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!
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When You Are In Over Your Heads My Sisters….Learn To Say No

16 06 2008

As a gender, in general, I believe women are very selfless and giving. This can and does become a serious weakness for us. For me. We are taught to “grin and bear it.” Not to complain. We are emotional. We are caregivers and want to help everyone no matter the detriment that it can cause if we are not careful. But that is the point. We have to be careful. We have to be strong and learn to say one little word, “no.” Women, in general, have a hard time uttering this two letter word. The way it usually happens is the pursuer (husband, boss, friend, collegue, etc) will ask us to do some sort of favor. We know that we have too much on our plate already but after a full on session of sob stories and guilt trips we cave in and end up adding it to our list.

As Muslim women, we have to be doubly careful of this. You see, not only do we have our schedules but our life should be scheduled around worship and devotion to Allah (swt) (not the other way around). So, once we pile obligations, trusts, and responsibliies up we automatically deduct the time that we would have spent in rememberance of Allah. Our prayers become rushed and squeezed in here and there. No longer do we sit after salat and make dhikr. Because, really, we don’t have time for that. We no longer read the Qur’an because it takes up too much time, or if we do read the Qur’an we read it to get it over with and don’t ponder what we have read which results in us coming away with little to no benefit whatsoever.

Even those of us who look like we have it all together may not. Even those of us who play Islamic lectures day and night and post up islamic information may not have the time to actually sit and listen and ponder or read what we are posting, playing, etc. Those of us that volunteer with Islamic organizations may have had admirable intentions when we began but then it becomes just another trust that we feel responsible for. Afterall, if we don’t do it, who will?

As a result, we suffer, our relationship with Allah suffers, our children suffer, our marriages suffer. We may or may not be asked about what we volunteered to do on the Day of Judgement. We may or may not be asked about how sucessful we were in our vocations. But for certain we will be asked about our prayers. Did we complete them perfectly? Or were we too busy? Did we concentrate on the words letting them penetrate our heart? Or did we stand up half asleep and go through the motions to mark it off the list for the day? We will be asked about our obligations to Allah. Did we take our time to fulfill them? We will be asked about our children. Did we give them their rights or were we so caught up in other things that we neglected to teach them and bring them up on the Qur’an and Sunnah? Were we good wives, did we give our husband’s their rights, did we give our parents their rights?

Sadly, many of us on that day will probably be in a state of shame and regret. We will beg and plead to go back to this time and vow that we will say “no” to the things that we can’t add to our hectic schedules. We would probably wish that we had lived simpler lives and concentrated on our obligations and fullfilling them perfectly while volunteering and spreading daw’ah as we are capable…..not to the point that obligations are neglected or half performed out of laziness and tiredness. But it will be too late by then. We won’t have a second chance that day.

That’s why we must evaluate ourselves now as Umar ibn Khattab once said:

“Judge yourselves before you are judged, evaluate yourselves before you are evaluated and be ready for the greatest investigation (the Day of Judgement)”

As long as we have a breath left, we are capable of making changes in our lives. We are capable of saying “no” to overworking ourselves, neglecting our relationship with Allah (SWT), and allowing things to pile up in our lives unnecessarily. Allah has given us all this ability to choose, free will. It’s up to us to learn to balance our lives and use them to strive for Paradise. To struggle For the ability to be able to stand up before Allah (SWT), Our Creator, on the Day of Judgement, knowing that we made every effort to fulfill all our obligations perfectly with love, hope and fear for His Sake alone. That is the ultimate goal. How many of us will reach it?