Archive of ‘Faith’ category

Hajj Tips: Step by Step Hajj Guide

Salaamz!

Yes, yes, believe your eyes it is two posts in two days. As I mentioned in my last post I was not planning on writing a post on the spiritual or ‘religious’ aspect of Hajj because I didn’t want to teach anything wrong (or get into fiqh issues). Sadly, many people messaged me about having no direction  when it comes to what to actually do at Hajj. So, Bismillah, I am compiling information from reputable Shaikhs that follow the Qu’ran and authentic Sunnah. Here’s my step by step Hajj guide with a billion or so tips of course!

I’ve referred to Muhammad Al-Shareef’s Hajj Coach site several times – I found it very practical and useful. What I noticed is that many of the links no longer work! Actually today the site seems to be down. Insha’Allah it will be fixed ASAP.

Here’s Video 9 of the Hajj Coach series.

Allhumdullillah he has created a fantastic Hajj and Umrah guide. Print it out and glue the sheets together. Insha’Allah it will be all you need. (more…)

hajj tips part 4

Hajj Tips Part Four: Two types of people at Hajj

Disney World (Image from huffingtonpost.com)

Disney World
(Image from huffingtonpost.com)

I just came back from a trip to Disney World yesterday. Allhumdullillah it was tons of fun! Maybe it was the fact that I kept thinking about how to organize my final Hajj tips posts  while waiting in line, but the similarities between a trip to Disney World and Hajj were striking. Hear me out before you accuse me of being sacrilegious!

Though Hajj is a religious ritual (my husband argues that Disney World trip is too for many),it is also a once in a  lifetime ‘thing to do’, many people spend life savings on their trip (the die-hard- 15 day- trip- fans) and most importantly, people come with enormous expectations of how they imagine this experience to be. Also the heat, the huge crowds and the amount of walking are kinda similar to the pilgrimage experience. Anyhow, what I found most similar is the type of people we become under such situations. I saw the same two groups of people at Hajj and at Disney World. (more…)

Hajj Tips: Shaikhs, Shopping and Shifaa

Salaamz dear readers!

Hajj is a few weeks away!! How are you guys feeling? How’s your preparations coming along?

Though my following post is full of practical Hajj tips, I wanted to prepare you for something that I never read about during my research and wasn’t expecting. I’m going to assume we are kinda similar (there must be a reason you are reading my blog after all 🙂 ). Here goes:

Masjid al Nabawi

Masjid al Nabawi

Our Hajj trip was three weeks long, the first week was in Madinah, the second week was Hajj and the final week we spent in Mecca. From the moment I saw the aerial view of Madinah from the airplane (make sure you sit on the left side of the plane if you’re flying directly to Madinah; trust  me its breathtaking!), I started crying. I would seriously walk around the streets of Madinah crying .The current Masjid Al-Nabawi is the size of the city of Madinah during the Prophet PBUH’s time! I would wonder if the Prophet PBUH ever stood where I was standing, did he PBUH see the same mountains I was looking at? I was just in awe of everything, being in the city of the Prophet PBUH, the history and significance that existed everywhere. (more…)

A billion or so Hajj Tips and Tricks PART TWO

Salaamz dear Hajjis–to-be–who–will-make-dua-for-me!
I hope you enjoyed Part One of the Billion (or so) Hajj Tips and Tricks series. I’m back this week with many more tips about Good deeds, Tawaf ,the Stinkies, Hajj book and Duas.

Our going for Hajj in 2012 was almost a miracle. I can’t explain what happened exactly but around October 2011 something sparked inside me: I wanted to go for Hajj. As a Muslim, I always wanted to go for Hajj but this sudden yearning or powerful desire was different. I wanted to go SO badly that it was frightening.

What if I wasn’t able to go? Would I be patient enough to understand that in Allahs wisdom it was better for me to go later? What if I took it personally? What if I interpreted it to mean that Allah did not want to invite me to His home? Would I be able to recover from the hurt and rejection?
With every month that passed, the desire to go turned into an intense need and the fear of not being able to go multiplied.
Even as the plans for going for Hajj started to fall into place my husband and I were reluctant to celebrate or even accept it. We were content when we made our final payment, we were relieved when we got our Visas, we were excited when we buckled ourselves in our seats in the airplane. Still we wouldn’t believe it.

Our worst fear was that something might stop us from performing Hajj. Ironically, the seat next to my husband on the airplane was empty! What could have happened to this person? Did he die? He must have been so excited to go, collected thousands of dollars, made all sorts of preparations; yet isn’t here now.  That could have been us!

