Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 29

The Penultimate Day perhaps for the end to this beautiful month for another year for now Insha'Allah.

Had 2 Jus to go to complete the Qur'an. I got up later than usual, though was prompted by the Docs appointment in any case at 11:10, which went like clockwork, she gave the eye, the all clear, back at home by quarter to 12. Chilled out for a whilst before embarking on reading the Qur'an leaving just one Jus left.

Went to Green Street (E7, Capital of Indian Fashion Wear suggested by some - so hey what am I doing there I hear your shout out...lol) ...well to buy Papa Ali and Mini Me some Eid garments (Mama and sis will get cash instead...me buying women outfits, thats dangerous!). Paps could not go so was on my own for the trip, which was like blind leading the blind...as was clueless as to where or what to get. All I knew was what I have seen Brothers wear in the Mosque, only found out what they were called just a week ago. So with that word, "jubbas" in my vocab I went on my conquest to purchase a few, well 2 hours later, I had 3 jubbas for myself and 2 for Dad plus a a waistcoat Denis Taylor would be proud of. I must confess I had a aid from a close friend who helped me through this experience, knew exactly where and what to get, May Allah help her and continue to guide her to the righteous path.

Green Street was roaming with peeps, they were like ants, weaving in and out of shops, girls getting their Hennas and threading done, guys in their Bimaz working their sub-woofers in what would be one of the narrowest road per capita in London, so surprised there were no causalities.
By 18:00 announcement was filtering through the Green Street "Bazaars" that Eid was tomorrow, was a shock to many folks inc. myself....that only meant one thing...peeps went Mad! Shop till they drop and eat till their hearts are content at Iftaari! Got out whilst the coast was clear, broke my fast in the car and headed to sisters.

With some Indian sweets visited my 2nd sister and duly rested for a whilst, I could not eat much there, think my body was going thrugh a crisis of some sort, just cant eat much anymore. Given that now I knew Eid will be tomorrow (for all this time as had not heard differently in my circle of friends and families).

I had to get back home to complete the Qur'an and making a long dua after. I took my time reading the last Surahs, it was a beautiful journey through the Qur'an in my own way. First and foremost went to all the 27 Taraweeh prayers to hear the recitation of the Qur'an from different Qaris in my local masjid and in Regents Park. Secondly, went throughout the Qur'an on the 4 day course to go through the translation of all the Suras (highlighting key Suras) and Finally read the Qur'an on my own to complete this during the month of Ramadan, in the month in which it was first revealed all 1400 +years ago.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 26, 27 & 28

With the busy Ibadat period of the last 10 days of Ramadan being in full flow, have not had much time to write up anything on the blogg...so here it is...

These are the summary of the events taking place on the such unexplained days to date:

Fri 26th - Work was rather a boring affair, and with Laylatul Qadr being my main focus in the evening and night, it was a worthy distraction to the day. Went home at the usual time of 18:00 to get home just on time for Iftar, and just before the Adhann went to my room and read Surah Khaf as a dear sister advised me to read this on this special night before Maghrib, May Allah reward her in abundance.

20:45 - Got to Regents Park Mosque, it was heaving with cars and peeps, it was difficult to just get in, there was an abundance of Muslim Bros and Sisters and children of all ages, Masha'Allah the Ummah was out and it was a beautiful thing. With RPM, you get all kinds of people, and this variety I am most endured to. Not simply a B-deshi or Pakistani cultural stance placed on a Mosque but a cross cultural dissection that gives its own flavour to the proceedings that is the night of Laylatul Qadr.

Got into gear to embrace the main event, the Taraweeh with Qur'an completion and dua on the night. This was absolutely beautiful and really a humbling experience. Read the Qur'an (has this in my backpack with the stand, water and lockets, yes this brother was prepared) in the mini breaks between the Tahajjud prayers which on the night were 3 (got to the 12:00 and 02:30 ones which on the latter was the most difficult lasting over an hour to complete 8 rakats).

Made sincere Tawbah (repentance), gratitude for all the blessing Allah swt has provided me and to pray for all my loved ones that have come into my life and those who are not here but in my hearts of hearts.

Brothers were so generous and were handing out food (rice, curry, dates, fruits) to all those around. Some brothers sleeping, others talking, performing Salat, doing dhikr, reading the Qur'an it was a real community, felt at ease and at peace with myself and those around me, the goal and spirit was there for all to feel in your heart.

By 05.45, after the end of Fajr prayers, met the Footy guys and departed the morning feeling well versed and tranquil and well a little tired too. Conditions on the road were very foggy and really was dangerous as you could not see more than 5 meters ahead....thus the drop back of my amigos took longer than usual. Got to my casa around 07:15, to crash out for the morning.

Sat 27th - Crashed out in my bed, little spells of getting up and sleeping back, and finally getting up at 15:30...well who can blame me it was one of those nights well spent, May Allah accept my duas and salat. A very close brother of mine called me from the far east, and we spoke endlessly until it was Iftar time for me and well sleep time for thee amigo. It was a refreshing perspective of life from the other side of the Atlas. Was definitely going to take a rest from late night today well if I could help it I said.

Sun 28th - Got up for Sehri and Fajr and read more of the Qur'an, with 6 Jus to go I was really getting close to finishing it, Alhamd. but needed to work hard to get there in 3 or less days. Had Golf to contend with two and after 2 rounds of this starting at the mid-day tee off, and then hit the flicks for some comedy on empty stomachs with the much awaited "Tropic Thunder", which was good not great nevertheless worthy of watching I felt on the big screen for the V'namers in you. The evening finished with breaking fast at "The Ottomans" at North Finchley which was a steal at a credit crunch price of GBP9.99 for a 3 course meal and was it good..oh yeah!

