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Of a court jester of Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad actually had a court jester, amazing, whom he loved.

Once he directed a blind person to do a thing. That man went and started beating Hazrat Usman, who was praying, in the mosque. And after prayer he inquired, "What's going on!?" He said, "I thought you were such a such person. Nouman told me to that." And Nouman snickering in corner.

Prophet used to smile on it. And Prophet was also called by a scholar a laughing Prophet. His face used to be filled with smile. But he never laughed out like we use to. And what a beautiful thing is said in the Quran, "And He is the One who made you laugh and made you cry."

* Notes taken from a talk by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf. Watch.

'Using Excel to Teach Economics'

Saw this very useful activity-based Excel workbooks for teaching all major Principles of Economics at a very introductory level which even the business students in Pakistan study, 'with emphasis of micro-economics'. Here you can find links to workbooks for Economics and International Economics (440 - which shows that probably its the highest level course at under-grad); plus, published papers on the already mentioned subjects.

If you find it useful please share your feedback.

3 Ways to do Tazkiya (Self-Purification) Today

Here are simple, 3 straight ways* of attaining self-purification (in hierarchy) which is perhaps the greatest aim of human beings on earth, and you cannot ignore any of it:

1. Qur'an

2. Reading and acting upon the life of Prophet Muhammad (his seerah)

3. Attaching oneself to the company of truthful, pious people.

* I learnt it from an Islamic scholar based in Lahore on 21 April '10.

'No big picture': Greatest dilemma of Moderns

"The problem of modernity is that all efforts are put into understanding 'details' of nature. But i has no bigger picture. That's what you see at Nat-Geo and Discovery (channels) ... people going deep into a leave, but so ignorant of the most important questions and mysteries of life." This is just an opposite of a Moslem's perspective, who has the bigger picture. That is why a Moslem is often startled and confused by the over-scientific environment and academic extremism of God-less human creatures, who deify knowledge, which is an unacceptable situation for him.

What makes an Idea a SUCCESs?

Read Made to Stick: Why some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Heath brother that what makes an Idea a SUCCESS is SUCCESs. It stands for:

- Simple
- Unexpected
- Credible
- Concrete
- Emotional
- Stories

If any idea that is to be communicated has few or all above qualities, it would STICK in the minds of audience, others would die. The rest of the book just explains each quality. Plus, the whole book is filled with useful resources for teachers, as one of the author has been a very enthusiastic teacher.

You don't just learn by solving questions...

... rather you can also learn - perhaps better - by 'posing (or developing) questions'. According to a research article in School Science and Mathematics, "Problem posing, with its emphasis on having students generate and develop their own mathematical problems from particular situations or on the basis of their prior problem solving experiences, may be an important activity that in fact helps students develop as inquiry-based problem solvers."*

Well, I have a friend who does the same with his O/A level students in Pakistan, helping them make DISTRACTORs: questions that only 1 out of 1000 can answer. One of his student said that this is the way of real learning and growth. How does it happen that by posing questions a student may better solve a problem? the article mentions two instance:
1. ... he or she may look to break down or reduce the original problem into smaller problems, the solution of which lead to a solution of the original problem.
2. ... students engaged in the solution of a problem may generate a result that challenges or calls into question their prior goals and actions. In these situations the ways that the student acts to resolve the new question often leads to a reformulation of the original problem which may in turn lead to progress in finding a solution.
* Problem posing and problem solving: a dynamic connection. mathematics education Charlene Sheets; Victor Cifarelli. Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2009 School Science and Mathematics Association, Inc.

What is your strategy to change a society?

(Time to reflect deeply)

Do we need surgery or medicine to cure a dying organism, i.e., a society? What approach would you take as an educator in your school; as a family member in your home; or if you are given immense POWER over whole society? Let the bird of your imagination soar in heavenly clouds...

What is the the Message of Islam & role of Prophet Muhammad

Teaching 'novel' subjects in Pakistan

I was talking to my advanced English writing skills professor, who is also running a small school for two years about developing thinking skills in pupils. He said that we cannot teach our pupil novel subjects to induce creativity and develop critical thinking skills being affiliated to dull and boring board system unless: a) we've have to trade-off for numbers/board positions (or do you have to?); b) we have to make the creative subject a side-subject (in my sir's school their's a learning class, in which pupil make encyclopedias of their own on topic/subject they are most interested in), for which training teachers does magic ::

As for point A :: For example, the prof. once visited two schools in Northern Areas: One used brutally, full-time 'stick', taming pupils to rote-learn for positions in boards, and they successfully got many positions board; the second school, on the other hand, fully promoted activity-/projects-/practical-based learning, e.g., in a lesson, a pupil was asked to go home and write down the attitude of his/her elder's brother toward him/her - don't you think this is enhancing cognitive abilities in the child, which is the ability to know what you're thinking, but they got less or no positions in the board :)

