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Jul 11, 2015

Ramadan Diaries: Training Of The Psyche (Nafs)


The human body is simply a capsule that contains our soul and it will rot away in the ground once we are buried after death. The real deal is the soul and the psyche (nafs) is the foundation that it is made of. It comprises of our intentions, emotions, and attitudes and commands the human body. In my article Train The Bull That Satan Rides for Habibi Halaqas Self-Esteem Series, I explained how an untamed nafs is like a raging bull that is a threat to everything and everyone around it. Satan rides this bull and works through our psyche to destroy our present and Hereafter. Ramadan is one of the buttons on our remote control that can help restrain this bull and tame it. It is a month of abstinence from not just food, water, and sexual desires, but also from any malicious or wrongful intention that is provoked by Satan. 

Understanding The Psyche during Ramadan

We need to read the instruction manual of our nafs in order to tame it. It is human to be visited by wrong intentions. That is a test of character from Allah and a poking from Satan who is trying to ruin our act. Satan acts through the inciting nafs (nafs-i-ammara) which lures you into evil doings. During the state of fasting, in order to prevent the fast from going void, the opportunity is best to identify wrong intentions. They could be as simple as the need to gossip at an Iftar party, show off charity measures, or hurt people's feelings. The minute you commit those acts, the fast is void. 

Switching On The Training Mode

The Prophet said: 

"Do not invoke Allah's curse, Allah's anger, or Hell." Sunan Abi Dawud 4906
Become your own critic during Ramadan and correct yourself. The self-accusing nafs (nafs-i-lawwama) is going to help you disengage from anything and everything that can help Satan win over you. You need to develop a conscious thought that is going to judge each intention that springs up in your heart. Then, your mind will evaluate it; in fear of Allah, and decide whether you will commit. An act or not. So if you are tempted to lie you will re-think! You will consciously remind yourself that Allah is watching and there are consequences. Training is not easy because the glitz and glamour of the world and material life is powerfully blinding. When you hear an upscale music beat you may want to tap your feet and roll out of control, when your mother inquires where you are and wants work done you may want to lie, and a slightest argument may ignite your temper and you may verbally or physically harm someone.  

Ramadan For Life

The correct, pious, and spiritual lifestyle developed during Ramadan should be continued for life. The pleasing nafs nafs-i-mardiyya) should be gauged to do good and nothing but good to others and yourself. The same level of fear, as that experienced during Ramadan, should be realized throughout life.

Have a blessed Ramadan.

Jul 10, 2015

Got Ramadan Blues?

By Nur 


This year by the permission of Allah, Ramadan reach us during the warmest times of the year, the time where that ice cream sundae or frozen yogurt looks delightful, the time where the warm summer sun will be shinning through our windows, the time where we have more fans in the house then ever before. During such a time not only is it exceedingly warm and sunny, the days can last up to 18 hours (that’s more than half the day) as human beings we can become weak at such a time, and may lack motivation to continue Ramadan exceeding in good deeds. So here are some benefits you cannot afford to miss out on. If you ever have the “Ramadan Blues” do not be sad, review these precious rewards and benefits we have been guaranteed by Allah and don’t give up!

1. Gain the reward of multiple fasts!
If you are the one in your house who will be cooking the food for your family during Ramadan, do not grieve, you’re just gaining an ample amount of ajr.

Zayd ibn Khaalid AlJuhanee narrates that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said: 

"Whoever gives a fasting person (food) to break his or her fast, he (the one providing the food) will get the reward equivalent to the (fasting person’s) reward, without diminishing anything from the reward of the (fasting person)." 

2. Enter the VIP gate in Jannah: Al-Rayyan 
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallalahu Alayhi Wa Salam) said: 
“ In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it.”(Al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 1797). 

3. Have your previous sins forgiven!
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu alayhi Wa Salam) said: 
“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and with the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhaari, Fath, no. 37) 

4. Have fasting intercede for you on the Day of Judgment
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu alayhi wa salam ) said: 
“ Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement, and will say, “O Lord, I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.” (Reported by Ahmad, 2/174. Al-Haythami classed its isnaad as hasan in al-Majma’, 3/181. See also Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/411). 

