Tag Archives: acts of kindness

Day 29: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-NINE: Zakat Al Fitr (Eid Charity)

 

Ramadan is coming to an end….
Wait a minute, so does that mean in a day or two, we’ll drink coffee in the morning, no problem?

We’ll have breakfast instead of ‘break-our-fast’

For real??
Oh my God! Did you guys ever try the Eggs Benedict on a muffin topped with smoked salmon? Served with cherry tomatoes and roasted potatoes on the side? Oh yummmm

And fresh pineapple juice…
And grilled cheese sandwiches
Frittatas, bagels and Pita bread with white cheese and olive oil

Red velvet pancakes and Nutella waffles

And our Egyptian Feteer (layered pastry)

And all the other mouth watering foods we love so much
I would like to thank all the items on the food menu for bringing so much joy to our family gatherings, so much love to our hearts and for making our taste buds alive with amazing flavors.
We have missed you so much!
And even though we’ve had our differences before since some of you make us gain weight, we’d like you to know that on days like Eid, you’re completely forgiven because it’s totally 100% worth it. And I promise we’ll try our best not to take you for granted again.

Give it up to all our favorite foods! Let’s have one more round of applause loool.

 
You know, at the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) ‘Zakat Al Fitr’ (Ordained charity given at the end of Ramadan) used to be one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates, or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Given your drooling reactions to the breakfast menu I listed a few seconds ago, it kind of makes sense to give out food to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan, no?
Yes, you. Did you have a question?

 

What’s a Saa’?

Well, it’s an ancient measuring unit equivalent to about 3 liters

 

Can I give any other type of food? Or even money?

Of course you can give other types of food depending on availability and quality.
Giving food is the ‘sunnah’ and it is the most correct form of charity in this case, but many ‘modern-time’ scholars have agreed that Zakat Al Fitr can also be given out in money and ‘Allah knows best’ (I’ve always wanted to say that but never had a chance! Thank you loool)

 

On whose behalf should a man (or woman) pay Zakat Al Fitr?

Zakaat al-fitr must be given on behalf of all Muslims under your care, young and old, male and female, free and slave. With regard to a fetus, it is not obligatory to give it on his/her behalf according to scholarly consensus, but it would be nice of you to do so, since ‘Uthman Ibn Afan (may Allah be pleased with him) did that.

When should Zakat Al Fitr be given?

Like right  NOW loool!

It’s essential to give the charity before Eid so people would have time to make good use of it.
You don’t have to finish reading this post if you haven’t given out your zakat yet. Go do it like right now please.
(Final deadline? Morning of the first day of Eid, but you better have like a REALLY good excuse!)

 

Who is eligible for Zakat Al Fitr?

  1. The poor
  2. The needy,
  3. Collectors of Zakah,
  4. Reconciliation of hearts (new reverts or people this close to embracing Islam)
  5. Freeing captives / slaves
  6. Debtors
  7. Those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of Allah
  8. The traveler.

 

Why do we pay Zakat Al Fitr anyway?

It’s a blessing for us if you’d like to know.
In the past month, there’s no doubt we’ve slipped a couple of times. A little gossiping here, a semi-curse word there.
Rolling your eyes at someone here, and raising your voice during an argument there.
Sheeeshhh some ugly memories are flashing before me loool.

Zakat Al Fitr serves as an eraser. It purifies those who fast in Ramadan from those little sins we hardly notice or can’t control.

 

And oh don’t we all need to be accepted and forgiven…?
Don’t we all need to be heard and loved…?

My dear Greatest Lord…
You’re the One who knows what’s inside our hearts…
and You know we have nothing to purify our souls with…
We own nothing..
Please my Lord…
Don’t believe our moments of despair or anger..
Please don’t believe our arrogance or selfishness..
It’s not who we are..
So please forgive us when we slip..
and love us despite the ugliness and resistance You see from us…

We don’t have anyone else to run to..
We really don’t..

