Al Wida Ya Ramadan

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We have reached the bitter-sweetness of bidding farewell to Ramadan once again. A sad time for many of us as we’re unsure if we’ll have the opportunity of tasting it’s sweetness again. Unsure if we will have the same loved ones around should we be alive to experience another.

Once we reach Laylatul Qadr (Night of Power) on the 27th night of Ramadan, we know that the most beautiful month will be leaving us shortly. Ramadan is like receiving a beloved guest. A guest we put our lives on hold for. We cancel all our social activities to be in their company only. We disconnect from the outside world. We don’t even keep up with the news. We stay up late at night and wake up early in the morning. We get through our days on minimal sleep and barely notice our empty stomachs. We rush through the evening meals to get ready for taraweeh (night prayers).

This beloved guest brings out the best in us. Makes us more charitable. Encourages us to be good to others. Brings out the sharing spirit in us. Gets us to reconnect with family. Forces us to come face to face with our ego. Inspires us to give back to our communities and those less fortunate than ourselves. Envelopes us in contentment. An extra effort is made to share suhoor and iftar meals as families. But overall, it fills our soul to carry us through the next eleven months, where we hold on to the memories that was left by our beloved guest and strive everyday to get as close as we can to feel the way our guest made us feel.

Al Wida Ya Ramadan.

 

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Ramadan – Choosing to Quit Social Media

Each lunar year, Ramadan comes around for one month only, and has such great spiritual benefits that one wishes to hold it with them throughout the year. I’ve realised how much time gets wasted on social media, so I have decided to detox from it for at least one month and use my time for spiritual upliftment.

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Ramadan is not just a month of fasting from food and drink from sunrise to sunset, but it’s also a time to gain closeness to our Creator. Its about fasting our souls, our eyes, ears and tongues. It’s about carrying out extra charitable acts, being extra kind to our neighbours, engaging in the remembrance of Allah swt (dhikr) most importantly its about reconnecting with the Noble Quran which was revealed in the Holy Month of Ramadan.

The days of Ramadan are split into three thirds as follows;

First ten days  of the Blessed Month of Ramadan are the days of Mercy.
We seek Allah’s Mercy in these days.
*Rab-bigh-fir war-ham wa Anta Khair-ur-Raahimeen. (Surah Al Muminun:118)My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for You are the Best of those who show mercy!

The second ten days of Ramadan are the days of Forgiveness
So we should seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent for sins in those days.
*Allahum-magh-fir-li dhunoobi Ya Rabbal Alameen
Rabbana Fagh-fir-lana dhunoobana wa kaf-fir-‘anna sayyi-aatina wa ta-waf-fana ma-‘al abraar. (Surah Al-Imran:193)
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and remit from us our evil deeds, and make us die in the state of righteousness along with Al-Abrâr (those who are obedient to Allâh and follow strictly His Orders).

The last ten days of Ramadan are to seek Refuge in Allah from the Hellfire.
*Allahumma Ajirna min-an-naar.
O Allah, protect us from the fire.

To my Muslim followers:
May the crescent shaped moon brighten your path towards enlightenment
May The Almighty bless you with peace and grace
May your home be filled with love and blessings in abundance
Live this Ramadan like it’s your last
May all your prayers be accepted
Love and Light from my home to yours

To my Non-Muslim followers:
Please forgive our shortcomings
If we come across as grumpy during this month, please understand that perhaps we’re just experiencing hunger pangs (still not an excuse for our grumpiness)
Love and Light from my home to yours

Getting Ramadan Ready

Every year, for the past few years, I have one intention only when it comes to Ramadan….and that is to have a better Ramadan than the previous year.

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With that being said, having a better Ramadan for me doesn’t include making better savouries than the previous year or trying the new gourmet samoosa fillings and is the latest craze on Instagram. I’ve been asked on many occasions how my Ramadan prep is going, and I’m so tempted to tell people off, but I resort to saying something along the lines off “I haven’t started yet.”

imagesIt’s taken me years to realise and appreciate the true gift of Ramadan. For me to long and yearn for the feeling of bliss that I’m enveloped in when this auspicious month arrives. And therefore, my Ramadan build-up has very little to do with food but everything to do with spiritual preparation.

During the months’ of Rajab and Shaban, I increase my fasting on Monday’s and Thursday’s. I also, whenever possible, fast the three white days (full moon, 13th, 14th,15th) of the Islamic lunar calendar. I increase my Quran recitation after fajr salaah (morning prayers) and increase my daily dhikr. This for me is becoming Ramadan ready. I start limiting screen time (social media and the already little TV I watch). I start spending my time more in the remembrance of Allah rather than waste time away.

ramadan1During Ramadan, I switch of completely from social network. Every account is logged out off and apps removed from my phone. I know how 2 minutes can easily turn into 20 while scrolling through my Instagram feed, hence the drastic measures I have resulted in taking. My time in Ramadan is more valuable than the strongest currency and I need to be accountable for every minute that I spend. I don’t know if I will be blessed to experience another Ramadan; hell, I don’t even know if I’m going to see the one that is just weeks away. And for this reason, I feel I need to make the most of this time that I have.

 

Time

1338990124_running out of timeDo 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.

58fd135faed7aa55b4b9539078469fa0What 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?

Ramadan Ya Habib

In just over two weeks, Muslims all over the world will be welcoming an esteemed guest….Ramadan. A period known to many as the month of fasting. But is this really all that Ramadan is?

ramadan-loading-wallpapers_37267_1920x1200As 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.

The month

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.

The fast

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.

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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.

The benefits

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.

imagesThe meals

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.

The prayers

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.

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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.

Asma al Husna (Beautiful Names Of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) Al Afuww

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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
Gafoor?
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.

Conclusion
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.

The Dash

“What will be left of all the fearing and wanting associated with your problematic life situation that every day takes up most of your attention? A dash – one or two inches long, between the date of birth and date of death on your gravestone” – Ekhart Tolle

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On any tombstone, you will see two dates; the date of birth and the date of death. All that seperates those dates is a Dash. Just a simple, single line that represents everything that person did from birth to death.

I don’t know how long my Dash of life will be, no one really does. For some, it’s a quick sprint while others have a long, long journey. But, I can have an impact of what that Dash represents on my own tombstone to people that I’ve met along the journey of my life, the people who knew me and shared my life. I can try to understand and feel for other people. I can be accepting of differences. I can keep to my word. I can be quicker to smile and slower to anger. I can show respect and be ready to lend a hand. I can live every day as if it were my last, for every passing day is a day closer to the date after my Dash.