Nadiyah Hussain is 31 years old, house wife & mother of young kids. Never dreamt of taking part in any competition, she decides to take part in BBC TV’s famous Baking Show “Great British Bake Off” in 2015. She makes to Finals; Around 15 million people watch the show and…. she won!
Now she is a celebrity & a well-known name in UK. Nadiyah writes books, is a columnist for the Times Magazine & appears in many TV shows. She was commissioned by Buckingham Palace to bake cake for Queen’s 90th Birthday!
Nadiyah said after winning:
Never say ‘No’.
If you think you can, you will. If think you can’t, you are right.
She is a symbol of Success & Hope for Young Muslim girls.
Wearing Hijab doesnt limit you, it gives you a sense of belonging, it gives you an idenity. Nadiyah talks passionately about her decision to first start wearing a Hijab at the age of fourteen.
Incredibly proud of how own upbringing and culture, she explained: “My religious beliefs also have an impact on what I wear. You have to make sure the sleeves are long, and then you have a scarf to go with it (dress). I have been wearing my Hijab since I was 14.
“It’s not specifically because I came from a religious family, I think I came from quite the opposite. It was something I found and the first part of me finding religion.
It was the first act I actually did – to cover my hair. I realised the importance and significance. It’s a sign of being a Muslim, a sign of practicing Islam, it’s a sign of modesty, it’s just one of those things you do. Everyone finds it at different stages in your life. It’s seen as something beautiful.
Mohsin Nawaz leaves them behind by many miles. If Mohsin’s story doesn’t inspire you nothing will.
Mohsin Nawaz was only 2 years old when his legs paralysed due to Polio leaving him in wheelchair for rest of his life. Unable to move about he would stay home, read books and listen to radio.
Mohsin loved reading & writing stories. He sent his stories to famous children’s monthly magazine ‘Phool’ for publishing. His stories were eventually published but by then he could not read; Mohsin lost his eyes at the age of 13. It was a real shock for him & his parents.
Unable to move, unable to see, Mohsin would lay in a corner of his house like an old out of use piece of furniture. One day an old lady visited his house. While talking to his mother she enquired; Baji aap iss kay liyae duaa kiyun nahien kartay? (Sister, why don’t you pray to Allah for him?
Only people from Pakistan would understand the real chilling meaning behind this statement. This statement is said about a terminally ill person who has no hope; it means “may Allah take his life away to alleviate his suffering”.
His mother replied what are you saying? The lady replied he has no legs no eyes; he is capable of nothing. And Mohsin was listening to this conversation. It shocked him. This very moment changed his life forever.
“Your Life Begin to Change the moment you Accept the challenge thrown at you”.
Mohsin whispered quietly; O Lord, I don’t have legs, I don’t eyes. So what? I will show the world what I can do with the rest of your blessings I possess. I will perform the best with these. And indeed he did.
He started studying. We are talking about some 30 years ago. There were very little facilities for disabled then. He could not attend any school. Mohsin would buy books & cassettes and ask his friends to record the books on those cassettes. He would then play these cassettes and listen to books. He has memorised 1500 books till now! This is his level of commitment to knowledge.
Mohsin accepted what Allah Ta’ala intended for him. If you are happy with what Allah has brought your way, He (SWT) will be with you! But he worked diligently on what was in his control!
Our Lord says:
Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (Al Ra’ad 11)
Indeed it was Mohsin’s deep desire to change the state of his life and he did it.
Where there is a Will there is a Way.
He educated himself & completed Master’s Degree in Urdu. He is a committed person.
“I accept challenges & change – if someone says; Mohsin you can’t do this, I will make sure I do it”.
Mohsin would listen to radio and learn through educational programs. He went to buy an Urdu type writer. The shop owner discouraged him; don’t waste money dear, you won’t be able to learn it. And the very evening he amazed his family when he showed them their typed names!
“It is not the abilities, rather the burning desire to do something that keeps you awake at night would lead you to success.”
Mohsin has melodious voice. He was selected as radio presenter for Mast FM 103 Radio to conduct a Live show. His show was a success; he is one the popular presenters (RJ Radio) in Pakistan today and conducts a show every Sunday 12 to 2 pm for the last 13 years!
