Tag Archives: islam

Day 24: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-FOUR: Let’s Open Old Wounds, Shall We?

 

This might seem random (and a bit nosy) but I gotta ask…
Who’s that one person who has hurt you the most….?

Who has caused you unimaginable heartache and pain?

Has hurt you so much that you started to hate yourself..
To the point that if they knew how horrible you felt inside, they’d never be able to look you in the eyes again…?

It’s ironic, but I’m pretty sure that same person was once very near and dear to your heart.
Maybe an ex best friend?

A family member?

A man you once loved more than words could say?

A woman who proved monsters were real..?

 

And it doesn’t end there..
Because not only did they hurt you beyond repair; they’ve also changed you..
into someone you don’t recognize…
into a person who doesn’t believe in love anymore
into a woman who has to spend the rest of her life wondering why she wasn’t good enough
into a sister who can’t trust her own siblings or friends or even her own parents
into a man who runs away from affection
Or pretends to be whole when he’s all broken inside..

 

They didn’t just give you immense pain..
They took a precious part away
A part you’ll spend the rest of your life looking for…
And when you do find it…
You’ll suddenly be too scared
and too scarred to touch it
The people who hurt us steal something on their way out of our lives..
Our innocence…
Our security…
And our hopes..

 

Oh come on people.
I just poked and prodded at some really deep old wounds. What more do I have to do to stir up a whole commotion?
I mean I don’t see fumes coming out of your ears or fire coming out of your mouths or even the classic jaw clenching?

Where did I go wrong? loool

Seriously..
You can tell me…
Has the anger settled into ashes of sadness and disappointed..?
Are you pretending like you don’t care when deep inside you really do?

Or have you given up completely?

Are you waiting for karma to take its course of absolute revenge?

 

It’s not that I can read your mind loool.
It’s just that I feel you..
Because I’ve been hurt before too
By those I loved and trusted the most..
But as I’ve grown older and more mature I’ve come to realize….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s so hard to see the good in people who have LITERALLY MADE YOUR LIFE MISERABLE!
Ohhhh that felt good
Okay, rant time’s over
Ready for some good deeds? Loool

 

Beginners Level:

Not sure how ‘beginner’ this one’s gonna be because in reality it’s a really difficult task.
Your act of kindness for the day is to make du’aa for someone who has hurt you badly or someone you don’t really like.

Yes, you heard that right.

And no, no negotiation

And yes, you have to forgive them before making du’aa for them

And no, it’s not an impossible task

Listen to this…
 “…and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

This verse came down to compel Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) to forgive…
Forgive who exactly?

The man who slandered his daughter Aisha

His daughter who?! AISHA!

Who is Aisha again? The Prophet’s wife!

The mother of all believers!!

He said horrible things about her that weren’t even true
And not only that! Mustah Ibn Athatha, the man who gossiped about Aisha, was Abu Bakr’s cousin
A very poor cousin
and Abu Bakr financially support him
And Allah asked him to forgive and go back to spending money on him like nothing happened!

Guys, seriously,

I don’t feel like you’re getting how huge this is!
Someone speaks about my daughter and the first thing I’ll start planning is how to take out all his organs and bury each body part in a different country!!

But now Allah doesn’t like that, you know why?
Because the bitterness will eat us alive

The ‘hate’ is such a huge burden to carry.. It’s poisonous and exhausting..
And it blinds us from seeing the goodness in ourselves and other people.

 

So if you want Allah to forgive you, do yourself a favor and forgive those who have hurt you…
You loved them once…
I’m sure you loved them for a reason…
Besides, maybe they’re hurting ten times over
And maybe your du’aa tonight will take both your pains away..
Advanced Level?

Just getting this one done from the heart deserves a medal!
I wouldn’t ask for more…
I’ll just sit here and admire your strength from far
and ask Allah to give us this kindness, purity and nobility…
And to fill our lives with so much joy and love that we don’t even notice the pain anymore

Say Amen : )

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 23: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-THREE: The Best Parents Are Promoted To Grandparents.

