Keep Witness & Write down – Al Quran

Islam, the comprehensive way of life, provides us with  Rules of Buying & Selling, and how Companies in Islam work.

We execute transactions (exchange of goods or services) on daily basis but neither do we write these nor arrange a witness; be it for business or at personal level. Allah Ta’ala provides us with practical advice & guidance in this regard.

pen and justice

Surah Al-Baqrah contains the longest Ayah (No. 282) in Quran containing approximately 114 words! And this ayah is not about prayers but about worldly affairs; its subject is how to conduct loan, borrow something and carry out business transactions. And even more importantly, be just & honest. Being unjust or dishonest by the witness or any of the parties is a grave sin & disobedience to Allah Ta’ala. This requirement for justice extends to all scenario; such as if someone asks you for an opinion or you bear witness to any matter; be it in court or in daily life. This ayah provides us with two Golden Rules:

a- Write down what you agree upon

b- Arrange Witnesses for what you agree

Translation of Ayah by Yusuf Ali (Urdu is below)

“O ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties: let not the scribe refuse to write: as Allah Has taught him, so let him write. Let him who incurs the liability dictate, but let him fear His Lord Allah, and not diminish aught of what he owes. If they party liable is mentally deficient, or weak, or unable Himself to dictate, Let his guardian dictate faithfully, and get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her. The witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (For evidence). Disdain not to reduce to writing (your contract) for a future period, whether it be small or big: it is juster in the sight of Allah, More suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves but if it be a transaction which ye carry out on the spot among yourselves, there is no blame on you if ye reduce it not to writing. But take witness whenever ye make a commercial contract; and let neither scribe nor witness suffer harm. If ye do (such harm), it would be wickedness in you. So fear Allah; For it is Good that teaches you. And Allah is well acquainted with all things. If ye are on a journey, and cannot find a scribe, a pledge with possession (may serve the purpose). And if one of you deposits a thing on trust with another, let the trustee (faithfully) discharge his trust, and let him Fear his Lord conceal not evidence; for whoever conceals it, – his heart is tainted with sin. And Allah knoweth all that ye do.”

Urdu Translation




Lisbon Visit Feb 2014 – Part 2

Read Part 1 here

The river Tagus, longest in the area, originates from Spain concluding its journey here in Lisbon when it drops into Atlantic Ocean. It was a major sea trade route linking Western Europe to Africa, Asia and Americas. Calling Tagus a river in Lisbon area is injustice; at some places it is as wide as up to 20 KMs. “Vasco De Gama” the latest & longest bridge in Europe (17 KM) is built here.

Vasco da Gama Bridge
Vasco da Gama Bridge

Walking with laptop & trolley bag in furious weather wasn’t easy but I dared to walk along the bank. There were few ships floating around in turbulent water. Sand was blowing into my face like bullets. As soon as I would leave my bag to take a photo it would either fall or start walking away. Time to head to hotel, I thought. I was staying in another town Oeiras. It is only few miles away from Lisbon, a newly built town where many technology firms are based.

A bit tired yet in high spirits, I took a tram to Belem. No way was I leaving without visiting the Belem Cake Shop. I didn’t eat the Natta cake though, just visited it like a dutiful pilgrim. I walked in Belem for some time and then took taxi to hotel in Oeiras enjoying stunning scenery on the way. It was dark by now. Trees & bushes were looking stunning under the yellow light emerging from streetlights.

Commercio Square
Commercio Square

Tram No 28 is one of the old types. It runs through the old parts of town and passes by many famous monuments; worth a visit. Alfama is the old part of which was built by Moors (Muslims) when they ruled the area. There is a big central mosque in Lisbon; I could not visit it though.

I stayed in Oeiras for 5 days, occasionally visiting Lisbon in the evening. Natural beauty in the area was superb. We could not walk around much as it rained almost every day.

