Study Tips for the Succesful Student

Being a successful student definitely requires a lot of hard work. Part of book-1247715_1280this hard work consist of studying for tests. In order to get the best grades possible it is really helpful to have some good studying strategies. The following is just a short list of possible study strategies to Inshallah help you earn the best grade possible.

Before Class:
Throughout my educational life many of my teachers and professors have encouraged the class to read the textbook before class. Many of us often ignore this piece of advice. However, I think that even if you don’t read the whole chapter or section of the textbook you should at least open up the textbook. Just try to scan the major topics by reading the title of each section.

Many textbooks have bolded or highlighted words and sections so try to briefly review those areas as well. All you have to do is get a basic idea of what topics will be discussed in class.

During Class:
I know that this sounds really obvious but try your best to really pay attention in class. If necessary, turn off your smartphone. Really try to absorb everything the instructor is saying. If you scanned the textbook the night before then you will hopefully be somewhat familiar with the topics.

Taking notes is essential. Many instructors nowadays have PowerPoint or other material that they can place on a screen for the whole class to view. However, these may not contain all the information or some areas may be rather vague. It is your job as a student to really take good notes. You don’t have to write every word down rather just try to get the main ideas. If the instructor does use PowerPoint quickly skim the slide and see what you don’t understand or what is missing and try to fill it in with what the instructor verbally states.

Many students at my university have laptops. I see quite a  number of students scrolling through their social media sites or their favorite online stores during lectures. If you do this on a regular basis you are truly doing a disservice to yourself. You could potentially miss out on valuable information that might be on the test. Also, if you’re a university student who has to pay for their education (as is the case here in the United States) you are literally wasting your money if you don’t pay attention in class.

After Class:
During the student orientation of my university one of the professors was giving us his study tips and one of the things that he said was: “The time you should start studying is immediately after class”. Although this may not be possible for everyone I think that he makes a very important point. You should definitely try to study as soon as possible when the material is still fresh in your mind.

Don’t Procrastinate:
Most students have several classes to study for. Undoubtedly some classes will be harder than others. However, it is very important that you set aside a specific amount of time dedicated to studying every day. Also, you can use your own judgment to decide how long you should study for each class. As a general rule for every hour of lecture you should study two hours outside of class during the whole week.
As a psychology major one of the things that I learned in my human memory course is that in order to best absorb the material it is not just enough to spend a lot of time reviewing the material. Rather, the best strategy is to spend frequent intervals of time studying the material. Basically, rather than studying for a test in one cram study session it is best to spread out your study time.

Break it into Pieces
Let’s say you have to memorize something like the periodic table for a test. It is very helpful to break it up and try to memorize a few columns or rows at a time. Each day make sure that you have really learned the previous days’ material before going on.

Reviewing Notes
While reviewing your notes it might be helpful to bring a few extra pieces of paper and a pen and start re-writing the most difficult parts of your notes. I have heard from many people who swear by this strategy. In fact, research does support this idea.

Avoid Distractions:
Try to sit an a quiet area. More importantly, do whatever you have to in order to avoid the large number of distractions that can arise from your smartphone. I understand that you cant just turn it off all the time but try keep it at a distance and only quickly check for calls or important texts at set intervals of time.

Chill Out
After a period of studying give yourself a break. Get a bite to eat. Try to get some fresh air. Try to do something that is truly relaxing for you.

Sleep
Whenever you have an exam coming up make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before. College students sometimes take pride in “pulling an all nighter”. They think that they have done something great by studying instead of sleeping. However, research has shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to a decrease in performance and an increase in stress.

Make Dua
Alhamdilillah as Muslims we are very blessed to always be able to turn to Allah (s.w.t). Personally, I make sure to study to the best of my ability and I try to put my trust in Allah (s.w.t). Before every test I recite Surah Fatiha once and Surah Ikhlas three times. If you’re interested in learning about some duas for studying click here .

Hard Work: The Key to Student Success

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah . Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. (Quran 13:11)

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This verse beautifully illustrates the importance of hard work by stating: “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
 
Of course, this beautiful verse applies to all aspects of our lives however, in this post let’s apply the concept of hard work to students. 
Personally, when others find out about my good grades, most often their immediate reaction is: “Oh you’re so smart”. Of course, I thank them and we move on. However, I honestly believe that almost anyone can improve their grades if they make a commitment to working hard and then follow through on that commitment. 

Of course, it’s hard to exactly define what hard work is because the definition varies from person to person. For example, some people are faster learners and thus they require less study time than others. Ultimately we all have different strengths and weaknesses. 
 
Although the definition of hard work can vary, by determining what our strengths and weaknesses are, we can move closer to our goal of improving our grades. Perhaps something that will help is to determine, if you don’t already know, what type of a learner you are. There are four major types of learners and you can learn more about them here. Learning about what type of a learner you are is very helpful because it will guide you on how you should study.
 
