Regrets of the Dying

http://www.bronnieware.com/blog/regrets-of-the-dying

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Based around this article, Bronnie has released a full length book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for. This inspiring memoir is available internationally through Hay House, with translations in 29 languages.  More information about regret-free living is available here.

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Dreams in the Scale of Islam

(September 2011 Makkah Al Haramain Salah Recordings)447519614767

Dr Shaikh Abu Ibrahim Sa’ud ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad
ash-Shuraim  (Imam of Makkah)


O people! The son of Adam has a great desire and an enflamed interest regarding the unseen, whether it is related to the past or the future, and refusing to accept that such a phenomenon exists, is ignoring a fact of life. People’s obsession with such phenomena is related to how close they are to the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) and Qur’an which firmly addressed this subject and clarified it, as Allah says, which means, “(He is) Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His (knowledge of the) unseen, Except whom He has approved of as messengers, and indeed, He sends before him (i.e. each messenger) and behind him observers” (Al-Jinn: 26-27).

It is no wonder that the further people are from the time of prophet hood, the more confused they become and mix facts regarding the issue of the unseen, and the more eager people with weak souls become to know the unseen. Some believe in illusions as facts, others accept what fortune-tellers say, and others guess and speak about the unseen during all times while the verses from the Qur’aan are recited before them day and night, like the saying of Allah, which means, “Say, ‘None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected.’”  (An-Naml: 65) as well as the sayings of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam), like the Hadeeth where he said, “Five things only Allah knows, and he recited the verse (the meaning of which is) “Indeed, Allah (alone) has knowledge of the hour and sends down the rain and knows what is in the wombs. And no soul perceives what it will earn tomorrow and no soul perceives in what land it will die. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (Luqman: 34)”


Thus, it is not possible to know the unseen or address it, except through what Allah has told us, or what He revealed to His Messenger (Sallalhu ‘Alayhi Wasallam). Anything other than this would be guesses and illusions, or a mixture of words conveyed to people by some Jinn.


Islam removes confusion and illusions from the mind and guides those who stray from the straight path. Believing in the unseen cannot be equated with believing in fantasies.


Those who survive this phenomenon, get trapped by their eagerness to know the future, which they think is a major factor in deciding the stability and instability of their lives, so they try to reach that through dreams. You might meet a brother (in faith) or a friend and be greeted with a gloomy or cheerful face, but you would be surprised to discover that this disposition is due to a dream which they have seen in their sleep.


Slaves of Allah! This issue is not only the concern of individuals or common people, but many eminent figures join them in this concern. Dreams have disturbed many great people, and other dreams came as glad tidings to many others. Some dreams became the concern of nations, like the dream of the king of Egypt, which the Qur’an told of in the story of Prophet Yoosuf, peace be upon him. His dream included both glad tidings and warnings at the same time; it gave glad tidings of the increase in provisions for seven consecutive years, then warned against famine for the following seven years.


Slaves of Allah! Dreams have had great importance in people’s lives before and after Islam. Educated people and intellectuals might differ in the way they view dreams and judge their issue. Philosophers have rejected that dreams have any meaning at all and claimed that dreams result from the reactions which take place in the body and reflect the state of mind. Some psychiatrists have a negative stance towards dreams, which is actually very close to that of the philosophers. They refer it to the mood of people and certain parts of their memory which become hyper during sleep, making dreams purely biological.


On the other hand, Islam and its scholars have followed the prophetic path in dealing with dreams, and have judged dreamsaccording to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah. They have ruled that true dreams are from Allaah, some warn and others bring glad tidings. Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said, “Prophecy is finished but tidings remain” people asked, ‘What are these tidings?’ He Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam replied, “A true dream which a man sees, or others see for him” (Bukhari & Malik). These tidings could be good or bad as Allah says, which means, “So give them tidings of a painful doom” (Al-Inshiqaaq: 24).


Slaves of Allah! These dreams are the ones which the truthful and trustworthy Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said about them that, “At the end of time, the believer’s dream will rarely be incorrect; the more truthful a person is, the truer his dreams are; and the dream of a faithful believer is a part of the forty six parts of Prophecy.” (Bukhari & Muslim).


In this era, many people’s hearts have little attachment to Allah. Belief in divine decree, pre-destiny and that whatever Allah wants happens and whatever He does not will not happen, and that everything happens with His command…all these aspects of belief have become weak in people’s hearts. Due to this, their hearts have become more attached to the issue of dreams, and in this way, they have differed from the righteous generations of our Salaf. They have started talking about this issue more and relying on it, until it has reached a level where it has overwhelmed people’s discussions in their gatherings, on satellite channels and religious inquiries, so much so that people ask more about dreams than they ask about matters of religion, and what should and should not be done by a Muslim.


These practices take place while people are heedless of what they should do regarding dreams, and how they should deal with them based on the prophetic instructions, which one should not transgress nor ignore. The Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam left us with a clear religion, and he sufficed us regarding the issue of dreams, talking about it, getting attached to it, seeking to find out its interpretation or relying on it. People’s increased inquiries about dreams is a form of transgressing the limits set in the Sunnah and an imbalanced approach to the issue.


When some people see a dream, their lives become disturbed, and they become terrified and unable to relax until they find someone to interpret it for them so as to discover whether it brings glad tidings or evil news to him. If we stop at the limits which are set for us in the prophetic guidance, then such anxiety would not be felt, and people would not occupy themselves with this subject, which has become a way to attract audiences to the internet and satellite channels.


In order to discern the best way of dealing with this widespread phenomenon in our communities, let us listen to some of the etiquettes relating to this issue. Abu Salamah, (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘I used to see dreams and become sick because of it, until I saw Abu Qutaadah and told him about this.’ So he said to me, I heard the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam saying, “Good dreams are from Allaah, and bad dreams are from Satan, so if of you see in your dream something which you dislike, then spit three times to your left and seek refuge in Allah from its evil, then it will not harm you” (Muslim). In another narration Abu Salamah, (may Allah be pleased with him) said, ‘I used to see dreams and they would feel heavier on me than a mountain, until I heard this saying of the Prophet, then it never bothered me after that’ (Muslim).


