You know what I find amazing?
I’ll tell you.
I’m all excited about something in Islam and then I mention that to another person who doesn’t seem at all excited. That’s what I find amazing.
It doesn’t shock me or disgust me. It just makes me very sad because it’s sad to see someone who calls herself a Muslim look very unexcited about the sunnah of the Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam).
Oh and in case you think that this keeps happening with those who are far from Islam, then you are mistaken. I’m talking about those who attend regular Islamic classes.
One of those things that I keep telling all the sisters about is itikaf (seclusion in the masjid). Their reaction? It was more like a non-reaction. I might as well have said “Hey, it’s hot today.” Many of the sisters that I spoke to didn’t even express a DESIRE to do itikaf.
Now, someone might say: “Hey, listen I have 5 kids! There’s no way I can stay in the masjid” or say “I’m at work so how can I stay at the masjid?”
Did you notice that I put the word DESIRE in caps? What that means is that even if you are unable to do something, you at least WISH that you could do it.
I have a question for all of you: When you come across any action or order (that pertains to you*) of the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) or one of his Companions (radiallahu anhum) do you feel any sort of DESIRE to do it, if not today, then one day in the future?
[*For example, some of his actions are only for the men e.g. growing the beard and some of his statements were only directed towards the women e.g. obedience to the husband.]
If the answer is no, then we have a problem. Why? Because if we’re being told about an act that we know for certain would please Allah, and we don’t show any inclination towards doing it, then I think it shows that perhaps we are not concerned with pleasing Allah.
One of those actions is itikaf. Most people don’t show any inclination whatsoever towards it. It’s easy to understand why, of course. I’ll let the article spell it out for you.
[To the brothers and sisters (who don’t have young children): Please try to go for at least one night. You’ll love it.
Brothers: Please give your wives/daughters permission to go to itikaf if they ask.]
[And if you can actually go for ten days then please don’t even think of doing less than that. I’ve been dreaming (it’s one of my biggest dreams in life) and doing dua for that for 7 years and I’ve never had the opportunity. I can’t believe that someone who has this opportunity would actually give it up.]
[For all the itikaf newbies: Don’t worry, I’ll be putting up some advice tomorrow on what to take with you.]
Why have the Muslims forsaken i’tikaaf, even though it is the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)? What is the purpose of i’tikaaf?
Praise be to Allaah.
I’tikaaf is one of the confirmed Sunnahs which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did regularly.
See the evidence for its being prescribed in the answer to question no. 48999.
This Sunnah has disappeared from the lives of the Muslims apart from those on whom Allaah has mercy. It is like many Sunnahs which the Muslims have virtually forsaken.
There are several reasons for this, including the following:
1- Weakness of faith in many hearts
2- Increased focus on worldly pleasures and desires, which leads to an inability to keep away from them even for a short time.
3- Lack on interest in Paradise on the part of many, and their inclination towards leisure and relaxation, so that they do not want to put up with the hardship of i’tikaaf even for the sake of earning Allaah’s pleasure.
Whoever understands the significance of Paradise and the greatness of its delights will sacrifice his life and that which is most precious to him in order to attain it. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The reward of Allaah is precious, the reward of Allaah is Paradise.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani, 2450.
I can’t believe it.
Can’t believe what, you ask?
I can’t believe that I forgot to share this wonderful book with all of you.
It’s called “Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Iman” and it’s by Shaikh Abdur Razzaq Al-Abbad (of “The Most Excellent Manner of Seeking Forgiveness” fame).
If you have to choose a book to read, then read this one. It really is quite wonderful.
Here you go: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Iman.
What box, you say?
The box that each and every one of us is going to pack, insha-Allah, in this Month of Brotherhood, in order to send to our ailing brothers and sisters in Pakistan.
[And no, I’m not a Pakistani and I don’t care if you are not either. We’re all helping out so keep reading. This is our chance to PROVE that we actually care about others. Remember that Allah is the All-Hearer and All-Seer. ]
[I know, I know. You’re like “She’s forcing us to send!”
Of course I am. If I try using sweetie-sweetie tactics, how many people do you think will help out? This is why I’m using the “tough love” approach.]
It’s amazing that everyone is always so concerned about Taraweeh in Ramadan but many of us are not concerned about helping our brothers and sisters. The former is recommended but the latter is an obligation.
