Saturday, 22 August 2009

Ramadhan mubarak and its deeper meanings

"You who believe? Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, so perchance you may attain God-consciousness." (Q 2:183)

"Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)." (Q2:185).

Ramadan has many dimensions, including physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions. Ramadan teaches the believer to balance between all these dimensions of his/her existence. It helps physical attunement of the body through cleansing and relaxing, and provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

Psychological dimension of fasting is related to patience, forbearance and perseverance. Through observing fasting, the believer enriches his/her patience, forbearance, self-worth, self-strength, self-control, self-reflexivity, self-training and discipline. Through fasting Muslims strive for controlling their urges and resist temptation. And through meditative practices of praying, reading the Quran and remembering God, they are reminded of the bigger picture, and develop an understanding about purpose of creation. Thus, fasting helps dealing with stress, trauma, attain inner peace. Ramadan helps healing psychological problems.

In terms of social dimension, fasting calls for remembering those who are poor, who do not have food or shelter. Fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate, and of learning thankfulness and appreciation for all of God's bounties. It calls for purifying ones actions towards others. It reminds believers of their social responsibility, it calls for generosity, sharing and forgiving. It calls for compassion towards those who are in need and are suffering. During this month Muslims are especially called for resolving their conflicts, forgiving each other and asking for forgiveness.

Ramadan is also the month of mercy. Muslims are called to show mercy, compassion, generosity, and care for all Gods creatures, including themselves, other human beings, animals and the environment as the vicegerents of God on earth. By partaking in Ramadan, and experiencing it together creates a social space that is shared by many Muslims across the globe. This creates a unique sense of solidarity among Muslims around the world.

"Allah (SWT) (the name for The Almighty God, used by Muslims) said that: All services of the son of Adam are for him except fasting. It is for Me, and I will reward him for it. Fasting is a shield. On the day you fast, do not use obscenity, nor yell at others, nor act ignorantly towards them. However, if anyone abuses you verbally or attempts to draw you to fight with him, say 'I am fasting' two times. The Prophet (pbuh) then states: I swore by the One (Allah) in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, the breath of the faster is sweeter to Allah on the Day of Judgment than the scent of musk. The faster experiences enjoyment twice: he is pleased when he breaks his fast, and he is pleased when he meets his Maker" (Muslim).

In conclusion, this month is a blessing from Allah, and Alhamdulillah for its existence. One thing I've realised is that compelling the children to fast may blind them from its purposes and beauty. I was made to fast alot throughout my childhood, my mum had good intentions but fasting is prescribed for adults NOT for children. There is a Hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in which he said, "Tell your children to pray when they are seven years old and discipline them if they don't when they are ten years old." If it had been expected for chidren to fast, it would be explicitly included in that hadith. Their bodies are not as capable of it and they may not understand the concept and as mischevious as children are, it may only teach them how to steal and lie because of hunger. As an adult now its clear of why this important pillar of our Deen is beneficial to us from the Most Merciful.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam, I've not been blogging much, I apologise. I have recently after a long search found a job I enjoy, however it has extremely long hours and I honestly have not had time to squeeze posts in. Inshallah I will be blogging weekly. Much love to you all and hope your Ramadhans are spent to the fullest with Jannahtul firdaus in mind.

Barakallahu feek!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

waswas part 2

One thing that gets me is this doubt. Doubting myself, its out of striving for perfection in the Deen. But no one's perfect, we do what we can. But with Islam as a guide,it has countless guidelines and many times this overwhelms muslims who are trying to follow every single part, including me. So this goes out to us all.

the balancing act: FEAR and HOPE
Allah says: "None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.'' (7:99)
He also says: "Certainly no one despairs of Allah's Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.'' (12:87)
This means there's no black and white, only Allah knows each and every person, their trials and what they have to overcome them. He knows when we are deliberately heedless and when the fear is low.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "If a believer had full knowledge of the chastisement of Allah, none would covet His Jannah; and were an infidel to know the Mercy Allah has, none would despair of His Jannah".[Muslim].
"Verily, your Rabb is Quick in Retribution (for the disobedient, wicked) and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (for the obedient and those who beg Allah's forgiveness).'' (7:167)
There is a battle within me
to retain some sanity
to stay composed
to stay human
The ideal feels too constrained
the present feels too long
the sun shines down
the wind, still whispering
I have walked so far
hoping for purity of heart
Yet it took one prick to stain the ocean red,
What poison dyes so strong?
Pleasure, Restraint
Fun, Piety
one or the other
this world or the next
Is there an in between?
Am I burning myself with this
digging the well too deep
drowning as the water
gushes forward
I am a confused girl
but my soul has already made up her mind
there's got to be a balance
the straight lane is too hard
I am but flesh
the bent lane is too easy
too heedless would that path be
I do have a questioning conscience
so the way is that is stubby green
rocky upward trek never taken
It's a brand new day
a learning experience
learning myself
learning a new kind of restraint
an easing, accepting, true to myself
I saw through materialism
but found the value of beauty
I saw the fradulent foundations of our civilisation
but came back to loving the mankind struggling each day
I saw a glimpse of the darkest future
but reassure myself with Dhikr and prayer
that has to bring me some light
I recognised white and black
but saw grey in the mirror
I found two extremes but came to myself
the middle ground
Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Jannah is nearer to you than your shoelace, and so is the (Hell) Fire".[Al-Bukhari].

Monday, 3 August 2009

Entering the Gates of Jannah

The angel Jibra’il (Gabriel) (AS) told the Messenger of Allah (SAW) the following incident about a man in the past who has worshiped Allah (SWT) continuously for 500 years. He was granted a shelter on top of a mountain that was surrounded by salty water. However, Allah (SWT) caused a stream of sweet water to flow through the mountain for that individual. The man would drink from this water and use it to make ablution. Allah (SWT) also raised a pomegranate tree from which the man would eat one fruit every day.One day, this person supplicated to Allah (SWT) that,

“Oh Allah, bring my death while I am in the state of prostration.”

Allah (SWT) accepted this du’a of his. Whenever Jibra’il (AS) came down to the Earth, he found this man prostrating to Allah (SWT). Jibrail (AS) said that on the Day of Judgment, Allah (SWT) will tell the angels to take this individual to Paradise through His Mercy. However, this man will insist that he should enter paradise through the good deeds that he had performed.Then, Allah (SWT) will tell the angels to compare his good deeds with the blessings that were given to him in the world. It will be seen that 500 years of his worship does not even equal to the gift of eye sight that was given to him (and all of humanity, for that sake) by Allah.

The angels will be asked to take him towards the hell-fire. Then the man will plead, “Oh Allah! Enter me into Paradise only through Your Mercy.”

At that point, the following discussion will take place between Allah (SWT) and that man.

Allah: Oh my servant, who created you?

The worshipper: Oh Allah, You have created me.

Allah: Were you created because of the good deeds you have done or because of My mercy?

The worshiper: Because of Your mercy.

Allah: Who granted you the ability to worship for 500 years?

The worshiper: Oh the Almighty! You have granted me that ability.

Allah: Who placed you on the mountain surrounded by the ocean? Who caused a stream of sweet water to flow in between the salty water? Who caused a pomegranate tree to grow for you? Who granted you death while in the state of prostration?

The worshiper: Oh the Sustainer of the Worlds! You have done all of these.

Then Allah (SWT) will say, “All these have happened due to My Mercy and you too will enter Paradise only through My Mercy.”

Inshallah, we must strive for this Mercy in the month coming up, Ramadhan.

Hope to have lots more posts during Ramadhan inshallah.