Tag Archives: amazing

Change Your Story… BACKWARDS!

Published on IUO Blog
31st December, 2015
This is the original version

 

Change.jpg

You’ll never believe what just came in the mail right now….

A DVD of YOUR life!

Wanna have a movie night? Yay!

I got popcorn, candy and sodas. Let’s skip the trailers and get to the good part.

Awwww here you are crawling! Oh and there you are taking your first steps! That’s SO CUTE!

Here you’re disgusted coz you don’t like your veggies…
Potty training, chicken pox, time outs…

Okay skip, skip, skip….

First day of school…
First tooth falling off…
Oops! Finding out tooth fairies don’t exist (sorry!)
First secret crush…. Long weekends, spring breaks and summers… all the way to graduation… wow those must be some really cherished memories….

You smile and tear up as you relive those moments and I just sit here munching on popcorn and watching you instead of the movie!

Okay, change of plans! Let’s skip to the beginning of Year 2015…

There we are… perfect!

It’s January 2015 and you have that determined look on your face! You have so many plans and so many dreams! “2015 is the year people!” You announce proudly. You promise to be organized, productive, positive….

You know what? You vow to just be A-MAZING!

By June, motivation pipes down and you realize most of what you had planned is still un-done, you’re falling back into old habits and well… Who cares anyway! It’s summer time so let’s just relax and enjoy it….

And it’s all fun and entertainment till the very serious month of September peeps in and you realize three quarters of the year had passed and you’re still the same… staring at your ‘I’m gonna be amazing’ list with one eye-brow up.

Hmmmmm…

And before you know it, you’re holding the little 2016 calendar that came as a gift with the too many pizzas you ordered and you’re like, “What? It’s December already?? Fine! Then 2016 is the year people!”
The screen reads “To Be Continued… (Or actually: To Be Repeated Next Year…)
You look at me, shrug, then get up to leave.

“Hey, where you going? Come back!” I momentarily stop eating popcorn. “Give me that remote!”

The Things You Wouldn’t Change

We tend to be so hard on ourselves sometimes. We tend to look at the bad and believe our worst reviews, all the while letting the good slip away. This IS NOT the story of your life. There’s so much more…. Let’s rewind…

Here! Pause this scene!

Look! You’re sleeping peacefully…. Because you didn’t hold grudges or maybe you made someone smile from the heart that day! Remember?

There… It’s Ramadan and your tears are falling down during prayer… you prostrate and make Du’a… coz you know Allah is listening and you suddenly feel so close to Him… You know He’s there watching over you… Would you even trade that serene moment for the world?

Pause these scenes: You’re focused on your studies, swallowing your anger, holding the door for a stranger, hugging a scared child, smiling with so much love at your spouse or kids, kissing your mom’s hand, running an errand for someone in need… this is all you! You’ve done so much good this year…. You just forgot….

Go backwards and relive your story…
All this pain you’ve endured…
All the times you thought you failed and decided not to give up….
All the problems you’ve managed to solve…
All the lessons you learnt through people who walked into your life to teach you something new…
All the laughter, the heartache, the surprises, the celebrations, the disappointments, and the stress…. So much has happened…

And you know how I know you’re already amazing? It’s coz you’re reading this now…. And let’s face it, all my readers are amazing… (Yeah, I’m just biased that way J)

But the main reason you’re a success is coz you’ve been through all of this. You’ve fallen and gotten back up and you’re ready to start again….

You’re amazing because you’ve survived….

 

The Things You Can’t Change

I’m confused. Your life-movie is suddenly a sob-fest. What did I miss?

You’ve heard bad news. Things didn’t go your way. You’ve lost a loved one. There was an accident, or a downfall, or an unexpected detour….

Was it something that you did wrong? If yes, then yeah beat yourself up a little bit and then go fix it! Deal with the damage. Apologize. Seek Allah’s forgiveness. Start over and do it right this time.

But if it’s something you can’t change, if it’s not a mistake or something you can control then I’m telling you, it’s destiny… it’s meant to be. It’s an integral part of the script… that scary or sad scene that turns events around before the happy ending.

Maybe you don’t know it now… but you will find out soon. God does everything for a good reason. You just need to trust in His choices and accept them.

(And then when you see the blessing behind it eventually, you’ll come back and tell us, coz we’re dying of curiosity here, okay!)

 

The Things You Really Want To Change

If this year was just a dress rehearsal, and next year is the real thing, what would you change?

If you could go to bed right now, wake up and all your problems have suddenly disappeared. What would your life be like?

If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently…?

Big questions, huh? And we rarely think of the answers coz we simply save last year’s file on the desktop and open a new window.

New promises. New plans. New resolutions!

Wake up and smell the promotional calendars people! It’s a trap!!
You can’t navigate to a better place if you don’t know where you are now.

You need to look back, see what you did wrong before you can ever try to make it right.

Look back at all the good you did, and repeat the pattern that worked best for you. Maintain the habits, attitudes, and the little things you did to pile up a cherished treasure of amazing memories.

Look back and accept the things you can’t change. Make room for them in your life. Switch stuff around and adjust to your reality peacefully.

Look back and find the courage to change the things you can. It won’t happen overnight, but at least there’s a starting point on your map.

Your life is not scattered notes. It’s all connected, flowing and perfectly managed by the One Merciful Allah. It’s a beautiful book that tells your unique story… and how you’ve touched and changed so many lives around you.

Look back; give yourself credit for reaching this far and embrace who you are…

Coz sometimes it’s the new things you learn about your past that can totally change your future…

See the bigger picture and realize the truth of this present moment… It’s not what you did, or what you will do…

It’s what’s in your heart right now that makes you amazing….

 

Happy New Years!

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

Tell us about something good you did this year in the comments box below. Inspire others with your story…. Sometimes one word can change someone’s world…

 

 

 

 

ATTACK: “KILL Them Where You FIND Them!”

Published on Muslim Words
September 30th, 2015

GUN

ATTACK: “Kill Them Where You Find Them”

“I don’t get this weird video game! I mean is it really necessary to shoot the zombies? That’s not very nice, you know!”
“Mom! If you don’t shoot them, they’ll eat your brains out!”

