August 21, 2009

Forex Trading

Writing about web page http://www.orangeroshan.com

Since I have now officially graduated from university, I find no further use of this blog, I thought I'd use this blog as an online diary to post relevant insights from my new found interest in foreign currency trading (forex/FX trading).

Almost two months ago I was introduced by a friend to this online community of FX traders called OrangeRoshan. It is an online community of traders and are known to be trading for over 3 decades now, tracing its roots in Brunei Darussalam. More information on them can be found on their website.

OrangeRoshan or OR as it is usually referred to teaches its students the right kind of psychology for currency trades. The spot currency markets trades around $2 trillion daily is by far the largest and the most liquid market in the world. Being a 24/7 market, with limited risks and no broker commission, the FX currency markets seems to be the ideal candidate for students wanting to build a career in finance.

I shall use this blog henceforth as a diary to reflect and comment on my learning of the FX markets. This will also possibly stimulate other traders to reflect on my trading psychology and share their market research.


March 14, 2009

Second Hand Referencing

Follow-up to Ibid unhooked from Saya's Ramblings...

When you have read Book A that refers to something published in Book B

You have only read Book A but want to quote the information from Book B that you have not read

You reference what you have read – Book A, citing the author of Book B

Johnson (2005), cited by Smith (2007: 56), states that referencing can be complicated.

You cite the reference by Smith (2007)

In the assignment text

- Referencing “can be very time consuming” (Johnson, 2005, cited by Smith, 2007:54).

          NB: Cite the page number where the author is cited

In the reference list

- You cite the reference by Smith (2007)


March 12, 2009

Lesson 11: Al–Aqida Al–Sanusiyya Lesson by Shaykh Afifi al–Akiti

Follow-up to Lesson 10: Al–Aqida Al–Sanusiyya Lesson by Shaykh Afifi al–Akiti from Saya's Ramblings...

Teacher: Shaykh Afifi al-Akiti

Venue: Banbury – As-Shifa Centre (Banbury Madni Masjid,

Merton Street, Banbury, OX16 4RP)

Date: 28th February 2009

Time: 8-9 pm

Text: Al-Aqida Al-Sanusiyya

Ref: Page 1

The main discussion talked about the struggle to find the middle path of Islam and classify people between 5 distinct types in trying to find a the balance between scripture (naqli) and reason (aqli):

1. The Far Right – Al Karamiyah – Antipromorphists

·       When there are disputes between what in Qur’an says and what our intellect (reason) tells us about something they take the truth of the scripture literally, at the expense of reason.

·       They only stick to the letter of the law, not to the spirit of the law (literalists). This school also takes certain verses of the Qur'an literally and does not challenge them with intellect.

·       Ifraad – Extreme Right Wing. The word 'Ifraad' is from the root word 'farada' in Arabic which means obligation.

·       The 'Karami School' is an example of such far right wingers, where their principles lead to rigidity in Islam and hence called extremists to the 'right' as suggested by Imam Al-Ghazali. It is the Karami School, for example, that takes Thinks of Allah (SWT) is as having a physical body like a human being.

2. The Far Left – Falasifaa (philosophers) - Liberals, materialists, secularists etc.

·       When the quran says something, but reason says something else, they believe in reason, i.e. relying on reason at the expense of scriptures.

A common question: Should Muslims have women imams?

·       In hadith, there has been no precedent set of women leading a mixed congregation.

·       Even Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians do not allow women priests and the recent introduction of women priests is already causing problems in Protestant churches.

·       It is a similar case in Judaism and is a common concern across all (Abrahamic) faiths. e.g. We cannot see God, so no God exists.

·       Tafreed – Extreme Left Wing. (In Arabic, tafreed and ifraad, both mean Extreme).

Islam is not only about absolute rules; it is not only black and white but there are grey areas.

The Middle Path

3. “The Right Midfield”

·       Whenever reason contradicts scripture, those on the middle-right will take scripture as precedent over reason. (All Hanbalis fit into this category and some Asharis as well). But according to the majority Sunni tradition, they are all considered Sunni Muslims.

·       Tashbeeh > Tanzeeh e.g. they believe in God – Does not have a body, but still has a direction i.e. One can point to God. (The unmovable God?)

'”God created Adam in His image” (Hadith in Islam, verse in other Abrahamic religious texts). Point of debate is: does the “His” refer to as Adam of does it refer to God Himself?  Ghazali would be in the latter category.

4. “The left midfield”

·       Whenever reason contradicts scripture, those on the middle-left will take reason as primacy over scripture. (Some Ma’turiddis, All Mo’taziris, and  The Mo’taziris School is also commonly referred to as those who do not accept the hadith (the Anti-Hadith Movement, the Progressive Muslims or even The Liberal Islam in Indonesia.

·       e.g. The believe in God – He does not have attributes (Similar to the Jewish tradition and Christian doctrine of divine simplicity- that God is Transcendent) 

·       Tashbeeh < Tanzeeh

·       i.e. When Allah sees/hears/etc. it is only metaphorical. This interpretation can present problems, in that if we pray to Allah and he does not see/listen/hear, Allah becomes an impersonal God and one who does not know the universe.

·       Focus on the incomparable attributes of God e.g. ''no beginning'', ''no end'', ''the only One''

·       Also – God can only create good; not both good and evil.