I’m one of those that has been at fault. I’ve been in my own world and finally crawled out today, alhamdulillah.
So, what are we all going to do? We’re all going to take advantage of the PIA’s kind offer to ship these help boxes to Pakistan for support.
[A question to those who might not be very interested in doing that: Do you REALLY think that you can gain Allah’s Forgiveness in this month by just praying, fasting and reading the Quran whilst leaving your own brethren to die???]
Here’s what we’re all going to do, insha-Allah:
[If you’ve already done it, then do it all over again. C’mon, it’s Ramadan.]
1) Watch the following video:
Masha-Allah, the brother has explained things very well.
However, PLEASE watch the video otherwise you’ll get confused.
I was like “Box of Chocolates”? Then he explained that the children never get to eat good quality chocolate and were very happy doing so. That makes sense: glucose + making them happy.
2) Go to the supermarket as soon as possible and buy the stuff.
[And PLEASE: don’t try to save money and buy cheap stuff. Buy the stuff that you would buy for yourself. This is true faith when you give your brother what you love for yourself, remember. So, please buy good stuff. (I’m thinking about buying Cadbury chocolates, insha-Allah. What about you?)]
3) Call the PIA representative in your country.
The Dubai Guy is :
4) Nag all your friends and family into helping out either by calling them or email them.
Or if they can’t be nagged, try to butter them up. Whatever works.
5) Please repeat steps 1-4. C’mon, it’s Ramadan.
If you lose motivation, just keep remembering your fabulous house in Paradise.
That’s what happens to many a woman when that time of month strikes her at this time of month. They think that Ramadan is over and start to twiddle their thumbs.
Two sisters asked me what a menstruating woman could do during Ramadan so here goes:
So, I’m in a better mood today, alhamdulillah. [Read Part 1 and then you’ll understand what I’m talking about.]
I’ll try not to be catty today (at least not as much as yesterday). Yes, I’ll be Umm Muawiyah and not Umm Meowiyah.
[And I’ve learnt my lesson about writing when I’m half-asleep.]
So, where am I headed with these reminders? The first few were on where we should be going (i.e. aiming for the top), the next few will be on where we are today (i.e. our totally sad state of existence) and the ones after that will be some practical tips on how we can go from being the losers that we are today into being the winners that we want to be.
If we want to be the winners in the hereafter, we don’t just dream about it. We need to be obsessed with attaining it, do dua consistently, make a plan for getting there and then stick to the plan as much as possible. As I keep telling my students: “Paradise is not just going to fall into our laps. We have to earn it.”
So, now that 9 days have passed, let’s continue with our Ramadan assessment:
10) The Month of Istighfaar (seeking forgiveness)
Doing istighfaar is something that is a trait of the true believers.
The whole irony is that the more one increases in good deeds and decreases in sins, the more need one will feel to do istighfaar. And the more one increases in sins and decreases in good deeds, the less need one will feel to do istighfaar.
Enjoy myself, you ask? But it’s Ramadan! There’s so much work to do. So much ibaadah that we need to pack in!
Let’s start from the beginning, the very best place to start*:
[Yes, I know that sounds familiar because I stole the line from somewhere.]
Firstly, let’s all ask ourselves: “What are the kinds of things that we are supposed to enjoy doing?”
I think that everybody would agree that it would be doing the things that we love. It would also include the good things.
Hmm….so isn’t fasting in Ramadan something that we should love doing? Isn’t praying Taraweeh something that we should love doing? Isn’t giving charity something that we should love doing? Isn’t preparing iftar for your family something that we should love doing?
These are all acts of worship and these are things which are pleasing to Allah, so shouldn’t they be pleasing to us? Shouldn’t we be happy to do them?
Shouldn’t we be enjoying ourselves when we do these things and all the other acts mentioned in the shariah?
Sadly, this isn’t what happens today, is it? The following is what happens:
How IS love attained, you ask?
Patience, my child. All in good time.
First, let me tell you what I realised.
I kept seeing certain people who were really liked/loved by others. So, for example, Persons A, B and C would really like Person D.
Just one thing: D didn’t necessarily like A, B or C and even if she did, then it wasn’t the way that they liked her.
So I wondered why it was like that. When I dug further, I realised that A, B and C liked D because D had done a lot for them. However, D didn’t have to like them because they had not done anything for her.
And aren’t we all like that? Don’t we all like those who GIVE us more than those who take from us?