So yeah, let’s pretend we have two groups here:

The Zombies:

 They wear black shirts
They carve rocks in the shape of dolls and force people to worship them.
They make A LOT of money from selling those make believe doll gods
They think the concepts of ‘equality’ and ‘peace’ are ridiculous
They’re powerful, aggressive, violent and very stubborn

The Peace Makers:

   They wear white shirts
They’re sick and tired of being bossed around by the biased zombies
They worship an unseen God and follow His messengers and book
They call for equality, charity, compassion and forgiveness

So when the zombies found out about the Peace Makers’ new beliefs, they fought them left and right. They tortured them, killed them, starved them, abused them, seized their assets and tried to assassinate their messenger many times, until the Peace Makers finally decided to escape the city after ten years of patient suffering. Once they spread out their call in neighboring cities, more and more people joined and the Peace Makers finally established a considerable existence.. Ten years later, 100,000 Peace Makers marched back into the city, conquering it completely yet without shedding a drop of blood. Of course the zombies ran to hide like wusses! Now you’d think the messenger, Prophet Muhammad, coming back as a victorious king, would want to punish them and have his revenge! I mean he’s human after all! They tried to kill him. They starved him and his followers for three years till his beloved wife and dear uncle died! They threw garbage at him and called him a lunatic. They asked him to split the moon in half to prove he was a Prophet of God, and when he did, they called him a magician! They killed his uncle Hamza and a woman mutilated his corpse and ate his liver (gross!). No Prophet had ever been hurt, insulted, abused and pained as much as Muhammad was by his own tribe. But when he gained immense power the Prophet, peace be upon him, simply asked his former persecutors a question…

“What do you think I’m going to do to you now?”
“You are a generous brother and the son of a generous brother!” They replied (Suck ups!)
“I will tell you what Joseph told his brothers” Prophet Muhammad said, “There is no blame on you today. You’re all free to go!”

Wait. What?!
No punishment at all? Oh my God! One time I forgot to do my homework in school and I was punished for two whole weeks! Homework not cold-blooded murder! This is so unfair!

But then again, this is why he’s the ‘beloved’, because he was forgiving, caring and merciful. Oh how we love you Prophet Of God….

The Peace Makers and disbelieving zombies coexisted peacefully in the city of Mecca for a whole YEAR before the Qur’an came down with a new command of clearing the city out of the polytheists, after more than ten years of ordering Muslims to stay patient and refrain from war. So this is when the Muslims killed all the disbelievers, right?

No… Allah gave the zombies four months to enjoy themselves, think about their options, pack their bags and the handmade dolls they worship, throw farewell parties and move to another place if they wanted to. The warning was announced publicly and the punishment for their evil deeds was paused for FOUR whole months!

“And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (9:5, Holy Qur’an)

Did the revelation stop there? No sire, it did not… Here’s the next verse…

“And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know” (9:6 Holy Qur’an)

So even after the grace period is over, if one of the zombies stays behind and cries for help, then it is the Muslims’ obligation to grant him or her protection, which clearly means that the ‘killing’ must be a form of self-defense and not of those who have no idea what is going on! But you know, when people use the above verse to attack Islam, it slips their mind to mention that part. Are we allowed to do that? Translate the verses the way we want without researching the reasons behind the revelation? Coz if context doesn’t matter then why stop there? Here are some incomplete and out of context verses that give a totally different meaning…

“O you who believe! Do not go near prayer….” (Qur’an 4:43)
And give tidings to those who disbelieve…” (Qur’an 9:3)
“So turn in repentance to your Creator and kill yourselves…” (Qur’an 2:54)

Can we now argue that the Qur’an commands Muslims not to pray, and that they should instead congratulate the disbelievers and then go commit suicide?! Do you see why ignorance is dangerous and toxic? Now you know why Muslims must educate themselves about their own religion?

If you read and analyze chapter nine of the Holy Qur’an you’ll see The “Kill them where you find them” verse only applies to the polytheists in Mecca at that time ‘on the day of the greater pilgrimage’, who attacked the Muslims first, expelled the prophet, refused the peace treaty, refused all options and insisted on transgressing. Those are the people this verse refers to! And thank God they’ve become extinct…. Mecca is solely for Muslims now, so the only zombies we are allowed to kill today are those in ‘Call Of Duty: Black Ops III’ for Play Station 4!

Islam is so beyond misunderstood! Our religion teaches us that ‘guiding one non-Muslim to Islam peacefully is better than owning the whole world and what’s in it! It’s the gateway to Paradise’. So what? We’re supposed to kill them and guide them at the same time? It doesn’t make sense! (I’m actually laughing out loud at this point!)

Well, I went to Mecca for Hajj this year, and as I stared at the millions of white-dressed Peace Makers I was suddenly grateful for the above verses. I’m grateful Muslims have a safe place to unite them, poor, rich, black, white… we all worship the Lord at His house, unthreatened by the zombies. I’m grateful the Ka’bah did not end up like the Aqsa mosque, under attack every three minutes! I’m grateful for the love and submission to the Great Merciful Lord….
Seeing the confusion, doubts, hatred, racism and atheism dragging many people down into the darkest pit of misery, I prostrate to Allah, grateful for the precious gift of guidance…
But I guess not everyone is as lucky as you and me…

If only people understood the true essence of Islam… they’d fall head over heels in love with it and find peace….

Beautiful, consuming and heartwarming peace….
Lilly S. Mohsen

It’s Not The Places…. It’s The Beloved

Published On OnIslam
19th September, 2015
Lilly Live From Hajj, Day Two Diary

“What’s happening?”
“They’ve opened the door! RUNNNNNNN”

You see, Prophet Muhammad’s original mosque with attached house is actually a relatively small area (about 20×15 meters) located inside today’s huge Holy mosque in Madina. Women get a chance to visit the sequestered area three times a day, for about two hours each time. You’ll find the Muslim women gathered by the partition, way before visitation hours, stretching and jogging in place, while the area is being cleared out of the men (as it should be! They get 18 hours a day!)

Anyways, when the door opens, women charge like a stampede. (I wish I was exaggerating but I’m not LOL) and so I grab Aya, my sister in law and run like the wind, unbothered by the pushing and shoving of some very sturdy women Masha’Allah. Nothing matters when you race with your heart to meet the beloved….

This is his house… Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is buried here next to his two best friends, Abu Bakr Al Siddique and Omar Ibn Al Khattab. And on your right, is his mosque. You’re probably wondering why all the carpets are red except for this one, it’s green. Well it’s because it’s literally a meadow and a little piece of heaven.

Narrated by Abu Hurrairah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “The space between my house and my pulpit is a garden from the gardens of Paradise”

He also said that one rak’ah of prayer in his mosque is worth ten thousand rak’ahs. Okay, now that I think of it, this was well worth getting jammed and elbowed for!

After greeting the prophet and his friends and miraculously praying on the green carpet, something very unusual happens. An invisible magnetic force drowns out the noises and pulls you in. You stand by the Prophet’s chamber…
Frozen…
Speechless…
Overwhelmed….
That’s the moment you realize…
Muhammad was here….and somehow time ceases to exist.