For some of us, grandparents are like the fun version of parents, without the whole ‘if you live under my roof you gotta follow my rules’ kind of thing.
They’re the ones who spoil and pamper you.
And they totally believed you when you pretended to be sick just to skip school.
They’re the ones who, if they hear you haven’t had lunch yet, will bring out food enough to feed a whole village.
Three times a day.
For five years.
And there will still be leftovers looool

 

Food

 

Besides, kids know grandparents are awesome, mainly because their own parents can’t go over their word, so they’ll abuse the system without an ounce of guilt. I remember one time I was very stern about depriving my daughter of her favorite things during her time out. By mid day she was like “Okay THAT’S IT! I’m calling Granma!”

I don’t know what your relationship with your grandparents is like.
If they’re still alive or have passed away.
If you’re estranged or living in the same building.
If you talk every day or once a year
I only know one thing…
Those who have managed to stay close to their grandparents, have found the key to better health, wealth and joy…
Listen to this

Anas reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) as saying :
“Anyone who is pleased that his sustenance is expanded and his age extended should do kindness to his near relatives.” (Sahih)
Today’s act of kindness is towards those who have raised the people who’ve raised you.
The wise gems whose memory you’ll never forget…
Your grandparents…

 

Beginners Level:

Don’t be a tagalong.
Take the initiative to call your grandparents just to ask about them and show them you care.
What’s wrong?

You have nothing to say?
They’ll keep you on the phone for hours?

They’re awkward? Short Tempered? Tell the same story over and over again?
They tease you in front of the whole family about the time when you were still a toddler and ran outside with no diapers?

Whatever it is, they deserve your love and care. They deserve the courtesy of being highly regarded and appreciated.

Hey, hey… don’t make a face!
I’m serious.
This isn’t textbook talk or playback lecturing

Listen to this:

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “He is not of us who does not have mercy on young children, nor honor the elderly” (Al- Tirmidhi)

And you’re one of us….
We’re on the same team. So go call your grandparents
NOW!
(Sorry that came out louder than I intended looool)

Advanced Level:

You know the drill
We go a step higher, which means instead of calling you should go visit.
Alone!
Let them know you mean it and give them some quality time
Because amidst the repetitive stories, there’s a lot of wisdom and treasures of life long experiences. There’s laughter and jokes and nostalgic beautiful memories…
Amidst the awkwardness, there’s lots of duas from the heart and warm hugs…
And amidst the age gaps, there are showers of blessings pouring down on you because of your pure intention to please Allah…

And don’t forget the food.
Ahhhhhh the food looool

 

Ramadan Kareem
Are you guys as tired as I am?
I need the ‘hang in there’ motivational speech loool
Anyways, see you tomorrow inshAllah (I hope!)

 

Lilly S. Mohsen
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 22: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-TWO: It’s What You Love The Most

 

Here’s a random conversation with one of them ‘cool’ teenagers
“So what’s your plan for being successful?”
“Become famous”
“Famous for doing what?”
“I dunno”  Icon Face

 

To be fair, probably most of us have shared this ‘becoming-a-success-story’ dream at some point in our lives. We probably hunted down any ‘easy’ tips or ‘fast-track’ tools that could get us a step closer to realizing our goal. I remember I was only 10 when I asked my mom,

“So what’s the BEST thing I can do to be the BEST?”
“Spend from what you love the most”
“Huh?”

 

I SO didn’t see that one coming. I thought she’d use this opportunity to guilt me into keeping my stuff organized or to make me quit teasing my siblings. But no, she quoted this verse:

Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Holy Qur’an, 3:92)

Of course at that time, ‘that which I loved’ was chocolate.
(Still is, but you know). And I remember kicking myself, like WHY? Why did I have to ask? looool

Your turn.
What is it that you love the most?
It should be something other than money, because hello, money is a given in most scenarios, since it’s what we use to buy the things we love.

Is it food? (Probably an automatic answer by those of us still fasting loool)
Flowers? Cars? Perfume? Books? Puppies?
That expensive watch or laptop or Play Station ‘number OMG-newly-released-yet-exactly-the-same-as-the-one-before-it?’
That family-heirloom Meringue Pie recipe you keep in a fireproof vault?
That beautiful pearl necklace that goes with everything you wear?