·       This also conflict with the Qura’nic verse “Allah is closer to you than your jugular vein”

5. “The Captain”

·       Those amongst the Asharis, Hanbalis and Maturiddis, who believe that the truth of reason and scripture are the same and where there is a contradiction (or conflict), there is a solution. We may not know the solution now, in which case we should keep faith, However, there is an answer, which may be discovered later. This is because both Aql (reason) and Naqliah are from the Allah (SWT).

·       This is the most difficult position to be in as pointed out by Imam Ghazali (e.g. captain of a football team)

·       Tashbeeh = Tanzeeh

·       To be in the middle, we need to find a solution, even if it takes time.

·       To find the middle way, there must either be a compromise within two points, or devoid of two extremes. (Imam Ghazali) – and this is where we have Islam to guide us and when we see a problem such as this, we don't judge it, we leave it to I'man which gives us Sabr (patience). Until the day when a scholar or of naqli or aqli will guide us to the answer.

·       "There is no religion for those who do not use their intellect" - Prophet's (pbuh) hadith

·       Islam (religion) is meant to teach us how to achieve this balance

·       Imam Ghazali says: The Quran is the scripture from the outside while Aqal is the scripture from within.

·       Achieving this balance will make you the ''Middle Nation''  It is this middle way where we ought to be.

·       Although we may have 5/10/15% of far right or far left attributes within ourselves, we must struggle to make it 80/90/100% middle path and make it to the centre of the map.

·       Note again: If you do not have evidence, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It will take time to find it, but for the meanwhile, have faith in it.

God created Adam in His image (Bible verse in Christianity ; Muslims have this as a hadith)

What does it mean?

1. He refers to Adam ie. God created Adam in man’s image

2. His refers to Allah (SWT) but refers to the relational attributes, in terms of how we can relate with Allah eg. power, will, knowledge, see, hear etc.

Both are commensurate with Sunni Islam. The second example is that from Imam Al-Ghazali.

·       E.g. God has no direction, because intellect does not allow us to accept God as having limits. However, God has attributes. Even if we do not know what these mean, we take it in faith.

·       E.g. Allah AlalArsh can be interpreted as God being a dominion over the world… cannot say that Allah literally sits on a throne.

·       Make sure you have the correct image / understanding of God. Then you can go further into the role of faith between scripture and reason.

The Important of Studying Science and Philosophy?

·       In each generation, there are uncertain and very debated things. It will be these issues/debates that will destroy the balance of aqli and naqli.

·       e.g. Today: The Theory of Evolution; Imam Ghazali’s time: Aristotle’s science

·       We must go deeper into the science and check whether it is absolutely 100% correct. If it is correct, and is proved, then we need to attempt to reconcile the scientific finding with scripture.

·       Again, don’t try to rush things!

·       This is exactly what Imam Ghazali did with respect to Aristotlian Science. He did not fear entering into philosophy and investigation. To know the difference between good and bad, you need to know bad as well.

·       Imam Ghazali wrote many books amongst them:

·       Mufaasir Al-filasifah: UGLY

·       Tahfuz Al-filasifah: BAD

·       Al-Madnoon + various others: THE GOOD

·       In order to know the good from bad you have to be well versed in the particular science/field and root out the ugly first. You need to master both: the religious sciences and the rational/worldly sciences.

·       Example of snake: In the snakes there is a useful antidote as well as a deadly poison (Imam Ghazali). One needs to master the rationale sciences (here Biology) and the scripture sciences (from Qur'an and hadiths) to understand this balance and know this fact better.

The class ended with recitation of Durood (sending peace and blessings to the beloved Prophet (salalahoalayhewasalam)


March 09, 2009

Knowledge for the sake of your Lord

Writing about web page http://www.bt.com.bn/en/files/digital/%5CIslamia%5CIssue36/SP09Mar.2.pdf

Just something that I found quite thought provoking:

Nowhere but in Islam is the seeking of knowledge given the loftiest status when it is done on the intention of pleasing Allah the Almighty. Numerous sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, point at how the toil at Islamic knowledge bears fruit not only here but also in the Hereafter. The angels, the dwellers of the heavens and the earth, even the fish show their support for the seeker of knowledge. “Whoever treads on a path in search of Islamic knowledge, Allah will ease the way to Paradise for him. The angels will lower their wings, pleased with this seeker of knowledge, and everyone in the heavens and on earth will ask forgiveness for the knowledgeable person, even the fish in the deepest of waters will ask for his forgiveness.” (Sahih hadith of Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and Tirmizi) “Seek knowledge, because seeking it for the sake of Allah is worship. And knowing it makes you more God-fearing; and searching for it is jihad, teaching it to those who do not know is charity, reviewing and learning it more is like tasbih (glorifying Allah). Through knowledge Allah will be known and worshipped. With the knowledge Allah will elevate people and make them leaders and imams, who will in turn guide other people.” (Fatawa Ibn Taymiyyah) “It is only those who have knowledge amongst His slaves that fear Allah.” (translation of the Quran surah Al-Fatir: 28) “He whom death overtakes while he is engaged in acquiring knowledge with a view to reviving Islam with the help of it, there will be one degree between him and the Prophets in Paradise.” (At-Tirmizi, narrated by Al-Hasan al-Basri) No excuses for reluctance to embark on the quest for knowledge, no matter how late it is for us to begin because of old age, physical frailty, etc.


