بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Yup, it’s over.
[Or at least it is in the Gulf. Some of you would still be in Ramadan in which case I would advise you to milk every minute for what it’s worth before Shawwal comes.]
So, what now?
Well, unfortunately most people are already thinking of their Eid food and their Eid clothes…
What should a believer do?
Well, we need to continue being steadfast. As simple as that.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Ramadan or not, our purpose of life is still the same.
Some last bit of advice before Eid (I’ll temporarily resume blogging after a few days after which I’ll go on a long break):
a) Don’t lose that Ramadan feeling.
b) Do all the sunnahs of Eid, even the little ones like eating some dates before going out to pray.
c) Please remember to pray all your fard prayers and try to pray the sunnah too.
d) Don’t forget to recite the Quran even if it’s a little bit.
e) Have fun and be grateful to Allah that you have the opportunity to have fun.
Yes, Eid is supposed to be fun and we can have fun (halal fun, alright?). It’s fine to go out and visit family and friends, etc.
However, don’t forget to be grateful to Allah for being able to do all these things. Just look at the situation of the Somalians and the Libyans. I wonder how much fun they’ll be able to have on Eid in their situation.
Just in case, you’re like “Oh, why is she depressing us with those reminders??”
Depressing you? I was trying to make you feel happy that you’re not in that sort of position…
f) Try not to stuff your face with cakes and sweeties.
I know that this is the most difficult part because every house you visit insists on giving you a bit of their oh-so-delicious pastries and you don’t have the will power to say no (until, of course, your stomach refuses to accept anything more in which case you are forced to say no after which your host glares at you).
But try anyway, won’t you?
May Allah accept our fast and our prayers and keep us steadfast on His deen.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I thought that it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of the virtues of Ramadan from the Quran and the Sunnah.
[Yes, many of us might know these but we all need reminders now and then.]
The Month of Fasting
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious).” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183]
“[Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskeen (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 184]
The Month of the Quran, Guidance, Gratitude and Generosity
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 185]
كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود الناس ، وكان أجود ما يكون في رمضان حين يلقاه جبريل ، وكان يلقاه في كل ليلة من رمضان فيدارسه القرآن ، فلرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أجود بالخير من الريح المرسلة
Narrated Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Jibreel* met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Quran. Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 5]
[*For those new to Islam, Jibreel = Gabriel (the angel).]
The Month of Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone) and Dua (supplication)
“And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 186]
To be continued…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, how can one jumpstart it?
Well, I thought of 6 ways – all of them being things which cause one’s iman (faith) to rise.
If the iman rises, then the deeds increase which in turn causes the iman to rise even further.
So, here’s what I would do to jumpstart things:
[Of course, there are other ways as well.]
1) Do istighfar (seeking forgiveness) and taubah (repentance)
There’s nothing like bad deeds to hold a person back.
And there’s nothing like repentance to get them going again.
2) Attend the circles of knowledge
This one is a real iman booster.
It’s not just the knowledge. It’s also the serene feeling that one gets in these circles. Also, this is where you meet righteous sisters – not in Deira City Centre*.
[*To non-UAEers: This is a positively horrid shopping mall.]
3) Dua (supplication)
Don’t ask Allah. BEG Him.
4) Read the books of tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)
Knowing Allah is the foundation of all good things. And the books of tawheed introduce us to Allah, His Majesty, His Name and His Attributes, His rights over us, etc.
If you want an iman boosting book, pick up a book on tawheed.
5) Think about death.
There’s nothing like death to get the blood rushing (no pun intended).
Just thinking of it should be enough for a person to rush to do good deeds.
6) Take a day off and focus exclusively on your ibaadah (worship)
Busy with lots of stuff? Try to take just ONE day off where you stay at home and essentially focus on your ibaadah.
It really makes a WORLD of difference.
For those who are always around people, if you can try to be alone for that day, then that would be better.
I’ve always noticed that when I have a quiet day to myself (or as much as I can manage, I suppose), I have time to reflect and think. I can also try to work out what to do next. It makes things so much easier.
So, those were my suggestions. What other ways would you recommend to jumpstart one’s Ramadan preparations?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Recently, I attended a dawah course.
The teacher was talking about the things that the daee (caller to Islam) needs to do in order to strengthen themselves for the great task ahead i.e. calling people to Islam.
He mentioned quite a few things including qiyam al-layl (the night prayer). [For those who don’t understand how that could help, please read the explanation of Surah Al-Muzzammil.]
