[Yes, this was a Ramadan blog before it branched out into everything from humour to culture to politics.]
Today, I want YOUR input.
Tell me: What do you miss about Ramadan?
What do I miss, you ask?
Well, I miss:
1) Itikaf : The rest of the year I suffer from itikaf-withdrawal symptoms.
2) Taraweeh and Qiyam Al-Layl.
3) My masjid (but not its bathrooms): It’s my favourite place in Dubai. (Sorry Burj Khalifa.)
4) The time that I spend with the Quran.
5) The Imam’s recitation.
6) Seeing everybody trying to be obedient to Allah.
7) Waking up before Fajr (which means that I’m not groggy during Salatul Fajr).
Okay, now it’s your turn.
What do you miss about Ramadan? Please leave a comment.
[Hey, I write every day. Now I want the rest of you to participate as well.]
And if you want a pictorial summary of us from Shawwal until Shaban, just read from right to left….
Aashoora is the 10th of Muharram and is a special day.
By “special day”, I mean that it has some historical significance (Musa (alaihissalam). not Karbala) and there are some legislated deeds to be done therein (fasting, not whipping yourself and your little children like some highly deviant sects do, may Allah save us from such misguidance).
Here’s a lecture that gives us an insight into Aashoora:
Day of Aashoora – Lessons, Fasting and Merits by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah) (Download):
5) Try to use your strongest language to learn Arabic.
Okay, there are two key words here: “use” and “strongest”.
Let’s take the second word first.
a) What is a person’s strongest language?
It’s what is known as the “native language”. And just for your information, according to many people, that is exactly the same thing as one’s mother tongue.
People seem to think that the language that you speak at home with your parents is your native language. It doesn’t have to be.
If you’re confused as to what your native language is (and I’ve met many people who are), ask yourself this simple question: What language do you think in?
People generally think in just one language.
[By the way, judging by some of the conversations that I’ve had, it seems that the language that you think in can change, if you use another language for a long time. For example, a German sister pointed out to me how she had started to think in English because she used it far more than she used German.]
Okay, so why should we use one’s strongest language? Well, I’m assuming that everyone thinks like me. See, if someone asked me to translate from French to Arabic, then I wouldn’t be able to do it without first translating from French to English and then from English to Arabic. From what I understand, this is the case with most people.
Also, there is the little issue of “getting lost in translation”. You lose so much by going from one language to another. Imagine what would happen if you went through more than one language!
Now someone might say “Eh? Doesn’t everyone use their native language when learning a new one?”
Erm no, which is why I felt the need to write all the above.
Fitness plays a HUGE role in the quality of your ibaadah (worship). If you’re healthy, you’ll be able to do much more ibaadah and it’ll be with much more focus (a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, remember?).
So, start walking and stop eating all that junk food!
PS. Question to the sisters: What do you think of starting a private blog (i.e. restricted to members alone) wherein the members keep track of their health, share ideas and encourage each other?
Yes, Ramadan was our second chance (remember?) and Dhul Hijjah is our third.
So, why should we stick to “remembering” (i.e. dreaming about) Ramadan? Why don’t we just take advantage of the ten best days* that are coming up in order to give ourselves another little Ramadan?
[*Actually, even the days of Tashreeq (11th-13th) have some virtues so we shouldn’t forget about them. Sadly, most people do exactly that because they’re too busy partying their brains out because it’s Eid.]
What should we do?
1) Aim for a fresh start (don’t wait for Dhul Hijjah, do it NOW). Seek Allah’s Forgiveness and ask Him to make things easy for you.
2) Read about the virtues of Dhul Hijjah and write down all the specific deeds that can be done during this time (e.g. fasting, takbeer, etc).
[Note: We need to read about Eid Al-Adha and the days of Tashreeq too as they are a religious celebration, not a 4 day party.]
Rather than waiting for next Ramadan to come, we need to pretend that it is already here and that we are in the last ten days (hey, there’s even an Eid after them!).
