June 23, 2017


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* This is an entry for the June Blog of the Month Competition

In times of distress, many of us make attempts to find solutions in the very dunya that actually caused that calamity to  us.
We look for temporary comforts in worldly objects which have the potential to break us again.
On the other hand , some of us find relief in medication and counselling. These too are not useful after some time.
Some of us surround ourselves with sympathetic ears and simply lose hope.
At the end we derail from the righteous path.
 Allah rabbul izzat has provided us with the best relief of all-Prayer: "And seek help through patience and prayer and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah)"
Quran. Chapter 2,verse 45
So, He is the Almighty, the Creator and the Sustainer of this universe. So who better to seek ease from pain and hardship than Him? Who better to call upon than Him?

Prayers heal magically.

Allah SWT says "Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, the hearts are assured" Al Qur'aan Chapter 13, verse 28.

Dr. Andrew Newsberg of the University of Pennsylvania, studied brain wave activity during prayer and found a direct impact on several locations of brain. The benefits of prayers are incredible!

Regular daily prayers halt the frontal lobe from shrinking with age, which is the part of the brain that regulates our speaking, reading and memory; therefore, helping prevent memory loss in old age.
High  activity was found in the anterior cingulate, the location that regulates our connectivity to others. A high activity in this part of the brain means a healthier and happier person. Our self-awareness is found in the parietal lobe, the overuse of which causes feelings of isolation and loneliness, and the limbic system is where negative emotions are stimulated. Prayer deactivates both of these areas of the brain, removing the negative emotions and allowing us to benefit from the frontal lobe and anterior cingulate. This results in a happier, healthier and longer life.

Prayer is a form of meditation. It is a self-help tool to bring us in a state of tranquility.

The muazzin calls "Hayya Alalfalaah" meaning 'come for success'. People who diligently follow the command are indeed the ones fortunate enough to be considered for Allah's greatest gift.

But what are Allah's greatest gifts? The rewards in akhirah for the ones who observed salah regularly are promised by Allah SWT repeatedly in the Qur'aan. The question arises that how salah brings our derailed life back on track?

Miraculously, right from the start of ablution to the end, salah proves itself to be healing both for soul and body. Washing and rinsing  parts of the body thrice, not only washes the dirt away, but also protects us from the lethal diseases.

According to Quran, salah removes away all the sins leaving a pure soul behind. Then, as soon as one begins namaz, he is entitled to submit himself to the Creator. His niyyah, rukooh, sajdah, qayyam and supplication prove to be yeilding for his body in all aspects. The soul purifies itself from all the agitation and stews. Above all, the ups and downs, and the asperities  in one's life are resolved. Allah Rabbul Izzat ameliorates the tousled and sloppy situations. Such penetrative results of salah have been proven, and , as a Muslim, we believe that there should be no doubt about it in any manner.

- Ayesha Shakeel (Class of 2018)

June 23, 2017

Prayer: the light of heaven and Earth

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* This is an entry for the June Blog of the Month Competition

Prayer: the best gift which the creator has bestowed upon His creation. The most alluring thing about prayer is that everyone is this world prays. Whether  you call Him Buddha, God or Bhagwan; He answers everyone.
Prayer has a special importance in a Muslim's life as prayer is the most powerful weapon for a Muslim. Whenever we are distressed or disappointed we pray because we know that He is the listener of hearts. No matter we pray by opening our hands or placing our heads on grounds, it consoles us. Prayers can turn the most hopeless situations of our lives to most beautiful situations. Prayers can make the impossible things happen but who prays ought to have a strong faith. The prayer of Ibrahim(A.S) made the fire cold; the prayer of Hazrat Hajira made the water spring out, the prayer of Musa(A.S) made pharaoh drowned up in the sea, and the prayer of P.B.U.H made Muslims victors despite of their little strength.
Allah says "I hear and answer the prayer of the suppliant".
Prayer can do miracles .It can even change destiny.
Without prayer, life might be meaningless as it connects the creator with His creation.
Prayer: the light of heaven and earth.

- Maria Uppal (Class of 2020)

June 22, 2017

Prayer, a Divine Bond

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* This is an entry for the June Blog of the Month Competition

Silent whispers through the air spinning up high
Followed by lusters in the sky
Reaching across throughout the trees Creating a beautiful scene
Shining beyond what man knows
Lightning such darkness
These are prayers that cut down the shadows of despair.
- Medison
We all offer prayers ever day. We have plenty of our wishes we tell Allah every day. We are happy when prayers are heard and sad when we don't get results of our prayers, isn't it so? But have you ever thought what does the word Prayer means; what it signifies and why we all put our so much faith in it? Word prayer means communion, talk, supplication. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to Allah!

He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. Cell phones and other devices have become a necessity in today’s society. We have smartphones, Bluetooth devices and computers! These are means of communication that allow two or more people to interact, discuss, and respond to one another. Such is the prayer for talking to our Lord Almighty Allah. When we pray, we talk to Him, we praise Him, we ask Him what we wish for. Prayer and praise have deep relation. For prayer, praise is important, without praising Him, prayer will be incomplete. It’s natural to express praise for that which we enjoy.

