The Human Matrix

By Mehreen Mushtak (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

We are all so consumed with work in this world, each one of us! It can be studying, playing sports, working in an office, writing, reading, and you name it. One thing in common in this is that people are graded; one is better than another. So we are all on a matrix where we are measured against certain criteria, some, which we know, and others we don’t. For example, while studying, we are assessed against our learning ability. That is still too broad, so, should we be assessed on our remembering ability or on understanding ability. Again this can be broken down, are we assessed on remembering and understanding ability or memorizing ability. Haven’t you noticed that all top scorers in school don’t do so well in their jobs, some may?

Well, we are up for measurement in each and everything that we do. Some people may consider you to be good at a certain aspect; others at a few aspects and some may feel you can’t do anything. So how do we perceive this?  Do you argue back? Do you sulk? Or in anger do you prove them wrong? It is all about perception. How much does someone’s judgment affect you? How much does worldly measurement affect you? How do you value yourself and your talents?

A human being is a complex creation of Allah with the most beautiful aspect being the heart and the mind. Both help you to make decisions and judgment, feel happy and sad or delighted and furious. It is our complex organs that help us function in day-to-day life. Each person is unique and has a different talent. Then why do you aim to measure yourself on matrix that was never meant for you? It could be amazing for your friend or your sister or brother, but that does not mean you will have the exact same matrix as them.

Again an important question that comes up is, what is ‘good enough’ Do you decide that? Or do you let your environment, peers, and family decided that? Or even social media? Competition is a part of humans, however, the best form is when you compete with yourself so that you are better than you were when you attempt to do something. There is no end to growth if you do it with determination, dedication, and hustle, all while being humble. Definitely easy to say and difficult to do, but we have the best role models in history to look up to and learn traits of superiority through work yet humbleness in nature. Let your work and contributions speak for themselves and once you realize that you need no particular matrix to be measured, you will stop looking at others from that lens.


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The Importance of Sports

By Muhammadjawad Dhalla (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

I  am going to talk about the importance in sports. First of all what are sports? Sports includes any competitive physical activity or games through casual or organized participation. It’s aim is to provide skills and physical ability to children.

And it also provides enjoyment to the people. Usually the game or sport is between two sides. They give out the winner of the sports and they also motivate people from working hard and winning the sports.

Sports is important especially to children because children need to be very active all day. That is why some schools make children do exercises before starting lessons. It stimulates growth and leads to improved emotional and physical health. For example,  researchers have discovered that physical children have less chances to get high blood pressure, diabetes and many more. There are many different types of sports that include the physical body, these are : The main one is football/soccer, and I have to say this,  the best team is Man United, others are cricket,  table tennis, hockey, water polo and even Martial arts are included as a physical activity.

Sports have many effects in our daily life and it effects everyone especially children because children because they are still at their growing stage. Some good effects of sports are : Children who participate in sports have good health benefits like what I have mentioned above. Children who participate in sports have positive effects on their mental health and help and relieve depression. And also those who participate in sports get better grades in school and develop social skills.  So those of us here who don’t get good grades, I advise them to play sports.

Different kinds of sports are played on their own fields. For example,  for football you have a football pitch/ground, tennis you have the tennis court and many more.

Sports are played in many kind of ways, you can either your hands or your legs.  Example,  in football you have to use only your legs, that is why it is called FOOTball. I like using football as an example because most of us know about football. Another example is cricket. You have to use only your hands because you either bat or throw the ball.

The most played sport nobody can refuse this because even if you ask a small child about this they could say football. It was estimated that around 265 million play this sport. I won’t be surprised if you are surprised right now. The second one is Badminton. It is very nice and fun games to play.

The conclusion is that sports is very important to everyone in our daily lives and we have to play sports and it has many advantages. If we want to live long in this life than we have to play sports. HAVE A GOOD SPORTY DAY… !!!

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The Two Worlds: A guide on how to prosper as a youth

By Mehreen Mushtak (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

“I live in two worlds everyday, sometimes it feels the same, and sometimes completely different. In one world and I’m super happy, and in the other one, not so much. Sometimes both the surroundings bloom into beautiful gardens, sometimes only one does and sometimes none. One of the worlds is what people see, the other one is my world, where I am me. But no one knows that I have two worlds, they all feel they know me. I love how this works, I can crawl into mine whenever I want, and show the world whatever I want. And slowly my two worlds merge, and I am no longer afraid to be me in the ‘one’ world.”

That’s the best way I could have put it down. A small narration of how you can be yourself without fearing anyone. Everyone is unique and beautiful and no one can be like YOU. It can be frightening to be open sometimes, and I don’t mean share your life to the world like an open book, but be true to yourself and do what feels right to you. Today, a major problem seen in youth is of psychological nature, which shows up in the form of stress, depression, anxiety and so many other forms. Some go too far and harm the person themselves, where they keep feeling trapped or that they cannot live. This has led to an increase in suicide.

