Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year's Resolutions

By: Shazia Yousuf

Every moment is sacred; every second, every minute is new and fresh.

Resolutions could be made each day, each hour, every minute. Make resolutions, and try your best to stick to them. If they don't work out, revise, and repeat.

Change is good; it needs not a new year or a special day. Positive change needs a warm welcome with open arms, every single moment of our existence!

So, live every moment like it’s new, breathe every breath like it’s the first fresh breath, live a life like you’ve never lived before. 

Be the lamp that glows, spreading the divine light (Nur) from within. Don’t wait…just be!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Guest House by Rumi

The Paradigm House is six years old today!

The journey has had its highs and lows.There have been apparent losses and awareness of bitter realities. Yet there have been effective gains of knowledge and wisdom that have unveiled the paths to inner peace.

Here's my inspiration that I'd like to share with you. Hoping that this will inspire you too, and make your journey easier.

~ Shazia

The Guest House

This, being human is a guest house,
every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out, for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. 

Jalaluddin Rumi 
Translation By Coleman Barks

Painting by Sadaf Farasat

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Jar of Happiness

By: Shazia Yousuf

Last year, a friend posted a status on Facebook which read:

I found this idea quite interesting, however I did not quite remember to actually do this myself. The entire year passed and I had quite forgotten about it, but then on the 31st of December, that same friend posted an album, the caption of which said: "I opened my Happy Jar".

And suddenly I remembered her status at the beginning of the year!

Here are some of the pictures from her album that I thought worth sharing with my readers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Freaking Numbers

By: Sunny


I don’t understand why numbers mean so much. It’s everywhere and it ruins everything. It’s in how much money you have in the bank, in how many likes you got on your facebook profile picture, in what your GPA is, and even in how many followers you have. I am frustrated at numbers!
The number 3098482 is absolutely nothing until you add the $ in front of it. Number 5 should mean nothing until you say that it’s your GPA. It’s like some currency that determines, judges, and categorizes people. At some point, you’re at 2.3 GPA and everyone tells you that you will never be successful or go to a great college or have a great job or have a stunning life with beautiful children or a wonderful husband, all because of the "freaking numbers"!
Can’t I be enough to define who I am? Isn’t that what they claim to be doing? Then why are we still feeding off of numbers and more numbers?

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Greatest Trick

By: Mehmet Ozan

Charles Baudelaire – the French poet and art critic,once wrote, The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” As the master of scheming and deception, passing from shadow to shadow, the Devil is believed to be the supreme manipulator of human beings. But if we were to allow ourselves to be really solemn for a moment, the very obscurity of the Devil has always been the product of a social form. One perceives in the belief of the shapelessness of the Devil the social alibi of a cunning and evil order that has more to do with humanity than with some supernatural entity. If in a moment of clarity we were to stand up to the Devil and drag him back into a world of physical reality and concrete terms, it would be seen that the very characteristic that we have long attributed to his evil is actually representative of the condition of society and the ideological structure beneath it. Here the political or social ideals are not being referred to, but rather the ideological structure on which these ideals are based. The precise formlessness of ideology, which is the pretext of most social evil, is similar to the myth of the Devil.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Help Break Their Fast

After hours waiting, suffering in the heat of summer and longing for relief, what if I told you that you couldn’t share iftar with your family? What if I told you,“Tonight, you won’t have the joy of breaking the fast.”
You might be angry and outraged, or wonder “Why?”
For some of our brothers and sisters around the world, the answer is simple --they just don’t have access to food.
While you and I may be fortunate enough to share tonight’s final iftar with our families, tens of millions of others won’t have the chance.

Help break their fast.
Excerpt from a letter from Sami Yusuf on behalf of World Food Program


Monday, May 27, 2013

Effective Marriage Counseling

By: Sadia Tariq
"Marriages are decided in heaven, solemnized on earth and humiliated before Courts."
I have just rephrased this old famous saying contemporary to the present era, where, in fact the marriages are humiliated before Courts. In order to avoid such an immaculate insult in open court by stating fictitious and aggravated comments on each other, the couples must first consult a Marriage Counselor.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Heart That Listens

By: Sarah Haris

Often we are driven by the objective to win a conversational battle, to prove ourselves more intellectually profound than others, to prove others wrong, to find faults in others. In pursuit of this objective we totally forget that:
"Sometimes it is better to be kind than to be right.
We do not need an intelligent mind that speaks, but a patient heart that listens."

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change

Every year on April 22, more than one billion people take part in Earth Day. Across the globe, individuals, communities, organizations, and governments acknowledge the amazing planet we call home and take action to protect it.
Earth Day 2013: The Face of Climate Change

Climate change has many faces.
A man in the Maldives worried about relocating his family as sea levels rise, a farmer in Kansas struggling to make ends meet as prolonged drought ravages the crops, a fisherman on the Niger River whose nets often come up empty, a child in New Jersey who lost her home to a super-storm, a woman in Bangladesh who can’t get fresh water due to more frequent flooding and cyclones…
And they’re not only human faces.
They’re the polar bear in the melting arctic, the tiger in India’s threatened mangrove forests, the right whale in plankton-poor parts of the warming North Atlantic, the orangutan in Indonesian forests segmented by more frequent bushfires and droughts…
These faces of climate change are multiplying every day.
For many, climate change can often seem remote and hazy – a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren may have to solve. But that’s only because they’re still fortunate enough to be insulated from its mounting consequences. Climate change has very real effects on people, animals, and the ecosystems and natural resources on which we all depend. Left unchecked, they’ll spread like wildfire.
Luckily, other faces of climate change are also multiplying every day.
Every person who does his or her part to fix the problem is also a Face of Climate Change: the entrepreneurs who see opportunity in creating the new green economy, the activists who organize community action and awareness campaigns, the engineers who design the clean technology of the future, the public servants who fight for climate change laws and for mitigation efforts, the ordinary people who commit to living sustainably…
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. From Beijing to Cairo, Melbourne to London, Rio to Johannesburg, New Delhi to New York, communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. 
We must harness that power to show the world The Face of Climate Change. And we’ll call on our leaders to act boldly together, as we have, in this pivotal year.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

In Search of "Me", Till I Listened to Thee


By: Mehmet Ozan
" At a distance you only see my light, come closer and know that I am you " ~ Rumi

I wondered among these “me’s”, which one is the real me?
I tried to hear the sound deep within, till I listened to THEE.
I listened to the cry of my soul, waiting to fly free,
To drink the wine of Your love and go on a spree.
Over my ignorance and my blindness, I rue.
I wonder why, never before, I had known You?
I was deluded by the splendor of the physical,
I was blinded to the Eternal beauty of Yours.
I learnt that You live in the broken hearts,
I went on breaking, till it cracked apart.  
That’s where the Light entered me,
Illuminating my soul, and all, I could see.
To THEE I belong, and to Thee shall I return,
Till then, gripped in agony, in this fire I burn.
There is no truth but Truth, there is no god but You,
I kneel before You, I bow before You, You, I woo.
I want to cease to exist, I want to cease to be,
I want to drown into You, like a river falls  into the sea.
Come and wash away the image of my existence so there is no 'I' and 'we'.
Empty my being of my ‘self’ and blind me of all that I see, except THEE.

I ask myself, why is there a veil, when I belong to You, why this separation?
I hear a VOICE: Annihilation, annihilation, our union lies in self-annihilation.
~ Mehmet Ozan
Painting By: Sadaf (Sadaf's Art Gallery

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pain of Losing a Beloved

By: Shazia Yousuf

Pain of losing a loved one cannot heal, it never can. You must try to bury it with the deceased; but both continue to live on in your heart, they never die. The pain and sorrow of the loss stay fresh as a new wound, but time teaches you to move on in life with the burden of sorrow buried within.

Pain at times is good; it lets you realise the pain of others. It gives your life a direction, a meaning - to add meaning to others' lives, to be a source of relieving sorrows with any kind deed, words of encouragement, a listeneing ear, or a simple smile.

So whenever your heart aches in rememberance of a beloved, go out and heal others.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Death Teaches Us

From the diary of my late father Muhammad Haris

  • Death tells us not to waste time.
  • It tells us to love each other from the depth of our hearts.
  • It gives us a message that we have to be accounted for our own deeds to the Divine being.
  • It is a benefit for all mankind.
  • It is the only thing that will survive in the future.
  • It is the path to eternity.
  • It is the mode of completion.
  • It is the moment of ultimate joy for an upright man to meet The Almighty.
  • Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Waves of Change

    By: Shazia Yousuf

    The bitterness of winter, ice cold rains, crisp skin thrashing winds, none could stir those that were a part of the sit-in at Alamdar. United against one cause, to not let the deaths of their loved ones go unnoticed like the deaths of so many innocent victims of mass killings.

    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    You Made My Day

    By: Sumaira Hasan

    Over the weekend, I went for my regular groceries at a nearby Tesco. At the till, I had to wait a while as the customer before me took ages to come back with an item she wanted to replace.

    Monday, November 19, 2012


    By: Zahoor ul Islam

    Maqtal Hussein saja howa hai abhi talak,
    Qatal abhi bhe jari hai insaf ka,
    Jo samajthae thae kae zulmat ka sooraj doob giya,
    Unka khawab abhi bhi hai buss aik khawab sa,

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Sacrifice - The True Essence of Eid-Ul-Azha

    By: Shazia Yousuf

    “In keeping with Hazrat Ibrahim’s submission to the Divine command to slaughter his son Ismail, on the day after Hajj, Muslims all over the world celebrate Eid, highlighting Allah’s mercy towards that supreme sacrifice by replacing Ismail with a sheep. It is a sacrifice not of a goat, or a cow or a camel but of need, love, desire, habit, greed and a thousand other obstacles in the way of submitting to truth. It represented the death of ego, whereas Muslims merely slaughtered an animal.” Abdul Sattar Edhi.
    May this Eid ul Azha be the source of true joy attained by the sacrifice of ego, greed, desire, love and all obstacles that prevent us from submitting completely to the Divine Being. We must remember:
    "It is not their meat, nor their blood, that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him….And give good tidings [O’ Prophet], to all who do acts of righteousness.” (Al Quran, The Pilgrimage, 22:37)
    May we all be rightly guided.
    Eid ul Azha Mubarak!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    Perspective - Are Marriages Really Made in Heaven?

    By: Shazia Yousuf

    Rishtay asmano pe bantay hein” (Marriages are made in heaven).
    Most of the elderly aunties are heard chanting this. A lot of us actually believe in this too. In fact, marriages don’t just happen! At the back of the mind, everyone is a believer of the fact that all marriages that take place and those that eventually work out well have something to do with the cupid up there in the heaven. Anyone just doesn’t get married to anyone. There is believed to be some Divine energy associated with marriages.
    Getting married was easier in the past. Maybe cupid was more efficient back then. In eastern society marriages were mostly arranged. Parents would take the decision first, ask for the children’s wish and consent later and close the deal. The children mostly had to agree since they usually had no other option available but to say yes. Love marriages also happened. But love relationships were also limited to just seeing, liking and concluding that yes this is Love! Decision making was easier. Marriages worked out, people lived happily ever after too, or at least they tried to. Mostly, people married first and love blossomed eventually. Even if it didn’t, marriages still survived, maybe due to closely knit family structures and family pressures. Match making was simple, yet many a times, the matches were a total mismatch! The marriages still had to work.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    While My Country Burns in Ishq-e-Rasool

    By: Shazia Yousuf
    Ever since the news of the objectionable video on Prophet Muhammad (sm) has spread amongst the Muslims, there has been a lot of anger and rage throughout the Muslim world. Anger, sadness, and resentment are the obviously expected reactions when someone who is kept in high esteem and is highly loved is ridiculed and mocked.
    In response to this video, there have been protests, rallies and demonstrations throughout the world to take this video off the internet. Muslims of Saudia, Kuwait and UAE have not shown any reaction to this. Their leadership has however spoken directly to the US authorities, conveying their grief and concern over the obnoxious film.
    There have been protests outside the US embassies all over the world including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Philippines, Indonesia, Egypt, Paris and Australia.
    Hundreds of Muslims took to the streets of Australia's largest city, some throwing rocks and bottles in clashes with police. Some carried placards reading ‘Behead all those who insult the Prophet’”.
    This text written on placards in Australia shocked me. I always thought that the violent reaction in our part of the world was a result of lack of education and enlightenment. But I am sure Muslims in Australia must definitely be more educated compared to people in countries like ours.
    Today, in Pakistan, we are observing “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, a day to express our love for our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAWW. Prominent buildings are burning, protestors pelting stones, there is fire on streets. Looking at the news it seems we are heading back to the dark ages (dour-e-jahalat). Or maybe we never came out of the dark ages in the first place.
    If we were Muslims not just by birth but if we actually practiced Islam, we would be the most patient, most tolerant race on the face of the earth. We have been taught to “exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance” (Quran [Al-Asr, 103:3])

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Court Marriage – Causes and Effects

    By: Advocate Sadia Tariq

    Searching for “Prince Charming” is the dream of every young girl. But, the criteria of choosing their Prince these days are quite divergent from their parents’ choice!
    Immature inexperienced girls are often charmed by the physical appearance of the guys who impress girls by their trendy outfits, cool hair styles, latest perfumes and their obsessive conversations. These are enough to impress and trap simple girls coming from average backgrounds.
    Guys lure girls for various motives which include acquiring wealth in the form of dowry and more at later stages, using the girls in different negative activities; human-trafficking is one of them. The girls are often trapped and fall prey in the name of love and presumptions of baseless promises.
    To escape from the suffocating atmosphere at home, dating under burqas is now quite common. These dates eventually end up with court marriage without the parents’ wishes and consent.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    There’s Still a Longing To Run Free.

    By: Tasmiyah Iqbal

    There’s still a longing to run free.

    To conquer. To achieve.
    To get to the top of the ladder.
    To get the best out of myself.
    To be able to be right.
    To be able to choose the right.

    There’s still a longing to run free.

    To expand my horizon.
    To break from these clutches.
    To taste each and every drop of life.
    To laugh till I get tears in my eyes.
    To love till I die.
    To know what is love, to know what is life.

    And there’s still a longing to run free.

    To explore. To evolve. To nurture.
    To touch each and every corner of the world.
    To smell all the roses.
    To dance in the rain.
    To soar high above the sky.
    To shout on top of my lungs.

    There’s still a longing to run free.

    To show the world that I’m not wrong.
    To show the world that I can move the oceans.
    To actually move the oceans.
    To show the world that I care.
    To be the change that we all want.

    And there’s still a longing to run free.
    To be crazy and lame.
    And insane.
    To make you laugh.
    To make you smile.
    To cheer you up.
    To throw colours everywhere I go.

    And there’s still a longing to run free.

    To escape from my secret world.
    To be the person that I am.
    To puke all the guilt away.
    To find a better day.

    There’s still a longing to run free.

    Originally published at: