Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kuwait's Financial Crisis - Past and Present

Souk Al Manakh: How to resolve past mistakes

Souk Al Manakh has the honor of being the worst bubble in the history of the world. The bubble was so severe, that when the market crashed in 1982 it left the economy of Kuwait devastated and crippled for 9 years to come. The lingering effect was partly due to the government’s ineffective remedy. Today, there is a real risk of the same economic paralysis taking place again unless there is a serious joint effort taken by both the private and public sector to tackle the issue.

Souk Al Manakh

The large oil revenues that flooded the Middle East during the 1970’s left a huge cash surplus in the pockets of Kuwaitis. They sought an outlet to invest their wealth and finding a bear market in the US they turned to local investing. At the time, the official stock market only had a handful of listed companies which were seemingly uninteresting. This gave birth to an unofficial market dubbed Souk Al Manakh in 1981. The market was an over-the-counter market which specialized in unregulated non-Kuwaiti companies like those incorporated in Bahrain and UAE. The market quickly became a hotbed for speculators, reaching a market cap of USD 100 billion, becoming the 3rd largest stock market in the World after only the US and Japan, and ahead of France and the UK.

In Kuwait it was customary at the time for investors to use post-dated checks. A bank balance was not necessarily required to issue the checks, but the hope was that a balance would be available when the check was due. Families’ honor was the key driver of trust, making it almost unthinkable that these checks would bounce or default. However, human nature prevailed and eventually people became greedy and began to purchase stock with checks that couldn’t be paid. Billions of dollars worth of stock had been purchased using these checks causing the prices of stock at Souk Al Manakh to skyrocket increasing 61% in 1981. The market was hot and the bubble was inflating. A small prick caused the bubble to burst in 1982. One of the banks tried to process a check to find insufficient funds and a bouncing check. The bank quickly rushed to perform the same exercise with other checks to find that many checks bouncing. This triggered a domino effect across the banking sector. The process unveiled more than 6,000 investors with post-dated unsecured checks that were bouncing aggregating as much as $92 billion. It is worth mentioning that USD 86 billion or 94% of the loans were taken by only 308 investors.1 Prices spiraled into the ground, while bids virtually disappeared. To irritate the problem further, oil prices were at only a quarter of what they had been in 1980, stranding the government’s budget.

When analyzing the main causes of the crash we find that the markets were highly speculative due to the high demand on stocks of companies that investors knew very little about. Prevailing issues included:
  1. Exaggerated optimism about the future of companies which reflected in inflated prices.
  2. relation between company information and the buying decision
  3. financing through post-dated checks
  4. a lax attitude towards risk because Kuwaitis though the government would be there to bail them out incase of extreme losses.
  5. Shell companies with weak / no assets
  6. were investing in the market and booking unrealized profits although no profits were received.
  7. No regulation

Within a few days, the crisis had gotten so bad, that it was time for the government to intervene to manage the crisis and control damage. They immediately formed the Kuwait Clearing Co, to register and process all checks involved, and established a KD 500m fund to protect and pay smaller debtors whose investors were bankrupt. In August 1983 the Government urged the settlement of debts at the market price at the time of transaction, and set a maximum premium of 25% on post dated checks. The government bore the brunt of the crisis and was forced to inject large sums into the banking system to restore liquidity. A wave of regulation swept the system restricting listing and halting establishment of new companies.

But the measure the government took wasn’t enough and the negative effect of the crash lingered until 1991.3 The economy was stagnant experiencing a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of -30% in real terms over those 9 years. Following widespread bankruptcies, the private sector was grounded and few new companies started up. Loans dried up as the banking sector was reluctant to give out loans. The government finally decided to eliminate the cause once and for all and in late 1991, the government purchased the entire debt load directly associated with the crash, as well as the entire domestic consumer debt load. The rescue package was estimated to cost nearly USD 20 billion including USD 1 billion of consumer debt and USD 3 billion of housing debt. In unison the government addressed accountability issues on the government level and pushed to restore confidence in the market.

