30 Ramadan Reminders

As the holy month of Ramadan comes to a close, here are 30 reminders to keep us grounded and in tune with the principles that we tend to practice throughout this month so we may continue to espouse these all year round.

1. Practice self-restraint

O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint. Quran 2:183

2. Be slow to anger.

‘Raise your words, not your voice. For it is rain, not thunder that grows flowers.’ – Rumi

3. Give thanks.

A grateful heart is key to contentment and happiness. Be not like the kid who has a whole cake minus one slice who is miserable. Be rather like the kid grinning from ear to ear, holding one slice.

4. Be courteous.

‘When a courteous greeting is offered to you, greet in return with a greeting still more courteous, or at least of equal courtesy.

Surely, Allah keeps an account of all your actions.’- Quran 4:86

5. Be kind.

To yourself, your kin, strangers. To living beings. To the earth. Disturb not a soul.

6. Be humble.

We begin to feel important. It may be the financial status. Or a prestigious position. Or some new acquisitions. The titles we add before our given names….the way people react or defer to us….and then it begins to get to our heads.

How we conveniently forget that from dust we became and to dust we return. All of us. Without exception.

7. Watch your words

‘Speak only when your words are more beautiful than silence’

8. Practice sabr.

There’s no time like God’s time.
Indeed, Allah is with the patient….Quran 1:153

9. Do good.

Is there any reward for good, other than good? Quran 55:60

10. Be better than your former self, everyday.

When we focus on improving ourselves, there’s no time to be policing other people. The only thing we have control over and are answerable for are our actions. Let’s work on us. God knows there’s a lot to do!

11. Don’t Rush.

The Swahili proverb goes, ‘haraka haraka haina baraka’ (Fast fast lends no blessings). Likewise, the Hareri proverb goes, ‘Zetbalela belela’ (The one who rushes, spoils).

Don’t rush prayers, decisions, conversations, judgements.

12. Be hungry for knowledge.

Understanding where one’s ignorance lies is the beginning of seeking knowledge/wisdom.

13. Always question.

Always seek answers and never stop learning and growing.

14. Be generous.

With your time, your money, your smiles – for even smiling is charity.

15. Seize today, for tomorrow may never come.

16. Have Faith. Like the birds.

‘If you were to rely on Allah as He should be relied on, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They go out early in the morning hungry and return in the evening full.’ – Narrated by at-Tirmidhi

17. Act (in the face of injustice)

“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” – Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) [Muslim]

18. Love.

“Love is the greatest, purest, truest, most beautiful thing any of us will ever experience…We can never fail at anything done with love. Love is our true nature. And when we forget our true nature, we forget our true power…” – Nasim Hassan

19. Respect Time.

‘By time.
Indeed mankind is in loss.
Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.’ Quran 103: 1-3

20. Be clean. (body, mind & soul)

Cleanliness is part of faith and faith leads to paradise. – Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

21. Be hospitable.

Open your home and your hearts to those in need.

22. Pray.

Earnestly and consistently.
No matter what you’re doing, take time out to connect with the Almighty.

23. Be disciplined.

For to accomplish anything meaningful requires discipline.

24. Don’t bow down.

Unless it’s to the Almighty.

25. Tread gently.

The worshippers of the All-Merciful are they who tread gently upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they reply, “Peace!” – Quran 25:63

26. Don’t force anything.

There is no compulsion in religion. And so there should be no compulsion in any other arena of life.

27. Seek forgiveness.

And forgive those who’ve wronged you. Don’t hold on to burdens that will follow you and hold you down all the days of your life. Tread lightly.

28. Don’t despair.

For with every hardship, comes relief. Quran 94:6

29. Fear none but the Almighty.

…Fear not men, but fear me, and sell not my signs for a miserable price… Quran 5:44

30. Be just.

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do. – Quran 5:8

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Reminscings of Ramadans Past

One of the ways in which we’ve ushered in the holy month of Ramadan as a Hareri community over the years is by doing a deep clean of the home – a spring cleaning if you like. Those that can afford it will paint their houses and change their carpets and curtains – bringing out the best they have. A decluttering of our physical spaces precedes Ramadan – perhaps an indication of the decluttering and the detox that must also take place in our bodies and minds. Some families do this systematically – flushing out their bodies of all toxins in preparation for the month.

Next, once the start of Ramadan is announced, families embark on ‘aboredena hamdi’s’. ‘Aboredena hamdi’ loosely translates to ‘gratitude that we are alive to see this day’. So entire families will call to wish each other ‘Ramadan Kareem’ and then go visit each other in person. This is usually done within the first two weeks and if possible within the first week and preferably particularly for close family and the elderly, the eve of Ramadan, if possible.

