Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sad News Again

It didn't really feel like Ramadan this time because I started it off being pregnant and not fasting. But this Wednesday I miscarried and I was filled with sorrow. After it happening last year I had hoped Allah was giving me a second chance. Yes Alhumdulillah I already have 10 kids but each baby is a blessing, a new life to look forward to. Inna ilaihi wa inna ilaihi rajiun. Allah is the best of planners.

On another note there will be another giveaway, look for it. It will be for Ramadan.

While in emergency, waiting, I started reading this month's book Better Than a Thousand Months. With big writing and pictures I guess this could be read by kids too. I enjoyed reading it and almost finished it. Anyone else reading it? I ordered mine from and got it for only 99 cents second hand but it looked new. I also just got my latest Azizah magazine and looking forward to my Sisters ramadan issue. What have you been reading if anything besides Quran this month?

Ramadan Mubarak. Please keep me in your duas. Amin.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Time to Act!
Al-Alaq (The Blood Clots) - Chapter 96: Verse 1
"Read! In the name of your Lord Who created."
The first Revelation to the Messenger was the command: Read! This command, coming at a time when there was nothing readily available to read, meant that believers should use their intellectual and spiritual faculties to discern God's acts in the universe and His laws related to its creation and operation. Through such discernment, believers seek to purify themselves and their minds of all ignorance-based superstitions and to acquire true knowledge through observation and contemplation.
We are not composed only of our minds. God has endowed us with many faculties, each of which needs satisfaction. So while feeding our minds with the Divine signs in the universe, we seek to cleanse our hearts of sin. We live a balanced life in awareness of Divine supervision, and continuously seek His forgiveness. In this way, we eventually conquer our desire for forbidden things and, through prayer, ask God to enable us to do good deeds.
Thus Read! signifies action. For the Messenger, who already was absolutely pure in spirit and devoid of superstition, it meant that it was time to start his mission as a Messenger of God. He was to recite the Revelation in public and instruct people about His signs. By doing this, he would purify their minds of superstitions carried over from the Age of Ignorance, and their hearts of sin. He would enlighten them, intellectually and spiritually, by instructing them in the Revealed Book of God (the Quran) and His Created Book (the universe).
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 207, 208
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Closest to God
Sujud (Prostration) is the noblest posture that a worshipper can be in, for it is the epitome of humility and submissiveness. And how can it not be, when a person in prostration lowers her face - the most noble and sacred part of her body - to the dust, seeking the pleasure of her Lord? This is why this posture is the most beloved by Allah, all Glory and Praise be to Him. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:
"The closest any worshipper can be to his Lord is while he is in prostration, so increase your duas in it." [Muslim]
For this reason, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was prohibited by Allah from reciting the Quran while in a state of ruku or sujud, and he in turn, prohibited the Muslims from this also. Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet said:
"I have been prohibited from reciting the Quran while in ruku or sujud, so during ruku, glorify your Lord, and during sujud, exert yourself in making dua, for it is very likely that you will be responded to." [Muslim]
Compiled From:
"Dua: The Weapon of the Believer"- Yasir Qadhi, pp. 125, 126
Subject of History
Sawm should not be misunderstood as an act of self-denial, and an act of asceticism and, therefore, a renunciation of the world and of life, as an act of self-mortification. This life and this world are God's creation, and are, therefore, good. He established them as people's destiny enjoined upon him to seek and promote them. His Prophet, Muhammad, defined, the good, the noble, the felicitous person as one whose career adds a real plus to the total value of the universe, who leaves the world a better place than that in which he was born. But, sawm is definitely an abstinence from food, drink and physical intimacy. What then is its meaning?
Besides constituting another act of obedience to Allah, hence realising all values appertaining to obedience to and a communion with the Divine, sawm is an exercise of self-mastery. The instincts for food and physical intimacy are the basic ingredients of which life is made. They are the strongest and ultimate urges a person possesses. For their sake as ultimate goals, normal human life and energy are spent. Sawm addresses them. It does not deny them continuously and perpetually, but only during the month of Ramadan, and does so only between dawn and sunset. That is precisely what self-mastery requires: to deny and to satisfy, to deny again and to satisfy again, and so on for every day of Ramadan. Had denial been the consequence of condemnation, it would have been commanded for continuous observance. That is why the Muslim rejoices and celebrates at every sunset in Ramadan. For the sunset signifies his victory over himself during the day! This is why Ramadan is the happiest month of the year.
Sawm is, furthermore, an act of 'retreat' and self-stock-taking; an occasion for hisab or evaluation with oneself as to one's whence and whither; a remembrance of and commiseration with the poor and hungry, the destitute and deprived. It is the prime occasion for every noble act of sadaqah or charity, of altruistic concern which is the opposite of egotism, and ultimately for all ummatic values. Its effect on the development of the human personality is capital and decisive. It disciplines a person and enables him to master the strongest urges raging within him. It trains him to subdue them to the nobler ends of the ethics of religion. It orients him - in his physical and psychic being - towards the Ummah, and, thus, makes him an effective executor and actualiser of the Divine cause in history.
Indeed, it prepares him, par excellence, to enter the arena of history, and there to fulfil the pattern of God. The true observant of sawm is a person ready to be the subject of history, not its object.
Compiled From:
Islam: The Way of Revival, "Inner Dimensions of Worship" - Ismail al-Faruqi, pp. 175, 176

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Month of Love
Al-Baqarah (The Cow) - Chapter 2: Verse 165 (partial)
"those who have faith are stronger in their love for Allah."
Love has many manifestations, degrees, and types. The way a child loves his or her parents is not the same as the way a woman may love her husband, and likewise, the way a person may love chocolate, per se, is not the same way a person would love his or her Lord (or at least we hope not). However, in all of these types of love there is a common and key theme, that of sacrifice and fulfillment. The more we love something, the more we are willing to sacrifice for it, and the more we will strive to fulfill the every command and wish of our beloved.
Indeed, sacrifice and fulfillment are from amongst the essential components that make up love, along with longing and cherishing. And this is why we should see that love, along with hope and fear, is a pillar of our worship. Our worship will not be complete or acceptable until it encompasses the right amounts of love, hope, and fear.
It is an individual's love for his/her child and family that will make them wake up in the late hours of the night to prepare a nice meal for suhur (the pre-dawn meal). In the same vein, it is an individual’s love for his community that will drive him to take time off of work to ensure his fellow Muslims have sufficient food for iftar (the meal at sunset). And it is our love for Allah, as Muslims, which drives us to sacrifice the two pinnacles of desire, food and marital relations, for no other reason than the pleasure of our very Creator.
Our love for Allah (glorified and praised is He) does not stop here but, rather, merely just begins. One of the key pillars of loving Allah lies in following the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, and an exemplary role model he is.
Compiled From:
"Ramadhân: The Month of Love" - Abu Abdir-Rahman Mohammad Navaid Aziz
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Gates of Goodness
On the Authority of Muaadh Ibn Jamal (may Allah be pleased with him) the Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "Shall I not inform you of the gates of goodness? [They are] fasting [which] is a shield, charity [which] extenguishes the sins like water extinguishes a fire and the prayer of a man in the depths of the night." [Recorded by al-Tirmidhi]
In this hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) has called fasting a shield, like the shield that one uses in the battlefield. The shield protects a person from the enemy and fasting protects a person from committing sins and from entering the Hell-fire.
Ibn Rajab points out that fasting is a shield only if the act of fasting is not harmed by foul or improper speech. Then Ibn Rajab makes the point that if fasting is not a shield from committing sins in this world, it will not be a shield from the Hell-fire in the next. Al-Baitaar points out that the word for shield is in the indefinite. This implies that it can be every type of shield. It is a shield from the Hell-fire, from Allah's anger, from disease in this world, from straying from the Straight Path, from becoming arrogant and so forth.
The reference here is to voluntary charity not the obligatory zakat. Furthermore, the sins referred to here are the minor sins that are between a human and Allah. The major sins are not included here nor are the acts of wrong done toward others. The major sins are not extinguished by charity but are in need of repentance. Wrong done toward others need their forgiveness.
The word jauf when used along with the word night means the middle of the night. That is the case here. There are many aspects that make the late-night prayer special. First and foremost, it is a prayer. The best action or matter is prayer. Second, the prayer said in the late-night is more virtuous than the voluntary prayers during the day because it is further from ostentation and being done for show. Furthermore, it is easy to have the fear of Allah and concentrate on the prayer in the late-night prayer as there are few disturbances at that time. It increases one's sincerity to Allah.
Compiled From:
"Commentary on the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi" - Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo, pp 1093-1101
Genuine Effort
You must have a deep desire to make a genuine effort to fulfil your obligations as a Muslim. With desire, of course, come actions. But know that it is not solely the results of your endeavours that count; what matters most is that you made your best effort. This is a very important point to appreciate because without genuine effort nothing can happen. Those who think that Prayer alone can work miracles are not living in a realistic world. Prayers are part of the effort, but Prayers are not the whole answer. If you pray, `Allah! Guide me and make me good', it is not going to bring you any benefit unless you are also determined to become good and make an effort towards becoming good. Once you have done the latter two things, then, of course, Prayer will be a source of baraka or Divine grace that will further inspire and strengthen your efforts.
The initial desire and the ensuing effort to do and become good, is part of the continuing process of self-development, a process that may begin at any point in life that you choose and continue till your last breath.
There will never be a point when you will be able to say that you are now a perfect person or that you have achieved your full potential. If at any point you feel so, then be sure that is the starting point of your downfall, On the other hand, you may find that the greater your desire to fulfill your obligations as a Muslim, the more you feel beset or plagued by frustration, despondency and despair in your heart and mind. All of us, whether young or old, have experienced these diseases, and often just give up. What we should try to remember at such times is that it is the intention and effort that matters, not the result. This effort must be a continuing process.
Compiled From:
"In the Early Hours" - Khurram Murad, pp. 10,11

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Solid Foundation
Al-Maarij (Ways of Ascent) - Chapter 70: Verse 32
"Who are faithful to their trusts and to their pledges."
This is one of the basic moral qualities on which Islamic society is founded. The honouring of trust and pledges begins, according to Islam, with honouring the great trust that God offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains but they refused to accept it, fearing that they would not be able to fulfil its commitments. Man however accepted it. This is the trust of faith and the fulfilment of its requirements out of choice but without compulsion. It also involves honouring the first pledge taken from man's nature, before birth, when this nature testifies to the truth of God's oneness. Faithfulness to all trusts and pledges in worldly transactions is founded on honouring the first trust and this first pledge.
Islam repeatedly emphasizes the importance of such faithfulness, to trust, confirming its role in building its society on solid foundations. It considers such faithfulness a distinctive feature of a believer. This is often repeated in the Quran and the Sunnah, leaving no room for doubts as to the importance Islam attaches to faithfulness.
Compiled From:
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 17, p. 261
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
Measure of Greatness
In society, each person has a window (status) through which he or she looks out to see others and be seen. If the window is built higher than their real stature, people try to make themselves appear taller through vanity and assumed airs. If the window is set lower than their real stature, they must bow in humility in order to look out, see, and be seen. Humility is the measure of one's greatness, just as vanity or conceit is the measure of low character.
The Messenger, peace be upon him, had a stature so high that it could be said to touch the "roof of the Heavens." Therefore, he had no need to be seen. Whoever travels in the realm of virtues sees him before every created being, including angels. In the words of Said Nursi, the Messenger is the noble aide-de-camp of God. He lowered himself to stay in the world for a while so that people might find the way to God. Since he is the greatest of humanity, he is the greatest in modesty. This follows the well-known saying: "The greater one is, the more modest one is."
The Prophet, peace be upon him, never regarded himself as greater than anybody else. Only his radiant face and attractive person distinguished him from his Companions. He lived and dressed like the poorest people and sat and ate with them, just as he did with slaves and servants. Once a woman saw him eating and remarked: "He eats like a slave." The Messenger replied: "Could there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God." [Haythami]
Compiled From:
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 297, 298
Cool Tips!
Lonely Ramadan
For most Muslims, Ramadan is family time. You get up together, eat Iftar together, pray together, etc. But what if you don't have your family near you?
Waking up in a lonely apartment and eating food you've sometimes burnt in an effort to catch Suhur in time are some of the realities of being a single Muslim in Ramadan. But there are ways to make Ramadan special when you're on your own. Here are few ideas.
1. Establish a Suhur telephone tree
Get a couple of friends together and establish a telephone tree to wake each other up for Suhur. Establish a time to call and a schedule of who will call whom. Make it a little exciting by adding some funny phrases every week that will really wake everyone.
2. Invite people over for Iftar
Even if even you couldn't eat the food the last time you cooked, invite people over for Iftar. Make it a potluck, order pizza or if you can afford it, get it catered. The food isn't the thing. The blessing is in the company, and you'll be rewarded for feeding everyone. Make sure to especially invite those who are away from their families.
3. Attend prayers at the local mosque/MSA
Even if the Imam's recitation isn't the best and the behavior of other Muslims can be more than annoying, try to attend Tarawih prayers organized by your local mosque or your Muslim Students' Association (MSA). While praying alone in peace and quiet is great, praying shoulder-to-shoulder with other Muslims with whom you have nothing in common except your faith is a unique and uplifting experience.
4. Keep the Quran playing when you are alone
It's often tempting to keep the TV or radio on when we're alone to avoid the silence. This Ramadan, find a Quran reciter you like and play their recitations during those moments when you want to fill your place with some sound. Choose selections you'd like to memorize, like the 30th part of the Quran.
5. Take care of others
Know a new person at the school/office? Is a friend who lives nearby having problems with their spouse? Or is someone you know having money problems? This Ramadan, reach out with an attentive ear, a generous hand, and most importantly, an open heart to others. Don't let these small opportunities for gaining blessings slip you by.
6. Pick and pursue Ramadan goals
Choose at least three goals to pursue this Ramadan. Whether it's curbing a bad habit or starting a good one, doing this will help you focus and work harder this month to change for the better. It takes 21 days to establish a good habit. With Ramadan, we've got 30. Why not make the best of it by picking up the good? 
Compiled From:
"A single Muslim's guide to Ramadan" -

