What the world has been searching for during 2010 – Part 1


Browsers around the world plug many hundred millions key words a day on search engines fishing for information on unlimited topics. Nevertheless, there is a global consensus on top words of which Google reveals the highest 10 faster rising words-in-search worldwide which are the following as of December 28, 2010:

1- iPad
2- fb (facebook)
3- facebook en español
4- 4shared
5- www.facebook.com
6- twitter
7- fifa
8- taringa
9- face
10- facebook

iPad and Facebook are the top words of interests ever. I will be providing more fascinating facts on end of the year ranking soon.

Bassel

Google Search Inquires do not Go in Vain


was also published on webupon.com

GOOGLE search inquires are stored and kept to feed its proprietary database to analyze trends and social behavior. Are you curious to read what does Google knows about you? Carry on reading.

As a response to the criticism on its transparency, Google has introduced a facility, called Google Dashboard, to enable users accessing what information has been collected. The service is free and can be reached by following a few steps: go to Google Homepage, click on the Privacy Link at the end of the page, click on the Dashboard Tab on the left side bar, then log into your account and scroll down to the end till you find the Web History Section… here we go, it shows you what you had been searching for since years ago.

The recorded results can only be retrieved if you were logging in while conducting the search, otherwise they will be stored under the computer’s IP and there is no platform to retrieve them yet.

If you are not satisfied that your records are being filed and tracked, then you can clear the search history and deactivate the archiving function by selecting Clear Web History followed by turning off Goggles Search History option.

Google eyes are no longer watching you.


Bassel Nadim
Artwork: Chip Taylor

A Good Hotel to Stay at in Moscow


This is my first trip to Moscow and I found Aquamarine Hotel a good deal in terms of location, rooms, food and daily rate.

The hotel is located in a calm area nearby Moscow River, yet enjoys a “strategic” location by being 7 minutes walking distance away from the Red Square(face the river and walk left) and also about 5 minutes walking distance from Taganskaya street (face the river and walk right) where a plenty of restaurants and too many attractions are available rather. Enjoy exploring the neighborhood and don’t forget to pick up some of various free tourist materials and maps from the lobby while wondering around. I walked overnight there (11 pm) it was dark but safe.

The hotel has new premises with modern interior design and staffed by helpful well trained English-speaker employees. Rooms are clean and neat, I spent a comfortable night and cool stay - say a warm night because of the radiators. I have also enjoyed delicious international food offered by Topaz restaurant. Don’t forget to ask the hotel to register you with the police; this is a standard norm when visiting Russia.

The hotel accepts international credit cards and Rubbles only. It is fascinating enough is to find a currency exchange machine at the lobby, I have changed some US Dollars into Rubbles and the rate was the best I got in Moscow.

Enjoy your stay.

Bassel Nadim

Eat Organic!


If you follow organic food regime or welling to give it a try, why don’t you pay a visit to Organic Foods & Café in Dubai, the Greens, Emaar Business Park... Here we go


Everything in the shop is simple: the interior design, the décor, tables and even dishes and cutleries, it feels like a summer house! The menu offers several options and , as expected, all made from organic ingredients!. Don’t forget to ask for the complementary bread basket and butter, you can also request some slices of cheese. Prices are affordable and somehow below those in the nearby restaurants. Good meals include beef steak with stemmed vegetables and french fries, catch of the day (fish), and rich-in-cheese organic pizza. Friday and Saturday Brunch is also good choice. A selection of newspapers is available for you to read while eaingt. Pay a visit to connected organic retail shop and browse wide variety of organic food and home stuff.

The staff is really nice and the shop’s management is keen to make everyone happy especially with late served food (may happen). People who like fancy or business restaurants may not find this place appealing as there is no modern fixtures and many visitors are dinning in with comfortable home cloth! Access to the Greens and this shop is complicated and you need to have some directions before hand, however, designated parking spots are available. The shop closes at 9 pm, please call to confirm.

