Start your Day with Green Tea

Green Tea is one of the most valued and widely consumed drinks in the world. Besides being a delicious, inexpensive beverage that has no calories, tea has a unique set of natural chemicals that provide various therapeutic benefits. As more research is conducted, tea, specifically black and green, demonstrates significant antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticavity properties.

1. Oral Health

Along with the natural fluoride found in tea, polyphenols and catechins are associated with killing bacteria that cause tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease-the number one cause for tooth loss. A study published this year by the European Journal of Nutrition found that consumption of one or more cups of green tea a day was significantly associated with decreasing the risk of tooth loss. Adding sugar, honey, or other sweeteners to tea however, may negate these benefits.

2. Bone Health

Routine tea consumption, especially for more than 10 years, has been associated with decreasing the risk of osteoporotic fractures. It’s thought that tea helps diminish bone loss through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Additionally, tea’s health-promoting properties are thought to suppress the breakdown of bone while increasing the amount and activity of bone building cells.

3. Weight Loss

Evidence is still inconclusive in this area, but it’s thought that the catechins found in tea, specifically green tea, create thermogenesis-the production of heat within the body which is related to burning calories. These compounds may inhibit certain chemicals in the brain, therby prolonging thermogenesis. In one study, participants who drank four cups of tea daily had remarkably higher fat oxidation (by 12 percent) and burned an average of 67 additional calories a day. Drinking at least three cups a day is recommended to raise the body’s metabolic rate.

4. Cancer

Numerous research has demonstrated that tea is beneficial in preventing cancer including prostate, pancreatic, breast, colorectal, esophageal, bladder, lung, and stomach. The catechins found in tea prevent cell mutation, deactivate certain carcinogens, and reduce the formation and growth of tumors. Drinking as many as four cups a day may be necessary to reap the anti-cancer benefits.

5. Heart Health

Tea consumption is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.Research published by Harvard demonstrates that people who drink at least one cup of tea daily have a 44 percent lower risk of heart attack. Some animal studies have demonstrated that tea also lowers cholesterol levels.

Additional Considerations

Before you run off to start guzzling tea, there are a few things you should know:

• Regular tea has been shown in some research to be more beneficial than decaffeinated tea.

• Brewed tea contains more beneficial properties than instant.

• Tea bags contain the same beneficial properties as loose leaf tea.

• For full health benefits, brew tea for at least 3 minutes.

• The health benefits in tea degrade over time, it is best to drink freshly brewed tea that is hot (but not scalding).

• Caffeine may have adverse effects when combined with medications; speak to a qualified health care provider or pharmacist if you take any medications or supplements.


SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

What is SWOT analysis?

  • SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • SWOT analysis involves identifying your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and examining the opportunities and threats which may affect you.
  • SWOT analysis can be used to analyse your organisation and its environment.
  • Carrying out a SWOT analysis can help you identify changes that can be made to improve your business.

Carrying out a SWOT analysis

To carry out a SWOT analysis effectively, it’s a good idea to get a team together, drawn from across the business, for a brain-storming session. Consider each of the four SWOT areas in turn, and make note of all the ideas, suggestions and comments which are made. These can be reviewed and edited after the brain-storming session.

Brain-storming session

A good method to use is to take a large sheet of paper, or a whiteboard, and split it into four sections, as demonstrated in the following table.





Now you need to fill the four sections with your ideas. See below for guidance:


Strengths are those features of the business which allow you to operate more effectively than your competitors. For example, a strength could be your specialist technical knowledge. You need to consider your strengths from your own point of view and from that of your customers’ and clients’. You must be realistic and honest.

Try answering the following questions:

  • What is it that you do well?
  • What advantages do you have over your competitors?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?


Weaknesses are areas capable of improvement. Are you lacking skills or new products? Do you have a higher cost base or lower productivity than your competitors? You must face any unpleasant truths about your business and be realistic.

  • Can you do anything better?
  • Do you do anything badly?
  • What should be avoided?
  • What causes problems or complaints?


Can you identify any new opportunities for your business? Are there any interesting trends which you can take advantage of?

Examples of opportunities include:

  • Changes in technology and markets, eg the Internet
  • Changes in government policy or regulations / legislation
  • Local and global events
  • Potential new uses of products and / or services
  • Use of marketing or promotional techniques to boost the business
  • Social factors, eg population fluctuation, lifestyle changes, etc.


Threats can be external or internal, and are anything which can adversely affect your business. External threats could be inflation, new legislation, or a new competitor in your market. Internal threats could include a skill or staff shortage within your organisation.

Try answering the following questions:

  • What obstacles face your business?
  • What are your competitors doing?
  • Are there any changes in products, services or technology which could threaten your business?
  • Do you have any financial problems such as bad debt or cash-flow difficulties?

After SWOT analysis is complete

Once you have completed your SWOT analysis, it is essential that you make note of the following:

  • What must you address immediately?
  • What can be handled now?
  • What needs researching further?
  • What needs to be planned for the future?

Once these have been identified, you should create an action plan to ensure that something is done! Assign someone to each point and set deadlines. Review the results of your analysis regularly to determine if anything has changed and what has been achieved.

Points to remember

Use SWOT analysis as a guide, but remember that it can be very subjective. Be aware that two different people might come up with two very differing analyses – so don’t rely on SWOT analysis too much.

SWOT analysis can be used in conjunction with other tools for audit and analysis, such as PEST analysis and Porter’s Five-Forces analysis.


Say Good-bye to Stress

It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.

Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

  • Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
  • Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
  • Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Look at how you currently cope with stress

Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities

What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?

Chronic stress can wear down the body’s natural defenses, leading to a variety of physical symptoms, including:

  • Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it”
  • General aches and pains
  • Grinding teeth, clenched jaw
  • Headaches
  • Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
  • Increase in or loss of appetite
  • Muscle tension in neck, face or shoulders
  • Problems sleeping
  • Racing heart
  • Cold and sweaty palms
  • Tiredness, exhaustion
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Upset stomach, diarrhea
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Irritability, impatience, forgetfulness
  • Using pills or drugs to relax
  • Sleeping too much
  • Procrastinating
  • Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
  • Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Coping With Stress: Islamic Viewpoint

Medicine has been proven to be inefficient in dealing with the original causes of stress, nor can it adequately eliminate all of its symptoms. Medicine may be necessary for a person in the most critical stages of chronic stress, but medicine alone may not be enough to achieve a cure for all its symptoms. Scientists are trying to find new strategies to cope with stress and minimize its effects. These include relaxation techniques, meditation, imagination (2, 5) and Yoga (6). These techniques are extensively studied to determine their effects and mechanisms of action. Different studies have confirmed the efficacy of these techniques in coping with stress and eliminating its effects. These techniques are now entering the medical mainstream and are included in many treatment programs (2).

Most of these techniques are rooted in Islamic spirituality and different Islamic forms of worship –‘ibadat – which can be, if performed in the correct manner, considered as good tools for coping with life’s stresses.

Those who are extremely stressed can find peace and relaxation for their minds, body and soul utilizing the following different Islamic “oases”; in terms of a safe place where one can seek refuge from the “desert” of life:

1. The Faith (iman) Islamic Oasis from Stress

Some people are more able to cope with stress than others. The determining factor of the level of stress experienced is the perception of something as a threat, which triggers the stress response, and not the threat itself.

It seems that the stress response is not created by any particular type of event or situation but rather by the way that event is perceived. It turns out then that stress response is a matter of perception, or awareness. The stress reaction is activated by neural perceptions or by what amounts to one’s worldview. A worldview can be described as the prism of ideas and beliefs through which the world is perceived and judged. This means that your worldview becomes central to the way any stressful circumstance is handled (2, 3).

Islamic spiritual practices can dramatically alter your worldview and thereby restore your feelings of self worth and personal meaning, giving you a feeling of deeply rooted power and control.

Control has been found to be a key factor in the psychology of chronic stress. It has been observed in clinical studies that the extent to which you feel that you are in control of your environment, is the extent to which you will, or will not, experience the hormonal stress response. Those who feel most powerless or unable to control their circumstances tend to experience the highest levels of stress. On the other hand, those who feel they have great personal control and power over themselves and their environment will be much less likely to experience the hormonal stress response, and this is regardless of the potential seriousness of the threat (2). In Islam, Muslims feel Allah, Who controls the whole world and all the creatures in it, supports them.

It was reported by Omar may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet has said:“If you people depended on Allah as you should, He would provide for you as he provides for the birds leaving their nests hungry and coming back satisfied.”

2. The Meditation and Relaxation Islamic Oasis from Stress

Meditation is being riveted on any one idea or object to the exclusion of all other ideas or objects. Meditation is really a natural quality of the mind. With meditation, the mind is trained to pay attention and to follow commands. In this way one learns to quiet the thought traffic in one’s mind, thereby freeing up mental and physical energy. The basis of meditation is to adopt a posture of body and mind that allows one to remain comfortable for long periods of time without expending significant amounts of energy.

“Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee; save us then from the chastisement of the fire.” (3: 192)

3. The Remembrance (zikr) Islamic Oasis from Stress

As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, meditation can be done by concentrating our thoughts on an object or group of objects of the same category.

“Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah; now surely by Allah’s remembrance are the hearts set at rest.”(Qur’an 13:28)

4. The Imagination Islamic Oasis from Stress

This is considered one of the most powerful methods of stress reduction. During this practice, the person imagines that he or she is in a place, which gives him internal peace, calmness and rest. Muslims can find their safe place through imagining what will be present in the Paradise.

Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said:

“Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: I have prepared for My pious servants’ bounties which no eye (has ever) seen, no ear has (ever) heard and no human heart has ever perceived.”

5. The Praying Islamic Oasis from Stress

This includes all of the previously mentioned oases including meditation, remembrance and imagination. While praying, each one of us feels that we are in extreme connection with the controlling power of this world (Allah) and that from Him we receive maximum support.

“O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an 2:153)

It was reported by Jabir may Allah be pleased with him that the Prophet has said, “Your prayers are like a flowing river at your doorstep you wash yourself in it five times a day.”

Recent scientific investigations show that praying reduces post-operative complications following open-heart surgery. Praying also markedly reduces the percentage of patients exposed to depression following hospitalization.

Nowadays, doctors suggest that praying can be used as an alternative therapy as successfully as meditation, exercise, or herbal treatments. According to Koenig of Duke University, “when prayer uplifts or calms, it inhibits cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine – hormones that flow out of the adrenal glands in response to stress. These fight-or-flight chemicals, released over time, can compromise the immune system, upping the odds of developing any number of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, peptic ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disorder (IBS).”

