Thoughts from working with Google Docs

This is not a technical thought nor is it a business thought. It is very spiritual, purely spiritual. So read

We have been utilizing the usage of google docs as a forum where we share ideas, build projects, discuss issues, and even organize big events. It has proven effective and we became so familiar with it. One of the most common usage of google doc is to collaborate building a project through putting our input and ideas in a joint document.

I often put my input in these documents late at night where probably many people are asleep. Google Doc has this nice feature of telling you who else is editing this document. You can see who is editing and you can even see some edits being made in front of you. “RM, SA, and ZS are also editing this document,” a nice blue message on the top right shows itself to you.

So, where are the spiritual thoughts? Here there are. Continue reading

A question that shook me!

A very subtle issue

I was reading the recent blog post of my friend Hossam, where he was sharing a meeting with another executive in MAS. A question that Hossam was asked really grabbed my eye and made me feel a little scared:

How do you know that you are not in MAS for the spiritual and organizational ‘rush’ that activism brings to our life, and for the sake of being active and engaged in a society with a bigger goal than yourself, rather than truly for the sake of Allah?

Let me add to this question the following: Continue reading

On the memory of Tasneem

Tasneem is a beloved daughter of mine. Actually the daughter of one of my dear brothers. She left us a few years ago when she was 14. Her memories come back every year with her beautiful smile, her soft personality, and funny Arabic palestinian accent.

Memory #1: selling tickets for the concert

Her memory ensures me that the plans of Allah supersede any of our plans. Her parents may have planned a lot for her. They may have even chosen a future groom for her. But no matter how much we plan, Allah’s plans always happen. Her picture selling tickets for the concert that we were planning to have next to a poster of the event is a picture that I can’t forget, for the date of the event was the date of her leaving us.

Lesson #1: Let us beware of our lives. We may not live until our very plans happen. We sleep with no doubt that we will wake up. We go to work with absolute conviction that we will come back. We live as if we will live forever. Our calendar of events, to us, is like the absolute truth. Every time I remember Tasneem’s picture, I remember this lesson. Every time I give a lecture or a thought about this issue, I have to use Tasneems picture as a proof.

Memory #2: Tasneem is a middle sister

Tasneem is a middle sister. She has two older siblings and 2 younger siblings. As all siblings do especially in early ages: they fight 🙂 I am sure all of us has a bit of that. I remember fighting and arguing a lot with my brothers even on simple things. Being a middle sister like Tasneem would make her subject to these arguments and fighting with all: she is the young little spoiled sister when it comes to the old and she is the old bossy sister  when the young are concerned.

Lesson #2: a moment of joy with your brother or sister is worth your whole life

Now that I grew older and live away from my brothers, I miss them so much. I would do anything to have a few moments with them. I remember our arguments and fights as little kids with the sense of humor and much of regret. I tell myself, “If Allah brings me back, I will do anything to please my brothers and help them as much as I can. I read Tasneem’s siblings’ thoughts and memories. They are all about this. They are all about longing for a moment with Tasneem, a moment where they please her, help her, and make her happy. Well, we still have brothers and sisters. We do have many people around us to enjoy their company and let them enjoy our company. Let us not lose the moment. Let us not wait until we miss them and regret the time we haven’t spent to benefit them.

Memory #3: We can no longer see Tasneem

I am sure Tasneem for me is different that she is to her family. I miss her as a friend, even as a dad’s friend. But her family missed her much more. They hope to see her and feel very sad they can’t.

Lesson #3: Another blessing of Islam

A blessing out of many many blessings of Islam is that we know for sure this life is not the end of the story. We know for sure that there will be a time when believing people come together. We know there will be time when the husband and wife meet, where children join parents, and when we meet with our loved ones. This will be in a place where there will be no sadness, no grief, and no more separation. This is the place where our final destination will be and where our hearts get together. This belief brings a lot of comfort to the hearts, and transforms any sadness into action to do our best to get there. It is as if Tasneem is traveling and we are just waiting to join her. We just have to make more good to be able to make the trip to where she went. We just have to make more duaa that Allah gathers us together in His Paradise. It is coming, we see it, we are sure of it, we are working on it, isa!

I ask Allah to have mercy on Tasneem, make us always remember her and her beautiful face and wide smile, and gather her with her family and all of us under the shade of His throne, Amin!