Wonder View from Office
Wonder View from Office

One day we had dinner in HRC (Hard Rock Café) to comfort an American colleague who was missing home. It was an experience for me too; I had heard of it but never visited one. First HRC was opened by two Americans in 1971 in London, later expanding to USA followed by many worldwide locations. Around 1979, HRC started a trend of acquiring Rock & Roll memorabilia which included photos, autographs, shirts, vehicles, guitars and the like from famous Rock starts, and displaying them on the Café walls hence creating a museum in each shop. The Lisbon HRC we visited was playing famous Rock & Roll songs and displaying object all over the two storey walls. For me; hmmmm… veggie burger was delightful along chunky chips! Service was grand too!

Hard Rock Café Lisbon
Hard Rock Café Lisbon

After dinner we walked in the streets for a while. Lisbon is a peaceful city but seeing homeless and drug sellers at night was hurtful. We took a taxi on the way back to Oeiras. The driver was an old person in 60s but he drove fast & furious; so much so we were scared. Never seen such a wild taxi driver in my life. He took it as an encouragement when we screamed with scare and gave us a ride of lifetime. The car was fully loaded with five of us and he was not slowing at all on turnings and roundabouts.

Soon five days were over and it was time to go home. I was confident that the return flight will be comfortable one. But no, weather turned to be even worse. Mostly flight was fine but touch down!!! – oh my God it was the scariest landing ever in my life. We landed from the London city side. As we descended from 10,000 Meter to about 3,000 meter, the plane started shaking in every direction violently and it continued for last 30 minutes of the journey. Severe wind was throwing the plane around like a piece of paper. As we approached for landing I took the embraced position which is usually advised for the emergency landings. My body was literally shaking. Eventually plane touched the ground safely; a great relief to be on ground again. It was a difficult landing but pilot managed it very well.

Old Lisbon
Old Lisbon

The flag masts and poles on the airport were rattling with noise due to shear wind. No doubt this was the most frightening flight of my life but visit to Lisbon was one of the best visits ever!

Self Care or Public Care

“You’ll see I wear only grey or blue suits. I’m trying to pare [cut] down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other [important] decisions to make.” –Barak Obama

How mature is this approach! Obama considers nation-level tasks far more important than trivial matters that concern his personal life. He is not alone.

Australian PM Julia Gillard was made fun by press for wearing ordinary unfashionable clothes. Her Response (via spokesperson): PM does not invite anyone for help on fashion – if someone doesn’t like her dress, he/she is free to air their opinion, meaning I don’t care!

Manmohan Singh was invited to take oath for Prime Minister-ship. He did not opt for a new dress let alone an extravagant one. His wife stated Manmohan Singh wore the same usual dress for oath taking that he would wear normally. And that was their national dress Kurta Pajama, not suit & tie.

Blair used the same pair of shoes for 18 years while replacing the sole once; and the duration included 10 years in parliament.

Such are the leaders who progress their nations forward.

Now, in contrast, look at the garbage we have unfortunately. Bear in mind, we belong to a poor nation where most people don’t even have drinking water, forget about food.

General Musharraf ordered 7 pairs of high quality Peshawri chappals costing more than Rs 7000 each.

Last PM Yousaf Raza Gillani sent 40 cartons of high quality garments to his house in Lahore. It is reported in media he wouldn’t wear a suit twice.

Allegedly PM Sharif wears a watch worth $ 4.9 Million Dollars – yes, it is not Rupees but US Dollars. The watch is laced with rock brought from moon among other precious space material.

Zardari offered $1 Million to Ajmair Sharif shrine; money allegedly came from public funds. Benazir & Zardari’s Surrey Palace, worth $15 Million is up for sale. Where did this money come from?

Stories are endless but there is no point wasting time; we know these ‘leaders’ are not for us but for their pockets.

This is how our present is, but past was different and our future will be different too insha Allah. Just see how our founding leaders were.