Rushed back to the local Masjid for Taraweeh prayers which now finish within the hour, now that the Qur'an has been completed. With Monday off, it felt good to wind down now, completed Jus 28 and now with 2 to go I was ready for the 3rd completion of the Qur'an in the month, Insha'Allah.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 25

This day was one of the hardest if not the hardest thus far for the month of Ramadan.
I did not feel well in the early hours of the morning, but thought nothing of it, did not want to stay home, as work will keep me busy and the time will fly....so had to rush into work, just about got in pre-09:00, and then headed for a day of battle with my hunger, tiredness and colleagues in the meetings...the joys of projects!

I also had a lot on my mind too, with Ramadan lots of things had been put on hold, and when the body is at its most vulnerable, all other things tend to follow suit, the mind and the heart feel weak and thus the backlog of thoughts.

It was a strange day, the infection my left eye was getting worse by the day, and by the time I got home just in time for Iftar at 18:55, vision in my left eye was slightly hampered. Soaked some tissue in hot water and dabbed it on the affected eyelid, which helped.

There was no stopping me though, battled the day light hours and was prepared to fight the evening and night, had 100% faith in Allah that he will guide me if I call to him. It was a low point,

I was searching inside, real hard, to fight my thoughts and physical and mental fatigue, and thus went to get some spiritual enlightenment from the evening Taraweeh Salat.

This time I really needed salvation. The first half of my Salat, the Musallah (prayer mat) was perched on the edge of a incline (was praying outside the Mosque as it gets packed by 09:00), had to contend with a 1.4 tread incline in the first 4 rakat (it was hard adjusting the feet at sajdah (prostration)), moving onto a 1.2 for a further 4 rakat and then on the flats indoors away from the weather! My mind was weathering, was trying to keep focus on a point on the mat and ignore all other pain and just simply listen to the Qari reciting the Qur'an. It was hard and body was not getting any better, then after the 12 rakat, a call to nature pit stop was on the abode and with the forthcoming wudu that followed this was the salvation I required. Fresh wudu and a new lease of life, I felt much better. Alhamdullilah.

I intended to take a rest that night given there was enough for me to contend with during the day.

Thoughts of the Day:
Just when everything is pulling you under, have faith in Allah swt and the blessing will come in one way or another, immediate blessings we all sometimes cry out for, however Allah swt knows best and is the best of all planner, we much have much Sabr (patience) and for sure the blessing will come.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 24

Had really good sleep, can't remember the last time I felt this well in the morning, Alhamdullilah.
Day worked like this:

Slept at 01.00 - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
....to get up for Sehri at 04.45 - eat (consuming special K, yep watching my figure!), Salat
Back to bed at 05.50 - more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
...got up at 09.05 - Not late for work, had a Dentist Appointment
Dental Appointment at 09.30 - No drilling, toothpaste, or water going down, the mouth was open the throat was closed for action, it was a Brother Beyond who was checking my teeth, so hey he knows when the mask comes in handy when a fasting brother hits his chair!
...Back to work at 10.35...and ground hog day as far as work is concerned, emails, meetings, more emails, more meetings, testing, walk to the Mosque, emails, testing, oh hey its 18.00!
By 18.25, packed my desk to be out of the work, mind you been mentally out of work mode by 17.00! Suppose thats what Dolly Parton means by "working 9 to 5", its mental not the physical.

Read more of the Qur'an when I got home from Taraweeh, was really not feeling as motivated but once I opened the Al Furqan, motivation flowed like the the Aguazu Falls! Was rather disappointed as I missed the time to perform Tahajjud prayers (pre-Fajr) as got up late a few minutes before Fajr Adhan.

Completed Jus 20, in the early morning of Thursday. Masha'Allah, 10 to go and in 5 days or less....the heat is on....

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 23

It was the 23rd night - yes and that means, it could be Laylatul Qadr tonight. So had to be psyched up for this so can stay up read the Qur'an and perform Tahajjud Salat.

Slept at 01.00 after my usual routine of, Tarweeh salat , reading the Quran (* 1 Jus), eating some rice or other forms of carbs followed by tea, watch Channel S with mum. Mum loves this programme during Ramadan and is an avid follower of the charity programme which starts at 18:00 and goes on until 05.00 (upto Fajr). Yes mother stays up for all of this, and each day she comes to me to say need to give money to this charity, Alhamdullilah she has a heart of Gold. Also Rizwan Hussain is on which make her viewing so much more pleasurable as she thinks he is abs great, I always say Mum hey you only have one son and its me, so lay off trying to adopt another one from the Tv set...lol

Got up again at almost 05.00 so made a quick entrance into the kitchen for some cereal which I drowned very quickly, read my Tahajudd salat and waited a few moments before reading Fajar prayers which followed with another Jus from the Qur'an. By that time it was 06.30 so thought with a Physio appointment at 08.30 cant go to bed, so stayed up.

The day went well, considering I had 4 hours of sleep, no gymming as got a right ticking off from the physio for my exploits with the weights at the lowest point of my energy body clock, so will leave this to rest for another week. Got home right into the call for Maghrib prayers, just like clock work I said to myself, have trust in Allah and he will see that you get your Iftar on time.

I finished the day reading more of the Qur'an, now on Jus 19. - with 12 to go, can I do this by the 27th Night...well watch this space....
p.s. The picture is of the Badshahi Masjid in Pakistan, totally unrelated to my day, nevertheless a beautiful Masjid you must admit.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 22

Not long to go now, 8 days and this beautiful month will end until another year Insha'Allah.

Spent the night reading the Qur'an and performing Tahajudd Salat. This is a voluntary prayer (Nafl) that is performed in the 1/3 part of the night prior to Fajr prayer. It is done with intense contemplation where it differs to other prayers by the length of time you are at Ruku and Sajdah as this is longer due to reciting extra durrud. It can be done in any number upto 12 rakats (in the form of 2s).

I spent the day at home, taken a rest from work and the world well as much as one can staying in the confines of my casa. Had a nice lie in getting up at 13.30 to start my day. Performed my Salat and was in gear for reading the Qur'an once again.

