Chicagoland Celebrates Eid Al Adha

November 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Tausif Malik

Muslims from across the Chicagoland area prayed at various Masjids and joined with other Muslims of the world to celebrate Eid-ul-Adha on November 6, 2011.Various Masjids across Chicagoland held multiple prayers accommodate the faithful and people hugged friends and relatives while exchanging greetings after the morning prayer. After prayers, the devotees sacrificed goats and other animals and shared the meat with their relatives, friends and the poor.

“In today’s second sermon at MEC Morton Grove, the Imam Sheikh Omar Baloch gave an explanation for the celebration of Bakr-Eid. The celebration is to commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to Almighty.He further said that the importance of trust amongst families and communities ,which is in turn is trust based on their individual dedication towards the word of Almighty.

“The festival underlines the truth that sacrifice brings man and god close to each other. It is not about the sacrifice of goat or sheep, but a reminder of one’s submission to god and the feeling of sacrifice and obedience attached to it,” Razia Ataur rehman, a resident of Morton Grove said.

Resident of Devon Avenue Asif said “Sacrifice is important for individual and group as this fosters love and affection “and his words were also echoed by his friend Rashid.

Sisters Thameem Mohiuddin,Naveen and Sharmeen along with their mother Nahid Mohiduddin were excited to celebrate the Eid and wished for happiness and peace for everyone.

The Khan family of Schaumburg said that Family and respect for the creator helps them steer through the economic challenges.

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Dealing with Hypocrites

October 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

In this world, there are many people who do not speak the truth. Even more alarming, there are people who speak in half-truths, using linguistic details to mislead, while not technically lying. Just as the Disbelievers read the Quran looking for corruption within it, certain people make agreements in bad faith, seeking loopholes. Like the Quranic description of Satan, this person makes a promise, but then when you ask him about it, he claims he never promised that thing! Such people can make us want to beat our heads against the wall.

The Prophet (s) said: “Most of man’s mistakes and sins are committed by his tongue, and the worst sin is to lie!”

How can we navigate ourselves safely in a world where things are often not as they are explained? One thing we must do is give less space in our minds to the hypocrites. “Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head,” as the saying goes. It is important to let go of the fantasy that we can control others. All we can do is control how we react to them, and make sure we don’t fall into their trap.

“Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction than it is.” wrote Rebecca West in 1928.

Promise-breakers generally have a pattern of behavior. At a certain point, nobody believes what they say. The Quran states in Surat al-Nur:

And of mankind, there are some who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day’’ while in fact they do not believe. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!

There are some people who are outwardly religious, but you still cannot trust them because they have developed an internal dialogue that justifies their transgressions against other people. A terrible example I can give is an outwardly devout Muslim man who married three wives without clearly explaining his marital status to his brides. When I asked him why he did not inform his third wife of his other two wives, his reply was, “She did not ask!”

In light of this admission I feel obliged to advise those seeking to enter into a marriage with anyone to do three things:

1.    Ask questions! Never trust someone blindly or withhold questions in fear of offending.

2.    Talk to people who know this person and ask very specific questions about their past.

3.    Ask for the person’s credit report

In this day and age where we arrange marriages with near strangers from other parts of the world, it important to check out anyone we plan to marry. A credit report will tell you a lot about a person, in particular: does this person honor his or her agreements? If a bank would not loan money to this person, it would be wise for you not to invest too much trust in this person.

On the authority of Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, the Prophet (s) said: “There are four traits which, whoever possesses them is a hypocrite and whoever possesses some of them has an element of hypocrisy until he leaves it: the one who when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise, when he disputes he transgresses and when he makes an agreement he violates it.”

Nobody is perfect. Some innocent people break promises just because they have personal weaknesses, not because they were intending to deceive. A friend of mine who was going to Germany asked me what I wanted as a gift so I asked her to bring me some marzipan. She faithfully bought the marzipan, but during the journey could not control her sweet tooth and ate it all! I was disappointed of course but I did not hate her for this because she did the honorable thing: She admitted she had made the promise, admitted she broke the promise, and felt genuinely sorry.