The beloved lived…here…. He sat right there with his grandchildren propped on his lap before Friday prayer. He walked here with Abu Bakr and Omar and Hamza… This is where Islam emerged from. He stood in the exact same spot you’re standing in now, smiling and welcoming people. He leaned on this palm tree and slept inside this room…

Muhammad… The Last Prophet… The final connection between the heavens and earth. He was here… Saying “Soothe our hearts with it” and listened to Bilal’s beautiful voice recite the call for prayer. Allah’s beloved messenger… The one who stayed up all night praying for his Ummah till his feet were swollen. The one man who carried the burden mountains refused to carry, and brought to the whole world their true and ultimate salvation…

Muhammad is here…

It suddenly dawned on me while I stood there motionless, with tears streaming down my face, why I love him so much even though I never met him. I realize his love is engraved deep within our hearts…. His love is innate… It’s already inside each and every one of us, we just didn’t know it… Until today…

Look around you… See the look on people’s faces… It says it all. They’re mesmerized by the thought of standing by his house, 1400 later! They’d give up everything just to visit his mosque once in their lifetime! Listen to their words… They talk to him as if he’s right there. They tell him about their lives and troubles and how all their families back home send their greetings.

“We miss you Prophet of God”
These are the words you hear in this place every single day. Said by millions of every age, race and color… They miss him even though they never met him… And that’s the truest, most genuine love of all…

Visiting the Prophet’s mosque is not an obligation of Hajj, and yet look, there’s hardly an empty spot to pray in. I finally understand why Shiekh Hamza Yusuf got so emotional in one of his lectures about Prophet Muhammad…

He explained how when you love someone so intensely, you find yourself loving everything they love. And when you miss them, you’ll close your eyes and touch the things they once touched, and kiss the stones and walls of the homes they once lived in… But it’s not the things or the walls or the stones that make your heart melt and your soul shiver…

“It’s not the places… It’s the beloved… He was here….”

Peace be upon you my beloved Prophet. Everyone reading this is sending you their love from all parts of the world. May you smile and welcome them in Paradise… And invite them to your palace. I have a feeling the carpets are emerald green there too…

We miss you Muhammad… More than words can ever say…
Until we meet my love….

Your Hajj Representative
MakamLilly S. Mohsen

Published On Productive Muslim
22nd August, 2015
This is the original version

Please Stop Pretending And Just Face It!
There’s Nothing ‘Special’ About Special Needs!

Me and Sino

Trouble lurked on the horizon….

Not only was the cute little girl crying at the top of her lungs; she was wearing a RED T-shirt! Those were all the triggers my son needed to attack her….
And even though I’m known to have the memory of a gold fish, and this one incident happened many years ago, I still remember it vividly…

It was supposed to be a beautiful day. We were at the playground and I had that extra sense of triumph of having everything under control. No sandboxes in sight. Check. My baby girl’s milk bottle was tinted because my son can’t stand looking at milk or any other white liquid. Check. We were sitting in the sun as far away as possible from babies and loud families. Check. My son was wearing Velcro shoes, all-cotton clothing with tags all cut out and he never had any sugar, fruits or ketchup, so according to my calculations, the chances of him acting up were pretty low that day.

I was miserably wrong…

Even though it was a split second, it all happened in slow motion.

I was holding my son’s hand and carrying my baby girl in the other arm. The sounds of the cries echoed in my ears and I saw the look on my son’s face change. I quickly put my baby in her stroller as I felt his jaws clench and his little hand squirming away from my tight grip. He ran like a tiger towards the innocent cute girl and I knocked over a chair trying to catch up with him. I finally grabbed him from his shirt before he reached the girl, whom at this point had stopped crying from the shock of what was about to happen, yet still had forgotten her mouth and eyes wide open. Her mom started screaming which aggravated my son even more as he took out his anger on me. He slapped me hard on the face, swearing all kinds of obscenities then kicked me in the stomach. Amidst the chaos I motioned to the mom to take her girl and walk away, hardly missing the dirty look she gave me.

“Some women are just not allowed to be mothers!” I heard her tell her friends who also turned around to stare me down.

I bolted my son with my arms only to find another woman tapping me on the back and handing me my screaming daughter.
“You really shouldn’t leave your baby unattended” She said with disgust. “It’s not her fault you can’t control your son!”

I thanked her with an inaudible whisper before deciding to never return to the playground again. My tears rolled down all the way home, not even feeling the pain of my son’s teeth digging into my skin. Biting at that time was one of the few skills he used to calm himself down.

I mustered all my energy to get through the tantrums and breaking of stuff, guarding my daughter’s life from my son’s sudden unexpected blows till bedtime. Then I sat alone in the corner, just staring at the wall in utter silence, too drained to cry….

After all, it was supposed to be a beautiful day….

Today I come undone…

I’m not a writer or a psychologist or the ‘happy girl’ most people know me as. Today I’m just a defeated mother who is tired of pretending she’s strong enough to handle this challenge. Today I only want to sit with moms like me, who are tired of listening to people say “God gave you a ‘special’ child because you’re a special mom”, or “You’re blessed with a rare gift”. I want to hug the moms holding back their tears and screams as they watch their disabled children struggle through life, rejected, ridiculed and shunned by a society they can’t possibly fit in. I want to pause this roller coaster of emotions everyone thinks we are gifted and lucky to be on. Today I stand on solid ground holding hands with my own kind, and I ask with all honesty…
How does a mother of a normal child feel when she hears he’s being bullied at school? How would you feel if your child is never invited to birthday parties or family gatherings? If your friends are scared of your little son or daughter? If doctors tell you your child will never be able to go to college or work or drive or get married? We all know it’s in Allah’s hands in the end, but how would you feel hearing it…?

Perhaps people think raising a child with special needs is a gift… But how can a gift give you so much pain? How can a blessing break your heart…?

Denial Drags Us Down

With a wide spectrum of disorders ranging from ADHD to Autism and Down Syndrome, every child is different and no ‘one solid advice’ will cut it. Medications have catastrophic side effects and some disorders have no known cures yet. I remember after two weeks of constant testing, how uncomfortable the neurosurgeon was when he said, “You need to come to terms with your son’s reality. Sugarcoating the truth will only set you up for a huge disappointment. Therapy can help him cope but no one can heal him completely.”

“God can heal my son. Miracles happen every day!” I replied with conviction.

And so I held on to my faith. I still put him in mainstream schools, got him shadow teachers and demanded he gets the academic education he deserved. Denial was the only tool I had at my disposal until the powers of it ran out. I prayed for miracles but nothing changed. I stayed up night after night asking Allah for help, my tears flowing non-stop as I begged and pleaded and supplicated for a solution….

“Mommy, what are you doing?” My son asked one day.
“I’m talking to Allah, asking Him for help with something.” I said, wiping my tears.
“I want to talk to Allah, too” My son said. “I want to ask Him not to make you sad anymore.”

