Category Archives: general


Learning on the Path: وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُڪُمُ ٱللَّهُ‌ۗ

Salaam Shakir, Salaam to everyone

When you are on the Path, and say that means not yearning for what is at people’s hands, Allah provides for you and Allah alone teaches you:

2:282. And safeguard against Allah’s (wrath), and Allah teaches you

وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ‌ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُڪُمُ ٱللَّهُ‌ۗ


Learning form the books or learning from the learned folk is a tiny part of that teaching, if you do not want anything from people then they morph into instruments of causality through which Allah’s knowledge effuses towards you.

If you want to be called “scholar” or “sheikh” or “writer” or you want people’s eyes watch you talking about Allah, then you are off the Path, you want something which is with people. All you endeavour is just book knowledge, perhaps better for you reading a magazine telling people what you read.

And such worldly scholar is the worst of all evil angering Allah per Hadith of the Prophet.

Safeguard against such scholarly evil:

1. Before setting foot on the Path, before attempting to acquire knowledge, empty your heart from what is with people. I am not saying not to desire anything, be a monk, you could desire everything a normal man or woman desires and needs, but ask Allah to sate you, do not ask people!

2. Sit every night like a homeless by the roadside waiting to beg, see if the Sultan of hearts, Allah, opens a door for you, offer you to see something new from the other world. Don’t wait for people.

3. When you step upon the Path to acquire knowledge, like a beggar who hides his or her face in shame, do not show your face to anyone, let people see you doing customary daily things, but no more exposure. This exposure to people while learning might cause ailment in your heart. Feel shame putting up your videos on Youtube talking about Allah!

I ask Allah to open a path for you and for your loved ones, regards



Libya: Fruits of Brother Killing Brother

1. If the American came to you and said “here take these weapons and kill your brother for democracy”, say:”I will not and go away”.

2. If the Sunni came to you and said “here take these weapons and kill the Kafir Shiites”, say: “I will not and go away”.

3. If the Shiite came to you and said “here take these weapons and kill the Takfiri Sunnis”, say: “I will not and go away”.

We are in darkling times of confusions and trickery, other than self-defense to defend your life or your family and neighbors, do not allow anyone whisper as much as a sigh towards your brothers.
These are samples of the Hadith (Prophetic Narrations) about the value of the blood of the believer appraised higher that Ka’ba.
Prophet was circumambulating Ka’ba while adoring her and praising her and suddenly acknowledged that the wealth and blood and honour of the believer are more grand than that of the Ka’ba.

Hadith Collections: Al-Jami’ Saghir of Suyuti, Kanz Al-Ummal of Muttaqi Hindi, Sunan Ibn Maja, Kashf Al-Ikhfa of Ajulani, Takhrij Ahadith Al-Ihya of Araqi.

زيادة الجامع الصغير، والدرر المنتثرة، – للإمام السيوطي
كتاب “زيادة الجامع الصغير”، للسيوطي >> حرف الميم
2614- ما أطيبك وأطيب ريحك ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، يعني الكعبة، والذي نفس محمد بيده لحرمة المؤمن أعظم عند الله حرمة منك ماله ودمه وإن يظن به إلا خيرا.
(ه) عن ابن عمر.

كنز العمال – للمتقي الهندي
المجلد الأول >> الفصل الرابع في أحكام الإيمان والإسلام فيه فرعان >> الفرع الثاني في أحكام الإيمان المتفرقة
401 – ما أطيبك وأطيب ريحك، ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، يعني الكعبة، والذي نفس محمد بيده لحرمة المؤمن أعظم عند الله حرمة منك: ماله ودمه وأن يظن به إلا خيرا.
(ه عن ابن عمر).


