Tag Archives: islam daily

Day 17: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY SEVENTEEN: Grow Through What Others Go Through

You never know when it might happen….
Where you would be or how you’d react…

It was almost 4am.
I had just finished praying Fajr (after swallowing two very much needed sleeping pills), checked on kids and finally closed my eyes, to takeoff to dream world.
It wasn’t long before the high-pitched ringing sound of my phone zonked me right back to reality.
My heart pounded louder than cranes drilling through brick walls. I picked up the phone shivering. It was my sister.
“HELP! My house is on FIRE!”

Think about it about for a minute, will you…?

Because we are all a car accident, a kitchen fire, a blood test, or even a phone call away from becoming completely different people..
The homeless, the bedridden terminal patients, the girls who were brutally raped, the innocent prisoners and the burn victims..
They all could have easily been you and me.
They didn’t ask for it. They didn’t see it coming. They couldn’t have prevented it. And they never thought they’d suffer for years, all for one unpredictable incident.

Because you never know when it might happen….
Where you would be or how you’d react…
You never know what the future is hiding for us, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t prevent the unknown.
Only Allah can….

Beginners Level:

Prayers and paying it forward. Those are the two paths to peace.
When you’re down on your knees begging Allah for the things you need.
Asking Him to take your pain away.
Asking Him to forgive your sins and fill your life with joy
Remember to thank Him and ask for the biggest blessing of all…
Prevention.

Make sure you stay on the right track. Make sure you pay it forward by helping those in need, any way you can, so Allah can help you when you need Him the most…

Advanced Level:

Perhaps you can’t prevent calamities or problems, but you can surely be part of the solution.
You can help put an end to even ONE person’s suffering, or give hope to someone who’s hanging on by a thread.
This is a personal request to try save burn victims, with the intention of being saved from the Hellfire (God forbid)

We don’t have to wait to be knocked down before we can stand up.
Let us grow through learning from what others go through.
And instead of being scared of suffering, let’s take part in the miracle of healing.

Here’s how…

AhlMasr Burn Victims
Donate to one of the following Burn Victim Rescue Channels
Burn Rescue Online: http://www.burnrescue.org/
Children’s Burn Foundation: http://childburn.org/
Egypt’s Burn Unit http://www.ahl-masr.org/donate-online

I know this post is a bit intense and so out of the blues
You’re gonna have to forgive me for that because there’s a Eid surprise for those who do loool
But maybe reading this today is a blessing in disguise
Because we all have fears, and this is your chance to ask Allah, the Most Merciful, during these blessed nights, to please not test you with trials involving your worst fear.
It’s a chance to beg Allah to prevent the ‘worst’, and that alone is probably one of the ‘best’ blessings…
May Allah protect us and all our loved ones
Amen
 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

Day 16: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY SIXTEEN: The 22 Gifts Of Gratitude

 

So most of us know everything mentioned in the Qur’an is absolutely 100% ‘beyond-the-shadow-of-the-doubt’ true, right?
It doesn’t change the fact there’s a lot of fuzzy ambiguity in our heads concerning a number of verses, since you know, we’re not scholars or experts in ‘Fiqh’(Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) and “Tafseer’(Exegesis). Which are two very difficult fields of study if you’d like to know.

I for one read the Holy Qur’an and sometimes get a bit anxious or angry at myself for not understanding some of it. It’s frustrating! Like when was this part revealed? What was Allah referring to here? What does this word mean? Like oh, this verse sounds harsh. Why would Allah say that when He’s the Most Merciful?
The curious lot will frantically search through YouTube videos for explanations, and stumble upon (or actually deliberately hand pick) Nouman Ali Khan’s lectures, especially the ones keeping us on our toes for that ‘Aha moment’ he’s so good at delivering!
Some of us will get their answers and go back to reading Qur’an, while others will binge online, until 5 hours later they catch themselves researching the ‘101 Uses of Baking Soda’ (true story by the way loool).

Anyways, so I was reading this beautiful verse….

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ ” (Holy Qur’an 14:7)

And suddenly my eyebrows jumped above my forehead. Oh I was intrigued! How does simple gratitude amplify our blessings and gifts?
I mean how can thanking Allah silently in your mind or sending ‘thank you’ notes to people you’re grateful to, actually have a physically or even an emotionally positive effect on your life?
Will you find extra money in your purse the next day?
Will you suddenly wake up with an ‘updated’ sense of a humor?
Is it maybe symbolic for an increase in status in the Hereafter?
What exactly happens? What ARE the ‘increased’ gains of gratitude?

Okay guys listen.
I know most of us like to be informed, but we need to work like one team.
We need to have each others’ backs.
No one is allowed to wander off online to research the answers alone, because who knows when they’ll be back or what they’ll end up binging on? It’s too dangerous of a risk and the clock is ticking. We’re sticking together, okay?
We can do this! We can focus, brain storm, search Tafseer books and support each other as one independent family. Together ANYTHING is possible!
So… Uhmmmm…
Anyone got Ustadth Nouman’s phone number?

No? Okay loool
Here we go…

Benefits Of Gratitude:

  • 1- Actual Real-Time Happiness:
    Most people think accumulating more wealth is what makes us happy, but then why are so many rich people on antidepressants?
    According to the ‘Hedonic Treadmill’ Effect, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise as well, which results in no permanent gain in happiness!
    Reminding our selves of our blessings everyday by thanking God for them has been proven to increase long-term well being by more than 10% since it renews the excitement and joy. (Makes sense)

Health Benefits Of Gratitude

  • 2- Gratitude improves the quality of your sleep
  • 3- Improves overall health, reduces pain and decreases likelihood of developing mental disorders
  • 4- Gratitude extends your lifespan
  • 5- There’s a very strong correlation between vitality and gratitude, which means being grateful actually increases your energy levels.
  • 6- You’re more likely to use that gym subscription or just workout more often when you develop an attitude of gratitude, which in turn makes you healthier.