“Allah loves us so much and He is so Kind! Do you really think He would want to make anyone sad?” I asked.

Hearing myself say those words, hypocrisy stared back at me with a smirk. If I was so sure of Allah’s love, which I am, then why was I sitting here feeling sorry for myself like I’m being punished for something I didn’t do? Why was I trying to convince Allah that I have unwavering faith and then break down when He tests it?

“I will tell Him I don’t want a sad mom!” My son interrupted my thoughts. “Give me Allah’s phone number!”

My son’s innocence replaced my bitterness with laughter. That day I stopped waiting for a miracle, for I realized that you can’t hope to swim without getting wet, you can’t pass an exam without studying, and you can’t jump high without bending your knees. I realized we need genuine faith for miracles to happen and so I stopped begging Allah not to test me, because big rewards require huge efforts. And I’m truly desperate for the biggest reward of all… seeing Allah’s face in Heaven….

It’s Not What You See It’s How You See It

I wish I had a magic wand or a specific piece of advice to help every parent reading this article, but each case is just as unique as each of our children’s needs, and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out a productive pattern that works. I do have something else to give though, and once you allow yourself to see it with your heart, you’ll realize it surely does put your mind to rest…

“So verily, with the hardship, there is relief. Verily, with the hardship, there is relief…” (94:5-6, Holy Qur’an)

God Almighty never said we won’t face difficulties in this life, but He promised He will put ease in every hardship. Not before or after hardship, but along side of it. For every negative there must be a positive to balance it out, otherwise we would have collapsed a long time ago. It’s not the problem that’s affecting us, it’s how we deal with the problem that’s making it that much harder. It’s us being too drained to search for the comfort within the suffering that’s making us sad and broken. Us not seeing Allah’s blessing doesn’t mean it’s not there.

So allow me to share my personal endurance guide, complied after over ten years of downfalls and endless drama….

The Seven Rules Of Survival:

  • Ask God to help you through this.
    Ceaselessly. Consistently.
    Pleading while making sincere du’aa works!
  • Stop resisting and start accepting. Your life has changed so don’t go against the current. When necessary, adjust your schedule, outings and behavior according to your child’s special needs. If your child is aggressive, you’ll have to think of other kids’ safety and keep him or her away. Special needs schools are your best option. Trained professionals will guide you on how to create a new, easier lifestyle.
  • Put your ego on the side. Apologize and explain your child’s condition to strangers when things get rough. I found that people become very sweet and helpful once they understand the situation.
  • For God’s sake take a break before you break down. Spoil yourself every now and then with a spa, alone time, or some fun with your friends. Find a trusted someone to take care of your child even if it’s for a couple of hours once a week. Your child will be okay don’t worry. Well-rested parents make better parents.
  • Join support groups, look up nearby facilities that provide activities for special needed kids, and share tips with other parents who are going through the same struggle. It’s soothing to realize you’re not alone in this. I personally met wonderful families through organizations like ‘Unique’ (rarechromo.org) and Autism Speaks (www.autismspeeks.org)
  • Don’t forget your other children! You’re not the only one carrying this load; your special child’s siblings are carrying it too. Let them voice out their feelings and get the emotional support they need before asking them to help out or cooperate.
  • I firmly believe that every child, with special needs or not, has a unique talent gifted by The Great Lord. Find that genius flair and pursue it to the fullest. (Now that’s just me, but I believe my son is super talented in soccer he is destined to be the next Messi inshAllah). Maybe some of our kids don’t have the mental capacity to believe in themselves, but us parents have enough faith and will to believe in them…

Truth Is Very Different From Reality:

I remind myself before anyone else to zoom out and see the bigger picture. All this agonizing sorrow is perhaps a darker shade within a colorful portrait. The test is only a means to achieve a goal we chose. We can either resist the harsh reality or accept the blessed truth behind it. We can complain and scream “Why Me?”, wasting precious productive years of our lives, or we can accept that life in this world was never meant to be perfect and realize it’s only those with great stamina and perseverance that can reach the top, and finally enjoy that breathtaking view…

A man once asked Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Which of the people is tried most severely?” He said: “The Prophets, then those nearest to them, then those nearest to them. A man is tried according to his religion; if he is firm in his religion, then his trials are more severe, and if he is frail in his religion, then he is tried according to the strength of his religion. The servant shall continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sins.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2398)

Loud and clear my beloved Prophet… Loud and clear…

“Okay fine!” I suddenly giggle like a little child. “Perhaps we are special after all…”

Lilly S. Mohsen

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: The Final Episode

Published On OnIslam.net
July 14th, 2015
This is the original version

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: The Final Episode

Trophy

Oh man! Does that mean I’m going home after this? No more Ramadan episodes? No more camera crew and filtering out contestants and being asked 237 times a day how many minutes till Maghreb?
Fine I get it. It’s the final countdown, and before I start I’d like to say something to all of our lovely readers who are probably beating me to the finish line: I’ll really miss you guys!

Okay so what would be an appropriate grand finale? Come on people, give me some brilliant ideas and let me take the credit for them!
Wait… I hear something! Call me crazy, but I think it’s a conversation from thousands of years ago. Shhhhhh listen…

“Mary, where did you get this food from?”
“Oh uncle Zechariah, it’s from God. Indeed Allah provides to whom He wills with no limit!”
At that time, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:38)

At that time? Seriously?
I was pretty sure Prophet Zechariah asked God for a child all his life. Why does it say ‘at that time’? Or was it a different kind of supplication….? The kind based on the true belief that nothing was impossible when it came to Allah’s power?

How Do We Ask?

‘It’s not what you say it’s how you say it’. I guess many have heard this phrase before. There’s a difference between mumbling a request half-heartedly and then wondering why it was never answered and it’s a totally different thing when you feel every word without even saying it, knowing that with those silent screams of desperations and those helpless tears falling down your face, God will never, and I mean NEVER, let you down…

When Prophet Zechariah made a du’aa, he started by telling God his story. He told Him how he was growing old and his hair was turning grey. How his wife was barren and how they still both desperately yearned for a child. As if God didn’t already know that! But that’s the beauty of submission… it’s talking to Allah like He’s your best friend… Explaining to Him what you’re going through as if you can see Him. Certain and 100% convinced that your prayers will be answered, and then searching for the blessings that God has definitely lifted you up with while you were down on your knees begging for help….

Why Do We Have To Ask?

I’ll take one for the team and ask the inevitable question: Why doesn’t God give us what we want right away without having to ask? Isn’t He the Most Giving? Why does He put us in hardships to start with? Isn’t He the Most Merciful?
(Whoa I think my heart stopped there for a second at how brazen these questions sounded. You guys owe me big!)