One of the responses to greetings of ‘Ramadan Kareem’ or ‘Shahr Mubarak’ is often ‘Kulu am we antum bi khayr’ or it’s Hareri equivalent: ‘Amet amet zom yabordena’ which is basically saying may we live to see many more Ramadans for years to come…

This year it was more significant than any year before and I said it much more purposefully and consciously because there are those who were here last Ramadan who are no longer with us…and this has been the case for the last few years but this year as I greet family with this familiar phrase, I think to myself to be grateful for this moment because this time next year, I’m not sure if they’ll still be around, or me for that matter.

One of my favorite memories of Ramadan is of daddy bringing home fruits of all kinds and turning them into juice for us to consume voraciously during Iftar. Decades later, it’s a tradition we still maintain – fruits and juice are always a staple during Iftar. I also remember him bringing home bread balls – kind of like bread sticks but instead of sticks, they’re balls. I’d break them in half, stuff pitted dates in them and devour them like only a child could, popping one after another in my mouth – as fast as I could assemble them.

I remember daddy, regal, dressed in his best jalabiya, shal and koloyta ready to go to the mosque and pray tarawih. His perfume would linger in the room, long after he’d left. He always believed one should be in the best shape and form when going to the masjid.

Ramadan was always very communal. If we sat at the table the rest of the year, during Ramadan, we gathered on the floor to break our fast.

Ramadan is special in ways I can’t describe. People are on their best behavior. They are nicer, kinder, more considerate and conscious of their words and actions…perhaps because it’s re
quired of us – all year round – but more so during Ramadan when we believe the shayatin are bound and cannot sway us towards evil.

So this Ramadan, as we get close to hitting day 10, may those who’ve passed rest peacefully, surrounded by the fragrance of jannah and reassured they are not forgotten. My we live to see many more Ramadans, may we use the remaining days to work on ourselves so that we may emerge better human beings and sustain the beauty that emerges this time of year for the rest of the year until Ramadan comes around again, if we are lucky enough to experience it.

Night at the Mosque

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Last ten days usher in all nighters
In search of the Night of Power
Reprimands and laughter
Communal bitings and conversations
Brief sleeps urged by monitors
Impromptu classes
Arabic and etiquette
Quran and enunciation

Strong personalities clash and coalesce
Prayer mats turned to temporary mattresses
Awoken from deep slumber by faith and devotion
Feet stand and rest follow
Beauty in humility
Submitting body and self to a higher Being

Allahu Akbar!

Upright bodies, side by side
Straight rows
Gaps mitigated with touching toes (sometimes incessantly so)
Waning concentration with wandering minds
Constantly being brought back to present
By melodic, rythmic verses

Ameen reverberating through the entire mosque
Countless voices
One chorus
Many bodies
Single movements
Diversity despite/amongst uniformity

Viewing through Geometric dimensions

Assalam u alaykum we rahmatullah…

Welcoming Ramadan – Day 1

ramadan_kareem

Today marks the first day of Ramadan. Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims by which we fast (don’t take food or water amongst other things) from sunrise to sunset for the next 29/30 days until the month is over. It is a time for increased introspection, reflection, deepening spirituality and developing a greater consciousness of self as well as practicing empathy for others.

May this holy month bring with it countless beauty and blessings, serenity and selam and a will to keep building and growing and improving long beyond the end of these 30 days, if we are so lucky to live them.

Saum maqbul. Selat maqbul. Duah maqbul. Insha’ALLAH.

Some articles on Ramadan:
Facts, History, Dates, Greetings and Rules about the Muslim Fast
Ramadan Guide to Islamic Holy Month
Why Muslims Celebrate Ramadan 

Bidding farewell – EID Mubarek

EID Mubarek to my entire Muslim Ummah. As we sadly bid farewell to the blessed month of Ramadan, I’m reminded that like was said with the death of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), “If you worship Muhammed (PBUH), he is dead. If you worship Allah, He is eternal.”

Similarly, if we worship Ramadan, it is gone. But if we worship Allah, He is always.

May the end of this month bring respite to the unrest, the injustice and the indignity raging across our globe – and the love that we need to counter all of this ugly.

In solidarity and struggle – today and always.

Ramadan – Satisfaction of My Soul

Ramadan-prep
I couldn’t put it any better:

‘…fasting is about gaining a deeper awareness and mindfulness of one’s self and, in turn, the world in which one is situated. From the outside it might seem like it’s about deprivation of food and drink. But by shifting focus away from a simple satiation of my stomach and looking more towards the satisfaction of my soul, I realize that are many different ways that I can nourish myself and many different parts of me that need to be nourished that I often times neglect, my heart being a primary amongst those….’
– Imam Khalid Latif

Jumah Kareem!

RAMADAN Bites

[7/30]
Verse in the Quran about a mirage in the desert: “The thirsty man takes it to be water until he comes to it and finds it to be nothing, and where he thought it to be, there he finds God.”

