Friday, October 26, 2007

Blogger disappeared!

Through unconfirmed sources, it has come to our notice that the owner of this blog is missing (or perhaps, pretending to be missing). It is rumoured that certain individuals tried to drive her crazy and she's recovering from that.
Rest assured, we are working on finding her!

Geo TV Peace Message

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Mehndi- Eid Al Fitr

This year's designs are a blend of Arabic and Indo-Pak.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Thank You

I'm always touched by the little (and big) things that strangers do for me because of their own kindness.
Like the girl in Kensington market from whom I'd buy my fruits and vegetables.
And the colleague who lent me his book.
And the lady who drove 15 minutes to show us where the horseriding ranch was when we were lost (and she drove off without giving me a chance to say thank you).
And the man who offered to get me a gallon of gas when I noticed my empty tank after the meeting (today).
And the driver of the water truck who stopped and got under my car in the desert heat to use his jack and other tools to get it off the stone (which someone put there to mark there underground tandoor!).
And the people whom I stop and ask for directions and they help me.
And the gentlemen who make way for me in hallways or public transport, and help me with my luggage at airports.
And the ladies who share their experiences with me because they want me to watch out for myselves...
There are so many of them! Most whose paths may never cross mine again.

Thank You. You're amazing!

Al Furqan Youth Association

Al-FYA is a Sri Lankan based organisation doing some amazing work. Mashallah, I'm extremely impressed by their spirit and motivation. Do visit their website. [The website has a lot of pop-ups, so click with care :) ]
They seem to be on the scene for the smallest to the largest and most daunting causes- raising funds for circumcision, widows, orphans, building homes, providing money to new Muslims, relief work, seminars for students and children, iftar programs, free Islamic book campaigns...

I have many pictures from them, if you're interested, drop me a note. It's quite nice to learn about the work that's being done on the other side of the globe, and to see it in pictures is even nicer- it creates a personal connection.

May Allah (swt) bless their efforts. I love my Sri Lankan brothers and sisters!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dubai World

My brother drove me to Dubai yesterday to meet Aaida. As we crossed the first interchange into the city, I noticed the banner on it:

The Sun Never Sets on Dubai World

It sent a shiver down my spine. I was hesitant about posting such an arrogant statement on my blog. This punch line reeks of all the arrogance there ever could be. Why can't they add a Mashallah or Alhamdulillah or something? A lot of things about the development in Dubai baffle me. Every now and then you have to turn around and go, "are they Muslims?".
It's a Muslim country. The rulers and everyone here know the teachings of Islam. They know the Islamic history. Makkah is not too far away.
And yet?

Friday, October 19, 2007

End of this chapter at least!

Several weeks ago, my best friend wrote this for me:

Ode to Humairah
Hummi Tummi taught a class
Whether the water was half full in a glass

The students asked her questions a lot
They weren’t sure of what they were taught

They have stressed her beyond belief
With end of classes will come relief

For now she sits marking papers
All the while eating chocolate wafers

Kahkashan could not have carved a truer picture of what I went through as a teaching assistant for SunniPath's Introductory Arabic 2 course! This was my first experience as a teaching assistant, and Alhamdulillah it was a great blessing to be part of the SunniPath team. SunniPath definitely has some of the best brothers and sisters working behind the scene, putting in scores and scores of volunteer hours to provide the global world access to great teachers of Islamic knowledge.
Below is a sampler of what we did in class (it's just a joke people, not meant to scare you):

I just fired off the last set of reports to the students, after spending some 10 multitasking hours on the mail merge feature in Word collaborated with Outlook and Excel. I loved the students in the course, and I always find SunniPath students to be very humble and also very eager. I wish I could name some volunteers and students who have become a favourite with me...