We didn’t ‘believe it’ yet until we finally laid our eyes on the Ka’bah. (more…)

A billion (or so) Hajj Tips and Tricks

Congratulations!!! You have been blessed with the opportunity to visit the house of Allah the Most Loving, the Most Merciful, the Most Magnificent. I’m super excited for you and kinda jealous but in a Masha’Allah way. Insha’Allah this is going to be the most amazing experience of your life! May Allah SWT accept your Hajj and  make this a means of coming closer to Him. Ameen.

The Kabah

The Kabah

Allhumdullillah I had the opportunity to go for Hajj 3 years ago. I still can’t believe I went! Sometimes when I see pictures of the Ka’bah it literally takes my breath away. Something about that simple black box, so still and grand while surrounded by billions of lovers and worshipers clamoring all over it for attention and salvation.

It’s a juxtaposition of serenity and whirling commotion.

I still can’t believe I was there.

This year four of my cousins from around the globe will be going for Hajj Insha’Allah. Like most topics, I have way too much information to share than can be contained in a single conversation or post.

My plan Insha’Allah is to do a series of posts about the practical day-to-day side of Hajj. Like the title suggests- I have about a billion tips and tricks to share!  I’m going to assume your hajj group will be educating you on the spiritual aspect of Hajj, I will supplement a little on that aspect but mainly focus on the practical side of Hajj. (more…)

eid 2015 and revamping my life

Eid 2015 and Revamping my Life

Salaamz remember me?
Yes I know it’s been a while since my last post-sorry! I’ve been busy with implementing many new changes in my life.
Ramadan was great for soul searching Allhumdullillah-making those dua lists really helped me visualize what I want in my life. At first I was overwhelmed with the huge list of changes I had planned- overwhelmed to the point that I was paralyzing myself just thinking about it. I think what I ended up doing was building up my expectations all month long for all the things I want to change or achieve but I didn’t break them down into smaller steps . I kind of expected that as soon as Ramadan was over I would jump right into my life improvements. Eventually I snapped out of my rut (finally got around to finishing one of the  6 posts I started to write); I told myself that I would focus on one baby step of one goal per day, Allhumdullillah that helped me become productive again.

Here are some of my goals:

(more…)

My BIGGEST Eid Mistake that you’re probably making too!

Last December my son (6 years old then) asked me “Mama, can you ask Allah if it’s OK if we can celebrate Christmas this year- just once?”

That broke my heart.

I felt like I failed as a Muslim parent living in the West. Here I thought I was this hip and happening Mama- as if better than my own parents at ‘knowing what it’s like growing up here’. Despite implementing the Eid crafts and fun ideas I had Pinned-I was unsuccessful at making him appreciate our own festivals and holidays. I’m not worried that one day he will buy himself a tree and sing carols ;I’m worried that this might be the beginning of an inferiority complex.  Unfortunately it’s not as simple as teaching your child not to want what other kids have- it’s about resisting the Anglo Saxon conformity subtly imposed on every religious minority.

Islamic school

Islamic school

One of the many reasons we send him to Islamic school is for him to develop a strong Islamic identity and to escape the ‘transmuting pot’ of public schools.Unlike the Eurocentric education I received I want him to know that Muslims are awesome and full of rich history .I want him to know that the world is a better place because of Muslims.That they changed the world through their revolutionary inventions ,ideas and laws. I want him to be proud of the fact that Muslims invented Algebra, coffee, vaccines, the windmill, Universities and the first pin-hole camera to name just a few. Though he won’t live in the Islamic school bubble forever, I wanted to shelter him from  discrimination as well as the constant pressure to conform to the Anglo Saxon values. I’m all up for hockey and maplesyrup but not religion, how about you have yours and I have mine?

Yet, here we are discussing why my child wants to celebrate Christmas. (more…)

Last 10 Nights of Ramadan Game plan

Salaamz dear readers,

I am super excited about today’s post because it will change the rest of your life Insha’Allah! The last 10 nights of Ramadan are coming upon us in just a few days. Subhan’Allah this month just flew by didn’t it?

Hopefully you read my post on setting goals and have been stepping up your worship during the best month of the year.

Now the feature presentation is coming: Laylatul Qadr!

Laylatul Qadr: The Night of Power. The Night of Decree. The Night that is equal to 1000 months. The Night of Destiny.

Last 10 nights of Ramadan game plan

Last 10 nights of Ramadan game plan

During the last 10 nights of the month of Ramadan, on an odd night, is a night that is better than a thousand months. That means,that one night is equivalent to approximately 83.3 years! Whatever good deeds you do during that night, it will be written as if you did those deeds for 83 years! If you were blessed with witnessing and experiencing 10 Ramadans – that means you could easily rack up good deeds equal to 833 years!

Though many people swear that the 27th night is Laylatul Qadr- we don’t know for sure and therefore should worship on all last ten nights or at least the odd nights so as not to risk missing this night. (more…)

Ultimate guide to setting Ramadan Goals

The Ultimate Guide to Setting Ramadan Goals

Salaamz!

