Islamic Halal Food Guide

Halaal food

In Islam, besides prayer and other religious activities, eating is respected as a matter of worship of God. Muslim like any other human eat to maintain good health.

Eating Halal is not only a religion governed rules and manners, but also away of life and they reflect Islamic ideals and values.

Islam shows mercy towards people in that whenever it forbids something, it provides a better substitute with which to replace it. For example Islam forbids usury but allows profitable business. Islam forbids gambling but allows winning prices in contests of racing, wrestling etc.

Islam forbids adultery but urges  Muslims to marry as soon as they can support a family. Islam bans drinking of alcohol but permits all other good and healthy drinks. Islam forbids what is bad in food but allows what is good and nourishing.

In Arabic language, Halal ( or Halaal ) is a Qur’anic word meaning anything that’s lawful, legal, licit, legitimate, permissible, allowable, permitted, admissible, authorised, unforbidden, or acceptable to all aspects of daily life and betterment of social context.

The word ” Halaal ” is associated with the word “good “. This is clearly stated I Qur’an:

“O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth, and follow not the footsteps of sheitan ( satan ). Verily he is to you an open enemy. “

Within Islamic religion, a strong emphasis is placed on cleanliness – spiritually and in the contexts of food and drinks.

For food or drink products to be approved for consumption, it must conform to the Islamic dietary laws as specified in the Quran, or in the Hadith (saying of the prophet Muhammad), his Sunnah (tradition) and in the Fiqh (understanding) of the Islamic Jurists: Hanafi, Shafi, Malic and Hambal.

In food, the term is mostly commonly used in the narrower context of Muslim dietary laws.

Islam has laid down very important guidelines, especially where Halaal meat and paultry are concerned.

– whether the consumption of the foodstuff is prohibited by Allah.
– whether the Halaal food is obtained through Halaal or Haram means.
– whether or not the material is harmful to health.

There are several factors that determine the Halaal/Haram status of a particular product. Among others, it is dependent on its nature, how it was processed and where it originated from.

There are mainly two terms that mean Islamic prohibition or restriction on food: Halaal and Haram.

Remember, Halal can be eaten by non Muslims- however Muslims will only
eat Halaal.

Jihad – The True Meaning

The Qur’an and Jihad

The Quran strongly urges believers to “strive for the course of Allah as it behoves you to strive for it. ” (22:78)

This earnest struggle is expressed in Arabic by the word ‘ Jihad ‘ which is derived from the root ‘ Juhd ‘, which means to strive, to struggle, to exert oneself to the utmost to achieve one’s goal.

Thus, the original meaning of jihad in Arabic is striving very hard.

Since historically the early Muslims had to strive hard during wars with aggressors, these wars came, in an extended sense to be called ‘Jihad’.

It is worth mentioning that war with an aggressor is a chance occurrence, which take place as warranted by particular situations, while Jihad is a continuous action which is at the core of the believers life dynamic in and day out – it is an ongoing process. This constant Jihad means strict adherence to the will of God in all aspects of one’s life, and the prevention of any obstacle coming in the way of fulfilling God’s will – for instance, the desires of the self, the urge to serve one’s own interests,the compulsion of social traditions, the need for compromises, ego problems, greed for wealth etc.

All these things directly thwart righteous actions. Overcoming all such hurdles and persevering in obeying God’s commands are the real jihad. And the word jihad has been used primarily in this sense.

Below, I quote the role of mujahid:

1. A mujahid is one who struggles with himself for the sake of God(Quran 6:20)

2. A mujahid is one who exerts himself for the cause of God (6:22)

3. A mujahid is one who struggles with his self in submission to the will of God.

‘Jihad’ is therefore essentially a peaceful struggle. One form of this peaceful struggle, known to every Muslim is what is called dawah (communication of the message of God)

The Qur’an states that:

” Do not yield to the unbelievers, but fight them strenuously with it (the Qur’an) (25:52).

No military activity is referred to in this verse of the Qur’an. We are not required to engage in physical combat with the non-believers, what this verse actually means is that we must engage ourselves in dawah activities through the teachings of the Qur’an, that is, striving ourselves to the utmost on an ideological level, while sifting truth from falsehood.

In the present times groups of Muslims in many countries are known to have launched movements of armed jihad in the name of Islam. But a movement cannot be a jihad just because its leaders describe it as such.