Islamia/The Brunei Times


March 07, 2009

The Friday Sermon (Khutbah)

Follow-up to Transcript of Khutbah delivered at the University of Warwick Prayer Hall (6th March, 2009) from Saya's Ramblings...

The following is an excerpt from Shaikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller's text of Reliance of the Traveller which discusses the Sermon (khutbah) according to the Sunnah of the Prophet (salalahoalayhewasalam).

---------------------

THE SERMON (KHUTBA)

@F18.9

The integrals of the sermon (khutba) are five (O: and their order is sunna) (n: (a), (b), and (c) below are required in each of the two sermons, while (d) may be in either, and (e) must occur in the second, as mentioned below) :

(a) saying "al-Hamdu lillah" (praise be to Allah), this particular utterance being prescribed;

(b) the Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), which is also a prescribed utterance;

(c) enjoining godfearingness (taqwa), for which a particular expression is not prescribed, it being sufficient to say "Obey Allah";

(the above (O: integrals (a), (b), and (c) ) are obligatory in each of the two sermons)

(d) reciting one verse of the Koran (O: that conveys an intended meaning, such as a promise, threat, exhortation, or similar) in at least one of the two sermons;

(e) and to supplicate for believers (O: male and female) in the second of the two sermons (O: which must be for their hereafter, as supplications of this world alone do not fulfill the integral).

(n: The following sermon, added her by the translator from the commentary at m2, has been related by two chains of transmission, one ascribing it to Ibn Mas`ud, and the other through him to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) :

"Praise is truly Allah's. We praise Him, seek His help, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allah from the evils of our selves and our bad actions. Whomever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whomever He leads astray has no one to guide him. I testify that there is no god but Allah alone, without any partner, and that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. Allah bless him and give him peace, with his folk and Companions. O you who believe: fear Allah s He should be feared, and do not die other than as Muslims.

"`O people, fear your Lord who created you from one soul and created its mate from it, and spread forth from them may men and women. And be mindful of your duty to Allah, by whom you ask of one another, and to the wombs (that bore you), for verily, Allah is vigilant over you'" (Koran 4:1).

(n: This sermon fulfills conditions (a), (b), (c), and (d) above (A: and the rest of the sermon may be in any language), and after sitting briefly, one rises and says, "al-Hamdu lillah," the Blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), enjoins the people to fear Allah, and must add a supplication for the Muslims ((e) above), such as saying, "O Allah, forgive the believers" (Ar. Allahumma-ghfir lil-mu'minin wal-mu'minat). )


Transcript of Khutbah delivered at the University of Warwick Prayer Hall (6th March, 2009)

The topic of today’s khutbah that I wish to reflect us all upon is about sinning. It is first and foremost for myself and for all of us to understand the true essence of what it means to sin and possibly learn from the lessons of the shaytaan in light of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad (saw).

The Prophet Messenger (saw) said:

“Righteousness is good morality and sin is that which causes discomfort (or pinches) within your soul and which you dislike people to become informed of.” [Sahih Muslim]

Allah (saw) says in the The Qur’an (Surat Az-Zalzalah, 99:7-8):

فَمَن يَعمَل مِثقالَ ذَرَّةٍ خَيرًا يَرَهُ

  وَمَن يَعمَل مِثقالَ ذَرَّةٍ شَرًّا يَرَهُ

“And he who does an atom’s weight of good will see it. And he who does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”

Let me start by defining sinning. What is the definition of a sin, ism or zum. The definition of sin in our religion is very easy:

It means to break any of the commandments of Allah (swt), to violate any of his rules, to go against any of his ahkaam and secondly to break any of the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw).

To break any of the commandments of Allah (swt) or refuse to believe in the established Sunnah of our Prophet (saw). The mashaik and shuyuks have used two broad classification to explain sins.

They are apparent sins that zahir sins – the sins that all of us know very well, like lying, cheating, stealing, eating pork, drinking alcohol, etc.

What are the batinah sins, what are the inner sins? Like the long list of external sins, there are the long established inner sins as well such as lust, inability to control your gaze, unlawful desires, love of wealth, love of the dunya, envy, jealousy, spite, mallous, bugus, and hatred for your fellow muslims, ujub, kibr, takabur, conceit, pride and arrogance.

All of these things form the inner sins and know just as haram as it is to commit one of those external sins, similarly it is haram to commit those inner sins. What does that mean?

Lets just take an example: We as Muslims all know that eating a morsel of pork is haram. Just like that as haram as having one drop of takabur inside your heart. Just as it is haram to have bit of pork, it is equally haram to have one gaze where you’re not supposed to look at. Because Allah (swt) has equated these two, these two sins in an ayat of the Holy Qur’an:

“Wazaru zahiri wa batina”

“And you must leave the external sins that you commit and the inner sins that you commit.”

The word used is zaru. So the likeness of sins that Allah (swt) uses is zaru, which is an Arabic word that means keep away, run away from.