Financial Crisis 2008

Today’s financial crisis is not unique to Kuwait. It has been imported from the west to the east, with no one to spare. Although the onslaught may be of international effect, many similarities can nonetheless be drawn between Souk al Manakh and the financial crisis today. Fueled by surging oil prices reaching a peak of USD 140 a barrel, the Kuwaiti economy was booming. Liquidity was abundant and investors were lavish. The Kuwait Stock Exchange was buoyant, peaking at 15,600 points. The market was growing 25% to 40% annually, a great source of easy money. Company information had little correlation with speculators’ investment decisions, as was the case with Al Manakh. High levels of margin were being used to finance purchases, while financers had poor credit control. Consumer credit increased rapidly as did institutional debt. Short term debt, 80% of total debt, was being used to fund long term assets, 74% of total assets, setting up the system for failure.

As a result of the surge in stock prices, many shell companies sprung up and complicated corporate structures were employed. Transparency plunged. Investors’ attitudes were risk tolerant as they thought the government would be there to bail them out in case of a jam and they were speculating with borrowed funds. Then the unexpected occurred. The international markets crashed. Toxic assets ate away profits and confidence while subprime defaults shocked the real economy. Suddenly the capital markets were dried up, and it became near impossible to find financing. Investors realized KSE was unsustainable and prices took a nose dive. Low business confidence paralyzed the market.

At the same time, oil prices plummeted along with government revenue. The government of Kuwait’s response to the crisis lagged and was untimely. The government repeatedly announced the convening of a bailout strategy meeting but no action followed. Upon the government’s inaction, the stock market plummeted further each time. Finally, when the government acted they passed a buyout package which targeted buying up shares on the secondary market. The effect of this was minor and reversed immediately. Gulf bank was propped up, local bank deposits were guaranteed, but debt burdens and the true underlying causes were not addressed though.

Till date, the government has yet to pass the “Stablization Law”, with which they wish to stimulate the economy. The Law will target a stimulus to the banking and investment sectors. The new law will guarantee bank’s toxic assets and new loans issued. The law will also guarantee new loans to the investment sector to allow them to refinance their debt. But the package may be too late for it to be beneficial. Further the Central Bank is not equipped operationally to implement the package, because it must assume control of the governance of investment firms. Companies seeking assistance will lose freedom of governance and usage of resources thereby imposing a management burden on Central Bank.

History repeats itself.
A concern is mounting that government action is inadequate and the economic impact may hinder future economic growth. We wouldn’t like to repeat the same mistakes which caused economic turmoil following Al Manakh crash. The IMF is already expecting Kuwait’s Real GDP to shrink by 1.1% in 2009.2

Previously, it was not until the government purchased distressed debt, that the effect of Al Manakh was completely alleviated. Thus we need to recognize these lessons. We should also learn from the actions of larger economies. The US passed a USD 700 billion bailout plan to buy distressed assets, of which USD 250 billion went to the banking sector. Then in February, a USD 787 billion stimulus was signed, to stimulate the real economy through infrastructure and real projects to alleviate unemployment. Recently the US approved the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) worth USD 40 billion to purchase toxic RMBS and CMBS assets. Not all measures taken by the US were 100% successful or effective, but their actions have begun to stimulate the US economy, as seen by improving unemployment figures in recent days. Likewise, the government of Kuwait should learn from this experience. They should follow suite and engage the private sector in a serious effort to tackle the issue, for there is a real risk of an economic stagnation to present itself. Furthermore, the court system in Kuwait needs improvement to ensure the rights of investors, which are currently not 100% ensured.

1 Euro Journal.
2 Markaz research report
3 Kuwait. From reconstruction to Accumulation.

Read more!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turn a Red Paper Clip into a House

An inspiring story about the power of the mind. The limitless nature that knows no boundaries. Don't make money a hurdle to growth and wealth. Money only hinders creativity and potential. Unleash the mind to create opportunities from thin air.

A young man from Montreal woke up one morning and decided that he wanted a new house. He hadn't the money to buy the house. Creative thinking stormed the air. He finally decided to embark on a journey to turn a little red paper clip into a brand new house.

