Supernatural Thriller “Jinn” in Theaters 4-4-2014

Based on Arabic mythology, Director Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad’s upcoming action film Jinn, is a thrilling fusion of fantasy and reality. Ancient Arabic legend states that God created three entities: man from clay, angels from light, and a race called Jinn from smokeless fire.

This legend is retold through a crisp and contemporary lens, poising the Jinn as a terrifying and evil spirit that begins terrifying modern society.

Jinn Movie Poster Official 2

The film focuses on protagonist Shawn, played by Dominic Rains, and his wife Jasmine, played by Serinda Swan, as they discover a supernatural force that confronts them. Through his quest Shawn finds a diverse collection of allies and friends including Father Westhoff, played by William Atheron, and mental patient Ali, played by Faran Tahir.

Jinn Trailer

What makes jinn unique is its blending of mysticism, fantasy, science fiction, and lore, bringing legend from deep rooted culture onto the movie screen.

Drawing from its complex history, this film takes an equally complex nature, discussing a wide variety of themes and thought-provoking questions. Faith, religion, and fiction are brought into play all with stunning special effects and thrills.

Don’t forget to tell your friends about Jinn in theaters this Friday. See where’s playing  http://jinnthemovie.com/listings 

For more about Jinn visit- http://www.jinnthemovie.com

Follow updates on the official Jinn Facebook and Twitter Pages

* This is a sponsored post 

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Top 10 Characteristics of a Muslim Professional

At Muslim Ad Network, we pride ourselves to follow the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teachings. This blog post will go through the top Ten Characteristics we feel are necessary of a Muslim Professional.

Below are some saying from the Prophet (PBUH) and Ayah from the Quran that is a reminder for all of us as Muslims:

“They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works and these are among the righteous.”– Quran 3:114

Allah says in the Quran: “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” – (Surah Al-Talaq)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs. (Ahmad, An-Nasa’I, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidhi)

1) Accountability - The first characteristic of a Muslim Professional is being Accountable.

  • Always keep your word. The Prophet (PBUH) says, Each time you keep a commitment you are rewarded by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) for obeying Him. If you mix a few drops of wine in a glass full of water, it spoils the whole glass of water and makes it unfit for consumption. Similarly, dishonesty in any sphere of your life permeates and corrupts your entire nature and eeman. When a person’s words carry no weight, it only reveals his/her treacherous nature. [Baihaqi]

  • We have often seen that one of the biggest things Muslims are known for is fulfilling what you have committed to doing.  We must make our Niat (intention) to complete the task at hand and to be able to deliver on time.  This is what it means to be Accountable.

2)  Courtesy - We treat our fellow co-workers, managers, customers, subordinates, and partners with courtesy and follow the steps of our Prophet (PBUH).

  • Abu Darda (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Nothing will be heavier on the Day of Resurrection in the scale of the believer than good manners. Allah hates one who utters foul or coarse language.” [Tirmidhi]
  • We as Muslims, need to set an example of what it means to be a Muslim.  For example, if we always cursed and portrayed negative habits at the workplace, our fellow Non-Muslims that you work with will have a negative perception of Islam.  Therefore, if a positive courteous image is portrayed, then they will be drawn towards Islam and will have a positive image of Muslims.  We need to be ambassadors of Islam and should know that as a Muslim Professional we always must have the highest of courtesy.

3) Respect –  We as Muslims must give respect to our fellow brothers / sisters at all times.

  • He Is Not Quality Muslim Who Does Not Show Kindness To The Young Ones And Respect To The Older Ones.   [Tirmidhi]
  • This is a basic principle of a Muslim to be able to control your ego, your anger at times when things are not going the way they are supposed to.  As a Muslim, we must give respect at all times regardless of the situation and whether things are going the way you want them to go.
  • We have seen in our countries back home and even Muslims abroad in America, that our ego overtakes what Islam teaches us and that is to be respectful towards everyone, not just Muslims.  As a Muslim Professional, this is one of the most basic characteristics that we must all strive to have.

4)  Honesty – When making decisions / taking actions, we must remember that our religion teaches being truthful. We make sure that in every dealing that we have with our peers, superiors, or customers, we are always being honest even if it may not make us look good, Honesty in Eyes of Allah is obligatory, and the right way.

  • Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man may speak the truth until he is recorded with Allah as truthful. Verily, falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Hellfire. A man may tell lies until he is recorded with Allah as a liar.” [Sahih Muslim]

  • Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The buyer and the seller have the option of canceling or confirming the bargain unless they separate, and if they spoke the truth and made clear the defects of the goods, then they would be blessed in their bargain, and if they told lies and hid some facts, their bargain would be deprived of Allah’s blessings”.( Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 34, Number 293)

  • The Hadith tveaches us that if we want barakah in our jobs, careers, businesses, organizations, we must be honest and not try to take advtantage of another individual or party be knowingly decieving them and lying to them.  As a Muslim Professional, it is expected for you to follow the teachings of Allah and our Prophet (PBUH) to be truthful when speaking or conducting business.  Any transaction that is made on lies, there will be bigotry, no barakah, no blessings from Allah in that transaction.  It will end up hurting you more then you think you will gain from it.

5)  Punctuality –  We are always on time, Punctuality is about keeping an amaanah (Trust أمانة).  The hadith below teaches us that we as Muslim Professionals should follow the prophet’s sayings of prayers being on time.  Therefore, if there are meetings, events, calls, then we must adhere to the time and be there on time as the Prophet has taught us.

  • Narrated Jarir bin ‘Abdullah: I gave the pledge of allegiance to Allah’s Apostle for to offer prayers perfectly, to pay Zakat regularly, and to give good advice to every Muslim.
  • As a Muslim Professional, the precedence that should be set is for us to always be on time and not be late.  Our Niat (intention) must be to conduct business in a timely manner and not being punctual.  This is a sunnah that the prophet teaches us even in our daily 5 prayers.  The reward of praying salah on time is much greater then praying salah after the time it was prescribed.  We can use the same example when coming to meetings, joining calls, or being somewhere to conduct business.

6)  Tranquility – As a Muslim, we must show calmness at all times and be in a state of peace.  We can get tied up in long meetings, disagreements, heated discussions, arguments.

As a Muslim Professional, you must be able to show patience and calm, being in a untroubled state.  This will cause a more positive working environment and provide everyone comfort when speaking to each other and speaking their mind.  Having a state of Tranquility (calmness) will bring ease and stress-free working environment.

  • Allah says: “Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility.” [Surah Ar-Radd: 28]

  • Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Richness is not having many possessions. Rather, true richness is the richness of the soul.”

  • Al-Bara reported: A man was reciting the chapter of the cave (surah al-kahf) and there was a horse tied with two ropes at his side, a cloud overshadowed him, and it came nearer and nearer as his horse became frightened of it. He went to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in the morning and mentioned that to him. The Prophet said, “Continue reciting. Verily, that was tranquility which came down for the recitation of the Quran.”

7)  Focus –  We remain focused on the task at hand and the goal ahead. We navigate through obstacles or setbacks but never lose sight of where we are headed and are focused to get the job done regardless of the challenges faced.

  • Our prophet would go through battles during Ramadan and through hard times, but he remained focused to the duty of his people.  This is a reminder from Allah that we must focus on our priorities and stick to them and don’t lose sight!

8)  Self-Critical –  As a Muslim, We must look our selves in the mirror first before pointing out faults of others.

  • The Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘Blessed is he who preoccupies himself with his own defects, rather than those of others.’ (Musnad Al-Bazzâr)

  • We must be able to look ourselves in the mirror first before we point out faults of others.  We must be non-judgmental and not make presumptions as Muslims.

  • As a Muslim Professional, this is very important, when there is a conflict or a critical situation, then one must look at himself first before standing ground and being firm in their own opinion.  This will help resolve issues and conflicts and will avoid conflicts to drag on and grow bigger and bigger.

9)  Ethics –  We strive to choose the option that is based on sound Islamic tenets, even when other alternatives appear more profitable/easier in the short run.   We must always choose the right thing to do, and not undermine Allah’s injunctions or any individual(s).

  • “The noblest of you in the sight of Allāh is the best of you in conduct” (49:13).

10)  Faith –  We have faith in Allah in whatever we do as a professionals.  We must remember that Allah is the king of kings and the best planner.  We always begin with saying ‘Bismillah’ and always end with saying ‘Alhamdulillah’.  It’s a blessing what he has given to us to allow us to succeed in our professional careers.

