Ramazan: Care and share!

The holy month of Ramazan has arrived with its endless blessings! These are strange and blessed days as we all feel a change in ourselves, a change for the better. We find ourselves more inclined towards good deeds; more compassionate towards the people around us and witness a strange urge to share our blessings with those who do not have the privileges we enjoy (and sometimes take for granted).

 

 

Those of us who (unfortunately) are not regular in their prayers, promptly get up for ablution and proceed to pray as soon as we hear the Moazzin’s call. The sound of the Maghrib Azan is perhaps the most welcome sound of the day. After the long hours of hunger and thirst, our fast comes to an end and we enjoy the endless mouth-watering goodies mummy so lovingly prepares for us.

But even in these moments we do not forget our maid, driver, cook or the chowkidaar and make it a point to lay out plates for them with all the things on the Iftar table that we will be having!

Friends, Ramazan is a month of great rewards as Allah has promised to bestow His grace on us manifolds for all the good deeds we perform. So, when you are fasting, instead of taking it only as an abstinence from food and drink, try to ponder on the importance of fasting. The hunger and thirst we experience make us realise the hardships of the people who are not as lucky as us!

So, think about ways to help people around you. Try to reflect on the plight of children like you who have been pushed into child labour due to the poverty of their parents. Although they deserve education just as you do, they cannot go to schools because their parents cannot afford the expenses. Instead, they toil in the heat to earn the extra money their family needs to make both ends meet! You can make the days of Ramazan more valuable by sharing your blessing with these children.

Scan your wardrobe for the clothes you seldom wear but that are still in good condition. Empty your shoe rack and put back only those you really need. Sort out your toys, stationery, story books, etc, and give away what you think is more than your requirements.

These extra things you keep on collecting (but hardly use) can make Eid happier and brighter for your less privileged peers. When you go out for Eid shopping, don’t forget to remind mummy to get some new stuff for the maid and her kids too.

This year you have the extra advantage of summer vacation, so you do not have to brave the heat of the scorching sun during the fast. You can also get up later than your normal routine. This Ramazan make your time precious by sharing your free time. Help out at home to lessen the workload of your mother and maids too. 

Clearing up your rooms, making your beds, laying the table and clearing up after Sehr and Iftar, can be positive steps on your part to relieve those who keep on toiling endlessly to keep you comfortable.

Be prompt to get up at Sehr. In most homes, we see mothers running frantically from room to room, trying to pull out sleepy children from their beds and making them eat and drink enough to pass the long hours of fasting with more ease. But often in this chaos, they hardly get time to have a proper meal themselves, although to be fair to them, they are the ones who need a proper diet the most!

So instead of making Sehr an exhausting experience for mummy, get up early and help out in laying the table and carry out the eggs, milk, cereals and whatever else she is serving you for Sehr. Make sure that she finishes her glass of milk, just as she wants you to finish yours.

When Daddy comes home from his job, try to help him in relaxing after he has braved the heat of the day. A gentle massage of the neck and feet will help him to relax and beat the fatigue of the long fast. Be sure not to quarrel with siblings, make unnecessary noise or put on the TV on high volume, so that he can snatch a nap before it is time for Iftar.

Friends, caring for people around us and sharing our blessings with them should be your motto this month. Ramazan is a month of obedience, sacrifice, discipline and devotion. You feel nearer to Allah and a softening of the heart.

Compassion is the key to a positive and better life! Let’s vow to practise this positive emotion not only in this holy month but the whole year round. You will be amazed by the sense of peace of mind and tranquillity you will feel engulfing your heart!

In the end I would like to quote a famous Hadith. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah says, ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting; it is for me and I shall reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield. If any one of you is fasting, let him not utter obscene talk or raise his voice in anger, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight, let him say: I am fasting. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk. The fasting person has two moments of joy: when he breaks his fast he rejoices at breaking his fast and when he meets his Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, he will rejoice at having fasted’.”

Happy Ramazan and a happier Eid to all my friends!

 

 
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WELCOME, BLESSED MONTH OF RAMZAN

WELCOME, BLESSED MONTH!

          10th July 2013

            Its nearing the time for the Maghrib Aazaan. The blessed month of Ramzan is about to begin. I feel a sense of relief that I am still around! Although I feel a bit apprehensive as the fasts would be long and the days hot, but I believe firmly that the strength to abstain from food and drink for the long hours is granted by the Almighty Himself!

