16 Ramadan 2017: The Real You

Starve the ego, feed the soul – Unknown

As we approach the last days of Ramadan, it is worth looking back at the last 16 days and use the next couple of days to prepare for what it is we want, we hope, and we seek for the next year and beyond.

The last 10 days are special because those who fast this month believe that there is one special night that is bestowed on people who are genuine in their actions of worship, love and charity bringing great blessings with it where angels surround earth, the skies and the heavens above. It is also in this special night that our destinies for the next year are revealed, may they be great.

Reflection is key to this preparation as we have had 16 days to really see who we really are as fasting and the fasting month expose our souls in ways that are often more challenging day to day as we are busy at work, home, friends, and life more generally.

How were you with people? Did you gossip? Did you hurt someone with your words or actions?

How did you feel about people? Envious? Hoping for them what you hope for yourself?

How were you with your family? Your children? Were you angry? Were you kind and merciful?

How were you with money? Did you waste it? Did you share it with others through gifts and generosity?

How were you with work? Did you complete tasks with excellence?

How were you with god? Did you seek forgiveness for the *not so proud* things you did? Did you ask for all the things you want?

Ramadan is not about limiting food and drink, ramadan is about seeing who we truly are and working on what needs to improve and thanking god for the lovely qualities we have.

 

 

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10 Ramadan 2015: More than a Thousand Words

A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. – Denis Waitley

 

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By the end of the first 10 days of Ramadan, most people’s bodies have gotten used to the new cycle of eating. Fasting, from food and drink,  becomes easy.

In an opposite fashion, by the end of the first 10 days of Ramadan, most people’s commitment to “fasting” from negative manners, behaviors and habits reaches a stage where one forgot the change they committed to.

One of the key inner changes is related to how we treat others, and that starts the first moment we see someone – a smile.

My mom smiled often – my mom even smiled on the day she departed this world onto the next one.

A lot of us find it hard to smile when we are focused on an issue or a matter at hand, but more often than not, smiling can actually help us think more clearly and may actually benefit us, it opens the doors to opportunities and for others to engage with us.

If fasting was of fasting from food and drink, that is one thing, but to reach the finish line in this blessed month, with stamina, we need to have taken control of our food, drink and soul.

In this second phase of Ramadan, the third of forgiveness, I seek forgiveness from god for all the times when we looked or acted “closed” towards others making them think we were “uncaring” and/or “non sharing”, leaving you with this:

I think that when you get dressed in the morning, sometimes you’re really making a decision about your behavior for the day. Like if you put on flipflops, you’re saying: ‘Hope I don’t get chased today.’ ‘Be nice to people in sneakers. – Demetri Martin

Smile …

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27 Ramadan 2014: “Let Days Go Forth”

Let Days Go Forth

Let days go forth and do as they please
And remain firm when settled is the Decree

Don’t be afraid of what happens by night
For the affairs of this world are not to last

And be a man, strong in the face of calamities
And let your nature be that of kindness and honesty

If your faults become too much in front of the people
And you wish that they were to be concealed,

Then know that kindness covers all faults
And how many faults are kept hidden by kindness!

No sadness lasts forever, nor any happiness
And you shall not remain in poverty, or any luxury

Generosity cannot be hoped from the miserly
For no water exists in the Fire for the thirsty

Your provision will not be lessened due to life’s delays
And it cannot be increased due to your haste

If, in your heart, you possess contentment
Then you and those who possess the world are equal

And for him upon whose horizon death descends,
No earth can offer him protection, nor any sky

Indeed, the earth of Allah is certainly vast
But if decree descends, then decree is constricted

Let days be the ones that betray you at all times
For no cure can avail a person of death

– Imam Al-Shafi’i (RA)

18 Ramadan 2014: Purpose

“I want to make my mark,’ he says. But what target, I wonder, are you going to hit?” ― Cecil Castellucci

In its’ 9th year, I do believe that this topic comes up every year. Is it surprising? I believe not, because with no purpose … why are we here again? Why am I writing? Why do I continue living? This year however, I want to reflect on this question with some of what others have said.

The purpose of life is ….

  • something to live for – Dostoyevsky
  • to achieve greatest self – Maraboli
  • to contribute in some way to making things better – Kennedy
  • a life of purpose – Bryne
  • to be happy – Dalai Lama
  • not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • to help others – Dalai Lama
  • to find your purpose – Gautama Buddha
  • to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all. – Leo Rosten

So, three observations; one is that some prescribe the attributes of a person who has a purpose in life, e.g. compassionate, useful; others prescribe purpose as a specific action, e.g. help others; and the third is so generic, one can’t help but ask more questions, e.g. a life of purpose, to find your purpose.

To prescribe what life purpose is in attributes or limited actions is narrow and makes me wonder about its completeness as it isolates some who may not have these “attributes” or “actions” who actually may have a purpose or confuse others who are trying to find their purpose as they “don’t meet these standards”.

I can’t provide you with another “quote” unfortunately and leave this to your own reflection as I do not feel I have all the knowledge necessary to do that but believing in an all-knowing god makes me accept the one that has been prescribed by our creator – Our life purpose is to “worship god” through belief, actual worship and doing good.

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13 Ramadan 2014: Make Peace

“The best peace agreement you can enter into is one you make with god, yourself and those around you” – Ramadan Living Blogger

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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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29 Ramadan 2013: Media

Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? – Philip K. Dick

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Media in this case, is what we generally refer to as “excessive talk in one or more views” including discussions and talks by people through social media and mobile avenues. Although it has many benefits, one cannot help but observe, feel and even reflect on the potential negative effects this can have on different levels of society.

In this Ramadan, we ask god to protect and forgive us from blindness followed by responsible use of social media and mobile applications which takes into account that even “typed” words, “marketing” and “news” will be accounted for in our inventory of good / bad actions and words taken in life.

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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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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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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