Rough roads, pain, laughter, heartache, cold, discomfort…..Like everything in life, and life itself, it is just temporary. Nothing lasts forever. I have adopted this as my mantra when I arrived at the base of the mountain. Why? Because I knew that it’s not going to be smooth sailing. I knew that I was going to be removed from every comfort known to me for the next six days. By remembering and constantly reminding myself that whatever I feel or what I’m experiencing is just temporary, I was able to keep going, and able to push myself through what is now officially known as the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
Three weeks ago today, I summited the highest free standing mountain in the world, “The Roof of Africa” Mount Kilimanjaro, 5898m above mean sea level.
This was by far, one of the most memorable days of my life, as this was not just a childhood dream, but I also got to raise funds for charity.
After six months of training, the time finally arrived for us to put ourselves through the ultimate physical and mental challenge. I have discovered things about myself on that mountain that I would never have learned in any classroom or book. The lessons I have learned will stay with me forever.
I will be doing a series of #lessonslearned in the days to follow.
Do we have that much time on our hands?
”I have made it impermissible for myself to waste a single hour of my life”
Hasan al Basri said;
“O Son of Adam, you are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes then a part of you has gone”
We think that we are made out of blood, flesh and bones
Al Hasan, the scholars of Islam would say, “No….you’re made out of time….hours”
If an hour leaves you, that’s part of you gone for good
It’s never ever going to come back
You are made of time
What are we doing with our time time?
Imagine yourself brothers and sisters, running, running to a family, your family….
Your children, wife or husband, who are on the brink on dying from thirst and you have a bucket of water, how fast are you running to get to them before they die?
Now imagine there is a hole in that bucket and you put your hand on the hole, and the water is coming out through your fingers
How would you feel to see that water dripping?
This is our analogy here on earth…we are all running towards the hereafter whether in a right or wrong direction….We’re running that way and time is falling away….hours are falling away….years are passing….and we’re not doing anything about it.
What are we doing with our time?
Waiting to ask Allah SWT for a second chance?
Allah SWT will tell us, Did we not give you lives long enough for you to receive admonition?….if you wanted to receive it?….and didn’t the warner come to you?
Time is the most valuable commodity that you possess
They say time is gold, this is incorrect, time is more valuable than gold
Gold comes and goes
But time…When it’s gone, it’s gone for good
That second that just ticked on the clock
Will never come again….
What are we doing with our time?
In just over two weeks, Muslims all over the world will be welcoming an esteemed guest….Ramadhan. A period known to many as the month of fasting. But is this really all that Ramadhan is?
As it turns out, Ramadan is not simply an exercise in fasting during the day, binge-eating during the night and setting the clock to the morning’s wee hours to rise for the predawn meal. Neither is it about irate drivers who feel entitled to exhibit road rage, lacklustre employees who see the month as an excuse to slack off and overworked women slaving over a stove every day in preparation for the sunset meal. Ramadan is none of those things, if done right, and instead, is the chance for a spiritual boost, with lessons to be applied long after the month is out.
So Ramadan is here (almost). How do we know this? Because according to official Islamic bodies, the crescent moon will soon be sighted, marking the beginning of the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Lasting 29 or 30 days – the end date will be revealed through another official lunar sighting in the last week of the month – Muslims are to refrain from food and liquid (including chewing gum, smoking cigarettes and the like) from dawn to sunset, and instead renew their focus on prayers and increase their recitation of the Holy Quran.
Why it’s so special
It is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH. As a result, Ramadan is also known as the month to recite the holy text even more eagerly and with renewed dedication to completing the task. Muslims are encouraged to complete the full recitation of the Holy Quran at least once during the month. With an average of 600 pages, this seemingly huge task can be achieved through the recitation of four pages before each of the five prayers daily throughout the entire month.