We don’t know anyone who’ll accept us with all our flaws and imperfections and still give us limitless chances..
And still forgive, care and shower us with blessings
No one but You..

My Lord…
Can I ask You a question…?
Have You accepted us…?
Are You proud of us…?
Is there anything we can do or say to gain Your love and pleasure?

Allah…?
Are You happy with us this Ramadan?

I’m begging You…
Don’t let the month go by until You have loved and accepted us…
Until You’ve looked at us with a smile…
Until You’ve made a place for us in the Highest Levels of Jannah, where we get to see Your face…
Amen

 

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 27: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: Is Tonight The Night?

 

No don’t worry, my biological clock isn’t that messed up yet loool
I’m meaning to post this a bit earlier than usual today coz this one is a deed of the heart, and who knows, perhaps tonight is ‘Laylat Al Qadr’ (The Night Of Power).
If it is, you’ll be so happy you read this today, I think you’ll be making cartwheels in Jannah loool

 

A little bit about Laylat Al Qadr?

Okay sure…

 

You know, centuries ago, people lived up to a 1000 years. I remember reading a story about a man who died in his 500s and his mom stood over his grave crying hysterically because he ‘died young’ looool (I know it’s not funny but I’m sorry it kind of is)

When that mother heard about the likes of us, whose averages lifespans is 80 years, her jaws dropped and she said ‘Why would they even come to the world? There’s no time to do anything”

 

“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was shown the lifespans of the people (who had gone) before him, or what Allah willed of that, and it was as if the lives of the people of his community had become too short for them to be able to do as many good actions as others before them had been able to do with their long lives, so Allah gave him Laylat al- Qadr, which is better than a thousand months.” (https://sunnah.com/urn/407130)

 

The word ‘Qadr’ has multiple meanings, ones of which are:
Decree:
The night of great ‘decision-making’ by Allah, entailing mercy and love from Him to His slaves.
Honor:
The most honorable of angels (Jibreel) came with the most honorable of books (Qur’an) to give to the most honorable of messengers (Mohammad) on the most honored month (Ramadan).

Power:
Allah endowed this night with unusual power. This is the night we should have complete faith in the power of Allah to change things…
To change our destinies to the better…
To change our flaws and fate and behavior…
We ask Him to accept us, forgive us and love us…

 

And yet every year, even when we try to get so close to Him…
Some of us still feel so far away…

You’ll hear others cry during prayers, and see their blessed tears roll down their faces at the mention of Allah’s name

And then you’ll look yourself up and down, stare at your dry tearless eyes, and shake your head with disappointment

 

You might think you didn’t put enough effort…
You were too distracted or too flawed or just not spiritual or soft….

You’ll look at those who worship Him with reverence and silently start wondering if you’re good enough..
You’ll witness this blessed night and then start telling yourself
‘I tried… I tried so many times, but I don’t feel anything.. I’m not tearing up or getting shivers down my back or even feeling serene…maybe Allah doesn’t want me…”

 

Are you crazy? How can you ever think that?

 

You’re right there at the mosque, in His house!
I mean would you allow anyone to stay at your place against your will?

No one forced Allah to allow you to enter His house…
The mere fact that you’re there, wherever you are, on your knees before your Lord, begging Him to accept you, means He already did!

Allah is the Most Generous….
He will never say ‘Hey, what brought you here!’
No… He will actually bring you closer, like a loving mother warmly embracing her child, and He will say: just “Call upon Me; I will respond to you”

We don’t change suddenly…
We don’t become pious, righteous and have faces glowing with the light of faith at the press of a button.

It’s a build up
Of little random acts of kindness and good deeds…

When you sit alone and think of how Great and Magnificent your Lord is….