    What? Sounds far-fetched?
    Well the proof is in the pudding. I mean in the scientific research done by Harvard Medical School See? HARVARD! So we know it’s completely reliable!

Emotional Benefits Of Gratitude:

 

  • 7- Gratitude makes you less ‘jelly’.
    (That’s my lame attempt to sound cool by saying jelly instead of jealous, like how they talk in Teen movies. I can’t pull it off though, can I? loool)
  • 8- Gratitude increases your resilience. It helps you cope with rough situations and bounce right back up.
  • 9- Since the positive nature of gratitude is the opposite of the negativity that comes with stress, gratitude is proven to be one of the best methods for relaxation.
  • 10- It gives you back a beautiful past because when you’re always thankful and focused on the positive aspects of life, you’ll only make good memories. (Kind of like selective Alzheimer’s but you know, nicer lool)
  • 11- Gratitude makes you more optimistic. A brain trained to appreciate the good, will always see the good and expect the good to come.
  • 12- Showing gratefulness for what we have, and thanking others for it, makes us more empathetic, humble and less self-centered.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “He has not thanked Allah who has not thanked people” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
And you know what this encouragement has led to? BETTER RELATIONSHIPS!

 

  • 13- Gratitude helps you make more friends (because the biggest need for humankind is……? Oh come on, we’ve said it like a million times loool. Yes, exactly, the biggest human need is appreciation)
  • 14- And when people feel appreciated they’ll do more, which obviously leads to better marriages and relationships in general. Seriously guys, a simple ‘thank you’ goes a loooooooooonggggggggggggg way!
  • 15- Most successful people, Valedictorians, celebrities or anyone who’s ever won an important award; they all start their speeches by thanking others. You know why? Because it makes them look good! It makes them honorable and loved and looked up to, when they give credit to others and acknowledge their efforts. It’s like the most charming thing yet! (So yes, to answer your question, an attitude of gratitude will make you charming too, don’t worry)

    Mental Benefits Of Gratitude:
  • 16- Negativity takes a toll on the brain. It keeps it busy worrying, blaming, nitpicking, whining… the list goes on. But when you’re grateful, your brain is at full capacity to work on full speed. It makes sense to say gratitude increases productivity.
  • 17- Likewise, gratitude rewires the brain into thinking anything is possible, which is the main reason why grateful people are better at achieving their goals.
  • 18- It’s a package really, because grateful people obviously have strong faith in Allah. Even during the worst of times, they’re still able to focus on the good, which helps them make good decisions. Nothing can wreck your judgment and choices like being overwhelmed with hopelessness.

 

Spiritual Benefits Of Gratitude

 

  • 19- Gratitude is probably another word for ‘Mindfulness’. When you live ‘the now’, and enjoy every sip of water, or relish the feeling of resting your head on a fluffy pillow after a long day, without being sad about the past or worrying about the future, just appreciating the present moment, that’s the true essence of joy.
  • 20- It gives us much needed ‘spiritual fuel’ to deal with our problems. Just saying ‘Thank God it could have been worse’ has enough motivational power to keep you going.
  • 21- It makes you more generous, for when you’re truly grateful to Allah, you’d want to prove it with more than words. In my country, whenever someone has a baby, moves to a new house, gets married, goes to Hajj, graduates, gets a huge promotion, starts a business, pulls through a major surgery, survives an accident or even buys a new car, they MUST feed the poor. I never understood why we had to kill innocent sheep every time we’re happy, but now I kind of do. Sharing the joy with Allah’s needy salves is a form of gratitude.
  • 22- Gratitude increases one’s faith, because it eliminates the ‘random’ element. One of the most touching scenes ever is seeing a Muslim football player prostrating to Allah gratefully and making sujoud in the middle of the soccer field right after scoring a goal. They know it’s Allah who gave them the skill to play so good. It’s humble and beautiful and ‘oh-so-real’. Gratitude to the Lord sets us straight. It increases our awareness that everything good in this life is from Allah and Allah alone. It’s not random like whatsoever. It’s actually a personalized gift, and out of the billions of people on this planet, it has YOUR name on it.

    There’s no beginner or advanced level today. I’m too shy to interfere with such an intimate, private relationship between you and your Lord. So thank Him, the best way you know how…

 

Thank Him in a way that suits His Magnificence, Perfection, Excellence and Glory…
(Yeah, good luck with that loool)

Oh and while we’re at it…

Can I say…

I’m just completely overwhelmed with all the amazing comments, emails and feedback I’ve gotten in this blessed month. I have no idea what I’ve done to deserve such love and praise.

Thank you Allah for handpicking the most incredible, kind-hearted readers on Earth to read this blog.
And thank you all for your time and your beautiful smiles…

I wish you could see what’s inside my heart coz I have no earthly idea how to express it…I’m just truly, truly grateful…
Thank you…

Thank you so much…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

Day 15: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY FIFTEEN: Remember Those Who Have Left

 

I really don’t want this to be a sad post..
But let’s be honest, losing loved ones is sad.
It’s probably the first thing that comes to our mind when we try to define ‘grief’

I don’t wanna open old wounds or trigger the pain of loss again. But I don’t see a way around it, especially since today’s act of kindness is directed towards the ones who couldn’t be here with us this Ramadan.
The ones who have passed away, leaving so many memories behind that are still very much alive.

 

In my mind, death is like this dark ghost lurking the hallways, looking for lives to steal.

And even though we know it’s inevitable

We KNOW our time on this Earth is limited

And that sooner and later we’re all gonna die

It STILL feels farfetched and probably improbable (were you able to pronounce that without involuntary ‘eye-crossing’ loool?)

 

It still comes as a surprise when one of us goes
It still feels so ‘unexpected’
So ‘no-that-can’t-be-true’

Confession: I consistently ask Allah to take me first before all my loved ones. My mom thinks I’m selfish, but maybe some people are okay with being selfish in this specific scenario!