سنن ابن ماجه. – للإمام ابن ماجه
الجزء الثاني >> 36- كتاب الفتن >> (2) باب حرمة دم المؤمن وماله
3932- حدّثنا أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ بْنُ أَبِي ضَمْرَةَ، نَصْرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سُلَيْمَانَ الْحِمْصِيُّ. حدّثنا أَبِي. حدّثنا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ أَبِي قَيْسٍ النَّصْرِيُّ. حدّثنا عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ عَمْرِو؛ قَالَ: رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَطُوفُ بِالْكَعِبَةِ وَيَقُولُ (مَا أَطْيَبَكِ وَأَطْيَبَ رِيحَكِ. مَا أَعْظَمَكِ وَأَعْظَمَ حُرْمَتَكِ. وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بَيَدِهَ! لَحُرْمَةُ الْمُؤْمِنِ أَعْظَمُ عِنْدَ الله حُرْمَةً مِنْكِ. مَالِهِ وَدَمِهِ، وَأَنْ نَظُنَّ بِهِ إلاَّخَيْراً).
في الزوائد: في إسناده مقال. ونصر بن محمد شيخ ابن ماجة، ضعفه أبو حاتم، وذكره ابن حبان في الثقات.
[3932- ش – (أعظم عند الله حرمة منك) أي من حرمتك. فإن حرمة البيت إنما هي للمؤمنين. قال تعالى: إن أول بيت وضع للناس.. إلى قوله مباركا وهدى للعالمين. (ماله ودمه وإن تظن به إلا خيراً) مجرورة. على أن الأول بدل من الؤمن. والآخرين يعطف عليه. أي حرمة ماله وحرمة دمه. وحرمة أن تظن به ماعدا الخير.]


كشف الخفاء، – للإمام العجلوني
حرف الميم.
2676 – المؤمن أعظم حرمة من الكعبة.
رواه ابن ماجه بسند لين عن ابن عمر قال رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يطوف بالكعبة وهو يقول: ما أطيبك وأطيب ريحك، ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، والذي نفس محمد بيده لحرمة المؤمن أعظم عند الله حرمةً مِنْكِ: ماله ودمه، وأن يُظـَنّ به إلا خيرا.
ولابن أبي شيبة عن ابن عباس أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نظر إلى الكعبة فقال: ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، والمؤمن أعظم حرمة منك: قد حرم الله دمه وماله وعرضه، وأن يظن به ظن السوء.
ونحوه عند البيهقي عن ابن عباس.
ونحوه ما أخرجه البيهقي بسند ضعيف عن ابن عمر، ومن قوله “ليس شيء أكرم على الله من ابن آدم”، قلت: الملائكة. قال: أولئك بمنزلة الشمس والقمر، أولئك مجبورون. والصحيح وقفه.
وروى البيهقي أيضا بسند متروك عن أبي هريرة من قوله “المؤمن أكرم على الله من ملائكته”.


تخريج أحاديث الإحياء،  – للحافظ العراقي
المجلد الرابع >> كتاب الصبر والشكر
4 – حديث “المؤمن أفضل من الكعبة”
أخرجه ابن ماجه من حديث ابن عمر بلفظ “ما أعظمك وأعظم حرمتك، والذي نفسي بيده لحرمة المؤمن أعظم حرمة منك ماله ودمه وأن يظن به إلا خيرا” وشيخه نصر بن محمد بن سليمان الحمصي ضعفه أبو حاتم ووثقه ابن حبان، وقد تقد


Response to Traweeh from Shakir

Salaam Shakir

The most important guidelines for anything dealing with Qur’an are set by Allah and the Prophet:

1) you listen to the words attentively

2) you understand the full meaning of the words and composition of the verses and so on

While Taraweeh is in part a social activity in its very nature, it is also fully centered about reading and listening to Qur’an. Therefore the said guidelines above apply.

I cannot stand even for 2 Rak’a of long recitations of long Surahs, since my mind cannot focus and I do not understand the meaning of all the words and their compositions. Therefore within few minutes my mind dilly dallies and other thoughts occur.

As a result I attended the Traweeh but I did not remember Allah and I did something else other than its purpose.

Therefore my suggestions for my own Self, not an instruction to you, is to do what is the easiest that optimizes the two guidelines mentioned above.

I prefer to read 1 fully understood verse in each Rak’a and full understanding of Fatiha, and the duration easiest for my mind and my focus, therefore how the Rak’a numbers might add up that evening.

These are of course not perfect words and people do not like them, but I rather be honest in Presence of Allah, when it comes to Qur’an these days we are ignorant folk, all of us, and we need to face the fact and instead of acting to impress others or to make a point for others to see, pause to optimize the mentioned guidelines above.

Sadly for me to be truthful is far more suited than being pious.

Allah’s aid is most sought




Every year this dispute becomes evident in Muslims. While majority prays 20 rakaat salah,but many argue that taraweeh is 8 rakaat. Plus in some cases this argument goes into extremism.
If you could give some advice on this issue, please.

