How to Join Jamaat Namaz if Late

I recently wanted some guidance in terms of how to join Jamaat Namaz if one gets late, and came up with almost nothing on the internet in English that could help. Whatever help there was, was a bit confusing (even if the author meant his best). So after I had learned from my authentic sources and verifying the content I came up with something that is a bit easy to understand (hopefully).

If you miss Rakah during Jamaat Namaz:

A rakah is missed when one misses ruku of a particular rakah. If you were able to do ruku with the Jamaat when you joined it (after saying takbeer) then the rakah is considered to be complete and there is no need to repeat it. However if one joins after ruku: the participant is required to join in immediately with the Jamaat (after saying Takbeer) and follow the Jamaat; but when Namaz is over the joining rakah needs to be repeated.

In Fajr:

  1. If you missed One Rakah (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam

In Maghrib:

  1. If you missed One Rakah (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam
  2. If you missed Two Rakah: (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat
    • Stand for second Rakah: Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam

In Zuhr, Assar and Isha:

  1. If you missed One Rakah (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam
  2. If you missed Two Rakah: (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Stand for second Rakah: Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam
  3. If you missed Three Rakah: (after rest finish namaz and you finish Attahiyat too, don’t say salam)
    • Stand for first Rakah: Subhan+Alhamd+Other Surah +rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat
    • Stand for second Rakah: Alhamd+Other Surah+rest of Rakah
    • Stand for third Rakah: Alhamd+rest of Rakah
    • Sit: Attahiyat and finish the namaz, say salam

Hope it helps.

Credits: Engr Aman Khalid, Engr Noor us Sabah Sateh, Engr Dr Junaid Ahmad, Mr Abid Faisal and Engr Atif Majeed Malik.

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Genes do Matter While Choosing a Career

i-never-did-a-days-work-in-my-life-it-was-all-funMy career encapsulates a lot of time in teaching and a lot more in the field as a professional engineer. Having the experience and spending quite some time looking at both sides of the coin has enabled me to answer a lot of questions that eluded my understanding when I was young.

During teaching, and even otherwise, I had the opportunity of counseling young people; mostly engineering undergraduates. There is a severe deficiency of career counseling in Pakistan. Our youngsters go into different professions basing their career decisions on the perceptions of their parents and relatives about the future of different professions. There is no doubt that sometimes these decisions are dictated by monetary constraints, but in most cases people choose their path deliberating mainly on how good a profession pays; their projection of how they would look like in their middle-age; the profession of their parents; and to some extent the supposed future and predicted success of a particular line of work.

Even though calculations based on the above mentioned four or five factors mostly do indeed converge to a reasonable choice but, in my opinion and experience there are a few more factors that weigh heavily on the success of the choice made. These additional factors need to be put into the calculations for best results.

In deciding a particular line of work: the psychology of the prospective candidate is extremely important. And, in general, what more can anything tell us about the psychology of a person than his or her parents, uncles, aunts and siblings? Putting it in another way our genome or genetic code says a lot about our psychology; and hence carries a lot of info that can help to decide someone’s future career. My analysis is based on a male dominated society like Pakistan’s; where even now most children look up to their father as the only parent who pursues a career; while their mother normally just handles the home, or sits idle otherwise.

In my experience people choose a career which attracts them: some like playing with their chemistry sets; others like the order and rank system of the armed forces; still others like electronics equipment. What they have no idea of is that they have to spend five (or more) weeks of the days doing the profession they choose. When doing so, almost all the interest and liking of any particular occupation dissipates; and the beautiful, rosy picture people have in their mind shattered. By the time individuals realize it, they are too late; they have invested so much time and effort into making their dream come true that all they can think of is continuing with what they chose. These facts are actually very true in Pakistan. People want to be jet fighter pilots: without realizing that they will be flying jets that are worth millions of dollars to their government forces. The responsibility and calculations with which they have to make each and every maneuver is too great to really enjoy what they thought to be sheer ecstasy. An individual who likes electronics will soon realize that becoming an engineer will mostly be about sitting in a cabin somewhere designing on tools: computer software, and might never ever be about working on the hardware he dreamt of. This naive understanding of a profession can be disastrous; it can only be avoided from happening by knowing exactly what a particular profession is about and whether a particular candidate possesses the physical and psychological capabilities to handle the job, and excel at it throughout his or her life. Unfortunately except only a handful of institutions like the Armed Forces and maybe the Civil Services perform such tests because they have to invest a lot of money, time and effort in preparing their personnel. In Pakistan a software engineer will never know whether he will be able to handle nine to ten hours of programming, five to six days a week until he or she is actually doing it as a job.

