The Benefits of Reading

So I recently shared my love for reading but many people just see it as something to do for enjoyment. But there are so many benefits from reading regularly. I will go through some of them here and maybe it will inspire some of you to read regularly inshaAllah.

So some of the many benefits are:

1) Mental stimulation

Studies have shown that reading slows the progress of alzheimer’s and dementia and can even prevent them from developing. This is because keeping the brain active prevents it from losing power and enables the brain to stay strong and healthy.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. – Joseph Addison

2) Reduces stress

No matter how stressed you are, you can lose yourself in a great story which will distract you for a short time, letting you ease your tension. Even if you spend 10-15 minutes reading in the evening or before you go to bed, will mean you are much more relaxed when you go to sleep. This will allow you to have a more restful sleep leaving you refreshed for the next day.

3) Knowledge

Every time you read, you learn something new. It could be a new word or a literary technique or a new piece of information or even how people react to a situation. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to tackle the different situations you will face in your life. Gaining knowledge is very important to be able to progress in life and reading is one of the most effective ways to do it. Even the First word revealed in the Quran was ‘read’ this alone should indicate how important and beneficial reading is for us.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think. – Harper Lee

4) Increased vocabulary

So carrying on from the last point, reading vastly improved your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you’re exposed to which will give you a wider vocabulary to use for yourself. It will help you to become more articulate in your speech, which will be especially useful in a professional setting. Being able to speak more clearly and better explain yourself will help to increase your confidence and self esteem too.

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. – Mark Twain

5) Memory improvement

When you read, you have to remember a number of things to understand the story. From the characters backgrounds to subplots, so your brain creates new synapses for each new memory and will strengthen old ones.

A library is a hospital for the mind – Anonymous

6) Focus and concentration

We live in such a busy society that we often try to divide our attention between several things which increases stress levels and lowers our productivity. Reading is an activity that requires your full concentration so focusing on that one thing even for 10-15 minutes can improve your focus for the rest of the day.

7) Better writing skills

The more exposure you have to well written work, the better your own writing will be. One of the things authors say when trying to write is to read as much as you can. When you read you will pick up lots of literary techniques which will improve your own writing.

Libraries were full of ideas perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons. – Sarah J. Maas

8) Tranquility

Depending on what you read, it can help you find inner peace. So for us reading the Quran helps us to be more tranquil and calm. Reading self help books can help to improve certain areas in your life which help to also bring a sense of peace.

9) Improves empathy

Books can provide life changing perspective, reading the lives of characters can strengthen your ability to understand other people’s feelings and what others may be going through. For example many of us don’t really understand what someone who suffers from abuse goes through unless we experience it ourselves. But reading through the eyes of a character who may be suffering from abuse can help us to understand what real life victims may go through.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R.R. Martin

So these are just SOME of the many benefits of reading! I hope these inspire some of you to pick up a book! If any of you think of any more please do comment below!

If you don’t like to read you just haven’t found the right book – J.K Rowling

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Would Islam be too difficult to practice?

Would Islam be too difficult to practice?

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Having become confused about her faith, Mansurah put God on hold. Years later, her boyfriend became interested in Islam and so did Mansurah. But she worried whether Islam would be too difficult to practice.

Watch on to see how God guided her and helped her overcome…

What about the bad actions of Muslims and what does that have to do with Islam?

What about the bad actions of Muslims and what does that have to do with Islam?

By the age of 15, Khadija started questioning Christianity and decided to join a Bible study group to find answers. Unable to, she later met Muslims and her interest in Islam began. But she wondered about the bad Muslims she came across.

Watch on to see how God guided her and helped her overcome…

When becoming Muslim gets you a visit from the police

When becoming Muslim gets you a visit from the police…

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James came to a point where he accepted Islam as the truth. But he kept delaying his conversion because he was scared of changing his life. Until he got a visit from the police.

Watch on to see how God guided him and helped him overcome…

Justice in our Relationships

Amongst many families today especially where in laws are involved there is something very important lacking. That is justice.

It is so important for each member of the family be just in their treatment. The main issue generally arises between the mother/sister in law and the daughter in law. These isues can lead to a lot of hurt and stress for those involved. It can cause stress between son and mother and between husband and wife relationship.

If everyone was just in their treatment of others there would be much more harmony in these relationships.

The daughter in law is not inferior or the maid of the family. She should be treated with respect. She is not obliged to serve her in laws and should not be forced to do so. In the same way the mother in law should be respected and treated in a kind manner.