Bassel Nadim

Buy More Books On-line Than Ever Before





PEOPLE used to buy book from local bookshops or garage sales. However, increasing numbers of readers are opting for on-line book stores aiming at browsing unlimited titles, different choices and convenience. Ensuring that you buy the book you need at the best deal is the name of the game.


The content you need
An important fact about buying a book is that there is no money-back guarantee concerning the book content. Books are subjective and readers can not claim a warranty on a creative piece of work. Redeaing the published reviews on the book’s web page or any other source if helpful to have an idea of the book. Try also to google the book itself returning search results into PDF format as some authores may publish part of the book to promote readers.


Actually, there are plenty of reading materials offered for free by communities and societies such as citizen bureau, customer protections, specialized associations and public interest groups. Always related the topic of interest to one of those bodies, you may find something relevant. For example the Financial Services Authority in the UK publishes Money Made Clear series which includes wide range of topics related to mortgage, financial advice, investment and money.


The best rate
To reduce the hassle of visiting all e-bookshops to check prices and availability, try price comparison websites such as www.allbookstores.com. Remember, it is not only the cover price but also other cost items especially shipment charges, taxes and delivery time. Consider books bargains, auctions, or buying used book after, but not before, concluding on the best deal of buying a new book as quotes for non-new books are often overpriced.


Shipment cost and time
In most cases shipping cost may add up 30% to the book original price. If you buy online very often, then opt for getting a UK or USA based addresses. Couriers companies, among other, can create a cyber address and ship the incoming post to your original address.  Subscription and shipment fees are lower than the shipment rates requested by e-book stores. Alternatively, buy a group of books in one purchase order, as many merchants offer free shopping for a certain checkout amount, Also try to place the order prior to sufficient time then you can select shipper shipment rate.


Make the best out of the book
Many e-shops and publishers offer the readers complementary services such discount and access for further readings online. You can also trade-in the book, e-bay and some other auctions and forums are helpful in getting almost 50-70% of the original price which will help in refreshing books budget.


Enjoy reading!


Bassel Nadim

A trip to the heart of Tatarstan - Kazan

Tatarstan Republic is part of Russian Federation, lies between the Volga River and the Kama River, and extends east to the Ural mountain.


My trip to Tatarstan went beyond expectations. Kazan the capital, a clam city ever, tells untold tales of the place and the mankind. The country shall be the next destination in your realization of the world. Nothing surprising to read in poem of “Shurale” what the famous Tatari poet Gabdulla Tukay (1886 -1913) wrote:

   “I recall in all directions
   Lay the backwood's broad delight.
   Grasslands there of glossy velvet
   Dazzled everybody's sight”

Reaching Kazan
Various public transport means are available across Russia, however, it is recommended to buy a ticket on Siberian Airlines (S7) which operates a couple of flights a day to Kazan via Moscow – Domodedovo , among other operators. Siberian Airlines is well known for departure on time comparing to other airlines. The trip to Kazan is about 80 minutes flying over the Volga region. You will be pleased to see the wide green country sides if no clouds.

Kazan airport is pretty small and can only accommodate a plan in a time. Passengers need to wait for the luggage outside the arrival hall, then to get back for collection. Be prepared to show the tag while claiming your bags.

The trip to Kazan city requires 30-45 minutes by taxi depending on the traffic jam. It is highly advised to book the taxi prior to your departure as taxis are not easy to find nearby. Buses are always available – not being tried by the author- bus 97 runs from the airport via the Mega shopping mall to "39 Kvartal” to connect to other areas in Kazan. If you are flying to Kazan from abroad, then you need to follow the Russian travel roles and entry regulations.

Accommodation
There are a plenty of hotels in Kazan, those by the Volga River are advised due to the spectacular views and the ease of walking around. Grand Kazan Hotel, for example, is a new 12-story modern property which enjoys a good location by the river and attached to a shopping centre. Receptionists are helpful and speak flair English. Rooms are nice and tidy with a Flatron TV screen that shows international, Italian, Russian and Arabic channels. Food and beverage facilities are within the acceptable range. Give a try to the gift vending machine located in the lobby, it offers a variety of souvenirs at affordable prices and cheaper than those in Kazan airport. A pool and a fitness center are available. Free speed Wi-Fi is accessible in the lobby. No internet in the rooms.

