Book Review: Clash of Civilisations By Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

FeaturedBook Review: Clash of Civilisations By Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Clash of Civilization
Clash of Civilization

The reason I chose this book was to find out how the Muslims scholars deal with the clash of civilization. Western culture has influenced almost all of the societies including muslims and there is a common dillemma among the youth, where they are in constantly struggling with their own identity. There are lots of questions and misconception which are not thoroughly addressed in a fashion where, as a muslim, one is confident with his own muslim identity and at the same time working towards the progress of the community and the world.

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Experience at Islamic Online University

FeaturedExperience at Islamic Online University

Alhamdulillah is all that I can say to be studying in Islamic Online University (IOU). It has been 18 months since I joined their BAIS program, and every semester has been amazing. When I enrolled here, I was a little nervous and skeptical about the system of online education. But, Alhamdulillah, my eagerness to learn won!! I will share my experiences through semesters because there are many things attached to each so here goes!!

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Point Blank: Interview with Raja Zia ul Haq

Point Blank: Interview with Raja Zia ul Haq

Youth Club Blog


Youth Club Blog presents to you some very candid Q & A with our CEO Raja Zia ul Haq. These questions were asked at the WOC 2014 event ‘Around the Bonfire’. Raja Zia ul Haq talks about his relationship with his car, his family and his wife, and his inspiration behind the popular workshops ‘Lovestruck’ and ‘Qabool Hai’.

YOUTH CLUB: A lot of us have seen the video about the change in your lifestyle (  Sky diving, theatre, partying, fancy cars- it seems you had it all. Do you sometimes miss the lifestyle that you left behind? Don’t you ever feel tempted to go back?

RAJA ZIA UL HAQ: I don’t miss the bad bits but I do miss my car. I really, really, really miss my car. I had a Dodge-Charger, an American Muscle car and I lost it in an accident. She was my…

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Community Matters by Shaikh Yaser Birjas

Community Matters by Shaikh Yaser Birjas

Live Deen had it’s last event on 2nd June 2013. This time the speaker was Shaikh Yaser Birjas. In my view the topic was very relevant to the situation we have in our communities today, so I was really glad that this topic was discussed.

What I really love about the speakers is that they are really passionate about teaching the people about Islam. Though the event starts early for us, for them its very late 12am + yet they would stay up and give their talks for more than 3 hours with question and answers session, but you wont find them looking sleeping or loosing track of what they said.

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Ramadhan Scriptual vs Cultural and IOU

Ramadhan Scriptual vs Cultural and IOU

On August 14, 2011, LiveDeen conducted a lectureshop at Marriot Hotel, Karachi, with their main lecture by Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Phillips, followed by a Q&A session, on the topic “Ramadhan Scriptual vs Cultural”. I felt that the topic was wisely chosen because we are too much driven and defined by the traditional/cultural perspective of fasting and ignore its true essence.


The first thing he cleared up was the mind set of fasting. It’s not just a ritual where you turn on your fasting mode when Ramadan comes and switch it off when it ends, but that it is also a mind set that we should continue that spirit of God-consciousness through out the year.

He also pointed out to look at the goal of fasting. Often, we go so deep into the details that we loose sight of the bigger picture. We are always stuck “fasting is to abstain oneself from food, drink and sexual relations between spouses”. That is true but the goal that we must try to understand is that while fasting in Ramadan if we are willing to give up things that are made Halal(allowed) for the rest of the year, only for the sake of Allah, then it should be easier for us to avoid the Haram (forbidden).

The topic though was very vast, he only elaborated on only one part of it, i.e. “Ramadan is about fasting NOT feasting”. He explained that our primary focus (in many countries) is on feasting not fasting. How can that be? Because there are special dishes that are only made in Ramadan! And this is prevalent in every Muslim community. It reminded me of P-heni made specially in Ramadan and those Suhoor and Iftaar deals on almost all restaurants specially “All you can eat” deals. Nowadays, people (in general) “live to eat” instead of “eat to live”. That is further supported by WHO’s survey which stated that,

 Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight. For example, 65% of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kill more people than underweight (this includes all high-income and most middle-income countries).1

“Cultural fast is like an animal fast”, he said. “Animals feast till they are full”, and same is true for us. Our test starts at Suhoor where instead of taking a light meal, we start off with a 3 meal course! The process of digesting takes around 12 hours and our stomach is just about to end its process, when we break fast and fill it up once again. This process continues the whole month. And people rather of losing weight in Ramadan, gain more weight! The purpose of fasting is already defeated!

Towards the end, he reminded to take Ramadan as a vehicle to Paradise and stressed that it can only be done if we “drive it the way Prophet(SAW) taught in Sunnah”.