See? It’s not so easy.
And that’s why it’s the biggest test of faith, because putting Allah first is the surest path to goodness and success in both this world and the Hereafter

When Abu Talha (one of the Ansari companions) heard the above verse, he gave up his ‘Bairuha’ Garden to charity, which everyone knew and he also admitted was the most beloved garden to his heart. (Bukhari)

When Prophet Solomon sensed his beloved horses were distracting him from worship, he got rid of them all. And they were a vision! They were gorgeous, purebred, Arabian horses if you’d like to know.

Prophet Abraham was willing to give up what he loves the most for the sake of Allah… When asked, he was willing to sacrifice his only beloved child Ismail…

 

If you had to…
And if the One who holds your life in His hands wills it, would you give up your desires, dreams, wealth, pleasures or loved ones…?

Would you sacrifice your Ismail…?

 

Your Merciful Lord did not ask you to do all of that. He doesn’t want to break your heart, He just wants to make you stronger.
He wants to empower you instead of letting you get desperately attached to material things.
And He never asked you to give up everything you love. Just a small portion of it.
Would you do that for His sake?
Beginners Level:

Ho-ho don’t start down playing or suddenly rearranging the list of ‘your most beloved things’ now. There’s something you own and cherish so much you’d rather not give it up, and that’s exactly what you need to share and spend from. No cheating loool
It could even be your time!
Advanced Level:

Use the ‘Ripple Effect’ theory, because 28 years later, I’m pretty sure, since it was my mom who taught me it, she’s getting double the rewards for every time I spend from what I love (You’re welcome mommy, any time! Just please don’t pretend like you don’t know me when you reach the highest levels of Paradise loool. InshAllah)
Guys, be smart! Teach this to as many people as possible. Instill it in your kids. When you get them Eid presents, get an extra one (just as good), and then ask them to pick one to give away for charity.
The sound of their brains going 100 miles an hour and their obvious predicament will break your heart.
But it will also make you super proud.
Muslims don’t just give away their left overs or ugly, unkempt belongings and call it a day!

We are people who love for our brothers and sisters what we love for ourselves.
Even if it feels like you’re giving a piece of your heart away when you share your last KitKat.
(Or anything you love for that matter)
It’ll open your heart…
It’ll teach you what ‘true love’ really means…
And it will be the BEST thing that ever happened to you…
Simply the best…

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

Day 21: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-ONE: Forgive Yourself

Ladies and gentlemen…

We have reached the most important part of the month
The stage we’ve all been preparing for…
The master scene of the whole year…
The last ten nights of Ramadan, where the Prophet himself (may peace and blessings be upon him) would stay up all night and wake up his whole household to strive hard in worship (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Now I’ll relate a little scenario and you guys tell me if it sounds familiar, okay?

Last ten days. I can’t afford to miss on them I really CAN’T!
If I read three chapters a day, I’ll finish the whole Qur’an in these ten days! Not a biggie, ha?”

Two days later…

“Oops I’ve wasted so much time I’m still on chapter four!” Eyes dart left and right “You know what, it’s really the odd nights that count. Yup, I’ll pray hard and worship Allah every second of every minute on those odd nights!
Two days later…

Fine, I’ve wasted more precious time but really, who are we kidding, we both know Laylat Al Qadr is probably on the night of the 27th, right? I’m acing it, watch and see…”

And then the most amazing thing happens…
You sit in worship for the whole night till sunrise.
You finish reading the whole Qur’an, all 604 pages in two hours, and pray 77 Raka’s then go to sleep and get a vivid sign in your dreams, that yes it was Laylat Al Qadr and yes you’ve definitely gotten the reward of 1000 months of worship…. And yes….
You’ve been reborn.
(Probably not what happens at all but I just wanted you guys to have this amazing feeling for a couple of seconds loool)

Because it is an amazing feeling…

For 355 days we’re out and about, unfocused and perhaps living our lives mindlessly.
And then come those ten nights, we find the will and power within us to invest in our eternal lives.

To focus on the unseen part of reality.
To realize these ten nights are precious gifts.
Our prayers won’t make Allah more Magnificent or more Dominant.
It’s us who need them the most. It’s US who need to gather as much good as possible before we check out and pay for our bad deeds. (Oh I just remembered something about bad deeds, but I don’t wanna lose my train of thoughts. Can you please remind me to write about it later? Thanks lool)
Maybe we don’t know it now, but we trust our beloved when he insisted over and over and explained how priceless these last ten nights are.