Allah knows some of us can’t even discuss the concept of losing a loved one forever..

And it’s not because our faith isn’t strong..

It’s because are hearts are so weak..

 

And no, it’s not the loss that tears us apart the most..
It’s the love for that person…
The love that stays ‘unfinished’, with so many things left unsaid.

It’s not them passing away, but us letting all this time pass by without weaving the best memories out of it.
Without telling them how much they’re needed, loved and missed..

Maybe grief is a different form of love..
Maybe this intense, hollow sadness is actually the love you wish to give to someone who has ceased to exist in this world..

And today, there’s a way to give it. I promise…

Beginners Level:

Make heartfelt du’aa for your deceased loved ones, because you know what happens next?

Your prayers will be wrapped up like special gifts (with a big bow and a little card and everything) then delivered to those who have passed. Allah is Kind and Merciful enough to make our sincere du’aa bring joy to our departed loved ones, raise them in status or ease their pain.

 

Advanced level:

Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) cried when he visited his mom’s grave. He wept so much till everyone else around him wept too..

Go visit your loved ones’ graves, for it’s the best reminder of the reality of this temporary world.. and make du’aa for them. I’m sure they’ll be surprised with your beautiful gifts.

 

May Allah bless the souls of our loved ones who passed away..
And help us love, embrace and appreciate the ones who are alive

While we still can…

 

If you guys have a minute, please allow me to whisper a special prayer….

Oh my Dear Allah, only You know what’s in our hearts…
Only You understand the pain of separation from those who took a part of us with them and left..
Our loved ones are under Your care and protection so protect them please..

Forgive and have mercy upon them, for You are the the Most Forgiving and the Most Merciful

Oh Allah, please forgive them….

Excuse them and pardon them and make honorable their reception
Expand their entry and cleanse them with water, snow and ice
And purify them of sins, the way a white robe is washed and purified from filth and dirt
Exchange their homes here in this life for better homes close to You
Protect them from the punishment of the grave and the torment of the Hellfire
And admit them with Your mercy into the Gardens of Paradise

My dear, Most Merciful Allah..
We beg You before we go to soothe this pain in our hearts

To send them our duaa in beautifully wrapped presents, and let them know they’ll always be in our hearts till we meet them again.

My Lord, You are the Most Loving, and the Most Compassionate
Do not leave us to ourselves not even for a split second…

And please…
Take care of our broken hearts…

 

Amen

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 14: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY FOURTEEN: Send Blessings Upon The Most Blessed

 

Have you ever been obsessed with someone so much that you just can’t stop thinking about them?

And when their name comes up, your heart pounds a whole orchestra of its own?

Or when you do something good, you get this huge silly grin on your face because you know your loved one will be so proud of you?

You know the kind of surreal, eternal, ‘novels’ love, dreamy authors like me write about loool?

The kind when you’d choose that same person

From millions and billions of people…

Even if you’ve lived in a hundred worlds.

Spent thousands of lifetimes.

Yet in every version of reality and every magnificent dream…

You’d still choose that very same person to love, over and over again…

Always and forever…?

 

This is the kind of beautiful affection most of us have for our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It’s just ‘timeless’ and consuming in a way that’s indescribable. Like it’s been engraved in our hearts or something. We respect, follow and emulate him as if we’ve known him all our lives.

As if we’ve been missing him for the past 1400 years and just can’t wait to reunite with him again.

I mean seriously, imagine living next door to the Prophet (PBUH). Like you’d cook his favorite meal, and you know, invite him and Omar and Abu Bakr over for dinner. Just like that loool.

Imagine actually being able to talk to him…
See his face…
Hear his voice….

We didn’t have the chance to interact with our beloved Prophet in this life like others did, but Allah is Fair, for He never denied us the opportunity to connect with him nonetheless. In fact, Allah orders us in the Holy Qur’an to keep Prophet Muhammad in our thoughts, and emulate Allah Himself and His billion-gazillion angels in sending blessings his way…

“Allah and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O you that believe! Send your blessings on him, and salute him with all respect. (Holy Qur’an 33:56)

And then Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) added to that by saying, “Allah has angels who go around on Earth, conveying to me the salaam of my ummah.”, (Saheeh Al-Albani)

It’s weird….

I mean we listen to our grandparents reminisce about the ‘good ol’ days’ and think they must have landed from a different planet.

And then listen to ‘extra- snatched’ teen slang and suddenly feel ancient!

Yet no matter how far we are or how long it has been since his passing, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is somehow always present between us, I don’t know how!

His memory is constantly alive, redirecting us to become better people.
Even when he’s not with us, he’s still there…
Even though we’ve never met him, we feel he’s closer to us than our own families…

Guys help me out! I really don’t know how to explain it well enough.

It must be one of Allah’s subtle miracles because when it comes to Prophet Muhammad it’s like time and space don’t exist anymore…

Okay you know what, forget it! Khalas I can’t explain it loool

So you ready for this day’s good deed?

Here we go…

Beginners Level:

Take time out of your Friday to send blessings upon the most blessed, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him)
Let say mmmmmm a hundred times?
Deal!

Advanced Level:

You guys will up the challenge to a thousand times! We don’t call it ‘advanced’ for no reason loool
Want some motivation?
Check this out….

The Messenger of Allah (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: “The people who will be nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be those who supplicate Allah more often for me.” (At-Tirmidhi, Hasan Al-Albani)

May your lives be filled with a huge amount of blessings…
The number of times I typed the word ‘blessings’ in this writing multiplied by 269993256392723749 times

See you tomorrow inshAllah

Stay blessed,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY 13: Special Edition- 99 Reasons Why We Fast In Ramadan

  • Day 13: Teach A Child About The Miracles Of Fasting

Okay guys no time to waste

Get out your notebooks, pens and reading glasses.
Today’s good deed is a bit academic. This is important. We need to know our stuff.
Silence in the classroom please loool

You know, when children ask why Muslims fast in Ramadan or why God wants to torture us with thirst and hunger, they deserve a better answer than ‘We fast to feel the poor’

Like come on, who are we kidding?