5. Have a smell that is better then Musk!
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu alayhi wa salam) Said: “The smell that comes from the mouth of a fasting person is better with Allah than the scent of musk.” (Muslim, 2/807). 

6. Enter Jannah if the day you are fasting is your last
The Prophet Muhammad (Sallahu alayhi wa salam) said: Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allaah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise. (Reported by Ahmad, 5/391; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/412). 

7. The dua of a fasting person will not be refused!
The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) said: ‘Three men whose dua is never rejected (by Allah) are: the fasting person until he breaks his fast (in another narration, when he breaks fast), the just ruler and the o­ne who is oppressed.’ [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhi - Hasan] 

So don’t feel bad due to the balmy weather, for what Allah has is far better then any blueberry slurpee on a hot summer day, think about all the precious rewards you can enjoy in the hereafter which are nothing compared to what Allah has in store for us.

“ And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous” (Surah Ali Imran 3:133)

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)

Ramadan Parents Special: Loving Him Is Loving Them


By Umm Sulaym

In the deepest parts of me, from the deepest cores within me, gushes the Spring of Your Love.

In the darkest of hours of my life, from the darkest of places of time, I always rise in Your Love.

How can I not love those whom You Created for me and only me to love?

How can I not strive to strengthen my link with You by cherishing those who nurtured me with love?

For loving You is loving them…

And worshipping You is obeying them…

Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah Dearest Sisters,

Ramadan knocks. We hasten to answer the door, to welcome the New Guest warmly. To open the door, to free our ‘hands’, we throw whatever we held. We feel proud of ourselves when we finish the Quraan but we don’t realize that the words of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala just cursed us because we didn’t bother to follow His Commands.We fast, but we lose our patience. We give Sadaqah (charity) to those outside without asking anything in return but we follow up with hurt when giving charity to those right under our roof. We are willing to jump at the command of our Team Lead at work place or when volunteering but when our parents ask us for a favour while we’re on the computer, we just are the slowest of the slowest sloths on this planet. And if some of us don’t feel like it, we conveniently shrug away responsibility by saying,

‘Well, my mum wasn’t there for me when I needed her the most. Why should I care?’

‘My dad didn’t allow us to get married even though he was such a pious brother. He didn’t care about my feelings. How can I ever forgive him?’

‘My parents emotionally abused me and didn’t build self-esteem within me as I was growing up. I don’t feel like being respectful to them.’

We may not verbalize these but these thoughts do creep up inside some people’s minds which prevent them from fulfilling their obligations.Why is it a burden to love those whom Allah asked us to love? Because we’re not loving them for the Sake of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. Because we only care about what we get and not care about what we give. We forget that we’ll be answerable for what we do and not how people behaved with us.

Abu Bakr bin ‘Ayyash said:
“I used to sit with Mansur (a scholar) in his house and would hear his mother, who was loud and rude, shout at him, ‘O Mansur! Ibn Hubairah (governor of Iraq during that time) appointed you to the post of judge, but you refused. Mansur would not even look her in the eye out of respect for her.’ [Al Birr was-Silah,Ibn al Jauzi,pp.85]

Ramadan is the time in which most of us are trying to do as much of ‘Ibaadah as we can squeeze in our daily schedules. We are extra kind to our Muslim brothers and sisters. We mustn’t forget that while it’s praiseworthy to do all that, it is important to remember that the most deserving of our compassion and care are our parents.No, I’m not going to make you emotional to encourage you to be kind to them. I’m just going to state some scary facts.Trust me, you wouldn’t want to miss what is to come ahead in this article.

Allah subhaana wa ta'aala says in the Quraan:
"And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as] 'uff' [i.e., an expression of irritation or disapproval] and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say: 'My Lord! Have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.'" [Surah Al Israa, 17:23-24]
We read articles upon articles and research and plan to have the best Ramadan ever but do we ever think twice about our relationship with our parents? The irony is that some sisters are usually seen day-dreaming about building their own Islamic households (getting married, having kids etc.) while they can’t even handle and do Ihsaan in the relationship that Allah subhaana wa ta'aalahas already blessed them with.