Went out for a while to run some errand for mum, and then back home again to break my fast. Think my stomach has shrunk though as can't take in as much as I did at the former Iftars. Also I have no reason to crave for food any longer, don't feel thirsty either, it is rather werid.

Went to Taraweeh, my auto pilot routine when the clock hits 20:45 I am out the door making my way across the streets of London (which is usually consumed by the new wave of Chavs, various sisters in full burkas, the odd lay about intoxicant, the pizza delivery L plated moped driver, and wont be London if you did not have a siren copper Vaxuhall Astra zooming pass you in 90mph!) to get to the Mosque.

On the way back it is little quieter, but the clientele is rather more volatile, intoxicants more intoxicated and well good folks generally are no where to be seen. With my new wave of hey these people are "noise" to me, I just go about doing my thing and if anyone requires help will assist as long as I am not at threat.

Read more of the Qur'an when I came back, completing Jus 17 now. Has a treat by watching some of the new Harry Enfield show as a amigo reminded me of it, this was a nice treat, not the same as chocies but more laffs'.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 20 & 21

The weekend fast approached, with very little plans due to the Qur'an course taking precedence over all other matter this weekend it was a no brainier.

The day was pretty hard, with only getting 2 hours or so sleep, as could not go to bed at 7:00 given that I had to get up in an hour or so at the back of my mind. Thus was rather not my self on the course, feeling the tiredness kicking in by 14:00 and with the Hafiz situated right in front of me it will be very disrespectful if I nodded off...though my head was going up and down by its own will. Thought, I needed my head to be strapped into the lecture room chair like Hannibal Lector! Ok, Ok could of found a better analogy I know...
Though once I done wudu, I was ok again and this brought new life into me.

I will be posting more information on the course and worthy of content covered as much as I can on a further post on this blogg site Insha'Allah (that is another word that was spoken about and also stated in the Qur'an, one should not say Insha'Allah unless he intends to carry out that action - it is one of these words that have been overly used in recent years so one should not over use it - Insha'Allah!).

I did get home just in time for Iftar on Sat so that was a blessing. It is so nice to be able to break fast with the family though it is also nice to break fast full stop especially with the longer days and more lengthier to come in the forthcoming years.

Sunday was better, more sleep, and more alert at the last day of the course. Hunger was firmly at bay, with porridge and honey for Sehri at 05.00 you really can not go wrong. It was sad to leave the course as learnt so much and met wonderful people on the course, and some brothers had exceptional knowledge of the Qur'an, MashaAllah. This is just the building blocks to more learning and knowledge of the Qur'an and Ahadith, Insha'Allah.

With the late finish to the day, was on my travels when Iftar was due, so rushed to Regents Park Mosque to break my fast with what would appear to be all of the Muslims in the UK, yes it was packed to the cap! (Well it was Sunday after all).

Completed Jus 14 in the early hours of Monday morning so almost half way through the Qur'an, Alhamdullilah.
The picture is that of the Badshahi Masjid, Pakistan. It would be awesome if my local was like this, however the simple form of a prayer mat wherever you maybe bring much peace and joy to me.

Laylatul Qadr - Night of Decree

As I move into the last third of Ramadan, there are much blessing to be enjoyed in the last days. The last 10 days of Ramadan are very special, as this is where Laylatul Qadr - The Night of Decree (or Diginity/Power) is found.

This is the night when the Glorious Qur'an was first revealed (See Surah 97 -Surah Al Qadr).

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Lo! We revealed it on the Night of Predestination.
Ah, what will convey unto thee what the Night of Power is!
The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees.
(The night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.

It is been reported by commentators of the Qur'an that on this night the whole Qur'an was transported from the preserved tablet (Lawh Al-Mahfiz) to the lowest heavens and from there the Qur'an was gradually revealed over the course of 23 years of Prohpet (SAW) life.

It is also stated in S97:3 that the virtue of this night is beyond description and it is better that a thousand months (f0r the mathematicians that is equiv. to 83 yrs and 4 mths).

There are various reports about the date of Laylatul Qadr, and there is no conclusive statement and thus the exact dat has been left undisclosed so that people will endeavor more to worship Allah (swt) throughout the 10 days rather that on one night.

In Ahadith (Buhkari and Muslim) related by Aishah (RA), we are specifically told by the Prophet "Seek Laylatul Qadr amongst the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan" i.e. 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th and 29th.

Many scholars have siad that it is more likely to be on the 27th night of Ramadan but there again no conclusive authentication on this.

We as a family we have usually got together usually on the beginning of the 27th Night of Ramadan where we perform Salat and read important Surah from the Qur'an and perform Dhikr right through the night and especially more so to the last 1/3 of the night as the blessing then are so much more. Mum would make lots of food on this night, to provide us with energy and motivation. The odd cup of coffee also helps to keep one awake!

I have also try and perform more Ibadat on the odd nights as well as there is no guarantee that it will be on the 27th night. This is hard when one is working full time, but its only a small sacrifice, with 5 days of the 365 days of the year, really can't complain, May Allah make it easy for me and for others like myself.

Some people go as far as going into I'tikaf whereby they would go into their local Mosques for the last 10 days and shut themselves off from the Worldly matters and stay and eat there, to look out for Laylatul Qadr. I think that is brilliant, and Insh'Allah will make plans to do this in the next few years.

It has been commented by Aishah, the wife of the Prophet (SAW), that the prophet taught us to read this dua during Laylatul Qadr:

اَللَّهُمَّ اِنَّكَ عَفُوٌّ ، تُحِبُّ الْعَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنِّي
"Allahumma Innaka Afuwwun Tuhibbul Afwa Fa'fu Anni ( "O Allah! You are Most forgiving and You love to forgive sins, therefore forgive me") [Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and at-Tirmidhi].