Lets take an example: if there is a live wire, of 1,000 volts, and if one is aware of that the fact that the wire is live. Not only will they refuse to touch that wire, but they will try not to come near that wire, why? Because there is so much danger involved. He knows that his physical body does not have the capability of withstanding it. Similarly, the heart of the true believer will not only keep himself away by involving in himself in sin, but he/she will try to keep himself away from this sin. This is what Allah (swt) is commanding from all of us. This is the deeper meaning from the verse that is extracted. That the word zaru means not only stop committing these sins, but don’t even come nearer to these sins and that is the whole philosophy of our shari’ah. That it closes of all parts that lead to sin. It does what we call in English, nibs the evil in the butt. It doesn’t even let you get near a place of sin, a person of sin, or an opportunity of sin.

As our mashaik have rightfully put that the likeness of the sin is the likeness say is like a cancer. When a person has a cancer in any part of his body, he has two options: the doctors will say well we have to operate and we have to remove this cancerous part from your body. If you don’t wish to operate or don’t wish the cancer be removed, then this cancer will spread and poison your entire body and then you will die. Well just like that, the likeness of a sin in the spirit of a believer (the rooh of a believer) is like a cancer and unless he removes that sin, i.e. unless he leaves that sin. If he fails to do that, then the affects of that sin will transform or permeate his entire rooh and leave him spiritually dead. And this is what happens as we are persist in our sins, we get lost in our way of sins, until we slowly but gradually but surely die a spiritual death.

Hafiz Ibn Quyum ibn Jauzia, rahimahualla, one of the great imams, has been recorded to have said:

“O my friends, do not look at how small your sins is or how great your sin is that you commit, but look at that great being is against whom your sinning.”

So when we reflect on that majesty, that azma, the jalaal, the majesty of Allah (swt) that even the smallest of sins will seem as a major transgression in your eyes. So don’t make excuses in yourself that this is just a small sin, or may be Allah (swt) will forgive me, because He is Arahmaan Araheem. No He is also

“Azeez Al Haqeem, zul inteqaam, innaakhzahu akhzamun shadeed”

That akhz, his punishment, on that day of judgement is azeemun shadeedun, is painful, is pain giving, extremely painful. So whenever we come near a moment of sin, we should reflect on the majesty of our Allah (swt).

One of the famous tabayeen, Sheikh Ataa bin Abhee Rabah, rahamuhumullah, he was one of the teachers of imam abu hanifah, rahmatullah alayh, so this great tabayeen, this great person, a pios salaheen, he once addressed his students and said:

“O my students, what if Allah addresses us on the day of judgement in such a way. And Allah (swt) says, that O my servants that when you wish to commit any sins, you close all the doors to your room, you drew the curtains of your window, you closed all the doors from which creation can look at you because you were ashamed to commit that sin in front of them. O my servants, did you not realize that you did not close the door that which I can look at you, do you not even have as much shame in front of me that you have in front of creation. Do you value me less than you value the other members of the creation.”

So the Sheikh Ataa ibin Abhee Rabah was explaining that whenever we commit a sin, we should never think that Allah (swt) doesn’t know or that he is not aware or that he is not watching, or that he is not going to take us account for it. But rather whenever we commit a sin or even our heart inclines towards a sin, we should reflect upon the majesty or Allah (swt) and think and be aware that he is looking at us.

We should also know why it is important for us to leave our sins. Why is this command (huqum) so important to us and why has this been mentioned in the Qur’an (7:33)

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُواْ بِاللّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Qul innama harrama rabbiya alfawahisha ma thahara minha wama batana waalithma waalbaghya bighayri alhaqqi waan tushrikoo biAllahi ma lam yunazzil bihi sultanan waan taqooloo AAala Allahi ma la taAAlamoona

Say: "Verily, my Sustainer has forbidden only shameful deeds, be they open or secret, and [every kind of] sinning, and unjustified envy, and the ascribing of divinity to aught beside Him - since He has never bestowed any warrant therefor from on high and the attributing unto God of aught of which you have no knowledge."

Because unless we become people who leave sin, our ibadah, our worship, our good deeds will fail to be a benefit to us

Again our mashaiks explain this in this way: They say that the good deeds are the likeness of athar, or perfume and synonymously the likeness of sins is like garbage. So imagine you’re standing in the middle of a garbage dump. Even if it is whole bottle of fragrance upon them, it is still not going to do any good and make him fragrant. But if that same person takes himself out of this garbage dump, and even if he just takes a few drops of athar, fragrance, on himself that he will become perfumed in fragrant. So it means that unless we leave our sins, that for each and every good action that we do, for each and every nafl salah that we pray, for each and every moment of the page of the Qur'an that we read, we are just erasing the effect of those actions by our sin. It just takes one gaze and one sway, and we would have wiped an entire day, an entire week, an entire month’s of aa’mal. But that person is able to leave sin, and is able to do small amounts of aa’maal, and you will be pleasing in the eyes of Allah (swt). Just like that person who has removed himself from the garbage dump, all he has put a few drops of fragrance on himself and he will become fragrant smelling.

Know that everything has an effect.

“Mayaa’mal soo un yuujza behe”

Anybody who commits a sin, anybody who commits a bad action, anybody who breaks a law of the shari’ah, youjza behe, surely he will face his consequences, he will be recompense for that. Each and every action has a recompense. This is our law of science isn’t it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So know that each and everyone of our sins has an effect and a consequence. There is no possibility that we commit a sin and there are no consequences for it. Whether we see it or not or whether it happens immediately or not, is something else.

As sure as fire is warm and as sure is ice is cold, know that each and every sin has an effect on us.

