19 Ramadan 2013: 20/20 Vision

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings … yes I am and every Ramadan seems to bring up this awesome quote that serves to explain in as few words as possible, why we (as people) are here on earth.

We all have a time on earth … but it is a time that is unknown to us. Then there is Ramadan … a time that is, contrary to that, known to all of us. As we prepare for the last third of this very short month, the third of salvation, one can’t help but look for inspiration to give our best during this limited and precious time.

This blessed month is known to be abundant in blessings, goodness, increase, generosity, peace, tranquility and forgiveness. However, there are externalities that come in to disjoint this reality or overshadow it or limit our exposure and absorption of these abundances.

Although as an example, the violence and bloodshed that continues to take place in our world todaycan make one forget about the essence of this beautiful month, it is life itself that is the biggest risk to our 20/20 vision.

We are all so busy running, planning, doing, moving, and thinking at such a high pace that our brains tend to go into a state of ‘trance’ which can overshadow our sights and reduce our ability to see truth and our destined roles in life.

In this post, we ask god to bless us all with the clarity of mind and vision to open our hearts to greatly benefit from the last 10 days of this blessed month without letting externalities get in the way of salvation and great love from the one and only majestic lord.

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18 Ramadan 2013: All are …

RL18All generalizations are false, including this one. – Mark Twain

I heard an interesting way of defining generalisation … ‘exaggerating descriptions or elaborating on the negatives in situations or matters”.

In this blessed month however, it is worthy to remember the guidance given by the prophet peace and blessings upon him (PBUH): “Bring glad tidings and good news and do not repel and bring bad news”

So how does one limit if not eliminate generalizations? The guidance provided by an inspirational leader was that one should:

  1. Search for blessings and goodness in all matters
  2. Search for facts before generalizing or making a statement
  3. Leave judgement of others
  4. Depend on god to see what is right and learn the art of speech
  5. Focus on yourself … improve yourself … and you will improve society

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

17 Ramadan 2013: Soften

This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for humanity. –         Joseph Stalin

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Softening the heart reduces disputes, arrogance, negativity and boosts compassion, flexibility, peace of mind, mercy and acceptance of others. In fact, having a “hard or harsh” heart not only affects others but may affect the person themselves as it manifests in physical ailments where a link between people’s psychological states to physical states is commonly discussed. Piece from Mayoclinic’s book of Alternative Medicine

In response, our prophet PBUH advised people to visit an orphan and rub their head (as a gesture of compassion and kindness) if they felt their heart becoming harsh or tough.

Some of the righteous ancestors have also been quoted to say:

“If one feels that their heart is becoming harsh, they should visit three places: hospitals (thank the blessing of health and soften the heart), prisons (thank the blessing of freedom and soften the heart) and cemetery (thank the blessing of life and soften the heart).”

We ask god, in this blessed month, to gift us with an everlasting soft heart every day and night.

16 Ramadan 2013: To the One and Only

Low self-esteem causes me to believe that I have so little worth that my response does not matter. With repentance, however, I understand that being worth so much to God is why my response is so important. Repentance is remedial work to mend our minds and hearts, which get bent by sin. – John Ortberg Jr.

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This post is dedicated to he who is our creator. This post is dedicated to he who bestows blessings on us that cannot be counted or valued. This post is dedicated to he who allows us to do right and do wrong and each time go back to him in repentance and be accepted in all our being. This post is dedicated to he who nothing, absolutely nothing in this world, is like him.

As we enter into the last few nights of the third of forgiveness, we seek forgiveness for every breath that was wasted without sincerity to him and we seek forgiveness for every act that was not full of goodness. We seek forgiveness for the times our tongues and minds said or thought something that was not in his pleasure and we seek forgiveness for thinking less of him when his love for us exceeds the love of a mother or parent to her or his child.

Whether in the Quran, the equivalent of the Torah and Bible, prophets, PBUH or companion sayings, whenever guidance was sought on matters, it was frequently advised to “seek forgiveness .. seek forgiveness .. seek forgiveness”.

We ask on this blessed night, repentance and forgiveness for ourselves, others, and all of humanity from the one and only God Almighty.

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15 Ramadan 2013: The Four Diseases

We heard an inspiring talk today about four key diseases of  the heart that can make life miserable while treating them turns life around to become full of hope and light with endless possibilities.

In today’s post … we share four quotes about each of the diseases for your reflection during this blessed month asking god to cure us all of them so that we may move on and live the life we are meant to live.