  • “They believe in God and the Last Day, and enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong, and vie with one another in doing good works and these are among the righteous.” – Quran 3:114

  • Allah says in the Quran: “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” (Surah Al-Talaq)

  • Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs. (Ahmad, An-Nasa’I, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmidhi)

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Shura In Business

Internalizing the Concept of Shura in the Corporate World

As “Muslim” Ad Network, one of our main organizational goal is to inculcate Islamic business practices as part of our daily operations.  The obvious source is our Prophet who prior to attaining Prophethood, was a businessman taking numerous trips throughout Arabia.

His vast business experience helped him in dealing with people with great care. He often used to mention the names of people and tribes whom he met in his journeys. People were often amazed of his knowledge of people and their regions. The Prophet emphasized that honesty and kind dealings with customers are the secrets of success in business. He said, “The truthful and honest merchant is associated with the Prophets, the upright and the martyrs” (Al-Tirmidhi). “God shows mercy to a person who is kindly when he sells, when he buys and when he makes a claim” (Al-Bukhari). The Prophet gave many teachings on business and economic issues, he covered almost every aspect of business and economics. – Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui

Besides honesty and truthfulness, Shura is a crucial part of the Islamic organizational system be it in the political, business or family sphere.  It allows common people to participate in the decision-making process and helps create an organization that engages actively with leaders.  In today’s business parlance, it is more commonly referred to as ‘bottoms-up decision making’ contrasted with the more traditional and hierarchical ‘top-down’ decision making.  Whether one is better than the other depends on the organization and the type of decision to be made.  But with the way the Prophet provided a practical example of how he implemented Shura, we find a sweet spot.

Consultation is important in building a solid relationship between the leader and the organization.  It is important to note that Shura does not equate majority rule.  The final decision does rest with the leader (Amir).  The Prophet provided numerous examples of him taking Shura from his companions where his decision was inline with the suggestions of his companions.  The most notable examples are during the time of the Battle of Uhad and Khandaq where he preferred the decision of his companions over his.  What makes this action incredible is that the Prophet and companions around him fully know that the Prophet receives divine guidance.  There is no need for the Prophet to consult anyone since he knows that the decision he will come up with will be the best.  However, he still solicited input from his companion and in some cases overrode his opinion and went with the suggestions of his companion.  The pre-war council of battle of Uhad and Khandaq provide prime examples of that.

However, in some cases the Prophet, after consulting with his companion, still decided against the suggestion and opinions of others.  At the time of signing of Treaty of Hudaibia, most if not all of the companion were not in favor of the terms.  However, the Prophet made his divine judgement and signed the treaty.  This shows that it is not necessary to always go with the majority after conducting Shura.  However, it is still paramount to conduct a Shura before making the decision.  From an organizational perspective, a CEO or leader should consult with his prior to important decision and then use his/her best judgement to make the final call.  The organization should respect that decision and march ahead.  Of course it is the duty of the leader to motivate and convince his organization that the decision made is the best for the business.

Key learning from the Prophet’s examples provide us with an understanding of why Shura is important:

  • Shura allows various points of views to be brought to the table.  Each person brings his/unique life experiences into the suggestions that may fit the situation at hand better than that of just the leader.
  • By discussion, multiple ideas can be brought together and morphed into a more optimum decision
  • Shura makes the people feel empowered and increases the self-esteem of the organization.  A leader by asking his team of their opinions, implicitly induces confidence and self-worth in each person on the team.

The last point above becomes crucial when developing leadership within a corporate organization is a key objective.  Investing in developing leadership within the organization is a requirement for company to thrive in today’s global, knowledge and data based economy.

 

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Travel…the new Halal destination

For the longest time, the primary focus of the vast majority of Muslims was to find sources of Halal Food.  Over the years, the halal food industry grew from local butchers and grocery stores to restaurants to big name brands.  Travel is the new Halal focus now and is poised tapping into another huge but under-served market.  The global Muslim Travel industry by some estimates  is worth about $130B in 2013 expecting to grow to $200B by 2020.  Bear n mind this is excluding religious travel for Hajj or Umrah.  It represents almost 12% of total global tourism market and is bigger than the US travel market.

New companies like HalalTripCrescentrating and others are bringing the Muslim travel ecosystem into the digital age of web 2.0 and mobile.  An industry that was dominated by offline travel agents is now getting disrupted by new entrants who are vying to become the next TripAdvisor and Travelocity for the Muslim market.

