Tag Archives: Ramadan

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

 

 

 

 

Day Seven: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY SEVEN: When You Make Your Parents Smile

 

And then we became parents…
And we realized how unbelievably hard it all is.
Oh my God, who knew it took so much energy to be strict? (I honestly thought my parents enjoyed having all this power, but it turns out, it’s not as fun as I thought!)
Who knew it was the hardest thing in the world to say ‘no’ to something your kids’ really wished for?

We thought they didn’t understand our struggles, when the truth is, they worked so hard to make sure we never felt theirs..
We wanted them to set us free. We didn’t know they were the glue holding our pieces together.
We didn’t consider it ‘sacrifice’ until we grew up and felt the need to put our kids’ needs before our own.
And when we finally stepped into the outside world, and took the separate journeys we couldn’t wait to start on, we realized no one can or will ever love us the way our parents do.

No one will pause his or her life to ease your pain the way your parents would.

You know what I’m doing right now?
Holding my head, while my imaginary friends compete on whom can remember the most touching childhood stories and yell them out the loudest!
(In case you’re new to the blog, my imaginary friends are all the voices in my head giving me ideas for my writings. They’re chatter boxes, they all talk at the same time and eat a lot and look funny, and some of them are real weirdos, but I love them all from the bottom of my heart LOL)

Do you remember any memories from your childhood?
Whether they were flashes of picnics, your dad running behind you trying to hit you with a shoe, your mom hugging you or punishing you or lecturing you, believe me, they’re all streams from the same river: love.

That’s what I learnt after so many years of feeling misunderstood or even oppressed at times (sorry mom and dad, it’s Ramadan and I gotta be 100% honest). I learnt that parents do it differently, but the goal is always the same: they want you to be the best version of yourself. They want to protect you and even though they don’t always do it so gracefully, they just desperately want you to learn from their mistakes and spare you the pain of what they’ve faced in life.

That’s pretty much the gist of it.

Since there’s no way you can repay them, Day Seven’s act of kindness is just a humble attempt to make your parents smile from the heart.

And I know some of you have said goodbye to one or both of their parents, and my words are bringing you more grief than gratitude. I know nothing I say can soothe the pain of losing a loved one, but I hope you’ll still put the effort to make them smile up in heaven. Just coz you don’t see them, doesn’t mean you can’t make them happy. One of the great three things we leave behind when we depart this world is a pious son or daughter making du’aa for us. That could be you this Ramadan.

And when you meet in paradise inshAllah, they’ll thank you from their hearts (you know after all the scary parts of Judgment day are over and we’re all chilling in our rose-covered palaces, by our rainbow pools, eating chocolate and NOT gaining weight!)

Beginners Level:

Say something nice to your parents. Something to make them feel all their efforts didn’t go in vain. I wouldn’t mind if you add a warm embrace to that and ‘hand-kissing’ and a little gift with a sentimental card. I really wouldn’t mind at all LOL

Advanced Level:

Make a special Iftar for them and treat them like guests of honor for the night.
Spend quality time with your parents and show them the love and care they have invested in you all these years.
I’m not gonna quote verses from the Holy Qur’an or Prophetic Hadiths about the importance of taking good care of your parents. You know them all I’m sure. So go do it from the heart…
And please tell them I say “Ramadan Kareem”

 

All my love
See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Six: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY SIX: Get Your Questions Answered

 

Contrary to popular belief (and by ‘popular’ I mean my kids) I really don’t know everything!

None of us do.

We all have questions, doubts and uncertainties. Which is okay when it comes to stuff like the decimal system for example, but when it comes to our own religion, doubts can be destructive.
I’ll tell you why…

So this person asks you, ‘Why is alcohol forbidden in Islam?”
Your first reply would be “Because Allah said so”
Then the next question would probably be along the lines of “But why? Aren’t you guys allowed to unwind and have some fun?”
What do you say now?
You’ll probably go into defense or attack mode (yeah, a clear proof of how much ‘fun’ Muslims can be)
Or you’ll start mumbling about health hazards and how foolish people look when they get drunk. Right?