ImprisonedThe only solution generally would be career counseling, or psychological evaluation; and in our wonderful part of the woods: simply looking at our parents, uncles and aunts; and siblings, and asking ourselves what they excel at. In my opinion as they share most of our genetic codes, we are most likely “built” to perform the same or similar tasks. There will no doubt be exceptions, but they will be quite rare. And if a child doesn’t go after the father, then maybe the mother or aunt or uncle or sister; however the trend on whoever the kid goes after will be quite evident to a keen, caring, observing and concerned eye.

An army man: a man who has spent all, or most of his life as a decorated officer, and whose children have seen their father day in and day out discussing the problems he faced during his career are most likely the ones who themselves will excel at the same job; or something similar. A professor who has spent most of his life doing research, and excelled at it: will most likely find his children doing the same; or similar kind of work like: design and development based on computer programming.

For a further explanation: someone who has a profession (and excelled at it all his life) of running a shop, and has the skills and psychological patience to sit idle for long periods at a stretch on one occasion, and then handle long queues at another occasion will most likely find this capability built into his children. The children will most likely continue in similar positions and be excellent at accounts and sales and marketing etc.

However there is a red flag to look out for: if a medical doctor did excellent work in the early part of his life and then in his middle age lost his ability to keep it up and never excelled at it in the latter part of his life will likely have misfits, if his children adopt the same profession. His mental capacity weaned away when it should have hit its peak, and so will be the case with his children; it has a high probability and needs to be further investigated.

Those who know their genetic abilities and disabilities can always use it to their advantage and make informed decisions. There are undoubtedly hundreds of other ways in which a true psychologist may be able to help people in deciding their careers; however in the absence of one, maybe some simple points like those described above can help.

There is no doubt that fate has a huge part to play in the success of any person in a particular career, however now we know that genes matter too; which fortunately or unfortunately is another way in which providence plays a part.

My List of 8 Really Brave Things to Admit

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It is always brave to admit (and list) things one has no control over. It keeps us closer to reality; in turn helping us to take better and more practical decisions; and more importantly to find peace in life. My list is as below:

  1. No matter what we do we have no control over how food gets digested in our bodies. The most we can do is eat, wait for digestion to happen, or at most take an OTC medicine for it, or if all else fails: go to a doctor. The doctor will do what is in his experience and power to help eradicate the problem. However all else said, there is no way he can replace ones digestive system with a man made device that can perform the same function. Even with all the technology we have today there is no known way to do the work of an intestine; we are still only that much in control of our lives. The same thing (more or less) can be said for all major organs of the human body.
  2. We love romantic movies (and movies in general) even though we know that the actor and actresses in them are only performing roles given to them. We like them playing the part of romantics, with all the facial expressions they give while acting; even though we have seen them doing the same thing time and again in different films. It is simply uncontrollable. In fact we love Harrison Ford as the archeologist, Tom Cruise as the Army man, Tom Hanks the adventurer, and almost all actresses as “damsels in distress”. And why is there always a love affair in arguable every movie ever made, no matter what the plot, and where the movie was made?
  3. Can we stop sleeping? Of course not; it is something embedded in our systems and depriving ourselves of it damages our health. We can have a limited control on when we want to sleep, but nothing more than that.
  4. Rains are good for health and crops, but can we alter the weather of any region let alone control it? Similar is the case with floods and typhoons or hurricanes: simply uncontrollable. Thousands of lives are lost to these natural catastrophes around the world every year. Many of these events cannot even be predicted within time.
  5. How about earthquakes? They are neither controllable nor predictable. Nature takes thousands and millions of lives every decade and the economic losses are tremendous.
  6. Doctors now agree that genetics play a major role in the health of a person. Dread diseases like Heart-disease, Cancer, Alzheimer’s etc are all because of genetics. Even the intellect a human possesses is based on his or her genetic code, which we inherit and have no control over.
  7. Even as basic a thing as time is not under anyone’s control. Some things are predictable to an extent but nothing can be confirmed to happen in a given time space. It is an uncontrollable fourth dimension.
  8. Aging is still not possible to stop. A person might live to a hundred, which is quite an unusually long time, but even the president of USA cannot defeat death due to natural causes.

