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The blame is not on the one who does not accept advice. Rather, it is on the one who presents it inappropriately


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Treating those under our authority

كل الناس يغدو: فبائع نفسه فمعتقها أو موبقها»
"Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin." Muslim

"If someone has his brother under his authority, he should feed him from what he eats and clothe him from what he wears and not burden him with anything that will be too much for him. If you burden him with what may be too much form him, then help him" Al-Adab Al-Mufrad

Man finds himself in either of the two situations, with authority or under authority and in any of these he's expected to have certain excellent behavioral qualities and good mannerism. This pertinent requirement was aptly emphasised by the Prophet of Islam 1400 years ago when he was molding the best of generations and if that was the case with those of high spiritual awareness then this generation is most deserving to inculcate this excellent virtue of kindness and humility.

In the second hadith referenced above, the Prophet (Pbuh) was admonishing a renown Companion Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA) on how to treat those under our authority (servants, maids, guards etc).

That we treat them (those under us) as our brothers, our equals, not to insult them, not to overburden them, not to make them inferior.

That we have others under our authority as guards, gardeners, housemaids, drivers those not make us any better. It's a test from Allaah.

There are two categories of people either pious or wretched. These could be found among those with authority and those under authority. Hence, the need to be kind and nice to those under our authority.

Ibn Hajar said all the Prophets of Allaah have the salient feature of humbleness, they were never arrogant nor proud.

In another hadith with a Saheeh Isnad recorded in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and in al-Adab al-Mufrad of Imam Al-Bukhari the Prophet (Pbuh) said "Help the worker in his work. He that works for Allaah (i.e..the servant) will not be disappointed."

‎What an excellent Prophet we have, teaching the Muslims to help those under their authority when executing the tasks given to them.

‎Agreed, you are paying the gardner to trim the flowers, but the Prophet of Islam said it's good to help him out sometimes in trimming also.

Agreed, the housemaid is on our payroll, but the Prophet of Islam encourages that we sometimes take the vacuum cleaner and do the cleaning ourselves.

Agreed, the mason and the laborer are under our payroll, but the Prophet of Islam encourages that we sometimes help in lifting the blocks. 

Shamusu bint Nu'man al-Ansariya (RA) she said the Prophet (Pbuh) carried stones that were used to build the first masjid at Quba by himself. Reference to the Hadith by at-Tabarani.

Undoubtedly, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) is the most honorable of all Allaah's creatures yet, he didn't find it below his dignity to carry block or to help out in the construction of masjidul Quba.

The Companions (RA) would see the Prophet lifting stone for building Masjid Quba and they will come to help and instead he will ask them to go and carry a similar stone and that was how the masjid was built.

Ni'mal Abd......if the millionaire and the billionaire will not find it below his dignity to help his servant in discharging certain tasks that will overburden him.

Helping the servants under our authority will not only make us beloved to Allaah but will also introduce unequalled humility in us.

The beauty of it is that if those under your authority see you doing their work they will be more diligent and more compassionate towards you thus eliminating betrayal.

Aswad bin Yazid once asked the mother of believers Aisha (RA) about the activities of the Prophet (Pbuh) whenever he is at home and office she said, he will busy himself with household chores. ‎ 

The Prophet that journeyed beyond Jibril (AS) in al-miraj never came home with a chip on his shoulder, he was accessible, he was humble, he was kind, caring and loving.

The Prophet had thousands of Companions (RA) and servants that were ever ready to respond to his demands 24/7 yet he would mend his own clothes. 

What an excellent virtue, if sometimes the Emir or the leader and the ruler sweeps his own living room, waters his own garden, sits with the servants. It is not impossible , the Prophet did more than that. 

The lesson is: No matter how blessed materially we are, we should always be humble and treat people with kindness no matter what.

penabdul@yahoo.com twitter: @amraabdul Instagram @penabdul

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Towering Bid'ah after Prophet's Censure

“This day I have perfected and completed your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” Q5:3
“Whoever introduces (innovates) anything into this matter of ours that is not from it shall have it rejected.” Bukhari and Muslim
Rationally, it becomes a futile exercise if an effort is made to add to the content of a container already filled, just as any attempt to add water, for example, to a filled cup will not only cause the content to spill over but also leads to a reduction in quantity of the original content.
And any insistence on adding to the content of already filled container will necessitate an initial reduction in the content to create space for the new addition and this affects the original content.
The biggest favor from Allaah to the Ummah (nation) of Muhammad (Pbuh) is that He has completed their religion for them, which makes them independent of any other religion or any other addition or subtraction whatsoever from anyone.
Therefore, the permissible is what the Prophet of Islam (Muhammad Pbuh) allows and the impermissible is what he prohibits 1400 years ago and these Laws are not to be vetoed by any other law till the Last Day.
When Allaah made an unequivocal statement regarding the completeness of Islam over 1400 years ago, there cannot be any other authority to counter his statement either through addition or subtraction.
A religion so perfectly completed that coming up with any innovation hiding under the pretext of worshiping Allaah is tantamount to accusing the Prophet (Pbuh) of not doing his job right as a Messenger of Allaah.
Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was sent with a mission and Allaah did not take him away from this world until after he had completed and perfectly delivered the message .
In essence, all that is worth being called Islamic was aptly taught and described to those who were with him to serve as a blueprint for the later generation and this was inspired to solve all problems of all eras hence, it was dated not to be outdated.
In the same regard, the Prophet (Pbuh) was very particular in warning this unique and best nation against introducing or innovating anything in this religion in whatever form.
Meanwhile, a foresighted scholar, Imam Shawkaani, in his 2nd volume of Nail al awtar, said the statement of “whoever introduces (innovates) anything into this matter of ours that is not from it shall have it rejected,” indicated that our ways should not contradict the way of life and beliefs that were being followed by the Prophet (Pbuh) and his Companions.
Undoubtedly, the obligation to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (Pbuh) is known fact while the prohibition of innovation is equally known. When a new matter is introduced in the religion then it can never be part of it.‎
And a question which often rings bell is if the Ummah (community) of today is free from innocently and most at times deliberately introducing new things in the religion despite the censure of such by the Prophet (Pbuh)?
By definition, what is innovation (Bid’ah in Arabic)? or how could we identify it, and how do we safeguard people against one?
Shaykh ul Islam ibn Taymiyah in the 12th volume of his compendium al-Fataawa said: “many of the disputes among people are due to unclear words and ambiguous meaning.”
To understand the concept of Bid’ah, the meaning from both lexical and religious contexts of it will shed more lights. While lexically, Bid’ah means coming up with something new irrespective of its mundane or spiritual affiliation religiously, it has more specific meaning.
Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen said: “ According to the Shareeah, Bid’ah is worshiping Allaah in ways that Allaah has not prescribed as deduced from the 21st verse of the 42nd chapter of the Qur’an “O have they partners with Allaah (false gods) who have instituted for them a religion which Allaah has not ordained.”
or it could also mean, worshipping Allaah in a manner contrary to those of the Prophet (Pbuh) or his rightly guided successors as deduced from the hadith of Abu Najih ‘Irbad bin Sariyah from Prophet (Pbuh) saying: “I urge you to adhere to my way (Sunnah) and the way of the rightly-guided successors who come after me. Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your eyeteeth (cling firmly to it) and beware of newly-invented matters.”
Similarly, Abu Ishaq Al-Shatibi in al-’itisam volume 1 page 37 said: “Bid’ah refers to an invented way of doing something in Islam that is similar to what is prescribed, of which the intention is to go to extremes in worshipping Allaah may He be glorified.”
Obviously, from the above definitions it could be understood that worldly inventions such as cars, aeroplanes, computers, mobile phones, washing machines, gas cookers are not among the condemned innovations.
The Islamic history and civilization is characterized and full of cultural and scientific ingenuity. We had Muslims who championed the course of modern innovations and inventions for example Abbas bin Firnas was a Muslim in 9th century C.E that invented the concept of aircraft as against the Wright brothers.
Islam encourages a holistic view of life and the universe in various places in the Qur’an. One of such verses is the 196th verse of the 3rd chapter where Allaah says: “behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.”
In conclusion of the first part of the series on Bid’ah, it is clear that Islam is stern and vociferous in condemning and discouraging innovation in religious matters while it encourages inventions and innovations in worldly matters that makes life better on planet earth.
To be continued in shaa Allaah. ‎
penabdul@yahoo.com Instagram:@penabdul Twitter:@amraabdul

Monday, 16 November 2015

Journey of the soul series: Death I

In the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. 

