Saturday, June 27, 2015

Don’t Stop Being Kind: The Small Things Are Greater than You Think

Ramadan’s a great time to be kinder

We plant trees to overcome pollution, take vitamins to beat fatigue, vacuum the house to clean the dust; it makes sense to conquer the negative with a positive, and what’s more beautiful than a fresh batch of hope to revive this ummah? Investing in small acts of kindness this Ramadan should be our ultimate goal. It’s effortless, simple and free. You make someone happy, which makes you feel better and makes the world a better place. Win. Win Win. This isn’t just about the mega bonus of Ramadan’s multiplied rewards! (Actually it so is, who are we kidding?)
Here’s a list to get you started:

For your lovely parents

Thank your mom every day for the food she cooked and make yummy noises! (Cooking while you’re fasting is not easy! Trust me). Kiss her hands that have done so much for you.
Ask your dad daily: “What can I do to make your day better?” Help him out with organizing his stuff, clearing his email or even just discussing things he loves to talk about.

For your precious grandparents

Umm, hello! Call and visit them! Make them feel special before they’re gone. Make them feel wanted and relevant by asking them to tell you stories – because there’s nothing they want more!

For your spouse and children

Hide a note with a funny joke, compliment or piece of advice in your kids’ backpacks or clothes.
Text your husband or wife saying ‘I Love You’ or how much you appreciate what they do.
A minimum of three hugs a day for each member of the family (I’m serious! Sometimes all we need is a warm embrace).
Be kind to your children whenever they nag about being hungry or tired. It’s the best time to teach them patience!
Ask if your spouse needs any help in the kitchen or would like a nice warm foot massage after a tiring day at work. Keep your love alive.

For relatives, neighbors and friends:

Send flowers (or yummy dessert) to a distant relative with a card saying “Just a little something to make you smile”. Invite them for iftar or share some specially made delicacies with them.
Offer to mow your neighbor’s lawn or wash their cars.
Go out of your way to restore ties of kinship this Ramadan.
Tell your friends how much they mean to you and make dua for them.
Volunteer to offer drinks and dates at a nearby masjid during taraweeh for the people. Make a flask of tea or coffee for the late night prayers (Qiyam al Layl) for the ones who come to the mosque!

For co-workers and other workers:

Bring homemade cookies to share at work (with chocolate chips please!) Don’t worry, we will save them till after iftar!
Praise clerks, assistants and workers and thank them for their hard work. Try doing this everyday!
Leave a nice comment on articles you enjoyed (Uhmm Hint Hint).
For absolute strangers:

Greet people with a smile (it’s a sunnah too!).
Give up your seat for the elderly or a pregnant woman or just anyone who looks like they need to sit down!
Hand out balloons to kids on the street. Distribute packs of dates and water (and additionally any delicacy if you wish) along your street to those who pass by.

For God’s beautiful creations:

Leave a bowl of water outside for the birds (that’s when I had to explain to my son why animals don’t fast).
Make tasbih (glorifying Allah) outdoors. Trees, insects, even the mountains and soil will join and bloom.

For those in dire need of small kindnesses:

Leave a couple of colors and coloring books in the waiting room of a public hospital.
Do some fun story-telling at an orphanage and bring them toys or snacks.
Share a meal with a homeless person and sit with them on the ground.

Listen to someone who is sad or lonely.

The ideas are endless. Just doing one simple act of kindness a day without expecting anything in return can truly change the world, and is beyond joyful and fulfilling. It’s in fact the number one reason behind success, inner peace and sound sleep! Helping others feel better is simply the meaning of happiness because:

“Is there any reward for good other than good?” [Qur’an: Chapter 55, Verse 60]
So believe in your Lord’s promise, have compassion, pray from the heart and invest in those simple acts of kindness during this blessed Holy month. And if that makes you a pushover, well, consider yourself the luckiest person on Earth for being one!

Share with us more small kindnesses that we can engage in daily during Ramadan and after!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why we Muslims pray the way we pray....