[9/30]
“You see, Faith is called faith because you just feel it in your heart. I can’t really prove to you that God exists. The only truth I can tell you is that we are all going to die at some point. But all I can say is this…once I’m dead and God just happens to be on the other side, I’d rather say that I was a believer than not!” ~Wala

[13/30]
Always seek the good that is in people,
And leave the bad to Him who made mankind
And knows how to round off the corners.
-Goethe’s Mother.

[14/30]
The very first verse that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad PBUH was ‘Iqra’ or ‘Read’. What dies that tell us about the role of seeking knowledge in Islam?
“I started reading, there and then. In the dust. On the ground. No time to waste! I was hungry!” -Ahmed Deedat

[15/30]
Seek & Spread. Truth. Beauty. Love. Peace. Knowledge.

[16/30]
Here’s to journeys and not knowing where they’ll take us – but knowing that the ALMIGHTY is with us every step of the way – and as we take one towards HIM, HE takes two towards us.

[17/30]
There is no substitute for the truth

[21/30]
Reflect inward. Strive for better in every way and in every day. Revolutions begin from within. ‪This is Jihad.‬

[23/30]
Injustice Anywhere is Injustice Everywhere.

[25/30]
‘Don’t waste a drop of water, even before a flowing river.’
-Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Raise Your Words

rain

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Anger Management

“The strong is not the one who is physically powerful, but indeed, the one who controls himself when angry.” [Bukhari]

1. He who angers you controls you.

2. If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size.

3. Anger is a momentary madness, it is only one letter short of danger.

4. Anger begins with folly, and ends with regret — how much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.

5. Consider how much more you suffer from your anger and grief, than from those things for which you are angry and grieved.

6. Speak when you are angry — and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

7. For every minute you remain angry you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.

8. No man can think when his fists are clenched.

9. Anger is a killing thing — it kills the angry man, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before it, it takes something from him.

10. Holding to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing at someone else — imagine what it will do to the person’s hand who is holding it.

11. Whenever you are angry, be assured that it is not only a present evil, but that you have increased a habit.

12. Anger blows out the lamp of mind — thus an angry man is again angry with himself when he returns to reason.

13. When a man is wrong and won’t admit it, he always gets angry.

14. Anger and intolerance are the twin enemies of correct understanding.

15. Anyone can become angry — that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way — is something we all need to practice.

16. The best remedy for anger is delay.

SOURCE: Mrs. Iffath Hasan (mrsiffathhasan@aol.com)

JUMAH WISDOM

‘He who has nothing has ALLAH, and he who has ALLAH, has everything.”

“His alms are vain who does not know that his need of the reward for giving is greater than the poor man’s need of the gift.”

Quran 33:37 …you did fear the people, but it is more fitting that you should fear Allah…

Do not waste a drop of water, even before a flowing river.
-Prophet Muhammed PBUH

“Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, change it with your hand, if you are not able, then with your tongue, and if you are not even able to do so, then with your heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith.” – Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Be not so consumed by this fleeting world for there are more permanent things awaiting in the next

The greatest Jihad is within me, myself & I. Fight that battle before any other.

‘The ALMIGHTY places the heaviest burdens on those who can carry the weight.’

Greet with ‘assalam u alaikum’ and mean it. Who doesn’t need salutations of peace?

A true Muslim is the one who does not defame or abuse others; but the truly righteous becomes a refuge for humankind, their lives and their properties.
-Hadith The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), as narrated by Abd’Allah bin Amr

Knowledge is supposed to make one humble, not arrogant, if the husk is full of wheat, it is lowered.
-Shaykh Muhammad Bin Yahya Al Husayni An Ninowy

You can only do to me, what the Almighty has already decided for me.
-Omar Mukhtar

“…the ALMIGHTY demands of people only that which is within the possibilities of each of them.”

‘Don’t ask the ALMIGHTY to guide your steps, when you’re not willing to move your feet.’

“don’t be afraid for God is with us always, and God never lets down people who have faith and patience. We are righteous, and right will always prevail against injustice and wrong doers.”
-Thaer Halahleh, Palestinian imprisoned and undergoing a hunger strike, 75 days & counting

Those who are quick to judge others, must remember that a day will come when they too will be judged. And it may be that their deeds are far worse than that of those they judge.

Respect your children and cultivate in them the best of manners -Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Those who give of their wealth in the way of God are like grain that sprouts 7 ears with 100 kernels in each ear. -Quran 2:261

‘He is not a true believer until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’

Take one step towards ALLAH and He will take two steps towards you.

If it’s not meant to be, it will be. If it’s mine, nothing and no-one can take it. If it’s not, nothing and no-one can make it.

Proof, time and again that the plans of the ALMIGHTY are not in the hands of men and women though they may seem so.

Futile to resist truth. With the ALMIGHTY for us, who then can be against us and succeed? None.

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