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Ramadhan- Your Rehab Time…

Ramadhan- Your Rehab Time

The Holy Month of Ramadhan tends to possess an aura of its own, whilst people embrace the message of God with much attention and care, there also seems to be love flying in the air, people are willing to sacrifice things they wouldn’t on a normal day, the mosques are full with people, streets are livelier than ever and there seems to be an Islamic feeling around you. It is refreshing to see all of this, sometimes, I sit down and say to myself, perhaps Ramadhan should be much longer than it is, but then the thought of twenty hour fasts crosses my mind and I wonder what I am wishing for! But there’s a reason behind everything, and the reason I wish Ramadhan lasted longer was because I love the scenes during the Holy Month, I love to see people coming together to give time to their families, to the less fortunate, to the forgotten ones, time to go to mosque and most of all time to spread love to everyone.

This week, we will be approaching the 10th fast, which marks the completion of a third of this Holy Month, and the scenes across the globe have been overwhelming. People tend to get a lot of work done during the Holy Month, the excuse of “There is no time” is hardly heard, and this is what has prompted me to write this article.

It is amazing how we tend to get so much done despite the long fasts, the decrease in the level of energy due to the absence of food and drinks, the mosque rounds, late nights and of course the lack of sleep. It is here when I realised, that the excuse of “There is no time” is a myth created by us Humans to use it at our convenience and also in a bid to avoid doing things we less admire.

I tend to observe the change in timings and attitude amongst the people around me, mosque attendances tend to increase daily, support towards the less fortunate is overwhelming and the number of charitable events and timeless dedication of volunteers and people is exciting. This is why I love Ramadhan, the coming together of people, the love is spread and there seems to be faith restored in humanity.

The next twenty days will be one to cherish, it feels like a carnival, the atmosphere can be likened to that of the World Cup, people of various backgrounds willing to meet each other, to sacrifice in a bid to make sure the other person gets the best and for once, the world feels like a great place to live in.

However, I fear, I fear the post Ramadhan effect, will we ever experience this atmosphere again or will we have to wait for a year again? Will charity be given like it was during this month? Will the less fortunate be catered for, what happens to the hungry ones who were fed immensely during the thirty days, will the walls of the mosques be blessed with our presence and will the people around us feel the love they felt throughout the holy month?

 Whilst many of us tend to use this Holy Month to uplift our spirituality level, to accomplish tasks which aren’t on our priority list throughout the year and also to use it as a means of losing weight, perhaps we should take this as the platform to exercise time management.

This is the perfect month to set our priorities, to change our life style, to ensure that throughout the year we strive in the same manner as we do during the Holy Month, in a bid to ensure that when the next Holy Ramadhan comes to us, we are a better individual and have other objectives.

What else can stop us from ensuring we serve humanity and cater for the less fortunate, what can necessarily be our excuse for not being able to attend mosque? If we would do a particular act during the Holy Month, why not do it throughout the year? Why would you not do an unlawful act during the Holy Month but would willingly do it throughout the year?

We need not to have an excuse for everything, time is of great essence and we ought to manage it in the same manner as we do it during Ramadhan. Flourish the whole year with kindness, charity, love and compassion and see how the world changes with you.

I end with a famous quote by Lau Tzu who said “Time is a created thing. To say, “I don’t have time” is like saying “I don’t want to.” The choice therefore is yours, yes time does fly, but what we tend to forget is that we are the pilots of our flight. Manage your time, set up your priorities, before someone else does it for you…

From A Foetus To Ashes: My conversation with God.

From A Foetus To Ashes: My conversation with God.

“Verily We created man from a product of wet earth; then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodging; then We fashioned the drop into a clot, then We fashioned the clot into a little lump, then We fashioned the little lump into bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it another creation. So blessed be Allāh, the Best of Creators!” [23:12-14]

As I kept evolving inside what is now known to me as a womb, I wondered where I was, in a place so comfortable with food coming in and warmth of the highest level, yet I always overheard a conversation between two individuals, as they kept getting anxious about my gender and how they would prepare for my arrival, I asked God to end their anxiety and tell them my gender, upon which he replied:

“To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males.” [42:49]

As days went by, I was amazed at the transformation I had gone through, from a small foetus to a being with bones covered in flesh, I heard the same sound of the two voices saying I would be in their hands in the next few days, and they would be a Mother and a Father to a baby. I asked God, who are these people, how do I know who is a mother and who is a father? To which God replied:

“Mothers may breastfeed their children two complete years for whoever wishes to complete the nursing [period]. Upon the father is the mothers’ provision and their clothing according to what is acceptable.” [2:233]

And so, I prepared for my departure from the most comfortable of places, and was now en route to the real world. But, a thought always crossed my mind: why did God create me? What do I have to go and do out there? It wasn’t long till God spoke to me once again:

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [51;56]

I was puzzled, how did God know what was in my mind? And he responded:

“And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” [50:16]

As my arrival to the world was announced, I was ready to embrace a new challenge and to fulfil the covenant by God in regards to my creation. Hence, I began my growing up journey…

“And his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years.” [46:15]

And so I sat and pondered, I questioned myself as to what I am supposed to do from the age of maturity, what is my responsibility? And once again, God responded:

“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger.” [9:71]

But then He also warned me about the evil spirit who will try to misguide me:

“Surely the Shaitaan is your enemy, so take him for an enemy; he only invites his party that they may be inmates of the burning.” [35:6]

I was shocked! Why would someone want to take me away from God? What do I do when he comes to me? Who will help me overcome this difficulty? And a voice from the sky responded saying,

“And when My slaves ask you concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.” [2:186]

Now that I had gotten hold of my life, my actions, I knew my ways and I was now earning a fortune. For me, all that mattered was my children and the wealth I have, God was a name I only called upon when faced with difficulties. Life had a new purpose to me, it was nothing but pleasure. But only then, did God remind me of his existence when he whispered:

“Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward (Paradise).” [64:15]

I was astonished! Where am I? Why am I lost in this world of pleasures! Was it not the time to head back to my Guardian Angel? What happened to all those conversations with God? Will he forgive me? Will he answer me? And he then proclaimed:

“Say: O My servants who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives all sins; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [39:53]

This was a relief; I sat down on my prayer mat, raised my hands towards the sky and said:

“O our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and believers on the day when the reckoning shall come to pass!” [14:41]

From there on, I went back to daily routines, to earn a living for my family and to enjoy the pleasures of the world. I knew God would forgive, so I would go back to him when I needed, I had no reason to depend on him, I had all that I wanted.

“And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says, “Now I repent,”…for them We have prepared a painful torment.” [4:18]

I was now a big man, with my children all grown up, living the luxurious life, all of which were a reason of my own efforts, no one helped me, I don’t think God did either. Just like every other day, I prepared for my evening nap, when I saw a creature, with an angry face approach me, holding me by my neck, wanting to take my life away.

In a terrified voice, I asked? Who are you?

To which he fiercely replied:

Angel: Oh Man, God has sent me to accomplish the task I have been created for. I have been told to inform you that your “appointed term” has come to an end, and today, is your return to God.

I screamed, I tried pushing him away, I called upon God for help! I wasn’t ready for death. The angel replied: “[Death] is what you have been avoiding!” [50:19]

I desperately pleaded the angel to give me some time, so that I may ask God for forgiveness, to which he replied:

“By no means! It is a (mere) word that [you speak]” [23:100]

As he snatched my soul from me, he said:

“So, whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it; and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.” [99:7-8]

As my soul approached its final exit, and my journey back to my lord befell upon me, God said:

“Inna lilahi wa inna ilayhi raajeooon” (“Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.” [2:156]

I could feel the promised blazing fire and this is when I realized God was right when He promised:

“Until when death overtakes one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, send me back.” [23:99]

Oh man! Remember, “Every soul shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception.” [2:185]

Better late, than never….

Image taken from:
http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1224838/thumbs/r-BREAKING-UP-large570.jpg?6

Relationship Between Lady Fatemah (pbuh) and Surah al-Qadr- By Mujtaba Somji

Relationship Between Lady Fatemah (pbuh) and Surah al-Qadr

What a very close relationship there is between the existence of this exalted lady and the Laylatul Qadr.

Some of them are:

1) Qadr is the Divine decree. On the night of Laylatul Qadr we all strive to seek the Divine pleasure and safeguard from the Divine displeasure.

“Fatima is a part of me. Whosoever angers her has angered me. Whatever hurts her hurts me and whatever angers her has angered me.”

“Surely Allah is angered with Fatima’s anger and is pleased with her pleasure.” Holy prophet (saww)

2) Actual date of Laylatul Qadr is hidden. Ahlul Bayt have given clues such as it being in the last ten nights of Holy Ramadhan. Why?

The exact location of the grave of this exalted lady is unknown. The grave of the only daughter of holy prophet is unknown whereas the graves of other holy personalities, including the martyrs of the massacre at Karbala are known.

3) The night of Qadr is better than 1000 months which is equivalent to 80 years. The virtue of observing the rites of this night is greater than a long life span of 80 years.

