Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ramadaan 2015 Reflections

Salaams dear readers

Time to reflect post Ramadaan!

I read somewhere that a good way to reflect during Ramadaan is to ask yourself  "What have I learnt about my relationship with Allah?"

For me, it is about attributing everything to Allah. How often do we forget to literally acknowledge that that great idea that popped into our head, or that amazing turn of events, or the beautiful gift we received are all signs from Allah, all made possible by Allah, all given to us by Allah!

I heard a talk by a famous aalim, Mufti Ismail Menk who was talking about this, and he said often we say "Shukr, it was so nice..xxx etc" - but thats not enough, Shukr to who, for what? So I want to be more specific now and when I pray for something, and I get it, I want to close the loop and come back to Allah to thank him, consciously. I have chosen praying a few tasbeehs of "Subhanallahi wa bihamdi" (“Glory to Allah and praise Him) - the most loved words to Allah. Knowing though, that no matter how much we thank Allah it will never be enough, but Inshallah this is a meaningful step that will please Allah.

Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet (sws) said, “Shall I tell you the words that Allah loves the most?” I said: “Yes, tell me, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “The words dearest to Allah are: subhanAllah wa bihamdihi.

By implementing this conscious close-the-loop step as I like to call it, about making this tasbeeh every time I want to thank Allah for something, I noticed that how often once I received something I would forget to actually pause to thank Him! I would just say "Yay, awesome!," and move on. So Subhnallah, Im really pleased with this new step that Allah has inspired me to take, as I hope it makes me more grateful and consipus of Allah, Inshallah Aameen

What do you do to show thanks, and attrinute everything to Allah? Share your views, I would love to hear  more ideas :)

Keeping it real, with all praise to Allah,

How I shared Eid with my Neighbours


Eid Greetings. Hope you all had a joyous day, and a spiritually uplifting Ramadaan. :)

My passion this Eid has been around sharing our day of celebration (or lets face it, with all the leftover treats its more like a week of celebration!), with people around me who are not necessarily Muslim such as neighbors, colleagues, friends, even my local therapist and gym! (Hubby had a good idea to tell the gym instructor the treats were for cheat day!)

My main aim was to create awareness and educate people about Ramadaan and Eid, and by sharing some delicious homemade goodies, show them what Muslims are really about - peace, goodwill and caring for others. Ultimately I hope it inspires someone to want to know more about Islam and consider it as their way of life, Inshallah - but that's a big dream, so for now just taking one step at a time by sharing simple cookies!

I also want to share with everyone how I made up little packs for my neighbors and the resources I used after searching the Internet for hours, so saving you the hassle ;)

Step 1  : I bought some handy foil containers with lids and filled it with the sweet treats that I made.

Step 2: Bake the goodies. I always like trying out new recipes so made these guys:

Step 3: Making the labels was the most fun! I used :

Putting together Eid Treats for neighbours

Step 4:  Distribute with a smile! :)

The response was wonderful, Alhamdulillah. Everyone really appreciated it, they wanted to hear more about what we did for Eid and the famous questions around how we managed fasting (you cant drink water?!) etc. We also got to meet new neighbors who were really friendly too.

May Allah accept, Aameen

The final Result, Eid packs ready to go out!

I loved reading tweets from all over the world from people who received treats from their Muslim neighbours - with my favorite one being "Think I should move in next to a Muslim to get great cookies for Eid!" - wonderful!

Did you also give out goodies for your neighbours and colleagues, share your pictures and stories using the two hashtags below!

#sharingeidwithneighbours  #sharingeidwithneighbors


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Keeping up the Ibaadah when you cant fast or pray Salaah/Quraan during Ramadaan


Ah that moment during Ramadaan when you have to stop fasting due to natural reasons!

For me its a bit dreaded because I have been enjoying the month so much, the barakah and blessings, adjusted schedule, building up a momentum with ibaadah and achieving so much. But Allah knows best, and whilst I do feel a pang of disappointment, I know it is Allah's Will and His Timing - so it must be Perfect, so I'm just going to get on with it!

I did plan for this time beforehand, trying to increase Quraan recitation and Salaah especially, knowing I could do my Istighfaar and other tasbeehs during the time when I am "not reading". So come that time, and I'm amped!

One thing I wanted to ensure was that I would use the usual time for Salaah and Quraan recitation for ibaadah - and not waste it with anything else. So here are some ideas inspired to me through the Mercy of Allah, for keeping up the Ibaadah when you cant fast or pray Salaah:

- listen to Quraan recitation. a great way to revise as well if you have memorised some parts of the Quraan.
- listen to Tafsir of surahs, especially the ones you read often, or know by memory, My favourite resource for this is a detailed series by Nouman Ali Khan available on YouTube
- Read Extra duroods on Nabi (SAW)
- Read extra tasbeeh - Laailaaha Illallah, Subhanallah etc

So in this way the time I usually spent on Salaah is still maintained using these alternative beautiful ways to worship, Alhamdulillah. May Allah accept.

What else do you do during this time when you cant pray salaah? Share your ideas and Inshallah many people can benefit!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Mid-Ramadaan Performance Review


The title isn't meant to scare...lol ok maybe a little! Well, we all have mid year reviews at work (yes they are dreaded but they can be useful!) They give us a great opportunity to check whether you are on track with your goals and tasks, and give you a chance  to re-focus on priorities for the next half period. So I thought with the help of Allah,  to apply the same reflection time to how I spend my time in Ramadaan.

I actually did a 10-day review, and will do another Inshallah on day 21. But the principle is the same. Take time out to reflect during the period, so that come the end you are not left wondering where did the time go and how come I wasn't able to achieve my goals. As none of us know whether we will get another chance.

It helps if you have goals set before Ramadaan, but none the less I start my review by looking at all the positives that I have done so far - for me it has been good progress on Quraan recitation and revising my Hifdh starting with the surahs from 30th Juz Alhamdulillah.

Then I look at "what could have been better" - for me it has been not reading enough Tahajjud Salaah - I am reminded about its importance such that a scholar has said you don't really want something unless you are waking up for Tahajjud and praying at this very auspicious time.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?’”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]


So then I make a list of my goals/focus for next half or in my case 10 days, and I set a goal for praying Tahajjud at least every second day. Though in Ramadaan we are up for suhoor anyway, so requires even less effort.

So there you go, my performance review is completed Alhamdulillah. I am refreshed and energized to make the next period even better Inshallah, with the permission of Allah!

Have a go, and let me know how you get on with your review and goal planning :)