Kyle MacDonald traded one red paperclip on July 12 2005 and 14 trades later, on July 12, 2006 he traded with the Town of Kipling Saskatchewan for a house located at 503 Main Street. He traded a:

1. Red Paper Clip for a Fish Pen
2. Fish pen for a happy face door knob
3. Door Knob for a mini barbecue grill
4. Grill for a power generator
5. Generator for a beer keg
5. Keg for a snow mobile
6. Snow mobile for a One Week Trip to a small town called Yahk
7. Yahk trip for a Truck
8. Truck for a Recording Contract
9. Recording Contract for 1 years rent in a One Bedroom house in Phoenix
10. 1 Year rent for a 1/2 a day with Alice Cooper
11. Alice Cooper for a KISS snow globe
12. Snow Globe for a starring role in a film
13. Film role for a House in Saskatchewan.

You can create something out of nothing.

Check out the video below:

Kyle's blog:

Read more!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Raising the Bar

A true story that inspired me to change the way I deal with my kids.

A mother came home with a guest. She was greeted by her 3 young children who ran to her side. After the regular kisses and hugs, her youngest daughter, 3 years old, looked at her with a big smile. "Mama! I didn't get a new house today." The mother turned to her friend, which had a puzzled look on her face. "Ok, tell me about your house." the mother exclaimed to the girl.

"Well, it has a pink door and purple windows....", the girl excitedly giggled as she described her house in full detail. After she finished her mom asked her, "So what do you have to do in order to get this house?". This was a no-brainer for the girl. She quickly put her hands up, extended her 10 fingers out and began to recite "Surat Al Ikhlas" ten times. With each recitation she lowered a finger. When she had finished 10 times, she joyfully sprung up, celebrating her new house.1

The mother then said, "Do you know what would make your house look even more beautiful. How would you like a chest full of treasure?" Excitedly the girl nodded in affirmation. She sprung up began to recite, "لا حول ولا قوة إلي بالله".2 The girl's smile widened. "Mama, I'm thirsty. I want to drink water out of the Prophet's hand." In unison they chanted, "اللهم صلي على سيدنا محمد".3

Raising our kids should be fun. With some creativity, we can teach our kids the most complex and deepest meanings. Enthusiasm fills the air and every gasp of air is followed by a gleeful giggle. Surely things taught in this way, will be ingrained in their little minds for many years to come.

It's time to raise a generation of little minds that are filled with energy and piety. A generation that has great knowledge hosted in their hearts, not just their minds. A generation that takes pride in its origins, culture, and religion. A generation who aspires to greater things and has the discipline to achieve. Let's take the first step towards building this future. Let's raise our children to be leaders.

1. Whoever recites Surat Al Ikhlas 10 times, Allah will build a palace for him in paradise.

قال صلى الله عليه وسلم(من قرا (قل هو الله احد) حتى يختمها عشر مرات بنى الله له قصرا في الجنه فقال عمر رضي الله عنه: اذا نستكثر قصورا يارسول الله
فقال: الله اكثر واطيب) اخرجه احمد

2. The Prophet told Abu Dhar, Shall I guide to a treasure of the many treasures of paradise. He replied in the affirmative. Say, "لا حول ولا قوة إلي بالله", There is no Will or Might, but that of Allah's.

عن أبي ذر قال: قال لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ألا أدلك على كنز من كنوز الجنة، قلت بلى يا رسول الله، قال لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله. رواه أحمد

3. Whoever says, "اللهم صلي على سيدنا محمد", Allah have praise on our Prophet Mohamed, will drink out of the Prophet's hand in Paradise.

Read more!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Blind Man's Ad

A blind man sat on the ground. His filthy clothes were stained with black oil spots. His hair was covered with a smelly rag. He sat legs flat on the ground, holding a hat to collect money in. A dirty card board sign stood by him. The sign read, "I'm blind. Please help me."

A wealthy man walked by and saw this blind man crouched on the sidewalk. He looked into the collection hat and noticed only a few petty coins. He felt sorry for him and decided to take action. He took the sign away. A few minutes later, he gave it back to the blind man and walked away.

An hour had gone by and money started piling up in the hat like never before. The blind man could feel bundles of paper money. He began to wonder what the sign said. So he stopped a girl passing by and asked her to read the sign. The sign read, "Today is a beautiful day, but I can't see it!"