In this day and age technology is both a blessing and a curse for students. Our smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. can be a huge distraction because many students, including myself, can easily be tempted to check their devices while they are studying. It all starts out innocently, we tell ourselves: “I’ll only take a short break”. However, one thing leads to another and before we know it we have wasted a significant amount of valueable study time. 
 
However, if used correctly, technology can be a great study aide for students. If you don’t understand something all you have to do is search it on Google and your bound to find something. For those that our more visual learners YouTube and other services such as Khan Academy can be great resources.
 
One of the key’s to hard work is spending time towards studying and/or completing required assignments. There are times where you’d rather do anything than study for the subject you hate or maybe you’re tempted to play a video game or watch your favorite show however, you need to realize that sacrificing what you love in order to spend time studying is key to success. 
 
Becoming a better student requires hard work and the occasional sacrifice however, Inshallah if you do your part than you will reap the benefits. 

 

Religious Leaders on Social Media

Yesterday, March 19th, 2016 Pope Francis made news by personally joining Instagram. As social media has become widely popular many religious leaders including Imams have joined these social media sites in order to better connect with their followers and of course to spread their message.icon-set-1142000_1280

As a Muslim I am very happy to see that many Imams are joining these sites. Two of the Imams that I personally follow are Sheikh Yasir Qadhi and Sheikh Musleh Khan.
I personally think that the presence of Imams on social media can be very beneficial in countering terrorism and in connecting to a large number of Muslims, especially the youth, on a platform that they already use extensively.
Nowadays, we see many inhumane terrorist organizations such as ISIS using social media to recruit more people to help them in their perverted and completely un-Islamic goal. However, the presence of Imams is absolutely crucial in helping people realize the true peaceful message of Islam. The Imams are the ones who are educated in true Islamic theology and they are best suited towards countering the messages of terrorist organizations.
Furthermore, regardless of its benefits and harms social media is becoming increasingly popular amongst many different age groups. Without a doubt social media is very prevalent among the youth. Like many other things in life social media is filled with both positive and negative messages. However, the presence of Imams on these social media sites can ensure that Muslim youth are exposed to some  positive messages as well.
Furthermore,  many of the youth and young adult Muslims find social media as a very convenient means of communication. Perhaps it’s safe to say that many young Muslims spend more time on social media than they do at their local masjid. Therefore, the Imams on social media are potentially able to reach a group of people who may not otherwise be exposed to the Imam’s peaceful message and words of wisdom.
Basically by using social media the Imams are doing young Muslims a huge favor by communicating with them on a platform that is most near and dear to them.

 

A Bit More About Me

Inshallah you’re all doing well! I just wanted to create this post to help you guys know a bit more about me and hopefully this will help you understand where I’m coming from, or my perspective, when you read some of my future posts!
I was born and raised in California. My parents are originally from Afghanistan and they immigrated to this beautiful country almost thirty years ago.
I live at home with my parents and two younger brothers. I am very blessed to have two very kind and supportive parents. Also, Alhamdulillah I have been blessed with a kind extended family as well that all love me despite all of my imperfections.
I was actually born with a rare disability called möbius (moebius) syndrome. Without going into too much detail this condition causes many people, including myself, to have difficulty making facial expressions and moving their eyes. 
The way that this disability has impacted my life the most is that it has severely affected my speech. Basically, it is very difficult for others to understand me when I speak. In fact, this is why I’m so passionate about blogging. I truly feel that I can best express myself through my writing and I hope that I can positively impact the lives of others through this blog 🙂
I wasn’t always such a great student. I remember throughout most of junior high I had mediocre grades. However, it was during my eighth grade year that I was blessed with a wonderful teacher and she really encouraged me to try my best. I started working really hard and luckily it really paid off because my grades started improving. 
Of course, throughout my whole educational experience my parents have always been there and supported me whenever I needed help. My father would always help me with math which I struggled with and my mom would help me make all of my school projects look beautiful and very presentable. 
I continued this trend of working very hard and earning high grades throughout high school. However, I really wanted to save money and ease my way into college so I attended community college first and then I transferred to a four year university (UC Irvine!) Overall, I do not regret my decision of going to community college first because it really did prepare me for the rigorous curriculum of a top notch public university such as UC Irvine!
A fun fact is that while applying to transfer to a four year university one of the colleges that I applied to was UC Berkeley and to my very pleasant surprise I was actually accepted! I will definitely write more about why I chose UC Irvine instead (a decision that I definitely do not regret and one that I’m happy I made) 
I am honestly so honored to have been accepted as a transfer student to Berkeley which is one of the top public universities in the United States.