“Disability is Not in Our Body, rather in Our Thoughts”
Maria, among 1000s of his followers on radio, was so impressed with his voice that she decided to marry him. She knew the marriage won’t be a straight forward one; Mohsin needs a lot of help in his daily life chores. But she was determined; now they are happily living together for many years and have kids who go to college now.
“Handicap is not the one who cannot walk or see, rather the one who has no desire to do anything.”
Radio show brought further success; he was offered a Telemarketer job in a private firm. He performed really well and was eventually promoted to as Director Public Relations.
Mohsin delivers inspirational speeches to many and brings those back to life who have lost hope. He has motivated 1000s. Listen to Mohsin on Youtube. One such excellent video is here. Listen & be amazed by his knowledge (listen from 11th minute onward): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fmit-CmGO0
When somebody told me that he has failed in his exams, my question is, *”Is it a law that you will pass every time?”* When somebody asked me why am I in depression, my question is, *”Is it compulsory to have confidence all the time?”* When someone cried to me about his huge business loss due to his wrong decision, my question is, *”Is it possible that you take all right decisions?”* The fact is our expectation that life has to be perfect/permanent is the biggest reason of our unhappiness.
One has to understand the law of impermanence of nature. After each sunny day, there has to be a dark night, after each birth there have to be certain deaths, for the full moon to come again it has to pass through no moon. In this imperfection of nature, there is perfection. So *stop taking your failures and bad part of your life soooo personally or intensely,* even God does not like to give you pain but its the cycle through which you have to pass. Prepare yourself for one more fight after each fall because even failures cannot be permanent…! Enjoy life…. *Your breath comes to go.* *Your thoughts come to go.* *Your words come to go.* *Your actions come to go.* *Your feelings come to go.* *Your illnesses come to go.* *Your phases come to go.* *Your seasons come to go.* *You have come to go.* Then why do you hold on to your guilt, anger, unforgiveness, hatred so so so tightly, when it too has come to go… Let it go …
N Rangasamy is the CM (Chief Minister) of a poor Indian state Puducherry. He was elected for first time in 1990 in local assembly elections.
He is holds BCom & BL (Law) degrees and hails from an ordinary background.
Rangasamy was appointed Agriculture minister followed by Education ministry and eventually elected as the CM of the state. He is the CM ever since and had never lost an election. How come?
The answer lies in two aspects; one he lives an ordinary person’s life and he lives among the people. Second & most important; He turned one of the poorest Indian states Puducherry into a better one:
After assuming the office of CM, he refused living in CM house saying Puducherry is a poor state; I don’t want to burden it further. NR lives in his old small house – no cars, no guards.
NR lives with ordinary people and lives like an ordinary person with an intention of serving them.
He drives his old bike and goes around the city meeting people & sorting their issues, without any security.
There were a huge number of people living in hut (slums). NR decided to eradicate temporary huts completely. He started cheap housing schemes; now hardly anyone lives in huts.
Schools provide free books & free lunch – yet you won’t see any ad promoting it in the newspapers.
His government arranged gas cylinders in the state so that poor don’t axe trees for fuel.
People traditionally did not give women the right to own property. NR gave tax reliefs on transferring property to women.
And there is a long list of such activities that has transformed that poor state into a relatively better off one. Politicians don’t like people like him; he was part of Congress party but was forced to resign due to internal politics. He started his own party and within months he was back in the office. He lives not in the CM house rather in people’s hearts.
There is another similar example in India, Anna Hazare.
Just compare him with politicians of our holy lands – I can’t think of a single example.
Expensive Bullet-proof Cars, Guards, Gold-Plated Bathrooms, Planes, Palaces, Off-Shores Assets, Houses in London, New York and eventually Houses in Hell…….
As a rule of thumb there is an inverse relation between leaders and their nation’s wealth. Richer the Leaders, Poorer the People….
I happened to come across an article written about Tata Family & Company. It fascinated me and intrigued me to explore more. Tata Group is one of the most famous Indian Multinational companies.
Facts speak for themselves:
11th most reputable company in the world according to a survey!
More than 100 operating companies in the group
Operates in more than 100 countries across six continents
Total Revenue around $103 Billion (2014)
Ranked as 34th top World Brand Name at a value of $21 Billion (Name Alone!).