Making a covenant in a moment of sincerity – TAM thought #3

More lessons to learn and more thoughts hit, TAM south was another place for a lot of thoughts and inspirations. At the end of the TAM, we had a session where we all renewed our intention, charged our energy, and showed our commitment to Allah, to Islam, and to MAS and its mission, the LASER-beam session as known by people who attended. In a similar session last year in Dallas, one of the brothers was very excited and he emotionally took the microphone and said, you will see how many people will come from my city to TAM next year. He comes from a small chapter where only three people were attending TAM at that year. He was relatively new to MAS and to be honest I told myself at the time, “A nice excited brother,” taking his promise a little lightly.

After the TAM of last year was over and a whole year passed by and we started approaching TAM 09 in Dallas, his idea hit me again. He wasn’t one of the attendees in this year’s TAM and I even forgot his name. I was shocked to see 20 people from this city coming to TAM 09, fifteen of which were very young energetic brothers and sisters who were so engaged in the TAM. You can’t feel how I felt about the original thought I had when this brother made the promise. What on earth made me take his promise lightly? I felt very small yet very happy. I was extremely happy to hear one of the young sisters from this very city who shared her thoughts, aspirations, and experience with the audience who kept applauding her many times.

I am sure these 20 committed and excited young people did not come together alone. As a matter of fact, I am aware of the effort put to make this happen. I am also sure that it wasn’t the mere work of this brother who made the promise. However, what I am sure of is that the sincerity and the passion he had while making this promise contributed a lot to the success of this chapter in this very short time.

Let us leverage moments of pure intention. Let us get our positive thoughts out and let us transform them to real actions. Let us renew our covenant in front of Allah and in front of each other. If Allah, who knows deeply what is in the heart, finds sincerity and purity in these hearts, he will bless the little effort and make our promises become true.

You do not have to be a speaker – TAM 09 thought #1

I just got mentally conscious after the amazing weekend in DC with more than 200 MAS members gathering to discover MAS mission. For the past 48 hours since I left the meeting heading home*, I was living under the strong emotional and intellectual impact this TAM left on me and I am sure on many of those who were there. Every time I receive an email regarding this event, I read it with my heart and start tearing while remembering the huge blessings we went through especially towards the end when we all renewed our commitment to MAS, its mission, to each other, to America, to Islam, and to Allah (swt).

Now that I am a little back to my mental normality, I started reading the emails again. I found there are many lessons to learn. I also thought of sharing these thoughts for the blessings to spread and for all of us to learn. I was a speaker. That was my only role. At the times when I wasn’t speaking, I was inside the meeting room listening, sharing my thoughts and posing my questions. I realized that the program is smooth, no parents are upset as they usually are because of their kids, and no kids are “escaping” from the children program trying to be around in the hotel hallways and meeting rooms. I realized that many things are falling together and many things are happening. I was so encouraged by this and I felt Allah’s barakah surrounding us.

The hidden soldiers

As an attendee, I received an email from the local TAM chair thanking us for coming and asking us to evaluate. He used the opportunity to thank his team who helped in organizing and making this event successful. My name appeared of course as one of the speakers but I realized that my name was a one out of many many people whom I do not know, I did not see, and did not even felt they existed in this event. They are so many clustered around committees and playing different roles. I looked over the email again and I saw my name once and I was happy to be listed in such a group.

I then thought that I was enjoying my speech, probably felt a little content when people liked my presentations or when they laughed on a joke I made. I enjoyed listening and learning discussing and asking questions. Those other people did not even attend the program nor did they interacted with anyone. I felt that I got back some of my reward while Allah kept their reward intact. One of these hidden soldiers said, “I am not attending the TAM this year. I will put all my energy in making the TAM successful for everyone, for it won’t be successful unless the children program is successful.

After reading the TAM evaluation results, talking to some parents, meeting some the kids, and listening to my wife getting news from her friends who attended the TAM, I realized how small my role was and how great these people are. Our mission is very heavy. Many roles need to be played and it is not only about public speaking or teaching. There are many many roles we can play and we can have the same or even bigger effect. I will end by saying that when a report came to Omar Ibn Al-Khattab listing the names of those who died in the battle field it was concluded by, ” … and many others you do not know Ya Amir Al-Mo’mineen.” Omar responded, tearing, “What harm would go to them if Omar does not them; Allah does!”