See how beautiful our religion is, giving us remedies and guidelines to live everyday life in the simplest and most beautiful manners. Praying 5 times to thank the Ever-lasting, the Creator, reciting du’a and supplications. If all of this is done with the presence of heart and mind, you will not need anything else to make you feel light and calm.

Just imagine how satisfying it would be to see the young generation of today, grow up to be a member contributing to the success and growth of the nation. This is a dream seen by many but only stays a dream when so many are affected by bullying, hatred, and harsh comments. Looking at the vast study in psychology today, it is clear that each person an individual interacts with affects his or her experiences. This can be in a positive or negative way. So when a dream breaks, how many people are responsible?

A lot of times, people are not comfortable with sharing any trauma or abuse they are going through and keep blaming themselves, crushing down their confidence and morale in everyday life. It is the duty of each and every person to make sure that when you interact with someone, the experience and memory left behind, is a positive one. That’s only when “slowly the two worlds will merge, and fear will vanish. And when this happens, I will be free, free again, to share my ideas, voice my opinions, and raise my thoughts. I will be free again to be me.”

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The Forgotten Heroine (Part 2)

By Zamena Manekia Manji (Bujumbura, Burundi)

We have all heard several times that lady Zainab rushed to the burning tents to rescue her nephew Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s) after her brother Imam Hussain was atrociously killed. Likewise, lady Umm Kulthum also saved Imamah through nursing her ailing nephew and playing a great role by stopping him just in time from rushing towards the battlefield. On that very grave day, when Imam Hussain was left all alone, we all know that he let out the cry of Hal min nasirin yansurna. We also know that Imam Sajjad stood up from his bed, with a stick in one hand, a sword in the other and walked out of the tent. Lady Umm Kulthum was in the same tent, she would have been nursing him and she was aware of his fragility and paralysing sickness. She walked out of the tent behind him and called out, ‘oh my son, return back to the tent ‘to which Imam Sajjad replied, ‘oh my aunty, please leave me so I should fight in the company of the messenger of Allah’. At that moment Imam Hussain said ‘Oh Umm Kulthum, take him back so that the Earth should not remain without the offspring of Muhammad. ’All of this was predicated by the hand of Lady Umm Kulthum. As she clasped her nephew and returned him to safety.


As the harrowing night gloomed over the family of the Prophet, the night of Shaame Ghariba, Umm Kulthum rose amid the burning tents and the grieving hearts. With the Hashimate blood running through her veins, she soldiered alongside her sister through the tortures, gathered every scattered child and soothed them despite watching her own family massacred in front of her eyes. It has been narrated that Umm Kulthum spent the night busy in gathering the children and taking the fear away from them.

Upon the agonizing journey and entry to Kufa, Lady Umm Kulthum delivered a sermon so powerful, it drowned the people to tears and sent pangs of shivers through the enemies as her every word represented her father’s eloquence and power of speech. She delivered this sermon amid the pain that was overwhelming her heart for she was forced to watch the head of her brothers and heads painstakingly young nephews, not to mention the insurmountable physical pain from the whips and beatings. As mentioned earlier, the family of the Prophet was highly respected and Umm Kulthum had received a lot of respect and love from these very people. On that day, she was unveiled, under the scorching sun, surrounded by thousands of men and women. Yet in a matter of minutes she silenced the people of Kufa, forced their heads down in shame as her words echoed through the city. Below is a small excerpt from her sermon.

Oh people of Kufa, shame on you! Why did you leave the army of al Husayn alone without any assistance? Why did you slay him and why did you ransack his property as they were your inheritance? Having held his women as captive, you’ve hurt them and then you harmed them.

Woe be to you and may perdition overtake you. Do you know what burden you have put on your backs? Do you know who you have killed? Do you know which great ladies you have grieved? Do you know which daughters you have ransacked? And do you know whose properties you have plundered? You have killed the best of men after Rasulallah (SAWW) and have not shown any affection or any love.

Know that the party of Allah are the successful and the party of shaitan are the losers.

You have murdered my brother, may your mothers despair! You will be compensated with hell fire. You have shed the blood that Allah (swt) has forbidden you to shed, what the quran has forbidden. Then what the prophet has forbidden. Now receive glad tidings that you will be in the hellfire and that tomorrow you will be in the worst of it; be sure that you will be in in forever! For surely, I will cry my whole life for my brother, he was born as a righteous man after the prophet. My tears are plenty, ever so heavy and flowing down my cheeks. Never will they dry!

The sermon is so fierce yet it contains the some of the most powerful perceptions about the events in kerbala. She openly displayed her anger and sent pangs of guilt and regret to the hearts of these Kufans who had initially paid allegiance than backed away. Imam Al Sadiq narrates that his father Imam Al Baqir said that ‘bibi Umm Kulthum spoke to the people in the market of Kufa in which all the people remained silent. Then she gave a sermon so eloquently it was as if Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib was speaking’.