Having said all this it seems we are no better than man was a thousand years ago. Yes the quality of life has increased but, new diseases keep coming up that have no cure. The unpredictability of life is the same as it was a hundred, or even a thousand years ago. So has man evolved? We still think we control a lot. Indeed we do control more weapons of mass destruction than we ever did, and can cause more harm than good to our kind, however the opposite is still more or less untrue, and admitting this fact is very essential. The next question would logically be: who actually controls these uncontrollable things. That question is actually answered by religions of the world, and has been the case since the existence of man.

The Reality of Beautiful and Attractive People

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A few years ago I wrote a post: A Tribute to Beauty and Attractive People. I still stand by everything I wrote, but truthfully and very honestly: things need to be put into proper perspective; and reason plus realism needs to be brought to that ode.

There is no doubt that beautiful and attractive people present quite a perfect picture, and that which is perfect looking may well be faultless. However that is a myth which needs to be broken. The problem may well lie within us when we start expecting too much from such ideal looking beings. Or it may be that when they interact with people like us, we make them feel like heavenly creatures and so they start thinking of themselves as such.

There is quite a bit of imperfection that needs to be expected in the personalities of these divine mortals. They suffer from personality flaws that very few possess and which in the end make their lives and those of the people around them miserable.

So what happens to youngsters when they realize during their transition from childhood to teenage that they are abnormally good looking? Some become lazy and arrogant, realizing their looks to be a solution to almost every problem they face: a simple smile and others simply succumb to their wishes. They can take the attention of strangers without even asking for it, and no matter how they look: sleepy, angry, nervous or crying, they always get attended to. They undoubtedly become a slothful, pampered and spoiled lot. Most of them never really get to know their real intellectual potential; why bother when shortcuts are so easy.

Some never work their entire lives, as they exploit their good looks and get married into rich families; where they are looked after like dolls; male or female alike, though this particular fact mostly holds true for females. They are a permanent source of discouragement for those of mediocre appearance around them; who have to work their way through life without the advantages these creatures with picture perfect looks get. And very rarely when these immaculate looking beings have no choice but to work hard, they fail miserably at it, as it is very difficult to change bad habits. It is very seldom that our attractive, seamless and perfect looking lot ever gets to enjoy success at anything more than what they already have i.e. their looks.

What we need to be sure of is that nature has a balance. There is always justice in what God gives his beings. Some He tests by giving good looks and others by giving intellect and still others by giving strength of character and piety. A person with all these qualities together is impossible to come by.

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Pakistan Needs to Learn How to Earn

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I had a sudden revelation which I thought I’d share. Maybe there were other people in this country like me: who didn’t know what Pakistan actually needed; they are being continuously misguided by elected Pakistani leaders (and even un-elected ones) that our primary essential requirements are health, education, roads, flyovers, accountability, power for the Pakistani consumers to end load shedding, law and order for the citizens etc. etc. etc.

I don’t think we need those with the same priority as “Pakistan needs to earn”. All the things listed above are secondary as they all require money to implement. Where is that capital going to come from? Will it be borrowed from IMF or World Bank like previous (and present governments) are doing, and in the process piling up unpaid and unresolved debt. Will it finally bankrupt Pakistan? It seems quite likely.

