Unity (A video)

If the enemy captures a single Muslim, it becomes wajib (obligatory) on every one who has the ability, to rush to their rescue (even without seeking anyone’s permission). It is apparent that it is compulsory on everyone, similar to the situation where the enemy invades our land. Moreover, saving our brothers is of a higher priority, as the sanctity of a Muslim is greater (than the sanctity of a State). – Ibn Hajar Al-Haithami Rahimahullah

3 Lessons on Decision-Making from a Poker Champion

Liv Boeree – 3 Lessons on Decision-Making from a Poker Champion

First, let address the elephant in the room, I don’t play poker or any related card game nor gamble since neither are permissible.

And here’s why

“They ask you [Muhammad] concerning wine and gambling. Say: ‘In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit.’… Thus does Allah Make clear to you His Signs, in order that you may consider”

 (Quran 2:219).

“O you who believe! Intoxicants and gambling, dedication of stones, and divination by arrows, are an abomination of Satan’s handwork. Eschew such abomination, that you may prosper” 

(Quran 5:90).

“Satan’s plan is to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer. Will you not then abstain?” 

(Quran 5:91).

Now, back to the ted talk.

Liv Boeree Main Talking Points

  • Liv Boeree learned three decision-making hacks during her career as a professional poker player.
  • First, don’t underestimate the role of luck. When you’re on a winning streak, ask yourself whether skill or luck is responsible. And as Robert T. Kiyosaki mentioned with regards taking up business opportunity, never over-estimate your smartness because the odds of success is always the same regardless of our previous successes.
  • Second, “quantify your thinking.” Use numbers and percentages to clarify your process. 
  • Third, when making life’s biggest decisions, prefer careful analysis to intuition. Try as best as possible not to succumb to our personal biases.
  • Gut feelings are reliable for reaching everyday decisions in which you have lots of experience. For major decisions, analyze your options.

Professional poker player career taught Liv Boeree 3 things about everyday decision making:

  1. “Life is…a game of skill and luck” – Be aware of the role that luck plays in your life. The element of luck makes it difficult to discern whether your strategies are the reason for your success. People love to believe their success is the result of talent and strategy, so it’s important to question whether a win is due to skill or to luck. Why? Well, winning because of luck would not likely to go down well with our ego. 
    • In 2010, Boeree, a relative newcomer to the game, won a major poker tournament. The win inflated her self-confidence. She became lax about studying the game, started taking more risks and entered more competitive tournaments. Her winnings nose-dived for the next several years until she realized that her early success had caused her to overvalue her skill level.
    • Example #1: Cancer may strike a nonsmoker while someone with a packet-a-day habit may live to an old age.
    • Example #2: The cryptocurrency market. In 2017, investment specialists credited their investment savvy for turning a profit, yet even poor strategies were making profitable returns in the fast-rising market.
  2. “The future is unknown, but you can damn well try and estimate it” – Poker, a game of probabilities and accuracy, teaches the importance of quantification. When you find yourself  saying the word “probably,” train yourself to “quantify your thinking.” Replace vague possibilities and forecasts with numerical estimates.
    • For example, when someone asks Boeree if she’ll attend a party, she attaches a number to her chances, such as proposing a 60% likelihood that she’ll show up.
    • The word “probably” means different things to different people, so if you want to convey accurate information, use numbers.
  3. “Your gut is your friend but I prefer a cost-benefit analysis” 
    • Internet memes glorify the power of intuition with phrases such as, “Always trust your gut feeling, and never second-guess.” Alas, your gut is often wrong.
    • Top poker players don’t expect to get by on instinct or a sharpened sixth sense.
    • Instead, they rely on analysis and strategizing.
    • Innate biases and wishful thinking influence gut feelings.
    • Intuition is useful when drawing conclusions about things with which you have ample experience or familiarity. You instinctively know, for example, when your best friend is peeved with you or whether you can maneuver your car into a tight space.
    • For big decisions, such as who to marry or what job you should take, employ a slow, methodical analysis.

The Refugee Crisis Is a Test of Our Character

David Miliband Ted Talk (The Refugee Crisis Is a Test of Our Character)

The previous few post from yesterday was mainly about refugee. So, just to add another one. 

This is a Ted Talk by David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee.

Key Points from his talk

  • The refugee crisis resulted from a declining international political system, weak nations, and theological, social and political differences among Muslims.
  • How Westerners respond to the global refugee crisis will reveal their character and humanity and whether they will uphold or reject their democratic legacy.
  • Ensuring the survival of those fleeing violence and persecution is the humane response. But though people want to help, most see the problem as unsolvable.
  • However, four solutions exist: (1) enable refugees to work so they don’t need aid. (2) educate refugee children. (3) give refugees money for rent and clothing. (4) welcome a small number of refugees into the West as a symbolic gesture.
  • Personally we can be proactive by hiring refugees, supporting relevant charities, debunking falsehoods about other cultures and voting for politicians with refugee-friendly policies.

Today, the same countries that gave sanctuary to World War II refugees are turning away asylum seekers. Yet globally, the battered and persecuted continue to flee their nations, including people displaced by chemical warfare in Syria, Taliban activity in Afghanistan and Boko Haram’s violent campaigns in Nigeria.

The refugee crisis formed due to the decline in the international political system, weak governance in many countries, and theological, social and political differences among Muslims.

In 2015, more than 3,700 people died seeking sanctuary, including five-year-old Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body appeared in a photo that evoked compassion worldwide. Hostility and oppression displaced 65 million people in 2016; 40 million stayed in their homeland, and 25 million left for a neighboring country. Displacement is long term, averaging a decade.

Dadaab, the so-called temporary Kenyan refugee camp built for Somalis escaping civil war, houses 330,000 people. Almost a third of that population was born in the camp. Families and children in refugee camps need help. How the global population responds will reveal its character. 

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Four (Possible) Solutions 

  • First, enable refugees to work. In Uganda, 80% of refugees in the country’s capital are employed and thus need no humanitarian aid.
  • Second, provide education, as well as social and emotional support, to refugee children.
  • Third, give refugees, most of whom inhabit cities, money for rent and clothing. This will help local economies too.
  • Fourth, Western nations must absorb a relatively small number of refugees as a symbolic gesture. Contrary to inflammatory political rhetoric, refugees aren’t terrorists but victims of terror. They’re “more vetted” than any other incoming population.

“The world is more connected than ever before, yet the great danger is that we’re consumed by our divisions. And there is no better test of that than how we treat refugees.”

Refugees bring different beliefs and culture, and that should motivate, not deter, their welcome. After World War II, Western democracies created protections for refugees.

The persecuted still view these countries as havens. Additionally, Western mistakes in foreign policy added to the crisis, so the West has a duty to offer relief. Act personally: Hire refugees, support relevant charities, debunk cultural falsehoods and vote for politicians with refugee-friendly policies. In 1942, Monsieur Maurice, a Catholic farmer near Brussels, helped shelter 17 Jewish people from the Nazis. When asked why, he said only, “One must.” That is, saving others from violence is the humane response.

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Further reading