One of the affects of sinning is that Allah (swt) will make us worry on a person’s life. Allah test us, that recompense, that jaza, from whatever ways that we can and how we come in those tests. Know that we have no one else to blame for our worries except our sins, except our own actions.

Do whatever you want in this world, but always remember that as many sins that you do, that as much of the hellfire that you earn in this world, Allah (swt) will make your life a living hell. That each and every sin that you do will only and surely add to your worries. That whatever you do in this world, but know that by doing whatever you want, by breaking the laws of Allah (swt) you are just causing trouble and problems for yourself.

So what’s the solution, it is by far that the person should repent and make astagfaar to Allah (swt) and all us know this and inshAllah I shall try to analyse the on the story of the Iblees (Shaytaan).

So its not a surprising thing, that we all fall into various sins, its natural that we will fall into sins sooner or later. But the surprising thing, both to ourselves and the thing that surprises and possibly angers Allah (swt) is that we delay in our taubah. We postpone repenting to Allah (swt). We go so far as to think that we indulge ourselves so deep into that sin and we even tell ourselves that look “I just can’t control myself, lte me just do it one last time, and after I’ll do it, I’ll make taubah.” So what type of taubah is that? Taubah means to leave that action, not that you commit that sin and immediately think that you’re going to repent later. This is not pleasing in the eyes of Allah (swt) that we tell ourselves that we’ll commit it just one last time. This is a taubah tun nasooh (i.e. the unreal and insincere taubah).

In fact the mufasareen write that there were 5 things that the shaytaan did. 5 things that Iblees did that made him shaytaan. These are the 5 things that defies his repudiation or the fat that he is al rajeem. So lets see how many of these 5 things that we have? Shaytaan made a sin, when he refused to do sajdah on Adam (alayhesalam), he made a decision. He had direct command to do the sajdah and he refused, he disobeyed and he committed a sin. After he did that sin, he did 5 things, and it is because of these 5 things that he was mardood, rejected, repudiated from Allah (swt) and that we should reflect on these 5 things.

After shaytaan committed the sin:

1.      Iqraar: He didn’t acknowledge or accept his sin, but rather went on to justify his actions using his intellect. He said Ana khairu minu, that I am better than Adam. So not only did he accept and acknowledge his sin, he denied the sin and justified his actions. So reflect on this 1st point and ask ourselves this question, how many times have we do a sin and that we deny them. How many times are we in self-denial? How many times do we give our own excuses, our own reasons or justifications that it was required of me at work, or I had no choice etc. etc. and that don’t do iqraar. The first failure of shaytaan was that he failed to do iqraar and he failed to acknowledge his sin.

2.      Nadama: The 2nd thing that Shaytaan did, or rather what he failed to do was that he did not nadma (remorse). He did not have any remorse or any regret over his actions. for the sins his actions. After disobeying Allah (swt) he saw the anger of Allah (swt) and he still did not feel any remorse or any regret and he couldn’t care less. How many times do we commit sins and we do not feel any remorse of our actions. We commit our sins and then we put on our clothes, our faces again and then we walk in front of the world feeling that we haven’t done anything wrong. So the second thing Shaytaan wasn’t naadim, He wasn’t remorseful, or regretful or sad about what he did

3.      Take yourself to task: The 3rd thing that he did not do was to reprimand himself, he did not check himself, he did not scold himself, he did not punish himself. He did not take himself to task, Allah (swt) could take him to task. There an Arabic saying which says: “Hasibu kabla anta hasib” “Take yourself to task, before you are taken to account.” So he failed to do this. He didn’t take himself to task, he didn’t reflect upon himself. So how many times do we commit sins and we don’t punish ourselves. The mashaikeen say here that whenever we commit a sin, we should punish ourselves, we should not let ourselves have ice cream that night, we should not do something that you wanted to do. If you have plans of playing football that evening and enjoy some healthy exercise and you’ve committed a sin, you should do what you like. Similarly, if you have committed a sin and you’re about to go meet a friend, you shouldn’t but instead you should do innabat, i.e. return to Allah (swt). So shaytaan failed to do iqraar, nadama, failed to take himself to task.

4.      Forgiveness: The 4th thing is the didn not seek the forgiveness of Allah nor did he make taubah. Neither did he do astagfaar nor tawbah. This is why they say, that shaytaan, even though he was an aabid, he was a worshiper of Allah (swt) and in some hadith he is also referring to as tawusum malaika, i.e. that he is with the Jin, but he is raised to reached the crown of where the angels would do the ibadah with him. So he was an aabid, he was an aa’lim, he had a lot of knowledge, he was an aa’rif (which is the 5th point), but he was not an aa-shiq, of Allah (swt). He did not have that love for Allah (swt) and therefore he falled on Allah’s (swt) anger and that is why he wasn’t bothered. So if you don’t love the beloved, then the most distressing thing to you in the world, is that you’re beloved may be angry. So that 4th thing that Shaytaan failed to do is that he failed to make astagfaar, taubah and he failed to ask Allah (swt) to forgive him and he failed to repent to Allah (swt). How many times do we do sins and we do not even bother ask Allah for forgiveness from him. How many sins that we have, that we have failed to make true taubah, true repentance from Him. That we have sincerely pledged to Allah (swt) that from the depth of my heart, I promise and I pledge that I will never do this sin again and I won’t go near the people who do this sin, I won’t go near the places that do this sin, I won’t go near the technology that takes me nearer to this sin, how many times have we failed to do that?

