Category Archives: Dressing

I did it !!! I finally did…


I cant believe that I did it…. To say I am proud of myself would be an understatement. To say this is a milestone in my life would be an overstatement but closer to the truth.

I ran a whole mile, continuously at good pace without stopping (I was going about 4.5 MPH). Okay, I know what you are thinking as you move the mouse towards the top-right of the screen (or top left for fellow mac users) and getting ready to erase me from your life, but hear me out.

1) Technically, I did not run a whole mile at a continuous speed (I probably did about 0.8 of a mile), but that was because I literally ran out of time and had to run to a meeting.

2) That is exactly why I am so proud of myself. In all my life I have always dreamed of being able to run 1 mile only, without being out of breath and wheezing on the side of the road. Never even imagined it is possible (ie very hard to reach). That why earlier this year I set what I believed was a very lofty goal of running 5 miles, so lofty I assumed that publishing an article in a prestigious journal to be more feasible (still working on it).

I look back at my day and I am amazed with how rewarding it is to stick to your guns and just do it… I had just finished work at five and had a meeting at 6 pm. I went the mosque and prayed and then looked at my watch and it was 5:11. I thought to myself, I need fifteen minutes to go to the gym and the same amount to go to my meeting. Thus left me with exactly twenty minutes to exercise !! Usually I am the person who thinks 20 min is not enough to do anything, why don’t I just lay down and wait for the meeting.

Back at the gym I start the treadmill and decide to go really easy and walk the first lap at 3 MPH, based on my father recommendations of warming up. After the lap is over,  I adjusted the speed to find the lowest speed where I can still run comfortably (it turns out that it is 4.5 MPH) and I just start running. 

Thirty seconds later, my brain starts shouting to me “enough already, the boredom is killing me”. However, right then a marching band passes right in front of me, followed by cheerleaders and people carrying huge P and U letters. I look back at the time and it turns out I have been running for two minutes. My heart rate has stabilized at 164 (which for my age is perfect) and then my legs start screaming at me “we cannot handle it anymore, please stop”. Somehow, it did not bother me that they were shouting and their voices got dimmer and I kept going. Five minutes passed and I was amazed, I have ran for five minutes straight. That is unheard of and the best part of it was, my heart rate and breathing were stable. It suddenly dawned on me that I can do it and I can run my mile and I continued until my time ran out… 

If you have read this far congratulations on your major accomplishment, you have reached the golden pot. I have not written this just to till you how my day at the gym went.  

Our greatest hurdles in front of us is not lack of opportunity, education or money. It is ourselves, yes that right we are the ones who place obstacles in front of ourselves. It then becomes up to us to either to remove these hurdles or feel bitter about these hurdles. We choose what path to take. One day I will expand upon this more, but for now….

Welcome back and special thanks to the family and friend who encouraged, supported and black mailed me into the gym 🙂 and apologies for the grammar, typing this as I am heading to bed !

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How can I make a difference in life…


Too many times we get sucked into these big plans of how to improve or help the world. It could be from the perspective of marriage, unemployment, proverty, health, education and so on… However, as we try to overcome these problems, we realize how big they are and how small we are and end up giving up and doing nothing.

I read this article in New York times interviewing Muhammad Younus who started the concept of micro lending in Bangladesh and was extremely inspired by his answer to the following questions.

“What would you say to a person who asks, ‘Where should I start?’

What are the problems you see around you? Sit down and make a list. Then put them in order of priority, [starting with] the things you hate the most. Then start with one and see if you can find a business approach to solve it. Suppose you put down unemployment. O.K., why don’t you create a social business to solve the problem of five unemployed people?

With microcredit, all I was trying to do was help a few people in one village so that they didn’t have to go to loan sharks and lose everything in the process. That’s how social business begins. Everything starts with solving a very tiny slice of a problem.