Why do I make the connection between Ramadan and being dutiful to our parents?

It is stated in Tafseer Ibn Kathir regarding the above verse that:

There are many Hadiths which speak about honoring one's parents, such as the Hadith narrated through a number of chains of narration from Anas and others, which states that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam climbed up on the Minbar, and then said, ‘Amin, Amin, Amin.’ It was said, "O Messenger of Allah, why did you say Amin'' He said: ‘Jibril came to me and said, "O Muhammad, he is doomed who hears you mentioned and does not say Salla upon you.’ He said, ‘Say Amin,’ so I said Amin. Then he said, ‘He is doomed who sees the month of Ramadan come and go, and he has not been forgiven.’ He said, ‘Say Amin,’ so I said Amin. Then he said, ‘He is doomed who grows up and both his parents or one of them are still alive, and they do not cause him to enter Paradise.'’ He said, ‘Say Amin,' so I said Amin.

Want to know why is it important to hasten to be dutiful to parents before doing other voluntary good deeds? Because: if done otherwise, one’s deeds are USELESS!

Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam has said: “Three acts will render one’s deeds useless: (1) associating others with Allah, (2) ‘Uquq towards parents and (3) fleeing from battle.” [At-Tabarani]
A very brief definition of ‘Uquq is being disrespectful,unkind and undutiful. Some types of ‘Uquq include : causing grief and sadness to parents because of a statement/action (making them cry), practicing evil in front of them(haram and immoral acts), disowning/abandoning parents,refraining from maintaining regular contact with them,wishing to ‘break free’ from parents who are strict in disciplining you to do righteousness.

Two Favours we seek from Allah subhaana wa ta'aala in Ramadan which can be multiplied by being dutiful to parents:

1. We all want our duaas to be accepted especially this Ramadan. Want to know about the individual whom Rasulalah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallamstamped as the one whose duaas get accepted?

Asir ibn Jaabir radiallahu `anhu narrated:Whenever people would come from Yemen, `Umar radhiallahu `anhu would ask them, "Is Uways Al-Qarani amongst you?" until, one year, he met Uways.He said, "Are you Uways Al-Qarani?" He said, "Yes."`Umar continued, "From Muraad, then Qaran?" He said, "Yes."`Umar then asked, "Were you once afflicted with leprosy and your skin healed except for a dirham’s area?" Uways said, "Yes."`Umar finally asked, "Do you have a mother (that is alive)?" He said, "Yes."`Umar then said, "I heard the Messenger of Allah – sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam– say, ‘Uways ibn Aamir will come to you with the delegations from Yemen, from Muraad, then from Qaran. He was once afflicted with leprosy and his skin healed except for a dirham’s area. He has a mother, and he treats her kindly. If he was to ever swear by Allah (for something) Allah would fulfill his oath. If you can, request that he ask forgiveness for you."`Umar then requested from Uways, "Ask forgiveness for me." And Uways Al-Qarani did. [Sahih Muslim]
Note that Uways al Qarani had the chance to leave his mother and go meet Rasulalah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam but he didn’t. What could be more important than meeting the beloved Prophetsal Allahu alayhi wa sallam? Yet, he stayed with his mother! SubhanAllah!

2. We seek Paradise in honoring people’s rights by protesting and standing up for justice. How about if we honor the rights of people within our homes?

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallamregarded that as the best of deeds after prayer, and the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam heard the recitation of Haarithah ibn al-Nu’maan in Paradise and said: “He attained this level (in Paradise) because of honouring his mother.” Narrated by Ibn Wahb in al-Jaami’ (22); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (913).

Things to do this Ramadan to improve your relationship with parents:

By default: you’re supposed to fulfill all their needs and requirements except that which is against our religion. Ask them to forgive you especially this Ramadan. If they’re angry/upset, don’t leave until you seek their forgiveness, repent and make them laugh. Don’t do what makes them upset such as travelling when they don’t want you to and so on.Do hidden good deeds on their behalf such as distributing Islamic literature.There are several ahadith to support this so please do your research!