It's the way that you present yourself that matters.

Read more!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Recycle your Body

If you could save a life without so much as lifting a finger, would you save it? Better yet, if you could cure and abolish a deadly disease like cancer, would you do it?

Imagine that you were walking down the street and found a man stretched down on the sidewalk. He'd been there for 3 days with nothing to drink. He'd been in an accident and didn't have enough energy to talk nor move. He came to your attention and as you made eye contact with him, you noticed his dry lips. He desperately signaled to you for some water. This man was extremely dehydrated and all he needed to save his life, was a mere few drops of water. Would you go out of your way to save his life?

Did you know that upon your death, you could save the lives of up to 40 people 5. It's a revolutionary notion! How?

After we die, our body seizes to be useful to us. If left alone, the body begins to decay 4 minutes after death and can decompose down to the bone in as little as 10 to 20 days. However, even after death the body still possesses riches that can provide life. Our organs can be reused. What I am suggesting is an organ transplant.

Organs that can be transplanted include the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas, and intestine. Tissues include bones, tendons, cornea, heart valves, veins, arms, and skin. Worldwide, the kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organs.

The problem is that organs don't grow on trees. Let’s take liver disease for example.

The liver performs 100 different functions. One of the most important functions is to break down and modify toxic substances in the body and excrete them into bile or urea. Without this function, toxicity builds up and poisons the entire system. A short term remedy is a tri-weekly dialysis session to wash out the system. However, the only real solution is a liver transplant in order to perpetuate life.

Did you know that 40% of the world’s population are affected by liver disease. In the US 10% or 30 million people are inflicted a year. Liver disease is the 7th largest cause of death in the US 1 and 5th cause in the UK (Cardiovascular disease is #1 2). Liver disease kills more people than road accidents and diabetes combined 3. Furthermore, it is the only disease that is growing at a rate of 100% per year!

The interesting fact here, is that liver transplants are usually made from non-living donors. The amazing and unique properties of the liver endow the organ the title of being the only organ in the human body that can regenerate. As little as 25% of the liver can regenerate into a full liver within 8 years. Your liver could save 4 lives! And the funny thing is, you won't be needing it. What's even more phenomenal is that you can donate the liver (or any organ) on condition that when the recipient dies, he will also donate the liver to someone else. Your organs will live on forever and can even multiply and save lives.

How? If the original liver is split into 4 and used for transplants, you would be saving 4 lives (assuming no complications). With time, the quarter livers would regenerate into 4 whole livers. When the recipients die, they would pass on their 4 whole livers. Each would be split into 4, allowing for 16 new livers and 16 saved lives. Within 5 generations there would be 1,024 livers circulating saving 1,024 lives! This is all from one donor. If 100,000 people subscribed to this idea, within 5 generations, there would be 102 million livers available. Thus completely abolishing liver disease!!!

All you have to do is sign up with your local donor society. It will take a few minutes, but will save many lives.

Please spread the word...

For a comprehensive discussion of transplants visit:







Read more!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Golden Slaves

"A tenth of all that you earn is yours to keep" advised the richest man in Babylon. "What did he mean?" I asked myself, "Wasn't the money I spent to buy myself the finer things in life like a new 60" TV or an iPhone money that I enjoyed and kept?". The richest man in Babylon continued, "Every dollar that you spend puts money into someone else's pocket. The money that you keep is that you save."

Imagine that the money in your bank account came to life and each dollar stood tall representing a muscular slave bulging with strength. The man was no ordinary slave though, he was a golden slave. He could be put to hard work and would create value growing any venture he engaged. He would go on to eventually have children. His children would be born into slavery though and would be immediately be put to work. Thus your number of slaves would multiply and your capacity earn would be exponential. While you sit on the beach and enjoy the Monday morning breeze, your golden slaves would be out toiling to bring you riches. From time to time they would come back to you carrying bags of cash, each time the bags growing larger. You feel content with your trusted golden slaves. They are working hard, ensuring your wealth multiplies.
This is the paradigm of the investor. He doesn't work for money; rather he lets money work for him. That's one important distinction between the rich and poor. The poor spend their lives chasing money, so that they can upgrade their cars and houses. They burden themselves with debt. Then when the end of the month comes and they get their paycheck, it escapes them faster than quicksand. It goes towards paying bills, debt, and other expenses. Soon they realize its only the beginning of the new month and they will have to take on more debt in order to survive. They continue this vicious cycle burying themselves deeper in debt with the passing of each month. Effectively they work their entire lives to put money into other people's pockets.
The rich on the other hand put their earnings to work early on. They invest and multiply their savings and work on building a steady stream of cash that will come to them regardless of whether they work or not. They focus on passive income. Only, once they have excess money, do they start treating themselves to the finer things. They never get themselves into destructive debt.

