Salat

April 26, 2007
Salat is one of the five pillars of Islam, it is a most important constituent of the faith. It is prayer of a very high level. The Holy Quran repeatedly enjoins the offering of salat and indeed declares it to be a fundamental trait of a believer. The benefits of salat are countless. The Holy Quran says:
“And enjoin Prayer on thy people, and be constant therein. We ask thee not for provision; it is We that provide for thee. And the end is for the righteous”.
 
Salat strengthens man’s spiritual faculties. It is the best way to form a relationship with one’s Creator. It purifies one’s spirit, and through it, constant remembrance of Allah delivers one of the self that incites to evil.
 
God created man to worship Him and salat is the most excellent kind of worship.
The Holy Quran also says:
“Recite that which has been revealed to thee of the Book, and observe Prayer. Surely, Prayer restrains one from indecency and manifest evil, and remembrance of Allah indeed is the greatest virtue. And Allah knows what you do.” (29:46)
 
Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that he heard the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be on him, say:
“Tell me if one of you had a stream running at his door and he should take a bath in it five times every day would any dirt be left upon him? He was answered: No dirt would be left on him. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be on him) observed: This is the case of the five prayers. Allah wipes out all faults in consequence of them.” (Bukhari)
 
As for the punishment of not observing the salat, all matters of reward and punishment rest solely with Allah.
 
Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that he heard the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, say:
“Giving up prayer is tantamount to disbelief and associating partners with Allah.” (Muslim)
 
Five Daily Prayers
Salat, the obligatory Muslim prayer, is said at appointed time fixed in relation to the sun’s position. The time of Fajr, the morning prayer begins at dawn and ends just before sunrise. The time of Zuhr, the midday prayer, begins after the sun has crossed the zenith point and has begun to decline. The Asr prayer is said when the sun has further advanced in decline, in the late afternoon. The time of the Maghrib prayer begins immediately after sunset. It lasts till dusk. The Isha prayer can be said after dusk has finally disappeared, giving way to darkness of the night.

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Google’s New Mantra: Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

April 24, 2007

Google, which generates billions of dollars from online advertising, is racing to bring consumer services like search to the phone. Its rivals in this field include Yahoo Inc., which has made strides in the fast-emerging mobile Web market, and Microsoft Corp., which bought voice-recognition technology company Tellme Networks Inc. last month. SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – “Mobile, mobile, mobile” were the words of Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt this week when asked what technologies are most intriguing to the computer Web search leader.

“The biggest growth areas are clearly within the mobile space,” Schmidt said during a question-and-answer session at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

Pay-per-click advertising tied to Web search results erupted into a multibillion-dollar industry within a few years, and Internet companies hope mobile phone services will follow a similar growth trajectory.

ABI Research forecast global mobile marketing and advertising to increase sixfold to $19 billion by 2011 from an estimated $3 billion by the end of 2007.

Google, which controls nearly 50 percent of the U.S. Web search market, is not necessarily a lock to carry over its success on the computer screen to the mobile phone.

“One of the big game changers is mobile,” said Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, a publisher of several popular lines of technology manuals for software programmers.

“Google’s dominance in search is dependent on this idea that we sit, typing away at a keyboard to look up information,” he said, “but we are in for some huge disruptive upsets.”

Improved voice-recognition technology and the inclusion of global positioning system chips into mobile phones open the door for new applications to help users find relevant information wherever they find themselves.

In addition, improvements in handset technology make today’s cell phone capable of doing almost as much as computers of a decade ago.

NEXT-GENERATION COMPUTING

Last month, Yahoo introduced a new Internet search system to deliver locally relevant answers to mobile phone users’ questions in fewer steps than Google. Subjects include news headlines, business listings, local weather and links to other Web sites.

Yahoo has signed deals to feature its software on four of the world’s top five mobile handset makers.

Tellme Chief Executive Mike McCue said the pace of innovations on the mobile phone was five to 10 times faster than the computer.

