Jummah with the Kids

8:15- I wake up and  reach for my iphone to check  facebook  (I mean the news)  I am reminded by many friends status’s that today is Jummah. Inspirational verses from the Quran and updates such as “TAIF” – Thank Allah Its Friday – get me excited for Jummah!

 

8:30 A.M – “Wouldn’t it be great if I could keep Jummah as a special time to bond with my boys?” I think to myself.

8:45 -In my mind the scene unfolds like this: Friday morning after taking a nice shower and wearing my new Lawn shalwaar Kameez my squeaky clean children put on their Kufis and we arrive at the mosque. My angelic kids first listen to the  Khutbah and then pray besides me.  They then go off to play with their friends at the playground. Afterwards we go to the Rice and Kabob where my kids  gobble down the food while I talk to them about the lessons we’ve learned in the khutbah.

9:45 –  Reality beckons… Humza is being chased  by his younger brother with a wooden spoon, there is alot of screaming, THUD, Hassan falls, CRYING ensues…Simultaneously corresponding with the crying is the pressure cooker’s whistle (PHEWWW)  letting me know that i’m on my 10th whistle which means my aloo gosht (beef and potato stew) is ready.

11:00 – Breakfast is done, fights over, thinking of having a cup of chai and then getting the into kids the shower, this is the point I re-check all the ADAMS times and locations and make a game plan. GAME TIME ON!

More often than not my dream that I  had at 8:45 every Jummah never makes it to fruition possibly because my kids are never squeaky clean and who really would have the time to iron a lawn shawar kameez?

I think about all the preparations that I will have to make to get to Jummah and ensure that my kids last an hour without a major meltdown

1) Snacks – cereal, goldfish, chips, fruits, juice

2) Wipes and napkins – Sounds basic but with all the snacks and choas you need them!

2) Cars – I always think im not going to take a car because I want them to learn to self entertain themselves, also they end up fighting or losing their cars. However based on past experiences, I’ve learned that all the other boys always bring some sort of car/toys and that causes even a bigger problem because then my kids hover over the other kids toys.

To be honest its a draining expereince but still every Jummah I have an internal struggle of why I should just be extra patient and head over to Jummah. Here are some reasons why:

Family Bonding Time

When I was growing up, going to Sunday school was the most annoying thing to do. Waking up early to catch up on Sunday school Homework such as the last minute essays on the importance of the five pillars was not exactly memorable. What was memorable was the whole chaos surrounding it. My mother would yell to get us in the car, we would be trying to find our scarves and inevitably there would be a discussion about the clothes we were wearing to the mosque and the reasons why next time we should just wear shalwar kameez… can anyone relate?

Your kids will start school and you won’t really have the option of spending Jummah with them, so bite the bullet pack the snacks and toys and throw those kids in the car!

Getting Kids familir with the Mosque environment

Believe  it or not the mosque is a perfect place to take younger kids. It’s an open space they can wander if they get bored and there are not many dangerous things around. That being said many people are concerned that their kids will disturb other peoples Jummah. That is a valid concern but if we don’t expose our kids to the mosque environement and the rules of the place then how can we expect them to learn?  Moms be prepared to take your kids out of the prayer area if they are having a melt down, but otherwise don’t worry, kids will make noises and they will wander.

Spiritual Benefits

Jummah Jihad is what comes to my mind when I think of getting my two boys ready for Jummah. Before you flip out the Jihad is the struggle that I have every Friday morning to just pray at home versus going to the actual Mosque. Althought it may be spiritually more rewarding to pray at home while the kids are napping, if you are going in with the intention of making your kids familiar with the Mosque and instilling in them the love and importance of Allah (SWT) then you will inshAllah get rewarded for that.

Social Benefits

There are social benefits for  both the mothers and the kids. Mothers can meet other women, correspond play dates and learn about other things that are going on at the mosque. Going to Jummah cuts the “routine” and allows for mothers to get  dressed and read their Jummah prayer in congregation. It also gives them the opportunity to enjoy their friday afternoon with friends or enjoy a nice lunch. A breath of fresh air and getting out of a routine does wonders for a mother!