Hazrat Abu Bakar (RA) was appointed as Khaleefa, the Muslims’ leader after passing away of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Next morning he left for bazaar to earn his living. He wouldn’t want to burden the public money. He was not allowed. Umar RA stopped him arguing, you need to take care of the affair of the people so can’t spend time in market. A look at Abu Bakar’s (RA) Manifesto would open your eyes.

Such were our leaders and this is what want back, insha Allah

Lisbon Feb 2014 – Part 1

Read Previous Visit Here

Here I am in Lisbon, again, 3rd time. I am falling in love with this city; particularly this 3rd visit was incredible. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is an adorable charming small cool calm clean city. Here I am comparing it against other European capitals such as Brussels or Paris. Lisbon is the Last City of Europe in west, and then starts the Atlantic sea leading us to USA.

Lisbon at Night
Lisbon by Night

From 15th century onward Lisbon flourished as the biggest sea port and richest & most influential city as Vasco De Gama & Columbus “Discovered” India and America respectively. Huge amount of wealth and slaves starting pouring in since this was the nearest port to American capital; good news for Europe but death warrant for Africans and Red Indians alike –a dark chapter in human history stained with slavery and bloodshed.

Lisbon’s climate is moderate and pleasant. It has one of the lowest rainfalls in Western Europe. Though it rained almost every day during my stay of 5 days. People were complaining I brought the rain with me but London was dry when I left.

Portugal has a population of 10.8 Million, nearly 30% (~3 Million) live in Lisbon district. Lisbon is one of oldest cities in Europe; easily comparable to ancient cities of Athens and Rome.

The city was fully destroyed in 1755 by one of the most powerful earthquakes in Europe, followed by a Tsunami. Lisbon was conquered by Moors (Muslims) in 714 who subsequently ruled it for 400 years.

Belem Monestry
Belem Monastery

The day I flew was very windy; a massive storm of rain and gusty winds coming from USA had swamped Western Europe and it was predicted to last for days. Take off was little troubled. Then rest of the flight was OK – till the plane started descending for landing. It was medium sized plane. As we started descending, flight turned increasingly turbulent. Lisbon airport is situated at the end of a valley so plane has to pass through a stretch of hills on both sides before landing. As we passed through the valley, wind massively intensified shaking the plane in every direction. I was convinced that the pilot will abandon the landing but the Portuguese pilot had other ideas. We got nearer and nearer to land but plane was still swinging around. I took braced position (the position recommended for emergency landing) – God knows how we landed. It was the worse landing I have ever experienced (so far!). All passengers started clapping and cheering as plane stopped. I came to know later that some flights were diverted or returned back on that day.

Tea & Natta Cake
Tea & Natta Cakes

My mood recovered soon with the thought of going to the famous 177 years old Lisbon cake shop “Pasties de Belem” and tucking into nice “Pastel de Natta Cake”. I took a bus into the city centre from outside. Let’s enjoy the ride as well do the sightseeing on the way; no point heading hotel so early. The bus dropped me right in the middle of town. Weather wasn’t favourable at all. Portuguese airline offered nothing during the flight though it was a long 3 hours flight; most European airlines do the same on their flights now days. Feeling the urge for a cup of team I couldn’t resist and entered a cafe. Natta cake was delicious as ever!

Rossio Square
Rossio Square

Fully refuelled now, I started wandering around in historic city centre of Lisbon. It was rainy and windy. Starting from the Rossio Square which is a kind of city centre I lazily strolled on to Rue Augusta, one of the busiest “pedestrian-only” shopping streets. Decoratively paved with marble stone, it has rows of shops on both sides and open air restaurants’ seating in the middle. Wind was getting furious; it was smashing hard everything in its way. Tables, chairs, menus were blown away. I braved all this and kept walking towards historic Commercio Square.

Augusta Street
Augusta Street

Magnificent Commercio Square was built on the banks of River Tagus once sea trade was at its peak. The symmetrical buildings around the plaza housed government offices dealing with customs and port trade. This place played a significant role in the country’s economic activities then, & now a monument only amusing both locals & tourists.

Read 2nd Part Here