Next semester inshallah, I'll be the teaching assistant for the following courses:

I've never posted a "Be Right Back" message on this blog, but this time I need to, because if I don't, I'll probably end up posting and that won't be good for the next while (7 days to be exact) as I'm busy with:

  • Henna Nite (it's tonight!)
  • Teaching assistant work for the above 3 courses
  • Course development work for another SunniPath course
  • Meeting up with a friend who's visiting in Dubai for 2 days
  • Shariah program resumes this weekend
  • Research article for my column
  • Conference preparation launch including fine-tuning everyone's roles, bringing more people on board and defining the advisory board and the steering committee
  • Updates on other projects

Oh... and for those who are going to miss, the Henna Nite's menu (this doesn't include what mummy's going to be making):

  • Perfect Purple Punch
  • Banana Party Punch
  • Fruit salad custard cake
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Ras malai, gulab jamun
  • Date tart
  • Chocolate oatmeal (and other) cookies
  • Assorted biscuits
I'm off to the kitchen. Bye Bye.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I am Little Red Hiding Hood

Everyone's been asking me about Little Red Riding Hood. It started with Shariq, a student in the Arabic course I TAed on sunnipath, asking me if I knew that my name means The Little Red one. That reminded me of Little Red Riding Hood. And then today on our way to Jabel Hafeet, Jeewan told me to look up this video:

My name means redness, or the little red one.
I can be an Arabic verb
or the Little Red Riding Hood in Hoodwinked.
My name was Aisha (ra)'s nickname given to her by the Prophet (pbuh).
And I wish I was the Little Red Riding Hood struggling for my brothers and sisters.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day!

Imam Zaid Shakir's event on SunniPath less than 12 hours ago, was one of the best lectures I've heard by him. Inshallah the recording will be posted, and I'll link to that when it's up. I recommend anyone who is even slightly interested in global world changes listen to it.

Here's a bit of summary from my notes:
Environmental Degredation

  • Bloggers Unite - Blog Action DayCorruption has appeared in the land and the sea because of what the hands of humans have brought about [Qur'an].
  • By 2050- 90% of the sea species could be gone. Water polluted with carcinogens, poison, heavy metals, pollutions. The VAST oceans are receiving annually 20 billion tonnes of waste and pollution from our lakes and rivers. Causes alteration of the salinity, pH balance
  • The life in the sea has been hotwired by Allah (swt) over millions of years. If the plankton dies, no oxygen. Plankton produces most of the oxygen we breathe.
  • Disappearance of low-lying coastal areas, home to 200million people
    =>Northern people such as inuits have had to abandon villages
  • Polar bears and other ice animals are threatened with extinction
  • They're talking about an open passages between the North Pole in 10 years
  • Uranium: Babies born with no eyes, no limbs in Iraq

Deforestation reasons

  • Conscious human activity, towards sustaining a wasteful lifestyle:
    -> Millions of acres converted to cattle farms so that we can eat our burgers and meat.
    -> Cultivating vital fuels such as sugarcane, corn- so that sugar can be converted into ethanol to power our cars- so that we can drive hummers and SUVs to feel "empowered" because of the lack of spirituality in our lives.

[And this is the part I love]

  • When the Prophet pbuh passed Uhud, he said, this is a mountain that loves us, and we love it.
  • Moaning of the stump on the pain of the separation with the Prophet (pbuh)

Trees, birds, beasts, flowers: all beautify the world we live in, they are all our friends. We all worship together.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

CAMP UAE Launches!

Alhamdulillah. After so many months of study, brainstorming and planning, here's the UAE chapter of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals- CAMP UAE.
The website will be setup later this week inshallah.
If you're in Al Ain, or you can travel to Al Ain, come join us for our first event on October 19.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My eyes laugh and my heart cries


I wish..
I could be with you
You little child with needles and cables
to hold your tiny hands in mine

I wish..
I could be with you
You little orphan with so many others
to share my parents with

I wish..
I could be with you
You elderly abandoned by your destiny
to share my home with

I wish..
I could be with you
You the one who cannot walk
to share my support with

I wish..
I could be with you
You the one who cannot talk
to share my words with

I wish..
I could be with you
You innocent prisoner
to share my faith with

I wish..
I could be with you
You soul lying in the dark
to share my blankets with

I wish..
I could be with you
You wounded struggler
to share my jihad with

I wish..
I could be with you
You families in one tent
To share my food with

I wish..
I could be with you
My innocent deflowered sisters
To share my protector with

I wish..
I could be with you.

