Eid

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Eid Mubarak!

Another Ramadan has passed us by, and while we are so grateful, Alhamdulillah, we pray that inshAllah Allah will give us another one.

Today, with a house spilling over with food, guests, laughter, and conversation (Alhamdulillah), I reflected on how much has changed in the last few years. How diverse our group of friends has become and how much we’ve changed ourselves, as people, as Muslims.

You know, it wasn’t so long ago that our Ramadans were spent with members of our Pakistani and Indian community. Iftars were every evening, almost, at Uncle and Auntie so and so’s house. On Eid, we’d go house-hopping at every one of our Pakistani/Indian friend’s houses, ending up in food comas with the girls I grew up with.

It wasn’t a bad thing by any means! In fact in many ways, I miss it.

But you grow up. You meet new people. You change. Your families change.

In the past three years or so, our Iftars have evolved. Now we rarely host Iftars at our home. Instead, we have community Iftars at our mosque, supporting the message and goal of our New Muslim Support Network. And through that we’ve adopted a diverse array of new friends into our inner circle. From your Caucasian revert to your African-American revert to your Indonesian immigrant. Your new sister from Ethiopia. Your brother who studied Islam and went against his family in his reversion. Your sheikh from the Phillippines, a revert himself, and his wife and their children. The whole, beautiful family that reverted to Islam. The sister who can’t catch a break because she’s juggling a job and kids and a husband who cares nothing for her. Or the sister without a husband who holds fast to her deen tighter than she holds on to you as she hugs you.

And…I think.

Alhamdulillah…SubhanAllah. Where was I when you needed me?

…I’m no scholar or religious leader.

But one thing I do know is that Islam is not a religion of feasts and celebrations. That’s not what Islam teaches us.

It’s the rope that binds us all together, and in the words of my favorite sheikh, it requires everything from you.

It takes your language. It incapacitates culture. It blinds you to race and social status. It turns your house into a home, makes it welcoming for all who enter. Turns your meal for two into a meal for three. Your meal for three into a meal for four. When it opens your eyes, it turns your idea into work. Your work into hard work. Your hard work into success. All by the mercy of Allah, SWT.

It turns your tears of laughter into tears of humility. Tears of awe of the mercy and power of Allah.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m so ashamed when people come into my parents home and they’re so happy to be there and compliment the house and the decor.

And I smile and think subhanAllah. I had nothing to do with this! This is not my idea. All this came from GOD!

I just reply, “Alhamdulillah,” and to the kids I say, scoldingly, “Say mashAllah!

It’s such an amazing thing. To look outside my window and see soo many people of different backgrounds and stories walking to my front door. I can’t help but think how badly we need them. How badly we need them for Allah’s sake.

SubhanAllah.

I’m begging you. InshAllah, the next Eid, if your family doesn’t do this already, invite members of your Muslim community that are reverts, immigrants, or just new to the community. Let them enrich your life with their experiences and the rewards that Allah will give you in including them in your festivities.

We get stuck in this rut of Arabs and Arabs. Pakistanis and Pakistanis. Indians and Indians. African Americans and African Americans. Whites and whites. Reverts and reverts. Or reverts and their pet cats.

Islam is not this! Ramadan is not this! Eid should NEVER be this!

Tear those walls down, man.

Ok, I’m done ranting 🙂

Assalamu Alaikum.

 

 

 

“A Life Changing Reminder” – Mejed Mahmoud

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lKVYxlksCk

“Allahumma innaka Afuwwun, tuhibbul Afwa, fa’fu ‘annee.”

*rough* translation (the meaning of Afuw (pardon) is complex and has great depth, Allahu Akbar):

“O’ Allah, You are The Pardoner, You love to pardon, so pardon me.”

May Allah have afuw on us all, May Allah have afuw on us all, May Allah have afuw on us all, Ameen.

And May Allah reward my mother for sharing this video with me, Ameen.

WUDU. The right (and only) way.

I want to talk to my Sunday school teachers and ask them why they didn’t teach us to make wudu like this, but it would be wrong to blame anyone except myself.

I found this a year or more ago and then somehow could not find it again. Today I stumbled across it on Facebook, Alhamdulillah.