Volumes could be written from the Qur’an and Sunnah to answer these doubts and queries, but I’ll just mention the one that makes my heart melt…

Did it ever occur to us that God loves to hear our voices…? That we are so dear to Him to the point He inspires us to supplicate, then rewards us for it. He then rewards us again by giving us what we want. He then inspires us to be thankful, then rewards us for that, too. He then inspires us to share the joy by giving out charity, puts those in need on our path, then rewards us for that, TOO! He then inspires us to encourage others to ask Him like we did, then rewards us for that, and in the end, when we meet Him on Judgment Day, we find all the above stored for us with the ultimate reward of Paradise….? Wow!

Is there perhaps a chain reaction of out-of-the-blues-blessings that starts with a simple, genuine plea from the heart…?
Yes, I think so too….

What Do We Ask For…?

Don’t look at me! I don’t know!
Yet…There’s a force dragging me away from my laptop and bringing me down to my knees… Come kneel next to me… lower your head and raise your hands… and just open your heart to the One who owns it…

My Dearest Most Merciful Lord….

Where do we start…? How do we thank You for every beautiful thing You’ve given us and every scary thing You’ve protected us from….?

How do we call on the One who says “Indeed I am close…”

How do we talk to the One who knows our inner thoughts and forgives our worst mistakes…?

But we have no one else to go to… My Lord we stand by Your door, needy and desperate, and even if you don’t answer right away we will keep begging until You do… There’s no where to run but to You my Lord…

Some of us come to You sad and damaged… we beg You to heal our broken hearts…

Some of us come to You sick and helpless… we beg You to take our pain and suffering away….

Some of us are lost and confused… some of us have fallen and failed too many times… and we beg You for guidance and support…

Some of us are scared and lonely…. And don’t know how we’ll survive another day… we beg You God to fill our lives with love and warmth…

Some of us are poor and can hardly make ends meet… we beg You to open for us the doors of wealth and success…

Some of us are ashamed… humiliated by what we’ve done or how we’ve gone astray… we beg You to give us a sign we’ve been blessed with Your forgiveness…

Some of us are desperate…. Oh God each and every one of us is desperate for something only You know of and only You can provide….

Bestow Your mercy on us my dear Lord… life is so hard sometimes… so grant us the patience and the will to stay on the right path and help us….

To the One who says “I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me” (Holy Qur’an 2:186)

This is our poor and humble supplication, and from You is the Best and most Greatest response….

The race has come to an end, and we don’t know if You’ve accepted us or not… if we are worthy of Your blessings or not… We don’t know who’s been saved and who’s lagging behind… All we know is that our only hope is Your everlasting mercy…

And today we ask You… please…

Please… look at us today… don’t let this Holy month pass by without admitting us into your eternally blessed servants… we don’t deserve it, but my Lord, You’re the most Merciful and the Most Giving….

Lilly S. Mohsen

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode Three

Published On OnIslam.net
On July 7th, 2015
This is the original version

MAGNET

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan
Episode Three: The Magnet

I know you guys are busy sprinting to win and have no time to stop. We’re almost done with the ultimate race and some of you must be both drained and anxious. So let’s jog and talk people. Jog and talk.
And now here’s a vivid image of me running backwards to face the contestants all serious and involved then I fall flat on my back. Ouch. (Hey! Don’t laugh.)

The People You Meet Are Your Key

At any point in time, you’ll find two kinds of good people:
Those with tribulations seeking help, and those in good situations willing to offer help.
Those who are eager to teach and those who are willing to learn.
Rich and poor, sick and healthy, clueless and knowledgeable….The list goes on.

It’s like a magnet really. God puts people on your path for a reason. We are all somehow attracted to our designated roles in other people’s lives, whether by giving or taking. And it’s through the love in our hearts that we help with passion.. Fasting, praying and reading Qur’an are all keys to genuine faith, but what’s more than that is having good manners, spreading peace and kindness and wishing others well. Without that kind of true love, giving would make us arrogant and taking would make us feel humiliated Think about it for a second while I search for a relevant Hadith….

The Messenger of Allah () said, “By Him in Whose Hand is my life! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another….” (Sahih Darussalam Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 68)

It’s those people who love each other for the sake of Allah who will stand in His shade on the Day of Judgment, will have the gates of Heaven opened for them and will be envied by Prophets and martyrs! (Al-Tirmidhi, Book One, Hadith 381) And what better than the Holy month to intensify our chances, when Satan and the rest of the ugly, ‘hate-inducing’ devils are tied up like silly idiots!

So without further ado, let’s demonstrate how to win people over and spread the love this Ramadan….

The Five Rules Of Attraction:

1- Greetings, Names and Smiles (GNS)

The rest of the above Hadith says it all…
“….. Shall I inform you of something which, if you do, you will love one another? Spread the greetings of peace amongst yourselves.”
Personalized, polite and cheerful approaches make people feel acknowledged. From garbage cleaner to king, treat them equally, remember their names and say the ‘salam’ first with a genuine smile. You’ll win over thousands of hearts.

2- Expect The Un-Expected (Which is Nothing)

“We live in a world where kindness is misconstrued as flirting”. I remember reading that somewhere and thinking ‘that is SO TRUE!’. We find it hard to believe people can be nice for no reason. But that’s exactly the point of love for the sake of God: asking for nothing back except for Allah’s pleasure. So when we find those rare gems who do good and expect zero from us in return, we hold on to them for dear life. Be one of those this month and you’ll be surprised with all the blessings God will shower you with. Trust me.

3- Make Room For Us
We love our personal space, but we’ll never forget those who make room for us, be it in the mosque, on a bus or in their hearts. Make people feel welcomed and follow the words of the beloved when he said, ‘The best assemblies are those in which people make room for one another’. (Abu Dawud, Book 5, Hadith 18)

So come on, be nice and quit hogging and shoving. We all wanna pray Taraweeh too you know!

4- Gifts With Love

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 594)

Like Oh my God just listing these rules I’m completely baffled by this religion I swear! Everything psychologists teach nowadays about influencing people and the laws of attraction was all already revealed 1400 years ago! Duh, why do non-Muslim professors pretend they’ve made a scientific discovery?

So remember to give little gifts to people for no reason. It makes them feel loved, appreciated and they’ll always be looking forward to reciprocate with another kind gesture.

By the way, I like chocolates, purple Lilies, and nice comments. Thanks! LOL

5- Return Negative With A Positive

Now that’s a tough one, sheeeeesh!

Imagine someone hurts you really bad and instead of slapping them back (on the face with a chair!) you understand, forgive and give them a warm hug instead. We say pain changes people and makes them bitter and shielded, but it doesn’t. Response and reaction are two very different things. A moment of anger can swerve you into a dark place, but responding with mercy and compassion will only put you on a pedestal and turn your enemies into lifelong friends!