A dinner table with lots of delicious hot dishes, cool yummy drinks, whipped cream covered desserts and ‘zombying’ out on the couch coz we can’t breathe after eating too much wouldn’t really convince a child we’re fasting to feel the poor.
They deserve real, logical, mind boggling answers to their question…
They deserve our investment in their knowledge of their own beautiful religion…
(And frankly we deserve it too! We need to know why Allah believes it’s ‘good’ for us to fast)
So without further ado, I present to you the Golden list of ’99 Reasons of why Muslims fast in the Holy month of Ramadan’
I tried to keep it as brief as possible, but of course I urge you to dig deeper if you need more information (that would be the advanced level for this good deed)

Here we go….

Health Benefits:

  • 1- Fasting speeds up metabolism
  • 2- Helps improve insulin sensitivity
  • 3- Fasting helps us lose weight (Sambousa-less and Konafa-less fasting that is loool)
  • 4- Fasting promotes longevity since it gives the body organs time to rest
  • 5- Fasting improves hunger by releasing the correct ‘hunger’ hormones and in turn fighting obesity
  • 6- Fasting improves the immune system since it reduces free radical damages and lets the body focus on healing itself
  • 7- Human growth hormones are released during fasting, facilitating fat burning and muscle gaining
  • 8- Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called ‘autophagy’, resulting in cellular repair such as removing waste materials from cells
  • 9- Fasting promotes Gene expression (which are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules) protecting us against diseases
  • 10- Fasting reduces Oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
  • 11- Fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • 12- Studies show fasting can help prevent cancer! (Yay!)
  • 13- Fasting also reduces the side effects caused by chemotherapy
  • 14- Fasting is a complex and complete detoxification system for the body
  • 15- Fasting has been proven to improve the senses of vision, hearing and taste
  • 16- Reduction of allergies is also one of the many benefits of fasting

Here is also a list of medical conditions improved by fasting (according to Dr. Fuhman’s Book ‘Fasting and Eating for Health’)

  • 17-Adult onset diabetes
  • 18- Acne
  • 19- Arthritis
  • 20- Asthma
  • 21- Atherosclerosis (if anyone knows what that is, please translate it to us in human language loool)
  • 22- Autoimmune Illnesses
  • 23- Benign Tumors
  • 24- Chronic back and joint pain
  • 25- Chronic fatigue
  • 26- Colitis
  • 27- Deterioration of the Musculoskeletal system
  • 28-Digestive disorders
  • 29- Eczema
  • 30- Hay fever
  • 31- High blood pressure
  • 32- Hyperactivity (Should probably let the kids fast more often so we can finally take those long baths)
  • 33- Hypoglycemia
  • 34- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • 35- Insomnia
  • 36- Lupus
  • 37- Epilepsy
  • 38- Osteoporosis
  • 39- Psoriasis
  • 40- Substance abuse and addictions (well, if you can get drug addicts to fast that is)
  • 41- Uterine fibroids
  • 42- Sinusitis
  • 43- SchizophreniaOkay sheeeeshhh! I have a newfound respect for doctors who use these words in their daily conversations. I’m already tired just typing them out loool

    Mental Benefits Of Fasting:

  • 44- Fasting is the most sophisticated will power workout ever (makes sense right? If you can’t control yourself, what can you control?)
  • 45- Fasting dissipates cravings for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other less harsh, yet addictive drugs.
  • 46- Fasting increases neurochemical levels in the brain such as ‘Dopamine’, the happy hormone that elevates your confidence to the roof!
  • 47- Fasting actually increases the number of brain cells so it literally makes you smarter
  • 48- Fasting increases clarity, cognitive functions and promotes your ability to make better critical decisions.
  • 49- Fasting encourages better motor skills functioning and precision
  • 50- Research has found that fasting improves the overall quality of your sleep
  • 51- Fasting increases productivity. Like Robin Sharma says ‘If you want to get more done, eat less food”
  • 52- Fasting regularly results in mental breakthroughs and increased free flow of intelligence and creativity

    Beauty Benefits

    (Girls, did you just scroll down to this one?)

  • 53- Fasting promotes glowing clear skin by accelerating the body’s self healing ability
  • 54- Fasting promotes faster cell regeneration, which means healthier nails
  • 55- Fasting leads to healthy shiny hair
  • 56- Fasting promotes faster healing of scars and wounds
  • 57- Fasting lowers stress levels, and stress is one of the main culprits for premature aging

    Emotional and Spiritual Benefits:

  • 58- Fasting boosts self-esteem (it confirms in our minds the notion of ‘YES WE CAN!’)
  • 59- Deprivation leads to appreciation, which is the root of joy.
  • 60- Fasting trains us to be mindful and consciously aware
  • 61- Fasting teaches us ‘delayed gratification’, a concept proven to be the number one element behind success in this world
  • 62- Practicing patience during the month of Ramadan adds to our personal growth and us attaining maturity
  • 63- Fasting provides tranquility and peace to the heart and mind
  • 64- Fasting is the method of moving towards self-realization and reaching ‘super conscious energy’. This explains how we can stay up all night praying, feeling spiritually charged even though we are food and sleep deprived.
  • 65- Fasting is described as ‘Spiritual Catharsis’ (Sort of like a reset button to restoring the soul)
  • 66- Fasting in this Holy month expels, discharges and vacates impurities within us to purify ourselves and connect with Allah (like a shower to the soul)

    Other Extremely Important Reasons:

  • 67- So yeah in simple terms we fast because Allah said so. Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, without it our religion isn’t complete.
  • 68- Allah says ‘O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed to you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain taqwa’ (Holy Quran, 2:183)
    Attaining Taqwa (piety and fear of Allah) is the MAIN reason why we fast. It serves as a shield to protect us from sinning.
  • 69- Fating trains us to listen to our heart and make it the boss! (So when the heart s
    ays ‘lower your gaze dude’, or ‘stop gossiping girl, you’re fasting’, you’ll do it)
  • 70- Ramadan schedule encourages time management since every minute of the Holy month counts!
  • 71- Fasting teaches us flexibility. Even when we’re tired and cross-eyed, we still go to work and get things done under dire circumstances.
  • 72- And here it comes, finally, the most popular reason we all quote: Fasting helps us feel the suffering of the poor and hungry.
  • 73- Fasting strengthens faith! Even when we’re parched, cranky or just downright exhausted, we will still fast. And we won’t break it even when no one is around, because we know Allah can see us.
  • 74- In Ramadan, our sense of competition is heightened, especially with ‘who is at which chapter of the Qur’an’ kind of thing loool (or is that just me?!)
  • 75- The most beautiful ‘ummah unity’ happens in Ramadan. Two billion Muslims suddenly speak the same language, eat the same food for suhoor and even tell the same jokes (The “Ramadan is my favorite month coz I have a ‘date’ every night” tweets never get old loool)
  • 76- Which reminds me, when you follow the sunnah and have a ‘date’ for iftar, (the fruit of course!) on an empty stomach, you’ll gain multiple health benefits, since dates are rich in potassium, iron, minerals and nutrients. They’re the queens of all fruits.
  • 77- In Ramadan we pray Taraweeh together at the mosque. Do I need to list the amazing rewards of that? (Easy bonus point)
  • 78- In Ramadan, we are more likely to invest some time in learning about our religion. (Since we are right there at the mosque, we might as well listen to the shiekh’s lecture)
  • 79- And when you stand in line to pray next to hundreds of other people, you realize you’re just the same like everyone else. Ramadan is the month of unpretentiousness and humility
  • 80- Of course you’re not gonna get up and run outside right after prayer! You’ll probably say your ‘salams’ and ‘may Allah accept you’ and ‘what did you guys have for iftar?’ Praying together strengthens human relations since you see the same people every day, and get a chance to socialize with practicing Muslims.
  • 81- The month of Ramadan is a cure for loneliness. I’m pretty sure that’s the most time reverts can make new Muslim friends.
  • 82- You’ll see this the most with teenagers. Try telling them anything and they’ll debate it till they’re blue in the face, but when it comes to fasting, they do it calmly. Just proves how much fasting teaches us the most important skill of all: ‘acceptance’
  • 83- Ramadan is the month of generosity. We truly experience the joy of giving charity during this month, reminding us to do it more often, which benefits the whole society.
  • 84- The Holy month brings you closer to your family. And you know the saying, for a tree to grow high it needs strong roots…
  • 85- Ramadan is the month when the Holy Qur’an was revealed. Even Muslims who don’t touch their book during the year, will read it during Ramadan. It’s like an involuntary act, and yet it brings forth multitude of blessings.
  • 86- Since the meal of suhour is eaten right before dawn, Muslims follow it by praying Fajr (even those who aren’t used to praying it on time) And you know what the Hadith says: the sunnah of fajr prayer is worth the whole world and what’s in it.
  • 87- I know it’s an obligation, but because the Holy month is full of blessings, many Muslims are reminded or encouraged to pay their full zakat during that time. On a wider scale, such activity is good for the economy and when done regularly and promptly should prevent poverty in the Muslim world. (But you know..)
  • 88- Performing Umrah in Ramadan is equal to the reward of one Hajj (there you go, an extra gateway for those who didn’t get accepted for Hajj because Allah is so Kareem)
  • 89- Two billion Muslims taking part in the same ritual for a whole month is such a powerful demonstration of our power and effectiveness (maybe one day it will be used to change the world to a better place. Amen)
  • 90- Muslims know that fasting isn’t just abstaining from food, water and sexual relations. It’s also a practice of self-discipline namely by controlling anger. In essence, Ramadan is like a yearly anger management course.
  • 91- Since we completely change our routine, Ramadan is the best chance to adopt some new healthy habits and lifestyles. It’s like a head start for positive change.
  • 92- Allah promises us tons of forgiveness in this blessed month, In fact, whoever fasts the month ‘properly and faithfully’ will have all his or her sins forgiven. Ramadan is like a yearly chance for a clean slate with Allah (Doesn’t it just make you love Him more and more?)
  • 93- Now you wouldn’t ask and expect all these showers of forgiveness if you can’t forgive others, right? I mean that’s just rude!
    Ramadan is the month of mercy and forgiveness and it should make us better people, capable of forgiving one another
  • 94- Okay so you’re gonna forgive all these people and not yourself?
    The most person worthy of your kindness and forgiveness is ‘you.’ The Holy month comes every year to remind us of that little simple fact. Ramadan is the time to let go of the past mistakes and start anew…
  • 95- Which brings us to resolutions and stuff. Yes on New Years, many of us come up with a list of goals and pledges for the year ahead. But in Ramadan, the list is spiritual, related to our relationship with Allah, and our determination to be better Muslims and attain Paradise inshAllah. Ramadan is in a way the beginning of a new year for Muslims.
  • 96- We expect our kids to fast when they reach the appropriate age, even though it breaks our hearts to see them hungry and thirsty. But isn’t that the best training for us parents to discipline them? If we can deprive them of the means of survival like food and water loool, we can surely deprive them of what will spoil their brains and lives (like TV, too much candy, bad-influence friends and wasting time on Ipad games)
  • 97- For married couples only: Since physical intimacy is forbidden during the day, it makes spouses miss each other. Ramadan rekindles lost romance in marriages, don’t you think? (Insert innocent wink here loool)
  • 98- If you think about it, Ramadan uncovers the real meaning and purpose of this world. For when you live your life like ‘Ramadan’, your Hereafter will be like ‘Eid’ (Deep huh? Loool)
  • 99- And the finale….
    Dan Dan Daaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Laylat al Qadr: the night which is better than 1000 months. Worshipping Allah on that night is worth more than spending over 80 years (your whole life basically) worshipping Him day and night.
    What more could be said here?