From a spiritual, what goes around comes around. Every dollar that you give out in charity helping the needy comes back to you multiplied. It leaves your pocket and goes into the possession of God. The Lord of the Worlds simply multiplies it on your behalf and returns it to you at a later stage of your life. Some people would say a person got lucky, when he becomes blessed with good fortune and a shower of riches. I believe it is fate. Nothing is left to chance.

The jist is, even if you only earn a small amount of money, if you follow the above principles you can work your way to a fat pocket. First put a tenth of all you earn aside. Invest that money and let it work for you. Then take another portion of your money and give it in charity to help those less fortunate. In time, your money will multiply.

Suggested readings:
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

Read more!

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was relaxing on the plane gazing out the window watching the aircraft take off. The beautiful scenery flashed in the background. The city was crawling with vehicles and pedestrians. I narrowed my gaze on the people as we climbed skyward. They soon began to fade into little black dots and the buildings into slightly larger gray spots. Soon I was looking down at a mountain top which was now the size of a walnut. We were only at a few thousand feet high!

At 20,000 feet I wasn't able to see a person. Makes you think... Each person considers himself to be the world. Day-in day-out he lives for himself and believes the world revolves around his life. Yet at 20,000 feet he can't even be seen. What about from space, only a few thousand miles away from earth? The entire earth would only be a small golf ball floating around in the depths of darkness. Amazingly all of mankind's majestic space exploration has yet to penetrate "the first sky". But we do know that if you journey far enough within the first sky, the earth's solar system fades to black. One can't even begin to imagine the great distance of "the second sky", or better yet "the seventh sky". I suddenly zoomed back down to earth and further down to a person.

In perspective, we really are insignificant. We are like ants roaming around in a huge backyard. Billions of us plaguing an area the size of a golf ball. Yet as insignificant as we are and as tiny as we may be, I am still proud to be. For if I raise my hands towards the sky and call upon "The Master of the Universe", I am sure that He will respond. It absolutely blows my mind how valuable we are to God. He is there day and night to attend to us. Although we may ask for meager things, He promises to still respond. His mercy and forgiveness encompasses all things.

But yet more eye opening is the fact that while God is The King of Kings and the Master of all Things, we can easily enter upon him as we please. We simply raise our hands and focus our hearts, and "The King" minds our knock. In perspective, picture a king of this world. He reigns over vast lands and has power over millions. How hard do you think it would be to meet this king. If you were merely a commoner amongst the people, it would be near impossible to meet him. You would probably have to do a backward somersault while blindfolded and land in a shallow bucket of water just to get an appointment.

But not the King of Kings. What did we do to deserve such honor?

Read more!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What passed is History

A wise turtle once said, "What passed is history, and what's next is a mystery. And today is a gift, that's why they call it present." This is a quote from the animation Kungfu Panda, where the turtle master is advising his disciple to let go of his bad experiences and look beyond to what the future harnesses in opportunity.

Live each day on its own merit. Don't dwell over the past. What happened is gone. The painful memories are no longer going to cause harm. Too many people get caught up on things that happened years back. They aren't able to get passed it, and their lives suffer because of it. They carry unnecessary stress which burdens their relationships and blurs their perceptions. People do this because it's so easy. Nothing can be simpler than not doing anything and playing the blame game. The problem is out there and you attribute your misery to others and your past.

People who live for the future also have a lot of problems. They can't seem to be satisfied with their current situation. They always say things like "everything will get better once I buy this or finish this project or get into this program." They are always relying on future circumstances for a solution, but the solution never seems to come their way. Soon they'll be too old to realize that they missed out on what really mattered.