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Its hot, get your Islamic bathing suit now!

Here is my review of the Al Sharifa bathing suit. Use code shoe10 to get 10% off. Cool off now with this awesome Islamic bathing suit. My daughter and I just love ours!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Nasihah

Living The Quran
Fairest Stature
Al-Tin (The Fig) - Chapter 95: Verse 4
"Very truly, We created man in the fairest stature."
God has created the human being in a fine and sublime form, his very anatomy - upright and symmetrical - a metaphor in motion for his high station among creation and the graceful nature of his inner being.
Such is the original state of man, and none among creation may undo this. Yet the human being itself holds the power to reverse its own condition, repeal its eminent position, deface its appearance, and demean its special distinction. In the blind and frenzied pursuit of the disparate passions craved by man's worldly being, his soul is pulled apart and disintegrates, until the fabric of sacred truth - that connects him and all creation - frays against the jagged edges of his fragmented intellect, ravaged by the onslaught of the lower world, until all that is beautiful and many-splendored in life is left ragged, disenchanted, utterly bereft of higher meaning. This, then, is when man can no longer believe in anything, least of all in the "vertical" purpose of his own being. Thus does he fall into the abyss of faithlessness.
Compiled From:
"The Gracious Quran" - Ahmad Zaki Hammad, pp. 279, 280
Understanding the Prophet's Life (peace be upon him)
The word mira, or mumarat, means an indulgence in soul-destroying arguments which serve no worthy purpose and mar the climate of fraternity and peace. Mira often consists in objecting to the speech of another person in order to show its defects either explicitly or by implication. The motive is usually self-commendation and the attribution of ignorance to others. The hallmark of mira is that it humiliates its victim, and leads to embitterment and hostility.
Mira is often referred to as the opposite of husn-al-khulq - good and pleasant character. The Sunnah emphasizes the moral enormity of mira to such an extent that it is held to interfere with the integrity of faith of the believing perpetrator. Thus, according to one Hadith:
Perfection in faith (Iman) cannot be accomplished unless the believer abandons distortion in the jokes he makes, and abandons acrimonious contention (al-mira), even if what he is saying is true. [Al Maqdisi]
The relevance of mira to personal piety is seen in the following Hadith which promises distinction and a great reward for those who avoid it.
A dwelling shall be built in the highest [echelons] of Paradise for him who refrains from mira even though he be in the right; and for him who is in the wrong but refrains from mira, a dwelling shall be built in the outer realms of Paradise. [Tirmidhi]
Compiled From:
"Freedom of Expression in Islam" - Mohammad Hashim Kamali, pp. 153-155
Compassion is the essence of self-esteem. When you have compassion for yourself, you understand and accept yourself the way you are. You tend to see yourself as basically good. If you make a mistake, you forgive yourself. You have reasonable expectations of yourself. You set attainable goals.
Compassion is a skill. That means you can improve it if you already have it, or you can acquire it if you don't. The next time you hear your inner critic chastising you about something you did or did not do, counter this negativity by telling yourself something like "I'm doing the best I can," or "Given my circumstances, this is all I am capable of at this time." Learning to be compassionate toward yourself will also help you make contact with your sense of self-worth.
Compiled From:
"Healing Your Emotional Self" - Beverly Engel, p. 134