Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Twins of faith event at London ExCel: A believer’s Ramadan

Twins of faith: Knowledge & Action
Bismillah. In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful

Alhamdulillah I was able attend this beautiful event which took place on 15th of June at ExCel. A timely event to prepare for Ramadan Alhamdulillah! MashAllah it was packed with beautiful reminders from Shaikh Sajid Umar, Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim, Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, Shaikh Alaa Elsayed, Shaikh Tawfique Chowdhury and there were nasheed performed by brother Omar Esa and beautiful artwork by Mohammad Ali Aerosol Arabic.

And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers. Adh-Dhariyat 51:55

Alhamdulillah I have learnt a lot and I am super-excited about Ramadan which is due in 3 or 4 days insha Allah. I hope to implement the lessons I have learnt through this event bi’idnillahi ta’ala. Lot of my goals for Ramadan is based on these reminders. I do take lots of notes ( I don’t want to miss out any gems shared by the brothers) and my blog is heavily based on my notes Alhamdulillah. It helps me a lot to solidify whatever I have learnt. Also, I love to share my notes as it can earn me much-needed rewards from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. So if you are reading my post/note right now, please make a sincere dua for me that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accept my efforts as a sadaqa jaariya, inshAllah. And jazakallah khairan for reading this post :-)
If you benefit from this post, please do share the link so that others can benefit too.
So let us begin. Bismillah…

Sheikh Sajid Umar – Taqwa Time – a look at the aim of Ramadan. An explanation of Taqwa and an introduction to the importance of Ramadan

The objective of Ramadan is to gain Taqwa i.e God consciousness. Taqwa means to strive to stay away from whatever that distracts us from achieving consciousness of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala in every aspect of life. So how do we gain Taqwa?

We seek taqwa through prayers (obligatory and supererogatory), fasting, the study and recitation of the Qur’an etc. Sometimes we wonder why we still commit sins during and after Ramadan. It’s due to us fasting only with our body, instead of fasting with our hearts and minds. Taqwa can be achieved only through fasting with the presence of heart and mind. We are not just mere bodies. We are hearts and minds. The sign of a meaningful Ramadan is that we don’t commit the sins we used to commit before Ramadan.

Sheik Sajid gave example of footballers who prepare tirelessly for the world cup. Lot of them went to hot, humid countries to train for the games in Brazil. How much dedication do we have to do our best in Ramadan?

Lot of us don’t prepare and keep procrastinating till Ramadan arrives. Then first couple of days in Ramadan we try to get our body into Ramadan mode. Sheikh Abu Eesa Niamatullah in his last LP (Logical Progression) session before Ramadan said that this attitude towards Ramadan is not a very healthy attitude at all. It is just a sheer waste of precious Ramadan days. Ramadan is not the time to practise. Sha’ban is the month to train our body and mind to fast with outmost efforts. Our beloved companions of Rasulullah sallallahu alaihe wa sallam used to prepare six months ahead of Ramadan and after Ramadan for six months they used to pray (make dua) that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala accept their efforts in Ramadan.

So what does the training involve?

Start fasting now! If you haven’t fasted the beginning of Sha’ban then fasting after 15th of Sha’ban is not recommended. Also we are not recommended to fast last couple of days of Sha’baan.

Start recitation and the study of the Qur’an now!

Let us start all the goals we are planning to fulfil in Ramadan now so that when the sacred month arrives, we are ready to increase our deeds insha Allah. Or as the Imam Shuhaib Webb says, "Lets dive in!" My beloved ustadha Uzma says, Ramadan is not the time to START our good deeds, it’s the time to INCREASE our good deeds. 

Sheikh Sajid told us to make a pure, sincere intention to just please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. When we attend circles of knowledge (halaqa), we should make the same intention. Don’t even say that I want to seek knowledge that’s why I am attending halaqa. Just make an intention that we are doing it solely to please our Lord. Do everything to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

As a mother of three, I find life can be quite hectic and I am missing my spiritual me-time. I remember Ramadan before having kids which were easier to go for taraweeh in the mosque, listen to live talks, reciting the Qur’an, reading good books on faith. I miss those days but at the same time I believe I am entrusted by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to be a wife and a mother which are roles with great responsibilities. And if I don't fulfil my roles properly, I will be facing the consequence on the day of judgement. By looking after my precious family, I am worshiping my Lord. By having a sincere intention, I can change my daily chores into precious investment for the hereafter insha Allah. I must remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is aware of my situation. He knows my abilities and my weaknesses. So be positive and do whatever you can. Allah loves us and He is the Most Merciful. 

Ustadh Yahya Ibrahim – The believer’s brotherhood – The importance of true brotherhood in Islam. How Ramadan should bring the community together

Ustadh Ibrahim reminded us the deal we made with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We promised to utilize our life, wealth, and all the blessings to worship Him with Ihsaan. Whoever we deal with regardless of them being family, friends or a complete stranger, we must deal with Ihsaan which means always being conscious that Allah subahanahu wa ta’ala is watching us and do our best in serving others.

The concept of ummah is an integral part of our faith. The first step of brotherhood/sisterhood begins with family-hood. We must strive to be good children for our parents, good parents for our children, good spouses for our partners and so on. Family always comes first. As Ramadan approaching, brothers should not always have their iftar in the mosque or hang around during taraweeh and after taraweeh with friends while leaving their family at home. They should spend time with family and loved ones. The priority should be given to the family but there should be balance too.

Our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam was heavily involved in his community. However, he did spend a significant part of his life spending quality time as a husband, father and so on. He was a truly family man. Being good to family extends our lifespan and increases our provision. Ramadan is a great time to spend good, quality time with our loved ones. It’s also a great time to be part of the community. But we need to be careful that we don’t abuse people and their good nature. When prophet Muhammad Sallallhu alaihe wa sallam migrated to Madina, he paired the believers of Makkah (Muhajeroon) with the believers of Madina (Ansaar) according to their social status. The rich people were paired with rich people of Madina so in terms of lifestyle, understanding, they will be comfortable interacting and dealing with each other.

