) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death
(Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

Story One: The Blind Boy

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: “I am blind, please help.” There were only a few coins in the hat. A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words. Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.

The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?”

The man said, “I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”

What he had written was: “Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it.”

Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing? Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so blessed that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

“It is He, Who has created for you (the sense of) hearing (ears), sight (eyes), and hearts (understanding). Little thanks you give.”

[Surah Al-Mu’minun; 78]

Story Two: Illness

Assalam Aleikom all my brothers and sisters.

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you all about the value of our lives.

We all know death is real but haven’t tasted it. I have contracted a stomach disease that will leave me on medicine for the rest of my life. Also the risk of contracting other complications. As it stands I haven’t been able to use the toilet for 3 days. The medicines I’m being given are causing this but effectively are helping in preventing my situation from worsening. We should value our lives and show thanks to Allah as just the ability to go to the toilet is a gift given to us all by Allah. Allah has provided us with countless other blessings…I put myself at examples hand now and InShaaAllah I hope this will affect each and everyone of us in a positive way. Life is a test. 

Allah gives …and Allah takes. Let’s take care of our bodies as they are leased to us by Allah and one day Allah will take them back without notice.

We should make dua at all times, not only during times of distress. The Prophet Muhammad (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “Whosoever desires that Allah answers his duas in unfavorable and difficult conditions, he should make plentiful dua in days of ease and comfort.” Also he (sal-Allahu-alayhi-wa-sallam) said: “The person who does not ask from Allah, Allah becomes angry with him.” Please remember me in your duas and I will remember you in mine In Shaa Allah.

Mohammed

Story 3: Tears

A little boy asked his mother, “Why are you crying?”

“Because I need to” she said.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

His mother just hugged him and said, “And you never will.”

Later the little boy asked his father, “Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?”

“All women cry for no reason,” his dad answered carelessly. 

The little boy, still wondering why women cry, finally asked the old wise shaikh (scholar). “He surely knows the answer”, he thought.

“Ya Shaikh! Why do women cry so easily?”

The Shaikh answered:

“When Allah made the woman she had to be special. He made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.

He gave an inner strength to endure both childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.

He gave her a toughness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.

He gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child hurts her badly.

He gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart. He gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

And lastly, He gave her a tear. This is hers and only hers exclusively to use whenever she needs it. She needs no reason, no explanation, its hers.

You see my son, the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the beauty of her face, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is her piety and must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart – the place where love resides.”

“This world is just temporary conveniences, and the best comfort in this world is a righteous
women.” Sahih Muslim 10/56, Kitab al-rida’, bab istihbab nikah al-bikr.

Story 4: My Journey Through Polygamy (a true story)

Second wife! The words reverberated through my brain. Why? Am I not good enough? Never! I will never accept a second wife! If you want a second wife you can go out and get one, as long as you know that I will not be here when you come back!

Those were my words to my husband a few years ago when he mentioned to me that he is intending to marry a second time.

It was a woman recently divorced, 4 children. She is having a hard time, he said, she does not know where the next meal is coming from or how to provide adequately for her children.

“Where is their father?” I asked, “Can’t he take care of his own kids? Why do you a strange man have to carry another man’s burdon? Surely there are other ways that you can help her out financially without having to MARRY her!

I could not imagine myself in a plural marriage. Sharing my husband with another woman. Sharing his love, his smiles, his jokes with a woman other than myself.

I could not fathom him holding her close and whispering loving words in her ears. It was unacceptable. An outrage. After all I have been to him. Wife, lover, mother, doctor, housekeeper.

I raised 3 of his beautiful children. How can he insult me by marrying another woman as if I am not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not young enough or just plain not ENOUGH! NO! I could not accept that and I vehemently made my stance clear to him.

If she walks in, I walk out! Plain and simple. If he is willing to risk our marriage, our life, our children for another woman, then he must go ahead. I will not stand for it!

It all seems so many years ago now. When I thought that life would last forever and that nothing will ever change…But it did..

My husband did not get married to a second wife. After all my warnings and threats of leaving he abandoned the idea. I don’t know what happened to the women and children. My guess is that they moved on to another town.

He never mentioned a second wife again and I was happy with that. I managed to hang on to my husband but I didn’t know that our time was running out.

His last words to me were that he had a headache and is going to lie down till Esha. He never prayed Esha that night, because he never woke up.

I was devastated by his sudden death. The man whom I have spent my life with, snatched away from me in a second. I mourned him for a long, long time. Neglecting my children and the business. Soon all went to waste and we started losing everything one by one. First the car then the shop, then the house.

We moved in with my brother and his family. My 3 children and I crowded the house and my sister in law soon became annoyed by our presence. I needed to get out, to work and find a place of our own instead of living off the leftovers of others. But I had no skill.

When my husband was alive we lived comfortably. I had no need to go out and work or or equip myself with a skill. Life was very difficult for me and my children and I wasn’t young anymore. I missed him everyday with every beat of my heart. How could ones condition change so drastically?

One day my brother told me that someone he knew is looking for a wife. He was a good person, good akhlaq and very pious. Perfect for me, but he wants me to be his second wife.

It’s the second time in my life that the word second wife was mentioned to me. But how different the circumstances.

He came to my brothers house to see me. There was an immediate connection between us. I liked him and I liked everything about him. He told me that his first wife knows that he is intending to marry again but that she is obviously not supportive of the idea and that he doesn’t know what her reaction will be when he tells her that he had found someone. His answer he said, will be dependent on her acceptance of Polygamy.

I did Istikhara that night. I so desperately wanted it to work out. I remembered so many years ago when the life of another woman depended on my decision and what my decision was. I felt contrite, I felt that because I did not give another woman a chance, a space in my life, that Allah will punish me this time around.

I repented, not once in my life did I think my action worthy of repentance because I had done nothing wrong.

I only protected what was mine. Now that I am on the receiving end, I realised how wrong I was in denying another woman this PRIVILEGE of a husband.

I prayed that she will accept me. He phoned me a few days later telling me that his wife is having a hard time accepting it but that she is willing to meet me.

