Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Productive Ramadan When You Can’t Fast

For a Muslimah who is unable to fast due to that time of the month, the “fasting holiday” can lead to laziness. But don’t let this precious time go to waste! There are other ways you can enjoy a productive Ramadan, even when you can’t fast, to continually increase your rewards during this Holy Month, In sha Allah.

When you can’t fast, it can feel like a challenge to get up off the couch and do something productive during Ramadan. I know. I used to be no different. Only after realising how much time I wasted just lying around when I could be spending my time for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He), did I finally decide to better my habits. Here, I will share some tips that helped me become more productive, no excuses!

Lock-in On Your Motivation!
  1. The first ingredient you need to actually change and become more productive is constant motivation: Persist regularly and continually motivate yourself. 
  2. Remind yourself that you have made it a goal to change for the better during this Holy Month. Be determined, and strive to achieve that goal. 
  3. Make a To-Do list before going to bed, so that when you wake up you are reminded that today is the day to be proactive. 
  4. Also, being excused from fasting is not a good enough reason to sleep in — make it a habit to wake up for suhoor anyway. Why waste the blessing of waking up during the glorified early morning hours? 

Productivity in Chores and Housework 

1.        Follow a Schedule
I’ve found it ultimately beneficial to put together a daily schedule and follow it through. For example, when waking up, make sure that the first thing you do is to make your bed. Performing a simple act such as making your bed can bring about many benefits: it reminds you of a brand new day that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has blessed you with; it can remind you of cleanliness and can even make your room look cleaner. 

2.        Continue Your Day with Other Productive Tasks
Exercise, get cleaned up, unload the dishwasher from last night, eat a healthy and nutritious meal during suhoor (it’s always great to eat this sunnah meal, especially with your family and loved ones), clean up, etc. 

3.        Follow A Healthy Sleep Routine
At the end of the day, before bed, load the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, brush your teeth, and get ready for bed, etc. Be sure to maintain a feasible schedule throughout your day. Write your agenda down; use a planner if that is helpful. Remember not to think of these undertakings as measly chores. Instead, maintain positive thinking and remind yourself that you have set a goal to become more productive this Ramadan. In sha Allah, every effort you put forth for the sake of pleasing Allah (glorified and exalted be He) will be generously rewarded. 

Productivity in Physical Health

It is necessary and preferred for us male and female Muslims to take good care of our God-given physical health and our bodies. It can be much harder for women who are menstruating to feel motivated to get up and do a quick workout. This lack of enthusiasm is no excuse to let our physical health slide. Even if an individual has never had an exercise regimen before, it is never too late to start. 

1.        Start by Trying out Different Workout Techniques
Are you more of a pilates or aerobics person? Do you prefer treadmills and elliptical machines? Or are you into cardio and lifting weights? 

2.        Find Your Interests and What Suits You, Then Stick to It
No one expects you to be a professional during your first attempt. It will take some getting used to. Try going to the gym (or working out right at home) for maybe two or three times in the first week. Do your total regimen for only a few minutes (or longer if you feel you are able). Then increase your total workout time by 5-10 minutes every day.For every following week, try going for more than just 2-3 days. Try and do your workouts around a similar time frame — this can be in the early morning hours or in the evening hours between Maghrib and Isha (after iftar and before the taraweeh prayers). Do whatever fits your schedule best. Performing your workout routines around a similar time frame makes it easier for it to become a habit. And once it becomes habitual, stick to it. 

3.        Give Yourself Incentives
In order to continue feeling motivated, give yourself some incentives. Remind yourself of how good it feels to be physically proactive and in shape, and how wholesome it feels to take care of your physical health! Read up about the dangers of obesity. Keep in mind that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also discouraged laziness and encouraged physical productivity.Psychologists have proven over and over again that regular exercise and physical health can do wonders for a person’s mental health. Those who partake in consistent physical activity tend to be happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Just ask any psychologist, and they will concur! 

Productivity in Ibadah

Even if us Muslimahs cannot pray the five daily salah or engage in ritual fasting due to reasons of impurity, there are multiple acts that can still be performed during the Holy Month of Ramadan for the sake of pleasing Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Since being exempted from praying and fasting gives us a bit of extra time and energy, we can spend that blessed time and energy performing other essential acts of worship: 

1.        Tasbeeh (And Lots of It)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had said to his daughter Fatimah (may Allāh be pleased with her) when she complained that her hands were blistering from doing housework, “When the two of you lay down to sleep, say thirty-three, thirty-three, thirty-four, or At-Tahmid, At-Tasbih, and At-Takbir.” [Sahih]