When you play with an orphan or feed a poor family…

When you put your family first, and help them out with chores, even when they don’t even notice it…

When you emulate the beloved Prophet (just because he’s so awesome)

When you feed a bird or help a homeless dogs on the street
Or take the time to absorb a verse from the Qur’an or learn a Hadith and get your questions answered…

When you make your parents smile…
Or do things from the heart for Allah’s sake…
When you give good advice
Or volunteer to help others
When you teach a child to be a proud Muslim
Or when you silently praise the beloved Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him)
When you remember the deceased in your prayers, even though they’re not here to thank you…
Or when you’re grateful for Allah’s simplest blessings…

 

When you give compliments to gladden people’s hearts…
Or when you spend from what you love the most…

 

When you forgive others for His sake…
Or when you forgive yourself and promise to start anew…

 

When you visit your grandparents and listen to their repetitive stories…
Or when you make a du’aa for someone you don’t like, in an attempt to please your Lord…

 

When you take time out of your day to read a post like this one, hoping it might bring you even an inch closer to Allah…
Or when you realize that I just listed all the acts of kindness we did this Ramadan and keep it to yourself instead of yell out “You’re SO BUSTED!’ looool

 

So be patient with your Lord…
Be patient in worshipping Him….

The change doesn’t happen suddenly…

The tears don’t flow abruptly…

The goodness doesn’t come unnaturally…

It’s the outcome of building a relationship with Allah throughout the years…

So if you don’t feel anything tonight, it’s okay…
Keep investing, keep trying, and keep coming….
You’re still on the same path with all the other people you look up to…

Some are walking
Some are jogging
And some are running with amazing speed

But in the end they’re all on the same journey, heading towards the same destination…
Pleasing Allah

 

If tonight is Laylat Al Qadr, then smile and open your heart to the love, peace and angels surrounding you….

Just talk to Allah they way you’d talk to a close friend…
And don’t doubt it even for a second…
Because you are more than enough…
You’re accepted and sheltered in His mercy and care…

So tell Him all your secrets tonight…
Ask for everything you wish for…

And don’t forget to remember me and my family in your duaa please (maybe you’ll be the reason we do cartwheels in Jannah too)

 

May Allah bless you all
And since you’ll be supplicating to the Most Compassionate and Most Generous

May the most you ask for
be the least you get….
All my love,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 25: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY TWENTY-FIVE: Let It Out Of The Nest!

Not sure where I’m getting this feeling from, but I have this weird hunch you have a confession to make…
Like you’ve been hallucinating about ‘Barbie Dolls’ and ‘Remote Controlled Cars’.
The dolls are cutting their hair (worst nightmare EVER) and screaming at you, while the cars try to run you over.
And then you see yourself covered in multicolored Lego pieces, gasping for air, trying to explain why you’ve kept all those unused toys at home when they could have made so many poor kids ecstatically happy.
You try to justify but no words come out….

 

Okay fine, maybe that’s my ‘very-specific’ terror. But I’m sure you guys can relate to similar nightmares, no?
So in the name of sound sleep, I present to you this day’s act of goodness.

 

All Levels:

 

Even if you don’t have any extra toys to give, you’ll certainly find a lot of items lying around in the house with no goal in life other than taking up much needed space.

 

Need a hint?

 

Those washed jeans from the 80s you know you’ll never wear but, for some mysterious reason, you’re just not ready to part with.
Those outdated antique cell phones? The chargers, gadgets and wires so old you don’t even know what they’re used for anymore?
The books you swear you’ll re-read even though it’s been five years since you’ve actually had time to read a whole book.
Those stuffed animals you cuddled with in 6th Grade! (Seriously? Loool)

 

Someone out there is wishing for the things you don’t use.
Do your yearly nesting now. Give them away and save your souls before the nightmares come creeping in at night and you’re scarred for life loool.

 

Not sure who to give them to?