Abu Hurairah quoted Allah’s Messenger as saying: “Whoever stands (in prayer) in Laylatul Qadr while nourishing his faith with self-evaluation, expecting reward from Allah, will have all of his previous sins forgiven.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 19

Just got up today to a nice warm sunshine sipping though the gap between my bedroom curtains and the window ledge. It was Jummah day, and this is the special day of the week for Muslims globally.

As I was at home today, I got up later than normal, for around 10:00, so gradually got ready to my Qur'an and Salat reading attire, which currently is a curta and bottoms which elder sis brought for me for her south asia travels a few years back.

I completed the day, with the end of Jus 11. Masha'Allah. Taking time off definitely helped as had more time to focus more on Ramadan and Ibadat more.

Went to Jummah and met one of my Fathers friends on the way, who was enquiring about Dad and how had not seen him for over 7 months. He obviously was not informed about his stroke. Dad went to Jummah prayers ahead if me as he has his own special place with his buddies near the first row. There are two marque set up outside the local Mosque, especially during Ramadan and it is really nice and tranquil in the night prayer with the breeze, def better than being inside where it can get very hot and sticky.

Younger sis came back from work later and we broke Iftar together with our parents, the other sisters were out.

Did not read any of the notes from my course last weekend so will do that Insha'Allah tomorrow morning.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 18

The days so far have been good, Alhamdullilah and this day was no different. Usually start my day especially during Ramadan by doing my wudu (ablution) after I have dressed in the corporate attire (which is dark trousers, shirt, jumper if its cold, no tie required and blazer if one has a meeting to attend).

Do the wudo so I can be able to be in a God Conscious frame of mind on my travels and to protect me from any potential Fitna too as hey the Tube system has its own struggles apart from the smells and congestion. The wudu also has the benefit of you then subsequently performing wudu anywhere else where you may not be able to wash your feet so can then wipe your wet hands around your socks and upto your ankles (as long as conditions are met, see sites below for these).

It is not permissible for the person to pass wet hands over the socks unless he put them on in a state of purity.

“I was traveling with our Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه و سلم ) and the Prophet asked me saying, “Have you got any water?” I said, “Yes” … and poured out water so that the Prophet washed his face and hands… and his arms then wiped his head. Then I bent over to pull off his khuff (a type of thick sock) but the Prophet said “Leave them for I put on my khuff in a state of purification” then he wiped over them. (narrated by Al-Bukhari, Fath ul-Baari No. # 5353)

More information on wudu process can be found on this site:
http://www.revertmuslims.com/sala_wudu.html http://www.islamqa.com/en/ref/9640/wiping%20socks

It was a very busy at work, with system training a few colleagues, which made the time go so much more faster, and in no time at all, it was time to go home, so popped into the gym on the way home, 15mins later out again. Had much more energy than the previous day.

Read the Qur'an in the evening after Taraweeh (Completing Juz 4) and given that I had booked the coming Fri and Mon off from work to focus on doing more Ibadaat, spent the early hours of the morning speaking to Mum about how Ramadan was going for her.

Dad was coping well too, with the fast, as initial thoughts was he really was pushing it fasting given his condition, still recovering from his stroke, and with his diabetes being a constant talking point for the Nurses due to his lack of control.

Alhamdullilah, May Allah provide them the strength to do as much as they can in this blessed month. After All this is the month where the Shaytan (Satan) is caged up and the angels are out to record your good deeds, so best to make the most of it I say and supplicate to your hearts content.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Tears of Rasulullah (SAW)...


Suddenly, there was a person who said salaam.'May I come in?' he asked.But Fatimah did not allow him to enter the room.'I'm sorry, my father is ill,' said Fatimah, and turned back and closed the door.She went back to her father who had opened his eyes and he asked Fatimah, 'Who was he, my daughter?''I don't know, my father. It's the first time I'm seeing him,' Fatimah said gently.

Then, Rasulullah (SAW) looked at his daughter with a trembled look, as if he wanted to reminisce about every part of his daughter's face.'Know one thing! He is who erases the temporary pleasure; he is who separates the companionship in the world. He is the angel of death,' said Rasulullah (SAW).Fatimah bore the bomb of her cry.

The death angel came toward him, but Rasulullah (SAW) asked why Jibril did not come along with him.Then, Jibril was called. Jibril was ready in the sky to welcome the soul of Habibullah and the leader of the earth.'O Jibril, explain to me about my rights in front of ALLAH?'

Rasulullah (SAW) asked with a weak voice.'The doors of the sky have opened; the angels are waiting for your soul.''All jannats are open widely waiting for you,' Jibril said.But, in fact, all that did not make Rasulullah (SAW) relieved.

His eyes were still full of worry.'You are not happy to hear this news?' asked Jibril.'Tell me about the destiny of my people in the future?''Don't worry, o Rasul ALLAH. I heard ALLAH told me: 'I make jannat haram for everyone, except the people of Muhammad' Jibril said.It became closer and closer, the time for Malaekat Izrail to do his work.

Slowly, Rasulullah's (SAW) soul was pulled. It seemed that the body of Rasulullah (SAW) was full of sweat; the nerves of his neck became tight.'Jibril, how pain this sakaratul maut is!'Rasulullah (SAW) uttered a groan slowly. Fatimah closed her eyes, Ali sat beside her bow deeply and Jibril turned his face back.'Am I repugnant to you that you turn your face back o Jibril?' Rasulullah (SAW) asked to the Deliverer of Wahyu.'Who is the one who could see the Habibullah in his sakaratul maut,' Jibril said.Not for a while, Rasulullah (SAW) uttered a groan because of unbearable pain.

'O ALLAH, how greatest is this sakaratul maut. Give me all these pains, don't to my people.'

The body of Rasulullah (SAW) became cold, his feet and chest did not move anymore.His lips vibrated as if he wanted to say something, Ali took his ear close to Rasulullah (SAW).

