27 Ramadan 2013: Hope

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

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We have a very short post today … a post about hope …

… for ourselves in that we continue to improve in seeking “serenity, courage and wisdom”

… for others in that we continue to aid, and not be a barrier, in their own improvement in seeking “serenity, courage and wisdom”

… for all that we find what it is we are seeking in these last few precious nights in this blessed month

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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26 Ramadan 2013: Glad Tidings

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. – Albert Einstein

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Glad tidings to the truthful …  glad tidings to those who are true to themselves and others.

We do not actually have the right to give glad tidings to anyone for we do not control anything in life, including the start and end of it. However, we have been given guidance through God’s holy books that give stories of those who were honest and truthful to themselves and others. In most stories, these people are ridiculed, made fun of, mocked and teased because of insecurities or fears or secrets others wanted to hide behind. In all stories, the truthful ones emerged a winners both in life and hereafter.

Today, we aim to uplift those who live truth, first setting themselves free of chains of the past, dishonesty and followship, then gaining knowledge to validate and understand the truth, and later living it without judging others, until one day all is revealed.

Joy to those who have been bullied in school and in life …

Joy to those who have stood firmly on the truth while others make fun of them …

Joy to those who have not been supported in their career or choices in life …

Joy to those who are rarely celebrated by others for their success.

And sad it is, for those who may never see truth even if presented to them on a silver plate or worse, sad it is for those who have seen truth and rejected it.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Ramadan 2013: Sincerity

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Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite. – Charles Spurgeon

We heard a really interesting talk today about sincerity and the impact it has on life, livelihood, goodness, internal tranquility and peace, and clarity of approach in life.

It is said that sincerity is doing actions that are free of the ego, actions that do not seek:

  1. Other people’s praise, honor , love or recognition
  2. To push away other people’s dispraise and harm
  3. Receipt of help or a benefits from others in return

In this month, we urge ourselves and you, our fellow readers, to practice sincerity in all our actions, be it charity, outings, work, and relationships. More specifically, we urge ourselves to do good deeds that benefit humanity with sincerity with an aim to thank and seek love of a merciful and all-knowing god bearing the fruits of sincerity both in life and after-life without the glitz and glamor of fame and fortune.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 Ramadan 2013: How Lucky

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Count your blessings. – Haruki Murakami

Today’s post was inspired by oh so many things and more specifically, a phone call with a friend.

Quick questions for you:

  • Do you enjoy or get two day weekends?
  • Do you work a 9-5pm job?
  • Are you on a 3 months or greater maternity leave?
  • Are you on, or planning to go on, vacation?

If you answered yes to these or any of the four questions above then … you are lucky.

We don’t mean to belittle our post today with the “lucky clovers” but true it is that there are some things we take for granted that go beyond the blessings of food, water, health and wealth.

… Having two day weekends means spending more time with oneself or with family and friends which the majority of people don’t.

… Working a 9 – 5 pm job, even if one works over their set hours, means that we get a good night sleep and can enjoy the nights versus others who work shifts especially night shifts where, based on our experience with others, the body never actually recovers from such shocks and may restrict one from seeing their family for days.

… Being on a 3 months or greater maternity leave means one has the financial means to spend time taking care of their newborn gem without giving them up to strangers who may or may not give the necessary care and love needed.

… Are you on or planning to go on vacation? Then you are a minority who is not suffering from major external hardships. There are some who just want a weekend off especially the single mom who works two jobs to make ends meet for her kids.

We underestimate how lucky we are … we are OK.

Especially for those fasting during this month, imagine one day weekends … or over-extended working hours … or night shifts … or parents unable to be with their kids at the special time (sunset) of breaking the fast, i.e. ‘iftar’ … just imagine … we are definitely OK.

We would like to recognise those who don’t have the above and commend them for their perseverance and hard work yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Image courtesy of Iamnee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

1 Ramadan 2013: Have no Fear

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

We would like to start by wishing you all a blessed Ramadan full of special surprises that bring hope, love and cheer to your hearts.We also wish you a Ramadan that is full of god-consciousness, also known as ‘taqwa’, at a time when consciousness is altogether underestimated.

We wanted to start this year’s Ramadan with courage … the courage to have no fear. The courage to not fear anyone but god in pursuing dreams that others may not understand or others my discourage. We start with our quote above because if we were to sum up the year since Ramadan 2012, it is that fear paralyses those who have great talents but don’t act on them. We at ramadan Living believe that god will one day hold us accountable for this since we chose not to celebrate and share the blessings that we have been bestowed with others to bring goodness or enable goodness. Artists, writers, athletes, etc… all have something to share.

We call upon ourselves first to make this Ramadan the Ramadan of no fear to pursue dreams and goals albeit with vision, strategy, planning and determination. We call upon ourselves to stop saying this can’t be done and instead say, how can this be done after having assessed our true capability, ability and sincerity.

Image courtesy of  [Photography by BJWOK]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

30 Ramadan 2012: ‘Believe and Do Good’

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought. – Lord of the Rings (Pt. 1)

For today, we were left with one last thing that completed the whole picture for us, the need for a guide … a guide that gave us that sense of inner peace, a guide that makes sense, and a guide that is perfectly interconnected with clear wisdom. For us, our 30 days discovery took us on a journey to keep an open mind, understand and not to judge, to listen and not to speak, and to see how the pieces of the puzzle fit.

What we found was that the Quran (equivalent to the Bible and Torah) told us the past, explained the present and forwarned the future in perfect unison, taking the whole 603 pages to bring forth the complete wisdom it contained, primarily coming down to two matters:

‘ Believe and Do Good ‘

It just kept coming up … believe and do good … believe and do good … believe and do good … so, we now hope that we may remain steadfast in our faith that god exists, be given the ability to do good, anywhere and everywhere we go, bringing ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our societies inner peace and joy with the time that is given to us.