Althought I write all this and I believe in all the positive aspects of taking your child to Jummah, I know that its hard getting out for Jummah and sometimes we have had negative experinces that may cause mothers with young kids to hesitate going. Lets try to motivate each other and make it to Jummah with our kids, inshallah may Allah reward all the mothers who go the “extra” mile!

Do you have any Jummah Experiences? Positive or Negative? Advice please share!

 

 

 

 

Connecting our Kids to Nature

I’m not a nature person, if anything  i’m more of a city person or better yet, who am I kidding… i’m a lazy suburban person, yup that’s more like it! The way I see it I have two alter egos, these are reflected in my cars; The Toyota Prius or the Toyota Sienna (minivan y’all for the single women out there)

The Prius side of me is cool, environmentally savy ( this means I basically Recycle, thats it) and creative…did I mention i have a blog?

The Sienna is like the comfortable pair of pajamas that I like to lounge in but would change if someone was to come over, I love the mini van its so easy to access the kids car seats, their stuff and is a smooth ride.

But  I want to get away from the lazy suburban side and push myself to be more connected with the outdoors. I want my kids to love and appreciate nature and inshallah with that they will learn about Allah and his creations. I was watching the MBC documentary on Umar (RA –  The third caliph) in which I learned that he was a shepard and enjoyed the countryside. I  thought of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and of the times he spent where he disconnected himself from modern conveniences and went into the Cave of Hira to have moments of clarity and reflection. Also I was reminded of the prophet Ibrahim and his observation of the moon and the sun which led him to Allah.

We live in such artificial environments with temperature controls and technology that it is difficult for me to disconnect and just get away from the cycle of these environments. I always am thinking of the load of laundry that I can put in or the dishes that are waiting in the sink, but I’ve decided that inshallah I will make spending time outside a priority and will try to incorporate reading Asr (afternoon prayer) out on my deck.

I’m in awe of people who take time to garden and who live active lifestyles and for leisure go hiking and biking, I want to get to that point, but im going to take small steps first! Such as sitting on  the deck and the backyard and appreciating the wonders of the sky and breathing in the evening air.

If I don’t do it then the kids won’t either. It’s easier to let the kids learn about nature in front of the television but that will not help them build a connection. I want them to run barefoot in the grass, touch the dirt, pick up leaves, and use their imaginations. So far its been great we’ve been spending time outside and Humza brings me little flowers (a sweet thing his aunt Cate taught him to do.)

I am scared of bugs and and I had passed that fear to Humza too, but yesterday Humza called me and said he wanted to show me something and I followed him to the window where he bent down and said, “See Momma a spider and its web.” I asked him if he was scared and he replied back saying that no the spider was his friend. I was so pleased and I thought to myself that I will have to tell him the story of the spider and the spider web that hid the Prophet Muhammad from the Quryash.

These are exactly the types of discoveries and friends that I want my kids to have. I want to replace Big Bird on Sesame street with the red robin that comes to our tree. Replace the purple dinosaurs with the green little lizards and hopefully engage in discussions and play which are educational and fun. Hey maybe next year I’ll even start a garden like my friend Ruku!

http://107.170.109.15/2012/08/09/gardening-with-ruku-discover-the-fun-in-your-backyard/

 

 

Near Death Experience

In the spring of 2007 my husband had a very bad accident and this is his recounting of the events as they occurred:

Over the weekend I ate some bad food at a masjid function (lesson#1: beware of what you eat). Monday came, and I drove off to school as usual but my stomach wasn’t feeling well. I thought it was nothing and would eventually go away. So as the day progressed the pain didn’t really go away and I had a group presentation to give in the evening (my last class for the day). So I waited for that and planned on going home afterwards immediately. Just as the presentation ended I went home. The drive home is about 45 mins so alhumdulillah I made it very close to home, just 15 minutes left, and thats when things went bad.