Walking Around
Most attractions are in a walking distance from the city center. The main attractions for tourists are around the Kremlin and Bauman Street. Yet, walking by the Volga River is second to none to grasp the city landscape which finds its roots from the old Tatari style and inspired by the Islamic and the Orthodox architecture and soviet culture. Kazan's Kremlin and the Kol Sharif mosque are very few examples. Don’t miss to visit Söyembikä tower, an ancient Tatari piece of art. Consult Kazan City Tourist Portal www.gokazan.com to learn further.

Following the general tips of safe walking around is advised! Carry the hotel registration card when outside. Majority of people in Kazan, like the case across Russia, speak no English. Carrying the address of the hotel and a list of key requests and locations is a good technique to follow.

Food
Varity of cuisines can be found across the city especially in Moskovaskay street. DTK national restaurant serves Russian and tatari food. Make sure to test the superb borsch soup with ingredients of meat or fish broths, red beets, mushrooms, cabbage, onions, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. Shashlik is also testy and too much similar to meat grills in the oriental cuisine. Food portion in Kazan, and Russia in general, is smaller than expected.

Enjoy your trip to Kazan.


Bassel Nadim

For more photos please read the TravelPod version


باب المنارة

شاركت في مسابقة الشيخ منصور بن محمد للتصوير الضوئي في دبي بثلاث صور سأنشرها تباعاً. الصورة المرفقة هنا تدعى باب المنارة.
تعبر المنارة عن العودة و "اللقيا" في ثقافة البحر التجردية. لكن بابها ما زال رمزاً مهمشاً بالرغم من أن عبره يدخل الكشاف نفسه ويجلب خلاله وقود الإضاءة. يرمز باب المنارة إلى الخطوة الأولى للإنسان الحاضر في مساعدة ذاك المجهول القادم من البعيد

باسل نديم

The untrodden ways!

With association of TravelPod

Dubai is renowned for its splendid cityscape, shopping extravaganza, and fascinating attractions inspired by contemporary architect. Urbanization in Dubai makes you surprised to know that the city lies over sands!. Come and join the trip beyond the boundaries of the city, the desert.

A well equipped 4X4 vehicle drove us up and down into the unlimited sand waves. Once the car engine turned off, a new world emerged where echoes of silence break the silence. The journey begins.

Once I reached my destination I rode a camel and the guide headed towards the tourist camp. Some people were sand-boarding, a few ladies were putting Hinna, local dye, on their hands, and others were playing over the sands. However, I wanted to avoid the camp for a while and unifying myself with the nature, I asked the guide to surf away through the dunes. I sat up the hill watching the red sun fading slowly beyond the horizon while the twilight is was conquering the place.

I went back to the camp, it was dinner time, a traditional food of rice and meat was being served with yogurt. It is a habit here that the more you eat the higher appreciation you show to your host. It was a heavy meal compared to my regime, yet delicious. Drinking coffee after food is a known routine, the aroma of the hot Arabic coffee refreshes the breath, consider the test though... It is a convention that the coffee-man will keep pouring the coffee until the guest shakes the cup three times!

The evening entertainment programme started with some local song, then a man briefed us on some fascinating facts about the life in the desert, followed by telling a few local stories which were rich of wisdom and great human values.

The weather became chillier, I came into the tent and relaxed on the woolen carpets and cochins nearby the fire stove. Everyone was attempting not to interrupt the calm of the magical night. Staring at the looming disarray of stars is another magical thing to do. Someone would not believe that ancient nations used stars to map the way. What a GPS!

Dozens of things to recall.. memories remain.

Selling your used mobile…Ten secrets of the trade

Was also published on Buzzle.com

Selling and buying used mobiles attracts wide segment of people, thousands and thousands of deals take place every day. In most cases mobile holders would sell their own as a result of buying a new device. Why don’t you learn some secrets of the trade and attain a higher price of selling your used mobile set.



