3 SIMPLE WAYS TO LIVE ON PURPOSE AFTER RAMADAN

By sister Gianna

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Now that the blessed month of Ramadan is over, it’s time to think about the year ahead. Our iman is high and we want to keep that peaceful buoyant feeling. Have you ever wondered why we are so happy in Ramadan? It’s because we do what we were created to do. While we went without food, we were nourishing our soul. What will keep our spirituality awake in the months to come?

Hold Yourself Accountable

What if today was the last day of your life? Would you be content to spend it consuming McDonald’s for the soul? Don’t settle for going back to what you were doing before Ramadan. Now is the time for a personal reassessment. Time to be honest with  yourself about your thoughts and actions. Before anyone else, we are responsible for yourself. I’m reminded of a story I once heard about a patient and a glass of water.

One afternoon a patient in a hospital bed spilled a glass of water. Since he was too sick to get out of bed, he called for his nurse to help clean the puddle. His nurse looked down at the puddle and decided it was too big for her to clean so she called housekeeping thinking it was their job to clean it up. Housekeeping arrived and told the nurse it’s too small for them, it is her responsibility to clean it. The patient sat and watched his nurse and the housekeeper argue. The patient then took the entire pitcher of water and poured it on the floor and said “Is that a big enough puddle for you two to decide?”

Where there is a lack of accountability, there is a lack of action. Small problems can turn into bigger ones when no one takes responsibility. Our internal arguments often run this way. When we feel that struggle, we should be like the patient and pour the water of accountability into ourselves. When we were young we would say “It was broken” it is only when we mature that we have the courage to say “I broke it”. The good news is that we can clean up that puddle and fix what is broken inside us. Anchoring ourselves within ourselves.

Notice Patterns

Life is full of ebb and flow. Our iman isn’t always at the highest point or even close to what we would like it to be. If we notice the times when we have that peaceful feeling as well as the times we experience the opposite we will start to see patterns. By slowing down your routine these patterns will come into clear focus.

The word “patterns” occurs twice in the Qur’an in the Muhammad Pickthal translation. Once in surah Al-Furqan (25:74)

And who say: Our Lord! Vouchsafe us comfort of our wives and of our offspring, and make us patterns for (all) those who ward off (evil).”

and again in surah Al-Qasas (28:41)

“And We made them patterns that invite unto the Fire, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be helped.”

The word patterns in other translations become “leader” and “example”. The first ayat talks about a good pattern to follow, that of a strong and complete family unit. A place where our hearts find rest. The second ayat refers to extinguishing Pharoh and his soldiers in the sea. In these patterns are clear choices. We can either become leaders, or examples.

Living in a conscious state comes from the practice of the Beloved Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, who would frequently resort to the Cave of Hira at night to seek comfort in the Remembrance of Allah. Our beloved  Prophet SAW says ,

“…If your state of mind is always the same as it is at the time of dhikr (remembrance of Allah), the Angels would shake hands with you

and would greet you on the path by saying, ‘Assalamu alaykum.’” [Muslim: Book 37, Hadith no. 6624]

Reflection is a progress on our travels through this life. Reflection is to watch the heart and fill it with thoughts of Allah so that Allah’s remembrance dominates the heart and soul and becomes ones natural pattern.

Set Loving Challenges

You know your own God-given talents. By doing what inspires you within your scope of abilities you will happily float along, but when you act with ihsan you fill your sails by challenging yourself to be even better. Take small actions. The tasks in our everyday lives may seem insignificant but when you pay attention to them and perform them to the best of your ability, treating them as if they were very significant, a type of excellence is fostered. Helen Keller said “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

There are so many things we can do to polish our hearts on our journey. First we need to do some personal accounting to manage the 168 hours in a week. Finding time in a busy work week requires a bit of planning. A good practice is to remember and understand one or two of His beautiful names per week. Another practice is to choose an ayat and learn all you can about it’s meaning. Khutbas are readily available from modern scholars and it takes only 10-15 minutes a day to listen to one on the drive to work. What do you do on your 15 minute break? How about tasbih while your tea cools? And after your tea cools, savour each sip. Take a walk in a nearby park, enjoying and reflecting on nature. Write your thoughts down in a journal. Doing a little deep sea diving each day to discover those pearls of wisdom will change the way we pay attention to the particularities and distinctiveness of our actions.

Stay Woke

Now that the blessed month of Ramadan is over, it’s time to become wayfarers on a spiritual journey seeking knowledge to enhance our daily practices. We are given the means to choose the right tools to remove the barking dogs from our house so the angels may enter in. Each person who strives toward an awake state will perceive truths according to their capability. Each person, a differently coloured jewel will reflect the same light but with a different intensity and hue. Be accountable, make decisions and take action.