At the end of his session, he did a selfie with us :-) He always makes us laugh mashAllah. He said very soon we will witness jihadul qamar! The struggle/jihad of Moon sighting! We the "emotional Muslims" will get our weapon i.e keyboards ready to fight (i.e debate) to prove our point of view! The joke is funny but it is quite sad to witness the Moon fighting :-( May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala unite our hearts and enable us to compete with each other in doing good deeds, ameen!

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan – Lessons from adh-Dhaariyat

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan did two sessions. He told us not to compare us with others. There is no point comparing myself, a mother of three, all under 6, with a single sister who may have more time to do ibadah in the mosque. He said that sometimes hearing about giants of our faith such as Sayyidina Abu Bakr RadiaAllahu anhu, Sayyidina ‘Umar RadiaAllahu anhu can demoralise us instead of inspiring/motivating us to do good deeds. We may start thinking that they were amazing people and we can never be like them and we may even feel hopeless. As a result, we may not even want to do any good deed! He said we must remember that there were also thousand other companions who were striving with whatever abilities they had.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will reward you based on your intention and abilities. Remember having a sincere intention can make a very tiny deed very heavy in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s eyes. And a huge deed can be nullified because of the wrong intention. So it all depends on INTENTION, a pure, sincere intention to please our Rabb, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Ustadh Nouman talked about the lessons from surah adh- Dhaariyat. This surah is the 51st chapter of the Qur’an. Here Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions the wind.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

51:1.   By those [winds] scattering [dust], dispersing [it]
 52:2.   And those [clouds] carrying a load [of water]

The wind has a mission. It has a slow, steady pace. Wind directs the clouds with amazing dexterity.
Ustadh Nouman also talks about the beautiful sky.

51:47. And the heaven We constructed with strength and indeed, We are [its] expander.
51:48. And the earth We have spread out, and excellent is the preparer.

How many time we actually look at the sky pondering this amazing creation of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. In the Qur’an Allah asks us whether we can see any crack in the sky! The whole universe teaches us to have balance in every aspect of our lives. There is sign in everything. Are we really pondering over the signs i.e ayah of our Lord?

The earth is the cradle. Just like our mothers who hold us in their protected wombs, the earth holds our dead ones. When we look at the sky, it reminds us our purpose and when we look down to the earth, it reminds us our end. Sky and earth is each other’s complementary pair. Everything is created in pairs.

51:49. And of all things We have created two mates [i.e., counterparts]; perhaps you will remember.

Examples of pairs from the Qur’an: Musa Alaihes salam and Haroon Alaihes salam; Musa was very firm and Haroon was gentle so they complements each other, our body and soul, this life i.e Dunya and the next life i.e Akhira (Herafter). Our spouses are our complementary pairs. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala uses a very beautiful expression in this regard. We are each other’s garments/clothing. Just like our clothes cover us, give us warmth, beautifies us, protects us, our spouses do the same job for us, Alhamdulillah.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that we human being have a tendency to rush everything. He is our Creator so He knows the best about us. The Qur’an is like a manual which helps us to learn about ourselves and how to run ourselves properly.

He talked about how to progress in spirituality. We are supposed to make slow, steady progress in our faith. Become a beginner. Don’t worry about not being at an advanced level. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is aware of our state. We must strive to do whatever we can and don’t stop. Keep striving for His sake.

He strongly recommends reflection of the Qur’an in Ramadan. Plan to spend certain amount of time on a regular basis to study a verse with tafseer. Try to understand what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala means by certain ayah of the Qur’an. And this is not some casual endeavour. It is a necessity as a Muslim to seriously reflect and ponder upon the verses i.e ayat of the Qur’an. Because, only through the serious, continuous reflection of this holy Book, we can have conviction in our faith. It will strengthen our hearts. We must make this Ramadan a month to unlock our hearts. If we want a thought-provoking, meaningful Ramadan, the Qur’an reflection is the key to it. By the end of Ramadan, we should be the thinkers insha Allah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make the Qur’an the spring of our hearts, ameen! And enable us to live by its lessons, ameen!

51:50 So flee to Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a clear warner.

There are different verbs in Arabic to use for the meaning "to flee". The word used here isfafirruu which means to run in a way that you are trying to save yourself from a fast approaching beast! So fafirruu means running for dear life with the best of our abilities! Just imagine a deer running for its life from a fast approaching wolf! Does it just run casually without that much effort? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala telling us in this beautiful ayah that we must run towards Him without any distraction and with the sole purpose to get close to Him. Our ultimate survival depends on this run towards Him. So are we prepared for this special kind of running? Let this Ramadan be the month where we do our best to fafirru ilallah!

Second/last session with Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan

He talked about how knowledge is becoming so specialised that we are becoming increasingly alienated from each other. Professionals of different fields are socialising and hanging with same groups of people and eventually getting sucked into their own special world. The more advanced we are becoming, the more disconnected we are from the people around us. He mentioned a brother whose Phd thesis is about the Qur’an being the only text which offers the kind of wisdom needed to unite the whole world. This world is becoming increasingly very fragmented and its very rare to see people being united.

He explained the meaning of arabic word "ayah" which is most of the time translated as verse of the Qur’an. However, the word Ayah has broader, multiple meanings. Every aspect of human life is a ayah or sign. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala keeps reminding us to look at the signs around us.

[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency. So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks?
Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. Surah al-Mulk 67:3-4

How much we think and reflect about these verses? Do these verses affect us? Do they shake our hearts? By the end of Ramadan, we should be thinkers.
One of the meanings of ayah is the miraculous signs. It derives from the root letters which means to ask questions and shock us, to amaze us. We are supposed to be amazed by the ayah around us. Unlike Buddhism which tends to disconnect people from reality- the nature around us, Islam talks about engaging with reality and learning from the natural environment around us.

