Preparing For Ramadhaan – The ‘Month Of Mercy’

All and absolute Praise belong to ALLAH TA’ALA, Who has revealed to HIS servants the Book, not corrupted, but correct, in order to be a warning, guidance, healing and mercy to the worlds from their Lord. May the most beautiful and complete blessings and peace be upon Ar-Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), the bearer of glad tidings and the trustworthy conveyer of the last revelation to mankind. May the Mercy of ALLAH TA’ALA be upon His esteemed household, the virtuous companions and all those who guard over the message of ALLAH TA’ALA, finding tranquility for their soul and inspiration for an exemplary life in this world.

As the dawn of Ramadhaan approaches, offering us glimpse of its golden rays of purity, every Muslim around the world prepares to experience the warm ambience which only this month can bring. From Suhoor to Iftaar to Taraaweeh Salaah, Ramadhaan brings together brothers, sisters, parents and children. In order to derive the utmost benefit from the sacred month of Ramadhaan, it is crucial to recognize the spiritual significance and importance of this month. Fasting during this month should be only for ALLAH TA’ALA, and that HE will give the reward for it, for the reward of ALLAH, the Bountiful and Munificent, is greater and vaster than anyone could imagine, Subhaan-ALLAH!

A Hadith so beautifully encapsulates: “The reward for every good deed of Aadam will be multiplied anywhere between ten and seven hundred times. ALLAH said: ‘Except for fasting, because it is for ME and I MYSELF will give recompense for it. He gives up his food and his passion for ME.’ For the one who fasts, there are two times of rejoicing, one when he breaks the fast, and one when he meets his Lord. Verily the smell that comes from the mouth of one who is fasting is more pleasing to ALLAH than the scent of musk.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Beloved Reader! This is a month which ALLAH TA’ALA has designated for the revitalization of the soul and one’s spiritual ascension after a year full of sin and spiritual retrogression. However, all this will only be possible if we value this precious month and prepare for it accordingly. It is reported that Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to commence His preparation two months prior to Ramadhaan by reciting the following supplication at the beginning of Rajab, “O ALLAH! bless us in Rajab and Sha’baan and make us reach Ramadhaan”. This shows the importance of conditioning oneself mentally and spiritually for the advent of this month. Ramadhaan is a long- awaited celestial guest; accordingly, we ought to prepare the grandest reception in appreciation for all of it’s beautiful blessings and barakah. It is only through such yearning and longing that the significance of Ramadhaan will develop in our hearts serving as a catalyst to increase our good deeds and to fulfil the objectives of Ramadhaan.

Therefore, we should strike a balance, during this all-too-short blessed month, between our domestic duties and the opportunity this month brings, to draw closer to ALLAH through worship and good deeds. Do not let our household chores and other work distract us from performing the obligatory Salaah at the appointed times or from reading the Qur’aan Kareem or Nafl Salaah. Nor should we let traditional late-night family gatherings keep us from performing Qiyaam al-Layl and making Du’a. There are three main objectives to attain from this blessed month, namely absolution of one’s sins, attainment of piety and enhancing one’s communion with ALLAH TA’ALA. In regards to absolution of sin, Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) mentioned, “Whoever fasts and stands for worship in Ramadhaan out of faith and anticipation of reward, all of his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Ibn Majah]

The main element mentioned in this Hadith is that our effort and striving in worship throughout the month should be with the zest of Imaan and zeal of reward. The recompense of this will be a thorough effacement of sins. The veil of inhibition that impedes a person from his or her Rabb will be removed and the doors to a life of spiritual bliss, ecstasy and harmony will be flung open. Subhaan-ALLAH!

ALLAH TA’ALA states,

“O you who believe, fasting has made compulsory upon you as it made compulsory upon those before you so that you may become ALLAH fearing.” [Qur’aan 2 :183]

Al-Hamdulillah! Fasting is one of the best spiritual exercises to establish piety, patience and a perpetual consciousness of ALLAH TA’ALA and the reward for true patience is Jannah. In this beautiful month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Rabb, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Rabb, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no diety to worship except ALLAH (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa Ilaaha Illallaah) and make much Istighfaar (beg ALLAH’S forgiveness with Astaghfirullaah). “And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of ALLAH, entrance into Paradise and ask refuge in HIM from Jahannam(Hell).” Once a person feels the bliss of being completely pardoned and relieved from the burden of sins coupled with the feelings of ALLAH’S Omnipresence, he or she would have reached a very high pedestal of divine communion. This pedestal is what referred to as the stage of Ihsaan; where a person worships ALLAH as if he or she is seeing HIM or with the full conviction and cognizance that ALLAH is watching him or her.

Beloved Reader! The Mubarak month of Ramadhaan requires special preparation because it requires complete dedication on part of the Mu’min. Below are a few easy ways to In’Shaa’ALLAH (ALLAH willing) help prepare our minds and hearts for this upcoming Month of Mercy.

1. INTENTION TO PREPARE:
One of the most essential elements of preparing for the arrival of Ramadhaan is to make the intention for preparation for verily “every action judged by it’s intention” [Al-Bukhari]. The preparation begins the day you start practicing humility and patience and learn how to control your nafs (desires) and anger.

2. PERFORM REWARDING ACTIONS:
In the spirit of Ramadhaan, it is best to start preparing for the blessed month by performing actions that are rewarding and appreciated by our beautiful ALLAH. According to a Hadith, “If a person says, “SubhaanALLAH” (Glory be to ALLAH) 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away.”

3. INCREASE THE WORSHIP:
To start preparing for the blessed month of Ramadhaan, it is best if you start increasing your worship. This will allow you to adjust your routine for the arrival of Ramadhaan.  Increase all forms of Ibaadah (worship) such Fasting, recitation of Qur’aan, Dhikr, Sadaqah (Charity), Nafl (voluntary) Salaah etc.

4. DETERMINE SPECIFIC DAYS FOR FASTING:
To adjust your body to fasting, it is best that you start fasting beforehand. You should define specific days for fasting. For example, if you fast every Monday and Thursday, you will be more fully prepared for Ramadhaan making the adjustment much easier.

5. READ THE MUBARAK QUR’AAN  REGULARLY:
For individuals who have not prepared for reading and reciting Qur’aan during Ramadhaan, Qur’aan Kareem recitation while fasting becomes difficult. It is best if you start reading the Mubarak Qur’aan  after Fajr Salaah on a daily basis just to prepare for the Ramadhaan spirit.

6. ADJUST SLEEPING HABITS:
Ramadhaan teaches us to adjust the way we lead our life. Therefore, before the arrival of Ramadhaan, it is ideal if you start adjusting your sleeping habits. You should start off by going to bed early and rising early. If you are used to this routine, you will not feel sleepy and tired when Ramadhaan arrives.

7. DEFINE OBJECTIVES:
Ramadhaan is the ideal month to embark on your journey to fresh objectives. If you are a smoker and want to quit this habit, you should start off with this month. If you want to be an early riser, still Ramadhaan is the perfect month for you.

In essence, Ramadhaan is the most blessed and rewarding month. Therefore, all Muslims should try their best prepare for this auspicious month of Ramadhaan. Regular recitation of Qur’aan, voluntary charity and recitation and offering prayers will help you prepare for the Ramadhaan spirit. In’Shaa’ALLAH!

O Beloved Reader! Let us embellish our Akhlaaq (character) in this beautiful and blessed month with gifts presented by the Prophet of guidance (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Let us make this Ramadhaan a means of gaining nearness to ALLAH TA’ALA and preparing for the eternal journey that each and every one of us must traverse.

~The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the ♥~

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Problems Are The Growth Points Of Life And Progress

PROBLEMS. . . how we hate them! The time and energy we waste, stewing over problems instead of tackling them cheerfully and constructively, recognising them as the growth points of life and progress. Life is a series of problems. Problems evoke in us a great deal of emotional pain, such as sorrow, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness etc. These are uncomfortable emotions. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems… it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Since life invokes a series of problems, life also unleashes a series of pain.

Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes success and failure. Problems are what cause us to grow mentally and spiritually. Without growth, we’re doomed to stay as we have always been. Wise people learn not to dread problems, but to welcome and expect problems. Fearing the pain involved from problems causes most people to avoid problems. Many people go to any lengths to avoid their problems and the suffering they cause, attempting to escape from or ignore them. Or building out the most elaborate fantasies in which to live, sometimes to the total exclusion of reality. A little pain, perhaps, in facing a problem… a little patience, courage, thought and effort to try and solve it – they’re preferable to burying it and risk becoming a neurotic cripple who may need psychiatric treatment. In avoiding the problem, we stop growth which we learn from the problems that life brings. Therefore, we avoid real life for the replaced fantasy. When we stop the growth, we also stop the healing we could have attained if we faced our problems and pain with proper responses. When we stop growing, we also stop the very meaning and purpose that problems can bring us.