Seriously, as Muslims we make wudu at least 4 times a day, more if we need to. We forget that without it, salah (prayer) is not accepted. Not only that, we forget, as one of the brothers in the video point out, that wudu is PART of Salah. It IS ibadah (worship).

So instead of splashing around in the sink and snorting and gargling…take a look, man!

SubhanAllah. Look how Shaykh Khatri slows down. Pours his water from a pitcher (controlling how much you use and decreasing the waste of water). Look how much attention he pays to each step subhanAllah, and even patiently answers and demonstrates questions regarding women’s wudu (it’s not different, except for how we wash our hair).

Listen to his dhikr and watch his determination, subhanAllah. I think he used maybe 1/4th of the water I would normally use and took 5 times the amount of time I would normally take during my wudu, authubillah.

So here it is, Allahu Allam, it says this Sheikh is following an unbroken chain leading back to the Prophet (SAW), (This Sheikh learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, who learned from his Sheikh, etc, until reaching the Prophet (SAW).

May Allah guide us to the purest knowledge and the straightest path and never lead us astray. Ameen

Fasting in Ramadan; Answering the Question ‘Why?’

Bismillahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Assalaamu Alaikum & Ramadan Kareem

I think every Muslim blogger at some point has a ‘why do Muslims fast’ post. So I’m just fulfilling my duty, but in a different way. I won’t go into the hows’ and the whens’ and the whats’. My question is posed to myself…why do I fast? Is it habit? After so many years of practicing Islam and taking part in Ramadan? Have I lost the reasoning or have I never noticed until now?

I’ve made so many mistakes this year, subhanAllah. So many errors and misjudgements. May Allah forgive me,  Ameen. But I have also grown closer to Islam. Alhamdulillah. There was a time in my life not very long ago that the mention of seeking Islamic knowledge would give me anxiety and a sense of severe insecurity.  One of the biggest blessings Allah has ever given me, as far as I can understand, is the ability to move beyond this problem, and connect me to my Deen emotionally and mentally, which, Alhamdulillah, is now connecting me to my Deen physically. Allahu Akbar!

If you practice Islam then you are familiar with the Dunya vs Akhira conflict. How do we find balance in getting what we want in Dunya as well as in the Afterlife? This is a crucial concept in Islam. In declaring your belief in Allah (SWT), Master of the Day of Judgement, Lord of the Worlds, and Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be upon him) as Messenger of Allah. you MUST place your entire trust in Allah and you MUST relinquish your grip on this world, and everything that distracts you from seeing your true purpose. Live in this world as a traveler or stranger! (Quote from the Prophet (PBUH) as narrated Abdullah Ibn Umar).

Does that mean we cannot achieve success in this world? Does that mean we cannot pursue our worldly dreams of become a doctor, engineer, a famous writer or artist?  Allah does not want us to be miserable and lazy in this world. In my opinion, all this means is that whatever you do, do for Allah. Whatever you pursue, make sure the cause is halal, and the intention is pure and for Allah’s sake. If Allah gives you success in this world, give back with your duty. Your zakat. Your salah. Your nafl and sunnah. Your belief and your time. And most importantly, do not make your success your home. Do not make your gifts from Allah into attachments that will take you away from Allah (because they will).

So…let’s cycle back to our original topic. How does all of this relate to the Holy month of Ramadan?  How does this relate to refraining from food, water, sexual activity, rude behavior and wasting time, as well as refraining from negativity, such as anger, impatience, and ignorance? In other words, why do we, as Muslims, do this, and not something else?

I’m not a scholar. Nor do I have extensive knowledge, but based on what I do know, a thought sort of  hit me square in the face the other day. And it wasn’t from the angle of Dunya. It was from the angle of Jannah. From what I know of Jannah, it is our true home. Our real existence that is promised to us should we succeed in our duties in this life. It is a place with no death, hunger, disease, poverty, anger, jealousy, or injustice. The things that are harmful here are not harmful there, such as wine and excess (you won’t become greedy). The things that distracted us won’t distract us there, rather they will be gifts for us made even more pleasing. such as the love, beauty, and intimacy of our spouses.

