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!

Happy Ramazan: The message of Ramazan……http://dawn.com/2012/07/21/happy-ramazan-the-message-of-ramazan/

We have been blessed with the month of Ramazan again. This is the time of the year to re-learn lessons, to stop and think, and to act for a better life and a better future! Ramazan is not about refraining to eat and drink from dawn to dusk, neither is it only about preparing and shopping for Eid, something we all spend a major part of the month in doing. The message of this month goes much deeper! If we think a bit profoundly, we will find that this is a month to change ourselves for the better, to improve in all aspects of life.

We all know Pakistan was created on August 14, 1947, but maybe most of us do not know that this day coincided with the 27th of Ramazan 1368 Hijri. If we truly realise the real lessons of this month, and apply it to our behaviour and attitude as citizens of Pakistan, we can make a drastic improvement in the future of our homeland. All of us have to play a role and change ourselves to contribute towards this goal.

Discipline, obedience, punctuality, compassion for those less blessed than us, sharing and caring and a sense of accountability are all feelings that we experience during Ramazan and which can go a long way in improving our lives as well as the situation in Pakistan.

My dear readers, you may be too young to realise the intensity of the dire state of affairs we as a nation are stuck in, but you are enlightened enough to know that all is not well in Pakistan. The newspaper and the electronic media give us disturbing news every day.

Your parents fear for your security when you go out. Illiteracy, crime, corruption and greed are gnawing at the roots of our beloved homeland. If we, as a nation, resolve to apply the true spirit of Ramazan to our conduct and outlook as a nation, a positive change in the situation is bound to come.

Ramazan teaches us the lesson of obedience. We know that we have to go without food and drink during a fast, but we can easily sneak a snack or a glass of water when no one is watching us. But none of us would even think of doing so because we all firmly believe that a Divine Eye is watching us! Why is it so that we take pleasure in breaking rules and
disobeying laws? Sneaking a flower or two and walking on the grass where it is clearly written “Do not walk on the grass or pluck flowers” give us a sense of adventure. Breaking traffic signals and over speeding on roads are not even considered a crime by most people. Pushing and shoving each other instead of making a queue at public places are all national habits with us. This frame of mind gives rise to a disregard for law at all levels. If we learn to obey and respect the law at a young age, a far reaching change will be seen very soon.

Ramazan is the month of punctuality. We start and break fasts according to fixed timings and not according to our mood or whim. But as a nation, we totally lack a sense of punctuality.

Students submit their work late, government officers generally do not care if they do not reach their offices in time; we seldom follow the timings when we attend a wedding or other
functions. And often I have found patients waiting and suffering in pain because doctors do not turn up at the exact time they have given to their patients.

Time is a commodity which we love to waste, although if we study the cases of developed nations we shall find that punctuality and valuing time is one of their foremost qualities. So, this Ramazan let us resolve that we shall value time and try to do everything according to a set routine.

When we give out Zakat in Ramazan, we come in contact with people less privileged than us. This creates in us a sense of compassion as well as a will to share our blessings with the needy people around us. Feeling the pangs of hunger as well as going thirsty makes us realise what poor people go through the year around. If we nurture these feelings and keep them
alive around the year, a large number of people around us will benefit.

Giving away clothes, toys, books and other personal possessions which you can comfortably do without, may bring joy and content to those who cannot afford to buy these things.

Frustrations and deprivations usually give rise to crime. The crime graph in our country can come down sharply if the rich change their attitude of amassing wealth by using unfair
means and depriving others of their share, but these qualities have to be learnt from a young age.

In the end, I will say that Ramazan gives us a general sense of piety, an urge to do good deeds and shun bad ones. Lying, cheating, selfishness, greed and backbiting are all qualities which are causing the deterioration in the conditions our country is facing. While fasting we have a natural urge to keep away from these ills. Why not resolve firmly to make this a
national habit? Even when Ramazan is over and we are not fasting. Truthfulness, honesty, patriotism and discipline can go a long way to guide Pakistan towards the road to

So, enjoy the delicacies Mummy cooks for Iftar and Sehar, but do not fail to lend her a helping hand wherever you can. Shop for your Eid preparations but do not forget those who are less privileged than you. But foremost of all, this Ramazan let’s resolve to make Pakistan a better place to live in. When we all join hands and make a firm resolution, things will improve Insha Allah. Because, as an optimist, I firmly believe that there is light even at the end of the darkest tunnel! A change (for the better) in our values and preferences is the need of the hour.