For a believer, everything carries a meaning. None of our experiences is a waste. Our entire experience as a human being has value. There is a reason behind every single incident in your life. The signs are there to lead you. When Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala talks about the people being deaf and blind in His Book, it’s the people who don’t take hid of the Qur’anic signs and the people who refused to see the signs around them. And that’s why they are described as deaf (not listening to the signs mentioned by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in His Book) and blind (being oblivious of His amazing signs around us).

This Ramadan one of my main goals is to concentrate on the signs i.e. Ayah in the Qur’an and look and appreciate the signs around us so that I can gain taqwa i.e God consciousness ( the main purpose of Ramadan mentioned by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala)  in every aspect of my life, insha Allah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala open our hearts to His signs and give us the ability to live our lives following the signs, ameen!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Cyber detox mode

Bismillah In the Name of Allah , the Most Merciful, the Most Loving

Assalamu alaikum dear readers and fellow bloggers, 

Couple of days ago, I uninstalled Facebook, Instagram from my phone. I lost count how many times I checked my phone as soon as there was any notifications! Instead of enjoying the moments with family, friends, I was obsessed with capturing photos and share on Facebook/Instagram. My eldest who is 6, complains that mum is too busy with her phone, laptop, ipad etc. Children are not naive. They are most of the time the first ones to spot the problems we adults go through. I realized I must listen to my son before it gets too addictive. 

My work as an editor requires lots of research on internet. Working from home gives me lots of flexibility but it has its shortcomings too. I don't have a break. While my husband can have a break after 6/7 pm during weekday, I am still working at midnight given I have to get the new issue online by the deadline. The magazine Aaila was born in 2010 alhamdulillah with the help of couple of dedicated and very talented sisters alhamdulillah. I treat Aaila as my fourth baby and can't imagine abandoning her. Alhamdulillah future is very promising for online magazines. My mission is to make Aaila a household brand. I hope that Muslims and non-Muslims around the world will benefit from the magazine bi'idnillahi ta'ala. 

Working for myself requires good management of time, great organisational skills, determination, lots of hard work. Ramadan is round the corner. InshAllah I am hoping to have a very productive Ramadan . I have been practicing to fast on a regular basis. First day was quite hard given my body was at shock, forced to starve for 18 hours. It triggers migraine. But alhamdulillah I am getting better at it. It's all about determination and practice. My beloved teacher says that Ramadan is a time when we INCREASE our good deeds instead of starting our good deeds. I believe the fast during the month of Rajab and Sha'baan helps to detox the body and get ready for Ramadan fasts. I also run twice a week for 30 minutes ( early morning). It does help to get the body feel fit alhamdulillah. If you can't run, at-least include brisk walks 15 minutes a day/every other day. And please try to avoid every sort of junk/fast food and stick to simple, healthy, fresh veg and fruits. Avoid carbohydrates and eat lots of fish, lentils, pulses and all sorts of good protein. Drink a LOT OF WATER.

Last week, I had a check up to see if I got diabetes, high cholesterol etc. I had gestational diabetes with my three pregnancies. I will be 35 this year inshAllah. I was expecting to hear that I have already developed type 2 diabetes, given both of parents have diabetes. Alhamdulillah I am still clear. I have even lost weight! I am 68 kilo now. My BMI is 24.9 which is healthy alhamdulillah. But my target is 58 kilo INSHALLAH. Given Ramadan due soon I hope I can get to my target quickly inshAllah.

So I am happy and content with my health but what about the well-being of my mind/soul? What am I doing to detox my most important part? We are what we read, watch, and think. I spend quite a lot of time on internet. I hope to detox my mind from over reliance on cyber world. To do so I have got rid of Facebook and Instagram from my phone as these two ARE the biggest time killers. It has been couple of days now. First two days were quite a shock to my mind, I must confess. My phone felt so useless and dull. My mind kept thinking about what notifications I have been "missing". Now I am feeling calmer. I am able to spend more quality time with family. I realized my poor husband and kids were the biggest victim to my over obsession with social media. My beautiful books were the victim too as they have been eagerly waiting in the shelves to be picked up and read with appreciation. I am also more aware of nature. When I am out and about with kids, I am enjoying the precious moments without getting distracted with the nagging thought of getting my phone out and capture the moments. The whole process of trying to capture every single moment just kills the joy of being there with loved ones. I have learnt the hard way but it's worth learning through experience. I am truly happy and content with this change in my life alhamdulillah. But let us see how long it lasts! I hope to carry on writing and blogging which is a passion of my life. I hope to share my experiance through writing inshAllah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala enable us to use our precious but limited time to live our life to worship Him, ameen! After all, we are created to love and worship Him. That's the ultimate goal of our life. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

First post in Bangla

আলহামদুলিল্লাহ আজকে অভ্র ডাউনলোড করসি। আব্বু অনেক দিন ধরে বলছিল বাংলা টাইপ শিখতে। প্রায় দশ বছর হলো বাংলা লিখি না। ভাষা আল্লাহ সুভহানাহু ওয়া তাআলার বড় নেয়ামত আলহামদুলিল্লাহ। আমি অলশতার কারনে আর অনেক বাস্ততার ফলে বাংলা লেখা প্রায় ভুলে গেছি। বাংলাদেশ থেকে ইংল্যান্ডে আশ্ছি ২০০২তে। এক যুগ পার হয়ে গেলো ! সুভানাল্লাহ কত তারাতারি দিন শেষ হোয়ে যাছে।

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Learning surah At-Takasur

Alhamdulillah we have been memorizing the suah at-takasur. When kids are memorizing a new surah, we go through the meaning and tafseer i.e explanations (according to their level). I was listening to the tafseer today so that I can learn about the surah and pass it on to our kids.

