Eid Mubarak!<3

I’m going to miss Ramadan.. it passed away so swiftly! May Allah accept our ibadats performed during this month and may He bless us to see the light of next Ramadan.Ameen!

The crescent has been sighted in my country and we’ll be celebrating eid on wednesday, insha’allah! 🙂

Eid Mubarak to everyone!<3 🙂 TaqabalAllahu minna wa minkum (May Allah accept it from you & us)!

This eid is going to be all the more special, insha’allah, because this Ramadan has been, alhumdulillah, a pretty productive one when compared to my Ramadan’s of previous years! 🙂 In addition, this is also my first ramadan as a hijabi, masha’allah! 🙂

Waking up to the voice of the takbeer from the local mosque.. the feeling that its Eid fills me with happiness! 🙂 It’s a time when we get to spend the whole day with the entire family, masha’allah.. meeting all the cousins and relatives and spending some quality time with family and friends! 🙂

After taking bath and happily putting on new clothes, I wait for my dad, uncles and cousins to come home from eid prayer. All my relatives gather at my place for breakfast and lunch. We all have sewiyan and hot n spicy minced meat curry along with some fried eggs and toasts for breakfast! And of’course the sweet… sheer-khurma without which eid is incomplete .. hot or cold we love it either way! 🙂

We spend time talking and rejoicing the completion of the blessed month of Ramadan, Alhumdulillah! 🙂 At noon the fragrance of biryani fills the house and we cant wait until the lunch is served! 😀

Entire day my nieces, younger cousin sisters and me trouble our (working and married or otherwise) cousin brothers for the eidi (eid gift)! 🙂 .. Afterall its our right aint it?! 😉 After a lot of bargaining we finally get our shares, hehe! 😀 ..

In the evening we distribute sweet i.e sheer-khurma to our neighbours , Muslims and non-muslims! 🙂 I feel this is the most lovely part of eid, where we go around sharing our happiness and compassion with our neighbours in the form of sweet, Subhanallah! 🙂

We gather at our uncle’s place for dinner! My sisters too, along with their husband and kids, join us every year after spending the entire day at their in-laws place! 🙂 Most of us are too tired till dinner to do anything much, so we just sit and watch the tiny little group of kids aging from 3-7 years excitingly scream, shout, play, run up and down and have fun, Masha’allah! 🙂 We girls have our share of fun clicking random pictures or just chit-chatting about anything and everything! 🙂 The day would usually end with the kids cribbing that they dont want to go to school the next day .. but fortunately this time we have a holiday on thursday too.. so, alhumdulillah, the cribbing part gets eliminated! 😀

I come home tired and smile to myself thinking about the day that was! Alhumdulillah for everything! 🙂

“I love Burnt toasts”

Abu Huraira (ra) reported Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) as saying: A believing man should not hate a believing woman; it may be that he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Muslim #3469)

Here’s a story with a very important lesson for all of us..!                              

“When I was a little Boy, I remember one day in particular when she had made breakfast. She must have been very tired. My mom placed a plate of eggs, and rather burnt toast in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed. Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast, smile at my mom, and ask me how was I ready for school. I don’t remember what I replied, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jam on that toast and eat every bite!

When I got up from the table, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the toast. And I’ll never forget what he said: ‘Baby, I love burnt toast.’

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy and I asked him if he really liked his toast burnt. He wrapped me in his arms and said, ‘Your Momma works hard day after day and she’s real tired. And besides a little burnt toast never hurt anyone!’ You know, life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people. I’m not the best football player either.

What I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults – and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences – is the one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

We should learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of Allah. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where burnt toast isn’t a deal-breaker! We could extend this to any relationship in fact – as understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!!”

-Anonymous-

Courtesy: Sister iHijabi

Ramadan: How do we end our Ramadan?

The blessed month of Ramadan has passed swiftly and has come to an end! 😦 But this time let’s make a sincere effort to not let our good habits developed during Ramadan end with the end of the month..! 🙂
Here’s an article on how to end Ramadan in the best of ways,Insha’allah!
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All Praise and Thanks is for Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) who has blessed us with witnessing yet another Ramadan! The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said that actions are judged by their ending [Bukhari]. So while many of us have started preparing for Eid, we should also make sure that we end this blessed month in a great way.

Tawbah: Repentance

We end this month by returning to Allah (swt) in a state of humility and repentance. We seek forgiveness of Allah (swt) and repent to Him because we acknowledge that our deeds are deficient, and we acknowledge that we have wronged ourselves and others.