Many experts feel that the immune system is strengthened and nourished by a sense of peace elicited during praying. Many doctors believe that praying with their patients before and after surgery or before administering a course of powerful drugs might actually assist in the patient’s recovery.

Five prayers have been prescribed to us daily. This is a good chance to make use of that time not only for spiritual enhancement but also for physical and psychological healing. Although Ramadan has passed, its spirit should still be fresh in our hearts and minds. Investing this spirit into our daily prayers and meditations could well be the way to a stronger and more relaxing mental health.


Sukuk ( Islamic Certificate or Bond)

Research By: Molana Qamer Ali Lilani


(Background, structures, Arguments & Challenges)

Executive Summary

Sukuk is very interesting and important  subject to write on. This importance due to the fact that Islamic financial tolls and instruments are replacing conventional financial tools and instruments and playing a competitive role in providing the liquidity to support the growth of Islamic debt market, Islamic investments, future projects of Islamic private companies and governmental institutes and even the conventional one through Islamic assets such as Sukuk. Its one of the fastest growing tools in Islamic capital market therefore the study will focus on describing Sukuk’s background, structure, arguments and challenges which are involve in applying it. So the research will be divided into five chapters; introduction, structures , risks factors, arguments  and conclusion.

In this Article, there are two parts; background and literature review. This chapter objective is to give strong background of Sukuk in terms of its general overiew, concept the differentiations of Sukuk from bond and the development upon its market. In part two my objective is to write about recent studies that talked upon Sukuk.

1.1      Background.

In part one of chapter one “Background” we define Sukuk in general overview, its concept, the differences between it and bond and the recent development on its market.

                        1.1.1  A general overview of Sukuk.

                        Islamic finance has sometime lost the investment opportunities for Muslims that offer an expected return with low risk. The majority of investment opportunities are based either on stock market with high volatility or on real estate transactions. Since fixed income, interest-bearing bonds are not permissible in while bonds are debt-based securities. Sukuk has developed as one of the most significant mechanisms for raising finance in the international capital markets through islamically acceptable structures.

In old period, Islam Sakk “ Sukuk”, which is cognate with the European root “cheque”, is any document that represents a contract of transference of rights, obligations or revenues  earned according to the Shariah. Empirical evidence shows that Sukuk was a product broadly used during medieval Islam for the transferring of financial obligations deriving from trade and other commercial activities. The essence of Sukuk, in the modern Islamic Perspective, depends in the concept of assets monetization “securitization” that is achieved through the process of issuance of Sukuk “taskeek”. Its great potential is in transforming an assets’s future cash flow into present cash flow. Sukuk may be issued on existing as well as specific that may become available at a future date.

                        1.1.2  The Defination, History and Concept of Sukuk.

            “Sukuk”  is the plural of “sakk” or “ ??“. Usage of Sukuk can be traced back to the 1st Century AH during the Umayyad Caliphate under the rule of Khalifa Al-Marwan ibn Al-Hakam as recorded by Imam Malik in Al-Muwatt’, Book 31, Number 31.19.44

“Book 31, Number 31.19.44: Yahya related to me from Malik that he had heard that receipts were given to people in the time of Marwan ibn al−Hakam for the produce of the market at al−Jar. People bought and sold the receipts among themselves before they took delivery of the goods. Zayd Thabit and one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went to Marwan ibn al−Hakam and said,”Marwan! Do you make usury halal?” He said, “I seek refuge with Allah! What is that?” He said, “These receipts which people buy and sell before they take delivery of the goods.” Marwan therefore sent a guard to follow them and to take them from peoples hands and return them to their owners.”

Example of Sukuk to raise funding – 1775, the Ottoman Empire issued esham to fund its budget deficit after its defeat by the Russians. The government securitised the tobacco custom collection, in which the investors received annuity (variable return) for the rest of their life. The government may buy back the sahim at their discretion.
(Ref. Professor Murad Cizakca – 2009)

Any how the term Sukuk  means  “ Legal instrument, deed, check “ is the Arabic term for Bond or securities structured according to Shariah principles and referred to as Sukuk, Islamic bonds, Islamic debt security or Islamic trust certificates.

                        1.1.3  Common structures of Sukuk:

Sukuk can be structured alongside different techniques. Moreover, Sukuk present partial ownership in a debt, asset, project, investment or business while a conventional bond is a promise to repay a loan. In addition, The Accounting and Auditing Organization of Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) issued standards for 14 different Sukuk types.

Moreover, the most common structure based upon is Ijarah which is based on leasing transactions. Other common structures are Musharakah, Istisna, Mudarabah, Murabahah and Salam.

                        1.1.4  The difference between Sukuk and Debt bonds

Sukuk certificates are intended to replicate the functions of conventional bonds and tradable securities in resources mobilization from markets and injecting liquidity into the enterprise or government and in providing stable resource of income for investors. But, there are many differences that distinguish the Sukuk from Debt bonds but among them the most important difference is that Islamic Sukuk are based on a variety of contracts to create financial obligation between issuers and investors such as lease, Musharakah or other while debt Bonds are based on loan contract to create Indebtedness.