Slaves of Allah! We see that not everything one sees in his sleep is a good dream that needs an interpretation, because what people see in their sleep is one of the three types, as narrated by ‘Awf Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “Dreams are of three types, some are from Satan to sadden the son of Adam, some are the result of what a person thinks about while he is awake so he sees it in his sleep, and some are one of the forty six parts of prophecy” (Ibn Majah). Imam Al-Baghawi said, ‘This Hadeeth proves that not everything which a person sees in his sleep in true and should be interpreted. The correct understanding is that some of it is from Allaah, and the rest are mixed up falsedreams which have no interpretation’.


An example for these mixed up false dreams is the story of the Bedouin who came to the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! I saw in my dream that someone beheaded me, and my head rolled and I started going after it “ So the Messenger Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said: “Do not inform anyone nor talk to people about whispers that come to you in your dreams from Satan” (Muslim).


As we were instructed through the Sunnah, the way a believer should deal with this type of dream is to seek refuge in Allah from its evil and the evil of Satan; to spit three times to the left; not to inform anyone about it; to stand up and pray as much as he is capable of; and then switch to the other side when he lies down. Some scholars added that he should recite the verse of Al-Kursee (the throne) because the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) informed us that Satan will not be able to harm the one who recites it.


Imam An-Nawawi (Allah be pleased with him)said regarding the way to deal with evil dreams, ‘One who sees an evil dream should follow all the etiquettes which were mentioned in the different narrations from the Prophet Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, and even if he does only some of them, it will protect him from the evil of Satan with the will of Allah’.


The second type of dreams is that which results from a person’s whims and what he thinks about during the day and that which occupies his mind. For example, if he has been thinking about traveling or a trade, then he would see in his dream similar to what he was thinking while he was awake. These mixed up dreams are also ones that cannot be interpreted.


The only type left is the true, good dream from Allaah that brings good or bad tidings. It may be clear and not in need of an interpretation, as the dream of prophet Ibraaheem when he saw that he is slaughtering his son. Some may be ambiguous and need someone to interpret them, like the dreams that the mates of prophet Yoosuf saw in prison. This is the type which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam forbade us from telling except to scholars or wise people seeking their advice, the Messenger Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said: “Don’t tell your dream except to a scholar or a wise person seeking his advice” (Tirmidhi).


All other dreams which one might see and it includes legislating things to be lawful or unlawful; performing certain acts of worship; deciding the night of Al-Qadr which the Prophet was informed with then later was made to forget it; or dreams which result in judging people, giving or depriving them of their rights, and whether they are truthful and honest people or not…all such dreams are mixed up dreams and doubts, which we should not rely on, according to the sayings of the majority of scholars, like Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim RH, Ibn Taymiyyah RH, An-Nawawi RH, Ash-Shaatibi RH and others. Ash-Shaatibi RH mentioned the story of the Caliph Al-Mahdi who wanted to kill the judge Shurayk Ibn ‘Abdullah RH. Shurayk RH asked him, ‘Why do you want to kill me, while it is unlawful for you to spill my blood?’ He replied, ‘I saw in my dream that I was talking to you and you were talking to me with your back to me, so I asked an interpreter, and he told me that this man (Shurayk) is one who visits you often and opposes you behind your back’ Shurayk said, ‘O leader of the believers! Your dream is not like the dream of (prophet) Yoosuf the son of (prophet) Ya’qoob, and Muslim’s blood cannot be shed based on dreams’ so Al-Mahdi bowed his head down and signaled him with his hand to leave, so he left.


Ibn ‘Asaker RH mentioned in the history of Damascus that some people saw Imam Ash-Shafi’ee RH in their dream saying to them, ‘Yoonus Ibn ‘Abdul A’laa lied on my behalf in narrating such and such Hadeeth, I did not narrate it’ Imam Ibn Katheer RH commented on this saying, ‘‘Yoonus Ibn ‘Abdul A’laa is a trustworthy scholar, and cannot be doubted simply because of a dream’.


Imam Dhahabi RH narrated that Al-Maroozi RH said, ‘I took Ibraaheem Ibn Al-Husari (a righteous man) to Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal RH, and he said to Imam Ahmad RH, my mother saw such and such a dream for you, and she mentioned you in Paradise. So Imam Ahmad said, dear brother, Sahl Ibn Salaamah was told the same by people, then he started killing Muslims. A dream should not deceive a believer’.


O people! If we want to be just, fair and sincere in our advice, then we should not put all the blame on the people who see thedreams, but we must also address those who interpret them, because they have a great responsibility towards people who see these dreams.


An interpreter should be a scholar in this great field of knowledge, and should be able to weigh the harms and benefits resulting from the interpretation. He should not take the lead in interpreting dreams, specially those who do it through satellite channels, and in big gatherings, because it is just like passing a fatwaa. The king said in the story of Yoosuf, as Allah says, which means, “And (subsequently) the King said, ‘ Indeed, I have seen (in a dream) seven fat cows being eaten by seven (that were) lean, and seven green spikes (of grain) and others (that were) dry. Oh eminent ones, explain to me my vision, if you should interpret visions.’” (Yoosuf: 43).


Ibn Al-Qayyim said RH, ‘A person passing Fatwaa, an interpreter and a doctor are exposed to the private hidden affairs of people, so they should conceal these things’.