There is a huge difference between this and those who purposely trick people, who backbite, cheat, or bluff their way through life, and when you confront them they become hostile to avoid further discussion. One woman found out shortly after marriage that her fiance had lied about his ethnic background, his financial status, and even his source of livelihood! When she asked him why, he said, “If I had told you the truth, you would not have married me.”

A true liar lies in order to seek personal gain. It is not just a reflexive action like that of a teenager whose father asked her, “Have you been smoking?” Real hypocrites actually enjoy torturing truthful people with confusion, considering themselves above others.

Imam Ali stated about the hypocrites: “They are jealous of other people’s prosperity, interested in other people’s misery and are a source of hopelessness and stress.”

I have learned as I have grown older to trust others less and myself more. I have learned that my body never lies. If a certain person causes me to have headaches and stomachaches, or causes my heart rate to increase, that person is probably unhealthy for me as company. I should even refrain from arguing with such a person because they only respond with lies to my attempts to appeal to their higher self.

Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer. karinfriedemann.blogspot.com

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529 Plans

September 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq. 

The-Benefits-of-a-529-Savings-Account-Daniel-Stoica-Accounting-ProfessionalA major focus of many estate plans is reducing federal estate tax liability.  Currently, the federal estate tax imposes a 35% tax on any estate exceeding $5 million, or $10 million for married couples.  For example, if you are a single person and your estate is worth $6 million, $1 million of your estate is taxed at 35%.  Instead of your chosen beneficiaries enjoying the fruits of your labor, the government will enjoy $350,000 of your hard earned money.  This exemption amount may not be a problem now; however, many speculate that the limit will be reduced in the next few years from $5 million down to $1 million, causing many savvy individuals to plan ahead. 

How do you reduce the amount of your estate?

Fortunately, many tools exist for reducing the size of your estate.  One such tool is a 529 plan.  A 529 plan is a college savings plan that not only reduces the amount of your estate that will be subject to the federal estate tax but also provides a means of financing your children’s (or grandchildren’s) education. 

How do 529 plans work?

A 529 plan is an investment option whereby the funds that you place into the plan grow tax free and are managed by brokers and other investment professionals.  More importantly for estate tax purposes, a 529 plan can be frontloaded, i.e. five years’ worth of tax free gifts ($13,000 x 5 = $65,000) can be immediately placed into the plan without tax consequences.  However, if you frontload your plan, you may not put in anymore money (that will be tax deferred) for five years.  But because you are able to put $65,000 into the plan right away, waiting five years is rarely a problematic issue.  

529 plans are created for a limited purpose (i.e. college savings) and, as such, the plan’s funds may be used only for limited purposes (without being subject to tax consequences):  qualified educational expenses, such as tuition and room and board.  If you create a 529 plan for your child and they decide that college is not in their future, you may change the beneficiary (the person who is to benefit from creation of the plan) or you can withdrawal the money but you’ll have to pay taxes on the amount withdrawn.   The person who puts money into the plan controls the plan and may choose which state in which to create the plan—you do not have to live in the state where the plan is created. 

How is the amount of the plan removed from your estate?

The amount of the plan is removed from your estate when you place the 529 plan into a trust.  After placing the plan into the trust, for estate tax purposes, the amount of the plan is considered outside of your estate; even though the creator of the plan controls beneficiary designation and has the power to withdraw the funds.  Therefore, you’ll want to contribute as much as you can to these plans.  The higher the plan, the lower your estate tax liability and the more financially secure the future of your beneficiaries.  Plus, in this day in age, if you are going to succeed in this world, education is almost always necessary.  Create a 529 plan today for the well-being of your children tomorrow. 