But this article is not about Tata as a successful business. So what is so special about Tata? Read on. Its Group’s slogan is:
“Improving the quality of life of the communities we serve”
Do they live by it? We need to examine Tata’s history as well look at its founder’s life.
The company was founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868. Coming from a Parsi business family he had a natural talent in business; Jamsetji made a fortune in trading cotton, tea, copper, brass etc. But this was not his motive; he had great interest in innovation, technology & its use to improve ordinary people’s lives. He desired having everything “Made in India”.
Build the Nation
Jamsetji established “Empress Textile Mills”, the first textile mills of the India in 1877. But his biggest wish was to establish a steel plant which was realised after his death by his son Dorab in 1907 when Tata Steel started production and making India the first Asian country to have its own steel plant. Today Tata Steel is among top 10 best Steelmakers.
Jamsetji visited many countries to gather ideas, talented people & latest technology to bring it back to India. He was a man with a specific vision. He did not believe in charity, rather advancement through grooming & education. He loved science & technology and craved to establish a science institute as well as a hydro-electric power plant.
“What advances a nation or a community is not so much to prop up its weakest and most helpless members, but to lift up the best and the most gifted, so as to make them of the greatest service to the country,”
Jamsetji eventually succeeded in establishing “Indian Institute of Science” hence providing India with plenty of engineers & scientists for generations to come.
Business & Employees Hand in Hand
Even before Western people thought of labour welfare, Tata Group introduced pensions (1877), the eight-hour working day (1912) and maternity benefits (1921) for its employees.
“In a free enterprise the community is not just another stakeholder to business, but is in fact the very purpose of its existence,”
Jamsetji cared for his employees. He ordered his sons to build a model industrial town to be carved out of the jungle for the workers. He was very specific:
“Be sure to lay wide streets planted with shady trees… Be sure that there is plenty of space for lawns & gardens. Reserve large areas for football, hockey & parks. Earmark areas for Hindu temples, Mohammedan mosques & Christian churches,”. And they did; outcome was the creation of Jamshedpur.
Taj Mahal Hotel
Let’s not forget Taj Mahal Hotel of Bombay. Jamsetji absolutely adored Bombay as it was his town of birth & living. There was only one reasonable hotel here, the ‘Watson’. But it was not up to standards; on top of it, Indians were not allowed. Not acceptable, I will build a hotel of standard, declared Jamsetji; so the Taj Mahal Hotel was born in 1903. It was the first building in the city lit with electric lamps & had lifts –people from all over the world came to see this splendour.
Soon afterwards he passed away. Jamsetji was dubbed as a Man of Steel. Tata story didn’t end here; his successors continued his work to same glory.
JRD – Father of Indian Aviation
Jehangir Tata known as JRD reined the group for nearly half a century (1938 to 1988) taking it to new heights. Tata assets rose from $100 Million to $5 Billion under his leadership. He had avid interest in aviation. JRD became the first person to qualify as pilot in India. JRD established the first airline in India, not surprising called “Tata Airlines” in 1932! It was later nationalised by the government and named as Air India. JRD was appointed as its first chairman. It doesn’t stop here; JRD established “Tata Consultancy” in 1968 to computerise the company’s paper-based records – today it is the most profitable company in the whole Tata Group, providing IT services globally, and among top 10 Global IT service company.
“I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country.”
JRD just like his predecessors had keen interest in people welfare. He established Asia’s first ever cancer Research & Treatment Hospital in Bombay (1941).
The Tata story goes on. They can be found everywhere, from IT to Tea; yes they own the famous British tea brand Tetley as well Jaguar & Land Rover. India owes a lot to them for sure!
Tata & Humanity in Figures
Are Tata family very Rich? Tata Group is but not so the family; they own merely 3% of Tata Group:
Total Group Assets are US$ 114 Billion
Tata Trusts & Charities Own 66% of it.
30% belongs to Shareholders
And Tata Family Owns only 3%
Jamsetji once said:
“Money is like manure. It stinks when you pile it; it grows when you spread it.”
And this is not the reason. Read on..
‘Ittefaqan’ (by chance), it reminds me of another family famous for Iron business in Pakistan! No point wasting time on exploring how successful they have been in business and how much they have returned to the nation from which they ‘earned’ billions; you all know. No doubt they are visionary; their business spans across continents. Mr Prime minister visited Karachi to attend an emergency meeting last week to discuss the dire law & order situation there. After lavish lunch of BBQ, Fish Finger, Malai Boti, Daal Chawal, Trifle, he commented “Food was weak [not up to standards]”!!