Monday, 5 May 2014

New month, new beginning insha Allah

Bismillah...In the Name of Allah , the Most Merciful

Asssalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah dear readers,

I hope you all are doing great by the Grace and Mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. I have been quite busy last couple of months. The last post I did was in February 2014! I don't know where the time went, subhanallah! I have been missing blogging :-( I hope I can start again and be a regular blogger inshaAllah.
It's the month of Rajab, one of the holiest month of Islam. One more month till Ramadan inshaAllah! I am eagerly waiting for Ramadan. Let us pray just like our beloved prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam witnessing this month of Rajab, Allahumma barik lana fee rajab wa sha'baan wa ballighna Ramadan which means O Allah , bless us in this month of Rajab and Sha'baan and let us reach the month of Ramadan.

The month of Rajab can be the month to start preparing for Ramadan inshAllah. Our predecessors, the salaf, used to prepare for Ramadan six months ahead of the month and used to pray for the acceptance of their deeds carried out in Ramadan, for six months after the Ramadan. Their life revolved around the Ramadan. One of my teachers (ustadha) keep reminding us that Ramadan is not the month where we start our good deeds but the month when we INCREASE our good deeds. For example, instead of just starting the recitation of the Qur'an during Ramadan, we can start reciting the Qur'an from the beginning during Rajab and get into the habit of recitation so that by Ramadan, it will be lot easier to complete the recitation of the Qur'an in Ramadan inshaAllah. 

Recitation of His Book is no doubt a very rewarding deed. But understanding and following the lessons of the Qur'an ARE also a very important aspect of a Muslim's life. When we read a book, we read it with the purpose to understand it, to reflect on it. The Qur'an is the BOOK which is not just any ordinary book or novel, but THE BOOK for us Muslims. We know that this is our Rabb Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala's WORDS, a living miracle for us. How can we afford to "recite" but not read with understanding?!? Our relationship with this Book will decide whether we can gain our Lord's Mercy and Pleasure. Ramdan is the month when this great book was revealed to our beloved prophet Muhammad salllallahu alahe wa sallam. This is also mentioned as a month of the Qur'an. Do we know the main reason of fasting through out the month of Ramadan? To gain taqwa, God-consciousness. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Let us Muslim parents walk the talk!

Bismillah..In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Giving

Alhamdulillah today while researching for the Aaila magazine, I came across this excellent talk by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. MashAllah he is an amazing speaker with so much knowledge of the faith. I feel so blessed to be able to benefit from his work, alhamdulillah. This talk is about parenting. He talks about how we can raise our children as good Muslims. This beautiful reminder has inspired me to think and write about this topic.

Parenting with Purpose & by Example by Sh. Yasir Qadhi

Children are amazing blessings. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala teaches us that our children are our adornment on this earth. Just imagine a world without the children! They bring so much joy in our life, alhamdulillah. 

We can reach the higher levels of jannah (garden of paradise) through investing in our children. How many of us really reflect on this fact? Is parenting one of the major topics in our mind on a daily basis? Or it's just another chore as adults we have to deal with? 

Parenting is a very challenging job but it also is one of the most rewarding jobs we can have. As a mother of three, I feel worried whenever I think about the huge responsibility of raising our three precious children in this cruel world. Our societies are getting harsher and devoid of basic morals and values. Life is going to be tough for them when they will be the adults. How do we raise them as strong believers? Will they be able to carry on the message of our beautiful faith and share it with the people around them? These are some of the questions which keep me thinking. No wonder parenting is the most challenging job! We don't just get grey hair for no reason, I guess :-(

This talk does give us a guideline to follow. He talks about our role as parents. We, the parents, are the most important role-models, for our children. They will follow our actions , not our long lectures. Children are very clever in detecting hypocrisy.

How many times we have seen parents who talk the talk, but won't walk the talk. In our community, we see people who tend to start practicing the faith when they are in their 60s, 70s etc. Lot of time people have hopes (or rather false/long hopes) that they will have time to sort out their "religious" life before the end. Allah is very merciful towards us. That's why we do see the people who start following the faith properly when they are old alhamdulillah. And may Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept their repentance and make everything easy for them, ameen!

But the danger with this sort of lifestyle is the kids get left behind. They cannot relate to their parents anymore. The two lifestyle clashes with each other. While the father is eager to go to the mosque to pray, the son wants to enjoy his time at the cinema or just browsing the net on his phone. The worse scenario is the kids start believing that they will also have time to sort out their life and eventually have a good end like their praents. But is there any guarantee that kids will outlive their parents?

Lot of older practicing Muslims complain that their children don't listen to them. The most frequent complain is that their kids don't have any interest in Islam. But how many times we think that the root cause can be the lack of interest of the parents when they were young. If a child grew up not living Islam with his/her parents, why would he/she be bothered to live Islam as an adult? If the parents felt that living a practicing life is a chore and waited to "enjoy" their life first before they can start following the basic rituals such as prayers, fasting, charity, pilgrimage (which are the basic foundations of our faith) later, why on earth the children would do the opposite? This sort of mentality also gives rise to the impression that Islam as a faith is boring so it's only fit for older people who haven't got any adventures left to experience. So young Muslims, forget about the faith, go "enjoy" your life! YOLO as they say... You Only Live Once!

This YOLO statement is quite profound for me as a Muslim. Yes I do live once so I better do my best to live my life as a Muslim before it's too late and my Lord calls me to Him. YOLO can also motivate us to do our best as parents.

If we really want our children to be good, well-balanced Muslims, we must first strive with ourselves to be better Muslims. Only through living our life as practicing Muslims, we can create a strong, healthy environment for them to grow up as better Muslims inshAllah. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala give us the ability to live our lives as good Muslims and help our children to be better Muslims, ameen!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Last post of 2013

In The Name of Allah The Most Gracious The Most Merciful.