The big factor driving this growth potential is the change in Muslim demographics.  Whereas before Muslim travel was limited to the small elites, they are now joined by the growing middle class of young Muslim consumers.  The consumers represent 2nd generation Muslims born and raised in North America and Europe to immigrant parents who are now entering the professional and highly educated work force in droves with a greater portion of disposable income.  Additionally Muslims from traditionally ‘Islamic’ countries like Malaysia and Indonesia who have benefited from the rising economic tide in their respective countries are also looking to find travel destinations suitable with their Islamic beliefs.  These consumers are tech savvy and expect and demand products and services that offer them with a Muslim-centric experience while drawing from tools developed by successful mainstream web companies.

Halal Travel is more than just providing a list of halal restaurants available in a destination.  Companies who offer a carefully curated experience combining travel information that includes Muslim history, mosques, restaurants and ways to connect with the local community albeit for a short period of time stand to connect with their customers at a deep level.  IslamiCity has been successfully operating an annual tour to destinations like China and Spain for a number of years.  There are countless other permutations of providing such packages and services.  It is encouraging to see the industry becoming more dynamic as it tries to connect with their Muslim consumers.

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Top 4 Websites For Finding Your Next Halal Experience

1) Zabihah.com

This one is a no brainer. With over 10,000 reviewed restaurants and  markets worldwide, zabihah.com has helped promote the expansion of the halal restaurant industry in the West and is credited by many restaurants for making the provision of halal meals economically viable.

Currently, up to 20% of zabihah.com’s 10 million annual users access restaurant listings and reviews through mobile devices such as the iPhone, which alone has had 100,000 application downloads since its launch.

Over a decade of precise market data from our global user base has provided zabihah.com with unprecedented consumer demographic information and marketing opportunities that will benefit the worldwide Halal industry as it continues to develop.

2) CrescentTours.com

The world’s leading independent Halal Tourism specialist, crescent tours offers quality halal leisure holidays and Islamic Heritage Tours.

Crescent ToursCrescent Tours is a global brand with a state-of-art information website, which provides its customers full unbiased information and allows booking their dream halal holidays online, fully tailored to their individual needs.

All accommodation facilities are operated in accordance with Islamic norms. Resorts and hotels with Crescent Tours do not serve alcohol and have separate swimming pools and beach, leisure areas and spa facilities for men and women. All our entertainment programs are within norms of Islam too.

3) CrescentRating.com

The vision is clear. To enable Muslims to explore the world with a peace of mind by leading the growth of “Halal Friendly Travel” to benefit Travelers, Travel Service providers, Our Shareholders and the Community as a whole.

CrescentRating has also developed the world first rating system to rate Travel & Hospitality Services and Facilities for Halal Friendliness. These include the availability of Halal Food or information on Halal Food, Prayer information, etc.

With the growth of Muslim travelers forecasted to outpace the growth of other travel segments, Halal Friendly Travel market is increasingly becoming a key segment for the travel industry and sites like CrescentRating offer a valuable resource to Muslim consumers.

4) Yelp.com

While Yelp isn’t a niche directly/website for the Muslim consumer, it
does offer a large database of halal restaurants.  Yelp_Logo_No_Outline_Color

Just in NYC alone, you can find over 2,000+ halal restaurants on Yelp.  Of course, the legitimacy of each listing can be further validated.

In Q3 of 2013, Yelp had a monthly average of 117 million unique visitors and more importantly Yelpers have written more than 47 million reviews.

This certainly plays a huge role in helping consumers make more educated decisions.

There you have it. While the Muslim market is steadily growing, new websites are being produced each year around halal tourism and finding local restaurants.

If there are any other websites you’re using, feel free to drop a line below and share it with us!

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Why Marketing is Getting More Technical

IDC’s Top 10 CMO Predictions for 2013 states that

“Starting in 2013, after the CMO realizes that he/she does not have the skill sets in place for data analytics proficiency, 50% of new marketing hires will have technical backgrounds”

Technical Mktg Blog Post_026

source: blog.bufferapp.com

Driving this trend is simply Big Data’s pervasiveness in every business and organizational decision making process.  This creates a great opportunity since there is a great scarcity of marketers who have deep technical knowledge; in other words marketers who can code.  That doesn’t mean marketers need to start coding away new web and mobile apps, but it means marketers need to have a programmatic mindset, can understand and write SQL queries, know how API’s connect the web world and are experts at quantitative analysis.  That may sound a lot to ask from a profession which has for the most part focused on ‘softer skills’ so far.  But marketers who develop and exhibit these skills will stand head and shoulders above their peers in driving data driven decisions when reaching out to customers for sales and feedback.