I was nervous the day of the meeting. I prayed a lot the day before and asked Allah to help me. When I met her, she was a person, a woman like me . A woman who loves her husband and fears losing him.

She took my hand and with tears in her eyes said: ” This is very hard for me, but I hope that we can be sisters” her words broke my heart. All I needed in these dark days was a hand reaching out to me and embracing me, giving me hope and the will to carry on.

His wife was to me, the woman that I could not be and I will be forever grateful for that. I thought that no one could love her husband the way I loved mine, but she taught me the true meaning of unconditional love.

‘I want my sons to be Martyrs’ – Memoirs from my Gaza Trip

“The incursion and bombardment of Gaza (Operation Pillar of Defense)  is not about destroying Hamas. It is not about stopping rocket fire into Israel, it is not about achieving peace. The Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians.’’

Chris Hedges [1]

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful. Peace & Blessings be upon all of His Prophets & Messengers (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad et al).

17:1

Exalted is He who took His Servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al- Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, to show him of Our signs. Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Seeing.

[Al-Israa 17:1]

In the above verse, The Creator of the universe, Allah The Most High describes how His Final Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) embarked on the blessed night journey from the sacred valley of Makkah to the hallowed city of Jerusalem. What intrigues the reader is that Allah; The All-Mighty delineates the circumferential area of the Levant as magnanimous and sanctified. The story beautifully continues wmuharraqi_image53ith the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) praying in the consecrated Aqsa sanctuary as the spiritual lead of 120,000 Prophets and Messengers including those mentioned earlier, all of whom were sent by Allah with the analogous axiom of affirmation, recognition and acknowledgement in the One True God who is The Only One worthy of worship. It was in Palestine where these chosen alumni of Prophethood were amalgamated as a singular brotherhood in faith with the leadership anointed to the best of creation; Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (Peace be upon him). It was in Palestine where a few decades later the commander of the faithful Umar ibn Al-Khattab would sign a covenant with the Christian Patriarch standardizing plurality long before the enactment of the Geneva Convention. It was in Palestine, where the rise and fall of sovereignties such as that of Alexander the Great, the Children of Israel, the Romans, the Byzantiums et al occurred. It was in Palestine where the clash of empires eventuated after Pope Urban the second’s inflammatory speech (documented in Dr. Thomas Asbridge’s book, The First Crusade) ignited the beginning of the infamous Crusades consequently inflaming east-west tensions that would ensue even till today. [2] Palestine is a theme which never ceases to be romanticized in poems, books, films (Kingdom of Heaven et al), games, documentaries and folklore. Sadly to say Palestine has been the ‘hidden under the carpet’ biggest day light robbery of the 20th century with Gaza being described by British Prime Minister David Cameron as a “prison camp’’ and “some sort of open-air prison”. [3]

Yes I do. I believe in the one-state solution as the only just and functional settlement for the conflict. I think anyone who is more than five minutes on the ground in the West Bank realises there is no space there for an independent Palestinian state. And moreover, anyone who ponders a bit deeper about the reasons for the conflict understands that only such a political outfit could respond to all aspects of the conflict: the dispossession of the Palestinians in 1948, the discrimination against the Palestinians in Israel and the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

– Professor Ilan Pappe [4]

 

Ever since I was in primary school, the news headline that repeated itself frequently was the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Photographs of Palestinian Nationalist Yasser Arafat, interceptions from Bill Clinton and skewed comments Israeli officials always captured the headlines of CNN and Sky News. I once asked my father and his friend on why this conflict is happening, with the response to my questions being ‘it’s a long story’. Many years later, I attended a two day history of Palestine seminar which demystified many misconceptions I had prior to being educated about the topic e.g. the earliest known population inhabiting Palestine were the Cannanites with the Children of Israel only reaching its shores many millennium later and the founder of modern day Zionism Theodore Herztl was more inclined towards atheism in his dogma rather than Judaism. He called for the enactment of the active establishment of a Zionist state which is dichotomous to the Jewish creed [5].

After this and more, I took a little more interest in the Palestinian conflict, flicking through the works of Naom Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Illan Pappe and watching documentaries such as Occupation 101 documentary and John Pilger’s Palestine is still the issue. Through this research, I realized the double standard trajectory upheld by the western powers in depicting the usurpers as the victims and the victims as the criminals by portraying the Palestinians as an ignorant horde of bloodthirsty thugs who took pleasure in butchering Israeli women and children.Altair - Cliff over Jerusalem by Khaligarth Whereas the reality is that the USA has sent more aid to Israel than it has to all third world countries combined and vetoed in its favor on several occasions when faced with war crime charges. From education seminars to protests in O’Connell Street and the Israeli Embassy, from the horrific bombardment of Operation Cast lead 2009 to the shocking Operation Pillar of Defense (OPOD) 2012, from playing Saladin in Age of Empires II (The Age of Kings) to Al-Tair in the debut game series Assassins Creed, all stimulated my desire to one day go to Palestine and witness the land of the Prophets which was already embedded deeply in my heart. My hopes were elevated when I clicked on a link of Sabeel (MRDF educational branch) & Amaana Tours trip to Jerusalem. I decided to take annual leave from work at the time to go but this was quickly disintegrated when the Israelis made it impossible to traverse into the holy land due to OPOD in Gaza. However, when I discovered that some local elders and community leaders were organizing a humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza, this was my iron in the fire moment, so without thinking twice, I lunged to the organizers to short list my name for joining the expedition!

‘Indeed, Ahmed al-Jaabari, the Hamas leader whose assassination by Israel triggered the current round of fighting (Operation Pillar of Defense), was regarded by Israel as the chief enforcer of the periodic ceasefires, and was in the process of enforcing another such ceasefire just as he was liquidated.’