“There are incredible breakthroughs happening,” McCue said in an interview. “The phone is a place-holder name for the next-generation computing device.”

Microsoft bought Tellme in a deal sources say is valued at more than $800 million, its largest acquisition in five years.

At the heart of Tellme’s appeal is a voice-recognition database that allows the company to predict what information callers are seeking and decipher many different accents and dialects.

Initially, mobile search will serve as an alternative to 411 directory assistance service, which costs as much as $1.85 for every call.

Earlier this month, Google also began offering voice-activated directory assistance. At the time, O’Reilly speculated in his blog that Google started the free service at least in part to build its own speech database.

Industry watchers and company executives recognize the inherent difference between search on a computer and on a mobile phone. Search on a computer can be a browsing activity for research, while mobile search is more about finding information and then acting on it.

“We are in the very earliest days of this,” said McCue. “It’s not about taking the existing PC model and way of thinking and moving it over to the phone.”

The business model of search on a mobile phone will also differ from the pay-per-click model of a computer, he said. Users may be willing to be billed for a subscription for unlimited search.

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard)

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http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2119561,00.asp

AMD Outlines Restructuring Plan After Loss

April 22, 2007

By Bryan Gardiner Advanced Micro Devices reported dramatic losses in first quarter revenues, which executives called unacceptable. AMD also delivered a rough draft of a restructuring plan that will return the company to its former status, executives said.

AMD recorded operating and net losses of $504 and $611 million, respectively, or $1.11 per share. AMD recorded revenue of $1.23 billion, down 30 percent from the fourth quarter and 7 percent from a year ago.

That larger-than-expected loss was the topic of a conference call Thursday afternoon where Dirk Meyer, president and chief executive of AMD, said that AMD would be undertaking some major restructuring efforts to deal with what he described as “an increasingly complex CPU business.”

“After 14 consecutive quarters of gaining share in the CPU business, the first quarter was a major setback in the strategic transformation of our company,” Meyer said during the call. “But we know, the only way to get healthy is to fully understand our problems and fix them.”

Those problems, according to Meyer, had mainly to do with “growing pains,” pricing pressures, and some “mix and delivery issues.” During the call, he said that with AMD’s past success has come increasing complexity in the form of more customers, more channels, and more businesses.

Read the rest of this story at ExtremeTech: “AMD Outlines Restructuring Plan After Loss”

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2118961,00.asp

Microsoft: Samsung Deal Could Improve Xbox, Zune

April 21, 2007

By Chloe Albanesius The patent agreement that Microsoft and Samsung Electronics signed Thursday morning will be used to enhance Microsoft’s consumer electronics hardware with Samsung’s CE knowhow, Microsoft executives said.

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Microsoft will gain access to Samsung patents relating to digital media and computer-related inventions, while Samsung will be privy to Microsoft patents that can be used in Samsung products like computers, set-top boxes, digital media players, camcorders, televisions, printers and home appliances, the two companies said.

Executives from both companies said the deal signifies the convergence of the PC and consumer-electronics industries.

Related StoryHave you heard about Microsoft’s $3 software package?

Microsoft and Samsung are heavily invested in research and development, so it makes sense that the two companies “leverage the ideas of one another,” said David Kaefer, general manager of IP and licensing at Microsoft. “Mutual customers are looking for devices for similar features and functionality, so we have to partner up and leverage the R&D expertise.” Kaefer pointed to Microsoft products like the Xbox gaming system, the Zune MP3 player and Windows-based PCs as those “that can stand to benefit” from the Samsung deal. Microsoft reportedly has a flash-based Zune MP3 player in the works, although the company has declined to comment.

The lines are blurring between TV, video and phone and it has become increasingly difficult to be the sole enterprise researching a particular technology, Kaefer said. “One of the big subtexts of this announcement is that of device convergence. In software, there are so many patents, and people are innovating the same things.”