So here I am , still alive on 31st of December 2013. All praise belongs to my Lord, Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala. He has blessed me with so much. Words cannot describe how special I feel being showered with endless gifts from Him, alhamdulillah...Despite my numerous sins, He is so MERCIFUL to me. The more I think about Him, I feel more humbled. Alhamdulillah this year, He has given me a great opportunity to know more about His beautiful Names and attributes through the Al-Kauthar course "99 Names of Allah". It has been a dream for a long time to know and study His Names. I am really glad that I was able to attend the weekend course. After the course, I felt really guilty for not studying His Names earlier. If I love something or someone, I would try my best to learn more about them. It is a very basic human characteristic. So how on earth I didn't start earlier knowing my Lord's Names and attributes! I roughly knew the Names Ar-Rahman, Ar-Raheem, Al-Khaliq but that's it, not that much. Only through knowing Him, we can love Him more and use every opportunity to worship Him with the best of our abilities, inshAllah.  I got a huge folder to study and reflect and act upon bi'idnillah. I got couple of books on this topic to study thoroughly bi'idnillah. I hope and ask my Rabb to make this new year a year to learn more about Him and increase my deeds to please Him, only Him inshAllah.

Allahumma Anta Rabbi laa ilaaha illaa Ant(a), khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduk(a), wa ana ‘alaa ‘ahdika wa wa’dika mastata’t(u), a-‘udhu bika min sharri maa sana’t(u), abu’u laka bi ni’matika ‘alayy(a), wa abu’u bi dhanbi, fa’ghfir lii ha innahu laa yaghfiru’dh-dhunuba illaa Ant(a). 

O Allah, You are my Lord. There is no god but You. You have created me and I am Your servant and as far as possible I abide by Your promise and covenant (which I made with You). I seek Your protection against the consequences of my wrongdoings. I fully acknowledge the grace You have bestowed upon me and confess my faults. So pardon me as none besides You can pardon sins. [Bukhari]

I am very grateful to my Rabb, for blessing me with my soul-mate. We have been married since September 2006. Alhamdulillah life has been great since our union :-) He is my best friend. I praise my Lord for sending him for me, alhamdulillah. Without his love and support, I don't think I would have felt so content with my life, alhamdulillah. The most precious thing a man can have in his life is a good wife, a wife who brings peace and joy in her husband's life. ( I can't remember the exact hadith) I hope I can be that wife bi'idnillahi ta'ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala make me an amazing wife like our mother of the believers, Khadija (RA), ameen!

رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٲجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٍ۬ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا 
“Rabbanaa hablanaa min azwaajinaa wa dhurriyyatina qurrata a’yun(iw), wa ‘j’alnaa li’l muttaqiina imaaman.”

“And who say: Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring, the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaquun (pious).” - (part of Qur’an Surah 25:74)

Alhamdulillah our three children are growing so fast! They are healthy, happy and have a great bond with us, alhamdulillah. We were homeschooling but since September Im (6) and Ay(4) have been going to school. Unlike me, they are actually loving their school and enjoying their time at the school. They don't want to miss school even when they are sick! I remember how eager I was to be sick so that I don't need to go to school. I am quite content with the teachers and the headteacher alhamdulillah. They have been really supportive. I hope the new year will be a very productive and meaningful year for our children, bi'idnillahi ta'ala. Yu(2), being the youngest, is also enjoying his sessions at the Children centre. He has already done couple of courses such as Jolly Phonics, Music/ Sound course and so on, alhamdulillah. I am hoping to do more structured activities with him inshAllah through out the year. I hope I can be a better mother to my children and do my best in raising them as good Mu'mins, bi'idnillahi ta'ala. 

I am also blessed to have a great father. This year, we have been able to spend more quality time together. It reminds me of my sweet memories of childhood. People say I resemble my father. I feel really privileged to be part of him alhamdulillah. He works really hard as a medic. When he is not at work, he is busy with his writings. He has a great vision. He believes through his articles he can inspire people to change for the better. He doesn't believe in retirement. He always reminds me that there is no retirement for a slave of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We must strive hard and only rest when we are in our graves. I love him very much and I hope I can be a good daughter to him just like our lady Fatima (RA) was to her beloved father prophet Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihe Wa SAllam, ameen!

There are so many memories from this year alhamdulillah. I hope the new year will be also full of beautiful memories inshAllah. Life is very precious. Let us enjoy every moment of it and do our best to create good memories to cherish forever, inshAllah! May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala forgive our shortcomings and enable us to do our best in the new year, ameen! 

Allahumma inni as'aluka' l-hudaa wa 'ttuqaa wa 'l-'afaafa wa 'l-ghinaa. 
O Allah, I ask of You guidance, piety, chastity and independence [from Your creation] (Muslim). 

Allahumma Musarrifa 'l-quluub(i), sarrif quluubanaa 'ala taa'atik(a). 
O Allah, Turner of hearts, turn our hearts toward Your obedience (Muslim). 

Yaa Muqalliba 'l-quluub(i), thabbit qalbi 'alaa dinik(a). 
O Controller of the hearts, make my heart firm in Your Religion (Tirmidhi, Mustadrak). 

Allahumma inni a-'udhu bika mina 'l-'ajz(i), wa 'l-kasal(i), wa 'l-jubn(i), wa 'l-haram(i), wa 'l-bukhl(i), wa a-'udhu bika min 'adhabi 'l-qabr(i), wa a'udhu bika min fitnati 'l-mahyaa wa 'lmamat(i). 
O Allah, I seek Your protection from inability, laziness, cowardice, decrepitude and miserliness and I seek Your protection from the punishment of the grave and I seek Your protection from the mischief of life and death (Bukhari). 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

New Hijri year 1435 and the day of Ashoora

Bismillah In the Name of Allah (The Most Merciful)

Alhamdulillah the new Hijri month has just started . The month of Muharram is a very special month. Some hadith mentions that it is named as the month of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Today is 9th of Muharram. Tomorrow is the day of Ashoora, 10th of Muharram. A very important day for us Muslims. InshAllah we will be fasting today and tomorrow. And some people will fast tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to follow the sunnah of our beloved Messenger Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. When he (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) moved to the city of Yathrib (Medina) , he saw the Jews of Medina fasting on the day of Ashoora. The Jews used to fast to celebrate the victory of Musa (Moses) Alaihis salam over the Pharoah with the Help of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said that Musa Alaihis saalam is more beloved to us so we will also fast on this day but to be different from the Jews we are recommended to fast one extra day, either the day before (9th of Muharram) or the day after (11th of Muharram). He also told us that this is indeed a special fast with great reward. 

