Month: August 2011

Multiply Your Rewards

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If someone told you that tomorrow you would be given the opportunity to double your salary, but you have to stay awake tonight to know how, would you even blink tonight? Even if you start feeling sleepy you’d iv the strongest coffee into your blood system, get yourself an energy drink, swallow energy bars, and maybe even keep your eyes open with clothes pegs.

Now where is this enthusiasm when you’re told to seek a night that is better than a thousand months; Laylat-ul-Qadar.

the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever spends the night of Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1901; Muslim, 760).

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: مَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

So when is Lailat-ul-Qadr?

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Seek it (Lailat-ul-Qadr) in the last ten (nights). If one of you shows slackness in the earlier part of Ramadan, let it not be weak to observe the last seven.”

“التمسوها في العشر الأواخر، فإن ضعف أحدكم أوعجز فلا يغلبن على السبع البواقي”. [Bukhari 2015, Muslim 1165]

So what do you do during the last ten nights?

The nights are long so don’t shorten them with excessive sleep. Fill your time with doing all sorts of good deeds;

1) The five obligatory prayers

2) Qiyyam ul-leil (or livening your nights with prayers).

3) Du’aa, especially saying;   اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني

Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni’ “

Meaning of the duaa is; O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.

Hadeeth where this duaa is mentioned;

Aisha radhiya Allahu `anha, that she said: “O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” He said.- “Say.- (Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee.)

فعن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنها قالت للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: “أرأيتَ إن وفقت ليلة القدر، ما أقول فيها؟ قال: قولي: اللهم إنك عفو تحب العفو فاعف عني

4) Performing I’tikaf; that means to seclude yourself in the masjid and put all your worldly matters aside. Check a proper source for how to do i’tikaf

5) Give out charity, and help in feeding other fasting Muslims to multiply your ajr insha’Allah. Just make sure you purify your intentions and make it for Allah’s sake.

Keep me in your duaas.

 

Waning Concentration

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It’s Day 16 of Ramadan, and the days are flying by. It’s very easy for people to lose concentration during Taraweeh especially during the middle ten days – because during the first ten days, you’re still enthusiastic about Ramadan, and during the last ten days, you’re watching out for Laylat-ul-Qadr. So come the middle ten days, and food feels heavier than usual, your concentration wanders to Kenya and back. Maybe you begin praying well, but suddenly start thinking about what you would like to have for suhoor, and who you would like to call after praying, and then suddenly,

“Allah Akbar…”

*Wait a second, when did the imam finish reciting? Um…what was he reciting in the first place*

So here’s a reminder to myself before anybody else

1) Mentally prepare yourself for the prayer.  Before you start praying Isha’a, take all of the worries of your worldly affairs and pack them away. Envision yourself, putting them in boxes and throwing them in the store room. It’s just one hour (or one and a half hours). How many people watch football games that last as long and are so riveted to the TV screens, not wanting to miss a shot? How many people watch series that take that long and are as concentrated? So why is it when you are given a chance to connect to your Lord, your concentration wanders?

2) Remember that prayers are your connection to Allah (SWT). Keep a list of duaas ready and ask Him whatever you want.

3) Listen to the words of the Quraan intently. Try to read the surah that the imam is planning to read, during the day, so your anticipation will make you more interested as you would follow with the imam. Also try to get a tafseer of that surah, so that you comprehend what the imaam is reciting.

4) Just monitor yourself and snap out of your reveries whenever you get distracted. Tell yourself that it’s neither the time or place to think about that job or that car or that other worldly affairs. Remember the grave and think of how this could be your last prayer, so how would you like to meet your Lord.

سئل حاتم الأصم رحمه الله كيف تخشع في صلاتك ؟؟ قال : بأن أقوم فأكبر للصلاة .. وأتخيل الكعبة أمام عيني .. والصراط تحت قدمي ,, والجنة عن يميني والنار عن شمالي ,,وملك الموت ورائي وأن رسول الله يتأمل صلاتي وأظنها آخر صلاة , فأكبر الله بتعظيم وأقرأ وأتدبر وأركع بخضوع وأسجد بخضوع وأجعل في صلاتي الخوف من الله والرجاء في رحمته ثم أسلم ولا أدري أقبلت أم لا؟؟

Pleasure vs Pain

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Some people deal with depression by grabbing a huge ice cream container and swallowing down their emotions – literally. Maybe they feel better for a short period of time, but does it last?

What about those who start taking painkillers to numb the physical pain or those who use sleeping pills to drive away insomnia? Maybe they feel better and get some sleep, but what if they develop dependence on those pills in the long term?