Repenting to Allah (swt) is a reminder that Allah is the One who guided us to righteous deeds, and we do not know if He will accept them from us. It is from the sunnah of Allah (swt) that when we end a deed, we end it with seeking forgiveness. We seek forgiveness after finishing our prayers and after we end a gathering just as Allah (swt) told the Prophet ﷺ to seek forgiveness and to repent after the Opening of Makkah.

Shukr: Gratitude

We end this month in a state of gratitude to Allah (swt). Allah (swt) says:

“[…] to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which he has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful,” (Qur’an 2:185).

We must thank Allah (swt) for all that He has given us during this month. He blessed us to be among those who worshiped Him and He gave us the health and ability to fast, to pray, and to increase in our good deeds.

Gratitude is a trait of the believers that is highlighted throughout the Qur’an and Sunnah (tradition of the Prophet ﷺ). We even see that when the believers enter Paradise, they proclaim:

“[…] ‘Praise to Allah, who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us.’ […]” (Qur’an 7:43).

Being grateful to Allah (swt) and thanking Him reminds us to be humble, because we would not have received anything good or have had the opportunity to do any good without the Help of Allah (swt).

Takbeer: Proclaiming the Greatness of Allah

We end this month by declaring the Greatness of Allah (swt) for what He has guided us to. Allah (swt) says:

“[…] to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which he has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful,” (Qur’an 2:185).

Takbeer is to declare the Greatness of Allah (swt), to exalt Him, and magnify Him. Saying “Allahu Akbar” is the highest and best way to exalt Allah (swt).

We make takbeer from the night of Eid until the Eid prayer by saying:

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar                           Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest

La ilaaha il Allah,                                                There is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar                           Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest

wa Lillahil Hamd                                                  and for Allah Alone is All Praise

We repeat this throughout the night and day, reminding ourselves that Allah (swt) is Greater than everything else and we declare His Praise for having guided us to finish Ramadan.

Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen (rahimahu allah, may Allah have mercy on him) says: “What is more beautiful than seeing the people proclaiming the greatness of Allah (swt) and declaring His Magnificence in every area and place, filling the horizon with Allahu Akbar (Allah is Greater than everything), Alhamdulillah (Praise and thanks is for Allah Alone) and La ilaaha il Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except for Allah), while hoping for His Mercy and fearing His Punishment!”

Intention to Change

We end this month with the intention to continue fasting, praying and doing good. Ramadan is a month of change that is meant to give us a spiritual cleansing that will last us the whole year. The virtues of fasting and praying do not end after we celebrate Eid; rather, Eid should be the beginning of a new chapter for us to continue doing the habits we started in Ramadan. We can continue reading the Qur’an, fasting Mondays and Thursdays, or the White Days (the 13th-15th of each lunar month), and we can pray the night prayers every night (or once a week).

We’ve tasted the sweetness of standing during the night; we’ve tasted the sweetness of raising our hands to Allah (swt) in supplication; we’ve tasted the sweetness of breaking our fast after a long day; we’ve tasted the sweetness of giving charity. So how can we return to disobedience and leaving good deeds after having tasted this sweetness?

Al-Hafidh ibn Rajab (ra) says: “O one who has been freed from the Fire by His Owner! Be cautious of returning to enslavement after having been freed! Your Protector has removed you from the Fire and you are coming closer to it? And He has saved you from it, and you are falling into it?”

Do not be a “Ramadan Muslim” by intending to return to your old habits after the Eid prayer. Ask Allah (swt), the One who guided you to worship Him in Ramadan, to help you continue in your worship and good deeds. Remember that Ramadan has left us but the One who created this month will never leave; for He is Living and His reward is Everlasting.

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P.S. Eid mubarak to one and all! 🙂 Love you all for the sake of Allah! 🙂

P.P.S. Do not forget to offer Zakat-ul-fitr this eid! Click on the link to know more about the fiqh of eid!!

Ramadan:How you felt the sweetness of the month yet?