The Loneliest Icelander- Video

I just watched this video on Al Jazeera:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Eid Mubarak!

Amer sent me an sms last week saying that the Arabic newspapers have printed that Eid will be on Saturday according to the astronomical observations. Plus, Toronto is all geared up to celebrate Eid on Saturday as well.
I was certain Eid would be on Saturday. So I fell behind in my Qur'an reading. I ended up sleeping too much in the last 2 days, it's just been quite exhausting between home and the masjid.
At 7pm, I'm reading the Qur'an, almost falling asleep, and wondering if I should skip Taraweeh..
At 7:30pm, my mother calls and wishes me Eid Mubarak. I call up Amer and scold him for giving me wrong information. He's in Dubai anyways shopping for Eid.
My sister's getting calls too. Every family has their moon-sighter who calls them to tell them when Eid is. For one of my sister's friends, Aqsa, it's her uncle in Sharjah. For another, it's an aunt in Saudi.
I go downstairs, my parents are furiously switching channels to find out. Mummy says the Geo TV, a Pakistani channel is displaying their breaking news as "Moon Sighted in Saudi Arabia, Eid on Friday- Arab TV", but the Arab TV channels are displaying that the moon sighting committee is still in the meeting.
Ha! I knew it. Trust a Pakistani channel? No way.. I'd rather go pray taraweeh and finish my Qur'an.
I call up the Imam's wife, and she says, "I don't know. They're saying they wont find out until after the isha prayers". I tell her that GeoTV has already announced it, but the Arab channels haven't.
I'm still sort of in denial.
I don't want to spend the night putting mehndi on my sister and mom when I still have my Qur'an to finish.
We debate going to the masjid. We end up going. After isha, there's a hush. What's going to happen? Is there an announcement? The projector wasn't turned on, so we couldn't see the men.
The imam begins taraweeh. Yay!
We pray two, and then another two.
The imam starts talking. But the women are trying to hush each other up and no one can hear anything.
It's Eid tomorrow.
We hug the people we know. We pray witr, and then leave the masjid.
I still find it funny, that all the Pakistani and Indian people found out about Eid earlier than the Arabs!

Eid Mubarak!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Witness | Choosing the Path of Struggle- Reflections Ramadan 28

It's the end of the month. We have prayed, we have enjoyed, we have struggled and we have been patient. We've done a bit of everything.
What now? Know that Allah has witnessed everything you did, and He, subhana wa ta'ala, tells us in the Qur'an what to continue doing, in Surah Muzammil:

Verily, your Lord knows that you do stand [in prayer at night] a little less than two-thirds of the night, or one-half of it, or a third of it, and also a party of those with you. And Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you are unable to pray the whole night so He has turned to you in mercy.

So recite you of the Qur’an as much as is easy for you.

He knows that there will be some among you sick, other's travelling through the land, seeking of Allah's bounty, yet others fighting in Allah's cause. So recite as much of the Qur’an as may be easy for you, and perform Salah, and give Zakah, and lend to Allah a goodly loan. And whatever good deed you may offer up in your own behalf, you shall truly find it with Allah-better and richer in reward.
And [always] seek forgiveness of Allah.
Verily, Allah is much-forgiving, Most Merciful!


How do you know, if you are on the path of struggle? How do you know that you are "passing" the trials and tribulations of this dunya? Or, how do you make sure that your actions will definitely lead to success and the attainment of Paradise? The answer is in Surah Balad.

And what could make thee conceive what it is, that steep uphill road? - The Path of struggle [90:12]
  • [It is] the freeing of one's neck [from the burden of sin] /slave[90:13]
  • or the feeding, upon a day of [one's own] hunger, [90:14]
  • of an orphan near of kin, [90:15]
  • or of a needy [stranger] lying in the dust – [90:16]
  • and being, withal, of those who have attained to faith, and who
    enjoin upon one another patience in adversity, and enjoin upon one another compassion.