It is one of Islam’s five main pillars (the others being the belief in one God and the Prophet Muhammad as His Messenger, praying five times a day, completing the pilgrimage to Mecca for those who are able and giving alms or “zakat”). It is mandatory for all Muslims upon reaching puberty, as long as they are mentally and physically sound. The elderly and chronically ill are exempt from fasting; however, it is incumbent upon them to feed the poor instead if they possess the financial means.
A spiritual detox
The fast is not simply about denying your body food and water. It also involves arguably the more taxing challenge of avoiding ill speech, arguments, loss of temper and malicious behaviour. The whole point of the fast is to demonstrate submission to God and keep the mind focused on a spiritual plane.
Patience and mercy, which, let’s face it, we all need more of in these harried times. Ramadan is viewed as a month-long school where graduates leave with a developed sense of self-control in areas including diet, sleeping and the use of time.
The fasting day is book-ended by two meals: suhoor and iftar. The former is the early morning meal consumed before fasting begins at dawn, while the latter is to break the fast at sunset. If breakfast is viewed as an important meal, a healthy suhoor is even more vital as it is meant to last you up to 15 hours! Slow digesting foods like barley, wheats, oats and lentils are recommended and limiting fatty and sugary products would be wise. There is a propensity to binge eat at sunset, but a balanced, moderate meal would really make all the difference, considering that the evenings are spent engaging in special nightly prayers. It is also recommended to break the fast with dates, as was the practice of the Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan is also defined by extra congregational prayers performed nightly after the evening Esha prayers, which are normally the last prayers of the evening. For those living near a mosque, expect your neighbourhood to be a hive of activity for the whole month.
The finish line
Ramadan culminates with the Eid ul Fitr holiday celebrating the end of the fast. Marked by a special morning prayer, the day is a form of spiritual graduation and a chance to permanently implement the spiritual lessons learnt throughout the month. Muslims dress in their best and visit friends and relatives as a sense of community prevails.
I’ve come across this profound advise by the great scholar Ibn Al Qayyim. So many times in life, we stress and depress ourselves over that which we have little or no control over. What seems like such a simple thing to do, is sometimes the hardest….Leaving it in the hands of the Almighty.
❝A friend will not (literally) share your struggles, an a loved one cannot physically take away your pain, and a close one will not stay up the night on your behalf…So look after yourself, protect it, nurture it…and don’t give life’s events more than what they are really worth…Be certain that when you break no one will heal you except you, and when you are defeated no one will give you victory except your determination…your ability to stand up again and carry on is your responsibility…Do not look for your self worth in the eyes of people; look for your worth from within your conscious…if your conscious is at peace then you will ascend high…and if you truly know yourself then what is said about you won’t harm you.
Do not carry the worries of this life… because this is for Allah…and do not carry the worries of sustenance because it is from Allah…and do not carry the anxiety for the future because it is in the Hands of Allah…
Carry one thing: How to please Allah. Because if you please Him, He Pleases you, fulfills you and enriches you. Do not weep from a life that made your heart weep…just say “Oh Allah…compensate me with good in this life and the hereafter”.
Sadness departs with a sajdah…happiness comes with a sincere du’a…Allah does not forget the good you do…nor does He forget the good you did to others and the pain you relieved them from…Nor will He forget the eye which was about to cry but you made it laugh…
Live your life with this principle: Be good even if you don’t receive good…not because of other’s sake but because Allah loves the good doers.❞ Ibn Al Qayyim
Asma – Names
Husna – Beautiful
Therefore the Asma al Husna is the Beautiful names of Allah SWT
Why is this topic important?
– It makes us know our creator Allah SWT better.
– Increases our love towards Allah SWT
– Encourage us to worship Him more
– Makes us desperate to see Him
– Makes us ashamed to disobey Him
– To enter Jannah:
“Prophet Muhammad PBUH said: “God has ninety-nine Names…whoever
believes in their meanings and acts accordingly will enter Paradise.”
Allah has given Himself the most beautiful names in the Holy Quran. They are 99 in number, and the 100th is Allah itself.
