Education—like democracy, free markets, freedom of the press, and “universal human rights” — is one of those subjects whose virtue is considered self-evident. So is the superiority of the industrially advanced countries in attaining them. Consequently, any package that arrives with one of these magic labels on it, automatically qualifies for the “green channel” at our entry ports. No questions asked. This uncritical acceptance has severely crippled our discussion of all these vital topics. For example in education most of our discussion centers around literacy statistics and the need to have so many graduates, masters, Phd’s, and so many professionals — engineers, doctors, etc.— in a given country based on the standards in the industrially advanced countries. The central issue of curriculum, and even more fundamental issue of the purpose of education normally do not attract our attention; they have already been decided by the “advanced’ countries for us and our job is only to follow in their footsteps to achieve their level of progress.Indeed they have. In the “first” world, education has become an extension of the capitalist system. Its purpose is to provide qualified workforce for its machinery of production and eager consumers for its products. Stated in a more polished form, the purpose of education is to provide for the economic prosperity of a country. Similarly on a personal level today the purpose of education is to be able to earn a respectable living.While earning halal living and providing for the economic well being of a country are certainly important Islamic goals as well, the linking of education to financial goals is extremely unfortunate. It turns the centers of learning into mere vocational centers in their outlook and spirit. It degrades education and through it the society.To bring home the pivotal but forgotten role of education we need to recall that there is a fundamental difference between human beings and animals. Instincts and physical needs alone can bring ants, bees, or herds of beasts together to live in a perfectly functioning animal society. Human beings do not function that way. They are not constrained by nature to follow only those ways that are necessary for the harmonious operation of their society. If they are to form a viable, thriving society, they must chose to do so. What drives that choice is the sharing of common goals, beliefs, values and outlook on life. Without a common framework binding its members, a human society cannot continue to exist; it will disintegrate and be absorbed by other societies. Further, the society must ensure that the common ground will continue to hold from generation to generation. This is the real purpose of education. The education system of a society produces the citizens and leaders needed for the smooth operation of that society, now and into the future. Its state of health or sickness translates directly into the health or sickness of the society that it is meant to serve.Today we find many internal problems — corruption, injustice, oppression, crippling poverty — everywhere we turn in the Muslim world. If we think about it, we may realize that most of these problems are man-made. Which is another way of saying that they are largely traceable, directly or indirectly, to the education system that produced the people who perpetuate the problems. The rulers who sell out to foreign powers and subjugate their people; the bureaucrats who enforce laws based on injustice; the generals who wage war against their own people; the businessmen who exploit and cheat; the journalists who lie, sensationalize, and promote indecencies, they are all educated people, in many cases “highly” educated people. Their education was meant to prepare them for the roles they are playing in real life. And it has, although in a very unexpected way!The problem plagues all layers of society. Why are Muslim communities in the grip of so much materialism today? What should we expect when our entire education system is preaching the gospel of materialism? Why have we effectively relegated Islam to a small inconsequential quarter in our public life? Because that is precisely where our secular education system has put it. Why in our behavior toward each other we see so little display of Islamic manners and morals? Because our imported education system is devoid of all moral training. Why our societies are sick? Because our education system is sick.This is the real crisis of education. Before we got into this mess by importing from the Colonial powers what was current and popular, education in our societies was always the means of nurturing the human being. Moral training, tarbiya, was always an inalienable part of it. The ustaz,(teacher), was not just a lecturer or mere professional, but a mentor and moral guide. We remembered the hadith then, “No father has given a greater gift to his children than good moral training.” [Tirmidhi]. Our education system was informed by this hadith. Our darul-ulooms still maintain that tradition but the number of students who pass through their gates is minuscule compared to the secular schools.In the U.S. and Europe, the schools were started by the church. Later as forces of capitalism overtook them, they molded them into their image. Moral training was a casualty of that takeover. But capitalism and their political economy did need people trained to work under these systems. So citizenship training was retained as an important, though diminishing, component of the curriculum— a religion-free subset of the moral training it displaced. Whatever civility we see here is largely a result of that leftover component. The imported versions in the Muslim countries, though, had even that component filtered out. And the results are visible.We can solve our problem once we realize our mistakes. The first purpose of our education system must be to produce qualified citizens and leaders for the Islamic society. Tarbiya, real Islamic moral training, must be an integral part of it. This must be the soul of our education, not a ceremonial husk. All plans for improving our education will be totally useless unless they are based on a full understanding of this key fact. This requires revamping our curricula, rewriting our textbooks, retraining our teachers, and realizing that we must do all this ourselves. We do have a rich history of doing it. Are we finally willing to turn to our own in-house treasures to redo education the way it should always have been?
