Saturday, 26 February 2011

Productivity Lessons from the Gaming World!

Believe it or not, there was a time when Mr. ProductiveMuslim, wasn’t that productive! My biggest weakness was video games – I was insanely addicted to them, and alhamdulillah I managed to rid myself of them when I went to university and had to live without them for 4-5 years.

There was an addictive quality about games which I didn’t understand; I knew they were fun, and an “escape” from reality, but there was more. I recently came across a talk in which the speaker deciphered the addictive qualities of games and how gamers are essentially ‘productive’ in their own weird way.

So I thought: what lessons can we learn from gamers and gaming to help us be productive in our daily activity? If you think about it, gamers are actually ‘productive’ in what they are doing – they are very ‘focused’, ‘hard-working’, and ‘determined’ in achieving their virtual goals. It makes you wonder sometimes what could be achieved if the gamers around the world redirected their concentration, efforts, and persistence to real and positive works.

This is not a call for us to jump to the next console, but rather to extract lessons from the gaming world that will insha’Allah help us reach “blissful productivity” (i.e. productivity that is so enjoyable we don’t want to stop!).

Gaming is addictive due to 3 main ingredients:

1. Purpose/Meaning
Games give purpose and meaning to the player – they have ‘missions’ to complete and ‘levels’ to ascend. This sense of purpose keeps gamers going for hours, repeating levels again, and again, and again, and rarely giving up. If you look at the best games, they are the ones that have the most compelling story with the strongest purpose! (Call of Duty anyone?)

2. Social Network
Before the advent of the Internet, console games and even simple board games were a social event. Families and friends gathered to have a good time. Now the gaming social network has ‘evolved’ with the Massive Multi-Player Online Games; millions of people around the world, connect, meet, talk, fight, run, jump, and battle together! The social bond between the gamers sometimes is at the expense of familial ties, either weakening them or completely ruining them.

3. Epic Wins
Games provide epic victories! Which gamer in the world doesn’t love that final momentous blow to the evil boss? It’s a sense of achievement. On the other hand, and I know this personally, which gamer doesn’t hate that black screen of death with the annoying text: Game over! These epic wins are strongly connected to a gamer’s pride, causing a gamer to spend hours until he/she achieves that ego boost! And the ‘Game over!’ screen is strongly connected to a gamer’s negative feelings, so that he/she will fight so hard (with their fingers) to save themselves from that ‘disgrace and disappointment’!

So purpose, social interaction, and epic wins/losses are the three key ingredients that make games so addictive and their players to be so ‘productive’ and ‘hard-working’ in their virtual words. Now, let’s apply these three ingredients in the real world and see if it can make us productive:

1. Have a Purpose/Meaning for whatever you do
It’s amazing how we go about life with little or no purposeful intent in anything we do. We have no purpose behind our studies, no purpose behind our work, no purpose behind our fun time. If you want to have a productive and enjoyable life, have a strong purpose! Alhamdulillah, as Muslims, we were given the biggest and best purpose in life; a purpose not just confined to this temporary life, but for both the dunya (temporary world) and for the eternal Hereafter (akhirah); and that purpose is to worship Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala). But how many of us truly connect to this purpose?

2. Build a Social Network around what you do
If you want to be productive in what you’re doing, involve others! I can tell you from personal experience how my productivity doubles when I’m working on a project with others, compared to when I’m working on a project alone. When we work with others, we commit to work together and don’t want to look bad, so we try hard to keep our promises. But when we work alone, we often lose self-accountability and motivation. SubhanaAllah, this made me think how Islam is such a “community religion” – if you look at most of the rituals in Islam, they are done in “Jama’a” – congregation. Salah, Hajj, Fasting Ramadan (you fast with your community and break fast with them), etc.

3. Imagine your Epic Wins/Losses
Make sure whatever you do, you can imagine it’s ‘epic moment of victory’ to which you can positively and excitedly connect. Make sure you imagine the ‘epic moment of loss’ as well so you deter yourself from slacking and being unproductive. Let’s look at the example of studying for exams: your joyous moment would be passing your exams, seeing your parents smile for your achievement, receiving your certificate; by contrast, your moment of loss is failing your exams, seeing the disappointment on your parents face, and/or repeating the whole year again, while your classmates move on to the next year! We can apply this further, to our entire lives; our epic win is…Jannah! Connect with Jannah through the descriptions given to us in The Quran, and you’d really not want to lose it! And also learn about the epic loss, Jahanam so you deter yourself from anything Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) dislikes.

Dear Gamers…

Now before I end, I want to make a small address to our dear gamers. The number of hours that gamers spend playing video games is shocking. One study estimates that gamers around the world collectively spend 3 billion hours per week, playing games! Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajoun! I want my dear Muslim brothers and sisters who are addicted to gaming (just like I was) to wake up and be productive with their life, and find better hobbies or sources of relaxation.