 Abu Qatadah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) was asked about observing As-Saum (the fast) on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, "It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year."

Sahih Muslim Vol. 3, The Book of Fasting, Hadith no. 2427

Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other than this day, the day of 'Ashoora', and this month, meaning Ramadhan." [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1867]

Also, fasting as a form of worship , is highly recommended through out the year. This is one special act which will be rewarded by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala personally, subhanallah! Who wants to miss this great opportunity! Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is Al-Kareem, the most Generous. He doesn't expect a lot from us. One fast to do for the day of Ashoora and so much reward to gain, subhanallah! How can we not love Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala! 

The Prophet said: “Anyone who fasts for one day for Allah’s pleasure, Allah will keep his face away from the (Hell) fire for (a distance covered by a journey of) 70 years.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

The story of Musa alaihes salam is a fascinating story mentioned so many times in the Qur'an. There are also so many hadith about this great prophet of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Because of his advise, we pray 5 times a day and still are promised to get reward of 50 raka' by the grace of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. He alaihis salam had a super-tough people to manage, the Bani Israel , the children of Israel. He knew what a hard job it was to convey the divine message. He never seen us, but he loves us so much and care so much. That's actually one of the amazing fact about our prophets ( starting from our father Adam aalaihis salam to Muhammad sallallahu alaihe salam). I hope that one day I can meet all the prophets bi'idnillahi ta'ala. 

As the day of Ashoora is near, it is also very timely to learn about the history of the massacre of Karbala, the brutal murder of our beloved prophet's grand son Husayn radiallahu anhu and lots of other innocent people. Lots of us are totally ignorant about this incident. Knowing the history of our Ummah is really crucial to understand our own existence and how to live our lives as good Muslims. The whole Qur'an is full of history. And the purpose is not to 'entertain' us but to educate us and prepare us as better Muslims who in return can hope to gain mercy of our Creator Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala and live in eternal bliss after death. There is an excellent talk done by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi on this topic of Karbala, produced by Al-Maghrib institute. Do listen and take notes inshAllah ans spread the link.

Knowledge is power, or I should say, it's life! Without the proper knowledge we can never understand and love our beautiful faith. Only through seeking knowledge we can follow our faith with conviction. It's also very important for us as parents to educate our children with the proper knowledge of our faith. Our children love stories (and the horrible history series). I tell them stories of the prophets based on the Qura'n on a regular basis. And we discuss about it on a regular basis. I keep reiterating to them that  these are not fairy stories, these are our history and there is a lot to learn from our history. Alhamdulillah they do think about it and love discussing about all sorts of issues. As parents, we must have patience and ability to deal with their inquisitive minds. Just listening to them makes me wonder how close they are to the fitra. Children teach us so much about the faith and life in general i.e how to live life with contentment and happiness. 

To celebrate the day of Ashoora and the month of Muharram as a family, we are doing story sessions after school about prophet Musa alaihis salam. They actually want to fast, mashAllah. I told them they can fast half a day inshAllah. When we learn about Musa alaihis salam, we are not just learning about him. We are also learning about his great mother who had so much tawakkul on Allah to leave her baby in basket in the river, his sister who was so clever to approach the Queen and suggest her mother as a potential nurse for baby Musa, his loving foster mother, Queen Aasiya ( one of the greatest women in our faith), his supporting brother and prophet Harun (Aaron), prophet Shu'aib alaihis salam and his intelligent daughters, cruelty of Pharaoh, the bravery of the magicians in the palace of Pharaoh, characteristics of children of Israel (Bani Israel) and so on. So much to think and learn inshAllah! Let us study the chapters of the Qur'an which deals with Musa alahis salam and ponder upon them and derive some lessons to follow in our own life, bi'idnilillah ta'ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala accept our fasts and all the ibadah we are doing to sincerely please Him, only Him, ameen! 

Monday, 30 September 2013

The best days of the year

Alhamdulillah , all praise to our Rabb, the great month of Dhul hijjah is going to approach us very soon inshAllah. This is the last month of the Islamic year and the well-known month of pilgrimage to Makkah. There are so many acts of Ibadah we can perform to get closer to our Rabb, bi'idnillah.

In 2006 I was invited by my Rabb subhanahu wa ta'ala to perform my hajj Alhamdulillah. I was very moved by the whole experience. Never before in my life I have felt so moved and shaken and felt the amazing sweetness of Imaan (the feeling of closeness and firm belief in Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala) Subhanallah! Whenever I used to come across this term ‘sweetness of Imaan’ I could not really understand what that really meant. Going to hajj and being so close to my Lord, I was able to experience that wonderful feeling so deeply in my heart for the first time. I felt I was full of energy to worship Allah more eagerly and in various ways but unfortunately within the couple of months after returning from hajj my motivation become weaker and weaker, which sometimes made me feel empty and disenchanted with my life. I have heard from other hajjis that they also went through the same phase after their return from hajj.
Our society and its busy pace delude us into believing that we have too many things to do and worry about. Life becomes so busy that we tend to forget that as a spiritual being apart from food and drink we also need spiritual nourishment to preserve the integrity and peace of our soul and body. 
Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as our creator knows what we need to feel the peace in our heart. We need to get closer to Him through His worship. So we are getting a great chance to renew and boost our faith as the holy month of Dhul Hijja is coming very soon. He is so merciful to us. Ramadan just left us and once again we are given another chance to renew our faith for His sake. Let us do our best to reap as much benefit as possible from this great month.
Usually we as Muslims tend to regard the month of Dhul Hijja as a month exclusively significant for pilgrims as they have to embark upon a great journey to Makkah and perform all the rituals recommended during hajj i.e. staying in Mina, ‘Arafah, Mujdalifa , stoning , sacrificing an animal, doing tawaf and sa’y bewen Safa and Marwa and so on. Although the remaining Muslims around the world celebrate the Eid ul Adha and sacrifice animal, most of the times these are the only action done with lots of enthusiasm. 