I came to a red light at a very busy intersection. At this point I was feeling horrible, my stomach was killing me, I had cold sweats and was getting light headed. Just as the light turned green and the cars began to move, I remember getting extremely light headed and falling over in my seat to the left and going unconscious.

The events that followed, was nothing  less but a nightmare for me. I woke up to find myself suspended upside down in my car, throwing up on the ceiling, windows shattered, all airbags were open, windshield cracked, car horn blaring and the  the car was a total mess. I felt trapped inside, The car felt very small because many parts of the car had been dented in. I was still in my seat because the seat belt had kept me in (lesson#2: wear your seat belt).

Subhan’Allah, the thoughts that raced through my head when I woke up were unimaginable. You cannot know how I felt unless you have been in a similar situation. I could not believe this had happened, never in a million years would I have thought this would happen to me. I mean we pass by car accidents all the time and we look and stare, but we never think that could be us. It was like a nightmare, except I knew I was awake and it was for real. I just kept thinking, how this could happen, to me??? How??? I was totally in shock and beyond scared.

Obviously I didn’t want to remain in the car because knowing from TV shows and movies, we know that cars blow up when they crash. So alhumdulillah I managed to unbuckle the seat belt and crawl out the passenger side window. After crawling out, I just lay flat on the grass surrounded by many people who had stopped at the scene to help , may Allah reward them all and guide them to the straight path, ameen.

The sheriff came to me and started to ask me simple questions such as my name, address, etc. and asked for my wallet. I was in tears at this point, the sheriff asked me why I was crying (which I thought was dumb). But anyways, so the paramedics arrived soon and they put a neck brace on me (just in case my neck was messed up) and put me on a stretcher , and into the ambulance they took me. On the ambulance ride to the emergency room I threw up twice  and the paramedic had to turn me to the side.

After arriving to the ER, they hooked me up to a bunch of machines and stuff. They called home and told my parents that I was involved in a car accident and to bring a extra pair of clothes. But the way they told my parents, they made it sound like it was a minor crash. So my parents didn’t realize it was such a major accident until they arrived to the ER. My parents and older brother came into the ER and came to my room. And they were  so scared and worried for me, but when they saw I was doing fine, they were relieved, walhumdulillah.

The sheriff came in to return some paperwork and told us what what the eye witnesses saw. He said that, my car went full speed across the intersection, side swiped another car, jumped the curb, went airborne and rolled over a few times until it finally landed upside down. We were like, WHAT?? I had no idea what had happened because I had blacked out during the crash and when he told us I was even more shocked, I couldn’t believe I went through such a violent accident. The sheriff, the doctors, and others said it was a miracle that I came out alive, no injuries were sustained alhumdulillah, just a few scratches and cuts. Alhumdulillah I came out in one piece.

I cried so much with my parents in the room, I was just saying, that I could have died and I was very close to death, very very close but alhumdulillah that Allah (swt) kept me safe and in one piece. So they ran a whole bunch of tests on me during the night. I had trouble walking by myself and needed some help at first to get up and walk.

My family came as soon as they heard. When my younger sister came, she also actually fainted, and the doctors found out that it was also the same thing that made me black out , food poisoning over the weekend from bad food.

So we ended up coming back home at around 3 am. After all of this, I was feeling so weak, so tired, so exhausted, so drained. I came home and fell on my knees, still in shock, still in disbelief, still scared, I was just totally out of it. All I knew was that alhumdulillah, it was all because of Allah (swt) that I came out alive and in one piece.

In the next few days, we went to the junkyard to take a look at the car and take care of some paperwork. And subhanAllah when we saw the car, we were totally blown away, it was completely totaled. Alhumdulillah I came out safe.

After coming out alive and in one piece after such a life changing event, it has definitely given me a better prospective on life and how close we are to death. The fact that we don’t know when we can die is really scary, thus we have to make sure we are prepared, ready to face the next life, that we’re ready to crossover into a new experience.