When getting ready for bed, before going to sleep, count on your fingers and say Subhan Allah 33 times, Alhamdulillah 33 times, and Allahu Akbar 34 times. In sha Allah, this can help you be more productive in your work as it did for Fatimah (may Allāh be pleased with her).Try to do this every night before bed, and focus your mind on Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and his many blessings. Clearing your mind before bed can initiate pleasant thoughts and a good night’s sleep. Praising and remembering Allah (glorified and exalted be He) with concentration only adds to the benefits and rewards.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, "Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

So, in the morning or in the evening, make it a habit to say Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi 100 times. Whether you are driving somewhere, doing household chores, or if you just need five more minutes in the morning before getting out of bed, be sure to glorify and praise Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Do this with a clear and focused mind. This will help in truly acknowledging the oneness of Allah and His numerous blessings. Additionally, it can count as productive time well spent. 

2.        Make Dua
Just because we can’t pray or fast, does not mean we cannot make dua either. Dua is the tool of a believer, a tool that he or she can use to ask Allah (glorified and exalted be He) for anything. Since being excused from prayer gives us extra time, lets use this sacred time to make dua to Allah (glorified and exalted be He).Continually making dua helps to instill hope in a believer. Dua reminds us that there is a Supreme Being, much higher than us, who is always available to listen and to help us. Just knowing this, how can we not be making dua all the time? Also, since the last third of the night is one of the best times to make dua, we have further incentive to wake up during these blessed early hours.

As Abu Hurairah narrated, “Our Lord who is blessed and exalted descends every night to the lowest heaven when the last one-third of the night remains, and says: Who supplicated Me so that I may answer him ? Who asks of Me so that I may give to him ? Who asks My forgiveness so that I may forgive him?” [Sunan Abi Dawud] 

3.        Listen to and/or Read the Qur’an or Islamic lectures:
Lastly, a Muslimah can spend her precious time during this Ramadan increasing her knowledge of Islam. Technology is grand; we have valid and interesting Islamic lectures right at our fingertips.From YouTube and HalalTube, to audio and video Podcasts and online articles — there are numerous Islamic resources we can increase our knowledge with, In sha Allah. Isn’t this be better than being bored and lazy or watching pointless videos on the internet? The best part is, one can listen to these lectures at any time – while driving, while lying down, while doing chores, and any other time that is convenient for you. 

Enjoy a Productive Ramadan!

Remember, any action that we perform, if done solely for the sake of pleasing Allah (glorified and exalted be He), can be deemed worthy of our time. Even when we are not praying or fasting, just look at the countless other acts of ibadah that we are able to do this Ramadan.

It is indeed our duty as believers to spend our blessed time for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). And every good deed or action that we perform during Ramadan is multiplied up to 70 times. All it requires is some motivation, dedication, and persistence.

So why not make some positive changes in our life during this Holy Month that we have been blessed with?

Improve yourself and your day by performing some extra acts of productivity for the sake of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Whatever extra act(s) of worship you decide to do, remember that it will help you immensely if you follow a schedule. Make it routine, turn it into a habit, and stick with it even beyond Ramadan!

Lastly, don’t try to feel like you have to do everything at once. This can overwhelm you and make it harder for you to stick to a consistent routine. Take joy in the blessing that even small deeds performed consistently hold great rewards, for it is said that, “The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Author: Afia T

Monday, June 23, 2014

13 Perkara Yang Perlu Dijaga Oleh Wanita.

1. Bulu kening – Menurut Bukhari, Rasullulah melaknat perempuan yang mencukur atau menipiskan bulu kening atau meminta supaya dicukurkan bulu kening.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Abu Daud Fi Fathil Bari.)

2. Kaki – Dan janganlah mereka (perempuan) membentakkan kaki (atau mengangkatnya) agar diketahui perhiasan yang mereka sembunyikan – (Petikan dari Surah An-Nur Ayat 31.) Keterangan : Menampakkan kaki dan menghayunkan/ melenggokkan badan mengikut hentakan kaki terutamanya pada mereka yang mengikatnya dengan loceng…sama juga seperti pelacur dizaman jahiliyah ….

3. Wangian – Siapa sahaja wanita yang memakai wangi-wangian kemudian melewati suatu kaum supaya mereka itu mencium baunya, maka wanita itu telah dianggap melakukan zina dan tiap-tiap mata ada zinanya terutamanya hidung yang berserombong.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Nasaii, Ibn Khuzaimah dan Hibban.)

4. Dada – Hendaklah mereka (perempuan) melabuhkan kain tudung hingga menutupi bahagian hadapan dada-dada mereka.(Petikan dari Surah An-Nur Ayat 31.)

5. Gigi – Rasullulah melaknat perempuan yang mengikir gigi atau meminta supaya dikikirkan giginya – (Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat At-Thabrani) Dilaknat perempuan yang menjarangkan giginya supaya menjadi cantik, yang merubah ciptaan Allah.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim.)