Ramadan has almost come to an end. It passed so quick this time 😦 and I’m not sure if I’ll get the oppurtunity to even finish the quran! But Alhumdulillah, I’m glad atleast I finished 25 paras. The last time I finished the quran or even came close to finishing was almost 6-7 yrs back if i remember right. :/ So, Alhumdulillah, this time by the mercy of Allah I managed to finish as much as I could and Insha’allah I’ll try to complete it if i get the oppurtunity to, Allah willing! 🙂

Even with all the ibadah i tried to put in, I’ve been feeling that I’m falling short of something, I’m not sure if I have felt the sweetness of this beloved month yet! 😦 I dont know where I’m going wrong or what I’m lacking. May be my hearts turned too hard after all the darkness I’d been in previously! 😦 So i guess i still need to work harder to get more closer to Almighty and soften my heart. The article below is what I found at the right time on suhaibwebb.com. Read on… hope it helps you too! (please do take a moment to make dua to Allah(SWT) to soften my heart!)

Source: How does one soften their heart? -By Sister Maryam Abir-Ibrahimi

As the last ten nights of Ramadan are upon us, many of us are still in shock at the speed with which Ramadan has passed. Our goals may not yet be realized, our habits may not yet have changed, and our hearts may not yet have felt the sweetness of this beloved month. Disheartened, many of us may have already given to despair, feeling that our Ramadans have not been as fruitful as we had wished and planned. To make things more uncomfortable, we sometimes pray in mosque where the Imam or those around us begin to cry, weeping loudly when they hear verses of the Qur’an or when the Imam makes the du`a’(supplication) during witr. Everyone else seems to be touched by this blessed month; everyone else’s hearts seem to soak in sweetness of this faith, the tears soaking their cheeks as they beg for mercy, provision, and forgiveness.

What about me? What about you? How can we, too, be of those whose hearts are softened?

Make Du`a’

I once heard a khatib (lecturer) say, “If you have approached the end of Ramadan, and you do not yet feel it in your heart, keep knocking on the door of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). Keep knocking, keep knocking, and Allah will answer.”

Ask Allah (swt) in all of the blessed times to make du`a’ to break the hardness of your heart and allow sincerity and gratitude to gush through. Ask Him to soften your heart, to fill it with an awe-inspiring realization of Him, to exchange your bad deeds for good deeds and let your heart tremble in awe of Him as your actions show love for Him.

Sit Alone, Think about Your Sins, and Ask for Forgiveness

Take a few minutes every day to sit and say, “AstaghfirAllah (I seek forgiveness from Allah).” Every time you make this request of Allah (swt), remember something you’ve done that may have displeased Him. Remember that time you yelled at your mom when all she was trying to do was help you? Remember that time you cheated on your exam? Sit and ask Allah (swt) forgiveness for every single thing you’ve done, great, small, intentionally, unintentionally, asking Him to replace the hardness of your heart with softness and replace your sins with forgiveness and good deeds.

Allah (swt) tells us in Surat al-Furqan:

“Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful” (Qur’an, 25:70).

Ibn Kathir, in the tafsir (exegesis) of this ayah (verse), cites a hadith (tradition) in which Abu Dharr (radiAllahu `anhu – May Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “I know the last person who will be brought forth from Hell, and the last person who will enter Paradise. A man will be brought and it will be said, ‘Take away his major sins and ask him about his minor sins.’ So it will be said to him: ‘On such and such a day, you did such and such, and on such and such a day, you did such and such.’ He will say, ‘Yes,’ and he will not be able to deny anything. Then it will be said to him: ‘For every evil deed you now have one good merit.’ He will say: ‘O Lord, I did things that I do not see here.’” He (Abu Dharr) said: “And the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) smiled so broadly that his molars could be seen.” (Muslim)

Ibn Kathir further explains, “…those evil deeds that have passed are turned into good deeds by way of the true and sincere repentance itself. This is because every time that person remembers what he had done, he regrets it, feels remorse, and seeks Allah (swt)’s forgiveness. In this way, the sin becomes an act of obedience.”

Allah (swt) is always ready for us to turn back to Him and can easily turn our bad deeds into good deeds on our scales! But how many of us are begging Him for this? To soften our hearts, be forgiven, and increase in our good deeds, let us sit and make istighfar, begging for Allah (swt)’s forgiveness and for Him to turn our bad into good.

Sit Alone, Ponder Your Blessings, and Thank Allah (swt)

How many of us have been blessed with parents or others who love, mentor and care for us? We have been given trillions of blessings that so many have never tasted. How many people are ungrateful and forgetful of all they have been blessed with?

Sit and think of every blessing He has given you- the Qur’an, eyesight, clean water, literacy- the blessings are uncountable, as Allah (swt) tells us in Surah Ibrahim (14:34). Let us show gratitude, for when we are grateful, Allah (swt) increases us, “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ (Qur’an, 14:7).

