Tag Archives: Ramadan

Eid Reflections 2017

Peace,

Eid Mubarak! Kul ‘am wa antum bi kheir.

The darkness of the night is broken by the dawn, Ramadan for me is that dawn. A new start. The year over we amass baggage. We are hurt or hurt others and ourselves whether physically, emotionally or spiritually. Experience situations that test us to our core, test our goodness, our faith and resolve. Ramadan is that time of the year for me to refocus and recharge, for me to learn and grow and most importantly improve my relationship with God. Ramadan has ended and Eid celebrations are nearing their end, so what have I made of it?

Well, I am a work in progress, nothing told me that more than this month and having both my parents independent of each other (my father visiting for Eid) “tell” me to grow up and find a job within a couple of hours of each other. I have a weakness for knowledge but lack the wisdom to act on it, letting it sit instead in stacks of notebooks. I worry about how much of what I have gained in knowledge this Ramadan I will actually implement this year. Whether I will be able to persevere in the face of the struggles around me and within me.

During the time of the Prophet (saw.) battles taking place in Ramadan were about the inner battle as much as the outer. Similarly, it is about the inner battle against our Nafs (Self) as much if not more so than the outer battle of just giving up food and drink. However, that does not mean that we neglect the outer battle.

As the Prophet (saw.) said:

A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone…

This hadith can be understood to mean both spiritual and physical strength. Ramadan has also for many, quite rightly so I think, become a month of eating clean and increasing fitness, as the self is ruined by three things, too much eating, too much talking and too much sleeping and Ramadan destroys all three of those.

On spirituality, Shaykh Omar Suleiman in his Faith Revival series this Ramadan explained that faith are the 6 articles of faith and testifying with the tongue, conviction in the heart and actions with the limbs. A friend of mine who was going through some hardships and knew some of what I was going through, asked me once why some people who do not believe seem to do so well while people who do suffer so much. I wasn’t able to answer, not because I didn’t know that one had nothing to do with the other or as Sh. Suleiman said: “If this world meant as much as the wing of a mosquito to God He would not let a disbeliever have a sip of water from it.” I wasn’t able to answer, because I myself lacked the conviction to act on it.

Supplications (Dua’) aren’t necessarily there to change the reality around us, but to change the reality within us. Our baggage, our loss, our hurt, the difficulties we face are tests of our faith and resolve, are we going to let these crush us or are we going to cry out to God and persevere? Faith isn’t static, it ebbs and flows, we have days and nights where our connection with God is soo intense and days where we struggle to even just pray. The Prophet (saw.) warned us of  waking up in the morning with faith and going to sleep losing it in the evening. The companions never felt themselves safe from falling into hypocrisy even though they were promised paradise because they understood their weaknesses as humans. Doubts are natural, but we always try to achieve faith with certainty and conviction.

As Ibn Masud (ra.) said:

Yaqeen (Certainty) is full Iman.

Which, as explained in the Faith revival series, is done amongst other things by fortifying yourself intellectually and spiritually. That is by learning as much as possible, thereby filling the cracks in understanding of the religion (and the world) and by growing spiritually through experiences so that we know that true fulfillment is felt through faith, that the strongest love is felt for those we love for the sake of Allah (swt.) for example.

The goal is to achieve certainty so that as Ali ra. said:

If I was to see heaven I would not want it as much as I would right now, and if I were to see the hellfire I would not want to stay out of it more than I would now.

 

Indeed a work in progress, this year I intend to work on as my University’s charter says “making knowledge work”, on my faith, on my diligence and work ethic and yes to those who know me in real life my availability too!

O Guardian of faith and its people, allow us to be bound to Islam until we meet you with it. O Allah we ask you for everlasting faith, true certainty and beneficial knowledge. Our Lord do not let our hearts slip after you have guided us and bestow on us from your Mercy.

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman

Ramadan has landed

2015-06-19 20.51.00-1

As Salamu Alaykum!

God, the most glorified, the most High, says in the Holy Qur’an:

“So have they not travelled through the earth, and have hearts by which to reason, and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not the eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breast.” [22:46] 

As I begin to make preparations for a journey a certain amount of excitement and nervousness always builds up. I love to travel, and if I had the means and opportunity would love to travel more extensively than I have been able to as of yet. There is something about travelling that puts my heart and mind at ease. For me travelling is a journey to myself, a roadmap in essence, I get to know myself better, as well as those who I travel with. As Umar (ra.) once asked a man who wanted to vouch for another, whether he really knew him, including asking whether he had travelled with him saying:

“For travelling and being away from home reveals a man’s true essence”

Ramadan landed this year on the 18th of June, I find that I share the feelings that I have for travelling with Ramadan approaching. I am thrilled every year for it to arrive, but I feel kinda nervous too. The shayateen are chained up in this month, the sins I commit during this month is mostly all me and my  nafs. This month is the opportunity to change our lives around, to come closer to God, leave bad habits and make new good ones, to improve ourselves in all aspects of our lives. Ramadan is like a training camp for the rest of the year. The Prophet (saw.) used to do more in Ramadan than in the other months of the year.