So let’s for a while think and get our priorities straight and maybe in the next elections make sure that whoever we choose has a clear cut agenda on this first and foremost need: ways to generate income. We can keep planning on how to spend this money later; let’s finally put the cart before the horse rather than doing otherwise. It seems our elected leaders (or even otherwise) have been acting quite irrationally throughout, and are still asking for our votes to do so again.

What could be a good policy to generate revenue? Can it be: taxing the citizens? I am not a financial expert but yes, taxes are arguably the foremost method to collect revenue and have been so for ages. However in the present situation there seem to be taxes on everything except probably breathing (or maybe even on that). It seems quite an immoral act to keep putting load on an already overburdened citizen. We have been penalized by taxes of all forms: like taxes on electricity, gas, water and everything we buy, to income, wealth, and almost everything else. The tax to income ratio is quite ridiculous, keeping in view the expensive cost of living in Pakistan today.

So what could be the best way to increase earning? That is the million (or trillion) dollar question our leaders of today; and potential leaders of tomorrow should be answering. PTI whenever confronted gives accountability of leaders and control of corruption as an answer. This may be at best a secondary solution, as it doesn’t provide an answer as to how generation of funds can be brought about. Does making roads (or their network) seem a reasonable solution, as PML (N) implies? It may help transport of goods and control traffic but it still seems an indirect or secondary solution.

A plausible solution seems to be an increase in export for which our Industry needs to be strengthened, and export increased, as well as import decreased (by self reliance). This will directly generate revenue in the form of taxes which will provide the necessary capital to build hospitals, provide primary and secondary education. So if we need to strengthen our Industrial base what should Pakistan be doing? It should be creating a suitable environment to attract investors. We should be generating cheap electricity for the industry, which will happen only when surplus electric power is generated. We need a secure and terrorism free state where the state guarantees uninterrupted supply of material to and from the Industry. Obviously roads and their networks will come in handy, and so will plugging of monetary leaks due to corruption. Low wage trained and untrained labor will be a must. Initially there need to be established: tax free zones, to encourage investors. But is there any policy at hand today? Or has any such policy been developed and planned for by anyone? At least I’ve never heard of it. Is there anyone among us (voters) who has the courage to ask all these darn politicians, who seem to be working on personal agendas: how should Pakistan generate income? Pakistan needs to learn how to earn; this should be our first priority. It’s the mother of all solutions.

The Root Cause Behind Unemployment of Electrical Engineers in Pakistan

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Engineers, especially Electrical Engineers, are facing a job crisis in Pakistan. They normally have above average intelligence levels and are high scorers in High School; a fact, in my opinion, which in itself has played a major role in the unemployment issue at hand.

About a decade ago a Dr. Atta ur Rehman, Ex-Federal Minister and Ex-Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), made a decision to follow India and send a humongous number of Graduates for PhD abroad. The decision was approved by the then one man show/regime of President General Musharraf; following which: hundreds of graduates were sent abroad without proper planning.

More or less anyone and everyone who applied got a scholarship from the Pakistani government. There were no checks and balances as to which field of study they were applying for. No one analyzed which field of study was required and would give benefit to Pakistan in future. The result was total chaos and young people went abroad rudderless; deciding specialization areas purely on their whims. Most successful in getting scholarships were people who had excelled in academics (which was the only criterion set by the HEC) and had the will to keep on studying. Primarily, these were Electrical Engineers, who excel far above all; followed by Computer Scientists.

Planners never bothered to make sure that the people who went for PhDs abroad were either evenly divided among all fields of study or were at least concentrated in an area in which we could see Pakistan excel above all other countries and develop trademark excellence. In fact it wouldn’t be wrong to say that there was a complete void of technical planning while investing such huge amount of resources.