As Muslims, we are in direct communication with the Almighty ALLAH. No matter how bad you perceive your situation and your strength is no longer enough to carry them, don’t give up! Because, where your strength ends, the grace of ALLAH begins. So, cry your heart to none but ALLAH. Only ALLAH TA’ALA can and will heal you in all possible ways! HE is the only One Who not only hears and knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties. ALLAH, the Most Wise, says:

“Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not.” [Qur’aan 2:152]

Life is difficult, and the world is full of troubles, but the sun still shine, and ALLAH’S blessings are everywhere in our lives. Many have complained that “Life isn’t fair.” I simply reply, who said the life was supposed to be fair? They are just test papers given by Almighty ALLAH to see how much you learnt in HIS subject called “LIFE”. Sometimes ALLAH tests us so that we can see the rainbow after a stormy rain. If we can’t see the rainbow in this world, then In’Sha’ALLAH we can in the Hereafter. Just be strong in your heart and mind! Furnish it with faith, love, trust, and sincerity for the sake of ALLAH. Make your imagination embroidered with HIS love and light. In’Sha’ALLAH tranquility and contentment will penetrate into our soul. That is when our imagination triumphs over intelligence. Never give up on ALLAH. Doing so is actually tantamount to disbelief.

“Truly no one despairs of ALLAH’S soothing Mercy except those who have no faith.” [Qur’aan 12:87]

Be it the silence in your life right now or the rumble of the forthcoming storm… you have ALLAH TA’ALA to guide you through! HE sends you hope in the most desperate moments. Don’t forget; the heaviest rain comes out of the darkest clouds. And have faith that it shall pass and a sunshine of Sabr (patience) will shine down on you. So, often we associate problems with “the unwanted, difficulty, stress.” We should rather associate them with “lessons, opportunity, growth.” Problems are like washing machines, they twist us, spin us and knock us around, but in the end we come out cleaner, brighter and better than before. Avoiding problems is our attempt to avoid true life’s learning opportunities. True emotional and spiritual health comes from acknowledging that life is full of problems. And with this truth, we discover the tools to dealing with these problems. The tools we must discover is found inside discipline. When we develop discipline within every area of our life, we also develop the tools we shall need to successfully confront and overcome all problems, In’Shaa’ALLAH!

Here are few guidelines for problem solving:

• Develop the habit of viewing problems optimistically and tackling them creatively. With patience, prayer and supplication, most problems can be overcome. Prayer is the key that unlocks all doors.

• Have faith in your ability to solve problems, often while you sleep. Write down what’s worrying you before you go to bed, then trust your subconscious to work on the problem while you sleep. Often an answer comes like a flash in the morning. “Sleep on a problem” is sound common-sense which has worked throughout the ages.

• Recognise which problems need to be lived through and which to be worked through. Recognise also that there are no definite answers to every problem.

• Don’t suppose that, if you change your circumstances, problems will vanish. Many people think that if this and if that, they would be happy – but every situation has its problems. The secret is to change your attitude towards them.

• Place your forehead on the ground and mention ALLAH’S Praises, so that you can obtain true freedom. Let your tears flow in front of HIM and read the supplication of Prophet Yaqoob (Alaihis Salaam), “I only complain of my suffering and grief to ALLAH…” [Qur’aan 12:86]

• Write down several possible solutions. If you can’t think of any, remember ALLAH, call out HIS name, and ask HIM for help. HE will make a way when there seems to be no way!!!

“…And whosoever fears ALLAH and keeps his duty to HIM, HE will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And HE will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in ALLAH, then HE will suffice him. Verily, ALLAH will accomplish his purpose…” [Qur’aan 65:2-3]

Accept your problems. View them creatively and courageously. And, yes, be grateful for them – for, in learning to cope, you’ll grow in stature and wisdom. Take the time out every day to thank ALLAH for the blessings in your life – not only will you be overwhelmed because you will never be able to enumerate them, but you will truly recognise ALLAH’S presence in your life.

Stay strong, firm and beautiful because things will get better, In’Sha’ALLAH! It might be stormy now, but it can’t rain forever.

~The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the ♥~