Observe moderation in deeds and understand that none amongst you can attain salvation because of his deeds alone. They said: Allah’s (God’s) Messenger, not even you? Thereupon he said: Not even I, but that Allah (God) should wrap me in His Mercy and Grace. (in Muslim)
As we have just completed the first third of Ramadan – the third of mercy – I ask god to give us the strength to fast the rest of the days and approach the next third – the third of forgiveness – with an open heart and a clear mind.
I leave you with these two quotes that set the stage for forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not a feeling – it’s a decision we make because we want to do what’s right before God. It’s a quality decision that won’t be easy and it may take time to get through the process, depending on the severity of the offense. – Joyce Meyer
Forgiveness isn’t just a blessing you deliver to another human being. Forgiveness is also a gift you give yourself. – Robin S. Sharma
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To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. – Lewis B. Smedes
The definition of despair is the loss of hope and confidence. Despair is about pain, melancholy and sorrow.
One of the reasons of despair is people … people who hurt. People who abandon. People who disappoint. And the only way around that is to forgive and make peace with others.
Peace with others is looking back at what disappointed us and especially when the person in question is not directly hurtful, blame it on circumstances and the will of god.
Peace with others is about accepting people as they are, faults and all and not pick on what they did, said or didn’t say or didn’t do, just work around them, avoid putting them in a situation to hurt you and accept that we may not all like each other but we can accept each other.
Peace with others is recognizing those who are directly hurtful and avoid situations where we depend on them for anything and use words of respect and goodness and power of silence when dealing with them.
Peace with others is shifting the focus from others to ourselves and being generous with others in terms of sharing of knowledge, goodness and spreading of positivity.
May we find the strength within us to forgive others and not pick on what people do and don’t do and just walk on earth with peace in our hearts full of patience and mercy on all.
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A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.― Charles Dickens
So we are in the last 10 days (or 9) of this beautiful month and parting is such sweet sorrow.
In preparation for the last stretch, as we hope to experience and see more of god’s mercy, love and generosity, one thing is important – purification of the heart.
Purification is about removing any ill feelings, negative associations, unnecessary judgements, and nagging suspicions about others in our hearts.
This purification is key to be fully aware and present in moments of blessings and moments of forgiveness and light.
May god open our hearts and keep us light as we embrace god’s presence and god’s blessings on us, our families and all of you humanity.
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But she wasn’t around, and that’s the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going in to every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone. ― Mitch Albom
Just like in everyday life, I recently had an important career decision to make, and I didn’t know what to do. In my mind, all I saw was difficulty in every possibility.
I thought, I procrastinated, I worried, I complained … just unnecessary fear and unnecessary confusion.
I asked god to show me the way and I got my support from the strangest of people.
Ok, well, it is not that strange, but it was interesting to see that after losing my mom a year ago, I found a sense of support and comfort in my dad.
My dad was always wise and smart but mothers often are the first and main source of support, a role which seems like my dad is slowly assuming.
I can tell you that we don’t only need our parents, but we are never the same without them, it is like losing a part of you that you can never get back, creating a gaping whole that never ever ever closes.
With our parents, we never have to go anywhere alone.
With our parents, we never have to decide alone.
With our parents, we never have to worry or celebrate alone.
With our parents, near or far, close-knit or not, we are NOT alone.
In this Ramadan, I ask god to give all surviving parents a long life full of wisdom and bliss.
In this Ramadan, I ask god to forgive the mistakes of our deceased parents and help us always remember them in our hearts and minds.
Love your parents
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Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.-Deborah Reber
Definitely … there is no happiness unless I let go of the small stuff and just focus on my own behavior, goals and dreams.
What good is picking at what people do or say all the time? People pick on themselves and put themselves under enough pressure already.
From experience, picking on what people say or do will only consume one’s valuable time on something that is not only out of our control but also meaningless for us.
Yes, people say silly things … they hurt our feelings … and can be narrow minded, ignorant and simply mean … but other than our ego, what happens as a result?
If our boundaries have been crossed, we should speak up then and there and then let it go.
If our boundaries may have been crossed but could be attributed to anger, mood or ignorance, I believe that the best thing to do is to let it go.
Let us not let these petty things disrupt our path to our dreams and goals.
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The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget. – Thomas Szasz
None of us is perfect – we all make mistakes and bad judgement calls that may hurt people around us.
So it makes sense to wonder why we don’t forgive more often – we all make these mistakes – then again, what does forgiveness actually mean assuming one is even aware that they had made a mistake?
I will use observation from my mom’s life to elaborate on what I saw forgiveness to be in “action”.
Some hurt others in silence through body language, some hurt through words, and some hurt through action.
I must admit that my mom did not give much time or thought to those who hurt her in silence. She literally seldom even noticed and if she did, she ignored it and came up with excuses why people behaved the way they did.
Forming the minority of cases, and while action never involved anything violent, those who hurt her in action – for example, be it cutting her off or refusing her generosity or misjudged her – was embarrassing to her. Yet, I can honestly say that she stood tall and strong towards such people and literally did not react back, retaliate or confront.
Was she hurt? Absolutely especially when done in front of others.
Majority of cases involved hurt through words as people get angry and lose control of what they say – like we all do at times. As hurtful as they were at times, she never followed up and usually acted as if these words were never said, in other words, she did not linger on and focus on what was said. Again, she moved on.
So was she not hurt? Of course she was – but she was not going to demand an apology – the apology had to come from the person.
So what is forgiveness when it comes to those who hurt us? It is what is common in all three cases.
- She rarely complained to others;
- Never closed the door for their return or apology;
- Greeted them when she met them;
- Always said truth when asked; but
- The key in all is that she kept her guard up to maneuver repeated hurtful actions and found ways to avoid being in similar situations, in other words, she learned from her experiences.
So while forgiveness is not easy, what I saw from my mom is that forgiveness is quite simple, and while others may hurt us – we also may hurt others – even if unintentional.
My mom taught me that …
Forgiveness is leaving the door open, not complaining, learning from hurtful experiences and … moving on.
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“The best peace agreement you can enter into is one you make with god, yourself and those around you” – Ramadan Living Blogger
I don’t know about you, but I sure feel like there hasn’t been a more opportune and desperate time to make peace. Before we start looking at how others should make peace with each other, the question to ask is, have I made peace with god? with myself? with those around me?
What does peace mean? It does not necessarily mean a specific outer appearance, but it is an internal state. A state of comfort and satisfaction. Satisfaction that god’s rights, your own rights and the rights of others have been fulfilled or at least, you are trying to fulfill them. These include prayer, reflection, doing good, enjoining good, advising others, smiling to others, accepting ourselves talents and faults, accepting the choices we make and accept the destinies that have pre-ordained for us after we have the comfort of knowing that we have tried our best.
And once that is all in the clear, then one can look at what others are doing.
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“Don’t wait for the last judgement – it takes place every day” – Albert Camus
I had a small reflection, what if all of humanity believed in a day of judgement? what if none of humanity believed in a day of judgement? What are the risks in life and what are the risks in hereafter? Just some food for thought.
In any case, for those who do believe in the Day of Judgement, this quote reminded me of the need to renew our “vows” to god, to believe and do good … believe and do good … believe and do good and to ask ourselves everyday, did I do anything today that warrants forgiveness, reflection, learning and improvement? We tend to forget very quickly. The year 2013 went by so fast I wondered in the New Year what I did that year in terms of good and bad deeds, and I could not recall.
The daily review is simple, what did I do good and what did I do bad every day leading to a positive cumulative result at the finish line.
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A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open. – Frank Zappa
The ‘principle of charity’ is an interesting concept. It is one that basically forces one to assume rationality at the root of any statement or concept made by others. Originating from the study of philosophy, its purpose is to take into account varying perspectives to expand thought and analysis.
We believe that applying the principle of charity more generally is worth a try. Too many of us get stuck in one thought or perspective thinking that it is right progressing to believe that no one has the right to have an opposing perspective and even worse, to mistakenly reprimand or judge others.
Again, another one of those exercises we are hoping to give a try and to share with you our experience in five days or so.
On this odd Ramadan night (25), we wish you all an evening full of blessings, connection and joy.
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