Most importantly it is necessary for the husband to be just in his treatment especially when problems arise. He should not blindly just side with one or the other. But look at both views and ensure that no one is treated unjustly. Speak to both of them kindly but do not allow one to transgress the other.

Although it may be difficult at first to do this it will eventually become easier and in the long term allow people to live more harmoniously with one another.

Everlasting Marriage part 4

In the last post I spoke about what helps you to make a connection with your spouse. Now I will go through what destroys a relationship.

So when I discussed what makes a connection, a marriage expert John Gottman, through many studies and experience discovered that each relationship has to have a certain percentage of turning towards behaviour. In other words 80% of the time the spouses reaction needs to be to take the hand. Otherwise the relationship will fail.

He discussed in his book four things that destroy a relationship. They are so toxic in a relationship that he called them the four horseman. They are: Critisism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

1. Critisism is when you attack the person rather than the behaviour. So, for example, instead of saying you felt hurt by an action, you say that your spouse is selfish.

2. Contempt is when you talk to them with superiority, like you’re mocking the person. As if you are better than them.

3. Defensiveness is attacking the person rather then taking responsibility. If your spouse tells you they feel hurt, instead of saying sorry, you say that they did something first and that’s why you said what you said.

4. Stonewalling is when you just shut down and disengage.

Constantly doing these things will eventually cut your connection with your spouse. If we want to say something to our spouse we should focus on how we felt. So instead of saying you’re selfish, say I felt hurt when you didn’t consider me. This will be more productive in trying to resolve the issue and less likely to escalate into a fight.

Marriage is supposed to be a refuge where you both can feel safe and find tranquility.

One of the best things you can do to help strengthen your marriage is to build a strong relationship with Allah.

This is the last post in this series. I hope you will find these notes I made beneficial inshaAllah.

Everlasting Marriage part 2

So in the last post I mentioned the 5 love languages. We discussed each of these love languages and how because we all have different ways of feeling loved we should take the time to learn how our spouse feels loved and show our love in a language they understand. To be able to do that we need to know what the love languages are.

They are:

1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Receiving gifts
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch

1. One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build the person up and not tearing them down. Using verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful ways to communicate love. Simple statements such as, I feel like I can count on you, can have profound effects on your spouse and your marriage. Saying words of encouragement is another way to express love. Sometimes your spouse just needs words of encouragement to pursue an interest or some untapped potential. The way in which you speak can change the meaning of your words so it’s important to use kind words. When we speak to our spouse we should make requests not demands. Humble words should be used, you are equals.

2. Giving your spouse your undivided attention can be so important. Doing something together whether it’s going for a walk or sitting together on the sofa, paying attention to each other without any distractions. Give your spouse your focused attention, have a good quality conversation and do something together like going out for dinner or spending the weekend away or going for a walk. It’s important to make time for your spouse, it’s not what you do together but why you do it. The experience should make you feel like your spouse cares about you.

3. Gifts are a visual symbol of love. Receiving gifts can be very important to some people. Giving gifts comes naturally to some while others find it difficult. But it’s important to know if your spouse likes to receive gifts and it makes them feel loved that you should do your best to give regular gifts. It’s not about the price of the gift as long as it’s meaningful to them. It could even be something you make if finances are limited.

4. Acts of service are doing things your spouse would like you to do. Actions such as washing dishes, cooking, hoovering, paying bills etc. These things require though, planning, time, effort and energy. For some, when their spouse does these for them it’s an expression of love. Finding out some things your spouse would like you to do and doing these things regularly helps to show your spouse to love them eg. Hoovering every week. These things should be done out of love and not be forced or out of fear or guilt. Some of us may need to reexamine our stereotypes of the roles of husband and wife.

5. Physical touch is a powerful way of communicating marital love. From holding hands or hugging or sexual intimacy, these are all ways to express love. For someone whos love language is physical touch, not getting that can make them feel unloved. Eg. If the wife feels loved by physical touch then it is more important to hold her if she’s upset than to say comforting words.

These are the different ways or “languages” in which people feel and express love. It is important to understand the way in which you feel loved and the way in which your spouse feels loved. If you feel loved by acts of service but your husband feels loved by words of affirmation then you must express your love with words and your husband should express his love through acts of service. Otherwise you may feel you are showing your love but your spouse doesn’t speak that language and will end up feeling unloved.

Only when you are aware of your differences can you start to make compromises. As they say, knowledge is power. No relationship can work with the ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.

More details for this can be found in the book called The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. He has a personal profile for husbands and wives in which you can discover your love language and then discuss that with your spouse.

In the next post I will discuss what Ustadha Yasmin spoke to us about mercy within marriage.