Believe It Or Not, Most Published Research Findings Are Probably False


The rise of the Internet has worked wonders for the public’s access to science, but this has come with the side effect of a toxic combination of confirmation bias and Google, enabling us to easily find a study to support whatever it is that we already believe, without bothering to so much as look at research that might challenge our position — or the research that supports our position for that matter. I’m certainly not immune myself from credulously accepting research that has later been called into question, even on this blog where I take great effort to take a skeptical approach and highlight false claims arising from research. Could it be the case that studies with incorrect findings are not just rare anomalies, but are actually representative of the majority of published research?

The claim that “most published research findings are false” is something you might reasonably expect to come out of the mouth of the most deluded kind of tin-foil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theorist. Indeed, this is a statement oft-used by fans of pseudoscience who take the claim at face value, without applying the principles behind it to their own evidence. It is however, a concept that is actually increasingly well understood by scientists. It is the title of a paper written 10 years ago by the legendary Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis. The paper, which has become the most widely cited paper ever published in the journal PLoS Medicine, examined how issues currently ingrained in the scientific process combined with the way we currently interpret statistical significance, means that at present, most published findings are likely to be incorrect.

Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet recently put it only slightly more mildly: “Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” Horton agrees with Ioannidis’ reasoning, blaming: “small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance.” Horton laments: “Science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

Last year UCL pharmacologist and statistician David Colquhoun published a report in the Royal Society’s Open Science in which he backed up Ioannidis’ case: “If you use p=0.05 to suggest that you have made a discovery, you will be wrong at least 30 percent of the time.” That’s assuming “the most optimistic view possible” in which every experiment is perfectly designed, with perfectly random allocation, zero bias, no multiple comparisons and publication of all negative findings. Colquhorn concludes: “If, as is often the case, experiments are underpowered, you will be wrong most of the time.”

The numbers above are theoretical, but are increasingly being backed up by hard evidence. The rate of findings that have later been found to be wrong or exaggerated has been found to be 30 percent for the top most widely cited randomized, controlled trials in the world’s highest-quality medical journals. For non-randomized trials that number rises to an astonishing five out of six.

Over recent years Ioannidis’ argument has received support from multiple fields. Three years ago, when drugs company Amgen tried to replicate the “landmark publications” in the field of cancer drug development for a report published in Nature, 47 out of 53 could not be replicated. When Bayer attempted a similar project on drug target studies, 65 percent of the studies could not be replicated.

The problem is being tackled head on in the field of psychology which was shaken by the Stapel affair in which one Dutch researcher fabricated data in over 50 fraudulent papers before being detected. The social sciences received another blow recently when Michael LaCour was accused of fabricating data; the case exposed how studies are routinely published without raw data ever being made available to reviewers.

A massive operation titled The Open Science Collaboration, involving 270 scientists, has so far attempted to replicate 100 psychology experiments, but only succeeded in replicating 39 studies. The project looked at the first articles published in 2008 in the leading psychology journals. The news wasn’t entirely bad; the majority of the non-replications were described by the researchers as having at the very least “slightly similar” findings. The resulting paper is currently under review for publication in Science, so we’ll have to wait before we get more details. The paper is likely to ruffle some feathers; tempers flared a few years ago when one of the most high-profile findings of recent years, the concept of behavioral priming, was called into question after a series of failed replications.

Whatever way you look at it, these issues are extremely worrying. Understanding the problem is essential in order to know when to take scientific claims seriously. Below I explore some of Ioannidis’ key observations:

The smaller the study, the less likely the findings are to be true.

Large studies are expensive, take longer and are less effective at padding out a CV; consequently we see relatively few of them. Small studies however, are far more likely to result in statistically significant results that are in fact a false positive, so they should be treated with caution. This problem is magnified when researchers fail to publish (or journals refuse to publish) negative findings — a problem know as publication bias or the file drawer problem.

The smaller the effect size, the less likely the findings are to be true.

This sounds like it should be obvious, but it is remarkable how much research fails to actually describe the strength of the results, preferring to simply refer to statistical significance alone, which is a far less useful measure. A study’s findings can be statistically significant yet have an effect size so weak that in reality the results are completely meaningless. This can be achieved through a process known as P-hacking — which was the method John Bohannon recently used to create a spoof paper finding that chocolate helps you lose weight. P-hacking involves playing with variables until a statistically significant result is achieved. As neuroscientist and blogger Neuroskeptic demonstrated in a recent talk that you can watch online, this is not always the result of foul play, but can actually happen very easily by accident if researchers simply continue conducting research in the same way most currently do now.

The greater the number and the lesser the selection of tested relationships, the less likely the findings are to be true.