Delight goes hand in hand with praise. When something or someone thrills us, we are compelled to express it. The enjoyment is not really complete until we do. The “Wow!” follows the pleasure like the rumble of thunder follows the lightening flash. Allah, Our Lord, Our saviour, Our creator, blessed us with countless joys, favours and all sorts of things we can wish for. He ordered the sun to keep us warm, He ordered winds to blow to comfort us, He ordered animals like cattle to serve us ,He made us superior to all creatures, He facilitated us in all walks of life. He does not ask for anything in return. What we owe Him is to praise Him for His blessings through our prayers, to strengthen the bond between us and our Lord. Although there is no constraint upon a Muslim on how to invoke Allah Almighty, however, Salah (namaz) is the preferred means of doing so as when a person worships Allah he or she develops a connection with Allah and any invocation within that or after that connection is bound to be accepted by Allah more compared to invocation done in any other circumstance. In Quran, Allah Almighty says:

Allah is With Those Who Offer Namaz and Stay Patient:
“O you who have believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (2:153)

Therefore, a Muslim must use prayers as a means of invocation and ask Allah Almighty for help and assistance in any difficulty or worry. Not offering prayer is actually falling into the prey of Satan, whereas those who try to offer and establish prayer are actually resisting his temptation and when these temptations are resisted for long the result is one not falling prey to Satan ever again on any forefront.
In a nutshell, those who learn and read Quran on a regular basis are familiar with the importance of prayer and how strongly has Allah Almighty emphasized on it and explained its importance to the people in Quran. A Muslim must realize that above anything,Prayer is an obligation and every Muslim has to fulfill his or her obligation. It is through prayers we can solidify our connection with the Lord of all worlds and win His Happiness. Let us all think about it and offer our prayers honestly and regularly for the purity of our souls.

O' Allah, 
I pray to You 
with a heavy heart
and brittle bones
please let confidence
unfold like flowers
that sprout between my ribs
please take the butterflies 
out of my stomach
because they crowd it
and make me sick
please fill my mind with the knowledge
that Your love is stronger than
all of the hate that fills the earth
please inscribe on my flesh
that You have a perfect plan for me,
and with You I can conquer
all of my doubts, all of my worries
please never let me forget
what You have done for me
please hold my hand
while on this wearisome journey
and allow me to find life in Your happiness
- Maranda Spotser

- Arwa Nehdia (Class of 2020)

June 21, 2017

The Comprehensive USMLE Guide For Pakistani Medical Students (Part 5: UWorld)

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UWORLD specializes in providing effective question banks covering all topics found on USMLE Exams written by practicing physicians who excelled in the USMLE exams. UWORLD’s USMLE Step 1 Question Bank (Q-Bank) has 2,350 questions and costs $129 for 30 days and up to $599 for 2 years. UWORLD also provides Q-Banks with practice exams for an additional fee.

Free Trial

UWORLD provides a 10-question free sample test for users to test out the platform and product.

Progress Tracker

UWORLD tracks users’ progress and compares individual test scores, the average of other users, and the user’s cumulative performance. Each individual question also shows the percentage of people that chose each answer option. 
Customer Service and Feedback
UWorld has a link to FAQs, forums for each exam, and 24/7 customer service via email.


UWORLD is the most similar (of these three) to the actual exam. The calculator, laboratory values and even the coloring of the program mirror the test.
The Q-bank also has “timed,” “tutor” and “timed tutor” modes.
How to use:
If you’re studying for STEP 1 by just pouring over FA and not using a Q-bank (most preferably UW) then you’ve making a huge mistake. The thing is First Aid is a very difficult book to understand and commit to memory plus all the facts in FA aren’t examined on STEP1 in a straight forward manner. You’ll need to apply the info you’ve attained from FA, and you wont be able to do that until understand the material and UW is an excellent Q-bank. It will not only prepare you to apply FA but also prep you up to answer the clinical vignettes in STEP1 efficiently. You need to be used to read the questions, understand what they’re asking, take that bit of info out of your brain and then apply it, all in the space of 1 minute and 18 seconds. Many students say that the vignettes they encountered in the exam are on the exact same pattern they’re encountered in UW. If you can afford it I’d suggest you take an online 6 months subscription and integrate it in your study schedule. Otherwise you can get it offline.
However, You should not do USMLE World OFFLINE for the following reasons:

1) It's outdated and they have changed many of the questions since the most recent offline version.
2) It's illegal and considered a crime in the United States which is the country where you want to build your future in.
3) It has no means of assessing your performance and it does not compare you to other UW takers.
4) If you want to do offline than online, then you will ruin you on online USMLE World as many concepts are repeated but in a different style and so this renders your practice invalid.
5) You cannot do timed blocks and this is very important to have adequate practice for the exam.
6) You cannot do subject-wise questions and so you miss the opportunity of hitting on your weak subjects.
Try to complete it once at least. Annotate the new facts you encounter and review them to commit them to memory. UWorld is a huge question bank and it will take commitment from your side to complete it. Once you’ve done one question read the explanations carefully, annotate if its something new. Read the answers of questions even if you got them right. The explanations are amazing and you’ll be learning loads. Most students read one section of FA and then do the questions in UW on that section. For example: you’ll read cardiology from FA and then do the cardiology portion from UW to assess your mastery of the topic. This is a great tool to point out your weaknesses and strength. Once you’ve pinpointed a weakness work on it until it becomes your strength.
Source: USMLE Forums

June 19, 2017

"Prayer" - A Poem

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* This is an entry for the June Blog of the Month Competition

When you feel
You are in pain
And you feel
Life is vain
When you feel
You are hopeless
And you feel
You are useless
When you feel
You need some help
Help that lessens your stress
Help that makes you feel fresh

When you feel
You need some light
Light which guides  you
And helps you see brighter side

When you feel
You need some peace
A peace of mind And peace of heart
A peace that keeps your worries apart

When you feel
You need some hope
Hope for life
Hope to survive

You just need to do one thing,
In your life a miracle to bring
You just need to knock at one door with trust
All your prayers will be accepted must

- Sana Ghaffar (Class of 2017)