The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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 to fight giving himself and his wealth up for the cause, and came back with nothing" [Bukhari]
But which 10 days was our beloved RasoolAllah (saw) talking about?
The Prophet (SAWS) 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 (ten days of Dhu'l-Hijjah), so during this time recite a great deal of Tahleel ("La ilaaha ill-Allaah") ,Takbeer ("Allaahu Akbar") & Tahmeed("Al-hamdu Lillaah"). So say it loudly in the mosque, the home, the street and every place where it is permitted to remember Allah and mention His name out loud, as an act of worship and as a proclamation of the greatness of Allah, may He be exalted.
Ok, so its been like what two months already since our guest Ramadan left us?
How's your soul doing? High? Medium? Low? Loooooow???
We all go through our ups and downs, highs and lows.
Allah knows us - He created us - so He shows us ways in which we can stay on a spiritual high throughout the year.
He (swt) gives us short periods - short breaks, I like to call them 'Spiritual Retreats' where we can pick ourselves up again.
So here we are in the blessed days of a blessed month Dhul Hijjah - another chance for us to seek forgiveness for our sins, seek mercy from our Rabb and to try fix our broken spirits! (Trust me, I'm so glad I've got this opportunity again, Allahu Akbar - I need spiritual fixing!).
YOU with me on this spiritual retreat?
And if your off for Hajj or already there then can you please make a special dua for our WBI family? JazaakAllah! :)
So here's the plan for us insha'Allah. I'll give you the overall plan, but its for you to make your own schedule - because we've all got different daily schedules. I mean normal peoples schedule begins from 9am til 5pm, but someone as abnormal as me my schedule is 5pm til 6am! (Don't ask!).
Here's how we can make this the best 10 spiritually high days insha'Allah. Here's our 'Quick Spiritual Fix!'
Grab a notepad and pen (ipads/iphones, etc, etc) and switch into Ramadan mode (to do this close your eyes and think of a day in Ramadan where you felt totally at peace and on a spiritual high - when you can feel a tingling throughout your body open your eyes and begin and yes, I can see you smiling!).
1. Obligatory Ibaadah:
Are we praying our five daily prayers and praying them on time?
Do a prayer check! Check the times of start and end and pray!
How much time do we spend each day on Qur'an? Reading it, reciting it, memorizing it, listening to it, understanding and studying the translation.
Schedule in time for Qur'an. If we can make a date with the tv and our favourite shows then I'm sure we can make a date with the Qur'an. Start and end the day with the Qur'an
3. The Fast Life:
Get into Ramadan mode and fast. Fast the first 9 days including Arafah day (ladies - if you're on an ibaadah break you may not be able to fast and pray salah, but you can do the rest insha'Allah).
Fasting on the day of 'Arafah, the Prophet [sall-Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam] said: "Fasting the day of 'Arafah, I hope, will expiate the sins of the year before it and the year to come..." [Muslim]
4. NBN - Nocturnal By Nature
Pray the night prayer. Qiyaam, tahajjud, read books, watch lectures, listen to audio reminders, study and recite more Qur'an.
If you're going to do an all-nighter then sprinkle a dose of the above insha'Allah. You'll be glad you did! :)
5. Just Dua It!
Do you make dua? Allah says; 'Remember me and I shall remember you.' In a hadith qudsi He (swt) also says; '...walk to me and I shall run to you!' Yet most of us are still crawling!
Run to Allah!!! You have no where else to go!
Make dua, lots and lots. For yourself, family, your pet parrot, the entire Ummah. Raise your hands to the skies and make dua!
(No I don't have a mia mithu (parrot) but I do have a cat - Mano).
Study the Names and Attributes of Allah and so when you make dua you can call Him with those names (ie asking for rizq, forgiveness - its more powerful when asking by those specific names).
Make dua when it rains, when breaking the fast, between asr and maghrib prayer on Friday - on these occasions ones duas are answered.
The supplication of every one of you will be granted if he does not get impatient and say (for example): `I supplicated my Rubb but my prayer has not been granted'.'' [Bukhari and Muslim]
6. Dhikr Allah
'Keep the tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah'.
