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My Ramadan 2012 Report

It’s just about 5:10a.m here in T&T as I sit on bed writing/typing this posting as we commence fast #25. Although I know there’s still 4 or 5 days of fasting left, I thought I’d sum up my Ramadan in the form of a blog before I forget only to remember when it might be too late. So here’s how Ramadan 2012 was for me…

A day or two before the month actually began, I made 2 lists: (1)a “to do” list with about 10 things I hoped to achieve before the month ended and (2)a checklist of things to do each day that would allow me to maximize the time available during this month. Now at that point, the only thing I was waiting for was for the new moon to be sighted here in T&T so that Ramadan could officially begin.

However, around the same time as I was making my “Ramadan lists”, I got asked to do something I never thought I would have been asked to do..About 2 years ago, my dad began hosting a daily live programme during Ramadan on the only Islamic television station in the country-IBN. He was all set and ready to continue with his programme this year when he got a new job which called for him to remove himself from any television and/or radio programmes he was a part of (at the time he was the host of a weekly Islamic radio programme on Friday mornings & a historical programme about the various Jamaats in the country on IBN on Sunday mornings..he subsequently had to disassociate himself with both programmes). I was then approached by my dad and his cousin (who works at IBN) to “take over” the show for this year. I was hesistant and nervous at first-I mean, I knew very, very little about Ramadan so the thought of having to produce some new information everyday for 29 or 30 days kinda freaked me out (Thank Allah for the Internet :) ). I asked one of my cousins who co-hosted the IBN Top 8 Countdown with me a few times if she’ll do the programme with me and she agreed. I got some initial content from my dad-videos, articles, stories,etc…-and off we went to record the first few episodes before Ramadan even began. We initially began recording the episodes instead of doing them live because at the time that was easier, less nerve-wrecking and more convenient to the both of us. Plus when we went to the studio, we’d get two episodes done instead of just one.

Fast forward to today (the 25th day of Ramadan here in T&T) and unfortunately I’m sitting in the position I hoped I would not have been in 26 or so days ago. While it may be safe to argue that this Ramadan has by far been my best ever, I still look back at this almost-completed month with a huge sense of regret and self-dissapointment. None of the items on my “to do” list got checked off and I was only doing just about 1 or 2 of the items on my daily list each day.

I could almost hit myself extremely hard when I think back at all the time I’ve wasted during the course of these past 24 days or so. I did almost everything I told myself I’d try to avoid and I barely got around to doing any of the things I had hoped I’d do. At first glance, I was quick to blame everything on the programme my cousin and I host but on further inspection, I quickly realized that it was my same faults, flaws and weaknesses that are/were to blame-my laziness and my inability to refuse the temptations to hang out with my aunts and cousins after Taraweeh, to look the television unnecessarily and so on. What makes this feeling worse is that, on my programme I try to encourage everyone to make the best possible use of the time available to them during this month yet I was making the worst possible use of mine-I felt and still do feel like the biggest hypocrite and the largest failure.

Alhamdulillah, I’ve realized this with still a few days left but my biggest worry and most discouraging factor is that I may have missed out on what is arguably the greatest night of all-Lailatul Qadr. This night, although it’s exact time/timing is unknown, comes but once a year and even though we may have witnessed or caught this one, there’s no guarantee we’ll be around for another one..And that’s what makes this so hard for me to accept..

So if I had to give this year’s Ramadan a grade, I’d give myself a big, whopping, giant ‘F’.

The only somewhat positive thing I can take from this is that at least now I know just how horrible and terrible I feel having squandered a month filled with wonderful opportunities and blessings. So if Insha Allah I shall be blessed with the privilege of living to see another Ramadan, I hope and pray that I’ll remember this feeling at the very beginning of the month (and through out it as well) so I can try much much harder to avoid repeating it.

Allah knows best and I thank Him for still blessing me with the opportunity to witness yet another Ramadan. I pray that He blesses us all with this opportunity yet again in one year’s time Insha Allah. I ask for His mercy, forgiveness and protection for us all. I also send Salaams and Blessings upon the best of all creation, the reason for all our existence, Allah’s Beloved, my Beloved-the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Salaam). Ameen.

Help!??

All my life, I’ve been surrounded by Islam. Thankfully, the significant majority of my family and more importantly, those who I am constantly surrounded by, are Muslims (practicing or non-practicing, that’s what I’m getting to Insha Allah). However, in the home that I grew up in, Islam was never really all that important. Emphasis was only placed on it at certain times like when someone died or during Ramadan. Other than that, what I knew would depend solely on what information I sought for myself. My mom might pray Fajr some mornings, Maghrib some evenings (depending on what time she got home from work); I’ve only ever seen my dad pray Maghrib except during Ramadan for the past 2 years when he would pray/lead Fajr, Esha/Isha and Taraweeh Salaah. I would pray Fajr and Maghrib during Ramadan and whenever something really terrible happened. My sister was pretty much the same. The only times my mother would mention Islam would be when something bad was happening to me then she would say something like: “This is Allah’s way of punishing you for not doing this or that”.