If you want to read the whole article (strongly encouraged 🙂 go to

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/beyond-profit-a-talk-with-muhammad-yunus/

Puzzles


I feel like there are very few life lessons that we learn all our lives, we just keep experiencing them at different levels and intensities as we age. How we respond to each of these situations is what ends up shaping us as individuals. If you look back at your 12 years of education (not including college) you will realize that we have been taught a very limited set of subjects (math, chemistry, biology, physics, social studies, history and language) throughout our schooling years. Each year we get to learn these subjects at greater depth and focus, I believe the same applies to life lessons.

What does this have to do with Puzzles you ask? Everything! Well at least from my perspective. Okay hear me out:

Last year I bought a puzzle and tried to play it, but it was too hectic and there really was no place to play it so I placed it away. Needing relief from the constant stresses of life, I took out the puzzle last month, placed it on the floor against the wishes of my wife and started solving it. I immediately attacked the most visible landmark in the puzzle, the boat, and in no time it was done. After that I tried to tackle other regions of the puzzle and quickly got overwhelmed with all the available options and other than placing a few pieces here and there I couldn’t move forward. My wife patience started running out, the floor in the living room was constantly dirty, and she started demanding I better cleanup or complete the puzzle or else !!! However, I was not willing to concede defeat and after some frustrating moments I remembered the old rule of puzzle playing. One must complete the border pieces first and then tackle the inside. So I cleaned up all the random puzzle pieces and started again this time focusing first on the outer edges and then moving to the interior pieces. Suddenly, it was no longer a chaotic work or impossible. Even though I still had a while to go, it was manageable. I was no longer lost or stuck and knew where to go next and which section to tackle next. I was able to finish the puzzle a week later (under the relentless gaze of my wife) and I then glued it together and hung it up to remind me of a life lesson one cannot forget.

This experience reminded that while it important to be a hard worker and be determined to face your problems it in itself is not enough to succeed. My initial attempt at the puzzle failed not because I was not determined enough or did not give it enough time. I failed because I did not follow a structured approach to solving it. I did not place the boundaries needed to solve this problem. Before you comment, “okay Salah, this is just a puzzle, clearly it has nothing to do with real life”, think again. With regards to myself I found that this life lesson applies directly to my own research efforts that until last month were lagging. While I continuously produced results and read many theses and papers, I never successfully drew the boundaries and objectives of my research. This resulted in many hours lost pondering over small details that might or might not have been a part of the research.  By applying the lessons I learned from the puzzle I am now much further along in my research and can say with confidence I will be done this semester (God Willing). Many of you might respond by saying, this old news get with the program Salah. I agree and that why I specifically used the word ‘remind’ and not learn and that is what I am trying to point out, in life there are few lessons, but they are repeated over and over again in different circumstances with different intensities. Finishing the puzzle is not an important milestone in life, while finishing my masters is. But they both teach you the same lesson; you just learn new ways and tools on how to apply the life lesson to accomplish your goals. Now it is your turn to take some time off and ponder about the challenges that you face in your life, both the small insignificant ones and the Mount Everest ones. Maybe you will learn lessons from small items that impact your life in ways you can’t imagine, and if you do please don’t forget to share with me.

Muslims are going to take over America, or is it ???


Lowes recently removed their ads from “All-American Muslim” on the TLC show and received a series of comments congratulating them and encouraging them on their act.

One of the comments (obtained from this website ) stated the following :

” BY THE WAY… for all those saying that we should just TOLERATE the Muslims and let them live their own lives… I might agree if they did not care about influencing how our COUNTRY works !! Yet Sharia Law is what they want. What does it say about our COUNTRY when our present-day politicians debase themselves to begging for Muslim votes at elections and later try to arrange political swindles with …”

Does the commenter not realize the irony of his own words? While he tries to condemn Muslims for trying to change the country and for the politicians trying to get the so called Muslim vote he forgets that the strongest lobby in Washington is the Jewish lobby. Every president wannabe must now go to pilgrimage to Israel and declare his support for Israel even at the expense of America. Does he not see the irony in this all? This reminds of the story of a loyal man who went out to defend his town against an often talked about but never seen monster in the forest and while valiantly defending his home from this monster his whole house gets robbed.