Last year sometime, I attended a beautiful workshop on the Asma al Husna. We were guided to look for the names of Allah SWT in our daily lives. When asked how many of us sees Allah SWT, baffled of course, none of responded that we did. After going through a few of Allah SWT names, their virtues, meanings and benefits, it was then that one realises how Allah SWT is ever-present, all the time, if only we opened our eyes to witness this marvel.
I will be doing short series of posts on the Beautiful names of Allah SWT in the coming weeks, as a reminder to myself first, that God is ever-present in our lives, regardless of what situations we might be facing.
The name Al Afuww The Pardoner
I woke up this morning and found myself chanting Al Afuww Ya Allah, Al Afuww Ya Allah. I immediately felt connected to The Pardoner and felt the need to write about it.
What is the difference between Oft-Pardoning Al Afuuw & All-Forgiving Al
Oft-Pardoning and All-Forgiving are two of God’s Beautiful Names, but pardon is greater than forgiveness, why? Forgiveness implies God conceals sins in life and on Judgement Day and He does not even punish one for his sins, though they are not erased or removed from one’s Deeds Record.
Pardoning sins implies one’s sins are totally erased from his Deeds Record as God has removed all of their traces.
Pardon others so that God may pardon you! Forgive and pardon others; it is that simple! Be tolerant and generous! If somebody oppresses you, be you a man or woman, pardon them for the pleasure of Allah SWT.
It was a random day in August 2014 after a short trip to Cape Town, when I sat at my desk and decided that I needed to do something out of the ordinary. It must have been my short love affair with Table Mountain that inspired me to do some research on Kilimanjaro, The Roof of Africa.
It was then that I wrote down my plan to trek Kilimanjaro in 2017.
At this point, I must have hiked about twice only in my life and really didn’t make any further effort. Let’s just say, the idea died almost as soon as it was born.
On January 25, I was interviewed for a position at an NGO. One of the two things I wanted to do when we moved to Cape Town, be a housewife or work for an NGO. After having a year off, this was exactly what I wanted. It was then that I realized that I am right where I needed to be!
One of the first things that I came across at the organisation, was their annual Kilimanjaro Challenge Fundraiser….I know what you’re thinking, divine intervention? Well, that’s exactly what I thought. So, I decided to settle into my new role first before I started raising questions.
During a volunteer briefing meeting, it was then that I was sold on the idea and decided to inquire into the subject matter. I was given the go ahead to register from my manager….and family.
Climbing with a purpose
What really attracted me to this challenge is its cause. Children. Orphans. I see the value of children even though I may not be a mother. My passion lies with children who are primary victims of poverty, which is the main cause of violation of their fundamental rights. With this challenge, we are raising funds for the children and orphans of Sub-Saharan Africa. For children in developing countries, lack of basic necessities, facilities, education, and loss of one or both parents is unfortunately a sad reality for many.
Due to this, the sustenance of nutritious meals, and the chance of a secure future can all become an impossible dream. That is why I believe that the care of orphans and less fortunate children is our responsibility.
I will never be able to touch the lives of every child who lacks basic care, but I can, together with the support and assistance of friends and family try to make difference even if it’s in the smallest way, one child at a time.
We are set to depart on August 2 and return August 11. Before embarking on the trek, we will spend time in Chekereni, which is a small village not far from Moshi in the Kilimanjaro Region. Here the number of HIV/AIDS orphans are on the rise. In many cases, the orphans are left behind in the hands of a guardian, fellow child, or with one parent who may be infected. I guess that being in the company of the children, will give us renewed energy as to why we’re actually doing what we’re set out to do, trek the highest free standing mountain in the world.
How you can contribute to making my climb a success
Account number: 071 621 881
Branch code: 031110
Reference: 5122362 – Your Name
For more information on how to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you know that for just R300, you could feed a child for an entire month!
Narrated Sahl bin Sa’d(Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet(Peace be upon him) said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together. (Saheeh Al Bukhari)