5.      Shaytaan despaired of the mercy of Allah (swt). This is why he is known as aa’rif, at the very end, he said “O my Lord give me some stay.” When Allah (swt) expelled him from Jannah and told him that he was repudiated and redeemed, he asked Allah (swt): “Give me some leave, some stay or a requital until the youmiddin. Let me be free to my own devices until the youmiddin.” So the scholars say that he was aa’rif, he also knew that Allah (swt) will let him do that. Now lets think about this for a instance for a moment. But if he knew that act, instead of asking to be given granted a leave or stay or a requital until the day of judgement, he should have asked Allah (swt) for his mercy. When he called out to Allah (swt) by saying “Rabbi” and addressed Him in such a way that “O my Lord” and instead of asking Allah (swt) for forgiveness, but instead he despaired of that mercy and did not wish himself to avail of this mercy of Allah (swt). How many of us do that? We fall through with the sin and we don’t turn to Allah’s (swt) rahmah? We deny the rahmah of Allah (swt).

So these were the 5 things that Allah (swt)

And we should reflect upon ourselves of how many of these things do we have these and in contrast we should look at the story of sayaduna Adam (alayhesalaam). We know the whole story of sayaduna Adam (alayhesalaam) so I won’t go in details over here, but sayaduna Adam (alayhesalaam) did all of these 5 things. He said:

“Rabana zalamna anfusana”

“O our Lord, we have wronged ourselves.”

He had iqraar – he immediately acknowledge the sin he had committed and did not justify his actions. He had nidama, he had remorse, he had regret, and he made astagfaar and he made tauba to Allah (swt). He did not despair of the mercy of Allah (swt) and said:

Waillum tagfirlana watarhamna, wanta maulana fansurna alala koimila kafireen

Ya Allah, truly that if you don’t forgive us. That if you do not send your forgiveness upon us, then we will be amongst the kaasireen, i.e. lost ones

So compare the sayadina Adam (alayhesalam) and that of the Shaytaan. So think whose path are we on, do we follow the path of Adam of repentance, that we acknowledge our sins, that we do astagfaar and repentance in duwa, that we look upon his mercy, or are we following the path of shaytaan in which we refuse that we that we sinned and deny to ourselves and to others that we sinned, we feel no remorse no regret that we sinned, we neither make astagfaar, nor tauba, nor do we turn to the mercy of Allah (swt).

Rabbana zalamna anfusina wa il lam taghfir lana wa tarhamna lana kuna minal-khasireen

Ya Allah we testify of all our sins in front of you on this blessed day Friday.

Ya Allah forgive us for our sins that we committed

Ya Allah remove all the affects of the sins that we did

Remove of al the traces of the sins in our minds

Remove all of memories our sins from our minds

Remove the pleasures of the sins that we did

Ya Allah all the thoughts of sins from our minds

Remove the desire the sin from our hearts

Ya Allah, you arahamar rahemeen, we beg of you on this day to change our dead hearts,

Ya Allah we beg of you to change the condition of our hearts, ya Allah change our dead hearts

Ya Allah soften our hearts to your ibadah and to harden our hearts to the sins

Ya Allah we ask you to place your love in our hearts

Ya Allah we ask of you to increase our love for you and increase our love for the beleoved messenger (saw) and our love for those who love you

Ya Allah, make each and every atom of our body involved in your remembrance your dhikr,

Ya Allah, we do want to be amongst the zakireen, amongst the sabieen, amongst the mutawakireen, amongst the tawwabeen, amongst the mutatahireen, amongst the muhsineen, amongst the mutaqeen.

Ya Allah, forgive us for the sins that we committed in the day, forgive us for the sins that we committed at night, forgive us for the sins that we committed in lonely, forgive us for the sins that we committed in boldly, forgive us for the sins that we committed in hesitantly.

Ya Allah, forgive us for all the lies that we said to cover up our sins

Ya Allah, like you have concealed my sins in this world, ya Allah cover and conceal our sins on the day of judgement.

Ya Allah, do not let us exposure our sins in front of our beloved messenger (saw)

Ya Allah, purify our hearts from the sins that we committed

Rabbana taqabbal minna innaka antas Sameeaul Aleem

Rabbana wa-j'alna Muslimayni laka ma min Dhurriyatina 'Ummatan Muslimatan laka wa 'Arina Manasikana wa tub 'alayna 'innaka 'antat-Tawwabu-Raheem

Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil 'akhirati hasanatan waqina 'adhaban-nar

Rabbana la tu'akhidhna in-nasina aw akhta'na

Rabbana wala tahmil alayna isran kama hamaltahu 'alal-ladheena min qablina

Rabbana wala tuhammilna ma la taqata lana bihi wa'fu anna waghfir lana wairhamna anta mawlana fansurna 'alal-qawmil kafireen

Wasalalaho alayhe sayidina Muhammad, wala’a alaihie wa’as habihi wasalam

Subanallahe amma yasifoon, wasalamun alala mursaleen, wal hamduliliah he rabil aalameen

Birahmatikaya ar rahamarahimeen.