Sukuk Structure must be following the basic requirements that must be followed in Islamic Finance so it becomes a Shariah compliant. These basic requirements are the avoidance of Riba “interest” that come from bay’ al-Inah which sells and Immediately buys back, Bay al-Dayn at discount and preference among participating investors in term of liquidation or dividend, the avoidance of gharar “uncertainty”, the avoidance any form of Maysir “gambling”, and the avoidance of Islamically prohibit transactions such alcohol, tobacco, pork-related products, conventional financial services, and immoral entertainment.

The following table is explaining the main differences between Sukuk and Debt bond:-



Sukuk represent ownership stakes in existing and/or well defined assets. Bonds represent pure debt on the issuer.
The subject of the contract in Sukuk is a contract based on lease or a defined business undertaking between the Sukuk holders and the Sukuk. Bonds basically create a Lender/Borrower relationship such as a contract whose subject is purely earning money on money (Riba-Usury).
The underlying Sukuk assets, business or project must be of a nature that their (permissible) use is possible. Such a condition does not apply under bonds which can be issued for illegitimate purposes.
Sale of a Sukuk represents a sale of a share of assets, business activity or project. Sale of a bond basically represents sale of a debt.

Sukuk and debt bond have some similarities such as marketability upon which Sukuk are monetized real assets that are liquid, easily transferred and traded in the financial markets, ratability in which Sukuk can be easily rated, enhanceability which different Sukuk structures may allow for credit enhancements, and versatility which the variety of Sukuk structures allow for structuring across legal and fiscal domains, fixed and variable income options etc.

                        1.1.5  Now we presents following chart which explain briefly that why Shariah prohibits conventional bond??

  • The main issue in the conventional debt market is  interest bearing loan transaction.
  • In case of zero coupon bond, investors will receive accumulated interest at maturity of the bond as the bond will be issued at a discount.

Conventional Bond

Asset Backed Securities


Primary level Relationship

Lending and borrowing transaction (loan); thus haram Sale of debt or income generating assets Variety underlying Shariah contracts (‘uqud)

Return to Investors

Interest on loan Income generated from underlying asset Profit elements in underlying contracts (sale, lease or partnership)


To issuer

To asset

To the rights and obligations of the contracts.

Tradability in Secondary Market

Sale of debt Sale of debt or income generating asset Depends on nature of underlying assets. Majority scholars allow sale of tangible asset, some intangible asset and interest in ventures, except issues on receivables.

                        1.1.6  An overview on the development of Sukuk market:

There were early efforts to facilitate issuance of Islamic securities such as Pakistan enacted a law in 1980 enabling issuance of Mudarabah securities. In addition, there was a very partial introduction in 1990 and accelerated growth from 2002-2006 but the future of the industry is very bright. However, As a result of recent developments in the Islamic financial market there has been great growth in Shariah compliant sovereign and corporate Sukuk. The introduction of Sukuk increased the variety of instruments that can be used to create an efficient Islamic portfolio in line with portfolio theory and financial planning. Moreover, the global Sukuk market is growing very fast with a volume of more US$ 100 billion and there positive indicators regarding the global Sukuk market such as over subscription, broad geographical distribution, involvement of conventional financial institutions, non-Islamic borrowers tapping the market and the participation of Islamic banks in the management and arrangement of these Sukuk issues. Also, there are more Sukuk either sovereign or corporate already in the pipeline. However, there are many challenges ahead in term of structures, volume, and regulation. In addition, the evolution of the Sukuk Market results in Global Sukuk by the Federation of Malaysia in 2002, which was first ever Sukuk transaction by a sovereign, rated and widely distributed, Qatar Sukuk, Bahrain Monetary Agency Sukuk, and Pakistan Sukuk upon which the issuers are comfortable and the pricing is fine achievable.

Furthermore, there are many reasons for the Sukuk market to grow. One of them is that it is new source of funds which is generally at attractive rates. Also, it is a solution to a liquidity management that is one of the main struggles having slowed the growth of Islamic finance. Moreover, it is critical step in the development of vibrant Islamic capital markets which is the borrowing from an Islamic bank might not be possible but raising money through Sukuk can be done in respect with Shariah. From another point of view, Sukuk allows the Islamic investors to invest their excess funds in Shariah compliant tradable instruments and become price takers. Besides, the growth of sovereign Sukuk market means a new source of funds for fundamental government infrastructure projects and a way to keep funds working for the benefit of the local economy. But not only sovereigns are taping the Sukuk market, the popularity of Sukuk is also spreading to corporate issuers. Although the present volume is too small but it may not take long for the Sukuk market to reach the level where an investor would not be worried about liquidating the Sukuk he is holding for better Sukuk just hitting the market

1.2      Literature review.

In part two, there will be three studies upon Sukuk chosen to write on in this research. The first one is Islamic bonds; your guild to issuing, structuring and investing in Sukuk. The second one is Large Scale Islamic project finance through Sukuk. The last one is Sukuk as Instrument of Change in Islamic Finance.

