Ramadan Reflection Day 22: Bittersweet

The last 10 days make me sad. Not because Ramadan is ending (although that is a factor as well) but more so because of the intense increase in people at the mosque. I know I should be happy. At least all these people came to the mosque in the last 10 days. At least they came on the 27th night. At least they’re here right now.

Alhamdulillah. Yes. I am happy for that. You never know what obligations may have kept some of us from Ramadan. But it’s bittersweet. The whole month is blessed yet, in general, we only most excitedly take advantage of the last 10 days and sometimes only one night. It’s a reflection in other parts of our lives. How many opportunities for mercy or khayr are there in our lives but we only take advantage of those that require the least effort, least work, least energy on our part? We can pull countless all-nighters for school or work but exerting our efforts throughout a mere 29 or 30 days is too much.

This Ramadan is almost over but it’s never too late to reset our priorities. We should be taking advantage of every single minute of what is left, inshaAllah. Let’s not let it end there. We partake in the sunnah of taraweeh – allow it to mean that our sunnah salah is prayed throughout the year. We stand in qiyaam on the 27th – allow it to be a means of praying qiyam, maybe even once a month throughout the year. We aim for at least one completion of the Qur’an in this month – allow it to be at least one khatm in the whole year.

Ramadan Reflection Day 21: Where Are They?

“Where are the bright ones, the handsome-looking ones, and where are those who took pride in their youthfulness – where have they gone? Where are the great kings who built cities and castles and fortified them with towering walls? What happened to the lionhearted valorous ones who made their enemy suffer humiliation in the battlefields? Time waned under their feet and they ended inside dark graves. Think of it and take heed.” 

— Abu Bakr asSideeq, radhiAllahu ‘anhu

Ramadan Reflection Day 20: Time…

I keep observing my little brother this summer. He’s in between elementary school and high school, straddling the wonderful bliss (sarcasm) of not being responsible to anything or anyone. Including himself. His days are literally filled with endless time. He can sleep however much he wants and still have time to hit up the mosque for each salah and qiyam if he so wishes.

Am I envious? Not quite. Maybe a bit nostalgic. Remember when you had days filled with your day dreams and no real worries? Remember going to the mosque without the weight of midterms and finals and applications and just the plain ‘ol future? Remember not having the responsibility of worrying about the needs of family and friends and all those around you who have a haqq upon you?

No complaints, alhamdulillah. Each stage in life brings its own unique blessings. It’s just remembering to take advantage of those benefits at each point. Maybe we won’t be able to hit up post taraweeh ice cream bonding sessions before qiyaam as we used to, but that doesn’t mean our ‘ibaadah or relationships should suffer. Right? Easier said than done.

These last 10 days mean the end is near. Let’s make sure the end of ‘ibaadah and getting closer to our Rabb isn’t. All these du’aa apps and mobile Qur’ans and access to countless videos and resources online means we will never be short of inspiration anywhere, even when the time is tight. We just need to constantly strive for it. And know that there is barakah in each and every effort.

اللهم بارك لي في مالي وفي وقتي وفيما رزقتني
‘O Allah, shower Your blessings on my property, my time, and the provisions You have given me.’

Ramadan Reflection Day 19: Halal vs Haram

Partly paraphrased from Shaykh Ibrahim’s Friday khutbah:

We’ve made it through basically 2/3 of the month. Alhamdulillah we’ve been able to stay away from the halal – food and drink – while fasting. That’s great. The thing is… if we can stay away from the halal, why is it so difficult to stay away from the haram?

We have no problem fasting. Yet backbiting? Can’t stop that. Skipping salah? No issue there. Lowering our gaze? Too difficult. All the little sins we do on a daily basis? We can still do those. See where the disconnect is?

By staying away from the halal, it teaches us that we *can* stay away from the haram. It’s possible. We just have to try. Put in that effort. We know that Allah swt is watching us so we don’t sneak in a sip of water. But every time we sin, Allah swt is still watching us. So why sneak in the sin?

We’re human. We make mistakes. It’s what we do after the mistake, the sin, that matters. Sometimes we despair thinking we can’t fix it but no matter how many times we fall, as long as you’re still alive and breathing, get back up and try again:

‘Someone committed a sin and then said: “O Allah! Forgive me my sin.”