Dr. Norman Finkelstein [6]

Not shortly after that, The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS)  Ireland organised a charity fundraiser titled Operation Pillar of Hope with the objective of raising as much funds as possible for the convoy. Speakers included Ustadh Adnan Rashid and some representatives from the Palestinian Rights Institute (PRI). The Dinner was an outstanding success by the 2012/2013 committee who raised €20,000+ for basic amenities, water supply, ireland gaza flageducational institutions et al – all within one week of planning for the dinner. The original date for departure was in January 2013 but this was forwarded to February 2013 due to a delay on the groups’ part in sending the passports for visa approval from the Egyptian Embassy! The days that passed by seemed like hours. I experienced a cocktail of emotions – hysteria, apprehensiveness, juiced up and a little anxious, however all negative emotions were easily vanquished by the sheer excitement that I was finally going to go to Palestine.

Finally the day arrived where I packed my luggage in my ole’ trustworthy travel bag. I bade farewell to my family and embraced my beloved mother (May Allah bless and protect her) at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland Mosque (Clonskeagh, Dublin). We had a generous sized, scrumptious breakfast in the Olive tree restaurant where I met with UCD/PMC medical students Rafi Yusop, Qistina Saharudin and Dr. Mohsin Mirza, Dr. Muhammad Mukhtar and a Saudi brother Saleh Tamimi. Other members on the convoy were Imam Hussain Halawa (ICCI Imam), Imam Yahya Hussain (Islamic Foundation of Ireland Imam), Dr. Muhammad Ramadan (Nurul Huda Quran School Principle), Dr. Abdel Basit El Sayed [Father of our beloved friend Hozaifah El Sayed (May Allah have mercy upon him)], his wife Aunty Asma and their little son Ali. This was going to be a memorable trip Insh’Allah!

My parents often wondered why I would grow so indignant at the falsification and exploitation of the Nazi genocide. The most obvious answer is that it has been used to justify criminal policies of the Israeli state and U.S. support for these policies

– Dr. Norman Finkelstein (The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering) [7]

Dublin-Istanbul-Cairo-Sinai-Gaza 

If ever there was the longest journey of my life, it was this! Two flights, from Dublin to Istanbul and then to Cairo, subsequently a long haul bus drive from Cairo through Sinai and then waiting endlessly for four hours at the Rafah crossing checkpoint for no apparent reason except for a constipated bureaucratic system that unfortunately wasn’t hoisted alongside Hosni Mubarak’s old tyrannical regime. Despite the long journey, I had memories galore from my previous visits to Istanbul, Egypt and Sinai; Istanbul being the land of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt where I stayed previously for a month with my brother and friends.  Istanbul airport was delightful, packed with scrumptious restaurants and bustling with energy from all walks of life but was paradoxical to the complete mess that the Egyptian-Rafah border was in. Litter, dirt and disorganization in every accord leaked from the Egyptian authorities. We prayed Fajr en route to the border in a small mosque in the Sinai desert and had a light breakfast before making our way again. Thankfully this was a journey where I slept very peacefully in the bus journey and through the entire ordeal at the Rafah land port until we finally had to go through customs before stepping into Palestinian territory. Instead of narrating a day by day description, I am going to break the experiences into themed chapters to allow the reader to conceptualize my experiences.


Gaza #1 …..First Impressions & Agriculture 

When we finally survived through the gridlocked chaos of Egypt, Palestine seemed to be the polar opposite. The Palestinian border checkpoint was swift, easy, clean, organised with the staff being extremely friendly. We were greeted by the local authorities with coffee in a very elegant room which contained leather couches, mahogany wood, light brown curtains and a soft carpet. Shaykh Hussain 525305_432391850171566_544202906_nHalawa prostrated in thanks to Allah for allowing us the opportunity to visit this blessed land and others followed in his example. After leaving the Palestinian customs we were greeted by our guide Brother Ahmad Dalloul and soon made our way into Gaza city.

The outskirts of Gaza is mostly agricultural land used by the locals as a source of food. Prior to the last Israeli aggression against Gaza in November 2012, Palestinians in Gaza where prohibited by the Israelis from cultivating near the borders of Israel otherwise they risk losing their lives. A buffer zone was created which meant that Palestinian farmers were unable to cultivate their land which is adjacent to the border. Part of the deal which paved the way for the ceasefire between the Gaza government and Israel in November 2012 was that the farmers were to be allowed to cultivate their land in these buffer zones without hindrance by Israel. One of the local elders showed us around some of agricultural fields and pointed to heavily fortified and meticulously armed Israeli borders with Gaza. One of the farmers even showed us a shrapnel piece from an Israeli rocket that landed in one of the fields.20130208_145824

Gaza city isn’t your average metropolis where you have sky scrapers or autobahns but it is a city full of life and people. At times I would occasionally elevate my head towards the  expecting an incoming F-16 fighter jet or an Apache helicopter ready to extirpate everything in its close proximity, but this worry would be mitigated by the serene atmosphere present in Gaza. There was graffiti on the walls, but not your typical attention seeking ‘I was here 2014’ or ‘Joe

Our first stroll into the city was at night time by browsing through the streets and going into a local convenient store, which had a selection of products including Israeli. The night was cloudless, decorated with the luminous stars of the night with the silence only broken by the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.

My initial impression, after a visit of several days, was amazement, not only at the ability to go on with life, but also at the vibrancy and vitality among young people, particularly at the university, where I spent much of my time at an international conference

– Professor Naom Chomsky [8]

In full honesty, I was perplexed to see how the inhabitants of this place can get back into mundane routine so soon after a shock and awe attack by the Israelis a few months prior and only two years since OCL as if nothing had happened! One would expect the general populace to be depressed and down trodden butThis is a phenomenon for me, as working in community pharmacy and the mental health/addiction services in Ireland, it is sadly run of the mill a plethora of psychiatric medication to people living in Ireland who have access to basic amenities that many in 3rd world countries can only dream of, yet despite all these luxuries, nearly every day two people commit suicide in Ireland. [27]

It’s interesting to note that on the way to Gaza city we saw what looked like a high-tech hot air balloon in the sky and upon querying what it was, we were told that the Israelis have installed a giant camera which hovers the bright blue sky like a hot air balloon overlooking Gaza with the aim of constantly sending live feed into Tel Aviv. It made me realize how the coined phrase police state that refers to some draconian style governments in the west is an understatement to what the Israeli government engages in on a daily basis.