Trust me, contrary to what my loving parents think I am not a genius 🙂 I am a firm believer that with hard work and dedication anyone can become a successful student and I hope to share some of my personal tips with you guys in the future! I hope that you will continue to join me and support me on my blogging journey! 

Everyday Life

As-Salaam Alaikum,


Inshallah you are all doing well. Throughout these past few weeks I have been thinking of how I can help others. When I initially created this blog I specifically chose the title Islam and Everyday life because I wanted to cover a wide range of topics.

These past few weeks of reflections have made me come to the realization that as a current college undergraduate Alhamdilliah I have really excelled at being a student. 

I would like to share my experiences and tips with you my dear readers. I hope that you will enjoy these series of posts and I am looking forward to your feedback.

To keep up to date with this blog please feel free to like the Facebook page and be sure to comment on my posts so I know what you think about each post!

Thank you so much for your continued support!

TV Drama Series



Image by Korry Benneth via Openphoto

Disclaimer: This post is purely my personal opinion and it was not written with the intention of offending anyone. This is primarily targeted towards readers living in predominantly Muslim nations and perhaps even channel broadcasters working in these nations. This is in no way a reflection of my opinion on any particular ethnic group.



Nowadays with the widespread use of computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets a wide range of entertainment options are at the tip of the fingers of users. However, in many parts of the world the television is still the primary means of entertainment for those of us who are blessed with the financial means to purchase one. 


Based on one’s geographic location many different entertainment options may be available on local TV stations. Perhaps one can say that in many majority Muslim nations in the Middle East and other parts of Asia currently Turkish Drama series’s are one of the most popular forms of entertainment. In the last few years these Turkish drama series’s have become extremely popular and they have almost completely taken over a market that was once largely dominated by Indian drama series’s. 

Before stating my personal opinion on this change I would like to point out that many of these nations such as Egypt, Pakistan and Iran (among many others) have and continue to make drama series’s that are widely distributed on a local and even international level. However, unfortunately, I have not seen enough of these dramas to form an opinion on them so this post will primarily focus on Indian and Turkish drama series’s. Furthermore, any particular Islamic issues regarding watching TV or spending time watching these drama series’s are beyond the knowledge and scope of this humble writer. Please be warned that this is only an opinion peace and you are highly encouraged to contribute your opinion in the comments below. 

As a big fan of both Turkish and Indian drama series’s I have watched a number of different series from both of these great nations. Based on one’s particular tastes one may prefer one type over the other. The majority of both Turkish and Indian drama series’s are primarily focused on some sort of a love story and the difficulties that the characters face as a result of their families, society’s or other factors. Overall, Indian drama series tend to strongly adhere to normal cultural and religious traditions whereas Turkish shows aim to reach an increasingly wider audience thus they tend to be more “westernized” but they do adhere to some lovely Turkish customs such as showing respect to their elders by kissing their hand. Moreover, these dramas can be a great way of getting a glimpse of the beautiful natural scenery and historical sites present in Turkey and at the beautiful cultural traditions of the Turks especially their hospitality and delectable cuisine. 

Overall, Turkish drama series’s tend to be much more liberal than their Indian counterparts. They usually contain their fair share of somewhat explicit intimate scenes. Aside from this overall liberal nature the problem with Turkish drama series’s is that they very blatantly and on a consistent basis show their characters drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, premarital relations are also very common in these shows. 

Premarital relations does exist on Indian TV series’s but they are often no where near as explicit as they often are on Turkish drama series’s. Also, alcohol is usually rare on Indian series’s and when it is consumed it is often on rare occasions, completely accidental, or consumed by the evil villain whom nobody likes.  Perhaps one of the greatest negative aspects of Indian drama series’s is that they, as mostly Hindus, often show their characters worshiping an Idol/s. 

My Opinion 
As mentioned earlier in many Muslim nations these Indian dramas have been largely replaced by their Turkish counterparts. There could be many reasons for this transition. For example, in Afghanistan many religious scholars asked the TV stations to remove these drama series’s because they blatantly showed people committing shirk by worshiping idols. In my humble opinion I think that this transition has not been for the better and with due respect to everyone I truly feel that Indian dramas are the “lesser evil” or potentially less harmful. Please don’t get me wrong I fully agree and understand that shirk is a great zulm and it is an unforgivable sin.  However, any mature somewhat learned Muslim viewer will most likely not be tempted to commit shirk (Astaghfirullah) after watching these series. However, after spending a significant amount of time watching Muslim characters engaging in premarital or even extramarital relationships and constantly drinking alcohol as if it were water the viewer is likely to view these sins as not being such a big deal or in the worst case the viewer may even start committing these sins themselves. 
I know that these may sound like exaggerated claims. However, as a student of Psychology I also know that watching specific content on TV for a significant amount of time can have an impact on the viewer especially for the young child or adolescent viewer.  In short, I believe that between the two if a channel has the opportunity they should broadcast more Indian shows and perhaps censor or delete the scenes that show any act of shirk. 