Allah said: “My servant committed a sin, but knew that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes sins.”

Then he committed the sin again and said: “My Lord! Forgive me my sin.”

Allah said: “My servant committed a sin, but knew that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes sins.”

Then he committed the sin again and said: “My Lord! Forgive me my sin.”

Allah said: “My servant committed a sin, but knew that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes sins. Do as you will, for I have forgiven you.” [Bukhari & Muslim]’

May we be of those who fear the punishment of our Rabb and those who have hope in the mercy of our Rabb. Ameen.

Ramadan Reflection Day 18: How Much Do We Care?

In Sahih Bukhari, there is the story of AlFadl ibn Abbas who was riding in a group with Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He happened to see – and stare at – a beautiful woman who came to ask Rasul Allah a question. The Prophet noticed this and instead of making a rude comment or embarrassing him, he subtly reached out for his chin and turned his face so he wouldn’t be staring at her.

We all know that we’re supposed to lower our gaze. That’s not the point I want to make. What I do want to bring attention to is the manner in which The Prophet advised ibn Abbas. There was no yelling or screaming or a khutbah on the evils of zinna. He didn’t place even turn to the woman and place the blame on her – something we see too much in our day. He gently, kindly, lovingly turned his face away. The point was made. The reminder was given. Without any fireworks.

We know Rasul Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa salaam cared about his companions AND about us. Truly, deeply cared. That’s why he was the best of example. He’s meant to be emulated. Because he cared, he didn’t embarrass others. He knew we all make mistakes. He didn’t condescend or belittle. He’s human too. He sincerely wanted the best for each one of us, especially in the akhirah, so he acted in the best manner.

When we interact with others and hurt them in some way, we say we do it out of love. Because we care. But do we? Yes, sometimes hurt will be involved. But was yelling necessary? Was turning someone away from the deen necessary? Was giving in to our anger necessary? If we actually cared, if we actually loved those whom we advise, perhaps we would act in a slightly different manner.

Ramadan exposes us to hundreds of people at a time – at iftars, at taraweeh, at the mosque for salah. Lack of food and sleep (and sometimes common sense) gives us the excuse to lash out for people when we see things we may not like. If we do so, we would be losing the point of fasting: to always be conscious of Allah. It doesn’t matter if we’re fasting or not – the way we treat others is always being watched. Just as in the example of the Prophet speaking to the bedouin who urinated in the mosque and in this one, the Prophet didn’t flip out. He cared and loved. Let us let the month of mercy put this mercy back into our lives. Bi’idnillah, we’ll see the same mercy enter our lives as well.

Ramadan Reflection Day 16: Love for Others What You Love for Yourself

‘On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik, radhiaAllahu ‘anhu, the servant of the Messenger of Allah, sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa salaam, said: “None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”‘ [Bukhari & Muslim]

A week ago, I saw a sister at Jummah whose hijab caught my eye. It was really pretty, mashaAllah (yes, girl moment) and I made a mental note to tell her I thought so. She was someone I hadn’t met before so I thought it would break the ice and lead to a conversation. A couple days ago, I ended up sitting next to her before Isha. Realizing it was her, I told her this and we talked hijabs for a bit before salah began.

Last night, I walked into the musallah and saw her smiling face. She waved me over and had a bag sitting next to her. After saying salaam, she gave me the bag. ‘This is the hijab. I want you to have it. I only wore it once so please don’t mind that. All I ask is you keep me in your du’aas.’

I was floored. SubhanAllah. I had been thinking, after she told me which store she had gotten the hijab from, that I would go there myself and look for others. She gave no indication that she would do this nor did I expect she would. (It was such a huge reminder of how our rizq – be it money, food, clothes – comes from ways in which we cannot even imagine. Truly Allah swt provides in ways only He is capable of.)

How many of us can give that which we love – whether we have used it yet or not – readily to someone? I mean, I had *just* met her. The only thing bringing us together is praying taraweeh next to each other and now, this hijab. She had barely worn this hijab and was so willing to give it to someone she had just met. I was truly humbled.

We don’t realize the impact of the little things in life – a smile, kind words, a gift. When given from the heart, those things stay with us for the rest of our lives and mean way more than any material gain. In these blessed days, she will be in my du’aas – and beyond, inshaAllah.