Well, if you have a logical, educated, proven answer then great! (insert virtual applause here). But if you don’t, then it’s time you get some answers, because if you can’t explain it then chances are, you don’t really understand it. And if you don’t understand it, then chances are, you’re not convinced enough to maintain practicing it or avoiding it, and therefore will probably be unable to pass it on to your kids.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (Sahih)

Okay pop-quiz everyone.
Here are some of the questions I never knew the answers to till recently. Do you think you’d be able to come up with convincing ones for all of them?

Let’s give it a try…

Why are Muslim men allowed four wives?
Why did the Prophet marry a 9 year old?
Why must homosexuals burn in hell if they were born that way?
What’s with the ‘Kill them where you find them” verse that’s got every non-Muslim screaming ‘terrorists’ in our faces?
What’s our deal with the Jews? Did the Prophet really order a Jewish massacre once?
Is the Hijab really an obligation?
Seriously? Does the Qur’an really allow physical abuse of women?

Plus so many more….

You know what happens when you don’t address your doubts? You become insecure and resentful of your OWN belief system. You detach from it coz eventually, as you grow older and get exposed to different doctrines, somehow Islamic ‘sharia’ doesn’t make sense anymore (did you look around when I said the word ‘sharia’? Coz that’s obviously a term used against us for some wacko reason!)

Well, now is the BEST time to answer all these questions. Seriously guys, you owe it to yourselves to be informed. The Holy month is your opportunity to do some research and get some logical answers instead of looking like this every time someone asks you a difficult question (oops I forgot I’m on my laptop so I can’t insert the ‘clueless’ icon face I’m looking for, but you know what I mean, right?)

So for Day Six, your good deed will be to educate yourself about Islam. If you think about it, it’s actually an act of kindness towards yourself!

Beginners Level:

Take it slow. Download this amazing app called “Ayah A Day”, which explains one verse of the Qur’an a day through a very interesting audio by the one and only, Nouman Ali Khan. Each one is literally less than 3 minutes!
Before you know it, you’ll have a lot of knowledge.

Advanced Level:

Walk the walk.

Do your homework and write down all the questions you’re iffy about, then research the answers until you’re completely satisfied. (The ‘100% guaranteed-or-money-back’ kind of satisfaction)

Want a head start?

Here you go….

Why Can’t We Drink And Have Fun?

http://inkoffaith.com/you-booze-you-lose/

Is Hijab An Obligation?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AALgGKSnU2g

Qur’an Allows Hitting Women??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1azySjz4edk

Are We Allowed To Kill Non-Muslims?

https://lillymohsen.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/attack-kill-them-where-you-find-them/

Homosexuality. So?

http://inkoffaith.com/are-gay-men-really-gay/

The Four Wives Fiasco

 

Looks like I just did your homework for you.
Nah, you don’t have to do something for me in return
No really, it was my pleasure.
You insist?  Okay then looool
Please remember me and my family in your du’aa. There are no words to explain how much I need it right now…

Sometimes one sincere prayer from the heart can change someone’s life…
Thank you…

May Allah accept us all….
See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Five: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

DAY FIVE

4 down, 26 to go!
So which chapter of the Qur’an did you guys reach?
I’m ashamed to admit I’m a bit behind schedule. I hear about people who finish reading the whole Quran 32 times in Ramadan alone, and I’m like “HOWWWW!”

Anyways, so today I had the most amazing dessert after Iftar. My sister makes the BEST chocolate cake in the entire universe! (MashAllah). Except, the weird part is that even if you follow the recipe EXACTLY step by step, it never turns out this good! The cake she makes is a little piece of heaven; your faith in humanity is literally restored with every bite.

I talk comfortably about my chocolate addiction because I like to believe my lovely readers accept me for who I am, with my flaws and my severe ‘nochocophobia’ (which is the fear of running out of chocolate. Hey! No judging in the Holy month).

It makes me wonder about everyone else’s irrational fears, especially the ones who can’t really express it, like babies and pets, plants and/or people with special needs.

I was looking outside my window today, saw the birds on the trees and couldn’t help but feel a little bit selfish. We are sometimes so unaware of our surroundings. There are so many untold stories around us, so many neglected lives. We never really stop to think about these creatures, about what scares them, what they’re missing and what makes them twitter happily.