Qualities of a friend of Knowledge

I heard a scholar, Mr. Khalid Zaheer, enumerating qualities of an ilm dost, friend of knowledge:

  • He is Truthful and doesn't fail to accept truth
  • He is not prideful/proudly of his knowledge, nor does he consider others worthless
  • He is very Honest. He fully acknowledges contributions of others.
  • He is not prejudiced, nor is he sentimental when it comes to understanding nature of things.
  • But, when it comes to action, he is emotional in acting upon his knowledge.
  • He does not hoard knowledge; rather is keen in spreading it.
  • He is balanced and maintains balance/'itidal.
  • He is not snobbish.
  • He prays five times prayers.
  • He reads Qur'an daily.
  • He is polite.

A letter by a teenager clerk: Year 1846

Following is a letter discovered in 1988 of a teenager clerk in Edinburgh, UK. It was published in an article in "Accounting Historians Journal," Dec 2008 v35 i2 p43(27): A letter from a teenage accounting clerk in 1846: a hidden voice in a micro-history of modern public accountancy, by Thomas A. Lee. (Full Text: COPYRIGHT 2008 Academy of Accounting Historians.) I only wish to reproduce the letter here:

Edinburgh, 1 George Street
December 24th 1846

My dear Papa,

Your kind letter I got yesterday along with one from
Glasgow which enclosed another note from you to
Mama for my perusal. I was perfectly surprised to find
the Phaeton did not go into Glasgow till Saturday. After
all you see you might just have done as I wished you to
do, and not left here till the Friday night. I am now very
vexed you have been the worse of your trip though, but
I trust you will soon be perfectly recovered.

I will attend to all your instructions with respect to
the almanacs etc. In Mama's letter she says something
about extract of malt. Do you wish me to send a jar to
Montrose Street along with them? I have made up my
mind to give Marianne Cairns some little thing just now
also, for I wish her to see that I feel their kindness to
me a little. I am thinking some Saturday in the beginning
of the year to take a 4th class drive to Glasgow in
the morning if it won't put them about at all, and if
they could give me a bed, stay till the Monday. If not,
return on the Saturday evening. But I don't wish you
to mention this because in the first place I may not do
so at all, and in the second if I do, it will be a nice thing
to surprise Mama by popping in to breakfast some fine
morning. I was sorry to find Aunty and Frederick poor
Manny had been ill, but I am glad they are well again.
I am very glad indeed that Mr Peddie's report of your
humble servant pleased them all in Glasgow, but oh I
am thankful that it has been an almighty Father that
has been on my right hand and on my left for the last
year. The more good accounts I hear of myself it makes
me the more so, for I feel convinced that without Him I
could have done nothing. You may perhaps my dearest
Father be surprised to hear such a statement from me.
I perhaps never said so much about my own feelings
to any one before, but I think it right to tell, that these
feelings in regard to God's Providence, I never had till I
got my first quarter's salary. Vanity was and is still too
much I fear my besetting sin. I ought to say rather self
conceit--but that day I felt it was not my own cleverness
nor anything I can do that made Mr Peddle think
I should get 5 [pounds sterling] instead of 3.15 [pounds
sterling]/- and ever since then I
have felt more and more that 'without me you can do
nothing.' I must now draw near a close, though I am
already too late for this evening's Post. I forgot to bring
up the Pict. Times tonight too, so you won't get it till
Saturday. I won't be able to get Mama written to till the
beginning of the week either. You may say when you
write. Miss Low would get a parcel from Mrs Murray
which she sent up to me to take charge of when I am
going west, but as I was not, she was to send it herself.
I think Dr Minto will come round a bit now; there has
been a regular quarrel between him and Archy at last
and he, the latter, is unseated from the foot of the table
(!). The Plaid is a delightful thing. I got out a Ticket
for the lectures from Mr Peddie. Many thanks for your
leave to take a few lessons on dancing. I go to the
Cresct. tomorrow you know; on Tuesday to the Messers
and on New Year evening to the Millers. These are
the invitations I have on hand at present but there will
likely be more next week.

Now dear Papa I must stop. Love to all, large and small.


Your ever affectionate son

Alexander Niven

PS

I wish you could devise any possible excuse for leaving
the Tron Church. I go there Sabbath after Sabbath, and
I must tell you distinctly I come out vexed and uncomfortable,
because I never get any good, and I feel quite
vexed almost, when Sunday returns for I feel convinced
that every time I enter the church I am just about to
waste two hours of the Holy Sabbath. Please to think
this seriously over and let me know what you think I
ought to do. I could write many things more but I must
stop.