We tend to forget that this great month has been blessed tremendously by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. The first ten days of Dhul Hijjah are regarded as the best days of the year. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala says in the Qur'ân:

"By the dawn and by the ten nights … " [Al-Qur'ân 89:1-2]

Ibn Kathîr said that "the ten nights" referred to here are the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and this opinion was also held by Ibn Abbâs, Ibn az-Zubair, Mujâhid and others. 

Moreover, Allah says:
" … and remember the name of Allah in the appointed days." [Al-Qur'ân 2:203]

Ibn Abbâs and Ibn Kathîr said this means in the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.

If we ponder upon the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wa sallam, we can find more evidence on the superiority of the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There are no days in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Allah than these ten days.” The people asked, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said, “Not even Jihad for the sake of Allah, except in the case of a man who went out, giving himself and his wealth up for the cause (of Allah), and came back with nothing.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

`Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “There are no days greater in the sight of Allah and in which righteous deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so during this time recite a great deal of tahlil [saying: 'there is no god but Allah'], takbir [saying 'God is great'] and tahmid [praising God].” (Reported by Ahmad)

This sacred month gives us a great opportunity to strengthen our faith and become better Muslims. Let us prepare ourselves with best of plan to welcome this month with lots of enthusiasm Insha-Allah. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala is so merciful to us that He through His messenger sallallahu alaihe wa sallam has also shown us the best of the ways we can worship Him. Therefore let us learn and practice those golden rules to please Allah subhanahu swa ta'ala. 

Actions we can perform and hopefully gain Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala’s pleasure Insha-Allah:

Although Hajj and Umrah are the best deeds performed in Dhul-Hijjah here I would like to concentrate on Muslims who are not going for hajj and umrah.

1. Fasting the First Nine Days, Especially the Day of `Arafah (9th of Dhul Hijjah) 

It is recommended to fast during the first nine days of Dhu’l Hijja. The tenth day is the day of Eid, and is prohibitively disliked and sinful to fast this day. However, if someone is not able to do the entire nine days of fasting then they should at least try to fast on the day of ‘Arafah which is the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah as it is a sunnah of our beloved prophet sallallhu alaihe wa sallam. 

The Day of `Arafah is regarded as the best day of the whole year. 

It has been narrated by Abu Qatada (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Fasting the Day of `Arafah [9th of Dhu’l Hijjah ] expiates the [minor] sins of two years: a past one and a coming one.” [Reported by Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah]

Allah chose fasting for Himself from all the good deeds, as is stated in the Hadeeth Qudsee: “All the deeds of the son of Adam are for him, except for fasting, which is for Me and I am the One Who will reward him for it.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee (1085)] 

2. Saying the Takbir as much as possible Insha-Allah

It is Sunnah to say takbir, tahmid, tahlil, and tasbih during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, and to say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah SWT and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted. Men should recite these phrases out loud, and women should recite them quietly. Allah says: (That they might witness things that are of benefit to them (i.e., reward of Hajj in the Hereafter, and also some worldly gain from trade, etc.), and mention the name of Allah on appointed days, over the beast of cattle that He has provided for them (for sacrifice)... ) (Al-Hajj 22: 28) The majority of scholars agree that the "appointed days" are the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, because of the words of ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father): "The ‘appointed days’ are the first ten days (of Dhul-Hijj ah)."

The takbir should be pronounced loudly by men, in order to revive the Sunnah and as a reminder to the negligent. There is sound evidence that ibn `Umar and Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with them both) used to go out in the marketplace during the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah, reciting takbir, and the people would recite it after him. The idea behind reminding the people to recite this is that each one should recite it individually, not in unison, as there is no basis in Shari`ah for doing this.

The transmitted wording of takbir is: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, la Ilaha illa Allah; Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, walillah al-hamd” (Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no god but Allah; Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and all praise is due to Allah). 

According to Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, there are two types of takbir in Dhul-Hijjah: unrestricted takbir and restricted takbir. Unrestricted takbir is applicable at any time or place, from the first of Dhul-Hijjah until the days of `Eid. Hence, a man can make takbir in the roads, markets, in Mina, and also when people meet each other. All these are occasions for unrestricted takbir.

Restricted takbir, on the other hand, is restricted to the time following every obligatory prayer, especially if it is offered in congregation, as most scholars restrict it. This type of takbir also includes takbir in the place of `Eid Prayer, on the way to it and while one is sitting around waiting for the `Eid prayer

3. Offering a Sacrifice: 

One of the good deeds that will bring a person closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala during these ten days is offering a sacrifice. According to Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, the one who wants to offer a sacrifice must stop cutting his hair and nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "When you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if any one of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice."

However, if a person does any of these things deliberately, he must seek Allah’s forgiveness but is not required to offer (an extra) sacrifice in expiation. Whoever needs to remove some hair, nails, etc., because it harms him, such as having a broken nail or a wound in a site where there is hair, should do so and there is nothing wrong with that. 