So, when we say ‘Ramadan Kareem’, we actually mean it…

In 99 different ways…

All my best,
Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Twelve: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWELVE: There’s Always A Place To Volunteer

 

Turns out reaching a state of ‘Happiness’ is ridiculously easy.

You finally find the set of keys you’ve been looking for for over three hours and you’re ecstatic!
You see a funny video of a cute baby with a voracious appetite and you can’t stop laughing.
Your life long friend calls to cheer you up and you’re suddenly in a positive mood.

It really doesn’t take much to be happy!

And it also doesn’t take long for this happiness to subside, simply because no one can maintain one mood or emotion endlessly. No one can possibly be happy ALL the time (I mean come on, imagine how extremely annoying that would be!)

So if it’s not constant happiness that we’re pursuing (since we just found out it’s obviously unattainable) then what exactly are we running after? What’s the missing element powerful enough to take this excruciating sadness away?

What in this life is capable of making us feel alive…?

 

 

No really, what is it?

I’m actually asking you guys loool

 

Well studies have shown that selfish people who have everything and live only for themselves suffer from low-self esteem, depression and are the most likely to commit suicide.

On the other hand, thanks to MRI technology, it has also been proven that ‘giving’ activates the mid region of the brain, the same part responsible for cravings and seeking pleasure. (The scientific study uses eating chocolate as an example of intense pleasurable feelings. I think I just fell in love with scientists and researchers; such noble, knowledgeable people loool)

So I thought I’d put the theory to the test…

I joined my dear friend on one of her volunteering jobs to pack ‘Iftar’ meals for the less fortunate. On our way there, she eloquently prepared me for my first experience…

Marwa: ‘So we’re supposed to pack 1000 hot meals in less than an hour’

Me: ‘How is that even possible?

Marwa: ‘We’ve been doing it for years. You basically give up the right to breathe and instead you work NON-STOP! You hear me Lilly? No side talks, no calling the kids to check on them, no whining about the heat or about your feet going numb. And no bathroom breaks!’

Me: ‘I can do that’ (Gulp)

Marwa: ‘Oh and also… uhmmm… heads up…. The supervisor yells a lot. She will make it a point to publicly humiliate you in front of all the other volunteers if she sees you’re not doing a good job, so just be prepared.’

Me: ‘Okay stop right there! Are we volunteers or ex-cons going back to jail? I plan on donating my time not my dignity, thank you very much.’

Marwa (laughing): ‘Dignity? Honey, this is serious work. Hundreds of people around the country are expecting this food and there’s no room for mistakes. Do yourself a favor and leave your dignity at the door. ‘

 

I did….

And honestly, I never thought working in an assembly line, amongst total strangers, sweating from the heat and shivering from the fear of humiliation, getting screamed at while bagging plastic boxes like a maniac and then going home smelling like meat stock would bring me such immense joy!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to this beautiful feeling…

So if you’ve never experienced it before, I’m urging you to please to give it a try….

Beginners Level:

Donate your time to a worthy cause.
Volunteer at the local hospital, orphanage, public school, soup kitchen, food bank or help clean up a district in your neighborhood.
The options are endless.
Just pick one and try it out for a day. You’ll see how the humbling experience will be life changing.
You’ll see how expecting the reward only from Allah and no one else, is so amazingly fulfilling….

Advanced Level:

It’s kind of addictive…
I can safely assume anyone who tries the beginner level will most certainly move up to the advanced level of wanting to do this every single day for the rest of eternity because …

‘When action meets compassion, lives change…’
Starting with yours….

May all your days be filled with joy and may Allah accept us all in this beautiful, generous, holy month…

Amen

 

All my love,
Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Eleven: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY ELEVEN: Be A Therapist For A Day

 

I’m writing this while being held at gunpoint.

Can I just take a moment before I depart this world to applaud moms who have more than two kids at home….
Seriously, HOW do you do it? Especially single moms like me. No really, HOW?!

My son is sitting right next to me, sending me texts and voice notes on ‘Whatsapp’ while talking to me. And I have to respond to both conversations at the same time or I’m in BIG trouble! And on the other side is my daughter, who had just handed me a revision sheet for me to test her before her final exam tomorrow.
I’m only one person, so how does that work?
Is there some kind of class I missed in high school and that’s why I don’t know this stuff? Loool

 

Even though I’m a very private person, I’ve been told my blog writings can sometimes get ‘too personal’.
Perhaps that’s true….
I guess even the most tight-lipped people will let something slip, because as much as they struggle to stay reserved, they’re human, with a built innate need to be understood. Our ego stands up and nudges us to deny it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we all have a constant crave for our feelings to be validated, no matter how trivial or dramatic they may seem. Sometimes we just need to talk, not to seek solutions or sympathy, but to hear our minds’ inner thoughts and see that we’re not alone, there are people out there who can relate, you know?

Except another part of human nature dictates the exact opposite. We think no one will understand. We think no one else has problems or pain or a ‘plate full of tears’. We can be so self absorbed that we only see our merits and look at other people’s faults, even when it comes to the closest people to our hearts.

Our problems are magnified (coz we are so up close against them with our cheeks squashed into the closed window) and so we fail to notice the rest of the world’s problems, yet insist we’re compassionate people, who live to serve others.

Once the ego stands up, it completely blocks our view of how others might feel..

We expect them to be there for us ALL the time, no matter what they’re going through, yet give ourselves excuses when we can’t do the same..
No wonder some of us end up alone, because a relationship based on ‘always taking’ or ‘always giving’ doesn’t stand a chance..

Does all the above sound a little bit too familiar?
Did it hit home yet?
I know, I would never admit it either, not even to myself loool

Now men might not relate to this very much, but women will totally get it, coz our relationships with family, friends, neighbors and coworkers are what matter to us the most. Once any emotional connection is threatened (especially if it’s a close one) we go a little bit insane.