And so I came across a beautiful hadith where one of the companions narrates: “We were on a journey and during the prophet’s absence, we saw a bird with its two chicks; we took them. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When Prophet Muhammad returned he said. “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its chicks? Return them to her” (Sahih Muslim)

Ya habib albyyyyyyyy ya Rasoul Allah
(That’s me gushing and marveling at our beloved Prophet in Arabic).
He’s SO considerate and caring and loving, he doesn’t even wanna hurt a little bird’s feelings.
That’s how our hearts are supposed to be…
So here’s your Day Five’s act of kindness:
It’s doing something good for the creatures that can’t tell us their stories, but have feelings, fears and hopes just like us…

Beginners Level:
Go out of your way to feed or take care of an animal today. It could be as simple as putting breadcrumbs and a bowl of water on your window for the birds.

Advanced Level:

If you’re a pet owner, do something extra special for it today.
If not, think about adopting a pet, or help those stray animals on the street by taking them to the nearest shelter. You have NO idea how much you’ll be rewarded for taking care of a helpless, homeless animal. Remember the story about the loose woman who had all her sins forgiven and went to Jannah just because she gave water to a thirsty dog on the street? This could be you! (Not the ‘loose woman’ part of course. I meant the ‘Jannah and forgiveness’ part!)

Hope you guys have a blessed night…

See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Four: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY FOUR

So in the name of holding back from over-sharing ‘personal’ stories, I’m spinning today’s piece around a little bit.

Today is all about you.

We’re closing in on the forth day of Ramadan, and perhaps its time we paused all this panic about what we’re gonna cook for Iftar, how the kids will fast during final exams, how we’re already drained and why we can’t eat ‘konafa’ without gaining weight!
It’s time to direct our attention inwards
Tell me….

Are you feeling the peaceful essence of the Holy month yet?

Or are you still adjusting between what you wish to become and what you’re currently stuck at?

Do you feel like you’re involuntarily riding an emotional roller coaster, taking you up to the highest levels of spirituality and calmness and then whoooshhh down to the lowest levels of agitation, making you take your anger out on your loved ones at the slightest word?

Were you soothing everyone around you? Telling them how much you love Ramadan and how people are blinded to the immense blessings of it, only to find yourself losing your temper and defying your own theories when put in a tough situation?
It’s okay, don’t be offended. You can be honest with yourself. We all do it and we all hate to admit it.
Are you being the best you can be?
Or are you giving yourself excuses because what you’re feeling or going through?

Only you can answer this question, for this is perhaps the ONLY time of year when you need to take a closer look in the mirror. You can’t blame your faltering on the devils (Duh, they’re tied up, remember?) and you can’t blame it on the long fasting hours because hello, everyone else is fasting too.

Everyone has problems and everyone has pain and everyone is struggling in his or her own way.

It’s a hard pill to swallow; realizing how you behave in this month, is essentially the ‘best’ version of you. This is as good as it gets. And yet it’s far from what most of us aim for.
Deep down, on some level, we all know we could do better, right?

This is your task for Day Four.

Raise the bars and aim high. Try to rewire your brain and your heart to be in constant progress from this day one. And the best way to do that is to go back to basics, and relive the life of the ideal model we should all aspire to emulate, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Listen to his hadith:

“Whoever revives my Sunnah then he has loved me. And whoever loved me shall be with me in Paradise” (Tirmidhi)

 

Love

Here are some Sunnahs we REALLY need to bring back to this world:

Beginners Level: Choose at least one of the following acts with the intention of showing love to our prophets.

Advanced Level: Do as many as you can and try to cmmit to them for as long as you can

  • SMILE (we know you’re cranky and fasting, but still, crack a smile every now and then for God’s sake)
  • Try using the Siwak
  • Eat only when hungry and never leave the dinner table full (yeah good luck with this one in Ramadan LOL)
  • Try Cupping (Hijama) as a healing method
  • Drink in three sips
  • Drink while seated down
  • Sleep on your right side
  • Have dates for sohoor (dates as in fruits, I gotta be specific on this one, you know, just in case LOL)
  • Always say ‘Salam’ when you enter your house, even if no one is there. The angels are, and they’d like to be acknowledged.
  • Speak good or keep silent (don’t we all need this one)
  • Use oil on your hair (I’m pretty sure its olive oil but let me get back to you on that)
  • Brush you bed sheets three times before going to sleep
  • Pray the Sunnah prayer
  • Eat with your right hand

 

I’m sure there are many more, but now the main point is that we there’s so much we can do and yet we choose not to do it.
Promise yourself this Ramadan things will change inshAllah.
You’ll do what you can, as much as you can, whenever you can.