Living in the present is a real gift. You release the negative memories from your past that weigh you down. You stop worrying about the future and what may come. You become proactive and take charge of your life. You enjoy the moment and realize that a day passed will never return. You become honest with yourself and think about what you really want. You realize that you shouldn't waste your time doing things that you don't want to do. You take control.

Read more!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Test Day

Its been 4 long months of brain wreckage. The good news: I finally finished the CFA exam. I feel like a 10 ton boulder was lifted off my chest. The preparation that led up to the exam was exhaustive and tense. The days immediately before the exam were nerve wrecking. You get into a frenzy, magnified by the fears of friends around you that are dreading the exam and are a mess. I am more than sure that my thinning hairline must be related.

Suddenly in the havoc of it all, I started to put things into perspective. The CFA exam would last merely 6 hours. For those important 6 hours, I had spent at least 300 hours of study time. I had trimmed my social life and dedicated time daily to study. I had pooled all my resources and energy in order to accomplish my goal. The expected reward (at the end of the program) would be the CFA designation, an upward pressure on my career.


A monologue took over my head, "Isn't life just one big test? How much time do I spend in preparation for the life's test? Do I dedicate half as much energy and resources to succeeding at life's test? If today was my last day on earth, would I pass life's test? What is at stake in life's test?"

Life is one big exam. Your curriculum and guidelines are the Quran and Sunnah. They spell out the principles and values that are core to your success. They are a clear guideline for the test, that is life. If you are able to follow the guidelines you are guaranteed a pass. If you slip up and fall, you can get right back up and get back on track.

I began to imagine what it would be like if I had all the answers to the CFA exam right there in front of me, before I took the exam. The preparation for the exam would have been sweet. All I would of had to do is memorize the answers and download them onto the exam paper to score a 100%. But what if, instead of just copying the answers on to the exam paper, I began philosophizing claiming there was a pattern that I was going to follow and instead changed the answers from an A to B to C. Wouldn't you say that I was being stupid and would be sure to fail?

But isn't that exactly what we do on a daily basis? We know what we need to do in order to succeed in life's test, but we just don't get around to doing it. Instead of answering life's choices with the correct choices, A, we may become philosophical, lazy, and unfocused and choose B. Obviously, the wrong answer results in failure.

The problem is that life's test isn't constrained to a few hours, it's continuous as long as you breathe. We lose perspective on life. We grow too accustomed to our routines and details. We often forget to take a moment before each choice to adjust our intentions and align our choices with our desired goals.

We don't dedicate nearly enough time, resources, or energy to the test of life? At the end of the day the stakes in life's test are high. The reward of passing is eternal bliss. Comfort and pampering beyond one's wildest dreams. The fulfillment of every desire upon thought. Peace. We could definitely expend more dedication for such a precious reward.

Thankfully, we get another day to breathe. Another day means another chance.

Read more!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The 2 Rakk'ah Solution

An old man walked in on Sheikh Khaled Al Jubair(1) and asked him to help him out with a problem he was having. He was 70 years old and smoked for a half a century. He wanted to quit smoking now but he didn't know how.

The sheikh fell silent, deep in thought. He then proclaimed, "Follow this prescription and God willing you will quit. Every time you smoke a cigarette, I want you to immediately wash up for prayers and pray 2 Rakk'ahs to Allah(2)."

The man exclaimed, "I smoke 40 cigarettes a day! Do you want me to pray 80 Rakk'ahs.?"
"Yes. That's my solution to you. Its up to you to take it or not. If you decide to take it, come back tomorrow to inform me of what happened."

The old man went and came back the next day. "So what happened yesterday" asked the Sheikh.
"I only smoked 5 cigarettes yesterday." The old man was excited. "Every time I would take out the cigarette, put it in my mouth, and watch the flame burn up the tip, a voice in the back of my head reminded me that I would have to pray 2 Rakk'ahs immediately afterwards. My enjoyment slowly withered as the voice grew louder and louder. By the 5th cigarette, I began dreading what I knew would come next."

