Tag Archives: sunnah

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
 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Day Five: 30 Good deeds In Ramadan

DAY FIVE

4 down, 26 to go!
So which chapter of the Qur’an did you guys reach?
I’m ashamed to admit I’m a bit behind schedule. I hear about people who finish reading the whole Quran 32 times in Ramadan alone, and I’m like “HOWWWW!”

Anyways, so today I had the most amazing dessert after Iftar. My sister makes the BEST chocolate cake in the entire universe! (MashAllah). Except, the weird part is that even if you follow the recipe EXACTLY step by step, it never turns out this good! The cake she makes is a little piece of heaven; your faith in humanity is literally restored with every bite.

I talk comfortably about my chocolate addiction because I like to believe my lovely readers accept me for who I am, with my flaws and my severe ‘nochocophobia’ (which is the fear of running out of chocolate. Hey! No judging in the Holy month).

It makes me wonder about everyone else’s irrational fears, especially the ones who can’t really express it, like babies and pets, plants and/or people with special needs.

I was looking outside my window today, saw the birds on the trees and couldn’t help but feel a little bit selfish. We are sometimes so unaware of our surroundings. There are so many untold stories around us, so many neglected lives. We never really stop to think about these creatures, about what scares them, what they’re missing and what makes them twitter happily.

And so I came across a beautiful hadith where one of the companions narrates: “We were on a journey and during the prophet’s absence, we saw a bird with its two chicks; we took them. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When Prophet Muhammad returned he said. “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its chicks? Return them to her” (Sahih Muslim)

Ya habib albyyyyyyyy ya Rasoul Allah
(That’s me gushing and marveling at our beloved Prophet in Arabic).
He’s SO considerate and caring and loving, he doesn’t even wanna hurt a little bird’s feelings.
That’s how our hearts are supposed to be…
So here’s your Day Five’s act of kindness:
It’s doing something good for the creatures that can’t tell us their stories, but have feelings, fears and hopes just like us…

Beginners Level:
Go out of your way to feed or take care of an animal today. It could be as simple as putting breadcrumbs and a bowl of water on your window for the birds.

Advanced Level:

If you’re a pet owner, do something extra special for it today.
If not, think about adopting a pet, or help those stray animals on the street by taking them to the nearest shelter. You have NO idea how much you’ll be rewarded for taking care of a helpless, homeless animal. Remember the story about the loose woman who had all her sins forgiven and went to Jannah just because she gave water to a thirsty dog on the street? This could be you! (Not the ‘loose woman’ part of course. I meant the ‘Jannah and forgiveness’ part!)

Hope you guys have a blessed night…

See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

Day Four: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

 

DAY FOUR

So in the name of holding back from over-sharing ‘personal’ stories, I’m spinning today’s piece around a little bit.

Today is all about you.

We’re closing in on the forth day of Ramadan, and perhaps its time we paused all this panic about what we’re gonna cook for Iftar, how the kids will fast during final exams, how we’re already drained and why we can’t eat ‘konafa’ without gaining weight!
It’s time to direct our attention inwards
Tell me….

Are you feeling the peaceful essence of the Holy month yet?

Or are you still adjusting between what you wish to become and what you’re currently stuck at?

Do you feel like you’re involuntarily riding an emotional roller coaster, taking you up to the highest levels of spirituality and calmness and then whoooshhh down to the lowest levels of agitation, making you take your anger out on your loved ones at the slightest word?

Were you soothing everyone around you? Telling them how much you love Ramadan and how people are blinded to the immense blessings of it, only to find yourself losing your temper and defying your own theories when put in a tough situation?
It’s okay, don’t be offended. You can be honest with yourself. We all do it and we all hate to admit it.
Are you being the best you can be?
Or are you giving yourself excuses because what you’re feeling or going through?

Only you can answer this question, for this is perhaps the ONLY time of year when you need to take a closer look in the mirror. You can’t blame your faltering on the devils (Duh, they’re tied up, remember?) and you can’t blame it on the long fasting hours because hello, everyone else is fasting too.

Everyone has problems and everyone has pain and everyone is struggling in his or her own way.

It’s a hard pill to swallow; realizing how you behave in this month, is essentially the ‘best’ version of you. This is as good as it gets. And yet it’s far from what most of us aim for.
Deep down, on some level, we all know we could do better, right?

This is your task for Day Four.

Raise the bars and aim high. Try to rewire your brain and your heart to be in constant progress from this day one. And the best way to do that is to go back to basics, and relive the life of the ideal model we should all aspire to emulate, our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him). Listen to his hadith:

“Whoever revives my Sunnah then he has loved me. And whoever loved me shall be with me in Paradise” (Tirmidhi)

 

Love

Here are some Sunnahs we REALLY need to bring back to this world:

Beginners Level: Choose at least one of the following acts with the intention of showing love to our prophets.

Advanced Level: Do as many as you can and try to cmmit to them for as long as you can

  • SMILE (we know you’re cranky and fasting, but still, crack a smile every now and then for God’s sake)
  • Try using the Siwak
  • Eat only when hungry and never leave the dinner table full (yeah good luck with this one in Ramadan LOL)
  • Try Cupping (Hijama) as a healing method
  • Drink in three sips
  • Drink while seated down
  • Sleep on your right side
  • Have dates for sohoor (dates as in fruits, I gotta be specific on this one, you know, just in case LOL)
  • Always say ‘Salam’ when you enter your house, even if no one is there. The angels are, and they’d like to be acknowledged.
  • Speak good or keep silent (don’t we all need this one)
  • Use oil on your hair (I’m pretty sure its olive oil but let me get back to you on that)
  • Brush you bed sheets three times before going to sleep
  • Pray the Sunnah prayer
  • Eat with your right hand

 

I’m sure there are many more, but now the main point is that we there’s so much we can do and yet we choose not to do it.
Promise yourself this Ramadan things will change inshAllah.
You’ll do what you can, as much as you can, whenever you can.

Good luck guys

All my love

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly S. Mohsen