Secret 1: Think market
Getting a good deal of selling a used mobile starts even before buying the mobile itself. Think of buying a set which enjoys active trading market. Avoid purchasing unbranded mobile devices or sophisticated sets. Try to buy recent models in order to ascertain that your mobile is not outdated when selling it.



Secret 2: Keep them!
Do you know that one reason of being happy with your new mobile is unpacking the device. This is it! Keep all plastic bags, original box, cables, catalogs, manuals and stickers in a safe place. Do not forget to keep the original warranty certificate and any other important document such as the device insurance and the invoice.


Secret 3: Be careful
No need to remind you to keep an eye on your mobile, use it carefully. A suitable cover will really protect the device from scratches and hits.


Learn also how to use the key pad shortcuts, this will reduce the pressure of using the mobile’s ball or mouse - the first checked part by any potential client.


Secret 4: Time to sell
Aim at selling your mobile prior to the expiry of the warranty certificate, if applicable. This would create an immense effect on the re-sale value.


Make the mobile available for sale. Export your contacts and files from device. There is no better deal than selling a ready-to-sell mobile.


Secret 5: A fair price
Asking for a fair price is a key factor. Like any other trading activity the price shall satisfy both you and your client needs. Research the prices of similar band new mobiles, prices of the upgraded models of the one you have, and also check the prices of similar used mobiles.


Adjust the price in a way that reflects your mobile conditions, and accommodate a cushion for a discount. You may add a premium on the price against offering some accessories such as memory disk and headset.


Secret 6: Effective selling campaign
Once you decide to sell you have to advertise widely on community boards, free weekend commercials, and local related websites. Specify some key technical features such as the model, the memory size, the video functions and the communication facilities. Do not forget to mention the availability of its original package. Also insert high quality photo of the mobile, check the manufacturer if you don’t have one. Plan to keep mobile shops as your last client option as they offer lower price than expected from a deal with individual client.


Secret 7: Re-pack the mobile set
Try your best to offer your mobile in excellent conditions. Bring the mobile with its original package. Providing the original packing when selling the mobile, would give good feelings to the buyer. Your mobile will seem more appealing and reasonably used.


Secret 8: Settings
Make sure that the battery is charged to make the mobile ready for testing. Activate nice and high tune melody as clients will test the speakers second, the first tested part is the mobile’s mouse. Resort the original settings of to make the mobile appears as those new ones and select bright screen settings.


Secret 9: Confidence
Give the expected client his sweet time to test the device as this would create confidence in your mobile quality. Share with client any problem in the mobile and be open for a discount if your price is higher than the market prevailing rates.


Secret 10: Feedback
If you are selling through a website, ask your client to kindly write a positive feedback on your web profile, this will help in sustaining good image and concluding future deals.


Enjoy using your mobile and have a good deal of selling it later.





Bassel Nadim

المجلس الأعلى للبطاطا


وجدت دراسة حديثة أن تناول البطاطا يحسن الحالة النفسية، وأضافت أن أشخاص العينة المدروسة قد استعادوا هدوءهم النفسي بعد عشرين دقيقة من أكلهم للبطاطا المقلية، و قد عزا التقرير ذلك إلى مكونات الكربوهيدرات التي تؤثر إيجاباً في كيمياء الدماغ والشعور بالبهجة الذي يحدثه طعم البطاطا المقلية و رائحتها.

ليس المهم في هذه الدراسة التعرف على فائدة البطاطا فقد اعتدنا على صدور دراسات غذائية متعددة و متناقضة، بل المهم هو الممول للدراسة نفسها و هو مجلس البطاطا !!