“The children walking over the bricks of their destroyed homes, their mother putting up a tent, their father in jail… in tears and confusion looking at the tanks coming down the street, the men holding metre-long machine guns… they stare… need I say more …just imagine how it would feel to be a Palestinian….” [9]

Gaza #2…..Children of Gaza

According to Unicef the population of Gaza is 1,644,293 people with 839,000 children below the age of 18 i.e. 51 % of Gaza’s civilians! There are 251,829 children under the age of five, including 54,923 under 12 months. One quarter of children under five are anemic, and 10 per cent of children stunted (short/age). [10]

There are children everywhere is Gaza, playing & laughing on every street corner, in every alleyway, in every household and every residential area. These children are bursting with energy, intelligence and to put it colloquially so cute MashAllah! When they saw our tour group they welcomed us 20130208_093004with their beautiful smiles. It meant the world to them if you greeted them with the greetings of peace and shook their hands. I deeply wished I could speak Arabic because each one looked eager to share their personal stories and accounts of the Israeli transgression.

Love and acceptance are 2 major factors that are pertinent in child development as is the relationship with its parent/elder. Take these away and the child can be damaged emotionally and feel neglected especially from the absence of parental affection. Judith E. Carroll, a research scientist at the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA, stated that “If the child has love from parental figures they may be more protected from the impact of abuse on adult biological risk for health problems than those who don’t have that loving adult in their life.” [11]

Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD (Professor of child psychiatry) of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition states that “This study validates something that seems to be intuitive, which is just how important nurturing parents are to creating adaptive human beings…I think the public health implications suggest that we should pay more attention to parents’ nurturing, and we should do what we can as a society to foster these skills because clearly nurturing has a very, very big impact on later development.” [The Washington University in St. Laois] [12]

Hence, one can only imagine what goes through the mind of an orphan who has lost their parents at a very young age due to war, yet there are 10,000’s in Gaza city alone who have lost their parents as a direct result of the recent Israeli incursions. Thankfully, there are well grounded charitable organisations such as Human Appeal International et al who alone look after 8000 children in Gaza. We visited one of the HAI orphanages that nurture 20130210_143811 some of these children. A plethora of emotions flood ones cognitive faculties seeing these children who lost their fathers as martyrs in the war against Israel. The love, attention and sacrifice given by a parent to a child is irreplaceable and truly an unconditional gift from Allah, The Ultimate Bestower. Rafi, Saleh, Abdul Karim and I gathered a group of these children and gave them some words of affection and love on behalf of all the Muslim youth in Ireland. Rafi was very kind to distribute sweets to many of the children and Abdul Karim made them laugh with his theatrics. Suffice to say that the understanding and maturity of these youth can be summed up by a small incident; I was on the bus and a few children from Khan Younis accompanied us on a trip and a seven year old girl very casually asked me “Do you support Fatah or Hamas?” She then went on to explain that I was wearing a yellow shirt which was the party color of Fatah! Comical as this incident was, it caused me to have cognizance that these children weren’t kept in the dark about the reality of the world and that they had seen with their very own eyes the betrayal of the Palestinian people’s trust by various factions, the hypocrisy of western hegemonies, especially the USA in voicing unfathomable support for Israel and the pin drop silent bystander attitude of many countries in not taking the ethical stance towards this conflict.

‘Before the recent escalation (OCL 2009) we had enough medicine and disposables to last a month, under normal circumstances. Those supplies ran out within two days of the conflict due to the large number of casualties. We had to treat many injured children; some were so severely wounded that we couldn’t save them; others survived but will have to live with disabilities and health problems.’ – Dr. Ayman Sahabani [Head of A&E, al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza] [13]


Gaza#3….Hospitals & Water

20130209_122623 According to UNICEF, secondary care is limited to 25 hospitals across the Gaza Strip, providing 2,047 beds, or 1.3 beds per 1,000 people, with 3,520 physicians and 5,910 nurses. [10] The World Health Organisation warned of “severe shortages” in medical facilities in Gaza with some medicines running out. [14]

We visited a few hospitals including the famous al-Shifa Hospital and saw that the condition within each of the hospitals was elementary with pertinent medical instruments of machines being in scarcity. One lady pleaded to us explaining that she had to walk a few kilometers from where she lived to get kidney dialysis on a regular basis. HAI Gaza informed us that after every siege, the availability of medicine is substantially depleted and insufficient to attend to the needs of the civilians. It was however very positive to see the fantastic endeavors of charitable organisations in establishing medical facilities to accommodate the needs of the people of Gaza. Moreover we met North Americans who were volunteering to assist in providing free medical services to these hospitals. It is heart warming to see that irrespective of culture, color or nationality, there are people of humanity in this world and are willing to go to extra lengths to give the other a helping hand.

20130209_111154A more tragic shortage is the water situation within Gaza. UNICEF states that the coastal aquifer is the only source of freshwater. 95% of its water is unfit for human consumption. [10] The aquifer could become unusable as early as 2016 with the damage irreversible by 2020. 90 million litres of untreated and partially treated waste water is dumped into the Mediterranean each day. [10] The average water consumption for personal and domestic use in Gaza is about 80-90 litres, below the 100 litres per capita per day recommended by WHO. [10]

As we drove passed a shanty town we witnessed the desperate water situation with presence of sewage on a 20130209_124732grand scale leaking out on to the roads. The melancholic sight requires immediate humanitarian support from the world in ensuring that the people have adequate sanitation and water supply for domestic usage. Thankfully, water purification projects such as a newly established HAI water refinery plant will help in trying to mitigate the water crisis that seems to be only worsening in Gaza. For anyone reading this post, the next time you gulp water remember that the glass/cup/bottle that you’re drinking from is elutriated with purified water, never mind the drinking water itself! So contemplate on the situation of the people of Gaza.

“Goldstone has done terrible damage to the cause of truth and justice and the rule of law. He has poisoned Jewish-Palestinian relations, undermined the courageous work of Israeli dissenters and—most unforgivably—increased the risk of another merciless IDF assault.” ― Dr. Norman G. Finkelstein [15]

Gaza #4….Israeli Aggression & Recovery 20130208_104946

According to Adam Taylor’s artilce in The Washington Post:

2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense, 167 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military, according to human rights 20130209_170542group B’Tselem, who said that less than half of that number were believed to be taking part in hostilities. The same report said six Israelis had died: Four civilians and two members of the Israeli security forces. In the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the pattern was also evident. According to numbers released by the Israeli Defense Force, 1,166 Palestinians died during that conflict, 709 of which the IDF said were  “Hamas terror operatives.” Thirteen Israelis died, three of whom were non-combatants. [16]

Whilst we visited several places in Gaza, it was devastating to see that Israel’s leviathan tactics didn’t just target Hamas posts as described earlier but also targeting government buildings such as the Palestinian National Authority Council of Ministers (as shown above), the central Police station, the National Islamic Bank and even had the audacity to outrageously hit a special needs 20130209_120659stadium (picture of it on the right hand side of this paragraph). Unfortunately, the question fails to be asked to the Israeli cabinet by the superpowers of the world that; is every street, is every building, is every home and is every child a defense shield used by Hamas? In Irish colloquial terms that’s like a school bully getting caught by the headmaster to only blame those whom he bullied simply because ‘He started it!”.

Slide1

We acquainted with the father (Jamal) and brother (Abdullah) of the Dalou family as part of visiting families who were affected by Israeli aggression in the last IDF assault. When we sat down we were offered traditional Arab tea and snacks. The brother started to narrate to us in Arabic regarding what had happened. Being a non-Arabic speaker, I couldn’t understand what was being said but then to my utter surprise people around me burst into tears so I hastily asked Dr. Mohsin what is going on, to which he replied that Israel bombed this man’s home and he lost 9 of his family members including his wife, his mother, his aunt, two sisters and all four of his children. It makes a person envisage what if this incident happened to their own families, the sorrow of which consequently leads to shedding tears just considering the thought of losing one’s loved ones but then realizing that this is the reality of this man’s world. Allah Musta’an.

Another place which was the main bridge in Gaza was also obliterated by the Israelis. Here we made a tribute to FOSIS Ireland with one of the engineers working on the project undertaken by HAI.

It is quite bewildering when we consider that being one of the most devastated places on earth, it doesn’t need much contemplating that many people are in desperate need of aid and some would un-blameworthy resort to imploring. In contrast to this thought we didn’t witness any beggars barring one 20130208_162314or two people throughout the entire trip. In many countries, if not all countries across the globe there are people who seek help on the streets, some bona fide but plenty ingénue (May Allah protect us all and guide us to the right path). None of these places are war torn (with the exceptions of Egypt and Syria but I am referring to the pre-Arab spring era) yet begging is abundant in these areas but what is fascinating is, how resilient the people of Gaza are. We were later told that this was the decades long nurturing by the spiritual guide of Hamas, Shaykh Ahmed Yassin – a paraplegic man who taught people to become self-sufficient and never turn to begging until the final straw. One famous story is how a man once came to him for money. Shaykh Yassin would never hand out money carelessly and so he asked the man what his skill-set was to which the man replied ‘I can drive’. Consequently the Shaykh bought him a car and thus the man never resorted to begging again. Today Gaza lives the legacy of Shaykh Ahmad Yassin of ‘a giving hand is better than a taking hand’ [(in line with the Prophetic teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)] with genuine cases are disseminated charitable funds via entrusted channels and investments are especially considered into self-sustaining, renewable projects e.g. water and agriculture. In fact, one of the most promising projects was the 1 million date palm project which again illustrates the malleableness of the Palestinians in Gaza that despite continual blitzkriegs orchestrated by Tel Aviv, the will and determination is only getting stronger Insha’Allah.

Gaza #5…..Hospitality of the Palestinians

If you haven’t been hosted from the people of the Levant then you have never experienced true Arab hospitality. From my personal experience, the Arabs from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon have the best hospitality from among all the Arabs.  The introduction, presentation, lively discussions, desertRice and farewell are always commendable. In Irish colloquial terms, it’s simply the best craic ever! We were hosted several times with each occasion having the succulent Levant style rice which is composed of mouth-watering rice, mixed vegetable, nuts, citrus-zest taste, and additional citrus sauce and topped off with scrumptious meat! Desert was the exquisite traditional kenafah which is a cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup, a specialty of the Levant (Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine & Syria) and northern Egypt.

I was hosted by the family of Abu Ismail whose homely apartment and diverse array of ambrosial dinner made it an unforgettable experience; falafel, humus, Palestinian bread, olives and other vegetables that quenched the appetite and appeased the taste buds! Drinking tea is like drinking water in the Levant. A Australian Lebanese student I once met in Cairo recalled that upon his travels back to Lebanon he was Konafaoffered so much tea that he thought his blood would be replaced with tea! Exactly my thoughts over the few days I stayed in Gaza! Some mint leaves are added to the sweetened tea to give it a distinctive flavor.

One of the most amazing experiences that I had was the breakfast invitation we were offered from the locals after we prayed Fajr (dawn prayer) in a local mosque on the left hand side of the Commodore Hotel. They brought for us Palestinian bread, olives, tomatoes, olive oil, zatar (mixture of sesame seeds, oregano, thyme and sumac) and cheese. The simplicity of this breakfast coupled with the joy of the locals in hosting us really makes one realise that even though the people have been through so much trauma, nevertheless their generosity and happiness in hosting guests is truly remarkable. I remember working in a hospital in Dublin in which you had the brightest minds from a plethora of medical disciplines yet a simple charity cake sale couldn’t raise more than a few hundred Euros. The selflessness and altruism demonstrated by the Gazan’s puts those whose hearts are constricted with miserliness to complete shame.