ATN

10 of Thursday pm

Trouble with Umer: A mentor-psychiatrist's analysis

His voice was full of certainty, affection, love and care. He was giving as if warnings to me of the deep, subtle problems (as we'd see), and proposed cure. He communicates the idea keeping his audience in his full grip. He knows you more than you do, yet with very limited knowledge. After all, he's a highly-qualified psychiatrist with a scholarly bent of mind. He said to me, commenting on my mental state in the context of my learning behavior:
  • Your priorities need overhaul and re-fixing, especially in what you study
  • Avoid intellectual distractions: You do multiple things at time ... get involved in varying disciplines, and this can make you utterly confused, as I have observed it, sometimes.
  • Look, brain is just like a child ... Like a child it slowly develops, it grows as a human being, it eats somethings and then it disgusts, finally reproducing (using that energy). Your problem is indigestion.
  • You have more than sufficient knowledge, but it's not systematized.
  • Complex things are built on simple, concrete ideas. Make your foundations strong by immersing in the thing in hand.

Making Global Islamic Guidelines for Education

Assalamualaekum!

I quote:
The Global Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care in the 21st Century were developed as a collaborative project between the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) and the World Organization for Early Childhood (OMEP). The project's intent was to provide guidance concerning the fundamental elements that are necessary to create high-quality environments for early care and education. In 1999, an international symposium was co-sponsored by OMEP and ACEI in Ruschlikon, Switzerland. More than 80 professionals from 27 countries and every continent except Antarctica attended the symposium. The result of this meeting was the creation of the Global Guidelines (Wortham, 2001, 2003). An international work group articulated five premises that form the foundation for the Global Guidelines:
* Global Guidelines Premise #1: Children are both the present and the future of every nation. Children have needs, rights, and intrinsic worth that must be recognized and supported.
* Global Guidelines Premise #2: Every child should have the opportunity to grow up in a setting that values children, provides conditions for a safe and secure environment, and respects diversity.
* Global Guidelines Premise #3: Knowledge about human development is more substantial than at any other time in history. The new century offers opportunities to consolidate recent gains and to respond to new challenges that lie ahead.
* Global Guidelines Premise #4: Children must receive appropriate nurture and education within and outside their families from birth onward, if they are to develop optimally.
* Global Guidelines Premise #5: Paying attention to the health, nutrition, education, and psycho-social development of children during their early years is essential for the future well-being of nations and the global community.
These are the guidelines by those outside the abode of Islam. Those who do not know that their life's purpose is to worship Allah, spend maximum time and energies and utilize the engine of education optimally, we, the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad on whom Allah revealed His final Book, who purified people and taught them the Book and Wisdom, cannot come up with an educational model which be the Mercy for whole humanity!

Request: You can take 2-3 weeks, contact scholars and ulema; read Quran and other books, and then try coming up/developing 5-6 premises from the knowledge you gain on the Global Islamic Guidelines for Education (GIGE) that can be applied to a school I am working on.

Would you not reflect!

Islamic Art

I commented on a post, "Islamic Art", presumably by a non-Muslim foreginer, about the topic- I'm sharing it as I don't know how accurate my description may be:
Love for abstraction, love of unity of God, deep contemplation, purity of soul, recitation of Quran, fear of God and day of judgement, craft, imagination, creativity, infinity = Islamic art :)

Of a Negative Spending

Mr. President of Pakistan used to boast on the so-called "development" of telecom industry in Pakistan, which as a whole, from economics' point-of-view, is not much constructive, but negative, to say the least. In Pakistan, billions are being spent on mobiles and stuff. Each we buy a cellphone sim, as per my professor, a phone set is imported, as Pakistan ain't any phone producing country, in dollars. Let's (loosely speaking) deconstruct our 'spending-pattern' on mobiles and see its "glory" to show that total spending on importing mobiles is "negative" in economic terms:
  • It is a consumer good that only lasts a year or two
  • There are no returns from mobiles
  • Only some people get jobs, others just keep paying to Teleco companies
  • Balance of payment of our country is negative
  • Foreign exchange reserves are damaged
  • Overall, it is a bad investment, as we're not investing in textiles, industries, R&D, infrastructure, etc.
Conclusion: Our spending on mobiles and stuff - IT IS A TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY!

What is missing in science teaching in Pakistan

In short, according to a head of department of electrical engineering of a Pakistani university, people highly proficient in physics and math (at its implementation level), what is missing in science teaching at secondary and higher secondary level, is VISUALIZATION of concepts. "Pupils get into under-grad program and yet can't explain what integration is all about. It is because they don't an understanding of it for they were not explained things graphically/visually," he added. It is an up-hill task to make sure everything delivered in class is easily visualized in the mind of pupil(s).