Such are they that have attained to righteousness;
whereas those who are bent on denying the truth of Our messages – they are such as have lost themselves in evil, [with] fire closing in upon them. [90:18-20]

May Allah (swt) forgive us, and accept from us, and make us witness another Ramadan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Black and White- Reflections Ramadan 27

It wasn't until after the night of the 27th that I realised how absolutely beautiful the local clothing colours of black and white are. All the women wear black, and all the men wear white.

Black tends to be the colour of women's outdoor clothing (abayas and burqas) in all the countries of Middle East and Pakistan. Most other Islamic countries have other uniform colours for wearing outdoors. And Arab men, or the bedouins wear white full-sleeved one piece dresses, as everyone knows.

Non-Arab women also tend to wear the black abayas. I mostly stay away from them, although they are very beautiful. I like the Jordanian abayas better for their style and colour.

I cannot explain how beautiful it was. I wished at that point I had my camera. I wished I could have made a video.

As we walked towards the masjid, excitedly, my father pointed and said, "Humairah, just look at that!" In the gold courtyard of the Masjid, surrounded by open arched hallways,were men, all in white, sitting in tashahhud.

I walked into a congregation of women- all wearing black, standing in neat rows, conversing with Allah (swt) through their breaths.

Black and white, colours of unity. Perhaps, this is what is special about the Arabs. They all look very uniform. How simple are these two colours. Of course, there were the ocassional spots of other colours, but not enough to stand out. I never realised before how profound being the one and same can be.

The white colour overshone everything else. A glowing light not just from the whiteness of the clothes, but also from the faces of the worshippers.
The black on the other hand, was a vast veil, that we all were under, competing with the star-encrusted night sky for it's majesty, and for it's status before Allah (swt).

There was such a powerful sense of unity emanating from the congregations.

How I wished this unity reflected in everything else about us.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Qur'an made easy | Taraweeh tips | After death- Reflections Ramadan 26

The Holy Qur'an has many verses that are repeated a few times, either in the same chapter, or in different chapters.
Then why of the favours of thy Lord will you deny is one such ayah, which Hafsa reflected upon a couple of days ago.
The ayah below is repeated 4 times in Surah Qamar:

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

To me, this ayah is very reassuring, especially since I've been studying Arabic Grammar for over a year now, without much progress!
Speaking of that, here are a few tips that help me concentrate in taraweeh and can be applied to any salah(for you Hammad):

  • The first step is to go with the mindset that you're going to enjoy the experience. Many people assume it's going to be long, monotonous, slow recitation, etc. All this will defeat the whole purpose and let the shaitan get to you.
  • Dress smart (don't go in your pjs), brush your teeth, perfume yourself (not smelling like fried food), eat light, get your coffee or whatever gives you the "punch"- The last thing you want to do is sleep through taraweeh. This adds to making the experience enjoyable. Imagine if the person next to you smelt like biryani or garlic? (as many people actually do!)
  • Focus on the tajweed rules. Often, the rules of tajweed help you predict what the next letter will be, and once you get used to it, you'll also be able to predict the next words as well.
  • Sh Hamza mentions learning Arabic as a long-term solution, however, use whatever Arabic you do know. When the imam recites a verse with the word "naar" (fire) in it, imagine the hellfire, how hot it will be, and how it would feel to be in that fire. Similarly, learning common vocabulary is very easy. Names and attributes of Allah, nature and creations of Allah from plants to food, condemnations, winning and losing, and many others- visualise them, thank Allah for your blessings, and ask for forgiveness, as appropriate.
  • Read the translation before the evening's taraweeh. Whatever you retain will be strengthened through the recitation inshallah.
  • Hold a Qur'an with translation- I do it ocassionally, and it always helps me remember the translation. Of course, there's difference in opinion about this.
  • Stand with your feet apart. Men do this instinctinctly, but women tend to stick their feet together. Also, take long breaths. This is very helpful.
  • There are different ways of placing your arms according to the different schools of thoughts- Either by your side, folded your chest or on your waist. Vary where you place them.
  • Get your spot in the first row. This minimises distractions from fidgety people and everything else! Also, it makes you more conscious of the place you're standing at.
  • Encourage someone who doesn't generally attend taraweeh to go with you.
  • Say salam to the person on either side of you. Often you change rows to fill the gap, so there's lots of people to say salam to. Much as every salah and nawafil is a personal spiritual experience, it's also a congregational spiritual experience. Giving salams or having a quick conversation adds a level to being aware of where you are, and brings your attention to what you are doing, rather than getting lost in thoughts of pending tasks or other worries.
  • The best khushoo of course, is to pray with being conscious of Allah (swt). Make dua that Allah (swt) increases your concentration and the ability to focus.
It's the time of the month when everyone is realising how fast it went, the moon's almost disappeared, about being sad, and most importantly, thinking about how they're going to keep up with their good habits, and not go back to the bad ones. At the beginning of the month, everyone talked about how it's a blessing to be able to witness this Ramadan especially because death is uncertain.
After my experience during last Ramadan, I realised that I needed to work on ways to continue earning rewards from Allah (swt) after I die. And our beloved Prophet (pbuh) tells us how to.

