Monday, December 31, 2007

Happiness for Sale

Mike Ghouse, December 31,2007

A sale transaction requires consideration for exchange of products and services. The consideration in buying happiness is your effort. Happiness is on Sale, it is on sale, because the effort required is minimal against the gain. Though a lopsided transaction, the supply is plentiful and does not take away anything from anyone but enrich every one with a heart felt smile.

Remember the last time you helped someone? You got some one up when he or she fell and you were thanked profusely for that act of kindness, do you recall that joy? You were beaming and your fellow workers and friends wanted to know what it was; you humbly shared the small experience.

Do you recall the twinkle in your eyes and wanted to praise those two that made the national news recently? When a man fell on the tract in New York subway, the other man jumped to save his life risking his own. Then a Bangladeshi student stood up against the bullies who beat up the subway passengers who wished Happy Hanukkah to that bully.

Life becomes meaningful and powerful when you do things for others; it is the anecdote against sorrow that surrounds us from time to time. That is the wisdom in Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jain, Jewish, Native religions, Shinto, Sikh, Wicca, Zoroastrian and other faiths – living for the sake of others, a proven formula for happiness.

Way back in 1978, my Peugeot 504 failed me on a Saudi Freeway to Dhahran, I stood there in 116 degrees heat waving at every vehicle that drove on a full throttle going over 140 MPH. I was dying with thirst and blisters were all over my lips and my face, I looked like some one from the western movies. The drivers, who wanted to stop, could not do so within a walking range. After nearly five hours of eternity, a man finally stopped and drove his Toyota truck the full half mile in reverse. His Burqa Clad wife was with him on the passenger’s side and in the back were a couple of goats and sheep. I was imagining sitting with the goats and started feeling faintly, but he pulled his wife closer to him and asked me to hop in that little Toyota. I was too tired to worry where I was going. He gave me the life giving water and drove.

We barely communicated with my minimal Arabic and his English, we went to his home some where in the outer rim of the town of Abqaiq. His family brought in the tea and other refreshments followed by a huge dinner with several of his friends. He had one of his friends haul off my car and was getting it fixed; the fuel injection vehicles don’t work very well in that kind of heat. I had purchased that Car from Nick Gruev, an Albanian American friend out of Houston.

The Sheikh’s friends came were fixing the Hubbly Bubbly (Huqqa) and passing it between their friends, I was dreading to put that thing in my mouth should it come to me, sure enough it did and reluctantly I pretended puffing it. Around 8 PM, his mechanic friend drove up with my car.

As I was ready to leave, I thanked Shaikh Ahmed Al-Sabah profusely and pulled my wallet to pay, he pushed my hand and said “Aqhi, you are my guest and don’t even think of it.” I pleaded, it was the greatest favor a stranger has done to me and I asked, how I can pay.

He looked at me intently and asked, would you promise me something? In gratitude I said yes, but shuddered what now? He took time and looked at me again and said these life changing words to me “Next time, if you see some one needing help, would you stop and help?” I eagerly said Yes, satisfied; he asked again, are you sure? I gave an emphatic yes, to which he said, “Alhamdu Lillah (praise the lord) that is my reward.

I buy happiness at every nook and corner; it is very satisfying to see other people in their full human form when they give their beautiful smile. A genuine smile is the most beautiful thing on the earth, nothing compares to it.

Every day, you have those opportunities. Make an effort in doing things for others and see how easy it is to be happy.

Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder:

Push yourselves to be prejudice free against people from every meeting, incident, TV shows, and work or news items that you come across.
Find excuses to greet other people and wish them well, don’t worry what they think of you, just do it and see the response and counter response.
Work on bringing humility and fight off every thought and action that gives you the idea that your race, faith, nation, culture, language or life style is superior to others.
Commit to yourselves that your words and actions do not flare up conflicts, but mitigate them.
Commit yourselves that you are going to do your share of living for others, for starters one hour a week will enrich you with joy.
It does not take any money; it is your goodwill that brings you the joy. It is yours to keep and is on sale.

Best wishes for 2008



Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the Foundation for Pluralism and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion and civic issues. He is the founding president of World Muslim Congress with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at or (214) 325-1916

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.