Happy Eid / Eid Kareem / Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating and not.

May this Eid bring joy to all and may it be a small reason to bring joy to others, children and those young and old, of all faiths and all colors.

We wanted to also thank all our awesome followers, new and returning, who have made this worthwhile.

With that, we end by saying that only god knows best.

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

27 Ramadan 2012: Flows Without Asking

… ‘sakha’ is a type of generosity in which a man is easygoing with people who ask him for help and he facilitates the needs of those seeking help … ‘Jud’, on the other hand, is generosity that flows without the recipient of the generosity needing to ask for it. For that reason, God is considered Jawad but not Sakhi, for His generosity flows without our asking. – Hamza Yusuf *

God’s generosity is all around us, 24 / 7, and more profoundly felt in Ramadan when we focus more on the spirit than any other month of the year, we call it, a month of high consciousness.

Whether it is by looking at how life around us keeps going with all the risks that seem not to materialise, to the abilities for the skies to rain and help naturally grow the earth, or the way money, food and all provisions seem to come, or the way life challenges seem to take on different meanings and directions yet we continue to have hope … his generosity is abundant and never-ending in perfect wisdom.

In today’s post we want to highlight that although he is always generous without our asking, imagine what would happen if we did. Doing our part in seeking his help, his provisions and his blessings actually seems to heal hearts and seems to be an indirect validation tool when we ask for something that may look good but is actually bad for us and vice versa. On this note, and contrary to what most feel, even the smallest need or want, worldly or not, we understand from scholars that god likes to hear our calling, and likes to hear us ask as we indirectly recognize that all power is to him and that no matter how big a problem or a challenge is in our lives, he can sort it out for us in perfect wisdom.

As god says in the Quran,

“Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” (Chapter 40 (Ghafir/Forgiver), Verse 6)

In these last few days of the blessed month, we ask god to bless us and you with a good year ahead filled with knowledge, clarity, inner and outer (reflecting inner) peace.

* Yusuf, Hamza, 2005, Generous Tolerance in Islam and its Effects on the Life of a Muslim. Seasons, Spring – Summer 2005 Issue, pp. 26 – 42 [Online]
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24 Ramadan 2012: Just do

You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give. – Eleanor Roosevelt

At the end of the day, it is the only thing that we can do: do our best and let it go.

We used to confuse reliance on god as a way to do what was clear to us and say ‘oh god, please help … we are waiting…’. However, over time we realized that we must do our best in whatever situation that comes our way because otherwise we will always wonder, what if we did this or that? or we would have this nagging gut feel that says, ‘you didn’t do your best’! So doing our best gives us half the peace as we seek ways, knowledge and information to deal with what comes our direction, i.e. life.

The other half of inner peace is related to the reliance on god. The prophet PBUH said:

If you all depend on Allah (god) with due reliance, He would certainly give you provision as He gives it to the birds who go forth hungry in the morning and return with full bellies at dusk. *

We don’t believe we need to add anymore to this perfect saying and instead say, inner peace cannot come with one or the other, we need both – doing our best and relying on god.

May god remind us of this whenever we face life situations that seem too difficult to deal with.

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*  At-Tirmidhi

22 Ramadan 2012: In us … Around us

Negativity sucks away energy. If part of the negativity stems from your attitude or perspective, commit yourself at the beginning of each day and each activity to find something positive in yourself and in others around you. If the people around you are negative and you can’t change that, either remove yourself from the situation or view it simply as one obstacle you face in pursuing your own potential. Stay focused on your own goals and make the best of the situation. – Terry Orlick

The quote above says it all, with a ‘footnote’.

We have faced negativity within us in the past as a reason to halt good ideas or actions we had. However, sometimes we found ourselves confusing lack of preparation, genuineness and/or intention with negativity (fear of the unknown and lack of dependence on god). The risk is that we sometimes tell ourselves that it is simply negativity when in fact, we needed additional work or soul-searching before making a mistake or taking a wrong turn.

Same thing goes for negativity around us. We found ourselves at times confusing confident, genuine advice AND foresight with negativity (low self-esteem or limited experiences and foresight) from others. Yes, language has a lot to do with it but we found that what is important is to actively listen and distinguish between the two as we might miss a learning that would greatly benefit us.

Ultimately, we wonder if initially assuming preparation and genuine advice is a better risk management tool as opposed to leaning on negativity in the first instance? It then comes down to knowing ourselves and others in a way that is non-judgmental and with goodness with a focus on ensuring that ideas and actions are clearly intentioned and lead to goodness for both ourselves and others.

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19 Ramadan 2012: Pieces of the Puzzle

We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart … and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together … I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude. – Helen Hayes

We simply can’t believe that it is time for the last most blessed days of the month of Ramadan!

These upcoming days are known to be as quite days due to solitude taken up by a lot of people. Blessings would continue to surround us while we seek mercy, forgiveness, and salvation from challenges and tribulations in life and the hereafter and more importantly, seek out the night of fate and set the foundations for what our lives might look like in the upcoming year. May these days be blessed and may we consciously ask ourselves throughout, can it (this material need) wait?

Reflection, worship and silence that comes with solitude is a powerful thing. Solitude that can only bring further clarity to our search for inner peace putting us in touch with deep feelings and thoughts that may otherwise, go unnoticed. Feelings and thoughts highlighting ‘purpose-less’ action and movement in life that give us the illusion that we are doing well and ‘on track’ but that in fact we are not.

Raising the bar in these last days is elevation for our hearts, minds and souls and necessary nutrients for the upcoming year … we wish you and ourselves success in the last third of Ramadan 2012 as we seek out the final key pieces to the puzzle of sustainable inner peace.

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