The sheikh asked him, "Do you know what that voice in the back of your head is? It is the Shaytan. He nagged you to stop smoking so that you wouldn't continue to pray."

The man implemented the system for a few weeks and slowly, but surely he had quit smoking cigarettes.

This system is derived from the Prophet Muhammad's teachings:
"ما من رجل يذنب ذنبا فيتوضأ ويحسن الوضوء , فيصلي ركعتين فيستغفر الله عز وجل إلا غفر له"
"Whoever commits a sin, then washes up and prays 2 Rakk'ahs and asks Allah for forgivness; he will be forgiven."

I call the system, the 2 Rakk'ah solution. It works with anything you want to do or quit. I tried it out myself and so far the results have been real favorable. I had a problem waking up for Fajr prayers. Today is my 4th day on the system, and so far my record is 3 out of 4.

Try it.


  1. Sheikh Khaled Al Jubair is a Saudi heart surgeon which has dedicated his life to treating the hearts of people both medically and spirtually.
  2. Rakk'ah literally means bow. It refers to a full unit of prayer.

Read more!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Life's Short

I stood on the balcony on the 11th floor of my hotel room, and gazed out into the Meditereanean Sea. The water gleamed with the sun's reflection, truly a beautiful and tranquil sight. The Alexandrian breeze lifted my daughters hair and she turned to me and said "upa upa" demanding to be carried. As I stood there with my daughter of 2 and a half in my arms I began to ponder the situation.

Thoughts began to rush to mind... It was very probable that my parent's had stood in this exact spot and looked at the same sun glazed sea. At that time I was the one demanding to be carried though. The days had passed and now I was the one doing the carrying. When I returned home, I spoke to my parent's about this notion. They confirmed my thoughts. More than 25 years had gone by. It seemed like yesterday that my mother had watched me off to my first day of elementary school. It was just the day before, when my parent's watched with a gleam in their eyes as I took my first steps. When they thought back of it all, it felt like a blink of the eye. The point is: Life is Short.

When you think back on your life, you may find that you lived a busy and full life. But what is it that you left behind for humanity? What is your unique mark onto life? That's what really matters. Never belittle your accomplishments. No matter how big or small your contibution is, one should exist.

Read more!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Yes Man

I watched the movie Yes Man a few days ago. The idea of the movie was really inspirational and eye opening. I really was excited and thought I was going to give it a try. But the more I thought about it, the more I started seeing some serious shortcomings. I'm still really psyched by the idea, that's why I'm taking a jab at tweeking the idea so that it can actually be applied.

The Yes Man idea in brief is that you should be open minded to everything and try new things. Say yes to everything that encounters you, and you will set yourself free by experiencing new and diverse situations. The character in the movie goes from being a self centered introvert to an outgoing spontaneous guy.

There are a few major problems with the idea though. You become reactive and slowly destroy your personality. You await people to run their ideas by you and then accept blindly without regard for your principles or preferences. You don't initiate anything. You don't innovate anything. You simply become a pawn in the game of the first person who approaches you.

The Yes Man idea can be really powerful, if someone is stuck in life and can't seem to get things rolling. The idea will take you out of your comfort zone, and into a broad world of opportunities. When someone presents you with an opportunity, before you say YES, first weigh it against your principles to see if it is acceptable to you. If all checks out, say YES. Once you have a full plate of events on your schedule, you will have to start filtering the things you say YES to. You can do that by weighing new opportunities against your goals. If an opportunity gets you closer to one of your goals, then say YES.

So now your exposed to new exciting opportunities, but you are not proactive yet. You are not in the driver's seat. You're not taking initiative to do things that are important to you. So now all you have to do is figure out what it is that is important to you. Once you know what it is that you want, say YES to it.

For example, if you decide that you want to become more social, your objective is: to become more social. Ask yourself, how can I become more social? If you decide you'll get there by attending more social events, your goal is: to attend more social events. So now you know that to achieve your objective all you have to do is achieve your goals. The next step becomes simple, actively seek your goals. Don't hesitate. Just say YES. Or in Nike terminology, Just Do It.

I'm going to start the Yes Man and let you know what happens.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Read more!

Leave a Comment...