Well here are some ideas:

 

United Kingdom: http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/what-happens-to-the-clothes-you-donate/
India: http://irusa.org/india/

 

Singapore: https://www.pergas.org.sg/donate.html

 

USA: http://irusa.org/
https://www.iazf.org/

 

Canada: https://www.charityintelligence.ca/charity-details/501-islamic-relief-canada

 

Egypt: http://resala.org/

 

South Africa: http://www.islamic-relief.org.za/?gclid=CjwKEAjw7J3KBRCxv93Q3KSukXQSJADzFzVSWxrAn2fsoE8hx9_4EbYu3SS4kmwkJN8Ncfwo2434khoC9aLw_wcB

 

China: http://irusa.org/china/

 

Worldwide: http://www.islamic-relief.org/category/appeals/emergencies/syria-crisis-appeal/

 

 

Or you can contact your local mosque. They’ll probably help you out with all the resources and information you need.

 

May you always be a reason to put a smile on some else’s face…
Ramadan Kareem everyone

All my love,

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 20: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY: The Power Of Advice

“Let her eat something sweet”
“No something salty”
“Let her lie down”
“No let her sit up”
“Give her some space to breathe”
“No let her go home!”

In case your wondering, those are all the contradicting pieces of advice women yell out at the mosque whenever one of us poor girls gets dizzy and drops to the ground in the middle of ‘Taraweeh’ prayers.
I gotta tell you, we’re one opinionated bunch loool.
Women seem to know everything there is to know about everything one can ever know anything about!

They’re great dentists:
“Your teeth hurt? Chew some cloves!”

Great Orthopedic Surgeons:
“You broke your toe? Tie a potato around it!”

Great problem solvers:
“You missed the deadline? Have some chocolate cake!”

Women will give and apply unsolicited advice, any chance they get. While men, the extreme opposite of course, will strictly reject any sort of advice unless they openly, lucidly and clearly ask for it, after signing a consent form allowing you to express a different opinion and getting it certified at one of the legal institutes loool.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the things that matter, like the ‘real’ important issues, some people are too reluctant to help, only to face horrible consequences like failure or blame.
While others are obviously not ‘God-conscious’ or honest enough with the advice they give, because they don’t really wish others the best.
I’ve had clients tell me their friends are all advocating divorce.
“Why what’s the problem?”
“My husband forgot my birthday two years in a row!”

Seriously?!

Sincere advice is so critical because you know what? People take it.
Some people will actually consider your words and in many cases apply them, because they believe and trust you.
They’ll think it’s okay to let the kids go on social media unsupervised.
It’s okay to get divorced because your husband snores!
It’s okay to get married without parents’ approval
They’ll think they do look better with short hair! (My obsession with long hair aside, any insinuation that cutting hair is better is probably not genuine, trust me!)

Giving advice is an ‘amanah’ (Translator please! I can’t seem to find mine)
It’s an obligation, an entrustment and an absolute privilege.
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “The Deen (religion) is Naseehah (advice, sincerity).”
The companions asked, “To whom?”
He (ﷺ) said, “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)

Remember when Prophet Muhammad summed up Hajj saying it’s “Arafah’?
Now he’s summing up Islam in two words (actually one Arabic word: Naseehah) or ‘Sincere Advice’.

So where am I going with this?
Let’s find out

Beginners Level:

No one expects you to go around bombarding people with advice they never asked for.
But please don’t let shyness, fear of consequences, jealousy or a need to be ‘cool’, deter you from standing up for the truth or helping people in need of guidance.
If someone is spreading false information, correct him or her with kindness.
If your kids start crumbling under social pressure, be there to lift them up.

If you’re put on the spot, speak proudly of Islam, and don’t bend your principles for anyone, whoever it might be.
And when asked for advice, for God’s sake, give it (but you know… nicely)
Advanced Level:
It’s hard to listen to those who don’t practice what they preach

It’s time we started investing in our own reputations
Our honesty…
Our truthfulness and integrity…
Oh how I wish all these beautiful morals could make a comeback!
Religion is sincere advice because it encompasses genuineness, authenticity, and loving for others what we love for ourselves.
So don’t be stingy looool. Share your beautiful knowledge about Islam with others, even if it’s one verse or hadith.
And do it eloquently, in a soft, smart and lenient manner to attract people to the truth instead of turn them off.

