Tag Archives: hope

Taraweeh Optimization

By Nasser Ijaz Moghal

Ramadan is here and you want to make the best out of it. When you think of Ramadan nights you think of Taraweeh and Laylatul Qadr. They were MIA throughout the year but lo and behold they too come to pray taraweeh and then it’s like see you next year. The biggest regret that 90% of the Muslims have at the end of Ramadan is that they hear the Quran recited but can’t internalize the message. The Quran doesn’t touch them, it doesn’t soften their hearts. So, this Ramadan I am going to tell you what practical things you can do to make connect with the words of Allah on a deeper level.

traweeh 4

1. Purify your Intentions:

It is common knowledge that actions are based on intentions as per the hadeeth of Rasul Allah. We often focus on the what in our lives rather than the why. This Ramadan I want you to step back and reflect; Why am I going for taraweeh? Is it because just everyone’s doing it and it would be weird if I didn’t follow the crowd? Is it because my parents said I need to go? Is it because it’s a cultural thing? Is it because if I don’t go people will think less of me? Is it because after tarweeh I can socialize with friends?

Now here is what your intention should be this Ramadan: I want to listen to the words of Allah so that it softens my heart, changes my life, in order that I may please Allah.

Once the basis is strong the results will surely follow.

2. Dua

Undoubtedly, you’ve had a long day at college or work. You’ve been fasting in the hot weather. You are still digesting the pakoras and samosas of iftrari and you are sleep deprived. But you still wish to drawer closer to Allah through non-obligatory prayer; taraweeh. In such times supplicate to Allah to ease the hardship and allow you to focus on your Salah. Rather than be distracted by other thoughts. Then never give up as Allah will provide His help in ways you cannot imagine.

traweeh 2

3. Select the Masjid

There are Masjids out there where the Imam recites the Quran at lightning speed. The tarweeh is more of a workout rather than a soul touching activity. Go to a masjid where the Imam’s recitation touches your heart and makes you cry. The Imam has adequate speed such that you can hear the word properly. Furthermore, they have a Quran tafsir session where you can at least know what was recited. It’s very important that the conducive for understanding of the Quran as well because if there isn’t an AC, there are mosquito’s everywhere, the sound of the imam from the speakers is unclear, the masjid itself smells awful of sweat, chances are that you won’t be able to concentrate on your salah. Choose a masjid that is convenient for you and has at atmosphere to enable you to focus on your salah.

Traweeh

4. Prepare

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It is essential that we make an effort to prepare for Taraweeh. What you should do is join a Daur-e-Quran course online or in person which should be in sync with your masjid. So at least during the Salah you can pick some Arabic words and get certain contexts that can better help you to understand. Furthermore, always take an afternoon nap otherwise you would be so sleepy during tarweeh you would be literally be dosing off in and out of Salah. Take a shower before you go for prayer. A cold shower is helpful in sharpening your senses. Don’t eat too much during iftari. Do you know what would happen to the Imam if he over ate during iftari and then attempted to pray taraweeh? He would vomit and die. And the person following the Imam is not better off either. Bring a bottle of water to the masjid. It is very important to keep hydrated as it prevents person from tiring too quickly. Don’t stick to one place during the entire tarweeh change places or move to another row after each 4 Rakaat to bring that freshness to your salah.

traweeh 3

5. Make it a family thing

There are certain acts of worship that a person needs to do on a personal level. However, make plans with the entire family to go for taraweeh. And then after tarweeh each person should share their experiences and motivate each other to improve themselves. So rather than going on iftar parties your rocking at the Masjid with your loved ones at tarweeh.  So, bring your fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters and all and enjoy together as one family.

traweeh family

6. Drive Self Accountability

Make a calendar and set a daily target for yourself for taraweeh. For example, you plan and set the target that you will pray 20 Rakat on the 5th of Ramadan. If you meet this target, then right down on the calendar 20 and say I am Awesome MashaAllah and if you don’t then write the amount that you prayed for example 12 and say I will improve inshaAllah. Now you need to be a detective of your life and figure out what stopped you from achieving your goal and then take an action to prevent its re-occurrence. Maybe what stopped you from completing your target was that you felt sleepy and back tracing you realize that you normally sleep for an hour in the evening but today you only slept for 30min because you spent too much chatting with your friend on facebook. Red flag! Take an action to limit your facebook time in the evening and go to sleep for 1 hour. Remember the golden words of Umar bin Al Khattab:

“Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable and weigh your deeds before they are weighed for you.”

traweeh family 2

7. Never lose hope

Many people lose faith in themselves and think it’s too late for them to understand the Quran. That it’s something that should be left to scholars. They then resign themselves to a life of mediocrity where rather than becoming an educated Muslim they choose to become a cultural Muslim.  Allah inspires us with a passion to win:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” (39:53)