6. Muka dan leher – Dan tinggallah kamu (perempuan) di rumah kamu dan janganlah kamu menampakkan perhiasan mu seperti orang jahilliah yang dahulu. Keterangan : Bersolek (make-up) dan menurut Maqatil sengaja membiarkan ikatan tudung yang menampakkan leher seperti orang Jahilliyah.

7. Pakaian yang nipis (jarang) – Asma Binte Abu Bakar telah menemui Rasullulah dengan memakai pakaian yang tipis. Sabda Rasullulah: Wahai Asma! Sesungguhnya seorang gadis yang telah berhaid tidak boleh baginya menzahirkan anggota badan kecuali pergelangan tangan dan wajah saja (Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Muslim dan Bukhari.)

8. Tangan – Sesungguhnya kepala yang ditusuk dengan besi itu lebih baik daripada menyentuh kaum yang bukan sejenis yang tidak halal baginya.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat At Tabrani dan Baihaqi.)

9. Mata – Dan katakanlah kepada perempuan mukmin hendaklah mereka menundukkan sebahagian dari pemandangannya. (Petikan dari Surah An Nur Ayat 31)Sabda Nabi Muhamad SAW, Jangan sampai pandangan yang satu mengikuti pandangan lainnya. Kamu hanya boleh pandangan yang pertama sahaja manakala pandangan seterusnya tidak dibenarkan hukumnya haram.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Ahmad, Abu Daud dan Tirmidzi.)

10. Mulut (suara) – Janganlah perempuan-perempuan itu terlalu lunak dalam berbicara sehingga berkeinginan orang yang ada perasaan serong dalam hatinya, tetapi ucapkanlah perkataan-perkataan yang baik (Petikan dari Surah Al Ahzab Ayat 32.)Sabda SAW, Sesungguhnya akan ada umat ku yang minum arak yang mereka namakan dengan yang lain, iaitu kepala mereka dilalaikan oleh bunyi-bunyian (muzik) dan penyanyi perempuan, maka Allah akan tenggelamkan mereka itu dalam bumi.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Ibn Majah.)

11. Kemaluan – Dan katakanlah kepada perempuan-perempuan mukmin, hendaklah mereka menundukkan pandangan mereka dan menjaga kehormatan mereka.(Petikan dari Surah An Nur Ayat 31.)Apabila seorang perempuan itu solat lima waktu, puasa di bulan Ramadan, menjaga kehormatannya dan mentaati suaminya, maka masuklah ia ke dalam Syurga daripada pintu-pintu yang ia kehendakinya. (Hadis Riwayat Riwayat Al Bazzar.)Tiada seorang perempuanpun yang membuka pakaiannya bukan di rumah suaminya, melainkan dia telah membinasakan tabir antaranya dengan Allah.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Tirmidzi, Abu Daud dan Ibn Majah.)

12. Pakaian – Barangsiapa memakai pakaian yang berlebih-lebihan terutama yang menjolok mata , maka Allah akan memberikan pakaian kehinaan di hari akhirat nanti.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Ahmad, Abu D , An Nasaii dan Ibn Majah.)Petikan dari Surah Al Ahzab Ayat 59. Bermaksud : Hai nabi-nabi katakanlah kepada isteri-isterimu, anak perempuanmu dan isteri-isteri orang mukmin, hendaklah mereka memakai baju jilbab (baju labuh dan longgar) yang demikian itu supaya mereka mudah diken ali . Lantaran itu mereka tidak diganggu. Allah maha pengampun lagi maha penyayang.Sesungguhnya sebilangan ahli Neraka ialah perempuan-perempuan yang berpakaian tetapi telanjang yang condong pada maksiat dan menarik orang lain untuk melakukan maksiat. Mereka tidak akan masuk Syurga dan tidak akan mencium baunya. (Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim) Keterangan : Wanita yang berpakaian tipis/jarang, ketat/ membentuk dan berbelah/membuka bahagian-bahagian tertentu.

13. Rambut – Wahai anakku Fatimah! Adapun perempuan-perempuan yang akan digantung rambutnya hingga mendidih otaknya dalam Neraka adalah mereka itu di dunia tidak mahu menutup rambutnya daripada dilihat oleh lelaki yang bukan mahramnya.(Petikan dari Hadis Riwayat Bukhari dan Muslim.)Riwayat Imran bin Hushain ra.:Bahwa Rasulullah saw. bersabda: Sesungguhnya penghuni syurga yang paling sedikit adalah kaum wanita. (Shahih Muslim No.4921)

Author: araaz

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Ramadan Countdown: Are You Ready For Ramadhan?