'Uushiikum bis salati, wa maa malakat aimanuku?, take care the salat and take care the weak people among you.'

Outside the room, there were cries shouted each other, sahabat held each other. Fatimah closed her face with her hands and, again, Ali took his ear close to Rasulullah's (SAW) mouth which became bluish.

'Ummatii, ummatii, ummatii?' ? 'My people, my people, my people.'

And the life of the noble man ended.

Could we love each other like him? Allahumma salle 'ala Muhammad wa baarik wa salim 'alaihi.How deep is Rasulullah's (SAW) love to us ?

Ramadan - Day 17

The day had been a very bust one at work, and though the hunger was not an issue, fatigue was very much at the heart of my day more so after 15:00, usually when I do take time out for a coffee break.

It is rather weird to be sitting at ones PC workstation for well all of 8-9 hours during work, as there is no reason to go to the lavatory, can not go to the drink machine or to the coffee shop, so ones limbs may just be laying idle at the desk.

Apart from attending meetings which is only a light jog into the foyer, their is really no other cause to get up. I usually make the time to stroll around, whether it be going to see another colleague, or simply to go out for much needed fresh air even for 5 minutes and the "dry" coffee breaks do keep the blood flowing to the rest of the body more efficiently then if I was stationery for too long.

I was not feeling in my best of moods today, don't know why, maybe a combination of many things, the financial "crisis" causing tension to my own civilian livelihood, as I have had a close friend of mine who got the axe from Lehman's' on Monday, so it brought things right home, as the lottery would have it known, it could be YOU! Also with work causing more tension then its worth even writing about, so will stop right there.

So Iftar was spent on the train once again as the days are getting shorter about 2mins shorter per day and getting home from work in time for Iftar is a big push, so end up packing some dates and water in my racksack to savour on the journey. Got home and did not feel the best so had something to eat, rested and then went for a walk slowly to get to the Mosque for Taraweeh. I had much to think about, life, family, friends, past, present and future, its what one will call "contemplation". I suppose that's what Ramadan is for, to cleanse one and better oneself for the long term , Insha'Allah.

I got home from Taraweeh, started reciting the Qur'an and then again after Fajr, I am making good progress, now on the start of the 5th Juz, Alhamdullilah.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 16

With the day the way it was going at work, was not thinking I would have time to get to the gym and back home in time for Iftar. But I managed just that.

I also usually attend the local Masjid for Zuhr Salat for the duration of Ramadan, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from my work. It is a good time spent, spiritual enhancing, breaking the day up and making with the remembrance of Allah swt it provides a good focus for the rest of the afternoon.

There is normally a good few of us that go together, using the Mind Align and ISOC channel as a platform for all discussions (including those not so much about Islam and the Ummah, i.e. whats was on TV, Politics alike and the random footy thrown in for good measure!).

So the afternoon went well and broke my Iftar with a date on the train just before I got to my casa train stop. I must say was really glad to get home, mum always expects us back before Iftar and so she prepared the plates and food for all of us to seat together, May Allah swt bless her.

Taraweeh was so tranquil, and felt so much more peace during that prayer more so than any other time I can remember on the previous 16 days. Tiredness was not there either and that was very surprising, Allah has His ways of getting you in the right mind and temperament if you have faith in Him.

So got to bed in good time and then after Fajr read more of the Qur'an, now completed Jus 2, 28 to go Insh'Allah.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Journey Through the Qur'an - Day 1 & 2

I attended the first weekend of the 2 weekender', 4 days "Journey Through the Qur'an" course, located at the Birbeck College.

The first if its kind in the UK, it was rather an unknown for the students as well as lecturer on how this will be recieved. The course was taught by Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad.

Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad - He was a young man, in his mid to late 30s, who had an impressive CV and most importantly was so modest and humble with it. He was a practicing solicitor, having qualified as a teacher teaching Religious Education and then pursuing an MA in Islamic Studies. He has been studying the Qur'an for over 10 year and taken time to memorise it over the last fours years or so. Mash'Allah. He is very down to earth and approachable and most importantly has great knowledge of society, is not quick to judge on others, very straightforward and says it like it is.

I was very impressed by how much the course and Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad teaching has enlightened and serve to heighten my love for the beautiful Qur'an. It is hard to explain in words how much the Qur'an now has made a real connection to my heart, and is ever increasing Insha'Allah.

Praise goes to Allah (swt) for making this easy for the course providers to set this course up, in the least it is a building block for further courses of this kind and a motivation for others to learn more about the Qur'an Insha'Allah.

I would personally thank Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad (next weekend InshaAllah) for taking his time out to teach this course in a difficult month such as Ramadan, May Allah reward him in abundance.

Over the coming days I will publish more thoughts on the blogg about what I has enlightened me during the first 2 days of the course, the things I learnt and and some Chapters and Verses worth memorising for supplication (dua).

The course had an exceptional turnout, with an estimate of 50-75 people on the course, Alhamdullilah. If it wa not for the month of Ramadan, I think the numbers would have been double or triple that.

Day 1:

Start: 09.30
Finish: 18.30.

Approach to the study of the Qur'an - A few points noted:
  • Focus on the words of Allah (swt)
  • Approach the Qur'an with an 'open mind'
  • Primary purpose of the Qur'an is for guidance (it is not a historical book)
  • Dont try to justify your own views with the Qur'an instead surrender your views to that of the Qur'an.
  • Understand the 'context' in which the Quran suras and verses were revealed and the Life of out Prophet (pbuh) and the conditions of Arabic 7th Century society
  • Try and establish a 1:1 personal relationship with the Qur'an, open your hearts not just your mind to it.

If you want to speak to Allah (swt), perform Salat or/and Dua and if you want Allah to speak to you, read the Qur'an.

Some Muslims are very quick to give up their lives for the Qur'an but are not prepared to lead their lives according to it.

S: Sura V:Verse

[to enter - watch this space]

Day 2:

Start: 10:00
Finish: 18.15

[to enter - watch this space]

Memorable Chapters and Verses from the Qur'an:
[to enter - watch this space]

Supplication (Dua):

[to enter - watch this space]

Ramadan - Day 15

Had some Quaker Oats for Sehri with some Gales with Lemon Honey, it was amazingly good. I would definitey recommend this to those who are curry shy in the early hours. My parents have always had curry and rice at Sehri, not sure how they do it, definitely dont have the palet to do that. Must be my Britishness coming out, porridge it is and will continue to be.

The day went well at work, was rather busy, which is not a bad thing, could not go for a "dry" coffee break with a good brother of mines at work, called Zakariyya. But hasten not met up with him after work, prayed Asr Salat in the usual place on the 1st Floor of the Disaster Recovery Site we have been tarnished away at RBS which is named Regents House. We both then went to its names sake but no affiliation, Regents Parks Mosque to break our fast. which we did with almost 500-750 people (only as an estimate). It was amazing and well recommended even for once in Ramadan, for anyone wanting to get a real feel of community. With this being the Central Mosque in London it attracts all types of Muslims, from all races and cultures, a truly remarkable way to break the fast with the Ummah.

The Mosque also provides a gratuity Iftar with a box of rice and chicken with dates, milk and fruits. It was just great, Alhamdullilah. The brothers were very helpful and each person truly wanted to help their fellow brother (not to mention the sisters who were from my brief observation were doing likewise).

Helped myself to some cakes too (£1.00 a slice so can not go wrong, so ended up piling some for mum and elder sis back home).

I was feeling really drained when I got home, no rest for me, 5 mins in, wudu, a change of clothes, a cup of mums chai and off for Taraweeh! When I did get home, was really feeling weak and with a sore throat on the cards itching to become a virus, I rightly went straight to bed. Felt a little better at Sehri, so ended up reading more of the Qur'an after Fajr Salat, which was really nice.

Ramadan - Day 12,13 & 14

The days of Ramadan have been going faster than they have been coming.... Already on half way thought this beautiful month and so far it has been a great blessing.

Fri - 12; Younger sis came back from Guildford after her first weeks stint at becoming a English teacher, she was exhausted and needed the homecoming fast by the look of her. I attended the gym that day and was abs. useless - no energy at all! Maybe if I change my Sehri eating ways that may change my energy levels, i.e. eat properly at Sehri and not just eat dates.

I booked myself on a four day course over 2 weekends, called "Journey Through the Qur'an", lectured by Hafiz Abdullah Muhammad. With the first weekend starting on Sat 12th, See more information on the course on a separate blogg on the course. It was an excellent course and I would definitely recommend to All.

Sat - 13; With the course in full gear, had to really prepare myself mentally for a hard day, but Alhamdullilah the day went well, with me getting back to mi casa just before the break of fast time of 19:22. Younger sis was making sure I did not miss it as she made some very delicious dishes, the food was awesome. May Allah swt bless her.

Sun -14; I was invited to a friends Iftari, Anwar from the "Kind Eddys Sunday Footy", so had to rush back from the end of the class to get their, which I managed to do in good time. There was an array of foods on display ready for the team of 10-12 staving male carnivores on show waiting to feast after our Maghrib prayers, the only thing on risk are Anwars' two young boys who may have been mistaken for a chicken leg the way everyone was waiting to eat. The deserts - which those that know me well is my "main" course, and it did not fail in my testing. Had to shortly leave for the Taraweeh prayers...suppose that was my stop loss on the desert.

I have completed Jus 1 (Para 1) in the early hours of this morning after Fajr prayers and now into the 2nd Jus. There are 30 Jus in total and are parts rather than chapters. The Suras of which there are 114 in the Qur'an which are interchangeably referred to as chapters. Some of the Qur'an texts have been split in Jus's in order for people to complete a Jus/day and thus complete the Qur'an in a month. I am as you can read well behind as I have started late and thus have to play catch up, Insha;Allah I am up for that challenge.

It was most refreshing to read the Qur'an in the 1/3 part of the night, as it has been written in the Qur'an that those who wake up to read in the 1/3 part of the night, which is the most difficult time to get up and read, an angel will watch over them and report back to Allah swt and thus it proved to be the most rewarding and fulfilling.

I also feel that once you have read your Fajr prayers, read the Qur'an and made supplications you really do feel content and the sleep is so much more fulfilling and peaceful.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 11

It was a rather weird day, not feeling like doing anything, well that was not really a choice I had given that I had made the initial decision to come to work - doh, work always gets in the way and wins again!

The body was feeling lathered and tired, the waking up for Sehri at the early hours of the morning of 4am was taking its toll on the body. However the mind was in good shape to continue with this small obstacles of fatigue, it is from these hardships we get the spiritual enlightenment.

It was a really weird episode I experienced last night waking up for Sehri, from a call on the mobile, must have had some conversation that I briefly recall and then had some dates (a packed placed delicately in arms reach of the table besides my bed) , which looking back must of been whilst semi-conscious. It was mind boggling that I also missed Fajr after consuming the dates, this should really had woken me up!

Think the body apart from the tiredness has got into a routine now, so all is go go go for another 20 or so days. Mind you don't think I am losing any weight though at all, if anything I must have piled on the pounds, which is really obscure given I only have an 8 hour window to consume 2500 kcals of which half of that will be taken in sleeping. Must be the large consumption at Iftar and before Taraweeh that is doing the damage and the lack of exercise which is pretty Null at the moment. Mind you Taraweeh is a form of exercise and the knees to take it, not that I am complaining, thought there maybe a market for garments with knee supports for Taraweeh and potential head rests on the mat - only a thought!

Thought of the day:
"Do not put off a good that you intended to do as you never know how much reward you might receive from the hardships you encounter while trying to achieve that good"

A beautiful read on Allah (swt) Plans

Allah's Plans

Some things are beyond planning.
And life doesn't always turn out as planned.
You don't plan for a broken heart.
You don't plan for an autistic child.
You don't plan for spinsterhood.
You don't plan for a lump in your breast.

You plan to be young forever.
You plan to climb the corporate ladder.
You plan to be rich and powerful.
You plan to be acclaimed and successful.
You plan to conquer the universe.
You plan to fall in love - and be loved forever.

You don't plan to be sad.
You don't plan to be hurt.
You don't plan to be broke.
You don't plan to be betrayed.
You don't plan to be alone in this world.

You plan to be happy.
You don't plan to be shattered .

Sometimes if you work hard enough, you can get what you want. But MOST times, what you want and what you get are two different things.

We, mortals, plan. But so does Allah (SWT) in the heavens. Sometimes, it is difficult to understand Allah's plans especially when His plans are not in consonance with ours .
Often, when He sends us crisis, we turn to Him in anger. True, we cannot choose what Allah wishes us to carry, but we can carry it with courage knowing that He will never abandon us nor send something we cannot cope with.

Sometimes, Allah breaks our spirit to save our soul.
Sometimes, He breaks our heart to make us whole.
Sometimes, He allows pain so we can be stronger.
Sometimes, Allah sends us failure so we can be humble.
Sometimes, He allows illness so we can take better care of ourselves.
And sometimes, Allah takes everything away from us so we can learn the value of everything He gave us

Make plans, but understand that we live by Allah's grace. Although they plan, Allah also plans. And Allah is the Best of Planners.
[Holy Qur'an 8:30]

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 9 & 10

The days have been coming and going so fast that I have accrued two days of blogging! Alas there is a life apart from blogging I hear you all cry...but rest assured I am back on it again with much oomph!

With 10 days passing and marking a 1/3 of Ramadan, it feel rather nice, being content with life and the things around me.

One thing I have notice more about my ownself is that I have become much more focussed and have had more Sabr in the tasks I choose to do, whether it be work, salat to the general communication with folks, friends and siblings. Suppose with the dramatic fall in energy levels that was expected to some extent, but the spiritual journey is the unknown factor.

Insha'Allah that this change goes into my permanent stream of thoughts and one way to do that is to keep the the stomach in the correct ratio - 1/3 food, 1/3 water and 1/3 air.

I cam back from Taraweeh prayers and put the old telly on (yes, the traditionalist will say what you mean you have the TV plugged into the socket during Ramadan?) and their was a documentary on the BBC called "Funny thing about Ramadan". This can be viewed on BBCiplayer (which will last only for 7 days) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00dczz3

This documentary was about a Scottish sister, a stand up comedian by profession, whose parents were both Muslim, with her own association of being Muslim having been lost since her early kindergarten years and she was asked by a brother to fast, at least a day for the production of this doc' .

I suppose I do empathise with her to some extent when she spoke about doing things like being forced to attend Islamic classes on Saturdays to read the Qur'an when all other children were watching Saturday Morning TV and playing on their Commodores/Sega Master systems (now you can guess my age from this). But I feel my grounding on Islam came due to the environment I was (which my parents were a large part of) and the benefit that I personally found both spiritual and physical from the actions I took within the realms of Islam, which did not come so easily and it does take time.

I think the programme was ok, nothing special as it really should of been a full length hour doc' on what the true essence of what Ramadan is for a variety of people as I found it only scraped the tip of the iceberg when it interviews a few people on it. Nevertheless it is a start to more docs on faith and Islam (which show a positive side to it) I hope for the BBC and TV in general.

Thoughts of the day:
"The spiritual journey sits on a very long road one must find their own highway as long as its one that causes them peace and harmony and with the end result of ultimate contentment with life, we must not be haste with things that come our way; respect the things around you and Allah will ensure you will flourish"

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Ramadan Thoughts

This is a poem that I had recieved in my inbox today, written by an 18 year old brother, MasaAllah, it is very thought provoking

I asked for strength and Allah gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom and Allah gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity and Allah gave me brawn and brain to work.
I asked for courage and Allah gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for patience and Allah placed me in situations where I was forced to wait.
I asked for love and Allah gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favours and Allah gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted but everything I needed

Ramadan - Day 8

The day was more difficult than the previous weeks, would of thought the body and mind would had got used to it, just shows that the body can go back to it "normal" setting very quickly. Though even after that I did go to the gym, only to work the muscles for 20 mins but think I was definitely a defeated man as mind and body was not up for that type of challenge.

Iftar on Sunday (7th) was spent with family with my sister #2, my nephew and nieces with my bro in law were invited to dine and have Iftaar with us. My elder sis brought her close friend too so was a packed Ali casa and with stupendous food on show (which I must add could not get on camera as well the food was gone before I could take any shots of it....no it was not all because of me for those reading....lol).

Tarweeh prayers I now call "my own time" as even though its a prayer that I do in congregation with as much as 500-750 people at my local Masjid, I feel this is my time with Allah (swt) and can reflect sincerely on the day past and to prepare my mind and soul for the forthcoming day, it really is a beautiful experience. In previous years and as a teen, the Taraweeh salat I felt was a chore, and dreaded the nightfall when I had to go to to the Masjid to perform it, things have obviously changed for the better, Alhamdulilah.

There are things in the prayer that are worth observing, and having been attending such prayers for over two decades, things do not change much.

A few things of note:
- The Imam switch over after the 12th rakat from the slow to the speedy gonzalez fast lane ferrarri typed manoeuvre on the A40!
- The various attire on show, from jeans, long white dress, to various forms of hoodies (and yes they have the swagger too when going to Sajdah would you believe)
-Constant muttering of children and teens during the whole prayer (and the elders getting well annoyed)
- The 8 raka post exodus when you would think someone raised the fire alarm (not its for those that can't hack the full 20 - though that's the reason I feel the "slow" imam comes at the first leg to keep the 8'erz there longer).
- Water cups and bottles that come round for those that require it, (well it is a marathon of rakat almost lasting for 2hours after all)
-Brothers (some) stepping on your little toe when standing for salat (so beware get your toes out the way before its on lock down). It is fascinating that some brother like the side to side feet alignment and and some don't. The idea behind it is that in congregation nothing should pass by and all should be as one, with feet and shoulders touching - different school of thoughts have differing views of this.

Thought of the day:
"On no soul does Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear"

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 7

Now a full week has gone by and Alhamdullilah Ramadan has been very fruitful. I thought prior to the the start of Ramadan, was fearing the long days of the summer, but with the weather not being as hot as expected on this time of the year, it has been easier than expected.

The tiredness is also not as bad as I can remember Ramadan to be. The body and mind conditioning usually happens in the first few days and this time round has been no different. I have been cutting down on my portions coming up to Ramadan as part of the 'Nam weight loss target which was moving on nicely and may have helped significantly in hindsight.

The lack of physical exercise is hard given I have been very active over the last few months, giving up footy (twice a week) squash, spinning classes and gym for a month.

I strolled in the garden for some fresh air today and was noticing a lot of the varieties of colours that the garden encompassed, the green grass, the brown shed, the varieties of flowers, pink, yellow, and the different shades of green in the various plantation s on show.

Both my parents love the garden immensely and I suppose that's one thing they can take from not being in Bangladesh, being close to nature. I came across the pair tree which I dutifully picked the pairs for Mum to prepare for Iftaar., they were abs delicious! It is a beautiful things producing your own fruits and vegetables, may this continue Insha'Allah onto the next generation.

Thought of the day:
"Life is what you make it, so make the best of this dunya in the name of Allah swt, and the gardens of paradise will be opened in the akirah"

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Taqwa - 6 Characteristics to emulate

I have come across an article on the site: http://muslimmatters.org/2008/09/05/ramadan-reflections-juz-4/, where it provides a neat and easy to digest essence of what characteristics are required for one to be truly fearful of the the punishment of Allah (Swt) (Taqwa).

Here is a snapshot of one of the main messages:

"Allah provides us with some examples of the behaviour of the people with taqwa, so that we can strive to emulate them.
  1. They spend out of what Allah has provided them with in both prosperity and adversity.

  2. They repress their anger, in particular when they are capable of acting upon it

  3. They are forgiving of others and freely pardon those who have wronged them

  4. They quickly rush to seek Allah’s forgiveness when they commit any wrong – big or small

  5. They know with certainty that only Allah can forgive sins (and they expect that from Him)

  6. They don’t knowingly persist in those wrongs, meaning that they don’t delay repenting

Virtues of Ramadan - Yasir Qadhi video

This is a really good 9 minute video on the virtues of Ramadan by Shaikh Yasi Qadhi, that I could not put it any better myself. Definitely worth viewing.

Ramadan - Day 6

With the first weekend of Ramadan how best to start it by attending Regents Park Mosque. This Mosque also knows at the London Central Mosque situated off Baker Street, near Regents Park (thus the name) , is amazing. More than the grand size of the Mosque is the feeling when you enter it and perform your Salat in it.

Due to work and Taraweeh starting and thus finishing later than in previous years, have resorted to going to Regents Park on the weekends during Ramadan.

Mind you I have always been quiet perplexed to know where the sisters pray as with such a grand main hall as shown in the picture, the sisters pray hall I have been told is rather minute in comparison. This is not an issue just for Regents Park as it is for all Mosques generally and some do not even have a pray area for sisters. Insha'Allah performing prayer should be open to all one day in Mosques all around Britain and globally.

I have made intention to reading and completeing the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan, starting today. I also want to read an array of Islamic literature over the course of this month and to take this forward for the months that follow Insha'Allah, as feel that its not just the words of the Qur'an that need reciting during Ramadan but also the information that one can acquire and use as knowledge from the passages that one reads is far more important.

I see many people including my dear Father who seek to complete the Qur'an in record time during Ramadan (as if there is a record to be broken (as if to say "lets see if Usain Bolt can beat this"). It is important to note that the month of Ramadan should be used as a means for training ground for the year ahead Insha'Allah. So yes recite as much as the Qur'an as you can but not to the detriment of you completely fulfilling your own desire but for the desire of Allah (swt).

My Ramadan thought for the day:
"Small changes can make a significant impact so start today as you mean to go on"

Friday, 5 September 2008

Ramadan - Day 5

...22 hours and I have survived! Yes the longest day I have ever fasted unintentionally due to the previous days mishaps.

Well rest assured was not going to let that happen again. The day surprisingly went pretty well, did not feel so bad, think the tiredness was put to bed (pardon the punt) with more than the "usual" amount of sleep for Ramadan so that helped.

So what do I do in this mood, I get my gym kit ready to hit the weights after work. My energy levels as expected was at a very low by the time I got to the bench press, so after 20-25 minutes of diddle dawdling on went home to break my fast.

I ended up breaking my fast at home in good time, had the usual and then rested - no more over indulging I said I know where that got me yesterday.

Just as I thought I almost got back on par with the Ramadan timing and bang missed Sehri and woke up at 05:15, so prayed by Fajr, thus giving myself 19 hours of fast to look forward to for the day. As I write this I don't feel so bad, had good sleep and prayed to Allah to keep me in good stead throughout the day.

May need a very good Alarm Clock to get me up or rather trade the one I have with a nice traditional housewife (the modern ones just dont follow the Ronseal approval ("Does what it says on the tin"). Mind you may get a hose pipe drainage if I ever did say that, as there is hadith quoting this...not the hosepipe but the water sprinkling to get one up for Fajr prayers.

Ramadan thought of the day:
"Do not delay as what can be done today, as time is precious, if you do things with the intention of pleasing Allah (swt), blessings will be bestowed upon your task"