CMO at Moz, Jamie Steven puts it this way:

These are individuals who have both knowledge of marketing channels, methods, and techniques, but also have the specialist technical knowledge to understand what’s possible and what’s not, and to do the work themselves.

Traditional online marketing skills of SEO, SEM and content marketing can be vastly more effective with the right technical knowledge that allows a marketer to ‘hack’ a new landing page or bake in certain metrics collection within product usage and then use statistical analysis to arrive at user behavior trends.

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Why Content Marketing Is Important For Your Business

As digital marketing continues to evolve, one form which is increasingly becoming more valuable is content marketing. There are many different types of content marketing, but before we jump into that, let’s review why it’s important:

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is really about providing valuable information or content to current and potential customers for the purpose of building trust, branding, awareness, and positive sentiment.

Content marketing falls under the goals of inbound marketing because it ultimately attracts your potential customers and nurtures relationships with your existing customers.

Types of Content Marketing

    • Blog Posts
    • Infographics
    • Whitepapers
    • Guest Posts
    • Images
    • Video
    • Illustrations
    • Case studies
    • Meme’s
    • Email newsletters
    • Ebooks

How to Execute an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

The biggest benefit of producing rich content tailored to your target customer base is it allows your business to create assets that grow in value over time. In addition, great content doesn’t have an expiration date. Which means if it’s done right, it can indefinitely fuel awareness for your brand and build social currency.

On a side note, unlike traditional advertising, content lives on the web and if it’s picked up search engines, then you’re growing your digital footprint.

To wrap this post up, I’ve included some compelling facts about why content marketing is important.

Facts About Content Marketing: 

    • B2B Marketers with a content marketing strategy are 600 percent more likely to be effective
    • Two-thirds of B2B Marketers without a content marketing strategy are creating more content now than they did in the previous year
    • The No. 1 metric for content marketing measurement is web traffic
    • Only 44 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy
    • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. (Social Media B2B)

(source: contentmarketinginstitute.com)

So are you “content” with your content marketing strategy?

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Hello Ms. Marvel

Ms Marvel. Image Credit: Artist: Adrian Alphona

Meet Kamala Khan.  A 16-year old high school girl living in sububran New Jeresey exploring and struggling through to adopt and maintain her identity as a Muslim girl.  But with superhuman powers Kamal transforms herself into Ms Marvel to face an adventure of a lifetime.

“Kamala has all of her opportunities in front her and she is loaded with potential, but her parents’ high expectations come with tons of pressure,” Marvel describes. “When Kamala suddenly gets powers that give her the opportunity to be just like her idol, Captain Marvel, it challenges the very core of her conservative values.”

Ms. Marvel is unique in the superhero lineup as there are very few female superhero let alone female superheroes of color.  And then there’s the fact that she is a Muslim.  Ms. Marvel’s creator/editor G. Willow Wilson is an American Muslim herself and will be collaborating heavily with Marvel editor Sana Amanat, also an American Muslim.  We applaud Marvel for making a bold move in choosing a Muslim, south-Asian American identity of its namesake superhero.  Ms. Marvel is certain to attract a large portion of Muslim Americans into its audience as it debuts in January and then becomes a series starting February.  Muslim Americans represent a growing yet underserved part of the American demographic.  Mainstream inclusion of characters with Muslim background go a long way in weaving Muslim values and identity to the larger social fabric.

Ms. Marvel is expected to attract new female audiences of color as it provides a role model that struggles with many of the issues they face growing up and going through high school.  For marketers Ms Marvel presents a great opportunity to reach the Muslim American population along with the young adult demographic typically associated with comic book genre.  Our previous blog posts discuss in detail the merit of marketing directly to the Muslim market using data about marketing size, spending habits and brand perceptions.  For many of the Muslim Americans, this will be the first impression of a brand interacting directly with them and can engender years of brand loyalty.

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