Swimming Against the Tide

Conversations on the Ark
Swimming Against the Tide

These are draft pages subject to review. More will be added in sha allah as the work progresses with collaboration of members of the whatsapp group: Ahlulbayt (a.s.) lovers’ Ark.

True Stories That Inspire 
In Search of Infinity

This is a personal account of the lives of a couple about the choices they made, the decisions they took, and the path they tread that took them close to Allah(s) and Ahlulbayt(a)

They have been successfully swimming against the tide and hope to inspire others who may be  getting carried away by the strong currents in the direction of disbelief. This true story demonstrates that  in the Muslim ummah there are families who are patient during difficulties and have absolute faith in Allah(s). They remain steadfast even in the most challenging times. They are willing to sacrifice their comfort for the comfort of others. Their faith in Allah(s) is so strong that they are willing to give away all their savings and all their back-up to help a mo’min brother, because, they know that the true Raziq is Allah(s) and He(s) is the one who gives sustenance. 

May Allah swt bless this marvelous couple for their efforts to benefit us all.

Please click here to read their amazing story. 

True Stories That Inspire 
Firm Resolve of an Arkian Youth Pays Off  

An arkian brother related this true story which has lessons for all.

A group of 20 year olds who had recently graduated were chatting in the canteen of the college in an asian city. It was one of their last gatherings as they made plans to go their different ways in life after B.Com. Some said they want to start their own business. Others said this would involve lot of unethical practices including having to bribe all and sundry to get anything done. The former replied that if you join a company, the bosses there will make you do the same dirty practices. Why benefit the bosses instead of your own business. The youngest of them, a naive youth (ny), not at all street-smart, with “unemlpoyable” written all over him, piped up and said: “ If in this country there is no way to make an honest living I will leave and find a job in another country where I am not asked to bribe ” There was silence and some giggles and the conversation moved on to other things.

Ny came from a very very poor family. Was surprised at himself for saying what he said but felt as if he had always wanted to earn that way. So he decided to own it. Made a firm intention to pursue honest livelihood like his father and uncles and do whatever it takes to get there.

Allah swt made it possible for him to study further in London by granting his poor but honest father an overseas assignment. Ny worked there for about 7 years as a trainee and qualified professional without having to adopt any unethical practices. Was able to get a transfer to his firm’s affiliate when he wanted to return to his home town. He knew that even in this corruption ridden city, this largest public accountant’s firm, owned entirely by muslim professionals, did not indulge in corrupt practices. Ethically oriented companies – some of the largest local and many MNCs tended to be clients of this firm in those days.

Implementing policies like no bribes to be paid was not easy for the firm but it was doable. Example: Most Income tax officers demand bribes under threat of disallowing genuine expenses and increasing tax liability by millions. Knowing that his firm does not bribe, our NY had to face difficulties. When they summoned him to be there at 10am to discuss the client company’s tax returns, they made him sit till noon on wooden benches outside their room while the bribe payors were ushered in as soon as they arrived. They were served tea, and there would be sound of laughter and chit chat from the room. Ny would sit outside sweating from heat and feeling angry. The client’s tax return would be called fake, heavy fake tax liability would be imposed. The firm would then file appeal at several levels to get the tax reduced with varying degrees of success.

Having reached the partner level and desiring a change to less stressful living, ny agreed to get head hunted into a company that he knew to be ethical. He used to be in charge of auditing and tax for this company and was very impressed with their Business Ethics Policy and he loved these two sentences in it: “We do not want liars as managers. Even if the law is permissive, we will choose the course of highest integrity” (e.g. even if law allowed the company to pay a supplier within 90 days and he could not sue before that, the company would pay him within 30 days if it finds that an employee had inadvertently promised to pay within 30 days). Ny was personally involved in demoting and firing many competent employees for non compliances of Ethics Policy such as paying bribes. He was transferred to another country after 4 years where he worked another 15 years in a corrupt free setting until his retirement.

Lesson for the youth: Aim high. Do not give in to unislamic practices even if most are doing it. With determination and hard work and duas and trust in Allah swt, nothing is impossible.

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Self Improvement - for Adults
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God will always try to wake one up during a person’s mid-life, which is between the ages of 35 and 45.
This call comes in different forms. Sometimes in dreams, sometimes when you hear a good sermon, sometimes a crisis, sometimes a tragedy.
All these ways are to pull you back so that you can prepare yourself for your return to God.
Some people are able to catch these messages but others fail to see it.
The obstacles that stop us from concentrating in meditation are as follows:

1. Attachment to material things. The more things we have the more we need to take care of it.
Our time and energy is wasted in maintaining these things. The possessions take us over. We become slaves to our possessions. So the trick is to draw a line between our needs and our desires.
We can make our lives very simple by only having what we absolutely need.

2. Attachment to our relationships. Learn to keep a little detached from your relationships.
The children that are born through you are not your possessions. You give them love and guidance but they are Gods souls.
If you were to lose anybody in your life – you should be prepared to accept it.
Enjoy and be peaceful with your relationships but when it ends – let it go.

3. Attachment to your body. We spend so much time and energy to make ourselves look different than how we are.
We should be comfortable with ourselves.
If we are possessed with how we look – that becomes a hindrance (difficulty).

4. Attachment to Wealth. Accumulation of wealth for the purpose of hoarding it is not part of any religion.
Use what you need and share what is excess.
When we are busy just making money so that we can accumulate, we have no time for anything else. There is no satisfaction and that ties us down.

5. Attachment to the past. When people have hurt us in the past, we can’t seem to shake it off.
We carry the anger with us in the present.
That anger takes us over. When we forgive we do ourselves a justice. We free ourselves.
Therefore, don’t waste time and energy into things that have happened in the past.
In fact, when someone hurts you – feel it for few minutes and then let go.
Do you keep garbage in your house or you take it out?
Similarly, remove all anger and throw it out.
Finally, “When you run after the world, the world never comes into your hands”.
The day you learn to detach (separate) yourself from this world and concentrate on your spiritual enlightenment that’s when the world will come after you.
But you will have no need for that world because you have found peace and tranquility (calm).

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