Think about those who take out bank loans to drive the latest car and live in the biggest mansion when they can’t really afford it. The idea of waiting to save up enough money to buy things using cash is too painful so they’d rather swipe their credit card, and voila! The car is semi-theirs and so is the house. It’s what makes Mastercard thrive.

All of the above are examples of instant gratification; a sort of attitude that is common in our world nowadays. A famous experiment done in this area is called the Marshmallow experiment where a marshmallow is offered to a child. The child is told that if he could resist eating the marshmallow, he would get two instead of one. Then it was observed how long the child would resist the temptation of eating the marshmallow right in front of him. The opposite of instant gratification is called delayed gratification. Research shows that delayed gratification is an important factor of emotional intelligence as it is a measure of a person’s willpower, self-discipline and self-control. Because they are more likely to put in the hard work needed to achieve something they have set out to achieve, they are more likely to get up after every fall because they don’t anticipate that the results will appear, now, now, now!

If we really look at Islam, fasting in Ramadan teaches us about delayed gratification. When we’re in the kitchen at 5 p.m. and those golden samosas are taken out of the wok while they’re hot, we would love to gobble them but fasting teaches us to control our impulses and refrain from eating until Maghrib.

My question today is this; Who exactly is responsible for the spread of instant gratification in our societies? Is it the parents who give a child everything he wants when he takes the following steps;

1) I want

2) I cry

3) I get

4) Repeat step 1

Or is it society where people try to compete against each other to maintain a certain standard of living? Or do we blame it on advertisements who keep on luring us with glossy images? If the child from the Marshmallow Experiment was not given the first marshmallow, would he be burning to get his hands on one? Or is it because the thing is right there, in front of him, tantalizing him, “Eat me…”

So who exactly is teaching us to enjoy the short-term ride on the pleasure river only to plummet down the pain waterfall in the long term?

Hadeeth of the Day

وعن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ( حُفَّتْ الْجَنَّةُ بِالْمَكَارِهِ وَحُفَّتْ النَّارُ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ ) متفق عليه .

 

The Other Side of Two Stories

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When the term “Dubai” comes up, people start thinking about the fireworks above the Atlantis and Burj Khalifa, the shopping festival, Summer Surprises and spoilt brats with their own blackberries, iphones, Audis and Land Cruisers.

But that’s just one side of the story.

The UAE has been recognized by a World Bank report in September 2010 as one of the world’s most generous contributors to foreign aid. The spirit of giving is not just done on a governmental level but on a personal level. Giving is ingrained within the fabric of society. Just last week, a group of youngsters came together to organize a Flea Market where unwanted items were sold where 100% of the funds raised is meant for East Africa. In a fun even that took place in Zabeel Park. The air in the place was filled with excitement, inspiration and a twist of creativity, and the best part of the night was the fact that they raised 18,000 dirhams for the Somalia people.

But that’s not enough because the ambitious organizers are aiming to raise 100,000 dirhams by the end of Ramadan, and as Nelson Mandela says, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” So the next event is going to be on 20th of August and to participate, go to their Facebook Event page https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=107458499354490

Alternatively, you can email; flea4charity@gmail.com or follow them on twitter @flea4charity

On the other hand, when the terms “Kenya” or “Somalia” come up, people think of poverty, hunger, insecurity and gun-carrying Shabaab.

But that’s just one side of the story.

As a Kenyan who just came back from Kenya the weekend before Ramadan, I must say, Kenya’s beauty is so mesmerizing, it can make you choke up with tears to see a country that’s so full of potential strangled to waste by a bunch of money-hungry and power-hungry ministers. The scenes there are so picturesque; from the lush green land that extends from one horizon to another, to the iconic baobab trees that stand against the sunset, to the whispering palms that sway in the wind. Then moving onto the people, the tenacity of the people and their drive to work hard is just inspirational. Recently, Kenyans set aside their tribalism and acted as one  in the #Kenyans4Kenya and #FeedKe initiatives to raise over 495 million kenya shillings for the unfortunate people starving from the drought. It’s the power of the people at its best. To quote Wael Ghoneim, “Power of the People is Stronger than People in Power.

To learn more about the initiatives; follow the #feedke and #kenyans4kenya hashtags on twitter, and before you leave this page do two things

1) Donate from your Etisalat phones, send an empty sms to 6212 to donate 20 dirhams and 6215 to donate 100 dirhams through Sharjah Charity (if you reside in the UAE)

2) Share this post on facebook and twitter

Looking Over Mombasa
Looking Over Mombasa