Let us sit, contemplate blessing after blessing, and continually move our lips in gratitude to Allah (swt), saying, “AlhamdulilLah (praise be to God),” asking Him to write us amongst those who are grateful to Him, asking Him to soften our hearts and allow us to be moved by gratitude for His Favors.

Contemplate the Qur’an

Allah (swt) poses this powerful question:

“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (Qur’an, 47:24)

How can we be of those whose hearts are not locked? We can make massive du`a’ that Allah (swt) opens our hearts, and we can contemplate the Qur’an. Listen to the Qur’an with a recitation which penetrates your ears and overwhelms your heart. While listening, go through the translation and work to understand the Qur’an.

When you go through the words, sit and really think about the meaning and the ways in which it applies to your life. Think about the meaning of the Qur’an and allow yourself to be captivated, head-over-heels in love with the powerful words of the Creator of the Universe- the One Who created you- the One Who revealed these words for your personal guidance. Allah chose you to be Muslim; He personally planned for you be of those who want to come back to Him and read the Qur’an. So go back to the Qur’an, be grateful for His favor upon you and sincerely seek to understand His Words.

Give Charity

The Prophet (pbuh) has told us that, “Sadaqah extinguishes sins like water extinguishes fire” (Tirmithi). The sins we commit continually build up and rust our hearts. Without polishing, this rust will take over, covering the beautiful jewel beneath it. This jewel, when polished, gleams internally and externally, becoming a means of benefit for the person whose body it houses, and spreading light to all those around, bi’ithnillah (with the permission of Allah). With charity, we can help polish our hearts. Let us give in charity, asking Allah (swt) to soften our hearts, to remove the buildup of rust, and to purify our hearts and souls, bringing us back to Him `azza wa jal (the Almighty and Majestic).

Increase our Good Deeds

Allah (swt) tells us, “Indeed the mercy of Allah is near to those who do good” (Qur’an, 7: 56). God has also told us, “Indeed, good deeds remove the evil deeds. That is a reminder for those who remember” (Qur’an, 11:114).

Allah (swt) has made our religion so adaptable that we can worship Him through anything good we do, when done sincerely and correctly. Let us constantly renew our intentions; when we take out the trash, let it be an act of worship to keep our homes tidy and to please those whom we live with. When we smile at a passerby, let it be to spread the joy of the character of the Prophet (PBUH). All the while, let us seek the mercy of Allah (swt), begging of Him to soften our hearts, while we do good for His pleasure.

Live in Paradise, Sprint Away from Hell

When you read Qur’an or standing in prayer, and you come across words indicating Paradise, such as Jannah(Paradise); Imagine it. Imagine being in Paradise, standing by a river which flows beneath you, near waterfalls, near enormous palaces. Imagine yourself in awe, in immense joy, in euphoria- when suddenly, you feel a tap on your shoulder. In that moment when you turn around, imagine who it may be. Your mother? Your father? Your spouse? Your child? Your grandparent? Your best friend? The Beloved, the Chosen, the Teacher, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW)? How would you feel in that moment? How would you feel, seeing the person who meant the most to you in your life, seeing the person who may have already passed years before and whom you yearn for constantly, how would you feel coming to the realization that you are going to be here, with the people you love, forever. You will never die and you will never fear all the things which brought so much worry and difficulty to you in the dunya (world). At that moment, you’ll understand what Allah says when He describes the believers in Paradise saying,

“And they will say, ‘Praise to Allah, who has removed from us [all] sorrow. Indeed, our Lord is Forgiving and Appreciative”

“He who has settled us in the home of duration out of His bounty. There touches us not in it any fatigue, and there touches us not in it weariness [of mind].’” (Qur`an, 35:34-35)

And then, when you hear a word describing Hellfire, such as Naar (Hellfire); Imagine it. Imagine the intensity of the Hellfire; imagine the pains of being burned to the point where you have no skin and it is recreated for you, only to continue the agony; where you want to die, but will never die, where you yearn to have just a cold drink of relief, but are given a drink which boils your insides and experiencing boiling water poured upon your head. Is this the end that you want? Is this what you want for those whom you love?

Would you prefer garments of fire (22:19) or garments of silk (22:23)? When you go into sujood (prostration), beg Allah for what you want for yourself and those whom you love. Beg Him from the depths of your heart and allow your tears to pour to Him.