 ‘If you ask Palestinian women in Gaza how they manage during times of conflict and what they view as their chief responsibility, most will speak of their children’ Ala Qandil [17]

Gaza #6….Women & Mothers of Gaza

In line with main stream Islamic ethos and local custom, I didn’t engage with the local sisters in Gaza barring necessity but from observation the sisters would be very much involved in all spheres of life; domestic, education, healthcare and even political administration. When we first drove into Gaza, we saw a horde of teenage girls dressed in jilbabs and hijabs en-route to a secondary school. There are female doctors, pharmacists, teachers et al. Female civil servants were  also present with us in meetings when we visited some of the Gaza government’s ministries. The engagement of men and women at the work places was strictly professional (Interesting article by Gretchen Rubin on the Huffington Post about this topic of free mixing in the work place) in all walks of life whether be it at work or in the streets. I got the opportunity to speak with two elderly mothers in Gaza, the first of whom was the mother of Abu Ismail. A strong willed principled woman whose command of the English language was only surpassed determination in upholding her stalwart principles; whose children are university students of social sciences & humanities and someone who has witnessed several incursions of Gaza over years. I asked her about life in Gaza and how she and her family feel about life under constant bombardment from the Israelis. Her response was simple that even though it is vehemently strenuous they manage to cope but what’s most amazing is her statement of ‘Alhamdulillah‘ (this is absolutely mind boggling to one who doesn’t understand the fact that a person who endures oblivion can simply state ‘all praises due to God’, please watch the video below titled the Purpose of Life if you wish to know more).

I then asked her opinion on the ample hysteria on western media regarding how Islam oppresses women and that it is a misogynistic religion with no place in the 21st century. She replied that she is truly proud of her Islamic faith; it has emancipated and granted her rights that no other system can offer, whether it be in the east or the west. She also reiterated that the Muslim women of Gaza are happy with who they are, their identity and their choice to embrace the hijab which they truly love and cherish. Upon hearing this I really wished Fox News, CNN, Sky News, Al Arabia and all other neo-con news outlets could broadcast a live interview with this lady because she voices an opinion that is silenced by mainstream media in favor of slanders and propaganda as echoed by John Pilger below when he said:

“Many journalists now are no more than channelers and echoers of what George Orwell called the ‘official truth’. They simply cipher and transmit lies. It really grieves me that so many of my fellow journalists can be so manipulated that they become really what the French describe as ‘functionaires’, functionaries, not journalists…..they (journalists) internalise a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.” – John Pilger [18]

I then asked her regarding how is it that a mother can send her children to war knowing full well that their destiny is either being crippled on a wheelchair or a coffin. She replied to me that life is short and death is inevitable so why not die a death that is most pleasing to the Creator, so why not depart this life to seek Eternal bliss in the hereafter. She iterated that even though it is very difficult for a mother to be able to let her child go into harms way but the reality is that it is worth it for the hereafter and that she hopes that her sons will die as martyrs one day Insha’Allah. 20130211_071437

I met a second lady who didn’t know how to speak English but we were brought to her by her relatives after dawn prayer on the same day we had breakfast with the locals in the Mosque nearby the Commondore. This lady was very advanced in her years and her son was killed by the Israelis to which she expressed her tears, sorrow and remorse. She also showed us her Grandfather’s British passport; he was originally from the Sub-Indian continent who worked as a watchman for the British Empire. He was relocated from India to Palestine during the latter’s colonization from the British. She had previously tried to contact the British Consulate in Palestine to see whether she is entitled to British citizenship seeing how her grandfather was British but for some bizarre reason they didn’t reply back with clarity. Her grandfather’s passport is on the right hand side of this page. It was prodigious to see that the passport was titled the United Kingdom & Ireland. This reminded me of the days we studied Irish history in primary and secondary school (Irish Junior Certificate) and how the Irish rebelled in 1914 against English oppression who subjugated the Emerald Isle for 700 years prior hence the sympathy that many fellow Irishmen express towards the Palestinian cause.

“Hamas is regularly described as ‘Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.’ One will be hard put to find something like ‘democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus’—blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.”  ― Prof. Noam Chomsky [19]

Gaza #7….Government Officials, Ministry of Religious Affairs and The Islamic University of Gaza

We conversed with several key personal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Religious Affairs (Awqaf). After initial formalities and ismail haniyaintroductions, I spoke in private with the Deputy Minister and Minster of Foreign Affairs and queried whether they have considered speaking in western universities with their narrative because both were highly educated, diplomatic and I can foresee students majoring in arts & political sciences 10314476_624606420950107_5238872785625278657_nattending their speeches and being intellectually stimulated by these two gentlemen’s articulation. The Ministry of Religious Affairs was a captivating visit when the Minister was explaining to us how Islamic academic studies and culture is promoted in Gaza from the youth to adults with 1000’s of children graduating as Huffadh (Literally translated to protectors but technically those who learn off the Qur’an from cover to cover). We had witnessed a beautiful connection the people of Gaza have with the Qur’an when some of our group members had started to recite Qur’an after Fajr prayer which was seen by the locals who subsequently asked to in the Qur’an halaqa (study circle). The minister was explaining to us how the local population were nurtured in Gaza with the beautiful teachings of Islam. I spoke to him afterwards expressing to him that what you are doing is outstandingly brilliant because Islam can be felt in the streets of Gaza from the etiquette and pleasant demeanor of the locals which reminds one of the prophetic ethics that are lost in today’s globalized world. I also explained to him how some of my friends are involved in out reaching to new Muslims & youth and the challenges that exist in maturating them is exponentially arduous.

On our final day we were honored to have acquainted the (now former) Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, Ismail Haniyeh who took time out from his laborious schedule to host us in his office. En-route to the rendezvous point we were checked by security personal and the building we met him in was bomb proof. [28] These extra precautions were taken due to the fact that numerous Palestinian leaders such as Shaykh Ahmed Yassin, Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantisi and Yasser Arafat (as hypothesized by forensic teams according to a report compiled by Al Jazeera) have been liquidated by Israelis’ in the past. He was a pleasant man who gave a hearty handshake to all, attired in an exquisite suit and adoring a pungently delightful perfume. He expressed his hearty thanks to the Irish Muslim and Arab community for the continuous humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza and the vocal stances against the injustices committed by the Israelis. He hopes that the future holds bright for the people of Gaza and Palestine at pottery gazalarge in achieving their dream of democratic autonomy, justice and peace.