And then it struck me: Love is attained by giving and it is NOT attained by getting.
So the people who are highly beloved to others are generally that way because they gave a lot to those people (it could be their wealth, their time, their support, etc). Therefore, they attained the love of others by giving to those people.
[Please excuse me for the poor editing. WordPress was not behaving today.]
So why were you created? And why was I created?
Well, for the same reason.
How do we know that? Because the 2 following ayaat (verses) clarify that:
“I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures). Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong. ” [Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51) : 57-58]
Allah makes it very clear in the Quran that WE are the ones who need Him, not the other way around:
Yes indeed. It’s time for a rant.
So, if you’ll permit me…
Ramadan is the Month of Fitness, not the Month of Fatness.
Ramadan is the Month of Piety, not the Month of Party.
Ramadan is the Month of Fasting, not the Month of Food.
Ramadan is the Month of Abstinence, not the Month of Stuffing-Yourself-Until-You-Drop-Dead.
Ramadan is the Month of Wiping Out your sins from your book of deeds, not the Month of Writing More Sins to your book of deeds.
Ramadan is the Month of the Quran. And no, that does not mean taking a dusty Mushaf off your shelves after 10 months and 20 days and reading it without tajweed, understanding or application.
Ramadan is the Month of Starting Afresh – which means starting a new life until the end of your life, not a new life until Shawwal.
Ramadan is the Month of Silence, not the Month of Socialising (Hello Iftar Parties Full of Gheebah. I’m talking to YOU.)
Ramadan is the Month of Sisterhood (and Brotherhood), not the Month of Cat fights. (Hello Sisters in the Masjid. I’m talking to YOU).
Ramadan is the Month of Giving in Charity, not the Month of Being a Cheapskate.
Ramadan actually lasts for a whole Month, not just the 27th night.
Ramadan actually lasts from Fajr until Fajr, not from Fajr until Maghrib.(Hello Sheesha Addicts and Majlis Tent Goers. I’m talking to YOU.)
Ramadan is the Month where the Gates of Paradise are opened and the Gates of Hell are closed. So why exactly do we behave as if the Gates of Hell are open and the Gates of Paradise are closed?
Ramadan is the Month where we pray more, not the (only) Month where we pray.
Ramadan is the Month of Manners. You’d think people could at least try for a measly 29-30 days to ACT nice???
Ramadan is the Month of Smiling, not the Month of Snarling.
Ramadan is the Month of Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone), not the Month of Shirk (ascribing partners to Him). How truly sad it is that nobody knows what Tawheed is, when it is the Right of Allah and the Key to Paradise.
Ramadan is the Month where we increase our presence in the Masjids, not the Month where we increase our presence in the Restaurants.
Ramadan is the Month where we Seek Forgiveness, not the Month where we Seek Food.
Ramadan is the Month of Activity, not the Month of Sleep.
Ramadan is the Month of Striving, not the Month of Snoring.
Ramadan is the Month where we go the extra mile to please Allah, not where we go the extra mile to please our stomachs.
Ramadan is the Month of Increasing in Prayers and Khushoo (humility) not the Month of Increasing in Pakoras and Kushari.
Ramadan is the Month of Dawah to Allah, not the Month of Dawah to your Iftar Party.
Ramadan is the Month of Health, which means that manufacturers of cooking oil should NOT be making profits at this time of year.
Ramadan is the Month of Improving your (hereafter) CV, not the Month of Befriending your TV.
Ramadan is the Month of Atoning (for your sins), not the Month of Moaning and Groaning (about the hunger, ibadaah, etc).
Ramadan is the Month where we strive to get mentioned by Allah to His Angels, not the Month where we strive to get mentioned by your Iftar party guests (“Ooh, what a fantastic host you are!”).
Ramadan is the Month where we stand in rows waiting for the Salah to begin, not the Month where we stand in lines waiting to order the food.
Ramadan is the Month where we visit the Masjids, not the Month where we visit the Majlises.
Ramadan is where we behave NORMALLY (where we act likes the slaves of Allah). It’s the rest of the year where we behave ABNORMALLY (where we act like slaves of this world).
Brother Abu Uwais was right. We need a Ramadan.
Okay, I just had to get that out of my system.
Yes, I know. That was nasty but it was the sad truth wasn’t it?
We’ll all strive to do better this year, insha-Allah.