An action can be termed a ‘jihad’ only when it fulfills the conditions set by Islam, as mentioned above. Any military action which is carried out without fulfilling these conditions will not be a jihad. It amounts to spreading corruption across the world.

Modern day Slavery – Denial of Basic Human Rights

English: Saudi Arabia
English: Saudi Arabia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forced labor in the Middle East.
Recent news in one of kenyan daily news paper regarding injustices done to workers from Kenya in Saudi Arabia is shocking and disgusting. The report allege that an international human trafficking ring is collaborating with some employees of some middle east embassies in Kenya to recruit unsuspecting Kenyans for jobs in Saudi Arabia. The criminal network is actually sending these people to forced labor. The cartel lure the victims by placing advertisements of well paying job opportunities in those countries.
In the recent past, scores of Kenyans have fallen prey to these crooks.
The reports about the forced labor came out after several incidents of human right abuse were reported to the Kenya government by the relatoves of the victims. Some deaths of victims were also reported in the last two years. But unfortunately the Kenya government has so far not taken the matters seriously. Who then can shield the Kenyans from this kind of abuse?
Why Kenyan youths take the risk .
Youths are easy prey because of serious unemployment on the country. The number of unemployed youths in Kenya has grown so much. Hence the increasing number of poor and excluded people who are at threatening end of the human right violations.
The policy of exclusion practiced by those in authority is not spoken, but os never the less building with respect to social disparities caused by poverty and unemployment of literate youth, which remain a political time bomb of numbers running into millions.

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Phony Doctorates – Abuse of Honorary Awards

The ultimate abuse of honorary awards

Lately there have been interesting but shameful reports on the generous awards of doctorates by a university in the United States of America. This resulted in condemnation from local and international scholars. Unfortunately, this hoax has been targeting innocent (innocent?) who may not be aware of the rigour with which PhD is acquired.

University degrees are not bought, just as you cannot purchase someone’s sharp brains. Degree is earned through sheer hard work. Apparently, Kenyan’s desire for higher degrees has become common and unstoppable, with the culture of impunity which has affected the country. Everyone knows that to be called a doctor or a professor has its own procedure.

Here is what happens in all credible institutions of higher learning worldwide:

Registered universities in various countries award Bachelors and Masters Degrees, as well as doctorates depending on their mission.

To be registered to pursue PhD in a Kenyan university, one must have a first degree, a second degree or equivalent and must present a researchable proposal to a panel of scholars.

This is a straight forward method of attaining a PhD. Several years are spent on research presentations and publications. It can take anywhere from three to ten years if one does not fail midway.

Some people get fatigued and quit or their supervisors give up on them. Those who make it are awarded the degree in a formal congregation of the particular university. The award is given in public by the chancellor. Senates or equivalent bodies recommend such awards and not individuals.

What is an honorary degree? It is basically an award to appreciate the exemplary work that an individual has performed for the nation and globally. The recipient must have contributed to the advancement of learning, humanities, science or a major breakthrough unique to himself or herself.

On awarding such honours, it is the senate sub-committee which vets the recipient. No individual can walk to the graduation congregation and announce an award without thorough vetting and approved “citation” of the recipient.

Universities are gauged by the quality of graduates they produce and research conducted. They are also judged by the frequency and quality of honorary degrees they dish out at one congregation.

The academic world is mean and conservative. Scholars the world over protect their titles. Any abuse to these titles is to be abhorred.

Employing fresh graduates

Where do fresh graduates get the experience that most employers want?

A young lad completed his university education recently and was eager to get a job and start a new independent life. But alas!, every application he puts up for a job require him to have at least 5 years experience in the type of job he applied for.

It is clear that the business environment has become very competitive and many companies are probably losing the focus on employee training – especially for new graduates. You will notice that even chances for internship are very rare. For those who get the chance for internship, the attention given to the objective for their internship by their supervisors is relatively insufficient to have someone learn much. This is why companies are resorting to those employees that can hit the ground running.

However the above said is not a blanket situation, it does not mean that all hope is lost for the fresh graduates as there are companies that are not high profiled as those that many fresh graduates dream about, but that may be willing to provide temporary opportunities and at times at lower levels for the graduates. If yours is this kind of situation, the reward may not be commensurate with your expectation, and the temporary nature of the job may not provide you with the sense of security you envisage.