            1.2.1 Islamic Bonds:

Your Guide to Issuing, Structuring and Investing in Sukuk. The introduction of this book is written by Professor Rodney Wilson which is an institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic studies at university of Durham in United Kingdom, and rest of book is written by Nadhid Adam and AbdulQader Thomas. In the beginning, the writers give an overview of Sukuk market, the legitimacy of Sukuk, the reasons of having Sukuk, and types of Sukuk. Also, they explain the potential of Mudarabah and Musharakah Sukuk and talks about the Malaysian Sukuk and Bahrain’s sovereign Sukuk experience, the scope for sovereign Sukuk, and potential for corporate Sukuk as well as he give a case study of Qatar Global Sukuk. In Chapter 1 “Investment in Islam”, the writers examine the major precepts that govern Islamic investing. The primary Islamic concerns relating to Riba and gharar are addressed in a manner to allow readers to compare these concepts with conventional regulations. Then, they examine the rules that distinguish Sukuk from fixed-income instruments ranging from certificates of deposit to bonds and floating-rate notes. Also, they will examine why the approach to the trading of true debt is not shared uniformly between Malaysia and the Arabian Gulf.

In Chapter 2 “Sukuk: origins and distinctiveness”, there is a detailed study of Sukuk. The writers outline the important work that has been done by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) to develop 14 prototypical Sukuk in its Investment Sukuk Standard and how the AAOIFI standard identifies a unique universe of securities that may be similar to conventional bonds, but the asset-based Sukuk are not asset-backed secured claims on a debt. In chapter 3 “Structuring Sukuk transactions”, they establish that Sukuk adjust well to modern western capital market techniques which means that Sukuk often copy bond-like features and benefit from the latest developments in the asset- and mortgage-backed securities markets. They also talk about corporate finance in which Sukuk allows for balance-sheet management and cultural integration and allow for the monetization of assets and dispersion risk in a Shariah compliant manner at an enterprise or bank that mandates this faith-driven imperative.

In chapter 4 “Sovereign Sukuk: applications and implications”, they state that Although both financial firms and non-investment-grade governments have tested Sukuk concepts since the mid-1980s, the Sukuk market has taken off thanks to investment-grade government issuances which these Sukuk programmers have begun to help Islamic banks transition from the commodity Murabahah trades even so the full range of 14 prototypes has not worked its way into the market. In Chapter 5 “Sukuk applied to corporate finance and real estate”, they explore the corporate market as well as the increasingly widespread application of Sukuk in the North American real estate markets showing the way forward for both corporate users and for the introduction of Sukuk based on the less well-developed contracts including Istisna, even extending to timesharing. In Chapter 6 “Enabling infrastructure” they conclude that Although Sukuk may not necessarily be distinct from other forms of cross-border securities, the Islamic financial services industry is working hard to ensure that any distinctions do not prevent Sukuk from being freely traded in the global capital markets. He also provides a case study of how an evolving civil code in a country that has civil and Shariah courts has managed to achieve a successful international sovereign issuance.

            1.2.2  Large Scale Islamic project finance through Sukuk.

This is presented by Ahmed Adil, which is E&Y Bahrain partner, for the first international conference for Islamic Sukuk at Bahrain on March 2008. The key messages he delivered are flexibility and negotiability of Sukuk as financial instruments presents a big chance, project finance activities in GCC has shown impressive growth with increased participation from Islamic institutions, Sukuk have huge potential but their effectiveness is diminished by certain factors, and solution are likely to emerge as the Sukuk Market evolves.

In addition, he stated some major challenges such as the limitation and depth lack of secondary market activity, the tendency of investors to buy and hold, the higher costs, the pricing difficult in the primary market because of lacks of depth, the unavailability of skilled human capital for structuring solutions, and legal constraints in larger markets such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

            1.2.3 Sukuk as Instrument of Change in Islamic Finance.

Also, in the first international conference for Islamic Sukuk in Bahrain, Ayman A. Khaleq a partner in Vinson & Elkins at Dubai presented a presentation regarding the subject of Sukuk as instrument of Change in Islamic finance: Sukuk structuring involving assets in non Islamic jurisdictions. In his presentation, he presented about three topics: general Islamic investment consideration, East Cameron Sukuk and recent developments. In general Islamic investment consideration slides, he explained that the asset base will directly impact the Islamic investment mechanism to be utilized. He also explained the issue of acceptable leverage ratio, the control, transparency, and legal documentation. Moreover, he discussed the structural considerations in the appointment of the Shariah scholar and the issue of fatwa.

In the East Cameron Sukuk, he explained the base of this Sukuk that is based on Musharakah upon which East Cameron partner and a Cayman Islands’ issuer SPV. The foundation of ECP Sukuk structure involved conveyance of an overriding royalty interest “ORRI” from the originator to the Purchaser SPV which ORRI is defined as a fractional interest in gross production of oil and gas, free of the expense of production. However, this transaction include certain challenges in Islamic Structure, level of disclosure, tax issues, rating, pricing , oil and gas issue, investors, and bankruptcy issue. Nevertheless, there were in the sector, investors, risk-reward opportunity, and S&P rating.

In addition, in the last topic, he presented some of the recent developments in Sukuk industry such as the Sukuk industry seems to be focusing on energy, infrastructure, and healthcare industries and energy Sukuk can be structured by Musharakah or Mudarabah instruments.


Pistachios’ Health Benefits

Pistachio is from Western Asia but it is mostly also available in the Mediterranean region. The nutrient rich pistachio is a nut. Actually pistachio is a fruit, but the the outer shell of the fruit is removed and the yellow coloured seed kernel is usually eaten as it is edible.

You might already know about the health benefits of nuts. So let’s take a deep look into pistachio health benefits.