Check this out….

“….Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend. (Holy Qur’an, 41:34)

My sister-in-law was talking to me the other day about how there’s no tolerance in our society anymore. The trending posts are now “If you wanna walk out of my life I’ll hold open the door!” or “Haters make me famous!”

Seriously what’s up with that?
You know what would make you famous?
Being a role model.
Being great and amazing, that everyone around you would dream of becoming like you.
Having a solid identity as a representative of our peaceful Islam that you make people fall in love with it. That’s your job. It takes commitment, humility and putting your ego on the side to reach that level of supremacy.

Treating people the way you want to be treated is the ultimate law of attraction. Let your magnetism shine brighter and spread the love we’re aching for….

Become a magnet today!
(That sounded like a cheesy commercial didn’t it? LOL)

Okay don’t give up on me yet! The final episode will knock your socks off I promise! (InshAllah)

See you at the finish line…. Stay tuned.

Lilly S. Mohsen

Lilly S. Mohsen is the author of the “Prophets To Islam” series for kids. She is a Psychologist who works as a part-time therapist besides being a spiritual speaker and a contributing writer to a number of renowned Islamic and educational websites. For more about Lilly, please check her new blog: lillymohsen.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @Lillymohsen.

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode Two

Published on OnIslam.net
On July 2nd, 2015
This is the original version

Episode Two: Joy Is A Six Letter Word

Family

The race has commenced and the clock is ticking.
Tick Tock Tick Tock
We are super excited as the camera zooms in on a random house:

Dad is glued to Twitter
Mom is glued to Facebook
Son is glued to Play Station
Daughter is glued to Instagram

My eyes dart back and forth and I quickly cover the camera lens with my hand.
“Psssstttttt guys! The angels are waiting to record your good deeds, and frankly I think they’re getting a little bored! Come on people, look alive!”

Looks like times have changed. The most we think of family members now is a bunch of people who share our DNA and last name. Most of us live in the same house yet are worlds apart, too occupied with focusing on how, our mentalities are growing in different directions, but forgetting that always and forever, like a beautiful tree, our roots will remain one.

Home is not just a place to eat and sleep guys… Home is a feeling…
Come here and hold your parents’ and siblings’ hands. Together we’ll start a new beginning this Ramadan.

Lost In A Safe Haven? Take The Vertical Road.

I don’t live on Jupiter! I know kids can drive you up the walls, siblings can be annoying and parents are ancient beings who don’t understand that the word ‘sick’ can also mean ‘cool’. But when your friends become more important than your own family then I think we have a problem here. And it’s not fair either, coz we save the ‘sparkle’ for the outer world and dim out the minute we get back home. Our family deserves some of our attention and time and the Holy month is the perfect opportunity to get back in ‘sync’. The best way to start is to pray together. Go to the mosque and learn the Qur’an and Hadiths with your parents, siblings and kids to re-create that special bond again. If you feel like you don’t belong in the safe haven of your home, start by taking the vertical road and worship Allah together as a family.
(Okay I was expecting a little applause here for the brilliant metaphor but whatever LOL)

Frame the Circle Of Trust with Kindness

Anyone you know can become a stranger overnight except for your family members, they’re stuck on you. Your parents will always be your parents. There are no ‘coupons’ to exchange siblings and kids. They’re your ‘Circle of Trust’ coz they’re constant, and deep inside they always want the best for you. So doesn’t it make sense to put the most effort in those ‘for-life’ relationships?

Deposit some ‘positive’ credit in the family bank account. I know life pulls us in all directions like work, school, friends, and obligations, and each pull requires time and effort. But Ramadan is the month of kindness, mercy and forgiveness. Let’s start at home people.

Dads: We know you work hard to provide financial security to the kids. But without taking the time to instill those Islamic ethics and principles, they’ll misuse that money you’re so busy saving. Be a lenient teacher and a loving friend to your kids this Ramadan. And yes, the cliché is truer than ever, the best thing you can do for your children is to love and respect their mom.

Moms: Over here! Hi! This is just a friendly reminder: Your smile makes the world shine bright. So be the cheerful sun in the morning and the serene comforting moon at night. Your kids need to hear that you love them, regardless of their whining and bad grades. Use the Holy month for fun charitable projects and Islamic bedtime stories. We know you need your private worship time, but your kids need your wisdom and love even more. So turn their electronic devices off and switch on the light of faith in their hearts. Use that time to reconnect with your husband and children before Satan is out on the loose again!

Teenage Boys: Seriously guys. I know you think it’s your birthright to be rebellious at this age but for the love of God have some mercy on your parents this month. Remind them why they dreamed of having you by being perfect these 30 days. Help out with the chores (yes including taking out the garbage and babysitting while you’re fasting. Life is unfair that way LOL). Once you gain your parents’ ‘Reda’, everything else will fall in place.

Teenage Girls: You probably think it’s your birthright to be dramatic too. Ummm not this month! So quit rolling your eyes and pretending you didn’t hear your mom calling. Instead, offer a helping hand with a smile. Us moms were 99% sure we were carrying royal princesses in our tummies, so be one this Ramadan. (I’m actually on my knees begging at this point).

And now is the time I remind all Muslims (including myself) of how to cherish their parents, whether you’re 6 or 60 it doesn’t really matter….

“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word. And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” (Holy Qur’an 17:23-24)

The Family Tree: Make Amends With Your Branches.

My son is a soccer fanatic so I happen to know a lot about sports. When you’re one of the players, you don’t complain to the press about the club’s drawbacks; instead you shield them and take one for the team when necessary. Family is the most important group you’ll ever be part of, they’re your roots. But you can’t expect a tree to grow if you don’t water it. Sit by your parents’ feet and kiss their hands every chance you get. Open your homes and hearts for your siblings and relatives. Help the needy and visit the sick ones. Love your family and forgive their mistakes this Ramadan. Please!

“Why is she talking about relationships in the month of Qur’an and spirituality? Did ‘On Islam’ even approve this article for publishing?”

Hey I heard that! Okay I didn’t want to do this but you guys leave me no choice.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Kinship (Rahim) is derived from Allah. If anyone maintains ties of kinship Allah maintains ties with him. If anyone cuts them off, Allah cuts him off.” (Sahih. Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 55)

You wanna win the Race to the highest levels of Paradise, don’t you?

So pick up that phone and make amends with your loved ones today. Call your estranged aunt or your ‘banned’ uncle and tell them whatever happened to drift you guys apart is water under the bridge now. Support your family and mend the cut ropes for Allah’s sake this Ramadan. And then come back and tell us how peaceful and enriched your life has become….