Our stop by the Islamic University of Gaza was truly stunning and eye opening. The campus itself was marvelously designed with state-of-the-art facilities that far surpass many of the universities I have visited in Ireland and the UK. From fine cut roads to the well laid out lobbies, the investment that must have gone into this project must be enormous and why not as these students, both male and female (Note: The university is fully segregated jmamia islamia gazaand both men and women have equally access to knowledge and facility) are the future pioneers of change in both the local and international community. We greeted some of the on-looking students including one of Rafi’s friends who studies there, all of whom were very courteous.

However, the most outstanding faculty in the university was the Irada department, a project financially endorsed by the Turkish government which seeks to educate and empower students with specials needs (many of whom have lost life & limbs in the Israeli aggression). The subjects they study aim to harness some trade skills that they can practically use to do business with for a living e.g. pottery, art and carpentry. Mash’Allah, there was a plethora of elegant art works on display with a souvenir shop selling many of these items. Many of the Irish delegates purchased items as gifts for family and even for charity to repatriate the revenue back to Gaza via Human Appeal International. Again the bewildering phenomenon was the attitude and will of the students in getting on with the benign of life and focusing on their studies and forging arecyclable career pathway after being trashed by Israeli terrorism. I will always remember one incident where I hastened back to the carpentry shop to buy a beautifully crafted clock and a group of on looking special needs students cheerfully made Arab tea and very generously offered it to me but I refused because the group were waiting on me (For those that know me, I took forever!). I kindly refused knowing the reprimanding I would get from the elders for keeping them waiting.

Before Asr (mid-afternoon) prayer we were welcomed by the President of the University who invited us for lunch before we made our way to the famous mosque which was beautifully constructed for the students. A small incident that made my heart smile was the sight of painted tyres used as recycling bins in the university, for those who have no idea  May Allah The All Knowing The All Wise bless the students who seek knowledge to bring goodness.

“If the Palestinian people really wish to decide that they will battle to the very end to prevent partition or annexation of even an inch of their ancestral soil, then I have to concede that that is their right. I even think that a sixty-year rather botched experiment in marginal quasi-statehood is something that the Jewish people could consider abandoning. It represents barely an instant in our drawn-out and arduous history, and it’s already been agreed even by the heirs of Ze’ev Jabotinsky that the whole scheme is unrealizable in ‘Judaea and Samaria,’ let alone in Gaza or Sinai. But it’s flat-out intolerable to be solicited to endorse a side-by-side Palestinian homeland and then to discover that there are sinuous two-faced apologists explaining away the suicide-murder of Jewish civilians in Tel Aviv, a city which would be part of a Jewish state or community under any conceivable ‘solution.’ There’s that word again…” ― Christopher Hitchens [20]

Gaza #8….The Youth of Gaza and the veneration of sacrifice

The final chapter which I wish to focus on is the Youth of Gaza. With our hectic tentative, I never had the opportunity to speak to many youth so my means of extrapolating deduction was by observation complemented with anecdotal comments from some youth. At night time, myself and Saleh went out for a jog along the coast and through the beach (A band aid solution to metabolise the high calorie succulent food). We would see youth relaxing on benches and in cars, talking, drinking coffee and being themselves, nothing strange from any other teenagers or young adults in the Muslim world.

Encountering the young men, their smiles were impeccable and their sense of humor was jolly. What is bewildering is how these youth can return to the mundane of  life after witnessing apocalyptic bombing not so long ago. I mean these young men are students, sons, brothers, husbands, bread winners in some cases and most of them have internet access, therefore can see how other youth live their life chasing after the American dream of having a palatial car, flamboyant regalia, ostentatious residence and a voluptuous spouse as in other parts of the globe which might induce negative thoughts of ‘why is this happening to me?’ or ‘why can’t my life be normal like others and free from all this hell?’ de facto leading to clinical depression, but yet they (youth of Gaza) live tenaciously with their heads held high and a smile across their faces. I asked one of the youth in Gaza of ‘what they do for fun?’ to which I expected car racing, FIFA, bowling, football, sports et al, but he replied very simply ‘we prepare ourselves for the next war’.20130209_161703

Which brings me to my final point; Gaza city is peculiar in a sense that every city in the globe has advertisements of celebrities/politicians or renowned people endorsing their products and encouraging others to buy the same e.g. Lionel Messi for Addidas, Christiano Ronaldo for Nike, David Beckham for Sky et al. There are no such advertisements in Gaza. There are no celebrities, there are no pop stars, there are no musical icons, there are no sports heroes and there are no entertainment idols. Instead the walls of Gaza are ubiquitous with pictures of fallen soldiers commemorated as heroes for fighting for their country. We acquainted with veterans of war such as a old man who had fought alongside some veterans from the Afghan war for three years before the latter migrated to Afghanistan to join the resistance against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

According to the Washington Institute, Israel has repeatedly refused to accept a plethora of ceasefires offered by Hamas since the 1990s and has consistently continued to rain its devastation upon the civilians in Gaza whilst continuing its suffocation of the West Bank with its increasing settlements on Palestinian soil. [21] This has reciprocated a knee jerk reaction by the Palestinians who have been left standing alone by neighboring Arab bystander states as they silently witness the genocide in Gaza as described by Yvonne Ridley as ‘Israel’s permanent death camp’ and have been left with no other choice than to confront such barbarism with legitimate self-defense. [22] When listening to the families relating sentimental stories of the fallen soldiers, they would hold back tears of sorrow but it would only be outdone by their hope that these men died for a great cause and God-willing will be rewarded with the highest level of Paradise in the Hereafter.