6 UNSUCCESSFUL WAYS TO FOLD A SPRING ROLL

Azma Imtiaz Sheikh

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Ramadan has just said its goodbyes. Alhamdulillah! We can’t help but ponder over how beautiful the month was. Purchasing our spring roll pastry sheets, preparing the filling and making space in our freezers for the spring rolls to last the entire month. We couldn’t have been better composed. But do we have enough spring rolls to last for after Ramadan? If not, are we willing to cook some more? Did we fold our spring rolls the right way? Our struggle for staying put on this right way is always and should always be on. For that is our purpose of creation.

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat, 56)

If you are surfing the Internet searching for techniques to fold spring rolls and reminders to strengthen your Imaan then the below list might help.

6 unsuccessful ways to fold a spring roll:

1. Folding your spring roll too tight or too loose:

We know for a fact that too much or too little leads to no avail. The Prophet (PBUH) has warned us about going to extremes in religion. Except for things done in moderation, going through more struggle doesn’t always mean greater reward. In fact, Allah wants us to make use of the concessions he has provided.For example: A person fasting while travelling earns the same reward as the person who did not fast while travelling but makes up for it later.

Allah wishes for you ease and does not wish for you hardship” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 185)

When given a choice between two halaal ways, the Prophet (PBUH) himself used to choose the easier way.Having said this, it doesn’t mean we can delay our prayers saying Allah is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem. Or spend countless hours in sin without a hint of guilt thinking Allah is Al-Ghaffar and will wash away our bad deeds in a blink. We need to identify the middle of the road and follow the Sunnah. We have to understand that the perfect spring rolls are neither too tight nor too loose.

2. Giving up on the flaws of your spring rolls:

‘I’m only human’ is such a cliche sentence and the reason it is so, is because of that one quality of being human that we find ourselves portraying so very often- making mistakes. But we should never let ourselves be caught in the clutches of distress thinking our sins have brought us down in stature in the eyes of Allah and there’s no way back up. The Prophet (PBUH) said that if we would never commit sins then Allah would wipe us from the face of this Earth and replace us with people who would sin and ask for forgiveness.

Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 222)

So it is quite human to burn our spring rolls. But what sets us apart is if we feel guilty about it, seek forgiveness and supplicate to change ourselves for the better.

3.Putting too much filling in your spring roll:

We don’t need to have a big appetite or an immense love for food in order to be tempted by a meal. We all have, at some or the other time been unable to resist filling up on a delicious spread. And before we know it, we are stuffed and crammed. How would we then concentrate and establish khushu in worship in such a state?Prophet (PBUH) said,

“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is enough for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls to keep him going, but if he must (fill his stomach), then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for air.” (At-Tirmidhi, 2380) 

An overflowing spring roll may not cook to our liking and may even burst open.

4. Using only one filling for all spring rolls:

Islam stands on the support of five pillars. All five must be strong for us to deserve the title of a true believer. Likewise, for each of these five pillars, having the right intention, knowing in our hearts that we’re doing this for the Creator and not for His creation, execution of the act in a way taught by the Prophet (PBUH) and having trust in Allaeh; are all important elements of a good deed. Just one of these won’t suffice and the absence of even one will fail to achieve its complete reward. Fasting for instance doesn’t just mean going hungry. It also requires refraining from other worldly desires. Prophet (PBUH) said,

“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1903)

Among many other self-enforcements on this month, generosity is also a trait we should work on. The Prophet (PBUH) is also called “Messenger of Mercy” and he was most generous in the month of Ramadan.
Similarly, not just establishing our prayers, we need to be steadfast in fulfilling every other element of worship that Allah demands of us.
How would we provide our body with other nutrients if we only use a chicken filling in our spring roll? Variety is indeed the spicy spring roll of life. If worship becomes just a baseless monotonous routine, then intentions need to be reviewed.

5. Using more effort on garnish of spring rolls rather than its filling:
How frequently do we find ourselves being pulled into a quicksand of show-off? It has become utterly ordinary for us to intensify our worship in order to impress when we find ourselves in the company of other people. The Prophet (PBUH) has labelled showing off or riyaa has ‘lesser idolatry’.

So woe to those who make show of their deeds and withhold simple assistance”(Surah Al-Maun, 6-7)

We can check and correct ourselves by being in constant consciousness of Allah and hence increasing our respect and fear of Allah. Supplication and making sure there is no difference between our worship in seclusion and in public also helps.What is the point if the outer pastry of the spring roll has been fried to a flawless brown and then garnished in crystal cutlery when its taste does no justice at all to the outer beauty. So next time we take a picture of our delectable dinner table, we have to remember that ‘all those fritters are not spring rolls’.

 6. Confining spring rolls to only Ramadan:

In the month of Ramadan, we trained ourselves to avoid not just every haraam but also a few halaal. We wasted no time and effort to make outright use of every opportunity to gain rewards and the pleasure of Allah. But how drastically different is our lifestyle and behavior after Ramadan? ‘Ramadan Muslims’ is a term used for people who appear to be Muslims only during the month of Ramadan. After this month, salaat is delayed/missed, Quran is kept away, bad speech is resumed and haraam is embraced. Our deeds being seasonal is mere irrelevance.

“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” (Sunan ibn-Majah, 4240)
With a steady determination and focused practice, making spring rolls every day would come easy. How satisfying and rewarding would each day feel!

I ask forgiveness for any mistakes that you may find in this article. My spring roll making skills require a lot of polishing. May Allah help us gather positive influence from any material we may read or listen to.
Happy spring rolling!

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RAMADAN- 12

By Yusuff Ademola Adesina

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What Next After Ramadan?

All praise and adoration is to Allah. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon the last messenger, Prophet Muhammad, his households, his companions, and those who are following the path of righteousness until the Last Day.

During the month of Ramadan, one will notice that everyone is actively engaged in one good deed or the other. When you went into any Masjid during Ramadan, you will definitely find people engaging in various different acts of worship; as some were reading Qur’an, some were doing dhikr, some were observing voluntary prayers, whilst others were reading Islamic books – they were actually doing all these to straighten their faith in Allaah, and seek His guidance and forgiveness. And, of course, that is the spirit of Ramadan – the month of all good deeds and good characters.

Now that the month of Ramadan has slowly come to an end, the most important question to ask is, what next after Ramadan – do I need to continue my good deeds or give a pause till the next Ramadan?

Well, before answering this question, I’d like to firstly mention to you that Ramadan is a month of reminder and solidification. It comes once in a year to remind you of good deeds and the commandments of your Lord, and to solidify the practice of these commandments and good deeds in your heart.

To answer the question, you need to realize that the sign that your deeds in the month of Ramadan were accepted by Allaah is steadfastness – that is, being able to continue the good actions you picked up in Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is definitely not the end line, and the Lord of the month of Ramadan, is the same Lord for the entirely time. Thus, the deeds you picked up in Ramadan should not end after it, for indeed, the most beloved deed in the sight of Allah is that which is done consistently. Abu Hurayrah (Allaah pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said: “Take on only as much as you can of good deeds, for the best deed is that which is done consistently, even if it is little.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

The most obvious deed you performed during Ramadan was fasting. So a clear indicator that your fasting was accepted will be to see how well you are able to continue fasting throughout the year. The following is the list of voluntary fasting you could perform after Ramadan:

  • Fasting six days in the month of Shawwal

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) as saying: “He who observed the fast of Ramadan and then followed it with six (fasts) of Shawwal. It would be as if he fasted perpetually” (Sahih Muslim)

  • Fasting on the day of Arafah

Abu Qatada(Allah be Pleased with him) narrated that: the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked about fasting the day of Arafah and he answered “It expiates the sins of the preceding year and the coming year” (Sahih Muslim)

  • Fasting on the day of Ashura

Abu Qatada(Allah be Pleased with him) narrated that: the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked about fasting the day of Ashurah and he answered “It expiates the sins of the preceding years.” (Sahih Muslim)

  • Fasting on  Mondays and Thursdays

Abu Qatada(Allah be Pleased with him) narrated that: the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked about fasting on Monday, and answered “it was the day on which I was born, on which I was commissioned with prophet-hood or revelation was sent to me” (Sahih Muslim)

Abu Hurairah(Allah pleased with him) narrated that: the messenger of Allah (PBUH) said “The deeds are presented on Monday and Thursday, so I love that my deeds be presented while am fasting” (Hasan Hadith, Tirmidhi)

Your constancy in Salaat (Prayer) is another indicator that your deeds were accepted in the month. You observed Taraweeh every night and visited the mosque every day of Ramadan; you shouldn’t let these stop after Ramadan. Its continuation shows that you deeds were accepted. Recall the hadith of Aisha describing the performance of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) Taraweeh, she said that the prophet never observed more than 11rak’ats in the month of Ramadan or any other month. This is a sign for you that you needn’t relent; continue your Qiyaamul-Layl as you were doing it in Ramadan.

In conclusion, do not refrain from any act of worship you have engaged in during Ramadan; pray in congregation, give alms, adhere to the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH], be generous, be compassionate, rely upon Allaah, read the Quran and ponder over its verses, enjoin what is good and forbid the evil. May Allah have mercy upon you.

Jazakumul-Laahu Khayran. May Allah reward you with goodness for following the series up to its end. I pray that Allah make this concluded Ramadan a blessed, merciful turning point to your life, may He accept your good deeds and forgive your shortcomings.

Taqabbal-Laahu minnaa wa minkum.