Narrated Abu Hurairah (ra)
Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "When a person is dead, his deeds are stopped except from three:
Deeds of continuous Sadaqah [well for drinking water, orphanage, etc]

  1. (Written) knowledge with which mankind gets benefit
  2. A righteous, pious son or daughter who begs Allah (swt) to forgive her/his parents.

[Sahih Muslim, the Book of Wasaya]

Begging Allah (swt) to forgive one's parents is an action anyone can do anytime without any preparation, unlike the other two. So, why delay ensuring you're being rewarded until the Day of Judgement?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

"After Ramadan" syndrome | Evaluate friendships- Reflections Ramadan 25

Sometime during Ramadan, either in the beginning, middle or end, many get used to saying the phrase, "inshallah, after Ramadan". Basically, people are trying to cut down on extra activities, such as phone calls and emails to focus on their worship.
However, as I've been telling my sister, if it's a task that you can postpone after Ramadan, then perhaps it's a task not worth indulging in. Far too many complain about the lack of time, yet many can't seem to let go of wasteful use of their time. Facebook is one such avenue. Hogging blog stats is another. And yet another is an irresponsible sleeping schedule (that ultimately messes you up and makes you tired towards the end).
One should ask themselves the question, "can I be doing something better with my time at this moment?".
I was talking to someone on the phone last night who complained to me how she felt bad about not being able to do much this Ramadan because of her schoolwork. And just the week before, she was @ a meeting that she could have skipped, or left early. Saving time in Ramadan for worship DOES NOT mean that you give up important tasks such as working, studying, cooking or cleaning, but rather, cutting down on everything that is extra. In fact, you are being rewarded for all the cooking and cleaning you do when it is for the sake of Allah (swt). There really is no room for saying, "I've been busy". It's about maximising the use your free/ and otherwise wasteful time.

In order to help oneself with such a problem, it's very important to quantify the amount of time these avoidable tasks take. I call this the shock treatment, because it would really shock you to know how many precious minutes and half-hours and hours you wasted.

Along these lines, it's also a good time to evaluate your friendships. Are your friends spending their time doing what you do and indulging you in wasting your time, intellect or your life? This is a question that Jeewan raised today in his reflections. We forget that our true brothers/sisters care about us before Allah, about who we are as individuals, our choices and decisions- about what will happen to us when we die.
So while you are examining yourselves, also examine who is the relationships with your brothers and sisters for?
Last night as the Imam recited the following verses from the end of Surah Qaf, he cried a lot and repeated them a few times. This one caught my attention:
His Companion will say: "Our Lord! I did not make him transgress, but he was (himself) far astray."
This verse struck me...... and made me realise how absolutely important it is to watch out for my sisters and brothers, so that I'm not the Companion who will be doomed that day.