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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A Doctors Guide to Protecting Their Assets

April 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

EDIT_MoneyDoctorA very common joke used by most doctors who have had a bad experience with a lawyer is that “there are more lawyers than doctors in a hospital.” Although the joke itself is not completely true, it’s also not far from the truth.  More and more doctors are having to worry about being sued for some form of malpractice. Whether that makes doctors more alert when conducting a procedure, or more nervous, has yet to be proven. But what is quite apparent is that lawyers are quick to pull the trigger on a lawsuit whenever a doctor is on the receiving end of the complaint.

So what happens when a doctor is in the middle of a lawsuit where the potential judgment of the liability exceeds the doctor’s malpractice limits? Without a properly structured plan in this common scenario, the doctor becomes susceptible to having his or her personal assets exposed and seized; this can include bank accounts, investments, a primary residence, and rental property, among other assets.

However, with a few simple steps and with even the most simplistic plan in place, a doctor can potentially save and protect millions of dollars from creditors and bad lawyers.

The following are three strategies a doctor can, and should, implement into their day-to-day lives; which will, at the very least, help discourage potential lawsuits from arising:

i. Create a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC): As recent as December 2010, former Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, made Michigan one of the top States in the country to start a PLLC. The bill provides a distinct advantage for owners of a PLLC, as the exclusive remedy for any creditor against debtors is through a charging order.

A charging order is best exemplified when a creditor intends to obtain the proceeds that a debtor distributes to themselves through their PLLC. However, if the debtor decides to not make any distributions, which is often the case, then the creditor is left with no alternative remedy.

Moreover, a well structured medical practice with multiple PLLCs can deter potential lawsuits. Please consult with a professional attorney to learn more about creating and administering a PLLC.

ii. Create an Irrevocable Trust: Once created, an irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be changed, altered or amended. Although this trust is extremely effective in protecting your assets, the downside is that it takes away ownership and possibly control from the creator of the trust (i.e. you). Your ownership loss prevents creditors from being able to reach these assets. Remember, a creditor can only attack the assets that you own; therefore, if it’s not in your name, creditors will not have access to it.

Prior to getting yourself into an irrevocable trust, be sure to speak to an attorney who practices in Asset Protection. More and more attorneys who are not familiar with this topic tend to advise clients that a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) can serve the same purpose. This is not true since an RLT does not take ownership or control away from your assets because the assets remain in your individual name.

iii. Create a Retirement Savings: There is a reason why OJ Simpson is continuing to live a normal life despite having a judgment against him for over $20 million. He took complete advantage of a protective tool that the government made available to the public. The federal government protects  all contributions made to a qualified retirement account from creditors. Therefore, all qualified retirement accounts, such as contributions to 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and profit-sharing plans are protected from creditors, until you start making withdrawals.

In addition to qualified accounts, Michigan has also allowed contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) to be protected from creditors. Therefore, if you have not already done so, it will be worthwhile for you to start maximizing your contributions.

Despite the fact that malpractice lawsuits have been on the rise for the past decade, doctors continue to take the reactive approach to planning and tend to take the necessary steps of protecting their assets only after the filing of a lawsuit. By doing so, the doctor is   exposed to possible criminal charges, as any transfers of funds or assets made after the filing of a lawsuit is considered a fraudulent conveyance. In other words, it is now too late.  You must plan before the lawsuit. 

Although the foregoing is not a comprehensive list of asset protection strategies, it is however a good starting point. For the number of years invested in your profession, it only makes sense that you consult with a professional attorney who can assist you in preserving your hard-earned wealth before it is all taken away.

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, Physician Contracts, and Family Law. To contact him for any questions related to this article or other areas of law, he can be reached at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

February 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Other characteristics

Such people overreact to events, do not trust Allah and behave rebelliously. But believers know that Allah controls everything and so trust Him completely, regardless of what trials He sends their way. When something happens, they remain as patient as they can, for they know that such things are no more than trials sent by Allah. Therefore, they are happy and joyful in the knowledge that He will reward their patience and trust:

We will test you with a certain amount of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, life, and fruits. But give good news to the steadfast.