In Ramadan, we let go of the Dunya’s version of all these things (and what a poor version it is, when you look at Jannah). Allah is testing you with hunger, thirst, desire, control over your actions and emotions, how you treat your fellow Muslim, your spouses, your children. He, Allahu Akbar, is asking you what you want. Do you want this world and its food that does not satisfy? Its wealth that will lead you astray, that you cannot take with you when you die? Do you want this world, where the objects of your love, desire and affection are never guaranteed to stay, no matter how much you love them?

Or do you want JANNAH? Where our problems cease to exist. Where our greatest mercy from Allah (SWT) becomes our home.

Will you fast in a manner that counts the minutes until the next Iftar? Or will you take advantage of the hours and use them to supplicate, thank, worship, repent, and humble yourself, seeking knowledge and forgiveness from your Lord? Will you be impatient with those around you, your friends and family? Or will you love them and cherish them, and even improve your relations with them for the sake of Allah (SWT)?

Know that Allah is your Master. Only He can correct your affairs. And this is why we let go of Dunya, in the month and hours that Allah has prescribed, in a kind of annual dosage, that, Alhamdulillah, if we live to see it and use it correctly, we reap rewards innumerable,  are brought closer to Allah, and pulled further from Dunya, inshAllah.

We fast to regain sight of the blessings already given to us. We fast to remove ourselves from Dunya and to show Allah that despite our empty stomachs, our greater fear is an empty Emaan. An empty spot in Jannah where we could be, and the fiery realm where we might be. We fast to take advantage of every salah, taraweeh, and every moment  to worship, thank, repent, and supplicate to Allah. Allah, without Whom, we’d be nothing, could be nothing, and with Whom, could have everything He deems best for us. All we need to do is ask sincerely, with a heart full of Emaan. SubhanAllah!

Allahu Akbar.

If I’ve said anything wrong, please correct me, inshAllah.

And Allah knows best.

May Allah give you a Ramadan filled with ease, mercy, rewards, and opportunities to gain His infinite reward.  May Allah correct your affairs for you, and bring you closer to Him. Ameen

Awrite, mate?

Bismilllahi Ar Rahmani Ar Rahim

Assalamu Alaikum!

I’ve been with my family here in Scotland for almost two weeks now, and so far it has been a beautiful experience, not without the normal twinges of homesickness and worry, of course.

We are approaching Ramadan with breakneck speed, subhanAllah. Just around a week to go, and the fasts here in the UK are very long. Fajr is at 3am and Maghrib isn’t until 10pm, subhanAllah. Many rewards to be received, inshAllah, with a well-mannered and lengthy fast.

In terms of a Muslim community, Scotland hasn’t offered what I’m used to. and I miss it very much. But what it lacks in that regard, it makes up for with convenience. I’ve never seen so many halal restaurants in one area in my life, mashAllah.

The scenery is another bonus. Today I prayed Dhuhr in a beautiful botanical garden, and yesterday, just an hour from my family’s home, we marvelled at beautiful lakes (lochs), mountains, and valleys. SubhanAllah. The dense forests and looming mountains make me feel at peace when the chaos of the city gets too much. I’ve also found out more things about myself. My fear of heights and climbing CAN be conquered, alhamdulillah. I climbed cliffs, and went to the top of Arthur’s Seat without feeling like hugging the ground. That might not seem like a lot but for someone who gets queasy jumping out of the back door of a school bus for a fire drill..it’s saying something.

The accents here range from pleasant to painful. The slang is amusing, and by far my favorite phrase is ‘Ah, mate, that’s mingin’!’

It just means, ‘Aw, dude, that’s disgusting.’

Also, not sure if I like UK television. And the best food I’ve had thus far here has been prepared by my wonderful aunt, mashAllah, who is not only a loving and gracious hostess, but also a fabulous cook, mashAllah.

Alhamdulillah. I just pray that Allah makes the rest of my trip easy, fun, and beneficial, and keep me away from heartaches, and make my worries disappear, Ameen.

This Thursday I’m off to London, inshAllah, and won’t be back in Scotland until the 10th, inshAllah. So, make du’a that everything goes well. 🙂

Assalamu Alaikum!