Every year I say goodbye to Ramzan with a heavy heart. Nearly 335 days before this month of infinite blessings comes again! Will I be able to make it to next Ramzan or is this the last I am witnessing of this lovable month? This question tugs at my heart as I try to busy myself for the Eid morning preparations. The happy faces of my grandchildren, who excitedly pull out their dresses from their wardrobes, lay out their shoes, socks (and matching accessories for the girls) fail to revive my spirits as I seek corners to wipe out the stray tear which keeps on blurring my view.

In the fast paced life we all live in, the months follow each other quickly and sooner than we can imagine, people start reminding each other; “Can you believe it? Only 6 months left for Ramzan! And it seems only yesterday when we were braving hunger and thirst during the long hot days.”  Hope keeps whispering silently in my heart, “Perhaps I shall be around after all!” and with the advent of Rajab I start my preparations for Eid. I have to shop for dresses for all my children and grandchildren, a ritual which I follow religiously and enjoy thoroughly! But all the shopping must be completed before Ramzan begins! This month is too valuable for me to waste my time in shopping centres and malls. The last errand to the tailor completed before the blessed days begin, I am looking forward to relaxing at home during the fasts

Not that I pray a lot (I am afraid to admit)! But for me this month means strengthening my bonds with Allah, pondering on His unending Blessings, trying my best to recite the Holy Quran as much as I can! I am lucky to have got another chance to repent for my wrong doings, to seek Allah’s forgiveness, to try to wash away my sins with my tears! I feel a strange softening of my heart, a compassion for people less blessed than me and above all I feel nearer to The Almighty.

In addition to these feelings Ramzan is also the month to enjoy the mouth watering goodies at Iftaar! I am a food lover and thoroughly relish the Cholas, Pakoras, Samosas and Fruit Chats every day at. Not to forget a tall and chilled glass of my all time favourite Rooh Afza!  Every year I and my Bahus try to keep the Iftaar simple, declaring that we shall spend more time in our prayers, duas and reciting The Holy Quran. But strangely when we lay out the Iftaar table, it seems to overflow with Allah’s bounties! For this is a month of abundance, as Allah puts Barkat in everything we make!

And before we know it the month starts drawing towards its end. As I wait for the Maghrib Azaan, I look forward towards the yearly exercise of the cleansing of the soul. The love of the World and its endless attractions pull at my heart and every year I feel I have moved away from Allah and the teachings of Islam! But thankfully, Ramzan comes back every year to revive my faith, soften my heart so that I want to repent for my wrong doings, strengthen my belief in Allah and His endless bounties.

11th July-2013

Yesterday I stopped writing this blog as a strange frustration set in. This was not what I wanted to write! There was much more to my feelings about the Blessed month. I stared at the computer screen for some time and then decided to quit! And then as if in the form of Divine Help, a text message from my best friend Nusrat came through! Just as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle suddenly fall into their respective places, I could pin point my thoughts easily. The message read, “This is a month of soul searching, reconciliation and mending yourself. A month of returning to your core, surrendering and submitting yourself to your Creator. A month of self-recognition, supplication and salvation. May this Ramzan bring peace, happiness and change (for the better) in our lives. Ramzan Mubarak!”

The first day of Ramzan already gone and the Fast easier than my expectations, I cannot thank Allah enough for blessing me once again. Alhumdulillah!  

A very Happy and blessed Ramzan to all my readers! May we all be granted this precious month again and again in our lives Ameen!

DO MORE! MR BARACK OBAMA!!

DO MORE, MR. BARACK OBAMA!

Words seem to fail me these days! I have tried to write this blog many times but after finishing and re reading, I find my vocabulary too weak and inadequate to express my sentiments. The agony, rage and a sense of helplessness and despair that I am feeling are common to the majority of the two billion Muslims around the world! Like all Muslims (and even sensible non-Muslims), I heard with indignation and disbelief that a video clip called Innocence of Muslims in which an attempt has been made to degrade our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. has been posted on the YouTube.  So much has been written on the issue, initially I wondered whether I should write anything more or not. But my conscience keeps me restless during the days and sleepless during the nights. My share may be only a drop in the ocean, but I feel compelled to share my sentiments with my readers because whether they express it or not, I know that they all must be going through the same pain and frustration (how could any Muslim not react to such venom and insult to the person we revere and respect as the Messenger of Allah).