"Until, when death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord! Send me back. Perhaps I may do good in that which I left behind!" Q23:99-100
"Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition could receive it And the warner came to you." Q35:37
Life presents two sets of people, there are those that will make good use of the opportunities presented before them to earn the ultimate pleasure of Allaah thereby longing to meet him at the time of death while some will be so carried away by many worldly distractions that worshipping Allaah becomes difficult until when death approaches them and the realization will dawn on them of how much time they have wasted in frivolous pursuits. Alas, to this second category no respite will be given because many admonishers have admonished them on the importance of the preparation for the Hereafter but they heeded not.

Death puts an end to all the hopes and aspirations for prosperity in this life, its sudden and inescapable reality awes people and bring them to the realization of how less a value this world is. Death is the key to grave, and it is the starting point of a long journey to the Hereafter.

All humans are subjected to four stages viz a viz; the stage in which he was in the womb of his mother, the stage in which he lives in this world, the stage of existence in the Barzakh (a barrier closing off the next life from this life by which none can return after crossing it) and the final stage of the Last Day after which there will be no any other stage, wherein he either enters Jannah (Paradise) or Jahannam (Hell).

Shaykh ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen outlined these four stages in Sharh (commentary of) Hadeeth Jibril. 

It can be deduced from the above that man was non-existent (Q 76:1) then came the stage of existence as a fetus (Q 76:2) with weakness and deficiency, then came the stage in which he is completely formed (Q 76:2-3) ready to live in this world of uncertainties and fluctuating emotions riddled with happiness and sadness, then he migrates to a more stable life in the Barzakh (grave, the barrier between this life and the hereafter) wherein he stays in a sort of permanent condition (either resting perpetually or being punished perpetually) but even this will be interrupted when the Trumpet is blown into for the second time for the Final Hour when he will stand up for the Ultimate Judgement that will transfer him either to a better and ever lasting condition of enjoyment in the Paradise or one that will sentence him to the worst and everlasting condition of being a denizen of Hell.

Just as cars survive on fuel or electricity that's how man lives in this world by the virtue of the soul housed in his body. Death introduces the stage at which the soul becomes disconnected from the body - a transition from the temporary to the permanent.

Allaah says: "Everyone (but Allaah the Creator of all) shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned." Q29:57

Ibn Katheer in his exegesis of the above verse said that Allaah issues an all-encompassing statement to all His creations that wherever we are, death will catch up with us, so always obey Allaah and be where Allaah commands you to be, for this is better for you. Death is inevitable and there is no escape from it, and then you will return to Allaah, and whoever was obedient to Him will have the best reward.

Similarly, Allaah said in the 78th verse of the 4th chapter of the Qur'an that wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in a fortress built up strong and high!

What is the reality of the life of this world? In one verse Allaah tells us the synopsis of this life"......and the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment." Q57:20

The word 'Dunya' is from the root word 'Dana'a' (base, lowly) or 'Dunuw' (imminent, close) and this meaning alone should strike a sensitive nerve in everyone that has a sound and balanced understanding. 

This world is a pathway either a path to Jannah (Paradise) or a path to Jahannam (Hell), it is a garden in which man sows his seeds either to germinate in Jannah or to germinate in Jahannam. May Allaah save one and all from Hell.

It is often said that we could be passing our death spot everyday totally oblivious of it but the time has been decided, the spot has been identified and Allaah will surely accomplish His purpose. Man is busy with how to improve his health, how to increase his income, how to consolidate his power and authority, how to remain relevant but he seldom bring death to the equation. 