Akim As-Salah


February 15, 2009

Lesson 10: Al–Aqida Al–Sanusiyya Lesson by Shaykh Afifi al–Akiti

Writing about web page http://www.ash-shifa.org.uk/Events.htm

The following are the notes (compiled by students) who attended one of the lectures

------

Teacher: Shaykh Afifi al-Akiti

Venue: Banbury – As-Shifa Centre (Banbury Madni Masjid, Merton Street, Banbury, OX16 4RP)

Date: 30th January 2009 (10th session)

Time: 8-9 pm

Text: Al-Aqida Al-Sanusiyya

Ref: Page 1

Word of Focus: 'Ilm (knowledge)

The root cause of the problems that the Muslim Ummah is facing is corruption of knowledge. We must go back to our classical texts to understand and interpret religion.

To study any subject/science completely, there are ten principles:

  1. The Definition of the science/ subject
  2. The Objectives ‘’      ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  3. The Benefits           ‘’       ‘’       ‘’      
  4. The Value               ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  5. The Context           ‘’       ‘’       ‘’      
  6. Scholars/Founders ‘’ ‘’       ‘’       ‘’ (A’dab –e- ikhtilaaf)
  7. Name                     ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  8. Sources        ‘’       ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  9. Legal of Rulings       ‘’       ‘’       ‘’
  10. Misaa’il         ‘’       ‘’       ‘’

The first seven have been discussed in earlier classes.

Fiqh (Jurisprudence) vs. Theology:

Fiqh has 4 main sources: 1) Quran 2) Hadith 3) Ijma 4) Qiyas 1, 2 & 3 are Naqli. 4 is Aqli

Today’s focus is on the Sources of this science of theology which are:

1)    Naql – Scripture ie. Quran and Hadith

2)    Aql – Reason (Intellectual Reasoning)

Why should one focus on aql when we know that there is divine revelation (word of Allah) to guide us in this world. Surely this guidance is of highest importance than our intellect (aql). This has been answered by Imam Al-Ghazali as follows:

Imam Ghazali said: Those who deny the truth of reason, whether they realize it or not, in the name of religion, they deny the truth of scripture (i.e. denial of the divine revelation

  • Why? Because it is only through aql that we are able to differentiate between Nabi (Holy Prophet s.a.w)and annabi (people like Musalymah)
  • This basically means that it is through using both, reason and scripture, that you can reach Allah (SWT). Unlike animals, we have been given the gift of fitra (described metaphorically as the innate programming) which is given to us before our existence. Therefore all humans reason to answer the “questions of life” such as What am I doing? Where am I going? Why am I here? Etc.
  • This answer has been agreed by most theologians
  • Ad-deen: Huwa aql (Religion is logical said Imam Ghazali). An example given was that in other religions such as the Christian trinity, religion does not make logical sense. However, Islam does.
  • In support of this answer, the prophet (pbuh) has also said in a particular hadith which has been translated as: “there is no religion for those who don’t use their reason” (Arabic starting as: ladeena limala aqllahu

We have 3 types of existence (as explained in detail in previous classes) and extracted from the works of the notable scholar Imam Al-Hadad

1)    Before our coming into the world: when we (i.e. our souls) took a covenant with Allah: it is this pre-existence and the pledge, that makes us ask question where did we come from, why are we here, where are we going. It is this fitra that makes us ask this and hence this fitra is the divine correspondence with God.

2)    In our mother’s wombs

3)    After our births (i.e. in this world in humanly bodies)

The Definition of Theology:

  1. “The science that should give one the ability to affirm aqeedah, that is derived from proofs which are certain” ie. From the quran / hadith
  2. He who knows himself will know his Lord
  3. Intellect/Reasoning was described as the foundation and the scriptures, as the building itself. i.e. If there is no foundation, then the scriptures cannot stand up on their own. BUT if there is the foundation, but no building, then it is just like an empty plot of land. (ref Imam Ghazali)
  4. Eg. You know how to pray, but do not actually perform prayers
  5. E.g. if one is praying, but doens;t know why…then his deeds/actions are wasted.
  6. The Quran: Those who are deaf/blind/dumb are those who do not use their intellect (Approximate meaning from the Quran, this is taken from surah baqarah transliteration being: “sumum, buqmun, umyun, fahum layou’minoon” Chapter 2, Verse 18).
  • Person who knows but does not do will be punished before the idol-worshippers
  • Person who has knowledge is better than he who prays 100 rakahs (hadith)
  • Allah-hu nur ala’al-nur (Allah is the light upon light) Interpreted that one light is the scripture, and the other light is the intellect/reasoning (ref: Surah Nur, Verse 6)
  • Ilm (knowledge) and amal (action) go hand in hand
  • Al-Aqlu, Alnakl min Daakhilun wa Alnaklu, Aql min Khaarijin (Imam Al Ghazali’s interpretation of this verse from Surah Noor):
  • Reasoning is Scripture from within (i.e. aql), and Scripure is reasoning from outside(i.e. scriptures)

Hence they are one and the same thing and should be given equal “airtime” in our minds.

Next lesson:

5 theological groups of how to approach the truth of aql and naql. How to obtain the ‘balance’ and follow the ihl-sunnah of being right in the middle.


January 06, 2009

Outline of Research Project

Follow-up to Importance of Brands from Saya's Ramblings...

Introduction and background

·        What is branding, brand management, brand strategy, development of brands, historical approaches, where it stands today.