Lease Option Real Estate Investing: Advantages and Disadvantages
One creative way to get started investing in real estate is to use a lease option. The biggest advantage of using lease options to invest in real estate is –control. This method of investing, basically gives the investor the right to possess — be in control of — and profit from a property without owning it.A real estate lease option contract is a combination of two documents.The lease part of the contract is where the owner agrees to let you lease their property, while you pay them rent for a stated period of time. During the lease period, the owner can not raise the rent, rent it to anyone else, or sell the property to anyone else.The option part of the contract represents the right you purchased to buy the property in the future, for a specific price. If you decide to exercise your option to buy, the owner has to sell it to you at the negotiated price. The option part of the contract obligates the seller to sell to you during the option period — but it does not obligate you to buy. You are only obligated to make rental payments as agreed during the lease period.When the lease option contract is written and structured properly, it can provide tremendous benefits and advantages to the investor. If the lease option includes the “right to sub-lease”, the investor can generate a positive cash flow by renting the property to a tenant for the duration of his lease, or lease option the property to a tenant-buyer for positive cash flow and future profits. If the lease option includes a “right of assignment” the investor could assign the contract to another buyer for a quick profit.Lease option real estate investing, is a flexible, low risk, highly leveraged method of investing that can be implemented with little to no money.High LeverageIt is highly leveraged because you are able to gain control of a property and profit from it now–even though you don’t own it yet. The fact that you don’t own it, also limits your personal liability and personal responsibility. Only if you decide to purchase the property by exercising your “option to buy”, would you take title to the property.Little to no moneyThe real estate investor’s cost to implement a lease option contract with the owner requires little to no money out of pocket, because it is entirely negotiable between investor and owner. Also, there are a variety of ways the option fee can be structured. It can be structured on an installment plan, balloon payment or other agreeable arrangement between both parties. The option fee can even be as little as $1.00.In order to secure the property for purchase at a later date, tenant-buyers typically pay a non-refundable option fee of approximately 2%-5% of the negotiated future purchase price to the seller. Depending on how the lease option agreement is written and structured, the investor could possibly use the tenant-buyer’s option fee money to pay any option fee owed to the owner.FlexibleLease option real estate investing is a flexible method of investing because the terms of the agreement, like payment amounts, payment dates, installments, interest rate, interest only payment, balloon payments, purchase price and other terms are all negotiated between seller and buyer. Responsibilities of both parties are also negotiable. For instance, if the investor doesn’t want to act in the capacity of a landlord, he could specify in the lease option agreement that tenant-buyer will be responsible for all minor maintenance and repairs and the original seller will remain responsible for any major repairs.Financially Low RiskIt is low risk financially, because if the property fails to go up enough in value to make a profit, you have the purchased the right to change your mind and let the “option to buy” expire. Even if your tenant-buyer decides not to buy the property, you have profited by a positive monthly cash flow from the tenant-buyer’s rent payments, and upfront non-refundable option fee.Let’s look at an example of a lease with option to buy structured in a way that the investor profits in 3 separate phases of the investment.Profit #1: non-refundable option feeFuture sales price negotiated with the current owner is $125,000 with an option fee of 2% of the sales price. Option Fee you owe the owner is $2,500. The future sales price you set for your tenant-buyer is $155,000 and the option fee is 4% of the sales price. Option fee the tenant-buyer owes you is $6,200. You collect $6,200 from tenant-buyer and pay $2,500 to the owner and your profit = $3,700Profit #2: monthly cash flow from rental paymentsThe Monthly rental payment you negotiated with the owner is $1,000. You set the monthly payment at $1,250 per month for your tenant-buyer. Each month you collect $1,250 from your tenant-buyer and pay the owner $1,000 each month. Your profit is $250 monthly positive cash flow during the lease period.Profit #3: is set up when the lease option contract is initially writtenThe third profit is the difference in the negotiated future purchase price with the owner, and the future purchase price set for your tenant-buyer. Let’s say the property goes up in value to appraise for at least $155,000. Your tenant-buyer decides to exercise their option to buy. You buy the property from the owner at $125,000 and then sell it to your tenant-buyer for $155,000. $155,000 – the $125,000 you pay to the owner = $30,000 profit.Of course the key to making lease option real estate investing work, is finding motivated sellers and buyers. Finding these motivated sellers and buyers shouldn’t be difficult. The continuing down turn in the real estate market, has created a large number of sellers who can’t sell their property and buyers who can’t get financing to buy. The seller could possibly get a fair offer to be paid in the future, by selling their property to a real estate investor on a lease option basis. A potential tenant-buyer could obtain home