An onlooker (Muhammad Asad -- before Islam), unfamiliar with the Islamic mode of prayer, asked a simple Muslim:

"Might it not be better only to look into one's self and to pray to Him in the stillness of one's heart? Why all these movements of your body?"

This was his response....

1. 'How else should we worship God? Did He not create us both, soul and body, together? And this being so,should man not pray with his body as well with his soul? Listen, I will tell you why we Muslims pray the way we pray.

2. We turn toward the Kaaba, God's holy temple in Mecca, knowing that the faces of all Muslims, wherever they may be, are turned to it in prayer, and that we are like one body, with Him as the center of our thoughts.

3. First we stand upright and recite from the holy Qur'an, remembering that it is His word, given to man that he may be upright and steadfast in life.

4. Then we say "God is the Greatest,"  reminding ourselves that no one deserves to be worshipped but Him; and bow down deep because we honor Him above all, and praise His power and glory.

5. Thereafter we prostrate ourselves on our foreheads because we feel that we are but dust and nothingness before Him, and that He is our Creator and Sustainer on High.

6. Then we lift our faces from the ground and remain sitting, praying that He forgive us our sins and bestow His grace upon us, and guide us aright, and give us health and sustenance.

7. Then we again prostrate ourselves on the ground and touch the dust with our foreheads before the Might and the Glory of the One.

8. After that, we remain sitting and pray that He bless the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) who brought His message to us, just as He blessed the earlier Prophets; and that He bless us as well, and all those who follow the right guidance;and we ask Him to give us the good of this world and of the good of the world to come.

9. In the end we turn our heads to the right and to the left, saying,"Peace and the grace of God be upon you" -- and thus greet all who are righteous, wherever they may be.

10. It was thus that our Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) used to pray and taught his followers to pray for all times, so that they might willingly surrender themselves to God -- which is what Islam means -- and so be at peace with Him and with their own destiny.' [The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad]

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ramadan Mubarak!!!

My Ramadan Prayer
Imam Zaid Shakir

As we stand on the verge of beginning the great fast,
let us pray that the blessings we enjoy are decreed to last.

Let us pray for the people, who have lost their homes, fields and cattle in the flood, that they
are patient and see their sins washed away by torrents of forgiveness and divine love.

Let us pray for all of those living in lands that have been invaded and occupied, that their resolve
for deliverance is not weakened nor their hearts rendered cold, callous and dry.

Let us pray for the elders who have seen only war as successive decades pass by, that they are
not so traumatized that they cannot find tears to cry.

Let us pray for the fathers, who watch as their sons are mercilessly dragged away, that they will
live to see the justice of a better day.

Let us pray for our sisters, who with such great dignity represent all of us, that they never lose sight
of the fact that they are carrying a divine trust.

Let us pray for the teachers, who toil sometimes in unbearable situations, that they remain strong and
undaunted in their commitment to future generations.

Let us pray for the believers everywhere,
that they are the recipients of divine aid and celestial care.

Let us pray for the babies, be they little boys or girls,
that they will be blessed to inherit a saner, safer and more secure world.

Let us pray for this troubled nation we live in,
to realize that we cannot forever escape the wages of our sins.

Let us pray for the children, whose mothers or fathers have been deported, that their dreams will not be deferred nor their hearts distorted.

Let us pray for the legions, who for someone’s profits have been incarcerated, that through the message of the Prophet their minds can be liberated.

Let us pray for all of the boys and girls in the ‘hood,
to learn that virtue is its own reward, and that its recompense is always good.