Good luck guys

All my love

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Three: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY THREE

 

Raise your hand if you’ve had a ‘tougher-than-expected’ day today.

I know I’ll probably sound like a HORRIBLE mom, but for real, I have a son that can easily be nominated for the ‘Best Human Version Of A Headache’ award.

You guys remember him, right? I kinda whine about him and his autism a lot. But I shouldn’t whine in this blessed month. I should embrace his condition and accept it for what it is. I guess we tend to be short-tempered when we’re fasting, even though the whole point of this deprivation is to learn and practice ‘beautiful patience’.

Alright I’m switching to positive mode now.

He’s not that bad, he’s actually really funny when you get to know him. So today about two hours before Maghreb, and after telling him over and over how super proud I was that he’d been fasting the WHOLE day, he opens the fridge, takes out a yogurt cup and rips it open.

“Whoa, Yasseen it’s not time for Iftar yet!”
“I know”
“Ummm you’re not gonna eat that, are you?’

“Of course! How else can I continue fasting without having a snack in the middle of the day, ha?”
“Makes sense. Would you like some grapes with that?”
“What? Mom, NO! I’m FASTING! Just the yoghurt thanks”

But enough about us. How was your day?
Ready for your next challenge?
Well, here it comes…

FullSizeRender

 

Family isn’t just one thing, it’s EVERYTHING!
Family is the place where you’ll love and feel loved no matter what happens. It’s the circle of trust. The warm hug shielding us from all the craziness and despair. Oh my Lord, please keep my family safe for me. I love them all so much. I wish I could praise them one by one and tell you all about their awesomeness and quirks, but it’s almost time for my daily reality show named ‘Battles of the Bedtime’ and I need all my energy to knock the kids down LOL.

Okay so your act of kindness for Day 3 is to make a ‘priceless memory’ with a beloved family member.

Beginners Level:

Ask one of your close family members this question: ‘How can I make your day better?’
And then actually DO what they ask.
Married men must choose their wives for this exercise. (Not optional)
The rest of you guys can pick whomever you want, no problem LOL.

Advanced Level:

Who doesn’t love surprises? Sometimes it feels good to get what you want without even asking for it.

So for the advanced level, make an educated guess about what would make them happy and do it without asking. It could be helping with chores, playing a game with the kids, baking a favorite dessert… Okay I should stop giving you ideas coz I’m sure you guys know your family better.

 

What did I do?

I’m still a rookie with this whole Ramadan-goals thing so I’m realistically practicing the beginners level at least for week one inshAllah.
I asked my daughter when she came back from school (cross eyed and parched after a long day of fasting) what I could do to make her day better.

“I’ve been dreaming of donuts all day. But I don’t think coffee shops even sell donuts in Ramadan. You know what, forget it”

That wasn’t the problem really. I think it was more the ‘embarrassment’ than the ‘scarcity’ that I had troubles with. We live in a Muslim country, girl! I mean imagine the awkwardness.

“Do you guys sell donuts?’
“You mean Konafa”
“No I mean donuts”

Salesperson looks me up and down with disgust like I belong to the ‘Kuffar’ group or something. You literally feel like you’ve violated the sanctity of the Holy month if you don’t constantly crave Eastern food. (I don’t know if Western Muslims have that problem though)

Anyways, I got her a dozen and she was so happy, and utterly touched by the gesture.
Was it a ‘priceless memory’? I ‘Donut’ know LOL

I just ruined the moment, didn’t I?

Oh well, I’ll go die now.

See you guys tomorrow.

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

DAY TWO: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWO

Soooooooooooooo?

How was your first day of fasting? Oh my God tell me everything! (Unless you’re still fasting of course, in which case I’ll walk backwards slowly from your cranky fumes and we can talk after Iftar. Really it’s no problem)

On the bright side, most of us have had (or will be having) their first iftar with the whole family. I had mine with my parents, siblings, kids, in-laws, nieces and nephews, with the background music of my newest baby nephew, screaming at the top of his lungs. (I call him Prince Bayazeed, but that’s a different story for another day).

It’s such a blessing to be with your family around this time of year. And for those of you who aren’t, I’m sure Allah understands and sees how much you miss them, and will reward you trifold for that alone.

Okay, so now that I’ve woken up from my ‘First-Iftar’ coma with no major mental deficits, let’s talk about today’s act of kindness….

When Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was asked about the BEST act in Islam, his first reply was ‘feeding the poor’ (Bukhari and Muslim). And it’s Ramadan guys. Even the poor are fasting so it’s hunger over hunger.

 

poor

I guess it makes sense to start the BEST month with the BEST act so here it goes.
Ready?

Beginners Level:

Donate money to a food bank , a charity specialized in feeding poor families or an online organization like ‘Feed The Children’ or “Share The Meal

One of my favorites is The Egyptian Food Bank. You can text this number 9595 and they’ll charge your bill for an extra 5 pounds that goes to feeding the poor. I usually don’t type anything in the message, I just send the ‘red rose’ icon. I hope the male workers there don’t take it the wrong way looool.

Advanced Level:

-Add action to the good intention by joining one of those active groups getting together to cook and pack Ramadan meals for the poor.
-You can also make extra food at home and give it out yourself to the poor people in your neighborhood.
-Volunteer at one of those Soup kitchens (I’ve always wanted to do that) and of course you’d be extra lucky to find one specially developed for Muslims, especially if you live in the West. But that’s the good part, it doesn’t matter, hungry people are still in need no matter what religion they belong to, and for that you’ll surely be rewarded.

That’s all for now folks

Gotta go barge into my teen daughter’s room for no reason what so ever. You know, just to check on things and let her know she’s under surveillance!
I heard you’re not considered a real parent unless you do that LOL

Ramadan Kareem my lovelies

See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day One: Good Deeds In Ramadan

Day One: 

Wow I can’t believe the year has passed so quickly. We were JUST preparing sohoor like two weeks ago!
Anyways so let’s talk business.

It’s Day One of our 30-Day Ramadan Challenge, and I was thinking what’s the BEST thing to start this Holy month with?

And that’s when I came across this beautiful Hadith

“My people (Ummah) are granted five gifts that no prophet before me had been given.
First, when it is the first night of Ramadan, Allah looks at His servants. He will never punish those at whom He looks.
Second, the smell of their mouths when night approaches is more pleasant [to Allah] than the scent of musk.
Third, angels seek Allah’s forgiveness for them everyday and night.
Fourth, Allah commands Paradise saying, ‘Be prepared and adorned for My servants; they are about to be relieved from the pains of the worldly life and move to My Home and Honor.’ Fifth, when it is the last night (of Ramadan) Allah forgives the sins of all people.” (Ahmad and Al-Bazzar)

 

Tonight, the first night of Ramadan, we close the door to the past, take a deep breath and open the door to the blessings of new beginnings….

Ramadan-pray

Take a moment to absorb the magnitude of this Holy month. Do you know how many Muslims died last week? LAST WEEK!
They missed this chance, but you didn’t.
You were chosen to witness this special night, where Allah looks at His slaves, and if they’re in a state of submission or worship, that alone is a sure ticket to Paradise inshAllah.

The first night is singled out from all the other nights.
Don’t miss it. Trust me, nothing can be more important.

So here’s your FIRST ‘Act of Goodness’ this Ramadan
(Based on the beautiful advice of Sheikh Omar Abdul Kafy)

 

Beginners Level:

Detach for a moment.
Make a long heartfelt sujood (prostration) with full submission, and ask Allah to purify your intentions for this Holy month.
Ask Him to forgive, accept, guide and help you through it…

Advanced Level:

Make two raka’s (what’s a rak’a in English?) before that long beautiful sujood.
Thank Allah for being here, ask Him to guide and help you, pray for those who couldn’t be here this year, and end with a note of gratefulness for all the blessings we take for granted.

Ramadan is sooooooo kareem and generous guys
Let’s take like FULL advantage of it.
Let’s start it right!

Lilly S. Mohsen

30 Acts Of Kindness This Ramadan

30 Acts Of Kindness This Ramadan

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone!

Remember me?
Well. I never thought I’d be the kind of person who gets super excited about Ramadan and fasting in this hot weather.

Yeah, I was right!

I actually usually completely disappear (or more like evaporate) in Ramadan, to hide in my own little cave, just asking Allah to help me survive one more day.
But this year, I plan on doing things differently inshAllah.
Why?

Okay, I’m gonna be honest here. I’ve been studying about healthy habits and positive states of mind and stuff, and I was forced to take an up close and personal look at my ‘emotional’ pattern around this time of year.

About a month before Ramadan, I start reminiscing about the peaceful vibes, the togetherness and how much I need some private, quality time with Allah. I’m all like ‘Soooooooo niceeeeeee!’

But then the closer we get to the first day the more I start panicking. I actually had moments when I’d remember we start fasting in three days and I run to drink water! Add a whole lot of anxiety attacks, palpitations and stress headaches to that scenario and you’ll get a vague idea of my mental state on the night of the first ‘sohoor’. Which reminds me, can we please have a moment of silence for those of us hooked on morning caffeine?

Thank you…

Okay, so to cut a long story short, I’ve decided to do something about my ‘fear of fasting’ phobia. I’m gonna change my habits and actually do my best to seize every single moment of this blessed month, not only through prayer and reading Qur’an, but also by doing one good deed or ‘act of kindness’ a day and I’d love to share my journey with you guys because

  1. I love my readers so much and want them all to get extra rewards, and
  2. When I go public with my goals, I usually stick to them if only just to save face LOL.

Acts-of-kindness

Starting tonight inshAllah, I’ll be putting up ideas for one good deed a day aimed at beginners, and will also options for ‘advance-level-fasting-is-so-easy-for-me’ kind of people to up their challenge-loving hormones too.

See you tonight inshAllah
You guys ready?
Bism Allah….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside The Therapist’s Office: Episode Six

Office

 

“What can I do for you today Maggie?” The young nurse asked after introducing herself and checking the filled-in medical chart.

“Oh I’m just here for a routine checkup with Dr. Miller” Maggie replied.

“Very well then! Let’s get started” The nurse nodded.

“Thank you Miss ummm… I’m sorry I didn’t get your name” Maggie said.

“It’s Hannah” The nurse smiled.

 

There was something about this nurse that was very intriguing. They started talking, went out for coffee and a couple of weeks later became totally inseparable. Hannah poured out her heart about her loneliness, her failed marriage and the ache of being barren, while Maggie confided in her about the addiction and how hard it was to be a single mother. Like two faces of the same coin, they somehow completed each other. Hannah was Maggie’s soul mate. She took care of Maggie and doted on her son; she was practically his second mom. She taught Maggie the values and morals no one cared to teach her, and encouraged her to instill them in her child. The three of them shared an indescribable bond until the day Hannah got married….

 

“I don’t know how to explain it, she just changed! She became distant and paranoid.” Maggie gazed outside my office window. “It’s like she’s there but she’s not really there! Why does this always happen with everyone I love? My mom died, my husband left, my son’s aloof and my best friend changed! Every time I get attached to someone or something, I lose it! Why can’t we have just one relationship that’s comfortable and happy? Why do we always have to get hurt? Why does Allah let us find love and care after so long and then take them away and watch us suffer?” Maggie covered her face and wept on my desk for what seemed like eternity. She was ashamed of how she was questioning Allah’s will with so much bitterness, but honestly, I was relieved she did. It was time to address her doubts before they start eating her up alive.

“How’s your son doing at school?” I asked, changing the subject, completely prepared for Maggie to lift her head up and give me a ‘confused, frustrated, you’re-the-worst-therapist-ever’ look.

“His PATs are coming up and he thinks this is the perfect time to bond with his Play Station!” Maggie scoffed while wiping her tears.

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“I took it away of course! And I told him he’s not allowed to play games online or chat for hours with his friends till summer time. He can say I’m strict and mean till he’s blue in the face! It wouldn’t change a thing! I’m doing it for his own good!”

“But why can’t he have both; fun and success? Why must you be so harsh on him?” I asked.

“I’m not being harsh! Discipline is the essence of love, Lilly! If my dad had disciplined me instead of letting me do what I want maybe I wouldn’t have had the time or the chance to take drugs! It’s so easy to slip! And now that I’m sober, I’m going to protect my son, because I love him, more than words can ever say!”

“You’re not gaining anything, you just want him to succeed for him Even if right now, he can’t understand why you’re pushing so hard, one day he will, and he’ll thank you for it!” I said with an unexplainable grin.

“See? Exactly!” Maggie raised her hands. “At least someone gets it!”