Here are some steps for how gamers can “wake up” from their unproductive lifestyle:

1. Purpose/Meaning
Honestly, do you think reaching that extra level or slaying that villain will add any true valuable meaning to your life? Really, ask yourself? Reflect on Surat Al-Asr (#103), because indeed we are not losing time but also wasting it.

2. Social Network
Is the random stranger behind some computer using a female avatar to hide his identity really your friend? Is this unknown person closer to you and more valuable than your parents who have taken care of you their whole lives and done a lot to keep you happy (whether you know and notice it or not)?

3. Epic win/epic loss
I remember that after the euphoric win in a game or finishing the last level, I would find myself feeling empty inside. I wasn’t truly happy; my happiness was a fleeting moment and distraction. Most gamers resolve this by going and buying a new game, but then what? When does the cycle end?

So a sincere call to my dear Muslim brothers and sisters, from your brother who has been there, to get out of this addiction and wake up to the real world.

The real world is so much more beautiful, so much more satisfying, and it needs you, each one of you, to save it and achieve the ultimate epic win, Jannah and the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Good mood ^_^

Every normal person feels depressed at times but it's definitely not a good idea to dwell on those negative thoughts and wallow in bad feelings. Feeling sorry for yourself, heartbroken and self pity are some examples of unhealthy moody atmospheres. On the other hand, good mood starts with a good attitude. It will somehow keeps our days upbeat and positive. Good moods are awesome! - though sometimes it can be quite hard to maintain those moods. Still, we can do something to preserve this good healthy vibrant in our lives! Let's get yourself back to one! =)

Put on something nice and good - not just pretty or expensive clothes but comfortable enough that give us the sense of feeling good. Often, the way we dress reflects our emotions. Messy clothing will only reinforces the negative aura.

Remember your loved ones - Simply name five people that you love and take a few minutes to keep in touch with each of them. Use all sorts of techno, just a simple 'hello' and 'i miss u' will do. Emails, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! you name it.

Reward yourself! - this is the best part of all! Have a reward each time you manage to finish up a task or two. Take a stroll to the beautiful garden nearby or just go on chatting with an old friend. But be careful not to overindulge in it!

Do something that you love - this is it, this is when the time you want to go for shopping, indulge in scrumptious food, immerse in breathtaking views, go for nice summer holidays and the list goes on and on. Ok..I believe this particular point would be overlapped with the point 'reward yourself' as you're doing what you would love to do ideally after you've done something decent and worthy to be rewarded. Let's make it simple then, for instance I love to cook and bake but haven't got enough time to do it so let's wait until I've finished my revision task. Get it?

Do something nice for someone else - how ironic it is when we're doing something to make others happy, we can also feel positive and happy. The act of giving is amazing which can alleviate the depression and give some relief to the heart. It's not necessary have to be something big or fancy, just something that the person will appreciate.

Always count your blessings - the most crucial one! There are so many things that we tend to take for granted as simple as good health, nice food, living in peace, beautiful sceneries, abundance of love and care etc etc. Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah The Almighty for giving us the chance to have all those things even if it's just for a second. Alhamdulillah!

Keep your positive mug forward! Oopss i mean MOOD!

Ok I'm feeling good now! ^_^ Hope you too then!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

cups of courage

well, I don't literally mean this.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand firm or fight for something but sometimes it takes even greater courage to let go of or walk away and leave something. Indeed, courage is the basic virtue for everyone so long as he continues to grow, to move ahead.

Muslims must know that we are all living on borrowed time and space courtesy of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala! It is only to Him who we must submit ourselves. If we are true Muslims, then we must surely recall this Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam :

"When any one of you sees anything that is disapproved (of by Allah), let him change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then let him change it with his heart, though that is the weakest (kind of) faith." [Hadith related by Muslim]

Amar ma’aruf nahi mungkar; simply means to enjoin good and to abhor bad, which is first and foremost should be applied to one’s own self.

For instance, don’t just talk about the good that needs to be done. Just do it! And like talking about feeding the poor and helping the orphans. Don’t just talk for nothing. Just feed and help them. Also, no need to forbid others from doing wrong. Restrain yourself first from that very wrong, that's way much better. Don't just keep blaming others and talk about unity and just where at the same time you're being a racist. While saying to others how to be good and noble but you're obviously not. Just be! (I know, I sounded a bit harsh here but this entry is purely for my own sake to motivate myself. Pardon me for my words.)

Ultimately, it's up to us who have to decide what's best to lead the life in order to gain Allah's Pleasure with the help of Him definitely. Let's always pray to Allah and ask Him for guidance and courage. Let's walk the talk people!

“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and have disputations with them in the best manner; surely your Lord best knows those who go astray from His path, and He knows best those who follow the right way” (Surah 16 verse 125 of the Holy Qur’an)

*Oh, I so need lots of cups of courage!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Love in Islam

Praise be to Allah. We bear witness that there is only one god who has no partners beside Him, and we bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.

The Prophet (pbuh) once told his dear companion, Muazh Ibn Jabal, “ Muazh, I do love you! ” Muazh replied, “ And I love you, Messenger of Allah, more dearly than my own father and mother! ” The Prophet then instructed Muazh, “ Do not end a prayer without asking Allah to help you remember Him, to be thankful to Him, and to serve Him in the best of ways. ”

In the Quran Allah promises us,

“Remember Me, I shall remember you.” (2

:152) *Oh, how sweet! ^_^

Our remembrance of Allah is His remembrance of us. Our call to Him is His answer to us. Remembrance is the way of intimacy with Allah.

Also, Allah even says, “ I am as my worshipper thinks I am. I am with him when he remembers Me … if he seeks closeness to Me by as little as an inch, I come closer to him by a yard. And if he seeks closeness to Me by a yard, I come closer to him by a mile. And if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running! ” *Subhanallah!

Hence, Allah's grace multiplies with our sincere efforts and honest intention to come closer to Him. Whatever we give to Him comes back manifold to us. In this way, little by little, our love for Allah grows and develops and it transforms us into loving, noble human beings...InsyaAllah.

We get close to Allah by serving Him, by being for His sake, by learning to make our intentions purely for Him, by learning to become a little less selfish and a lot more giving.

I believe that's the greatest love in Islam!

May Allah bless us with His merciful guidance to His straight path. May He bless us with His love. Allah we seek refuge in You from hearts that are not humble, and egos that are never satisfied, and eyes that do not weep, and prayers that are not answered, and works that are not elevated.

Allah, bless us with wholesome hearts, grateful tongues, and obedient bodies. Do not let us forget You. Do not deny us loving You. Allah, preserve us and protect us. Be merciful with us. Increase our blessings and support us. O You who has ability over all things...Ameen Ya Rabb.


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Chosen One!

In a time of darkness and greed
It is your light that we need
You came to teach us how to live
Muhammad Ya Rasool Allah

You were so caring and kind
Your soul was full of light
You are the best of mankind
Muhammad Khaira Khalqillah

Sallu ‘ala Rasulillah, Habib Al Mustafa
Peace be upon The Messenger
The Chosen One

From luxury you turned away
And all night you would pray
Truthful in every word you say
Muhammad Ya Rasul Allah

Your face was brighter than the sun
Your beauty equaled by none
You are Allah’s Chosen One
Muhammad Khaira Khalqillah
Sallu ‘ala Rasulillah, Habib Al Mustafa
Peace be upon The Messenger
The Chosen One

I will try to follow your way
And do my best to live my life
As you taught me
I pray to be close to you
On that day and see you smile
When you see me
Sallu ‘ala Rasulillah, Habibil Mustafa
Peace be upon The Messenger
The Chosen One

Sallu ‘ala Rasulillah, Habibi Mustafa
Peace be upon The Messenger
The Chosen One

Subhanallah! What a beautiful song!

Let's Think like a Muslim, act like a Muslim and love Allah (SWT) and Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) like a true Muslim. may ALLAH protect us from the evil whispers of the syaitaan and may ALLAH bless our prophet and his umaah. AMEEN.

Salaam Maulidurrasul.
12 Rabi'ul Awal 1432H.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

home is where my heart is

UK is probably a wonderful place to visit and live in but living here obviously requires a great deal of understanding about its various locations, streets, and their regional importance. Indeed finding a suitable place to live in which resembles almost like 'home' that I will always miss deep down inside my heart, is quite daunting. The property rates and rents might be higher in certain areas so the property value depends on the importance of the locality really and will vary hugely from one location to another. A proper research of the property market, its trends and different rents in different localities need to be looked upon before going for the property for rent while selecting the suitable ones matching the budget. Why is it so difficult to find a house then?? (of course laa klu nk yg cantik n murah je mmg susah nk dpt cik kak oi) hohoohh but for me, as simple as..because there's no place like home! ^_^

ohh I so miss my lovely home...

let me go home~

*mode: still looking for a house*

Friday, 4 February 2011


(Malay Version)

Andainya kau rasa tak berupaya
Hidup sendirian, tiada pembela
Segalanya suram, bagai malam yang kelam
Tiada bantuan tiada tujuan
Janganlah berputus asa
Kerana Allah bersamamu

Insya Allah... Insya Allah... Insya Allah...
Ada jalannya
Insya Allah... Insya Allah... Insya Allah...
Ada jalannya

Andainya dosamu berulang lagi
Bagai tiada ruang untuk kembali
Dikau keliru atas kesilapan lalu
Membelenggu hati dan fikiranmu
Janganlah berputus asa
Kerana Allah bersamamu

(Ulang korus)

Kepada Yang Esa
Yakin padaNya
Panjatkanlah doa
Oh Ya Allah
Pimpinlah daku dari tersasar
Tunjukkan daku ke jalan yang benar
Jalan yang benar
Jalan yang benar
Jalan yang benar...

(Ulang korus)

Melodi: Maher Zain
Lirik: Maher Zain & Bara Kherigi
Susunan Muzik: Maher Zain & Hamza Namira
Lirik Melayu: Frizdan