And the Trumpet shall be blown: that will be the Day whereof Warning (had been given).
And there will come forth every soul: with each will be an (angel) to drive, and an (angel) to bear witness.
"Thou wast heedless of this; now have We removed thy veil, and sharp is thy sight this Day!"
And his Companion will say: "Here is (his Record) ready with me!"
(The sentence will be:) "Throw, throw into Hell every contumacious Rejecter (of Allah)!- "Who forbade what was good, transgressed all bounds, cast doubts and suspicions;
"Who set up another god beside Allah: Throw him into a severe penalty."
His Companion will say: "Our Lord! I did not make him transgress, but he was (himself) far astray."
He will say: "Dispute not with each other in My Presence: I had already in advance sent you Warning.
"The Word changes not before Me, and I do not the least injustice to My Servants."
One Day We will ask Hell, "Art thou filled to the full?" It will say, "Are there any more (to come)?"

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hunger- Reflections Ramadan 24

A few days into Ramadan I stuck a paper on the fridge to keep track of daily food wastage- leftovers that no one wants to eat, tea that went cold, fruits or veges that went bad lying in the fridge, food that tasted awful because it was prepared in a state of fasting, etc.

I don't think anyone @ home realises the list is up. It's been a great personal exercise. I've been encouraged to eat leftovers all the time, and I personally don't mind it at all.

We seem to have lost all humility when eating food. The Prophet (pbuh) would eat his meals with great humility, almost as if it was a ritual. His intention wasn't enjoyment. Once Umar (ra) found someone eating and buying lots of grapes(?) in the market. Umar asked him, "what's this?" To which the man responded, "my family asked for some..", Umar (ra) said, "Is that everything you desire, you will buy?"

Is that, everything we desire, we will eat and indulge in? How controlled are our eating habits?
We need to think what are we being nourished by- Is it from the remembrance of Allah, or is it from food? Over-eating is another disease of the heart.

Some things have been irritating me a lot. Pakistanis watching Pakistani politics nowadays. Ask them, and they'll tell you exactly what's going on- how it's all wrong. They'll tell you about all the propagandas, and about why a certain politician is stupid, and why the other one is an idiot. Oh, and they're excellent also in immitating and mocking them. How everyone's just after power and they're so dumb that they don't realise people can see through their tactics, so on and so forth.
BUT ask a Pakistani about the hunger problem in Pakistan. Ask them about the flood or earthquake victims. Ask them how many people didn't have food to eat for iftar. Ask them how many people suffer because of the extreme weather in certain places. You can't ask them. They don't know.
I'm upset.


Breidjing Refugee Camp, Chad: Stirring the Pot
Sudanese refugee D'jimia Souleymane prepares a pot of aiysh, a thick porridge which she and her family eat three times a day.
Breidjing Refugee Camp, Chad: Water Bearers
A woman and child carry drinking and cooking water from a distribution point back to their tent.

Breidjing Refugee Camp, Chad: United Nations Food Distribution Center
A refugee woman sifts through sand in order to pluck out any bits of grain which might have dropped to the ground during the previous day's ration disbursement.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Best Company- Reflections Ramadan 23

I went for this past Hajj, Alhamdulillah. For many days now, I've been drawing parallels from my experiences at Hajj, and Ramadan. This Ramadan is the first "spiritual" period after my Hajj in December 2006/January 2007.
What stands out the most is, I had (and have) the best company at that time, and now.

I went for Hajj with my father. He looked after me so much, subhanallah. He'd have his arm around me whenever it would get extremely crowd. At one point, in order to make sure I don't get hit when we went for the stoning of the shaitan, he fell backwards on a sheet of stones. It must have hit him like needles, or even worse. But he didn't say a word.
This is just one of the moments with him at Hajj.
I still remember my circumstances around the time when the whole planning for hajj happened. I had wanted to go with my brother Rehan, but it didn't work out. I was so angry and stubborn and upset and then my father did everything he could so that he could arrange for us to go. Subhanallah, he endured so much for me, and to me, it was a very unique experience. I didn't remember much of the care and love my parents had for me because I had been away for so long...

And now, my mother, father and I have been going for the qiyam @ the masjid for a couple of days now. Despite them sleeping after me, they wake up before me, and wake me up to go with them. I pray the tahajjud nawafil by my mother's side in the congregation sometimes, and it's so extremely comforting to have her there.

At suhoor time, I get really annoyed when my mother is worried about everyone else eating and she delays her own suhoor to the end. But try as I do, I can't get her to think of herself first. Her first concern is to make what my brother and sister want to eat.

In fact, I don't seem to focus much on my duas knowing that my mother is making every single dua there is.
All the blankets of the world put together cannot provide the comfort that they do in the coldest of times.

So, how can I not cherish these moments, not knowing if they will return?
I know this is all natural for parents. How can they be parents, if they do not do all this, and more? But how much of it do I really deserve? Not much.

Who are your companions this Ramadan?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Description of the Righteous- Reflections Ramadan 22

One of the signs [of such a person] is that you observe strength in his religion. His gentleness is accompanied by sobriety. His faith is coupled with certainty. He longs for knowledge. He acts with forbearance. He lives moderately, even when blessed with wealth. He is humble in his worship. He endures poverty with dignified grace.

He patiently endures trying circumstances.
He seeks his sustenance from the lawful. He hastens to right guidance. He is agitated if he perceives greed in himself. He works righteousness all the while trembling, fearing that his deeds won’t be accepted]. His greatest concern is gratitude. He arises in the morn preoccupied with the Remembrance of God. He goes to bed at night overwhelmed, apprehensive. He rises in the morning overjoyed. His apprehension arises from the awareness of his heedlessness. His joy is caused by the bounties and mercy Allah has showered upon him. If his soul presses him with something he despises, he does not concede [to it] and withholds from it what it desires.

The comfort of his eye is that which cannot be eradicated [the reward of his righteous deeds]. His abstinence is from temporal things. He mixes clemency with knowledge, and speech with action. He expects death at any moment. His slips are few [because of his cautiousness and deliberateness in speech and actions]. His heart is content. He is easy-going. He is constantly on guard against assaults upon his religion.

His lusts are dead.

It is related that a devout worshipper by the name of Humam came to Imam Ali (May Allah Ennoble his countenance) and asked him to describe the pious people so vividly that he could almost see them.
Read the complete Description of the Righteous

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weeping- Reflections Ramadan 21

It is narrated in a hadith:
"Verily, the slave, as long as he is in Salah, possesses three qualities: Blessings are showered upon his head from the heavens above, the angels sit around him, from his feet to the heavens and a caller says: 'If the slave knew the One Who hears his whispered utterances, he would never leave his Salah."

- Taken from Yahya Ibrahim list

These are the nights of Ramadan that we all are after. Everyone knows that we can't lose the opportunity to wake up in the middle of the night to make dua.
Yesterday my father received a call from his friend in Dubai who's hosting a lavish iftar banquet this Saturday. In fact, most major restaurants and hotels are all decked out and booked and packed for iftars.
Really, for most part, "celebration" in the first 20 days seems acceptable, as long as you're keeping up with the personal worship. But how misguided are we, that we turn such a spiritual month, into a month vain laughter, food wastage, and negligence of our worship of Allah (swt)?

Such people really deserve a dua from all of us, who realise that this is a time when we should laugh little, and weep lots.
Excessive uneccessary laughter is a disease of the heart.

What are the fruits for those who weep out of Fear of Allah?
  1. They will be under the shade of Allah on the Day when there is no shade except His
  2. They will not enter the Fire nor will it touch them
  3. They succeed in achieving the love of Allah. The Prophet (pbuh) said, "There is't a thing more beloved to Allah, than 2 drops and 2 marks... a tear drop shed out of the fear of Allah"
  4. Have the glad tidings of Toobah [Surah Insaan 11-12]
  5. Taste the sweetness of Iman, tranquility of the soul
  6. Allah (swt) will make a way out for them and provide them with a good provision from where they could never have imagined. [Surah Talaqa 2-3]
  7. ...

These are some points from the book Weeping from the Fear of Allah by Shaykh Al Awaaishah

I can recall two places in the Qur'an when the verses were revealed and Rasoolullah (saw) wept. One was when the verses were revealed regarding the captives of Badr in Surah Anfal (It is not fitting for an Apostle that he should have prisoners of war, until he has thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look on the temporal goods of this world, but God looks to the Hereafter, And God is Exalted, Mighty, and Wise.) and the other time, when a sahabi was reciting to him and he read the verse in Surah Nisa (How then if We brought from each people a witness, and We brought you as a witness against these people!).

We should study the verses when Rasoolullah (saw) cried and the history behind them so that we are able to also cry out of the fear of Allah (swt).

How many other verses do you know?

Make your salahs come alive- Reflections Ramadan 20

A lot of what we recite in Salah 5 times a day has some interesting history or associated actions with it. For example, everytime we say, "sami Allahu liman hamida", it's the angels that respond, "rabbana lakal hamd". The translations of both being: Verily Allah listens to one who praises Him. Oh our Lord, all praises be to you.

In the second and fourth rakahs (or third in Maghrib), the tashahhud is a recreation of the conversation held between Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing upon him) during the night of the Heavenly Ascent (Miraj).

Attahiyyatu lillahi was salawatu wattay yibatu
Assalamu 'alayka ayyuhan nabiyyu
wa rahma tullahi wa barakatuhu
As-salamu 'alayna wa'ala 'ibadilla his saliheen
Ash hadu alla ilaha illal lahu
wa ash hadu an-na Muhammadan
'abduhu wa rasuluh.


All compliments, all physical prayer,
and all monitary worship are for Allah.
Peace be upon you, Oh Prophet,
and Allah's mercy and blesings.
Peace be on us and on all righteous slaves of Allah.
I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except Allah
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.

And when we say the final salam over our right and left shoulders, we're actually saying salam to the angels, Kiraman Katibeen.

By being conscious of the history of our Salah, we can make it come alive, and add to the beautiful experience of submitting to our Lord.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Parable of Good and Bad- Reflections Ramadan 19

I love the ayahs in the Qur'an that relate humans to nature in so many different ways.
Here are a few verses from Surah Ibrahim:

See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? - A goodly word like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the heavens,- of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition. It brings forth its fruit at all times, by the leave of its Lord. So Allah sets forth parables for men, in order that they may receive admonition.

And the parable of an evil Word is that of an evil tree: It is torn up by the root from the surface of the earth: it has no stability.

Allah will establish in strength those who believe, with the word that stands firm, in this world and in the Hereafter; but Allah will leave, to stray, those who do wrong: Allah does what He Wills.

Look at how awful the uprooted tree looks.

What is type of tree is your word like?

Quick Gozleme

"This is a Turkish sort of hot-plate cooked bread wrap or crepes containing fillings such as spinach and feta, or spiced mince, served with lemon juice."

Preparing Gozleme following it's original recipe can make your poor arms drop-off from all the kneading and rolling of the dough!

So, here's my quick Gozleme recipe for Ramadan. [And I apologise to all your Turks for simplifying it beyond belief :D]

The Filling

2 cups grated feta cheese, or a mixture of feta and another cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, ricotta)
2 cups finely chopped silver beet or spinach leaves (no stems)
½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup chopped spring onion
½ cup dried brown (friend) onion, mixed with the following:
1 tsp white pepper (optional)
1 tsp allspice (optional)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs e.g. oregano, sage (optional)

You can also have some minced meat filling seasoned to your taste.

The reason why this recipe is simple is because there's no dough to knead! Just use frozen puff-pastry squares.


Blend/mix all the leaves, herbs and the dried brown (fried) onions in a blender or mixer for less than a minute. The mixture should have coarse-consistency, not paste-like. Mix this green mixture with the cheese and spices. That's it! You can store this in the fridge for 2-3 days and take it out 1/2 hr before iftar to prepare.
Put lumpfuls of this mixture on the puff-pastry squares laid out in a baking tray. Put it in the oven and use temperate instructions on the puff-pastry package.

Serve hot and fresh off the oven! :D