Pistachios’ Health Benefits:

1. Healthy heart:

Pistachios help in reducing bad cholesterol, LDL and increases good cholesterol, HDL in the body thus preventing heart diseases. It also increases strength of the nerves making heart stronger.

2. Anti-inflammation properties:

Pistachio benefits include the presence of vitamin A, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties reducing the inflammation in the body caused due to any problems.

3. Prevents diabetes:

60% of the daily required phosphorous is present in a cup of pistachios which can prevent even type-2 diabetes. Also phosphorous in pistachios helps in breaking down proteins into amino acids resulting in glucose tolerance.

4. Haemoglobin and blood:

Vitamin B6 is the protein that helps in carrying oxygen in the blood. The high quantity of B6 in pistachios if taken daily can increase the oxygen quantity in the blood and increase the haemoglobin count in it.

5. Nervous system:

Vitamin B6 is present in high concentration in pistachios which is very beneficial to nervous system. Amines are the messaging molecules in the nervous system. In order to develop, they need amino acids which are dependent on vitamin B6 presence in the body. This vitamin builds a sheath called myelin around the nerve fibers. And messages pass via Nerve fibers from one nerve to another. Vitamin B6 helps in building many amino acids which help in proper transmission of nerve impulses.

6. Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is an age related eye disease which slowly reduces the eye vision making adults unable to read and work properly. It makes them unable to recognize people as well. Free radicals attack the cells and damage them resulting in macular degeneration. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two anti-oxidants that are found in Pistachios which fight against these free radicals and destroy them preventing the cells from damage and thus preventing macular degeneration.

7. Boosts immunity:

Vitamin B6 is very important for a healthy immune system. This helps in building blood and proper blood supply throughout the body.

8. Healthy brain:

Vitamin B6, that is present in high quantity in pistachios helps in increasing the haemoglobin count in the blood. This oxygen rich blood is then supplied to the brain making it even more active.

9. Healthy glands:

Glands like spleen, thymus, etc become healthier and work properly with good supply of blood containing more white blood cells (WBC) that is required to fight against infections.

10. Healthy skin:

Vitamin E is very essential for a healthy skin and this anti-oxidant is present in pistachios. It integrates the cell membranes of the mucous membranes of the skin membranes. It protects skin from harmful UV rays, prevents from skin diseases and makes skin healthy and more beautiful.

11. Anti-ageing:

Vitamin E present in pistachios is helps fight ageing process of skin and making you look younger. Oil present in this nut has emollient properties helping skin to moisturize and keep it from drying. It is used as aroma oil, medicinal massage oil etc.

12. Prevents cancers and infections:

Vitamin B6 helps in increasing the blood count. The WBC or white blood cells help in preventing infections and various cancers.

Pistachios’ Skin Benefits:

13. Natural Moisturizer:

Pistachio oil is an excellent natural moisturizer. It happens to be naturally infused with demulcent properties which tend to have highly hydrating and smoothening effects on the skin. You can consider substituting your regular moisturizer with Pistachio oil in order to get that smooth and silky skin.

14. Fights Aging:

Did you know that Pistachio is highly beneficial when it comes to ageing? They contain a variety of potent antioxidants that tend to neutralize free radicals, a chief culprit behind premature aging and in ensuring soft & silky skin for a longer time.

15. Gives Skin Natural Glow:

Pistachios contain a considerable amount of essential fatty acids which are vital for maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion. Including green apples in your routine diet help you ensure a robust, radiant skin all the time.

16. Maintains Skin Health:

Being a rich source of vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant, Pistachios play a vital role in maintaining hale and hearty skin. They protect your skin from sun damage, thereby reducing the odds of skin cancer and sunburns.

17.Improves Vision:

Pistachios help promoting healthy vision and are highly recommended to those struggling with any vision related issues.

Pistachios’ Hair Benefits:

Similar to skin, pistachios have much to offer for hair care as well:

18. Stimulates Hair Growth:

Thanks to being the host of various hair benefiting fatty acids, pistachios stimulate the growth of healthy strands.

19. Makes Hair Strong:

It is also an excellent treatment for strengthening the locks.

20. Increases Flexibility Of Hair:

A hair mask using pistachios deeply nourishes and moisturizes your hair while improving the flexibility of hair fibers. In addition, it is also a great remedy for treating split ends, dehydrated and colour damaged hair.

21. Fights Hair Loss:

Biotin deficiency is among the key factors contributing to hair loss. Pistachios contain considerable amount of biotin and their regular consumption may help you combat hair-loss effectively.


Some useful tips:

Pistachios can be included in your diet in many ways. You can eat them in the raw form or get them roasted before eating for added taste.

  • Adding pistachios in brown rice and herbs is also a great way to supplement its intake. Moreover, it also tastes delicious when served with fruits.
  • You can also add pistachios in cookies, muffins, breads or biscuits.
  • Sprinkling chopped pistachios onto ice-cream is also a great option.
  • Add it in cream cheese spreads for sandwiches or crackers.
  • Pistachio can also be a crunchy addition to regular salads and yogurt etc.

Hope this article has helped you understand the benefits of pistachios for skin, hair and health. Do incorporate the in your diet and share your experiences with us.


Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking

Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking
Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life! 
By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer
“How do you do it?” my friend asked me one day over coffee. “You’ve had some awful stuff happen to you over the years, but you’re still so cheerful. What gives?”