3:169 3:170 3:171

And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision, Rejoicing in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His bounty, and they receive good tidings about those [to be martyred] after them who have not yet joined them – that there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. They receive good tidings of favor from Allah and bounty and [of the fact] that Allah does not allow the reward of believers to be lost. [Qur’an: Al-Imran 03: 169-171]

Closing Remarks

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”  Stephen W. Hawking [23]

My journey through Gaza was only a few days but it was the most blessed adventure I have had, full of emotions and experience. I never expected to witness so many wonderful experiences in just a short space of time. The resilience of the Palestinians in Gaza was as admirable as their etiquettes and hospitality. My journey back was swifter in comparison to my initial departure, possibly due to the fact that I partially didn’t want to return after experiencing the most culminating trip of my life in an inimitable place like Gaza Mash’Allah! Although this adventure took place in February 2013, I am finished postulating this article in August 2014 due to the unprecedented attacks by the Israelis titled Operation Protective Edge (OPE) on the 8th July 2014.

Many Palestinians believe Netanyahu had been planning an offensive against Hamas for months before that kidnapping. After deadlocked negotiations with Israel prompted the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to seek rapprochement with Hamas, the indirect US and EU positive response to the Palestinian reconciliation enraged the Israelis. The offensive on Gaza was Netanyahu’s last trick, having tried to cripple the new unity government and to block payment of salaries to thousands of Gaza employees. – Dr. Azzam Tamimi [24]

It pains my heart to see the recent pictures of OPE devastation and images of infrastructure demolition at the hands of the Zionist state. Places such as the Islamic University of Gaza where I have been to and people I may have seen or greeted have all vaporized into thin air courtesy of Israel Subhan’Allah. However I and you cannot sit idly whilst Israel continues its blitz of annihilation. We must stand in unison and do what is in our capacity to help the people of Gaza and Palestine with some ideas that are listed below (list is not exhaustive!):

1) Prayer & Supplication (Dua) – In times of trials and tribulations, it is pertinent to return back to The Creator who is All-Hearing, All-Seeing and sincerely pray for the people in Gaza, Palestine and the rest of the World.

2) Donate in Charity to Gaza – The people of Gaza are in urgent need for your donations for urgent medical aid and you can donate to trustworthy charities in a number of ways via a plethora of charity activities (Note: You can click on the names below to be directed to the donate online links):

(i) Islamic Relief Gaza Appeal – Click here to send donations now

(ii) Disasters & Emergency Committee (DEC) [Endorsed by British Government with Islamic Relief being an affiliate]

(iii) Human Appeal International – Gaza Appeal

(iv) Irish Red Cross – Gaza Appeal

(v) Oxfam Ireland – Gaza Appeal 

3) Attending the National Demonstrations organised by your local Palestinian Activist Organisations e.g The Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (www.ipsc.ie) and Amnesty International (http://www.amnesty.org/)

4) Sign the following petition about RTE’s lack of coverage: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/rt%C3%A9-ireland-s-national-broadcaster-please-break-your-silence-on-palestine

5) Email/Phone/Write Letters/Meet your local Representatives – Most governments have signed up to the instruments of international law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention (which governs the behavior of an occupying power) – this means that, according to Article 1 of the Convention, they have a binding obligation to “ensure respect” for the Convention. Recently the International Court of Justice found that all governments had a special obligation not to recognize the attempt by Israel to annex more Palestinian land (by building the Wall in the West Bank) and those governments have a clear obligation to ensure that the Annexation Wall is dismantled. Please write to your government and remind them of their obligations and ask them to take firm measures, not just empty utterances, to help Palestinian civilians achieve an end to the Israeli occupation of their land.  As more people write to local authorities & representatives it’s only then that these politicians will understand that the question of Palestine is no longer one they can ignore – at home or abroad.

6) University activism: Organize University debates with debating societies. Lobby student unions to ban Israeli goods on campus and coordinate symposiums on the Palestinian conflict to increase the awareness of the conflict as many are misinformed from mainstream media about the state of the people of Gaza. Note: Most students from all backgrounds would definitely attend such events and most student societies would collaborate in such endeavors.

7) Boycott Israeli Products: There are many alternatives available that we can forsake the many companies that either directly or indirectly endorse Israel. Check out http://www.foa.org.uk/campaigns/consumer-boycott, http://www.bdsmovement.net/ and http://www.ipsc.ie/campaigns/consumer-boycott

Even though, the situation in Gaza is gloomy and even though the situation is intensifying with each day that, it is pertinent that we reminisce Emily Dickinson’s [24] invigorating words when she said,

“Hope” is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, And never stops – at all. 
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard, And sore must be the storm, 
That could abash the little Bird, That kept so many warm [25]

Despite the continual onslaught pouring on the people of Gaza from the Israelis with full backing from the Western sovereignties, we must never give up in being steadfast in support of our fellow brothers and sisters in Gaza. The world confronted South African apartheid and many other skirmishes against injustices & oppression. History is testimony that every tyrannical regime may have a short lived spectacular rise but also a very swift disastrous fall. May Allah, The Most Gracious, The Especially Merciful bless our brothers and sisters in Gaza with patience and victory. May Allah, The Most High bless us all with guidance & steadfastness and May Allah, The All Forgiving bless us all with a place in the highest level of Paradise.

Hamas is in the process of inflicting a historic defeat on the Israeli army in Gaza. It may not be on the same scale as the defeat that Hezballah inflicted on Israel in 2006, but its repercussions are likely to be felt for just as long.

– Asa Winstanley [26]

gaza intro me rafi

References

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22. Ridley Y. The Palestinians Love Life And Love Their Children Even More. July 2014. Available from URL: http://yvonneridley.org/analysis-and-opinion/the-palestinians-love-life-and-love-their-children-even-more/

23. The Journal.ie. Stephen Hawking turns 70: Here’s 7 of his best quotes. Jan 2012. Available from URL: http://www.thejournal.ie/stephen-hawking-turns-70-heres-7-of-his-best-quotes-321245-Jan2012/

24. Tamimi A. The Slaughter in Gaza will not defeat Hamas. The Guardian, Sunday 13 July 2014. Available from URL:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/13/israel-deadly-gaza-gamble

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28. Barclay D. Why I believe Yasser Arafat was poisoned. Al Jazeera English 10th November 2013.  Available from URL: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/11/can-be-certain-yasser-arafat-was-poisoned-20131110101810225911.html