If you live with them:

  • Prepare a nice Suhoor for them and serve them in their room.
  • Put ‘Itr (perfume) on your father when he goes for Tarawih and our mother when she prays at home.
  • Ask them to teach you something Islamic to you even if you’re an Islamic scholar. This will make them feel important. Or ask them something you think they’ll know about Islam even if you know the answer to it, just on purpose. And listen to their response as if you’ve never heard the answer to it before. They’ll feel that honored that you listened to them attentively and feel that you respect their knowledge despite not being a young child anymore.
  • Give them shoulder and feet massage especially after Tarawih. Put lotion/cream on their feet to make them feel that you’re willing to humble yourself to show your concern.
  • Iron their clothes and organize their working space without them knowing (of course don’t breach the privacy rights).
  • Allot a certain time of the day to talk to them about things they want to talk about. This will show that you are interested in their lives.
  • Give them random hugs and don’t hesitate to have a heart-to-heart talk with them (politely of course).

If you do not live with them:
  • Send a Ramadan card/e-card filled with duaas for them and thanking them for all the times they helped you have a nice Ramadan when you were a child. Remind them about all the good things they did for you and assure them that you haven’t forgotten those tiny things.
  • Send flowers to them wishing them a great Ramadan to them or give a surprise visit with Iftaar ready.
  • Call them as often as you can and lend them an empathetic ear. Don’t hurt their honor by pitying them.
  • Honor their close friends and their extended family members by calling them up. This will increase respect of your parents in the sight of those people and will increase love between your parents and them.
  • If you have children, make them love their grandparents. Ask them to make different crafts and send it via mail to their grandparents.
  • If you have non-Muslim parents, you can do Dawah to them by being extra kind to them and telling them that Islam promotes kindness to parents regardless of their religion

If they’ve passed away:
  • Make duaa for them (you must make duaa for them even if they haven’t passed away)
  • Amir bin Abdullah bin Az-Zubair said: “For a year after my father died, all what I did was invoke Allah to forgive him.” [Birr-ul-Walidain, Ibn al Jauzi, pp.78]
  • Fulfill their oaths and promises(their will etc.)
  • Do Hajj on their behalf.
  • Start a perpetual charity on their behalf, such as digging up a well, building a Masjid, an Islamic Centre, an Islamic library, an Islamic hospital, an orphanage, etc.
  • Be generous to their friends, send them gifts and call them for Iftaar.
  • Teach your children and other people’s children to be respectful to parents.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Do all this for His Sake without asking anything in return and mentally preparing yourself that the path of righteousness always comes with its set of emotional trials to that the truthful and sincere ones are sieved from the liars and hypocrites.

Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: "We believe," and will not be tested? (2) And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allâh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allâh knows all that before putting them to test). (3) [Surah Al Ankaboot]

Rabbir-Ham-humaa Kamaa Rabba-yaani sag-heera [Surah Al Israa, 17:24]
Let’s strengthen our relationship with our parents so that all our good deeds are accepted in Ramadan inshaa’Allah!

And Allah subhaana wa ta'aalaknows best.

-Umm Sulaym

P.S. To read more about Kindness to Parents, please refer to this wonderful e-book.

I'd love to hear your views on this article. Please tell me in the comments section below :)

On The Shores Of Ramadan


Riding the tides towards its countless blessings; 
in sweet anticipation 

Actions and intentions becoming ajr bundles; 
a month of reflection 

Moon sighting ushering in its special essence; 
mind your desires 

Attention all believers! Race to repentance; 
inherit the eternal gardens 

Deep waves of remembrance and prayers; 
barakah in meals 

Ascending lofty heights, wrapped in eeman gears; 
mercy in abstinence 

Nestling hearts with purpose and consciousness; 
Content in spiritually soaked senses.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this poem. Please post in the comment section below! :)