3) Bring out all those Ramadan Resolutions papers out from the bottom of your drawers. Oh yes.
However, now we’re going to call this “Dhul Hijjah resolutions”.
Look over those resolutions and then write down your goals for these 10 days.
4) Write down all the good things that you did in Ramadan and then aim to do them in Dhul Hijjah as well.
5) Write down where (and why) you messed up in Ramadan and take steps to rectify that in Dhul Hijjah.
6) Try to get the Eid shopping done before these 10 days.
7) Encourage everybody to participate in Dhul Hijjah.
See, one of the great things about Ramadan is that everybody is trying to be good, so it’s much easier for us to be good.
8) Try to prepare a checklist for Dhul Hijjah (we have so many Ramadan checklists but not even one Dhul Hijjah checklist!).
It’s always easier to remember things when you have a checklist (we’re not elephants, remember?)
[Note: To the menstruating women, remember that even though you can’t pray or fast, you can still do a lot.]
9) Try to prepare a dua list as well (remember the wonderful day of Arafah?)
10) Remember that ultimately the purpose of Ramadan is the same as Dhul Hijjah: to get closer to Allah.
Therefore, we should once again aim to continue the good deeds even after Dhul Hijjah. If we just intend them for Dhul Hijjah and don’t want to bother doing them after that, it means we have a problem with our sincerity.
So, let’s get going, insha-Allah. We don’t want to waste our third chance, would we?
In the last Recover Ramadan post, I asked what all the first six steps had in common.
The answer? All of them are connected to a change in attitude.
See, this is the main problem: our attitude.
For example, many Muslims have this belief that following Islam properly will somehow hamper their life and stop them from “having fun.” They think of Islam as some sort of shackle.
Well, that’s wrong because this dunya (worldly life) is actually the shackle but most people fail to realise that.
So, such people need to start thinking of Islam as something that frees them rather than something that traps them. After this, they’ll stop regarding Islam as a burden and will enjoy practicing it.
So, we need to figure what issues we may have with our attitude with regards to pleasing Allah and then solve them, insha-Allah.
The next few parts will deal with more “attitude problems”, insha-Allah.
In an earlier post, I had linked to a lot of Huda TV’s Ramadan programs.
I didn’t mention one and ironically, it seems to have been one of the best programs. It’s called “One Step Closer” and it was hosted by Brother Mutasim Al-Hameedee. It offered practical solutions to increase one’s iman.
Now, even though it’s not Ramadan anymore, I think that we should still watch this series.
For those of you who claim that they “don’t have time”, why don’t you download these onto your iPhone or whatever (now you know which phone I have), and at least watch it at those times when you’re reduced to watching the flies flying around (like when you’re waiting for your doctor).
You can download the entire series from here.
Here’s a little summary of some of the episodes.
[Note: Insha-Allah, the Recover Ramadan posts will be only twice a week, insha-Allah. I barely managed to post them every day and it seems many people are still reading Step 1!
So, we’ll be having daily posts as usual, insha-Allah but I’ll alternate between Project Recover Ramadan, the Teensie-Weensie Tips, the Remember Ramadan Ramblings and other stuff.]
What’s “Fitnah”? It means trials and tribulations.
And as we all face them, we need to understand more about them.
Basically, there are two types of trials. One has to do with aqeedah (creed) and the other has to do with desires.
The former is worse than the latter although many people mistakenly regard the latter as being worse.
Here’s a article that clarifies the whole issue. PLEASE read it.
The Fitnah of Doubts and Desires by Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah)
You’ll also find this article useful, insha-Allah.
Again, I will request all of you to read it.
It’s strange. Many people seem to read normal blog posts (by ignorant writers like me) but when they are provided with the writings of REAL scholars which contain IMPORTANT information, they don’t read them.
“He (Musa) said, “Would you exchange that which is better for that which is lower?” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 61]
Better = Writings of scholars, no matter how difficult you find them to read.
Lesser = Writings of ignorant people like me, no matter how much you may enjoy reading them.