Remember me in your dua.

 

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT RAMADAN – EPISODE 11

By Yusuff Ademola Adesina

      The Etiquette of Eid-el-Fitr

Indeed, all praise and adoration is to Allah. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon the last messenger, Prophet Muhammad, his households, his companions, and those on the path of righteousness until the Day of Judgment.  

The life of this world is finite, and our time on the earth is predetermined and limited. It wasn’t long ago that everyone was excited about the commencement of Ramadan, but now, Ramadan has come and ready to leave in the next two days. Everyone is now waiting in anticipation to celebrate the joyful Day of Eid.

Eid-el-fitr day is the first of day of the month of Shawwal. It marks the end of Ramadan, which is a month of fasting. Muslims are required to attend communal prayer, listen to the Khutubah (Sermon) and give zakatul-fitr. It is a day of worship, a day of peace and thanksgiving, and a day of festive. Muslims are thus permitted to spend money on foods, drinks, clothes and other permissible action. The following is the list of etiquette to follow on day of Eid-el-Fitr:
1. Doing Ghusl before going out for prayer.

It was narrated that Abdullah Ibn Umar used to do ghusl on the day of Fitr before going out to the prayer-place in the morning. (al-Muawatta, 428)

 2. Eating before going out for Eid-el-Fitr prayer

Anas bin Malik narrated: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) never proceeded (for the prayer) on the Day of Eid-el-Fitr unless he had eaten some dates.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 5)

However, whoever does not have dates should eat anything that is permissible. This is to ward off the possibility of adding to the fast, and to hasten to the command of Allah.  
 3. Saying Takbeer on the day of Eid
This is one of the greatest sunnah of Eid. It was narrated that al-Waleed ibn Muslim said: I asked al-Awzaa’i and Maalik ibn Anas about saying Takbeer out loud on the two Eids. They said, ‘Yes’, ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar used to say it out loud on the day of al-Fitr until the imam came out (to lead the prayers).

It was narrated in a saheeh report that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Sulami said, “They emphasized it more on the day of al-Fitr than the day of al-Adha.”. Wakee’ said, this refers to the takbeer. (See Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 3/122/)
The time for Takbeer on Eid-el-Fitr starts from the night before Eid until the Imam enters to lead the Eid prayer.
    Description of Takbeer
It was narrated in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah with a saheeh isnaad from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he used to recite takbeer during the days of tashreeq:

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, wa Allaahu akbar, Allaah akbar, wa Lillaah il-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is most Great, there is no god but Allaah, Allaah is Most great, Allaah is most great, and to Allaah be praise). (Reference: https://islamqa.info/en/36442)

  4. No Nafil (voluntary prayer) before or after the Eid prayer

Ibn Abbas narrated: The Prophet (PBUH) offered a two rak’at prayer on the Day of Eid-el-Fitr and he did not pray before or after it…” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 13)

  5. Sadaqah: give alms

Ibn Abbas narrated: 

The Prophet (PBUH) offered a two rak’at prayer on the Day of Eid-el-Fitr and he did not pray before or after it. Then he went towards women along with Bilal and ordered them to pay alms and so they started giving their earnings and necklaces (in charity)” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 13)

  6. Everyone should go out for the Eid prayer
Um Atiya narrated: 

“We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of Eid and ven bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 20)

Hafsa narrated the above mentioned Hadith and added:

“The mature girls or virgins staying in seclusion but the menstruating women had to keep away from the Musalla (prayer-pace)” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 23)

  7. Offering congratulations

The etiquette of Eid also includes the congratulations and good wishes exchanged by people, no matter what the wording, such as saying to one another Taqabbala Allaah minna wa minkum (May Allaah accept (good deeds) from us and from you” or “Eid mubaarak” and other permissible expressions of congratulations. (Reference: https://islamqa.info/en/36442)

  8. Adorning oneself

It was narrated that Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that ‘Umar took a brocade cloak that was for sale in the market and brought it to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, buy this and adorn yourself with it for Eid and for receiving the delegations.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to him, “Rather this is the dress of one who has no share (of piety or of reward in the Hereafter)…” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 948.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) agreed with ‘Umar on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing this cloak because it was made of silk. So a man should wear the best clothes that he has when going out for Eid.
With regard to women, they should avoid adorning themselves when they go out for Eid, because they are forbidden to show off their adornments to non-mahram men. It is also haraam for a woman who wants to go out to put on perfume or to expose men to temptation, because they are only going out for the purpose of worship. (Reference: https://islamqa.info/en/36442)
  9. Going to the prayer-place by one route and returning by another  
Jabir bin Abdullah narrated: “On the Day of Eid the Prophet (PBUH) used to return (after offering the Eid prayer) through a way different from that by which he went.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book of the two festivals, no. 23)