This was another key factor that enabled Bohannon to design the study rigged to support the case that eating chocolate helps you lose weight. Bohannon used 18 different types of measurements, relying on the fact that some would likely support his case simply due to chance alone. This practice is currently nearly impossible to detect if researchers fail to disclose all the factors they looked at. This problem is a major factor behind the growing movement of researchers calling for the pre-registration of study methodology.

The greater the financial and other interests and prejudices, the less likely the findings are to be true.

It is always worth checking to see who funded a piece of research. Sticking with our chocolate theme, a recent study that found that chocolate is “scientifically proven to help with fading concentration” was funded by Hershey. On a more serious note, tobacco companies have a long history of funding fraudulent health research over the past century — described by the World Health Organization as “the most astonishing systematic corporate deceit of all time.” Today that baton has been handed to oil companies who give money to scientists who deny global warming and fund dozens of front groups with the purpose of sowing doubt about climate change.

The hotter a scientific field, the less likely the findings are to be true.

Though seemingly counter-intuitive, it is particularly common in fast-moving fields of research where many researchers are working on the same problems at the same time, for false findings to be published and quickly debunked. This has been dubbed the Proteus Phenomenon after the Greek god Proteus, who could rapidly change his appearance. The same can be said for research published in the sexiest journals, which only accept the most groundbreaking findings, where the problem has been dubbed the Winner’s Curse.

What does this all mean to you?

Thankfully science is self-correcting. Over time, findings are replicated or not replicated and the truth comes out in the wash. This is done through a process of replication involving larger, better controlled trials, meta-analyses where the data from many trials are aggregated and analyzed as a whole, and systematic reviews where studies are assessed based on predetermined criteria — preventing the cherry picking that we’re all, whether we like it or not, so naturally inclined to.

Replications, meta-analyses and systematic reviews are by their nature far more useful for portraying an accurate picture of reality than original exploratory research. But systematic reviews rarely make headlines, which is a good reason the news is not the best place to get an informed opinion about matters of science. The problem is unlikely to go away any time soon, so whenever you hear about a new piece of science news, remember the principles above and the simple rule of thumb that studies of studies are far more likely to present a true picture of reality than individual pieces of research.

What does this mean for scientists?

For scientists, the discussion over how to resolve the problem is rapidly heating up with calls for big changes to how researchers register, conduct, and publish research and a growing chorus from hundreds of global scientific organizations demanding that all clinical trials are published. Perhaps most important and most difficult to change, is the structure of perverse incentives that places intense pressure on scientists to produce positive results while actively encouraging them to quietly sit on negative ones.


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Just Beautiful

Salaam everyone

This video to the best of my knowledge is animated by modelling actual data obtained from actual observations, so it is not an animation of someone’s imagination. These are happening in every cell in your body, every moment of your life:


The entire animated entities are surrounded by the intra-cellular water which the animation does not show.

Specially see this excerpt from the video:


These are Ishara, pointers pointing towards a direction. So it is lesser about the questions “why I am here” or “what is the purpose of life”, but more about what are we pointing at? Or Who are we pointing at?


More about seeing, less about knowing.



Keeping the Dhikr (Remembrance)

Salaam Everyone

Imagine living some place where to relax after a hard day people stand on top of the remains of bombed buildings watching the sunset.

I am not going to throw you on the flames of cliche judgements which the American media fans around the planet, but I tell you to keep The Dhikr (Remembrance), like unto a lamp in darkness, so people could find their ways, not to you, but to Allah’s peace and prosperity and safety and happiness, not for the people you like but for all.


Sunset through a destroyed building on the Gaza shore. Many ruined structures remain from the war with Israel last summer. Wissam Nassar for The New York Times.


Few of you, deep within you, unbeknownst to you, find a light, it was always there before you were born and it shines after you die, and this light shall extinguish the flares of war, shall calm the tumult of horrid weather, shall sprout crops for all to prosper, and shall cure the ailments.

I feel the radiance of this light in you or this pen would have been still, and perchance you are not even born, or you are oceans away, or not speak this language, nonetheless I see the glimmer.

No one cares about the lamp, they care about the light.





Nothing New in Middle East: An Irish Perspective

Salaam everyone


These are two short essays by Lucia Valente musing the current situation in Middle East and Irish history. She sees no difference.


Hedge Schools (i)

How Traditional Irish Hedge Schools gave hope to impoverished people

Countries can be destroyed and cultures decimated by imperialistic and war mongering societies. It has happened for millennia – it’s as old as privatization of property. Some cultures can survive such destruction albeit with much change and cultural losses, yet they do transform and survive. My own culture did just that.

As we look at the news and see the massive destruction far away from us – in North Africa and the Middle East – we know that it’s nothing new. Perhaps we can believe that for us in Europe, specifically were I live in Ireland, it has nothing to do with us.

Yet perhaps it has more resonance for us that we at first believe.

Reflecting on the news and the pictures of young children in refugee camps – we see children with no obvious hopeful future, no education, perhaps fractured home life, no opportunities to contribute in a good way to their society and culture. It may not speak to us – it may have no resonance.

Yet for me it triggers reflection of our history – the long hardships, the struggles, the starvation, the destruction – almost full decimation of the culture. Many of us really do not know our history – perhaps if we did, we would see the plight of suffering populations differently. The latest in the long list of decimated cultures and countries is happening right now Libya, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Somalia. If we were more cognizant of our history would we view these tragedies in a different light? Perhaps.

It is history repeating itself with the same forces of destructive power running amok. Do we think about the people and families whose lives have been damaged so badly?

We Irish were for generations held in the grip of one of the most powerful empires – with many Irish Catholics being unable to get an education, practice religion, own property, get meaningful jobs. Many Irish children of that period also had no obvious hopeful future, no education, perhaps fractured home life, no opportunities to contribute in a good way to society and culture.

Today children suffer because of displacement by unseen forces, macro political and economic forces that have destroyed their societies. In Ireland it was the result of colonization and Penal Laws (ii) that were in effect for many generations and only gradually were repealed. In that era the structure of refugee camps within Ireland did not exist per se. However, if you were an Irish Catholic, the country itself was defacto a refugee camp. Why? Because in our own country we could not live by our own cultural norms because the Penal Laws supplanted our cultural norms and it became almost shameful to be Irish in Ireland.

We know that Irish people are fighters – we had to be – if we did not fight for centuries we may have had the same fate as so many native populations who were subjugated and destroyed by colonial forces. Why were the Irish relatively successful in keeping our culture alive? Perhaps some of the reasons are the strong commitment to religion, culture and education. For generations of school children up until the Potato Blight in 1845 (iii) the hedge schools provided the foundation of their religion, culture and education. Through those hedge schools a sense of continuity, of community was reinforced.

These hedge schools were open air, yet hidden class-rooms, where small groups of children had the chance to receive a small amount of education and teaching from a travelling priest or teacher. It had to be conducted in secret because public policy restricted their education.

When I see pictures of the refugee camps I hope that we have the modern day equivalent to the hedge schools and that children can get some basic education and begin to have hope.

(i) Hedge Schools

(ii)Penal Laws

(iii) The Potato Blight (I do not refer to it as famine because it is only one crop – the potato – that had blight. Ireland, then as today, had many crops and livestock – there was no shortage of food in Ireland



Coffin Ships

As I listen to the news about the people escaping from North Africa on boats that are often set adrift in the Mediterranean Sea and many die on this journey, my mind reflects back in time. We hear about many of them who die because their boats capsize while they are seeking safety in Europe. Enroute to freedom in Italy and Europe, their boats, which often are overcrowded and without the basic amenities for survival, sink. The result is that many thousands of wretched people die.

My mind wanders and I reflect on the journey of others fleeing persecution and misery. I see images of what it was like for hundreds of thousands of Irish people, who during the time of the potato blight in Ireland, died on their way to a better life in North America.

The ships that these wretched people travelled on were also woefully inadequate and it is hard to estimate how many Irish souls died on their way to freedom. They are called ‘coffin ships’ and I feel that the boats on which the North Africans and others are floating on in the Mediterranean are also ‘coffin ships’.

Again our world is faced with the injustice wrought on innocent people. A century and a half ago, Irish people had to leave their homes and their country because of horrendous public policy in Britain. Today people in war-torn countries in North Africa and the Middle East are equally desperate to find peace and safety. They have to take major risks to themselves and their children for a chance to have a humane life.

As I was reflecting on these thoughts I came across the following quotation by Mary Robinson Former Irish President. Given our history, my wish is that Irish people do have a deeper sympathy for the suffering of others

With all of its pain and disorder, the past has constructed us in the actual and literal ways of generation and inheritance.” Now with factual assistance that past has the power to do something more: it can construct and strengthen our understanding and our sympathy in the present.

Mary Robinson, Former Irish President

Potato Blight

Irish Famine

Coffin ships

Public policy