·        Evidence of brand value and importance of brands and branding today, for internal and external stakeholders:

·        Internal: marketing division, management, employees (human capital)

·        External: shareholders for their value creation, investors for their investment initiatives

Literature review and Theoretical underpinning

·        Economics of brands as a source of market value for firms.

·        The economic importance of intangibles (brands) in our economy today supported with some statistical evidence from critically reflecting on the literature review. An example of statistical; evidence includes: Increased R&D expenditure in healthcare sector, market-to-book value ratios of Fortune 500 companies and suggesting the higher market value over tangible assets.

·        The differences in value of brands within different industries (Sattler & Hupp, 2003)

·        How the theory of the firm, more specifically the resourced-based view (RBV) of the firm explains the importance of intangibles (brands) to regain the firms’ competitiveness in the marketplace. How brands play a pivotal role amongst all other intangible assets of a firm. Critically reflecting on the development of RBV and how it addresses issues of immutability, mobility, tradability, scarcity, substitutability and other characteristics of brand intangibles for a firm or a specific industry.

Aims and Objectives of this research

·        The goal of this research is to outline the linkages the brand equity to that of brand investments

·        This issue has been on the top of the agenda for marketers to try to justify spending in branding, marketing and other ancillary activities.

·        Using the theoretical backgrounds and literature review, the goal of this research will be to critically reflect on the findings and put things into perspective using the RBV of the firm and the Value, Rare, In-imitable, Non-substitutability (VRIN) model laid out by Barney (1991).

Data and Methodology

·        I shall first be using secondary financial data from firms which have a noticeable brand, both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customers (B2C)

·        I shall be looking into how analysts’ make recommendations from current earnings regarding the performance of future earnings and how (if any) brand equity plays a role in such recommendations.

·        A typical analyst report includes company profile, financial forecasts, operational performance and other sub-headings that highlight the overall firm’s outlook for the future. After careful consideration of various factors, the analysts then reports to the investors if the security of that firm is either a Strong buy, Buy, Hold or a Sell situation.

·        I shall try to look into how the recommendations of worlds top brands (approx 50) have changed over time and how has it been reflected in analysts recommendations. This way I shall try to highlight any anomalies (if any) or obvious movements in trying to find out the linkages of the brand financing with brand investments within capital markets.

Conclusions

·        Summarise the findings from the empirical analysis

·        Outline the possible problems faced during the study: while gathering, analysing, highlighting brand elements from reports, etc

·        Suggest further improvements in security analysis and modelling such with emphasis of brand equity and its overall impact on the business

·        Reflect on future research realms connected with my results


December 09, 2008

Importance of Brands

Follow-up to Brand Equity from Saya's Ramblings...

“A brand name represents a strong communication link between the firm and the market”

Market based assets: (Garvin, 1996)
•    Consumer trust
•    Perceived quality
•    Perceived value of brand

Brand instruments:
•    Trademarks
•    Symbols
•    Logo
•    Registered designs
•    Brand name and firms’ reputation
•    Integrated communication

Successful implementation of brand strategies:
•    Advertising
•    Media
•    Packaging
•    Networking and word of mouth to create a strong, favourable and unique association (Keller, 1998)
•    Public relations teams
•    Charity events
•    Low-cost promotions
•    Sponsorships
•    Linkages with other companies, spokespeople, personalities

Brand effects:
•    Competitiveness in the marketplace
•    By creating market-based assets perceived by the consumer, firms are able to nurture perceived brand value and consumer brand equity, which in turn create profitability for the firm
•    Brands create the identity of the firm in terms of name or trademark or a consumer influence on their minds
•    Brands enable consumers to make confident, purchase decisions thus easier for firms with previous brands to introduce newer brands, adding to less risk for firms to innovate to produce newer products and services
•    Brands are a key source of immutable assets for the firm, where they can not be copied by their competitors and thus differentiating feature, leading to sustainable growth

“Brand strategy is a policy for creating and nurturing sustainable competitive advantage. It consists of “the development and maintenance of sets of product attributes and values which are coherent, appropriate , distinctive, protectable and appealing to customers” (Murphy, 1992:3)

Brand strategy challenges:
•    High resources, budgets required
•    Impact on creating growth opportunities and market based assets
•    Coherent, consistent and integrated communications policy in the midst of immense competition (corporate communication)
•    The guarantee that the brand strategy will work. The effectiveness of the plans

Brand traits:
•    Memorable, simple, recognisable by customers, credible and deliverable (Blacket and Denton, 1992:79)



Bibliography

Blacket, Tom and Graham Denton (1992), Developing New Brands, in: John Murphy (Editor.), Branding a Key Marketing Tool (2nd), 73-85, Basingstoke, UK: MacMillan Press.

Garvin, David (1993), Building a Learning Organisation, Harvard, Business Review, 71(July-August)

Keller, Kevin Lane (1998), Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring and Managing Brand Equity, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall

Murphy, John (1992), What is Branding?, in: John Murphy, (Editor) Branding a Key Marketing Tool, London: Macmillan Academic and Professional Ltd.


December 07, 2008

Various Forms of Intangible Assets

Various forms of intangible assets:

·       Intellectual property when taking the form of legal rights that include patents, trademarks or unprotected managerial know-how

·       Brands when incorporated within a durable products we see on the shelves of a supermarkets

·       Unique organisational design: simply what the name suggests, it is the way in which the firm is set up to provide the service.


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