How can man be so carried away and relegate the dreadful death to the tail end? Indeed, Allaah has spoken the truth when He said it perfectly in the 1st and 2nd verses of the 102nd chapter of the Qur'an that: "The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you, Until you visit the Graves (till you die)."

Our most beloved Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) said in a hadith recorded by at-Tirmidhi in his Sunan on the strength of Anas (RA) that: "Remember much the destroyer of pleasures (death). Imam Qurtubi said: "Our scholars may Allaah have mercy upon them said that the above Hadith is short but inclusive of a great reminder--but our hearts have become heedless that we need constant reminder about death otherwise - this Hadith and the verse of Al-Imran (Q3:185) is enough for those who listen and reflect."

Death introduces itself with pains and untold agonies of which none can escape from, not even the most beloved of Allaah was spared. The Hadith of Aisha (Ra) in Kitaabul Maghazi in Sahih al-Bukhari confirms this: "The Prophet (Pbuh) will dip his hand in a bowl of water and will rub his forehead with it saying: "Laa ilaha illa Allaah! Verily death comes with agonies."

Death has humbled tyrannical rulers, it has shattered hopes, it has brought down financial empires and kingdoms, it has silenced the arrogant ones, it has introduced the sinners and the heedless ones to the domicile of severe punishment yet it has put an end to the pains of others by introducing them to the Ultimate Pleasure of Allaah Who is pleased with their good deeds.

Man lives under two conditions of death, he either goes into his house never to come out (alive) again or he goes out of his house never to come in (alive) again. What have we in store for the preparation for the visitor that can never be denied entry (angel of death) into our homes?

In the Hadith of Anas (RA) recorded by both Bukhari and muslim that a man asked the Prophet (Pbuh) about the Hour. He said: When will the Hour be? He (Pbuh) said: "What have you prepared for it?"  we see clearly that it is imperative for us to always be in the anticipation of death by preparing for it with sound Iman and good deeds.

I end with two statements from our pious predecessors regarding death. 

At-Tameemi one of the pious predecessors said: "Two things prevented me from enjoying life; remembering death and remembering the questioning in front of Allaah."

Obviously, Islam does not forbid us from enjoying our lives but it emphasizes on legitimate means of enjoyment.

Imam Shafi'i said: "Some have died but their good character has kept them alive while others are alive but their evil character has killed them."

We could be next on the death list of the angel of death....do good before you expire. 

penabdul@yahoo.com Instagram: @penabdul Twitter: @amraabdul

Saturday, 7 November 2015

The finishing line

In the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.   

"When (will come) the Help of Allah?" Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!" Q2:214   
As humans, we cannot change our destiny but we can choose to be happy with our destiny however it turns out to be. When Allaah created the Pen, He commanded it to write, so it wrote down the decrees of all things including what's  going to be ours and what isn't. In reference to the hadith in Abu Dawud authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawud.‎

At what point does someone know that something wasn't written for him or her? The answer is simply just after the finishing line but not at the finishing line. 

This assertion if true, then dictates that man should not lose hope and neither should he despair when asking Allaah for anything that doesn't seem forthcoming because to Allaah, His Promise is bounding never to be overwhelmed by the "like" or the "dislike" of the entire human race. 

The point here is, a lot of people have been praying to Allaah to rescue them from certain situation or to make a favorable decision on their behalf on certain issues even when the finishing line seem very tight and close and as such some might be unsettled inwardly with the thought of "Am I really going to have my request granted by Allaah because the tunnel is only getting darker and the wind seem to be blowing in the opposite direction in which the boat is sailing." 

But amazingly we have not taken time or rather we have not appreciated the fact that Allaah has a Sunnah (pattern and way of doing things as He wills) and this sunnah He has shown its manifestation in the lives of those that are most beloved to Him and these are none other than His prophets (AS). ‎
"And Allaah does what He Wills" Q14: 27

So no change will you find in Allaah's Sunnah (way of dealing), and no turning off will you find in Allaah's Sunnah (way of dealing) Q35:43

To substantiate this claim, we will find in the 21st chapter of the Qur'an the amazing story of the friend of Allaah, Ibrahim (AS) in relation to the topic of our interest. At a time when Ibrahim (AS) was the only Muslim on the face of earth, the entire enemy forces gathered against him by gathering a huge amount of wood and made a hole in the ground and set it aflame and it burned with huge sparks and immense flames.

It was said in the Tafseer (exegesis) of ibn Katheer that there had never been a fire like it. Ibrahim (AS) was put into a catapult and hauled into the fire but as the Hausa's would say "Ko a bakin kura, ka gode wa Allaah" (even when being swallowed by hyena, praise Allaah) Ibrahim (AS) said "sufficient for me is Allaah, and He is the best disposer of affairs."

But just at the finishing line, Allaah's command was swift. Allaah said: "O fire! Be you cool and safety for Ibrahim". Ibn Abbas said there was no fire left on earth that was not extinguished.

Yet another apt example to illustrate the above assertion was the case of Yaqub (AS) in the 12th chapter of the Qur'an when after losing Yusuf (AS) he lost his sight because he was aggrieved, sorrowful and sad and Imam Qatadah said in all these, Yaqub did not complain to a created being. He did not only lose his most beloved son Yususf (AS) but also lost Binyamin the full brother of Yusuf and Rubil who remained in Egypt waiting to secure the release of his brother who was accused of theft.

But just at the finishing line, Allaah's succor was brought his way when he said "patience is most fitting (for me). May be Allaah will bring (back) all to me. Truly, He! Only He is All-Knowing, All-Wise." Q12:83 at the critical moment, when after begging Allaah to bring back Yusuf, Allaah took his second son and in the process he also became blind but he never despaired nor doubted that Allaah will rescue him and Allaah did rescue him.

Allaah not only returned back his lost sight but also united him with Yusuf and Binyamin.

The story of Ayub is not far-fetched. He had plenty of livestock, cattle and crops, many children and beautiful house, and he was tested in these things, he lost everything he had including his health but his trust in Allaah.

But just at the finishing line, Allaah said: "He cried to his lord: "Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy." This statement of his prompted an instant response from Allaah and He answered his call and removed the distress that was on him and he was compensated with others like the family lost and his first family were left for him in Paradise. The view shared by Mujahid as quoted in ibn Katheer.

Conclusively, no one was ever tested with more trials and tribulations like the most beloved of Allaah Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh). On one occasion the odds seem against the prophet and his companions (RA) during the day of Uhud when the hypocrites said: "Verily, the people have gathered against you, therfore fear them." But it (only) increased them in faith, and they said: "Allaah is Sufficient  for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs." Q3:713‎

Just at the finishing line, Allaah came to their rescue and He said: "So they returned with grace and bounty from Allaah. No harm touched them; and they followed the pleasure of Allaah. And Allaah is the Owner of great bounty." Q3:174

Brothers and sisters in Islam, no matter how difficult your situation seems, however long you've been asking Allaah to grant you your lawful heart desires, however dark the tunnel seems, however insurmountable the hurdles on the path seem, my message to one and all is that:"‎Yes! Certainly, the Help of Allah is near!" Q2:214 

I:G @penabdul

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Human endeavor's diversity and eternal consequences

In the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“Certainly, your efforts and deeds are diverse (different in aims and purposes).” Q92:4.