My friend was right, my life had been rough at times. I’d gotten divorced and I’d been laid off a couple of times within a five-year period. I should have been angry and bitter, but I wasn’t. I was still looking forward to each new day and the possibilities ahead of me. While this was normal for me, my friend’s comment made me realize that not everybody felt the way I did. Why was I so optimistic, anyway?

The Definition of Optimism
Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning “best,” which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. Even if something bad happens, like the loss of a job, an optimist sees the silver lining. For me, getting laid off was the catalyst that allowed me to start my own business. As I packed up my office, my mind was already whirling with the possibilities ahead. Without that push, I may never have made the leap to self-employment. Losing my job was a good thing after all.

The emerging field of positive psychology studies the positive impact that optimism has on mental health. Other research shows that optimism may be good for my physical health too—optimists are sick less and live longer than pessimists. Apparently, a positive outlook on life strengthens the immune system (and the body’s defenses against illness), cardiovascular system (optimists have fewer heart attacks), and the body’s ability to handle stress.

Happiness through Positive Self-Talk
Being an optimist or a pessimist boils down to the way you talk to yourself. Optimists believe that their own actions result in positive things happening, that they are responsible for their own happiness, and that they can expect more good things to happen in the future. Optimists don’t blame themselves when bad things happen. They view bad events as results of something outside of themselves. I didn’t blame myself for losing my job, but saw it as a business decision that had nothing to do with me personally.

Pessimists think the opposite way, however. They blame themselves for the bad things that happen in their lives and think that one mistake means more will inevitably come. Pessimists see positive events as flukes that are outside of their control—a lucky streak that probably won’t happen again.

Because of their thought processes, optimists have much brighter futures. A bad circumstance or event is taken in stride, viewed as a temporary setback—not a permanent way of life. Even if something bad happens today, a positive thinker believes that good things will come again in the future.

Optimists tend to share several other positive characteristics that increase overall happiness and promote health, while reducing depression and chronic stress:

  • They think about, reflect on, and emphasize the good things in life.
  • They are grateful and thankful for all their blessings.
  • They don’t complain when something bad happens.
  • They feel that nothing can hold them back from achieving success and reaching their goals.
  • They believe in abundance.
  • They are confident that the world offers plenty of opportunities for everyone to succeed.

Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Luckily, you can change your thinking patterns over time. Even a pessimist can become an optimist with enough practice! All you need to do is to reframe how you define events. Instead of dwelling on the bad experience, analyze it to figure out what good can come of it. Even if a project at work is deemed a failure, think about what you learned during the process. What strengths did you discover within yourself, and when can you use those talents again?

Instead of blaming yourself for the failure, think about the outside influences that may have affected your project. Maybe you were delayed by outside vendors, so you couldn’t meet a deadline; or management decided to go in another direction, making your project redundant. Virtually any failure can be turned into a learning experience, which increases your potential for success in the future.

Optimism is a skill of emotional intelligence, which translates to a better career and greater success in life. Life is too short to be miserable, so start turning your thinking around! Positive thoughts, an optimistic outlook, and overall happiness can advance your prospects for work, relationships and other life experiences.


10 Real-life Lessons From an Entrepreneur

Building a successful business is every entrepreneur’s dream, but the path to glory is full of potholes and unexpected turns. It helps to know what to expect when starting up, what key strategies to employ early on, and how to grow your business quickly.

I started my own business completely from scratch. In fact, when I first started, I had nothing but a dream and my own determination. Now, I run a company that has diversified into several areas, providing personal and business development solutions. And everything that I do, I love with a passion.

When people say that you have to work hard to have a successful business, take what you imagine that might look like, and then triple the amount of work you envisaged. To get ahead as an entrepreneur, you have to put in an incredible amount of effort, especially early on.

Hard work and complete dedication to my clients allowed me to make my dreams a reality. There were also several key lessons I learned, which I’m going to share with you, to help you to be the most successful you can, too.

1. Be Everywhere

In order to get customers to buy your product or service, it must be at the forefront of their minds when they’re making a purchasing decision. You need to be all over the internet, and in the media, if you can. I started out by joining directories, writing articles and making YouTube videos to promote my business. I then graduated onto writing books and making comments in the media; now I even have my own Wikipedia page. Get as much exposure as you can, especially in places where your ideal customers hang out.

2. Be Genuine

Be genuine in all you say and do. Never compromise your integrity or your values, and always tell the truth. While it’s tempting to make yourself look like a bigger company than you are, you need consumer trust to make yourself a success. People buy from companies they know, trust and like, so don’t be afraid to reveal elements of your character when promoting your firm. Be true to yourself, and you’ll attract the right people to you.

3. Have a Vision

I was so convinced that there was a gap in the market for me, and what I could provide, that I started my own business without any other serious source of income. Although it’s not necessarily wise to quit your job before you make any money, it is essential to have no doubt in your mind that you are going to make a success of what you’re doing. Be clear about your vision; write a compelling mission statement that makes you so excited about achieving your vision that you can’t possibly fail. Break it down into all the practical steps you’ll need to achieve to get to your greatest goals.