You are lucky that you have a temporary opportunity; this could be what is easily available for some fresh graduates. Like yourself, they are likely to emphasize on the temporary nature and the nominal reward level and fail to capitalize on the content of the responsibilities.

I am sure that what you do in your current position is what some permanent and pensionable person is doing in a blue chip multinational company. I imagine that with this mindset, you are likely to be declaring yourself as jobless to the society around you and applying for positions with the overtone of temporary employment. Perhaps in your CV, the responsibilities are barely more than three bullets of tasks described loosely in a layman language. Your attitude to this position may influence the extent to which you undersell yourself. A few years down the line, as few as three years, this if well articulated, may constitute very marketable profile.

Career / Education advice

I personally think that it is unfair that employers are asking for a number of years of experience which fresh graduates don’t have. This is associated with the realities of business environment. Fresh graduates need to adapt to this reality, and adopt means of overcoming the challenge. They could search for temporary employment opportunities that may be lower compared to target employment levels.

Where necessary, seek hands on opportunities that may require that you roll up your sleeves. Remember, the connotation of temporary refers to the type of contract and may not undermine the scope of your duties. The alternative means is to adopt the post training internship opportunities in which you identify milestones that you can achieve and execute them as required.

School Performance

How best schools manage budgets worldwide

Do high education budgets, small class sizes or even handsome salaries guarantee the best results in schools? No, not according to a major international study on the world’s best.

The study dispels many popular notions about what ails education systems. It suggests that recruiting only the top students to become teachers is the best way to change the downward spiral of any education system.

Recent reports in Kenya have shown that one out of ten class eight pupils cannot solve a standard two mathematical problem. The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) revealed that six in every ten standard three pupils have repeated classes.

The two reports prompted the school principals attending their annual conference in Mombasa this year (2010), to call for the overhauling of the current 8-4-4 system of education (eight years primary, four years secondary and four years university), and recruitment of more teachers. But a study on the best education practices in the world titled “How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come Out on Top”, indicates that low quality teachers especially at the primary school level are to blame for the sorry states of affairs in our education system.

According to the report, poor performers recruited into the teaching profession, coupled with poor training is inflicting permanent damage on young learners in primary schools.

Low D-grades

“The quality of education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers” the report asserted. The report revealed that the best education system in the world recruit their teachers from the top of the class, whereas candidates with as low as D-grades still make it into teaching in Kenya. The Kenyan situation is further compounded by a flawed teacher-training curriculum that according to education experts has not been reviewed for decades.

“Some of them (Primary school teachers) have failed in English and mathematics, and are posted to teach the same subjects in our schools, if you expect them to deliver, forget it”.

A close look at the best education practices in the world indicates that what Kenya needs is not just an overhaul of the school curriculum, but a complete review of teacher training college recruitment criteria as well as well as Teacher Training College curriculum – or else no amount of Free Primary Education cash will make class three pupils stop repeating classes and class eight pupils solve class two mathematic problems.


Education researchers say that spending more on hiring more teachers, or even increasing the overall education budget have little impact on performance of pupils.

My life as a retiree – Retirement Planning

retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Life after leaving your employment

“Ten years from now I will have retired from work, and hope to collect my huge retirement benefit. I then hope to move to my ranch and live like a monarch.”

Ten years later, when I actually retired from my employment – after grueling thirty five years of work, I was astonished that I could not fulfill my wonderful dream. What went wrong ?  I asked  my self.

I then realized that I did not plan adequately for my retirement!

The mistakes I made are very common with may people who earn their living through employment. The mistakes are as follows:

1. The first mistake I made was to think that I was still too young to think  of  retirement.

2.  The second mistake was to keep pushing forward the date to start saving.

3.  The third mistake is that when I eventually started saving, I kept on withdrawing money from the account from time to time for personal use.

These three reasons almost destroyed my life after retirement had it not been for the fact my engineering education and the experience I obtained while working allowed me to do some kind of consultant work to earn living.

An I fully agree that it should not work out that way.

Therefore when it comes to retirement planning, those still working should know that  starting is the hardest part – the motivation to begin, how much to save and the best way to do so.

Don’t think of yourself as being too young to consider retirement. Start saving for your retirement as soon as you start your working life.

Don’t  forget self discipline.

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