Maybe, just maybe…
You’ll end up in the highest levels of Paradise (and take me with you inshAllah coz otherwise that’s just mean loool)

And it might not be because you spent hours praying or days fasting or went to Hajj 26 times
But because you gave one person some really good advice
Because you shared and made a difference…

 

Ramadan Kareem guys
See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

Day 19: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY NINETEEN: Quality Over Quantity

 

No, this won’t be another minimalist post about how ‘less is more’ and stuff. Because there ARE times when ‘more is more’:
-The more the merrier.
-The more positive you are, the happier you’ll be.
-The more Konafa, the better

Those facts constitute the classic lessons in life. They’ll always remain unchangeable, like the day and night.
This writing is more about the ‘changeable’ aspects. The ups and downs we go through, as in the seasons.
Sometimes we’re all bloomed and recharged like the flowers of spring, and others we’re as dry and lifeless as the harshest, colorless fall.
And surprisingly enough, this emotional roller coaster also happens at the most inconvenient times, when we desperately need to be be balanced the most.

Many people have been whimpering about failing and flailing this Ramadan, in terms of worship. I’m not gonna pretend I don’t know what that is. Oh I do! I SO DO!

The curve of enthusiasm and vigorously challenging energy takes off at full speed during the first nights of Ramadan and then starts drooping down around, wait what day is it today? Yup! Right about now, when instead of fueling up for the last ten days, we’re on the floor, flat down on our faces, drained and tired (and probably holding a half eaten cheese samosa)

Yet it’s also right about this time of the blessed month
We forget…

It’s not really the hunger, the hours staying in prayer, or which chapter you’ve reached in the Holy Qur’an.

I heard there’s a village in Yemen where the whole time from Dawn to Dusk is 4 hours!
FOUR hours!
That’s how long it takes to digest a decent meal anyway. And yet they’ll celebrate Eid with us as if nothing happened. They’ll get rewarded for fasting the whole month, even when they weren’t even hungry OR tired or even aware it’s already time for Iftar. (I’m not jealous, I’m just saying…)

There are people who stand for 20 Rak’as in Taraweeh prayer, but their minds are somewhere else.
Others are already on round 14 of finishing reading the whole Qur’an, but perhaps many haven’t taken the time to absorb and contemplate its beautiful meanings.

It’s not the numbers in your brain that count…
It’s the feeling in your heart…
Allah doesn’t need us to give up our food and sleep just so we can say “Sheesh we’re done!”
He wants this month to change something inside us to the better. To touch an inner vulnerability and raise us up to a higher level.

It’s not the obligation, it’s the submission…
It’s not the quantity that matters to Him
It’s the quality… the genuine feeling of the heart
So if you’re starting to dread waking up in the morning, or starting to literally drag your feet to Taraweeh prayers every night, know that you’re not alone. The peak of tiredness might even bring with it feelings of guilt, self-resentment and a tinge of depression. Right?
If your reply was ‘no, not at all’, and you have no idea what I’m talking about, then consider yourself VERY lucky. No I mean VERY VERY lucky and fortunate and blessed! (Again, I’m not jealous, I’m just saying…)

But if you know what I mean, and have been feeling worn out those past couple of days then this act of kindness is just what you need, because it’s a kindness towards yourself…

All Levels:

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) put it beautifully. He said, “Two moderate cycles of prayer in contemplation are better than praying the night with a bad heart.”(Source: al-Zuhd wal-Raqā’iq 288)

Easy on yourself.
Come to your Lord undone, tired, weak or even broken
Come to Him with genuine humility and true devotion
Be ‘real’ with Him. There’s no need to pretend and there’s no reason to quit if you think you’re not good enough this month.
Feel your feelings and come to your Lord with a pure heart
It takes one heartfelt duaa…
One genuine tear…
One moment of loving worship…
Because at the end of the day, it’s the sincerity that counts
It’s what matters the most…

Ramadan Kareem everyone
See you tomorrow inshAllah
Lilly S. Mohsen
 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 18: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY EIGHTEEN: Count Your Compliments

 

Raise your hand if you know this hadith

“A good word is charity” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Okay that was easy.
How about mmmmm let’s see…
Yes this one:

“Guard yourselves against the Fire (of Hell) even if it be only with half a date-fruit (given in charity); and if you cannot afford even that, you should at least say a good word.” (Al Bukhari and Muslim)

Seriously? Even this one?

“Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him say something good, or else remain silent.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3971)

Since you guys already know all these hadiths then I have a bone to pick with you! (and with myself as well since I raised my hand in all three lool)
Why don’t we do it more often? Why do we make it sound like giving compliments is reserved for sweet talkers or ‘users’? Why is it so hard to do for some of us when, according to the above hadiths (the ones you all confirmed you knew very well) saying good words and giving compliments are:

1- considered charity, which is basically a profitable investment in your Hereafter.
2- an extremely important tool in Islam it’s even equated with ‘guarding ourselves from the Hellfire’
3- not even an option, since we obviously believe in Allah and the Last Day. We are obligated to either say good words or to HUSH

Compliments


Why giving compliments is such a big deal in Islam:

According to one study done at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, receiving compliments activates the area called ‘striatum; which in the brain, triggers as much social reward as being rewarded with money.
There’s actual scientific proof showing praise as being a catalyst for better ‘skill consolidation’.
And it makes sense.
Good words have the power to spread positive energy. An appreciated person will almost always do their best to maintain that amazing feeling. Compliments can change the nature of relationships, fix marriages, boost children’s self esteem, raise productivity levels at work, and can benefit the whole society with its ripple effect.
That is when they’re given properly and sincerely of course.
Otherwise they backfire and are a complete and total fail!

You see, for my act of kindness I complemented a stranger at the mosque.
“I really like your abaya” I smiled.
She looked me up and down, frowned, then looked the other way.
What did I doooooo?
Suddenly I was the one needing soothing loool.

But I didn’t give up. I tried again.
And since I wasn’t doing well with strangers, I decided to compliment my own people. Starting with my nephew.
“Ali, you look sharp this morning
“I just woke up. I didn’t even shower yet! What’s going on?”

There’s a difference between compliments and lies! The kind words you say must be from the heart, otherwise they’ll never reach the heart. Instead, you’ll be known as a ‘hypocrite’, a ‘fake’ or I don’t know, ‘Pinocchio’ loool.
Compliments are meant to train us to look for the good and the beauty in people.
To focus on their strengths and not their weaknesses.
Compliments are like giving gifts to others without expecting a reward.
And guys, listen up, Allah knows your intentions and He knows what goes on inside the head of your head! Compliments are NOT to be used as pick up lines or a means to flirt. None of that ‘Oh so did it hurt when you feel from heaven?’ kind of thing, you hear me?
Coz chances are, no it didn’t hurt!
Her dad caught her.
And he’s really strong
and SCARY!
Loool

Okay, time for today’s act of kindness.

Beginners Level:

Spend the day complimenting others. And even if they’re not amused, please don’t be discouraged. Some people aren’t used to hearing kind words. Others are just shy (I remember years of mumbling irrelevant words whenever someone complimented me!)
Even if you don’t mean it, keep practicing. Compliment people on their smiles, their skills, their outfits, their left nostrils!
Anything at all. Practice makes perfect. Don’t worry, it will eventually evolve from the heart…

Advanced Level:

Monitor and evaluate yourself.
We all think we give loads of compliments, but do we really?
Be aware of your conversations and try to squeeze in the good words any chance you get. Compliment the poor and the less fortunate.
Because sometimes one word can change someone’s whole world…

And while we’re here, let me ask you for a little favor…

Can I please have your recipe for being so fabulous? : )
Ramadan Kareem
See you guys tomorrow inshAllah

All my love,

Lilly S. Mohsen