We TRANSFORM loool.

We turn into creatures we barely recognize; professional blamers, psycho maniacs, stalkers, naggers, private investigators, and bitter hatemongers. We stone wall and shut people out, or just hibernate and disappear into thin air.

And when we’re finally alone, and especially when we realize our relationship with ourselves is devoid of peace and harmony, too, that’s when depression hits hard…

We collapse..

We lose the ability to help ourselves
And that’s when we need help the most..
That’s when we need real ‘empathy’….

You know, sympathy is the easiest thing in the world. You can watch a movie and cry buckets when the noble dad dies, or see a picture of a Syrian refugee and feel your heart ache.
It’s easy because you’re in your comfort zone, safe and detached.
It’s getting down to your knees, and actually feeling that person, that’s the hard part.
It’s putting yourself in their place and realizing the only difference between you and them is a twist of ‘preordained destiny’, the same Divine will that put them there could have easily put YOU in their spot.

We just want to feel like someone understands what we’re going through…
We just want ONE genuine person who won’t run or get defensive, or start lecturing us or emotionally abusing us more when we’re drowning and need help..
For God’s sake…
Be that ONE..

Beginners Level:

It’s time for you to step in.
Someone in your circle has gone through this cycle, hit rock bottom and is now in a dark hole they can’t get out of.
Someone in your circle is sad or depressed and needs to talk,
And you know it!
You just don’t know that you know it loool
Be a therapist for that person today. Just call and ask how they’re doing and mean it.
Listen and let them talk it out…
And you can sue me if you don’t get multiple rewards for this beautiful act of consideration loool.

Advanced Level:

Depressed people are stuck. They can’t get out. They’re not enjoying the suffering and emotional torture, trust me.
They just can’t help but feel down.
So don’t try to give them solutions like ‘let’s go for a run’ or ‘just read Qur’an and you’ll feel better’. No! Coz they really can’t do it.

All they need is for you to empathize. Listen and try to understand and keep following up with as many sad people as you can handle. Keep knocking their doors till they get up and open it for you.

Show them there are still good, caring people in this world…
Maybe just knowing this might be enough for some of them

Special Level:

This one is for my regular and ‘anonymous’ clients
I usually take Ramadan off, but here’s a green card to contact or email me this week (till Saturday) if you guys really wanna talk.
It would be my pleasure to be your online therapist (and hopefully help if Allah will allow it).

You never know…
Sometimes a total stranger can do what a soul mate can’t..

Here’s my email:

lillysmohsen@gmail.com

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone
All my best,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

Day Nine: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

DAY NINE: Do It Once From The Heart

Is it really day 9?
So the first third of Ramadan is almost over?
I’m sure you guys know the widespread Hadith breaking up the Holy month into three stages

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The first part of the month of Ramadan is mercy, the middle of it is forgiveness and the end of it is freedom from the Hellfire.” (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol.: 93, Pg.: 342)

Even though some say it’s a weak narration but still, I believe it serves as a roadmap for believers.
A roadmap of ‘very much needed’ hope….

And now that the first part of the Holy month is almost over, tell me, how do you feel….?
Are you tired or still gearing up for full speed?
Do you think Allah has accepted us yet…?
Do you think we’re at least nominated to join the group He’s pleased with?
Do you think….
He loves you and me?

We endure the heat of the hot summer days, feel the inside of our throats cracking slowly from the thirst, and feel the tiredness sinking in, but we push through the day till dawn. And when it’s time for iftar, we hold back for an extra minute, holding a cup of water with our eyes closed, resisting the urge to take a sip, until we finish whispering a special prayer, asking Allah to forgive the sins of the past, grant us a better future in the next life or to just heal the pain only He knows about…

Day in day out, we repeat the same pattern of “pushing through- inhaling our food- praying- reciting Qur’an- more food (plus gulping down tanks of water at suhour time)- pray- sleep- wake up- push through”
I think by the first week, we’re kind of on autopilot, right?

Except genuine feelings can never fit into a daily pattern. They need to be felt, touched and cried out….

You need to pause and think for a second, right here, right now, ‘has Allah accepted me yet…?’
Does Allah really love me…? And more importantly, do I love Him with all my heart…?

What will happen to us on the Day of Judgment? Will we find heaps of sins we once thought were ‘no big deals’? Or will we find heaps of rewards stacked up because of our little acts of kindness we also thought were ‘no big deal’?
Will we be pardoned or will He ask us tough questions? Questions we’ll be too ashamed to answer?

“Did you truly understand who you were standing before when your mind wandered during prayer?”
“You knew your sister was heart broken, why did you look the other way?”
“You had dinner tables rolled out for you while others down the street were starving. Why didn’t you help?”
“You found out some ‘hot gossip’ about this person and didn’t waste time spreading it. Haven’t I concealed your faults?”
“”You had books, internet, research facilities, lectures and countless resources to learn your religion and teach it to your kids. What else were you busy with that was more important than pleasing your Lord?”

Tears roll down when I think of this day…

I know Allah is Merciful but He’s also Fair, and let’s face it, we haven’t been through a fraction of what true believers have been through, and we’ve done so little compared to others: those in war zones, those who are homeless or suffer from chronic illnesses or disabilities. Those whose faith is severely tested through loss, deprivation and torture. I know I shouldn’t think that way, because it’s the intention that matters and Allah is the final Judge. I’m just scared we’re all doing the ‘high-five-great-job’ kind of thing and secretly being full of ourselves after praying ‘Taraweeh’ every night or doing a teeny-tiny good deed, when in reality we’re just sabotaging our relationship with Allah.

I know it sounds pessimistic and morbid, but it’s something we need to consider too.
Are we doing it all from the heart?
Ya Allah have you accepted us yet…?
Are You pleased with us?
Do You like to hear our voices…?

And then I remember this beautiful Hadith where Allah says:

“He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me. (Muslim, Ibn Majah and Ahmad).

 

He doesn’t expect perfection…
He promised to be there for you… even when you’re broken
Even when you’ve sinned…
Even when you’re scared and weak and a total mess…
Just run to Him, humble and sincere, and He will accept you….
Just talk to Him from the heart, and He will listen and respond, no matter what you’ve done or said…
For once He loves you, this emptiness you feel inside will be washed away; that emptiness that nothing and no one can fill expect the genuine love for your Merciful Creator…

I’m sorry I don’t know why I can’t stop crying. I’m a bit emotional today…
Plus, I found ants all over the piece of chocolate I saved for Iftar, so I’m also partly crying about that too LOL

Day Nine’s act of kindness is directed towards you. There is no better deed than filling that void in your soul by drawing closer to Allah… and those who’ve felt the ‘closeness’ before know exactly what I mean…

Beginners Level:

Ask…
Ask Allah to love you and to make you love Him. Tonight, ask Allah with sincerity and humility, not for Paradise or refuge from the fire, but for His love, and for Him to love you back…

Advanced Level:

Do something to show you’re serious about your request. Spend the whole day asking again and again. Help someone who can never repay you or do a secret good deed just for His sake. And then ask for that love we all desperately need.

 

Sheeeshhhh
Intense task, huh?
But you know what, when you ask the One who calls Himself ‘The Generous’ and ‘The Giver’, you’ll be granted so many blessings you didn’t even know existed.
It only takes one time…

One time from the heart…

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Eight: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY 8: It’s Time To Thank Your Favorite One

 

It’s amazing how just one person can make a difference in so many lives. I still remember the ones who made a difference in mine, and amongst them are my schoolteachers, from Mrs. Gohar in 2nd second grade, who taught us that ‘sharing is caring’ (and I honestly hated sharing!) all the way to Mr. Boylen in college, who treated our work like masterpieces. (Of course I blocked out the scary mean ones, including my math teacher, who mercilessly picked on me, and is the main culprit behind my phobia of numbers. Ughhh)

Anyways, so eventually we grow up and realize there’s still so much to learn, especially in matters of religion. Yes our parents and schoolteachers probably give us the basic, textbook information, but a part of us still yearns for more. And because we’re different, we’re attracted to different methodologies of learning, all the while knowing, the best teachers are those who teach their students in ways they can understand.

When it comes to belief systems, especially religion, some of us need details. Like scrutinized and dissected information, down to a list of what the narrator of a certain Hadith had for dinner that night and the name and address of the woman who cooked it!

Some of us like brief explanations and others learn best through figuring out the morals of stories. I for one need a little bit of humor for my mind to process information properly. I got straight A’s in history because my dad used to make up funny story about Historical figures just so I can remember them all.

Let me ask a question.

Whenever you’re confused, sad or anxious or in need of a dose of spirituality, who’s the first scholar that comes to your mind?
Whoever it is, it must be someone who speaks in a way you can relate to.

Thanks to Allah, we have a lot of amazing Muslim speakers nowadays and they’ve all left their marks in this world, cured broken hearts, answered our doubts and taught us the most important lessons of all; how to be better Muslims, and how to please our Lord. These people have spent most of their lives studying the Qur’an and Sunnah and Aqeedah and Fiqh (Oh my God, do you know how difficult Fiqh 102 is?!) just so they can teach it to others and spread the words of Allah. And in the darkest most crooked times, those scholars are the bright stars guiding us to the straight path.
Day 8’s act of kindness is to show appreciation and gratitude to the Muslim leaders, and let them know how much they’re needed, loved and respected.
Seriously, it’s the least we can do for them, right?

Beginners Level:

Drop a nice comment on an article or a video by your favorite Muslim scholar or speaker. They may never have the chance to reply, but trust me, they’ll always read comments and it’ll bring much deserved joy to their hearts.

Advanced Level:

Send a thank you note, along with a story of how that scholar had affected your life positively. Take the time to show your gratitude in a heartfelt email or letter. The greatest need for humankind is to be acknowledged and appreciated, especially when the work is so noble and effective.

It’s true they do it for Allah’s sake, but whoever doesn’t thank the people doesn’t really thank Allah (that’s a hadith btw). And this Holy month is the best opportunity to thank Allah for opening our hearts to Islam, and thank the scholars for their efforts.

I’ll even make it easier for you guys and add all the top Muslim speakers’ names and contact info to this post.

Now you have no excuses!

Special Level:

Hmmmm so you don’t have a favorite scholar, huh?
What you don’t even listen to Islamic lectures? Like at all?
You’re so missing out dude! Seriously, it’s an obligation for us to learn everything there is to know about our religion, and these people make the process such a great pleasure.
Okay, don’t panic.
Deep breaths everyone.
Better late than never, right?
You’ll find the names of the top Muslim speakers below. Take your pick coz they’re all fantastic!

Who’s my favorite?
Okay I don’t know if I should say LOL. I really love and respect them all but of course one person tops the list. (Uhmm hint hint loool).
Alright here we go:

 

Nouman Ali Khan

http://bayyinah.com/

Hamza Yusuf

https://www.zaytuna.edu/contact

Mufti Menk

https://www.muftimenk.com/contact/

Zakir Naik

http://www.zakirnaik.net/contact/

Omar Suleiman

https://yaqeeninstitute.org/team/omar-suleiman/

Bilal Phillips

http://bilalphilips.com/

Yasmin Mogahed

yasmin@yasminmogahed.com

Yasir Qadhi

http://www.memphisislamiccenter.org/programs/ayq/

Amr Khaled (Arabic)

http://www.amrkhaled.net/

Mustafa Hosny (Arabic)

http://mustafahosny.com/

Omar Abdel Kafy (Arabic)

http://abdelkafy.com/

Yusuf Estes

yusuf@shareislam.com

 

 

I hope I didn’t forget anyone. If I did please let me know so I can add them before they find out!

All my best to all my beautiful readers, and have a lovely blessed weekend.

Lilly S. Mohsen