Once again, these were just my humble views on this topic and I certainly hope that I have not offended anyone! 

Summer is almost here

As-Salaam Alaikum dear readers,

First of all, I would like to sincerely apologize to all of you because I have been so very busy with school and other responsibilities that I haven’t been able to post very much on this blog. However, Alhamdulillah I have finished this current semester of college and I am currently on summer break for the next few months and Inshallah during my especially long summer this year I would like to post on this blog more often. With the help of Allah (s.w.t.). I would like to post more about topics that are related to everyday life of course, often these will include an Islamic element as well. I am hoping that I will be able to post about some topics that are of interest to you my dear readers so please feel free to leave comments on what topics you would like to read about.

Jazakallah khair for your support 🙂

Islam as a Religion of Peace

Please forgive any errors that occur in this post because I wanted to quickly post it in response to the tragic current events.


Unfortunately, today I awoke to the very tragic news of Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar where the overwhelming majority of the victims were innocent children. First of all, I send my sincere condolences to the families of all of the innocent victims and Inshallah Allah s.w.t provides them with sabr jameel or beautiful patience. 

My heart breaks for the innocent victims and their families but I am also deeply angered that this cruel and inhumane act of terror is committed in the name of the peaceful religion of Islam. These so-called Muslim Taliban are going completely against the teachings of the holy Quran and the Prophet (p.b.u.h). 

The reality is that the term Islam comes from the root slm which is related to peace. The greeting shared by all Muslims As-Salaam-alaikum literally means “peace be with you”. Furthermore, the holy Quran, contrary to what many people believe, is a strong proponent of peace and it strongly emphasis the sanctity of human life. As it is often quoted the Quran teaches us that if you kill one person it is as if you have killed all of humanity and if you save the life of one person it is as if you have saved all of humanity. The only time the Quran allows any form of violence is only as an act of self-defense and as a final resort when all other options are blocked. The holy prophet (p.b.u.h) was a Mercy to all of mankind. One of the greatest examples of this is the conquest of Makkah. After decades of facing inhumane persecution and torture and being forced to leave their homeland the Prophet and his companions eventually became victorious and they returned to Makkah as the leading side. At that moment the Prophet had the opportunity to  punish all of those who had done wrong unto him and his family and companions. Yet, being the merciful prophet that he was he forgave all of his opponents. Not only did he pardon them but he appointed the house of Abu Sufyan (one of his strongest opponents) a safe haven for all those who desired to seek refuge in it.  

Perhaps what makes this particular act of terror especially tragic is that the majority of victims were innocent children. It is especially tragic that such a crime against children has been committed in the name of Islam. Whereas the reality is that the holy Prophet (p.b.u. h.) consistently emphasized and demonstrated his affection towards children. He enjoined his followers to respect their elders and to show kindness and love towards the children. He himself demonstrated his love towards his beloved grandchildren by taking an extra long time in prayer sujood (prostration) while they were on his back. In another instance he showed disapproval to a man who had ten children yet he had never kissed or showed affection to any one of them. 

As mentioned earlier the only time Islam allows any form of violence is during an act of self-defense. Even in such conflicts the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered his companions to avoid harming non-combatants such as the elderly, women, and children. It is even a sin to harm the nearby environment. 

The Taliban, ISIS, al-Qaeda, and all other terror groups acting in the name of Islam are not Muslims at all because they do not follow the core teachings of the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h). Being Muslim simply means to submit to the teachings of Allah as mentioned in the Quran and the authentic sunnah of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). These are the teachings that promote belief in the One Almighty and Merciful creator. These are the teachings that promote goodness to all of mankind, the teachings that promote peace and serenity and the teachings that strongly prohibit acts of aggression and violence. 

Apology

As-Salaam alaikum dear readers,

I would like to sincerely apologize for not updating this blog for several months. Unfortunately, I have been busy with my college studies and other personal responsibilities. Currently, I am on a three week winter vacation in which I intend to Inshallah bring some minor updates to this blog and perhaps at least one new post. First of all, I created this blog a few years ago with the intention of consistently contribuing to it on a daily basis and unfotunately I have not been able to keep up with my original intentions. Furthermore, I am mostly waiting and working hard to finish my studies and Inshallah receive my bachelors degree so that I will be a credible and more informed writer and blogger. So I sincerely hope that all of you my beloved readers will wait for me and continue to visit this blog on a regular basis. Jazakallah Khairan!  

Image Courtesy of the British Library