Our purpose in this life is to worship and please Allah, not to follow our desires and live this life as if theres no tomorrow or accountability. We take this life for granted, but we don’t realize that we only have this one life to achieve true success, which is eternal happiness in Paradise.

May Allah (swt) guide us all to the truth, make us steadfast upon that, and help us in learning and living Islam to the best of our abilities and grant us Jannatul Firdous (Highest level of Paradise) and save us from the punishment of the Hereafter, ameen!

 

iRamadan

I had to share these two iPhone/iPad apps I came across…hope they help you during the last few days of Ramadan!

1. Ihsaan Fusion: This is basically the app version of the book “Fortress of a Muslim,” which is a book containing many duas (www.fortressofamuslim.com) This app contains every possible duah/invocation you can imagine, it would bey very convenient to have this at our finger tips.  Normally this application costs money but they have made it FREE for the last 10 days of Ramadan.  Jump on this amazing offer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Quran Works: This is basically a very high quality Quran application.  The commercial for it is awesome so I’ll let you watch it so you can see what its all about.

 

Something to app shop about….

10 Tips for the 10 Nights

The last blessed nights of Ramadan are upon us! Sadly, I have not been making the most of this Ramadan.
In between moving, work and running after my active tarzan toddler, I can’t seem to be very productive.  After talking with other moms, I guess they too feel the same frustration. I have  tried to compile some easy  ways in which we can try to make the most of these last few days/nights of Ramadan.

*Indicates things that can even be done when a woman can’t pray.

*1. Iftar: When preparing Iftar, make a little more and drop it off at the masjid.  The people sitting in itikaaf or spending the night in Qiyam-ul-layl can have food to munch on.  You can even leave energetic food items such as gatorade, granola bars and fruits to give them the energy to spend the night in ibadah.  For suhoor: You can buy breakfast items such as bread, butter, juice and bagels and leave them in the refrigerator in the masjid.

*2. Bathing Every Night: Ibn Jarīr al-Ṭabari mentioned that of the Salaf who used to encourage bathing every night of the last ten nights of Ramadan, and Ibrāhīm al-Nakha’i was among those who bathed every night. Others used to bathe on those nights which they expected was laylat’l-qadr. It was reported that Anas b. Mālik would bathe, apply perfume and dress in his finest on the night of the 24th of Ramadan and every night. Ayyūb al-Sukhtiyāni would bathe on the nights of the 23rd and 24th and wear new clothes for these nights and fragrance himself with incense. It was also transmitted that Thābit al-Banāni and Hamid al-Tawil would dress in their best and apply fragrance during these ten nights.

*3.  Clean-up: Depending on your children, if you can manage to go to the masjid during the day then try to do a quick clean up of the musallah, hallways and bathroom.  Usually during this time the bathrooms are trashed, so it would be a big help to just throw away any paper towels or tissues.  On that note, it may even be a good idea to donate bottles of soap, paper towels or tissue.  Not all masjids are good about refilling, therefore us spending a few dollars can go a long way.

*4. Quran: Either before or after Fajr is a nice quiet time to sit and recite Quran.  Even during the day you can play the Quran while performing other tasks.

5. Sunnah or Nafil prayers: This may be easier to do since a person can pray before or after the obligatory prayers. Narrated by Muslim, “A house will be built in paradise for every Muslim who offers twelve Rak’ah of optional salah other than the obligatory salah in day and night, to seek pleasure of Allah.” Here is a source on the excellence of praying Sunnah.http://islamqa.info/en/ref/12844

6. Tahajjud: All it takes is 5 minutes (depending on the Surah), just get up 5 minutes before and do Tahajjud.  Abu Hurayrah (RA), related that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One descends towards the heaven of the earth & proclaims: Who is that who supplicates for Me, & I grant his supplication? Who is that who begs Me for anything & I grant it to him? And who is that who seeks My forgiveness, & I forgive him? (Bukhari, Muslim).

7. Qiyam ul Layl: Spending the night in worship, If you can manage to squeeze in a nap during the day then do so that way you can have some energy to stay up at least even a portion of the night.  What works for me is to let my child watch television while I take a quick power nap on the couch.

*8. Adhan: download the adhan apps or listen to it on youtube (at the designated prayer times) and repeat the adhan and make du’a between the adhaan and iqaama. Duah during this time is not rejected.

9. Tahiyyatul Wudu – 2 Raka’ahs Sunnah after doing Wudu (Ablution)
Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying to Bilal (RA): “Tell me about the best of your deeds (i.e. one which you deem the most rewarding) since your embracing Islam because I heard your footsteps in front of me in Paradise.” Bilal (RA) replied: “I do not consider any act of mine more rewarding than that whenever I make ablution at any time of night or day, I perform Prayer for as much as was destined for me to do.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)”

*10. Dhikr: As mention in a previous post, reciting these short words are extremely beneficial.
1. Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee – Recite this abundantly during the last ten nights of Ramadan.
2. Subhaanallah
3. Alhamdulillah
4. Allahu Akbar
5. Laa ilaaha illallah
6. LA HAWLA WA LA QUWWATA ILLA BILLAH-HIL ALIYYIL ADHEEM
7. AstaghfurAllah

You can even print out the Ramadhaan Planner to plan your time effectively.

May Allah SWT accept our fasts and good deeds Ameen

Something to be active about….

Eid For Kids: quick tips to make this Eid an unforgettable one!

Ramadan is almost over, and one of the most important holidays of the year will be coming up very soon inshallah! Lets make sure that along with the food preparations and the guests that we try to build the excitement of Eid with our kids Inshallah!

Here are a few ideas that I have found:

1.Eid Coloring Sheets – Start of your Eid prep by going to this site and printing out free coloring sheets, let your kids color on the pages and then you can incorporate them into a frame on your Fireplace mantel or even just stick onto the fridge! When family or guests come they can proudly display their Eid Coloring pages. Eid Coloring Pages

2.Eid Cards –  Create or buy Eid Cards and and have your kids (depending on the age) draw or write something in the card, then go to to the post office and explain that the cards will be sent to  family members who can’t be wth us this Eid. You can encourage family and friends to also send mail back to the child who will be so happy to recieve their own letter. This can be a great learning experience about the post office and shows children the importance of family. (This idea was from the Adams Playgroup)

3. Eid Goody Bags – This next idea came from Pinterest (does anyone else love Pinterest?) Get white paper bags, get creative with stamps and tell the kids they are making Eid Goody Bags for their friends or siblings! Go to the store and let them pick a few items for their goody bag and assemble and keep to give on Eid! This craft teaches sharing and liking for others what you like for yourself.

www.littlelifeofmine.com

4.Eid Baking – Most kids like being around the kitchen and which kid wouldn’t like making special Eid Cupcakes or cookies! Get some crescent shaped cookie cutters a cookie mix and some sprinkles, let the fun begin! Here are some more creative recipes

5. Eid Presentation at class –  Arrange with your  child’s teacher when you can come in to explain or talk about Eid. Wear traditional clothes, take some thing to eat and depending on the age of the kids you can read a book like this one: Eid Books

6. Eid Gifts – Buy your kids Eid gifts! It doesn’t matter what it is as along as it is wrapped! Simple things like a candy bar, little coloring books, a pack of crayons can be wrapped and the kids will love opening their gifts inshallah! One website (http://www.askazizah.com/advice/makingeidfun.htm) had a great idea which was to wrap the presents a few days earlier and keep them in a room where the kids don’t normally go. In the evening before they go to bed you can let them see their gifts and say today you can only touch the gift but you can’t open them until Eid! This would help build up the anticipation and teach them patience!

7. Eid Decorations – Decorate your houses homemade crafts, store bought items – now we have companies like Modern Eid and Eid Creations which also give us more variety. Use Lights, balloons and make it a family event.

8. Eid Morning Suprise –  Balloons – This idea was so heartwarming one of the blogs suggested that parents fill up the kids room with balloons so when they wake up  on Eid morning to colorful balloons!

9. Eid games – Have a few age appropriate games at your Eid gatherings, some ideas are to fill up a pinata, play passing the parcel or have some sort of relay race or scavenger hunt in the yard. Prizes would be an added bonus.

10. Eid Takbeer – On the drive to the Mosque have the whole famly recite the Eid Tasbeeh – its is a Sunnah and is a  beautiful recitation.

Eid Takbeer: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallahu Wallahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa lillahil Hamd.”

(Translation: Allah is the greatest, He is the greatest. There is no god except Allah. He is the greatest. All praises and thanks are for Him)

 

What Woman Really Want…

Ramadan is half way through, thought we’d help you find some great gift ideas.Here is our Eid 2012 Gift Guide for the Women in your life

The Trendy Gift

Peep toe Sandals, $89

Sandals

Studded Bangle, $32.90

Bracelets

Michael Kors leather watch,$225

 Watch

 

The Colorful Gift

Green purse with shiny gold details, $19.80

Purse

Stone Ring, $65

Stone Ring

Colorblocked Apron, $32

Apron

The Pampering Gift

Luxurious Hand Cream Set, $30

Hand Cream

Aveda Spa service, Prices vary

Spa

The Beauty Gift

MAC lipstick set, $39.50

Lipstick Set

Salvatore Ferragamo perfume, $98

Perfume

Benefit makeup set, $45

Makeup Set

The Thoughtful Gift

A subscription to a magazine is always appreciated

Magazines

Haute Hijab-Bora Bora Scarf $35

Hijabs

Ramadan Beats

 

I hope this playlist keeps you going through this blessed month inshallah! Please click on the hyperlink.

please note: the * indicates songs that have musical instruments in them

1. Native Deen – Ramadan is Here* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7VezcjXNec

2. Sami Yusaf – Hasbi Rabbi* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqTV1P9Zyk&feature=related

3. Qari Waheed Zafar Qasmi – (Urdu Song) – Fasalon Ko Takalluf Hai Humse Agar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-oW8BGjh0g

4. Zain Bhika – Welcome O’ Ramadan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xv-TlLAUXQ

5. Sami Yusaf – You Came to Me* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTxWbmOCkQE&feature=fvwrel

6. Junaid Jamshed – (Urdu Song) Ilahi Teri Chaukhat Per http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze0Q8VRkLh4&feature=related

7. Zain Bhika – Eid-Un-Sa’Eid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDdHkIbPfuw

8. Ali Haider- Maula Dil Badal De (Urdu Song) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twvTqQ5CJ-0

9. Yusuf Islam- Tala Al Badru Alyana  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5HiXM9JGJQ

10. Zain Bhikha: Mountains of Makkah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvbgaw972c4

11. Waheed Zafar Qasmi: Allah Hu Allah Hu http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MLgWjFyj8k

12. Mishary Rashid Al-Afasy: La Illaha Illallah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs3cfmhBOkw

13. Kamal Uddin: Subhan-Allah http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2KEAy11srA

14. A Beautiful Dua: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzef68MZ0GE&feature=related

Keep the Kids Busy this Ramadan, While Staying Cool

 

It’s Ramadan but its also summer and that means long days, no schools and potentially cranky and bored kids!

Here are a few suggestions to beat the heat, while keeping the young ones entertained. A Ramadan tip is to do Ibadah while watching the kids grab your Quran in your purse or do Zikr while watching the kids have a great time!

1. Any indoor mall play areas: My favorite is the Fair Oaks mall play area it’s large enough and has many little things for the kids to climb on and explore. I have been to the Dulles and Tyson’s corner one as well, whichever is closer and convenient usually wins in my book.