One of the things that he also mentioned was fasting. And he said something that really struck me:
[I’m quoting from memory.]
“Fasting doesn’t make you weak. It gives you strength.”
That’s what many of us think, isn’t it? We think that fasting tires us out (which is probably why we are so unproductive in Ramadan).
However, as the brother, may Allah reward him greatly, pointed out, it doesn’t tire us out, it actually does the exact opposite.
One of the main acts of worship of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Prophets (alaihimissalam) before him, and their companions (radiallahu anhum) was fasting.
Be honest: When you read their stories, do they seem like tired people or more like energizer bunnies*?
[*I hope you understand where I’m coming from. In our time, the energizer bunny is the epitome of the thing which just keeps going on and on.]
I get exhausted just reading their stories because…they were so active. They did more in one day than most of us do in a year.
There’s an ayah (verse) in the Quran that (for me) summarises why they were so full of life:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّـهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (salallahu alaihi wasallam) calls you to that which will give you life.” [Surah Al-Anfal (8) : 24]
The commentators point out that the life means 1) the life of the heart and the soul and 2) the eternal life (i.e. Paradise).
Now, you might say: “Wait, I thought you were talking about physical energy? The ayah talks about spiritual energy.”
Well, I don’t think that there’s any contradicition because:
1) When we get re-energised spiritually, we also feel physically refreshed.
There were many times in my life when I went to a hifdh (Quran memorisation) class, or an Islamic lecture, completely exhausted. I was so tired at the beginning of the class.
By the end? I felt like a spring chicken. It’s amazing. Because I felt spiritually recharged, I also felt physically recharged.
I think that many of you would also have gone through similar situations.
2) If we answer Allah’s call i.e. apply the Shariah, we WILL be physically fit.
Why? Well, because it calls us to pay attention to our bodies and also because acts of worship like fasting and the night prayer (the two main acts of worship in Ramadan) are not just good for spiritual health, they are known to be good for physical health as well.
3) If we want to get the eternal life, we need to start working.
That alone is enough to turn one into an energizer bunny.
4) Good only results in more good.
If we obey Allah in one aspect, that will only result in more good. How can one fast (do something good) and expect that to lead to a bad thing (exhaustion)? No, that can’t be, because good only results in more good, so that exhaustion is not coming from the fasting.
So, if we understand these points, we’ll be able to understand how the earlier generations were so full of life.
Now, what am I trying to say?
Well, every Ramadan, we all complain how we are also so tired due to fasting in the morning and praying at night.
Those acts cannot be tiring us out because they are the ones giving us life and energy so there has to be something else draining our energy.
Perhaps it’s our negative attitude? Allah knows Better.
Either way, we need to change our perspective and approach both of these acts (and the whole Shariah in general) in a better manner.
Perhaps after we do that, we’ll see a different (and better) Ramadan this year, insha-Allah, hopefully one where we’ll all be full of life.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
…YOU need to do in Shabaan in order to have a great Ramadan?
Now, you might say “Oh, there are so many things!”
Well, there might be but what is the most important thing?
For me, I’d say: I need to improve my health and fitness.
Once I do that, I’ll have more energy to do all the ibaadah (worship) that I want to do.
What about you?
Think hard, decide and then make sure you focus on that issue for the next month, insha-Allah.
The reason I said “one” thing is because many people might try to focus on many different things as they only have a month to go, and they might end up going nowhere.
Of course, if you want to focus on more than one thing, that’s fine, but prioritise them so that the most important thing is always done.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The list could fill a few volumes.
However, I think there’s one lecture that really summarises why we need this great month.
It’s by Brother Abu Uwais (rahimahullah).
I posted it last year along with its transcript.
The brother’s words are something to ponder over, may Allah reward him.
PS. It would also be good if each of us asked ourselves why WE need a Ramadan. What problems do each of us have and how will Ramadan help us to rectify ourselves?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Bad Ramadan Prep so far? Here’s what you could do:
1) Don’t panic.
Look at the bright side: you still have over a month to repair the damage. A month is a long time.
2) Don’t give up.
That might sound weird but many people do tend to mentally give up on having a great Ramadan just because they weren’t well-prepared for it.
3) Don’t wait for the next Ramadan.
This one might also sound weird but I know that I used to go through this in the past.
The Ramadan Prep and the first few weeks of Ramadan would not be great so I would just imagine that next year’s Ramadan would be the Awesome Ramadan.