ownership, without having to qualify through traditional home loan guidelines.One disadvantage of lease option real estate investing, involves the tenant or tenant-buyer possibly defaulting on monthly rental payments. This would make it necessary for the investor to come up with money out of pocket to pay the owner, and possibly have to proceed with eviction process. However, there are certain provisions that can made, and also various “contract clauses”, that can be included in the lease option agreement, to deter buyers from defaulting on payments.If the investor fails to do “due diligence” before entering into a lease option agreement, he could end up with a property that is unmarketable. There could be a number of liens on it, issues involving ownership of the property or it might be in foreclosure. By diligently performing research before entering into a lease option agreement, the investor can avoid these mistakes. A few things the investor could do is– perform background and credit checks on both the seller and buyer, search public records in reference to ownership and property status, or do a title search.Despite the few disadvantages, lease option real estate investing continues to be an excellent way to invest in real estate with little to no money and low financial risks. It also remains to be an excellent way to gain control of a property you don’t own, to generate cash flow now, and possible future profits on flexible terms.Bottom line– you don’t have to miss out on the lucrative profits being made by investors in today’s real estate marketThe more you understand creative real estate investing strategies, and apply them now, the more profits you will make in today’s real estate market. Don’t put off getting the real estate investing education you need — to succeed in today’s real estate market.Learn these things and more:
Creative investing strategies and concepts for Lease option real estate investing, foreclosure investing, and wholesaling and flipping real estate.
How to structure every deal right so you make more on each deal and eliminate your risk.
What needs to be included in your real estate contracts now– to safely avoid issues that could cost you thousands!
The most powerful legal clauses you can use to completely eliminate your risk in all your offers.
The step by step approach to invest in real estate with minimal risk.
How and where to research properties effectively to save hundreds of hours in time.
The best ways to creatively finance your investment properties.
How to know the true market value of properties so you never overpay again.
How to control properties with no money, credit or income verifications so you can make a lot more.
The 4 Best Reasons to Utilize Press Releases to Boost Your Business
A press release, also called a news release or media release is an official document that is used to inform people via the internet, newspaper, television or radio about a new product, service or event of an organization. Today, small businesses, especially solo professionals, are using this document for promotional purposes. The online variants, of media releases, are more popular as they can spread the news about an upcoming product or service wider than most methods. In addition, with the right keywords and key terms, marketers can use their news releases to reach their target audience and inform it of what their companies have in store.However, these aren’t the only benefits you can get with media releases. The following points highlight four of the top benefits of this marketing tool.Press Releases Add CredibilityOne of the best ways to flaunt your credibility is by writing a good quality media announcement. Even though you can market and promote your business through paid advertising, consumers are now well aware of the nature of advertisements, so they tend to avoid them. On the other hand, media announcements that are published in the form of a story are trusted a lot more. Therefore, just by publishing 1-3 press releases, you would have opened up the door to greater opportunities for your business.Press Releases Give ExposureAnother major benefit of press releases is that they give you exposure to the segment you’re focusing your marketing efforts on. Your media releases will be read by people who are genuinely interested in your company or the product that you have to offer. If the product, service or event that you are offering or hosting is interesting, people will want to know about it. So, the media announcement will also help you convert this quality audience into your customers, which in turn will bring improvement in your business and overall revenue. However, you must remember that for you to produce a quality news release, you have to put a little effort in wording it and formatting it so that it doesn’t sound too promotional. This is why it may be best for you to hire a professional writer to handle this task instead.Press Releases Give Great Back LinksIf you have an online media announcement, you will also be able to get great and powerful back links that will help you in enhancing your search engine visibility. You will find that there are a lot of companies that have a good page rank simply because of the online releases that they publish.Press Releases are InexpensiveFinally, when you start working with online media releases and publishing them, you will note that they cost a lot less than traditional advertisement. The news releases that you will be distributing in newspapers and on the web will bring a lot more in for a lot less.Adopting media releases as a major part of your marketing strategy will get you great benefits. In addition, if these news releases are written by professionals, they can also be used with a particular targeted keyword that will help enhance your webpage ranking.So, think of a few newsworthy offerings and services you have and get set to pen press releases to boost your marketing efforts.