Have an Objective

In every salah (prayer), have an objective. Whether obligatory or extra, make the objective to come out of that prayer purer than you did when you were born. Ask Allah for `afiya – for your sins to be forgiven and wiped away, so that it is as if you never even committed them. Focus like someone who aims to be forgiven, recite Surat al-Fatiha like someone who will be forgiven, make sujood like someone who yearns with their heart and soul for their sins to be wiped away and replaced with righteous deeds. In the next prayer, make your objective Paradise. Concentrate like someone of Paradise; beg of Allah in sujood to be of the people of Paradise. In every rak`ah (unit of prayer), have a unique purpose and beg of Allah to make those desires realities.

There is still time to come back to Allah (swt) and really feel the weight of this blessed month! Allah (swt) loves when we go back to Him with sincerity and humility, carrying the burden of our sins to Him, with hopes of having them obliterated and being completely forgiven.

Let us go back to Him, asking for His forgiveness and pleasure, for Him to open our hearts and soften our limbs to His command, asking Him to replace the burden of our shortcomings with the blessing of His Mercy. Once we’ve done so, let us go back to Him, feeling light, overflowing with hope and pumped with energy to seek His pleasure through working passionately for His sake, feeling immensely optimistic that He will forgive us, reward us and answer us inshaAllah (God Willing).

Keep knocking on the door. Allah (swt), the One Who Answers, will undoubtedly answer.

The Qadr of Allah

Faith– Iman means to believe in the heart, to confess by the tongue and to act with the parts of the body. Muslims believe in 6 articles of faith –

1. Allah
2. His Angels
3. His revealed Books
4. His Messengers
5. The Day of Resurrection
6. Al-Qadr; Whatever Allah has ordained must come to pass (In other words, fate and destiny).

Alhumdulillah, I’m sure most of us do have our iman pretty strong in the first five cases.. but what I feel most of us,including me, lack is believing in qadr of Allah.

Belief in Fate (Qadr), whether good or bad, which Allah, measured and ordained for all creation according to His previous knowledge, and as deemed suitable by His wisdom. And in the timeless knowledge of Allah, and in His power to plan and execute His plans, nothing could happen in His Kingdom against His will. His knowledge and power which are always in action command over His creation. He is Wise and Merciful, and whatever he does must have a meaningful purpose. Quran makes it clear that Allah has divine decree in:

Surah Hajj 22:70:
“Knowest thou not that Allah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Indeed it is all in a Record, and that is easy for Allah.”

How many times when something good or bad happens have we told ourselves that it happened because Allah willed it to be?

How many times did we thank Allah during the good times because we believed that it happened only cause Allah had decreed it to be?

Most importantly, how many times did we remain patient when some calamity befalled us and how many times have we told ourselves that it happened because it had to happen? It happened because Allah had already willed it to happen. It happened because it was already written in the book of decree, much before we came into existence!

Psychologists tell us that human beings go through five stages of emotion, when struck with a calamity, which are denial, anger, bargaining and depression and the final stage – which is acceptance. I went through these stages on many different occasions, as I am sure you have.

The point to ponder here is if our faith, our iman, in the decree of Allah was strong we wouldn’t have had to go through all of that. I say this because when we believe that everything happens to us is because of Allah’s will and when we believe that Allah knows what’s best for us… then we directly go to the final stage that is acceptance. There wouldnt have been a question of going through the five stages.. as our first stage becomes our final stage that is acceptance.

I’m not saying that we should not grieve over what is lost.One of the hadith tells us that Prophet Muhammed(pbuh) said that tears are a mercy from Allah(SWT) by which it shows that Allah has blessed our heart with compassion.

When the child (of Zainab) was brought to Muhammad, dying; its body trembling and moving; the eyes of the Apostle of God shed many tears. And Sad said, “O Messenger of God! What is the weeping and shedding of tears?” Muhammad replied, “This is an expression of the tenderness and compassion, which the Lord hath put into the hearts of His servants; the Lord doth not have compassion on and commiserate with His servants, except such as are tender and full of feeling.”

But prolonging depression is not encouraged in Islam. When we have a strong iman in the qadr of Allah, we develop an acceptance of whatever happens. When something good happens we believe that it is from Allah and thank him for blessing us with it and when something bad happens we seek help in patience and prayer as suggested in the Quran. This way we return victorious in both the situations.