IOU Promotion

Alhamdulillah, Islamic Online University was also promoted by the Shaykh himself, and by the volunteers present. Here are some photos:

You can get more information about upcoming seminars by LiveDeen here.

For more informarion about Islamic Online Univeristy please visit


  1. “Obesity and overweight”, [online] Available at :

Gamification Master Class with Gabe Zichermann

Gamification Master Class with Gabe Zichermann

GamificationAt first, I was somewhat skeptic about the master class videos, whether it would be good enough to watch it or would it be that I have made a wrong decision and have to write a review to just get it done. Though, I’m familiar with the apps that use this type of methodology, one way or the other, but the term ‘Gamification’ itself was quite new for me. Well, my first reaction was absolutely wrong and by the end of the videos I was very happy to have taken it.

The first misconception I had about the title (and you must clear this too) is that Gamification is not all about games or gameplay rather it’s using game logic and mechanics to solve problems. In fact many sites/apps/games such as Twitter, Foursquare, Empire Avenue, StackOverflow, CityVille, etc. have some element of Gamification.

Gabe does a very good job at explaining Gamification with real live examples and exercises after each lesson. One of the unique feature I loved about these classes was the audience that kept interacting with Gabe, providing their own product’s goals and objectives, and applying each exercise with them. Furthermore, the master class provides additional free (yes free!) materials to learn more about it.

Apart from all those good things I loved about the master class, however, I wished that he had taken a scenario and applied each element of gamification with every successive class. One more thing that I wanted in this class was the downside of Gamification. He, Gabe, didn’t provide situation where gamification would become a hindrance to a product or business. I even noticed some features of gamification that seemed profitable and even remarked as is but in essence very unethical, e.g. using original cash to buy virtual cash or product that has no original value and the customer can’t even get his money back after he has purchased it.

Overall, the master class is good and I would recommend you to watch them.

More resources:

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

Lesson from the Seerah: Year of Grief

Lesson from the Seerah: Year of Grief

Its the 10th year of Prophet-hood, just after those 3 extremely hard and long years of muslim boycott that has finally been lifted. A sign of victory, a sigh of relief (better than before) and a hope of the situation getting better. But that was not to be the case. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, in that very same year, had to face the death of his beloved wife, Khadijah (Radi Allahu `anha – May Allah be pleased with her) and his uncle, Abu Talib. For  Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, Khadija R.A was the internal source of support, being there for him at every step, while Abu Talib was the external source of support. Furthermore, the people of Quraish stepped-up their abuse towards muslims.

While listening to the lecture, a minor yet an important point was raised: Why he had to suffer? Why he had to loose both of them while the message of Islam was not even finished?

It is for us to understand that our ultimate reliance must be with Allah, and He is the one to give success. Even, if Abu Talib or Khadijah R.A was alive till Prophet Muhammad ﷺ succeeded in what was given to him, people would surely have said that it was because of Abu Talib’s or Khadijah’s R.A support.

Book Review: Developing Applications for the Cloud on the Microsoft® Windows Azure™ Platform

This book is the second volume in the series about Windows Azure technology. The first one can be found here.

This book shows how one can create a multi-tenant, Software as a Service (SaaS) application, from scratch, using Windows Azure.

This book is mainly for architects, developers (intermediate or advanced) and/or IT professionals who are seeking to create solutions on the cloud.

The scenario is of a company (Tailspin) that plans a to launch a new online service, Surveys. It discusses their strategy, their goals and concerns to develop and deploy their application to the cloud.

I loved the book’s approach, to base it on a scenario, to explain the tools and features of Windows Azure. Each chapter was focused on a certain aspect of development, defining problems and goals at each step, and looking at possible solutions. Authentication and authorization scenarios were well presented. And the cost of transaction versus efficient use of Windows Azure Storage was thoroughly explained.

The book also discusses the pros and cons of Single-Tenant and Multi-Tenant architecture for, both, application and data. I am disappointed to see that more weight was given to Multi-Tenant architecture rather than comparing both of them equally and providing a situation where Single-Tenant architecture would be a better choice. I felt that providing more code was not a good idea because the overall theme of the book was more towards making better decisions. Looking at the code made me more confused and realize that developers that are new to Windows Azure and .NET will find it uneasy. Another concern was that some of the topics were referred to the first volume, so it would be better to have read the first volume in some cases.

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

A New Beginning

A New Beginning

At last, I have decided to start my own blog. It took me more than 6 months to decide whether I should start my own blog or not. But i have started this for good reasons. Insha’Allah (God willing), this is a start of good things to come in the near future.


I am going for an all-rounder kind of blog where I will be posting about:

  • Notes from courses that I’m taking (Islamic Studies)
  • Technology (which technology I’m working at and other stuff)

So, that’s it for now.

Peace be on you!