Because Joy is a six-letter word: ‘FAMILY’
May Allah make your homes mini-heavens on Earth….
Please send my Salam to all your loved ones….

Lilly S. Mohsen

Look out for ‘The Magnet’ Episode Three from the ‘Amazing Race’
Coming to a website near you this Ramadan.
Stay tuned….

Are You A Pushover? (Why Small Equals To HUGE!)

Published On Productive Muslim
June 30th, 2015
This is the original version

Are You A Pushover?
Why Small Equals To HUGE

Pushover

“You’ve become a doormat Lilly! You let people walk all over you, drain you and use you! And because you have the memory of a tiny gold fish, you never know when enough is really ENOUGH! Think of yourself and stop being such a pushover!”

Oops I’m sorry you had to hear that. Don’t mind my friend, she’s been a little cranky lately. Believe me that kind of anger usually stems from an insane amount of pain. Sometimes when people repeatedly get hurt by their loved ones, they end up shielding their hearts, terrified of getting hurt again, and refuse to submit to their compassionate natures. Slowly they become numb. They convince themselves that ‘strength’ is synonymous with ‘not caring’, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. A wise man once said, “Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

I understand why my friend steamed out like that, I actually hugged her instead of getting upset. Plus she makes the best chocolate desserts in the entire universe, so I really can’t afford to lose her LOL. (Yeah, newsflash: I’m obsessed with chocolates!)

I’m also obsessed with quotes, especially the ones based on Islamic teachings. Squeezing a relevant quote in the middle of a conversation makes me feel smart for some reason, I don’t know! Here’s another life-changing quote by a man named ‘unknown’ (See how smart I am?)

Watch your thoughts for they become words

Watch your words for they become actions

Watch your actions for they become habits

Watch your habits for they become character

Watch your character for it becomes your destiny

This statement is pure psychology, proven, tested, dissected and written about in hundreds of books. Come, I’ll show you…

The Definite Pattern:

“How can caring for others give me joy if no one cares about me? This theory is NOT true!”
A disapproving thought quickly turns to doubt or denial.
Thoughts turn to words.

“I’ve got my own mess to deal with so get out of my face!”
The negative thought is voiced out with anger to attack or repel others.
Words turn to action.

“You need to be selfish to survive in this jungle! Toughen up like the rest of us or you’ll be eaten alive!”
Justifications are given till discouraging yourself and others from helping the needy becomes effortless.
Actions become habits.

“Let others figure out how to get by, their problems can’t be our problems!”.
Loss of compassion changes a person. It leads to neglectfulness of our pure and kind inner beings.
Habit becomes character.

“A charity event? Man that’s good publicity! Make sure you take a picture of me hugging the sick kids and those sad wrinkly old people!”

Sometimes the only interest in kindness is shown  is under the spotlight, where it’s time to show off how great and loving we are. Fakeness tarnishes genuine bonds of love and leads to a gruesome destiny.

Everything becomes about ‘you’, while you withhold the chance to put a smile on someone else’s face, even if it cost you nothing at all, thinking:
Why should I? I’m not a pushover!”

 One Thing Leads To The Other:

Denial of truth à Repulsion à Discouraging people from helping othersà Negligence of our purity and inner goodnessà Showing Off à Selfishness to the point of withholding costless kindness à A miserable woeful life.
Hmmmmmmm interesting theory….

It’s not just the quotes. Take a look at the teachings of all the best-selling self-help books circulating millions of copies around the world. Their authors are celebrated professors, doctors and scientists. They spent years researching, studying and observing before cracking the code: The source of your happiness stems from making others happy. That’s pretty much the gist of it. But 1400 years ago, a blessed prophet who wasn’t a psychologist or a neurologist or a sociologist or any kind of ‘-ologist’ conveyed the Holy words of Allah, describing the same pattern that defines us till this day….

“Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense?

That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly),

And does not encourage the feeding of the poor.

So woe to those who pray

Who are neglectful of their prayers,

Those who make show [of their deeds]

And withhold [simple] assistance.”

(Surat Al Ma’un, Chapter 107, Holy Qur’an)

Don’t Underestimate Those Simple Acts

Just like abuse and bullying can have negative long-term effects on the society, where those in pain ‘pay it back’ with more hurt and anger, kindness can and will do the opposite of that if you ‘pay it forward’. We all have the humanity and compassion ‘gene’, and I just love the word ‘withhold’ in this Holy chapter because it perfectly describes how we suppress our kind-hearted natures when we deny the reality of this life. We forget we are all connected, and that the joy you spread will eventually find its way back to you. Life is a chain reaction. You and me have the power to conquer poverty, hunger, disease and wars by causing a ripple effect with one good selfless deed.

So the next time you pass by a poor homeless woman on the street and avoid eye-contact because it’s ‘awkward’; try pausing your busy life for a minute to ask “How can I help?”. We are the slaves of Allah and we have an important job to do people! We gotta help one another. And now is the best time to start coz guess who’s coming to town? The Holy Month Of Ramadan! SURPRISE! (I was gonna keep it as a secret but I couldn’t hold it in any longer LOL)

The 30-Day Kindness Challenge:

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. Let’s show the world what Islam is and defeat the hate with love and mercy. 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)
  • Ask your dad daily “What can I do to make your day better?”

For Your Precious Grandparents

  • Umm hello! Call and visit them! Make them feel special before they’re gone.

For Your Spouse and Children

  • Hide a note with a funny joke or compliment in your kids’ backpacks or clothes.
  • Text your husband or wife saying ‘I Love You’.
  • A minimum of three hugs a day for each member of the family (I’m serious! Sometimes all we need is a warm embrace)

For Relatives, Neighbors and Friends

  • Send flowers (or Konafa) to a distant relative with a card saying “Just a little something to make you smile”
  • Mown your neighbor’s lawn or wash their cars.
  • Tell your friends how much they mean to you and make du’aa for them.

For Co-workers and Other Professions

  • Bring homemade cookies to 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.
  • Leave a nice comment on articles you enjoyed (Uhmm Hint Hint)

For Absolute Strangers

  • Greet people with a smile (It’s a sunnah for God’s sake!)
  • Give up your seat for an elderly or a pregnant woman.
  • Hand out balloons to kids on the street

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. (Does that sound weird?)

For Those In Dire Need of Ma’oun:

  • 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?” (Surat Ar Rahman 55:60, Holy Qur’an)

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!

Lilly S. Mohsen

The Amazing Race Of Ramadan: Episode One

Published on OnIslam.net
On 22nd June, 2015

Episode One: It’s An Inside Job!

heart and brain

Thundering slamming sounds of doors locking.
Roaring noises of steel chains clatter together.