Don’t Give Hungry a Fish
Coming back to Tata, they don’t believe in feeding a hungry, rather empowering him:
“Give hungry a fish & you feed him for a day; teach a man to catch fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Let’s look at the charitable trusts established by Tata:
Institute of Fundamental Research,
Institute of Social Sciences,
Institute of Science
National Centre for Performing Arts
Management Training Centre
Energy & Resources Institute
Tata Medical Centre
Cancer Research & Treatment Hospital
The striking point you would have noticed that “Help the Needy” type organisations are missing from the list. No disrespect to the work of Edhi & the like but these efforts will never eradicate the needy; we have to eliminate the root causes of the needs i.e. prepare the nation & provide opportunities to the nation.
And this is the Reason that inspired me…
There is another striking point; Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Warren Buffet & other richest people have also donated most of their wealth but they did so after becoming rich; Tata planned around it from day one.
(Note: Please don’t forget, fundamentally it is the right system applied justly that ensures the opportunities are provided for the nation, but it is a separate subject).
He was 18 years old young boy from a wealthy, religious family and belonged to one of our relatives. He was hafiz-e-Quran, well-mannered and eldest child in the family. Although he had everything one can wish for in this world but he was not spoilt at all. He had already started shouldering his father’s burden gradually by taking part in their family business. One day I heard the news that he is in hospital sustaining head injury from a road accident. He was in coma and his condition wasn’t good. The next day brought a sad news; he passed away.
“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”
Eye witnesses stated that he was driving his motorbike with only one hand while other hand was busy with mobile phone. His bike struck a small hole in ground at a low speed. He could not maintain balance and His head struck a small stone on the road giving him one single but fatal injury. Bike was fine. We can learn two lessons here:
1- One must not use Phone while driving (this is true for car also), and
2- Driver must wear helmet while driving a bike
Parents were devastated. Indeed it was a big loss for them. One day a lady came for condolences. She was a family friend and known to us a respectable and decent person. Realising we were heartbroken with the incident, she shared her own story for the first time. In her own words:
“I was living happily with my husband and children in Islamabad. My husband would take care of all outdoor chores and I will look after family. Hardly would I bother with outside word; I was a complete housewife. One day I was informed that my mum is not well and I should visit her urgently. Realising her serious condition, the whole family decided to visit her in Gujranwala. By the time we reached there she had departed to meet her Lord. We conducted my mother’s funeral with heavy heart.
“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”
My husband had to return next day due to some commitments. So, he, his brother and my eldest son departed in our car. Just before driving off, my few years old daughter jumped into the car insisting she must go with papa. I left behind with our youngest son. Few hours passed; suddenly I was informed that our car had a fatal accident. My husband & his brother died on the spot. My son and daughter were severely injured. Son died later and daughter was paralysed, stuck in wheelchair for life. For me life stopped suddenly.
It would be understatement to say that I was devastated. Though alive, I was nearly dead mentally. I don’t know what was happening around me for few months.
But life is too stubborn to stop. I had to look after two young children and one of them was disabled. They had needs that required fulfilling. One day a lady came to visit me. She enquired how long would you stay like this? Control yourself; you are responsible for your family now. It made me think; no matter what situation I am in, life around me is moving on. I had to do something, for my children’s sake. So I started organising myself. I had never dealt with the outside world but there was no escape now. I learned driving and started looking for a job; soon I secured a lecturer’s position. From that day onward, I never looked back. My past was history now; I started living in present. My daughter & son have grownup now. Daughter is still in wheelchair and son is studying in university!”
Subhan Allah, it was very encouraging for us. We were thinking we had the worst in life but there is always someone who had been through more hardships.
We can learn a number of lessons from this story:
– Enjoy the blessings of Allah while we have them; be it family, wealth or health
– Be ready for whatever comes our way. If a hardship falls upon us, we must endure it gracefully (with sabr). Indeed there are great rewards for it.
– We must struggle with best possible way to change our situation. This is the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW)
– World changes around us constantly; we need to adapt to the changes.
– Life never stops no matter what. Make the best use of it.