Kaefer acknowledged that “patents are pretty abstract” so this deal will not likely find Microsoft and Samsung officials hunkered down in a lab amidst bubbling beakers and beeping gizmos.

“When you have huge portfolios with thousands of patents, [Microsoft] wants to know that they might have some raw freedom to look at a Samsung device – to look at the functionality and how it performs and try to mimic it,” he said. “If anything, it removes one hurdle for engineers to learn from one another.”

Samsung, meanwhile, plans to harness Microsoft’s IPTV expertise.

“We felt the need for an extra boost in our existing software technologies. Convergence of broadcasting and IT will demand new services, features and functionalities, [like] IPTV,” said Shung Hyun Cho, senior vice president of Samsung’s Digital Media R&D Center, in a statement provided by a Samsung repreentative. “Through this patent collaboration with Microsoft, Samsung will use Microsoft’s advanced IT/software technologies to enhance Samsung’s software for future products.”

Hyun Cho acknowledged that the deal could serve to avoid future legal battles. “The lines are blurring between the consumer electronics and IT industry, so without proactive collaboration in advance, one cannot avoid possible disputes in the future,” he said.

The companies did not reveal the financial details of the deal.

The agreement is “an indication that there are some areas within consumer products that Microsoft is interested in,” said Crawford Del Prete, an analyst with IDC. “Samsung isn’t going to be a device company forever and as they look at software functionality, there are some indications that these worlds are coming together.”

“Samsung is really a powerhouse,” Del Prete said. “They have a significant number of patents and they’ve been steadily increasing. It really speaks to Microsoft looking beyond traditional” means of innovation, he said.

Ross Rubin, an analyst with NPD Group, views the announcement as a means to avoid litigation. “Patent licensing is a way for companies to avoid becoming embroiled in suits,” he said. “It opens the door to intellectual property that can be leveraged in products and Microsoft is clearly looking to leverage its investment in R&D as a bartering tool for use with other technology companies.”

Samsung officials were unable to respond by press time due to time zone differences.

Robert Doherty, a senior analyst with Envisioneering, said the arrangement is “mostly something that helps Microsoft build up its own patent portfolio.”

But Microsoft is also probably attracted to Samsung’s flash memory capabilities, possibly heralding a flash Zune, Doherty said. “Microsoft wants mobile PCs and that is cheaper with flash memory than disk drives,” he said. “There is no more strategic partner Microsoft could have.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 9:03 AM PDT on April 20, with comments from Samsung executives..

source :

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2116107,00.asp

Shahadah (Declaration of Faith)

April 21, 2007
A Muslim expresses his/her faith (Iman) in the following words:
Ash-hadu anla ilaha illal-Lahu Wahdahu la Sharika Lahu wa-ash-hadu anna Muhammadan abduhu wa rasuluhu
The English translation of the Shahadah is as follows:
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One, without any partner. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger.
The declaration of faith consists of two distinct parts, i.e., the absolute belief in the Unity of Allah (God) and the belief in the Holy Prophet Muhammad as a mortal human being and the Messenger of Allah.
Islam’s fundamental belief is the Unity of God. All other beliefs hang on this belief. Therefore the acknowledgement and ‘bearing witness’ of this is the key to the Muslim faith. Unless this is observed one cannot be a Muslim. A Muslim accepts Allah as the only God, and only Master, Lord and Ruler with no partner sharing in any way His Being, Powers and Attributes. He is One; He is Unique; He is not the father of any one, nor He has or had any father. He is Almighty and Self-Sustaining. He is there forever, and will be there forever.
A Muslim believes in Allah as the Ruler and must not disobey Him. In fact everything that exists in the universe obeys Him. He is the Fashioner of all the Universes that may exist.
The belief in the Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) as the servant and Messenger of Allah completes one’s faith. The Holy Prophet was the greatest of all the Prophets of Allah, yet he was only a human being with no share in Divinity. This is a very important belief that keeps Muslims from associating partners with Allah. This part of the Declaration of Faith where reinforces the first part of Allah being the only Supreme Being with no partners also establishes the absolute authority of the Holy Prophet as the Messenger of Allah, who must be obeyed as well in all the matters of faith. The Holy Prophet is the last prophet who brought us the last Book (the Holy Quran) to be followed. He lived among his people for a long time and his life is documented in utmost detail. He lead his followers by example. The way he lived his life and admonished his followers to live their lives is called Sunnah of the Holy Prophet. The second part of the Declaration of Faith makes obeying and following the advice of the Prophet Muhammad equally important to the belief in absolute Unity of Allah. This declaration make one to completely submit to the Will of Allah and that is why one who declares this belief is called a Muslim – one who completely submits to the will of Allah.