Aisha (ra.) narrated:

“The Messenger of Allah (saw.) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year…” [Muslim]

The reward of worship in this month of the Quran and of fasting is multifold, as Az-Zuhri said concerning Tasbih in Ramadan: “A tasbih in Ramadan is better than a thousand Tasbihah in other than it” [At-Tirmidhi]

There are ahadith saying that if one fasts during Ramadan and in another one prays during the night (in Qiyam) out of sincerity hoping for reward from Allah, will have their sins forgiven. Ramadan is a wonderful time, but also one of hardship and strive, we are giving up food and drink and are to try to be as productive as we are outside of Ramadan if not more so, as well as the long Taraweeh prayer and especially now when the days are long and the nights so short, it can be difficult to keep a good countenance throughout the month.

Similarly travelling is full of hardships,

“When the Prophet (saw.) travelled, he would seek refuge with Allah from the hardships of travel, and the sorrows of return, from loss after plenty, from the supplication of the one who has been wronged, and from seeing some calamity befall.” [Sahih Bukhari]

In another hadith travel is described as Jihad.

“Travel for my people is Jihad in the Cause of Allah, glory be to Him.” [Abu Dawud]

No wonder Umar (ra.) said that the true essence of a person would shine through when you are travelling with them. It puts you through stress situations, sometimes you lose food and sleep and especially during the time of the Prophet (saw.), he said in a report narrated by Abu Huraira (ra.):

“Travelling is a kind of torture, as it prevents one from sleeping and eating! So when one has finished his job, he should return quickly to his family.”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

 What helps overcoming these hardships is being clear of the goals and intentions of your travelling and your fasting. In first line we should remember that we do everything for the sake of Allah. Even when travelling for leisure, you could make your intention to relax and rejuvenate yourself, so you can toil harder once done with your vacation. Fasting and the long Qiyam are for the sake of Allah and that is something we should constantly remind ourselves of. We’re not doing it because it is expected of us by our family or community but because we want to please Allah and gain nearness to Him with it.
It helps to remember your goals and intentions when things get particularly hard. It also helps to keep yourself focused. If you are travelling for work solely, and you need to do this or that but get distracted by the sights, refocusing on your goals and making plans of how exactly you can achieve your goal help in keeping you productive. If your goal is to read the whole Quran in Ramadan, constantly reminding yourself of it and preparing yourself and planning ahead of time helps in making that Goal a reality.
 Wa salam!
Abdur-Rahman

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PS: We’re over ten days into Ramadan now, Ramadan Mubarak! I have had the idea for this post for a while now, but essentially procrastinated too much. I wanted to upload this now, even though we are so far into the month already, because if I didn’t, I don’t know when I would be posting next, as I would continue to just procrastinate. So with the fear of this post not making any sense at all, I’ll send it off into the world anyway.

PPS: In this post I wanted to compare Ramadan with travelling, there are ahadith mentioning both and I often feel the same emotions when they come about, of course there is no real comparison to Ramadan but there are some similarities. I’m praying that I’ll be able to travel a bit during next Ramadan and get to experience it in different settings inshaAllah.

May Allah make this Ramadan a productive one for all of us, and accept all of our worship! Amin.

 

 

 

 

Observations of Ramadan past

Salam Alaykum,

it’s been a while since I visited my 2nd tumblr Blog. I kinda forgot about it, I didn’t do too much with it, to be honest. It’s purpose was for me to get comfortable with writing, I guess this Blog has taken over on that front. Some of the post however brought a smile to my face, especially those on my observations in Ramadan (1433, almost 2 years ago).

I’d like to share this one with you.

Observation #2
Hmm that last observation was a bit strange, here is a better one inshaAllah 🙂
“Hayya ‘alas-salāh, Hayya ‘alas-salāh…” Oh no, the prayer is starting already, I could see the brothers through the lit window. I speeded up a bit, but at the same time being careful not to get run over as I crossed the last few roads. Finally, I entered the mosque, checking if there weren’t any spaces in the main prayer room. No, I could see there weren’t, an elderly man about 70ish years old was standing on the step in the doorway. I turned away, wait what. I froze, what can I do, I thought, it looked to be painful for him. Where’s a chair? I found a chair near the stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floor and carried it to him. Hmm, I can’t put it behind him, the doorway is too small. My heart pumping and bleeding at that point, I put it near him leaning against the shoe rack and went to join the prayer.

I have a lot of respect for that man, I see him almost every time I’m at the masjid. His house is almost next to the masjid, but no one could discredit the effort that he exerts every single step towards the masjid. I’ve met him on the way to the masjid, refusing any help, instead shooing us towards the masjid. Making sure to thank everyone who helps him whether that is by giving him his cane or giving him a chair to sit on for Salah.
I feel ashamed seeing the effort that he exerts every single day for Allah alone, and comparing it to mine, the mosque not 5 minutes away but still I can’t make 5 prayers a day at the mosque.
He is not the only example in my community, and I’m fortunate to have these examples, to strive to being better than I am. Another just recently lost his wife, another strong man a grandfather type who treats everyone as his child. I ask you to make dua’ for them and other examples like them in my and your community.
May Allah grant them Jannah, may Allah give them strength in Iman and health.
Amin.

#January – Being Thankful

Wa Salam,

Abdur-Rahman