Getting It Together-Ramadan Diary 2008

1 09 2008

I thought long and hard before making the decision to blog this Ramadan. Ultimatley, I decided to blog at least once a week. I think blogging about how I’m feeling during Ramadan isn’t really that original or different from probably a dozen bloggers doing the same.  Though, for me I see it as a way to forcibly sit myself down and evaluate where I am with my goals, to make adjustments, and later as a way to look back and see where I was in relation to where I will be then. hahaha does that make sense?  Alhamdullilah, Ramadan is a great time to build ourselves up and rejuvinate hopefully being a catalyst to stay motivated all year.  And Alhamdulliah during Ramadan all our good deeds are multiplied as many times as Allah wills.

Anyway, here are some tools that may help YOU stay motivated this Ramadan and give you some ideas of things you may want to accomplish:

Suggested Ramadan Checklist (sorry, i don’t know the source it was forwarded to me):

Ask Yourself!

Got up for Fajr on time and prayed Fajr with its Sunnah

Made my morning Dhikr

Prayed all prayers on time and on earliest time possible

Made the recommended Dhikr after every prayer

Prayed all the 12 rakah of Sunnah prayers

Made Dua for the Muslim Ummah in a prayer

Made Dua for my parents

Commanded one good

Forbade one evil

Prayed more than 1 fard prayer in a mosque (males)

Read the Tafsir of one verse of the Quran

Read one new Hadeeth and its meaning

Read 1 page of the Quran as a minimum

Attempted to increase in knowledge (Reading/Listening)

Attempted to practise one rare Sunnah of Rasulullah

Made one Muslim smile

Made my parents smile, hugged and kissed them

Did not argue, nor backbite with anyone

Did not harbour ill feelings in my heart against anyone

Did not do anything I was unsure about its permissibility

Tried my best to take care of my body

Gave charity (monetary)

Preserved or removed a harm from the environment

Made Dua for the Prophet (sallalahu ‘alayhe wasallam)

Make Tawbah and Istighfaar 100 times

Pondered 10 minutes about struggling for this Deen

Did a special deed that is secret between myself and Allah

Gave some of the extra food from Iftar to my neighbours

Made my afternoon Dhikr

Prayed my taraweeh prayers

Prayed the Witr prayer

Read Surah Mulk before going to sleep

Wrote down/updated my will

Pondered about my Death and of the Day of Judgement

Prayed absolute minimum 2 rakah Tahajjud prayer

Asked Allah for Jannah and refuge from Jahannam (X3)

Went to sleep in a state of Wudu

Went to sleep without ill feelings towards any Muslim

REQUIRED SPECIFICALLY ON FRIDAYS

Read Surah Kahf

Took extra care to groom and maintain myself

Attempted to pray Jumah earliest time & best gathering

Made Dua only for Rasulullah (saws)

Pondered 5-10 minutes about the khutbah & its message

WEEKLY REQUIREMENTS

Memorized minimum 1/4 page of the Quran

Fed/Clothed one needy person or gave a gift to one someone

Memorized 1 hadeeth of Rasulullah

Made Istikharah about an important matter

Memorized 1 Dua from the Sunnah

10 great goals to set for this Ramadan
8/22/2008 – Religious Family Interfaith – Article Ref: SV0808-3647
www.Islamicity.com
 
Eat, drink and be moderate
Almost all of us do it – once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it’s hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we’re supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let’s try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
Give a dollar a day in charity…or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let’s open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it’s the intention that counts.
Memorize 4 new Surahs
Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you’ve started, you’ll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.
Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan’s blessings. Don’t miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least once week.
Attend the Tarawih prayer in which the recitation of the Quran will be finished
Call the local mosque and find out which day the Imam will be finishing the recitation of the Quran in prayer. Attend to not only hear part of the Quran’s recitation in prayer, but also participate in the heart-rending Duas that follow it.
Stop swearing and/or backbiting Ð with a special box
It’s hard not to shoot our mouths off when someone’s upset us. Whether we utter those four-letter words or backbite about someone to our family and friends, we know this isn’t the God-approved way of letting off steam. In Ramadan, when we want to build our spirituality, we’ve got to wage Jihad against our bad habits.
Try this: get a box and every time you catch yourself swearing or backbiting put some money in it. It could be a buck or less. The point is to choose an amount that makes it feel like punishment.
At the end of the month send the money to a charity or buy a gift for the person whom you’ve backbitten the most against.
Call/email your relatives
You’d think that given the easy access to email, competitive long-distance calling rates, phone cards, etc. these days, we’d keep in touch with family and friends more often. But the opposite seems to be the case, as we get caught up in life’s “busyness.”
Strengthening ties with family members and keeping in touch with friends is part of our way of life and an act Allah is very pleased with. This Ramadan, call family and friends or at least email them a Ramadan card and ask them how their fasting is going.
Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
Read 5 minutes of Quran a day…just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you’ve got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it’s also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah’s forgiveness, shouldn’t we lesser beings forgive too? 
If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
Happy Ramadan !!!
Start a journal.
A wonderful sister emailed me the link to this free downloadable printable Islamc  journal www.heartwheeljournal.com
Just some ideas insh’Allah to help jumpstart this Ramadan.  Insh’Allah lets get busy and make this Ramadan one that we can be proud of when we are standing before Allah(SWT) on the Day of Judgement knowing that we tried our best to positively utilize our time! Alhamdullilah Allah has helped us live to see the start of this most blessed month let’s not waste that precious gift!




Hardships Benefit the Believer-Why Muslims “Don’t Sweat It”

22 10 2007

Allah has decreed that, in this life, hardships and disasters strike both believers and non-believers. For a non-believer, they are inconveniences that hinder him from proceeding with his normal involvement in the worldly life. For a believer, on the other hand, they are instances of rest and remembrance, tests that promise great rewards, and indications of atonement and expiation of sins. Regardless of how little is the harm that strikes a believer, it carries with it good news of forgiveness and elevated rank ( in Jannah ). The Righteous Predecessors used to be pleased when a hardship afflicted them, seeing it as a token of Allah’s forgiveness and benevolence.

Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope. He gets reward for that (good) which he has earned, and he is punished for that (evil) which he has earned. “Our Lord! Punish us not if we forget or fall into error, our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which You did lay on those before us (Jews and Christians); our Lord! Put not on us a burden greater than we have strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us Forgiveness. Have mercy on us. You are our Maula (Patron, Suppor-ter and Protector, etc.) (Surah Baqara Verse 286)

Expiations of Sins

Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet said: ” Hardships continue to befall a believing man and woman in their body, family, and property, until they meet Allah (S) burdened with no sins. ” [Tirmithee]

Sign of Allah’s Love

Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” Whenever Allah wills good for a person, He subjects him to adversity” [Bukharee and others]

Sign of Eeman

Abu Hurayrah (RA) and Ka’b Bin Maalik (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” The parable of a believer is that of a fresh and moist plant; the wind tilts it this way and that way; and so is the believer; he continues to be subject to affliction. And the parable of a hypocrite is that of a firm cedar tree; it does not shake – until it is uprooted all at once.” [Bukharee and Muslim]

Sign of Righteousness

The prophets and righteous people are afflicted the most, and their rewards are the highest. Sa’d (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” The most in their suffering among the people are the prophets, then the best, then the (next) best. One is afflicted in accordance with his deen (faith). If his deen is firm his affliction is hard, and if his deen is weak, his affliction is light. Indeed, one would be so much subjected to adversity until he walks among the people without any sins. ” [Ahmad, Tirmithee]

Early Punishment

Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” When Allah wills good for a servant of His, He expedites his punishment in this life; and when He wills retribution for a servant of His, He holds his sins for Him to judge him by them on the Day of Resurrection.” [Tirmithee]

Multiplication of Rewards

Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” The amount of reward is in accordance with the amount of suffering. When Allah (SWT) loves some people, He tries them (with affliction). He who then is content (with Allah’s decree) has achieved the acceptance (of Allah), and he who is dissatisfied (with Allah’s decree) will attain the anger (of Allah).” [Tirmithee]

Rewards for Sickness

One should not look to sickness as a gloomy episode, but should remember the great good in it. It is one form of affliction with which Allah (SWT) tests His ‘ibaad (servants), giving them a
chance to acquire rewards, as was explained above, as is further emphasized below.

Removal of Sins and Elevation in Ranks

Abu Hurayrah (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, Allah will drop his sins because of that, like a tree drops its leaves.” [Bukharee and Muslim]

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “A Muslim is not afflicted by hardship, sickness, sadness, worry, harm, or depression – even if pricked by a thorn, but Allah expiates his sins because of that. ” [Bukharee and Muslim]

Sa’eed said, ” I was with Salmaan (RA) when he visited a sick man in Kindah ( in Persia ), and he said to him: ” Expect good because Allah (SWT) makes a believers sickness an expiation (for his sins) and a period of rest. However, when a disbeliever falls sick, he is like a camel whose owner ties it then lets it loose – it does not understand why it was tied nor why it was freed.” [Bukharee]

‘Aishah (RA) narrated that once some pain afflicted the Prophet (SAW) causing him to suffer and turn about in his bed. she said: “Had one of us done this, you would have blamed him.” He (SAW) replied: ” An ailment is intensified for the righteous. whenever a believer is afflicted by a hardship, whether it is a thorn or more, a sin is taken off from him because of it, and he is elevated by one rank (in Jannah). ” [Ahmad]

Retaining Rewards for Deeds Before Sickness

Usually, when a believer falls sick, he would not be able to do the same amount of good (prayer, fasting, helping Muslims etc) that he used to do when he was well. But Allah out of His great mercy, continues to record for him the good deeds that he was forced to stop because of his sickness. Abu Moosa Al-Ash’aree narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” For a traveling or sick person, his deeds will be recorded in accordance with what he used to do when he was resident or well.” [Bukharee]

‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr reported that the Prophet said: “No (believing) person gets sick, but (his deeds) will be recorded for him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well.” [Bukharee] Anas (RA) reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: ” No Muslims body is afflicted by Allah, but He will record (his deeds) foe him in accordance with what he used to do when he was well – as long as he is sick. Thus, if He takes his life, He forgives him; and if He cures him, He washes him (from sins).” [Bukharee]
‘Uqbah Bin ‘Aamir reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Each days deeds are sealed with it. thus, when a believer gets sick, the angels say, ” Our lord! Your servant such and such, You have restrained him (from doing good this day).” And the lord replies, ” Seal his day in accordance with his (usual) deeds, until he is cured or dies”. [Ahmad]

Reason for the Reward

‘Atta Bin Rabaah reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (RA) told him, “Do you want to see a woman from the people of Jannah (paradise)?” He said “Yes”. He said: ” It is this black woman. She came to the Prophet (SAW) saying, ” I have (epileptic) seizures, and I get exposed, so supplicate to Allah for me.” He (SAW) said: ” If you wish, be patient and you will attain Jannah; or if you wish, I will ask Allah to cure you.” She replied, ” I will be patient ! But my body gets exposed (because of the fall), so supplicate to Allah for me that I do not become exposed.” and he (SAW) did.” [Bukharee and Muslim]

The scholars have differed in opinion as to whether a sick person will be rewarded for the sickness itself or for being patient during it. the correct opinion is that if he is patient and submits to Allah’s will, as in the above hadeeth, he would be rewarded for both the submission and the sickness, otherwise, he would not be rewarded at all; because he resented Allah’s decree. This is what should be understood from Ibn hajar al-‘Asqalaanees words: “The authentic hadeeths are clear in that the rewards are recorded once affliction strikes a Muslim. As for patience and acceptance, they are virtues for which a person may get additional rewards over those for the affliction.” ‘Abdullah Bin ‘Amr reported that the Prophet (SAW) said: “If a Muslim is pricked by (as little as) a thorn in the worldly life, and he seeks its reward from Allah, some of his sins will be removed, because of it, on the Day of Judgement.”[Bukharee]

“True believers are only those whose hearts are filled with awe whenever God is mentioned, and whose faith is strengthened whenever His revelations are recited to them. In their Lord do they place their trust.” (Chapter 8: Verse 2)

By: Md Ziya
Nagpur- India





US Companies Aim Advertising At Muslim Americans

24 09 2007
US Companies Aim Advertising at Muslim Americans
By Mohamed Elshinnawi
Washington
19 September 2007

Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Broadband  video clip
Watch Advertising for Muslims / Windows Dialup  video clip

A recent study by the nation’s largest advertising firm shows that the Muslim American community has an estimated purchasing power of about $170 billion. JWT Advertising conducted the study, and it is now working with a wide variety of companies to develop strategies to attract Muslim American customers. VOA’s Mohamed Elshinnawi examined the new trend in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit, where there is a dense population of Muslims.

These children are participating in an advertising campaign
The six to eight million Muslims in the U.S. are beginning to be sought after by marketers and consumer goods manufacturers

JWT Advertising says companies in the Detroit area are leading the way in using the cultural aspects of the Muslim faith to expand their share of the Muslim American market.

Ann Mack is JWT’s director of trends spotting. “Some marketers — I am not going to name them specifically — are having Ramadan advertisements,” she says, “and because they are speaking specifically to these populations, they will appeal, they will resonate and those consumers will tend to gravitate towards these brands.”

The study shows that the six to eight million Muslims in the United States are looking for recognition and respect, and that companies should make sure they are not neglecting or offending their community.

One company that is not is the Swedish furniture company IKEA. It has a store near Dearborn that initially attracted few Muslim shoppers. So the company consulted with Nasser Baydoun, Chairman of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce. He recalls, “What we were able to do was to teach them how to market to our community — how does our community get its information, how do they choose which store they go to and how does IKEA create a working staff that is friendly to the community.”

Ikea staff benefited from the diversity training, and became familiar with the Muslim community’s needs. Lisa Allen is IKEA’s public relations director. “When we are speaking to Arab Americans,” she says, “we can connect with them on that level, talk about their needs. For IKEA, it is all about how our product solutions fit your needs and your life style.”

A team of the company’s designers and marketers visited Muslim Americans’ homes to see how to adapt the stores’ products to customers’ customs and preferences. One plan is to offer decorations for the holy month of Ramadan and to add halal meals to the store’s food menu. Muslim American shopper Ismail Hakki says he is looking forward to seeing such offerings. “Like decorations for Ramadan, for the Eid [celebration after Ramadan] too, like some [halal] food or some cloth for the Eid.

Muslim-Americans, wear clothes which are marketed to everyone
Muslim Americans wear clothes that are marketed to everyone, as well as items specifically for them

Other companies are planning innovative approaches to cater to Muslim Americans’ needs. Amal Berry is the vice president of Comerica Bank. “Currently we are underway in a research project to understand exactly what Sharia law [Islamic law] says and whether the bank will be able to provide true Islamic bank products and services.”

McDonald’s in Detroit is offering halal chicken, Rite-Aide drug stores have Arabic signs and Comcast cable network is carrying the first nationwide Muslim American TV channel.

Fred Eaton is Comcast’s director of corporate affairs. “Comcast offered Bridges TV the opportunity for carriage on our cable system. In fact, Detroit was the market where Bridges TV was first launched,” he explained.

Marketing experts say advertising for the Muslim American community is a win-win situation. They say American companies will use it to expand their market share, while Muslim Americans will enjoy recognition and respect.





Does Skin Color Still Matter Today???

26 06 2007

I came across this news story today. I saw it on CNN. However, the only article that I can find now is below:

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/222422/

It basically tells of an instance in a small white majority Louisiana town. In a nut shell, some white students hung three nooses on a tree(which is a felony that carries prision time) in which it was known that the African American students congregated around . They were sentenced by the principal to three days of in school suspension. Fast forward, a fight broke out in the school. It is alleged that six African American students attacked a white student while he was coming out of a locker room. He had allegedly been a friend of the boys who hung the nooses on the tree. The boy ended up in the hospital with non life threatening injuries. Now those five African American students are charged with attempted murder and could face up to 100 years in prision, one of the six got his charges reduced. This appears to come in a long line of similar incidences in this county and throughout the southern United States. Which you can read in the article.

As Muslims, we are taught that Islam abolished racism. People were no longer defined by what they had or where they came from but by the taqwa (fear of Allah, piety) in their hearts.

The Prophet(saw) said: “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over a white-except by piety and good action.(Saheeh Bukhari, Vol.7, Ch.3)

O mankind! We (God Almighty) created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). (English interpretaion of the Qur’an 49:13)

Hajj is an excellent example of this. People from every corner of the earth and every station in life travel to Mecca, wearing the same clothes, going through all the same actions. The prayer is another example. We all pray shoulder to shoulder no matter our wealth, color, or background.

So, anyway, this brings me to the Questions of the Day…….

Do you think this instance is race related?

Do you think that the color of a person’s skin still makes a difference in his or her treatment today?

Do you think racism is still prominent in the Muslim community even though Islam speaks against it so clearly?

Do you think it is possible to eliminate racism and if so, do you have any ideas on how it can be done?





Saudi Car Crash

11 06 2007

At the time of death

This is a story of a Muslim police officer in Saudi Arabia. Since he dealt with traffic accidents, it became his path to return to Allah Almighty. The officer writes:

“Very often when there’s a traffic accident and there’s no time for the ambulance to come, we would know that the person’s going to die. As a rookie officer, my senior and I once came across an accident while we were on patrol. One of the two cars had gone into the opposite lane with the head-on collision. In one of the cars were two youth and in the other car we had found that the other person had died. We took the bodies of those youth one by one, gently, away from the car and we sat there until we realised that they were going to die. The senior officer who had experience with this took the advantage of helping those youth say “La ilaha illallah…” And he would say softly to them, “Say La ilaha illallah.” So that it would be the final words they would say before they died. As the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam) said: “Whoever’s last words are ‘La ilaha illallah…’ shall enter paradise.”

“And as I sat there, I saw something very horrific and what it was is that those youth, every time they were told to say “La ilaha illallah…” all they would reply is they would continue to sing the song that they were listening to in the car. And they kept on singing it and they wouldn’t acknowledge “La ilaha illallah…”

You may have heard of this in the past because it’s not something that happens once and never happens again. People, during their last moment, when their tongues are sealed, only their hearts begin speaking. And so those youth, who didn’t live the life of “La ilaha illallah…” they didn’t die upon it. When it came down to what’s in their hearts, what came out was the songs that they were listening to.

That incident helped the officer to come back to Allah Almighty. But as time passed, he forgot, until six months later another incident happened that changed him for the rest of his life. He narrates this incident:

“There was a young adult who was driving on the outskirts of Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia and while he was driving through one of the tunnels, he had a flat tire. The car was handicapped to the shoulder and as he turned to get the spare tire from the back of his car, another car came whistling by from behind, from around the corner and smashed into his car with the boy in the middle. When we were called to the scene, we immediately saw the horrific collision that had taken place in the tunnel. We blocked off the tunnel, took the boy and while carrying him, we heard him humming something. In our effort to get him to the hospital quickly we weren’t paying attention to what he was saying but when we got into the car, we started understanding what he was saying. The boy, in the sweetest recitation, was reciting the Holy Qur’aan.”

He was reciting the Holy Qur’aan that he had memorised in the car. The officer said, “I never heard a more beautiful recitation than that. And you have to realise that he’s on his death bed now and he’s going to meet Allah Almighty in a few moments; the only thing that came back to him was the life that he had lived–the Holy Qur’aan that he learnt came back to him and he started reciting.”

The officer continues: “I was going to do my best and help him say “La ilaha illallah…” like I’ve seen my other brother try to help those other people say the ‘shahada’ (the testimony of faith that there is no one to worship except the one and only Allah and Prophet Muhammad is His Messenger). The recitation continued until it went quiet and then I turned around and looked at the boy. The boy had his hand raised to the heavens and he was saying “La ilaha illallah Muhammad-ur-Rasul-ullah.”

“He didn’t need any help from someone, he knew it in his heart and he lived it. He followed what Allah Almighty taught him and he followed the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sall Allaho alaihe wasallam). And in those last moments it came out, and then he put his hand down. He had stopped reciting, he had died. I started crying but I tried hiding my tears. I then told the other officer, who was driving, that he had died and then he started crying. When I saw him crying I couldn’t’ stop crying and the entire scene was just so emotional. We took the boy inside the hospital and he was pronounced dead on arrival. When everyone saw us crying we told them what had happened to this boy.

“When we later phoned the boy’s home, his brother picked up the phone and we told him about the accident. The brother then started telling us about this young man: Where he was going out to was a town where his grandmother lived, on the outskirts of Riyadh. He would go to visit his grandmother every week and would make sure to visit the orphans in that town. He would also make sure that he would spend time with all the little children that were playing in the street. The entire town knew him because he would bring Islamic books and tapes for them and give Dawah to those children. In this town there were many poor and needy Muslims and for them he would fill up the back of his car with rice and sugar, so that the poor people could share from the wealth of the people of the city. People would try discouraging him from going to do that, saying that it was such a long trip out. He would say, “I don’t mind the trip, because it gives me a chance to review my Qur’aan in the car, otherwise I’d listen to an Islamic tape in the car on my way there and on my way back.”

This is how this brother lived his life and this is how Allah Almighty chose to take his life. And this is how Allah Almighty brought life to other people that saw, heard and followed the story of this boy and were all guided because of him (Insha-Allah).

Stop for a moment and reflect! Ask yourself, “Am I living the life of ‘La ilaha illallah?” If not, how do I expect to die upon it?

Taken from: IQRA








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