The status and virtues of this lady is greater than thousands of virtuous persons as she has been Divinely chosen over the ladies of the worlds.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) mentions that angels came and addressed Bibi Fatima (sa), as they had addressed Maryam, saying : O Fatima! Indeed Allah has chosen you to be above all women of the world.

4) The holy Qur’an was descended upon the holy prophet on the night of Qadr.

Bibi Fatima Zahra, the daughter of the prophet, is the one from whom Eleven Qur’an Natiq (speaking Qur’an) descended. These are the 11 Imams after Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s).

“And what will make you know what Laylatul Qadr is?” Suratul Qadr 97:3

Likewise the Muslim community is addressed “…..a person who has truly grasped a deep understanding of Fatima (and who she is) has actually witnessed and experienced Laylatul Qadr….” Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s).

A Glimpse Into The Torn Lands Of Gaza- Part 1- By Zameena Manekia Manji

A glimpse into the torn lands of Palestine…

In the midst of the World, towards the Middle East and into the Palestinian province, resides an 18 year old, hard working female by the name of Sumayyah Jaffari, a youth striving to keep her small family moving amid one of the World’s most dangerous towns.

With unexpected airstrikes and bomb blasts occurring on a daily basis, Sumayyah’s trails increases as her aching heart grows tired of the lives lost amid her social circle. She’s even lost her father recently; when a gunfire snatched his life away. Finding herself as the breadwinner of her family, she takes over her father’s business, a little ice cream parlor with only seasonal incomes and hence, the family’s forced to curb down on their expenses. Sumayyah withdraws her name from the Girls College and together, the family of 4 strives hard to move on with life.

Just 6 months after her father’s traumatizing death, Sumayyah one day, faces the most tragic incident of her young life. An incident so severe that it crushes her strength and the will to live, shattering her little world to pieces. Her hopes now pinned towards the inevitable arrival of the Mahdi, as she yearns for his reappearance, the only Savior who will ease her pain as she once again strives to pull herself together. She can still vividly recall the day when the shining star of the family was blackened off their lives; she can still feel the pain deep within her heart every time she remembers the ill fated day. This is her story…

‘’One peaceful afternoon, as I refill the fridges with fresh ice creams at the parlor, making a note of the stocks at the same time whilst humming to myself, I savor the calm atmosphere around me for such moments are rare within my country. I clean the counters re-arrange the few tables and place the plastic cups before a loud bang from above terrorizes me to the core.

I race out and lock the door with shaking hands as I watch people frantically running from all around. My eyes scan through the commotion as I see mothers shielding their infants from the chocking smoke, Men rushing home to evacuate their families, I hear little children crying, and begin to find my way through the dark smoke. Fear engulfs me as I realize the Enemy’s on the move, we are being attacked!

I tumble over dead bodies sprawled across the road, missing the pelting stones by a nanosecond, racing back home, my fingers tightly crossed under my jumper, making pleading prayers and promises to God as I dread the inevitable. I push myself through the crowd of people fleeing from the dark smoke rising into the sky resembling a huge monster. I rush back home, hoping I can evacuate my family on time. I glance at the neighborhood, slowly flipping into a stranger town, so unrecognized by the locals. I charge through the streets as rockets from the sky fall into homes, forming a blazing fire.

Fear waves through me as I spot my neighborhood almost ruined into pieces. I flee from the terrible sight and spot the little blue house a few meters away from our home. I run to examine it and notice the fresh cracked walls which mean that something has gone wrong. Goosebumps spread through my hands as I slowly walk towards our little three bedroom house, resembling Snowhite’s little hut, so cozy and beautiful on its own. The blue house just inches away, my heart plummets as I stop on my tracks and wonder for a moment if I took the wrong cut in frenzy, my home was nowhere to be seen!

‘No! It can’t be… Everything is okay; I may have hopped onto the other street hastily’ I assure myself as I glance back at the street I came from and recognize our area right across the cafeteria towards the end of the road. Sweat beads begin to erupt into my face and I begin shivering, my stomach forming summersaults, nausea and dizziness suddenly weakens me as I collapse onto the rocks, staring at the broken red bricks scattered all over, I Stare at the aqua blue flowery curtains beneath a pile of rocks which once shielded our home from the sunlight. Our pots, pans, crockery’s, books and my siblings’ toys are all blackened with the dust.

My body grows numb as I spot my little sister Lailah’s rag doll and a horrid image of my sister being crushed beneath the bricks and boulders freak me out. ‘NOO’! I scream aloud.

Taking Our Efforts To A Higher Dimension- Part 2/2- By Meysam Rajani

Part 1/2 can be found by clicking here.

The Fight against Injustice and Corruption

Another element of our nature was rekindled after the 29/03 tragedy. Our voices were raised against corruption and injustice. Responsibility had to be taken for the events. Stemming from anger, names were called, the system was blamed, corruption
was termed the source of the disaster.

Yet nobody questioned the source of the source. We were all quick to attribute corruption to individuals associated with the building. We jumped at the opportunity to criticize the system, failing to realize, we are a part of this system. Each one of us is a
cog in the machine of this society. And if our society is corrupt, we have to look within, as opposed to away from ourselves.

Corruption is only possible because we are active participants in it. Whether it involves kicking doors to forward your business ambitions, or something smaller, like bribing a police officer to get out of a traffic violation, it is still against our principles. Justifying smaller acts of corruption (just because they’re minor) is a slippery slope. All small acts of corruption aggregate to form one giant corrupt society.

What then, do we do to fight for justice? Not only for the lost souls of the tragedy, but in general. Do we accuse those involved in larger acts of corruption? Do we protest against them? While these aren’t the worst ideas, there is a better way.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am
changing myself ~ Rumi

Translate the struggle against corruption and injustice to a higher dimension. Understand that we are a part of this system. And as far as we as individuals are ‘okay’ and ‘indifferent’ towards smaller acts of corruption, we lay foundations for larger and
more dangerous forms, forms that can result in incidents like 29/03.

Merging the two ideas

We must also ask why there is a need for corruption. Why can’t we do things the straight way? Of course, there is the idea of the demand for corruption, and the willingness to participate in it. But that is secondary. Where does this demand stem from?
Greed? Affinity towards wrongdoing?

Then there is the possibility, especially when it comes to smaller scales of corruption, of one being poor. Poverty may force an honest worker to take a bribe. Continuous participation in that may create and reinforce greed. Terminally, large-scale
forms of corruption may develop through this system. If we can eliminate corruption at
the lower scales, it then becomes easier to tackle it at higher scales.

Translate these ideas into a higher dimension. Corruption, poverty and injustice
are intertwined concepts. And if we are playing a role in developing any of them, we are
to blame as much as anyone else. Our responsibility is to tackle corruption by not
participating in it and fighting poverty by following the advice from (3:92) above. In this
way, we will truly be struggling against injustice, and we will be doing justice to the
memory of those lives lost on 29/03.

May Allah(SWT) reward all those involved in the rescue efforts after the building
collapsed. And May Allah(SWT) grant the surviving victims, and the families of all
victims patience to go through this traumatizing event, and may He also reward the souls
that were lost, on the 29/03/2013.

Taking Our Efforts To A Higher Dimension- Part 1/2 -By Meysam Rajani

Taking our efforts to a higher dimension

The past week’s events have attracted attention from all over the world. The incident that shook our very own Dar-es-salaam brought more than just lost lives and broken families to our community. The painstaking fate of all the people associated with the victims of the ‘Dar tragedy’ is unfathomable.

However; that isn’t all the incident came with. Over the past week we noticed something innate to us humans: humanity. When time called for it, everyone, independent of affiliation, was there to help. Rescue efforts, and aides to those efforts were on a scale we probably haven’t witnessed for a while. Without a doubt, we have to be grateful for such a wonderful community. We have to be appreciative of these blessings and honor those who sacrificed, night and day, to recover the victims trapped under the rubble.

Yet I can’t help but ask the question – when did humanity become the exception and not the norm?

Often, disasters like this help us put things in perspective. We try to value life more, appreciate our families more, be thankful for our blessings and even engross ourselves in religion. I’d like to think these incidents are really a representation of life in the long run. However, the elements of such incidents differ vastly from the reality of life.

When the pain of this incident has subsided and the anger extinguished, what lessons do we take away from this tragedy? The victims that were trapped under the rubble, who do they represent in our lives? If this was meant to be a wake-up call, what message was the caller trying to convey?

As members of the Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania and the East Africa community, I believe we do not have to look any further to deduce this message. If we look around us, we will see who the victims represented in our lives. Poverty is a stark reality in our region. With over 30% of Tanzanians trapped below the poverty line, where else do we need to search for the faces of the fallen souls of 29/03?

The better, bigger and more important question: where are the rescuers of these trapped victims? If we humans are indeed human, as the past week showcased, why aren’t we rushing to the aid of our fellow Tanzanians, just like we rushed for the casualties of 29/03?

Where are the communal efforts to uplift our brethren from poverty? Do we have to wait for another disaster, so that our humanity can resurface? When did humanity become the exception and not the norm? Why do we have to wait for another ‘wake-up call’ to be reminded of our nature? Sometimes we argue that we have a duty and responsibility to those less fortunate. No, it is in our essence to want to help, to want to support, to want to assist, independent of the recipient.

If we nurtured our humane side enough, we would be out there rescuing our trapped brothers and sisters. We would be out there helping them out of the ‘rubble’. We would be standing with them, feeling their pain and anguish as if it was ours, and
sacrificing things dear to us to uplift them from their troubles. Indeed the Qur’an echoes this:

Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it. (3:92)

Translate the rescue efforts of 29/03 to a higher dimension, look at the big picture, and understand our struggle against the poverty disaster isn’t over. And yes, we require assistance, we need sacrifices of time, money, education, a smile, and we need
them urgently.

The Fear Of 29.03.2013 Becoming History….

THE FEAR OF 29.03.2013 BECOMING HISTORY..

The rising of the sun every morning, gives way to yet another beautiful day & rays of hope. However, the sun that rose on 29.03.2013 brought an end to some beautiful lives and shattered hopes of a thousand others. The tragic incident that morning trapped the lives of hardworking fathers & mothers, innocent young children and most importantly humans.

The screams of young children, the fast running little feet, the dust filling the atmosphere & people falling along with the buildings stones, the dead being covered by sand before being lowered into the grave- is just a bit of what followed the collapse of the building. Most importantly, it’s the fall of this building that caused the ascend of great individuals who are labelled TRUE HEROES. It was this day, when those angels had to return back to where they belonged- Heaven.
On receiving the news of the tragic scene, my eyes could not hold back their tears, my heart feeling heavier than ever & my mind, just flashing pictures and scenarios. I was looking for people waiting patiently to receive their loved ones. I searched for strong hopes and dry eyes looking towards the rubble of stones & sand. I looked out for our community men and women working, with their immense pain being their ultimate strength to remove those little kids from underneath.

However, I didn’t see any of that. My mind had just fooled me & my heart took over. Now was when I saw impatient mothers waiting to see their children run into their arms once again. I saw families stand side by side holding each other real tight as they prayed & hoped. I saw a tearing and confused crowd that was still trying to figure out if all that was for real. Moreover, I was overwhelmed with pride as my eyes caught the attention of men & women of diverse religions and cultures spontaneously assembled to do whatever best they could. I saw strangers turn into friends & friends into family.

The day of Friday was long, heavy & not the good Friday they call it. mothers lost their aim in life, fathers no more the strong they were always known to be, Families were left incomplete and the mountains of hope were collapsing in synchrony with the setting of the sun. That long weekend everyone was looking forward to, was infinitely long for some but for the heroes, it ended before it even began.

I know words cant soothe the hearts of anyone who feels the gravity of this incident. In fact NO, this time we can’t let ourselves get over it. We cannot let it be a “once upon a time..” This incident had beneath its intensity an equally great message. It was our wakeup call from what I’d entitile our deep slumber. Neither tears, nor words, & not a lending shoulder will do justice to the sacrifice of these heroes. If there is one thing that shall match up to their pinnacle of ransom, it’s a CHANGE.

A change from our sinful, selfcentered & materialistic life to a revolutionary, spiritual & humanitarian one. Look back & note how the FIRST question we all asked on receiving the news was- if OUR family was okay? Recall those pictures that came to your mind of a falling building- How many of us saw contractors and other individuals apart from the innocent young boys? How many of us saw black skin along with the Asian tone? How many of us followed up on the status of revered bodies after the burial of the little 4? My question is- were we all worried & concerned because this involved innocent lives & our country people or was it just because the affected was OUR community?

There was no one to receive the bodies of the African construction workers, serving women or by passers whether Muslims or non. Even if they survived, there was no one waiting outside to hug them tight. & if they were dead, there was not anyone to acknowledge their sacrifice.

Let this, my brothers & sisters be a food for thought for us all. Let us not close our eyes already to what was supposed to be an eye opener. Let us not answer that we do not know how many people are trapped and thus are silent at the moment. The real question is not do you know, rather do you WANT to know? It’s time for a change, a change that we need & that we can make happen. Let’s unite in the name of humanity to change our lives for the better & give all these great heroes the status that they deserve, the status of martyrs.

Let us acknowledge the great sacrifice of the parents of the affected by changing our lives and focusing on the hereafter which is what’s best for us. We ought to do this now before the day our bodies are covered in sand, just so we can be received by these smiling great heroes at the gates of heaven. And remember, NOW’s the time- Because now may be late, but late is better than never..

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