Saturday, October 28, 2006

We Flew the Coop!

Ramadan has come and gone... Now that Eid is finished and the excitement and celebration has died down, I want to encourage all Muslims to sit and reflect on their month of Ramadan-- What did you learn? What did it mean to you? How did it change your life? Did it change your life??

I was recently discussing a Khutbah from a mosque in Toronto where the Shaikh was asking his community why now that Ramadan was finished did the community vanish? Over the month of Ramadan the mosque was full for Isha prayer and the morning prayers, but now that the month is over everyone has "flown the coop" and doesn't come to the mosque unless it is for the Friday Jummah prayer (which is obligatory for men).
This really caused me to think about things... I am totally guilty of that. I went to the mosque for most of the month of Ramadan and now when the prayers are shorter and the time to pray is earlier I haven't been going... It should be easier for me now more than ever, but for some reason I haven't gone?
What is Ramadan if not to help train ourselves to submit to Allah (SWT) and give up our personal needs and desires and count on Him. Why during this amazing month is He and our religion important enough to get to the mosque for but on a regular basis it isn't. Granted I know that it is better for a woman to pray at home, but it is the principle.

Allah (SWT) loves consistency. He loves the deeds that we do on a regular basis. Ramadan is very much to help us to train ourselves to be in devotion to Him. What good is the reward and training of this month if we abandon it on Eid and go back to our old habits. No longer waking to pray at night, no longer fasting (now on optional days), no longer reading Qur'an feverishly...
Allah (SWT) says that for some their fasts will not be accepted despite the deprevation of food... I have recently been asking myself if this behaviour could be what nullifies a persons fast. The more I think about it the more I believe it would. Because even if we are given the amazing gift of having our fasts accepted during the month of Ramadan, the reward and blessings we are given will be easily negated by the actions that are unIslamic, or sinful in nature, or how we lose sight of the importance of Islam immediately after Ramadan.

The thought of this scares me, I pray to Allah for forgiveness as I realize that my focus and dedication to Him and his perfect religion has dwindled since the end of Ramadan.
I have been reading the book "The Ideal Muslimah" by Muhammad Ali-Al-Hashimi (which I recommed to all Muslim women-- There is also "The Ideal Muslim") and I found a quote which really spoke to me and I wish to share it with you all...

"The Muslim...may find herself becoming neglectful and slipping from the Straight Path, so she may fall short in her practice of Islam in a way that does not befit the believing [Muslim]. But she will soon notice her error, seek forgiveness for her mistakes or shortcomings, and return to the protection of Allah (SWT):

Those who fear Allah, when a thought of evil from Satan assaults them, bring Allah to remembrance when lo! They see [aright] ~Quran 7:201

The heart that is filled with love and fear of Allah will not be overcome by negligence... The heart of the sincere Muslim... is ever eager to repent and seek forgiveness, and rejoices in obedience, guidance, and the pleasure of Allah (SWT)."

Let us be like the those who prayed for six months after Ramadan for Allah (SWT) to accept their fasts, and then for the six months after that that Allah would accept our fast the following year. Let us reflect on the month and see if we are still devoting the same amount of time and effort to Allah (SWT). Insha'Allah the amazing mercy and grace of Allah will wash over us as we fall prostrate on the floor asking that Allah (SWT) would accept our fasts, and that He would forgive us if we have lost sight in only a few short days, of the importance of sincere worship and devotion to Him... Ameen

Monday, October 16, 2006

Eternal Gratitude in a Temporary Existence...


Alhamdulillah Allah is so good. Alhamdulillah He is the sustainer, the provider, the protector and everything I could ever want or need in life.
What is so amazing to me... so humbling in its entirety is that Allah (SWT) takes the time to answer our Du'a and give us all that we need, hearing our prayers, giving us contentment in this life despite how completely inconsequential it will be when we meet Allah on the day of judgement. What love and compassion He has for us despite our faults and mistakes, and yet when we fall out of line He will insha'Allah show us our faults and then grant us the opportunity to seek His mercy when we fall short. Alhamdulillah I am eternally grateful to this perfect creator for all that I am given, all that I am not given, and all that I seek...

As this Ramadan starts its fast pace towards its completion I have been sitting and reflecting on all that I have learned. What this month has truly meant to me... Did I change, did I learn something? Will any of what is new in me stay as time goes on?