I would like to clarify first that by no means do I favour or defend the violence and unnecessary loss of precious lives and property, in reaction to the blasphemous video, especially here in Pakistan. We had every right to protest, but I feel ashamed and disappointed that we did not do so in a civilized and dignified manner. Precious lives were lost and property was burned and raised to the ground by unruly mobs.

The Government of Pakistan made a great blunder by calling Friday (the 21st September) Yaum e Ishq e Nabi, the day to show love for the Prophet PBUH a public holiday. Making decisions in haste and not taking into consideration the consequences it will lead to, have cost us a lot in the past. Making no proper security arrangements and ignoring the religious fanaticism with which the video has whipped frenzy into the life of an average Pakistani, Mr. Zardari our (un)popular President conveniently flew off to England on a private visit and the more (un) popular Prime Minister did not even have enough courage to venture out to the Convention Centre in Islamabad to make his speech in the announced seminar. The country was left in the hands of miscreants and mischief mongers who (in the name of love for the Prohet PBUH) took the law into their hands. The rangers were conspicuous by their absence and the police was not at all prepared for the free show of anger and violence.

But in spite of all this which I do not defend, I must lodge my protest against the so called ‘Freedom of Expression’. Every civilized society gives freedom of expression to its members and it is one of the basic rights in a democratic nation. But where do we draw a line between this freedom and pure venom, unasked (and intentional) provocation of the religious sentiments of billions of people around the world? We claim that we live in a civilized world but have we proved that we are a civilized generation? Trying to defame and insult the Prophet Muslims love and hold in high esteem, is just an act of snobbery and hatred, something which no one can get away with the so called right of Freedom of Expression! In his criminal act of releasing the video Innocence of Muslims via YouTube, Sam Bacille has thrown all norms of civility, ethics and morals to the air! 

The President of the United State of America, Mr Obama in his speech in the General assembly has tried to pacify the Muslim sentiments of indignation by declaring that USA disowns the movie and has nothing to do with it. He has urged the entire humanity to reject the disgusting video which has sparked outrage throughout the Muslim World. He is right in most of the things he said as he also criticized Muslims for causing loss to lives and property and reacting violently to the hate movie.  

 But, I disagree with you Mr Obama when you declare, (quote) “As president of our country and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so” (unquote). With due respects Mr. President, I must remind you that you may be the President of The United States of America, but please do not forget that you hold this post for only five or at the most ten years. Comparing criticism on yourself with the downright insulting and blasphemous video about the Prophet of Islam is simply outrageous! Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W. is a personality who is loved and respected by Muslims and (although grudgingly) by sensible non-Muslims as well, since the advent of Islam and will be done so till all times to come! If you are criticized, this is the price you have to pay for reaching the highest rung of the ladder of success. In no means can this justify a madman’s sickening and malicious endeavor to try to insult our Prophet PBUH.

This is not something which you can call Freedom of Speech or Expression. It is downright provocation and can be likened to pouring petrol over a flame. For years, USA has been mounting pressure on Pakistan to ‘Do More’ in the War against terrorism. We as a nation have suffered a lot because of this war. Lives (most of them innocent) have been lost, our peace of mind destroyed and our economy is on the down slide! Now this is the time for Pakistanis and all the Muslim Ummah to ask the USA and President Barack Obama to ‘DO MORE’!

According to the laws of The USA, a person can be sued for causing physical or psychological damage to some one. Don’t you feel that Bacille who made the hate movie, should be brought to court and given exemplary punishment for hurting and enflaming the emotions of more than two billion people. Muslims may be held responsible for the loss to lives and property but the root cause behind this outrage and fury should be dealt with an iron fist. Instead of declaring your inability to ban the disastrous video and attributing it to freedom of expression, you Mr. Obama should ‘Do More’ and deal with the issue more effectively by not only slamming an immediate ban on it but also amending the laws which have rendered you helpless inspite of the outcry and protests all over the world.

To all Muslims, I would like to appeal, show your love for Hazrat Muhammad Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam by trying to ponder how he would have reacted in such a situation. He preached humanity and compassion, forgave when he could avenge and always refused to be provocated in the most sensitive situations. Instead of walking in the trap deliberately set up to further derogate the Muslims we must exercise restraint and lodge our protest according to the norms of a civilized society. This is the time when we can prove to the world that barring a minority of religious extremist, Muslims are a peace loving and disciplined people. This is what ISHQ E NABI (the love of our Prophet) demands from us!