This is sadly what is happening to America, while we strongly warned against the monster of Islam/Muslims and warned against terrorism the wealth of the USA gets pocketed by corporations, it policies get set by foreign nations and it slowly getting ransacked in a much more thorough manner than Rome was ever ransacked.

I really hope that God will continue to protect America from all those who are trying to destroy it and wake the populace up before it too late. What makes America great is that it is the land of freedom and justice, but sadly these rights are rapidly disappearing under the guise of security and terrorism.

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Update 12/15/11 : I hope I did not make it sound like all corporations are bad and they are the bad guys. I do not believe that at all, however, I strongly believe that some corporation are exerting undue influence on our economic and political systems and abetting the current situation.

The purpose of the article is to point out the irony in the attitude people have about Muslims, which is why I used very large brushes when comparing it the actual circumstances

Islamic Education


Well yesterday I got elected to become the Islamic Education Board Coordinator for ISGL. Sounds like a mouthful, but simply put it means I will be in charge of making sure the Islamic weekend school remains functional. This is not a position I ever imagined for myself, but subhanallah it what my community asked of me and I guess what Allah gave me. This reminded me of I talk I gave about a month ago in Kansas City about the importance of an Islamic School. While I do not think the talk is good by any standards, I did promise my family that I will publish my talk. So here we go, and I guess I trust you as the judge for my talk.

Kansas City Talk

I was given a very simple task (speech on Islamic schools) today and while preparing for it I turned it into an obnoxious complex problem that only produces headaches. It took a call from my mother who candidly told me my draft speech was horrible to fully realize the purpose of this event. That is why for my presentation today I will share with you only one story, and it the story of my experience in the Islamic school system. I have been in this system all my life starting in Kansas, then Jordan, Pakistan and finally ending in NJ and thus I can be considered a product of this system. Being in this system meant that I was always next to masajid and immersed in Muslim culture. This meant I learnt the importance of prayer without ever having to think what my pears will think of me. I wore shilwar qameeses and dishdashis without ever feeling like an odd case. This carried on with me to my professional life where I found it easy to ask my employers for religious accommodations. Nor do I find it weird or embarrassing to wear a shilwar qamees to my graduate committee meetings. My wife used to ask “what if students stare at you?” and I respond” excellent this way I can smile at them and wish them a good morning”.

We all know that kids and teens absorb like sponges and Islamic schools create an atmosphere where Muslim culture and worship of Allah are the norms that the kids absorb. This is why I loved my Muslim High school (NUI). They successfully created an environment of brotherhood/sisterhood. We all felt part of a whole; we assisted each other, played with each other and in the end built our foundations of faith together. It was my Muslim high school that first showed my parents that I had the potential to start college early and propelled my college career where I graduated from Rutgers University at the age of 19. For that I will always be indebted to them.

When I moved to Lafayette two years ago, I noticed that outside Ramadan there was no such thing as community. More importantly I noticed the youth did not have any form of connections with each other. With the help of a few colleagues of mine, we started a youth group where we focused on their hearts, minds and body by developing a program that encouraged sports, learning and community service while strongly connected to the masjid.

To put it mildly, the impact was better than expected. To see youth transform from being ordered to pray by their parents to praying on their own is priceless! To see a high school student unconnected and uninterested in the Muslim community become so comfortable in this environment that he laughs out loud without worrying about being judged is priceless.

Lastly establishing a youth group brought together a diverse group of parents that in general would never interact together with their kids as their common goal. Suddenly it brought life to our community in the non-Ramadan month. That is why I support Islamic schools, it builds youth, parents and their communities and it insures the future for all.
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The List of the Forgotten


Ever feel that for some reason you are always out of the loop, well read on this might be for you. In this busy network of life one usually finds himself on the list of “to be informed” or “not to be informed” unless you are like me on a third list of the forgotten. Being on this list means that we get the benefits of neither, people assume we know so we don’t get the benefit of being considered ignorant. While at the same time we are not informed, so we also miss out on the benefit of being in the loop.

I recently found out that I was on the third list and recent events that have transpired have further confirmed it for me beyond the shadow of a doubt. Before I begin the story, let me give you a quick backdrop. I have two sisters in my home country that I depend on providing me news and updates about my extended family. I am also engaged/married depending on how you define marriage (and you thought life was that easy).

A couple weeks back I call my sister to tell her about a certain dream I had. To make things short I basically had a dream of my first child and what her name will be. After I told my sister the dream, she told me that she got to name my Aunt’s son based on a dream she had about him. Wait a minute; my Aunt had a son I respond in shock. To which she replies, yes a few month ago, didn’t anyone tell you. Now if this the first time I called my sister that fine I guess. But I call her about once a week, plus I am also in weekly contact with my other sister who lives in the same building as my Aunt!!! Now, if my whole family in the US and I all did not know it would be okay, but it turns out I am the only one that did not have a clue about anything! After that she gives me a string of surprises and updates and helped me come to the realization that I am squarely on the forgotten list.

Small events here and there kept bringing and confirming my place on this third list of the almost non-existent, but only the events of today prompted me to write this blog of protest. The irony of all this is that one could almost call me a news addict. I love reading news and I am constantly checking it and reading it all day yet I find myself extremely uninformed about my own family.

Okay so what happened today to warrant such a blog? Well, to start it all off I had this nice but quick conversation with my brother about nothing relevant to this blog. Thirty minutes later, my brother’s good friend (and mine too) decides to open his gmail chat box and send me a quick “How you doing?” I respond and we start a fun conversation (by our standards), until he suddenly tells me that he can’t believe that my family is moving further south. Moving? I inquire. Yes he tells me, I deduced it from your brother’s conversation with me and he confirmed it with me yesterday.  My head is now going through a complete spiral, I just left home four days ago and will be back in eight more days. When did this happen? To make it worse, I just spoke to my brother not even thirty minutes ago and he did not mention or hint at anything! I jokingly tell my friend that it confirmed I am on this list of the forgotten and I wonder what surprises will I find on my wedding day.

But, wait don’t close your browser yet, because the story is not done yet. Four hours later I get a call from my brother-in-law (my sister’s husband). I found this very surprising, because he usually never calls me, well at least not on Friday at 6:30PM. Anyway, he asks for my father-in-law phone number and I reply sure no problem and start the process of locating it. In my mind I am thinking thats nice, he is probably going to invite him for dinner just as my father-in-law invited us all to dinner last weekend. Casually, I ask him so why do you want the number. I want to talk to him he replies. Okay that was very helpful I think but reply I am just wondering what do you want to talk to him about? I want to talk to him about your fiancé? My fiancé?! Here I am imagining all random scenarios, is he going to complain, give advice, what going on? Yes, don’t you know your fiancé got into a car accident he finally informs me. Accident?! What when where, what are you talking about? And you basically got the story; I was out of the loop again. This time regarding my wife, wow, I am firmly on the forgotten list.  Here is how bad it is, my brother-in-law probably found out from my sister, who found out from my parents, who found out from her parents, who found out when the car failed to show up. How did I get skipped over? Shouldn’t I be there somewhere between my parents and her parents? Btw I am not looking for answers; I just find my predicament funny and just wanted to share it with everyone. Hopefully I can give you something to laugh about and maybe get/give some sympathy.

BTW Alhamdullah, my wife is in good condition and nothing bad happened, but regardless, this is a very good excuse and reason for you to keep my family and I in your duaa and prayers

Quilt of Humanity – Picture of the Egyptian Protest Movement


I love this picture. I found it in Al-Jazeera English and they own this picture

To me this picture represents humanity, who by working and supporting each other can accomplish impossible deeds. This fact that this was taken while all were praying is extremely symbolic to me as it signifies that Islam can and should act as a unifying element amongst people and should never be accepted as a tool for division. Finally seeing the Egyptian flag in the middle, represents gives me hope that the focus is upon improving the nation as a whole, by the people for the people, and not just helping a few. In the quote area, I placed a quote that describes my fears and hopes for Egypt very well.

The Birth and Evolution of One Voice


Here is an article I wrote for MYN/One Voice. This time I am writing about the history of the newspaper and next week I will write about why it is significant to me

The Birth and Evolution of One Voice

One Voice is a rapidly growing newspaper established by Muslim Youth initially in NJ for Muslim Youth across the states. It is published on quarterly bases with 3000 copies distributed to over 50 locations, throughout the tri-state area. Youth from as far locations as South Brunswick, Paterson, Newark and the many small towns in the tri-state area all contribute in each issue to make this newsletter a success and a true representative of the Muslim Youth.. However where did such a successful enterprise originate from and where did the concept of Muslim Youth Newsletter (MYN) originate from?

The concept of MYN began in the fall of 2007 by three youth who spent about 3-6 month discussing how to establish a youth newspaper, who is the target audience and what are the vision and goals of such an enterprise. From these discussions, they concluded that the vision of the project was to unify the Muslim community in NJ. This was accomplished by giving the youth a chance to know each other, find out what going on in each other institutions, and give youth an opportunity to share their ideas and to reach out to the Muslims in public Schools. The target audience were be highschoolers and they hoped that by making this a youth only project they will help the Muslim youth develop communication, leadership and management skills necessary to succeed in college and life afterwards. These ideas are still core to MYN/One Voice, except that was expanded it to include college as well. The only main principle that changed from those early discussions was the fact that it was initially planned that highschoolers will lead the organization, something that turned out to be almost impossible to sustain and maintain.

In spring of 2008 the organizers of MYN started outreaching to different communities about MYN. They initially had a target of reaching out to about 4-5 communities, but then scaled it down to two communities, ICPC in Paterson and IIS near Trenton and held seminars/workshops and launched the organization. Initially MYN was established it as clubs, where each location had a managing editor, and their own section editors. The managing editors worked together and combined had the role of editor-in-chief. The organizers took the positions of advisors and were responsible in distribution of MYN newsletters. To support the writers, they organized a group of adult mentors/copy editors that where in charge of editing each article and giving out suggestions to the readers on how they can improve. The youth chose Shabab as their newspaper name (which means Youth in Arabic) and the managing editors were able to successfully work together to develop the first issues of the newsletter. The concept of section editors was not yet fully developed and the content and theme of the newspaper was determined by the managing editors. The newspapers at this time did not follow any particular theme and it articles range was extremely diverse covering topics such as Ramadan, election of Obama, Highschool Musical 3 and sports. While each article was viewed for grammar and other writing issues, as long as each article did not directly violate one of the tenants of Muslim belief it was approved for publication.
Under the high-school students two issues were successfully published under the name of Shabab. However, the process of smoothly transitioning the knowledge to the next generation of high-school turned to be extremely difficult. To add to the situation, the initial originators of the idea were no longer able to commit the time needed for the newspaper success. To resolve these issues the responsibility of MYN was transferred to Emad Hamdeh as the new advisor/director of MYN.

In the fall of 2009, Emad was able to reorganize the organization, selected new managing editors and took the role of Editor In Chief. He moved away from the model of giving highschoolers total control of the organization to more mixed and balanced structure. He instituted section heads and successfully made them responsible for their sections. To address major issues the newspaper will face he established a core team and made them in-charge of major decisions for the paper. He took advantage of the contacts and links that were established earlier and was able to successfully expand the organization to more masajid and introduced it into MSAs. The MYN team also discussed in detail how to rebrand the newspaper and they decided on naming it One Voice. The decision was based on making sure that the newspaper becomes a symbol of the youth here in America and make sure that it name feels local and not a foreign name that most youth cannot relate to. The MYN team published their first issue of One Voice in January of 2010 and since January of 2010, they have been successful in publishing issues on a quarterly basis and in expanding the base of readership for the newspaper and in increasing the quality of the newspaper overall. Also, the newspaper incorporated themes in each of its issues that focus on the needs of the youth such as time management and gender interactions. The newspaper focused on the concerns of Muslim youth and moved away from the earlier model in Shabab where the articles covered a wide variety of articles. This gave the newspaper a special edge in reaching out to Muslim youth and gave it the capacity to be a platform to raise and address these issues.

The future of the newspaper appears very bright as it continues to grow and expand into Masajid, schools and MSAs all over NJ. Insha’Allah I hope that Allah will give us all the reward of this endeavor and make it among the good deeds that we continue to receive long after we all leave this earth.

A Poem about Susan


If you expect poems to be all about prose and hidden meaning
This is not for you, you might as well keep dreaming

I want you to know that it was Allah that created fun and laughter in this world
But that does not give you license to party and celebrate till you are wrinkled and old
We all know that Jack worked all day and became dull
But did you know that Jane laughed all day and became null

She finally understood the truth and to the Masjid she ran
And hear me carefully as I tell you the story of Susan
It was a dreary cold night when she converted to Islam
Everyone told the Imam you’re the man

Her love of islam was so deep, that she could not even hide
What should I do, what should I do, how should I please Allah she cried
They told her O’Susan pray you daily prayers, read Quran
Fast every Ramadan.
Give charity and maintain your honesty.
And never jeopardize your modesty

she did all that she was told, but much much more she needed.
what should I do, what should I do, how should I please Allah she pleaded
So they told her O’Susan cover up and wear the niqab
Read and memorize the Quran in Arabic, our Kitab
Pray during the night and do not waste your time playing ball
She did all she was told and suddenly she was struggling to stand tall.

Praying all night made her tired , her Niqab made her drowsy
Her friends stayed away and now she was lonely.
Her friends were neglected, her parents were forgotten
Her grades were suffering and her heart felt broken.
Where are you O’Allah, I did all this for you, yet I feel further away
I am suffering, struggling and suffocating, please show me the way

In comes this sister wearing the tightest denims
Oh and before we forget her name was Anum
O’Susan Islam is not about wearing the niqab or praying or fasting
It all about what is in your heart. If you love Allah, you might as well go dancing
Allah would never have wanted us to struggle, did not the prophet say the religion is of ease and not hardship.
And so went the niqab, hijab, modesty, prayers, fasting and Quran and in came Anum friendship

Oh how liberated Susan felt and she must be so loved by Allah
The guys were staring and whistling, clearly this was a gift from Allah
As long as she limited her interactions with men
Then there was no harm, but then came ben.
He questioned her religion, faith and belief
Until she wanted to die, just to give her relief
Where are you O’Allah, I loved you with all my heart, yet I feel further away
I am suffering, struggling and suffocating, please show me the way

The story goes on and on
For Susan lived to be ninety nine

But this is not the story of Susan; it is the story of Ahmad and Bayan
Or even Casper, Denise and Eman
Some might say it’s about Fazel, George, Haris, and In’am
And don’t forget Jake and Katie, Lamees, Muna and Na’em
I could keep going down the alphabet all the way to Ziyad.
But I hope you got the hint that this is for everyone including your dad

Islam is a religion of balance between your body, mind and soul.
With imbalance making your heart turn into coal
It a religion of rights and responsibilities, towards your God, parents, yourself, family and community
For the hereafter it does not give us any immunity
It when we lose this balance that we start to run into trouble
Sadly we do not realize until we are pushed out of the bubble

In terms of advice I will leave you none,
Except to turn to the only one

Pride, a sin like no other


Our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) has a saying that if a person has an atom weights of arrogance they will not enter heaven.

That a really scary statement for who might have an ounce of arrogance… I know I do regardless of how hard I try to purge this arrogance. To me this leads to a question, why is having arrogance so bad that even one atom worth of arrogance can lead a person to hell?

We all know the story of Satan and Adam and how Satan believed that he was better than Adam and this started the cascade that led to the banishment of Satan from heaven forever. We were all taught that it was the arrogance of Satan that lead to his downfall and it makes sense but how does it relate to us here on earth?

Last Friday, we were given a sermon on the danger of even getting close to fornication and how it can lead to our downfall. The Khateeb gave the following story as an example. (note there are multiple variations of this story)

Once there was a hermit that focused all his life on worshiping God. People all around him knew him for his religiousness, wisdom, etc and used to go to him for advice. In that same village there lived four brothers and a sister who were all shepherds. The sister was extremely beautiful, but overtime she was starting to experience mental issues (ie she was getting crazy). The brothers extremely worried for her well being took her to the hermit hoping that he can find a cure for her.

The hermit found her extremely beautiful and during the process of trying to heal her he was falling madly in love with her. One night both of them where all alone and he could not control himself anymore and fulfilled his desires. Nine month later, she gave birth to his son and the hermit was mortified. He thought to himself that if the village finds out about the sin he committed it will completely tarnish and ruin his reputation. Feeling forced to protect his reputation he kills the mother and baby and buries them.

The four brothers find out and immediately go to the king of the land demanding justice.  The king issues verdict to jail and kill the hermit. The hermit shocked, lost and with nowhere to go turns to Satan who tells him that if the hermit bows to him for one day Satan will save him. Seeing a way out the hermit bows down to Satan and ends up committing the worst sin possible, associating partners to God. To no avail the king’s men jail the hermit and get ready to execute him. Satan then appears to the hermit and tells him that he has no control over his life and that everything the hermit did was his own fault and he deserves what he will get. The hermit then gets executed.

Okay so it was a very gory story and according to the khateeb it was a true story (but I need to get the references and names updated). The khateeb points out to us that the fate of the hermit and the slippery slope that he sled down through all started by one sin and that is fornication. While his point was well taken and fornication is a major sin and dangerous path to go through, I do not think that was the major downfall of the hermit.

To me the dangerous fall happened when the hermit wanted to protect his honor, his pride or in other words arrogance. That what led to his downfall, if he had accepted that he fell from grace when he committed fornication and sought true repentance without concern for his reputation I think this would have been a very different story. Instead, from the beginning of the story, he was focused on protecting his reputation, his life and so one regardless of the consequences. He ended up losing everything.

There is another story that I heard recently that resolves around the same principle of protecting ones reputation either to the public or to the one he loved. This caused a series of lies and half-truth that turned a minor personal issue into a huge problem for the community around him. While it easy to criticize this person for what happened; and we will never know the true story, it important to note that this can easily happen to each and every one of us. All it needs is one little half true/lie to set the stage and they are so easy to do.

In a sense, I understand one aspect of why pride is so bad (note there are many others, that I won’t mention here). It starts as the most innocent thing or error and one has to keep generating larger and larger blankets of lies to cover the inconsistencies of the previous one. Until the person does not even realize who he is or what harm and damage he committed to all those around him and the consequences of his lies. This series of lies all start with the perception that they are personal and of no impact to the people around him with a focus of protecting himself and his reputation.

Luckily for us all, it never too late to repent and it reminds me of another saying of the prophet that if we were a nation of no sins, God would remove us from earth and replace us with a nations that committed sins and then asked forgiveness.

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