Al-Baqara: 155

Remembering these glad tidings only makes them more determined to be patient when facing difficulties. Fully aware that their possessions, wealth, position, and rank are meant to test them, they do their best to thank Him and use them according to His will so that they may earn His pleasure:

Every self will taste death. We test you with both good and evil as a trial. And you will be returned to Us.

Al-Anbiya’: 35

Unaware people are ignorant of these facts; even if they know about them, they ignore them. Therefore, they react to events quite differently. For example, believers who know that their loss of material goods is a trial from Allah accept their fate with full trust in Him. However, the same situation will cause material and spiritual damage to those who are unaware. They will become dejected and, as this feeling grows, become more unbalanced and irritable until they lose their mental health. Being rejected by their circle of acquaintances and losing their luxuries will only make things worse; it might even bring some individuals to the brink of suicide. As we can see, unaware people have no trust in Allah, are rebellious, and live their lives far removed from His will.

The Reasons for Unawareness

Not listening to one’s conscience

The conscience is a guide that, by Allah’s inspiration, always points to the right path:

And (I swear by) the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or a sense of duty. One who purifies it has succeeded; one who covers it up has failed.

Ash-Shams: 7-10

Depravity is the desire to fulfill the ego’s desires and passions even if it means doing what is forbidden or illegal. Allah constantly inspires, through one’s conscience, a warning against depravity. Constantly obeying this voice cleanses and purifies people from sin and leads them to salvation and happiness. Those who follow their ego first fall into the depths of unawareness and then advance on the road to perdition:

And they repudiated them (Our Signs) wrongly and haughtily, despite their own certainty about them.

An-Naml: 14

The conscience constantly warns people against the ego’s limitless desires and urges them to follow the right path. Unaware people do not heed this warning, thinking that it will make them unhappy because it conflicts with the desires of their egos. And so they try to silence this divine warning, not realizing that its source, Allah, is calling them to the true path of eternal happiness.

The unawareness into which people fall as a result of ignoring this voice grows worse as they indulge in so much immorality (e.g., limitless sin and wickedness) that the ensuing rebelliousness, sin, and depravity cause their egos to begin deteriorating. They are now so profoundly unaware that they want to live in this state of wickedness forever:

Yet humanity still wants to deny what is ahead of him, asking: “So when is the Day of Rising?” But when the eyesight is dazzled, the Moon is eclipsed, and the Sun and Moon are fused together, on that Day humanity will ask: “To where can I run?” No indeed! There will be no safe place. On that Day, the only resting place will be your Lord.

Al-Qiyama: 5-12

People who do not listen to this divine voice are in a great fall, for the resulting unawareness, which has alienated them from Him, brings with it a level of suffering far beyond our imagination: the burning pit of Hell.

Ignoring destiny

Destiny means that, whether living or non-living, every thing’s, condition and experiences are determined beforehand by Allah. This is true of every creature, from a tiny mosquito to an elephant; from a tiny new-born fish in the ocean and microscopic creatures in every part of the world to all living things in the vast universe.

Nobody can choose even one of their physical attributes (e.g, their complexion, eye color, or height) or their parents. Given that they cannot determine such basic things, how can they possibly determine the course of their own lives? As revealed in the Qur’an: “We have created all things in due measure”

Al-Qamar: 49

Anyone who is aware of this should seek Allah’s mercy and favor when they use their possessions and experience anything. In fact, the Qur’an is the only guide that shows people how to do this. No human being, whether a powerful businessman or a tribesman, and no other creature, whether an animal living in the depths of the oceans or an insect in a primeval forest, can alter or escape the fate determined for them by Allah:

You do not engage in any matter, recite any of the Qur’an, or do any action without Our witnessing you while you are occupied with it. Not even the smallest speck eludes your Lord, either on Earth or in heaven. Nor is there anything smaller than that, or larger than that, which is not in a Clear Book.