Let us pray for even the malicious fools, who picket Masjids and burn the Qur’an, that they repent, are guided, and come to know the blessings of Ramadan.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Lesson of the day 1382

Ayahs of the day:
And when you see  those who take up Our signs rashly, avoid them until they take up another topic. And if Satan would make you forget, then after remembering do not sit with people who are wrong. For the conscientious have no responsibility for anything on their account, except reminder, that they may become conscientious. [6: 68,69]

Hadith of the day:
Whoever builds a masjid for Allah, Allah will build for him a palace in Jannah. [Bukhari]

Wise quote of the day:
The responsibility of maintaining a religious and modest society weighs on the shoulders of both Muslim men and women, so let us take this role seriously. [Shaykh Amjad Rasheed]

Guidance of the day:
The affairs of the tongue are most important, for it is the organ with most control over the servant and most influence in leading him to perdition should he fail to control it and prevent it from what God forbids.

The perils of the tongue are immense and frightening. Only maintaining silence and speaking only when strictly necessary may save one from them. A person should keep so occupied with reciting the Book of God and remembering Him in abundance as to prevent him from delving into falsehood or what does not concern him. [Counsels of Religion by Imam al-Haddad]

Food for thought:
Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. We should be as careful of the books we read, as of the company we keep. No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them all.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Pearls of Wisdom 378

1. Friendships with the ignorant and the heedless are as fickle as the changing times and as quick
to disappear as the setting sun.

2. Consider not a man worthless until you had a chance to converse with him.

3. Health and well-being on the one hand and gluttony on the other are mutually exclusive.

4. Face off your difficulties with patience; and fence in your blessings with thankfulness.

5. A man's intellect becomes apparent from his speech; as does his character from the goodness
of his action.

6. Always consider your intellect to be lacking; otherwise too much faith in it surely leads to error.

7. Seek Allah's refuge from the heedlessness which comes from prosperity; so deep it is, that it will
take one very long to climb out of it.

8. It is not in the make-up of a noble person to delay in rewarding nor is it that of a generous one to
exact revenge.

9. Even if Allah had not decreed to abstain from the foul and impure the man of intellect would still
surely do so.

10. Do not consider admitting ignorance as a necessarily bad thing, for saying, "I do not know"
is itself half of knowledge. [Ali radi Allah anhu]

Friday, June 05, 2015

Tips for a peaceful life....

1. Be like the bee, which lands on fragrant flowers and fresh branches.

2. You do not have time to seek out people's defects and mistakes.

3. If Allah is with you, them who do you have to fear?

4. If Allah is against you, what hope do you have?

5. The fire of envy consumes the body, and excessive jealousy is like a raging fire.

6. If you do not prepare today, then you will not be able to do anything tomorrow.

7. Withdraw peacefully from places where idle arguments are going on.

8. Let your morals and attitude be even more beautiful than a garden.

9. Do acts of kindness and you will be the happiest of people.

10. Leave people to their Creator, leave the envier to death and forget about any enemy.

11. The pleasure of haram actions is followed by regret, loss and punishment.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Lesson of the day 1381

Ayahs of the day:
Say, "God is able to send torment upon you from above you, or from beneath your feet; or to confuse you with factions and make you taste each other's viciousness." See how We explain the signs so that they may understand. [6: 65]

Hadith of the day:
Know that victory accompanies perseverance, relief accompanies affliction, and ease accompanies hardship. [Tirmidhi]

Wise quote of the day:
Adherence to Sunnah, increase in one's  worship and obedience to the Sacred Law are all signs of intimacy with the Divine. [Ibrahim bin Dawud Warqi]

Guidance of the day:
Tongue is also among the greatest of God's graces upon His servant. There is in it much good and great benefits for he who preserves it and uses it only in what it was created for. But there will be much evil and immense harm in it for he who neglects to preserve it and uses it in other than what it was created for.

God the Exalted created it for the servant to invoke Him abundantly, recite His Book, counsel His servants, invite them to His obedience, teach them His immense rights upon them, and to express whatever thoughts need to be expressed for the fulfillment of his needs, both of this world and the next. If he uses it in this manner, he will have shown gratitude; but if he uses it for other than what it was created for, he will have been one of the iniquitous transgressors. [Counsels of Religion by Imam al-Haddad]

Food for thought:
Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening. Prayer is a confession of of one's own unworthiness and weakness. Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended on man. No man prayed heartily without learning something.