يعتبر مجلس البطاطا جمعية بريطانية شبه حكومية تهتم بشؤون البطاطا من بذار و حصد وتسويق و تجارة و تكنولوجيا. لا يعمل مجلس البطاطا بمفرده على الساحة "البطاطية" العالمية فهناك أيضاً المركز الدولي للبطاطا في البيرو، الموطن الأصلي للبطاطا، و المجلس الوطني للبطاطا في أمريكا

إن غنى البطاطا بالكربوهيدرات، و احتوائهاعلى مستوى عالٍ من فيتامين سي والبوتاسيوم والبروتين يجلعها تقف جنباً إلى جنب مع المحاصيل الزراعية الاستراتيجية الأخرى كالقمح و الأرز و الذرة. و تمتاز البطاطا في إمكانية زرعها في الترب و المناخات القاسية، كما أنها تتكاثر بوفرة في مساحة صغيرة من الأرض، كما أن حبات البطاطا أقل عرضة للتلف لأنها تزرع و تنمو تحت الأرض. لقد ساعد غياب سوق بورصة دولية لعقود البطاطا على استقرار أسعارها خلال موجة المضاربات على أسعار المواد الغذائية التي قادتها بعض صناديق الاستثمار و صنادق التحوط خلال العام 2008

و يُعد من البطاطا وجبات طعام مختلفة حول العام فهي تستخدم في الباستا بايطاليا و تطبخ مع الموز في كوستاريكا، وتوضع مع الأرز في إيران ، وتقلى مع الباذنجان في بلاد الشام و مع الفاصولياء في أثوبيا، و يعد منها السلطة بالخضار أو المهروسة "بيريه" في فرنسا، وتغلى مع السمك المدخن في حساء أهل شمال سكوتلاندا، و تشوى في سهرات الليل والتخييم حول العالم. وكلما كان هناك طعاماً سريعاً، كان هناك.... بطاطا

حصد مزارعو البطاطا في عام ٢٠٠٧ ما يزيد على ٣٢٥ مليون طن، تعد الصين المصدر الأول حيث تزرع 23% من محصول البطاطا في العالم. في المقابل تعتبر أوربا المنطقة الأكثر استهلاكاً للبطاطا حيث يبلغ متوسط استهلاك الفرد 88 كغ للشخص الواحد متغلبة بذلك على متوسط استهلاك الفرد في أمريكا عاصمة وجبات الهمبورغر والبطاطا والبالغ 60 كغ للشخض. ما زالت البلدان النامية تستورد من الخارج حوالي 6 إلى 7 مليار دولار من البطاطا لتعويض النقص في تلبية الطلب الداخلي. فبالرغم من أهميتها كغذاء أساسي في محاربة الجوع والفقر، ما زالت البطاطا تتعرض للتجاهل في سياسات التنمية الزراعية في البلدان النامية

لقد أصدرت منظمة الفاو للغذاء كتاباً مصوراً بعنوان "إضاءة جديدة على الكنز الدفين" يسجل إنجازاتها "البطاطلية" و يؤكد على دورها دورها الحيوي في تعزيز الأمن الغذائي العالمي والتخفيف من وطأة الفقر.

إذاً للبطاطا أهمية كبرى تعاكس مدلوها الرمزي في أنها كناية عن العمل غير المتقن، و ربما ستجدها قد تحولت إلالقد حان الوقت للنظر بفخر إلى نداءات الباعة الجوالين في أسواق الشام، و لتصبح عبارة بطاطا يا بطاطا.. ريِانة يا بطاطا شعاراً لكل زارع بطاطا في العالم.
Bassel Nadim

من أفروديت إلى أبوظبي

 منشورة أيضاً على موقع الساخر

قراءة مغايرة عن الحب
لست ممن يحتفلون بعيد الحب بمعناه الرمزي الشكلي، لكني أحتفل مع من أحب بالمعنى المجازي الجمالي. بيد من أحب قد أخذت من نحب و هي تمضي وقتاً مع من يحبونها ويحبوه أيضاً.. فهي مع ابننا في زيارة للأهل في دمشق.