Alhamdulillah! Fast forward to this year (2012) and I’ve embraced Islam with open and welcoming arms. Thank You Allah for showing me the light. Now that I have this ignited flame in my heart, mind and soul to learn more about Islam-what is right and wrong, what is Halaal and what is Haraam, etc…-I find myself with some problems. Thankfully, none of those problems are with/about the religion.

My problems are these: I know my parents have sufficient knowledge about the religion to know what they should and should not be doing. Yet, they are like the millions of others who just don’t do what they’re supposed to do. And it hurts me to see this knowing that they’re “lapsing” or not meeting their duties. It hurts me more than anything to think that all the other good they do may count for very little-if not nothing-simply because they fail to do some of the basic things like praying 5 times each day. I’m not perfect. I’ve spent the majority of my life like that. Thankfully, and all my thanks and praise are to Allah, I’ve adopted a new attitude; I’ve began praying 5 times everyday; I’ve changed my life. I’m learning and I’m growing within the realms of Islam. Thank You Allah for that as well.

This is why, as my Islamic knowledge increases, so to does my worry and concern for my parents and the way they are living their lives. I don’t know what there is for me to say and/or do so that they can change before it’s too late. Allah knows best. Maybe this is 1 of my tests. If it is, it is by far the hardest one I’ve ever had to do.

I ask Allah to forgive me, my parents, my sister, all other members of my family alive and deceased and the rest of the Ummah of Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Salaam). I ask Allah to kindle the love for Islam, for Himself, for Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Salaam) and for each other in all our hearts. May Allah make Islam as a way of live easy for us all. May He bless us all, guide us all to the Straight Path and never ever let us go astray. May He grant us all the good in this life and the great in the Hereafter. I’d like to send blessings, greetings and salutations upon Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Salaam), his family and his companions. Insha Allah. Insha Allah. Insha Allah. Ameen.

Muslim Inspiration

I just saw this in a book that my dad compiled on behalf of the ladies’ organization my grandmother (his mum) is a founding member of and I just had to blog it! :)

"There is no word as beautiful as ALLAH,
There is no example as beautiful as RASULALLAH,
There is no lesson as beautiful as ISLAM,
There is no song as melodious as the ADHAN,
There is no charity as meaningful as ZAKAAH,
There is no enclyclopedia as perfect as AL QUR’AN,
There is no exercise as perfect as SALAAH,
There is no diet as perfect as FASTING,
There is no journey as perfect as HAJJ,
So let us realize that ISLAM is ever so beautiful and perfect!” :)

RE: My previous posting (1st Day of Ramadan)

Just to clear the air with regards to my previous post. I’m not in any way trying to bring anyone down or say that (since my transformation) I’m better than anyone. How wrong I would be if I was/were to do that!

The point I was trying to get at is that, since I’ve decided to embrace Islam in its entirety, I’ve looked back at my life and I’ve realized how many mistakes I’ve made and now I’m trying my best to learn from them and not repeat them.

Some of those mistakes that I’ve made include being glued to the couch and the telly, spending “extra” time with what could be considered useless activities such as playing games, going to the mall/cinema, etc…

This is where a lot of people with have problems. In my opinion, those such activities do very little or nothing to take a person closer to Allah (SWT). However, if by partaking in those activities family bonds grow stronger and those participating learn a life skill or two then I have no problem with it as long as it’s not overdone.

I’m just writing this having reflected on my life and realizing how much time I had that I could have spent praying to/worshipping Allah (SWT) but instead, because of my weakness, laziness, lack of piety and so many other negative qualities I spent the time on activities that took me further and further away from Allah (SWT).

I just want to protect and prevent my cousins from making the same mistakes that I have made. I just want them to make the absolute best use of the time that they have since none of us knows when our time here will come to an end.

As with everything else, I’m reminding myself first before I remind anyone else.

I ask Allah (SWT) to forgive us all for our sins, intentional or unintentional, willingly or unwillingly, hidden or openly. May he guide us and keep us all on the path of Islam and never let us go astray Insha Allah. Ameen. :-)

1st day of Ramadaan 2012

Alhamdulillah. It’s the 1st day of another Holy & Blessed month of Ramadaan.

This year has been filled with changes that I’m grateful I’ve made. One of these changes includes reading more about this wonderful way of life known as Islam. With all of this reading comes an increase in my knowledge, Alhamdulillah :)

This is why it pains me to write this although I will be the first to admit that just one short year ago I was in the situation I’m about to write about.

From what I’ve read thus far, I’ve come to understand & appreciate that this is a month full of opportunities that are rare if not unavailable throughout the rest of the year.

I just came back from visiting my aunts and cousins (who are my neighbours). It hurt me to see one of them sleeping, one glued to his Nintendo DS and the other glued to the t.v. In our house, my sister has slept away the majority of the day and my mom has been in front of the t.v. and my dad was on Facebook for a few hours.

A year ago that was me. I’ll start the fast, maybe pray Fajr then spend the rest of the day looking at t.v., sleeping and anything else that was of no benefit.

I can’t tell anyone how to live their lives but they’re heading down a dangerous path & I feel it’s somewhat my responsibility to help them find their way Insha Allah.

My Current Dilemma

Bismilla-hir-Rahman-ir-Raheem

I begin in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

I am currently sitting in the gallery of my family’s house having just enjoyed a delicious cup of tea and waiting patiently for the sun to rise (too many clouds though..I doubt I’ll see anything). SubhanaAllah..All praise and thanks are to Allah (SWT) who as allowed me to enjoy this privilege every morning for the past few weeks :)

As I sit here, my mind is running at a million miles per second. I am supposed to be sitting my first final exam of this semester in a few hours Insha Allah. As anyone who knows me would know, I’ve never liked school..I’ve never liked studying, doing projects then being tested on what I was supposed to have learnt. School never has been my cup of tea, especially now since I’m only doing it because it’s what everyone as well as society says I have to do. Ever since I began my university life in September 2010, for the most part, it has been the worst experience of my life. The only upside thus far has been getting to see my friends every once in a while.

I’ve recently undergone (is that even a word?? LoL) a lot of changes in my life, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I think I’ve changed more in these past few weeks than I have throughout any other point in my life. I’ve completely reorganized my priorities-things that were not important to me have gone straight to the top of that list: Salaah, constantly remembering, praising & thanking Allah (SWT), sending blessings upon our Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), etc… :) I no longer have any interest in a lot of the things that I lived for a few weeks ago- anything Hollywood-related is a nice way to sum that list up.

I’ve listened to a lot of lectures and speeches by a variety of individuals over the past few weeks, both on the Internet and the on the television. And while those lectures were on varying topics (love, marriage, sports in Islam, women in Islam, forgiveness, etc…), one underlying concept that was common in almost all of them was the fact that this life is temporary-nothing in this life is going to last. I’ve heard this time and time again but this is the first time it has had such a profound impact on my life. This was a real eye-opener for me..Alhamdulillah :)

This is where my dilemma begins..I’ve wanted to leave university since the first time I was there and it mattered not to me whether I left there with a degree or whether they kicked me out for failing too many courses..I just wanted to leave & I want that even more now. My problem is that I can’t just drop out..I can’t expect my parents to look after me forever..As much as I will try to deny it, I have to exist in this life until Allah, the All-Wise decides it’s time for me to die. Having re-ordered my list of priorities I’ve realized that, while our ultimate goal is basically the same thing, the roads which the people I’m surrounded by (mostly my family) and I are taking are getting more and more different with each passing day. I can only speak of what I witness with my own two eyes (if that much) and based on what I’ve experienced throughout my life, a lot of emphasis (too much in my opinion) is being placed on achieving the very best in this life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for this..just not if and when it is at the expense of ensuring the very best for ourselves in the Hereafter. That’s what I’ve recently been having issues with. To each his/her own. I can’t tell people how to live their lives. If that’s the path they choose, I wish them all the best and I’ll continue to make Duaa for them.

My desire to learn as much as I possibly can about Islam, our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon Him always) and everything else this beautiful way of life has to offer is unlike the desire I’ve ever had for anything else in my life. I don’t want to study Accounting or Economics or the Sociology of Sports..I just want to study Islam. However, as with almost anything else, there are a few obstacles in my path.
(1)I’m single/unmarried which means that it’s unwise for me to go anywhere too far to study on my own (assuming I’m blessed with such an opportunity {to study}).
(2)I’m from Trinidad—‘nuff said..LoL.
(3)If I am to drop out of university, I just may have to get married not too long after. Married???!!!! LoL. I can barely take care of myself much less a husband and then (Insha Allah) kids?? I guess marital/wifey instincts kick in after you get married similar to how maternal instincts kick in when a mom has a baby??

Insha Allah, I intend to sit all 5 of my final exams (I’m not guaranteeing any passes though :-P). As to what happens then, as of right now, only Allah (SWT) knows. I am putting my complete trust in Him (as I always strive to do). I think that the next chapter in my life might most definitely raise some eyebrows amongst my family members and they may not agree with some of the choices I think I’ll be making, but my aim in life now (and hopefully it won’t change) is to please Allah to the best of my abilities (Insha Allah). No offense to anyone and I hope I don’t incur any sins by saying this but..I’d much rather please my Lord, my creator, my sustainer-Allah (SWT)-than please all of the people in my life. I do not wish to sacrifice my success in the next life to obtain the best in this life. I’d rather have nothing now and everything then as opposed to having everything now and nothing then.

————»Deen over Dunya!! :)«————

As always, I ask Allah (SWT) to forgive me for any mistakes I may have made with this posting. I pray that Allah (SWT) continues to bless us, guide us and that He never lets us go astray Insha Allah. Ameen.

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