 

2. Local public library: With plenty of books, tables and chairs, this is the place where young kids can begin to get exposed to library etiquette and the joys of reading. On certain days there are free book readings or activites, you would have to check on your county’s website for more details.

 

3. Chuck E. Cheese: Indoor play area – tokens are purchased to play the games or for rides, but keeps my kids entertained for hours with a very little hit to the pocket. Best part there are usually plenty of tables with booths for you to sit and read your Quran Tafsir.

 

4.Reston Town Center water sprinklers; Reston, VA – Dress your kids in their bathing suits bring a towel and sit back on the comfortable shaded lawn steps while the kids drain their energy and build up their appetite. If your there later closer to iftaar time there are a lot of dining options just a few steps away http://www.restontowncenter.com/index.php

 

5. Loudoun Sports Bounce, Ashburn Va: Kids will enjoy bouncing all the different bounce courses, large slides and  a playroom for 18 months and older, best part there’s AC and you won’t break a sweat! http://www.sportbounce.com/opengym.php

 

Have other ideas for beating the heat this summer? Please share.

 

 

 

 

 

Ramadan Notes

I hope everyone’s having an energizing, ibadah-ful and enlightening Ramadan thus far.  Right before Ramadan started, I had the opportunity to go to a lecture called “Looking forward to Ramadan.” This lecture was by Shaikh Saad Tasleem, A Madina graduate who has also just joined the Al-Maghrib world as a teacher.

I took a notebook and a pen for notes, sadly the notes were not as elaborate due to Eesa’s persistent attempts in wanting to kidnap my pen.

Most things mentioned at the lecture served as good reminders and motivation.  Here are quick 10 points that I hope we all can benefit from insha’Allah:

1) One of the major reasons we fast is to attain taqwa. (taqwa: to be more conscious of Allah SWT)
a) Ramadan is the month of forgiveness.
b) Since shayateen are tied up, it is easy for us to worship.

2) Sahaba’s would make dua six months before Ramadan to be blessed and allowed to see Ramadan again.

3) Relationship with Quran: Sheikh Saad said that when ever people are struggling with eman then the first question is how is their relationship with the Quran.
a) Ramadan gives us the ability to reconnect with the Quran.

4) Back in the Sahaba’s time, there were very few hafiz, the average sahaba had a few surahs
memorized. The focus was implementing the Quran in their lives.
a) Umer RA took 12 years to memorize Surah Baqarah because he did not want to move on till the next surah till he implemented and practiced the surah in his life.

5) Try to memorize a few ayahs but with tafsir, tajweed and implementation, then watch how Allah SWT raises your ranks.

6) Taraweeh helps to build our connection with night salah.  No one is there, it is an intimate relationship.
a) Qiyam-ul-layl is one of the few acts we do in seclusion, no one but Allah SWT knows.

7) Ramadan brings us back to delayed gratification. Anytime we’re hungry, we open the refridgerator or rush to the vending machine.  Ramadan teaches us to wait, be patient.

8) Siyam dawud: It is narrated in al-Saheehayn from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best fasting is the fast of Dawood: he used to fast one day and not the next.” This type of fast was observed by Prophet Dawud (AS), however it is becoming an extinct practice.

a) Sunnah Fasts: It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Deeds are shown (to Allaah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 747; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1041

9) YOLO: You only live once.  This may be the only chance you get to get your sins forgiven.

10) Ramadan isn’t just about fasting, its about deeds. Any deed can earn you reward if done with the right intentions.  (i.e getting groceries for your wife, if done to please Allah SWT then can get rewarded).

Sheikh Saad said that Ramadan is a chance for us to transform our lives, it is an opportunity to change.

May Allah SWT allow this Ramadan to be a means for us to attain taqwa, seek forgiveness, and establish a relationship with the Quran and Qiyam-ul-Layl.  Ameen

Below is one of my most favorite Ramadan lectures, it is only 10 minutes long and I highly recommend watching it.

Virtues of Ramadan

Something to look forward to…..