Pillars Islam

April 21, 2007
Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, relates that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “Islam is based on five articles:
 
1. To bear witness that there is none worthy of worship save Allah and that Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.
 
2. To observe Prayer (Salat).
3. To Pay Zakat (Alms giving)
4. To perform the Pilgrimage to the House of Allah (Hajj).
5. To Observe fasting during Ramadhan.” (Bukhari)
Abdullah ibn Amr bin Aas, may Allah be pleased with them, relates that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: 
 
“A Muslim is one against whose tongue and hands other Muslims are secure, and an Emigrant is one who departs from what Allah has forbidden.” (Bukhari)

Introduction to Islam

April 21, 2007
The literal meaning of Islam is peace; surrender of one’s will i.e. losing oneself for the sake of God and surrendering one’s own pleasure for the pleasure of God. The message of Islam was revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) 1, 400 years ago. It was revealed through angel Gabriel (on whom be peace) and was thus preserved in the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran carries a Divine guarantee of safeguard from interpolation and it claims that it combines the best features of the earlier scriptures.
 
The prime message of Islam is the Unity of God, that the Creator of the world is One and He alone is worthy of worship and that Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) is His Messenger and Servant. The follower of this belief is thus a Muslim – a Muslim’s other beliefs are: God’s angels, previously revealed Books of God, all the prophets, from Adam to Jesus (peace be on them both), the Day of Judgement and indeed the Decree of God. A Muslim has five main duties to perform, namely; bearing witness to the Unity of God and Muhammad (peace and blessings on him) as His Messenger, observing the prescribed prayer, payment of Zakat, keeping the fasts of Ramadhan and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.
 
Islam believes that each person is born pure. The Holy Quran tells us that God has given human beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God’s pleasure through faith, prayer and charity. Islam believes that God created mankind in His image and by imbuing the attributes of God on a human level mankind can attain His nearness. Islam’s main message is to worship God and to treat all God’s creation with kindness and compassion. Rights of parents in old age, orphans and the needy are clearly stated. Women’s rights were safeguarded 1,400 years ago when the rest of the world was in total darkness about emancipation. Islamic teachings encompass every imaginable situation and its rules and principles are truly universal and have stood the test of time.
 
In Islam virtue does not connote forsaking the bounties of nature that are lawful. On the contrary one is encouraged to lead a healthy, active life with the qualities of kindness, chastity, honesty, mercy, courage patience and politeness. In short, Islam has a perfect and complete code for the guidance of individuals and communities alike. As the entire message of Islam is derived from the Holy Quran and indeed the Sunnah and Hadith (the traditions and practices of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings on him) it is immutable in the face of change in time and place. It may appear rigid to the casual eye, in actual fact it is most certainly an adaptable way of life regardless of human changes.
 
Islam teaches that the path to spiritual development is open to all. Any individual who searches the One Creator can seek nearness to God through sincere and earnest worship; it is central to establishing a relationship with the Almighty. This positive message for humanity fills hearts with hope and courage.
 
At present there are 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide and they form the majority in more than 50 countries of the world. Today Islam is the fastest growing faith in the world – its beautiful message is reaching millions in the far corner of the earth.
 

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April 21, 2007

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