The result was an enormous amount of PhDs coming back to Pakistan, in an attempt to fulfill their bonds (set by HEC). Most of them belonged to Electrical Engineering and its sister field Computer Sciences. Even among those who were related to these fields came back with a specialization in Telecommunications; why, because Telecom was the buzz word when they left Pakistan. The result was a huge investment in the Telecom sector with no need of research and development, as Pakistan could only afford service-providers and system-integrators here. Vendors never did any manufacturing in this country because of the volatile/hostile terrorism-filled environment and huge power shortage issues that all governments miserably failed to address. It needs to be mentioned here that Pakistan still suffers from a huge void in PhDs in fields like Power Engineering and Electrical Machine Design. Hence this huge investment failed to fulfill even the holistic requirements of Electrical Engineering let alone other departments of Engineering or for that matter: Sciences, Arts, Humanities, Medical Sciences, Defense Studies, International Relations, and Business Studies etc.

These highly qualified PhDs were forced to work in Universities due to a lack of Research and Development centers in Pakistan. When investors realized that education was becoming an industry, everyone started opening up Institutes with Electrical Engineering as their primary field of study owing to ease of faculty availability and a very small investment required to start the program and an abundance of naive parents who wanted their children to be Engineers. Even universities with a primary focus on learning of Languages opened up departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. With no proper check on the quality and utility of graduates produced, these Institutes became the makers of jobless electrical engineers and computer scientists. No less than 20-30 Universities/Institutes in Islamabad alone produce a batch of 100 to 200 electrical engineers and computer scientists each, and that too within a year.

Unfortunately the problem was not limited to young graduate engineers not getting jobs because of a lack of Industry which could utilize their skill set; it also trickled into joblessness for Mid-Career Engineers. Firms employing Mid-Career/middle-managerial staff saw these entry level engineers as a way to bring down OPEX. They fired middle-management, raised an experienced lower management resource on a lower salary and then hired a fresh graduate; all this because the level of technical work required was not very advanced.

All in all, as far as my assessment goes: this ill planned program started by the government decades ago has brought nothing but unemployment to Pakistan.


The Need of Quality Control in Pakistan

downloadThere is a severe deficiency in the quality of products manufactured and circulated in Pakistan today, may it be in medicine, electronics or everyday consumer products. Citizens suffer extensively because no quality standards are followed by the industry here. Even multinational companies, who follow international quality standards throughout the world, do not adhere to such standards while working in Pakistan in a race to earn more money. As a recent example Nestle in India has been banned to vend instant noodles because they found the product to contain unacceptable amounts of Lead. I have not heard of any authorities in Pakistan doing similar tests on this product, or for that matter any product. In Electronics, LCD and LED screens are being sold and manufactured here, but no radiation control or testing of permissible levels of radiation is ever done in Pakistan. Similar is the case with Microwave Ovens. Cars are being manufactured and sold in Pakistan without meeting any quality or safety standards. There are no airbags in any models of Honda or Toyota being manufactured here. Neither are there any metal safety beams reinforcing doors to provide security to passengers in case of an impact from the side.

In my opinion, assuring quality is a way of providing justice to the public who normally pay high prices for different products today. If followed in letter and spirit, the general public will feel safer and more secure when justice is provided at this level by the government. It will generate a sense of responsibility among individuals to adhere to principles, rather than running for shortcuts and demolishing all standards of safety and regulation in the process. It will also open the international markets to products made in Pakistan by increasing their competitiveness.

It is normally assumed that the best solution is to let the consumer decide which product to buy on the “visible quality” of things. This however is a very irresponsible approach. The average consumer can in most cases never understand the hazards of consuming say for example an incorrectly produced medicine? Also in Pakistan there are trends of companies getting together to create a monopoly, where they all degrade the quality of a product whose competition is very small? Hence the consumer, in most cases, is neither literate enough nor competent to judge the quality of a product.

The question remains as to how quality can be controlled? The best possible way in my mind is to set up a quality assurance cell in all organizations at the national level, as a start. These organizations should have the mandate to promote, monitor and control the quality of products falling in their domain. Companies producing products whose standards fall short should be reprimanded and/or their production suspended for a specified time period. Government Servants/Staff should be sent abroad for International Certifications in Quality Assurance and Control. Quality should then be enforced strictly with penalties levied at any and all non-compliance.