I believe a part of our Iman in the qadr of Allah is accepting that whatever has befallen us was not meant to escape us and whatever has escaped us was not meant to befall on us!

“Naught of disaster befalleth in the earth or in yourselves but it is in a Book before we bring it into being – Lo! that is easy for Allah –  That ye grieve not for the sake of that which hath escaped you, nor yet exult because of that which hath been given. Allah loveth not all prideful boasters” (Quran 57:22-23)

Accepting that whatever has happened is in accordance with Allah(SWT)’s plan. No matter what our plan for the day, week, or future is we should never forget that Allah (SWT) too has a plan for us and Allah is the best of planners.

“And they planned and Allah (also) planned, and Allah is the best of planners.” (Quran 3:54)

So, my dear brothers and sisters whom I love for the sake of Allah, next time something good or bad befalls us dont forget to say –

قُلْ لَنْ يُصِيبَنَا إِلَّا مَا كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَنَا

“Say: ‘Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allâh has ordained for us…’” (Quran 9:51).

Assalamualaikum-wa-rahmatullahi-wa-barakatahu 🙂

True Love or just plain Obsession..?

Source: Is this love I’m feeling – Article by Sister Yasmin Mogahed

“Love is a serious mental disease.” At least that’s how Plato put it. And while anyone who’s ever been ‘in love’ might see some truth to this statement, there is a critical mistake made here. Love is not a mental disease. Desire is.

If being ‘in love’ means our lives are in pieces and we are completely broken, miserable, utterly consumed, hardly able to function, and willing to sacrifice everything, chances are it’s not love. Despite what we are taught in popular culture, true love is not supposed to make us like drug addicts.

And so, contrary to what we’ve grown up watching in movies, that type of all-consuming obsession is not love. It goes by a different name. It is hawa—the word used in the Quran to refer to one’s lower, vain desires and lusts. Allah describes the people who blindly follow these desires as those who are most astray: “But if they answer you not, then know that they only follow their own lusts (hawa). And who is more astray than the one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allah?” (28: 50)

By choosing to submit to our hawa over the guidance of Allah, we are choosing to worship those desires. When our love for what we crave is stronger than our love for Allah, we have taken that which we crave as a lord. Allah says: “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah.” (2:165)

If our ‘love’ for something makes us willing to give up our family, our dignity, our self-respect, our bodies, our sanity, our peace of mind, our deen, and even our Lord who created us from nothing, know that we are not ‘in love’. We are slaves.

Of such a person Allah says: “Do you see such a one as takes his own vain desires (hawa) as his lord? Allah has, knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. (45: 23)

Imagine the severity. To have one’s sight, hearing and heart all sealed. Hawa is not pleasure. It is a prison. It is a slavery of the mind, body and soul. It is an addiction and a worship. Beautiful examples of this reality can be found throughout literature. In Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Pip exemplifies this point. In describing his obsession with Estella, he says: “I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

Dickens’ Miss Havisham describes this further: “I’ll tell you…what real love is. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter – as I did!”

What Miss Havisham describes here is in fact real. But it is not real love. It is hawa. Real love, as Allah intended it, is not a sickness or an addiction. It is affection and mercy. Allah says in His book: “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30: 21)

Real love brings about calm—not inner torment. True love allows you to be at peace with yourself and with God. That is why Allah says: “that you may dwell in tranquility.” Hawa is the opposite. Hawa will make you miserable. And just like a drug, you will crave it always, but never be satisfied. You will chase it to your own detriment, but never reach it. And though you submit your whole self to it, it will never bring you happiness.

So while ultimate happiness is everyone’s goal, it is often difficult to see past the illusions and discern love from hawa. One fail-safe way, is to ask yourself this question: Does getting closer to this person that I ‘love’ bring me closer to—or farther from—Allah? In a sense, has this person replaced Allah in my heart?

True or pure love should never contradict or compete with one’s love for Allah. It should strengthen it. That is why true love is only possible within the boundaries of what Allah has made permissible. Outside of that, it is nothing more than hawa, to which we either submit or reject. We are either slaves to Allah, or slaves to our hawa. It cannot be both.

Only by struggling against false pleasure, can we attain true pleasure. They are by definition mutually exclusive. For that reason, the struggle against our desires is a prerequisite for the attainment of paradise. Allah says: “But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.” (Qur’an, 79: 40-41)

Republished from InFocus News.

Ramadan: *Sisters only* 6 ways to stay spiritually uplifted!