Yunus: 61

We are told in the Qur’an that every moment and experience through which a person passes is determined by destiny. Those who ignore the facts revealed in the Qur’an think that they live in this vast universe, among billions of other people, due to blind and unconscious chance. So, they regard themselves as creatures who are free to do whatever they want. Under the illusion that they are autonomous and independent of Allah, they plunge into deep unawareness.

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Houstonian Corner (V11-I26)

June 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Aligarh Bachchon Ka Ghar: A Distinctive Orphanage in India

Mozaffar Ali of ALigarh Bachchon Ka Ghar Orphanage came to Houston last week as guest of Helping Hand. During his stay, he went on Radio Sangeet for an interview, talked to persons at Madrasae Islamiah after Mughrib Prayers and met community members at Shahnai Restaurant.

Mozaffar Ali informed the significance of taking care of an orphan in Islam. He said that this orphanage was started at Qasimpur Road Aligarh with 10 children in 1998 and today has around 120 orphans. Idea is to support the orphans till the age of high school. Some of the goals and objectives of the orphanage are to develop teamwork, self-reliance and competitive spirit among these children and to save children from forced labor, illiteracy, begging and deprivation. The orphanage compound can take around 100 children and it is already housing 120 children. New construction on the second storey is needed over the existing orphanage and it will consist of three halls (each can be constructed for $7,500). On each child, the orphanage spends about $1,000/year. A bus carries children to various schools in the area and on return in the evening; children go through extracurricular and moral building activities plus complete their homework.

Mozaffar Ali placed a target for the Houston Community to raise $7,500 (only) for one of these three halls of this project, of which $6,500 have been collected. For more information on ALigarh Bachchon Ka Ghar, one can visit their website www.ALigarhChildren.Org and for all Tax Deductible contributions, visit www.HelpingHandOnline.Org (mention ALigarh Bachchon Ka Ghar in the comments).

Ghazali Education Trust Pakistan Imparting Education to 35,000+ Children: Waqqas Anjum

“You have an excellent opportunity to donate education by becoming supporter of Ghazali Education Trust, one the largest  Educational Networks’ of Pakistan. Our ultimate goal by the Grace of God is to have 100% literacy in Pakistan. Ghazali Education Trust was established in 1997 under the society act as a Non-Profit, Non-Governmental and Non-Political Organization:” These were the sentiments of Syed Waqqas Anjum, as he organized two seminars in North and Southwest Houston about Ghazali Education Trust (GET), where professional DVD presentations were done to appraise the community about the progress of GET.

“By the Blessings of God, we at Ghazali Education trust (GET) are now encompassing 1,500 miles of Pakistan and are in 30 Districts of Pakistan, with 278 Schools, 1,560 Teachers; and 35,000+ Students, of which about 16,400 are Orphans and Needy. GET is not just constructing schools; we develop teachers through our training institutes and develop up-to-date and state-of-the-art syllabus for our students to excel in their professional lives (this is approved by the Government). People can donate with three of our many contributing options: Adopt a Child $125/Year; Adopt a School $1,250/Year; and LifeTime Membership $1,250:” Added Syed Waqqas.

GET has projected to expand our network to 50 Districts by 2015, with at least one Model Cluster School in each District. GET has started a pilot project of vocational courses for Grade VII to X to develop much needed skills in our students. GET provides a comprehensive library, science lab and computer lab in each of our campuses. In order to streamline our processes and be transparent, we have divided GET into these departments: Pakistan Rural Education Program; Resource Mobilization; Ghazali Colleges for Women; Research & Development; Orphan / Needy Support Program; and Land Acquisition & Construction:” Continued Syed Waqqas.

For more information on GET, one can visit their website www.Get.Org.PK or call 832-366-3351 and for all Tax Deductible contributions, visit www.HelpingHandOnline.Org (mention GET Pakistan in the comments).