8. Focus

Make a conscious effort during Taraweeh to focus on the words and listen to the Imam with all five senses. Make sense of the meaning and allow the what you learnt in tafsir to flow into your heart. If stray thoughts come your way, say Tawwuz and push them away. At first it will be a struggle to pull your attention back however with practice this can become easier. You need to totally immerse yourself in the moment, now. Forget about the past and forget about what you need to do next. And pray with the level of Ihsaan as if you are seeing Allah otherwise one should know that Allah sees them.

everything_soulful_focus_concentration-1500x1073

Things are not perfect and often things don’t go as per plan and Allah is the best of planners. So even though you don’t see the results immediately but Allah knows your efforts and you will be rewarded inshaAllah based on your intentions and hard work. Understanding Quran and living it in our lives is not secluded to Ramadan; it’s a life long journey. Ramadan is here to facilitate but we need to carry the learnings forward.

Advertisements

Chapter 24: The Waning Dusk (series)

tumblr_n49iytSk3q1t700evo1_1280

Myth: Allah is going to write me off.

Don’t confuse what people think of you with what Allah thinks of you.

We are usually one of the two types of sinners. We either take it all very lightly and shrug it off thinking no harm done; or we can’t forgive ourselves for the awful sins we have committed. And we sentence ourselves to misery assuming there’s no way we can face Allah after what we have done and said and the lines we crossed.

But Allah hasn’t given up on us. He never does.

Say (on My behalf), “O servants of Mine who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Surely, Allah will forgive all sins. Surely, He is the One who is the Most-Forgiving, the Very-Merciful. (39:53)

There’s hope even for the hypocrites who have been shunned into the lowest, deepest pit of Hellfire as Allah says in the Quran. But even there He makes an exception for those who turn back later. If there’s redemption for the potential bottom-most level dwellers of Hell, then there’s redemption for us too. There are people who only pray Friday to Friday. For some, it’s just Eid prayer that is left. Most of them only try to pray and fast in Ramadan. That’s all the doors they have.

Tonight is going to be another long one. Give Allah a chance and you’ll find Him waiting at the door you left open. Talk to Him. About anything and everything. His Mercy is greater than the monstrosity of our sins that we did deliberately, unintentionally or in full-blown rebellion. So long as you backtrack to His doorstep. What happens when you turn back? All of your sins will be forgiven. No conditions, no questions asked. Clean slate.

The month is closing out. The night will soon break into dawn. It’s about time we have that talk. Pour out the inner turmoil that you have held back over the years. You will realize that those tears were the only ones that were worth your distress.

Chapter 21: The Waning Dusk (series)

promise

Myth: It’s all Yahudi saazish

Yes, stuff and bother. But Allah is the best of Planners.

With Allah’s help. He helps whomsoever He wills. And He is the Mighty, the Very-Merciful. It is a promise from Allah. Allah does not fail in His promise, but most of the people do not know. (30:5-6)

Will our glorious days repeat themselves?

‘Umar bin Khattab (ra), the first liberator of Jerusalem, says that history does repeat itself. He said that the latter generations of this Ummah would not prevail except by means of that by which the first generations prevailed.

If we try to seek honor through anything other than Islam, Allah will cause us to suffer from humiliation. Earlier generations of Muslims ruled and prevailed by following the Deen. And at the time of decline and during crusades, Salah ad-Deen Ayubi drew the same conclusion– that Islam was the only way to reclaim their glory. And henceforth, he conquered Jerusalem from the crusaders again. And none of it happened overnight.

We see the death toll rising in Gaza and the chaotic, haphazard affairs of the Muslim Ummah. People are calling for immediate and long term solutions while the skeptics smirk meanwhile. It’s amazing how we still manage to squabble, neck-down in a quagmire of problems– suffocating and dying a slow death. Snide comments like, “How many tweets have you all collected for Gaza?” or “What about people dying in your own country?” are thrown at anyone who shares related content online. First off, what kind of a human are you if someone’s concern about organised and funded butchery of your own brethren irks you? Second, let’s not make it a competition about where people are dying more.

Muslims just don’t know what to do in a state of crisis.

The only sane road out of this chaos has already been taken before. Not once, but twice. We need to rebuild ourselves from ground up. It’s not unheard of. It’s a long, strenuous, painstakingly slow process but what Muslim Ummah really needs is a generation of real men and women– not overprotected, impressionable, wannabe sissies awestruck and hypnotized by the Western lyre. Muhammad bin Qasim lead his army when he was 17. If he were from this generation, he wouldn’t even have gotten his driver’s license or considered to be an adult for that matter. And even when it comes to religious obligations (where you’re officially a responsible adult after puberty), we don’t think our 13 year old is man enough to fast or pray regularly. And the negligence continues to the point of damage beyond repair. A domino effect– the result of which we can see everywhere.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the general upbringing to lead ourselves anywhere sensibly let alone command an entire army. And this wisdom, maturity in character and clarity of thought only comes from following the Quran and the Sunnah. ‘Cause it gives you a moral compass. It makes you headstrong enough to decide for yourself where you could best invest your capabilities in. Otherwise, the status-quo is never going to change. It will be blind leading the blind to the ditch we are in now. And instead of climbing back up, we are burrowing further in because that’s where Uncle Sam keeps his gold. Or so he says.