4. Be Flexible

If you’re going to make your business work, be prepared to modify and improve your offerings along the way. Being flexible allows you to adjust in the direction of success. Early on, it was essential for me to grab opportunities that were open to me, and being stubborn wouldn’t have helped me move forward. Be open to suggestions, helpful to others, and find out how you can adjust your product or service to better meet your customers’ needs. Ask for feedback, and use it to improve what you provide.

5. Know What You’re Worth

If you’re providing a product or a service, you must not undervalue the brilliance of your offering nor the wonderful skills you have. If you work for less money than you’re worth, or sell your products short, you’ll be scrabbling around for cash, while also running low on time to recruit customers who will pay you properly. It is always better to have fewer customers, who know the true worth of what you provide, than to have more clients who don’t really value you.

6. Provide More Than You Promise

One of the keys to getting repeat customers is impressing the socks off them once they’ve committed to buying. Excellent customer service includes being reliable, being punctual, and delivering more than your buyer expects. Do what you say you will — and then do a bit more. Offering a stellar customer experience will keep clients coming back again and again.

7. Create Great Content

Create high quality content to market your startup, whether that’s videos, articles, or audio recordings. Give your ideal customers helpful advice for free, so they can get a taste of what you do best. You must deeply understand your customers’ needs before creating content. What pain do they want to avoid? What pleasure would they like to attain? Angle your content towards satisfying those needs.

8. Get Social

Even if you hate Facebook and Twitter, you should build social media profiles to spread the word about your business. Social media is an essential marketing tool in the age of the internet. I found several ‘fans’ on Twitter, for example, who now support everything I do. They not only buy my books and products, but they share the core message behind my services. Social media is also a good way to connect with journalists and joint venture partners

9. Gather Supporters

One of the reasons I was able to grow my business relatively quickly was that I had an army of people who were interested in what I did — and they rooted for me to succeed. Use every opportunity you can to network, and enthuse people about not only what you do, but why you do it. When you can get other people to realise how special what you are doing is, you’ll be offered opportunities, contacts, connections, and support to help your business grow.

10. Never Stop Learning

Never let your skills get stale or your product get dated. Even though I’m considered an expert and specialist in what I do, I still study all the time. I revisit old books and buy new ones. I get the latest news right into my inbox. I review what I offer and look at how I can improve it on an ongoing basis. The same is true of my marketing strategy. You must always keep learning to stay ahead of the curve, and to be able to offer your customers the very best.


Time Management

Time management is of great importance to your personal life and career success. It teaches you how to manage your time effectively and make the most of it.

Here are a few of the reasons why it is so important, and how it can help you use and manage your time more advantageously:

1. Time is a special resource that you cannot store or save for later use. Everyone has the exact same amount of time each day. Time not well used cannot be retrieved.

2. Most people feel like they have too much to do and not enough time. They blame lack of time for their poor finances, unachieved goals, stress, bad relationships and not exercising their body. Wise time management can help you find the time for what you desire to do or need to do.

3. You need time to get what you want out of life. Waiting for more free time to appear is losing the game of life. Through time management you can “create” the time you need, and not just wait for it to come. By planning your time wisely, you will have more time to do more things.

4. Time management will help you set up your priorities.

5. Time is limited to 24 hours a day, so plan your life wisely.

6. Time management helps you make conscious choices, so you can spend more of your time doing things that are important and valuable to you.

7. You can learn to find the time for the things that are important to you. Even a small amount of time once a day, or even once a week, will take you closer to your goals, and you will be surprised at the progress you make.

8. You become more productive using improved time management skills and tools, and can accomplish more with less effort and time. Time management can help you reduce wasted time and energy, help you become more creative and productive, and enable you to do the right thing at the right time. This will of course lead to more balance and fulfillment in your life.

9. Life today presents so many distractions that it is so easy to lose time on unimportant activities. Ask yourself, is watching this or that TV program, reading this or that gossip or participating in a certain activity is going to add anything to your life. Is the time spent on a particular activity well spent, or is just a waste of time and energy?

10. Life puts in front of everyone so many choices each day, and the question is, do you follow what appears on your way, or do you consciously choose what you want to do? Do you allow external distractions deter you from your goal, or do you use willpower and self discipline to walk toward your goal in a straight line, without wasting time and energy?

11. Some inner detachment and inner peace is of great help in managing your time effectively. If you avoid expending too much emotional and mental energy on what people say and think about you, and if you stay calm in spite of distractions or difficulties, you can save a lot of time and energy, which you can spend on better and more rewarding activities.

There are may things you can do and tools to use to manage your time effectively. There is a lot of time wasted each day, which can be put to better uses. There are changes you can make to effectively increase the time you have at your disposal every day.

Thinking, planning, finding out how others manage their time, and reading books and articles on time management, will develop these skills and give you good ideas.

Among the many changes you can make to manage your time better there is one that is important and easily available, and that is getting up early in the morning. Give up watching TV late at night and go to sleep a little earlier. It will then be easier to wake up earlier. Even 15 minutes would be great. It is a time of quietude, before everyone else wakes up, which you can devote to doing things, for which you have no time during the day, such as reading, meditating, exercising or planning your day.

To get rid of the feeling that you have much to do and not enough time, feel and think as if you have all the time in the world. This will help you feel calm and enable you to focus on what you are doing, without stress and strain. This is not being indifferent and lazy. You should at the same time plan your time well, not waste it on useless matters, do everything you can at the best of your ability, never procrastinate, act with discipline and focus on what you are doing.