4. Studying the Qur’an with meaning and tafseer (explanation):

Through studying the Quran we can seek true knowledge of our faith and strengthen our belief with conviction. Sadly we tend to miss this great chance to educate ourselves with proper knowledge of Islam through mere recitation and not really giving importance to the meaning of this divine book. If we really like to change our poor condition and become better Muslims then only through learning Allah’s message explained in the Qur’an we can achieve our destination. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves the learned Muslims and makes their path to learning easy and blessed. According to sunnah, if Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala wants to do good to a person, He makes him or her comprehend the religion (the understanding of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) It has been said that the best among Muslims is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it to others.

5. Recitation and memorization of the Qur’an:

We should also try to recite the Qur'an and try to memorize it to the best of our abilities Insha-Allah. According to the sunnah, every letter of the Quran brings us reward so we should try our best to make the reading as well as following the instructions of this holy book a daily habit Insha-Allah. We can start through the ten days of Dhul Hijjah Insha-Allah.

Narrated by Abu Musa RAW, the prophet SAW said, “The example of a believer who recites the Qur’an and acts on it, is like a citron which tastes nice and smells nice. And the example of a believer who does not recite the Qur’an but acts on it is like a date which tastes good but has no smell. And the example of a hypocrite who recites the Qur’an is like a Raihana (sweet basil) which smells good but tastes bitter. And the example of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur’an is like a colocynth which tastes bitter and has a bad smell.” [6:579- O.B Al-Bukhari]

6. Being kind and dutiful to our parents and relatives:

Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has ordered us to be good to our parents and do our best to please them as long as they do not tell us to be disobedient to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our parent’s satisfaction  is very crucial for us as without their blessing we cannot achieve closeness of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala in our life. Moreover, being nice to our relatives and helping them whenever they need us are also recommended by Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala quite strongly through out the Qur'an and the teachings of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam. So let us be nice and helpful to our parents and relatives for His sake, inshAllah.

7. Performing plenty of voluntary prayers during the days and nights of Dhul Hijjah:

In addition to the five daily prayers, there are different types of voluntary prayers. Voluntary prayers are recommended by our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihe wa sallam as these sorts of prayers bring us closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. We can pray the Salatut Tawbah, Salatut Tasbeeh, Salat al-Israq, Salat at-Duha, Salat al-Awwabin , Salat at-Tahajjud and so on. 

8. Making lots of tawbah (repentance):

We should make sincere tawbah (Repentance) to Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala as repentance means coming back to Allah Subhanahu wa ta'ala. When a Muslim combines repentance with good deeds during the most virtuous days, this is a sign of his success. Allah says: “But as for him who repented, believed and did righteous deeds, then he will be among those who are successful.” [Soorah al-Qasas (28): 67] 

I would like to share with you a wonderful dua for repentance. Narrated by Shaddad Bin Aus RAW, the prophet SAW said, “The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah SWT is:

Allahumma anta Rabbi , la ilaaha illa anta. Anta khalaqtani wa ana ‘abduka , wa ana ’ala ‘ahdikaa wa wa’dika mastata’tu. A’udhu bika min sharri ma sana’tu, abuu laka bini’matika ‘alaiya, wa abuu laka bidhanbi faghfirli fa innahu la yaghfiru adhdhunuba illa Anta.” which means 
“O Allah, You are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am Your slave and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise (to You) as much as I can. I seek refuge with You from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before You all the blessings You have bestowed upon me, and I confess to You all my sins. So I entreat You to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except You.” 

The prophet SAW added: “If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be from the people of Jannah; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it and dies before the morning, he will be from the people of jannah.” ( Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol.8 hadith no.318) 

9. Giving Charity (Sadaqah):

Charity is central to a Muslim's life. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala loves the act of charity. Even smiling to our fellow Muslims is regarded as a charity. Helping the needy and poor people around the world can strengthen our faith and Insha-Allah will make us better Muslims. The Qur'an encourages the Muslim to donate their money: “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, is as the likeness of a grain that sprouts seven spikes. In every spike there are hundred grains, and Allah multiplies for whom He will' (2:261). Giving charity is thereby not seen as detracting from income, but rather as a multiplication in terms of spiritual observance. It is like one who sows a good grain of wheat in the field from which grows a plant on which sprout seven ears and each ear yields hundred grains. As a result, one grain was worth a total yield of 700 grains. When one spends in the way of Allah, he or she receives in return (reward in the Hereafter) on the scale of one to seven hundred. Subahanallah!

10. Attending the Salaat al-Eid and the Khutbah:

The tenth of Dhul-Hijjah is `Eid Al-Adha or the day of An-Nahr (slaughtering). It marks the conclusion of the major rites of Hajj, and commemorates Allah’s bounty on His Messenger Ibrahim Alaihes salam when He gave him a ram to sacrifice as ransom for his son Isma`il, peace and blessing be upon him. 

"The day of Al-Fitr [i.e. `Eid Al-Fitr], the day of An-Nahr, and the days of Tashriq are `Eid days for us Muslims. They are days of eating and drinking." [Ahmad, An-Nasa’i, Sahih Al-Jami` #8192] 

The three days following `Eid Al-Adha, while the pilgrims complete their rites, Muslims continue with their `Eid celebrations, and are prohibited to fast. "The days of Tashriq are days of eating, drinking and mentioning Allah." [Muslim] 

Attending the Salaat al-Eid and the Khutbah are recommended not just for men. The Muslim women should try to perform the prayer too as it has been stressed by our beloved prophet SAW. For the sake of unity and celebrating this great day, He sallallahu alaihe salam even asked the menstruating women to come to the mosque but of course keep a distance from the actual prayer area. 

Therefore, we can perform lots of righteous deed during the first ten days of Dhul Hijjah. It is better to write our plan in a diary and try to get enough preparation done in order to welcome the great month of Dhul Hijjah and get the blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Our ultimate goal is to please our Lord Allah . May Allah give us success in these blessed days and nights, and in every moment of our lives, to follow the path of the Prophet (Allah SWT bless him & give him peace), and may He make us of those whom He loves and who love Him.