However, a few Ramadans ago, I had a dreadful first 2 weeks due to being ill. I spent most of the time sleeping.
Ironically, the last ten days of that Ramadan were probably my best ever. That made me realise that the way you end Ramadan is more important than the way you begin it.
So, even if your preparation is going bad, or if you aren’t doing well in the first 2-3 weeks of Ramadan, DO NOT GIVE UP.
Just keep going until Shawwal.
What if the entire Ramadan was dreadful?
Well, assuming you’re still alive at the end of it, could you please enlighten me as to what would stop you from having a great Shawwal? Allah is not just the Lord of Ramadan, but rather the Lord of the Worlds.
This might seem like an incredibly strange post. However, I thought it was necessary because I know that there might be people out there who would make the same mistake that I made years ago and give up because they couldn’t have their ideal Ramadan.
You know, we’ll never have that ideal Ramadan but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to get as close as we can to the dream.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Which way, you ask?
Well, by finishing off any pending tasks before Ramadan comes.
For example, if you want to do spring cleaning, do NOT do it in Ramadan. Do it now.
If you want to shop for food or Eid clothes, do that in Shabaan, NOT in Ramadan.
If you have any work that has been pending for a long time, then do your best to finish it off BEFORE Ramadan. [That bit of advice was directed towards myself…]
What about if you have important stuff due in Ramadan?
For example, what if you’re taking a summer course and the exam is in Ramadan?
Well, why can’t you try to start studying before Ramadan so at least you’ll have to devote less time to studying in Ramadan?
So, how can you finish off all the pending work before Ramadan?
1) Take a piece of paper (or better yet, your Ramadan journal)
2) Write down each and every possible current pending task that you can think of even if it’s “Need to get around to visiting Mother-in-law”.
3) Write down any work that you might have to do in Ramadan (i.e. stuff that cannot be fully completed before Ramadan) and try to see if you can finish any part of it off before Ramadan rolls around.
4) Start doing them.
5) Finish them off before Ramadan.
“What about all the the cooking? That’s what takes up most of my time! How can I do that before Ramadan?”
Actually, there is a way around this problem.
A sister I know, who works night shifts and long hours, cooks two weeks worth of food for her family, stores them in containers (and labels them) and then puts them in the freezer.
She does this because she has too much work and so cannot cook on a daily basis so this reduces her workload considerably.
Now, you might say that this is not very healthy. Yes, but if you heat the food properly, it won’t kill you. It’s better than junk food, isn’t it? And it’s just for a month anyway.
So, I think that this is something that the sisters can do before Ramadan: cook ahead of time. This way, they could get some relief from their cooking duties before Ramadan.
[Of course, this can only be done if all the family members are okay with it.]
Oh and to all those who complain about all those dishes that need to be washed: use plastic plates (assuming that your family does not freak out) for this month.
And no, it’s not a waste of money. You’ll be buying those plastic plates so that you have more time to worship Allah.
That’s a good bargain if you ask me…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I was thinking about the areas that we mess up in the most during this great month. What are the things that we could (and should) do that would help us improve our Ramadan?
1) We can (and should) sleep less.
Yes, yes, I know. You might say: “Hey most of us sleep less during this month!”
I beg to differ. I think that people snooze more in this month (or at least that’s what the people in this part of the world do) than they do outside of it.
This is NOT the month of “catching up on our sleep”.
2) We can (and should) stop wasting our time with useless activities, and instead focus on our ibaadah (worship).
Want to surf the Internet? Well, do it after Ramadan.
Part of the reason that we waste our time is that we have deceived ourselves into thinking that fasting is only achieved by staying hungry and as we are staying hungry, we are in a state of worship.
Well, no, there’s much more to fasting than just starving.
3) We can (and should) eat healthy food.
Yes, we can. Really.
Just stand in front of the mirror and repeat it a hundred times. Mass repetition is known to help the brain accept an idea, no matter how impossible it sounds.
[Oh and we can (and should) eat less as well. That would really end many a woman’s kitchen nightmares….]
4) We can (and should) stop fighting with each other in the masjid.
Completely silly question: Is there any particular reason that we all single out Ramadan for masjid fights……..?
5) We can (and should) take it hour by hour and not think too far ahead.
One of the main reasons that many of us flunk in Ramadan is that we go all out in the first few days and then fizzle out early. Instead, we need to take things step by step.
Question to all of you (if you’re still around. Everyone seems to have disappeared?): What other things are there that we can (and should) do in order to have a great Ramadan?