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Reflect and Refresh – Purify your soul and mind with the teachings of Qur’an

By Suha Mishal

The month of forgiveness and mercy is upon us.  

This Ramadan, while treating yourself to samosas and chaats, why not also treat your soul. Ramadan is the best time to treat your inner exhausted self to a deep cleanse. Does that seem hard? Worry not, you will find inspiration to do so in this Ayah: 

 “He has succeeded who purifies the soul, and he has failed who corrupts the soul.” (Quran, 91:9-10) 

This success ultimately means success in the hereafter. So, let’s remember in this Ramadan to:  

Pause. Reflect. Purify. Restart! 

I’ve had encounters with people with a lot of money, countless other blessings and everything they’d ever wish for, yet their hearts and souls are not at peace. They constantly are in a rush for something they don’t even know themselves. And what use is money if it cannot buy you the peace and contentment that you still, after having everything, long for?  In the Holy Qur’an, Allah Almighty says, 

“Their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah” (Quran, 39:23). 

Our heart is not just a tissue mass that is pumping blood; it’s much more than that. It is the center of all our feelings, desires, and emotions. It is the inner self; it is that boss of us that tells us what do to. Purifying your heart with the remembrance of Allah (SWT) will automatically purify your soul and bring you inner peace.  

Listed below are some tips that are guaranteed to make an impact on your journey to purify yourself spiritually:  

1: Pause.  

Imagine driving at a fast speed nonstop, without any breaks without pause for a very long period of time? What will happen? 

Eventually you’ll end up exhausted, starved, and thirsty, both a danger to your own health as well that of others.  

That is exactly how we are living our lives nowadays. We have so much stuff on our plate already that we do not bother taking a pause in that high-speed drive to even notice the beautiful sceneries that have passed us by.  

Likewise, we are so caught up in our lives that we’re forgetting WHY  we are in this Dunya (this world) in the first place. 

One of my favorite verses that really steers me back every time I lose track is:  

فَأَيْنَ تَذْهَبُونَ
So where are you going?
[Qur’an: Chapter 81, Verse 26] 

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Qur’an has, like always, made things so easier for us. Allah has instructed us in the Qur’an and He Himself has created pauses that can rejuvenate our souls and our hearts:  

  • PAUSE IN DAY – 5 Daily Prayers   
  • PAUSE IN CONSUMPTION – Fasting in Ramadan 
  • PAUSE IN SPENDING – Zakat
  • PAUSE IN LIFETIME – Hajj 

Following these pauses carefully could be your shortcut to the purity of the soul and a source of peace for the heart.  

2: Reflect  

Look back on things when you pause; reflect on all the things that you’ve done this year.  

To make it easier for you, make a list. Jot down all the times you went wrong, and the times you went right. This will give you an insight of into yourself, and all that you need to improve. 

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I find that reflection is very essential to a healthy soul. It gives you an opportunity to count your blessings and rejoice in the favours that Allah (SWT) has granted us.   

(While you’re at it, why don’t you take some time and pray two nafl rakats as gratitude for Allah’s blessings upon you?)  

3: Purify:  

After you’ve made the list, think of the ways you need to improve. 

If you’ve hurt someone, think of how you can make them happy. Or if someone has hurt you, learn to forgive them. Forgiveness is one of the keys to purification. It allows you to let go of grudges or ill-feelings and start afresh.  

Butif someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with AllahCertainly, He does not love wrongdoers. (Surat Ash-Shura, 40) 

For all the sins and bad deeds that you’ve intentionally or unintentionally committed this year, you can always repent to Allah (SWT) for it is better to TURN to him before you RETURN to him. Indeed, Allah is Al-Ghaffur “The Oft-Forgiving” and the original source of forgiveness. 

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Allah has said in Qur’an:  

It may well be thatAllah will pardon them. Allah is Ever-Pardoning, Ever-Forgiving. (Surat An-Nisa, 99)

4: Restart 

Always remember, it’s only YOU who can make a change. You can set yourself on the right path. Once you know your mistakes from the past year, keep them in your mind and ensure you don’t repeat them.  

Avoid things that lead you into the things that don’t please Allah.  

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Start fresh with a clean slate and clear heart. You can maintain your purified state by:  

– make pledges with yourself to do good deeds.  

– keep small punishment if you break them  

– keep small incentives if you fulfill those pledges.  

– remember to reflect and purify throughout the year and not just in Ramadan. 

InshaAllah, if you follow the tips in this article, this Ramadan will prove to purify your heart and your soul, leaving you refreshed for a new step on your journey to please Allah (SWT).  

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Ramadan Challenge: Reflect- Upon the Quran

By Dr. Sonia Mohsin 

When you see the world through the Quran, it enlightens your whole life. It’s like a new pair of glasses which make things much clearer than they were, and puts everything in its right perspective. That’s why it is so important to make it a part of your daily routine. When you give the Quran its due share of attention, you will witness miracles! That, my friends, is guaranteed!

Today, I challenge you to read a verse of the Quran and ponder over its meaning.

Let me share with you some insight that I gained in the taraweeh prayer, yesterday. I heard this ayah from Surah As-Saff, which struck me hard:

“O you who have believed, shall I guide you to a transaction that will save you from a painful punishment? [It is that] you believe in Allah and His Messenger and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is best for you, if you should know.” (Al-Quran 61:10-11)

These verses are a game changer for anyone who wants to make a change in this world. Allah is talking to you and I– the people who have believed, who are already Muslims. Then he talks about saving them from the painful punishment of hell-fire. But wait! Weren’t all Muslims supposed to go to Jannah? Guess not! This verse proves that saying the kalima e shahadat (testimony of faith) alone, doesn’t save us from punishment. There is something more that needs to be done.

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Allah calls you towards action – towards a cause. Life is meaningless, if it has no goals or missions. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to live a happy life tie it to a goal – not to people or things”. Having a goal is what gives life meaning. The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goal, it lies in having no goals, to reach. So, stop letting other people hire or dictate you to build their dreams. Have dreams of your own. How? Allah tells you that too. It is the mission that is described by Allah for every Muslim. I’ll put it in bold in the hope that you never forget. Paste it somewhere you can see it every day!

STRIVE IN THE CAUSE OF ALLAH WITH YOUR WEALTH AND YOUR LIVES

This is the true meaning of jihad – this is the true purpose of this life. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager or an adult – there needs to be something so big in your life, that you wake up jubilant every morning and sleep with the contentment that you have achieved something, every night. Allah calls you to put in just a portion of your life into striving for the cause of Allah. A few practical ways of doing this are:

First Step – Gain Beneficial Knowledge: No matter how little or how much of your time you can spare, dedicate it to learning and understanding parts of the Quran or hadith. Remember, Allah loves consistency, so it is the key to success.

Second Step – Understand: Eventually, as the knowledge starts to seep in, you will start seeing the world differently, things will start to make sense. The systems of life, the truth & justice in it, will all start getting apparent. View the world from Allah’s perspective and you will see it is so much more beautiful than you thought!

Third step – Self Implementation: Soon, if you are true to yourself, you will start noticing disparities between what you understand and what you do. This is the time to make a change. Remember that change always begins from within yourself. You need to be the change you want to see. Implement the Quran, one step at a time, on yourself. This is the hardest form of jihad (struggle) – to strive against the nafs (self).

Fourth Step – Social Implementation: When you feel like you have aligned the disparities as much as you could, or at least are in the process of it, that’s when it’s time to look around you. Do not to raise fingers at everything that’s wrong, but step in to make the change yourself. Involve people into a cause that you personally believe in, like going green or beginning a cleaning drive. Invite people into study circles, create a community of harmony and of as many people as you can. This is what Islam is all about. Don’t be disheartened if you are all alone, initially. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was also just one man – who changed the entire course of history. Maybe we can at least be a fraction of what he was. After all, he is our beloved Prophet (ﷺ)

Fifth Step – Find Your Niche: Every individual has his own unique talent. As Allah says in the Quran: “Say, “Each works according to his manner, but your Lord is most knowing of who is best guided in way.” (Al Quran 17:84) Our salvation lies in recognizing that hidden talent or interest that can best be used for the cause of Islam and then investing into it. Maybe you are a good graphic designer and can make amazing posters with Islamic messages on it. Maybe you are a good writer who can start a blog for the awareness of Islam. Maybe you are a good speaker and would like to tell people about Islam through it. Whatever it maybe, you need to work on it and improve it. This is what will lead to guidance and salvation from the punishment of hell-fire. At the end of this step, go back to step 1 and start all over again. This is the complete circle of life.

In the end, you see, life is too short to be wasted on games, movies and music. There is more to life than what the eye can see. These tough times upon the Muslims require our collective efforts.

We need to stretch ourselves and strive harder, because if we don’t, we will sink into the ocean of darkness, without the safe boat of Islam to relax on.  As long as we are swimming (doing jihad), we have hope.

I pray that this Ramadan opens the door for the reawakening of every Muslim, and helps us strive towards the cause of Allah in the best way possible! May Allah accept all our efforts!

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