Disease #1: Sadness

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. – Carl Jung

Disease #2: Anxiety

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.- Charles Spurgeon

Disease #3: Worry

Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway. – Mary C. Crowley

Disease #4: Revenge

He that studieth revenge keepeth his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal and do well. – John Milton

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14 Ramadan 2013: Make Peace

The best fighter is never angry. – Lao Tzu

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Today’s post is a story we heard today…

A story about a lady who got into an accident that led to color blindness with only the ability to see black and white. The issue was not only that she lost her ability to see colors, but she was an artist known for the beautiful blending of colors. Every day she woke up feeling sorry for herself and every morning she cried and every morning she wallowed in her sorrow until one day, she woke up and decided to make peace with herself …

She decided to accept the difficulty she was now in and said to herself … what can I do with ‘black and white’? And that is when she decided to use ‘white paper’ and a ‘black pen’ to write … and she ended up being a writer sharing her reflections and experiences with the rest of the world.

In this blessed month, we ask god to give us the ability to see opportunity from difficulty, the ability to make a peace agreement with ourselves and search for optimism ignoring the difficulties of life that we all face and do not need to relive…we ask god to give us the ability to come up with a project or good deed that uses our learnings per difficulty to serve others.

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13 Ramadan 2013: Play … Pause … Rewind … Forward

No … we are not talking about a video or a TV show … we are talking about self-control…

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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Self control is an interesting topic and one that some ‘seem’ to master better than others. We use the word seem because we never have a true picture of people’s inner state. Having said that, in this article, we are focusing on external self-control and even though there are theories that claim that external self-control results from internal self-control … it is a theory worth investigating … but we will keep that for another post.

We decided to keep this post short as the quotation above was ‘spot on’ and there was nothing we could add … instead, we decided to test it out and feedback our experience to you by the end of Ramadan along with positivity from the 6 Ramadan post.

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12 Ramadan 2013: The Power of Thanks

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey

RL12The power of thanks … well, is there one?

We wanted to reflect on this question from a Ramadan perspective … our finding? Yes!

First of all, what does ‘Ramadan perspective’ mean? It means, we reflect on this question from the perspective of one who fasts from sunrise to sunset and feels ‘hunger’. We reflect on this question from the perspective of one who refrains from normally acceptable desires such as sexual activity from sunrise to sunset. We reflect on this question from the perspective of one who feels the ‘thirst’ especially for those living in hot countries.

Second of all, given our ‘scientific’ nature, we use Oxford’s definition of power which is “energy that is produced by mechanical, electrical, or other means and used to operate a device”.

So, superimposing the definition of power into ‘life’ … we define the ‘power of thanks’ as …

Energy that is produced from giving thanks to god when one recognises their own blessings that others don’t have and uses that energy to do good, be good and use blessings in the best way possible that is pleasing to god generating even more and more blessings

Reminding us of a promise made by god …

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” – Abraham Chapter, Line 7

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11 Ramadan 2013: Friends

A friend should be one in whose understanding and virtue we can equally confide, and whose opinion we can value at once for its justness and its sincerity. – Robert Hall

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Today’s post is dedicated to the true friends out there who over time …

  • find ways and reasons to stay together and not go apart;
  • seek to bring out the best in their friends and not push them down;
  • become the support that is needed to pick one up when things are down; and
  • support each other in mind, body and spirit.

In this blessed month, we ask god to bless our friends, bring us closer to them and introduce us to more who make us better, stronger and happier.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Ramadan 2013: Forgiveness

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. – Mother Teresa

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Welcome to the third of forgiveness, forgiveness we all seek from god almighty as we are all imperfect and no matter how hard we try, we may wrong someone here or there, be rude or get angry at someone here or there, be impatient, feel slight arrogance at accomplishment … we all need forgiveness.

In this post, as we reflected on Mother Teresa’s thought above, we found that one word comes to mind – STRENGTH. To forgive, be kind, be honest, be happy, do good, give our best ANYWAY is strength and anything other than that is weakness.

If we are seeking forgiveness during this special time of the month, it would make sense to ask for it not only from god, but also, from others either by asking for forgiveness up front or by making a beautiful supplication for them that counterbalances root ‘negative’ feelings within us that had originally triggered our reaction while they are blessed, and from god’s generosity, we are also blessed with what we have supplicated for.

It is a given of course and in our hope, that we have the strength to make a conscious decision to forgive others in order to be forgiven.

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