O you who believe, if anyone from you turns back from his Faith, then Allah will bring a people whom He loves and who love Him, humble toward the believers, hard on the disbelievers, who fight in the way of Allah and are not afraid of the reproach of any critic. (5:54)

The promise of Allah will come to pass.  A generation will be borne from the ashes, like a phoenix rising from the flames. Islam will prevail. Though not necessarily through us. Above-mentioned is the class of people who have brought changes before. Yep, that is THE class. And if we don’t qualify, we will be wiped out like the others before us. Insignificant, unremembered, nameless and lost in the dark parts of history.

Still insisting that it’s a yahudi saazish?

JmRNkJdzXpr3e6twVoKtWX0Bo1_r1_500

My Ramadan Diary: All you could ask for!

2206455280_8e944045291

 

By Umm Ibrahim

“Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi)

Two Ramadans back, someone advised me to make a Dua List for Ramadan. Always a fan of making lists, I sat down and began to casually list all the small and big things I wanted in the Dunya and Akhirah. I had thought the list would probably contain 15-20 things. But when the list was complete, it reached almost 200!

The list then stayed with me at the time of iftar and suhoor, and particularly in the last ten nights.

This year, I dug out my Dua List from last Ramadan and went through it. And it opened my eyes.

There were duas that He had accepted and I had totally forgotten about them! I had begged for stuff; He had granted it. But when I got it, I had turned away and conveniently forgotten to say as much as Thankyou. The gifts had distracted me from the Giver Himself.

Even more heartbreaking was the realization that I had asked for seemingly impossible things, (I still remember hesitating whether to include them in the list or not, because they did seem quite unlikely) yet He had subtly created the opportunities and circumstances for them to happen. I had then conveniently attributed it all to my own intelligence and abilities.

In the list, in my own handwriting, were also other duas which I had desperately asked for. He had NOT granted them. And today, in hindsight, I could see the absurdity of some of them, and the danger that lie in others. I could see the bigger picture, and that made me grateful that He cared enough to not let me play with fire even when I begged for it. How beautiful and true are the words of Ibn al-Qayyim:

“Had Allah lifted the veil for his slave and shown him how He handles his affairs for him,
and how Allah is more keen for the benefit of the slave than his own self,
his heart would have melted out of the love for Allah
and would have been torn to pieces out of thankfulness to Allah.
Therefore if the pains of this world tire you, do not grieve.
For it may be that Allah wishes to hear your voice by way of dua.
So pour out your desires in prostration
and forget about it and know;
that verily Allah does not forget it.”

Then there are also other duas that we make- duas about the akhirah. We will never know whether they have been accepted or not until the day we die and meet Him. So, we will keep asking Him; we will keep knocking at His Door and begging for His Mercy and Forgiveness, with our hearts between hope and fear.

c1150241c3446e89c67a9bd047eb50e0

#DestinationJannah (Aug-Sep ’13)

Join the campaign.
Aug 15th till Sep 15th: #DestinationJannah

Ramadan’s gone and most of us are struggling to maintain that spiritual high. It was easy in Ramadan to fast all day and stand in prayer all night, but how many of us have continued that practice all through Shawwaal? How many of us have continued to recite Quran like we did in Ramadan? Let’s be straightforward.. not many of us have been able to keep it up. It gets hard, I understand. Shaytan’s on the loose now, what more could you expect?

But it’s not all that bad, you see. There’s hope. There’s hope in the fact that you don’t need to do BIG things in order to attain big rewards. There’s hope in the fact that even the smallest of deeds can get you into Jannah, provided they’re done with sincerity of intention and according to the sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam). If you do them regularly, BONUS! #TwoThumbsUp!

So let’s talk about the practical stuff. Let’s talk about the things that we can easily find time for in our busy schedules. Let’s talk about the small deeds that we usually overlook. Youth Club is giving you the opportunity to learn and teach. Use all the social media and networking tools available to you (Facebook, Twitter and blogs, to name a few) from August 15th till September 15th 2013 and post about the small deeds mentioned in the Quran/Sunnah for which we’re promised Jannah. Don’t forget to use the hash-tag #DestinationJannah. 🙂

A little motivation to begin with.. Ibn Abu Shayba reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

Every good deed is charity.

Source: Sahih Muslim 1005
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Imam Muslim

Help us spread hope. Join the campaign! Even THIS is a small deed that you shouldn’t overlook. 😉

Join the campaign.
Aug 15th till Sep 15th: #DestinationJannah

P.S. If you’re still unclear about the procedure, ask in the comment section below.
P.P.S. If you’d like to write for our blog, send an email to youthclubblog@gmail.com right now. We’re quite welcoming mashaAllah. 🙂