22 Ramadan 2018: Watch What We Say

“O Messenger of Allah (god)! What is the means to salvation?’ He said: ‘That you control your tongue, suffice yourself your house, and cry over your sins.” (in Tirmidhi)

In other words,

  • Watching what we say and controlling the words we choose taking into account what positively affects people, what encourages them, sharing goodness and kindness without hypocrisy or lying and worse yet, intending to hurt others with our words;
  • Becoming satisfied with our own homes and not rely on outside influences to bring us joy from infusing designs, spreading aromas, and building home environments that suit us and make us happy; and
  • Remembering our sins and seeking forgiveness for them, taking steps to improve ourselves and not just ignore them.

We all have a different set of weaknesses, I find that speech is one of the hardest to control and watch especially these days where speech, both written and said, is abundant by those who know and those who don’t know that sometimes we can’t tell the difference.

I ask god in these blessed days to help us remain aware of our speech in all situations and to seek forgiveness when we make mistakes with good intentions. May we practice conscious speech as often as possible.

Wisdom comes with the ability to be still. Just look and just listen. No more is needed. Being still, looking, and listening activates the non-conceptual intelligence within you. Let stillness direct your words and actions.

Photo by Hrayr Movsisyan on unsplash

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21 Ramadan 2018*: Love for others what we love for ourselves

“O Abu Hurairah (a companion of the prophet), be cautious, and you will be the most devoted of people to Allah (god). Be content, and you will be the most grateful of people to Allah (god). Love for people what you love for yourself, and you will be a (true) believer. Be a good neighbor to your neighbors, and you will be a (true) Muslim. And laugh little, for laughing a lot deadens the heart.” (in Ibn Majah)

This saying covers advice on building one’s character by being cautious, thankful and taking life lightly but not too lightly that we are laughing all the time and having faith by loving for others what we love for ourselves and by being good to our neighbors.

While improving our character is important, it is loving for others what we love for ourselves that is always the most challenging.

I ask god to help us get over our own stinginess by helping us share whatever knowledge, benefits and opportunities with others without fear of competition or judgement … not a trivial task.

Photo by Elaine Casap on unsplash

*The previous post introduced the framework for salvation in life and the after-life. The next 9 or 10 posts (depending on when Ramadan 2018 ends) will be dedicated to sharing sayings or actions from the Prophet’s life worth reflecting upon in these last few days of the blessed month.

21 Ramadan 2017: Forgiveness

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.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

8 Ramadan 2017: Help Others

The best antidote I know for worry is work. The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served. ― Gordon B. Hinckley

Get up and do something … and besides taking care of yourself and your loved ones … reach out and check on others … someone might need something … and if they do, help them or find the right person to help them.

This is the magic formula to not despair.

Help does not necessarily mean giving up a significant amount of time and money … it is “volunteering” information … a connection … a good word … hope.

If you can’t find someone who needs help, think of an area of knowledge, ability or leadership you have, and share it with the world either in writing or in action starting with your family and loved ones.

Do it swiftly, do it without seeking a return, it will change your life.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

5 Ramadan 2017: Sometimes it is just a “talk” away

Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud – Jonathan Addison

From experience, I would say that a large portion of our worries and causes of despair can be significantly reduced by one small action, talking with a friend.

In the past, I have experienced times when excessive worries could have been avoided by simply getting a different perspective from someone we respect and trust to have our best interests at heart. Albeit, it takes effort to first admit that we are worried and to then be open about it with a friend without the fear of sounding naive, silly or idealistic.

While we have other means of sharing our worries through social media and alternative communication channels, none of these approaches can ever provide us with the immediate comfort and interaction needed to reduce feelings of despair if at least, to hear a voice on the other end or meet someone who can say “I understand how you might feel”.

I ask god in this blessed month to bless us with good friends who have the time to hear what we have to say and have the patience to advise us whenever we need it. Prior to that however, I ask god to give us the courage to stand up and ask others to listen.

 

Image courtesy of fantasista at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 Ramadan 2017: First step, make peace with others

Make peace with others. The only thing you can change about the past is the damage you may have done to relationships. You may need to make amends with some people and say sorry. Sometimes it feels like we have unfinished business if we leave something in a state of tension. Break the ice, admit you were wrong, and then you and the other person can let go of any bitterness and move on. Sometimes God won’t let us rest with ourselves and be at peace unless we take care of certain things. – Lisa Bedrick

Before deciding on any goal or task one must always have the prerequisites to enhance the chance of success. When thinking about despair, hopelessness or anguish, I could not help but see that unless we make peace with others, and see the best in them, we would never overcome desperation.

Making peace with others means making peace with whatever wrongdoings that “we feel” have been done to us and finding ways to forgive them. “We feel” because more often than not, it is a matter of perspective and one of the ways to overcome these past ill feelings is to think of the many reasons why someone would have said or acted a certain way. It was Jesus PBH who guided us to give 70 excuses to why others let us down or hurt us.

Make peace with others … block thoughts of negativity towards them. Do not hate, and do not resent, for these two feelings will take up so much space in your heart blocking peace *within* from truly taking over.

Make peace with others … so you can make peace with yourself.

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

20 Ramadan 2016: Here we go …

A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.― Charles Dickens

RLSo 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.

 

Image courtesy of Toa55 / freedigitalphotos.net

10 Ramadan 2016: “How are you?”, Connecting while home

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.― Vera Nazarian

RLYes, “how are you” is not only powerful while away, but also while at home.

In an ever increasing, virtually connected world, we are missing the warmth, connectivity and empathy that comes with physical, face to face, contact.

Again, similar to when we travel, nothing connects the human race like connecting with the human purpose, human heart and human mind. This connection comes about from three simple words, “how are you?”.

While at home, these three words connect us with others and opens the door to discussions, sharing of information and more importantly, pressure release because for a moment, we are not alone.

The irony is not only does this benefit the recipient, but it benefits us when we say it.

So next time I am in an elevator, paying for a service or riding the taxi …

 

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9 Ramadan 2016: “How are you?”, Connecting while away

Invisible threads are the strongest ties.― Friedrich Nietzsche

RL

I was traveling recently and something occurred to me, one of the things that I consistently did while traveling is to speak and connect with those who live in the city I visit. I didn’t do it purposely but something always nudged me.

I did this by simply asking, “how are you?”, “how are things”?

It could be the cab driver, the hotel employee, the coffee barista, etc… simply anyone. I have rarely been let down … in fact, even when I am let down and someone is abrupt and short, it gives me a view of the city and its people.

Why is this important?

It connects us with the world and reminds us about how small we are and how large the Universe is leading to humility, empathy, acceptance and more importantly, love … yes, love.

It makes one love the fact that the world is small and what worries someone 3,000 km away is that as what worries someone 1 meter away. It makes one love others for being normal and human. It makes one love their own destiny as they hear others’ destinies.

I have learned a lot in my travels … and while seeing the local sights and museums is important, nothing beats connecting with others like traveling.

 

 

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7 Ramadan 2016: Dealing with people … Let it go

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

RLDefinitely … 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.

 

 

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse / freedigitalphotos.net