Interpreters should not rush to interpret dreams, nor should they make people feel that their interpretations are facts. They should know the danger of this and the arrogance it could lead to. Ibn ‘Abdul Barr narrated that Imaam Maalik was asked, ‘Can anyone interpret dreams?’ he said, ‘How can people play around with matters related to prophecy’. Ibn ‘Abdul Barr also narrated that Imaam Hisham Ibn Sassan RH said, ‘Ibn Sereen RH used to be asked about one hundred dreams but he would not answer, but he would tell people, fear Allah while you are awake, then what you see in your dream would not harm you’ and he would also say, ‘I only say what I think to be the interpretation, and I could be wrong’.


If this was the saying of the leader of interpreters through the ages, how should people in our time act? We see a person asked about one thousand dreams, and not once would he say, I do not know, or say that they are mixed up false dreams.


Interpreters should also realize the danger of interpreting dreams through TV channels that millions of people watch or in big gatherings, for the following reasons:


First: It is dangerous because he is talking about the unseen, specially that no one can say for sure that what he is interpreting is going to take place or not.


Second: It is difficult to know the situation of the one who saw the dream through TV channels, and whether they are righteous people or not, which has a strong connection to how a dream is interpreted. Two men came to Imaam Ibn Sereen both saw that they were calling the Athaan (the call for prayer), so he interpreted it for the righteous man as performing pilgrimage according to the verse which means “And proclaim to the people the Hajj (pilgrimage); they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they w ill come from every distant pass” (Al-Hajj: 27), while he interpreted it to the other man that he will steal and his hand will be cut according to the verse which means “So when he had furnished them with their supplies, he put the (gold measuring) bowl into the bag of his brother. Then an announcer called out, ‘Oh caravan, indeed you are thieves.’” (Yoosuf: 70).


Third: Some people would not comprehend the way the interpretation was done through the screens, and ignorant people would think that it is a type of fortune telling which is prohibited, and the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam said: “Say to people that which they are acquainted with, or do you want that people reject what Allah and His Messenger say” (Bukhari).


Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, (may Allah be pleased with him), narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “If you talk to people with words which they cannot comprehend, then it will be a trial for them” (Muslim).


Fourth: Preventing evil precedes accomplishing benefits, and the evil of interpreting through TV channels is greater than the benefits for many obvious reasons. One reason being the fact that it is talking about the unseen and interpreting is like passing Fatwaa and our Salaf used to avoid that. And then the evil resulting from the interpretation of some dreams is also great. For example a girl will not succeed in her marriage or another case whose husband will marry a second wife in secret. What do you think the situation of these women would be? One is awaiting failure in life and will remain depressed, and the other will always doubt her husband? Some people take these interpretations without referring to trustworthy scholars to confirm them, which results in the expected problems.


Some people give the excuse that the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) used to ask: “Who saw a dream?” (Saheeh Muslim) so that he can interpret it for them. We would answer saying,

· This was the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam, and his interpretations were undoubtedly true.
· His interpretations were in a mosque that was attended by a small number of people, not millions like the case of TV channels.
· The audience with the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) were the companions whose wisdom cannot be compared.
· No one from the four rightly guided caliphs or those who came after them did that, and especially Abu Bakr RA for whom the Prophet (Salallaahu ‘Alayhi Wasallam) testified that he is knowledgeable in the field of interpretation.

How to Remember What You Read

https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2017/10/how-to-remember-what-you-read/

“I cannot remember the books I have read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why is it that some people seem to be able to read a book once and remember every detail of it for life, while others struggle to recall even the title a few days after putting down a book?

The answer is simple but not easy.

It’s not what they read. It’s how they read. Passive readers forget things almost as quickly as they read them. Active readers, on the other hand, retain the bulk of what they read.

There is another difference between these two types of readers: The quantity of reading affects them differently. Passive readers who read a lot are not much further ahead than passive readers who read a little. If you’re an active reader, however, things are different.

The more that active readers read, the better they get. They develop a latticework of mental modelsto hang ideas on, further increasing retention. They learn to differentiate good arguments and structures from bad ones. They make better decisions because they know what fits with the basic structure of how the world works. They avoid problems. The more they read, the more valuable they become. The more they read, the more they know what to look for.

Think back to the books you studied in school. Despite the passage of time, most us remember a lot about them. Even if the details are fuzzy, we can doubtless recall the basic plots, main characters, notable themes, and motifs. We didn’t just passively read those books. We actively read them. We had class discussions, took turns reading parts aloud, acted out scenes, or maybe even watched film adaptations. No matter how long it has been since we set foot in a classroom, we all probably remember Animal Farm.

Having a deliberate strategy for anything we spend a lot of time on is a sensible approach. But most people don’t consciously try to get the most out of the time they invest in reading.

For us to get the most out of each book we read, it is vital to have a plan for recording, reflecting on, and putting into use the conclusions we draw from the information we consume. In this article, we will look at a strategy for deriving the maximum benefit from every single page you read.

First, let’s clear up some common misconceptions about reading. Here’s what I know:

  • Quality matters more than quantity. If you read just one book a week but fully appreciate and absorb it, you’ll be far better off than someone who skims through half the library without paying much attention.
  • Speedreading is bullshit. The only way to read faster is to actually read more.
  • Book summary services miss the point. I know a lot of companies charge ridiculous prices for access to summaries written by some 22-year-old with zero life experience, but the point of reading for fluency is to acquire a repository of facts and details. Nuance, if you will. In this sense, you understand a bit more about why things work.
  • Fancy apps and tools are not needed. A notebook, index cards, and a pen will do just fine. (For those of you wanting a simple and searchable online tool to help, Evernote is the answer.)
  • We don’t need to read stuff we find boring.
  • We don’t need to finish the entire book. 

“Every time I read a great book I felt I was reading a kind of map, a treasure map, and the treasure I was being directed to was in actual fact myself. But each map was incomplete, and I would only locate the treasure if I read all the books, and so the process of finding my best self was an endless quest. And books themselves seemed to reflect this idea. Which is why the plot of every book ever can be boiled down to ‘someone is looking for something’.”

— Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive

Before Reading

Choose Your Books Wisely
There are no rules when it comes to choosing books. We don’t have to read bestsellers, or classics, or books everyone else raves about. This isn’t school and there are no required reading lists. Focus on some combination of books that: (1) stand the test of time; (2) pique your interest; or (3) resonate with your current situation.

The more interesting and relevant we find a book, the more likely we are to remember its contents in the future.

For older books or those that have been translated, check which version is considered to be the best. For example, the Hayes translation of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is regarded as being truest to the original text, while also having a modern feel.

Get Some Context
A good place to start is by doing some preliminary research on the book. Some books – for example, A Confederacy of Dunces and The Palm Wine Drinkard – have a very different meaning once we know a bit about the life of the author.

For older books, try to understand the historical context. For books written in an unfamiliar country, try to understand the cultural context. Some helpful questions to ask include:

  • Why did the author write this? (Did they have an agenda?)
  • What is their background?
  • What else have they written?
  • Where was it written?
  • What was the political, economic, and cultural situation at the time of writing?
  • Has the book been translated or reprinted?
  • Did any important events — a war, an economic depression, a change of leadership, the emergence of new technology — happen during the writing of the book?

Know Why You’re Reading the Book
What are you reading this book for? Entertainment? To understand something or someone you don’t know? To get better at your job? To improve your health? To learn a skill? To help build a business?

You have to have some idea of what you want to get from the book. You don’t just want to collect endless amounts of useless information. That will never stick.

Skim the Index, Contents, and Preface
Before starting to read a book (particularly non-fiction), skim through the index, contents page, preface, and inside jacket to get an idea of the subject matter.  (This article on how to read a book is a brilliant introduction to skimming.) The bibliography can also indicate the tone of a book. The best authors often read hundreds of books for each one they write, so a well-researched book should have a bibliography full of interesting texts. After you’ve read the book, peruse the bibliography and make a note of any books you want to read next.

Match the Book to Your Setting or Situation
Although it’s not always practical, matching books to our location and circumstances can be powerful. Books will have a greater resonance as they become part of an experience rather than just supplementing it.

When choosing books, take a look at your own situation and decide on genres or authors that might help you overcome any current challenges. Whatever your state of affairs, someone has been in the same place. Someone has felt the same feelings and thought the same thoughts and written about it. It’s up to you to find that book.

For example:

  • Traveling or on holiday? Match books to the location — Jack Kerouac or John Muir for America; Machiavelli for Italy; Montaigne’s Essays, Ernest Hemingway, or Georges Perec for France; and so on. Going nowhere in particular? Read Vladimir Nabokov or Henry Thoreau.
  • Dealing with grief? Read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Torch by Cheryl Strayed,or anything by Tarah Brach.
  • Having a crisis about your own mortality? (It happens to us all.) Read Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life or Theodore Zeldin’s The Hidden Pleasures of Life.
  • Dealing with adversity? Lose your job? Read Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations or Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way.
  • Dissatisfied with your work? Read Linchpin by Seth Godin, Mastery by Robert Greene, or Finding Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

If I were a Dr., I’d prescribe books. They can be just as powerful as drugs.

While Reading

You’ll remember more if you do the following seven things while you’re reading.

Make Notes
Making notes is perhaps the single most important part of remembering what you read.

The best technique for notetaking is whichever one works for you and is easy to stick to. You need to create your own system. Some people prefer to record notes on index cards or in a commonplace book; others prefer a digital system. Notes are especially useful if you write on a regular basis, although everyone (not just writers) can benefit from making them.

Start by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has just tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them?

In The 3 Secrets That Help Me Write and Think, Robert Greene describes his notetaking process this way:

When I read a book, I am looking for the essential elements in the work that can be used to create the strategies and stories that appear in my books. As I am reading a book I underline important passages and sections and put notes … on the side.

After I am done reading I will often put it aside for up to a week and think deeply about the lessons and key stories that could be used for my book project. I then go back and put these important sections on notecards.

David Foster Wallace recommends a similar form of active reading (for more, see Quack This Way: David Foster Wallace & Bryan A. Garner Talk Language and Writing):

Not just reading a lot, but paying attention to the way the sentences are put together, the clauses are joined, the way the sentences go to make up a paragraph. Exercises as boneheaded as you take a book you really like, you read a page of it three, four times, put it down, and then try to imitate it word for word so that you can feel your own muscles trying to achieve some of the effects that the page of text you like did. If you’re like me, it will be in your failure to be able to duplicate it that you’ll actually learn what’s going on. It sounds really, really stupid, but in fact, you can read a page of text, right? And “Oh that was pretty good…” but you don’t get any sense of the infinity of choices that were made in that text until you start trying to reproduce them.

Stay Focused
Decide that for the time you will be reading, you will focus on the book and nothing else. No quick Twitter checks. No emails. No cell phone. No TV. No staring into midair. Understanding and absorbing a book requires deep focus, especially if the subject matter is dense or complex. Remember, we are aiming for active reading. Active reading requires focus and the ability to engage with the author. (Focus is hard work. If you’re lost, start here.)

Referring to the time before the internet, Nicholas Carr writes in The Shallows: “In the quiet spaces opened up by the prolonged, undistracted reading of a book, people made their own associations, drew their own inferences and analogies, fostered their own ideas. They thought deeply as they read deeply.”

If you’re struggling to stay focused on a particularly difficult or lengthy book, decide to read a mere 25 pages of it a day. It takes only a few minutes to nibble away at a challenging text. Completing a long book in this manner might take months, but at least you will have read it without getting overwhelmed or bored.

Mark Up the Book
Most of us were taught as children to treat books as something sacred – no folding the page corners, and no writing in the margins, ever. However, if you want to remember what you read, forget about keeping books pristine. I’ve spent a lot of time helping my kids unlearn the rule that books are not to be written in.

In fact, go crazy with marginalia. The more you write, the more active your mind will be while reading.

Jot down connections and tangential thoughts, underline key passages, and make a habit of building a dialogue with the author. Some people recommend making your own index of key pages or using abbreviations (Maria Popova of Brain Pickings writes “BL” next to any beautiful language, for example).

The first time you write in a book can be unnerving, but in the long term, it leads to a rich understanding and a sense of connection with the author.

Billy Collins has written a beautiful poem on the joys of marginalia: “We have all seized the white perimeter as our own / and reached for a pen if only to show / we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; / we pressed a thought into the wayside / planted an impression along the verge. /… ‘Pardon the egg salad stains, but I’m in love.’”

Stop and Build a Vivid Mental Picture
Building vivid mental pictures is one of the most effective techniques for remembering anything, not least what we read. When you come across an important passage or concept, pause and visualize it. Make the picture as salient and distinctive as possible.

Make Mental Links
Books do not exist in a vacuum. Every concept or fact can be linked to countless others. Making an effort to form our own links is a fruitful way to better remember what we read.

Nicholas Carr writes in The Shallows:

The bond between book reader and book writer has always been a tightly symbiotic one, a means of intellectual and artistic cross-fertilization. The words of the writer act as a catalyst in the mind of the reader, inspiriting new insights, associations, and perceptions, sometimes even epiphanies. And the very existence of the attentive, critical reader provides the spur for the writer’s work. It gives the author confidence to explore new forms of expression, to blaze difficult and demanding paths of thought, to venture into uncharted and sometimes hazardous territory.

Keep Mental Models in Mind

Mental models enable us to better understand and synthesize books. Some of the key ways we can use them include:

  • Confirmation bias: Which parts of this book am I ignoring? Does this book confirm my opinions? (Okay, but does it actually affirm your beliefs or are you just seeing what you want to see? If you cannot think of a single point in the book that you disagreed with, confirmation bias is perchance distorting your reasoning.)
  • Bayesian updating: What opinions should I change in light of this book? How can I update my worldview using the information in it? Keep in mind the words of John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
  • Pareto principle: Which parts of this book are most important and contain the most information? If I had to cut 99% of the words in this book, what would I leave? Many authors have to reach a certain word or page count, resulting in pages (or even entire chapters) containing fluff and padding. Even the best non-fiction books are often longer than is imperative to convey their ideas. (Note that the Pareto principle is less applicable for fiction books.)
  • Leverage: How can I use lessons from this book to gain a disproportionate advantage? Can I leverage this new knowledge in a tangible way?
  • Incentives: What motivates the characters or the author? What are they seeking? What is their purpose? Here’s how Kurt Vonnegut described the importance of incentives in books: “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away – even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”
  • Availability bias: Are the books I have recently read affecting how I perceive this one? How are my neoteric experiences shaping my reading? Am I assigning undue importance to parts of this book because they are salient and memorable?
  • Stereotyping tendency: Am I unconsciously fitting the author, characters, or book in general into a particular category? Or is the author stereotyping their characters? Remember, there is no such thing as a good stereotype.
  • Social proofHow is social proof — the number of copies sold, bestseller status, the opinions of others — affecting my perception of this book? Is the author using social proof to manipulate readers? It is not unusual for authors to buy their way onto bestseller lists, providing social proof which then leads to substantial sales. As a result, mediocre books can end up becoming popular. It’s a classic case of the emperor having no clothes, which smart readers know to look out for.
  • Narrative instinctIs the author distorting real events to form a coherent narrative? This is common in biographies, memoirs, and historical texts. In The Value of Narrativity in the Representation of Reality, Hayden White explains our tendency to meld history into a narrative: “So natural is the impulse to narrate, so inevitable is the form of narrative for any report of the way things really happened, that narrativity could appear problematical only in a culture in which it was absent… narrative is a metacode, a human universal… Narrative becomes a problem only when we wish to give to real events the form of story… This value attached to narrativity in the representation of real events arises out of a desire to have real events display the coherence, integrity, fullness, and closure of an image of life that is and can only be imaginary. The notion that sequences of real events possess the formal attributes of the stories we tell about imaginary events could only have its origin in wishes, daydreams, reveries. Does the world really present itself to perception in the form of well-made stories, with central subjects, proper beginnings, middles, and ends, and a coherence that permits us to see “the end” in every beginning? Or does it present itself more in the forms that the annals and chronicle suggest, either as mere sequence without beginning or end or as sequences of beginnings that only terminate and never conclude? And does the world, even the social world, ever really come to us as already narrativized, already “speaking itself” from beyond the horizon of our capacity to make scientific sense of it? Or is the fiction of such a world, a world capable of speaking itself and of displaying itself as a form of a story, necessary for the establishment of that moral authority without which the notion of a specifically social reality would be unthinkable?”
  • Survivorship bias: Is this (non-fiction) book a representation of reality or is the author failing to account for base rates? Survivorship bias is abundant in business, self-help, and biographical books. A particular case of a successful individual or business might be held as the rule, rather than the exception.
  • Utility: If a book offers advice, does it have practical applications? At what point do diminishing returns set in?

Put It Down If You Get Bored
As a general rule, people who love reading never, ever finish a crappy book.

As Schopenhauer once wrote, “one can never read too little of bad, or too much of good books: bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind.” Life is much too short to finish a bad book.

Nancy Pearl advocates the Rule of 50. This entails reading the first 50 pages of a book and then deciding if it is worth finishing. The Rule of 50 has an interesting feature: once you are over the age of 50, subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages. Pearl writes:

And if, at the bottom of Page 50, all you are really interested in is who marries whom, or who the murderer is, then turn to the last page and find out. If it’s not on the last page, turn to the penultimate page, or the antepenultimate page, or however far back you have to go to discover what you want to know… When you are 51 years of age or older, subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course, gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before you can guiltlessly give up on a book…When you turn 100, you are authorized (by the Rule of 50) to judge a book by its cover.

Nassim Taleb also emphasizes the importance of never finishing a substandard book:

The minute I was bored with a book or a subject, I moved to another one, instead of giving up on reading altogether – when you are limited to the school material and you get bored, you have a tendency to give up and do nothing or play hooky out of discouragement… The trick is to be bored with a specific book, rather than with the act of reading. So the number of the pages absorbed could grow faster than otherwise. And you find gold, so to speak, effortlessly, just as in rational but undirected trial-and-error-based research.

“The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book.”

— Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

After Reading

Most people think that consuming information is the same as learning information. This idea is flawed.

The basic process of learning consists of reflection and feedback. We learn ideas gained through experiences – ours or others – that remain unchallenged unless we make the time to reflect on them. If you read something and you don’t make time to think about what you’ve read, your conclusions will be shaky.

The Feynman Technique
The Feynman technique is named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. You can think of it as an algorithm for guaranteed learning. There are four simple steps: choose a concept; teach it to a toddler; identify gaps and go back to the source material; and review and simplify.

Think About What You Can Apply
So, you’ve finished the book. Now what? How can you use what you have learned? Don’t just go away with a vague sense of “oh yeah, I should totally do what that author says.” Take the time to make a plan and decide how to implement key lessons from the book.

Reading alone is not enough. We have to contextualize the knowledge. When does it work? When doesn’t it work? Where can I apply it? What are the key variables? The list goes on. If you can take something you’ve read and apply it immediately, it will reinforce the learning and add context and meaning.

Teach What You Have Learned
Teaching others is a powerful way to embed information in your mind. This is part of the Feynman technique.

Upon completing a book, grab the nearest (willing) person and tell them about what you have learned. You’ll have to remove or explain the jargon, describe why this information has meaning, and walk them through the author’s logic. It sounds simple. After you try it the first time, you’ll realize it’s not easy.

If there is no one around who is interested, try talking to yourself. That’s what I do … but maybe I’m crazy.

And if that doesn’t work, write a review on Amazon or Goodreads, or post about it on Reddit or anywhere else where people are likely to be interested.

One of the benefits of our virtual reading group is that people are forced to actually think about what they are learning. We ask weekly questions on the assigned reading, and responses are diverse and thoughtful. The jargon goes away and people remove blind spots. It’s incredible to watch. The result is that after reading a book with us, people say “I’ve retained so much more than I would have if I did it on my own.”

It was Schopenhauer who said, “When we read, another person thinks for us: we merely repeat his mental process.” To escape this, you need to reflect on your views and see how they stand up to feedback.

Catalogue Your Notes
There are endless ways of organizing your notes – by book, by author, by topic, by the time of reading. It doesn’t matter which system you use as long as you will be able to find the notes in the future.

Having a catalogue of everything you learn from reading creates a priceless resource which can be consulted whenever you need an idea, want inspiration, or want to confirm a thought. Over the years, you will build up a bank of wisdom to refer to in times of crisis, uncertainty, or need. It is hard to convey quite how valuable this can prove to be.

As General Mattis wrote: “Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”

The options for cataloguing your notes include:

  • A box of index cards, ideally organized by topic, author, or time of reading. Index cards can be moved around.
  • A commonplace book (again, ideally organized by topic, author, or time of reading).
  • A digital system, such as Evernote, OneNote, or plain old Microsoft Word. Digital systems have the added benefit of being searchable, which can save a lot of time if you refer to your notes on a regular basis.

Schedule time to read and review these notes.

Reread (If Necessary)

Great books should be read more than once. While rereading them can seem like a waste of time because there are so many other books to read, this is a misunderstanding of the learning process. The best time to start rereading a great book is right after finishing. The goal is not to read as many books as possible; I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. The goal is to gain as much wisdom as you can.

Rereading good books is of tremendous importance if we want to form lasting memories of the contents. Repetition is crucial for building memories. As Seneca wrote: “You should be extending your stay among writers whose genius is unquestionable, deriving constant nourishment from them if you wish to gain anything from your reading that will find a lasting place in your mind.”

There’s no better way to finish this article than with the wise words of Henry Thoreau:

Books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. Books, the oldest and the best, stand naturally and rightfully on the shelves of every cottage. They have no cause of their own to plead, but while they enlighten and sustain the reader his common sense will not refuse them. Their authors are a natural and irresistible aristocracy in every society, and, more than kings or emperors, exert an influence on mankind.

3…2…1…!

3…2…1…!
race
Someone made my day by posting this today.
New York is 3 hours ahead of California, 
but it does not make California slow. 
Someone graduated at the age of 22, 
but waited 5 years before securing a good job! 
Someone became a CEO at 25, 
and died at 50. 
While another became a CEO at 50, 
and lived to 90 years. 
Someone is still single, 
while someone else got married. 
Some get married and have five children in five years,
Another couple is trying for their first child after five years.
Obama retires at 55, 
but Trump starts at 70. 
Absolutely everyone in this world works based on their Time Zone.
People around you might seem to go ahead of you, 
some might seem to be behind you. 
But everyone is running their own RACE, in their own TIME. 
Don’t envy them or mock them. 
They are in their TIME ZONE, and you are in yours! 
Life is about waiting for the right moment to act. 
So, RELAX. 
You’re not LATE. 
You’re not EARLY. 
You are very much ON TIME, and in your TIME ZONE Destiny set up for you.  
In conclusion don’t rush to get and don’t be sad when refused.
“Be grateful when granted and patient when denied…”
Make everyday your day !!
Anonymous
fii

10 Things You Need To Know About Qurbani/Udhiyyah

  1. Whoever possesses the Nisab (612 grams of silver) on the days of Qurbani, (10th/11th/12th Dhul Hijjah) Qurbani is wajib upon them. This wealth will exclude his daily necessities such as, house, car, clothes, furniture etc. Each adult member of the household on whom Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is Wajib (meaning the person who has wealth equal to the Nisaab of Zakah) would have to make his/her separate Qurbani. You don’t have to make Qurbani for your small children who are not baligh (the age of maturity). (Fatawa Hindiyyah 292/5)
  2. A person must be sane, mature and resident. Qurbani is not Wajib on a traveller (Shar’ee Musafir). (Shami 312/6)
  3. If a person has a debt, he will minus the payments of only 1 year till the day of Qurbani next year, not the whole amount and lump sum (interest repayable will not be included in debts). If this remaining amount is equal to Nisab, even though he has not had for 1 year, Qurbani will be Wajib because he has this amount in the days of Qurbani. (Mahmoodul Fatawa 689/4)
  4. You can buy a large animal (cow/camel) and have different intentions such as Wajib Qurbani, Nafl Qurbani and Aqeeqah. But everyone must have intention for reward. If one share is not for thawab then the whole Qurbani is not accepted. (Mahmoodul Fatawa 691/4)
  5. If you have missed Qurbani in the previous years and it was Wajib upon you, one must give the price of a sheep at the time you are making up for it E.g. September 2017 a sheep is £50 you must give £50, even it was cheaper in previous years. (Kifayatul Mufti 231/8 & Fatawa Mahmoodiyah 343/14)
  6. If a father is giving on behalf of his mature children he must ask them first, same for the wife.(Fatawa Alamghiri 393/5)
  7. In the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, not to trim your moustache, cut your hair, or clip your nails is Mustahab. If you act upon this, you must not cut them until your Qurbani is done i.e you cannot cut them before Eid Salah. The purpose for this is not to resemble the Hajis in Hajj, contrary to popular belief. The wisdom behind this is, the animal we are sacrificing, we are giving every part, every limb of that animal in place of our own body. When the mercy/rahmah of Qurbani is descending a single part of our body (hairs or nails) should not be deprived of the mercy of Qurbani. (Fatawa Rahimiyah 31/10)
  8. You can give a separate Qurbani for Esale Thawab on behalf of a deceased or the whole Ummah. (Raddul Mukhtar 472/9)
  9. The actual method of Qurbani and the best way to perform Qurbani is one buys an animal himself, he then looks after this animal as this animal is a great reward for him. He should become attached and close to this animal, (sacrificing this animal is like giving his own children away, story of Ibrahim AS). It is Mustahab to slaughter the animal yourself. If you are unable to slaughter the animal, be present at the time of slaughter, (bearing in mind the law of the land). (Fatawa Rahimiyah 28/10)

The Prophet Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam told his daughter, “O Fatima! Be present at the time of slaughtering, for every drop (of blood) your sins are forgiven.” She replied, “O Messenger of Allah! Is this hospitality of Allah only for us (Ahle Bayt), or for everyone?” He Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam answered, “Rather, it is for us and every Muslim.” (Tabarani)

  1. It is Mustahab to eat from the meat of your animal if possible, on the day of Eid. Also, feed your neighbours, relatives and friends. If there are any poor Muslims in the area feed them too. (Fatawa Rahimiyah 29/10) A warning for those who do not offer Qurbani: The Prophet Sallallaho Alayhi Wasallam said, “Whoever possesses wealth and does not perform Qurbani let him not come close to our place of worship (on Eid).”  (Ibn Majah)

NB: For those who offer Qurbani in the UK, a point to bear in mind as we do not receive the skin of the animals, we should give Sadaqah around £5 approximately.

Approved by Mufti Muhammad Farooq Saheb – Ustadh of Hadith/Ifta Jamiatul Ilm Walhuda, Blackburn

25th Dhul Qa’dah 1438

Why Does Helping Another Person in Distress Make You a Hero?

Why Does Helping Another Person in Distress Make You a Hero?

By Babar Ahmadship

A passenger was once travelling on a ship when someone threw him overboard into the deep ocean. The waves engulfed him and, unsurprisingly, he tried his best to do everything he could to survive. The alarm was raised on the ship. The other passengers heard the call. Some of them did nothing because they were afraid of the deep water. Some of them did nothing because they were afraid that they might be thrown overboard themselves. And some of them did nothing because they thought it was no use, there was little chance of saving the man.

But other passengers came to the aid of the man in distress. One of them ran to the captain and pressured him to stop the ship. Another flung in a rubber ring. Another threw a rope to the drowning man. One of them even jumped into the ocean and swam out to try and save the man. Most of these passengers did not know who the drowning man was or how he ended up in the ocean; they simply saw a fellow passenger in distress.

ships

The situation was serious. The water was cold and sunset was approaching. The drowning man flailed his arms desperately to keep afloat but he felt himself slipping away. Frigid, salty water began to wash into his mouth and nose. He began to lose hope.

While some passengers tried to save the man, other passengers stood on the deck in tears as they watched the scenario unfolding in front of them. They felt unable to do something practical to save the drowning man. So they shouted out words of comfort to the man. They told him to hold on just a little longer because help was on its way. Most of these passengers did not know who the drowning man was or how he ended up in the ocean; they simply saw a fellow passenger in distress.

When the drowning man saw their tears and heard their cries, he suddenly felt a burst of energy inside him. Up to that moment, his fight for survival had only been about himself. But when he saw that there were others who were worried about him and invested in him, he realised that he had to survive for their sake, even if he no longer had the energy to survive for his own sake.

With the encouragement of the well-wishers, the drowning man managed to keep himself afloat long enough for the rescuers to arrive and save him.

A hero is someone who makes a positive difference to the life of another person.

Who are the heroes in this story?

A) The drowning man, who did what he had to do to survive.
B) The passengers who rescued the man and encouraged him to survive.

Why Does Helping Another Person in Distress Make You a Hero?

shipwreck.png

DIARY OF A POSSESSED SISTER

Bismi Allah- wal HumduLillah was Salah was Salam ala Rasoolillah
black magic
Today, I would like to speak about an issue, something which has affected me for years. It changed my life and I was oblivious to it for years. I feel brothers and sisters need to speak out about the issue, so it can help others who are suffering silently. More importantly, it is mentioned in Qur’an and Hadith but i see the Ulama, the scholars of Haqq are also silent and turning  a blind eye to it. So I am going to start with the scholars who I am angry and upset at, never have I heard one talk in my Masjid, not on Jum’uah and not in Ramadhan on the topic… Black magic. I ask why? And I have the right to ask, do I not? This is no longer just a Bengali issue! I am Deobandi, Hanafi, Gujarati, studied in Madrasah as well. Is it because your wives and daughters are not affected? Because YOU haven’t experienced it in your family? Some scholars are in total disbelief, “it’s just in your head”, “mental illness!”, “everyone has problems in life”. We don’t disagree,  mental health issues exists AND SO DOES BLACK MAGIC! IS Diabetes just in the head? Is Cancer just in the head? Other people have problems, marriage or job related, this does not mean Black Magic doesn’t exist. I’m sorry they’re insufficient proofs. Nobody said all problems in life are caused by Black Magic, but those of you who completely write off Black Magic are wrong as well. You no longer need to go to Pakistan or India to find Magicians and Witches, it’s all happening here in the UK. In our backyards. . .
Those who suffer from Black Magic and Jinn possession are living two totally different lives… yes! They have split personalities. One minute they are normal and next minute they are going ballistic! People just assume they are bad mannered or have a disorder. Many sisters like myself are labelled bad wives and sometimes bad mothers. I won’t even go into how mother in laws treat us, with no sympathy and understanding DESPITE KNOWING. People assume if you are not sectioned into a mental institute or not actively trying to commit physical self harm, then you are “okay”.
The psychological trauma we go through, the grief, the depression, anxiety, the phobias, Waswasah and doubts… on your partner on your family and close ones! Not forgetting the doubts we have on Allah and Iman! But all of this is brushed to the side, which just escalates for matters for us.
We want to seek guidance from Ulama, but they say nothing except, “it’s all in your head!” La Hawla Wa Laa Quwwata Illa Billah…

“Did the Prophet SAW not suffer from Black Magic himself SAW?”

Or was it just in His head SAW? …for six months He SAW was affected and He never knew, He found out later.
black mag
The Qur’an says we must seek help and assistance from people of knowledge. But they just make matters worse! I fear Allah whilst writing this, I am ashamed. But Wallahi alAzeem! These scholars need to refer back to their books. Nobody goes through everything in life, every illness, every pain, every suffering. So we can’t keep saying, because we haven’t experienced it we don’t believe in it. It breaks my heart knowing this disease is spreading quicker and faster. More and more houses and families are being broken by Black Magic. But the world just stands and watches and shows us statistics of divorce rates. 
Are you unaware the most popular type of Black Magic is separating the husband and wife… read Surah baqarah: “From them  (harut and marut) they learned how they might divide a man and his wife.” (2:102)
Aside from that, the suicidal feelings, the self harm and nightmares we have on a daily basis. This is why I believe that Black Magic is far worse than cancer, diabetes or TB! People, please understand what I’m saying! With these illnesses you may lose your health, your teeth, lose weight or other parts of your body and it becomes ‘apparent.’ Our suffering is all internal and we are ashamed to tell anyone. Why? Generally, people are judgemental as it is. “He can’t get married!” “She can’t have children!” What would they say if they knew we were possessed or a victim of Black Magic?!
Have you noticed how if we don’t display very obvious physical signs of illness or at least obvious signs of mental illness then, people assume- it’s not that bad.
This really pained me at my worst times 😦 I sincerely felt like I had to explain myself constantly that no, just because it’s not so obvious, it is STILL extremely distressing, painful and dehibilitating.
“Also? With the above mentioned diseases you don’t lose your Iman easily and fall into Shirk! We are constantly in a cloudy battle with Shaytan’s army, jinn and waswasah – nothing is clear to us. We want to end our lives or end our Iman. Nobody understands us… our reward is with Allah SWT! He tests whom he loves  (alHadith).”
I hope this is a reassuring message to all my friends who are suffering silently, Allah is with you. He is al-Hafeez, the best protector.
Please take this seriously, evil eye exists, black magic exists and Jinn possession exists. Please keep up your Azkaar and daily protection. 
NB: I would like to clarify one question which many sisters ask me, brothers may also be confused about it too…
QUESTION: We pray Manzil (dua book) regularly, we pray Hizbul Azam weekly and our morning and evening Duas daily. Can we still be affected by Black Magic or Evil Eye?
ANSWER: All of the above are brilliant for general protection and we MUST do all of them and much more! But one can still be affected by Jinn or Black Magic or Evil Eye. The simple explanation to this is, the Prophet Alayhis Salam was also affected with Sihr. Who is more punctual on Azkar and Dua than Him Alyahis Salam? But he was still affected. Some people further ask, what is the benefit of reading all these Duas then? The benefit is the harm of Sihr/Jadoo will not be as great. I have always read Manzil- Alhumdu Lillah! When I was told about Sihr on me, it was said it only affected me 70-80%. Because of the protection I was doing. So please do read the Wazeefahs you are doing, carry on. But once you have been affected by Jinn or Sihr you will need specific treatment, please contact a Shaykh.
I will leave links here for you all for Dua books:
Fatemah bint Sulayman, UK, (your sister in Islam).
Allah forgive me, please pray for me.
20 Dhul Qa’dah 1438
black magic can