A beneficial article for sisters posted on Productive Muslims website.. Hope this helps some sister around the globe!

Source: 6 ways for sisters to stay spiritually uplifted

A wave of disappointment overcomes us sisters at certain times during Ramadan when we realise that we can’t fast during “that” time of the month 😦 . It’s almost like we get left out, especially when everyone else gets excited at the last 10 nights – but even if your not fasting, there are ways to ensure you grab those rewards and you don’t miss out!

Firstly, one should never despair at the Mercy of Allah and His Commands for us to abstain from fasting when in a state of impurity; as with all things ordained in Islam there is wisdom. Sisters bear the ‘triple shift’, as I often refer to it, as juggling work, study, & caring for their family as part of life so being unable to fast is a time to provide your body with a rejuvenated outlook on what you have achieved and what you can accomplish in the remaining days of Ramadan.

In the following article we share ideas on how you can stay on a spiritual high this Ramadan and provide tools for using your time effectively.

1. Listen to the recitation of the Qur’an

During the time you can’t fast, stay spiritually uplifted by listening to the recitation of the Qur’an, and listen to those surahs you are trying to committ to memory. You’ll find after having listened to the surah several times you will have memorised it and not wasted any time in this blessed month of the Qur’an.

(p.s. regarding reading Quran for sisters on their menstrual cycle, you’ll find the fatwa here useful: http://www.islam-qa.com/en/ref/2564/)

2. Contribute to a community project

You could volunteer to help out at a local community iftaar, or buy a pack of dates to donate to the local masjid for iftaar – imagine the barakah of feeding about 100 people – you’ll have the reward of 200 fasts inshaAllah. If there are iftars being hosted at the masjid, volunteer to serve and help clean up afterwards. Or buy a jug of Zamzam water and pour it into little bottles and distribute them to everyone at the masjid with dates.
Babysit during Taraweeh so that the mothers (and everyone else!) can pray with khushu’ and concentration. Cook iftar for sisters who are expecting, elderly, students away from home, etc. in your community and deliver it to their homes.

3. Help Mum in the Kitchen!

It’s often a blessed opportunity which comes once a year when we all eat together, yet it’s the mothers who concentrate all their energies on the family more than any other time in the year. Take this opportunity to help Mum out as she prepares for iftaar, and offer to help around the house to make fasting easier on her. This one comes with big rewards (and of course ask her to make Dua for you).

Do any deep cleaning, laundry, Eid shopping etc. that needs to be done now, so that you can fully focus on extra ibadah when you are fasting and in the last 10 nights. You can also prepare and freeze some food now so that you don’t have to cook iftar on other days when you are fasting and also in preparation for Eid instead of losing out on extra good deeds in the last 10 nights.

4. Make Plentiful Dua

Spend a lot of time in Dua in the last third of the night and keep in tune with the routine of Ramadan, and memorize the du`a’s for different actions (morning/evening supplication, leaving the home, etc). Listen to this du`a’ with the translation:

Memorize Allah’s Most Beautiful Names – 3 each day and their meanings so you can understand and become closer to Allah, and then call upon Allah with His Names in your Dua.

5. Make Goodies!

Make a CD of beautiful Qur’an recitation and duas in MP3 and distribute them to people you know so others can benefit. Make Eid/Ramadan goodie bags for the kids so that they love and feel attached to Ramadan – use your talents and be creative in this time you have.

6. Increase Dhikr

Do the adhkar (rememberance of Allah) for morning and evening narrated from the Prophet (peace be upon him). Remember to seek out Laylatul Qadr throughout the last 10 nights and do not let even one night go by without making dua. Aisha (radiAllahu anha), out of her excellence, enquired about what she should recite in search of and upon Laylatul Qadr –the Prophet replied she should make this dua: “Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee” (Say: O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.” [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidhi]

You can also find out who is sick in your area or in the hospital and go visit them, these steps you take towards visiting the sick are rewarded greatly. And look for new converts, those who are newly practicing or people who have lost touch with the community and invite them over for iftar.

As seen above, there are multiple ways you can gain reward, with sincere intentions and work in the way of Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’la) you can stay spiritually uplifted this ramadan and be productive even if you are not fasting.

This article was inspired by http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/worship/fasting-ramadan/closed-doors-and-opened-eyes/

For more tips and ways please visit: http://seekersguidance.org/ans-blog/2010/08/29/worship-in-ramadan-for-a-menstruating-woman/