Monthly Archives: February 2009

Fiqh of Fashion of Men and Women


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Ballin’: Good vs. Evil

I can totally relate to Dwayne. I have the same internal battle on the court 🙂 


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Saudi King appoints first woman to council



  • Saudi King Abdullah appoints a woman to council of ministers for first time
  • King appoints Noor Al-Fayez as deputy minister for women’s education
  • Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, says people “excited” by move

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to his council of ministers for the first time.

(CNN) — Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to the council of ministers for the first time as part of a Cabinet reshuffle, networks including Saudi state-run Channel One reported Saturday.

Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman to his council of ministers for the first time.

King Abdullah announced a new supreme court chief, minister of health, justice minister and information minister as part of the reshuffling, according to Channel One.

King Abdullah appointed Noor Al-Fayez to the Saudi Council of Ministers. She will serve in a new position as deputy minister for women’s education.

“People are very excited about this,” said Khaled Al-Maeena, editor-in-chief of Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper in Saudi Arabia. “This sends a clear signal that the King means business. Instead of appointing some bureaucrat, he appointed a woman.”

Jamal Khashoggi, editor-in-chief of Al-Watan Daily newspaper, told CNN the reshuffle signals a major change in his country.

“This is a huge step forward, in education, women’s place in society,” said Khashoggi.

The new appointments are the largest council shakeup since King Abdullah took power in 2005.

Maeena also said the other new appointments by King Abdullah were very “progressive” moves.

Some other new appointments were:

— Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, new minister of education

— Faisal Al-Moammar, new deputy minister of education

— Sheikh Mohammed Al-Isa, new minister of justice

— Abdulaziz Al-Khowja, new minster of culture and information

— Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, new minister of health

— Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Humain, new head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice 

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New World’s Tallest Building – the Burj Dubai

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Angels & Demons

I read this book a  few years ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it was much better than Da Vinci Code, which also was a good book but a poorly made movie unfortunately. I have higher hopes for the upcoming Angels and Demons movie and look forward to watching it. I would recommend reading the book first b/c it’s a quick read and makes you think a lot about the problems and religious extremism within the Catholic Church, amazing scientific progress regarding antimatter, and of course there is a token radical Muslim in the plot as well. Plus, Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors. I am not going to spoil it for anyone with more details so here is the trailer


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China to Build Mecca Rail System


China has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to build a new railway system linking the main sites of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj.

The new railway will connect the city of Mecca with the pilgrim destinations of Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah.

Saudi Arabia also plans to build a high-speed rail link to take pilgrims from Mecca to Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities, in 30 minutes.

The journey time by road can take anywhere between four and five hours.

Millions of Islamic faithful descend on Mecca during the annual mass pilgrimage.

The new network in Saudi Arabia is expected to be ready within three years, with one section of the line due to be completed in time for the 2010 Hajj, officials said.

The contract, worth almost $1.8bn (£1.24bn), was awarded to the China Railway Company and a French firm.

The project was announced during a three-day visit by the Chinese President, Hu Jintao, to Saudi Arabia.

China is becoming a key contractor on infrastructure projects in the oil-rich kingdom.

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Study: Experiences make us happier than possessions


(CNN) — Even in tough economic times, you may find yourself with a bit of cash to spare. You’ve been working hard, and you want to treat yourself. Should you spend it on an experience, such as a baseball game or concert, or a material object?

Psychological research suggests that, in the long run, experiences make people happier than possessions.

That’s in part because the initial joy of acquiring a new object, such as a new car, fades over time as people become accustomed to seeing it every day, experts said. Experiences, on the other hand, continue to provide happiness through memories long after the event occurred.

Ryan Howell, assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, presented his findings this week at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual meeting.

The study looked at 154 people enrolled at San Francisco State University, with an average age of about 25. Participants answered questions about a recent purchase — either material or experiential — they personally made in the last three months with the intention of making themselves happy.

While most people were generally happy with the purchase regardless of what it was, those who wrote about experiences tended to show a higher satisfaction at the time and after the experience had passed.

The most striking difference was in how participants said others around them reacted to either the purchased object or experience. Experiences led to more happiness in others than purchases did. A sense of relatedness to others — getting closer to friends and family — may be one of the reasons why experiences generate more happiness.

“When people spend money on life experiences, whether they also take someone with them or buy an extra ticket or whatever, most of our life experiences involve other individuals,” Howell said. People were fulfilling their need for social bonding while having these experiences, he said. 

Another reason for increased happiness in experiences, the researchers found, was that people felt a greater sense of vitality or “being alive” during the experience and in reflection, Howell said.

“As nice as your new computer is, it’s not going to make you feel alive,” he said.

Most psychologists who study the phenomenon say people adapt to a new purchase in six to eight weeks, up to a maximum of three months, Howell said. That means the initial pleasure we get from a new possession generally fades in a matter of months.

Howell’s study builds on earlier work by Thomas Gilovich, professor and chairman of the psychologydepartment at Cornell University. Gilovich and colleague Leaf Van Boven’s seminal 2003 paper “To do or to have: That is the question” found similar results about possessions bringing less happiness than experiences.

Experts also point out that people are less self-conscious when comparing experiences than they are about possessions. It will probably bother you more that your friend’s home theater is better than yours than if your friend saw more sights on her South Seas vacation, Gilovich said.

Experiences form “powerful and important memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world,” Gilovich said.

It’s not just individuals who should be thinking about investing in experiences when making purchasing choices — policy makers should also keep this reasoning in mind for their communities, he said.

“If you create municipalities with more parks, bike trails, more hiking trails that make experiences easier, then I think you’re going to have a happier population,” he said.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, does this research mean you should give your honey a nice dinner or weekend getaway rather than a material present, such as a necklace or watch?

The issue of happiness conferred to others has been studied less, so the answer is unclear, experts said.

While Howell would expect this principle of experiences over possessions to still apply, Gilovich agreed that it may, but also points out that the act of giving or receiving an object as a gift is an experience in itself.

“Gifts of material possessions often become keepsakes and have sentimental value that increase with time, instead of diminishing like most material goods,” Gilovich said. 

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