Life

There are (way too many) moments in my day that I tend to spend just scrolling through my phone. The internet can be so convenient and yet so torturous to one’s productivity in life. I have found myself checking all my social media apps and then going through what seems like a loop throughout the day and just checking, checking, checking. I mean, sure I’m up to date on a ton of things, but what good is that doing me in my daily routine? In the masjid during Ramadan I rarely ever see anyone on their phones. They’re focused on worship, on these blessed moments that will not come again very soon and will go by quickly before they know it. They’re inspired by their own spirits just lifting at the remembrance of their Lord. I realize you can not be inspired to write, to be productive, to live a better life, until you truly disconnect from this mindless routine of checking your phone. You have to recharge and reconnect your energy and channel it in prayer so that you can find yourself again. Ramadan is a chance to do that. To disconnect from all that is mundane and petty in life. To focus on the good things. To give you back that energy you have been lacking the rest of the year. I hope to find a balance and to really just keep on focusing my energy towards worship, being in the present, and living life the way it should be lived.

I’ve noticed a lot of talk about gratitude. Being grateful and feeling good as a result. Having a grateful state of mind. But talk is less effective unless put into practice. The month of Ramadan has really reminded me of the need to be grateful. Sometimes during the course of the year we assume we are being grateful but Ramadan really forces the soul to really see things in a slower pace. It hopefully forces us to see all the things we have been taking for granted. Sometimes those things can be as small as daily meals and actually having food to eat for iftar or warm water for our showers when we feel icky. It can be bigger things like the beautiful happiness of our children or easily being able to afford gifts for eid. If we can’t have empathy for those less fortunate and see how blessed we truly are then how effective have our fasts truly been? There are so many around the world suffering horribly and when we realize that we aren’t one of them, we should be nothing but grateful to Allah for giving us the opportunity to do so much in our lives. To live our life to its full potential without any fear inshallah.

May Allah continue to keep our hearts filled with gratitude. May we always help those less fortunate and use our gifts and talents to do good in the world. May we not take the small and big things for granted and may we especially not take life for granted. Ameen.

 

Forgiveness is a big theme of this special month. Each day Allah forgives and saves us. Each day the doors of heaven are opened and mercy flows down to us. Each day we are given an opportunity to sincerely ask Allah to forgive us for all of our sins. Those sins that were huge. Those small sins. Those sins that we don’t even know that we have done. Those sins that we are so ashamed of. Those sins that we have taken lightly. Those sins that are our secrets. Those sins that others do know about. All sins.

During this time of asking Allah for forgiveness, we can’t forget the people who may need our forgiveness. If we want Allah to forgive us, we have to have that very trait in our hearts. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to trust someone who betrays us. It only means we have to let go of the grudge in our hearts and not let our attitude towards them be defined by their wrong doing. Sometimes we learn something about a person’s character through the way they hurt us. That knowledge is vey important in dealing with them. However, holding onto the hurt and anger only hurts us. We don’t have to go to them directly to forgive them. We just have to do it. It is a very freeing feeling to forgive someone and feel the weight lifted. It gives you control again to be happy with your life and focus on your purpose. May Allah forgive us for all of our sins and cleanse our hearts. May He make our hearts tender and willing to forgive anyone who wrongs us. Ameen.

Ramadan is a time when you can really see how much importance you give to your ego. Throughout the year, it can become second nature to assume that when we get angry or get into arguments, that it was due to the shaytan (devil). But during Ramadan, since shaytan is locked up, our damaged selves are laid bare for us. I feel this is also a mercy from Allah because now we can tackle our negative traits with more focus. We can see that outside of Ramadan it has the potential to get worse. So even if we neglect to work too hard on bettering our characters, I feel fasting tends to put the ego in perspective. Even if it is the last few days of Ramadan, fasting truly helps to see that we can argue all we want, but essentially the hunger pains act as a constant reminder of our strife and commitment to Allah. They remind us of what really is important in life. They remind us of those who have these hunger pains all year long. They remind us of how much we truly depend on Allah for all things. Nothing good comes from us alone. Allah is always there. And this hopefully softens our hearts and diminishes our ego. May Allah accept all of our fasts and good deeds and allow us to overcome our ego and be among those who are the best in character. May He protect us all from the shaytan all year long. Ameen.

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