A narrator even mentioned that, when the people of kufa heard this, all of them were wailing loudly and the women were pulling their hair, they were calling out for the loss and destruction to fall upon the Kufan people. The men wailed and tore their beards, No one had seen more weeping people than that day.

That is how authoritative a woman she was, a few words spoken yet so powerful, it led the pathway towards the reformation of Islam. A narration states.

Lady Umm Kulthum remained steadfast, challenging the foundations of the authority of the Ummayid family, and exposing their inhumane treatment of the family of the house in the city of kufa and on the road from kerbala to kufa.

Its about time we realize the great status Lady Umm Kulthum holds in the religion of Islam. We need to collectively strive to honor her life and learn from the lessons that she taught us through her piety and bravery, her eloquence and profound knowledge. We need to continually mention her timeless sacrifices as a woman who preserved the teachings of the Prophet and strove till her very last breath, for a woman so immaculate, is indeed a treasure to the religion of Islam.

Sources of Reference:

The Hidden treasure book by Jaffer Ladak

 Sayed Ammar Nakshwani – biography of Umm Kulthum (a.s)

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The Forgotten Heroine (Part 1)

By Zamena Manekia Manji (Burundi, Tanzania)

Through the millenniums, the religion of Islam has been brought and saved a number of times by our prophets and Imams, and it was also spread and protected by a number of great women – a lot of who we revere and look up to as our role models. Yet, amid these women of heaven, we have been neglecting the role of a woman who alongside her sister played an equal role in saving Islam. She spent her whole life dedicated to the religion yet we barely acknowledge her sacrifices. She is the daughter of Ali and Fatimah, the sister of Hassan Hussain and Zainab, she is the forgotten heroine – Lady Umm Kulthum (a.s)

Some historical texts revolving around the life of Lady Umm Kulthum have been vague and distorted to the extent we are not very sure if she is buried at the graveyard of Bab Sagheer in Syria. I recall my first visit at the age of 12 left me wondering why was Sayyida Zainab’s shrine so grand and her sister’s so small? It hurt me to see how little we know about the fourth grandchild of the Holy Prophet (saw). However, over the years, I have seen scholars effortlessly researching on the life and role of Lady Umm Kulthum.

Also known as Zainab as Sughra (the younger Zainab), The title Umm Kulthum was given to her by the Holy Prophet (saw) – which has been ascribed many meanings like mother of the beautiful, mother of the charming. The word Kulthum also means the silk on top of a flag. Umm Kulthum was also the name of the sister of Prophet Musa, who showed great bravery by protecting the life of her little brother. Likewise, Umm Kulthum bint Ali demonstrated bravery, insight and submission to the will of God.

From a very young age, Lady Umm Kulthum had to face adversities that can shatter any child’s life. She bore the death of her beloved grandfather and then was left without a mother in a matter of weeks. The atrocious killing of Lady Fatimah and the tortures she had to brave through, that were so grave, it could turn the day to night – further added pain to the already grieved little hearts. Lady Fatimah’s words of advice to her daughters before she left the world were ‘My Will to you is to participate with your fathers and brothers to defend Islam. Melt yourself to your brother Hussain; his turn will come; he will be the person to carry the command of Allah (swt) and you will be participating with him at that time. You have to share with him everything that will befall his path; be prepared to face even captivity on his path! You have to be for your brothers care for then and be a mother for them.’ Hence from thereon, the two little sisters fully devoted their lives towards the religion of Islam as pillars of support for their father and brothers.

Lady Umm Kulthum alongside her older siblings, watched how the enemies of her father plundered over the inheritance and snatched his right as the caliph yet they tirelessly defended their father through the harshest of situations the religion of Islam ever had to face. Just like Sayyida Zaynab, the two sisters treaded on the path of their beloved mother, teaching the women and kindly tending to their every problem alongside fully supporting their father. When the caliphate finally came to Imam Ali after 25 years, they all moved to Kufa where the family of the Prophet was greatly honored; akin to the status of royals. Despite that, they chose to live in a very humble home and together, they continued to preach Islam to one and all in the most eloquent and beautiful ways.

Upon her father’s martyrdom, she continued to defend and support her brother Imam Hassan whose caliphate was abdicated by Muawiyah and persistently continued to serve the religion through teaching the people of Kufa and then Madina again when they returned to the land of their Grandfather. She witnessed and faced a magnitude of hardships over her family yet, she stood strong despite the anguish when she had to see her brother die from the poison sent by Muawiyah. Each tribulation further prepared her for the greatest trial of her life – the tragedy of Kerbala and beyond.

Lady Zainab and Lady Umm Kulthum stayed loyal to their mother’s final words as they journeyed alongside their brother Hussain and his family and companions to Kerbala. Yet, it’s sad that we barely acknowledge her contributions during this time. We fail to realize she too, saved the religion of Islam and often overshadow her personality. A few narrations below from the book – the hidden treasure; shows how magnanimous a role she played in preserving the teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw)

(To be continued in upcoming post) 

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