If powerful universe comes close to altering most occurrences of past, there goes one aspect of human existence that cannot be changed in history of man, which is his origination, rooted to one source of single human’s genealogical chronology, directly linked to first creation of man, Adam (AS), and that of woman, Hawwa (Eve).
Of unification of man’s genealogical chronology calls for an inherent need for a fusion of purposes and aims especially as it relates to the impact of human endeavors on the society.
Alas, such aspect of aspiration that could have made planet earth a better place to live in, has been thwarted first by the other son of Adam, Qabil (Cain), and now, by many thoughtless actions of humans, generations after generations.
Whereas, Allaah (Azza Wajal) thus related story of the two sons of Adam (AS) in the 27th-28th verses of the 5th chapter of the Qur’an when He says flawlessly:
“And (O Muhammad SAW) recite to them (the Jews) the story of the two sons of Adam [Habil (Abel) and Qabil (Cain)] in truth when each offered a sacrifice (to Allaah), it was accepted from one but not from the other. The latter (Cain) said to the former (Abel): “I will surely kill you.” The former said: “Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are the pious. If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you; for I fear Allaah; the Lord of the ‘Alamin (Mankind, Jinns, and all that exists)”.
The synopsis of the above verses sheds light on the fact that human efforts and deeds are diverse and this line of thought, was equally favored by ibn Katheer in his Qura’nic exegesis and in Jalalyn also, that the actions of humans are opposite and diverse, describing actions of two groups or sets of people those who do good and another, attaining evil.
Daily, man wakes up, sets out to accomplish certain aim (s), some with a touch of good intention and moral drive to make the world a better place for other fellow inhabitants of the earth to peacefully live in because obviously he is not satisfied with the way human race degenerates thereby seeking for the pleasure of his Creator (Allaah), while another stands with a sinister agenda to unleash terror, immorality, corruption, seeking thereby the destruction of human race either through the instruments of terror or immorality, because to such set of group, morality is relative thus, seeing nothing wrong in their evil deeds.
The concept of moral relativism as was philosophized by its proponents favors the notion that right and wrong are not to be seen as absolute values but rather dependent on individual’s circumstances or cultural orientation. This idea has plunged planet earth deeper into the quagmire of incessant social, moral, spiritual and physical catastrophes.
Conceptually, the fact that the person that wears a bikini or moves around topless is immoral according to the tenets of Islam does not mean that it is absolutely immoral to the group championing the slogans that advocate for topless societies.
Logic of a person who also puts a strap of explosives on thereby killing innocent souls, doing so after being inwardly convinced and thoroughly brainwashed that he was embarking on a rewarding mission, paints the ugly image of how diverse our aims and purposes are.
Any human with a certain degree of attachment to morality (in the true sense of the word), should appreciate the reality of the effects of his or her endeavors on the overall stability and progress of planet earth.
It is imperative for humans to gather their thoughts before embarking on any endeavor, to ascertain its benefit to the society in regards to how it affects the lives of individuals and communities and even generations yet unborn.
The greatest injustice any human can met out against another is to initiate an endeavor that will not only affect his generation but its evil consequences will not spare generations yet unborn.
Some justify their corrupt practices on the basis of flimsy excuses that the government does not provide the basic needs for its citizens, some latch on to the ripple effect of “everyone does it”.
While some people engage themselves productively by pursuing legitimate endeavors such as acquiring beneficial knowledge in various fields, establishing businesses, formulating policies, and proffering solutions to the most pressing issues, seeking thereby to impart positively on the society and worshiping their Creator (Allaah) with diligence and constant thought of the horrors of the Day of accountability; sadly, others are busy scheming on how to outrace one another in drug-trafficking, illicit relationships, disbelief, corruption, immorality, mutual rivalry in wealth acquisition just to maintain an elite status in the society or just to please the lower desires totally oblivious of the Day that is ‘Abus and Qamtarir (“a hard and distressful day, that will make the faces look humble from extreme dislike to it” Tafseer of ibn Katheer).‎
Then it becomes incumbent on human to know that he or she has the opportunity to make the world a better place to live in if only they could be among those who do good at all times and work on leaving behind excellent legacy.
In conclusion, Allaah says in the glorious Qur’an in His inimitable style regarding our various endeavors and His knowledge of them that:
“The day when man shall remember what he strove for” Q79:35.
Likewise, Allaah has confirmed His unending pleasure on those whose endeavors are good, provided they die as believers in Islamic Monotheism devoid of shirk, bid’ah and dodgy aqa’id (creeds) when He says:
(And it will be said to them): Verily, this is a great reward for you, and your endeavor has been accepted. Q76:22.
Our diverse endeavors will either take us to Jannah (pradise) or to Jahannam (hell fire).
May Allaah inspire us on the path of good endeavors and may He accept our endeavors.‎