و في هذه المناسبة "الحبية" قررت أن أطلع على سبب وجود هذا العيد و تسميته. لقد وجدت عدة قصص متضاربة عن عيد الحب تتمحور حول شخصيتين مختلفتين تحملان نفس الاسم وهو فالانتين. لعل الأشهر من تلك القصص هي ما حدث في أوربا خلال الحقبة الرومانية مع قس كان يرتب عقود الزواج لجنود روما في فترة قد منع خلالها امبراطور روما الجنود من الزواج كي لا تتأثر قوة الجيش، وتنتهي القصة بإرسال فالانتين برسالة حب ليلة إعدامه بسبب مخالفته للتعليمات الامبراطورية. لقد وجدت في قصة فالنتين تلك الكثير الظلم التاريخي لرموز أخرى للحب تبدو أكثر جزالة و قوة ورومانس

على سبيل المثال نجد في الأسطورة الشرقية أفروديت رمزاً للحب و الجمال. ولدت أفروديت من زبد البحر و كانت عذراء طويلة جميلة عارية ومبتلة، رفعتها الامواج و نقلتها جياد بوسيدون البيضاء إلى جزيرة سيثيرا، و حيث سارت هناك انقلب العشب إلى رمل و أزهار مبرعمة، وامتلاً الجو بالطيور. أقدمت جميع الرموز الأسطورية على حبها فجلبوا لها الهدايا العظيمة، وهبها أبولو، سيد الشمس والجمال والرجولة، عرشاً و تاجاً من أشد ذهب الشمس حرارة، وعربة ذهبية تجرها البجعات البيضاء وكما قدم لها أيضاً الخدم والمغنين. أما بوسيدون، سيد البحار، فقد وهبها المغاور وعالم الألغاز والجواهر والسفوح الجميلة والبحارى الغرقى والأعاصير و غروب الشمس. أما هرمس، سيد التجارة و الطرق، فقد جعلها ملكة مفترقات الطرق لتعلم الناس العابرة الحب فلا يصيبهم الضجر.

لعمل أهم ما في هذه الأسطورة هو التقاطر الشديد للرموز العليا في ذالك المجتمع الأسطوري على أفروديت طالبين هيامها والزواج منها. لكن أفروديت عشقت رمزاً واحداً هو هيفاستوس، سيد الحدادين الأعرج، أحبته أفرويت لأنه كان صالحاً، أحبته لأنه كان يعمل بجد ونشاط ليل نهار ليصنع الآلة والسيف و العربة و المنجل. من الحق بمكان القول أن تلك الأسطورة تسمو بالقيم الايجابية كالالتزام الأسري والصلاح والعمل في سياق العلاقات العاطفية بين الرموز الأسطورية و مجتمعات النخبة و السادة أمام المعنى الشكلاني لإرسال فالنتين لبطاقة حب في ليلة إعدامه.

اما لأنصار شكل الحب أمام جوهره فاقترح عليهم قضاء عطلة عيد الحب في فندق قصر الإمارات الفاخر في أبوظبي على ضفاف الخليج والماء الذي خرجت من مثيله أفروديت. لقد أعد الفندق برنامجاً خاصاً يتضمن توفير سيارة ميباخ للزوجين لتجول مريح في المدينة ونقلهم إلى المطار كي يستقلان الطائرة الخاصة إلى البحر الاحمر للغطس هناك وإلى الطائرة المروحية للقيام بجولة فوق محميات للحياة البرية في الجزر المتناثرة قبالة سواحل إمارة أبوظبي وفوق الكثبان الرملية في الربع الخالي. إضافة إلى عشاء فريد من على شرفة جناحهم وتحت النجوم وعشاء رومسني آخر على مركب شراعي يخمر عباب مياه الخليج. يريح هذا العرض من ضرورة شراء الزوجين السعيدين للباس مناسب حيث سيكون بانتظارهم و في جناحهم الخاص مصممي أزياء من دار كريستيان ديور الباريسي مع عطارين لتركيب عطر خاص يحمل اسم النزلاء. ما على الزوج إلا العمل مثل هيفاستوس لسداد مبلغ مليون دولار ثمناً لهذا العرض الأسطوري أيضاً.

أعان الله المحبين و العشاق، و أبعدنا عن طقوس العشاق الشكلية، وهدانا إلى حبه ومن أمرنا بحبهم.