Hearts melt as the smiles fill the skies…
And the golden gates are opened, filling the universe with the sparkling scents of Heaven….
People from all around the world gather together, excited and anxious to be amongst the frontrunners. From every race, age and color, the chosen contestants hold hands in peace; awaiting further reminders before they head off for the big win.

“Listen up people! This is it! The doors of Hell are locked, the devils are chained down and the gates of Paradise are wide open. Tonight we start the 30-day countdown of the Amazing Race! Let’s make EVERY. SECOND. COUNT!”

Millions of Muslims raise their hands to the sky and chant in unity “Allahu Akbar! God Is Great!”

“The more people you help along the way, the more you raise your chances of winning the ultimate reward, so stay close and have each others backs! Now please pick up a copy of your craziest imagination before heading to Conference Room A for a staff meeting with your organs. Good luck!”

Health Benefits Of Fasting: 

All the organs take their seats, giving full attention to the Heart that stands up and speaks first.
“I’d like to welcome you all to this great event. I’ll be your team leader and I hereby make it very clear that my approval is essential before every word and action you make. That means you Mr. Brain!”
“Hey! What did I do?” The Brain looks innocently confused.
“I would rather this meeting be productive so I won’t be pointing fingers! We are one family after all” The heart replies calmly. “If you look at the white board, you’ll see a list a job descriptions and goals for the Holy month. Let’s go through them quickly…”

  • Lungs: Good news! Fasting helps remove built up toxins there. This month is for us to literally take a ‘breather’.
  • Stomach: Will be using the foodless and waterless hours to work on removing any waste matter and allowing for better digestions. Good luck!
  • Blood vessels: Since less blood will flow to the digestive system, more blood will go to other tissues, removing the cholesterol lining in our blood vessels. Well, about time!
  • Intestines: Like the stomach, will finally use this period for detoxification.
  • Kidneys: Will absorb more salt and water, which will help stabilize blood pressure, improve the organ’s functions and avoid kidney stones. Congratulations!
  • Immune System: Fasting reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body, reduces stress on the internal system so we can fight infections and starve many types of cancer cells. (Impressive, ha?)
  • Complexion: While fasting, the body has free time to focus on its regenerative energies on other systems like clearing up skin, sweat glands and preventing acne. Yeah that’s why we glow in Ramadan.
  • Liver: Reserved ‘Glycogen’ in the liver will be broken into glucose, which all of us organs can use as extra fuel or energy. Thanks pal! We owe you one.
  • Body Fat: When the supply of glycogen runs out, we turn to stored body fat, breaking it into fatty acids and converting that to useable energy. Let’s lose some of that stubborn weight this summer guys!
  • Brain: Fasting boosts the levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ that beats depression. It also enhances the production of proteins that activate brain stem cells, promotes brain functions, and protects it from diseases such as Alzheimer’s. We’re all counting on you this month dude!

    “Ummm Mr. Brain? Are you there?”
    “Ouch! Horrible Headache! Ahhhhh this really hurts!” The Brain screams as loud sirens shake the room.

Attention! Brace yourself while system resets. I repeat. All organs brace yourselves. This Is An Automated message.

“What’s happening?” The Kidney twins panic. “Is that an Earthquake? Oh my God we’re getting dizzy!”
“No that’s the Brain going into shock. It’s one of the expected side effects of adjusting to the new system” The Heart replies. “Guys if you’ll excuse us, I need to talk to the Brain privately please.”

Mental Benefits Of Fasting:

The Heart puts its hand on the Brain’s shoulder and speaks softly.

“Listen to me. I know the headache hurts but it will only last a day or two till the body adjusts to the fasting process. I need you to stay strong. This will pass I promise! Just breathe it out”
“I want pain killers, coffee, sweets, anything! Please!” The Brain holds its head.
“A war is raging inside coz you’re physically feeling hunger and thirst to the fullest. But I’m in charge now and I will see you through this. You’ll thank me later and here’s why…”

  • Increased focus, mental clarity and creativity.
  • Fasting is a powerful tool in maintaining a healthy mental state through clearing out suppressed ‘emotional baggage’.
  • Controlling impulsive urges which enhances wisdom.
  • Discontinuing bad habits and overcoming addictions
  • Fasting improves quality of sleep.
  • Ultimate awareness and living the ‘now’ helps you feel the ‘joy’.
  • Strengthening your will and inner power.

“You can do this. That’s the training you need to survive another year in the outside world. Together you and me, we will win this race every single day, because we have the ultimate goal in mind: Pleasing Allah and attaining the highest levels of Paradise inshAllah. You’re not alone pal”

“Oh you’re so sweet. How come we don’t spend more time together? Listening to you is really soothing… You’re so pure and genuine!” The Brain smiles.
“Tell me something I don’t know” The Heart winks back jokingly. “Now let’s catch up with the rest in Conference Room B. The ‘Soul’ will give the final speech.”

Spiritual Benefits Of Fasting

Dressed in a sheer white suit, the ‘Inner Being’ welcomes each organ with a rose. The sound of Qur’an in the background fills the room with tranquility. After the recitation is done, the ‘Soul’ stands up and asks the audience to close their eyes.

“Shhhhhhhh…. Listen to the silence inside of you. Separate from the worldly life for a moment and focus your attention inwards…

  • The body starts to feel lighter, senses are heightened and our beliefs and principles are crystalized. It’s Allah’s pleasure we are seeking.
  • This is the chance to embrace your new beginning. For even those with the worst past can create the best future.
  • The energies of the universe are bright and colorful in Ramadan. Your aura is cleansed and activated. Polish the mirror of your heart to reflect the ‘Divine Light’.
  • Feel the presence of your Lord and the angels around guarding you and recording your deeds. Allow yourself to absorb this month’s blessed glory.

    “Fasting is more than abstaining from food and water; it’s a spiritual journey towards Jannah. Let’s work as one team and promise ourselves to stay on the right path this year folks. Thank you for being here and good luck!”

I overhear the chitchats of millions of contestants on their way out of the auditoriums. Sorry, but I couldn’t help eavesdropping on some random conversations

“Man! That was impressive! It’s like all the organs are one happy family. How come we aren’t as close to our own parents and siblings outside Ramadan?”

“Tell me about it. Like my brother is so annoying I fantasize about punching him in the face sometimes.”

“I don’t remember the last time we all had a meal together!”

“My husband is married to his social media. I think if I disappear, the only way he will notice is if someone posts it on Facebook!”

Hmmmmm…I run quickly to fetch the blueprints for the next phase of the race and I chuckle with amusement!

Episode Two: ‘Joy Is A Six-Letter Word’.
Coming right up…. Stay tuned.

Lilly S. Mohsen