With only a few weeks and days left for the start of Ramadan, it is very important for all Muslims, new Muslims and born Muslims, to get ready for this important event.

Ramadan is not only about abstaining from food, drink and intimate relations from dawn till sunset, but a blessed month of worship, obedience and total submission to God.

For such an important moral and spiritual journey, we need to prepare to nurture our heart, soul, and mind.

What is Fasting?

Fasting is called sawm in the Qur’an. The word sawm literally means "to abstain". In Surah Maryam, Allah tells that Mary the mother of Jesus said, “I have vowed a fast (sawm) for the sake of the Merciful, so today I shall not speak to anyone.” (Maryam 19:26) The meaning is “I have vowed to abstain from speaking to anyone today.” According to Shari ‘ah, the word sawm means to abstain from all those things that are forbidden during fasting from the break of dawn to the sunset, and to do this with the intention of fasting.

Purpose of Fasting

The Qur’an says what means, "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwa (piety)" (Al-Baqarah 2:183).  

Taqwa is a very important spiritual and ethical term of the Qur’an. It is the sum total of all Islamic spirituality and ethics. It is a quality in a believer’s life that keeps him/her aware of Allah all the time. A person who has taqwa loves to do good and to avoid evil for the sake of Allah. Taqwa is piety, righteousness and consciousness of Allah. Taqwa requires patience and perseverance. Fasting teaches patience, and with patience one can rise to the high position of taqwa.  

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that fasting is a shield. It protects a person from sin and lustful desires. When the disciples of Jesus asked him how to cast the evil spirits away, he is reported to have said, “But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21).

According to Imam Al-Ghazali (d. 1111 C.E.), fasting produces a semblance of divine quality of samadiyyah (freedom from want) in a human being. Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim (d. 1350 C.E.), viewed fasting as a means of releasing the human spirit from the clutches of desire, thus allowing moderation to prevail in the carnal self. Imam Shah Waliullah Dahlawi (d. 1762 C.E.) viewed fasting as a means of weakening the bestial and reinforcing the angelic elements in human beings. Maulana Mawdudi (d. 1979 C.E.) emphasized that fasting for a full month every year trains a person individually, and the Muslim community as a whole, in piety and self restraint.

Fasting Is Obligatory

In the second year of Hijrah, Muslims were commanded to fast in the month of Ramadan every year. The Qur’an says what means, "O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who were before you, in order that you may learn taqwa (piety)" (Al-Baqarah 2:183) and "The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Qur’an, wherein is guidance for mankind and the clear signs of guidance and distinction. Thus whosoever among you witness the month must fast..." (Al-Baqarah 2:184).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) explained this further in a number of his statements reported in the books of Hadith. It is reported by Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said, “Islam is built upon five pillars: testifying that there is no god except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, performing Prayer, paying the zakah, making the pilgrimage to the Sacred House (Hajj), and fasting the month of Ramadan.”

The Muslim Ummah is unanimous that fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory upon every person who is capable (mukallaf).

God says:

"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and (He desires) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful." (Al-Baqarah 2:185)

In order to reach our destination, this folder provides a collection of useful resources to warm up and get ready to reap the benefits of the best month of the year.

May it be a blessed month for all.



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Heartquakes: The Tremors of Life

If there is anything that encapsulates and signifies the presence of life, it is a heartquake. 

A heartquake is the tremor you feel in your heart when something touches your soul, and stirs the very core of your being. When something penetrates so deep beyond your physical existence into the vast expanse of your soul, that it causes a shift in your innermost being and sends an echo of life rippling through the epicenter of your heart, making you physically tremble. It knocks the breath out of you, and leaves you unable to speak. 

Heartquakes originate from the most intense human experiences: overwhelming grief, real love, peaking passion, profound truth, sincere faith, enlightenment, insurmountable loss, crippling fear, terrifying horror, breathtaking beauty, extreme inhumanity. 

When was the last time you felt one? 

When was the last time your heart trembled in awe of your Creator, marveling at His power and majesty? 

“The true believers are those who, when Allah´s name is mentioned, their hearts tremble in awe, and when His verses are recited to them their faith grows, and who put their trust in their Lord.” [Qur’an: 8:2] 

When was the last time you felt an embrace of real love that made you tremble with belonging? 

When was the last time a truth so profound struck you that you had to look for words to say? 

When did you last see something so beautiful that you were overcome with delight, unable to breathe? 

When did you last feel your heart burst with the agony of loss? 

When did you last see oppression in the eyes, till your heart was rattling with fear? 

When did you last reach a level of astounding awareness that shook you awake? 

When did your heart wrench last, at the sight of a bleeding child? 

When did your heart scream last as it witnessed utter barbarity? 

When was the last time you were alive? 

 Author: Zaynab Chinoy