How was your first week of Ramadan? Are you on track with your goals?

Do you have any goals?

Hopefully your goals this  blessed month are spiritual and related to ibadah.

Why Goals?

Some of you may be thinking that functioning while fasting during the long summer days should be a goal enough!

What’s the big deal about Ramadan?

As we mature in our worship and understanding of deen, Ramadan becomes less about managing hunger and more about understanding it for the actual gift that it is.

  1. Forgive all of your sins

Every year Allah The Most Merciful, The Most Loving, The Most Wise gives us the chance to have ALL(except major ) of our sins forgiven from the previous year!

Abu Huraira narrated that Allah’s Messenger said : “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari]

  1. Intercede for you on the Day of Judgement.

On the Day of Judgement all of humanity from the beginning of time is gathered to receive the final verdict: who will suffer forever in Hell and who will bask forever in the luxuries of paradise. While our long list of deeds (we won’t remember most of them) are listed out- we will have intercessors!

`Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: “The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” [Ahmad]

  1. 720 hours of having your duas answered!

Ramadan is approximately 720 hours long- every moment is an opportunity for your duas to be answered! Do you even have 720 items on your dua list?

`Abdullah Ibn `Amr Ibn al-`Aas also reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said: “Indeed there is for the fasting person, when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected”. [Ibn Majah, al-Hakim and others; Sahih]

Jabir, radhiya Allahu `anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said :” In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted”. [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih]

So yeah..sign me up! (more…)

Ramadan Zombie Guest post and bio

Salaamz dear readers!

How’s your Ramadan going?

I hope you’re healthy, spiritually productive and racking up tons of good deeds Insha’Allah.

Allhumdullillah I had the opportunity to write my second guest post! I wrote a piece on Ramadan for the South Asian Bloggers Network. Can I tell you how difficult it was to write for a non-Muslim audience?? I had to delete ‘Insha’Allah’ and ‘Masha’Allah so many times!

The article is called Ramadan Zombie vs Peppy Muslim. I really enjoyed writing it and am Allhumdullillah happy with how it turned out.

They asked me to write a short bio about myself- this was  more challenging than expected. I’m a girl of many words- I talk a mile a minute and often about various topics simultaneously. Asking me to write a ‘short’ bio- especially about myself- is like asking me to choose only one purse at a 90% off Michael Kors sale!

Anyhow, I did what I always do when learning something new- I Googled it. I hurriedly typed in ‘how to write a stellar bio for a guest post’-apparently I’m not the only one worried about this topic. The huge search results only confused me further;’ the bio should be unique, express your personality, highlight your achievements without sounding like you’re bragging, prompt readers to connect with you etc’. I ended up coming up with something which I thought was lighthearted, witty, expressive of my personality and informative.

Hours after submitting it, I went back to re-read it and found it really annoying! I felt like I came across as obnoxious and silly.

I contemplated e-mailing Raj from SABN to ignore the bio I sent and accept a new one, but I decided against it at the risk of appearing unprofessional and because I couldn’t come up with anything much better. Maybe the bio was accurate after all- I faintly recall the adjectives obnoxious and silly coming up sometime or the other in my lifetime..lol. Or maybe I was just plain ‘Hangry’.

Hangry

One of the signs that I’m ‘hangry’ is when I get on my own nerves!

Have you had ever experienced that? The moment when your own voice, and thoughts and behavior irritate you?

But you can’t get away from yourself?

Then you feel bad for being annoyed with yourself and then you worry if you have deep rooted psychological issues wherein you secretly hate yourself? Then you eat a cookie and the world makes sense again?

It can’t just be me!

Here’s an excerpt from the article;

 

“Though The Walking Dead and World War Z popularized Zombie’s, they existed long before Hollywood made it hip. Muslims are the hipsters of zombies. Every Ramadan many of the 1.4 billion Muslims become Zombies- cranky and lifeless as they trudge around moaning and groaning during daylight hours until it’s time to eat.

To be fair, there’s actually a dichotomy of Ramadan-ers: Ramadan Zombie and the Peppy Muslim. As the Ramadan Zombie is becoming more mainstream, its lesser known counterpart has faded into the background over the course of 1400 years. The Peppy Muslims is perky, alert and full of energy; a stark contrast to the lethargic, slow and cranky Zombie.

Be it the rise of processed foods or the growing ignorance over the true essence of Ramadan –more and more Muslims are becoming Ramadan Zombies. Though they both may be experiencing hunger, one is clearly faring better than the other.

What’s the Peppy Muslim’s secret?

What gives them that bounce in their step, the bright-eyed bushy-tailed attitude as they fast from food and drink for over 17 hours* this summer?”

 

READ MORE

I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to leave a comment on the SABN Facebook page or their blog itself. Oh and honest feedback on the bio please!

Chai later,

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