“To Him belongs the greatest example, but that’s what Allah does, too! He takes away the metaphorical Play Station so we can focus on our ultimate goal! The people we love, they sometimes change, because Allah knows the real joy is in loving Him more! The friends we depend on, they eventually leave, because Allah wants us to ask Him and depend on Him alone. This life is not real Maggie; it’s only a means to a beautiful destination! Allah takes things away to redirect us to the path leading to Paradise. Yes it hurts, and we might whine about it till we are blue in the face, but without suffering we will never learn from our mistakes! Allah does not gaining anything either way! He does it for our own good, because He loves us more than words can say….”

 

Maggie smiled sadly and said, “Your words touch my heart. But I’m afraid when I go back to my life, my mind will take control again. If everything that gives us pleasure is taken away, how can we find joy in this life? Are Muslims not allowed to be happy?”

“A lot of people ask this very same question!“ I confessed. “ I think we need to define what happiness is first before we start looking for it. Take Ramadan for instance, many people wonder why it is associated with peace and gladness when it’s all about self-restraint! Prophet Muhammad said, Allah says

‘There are two (occasions) of joy for the observer of fast. He feels joy when he breaks the fast and he is happy when he meets Allah.” (http://sunnah.com/muslim/13/214)

 

It’s confusing when you look at it from the outside. Of course we’re super excited to eat and drink after waiting for hours on pins and needles for Maghreb prayer! But it’s only for a couple of seconds before we slip into a food coma, so where is the joy Allah is talking about?” I asked.

 

Maggie shrugged then held her breath for the answer.

“Unlike praying and giving charity, fasting is the only act that can never involve showing off (Reya’). It’s purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah alone, which is what we were created to do! So when you finally break your fast, you’re overwhelmed with the joy of finally fulfilling your real purpose in this world, purely for Allah and no one else. With that first sip of water we get an unparalleled feeling of gratitude and appreciation for His blessings! We’re in sync with our ‘fitrah’, our true nature, and that’s why we feel alive.”

 

Perhaps Allah is redefining the meaning of real happiness and joy for us because, let’s face it, we got it all wrong! The people you see dancing and smoking up at parties, who center their lives around being ‘hip’ and ‘fun’, are actually very sad deep inside. No matter what they do, they always feel lost and ‘dead’ inside. Trust me, I’m a therapist, and if these walls could talk, they’d tell you the same thing! Happiness is elusive; everyone is chasing it but no one is able to pin it down. Muslims on the other hand hold the secret to everlasting joy, in both this life and the Hereafter.

We get a crash course every Ramadan on how to be genuinely happy. We’re able to master our own minds instead of being slaves to our desires. Fasting helps us set our priorities straight, because even the simplest craving can become an addiction. When your eyes are glued to the TV then you hear the call for prayer, you’ll get up! You’ll remember how you give up basic needs in Ramadan and put Allah first, and it will strengthen your will power. When you see the drugs, or hear of the rave parties or any other ‘allegedly’ fun things in life, you’ll remember the day you were parched from thirst yet wouldn’t touch that bottle of water because you’re fasting.

 

Do you know what real happiness is? Look up any self-help book or motivational speeches by top entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers; they all agree that happiness is in achievements and real joy is in helping others be happy! Because the ‘purpose of life is a life with purpose’, and that is the essence of the forth pillar of Islam.

 

Ramadan unites us Maggie. We gather for ‘Iftar’ and walk together to the mosque and sit side by side to recite Qur’an. This is the month when we are reminded we’re not alone, the month of smiles and charity and kindness. Muslims all around the world see themselves as brothers and sisters, even if they’re far away from their families. They find happiness in helping each other. This is the love for the sake of Allah… the most joyous, most precious love of all… and trust me, once you find it, it will never be taken away…”

 

“I feel so peaceful and content…” Maggie smiled.

Two minutes later, her phone was vibrating non-stop and she politely asked me if she could take the call.

“My dad won’t stop calling. It must be urgent!” She panicked.

 

“Dad is everything okay?” I heard Maggie ask. She then stood up, and screamed “WHAT!”

She was snow-white pale when she dropped her cell phone to the ground and froze in place….

You see, it always comes as a shock even when you’ve been expecting it…

You never know when your life will completely change to a point when you hardly recognize yourself. It could happen in a heartbeat! And for Maggie…

This was it…

 

To be continued…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen