Practice Your Belief

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With ALLAH’S name, The Merciful Benefactor, Merciful Redeemer

By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, TMO

El-Amin portrait  90dpiTo have faith in ALLAH is to trust Him in good times and bad times, in prosperity and poverty, when we have made intelligent decisions or dumb mistakes.  Things don’t always go as we plan.  Sometimes we can do something so stupid that we doubt our sanity.  But keeping faith in ALLAH by using our conscious minds can save us and help get us back on track.

Sometimes it is difficult to believe in the unseen, even though ALLAH says these believers are the people the book is written for.  So the practice of the religion must be coupled with the faith that the obedience to the dictates of the religion will bring the desired results; that the promises ALLAH makes will be kept.

Always remember, we receive, as a result of prayer, exactly what we think.  WE have to begin to think straight, as the Qur’an instructs us and as Muhammad (s) did by example, to receive the blessings of ALLAH.

Rote, mechanical movements of salat, will not, in itself, produce the results you desire without the conscious submission of your mind to Him.     

It is a fact that our minds have to be programmed by us.  ALLAH designed it that way.  He gave each of us the ingredients and thus, the power to change our condition and enhance our condition – just by thinking positively.  He puts the responsibility on us by telling us our condition will not change until we first change our hearts -the heart being representative of the “nafs” or soul of the human being.
I keep putting the emphasis on we and us to underscore the fact that it won’t be done automatically.  It must be done by each individual.  If you don’t think you can – you will think you can’t – and you most certainly won’t.

ALLAH tells us in another verse of the Qur’an that our souls must be purified by us in order for us to be successful.  Again, that purification begins with a thought – positive thinking.  So it is important that these thoughts be clean and guided by a righteous heart.  And if it is not righteous, it can be programmed to be righteous.  The Prophet Muhammad (s) has said, “There is a morsel of flesh in the body which if it be whole, the whole body will be whole.  And if it be diseased, the whole body is diseased.  Surely it is the heart” Of course we know this is the symbolic heart and not necessarily the physical heart, but it is a good example.  The heart pumps life-giving blood to every cell in the body, including the brain, which houses the mind.  Now if this heart is pumping good rich blood to the brain, it will thrive and prosper with the nutrients it carries.  Similarly, if the “nafs” is good, pure, and whole, it will feed the mind so it can make proper decisions for clean and positive living.

Isn’t it wonderful?  We actually have the ability to make ourselves whole.  By practicing our belief, it increases our faith, which gives us the strength to obey ALLAH, and so we become better human beings.  We become more stable, more prosperous, more peaceful, and, most importantly, more spiritually connected to ALLAH.

So let us start to program our brains to think on the straight path ALLAH has laid out for us.  Let us make our brains purify our hearts so we can be truly successful.

As Salaam alaikum
(Al Hajj) Imam Abdullah El-Amin

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Pupil

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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The central opening of your eye is known as the pupil, it changes size depending on the amount of light.The pupil is the hole in the center of the iris that light passes through.

The iris muscles control its size.The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina. It appears black because most of the light entering the pupil is absorbed by the tissues inside the eye.

In humans the pupil is round, but other species, such as some cats, have slit pupils. In optical terms, the anatomical pupil is the eye’s aperture and the iris is the aperture stop.

The image of the pupil as seen from outside the eye is the entrance pupil, which does not exactly correspond to the location and size of the physical pupil because it is magnified by the cornea.The pupil is a hole located in the center of the iris of the eye that allows light to enter the retina.

On the inner edge lies a prominent structure, the collarette, marking the junction of the embryonic pupillary membrane covering the embryonic pupil. The iris is a contractile structure, consisting mainly of smooth muscle, surrounding the pupil.

Light enters the eye through the pupil, and the iris regulates the amount of light by controlling the size of the pupil. The iris contains two groups of smooth muscles; a circular group called the sphincter pupillae, and a radial group called the dilator pupillae. When the sphincter pupillae contract, the iris decreases or constricts the size of the pupil.

The dilator pupillae, innervated by sympathetic nerves from the superior cervical ganglion, cause the pupil to dilate when they contract. These muscles are sometimes referred to as intrinsic eye muscles. The sensory pathway (rod or cone, bipolar, ganglion) is linked with its counterpart in the other eye by a partial crossover of each eye’s fibers. This causes the effect in one eye to carry over to the other.

If the drug pilocarpine is administered, the pupils will constrict and accommodation is increased due to the parasympathetic action on the circular muscle fibers, conversely, atropine will cause paraylsis of accommodation (cycloplegia) and dilation of the pupil.

The sympathetic nerve system can dilate the pupil in two ways: by the stimulation of the sympathetic nerve in the neck, or by influx of adrenaline. When bright light is shone on the eye light sensitive cells in the retina, including rod and cone photoreceptors and melanopsin ganglion cells, will send signals to the oculomotor nerve, specifically the parasympathetic part coming from the Edinger-Westphal nucleus, which terminates on the circular iris sphincter muscle. When this muscle contracts, it reduces the size of the pupil. This is the pupillary light reflex, which is an important test of brainstem function. Furthermore, the pupil will dilate if a person sees an object of interest.

The pupil gets wider in the dark but narrower in light. When narrow, the diameter is 3 to 4 millimeters. In the dark it will be the same at first, but will approach the maximum distance for a wide pupil 5 to 9 mm. In any human age group there is however considerable variation in maximal pupil size. For example, at the peak age of 15, the dark-adapted pupil can vary from 5 mm to 9 mm with different individuals. After 25 years of age the average pupil size decreases, though not at a steady rate. At this stage the pupils do not remain completely still, therefore may lead to oscillation, which may intensify and become known as hippus. When only one eye is stimulated, both eyes contract equally. The constriction of the pupil and near vision are closely tied. In bright light, the pupils constrict to prevent aberrations of light rays and thus attain their expected acuity; in the dark this is not necessary, so it is chiefly concerned with admitting sufficient light into the eye.

A condition called bene dilitatism occurs when the optic nerves are partially damaged. This condition is typified by chronically widened pupils due to the decreased ability of the optic nerves to respond to light. In normal lighting, people afflicted with this condition normally have dilated pupils, and bright lighting can cause pain. At the other end of the spectrum, people with this condition have trouble seeing in darkness. It is necessary for these people to be especially careful when driving at night due to their inability to see objects in their full perspective. This condition is not otherwise dangerous. The pupil dilates in response to extreme emotional situations such as fear, or to contact of a sensory nerve, such as pain. Task-evoked pupillary response is the tendency of pupils to dilate slightly in response to loads on working memory, increased attention, sensory discrimination, or other cognitive loads.

Facial expressions of sadness with small pupils are judged significantly more intensely sad with decreasing pupil size though people are unaware of pupil size affecting their judgment. A person’s own pupil size also mirrors this with them being smaller when viewing sad faces with small pupils. There is no parallel effect when people look at neutral, happy or angry expressions. Brain areas involved in this include those processing social signals in the amygdala, and areas involved in the mirror neuron system such as the left frontal operculum. The degree of empathetic contagion activated the brainstem pupillary control Edinger-Westphal nucleus in proportion to a person’s pupil size change response to that in another. The greater degree to which a person’s pupil dilation mirrors another person’s coincides with that person having a greater empathy score.

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