In my last entry I expressed my desire for Allah (SWT) to shower with me those in the community I could learn from and spend Ramadan with... Alhamdulillah He did just that. He provided me with an entire ummah to learn about Islam from. To show me my faults, to teach me to be stronger, better, and more dedicated. Alhamdulillah much of what I learned was from people I never expected would be a teacher to me... people I am sure do not know the impact they have made in my life this Ramadan-- an impact that will insha'Allah last me for the rest of this temporary life, and allow me to get closer to achieving a life of jannah in the hereafter.

Insha'Allah my goal in this next portion of this entry not to give glory to any person here on earth... only Allah (SWT) is worthy of all glory and praise, but rather my hope is that I would show those of you who take the precious moments out of your days to read this blog that you don't need to be a scholar to make an impact. That (to be cliche) "Actions speak louder than words" and often I believe at times we are most influential when we don't try to be... That when we just be who Allah (SWT) has created us to be, without pride, or selfish motivation, it is then that we see how He works in our lives. Alhamdulillah I saw many of those moments in the ummah this Ramadan

To the sister who struggles with surrendering her faith fully to Allah (SWT), and forgetting about a hurtful past full of disbelief and anger, the way I see you lower your head in sajood reminds me to humble myself before Allah, to remember the authority I pray to, and that I am inconsequential in comparison. Alhamdulillah the trust I see you putting in Allah (SWT) by just seeking Him out, still uncertain at times of the outcome is a trust we all need to have in Allah (SWT). I know you feel that your faith is still "in progress" but it has shown me how to give up control and "trust" that Allah will work as He has planned. I make du'a that you will see this, you will draw closer to Him, and He will make Himself more and more real to you.

To the auntie in the masjid who I see every week, never missing a prayer, devoting herself to prayer and dhikr the entire time she remains in the mosque... prostrating despite a body that is failing in this world, I find inspiration. Of course I don't know your heart, but way you lower yourself to ground before Allah (SWT) the way I see tears fall from your eyes while you humbly dry them so as to not cause attention, I pray that when I am in those years I will dedicate me days to Allah as I see you doing. Alhamdulillah you inspire me to prostrate to Allah and never get up...

To the Imam of the community who has recently had a child with his wife yet spends his nights and days reciting the Qur'an and leading this community in prayer, and wisdom, I pray Allah (SWT) will reward your for your commitment to Him. Jazakallum Khair for the work you do in this community for the sake of Allah (SWT) Jazakallum Khair for the days you answer endless questions despite your busy schedule to better the community you help to lead. Meshallah your recitation and dedication make me want to memorize the Qur'an.

To the sister who recently converted and is so passionate about standing for what is right, showing the ummah where we need to better serve Allah, seeking and achieving an understanding of Jihad and devotion to Allah (SWT) that we all need to question our dedication to Him and the perfect religion of Islam, thank you for speaking your mind. Thank you for your passion and the way you help the community to think about "the tough issues" that often get swept under the rug.

To the sister who is finding strength in Allah (SWT) to help her to reconsider the topic of modesty... to decide what it means to her, what it means as a Muslima, I see Allah (SWT) working in you and it reminds me all of the time that as we draw closer to Him, He will draw closer to us. The way you welcome all of those in the community, are kind in your nature is beautiful, but you also have a strength that goes unnoticed. You have taught me much about how to talk to people, characteristics in my personality that I don't like, and that are unislamic, insha'Allah that lesson will make me more able to become "the ideal Muslima" that we are learning about.

Oh... the list could go on and on.... The people that Allah has provided to impact my life this Ramadan-- All glory and praise are due to Allah (SWT) alone. This Ramadan I have seen so many parts of me and my faith that were working totally against me in the perfect religion. Alhamdulillah I have seen faults that now I will change with the strength of Allah (SWT). Insha'Allah giving up these earthy desires, sins, and stumbling blocks will help me to perfect my faith and serve Allah (SWT) in the way that I desire.

Alhamdulillah, I truly feel that should my sinful nature, and mistakes I have made in this life... over this month, cause me to not receive the beautiful reward of Ramadan from Allah (SWT) I know this month has not been in vain. I have learned so much about who I am in and who I am not that I don't know how I could ever look at my life in this world the same... That gives me much happiness and indeed an eternal gratitude in this temporary existence to the one TRUE GOD... Allah Subhanna Wa Ta'Allah.

May Allah bless all of us, accept our du'a, accept our fast, and help us to seek out the night of Qadar in these last days of Ramadan...Ameen.