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

image
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 Kareem

“Ramadan is a month long spiritual gym where we work on metaphysical muscles through more deliberate disciplines, prayer, reflections and worship.
It is an annual Muslim attempt to simultaneously grow vertically in their relationship with their Lord and horizontally with fellow human beings through emphatic and various acts of charity.
It is a month of self-auditing and self-evaluation.
May we all be able to bring ourselves to a level where we can accept and welcome all what Ramadan can give us.”
-Imam Abdullah Antepli

Ramadan

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)

Ramadan Rain

Ramadan Rain                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Source: SuhaibWebb – Yasmin Mogahed

Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And imagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred dollar bills.

What would you do? What would happen in your neighborhood on that day? What would happen in the world? Would we not run outside, falling all over ourselves, competing to gain as much of the raining money as we can? Would we not stand outside all night to gather as much as possible?

We would do this for money because money is precious. But imagine for a moment that it was raining something priceless. Not thousand dollar bills, not trillions, but the mercy of Allah , a currency that no human currency could even measure.

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad , (peace be upon him) said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” [Narrated by Tabarani]

In this month, we are shielded from hell-fire, protected from the shayateen (satins), and cleansed from our sins. The Prophet said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all of his past sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari). In another hadith he said: “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” [Bukhari]

Within this month, there is a night that is greater than a thousand months (97:1-5). “There is protection from hellfire, at least 70 times the reward for our deeds, and the chance to have all our sins erased.” (hadith) So, what greater loss can there be than to find ourselves standing in the middle of this massive downfall of blessings without collecting all we can of Allah’s mercy?

And while this mercy showers on us throughout the blessed month, the last ten days are like no other. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (meaning he would work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers [Bukhari].

But how can we fully take advantage of this blessed month, especially in the last ten days? Here are a few ways:

Reserve a Private Meeting with Allah:

Set a time before or after suhoor to be alone with Allah . Use this time to connect to Him by praying, making du`a’, or reading Qur’an. There is no other time like it. The Prophet said: “When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One, descends towards the lower heaven and proclaims: ‘Is there anyone supplicating to Me, so that I grant his supplication? Is there anyone begging of Me for anything so that I grant him his wish? Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness, so that I forgive him?'” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Set a Time for Reflection:

In the midst of our busy schedule, we seldom find time to stop and relax, let alone reflect on the realities of life. Make time to do this. Take time to step outside of your daily routine and introspect about where you are and where you’re going. Reflect on the creation around you and on the reality of this life, death, and our final meeting with our Creator. Choose a time, such as the last third of the night, when there are no distractions.

Take a Trip to Allah:

We all need to get away sometimes. Use Ramadan as a chance to go away with Allah as your companion. ‘Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah used to practice I`tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari].

Don’t Miss the Night of Power:

There is a night in the last ten nights of Ramadan that is greater than a lifetime (1000 months, 83.3 years). The Prophetsaid: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr (power) with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Aisha said: “I asked the Prophet , ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.'” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, Tirmidhi

Bottom Line: Make the most of every minute of the remaining days of this holy month…we know not if we will make it to the next…

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