باسل



قصة افروديت: كتاب ميثولوجيا الأبطال و الآلهة و الوحوش لبرنارد ايفلسن.

E-Relief

Another "e" from Google

Hundreds of websites around the globe reacted to Haiti earthquake by furnishing links, news and photos on the devastated city and voicing appeals for humanitarian help and support. Online relief initiatives tend to offer services consistent with the nature of sponsor’s original business. For example, news sites tend to offer special coverage on the crisis and its consequences. On the other hand, tens of banks enable donating facilities on their websites, while many charities are asking for used staff to be dispatched to the needed people. Google, nevertheless, approached the crisis differently by introducing The Crisis Response for Haiti and bring the interaction all.


The crisis response is a webpage customized to Haiti earthquake, a portal which brings all necessary functions to the fingerprints of people interested in that humanitarian tragedy. The platform allows users to dial free voice call, read news, watch clips and images, find people, donate money and share video clips, photos and information.


What’s new in Google Crisis Response is brining everything under one page instead of the scattered initiatives on different websites. This is not a technical move in web design, rather, it is a new development in how search engines becoming more effective in the digital world by gradually shifting from being a natural meduim for data exchange towards affecting the way we feel, perceive and interact with the world surrounding us.

Calculate Your Personal Zakat

Recent economic developments change the way people conduct their personal finance, Zakat is no exception. Get answers to the buzzing Zakat questions now.

Was also published on WikiHow.com.

Step 1: Calculate the Nisab
Nisab is equal to the value of 80 Gram of pure gold priced at prevailing market rate at the time of calculating. You need to use this in step number 7

Step 2: Define your Zakat Cycle Dates

As Zakat is an annual financial duty, starting and ending dates of your Zakat cycle shall be clearly defined.

   - The starting date is set once your Zakat pool (see step 6) excesses the Nisab limit (step 1)

   - The ending date (or effective date) is set as a year after the starting date.

Example: if one gram of pure gold costs US$ 30, then the starting date is when your Zakat pool equals the Nisab (80 Gram X US$30 = US$ 2400) let’s assume it is 21-3-2010, then your ending date (effective date) is 20-30-2011

Step 3: Update Your Financial Status

Prepare an updated information of your wealth items priced as per the market (actual) value on the effective date

Step 4: Identify Your Zakat Assets

Zakat assets are what you actually own on the Zakat effective date. You have to sum up all wealth items you own. Some examples are:

   - Cash: any type of cash ready cash, current accounts, saving accounts, fixed deposits as stated in your bank statement.

   - Securities: shares, stocks, mutual fund units, bonds and sukuk valuated at the closing price in the stock market.

   - Your current account in a company which you are a partner in

   - Saving plans: the surrender value of your saving plans

   - Gold investments: as per the market value

If there is any amount of money which proposed to be received during the concerned Zakat cycle but not yet happened, then you have to add the expected value to the Zakat assets.

Note: Your personal belongings such as a home or a car are not considered as Zakat assets.

Step 5: Identify Your Zakat Liabilities

Zakat liabilities are your financial obligations. Any obligation which you had satisfied during the concerned cycle requires no more consideration. Nevertheless, if there is any amount of money that was proposed to be paid during the concerned Zakat cycle but you did not do yet, then you have to add the expected value to your Zakat liabilities.

If you had obtained a personal loan of any type (car, home, cash) then you have to consider the installments that you have to pay during the following Zakat cycle.

Note: You have nothing to do with entire outstanding debt.

Step 6: Calculate the Zakat Pool

Zakat pool = Zakat assets (step 4) minus Zakat liabilities (step 5)

Step 7: Compare to Nisab

If the result of the Zakat pool (step 6) exceeds Nisab limit (step 1) then you have to dispose Zakat as shown in step 8.

Step 8: Calculate Your Zakat Duty


Zakat dues = Zakat pool (step 7) X 2.557% The result is your Zakat that you have to dispose.

Zakat ratio is 2.5% if the Zakat cycle is calculated using the Hagirae calendar while it is 2.557% if using the Gregorian calendar.