So do your best.
Do the best you can…

And if you find yourself running away from Allah, instead of running to Him with your fears, hopes and pains, then maybe there’s a reason..
Probably the same reason why many of us don’t make the best out of the best of nights..

Some of us don’t know how to face the Qiblah and stand before Allah, when we can’t even face ourselves with all our faults.

Some of us can’t get closer to Allah, because deep inside, there’s a barrier between our souls and our minds…

Some of us refuse to reap the rewards of those precious nights because we’re so disappointed at our own failures; we feel we deserve nothing in return…

Some of us have an inner anger, like this rage towards the world, and it’s blinding us from reaching out to Allah…

And some of just are just drained and lost…
We don’t know how to move on with the future, when deep down we know we could have done better in the past..
We drag our mistakes with us every where we go; and have no earthly idea of how to put the burden of guilt down on the ground

Some of us can’t make Du’aa..
Can’t focus in prayer and can’t absorb the words of the Holy Qur’an.
And it’s not because we’re shallow
It’s because we’re too immersed in the guilt and pain of the past

There’s no levels here, for you’ll always be a beginner when you’re trying to heal…
It’s time to make peace with your broken pieces…

Promise me…
When you stand before your Lord asking for His forgiveness..
Know for sure that He has already forgiven you there and then
Your past doesn’t define you. It really doesn’t…
Promise you’ll start the special ten nights with renewed hope
It’s the first step to get closer to Almighty Allah
Start a new page with your Lord
And do what He has already done
Forgive….
‘You’….

 

Tonight… all you need to do
Is forgive yourself…
 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Day 20: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY: The Power Of Advice

“Let her eat something sweet”
“No something salty”
“Let her lie down”
“No let her sit up”
“Give her some space to breathe”
“No let her go home!”

In case your wondering, those are all the contradicting pieces of advice women yell out at the mosque whenever one of us poor girls gets dizzy and drops to the ground in the middle of ‘Taraweeh’ prayers.
I gotta tell you, we’re one opinionated bunch loool.
Women seem to know everything there is to know about everything one can ever know anything about!

They’re great dentists:
“Your teeth hurt? Chew some cloves!”

Great Orthopedic Surgeons:
“You broke your toe? Tie a potato around it!”

Great problem solvers:
“You missed the deadline? Have some chocolate cake!”

Women will give and apply unsolicited advice, any chance they get. While men, the extreme opposite of course, will strictly reject any sort of advice unless they openly, lucidly and clearly ask for it, after signing a consent form allowing you to express a different opinion and getting it certified at one of the legal institutes loool.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the things that matter, like the ‘real’ important issues, some people are too reluctant to help, only to face horrible consequences like failure or blame.
While others are obviously not ‘God-conscious’ or honest enough with the advice they give, because they don’t really wish others the best.
I’ve had clients tell me their friends are all advocating divorce.
“Why what’s the problem?”
“My husband forgot my birthday two years in a row!”

Seriously?!

Sincere advice is so critical because you know what? People take it.
Some people will actually consider your words and in many cases apply them, because they believe and trust you.
They’ll think it’s okay to let the kids go on social media unsupervised.
It’s okay to get divorced because your husband snores!
It’s okay to get married without parents’ approval
They’ll think they do look better with short hair! (My obsession with long hair aside, any insinuation that cutting hair is better is probably not genuine, trust me!)

Giving advice is an ‘amanah’ (Translator please! I can’t seem to find mine)
It’s an obligation, an entrustment and an absolute privilege.
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “The Deen (religion) is Naseehah (advice, sincerity).”
The companions asked, “To whom?”
He (ﷺ) said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)

Remember when Prophet Muhammad summed up Hajj saying it’s “Arafah’?
Now he’s summing up Islam in two words (actually one Arabic word: Naseehah) or ‘Sincere Advice’.

So where am I going with this?
Let’s find out

Beginners Level:

No one expects you to go around bombarding people with advice they never asked for.
But please don’t let shyness, fear of consequences, jealousy or a need to be ‘cool’, deter you from standing up for the truth or helping people in need of guidance.
If someone is spreading false information, correct him or her with kindness.
If your kids start crumbling under social pressure, be there to lift them up.

If you’re put on the spot, speak proudly of Islam, and don’t bend your principles for anyone, whoever it might be.
And when asked for advice, for God’s sake, give it (but you know… nicely)
Advanced Level:
It’s hard to listen to those who don’t practice what they preach

It’s time we started investing in our own reputations
Our honesty…
Our truthfulness and integrity…
Oh how I wish all these beautiful morals could make a comeback!
Religion is sincere advice because it encompasses genuineness, authenticity, and loving for others what we love for ourselves.
So don’t be stingy looool. Share your beautiful knowledge about Islam with others, even if it’s one verse or hadith.
And do it eloquently, in a soft, smart and lenient manner to attract people to the truth instead of turn them off.

Maybe, just maybe…
You’ll end up in the highest levels of Paradise (and take me with you inshAllah coz otherwise that’s just mean loool)

And it might not be because you spent hours praying or days fasting or went to Hajj 26 times
But because you gave one person some really good advice
Because you shared and made a difference…

 

Ramadan Kareem guys
See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Day 19: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY NINETEEN: Quality Over Quantity

 

No, this won’t be another minimalist post about how ‘less is more’ and stuff. Because there ARE times when ‘more is more’:
-The more the merrier.
-The more positive you are, the happier you’ll be.
-The more Konafa, the better

Those facts constitute the classic lessons in life. They’ll always remain unchangeable, like the day and night.
This writing is more about the ‘changeable’ aspects. The ups and downs we go through, as in the seasons.
Sometimes we’re all bloomed and recharged like the flowers of spring, and others we’re as dry and lifeless as the harshest, colorless fall.
And surprisingly enough, this emotional roller coaster also happens at the most inconvenient times, when we desperately need to be be balanced the most.

Many people have been whimpering about failing and flailing this Ramadan, in terms of worship. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t know what that is. Oh I do! I SO DO!

The curve of enthusiasm and vigorously challenging energy takes off at full speed during the first nights of Ramadan and then starts drooping down around, wait what day is it today? Yup! Right about now, when instead of fueling up for the last ten days, we’re on the floor, flat down on our faces, drained and tired (and probably holding a half eaten cheese samosa)

Yet it’s also right about this time of the blessed month
We forget…

It’s not really the hunger, the hours staying in prayer, or which chapter you’ve reached in the Holy Qur’an.

I heard there’s a village in Yemen where the whole time from Dawn to Dusk is 4 hours!
FOUR hours!
That’s how long it takes to digest a decent meal anyway. And yet they’ll celebrate Eid with us as if nothing happened. They’ll get rewarded for fasting the whole month, even when they weren’t even hungry OR tired or even aware it’s already time for Iftar. (I’m not jealous, I’m just saying…)

There are people who stand for 20 Rak’as in Taraweeh prayer, but their minds are somewhere else.
Others are already on round 14 of finishing reading the whole Qur’an, but perhaps many haven’t taken the time to absorb and contemplate its beautiful meanings.

It’s not the numbers in your brain that count…
It’s the feeling in your heart…
Allah doesn’t need us to give up our food and sleep just so we can say “Sheesh we’re done!”
He wants this month to change something inside us to the better. To touch an inner vulnerability and raise us up to a higher level.

It’s not the obligation, it’s the submission…
It’s not the quantity that matters to Him
It’s the quality… the genuine feeling of the heart
So if you’re starting to dread waking up in the morning, or starting to literally drag your feet to Taraweeh prayers every night, know that you’re not alone. The peak of tiredness might even bring with it feelings of guilt, self-resentment and a tinge of depression. Right?
If your reply was ‘no, not at all’, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, then consider yourself VERY lucky. No I mean VERY VERY lucky and fortunate and blessed! (Again, I’m not jealous, I’m just saying…)

But if you know what I mean, and have been feeling worn out those past couple of days then this act of kindness is just what you need, because it’s a kindness towards yourself…

All Levels:

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) put it beautifully. He said, “Two moderate cycles of prayer in contemplation are better than praying the night with a bad heart.”(Source: al-Zuhd wal-Raqā’iq 288)

Easy on yourself.
Come to your Lord undone, tired, weak or even broken
Come to Him with genuine humility and true devotion
Be ‘real’ with Him. There’s no need to pretend and there’s no reason to quit if you think you’re not good enough this month.
Feel your feelings and come to your Lord with a pure heart
It takes one heartfelt duaa…
One genuine tear…
One moment of loving worship…
Because at the end of the day, it’s the sincerity that counts
It’s what matters the most…

Ramadan Kareem everyone
See you tomorrow inshAllah
Lilly S. Mohsen
 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY EIGHTEEN: Count Your Compliments

 

Raise your hand if you know this hadith

“A good word is charity” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Okay that was easy.
How about mmmmm let’s see…
Yes this one:

“Guard yourselves against the Fire (of Hell) even if it be only with half a date-fruit (given in charity); and if you cannot afford even that, you should at least say a good word.” (Al Bukhari and Muslim)

Seriously? Even this one?

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say something good, or else remain silent.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3971)

Since you guys already know all these hadiths then I have a bone to pick with you! (and with myself as well since I raised my hand in all three lool)
Why don’t we do it more often? Why do we make it sound like giving compliments is reserved for sweet talkers or ‘users’? Why is it so hard to do for some of us when, according to the above hadiths (the ones you all confirmed you knew very well) saying good words and giving compliments are:

1- considered charity, which is basically a profitable investment in your Hereafter.
2- an extremely important tool in Islam it’s even equated with ‘guarding ourselves from the Hellfire’
3- not even an option, since we obviously believe in Allah and the Last Day. We are obligated to either say good words or to HUSH

Compliments


Why giving compliments is such a big deal in Islam:

According to one study done at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, receiving compliments activates the area called ‘striatum; which in the brain, triggers as much social reward as being rewarded with money.
There’s actual scientific proof showing praise as being a catalyst for better ‘skill consolidation’.
And it makes sense.
Good words have the power to spread positive energy. An appreciated person will almost always do their best to maintain that amazing feeling. Compliments can change the nature of relationships, fix marriages, boost children’s self esteem, raise productivity levels at work, and can benefit the whole society with its ripple effect.
That is when they’re given properly and sincerely of course.
Otherwise they backfire and are a complete and total fail!

You see, for my act of kindness I complemented a stranger at the mosque.
“I really like your abaya” I smiled.
She looked me up and down, frowned, then looked the other way.
What did I doooooo?
Suddenly I was the one needing soothing loool.

But I didn’t give up. I tried again.
And since I wasn’t doing well with strangers, I decided to compliment my own people. Starting with my nephew.
“Ali, you look sharp this morning
“I just woke up. I didn’t even shower yet! What’s going on?”

There’s a difference between compliments and lies! The kind words you say must be from the heart, otherwise they’ll never reach the heart. Instead, you’ll be known as a ‘hypocrite’, a ‘fake’ or I don’t know, ‘Pinocchio’ loool.
Compliments are meant to train us to look for the good and the beauty in people.
To focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses.
Compliments are like giving gifts to others without expecting a reward.
And guys, listen up, Allah knows your intentions and He knows what goes on inside the head of your head! Compliments are NOT to be used as pick up lines or a means to flirt. None of that ‘Oh so did it hurt when you feel from heaven?’ kind of thing, you hear me?
Coz chances are, no it didn’t hurt!
Her dad caught her.
And he’s really strong
and SCARY!
Loool

Okay, time for today’s act of kindness.

Beginners Level:

Spend the day complimenting others. And even if they’re not amused, please don’t be discouraged. Some people aren’t used to hearing kind words. Others are just shy (I remember years of mumbling irrelevant words whenever someone complimented me!)
Even if you don’t mean it, keep practicing. Compliment people on their smiles, their skills, their outfits, their left nostrils!
Anything at all. Practice makes perfect. Don’t worry, it will eventually evolve from the heart…

Advanced Level:

Monitor and evaluate yourself.
We all think we give loads of compliments, but do we really?
Be aware of your conversations and try to squeeze in the good words any chance you get. Compliment the poor and the less fortunate.
Because sometimes one word can change someone’s whole world…

And while we’re here, let me ask you for a little favor…

Can I please have your recipe for being so fabulous? : )
Ramadan Kareem
See you guys tomorrow inshAllah

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

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