Tips

  • Your personal home and car are not considered, as shown in step 4.
  • The value of a car or a home that you rent out to others is also not considered. However, the income generated by any investment is considered as shown in step 4.
  • Any income generated from non shariah compliant source, i.e. interest of bonds, is not considered. However, the value of any conventional financial obligation is considered as shown in step 5.
  • Your Zakat calculation will not be affected if you pool goes below the Nisab limit during the concerned Zakat cycle as long as the pool on the effective date meets the requirements shown in step 7.

The Untold Benefits of Driving in Traffic Jam


Traffic congestion annoys every one. To figure out how much time spent on wheels, let’s assume a working scheme of 5 day a week, 9 hour a day. On an average estimate, long-time drivers may lose 27 calendar day per year which is equal to 73 working day.


However, have you considered some advantages of being stacked beyond the steering wheel? Create a piece of hope and realize the untold benefits of driving in traffic jam.


Driving in traffic jam is a complete stressful experience. In big cities, it may take up to two and half hour a day to commute from home to work and vice versa, sometime even longer. In the morning you are running the risk of being late or missing an important meeting. While in the evening you are coming back home tired with a family awaiting you.


To figure out how much time spent on wheels, let’s assume a working scheme of 5 day a week, 9 hour a day. On an average estimate, long-time drivers may lose 27 calendar day per year which is equal to 73 working day. It seems a considerable amount of time.


This article does not aim at briefing on the negative effects of being stacked beyond the steering wheel, nor to describe daily stress and agony, rather, to reveal some competencies that long-time drivers may earn!!


Enhancing time management skills
Long-time drivers eke time from any second that can be saved. They learn how to carefully set any appointment and how to calculate the period required to commute across the city. They learn the alternative routes and the quickest lanes. They can better assess the breakeven point of the cost of leaving late (or earlier) against the benefits of driving less.


Elevating the inner power
Long driving absorbs energy. Human body nature tends to adapt to external circumstances by producing internal stimulus. The body would elevate the level of stamina and improve the moral and physical strength to resist fatigue and hardship. Long driving also increases the endurance and patience profile and unleashes the passion to drive in order to reach the final destination safely with sufficient power to continue the day.


Improving stress management skills
Managing every day stress is a unique capability to face daily life pressure. Long time divers learn how to interact with being late situations, being observed by the traffic police and being at ease of asking to postpone a meeting for certain time. Moreover, long-time drivers may develop methods to queuing waiting time, starting from simple techniques such tuning on the radio, to modest ones such acting carelessly to the congestion and staring astray through the window towards more sophisticated techniques in elevating the soul above the body trying to disconnect the relationship between the body and the mind.


Boosting innovation
In desperate attempts to relief the burden of time while driving, drivers always explore new ways and tricks. Talking over the mobile with friends and family and completing phone services through call centers are increasingly in use. Requesting bank statements, applying for services, arranging a trip and booking a hotel have achieved good results in compensating the waste of time while on roads.


Learning from audio books or i-pod is another innovative way. Listing in the car perceived to be an important factor for alternative publishing agencies who are trying to produce material that fit long driving conditions in terms of topics, simplicity and duration. However, talking and learning are only two examples of too many choices such as eating and dirking, making up, preparing the tie, reading and even checking emails on 3G mobiles .


Awareness of the community
When driving slowly, you will be having time to check banners, posters and listening to local news. You may participate in the traffic sensors slots on local radio stations.


Developing ultra communication skills
Drivers are able to communicate between each other while taking over or escaping the queue. The light, the signal and the bib are new expressions in the non-verbal non-body language communication modes. Long time drivers develop the ability to listen to radio, talking on the mobile, or even reading while keeping a careful eye on the road. This may lead to advancing the persons’ perception power.


Generating income
This benefit belongs to road authorities and municipalities who may introduce tolling system to cross traffic-free roads, as well as also licensing shops and other type of retail windows along congested highways.


Big sympathy for long-time drivers, nothing compensates health and peace of mind, but some room of hope may help.


Bassel Nadim