Make dhikr constantly.
If you're still struggling with vain talk and vulgar language - time to wash the mouth and tongue with dhikr Allah. Try it!
Just remind yourself - 'Dhikr and Tasbee'.
RasoolAllah (sws) said even a smile is charity but I bet you a camel or a sheep (well it is qurbani season!) that we can give more than a smile.
Give a pound to a charity a day.
Set up a direct debit to give charity on a deceased loved ones name.
Give and you shall receive!
All our rizq is a blessing from Allah and He is the true owner of it. We can't take money to our grave - we can't use it as ransom to keep the punishment away! And so if Allah has blessed you with wealth then spend on those who have less than you.
Well, that was a long list! But I'm sure we can all do our part insha'Allah.
Is there anything else we could add to that list? Let me know insha'Allah.
May these blessed days be a true blessing for us all and may Allah (swt) shower - actually, no - may He (swt) send us all a tsunami of barakah and tawfeeq - ameen!
Now THAT was YOUR spiritual fix!
So, are your high yet? :)
Now CLICK HERE to grab your 10 Day Dhul-Hijjah Challenge Box!
How do we spend most of our days? Do we consciously go through the day knowing what we are doing or do we just ‘flow’ through the day on auto-pilot? Maybe you’re half and half – half on auto and half conscious?
And, so, the question is – what about the other half?
We are so consumed in our day to day and our ‘to-do’ list that most the time we just go through the day and reach nightfall and not actually realise how we got there. A bit like driving a car or brushing our teeth. They become second nature and so we just do them! We are not fully aware of what we are doing – we are not really ‘in the moment.’
We go out for a walk to ‘clear our mind’ but because we have too much on our mind jumping up and down we forget to take in all the scenery whilst we’re out for a walk.
Ever been to the park for a walk and then you look back and realise you didn’t even notice the trees, the flowers, and the people?
That’s when we are not aware and not in the moment.
So, what is awareness?
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, or sensory patterns.
We always talk about not having enough time, always have too much on our mind, so many issues, too much going on, one thing doesn't end and another starts…
All this can seriously affect our health and also we lose the precious moment – the moment which we can look back on with a sense of contentment. This moment right now!
Are you aware and in the moment whilst you are reading this?
Because if you are truly in the moment right now then you will start to realise the questions I have asked you and you will start to automatically answer those questions and you’ll be saying; ‘Oh yeah…’ in your head.
Being aware of ourselves is very powerful.
Awareness - being conscious, being aware – it’s the first step towards making some changes you want to make and it really eases that heavy load/burden off your soul - just by consciously deciding to make change you'll fire up to all things possible - as they truly are possible!
It’s about being in the moment - having full focus, giving someone full attention. Giving you attention!
If we don’t realise that we have made some wrong choices or decisions in our life then how can we begin to make amends? How can we begin to change?
Everyone of us – and yes you included – have gone through a time when we complained about something and nothing seemed to change for the better until we suddenly had an ‘ah-ha’ moment or a sudden ‘breakthrough’. We realised that it was up to us to do something [insert whatever that was] and our situation would change – for the better.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an; "Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)." [Quran 13:11]
Even Allah – our Creator – is telling us to become aware of ourselves, our situations and to take that first step and then He (swt) will help us.
It’s hard – I know – everything in life is hard – before you try it – but try it and see the difference it’ll make.
Become more aware of your surroundings – your moments – your time – become more aware of your soul. You are a spiritual being – you are a soul and have a body. We all take care of our body but amazingly we all seem to fail when it comes to taking care of our soul. If we look deep within us we have all the answers to all our questions. We need to become alchemists of our own life. We need to start trusting our intuition – our gut. We need to start trusting Allah more – because if we do then He (swt) will insha’Allah guide us to all the answers.
We waste so much precious time looking here and there for answers and then we feel even more discontent and even unhappy.
I mean, we were created happy – so, then, what happened? We allowed ‘things’ to get in the way and that just messed us up.
We are all responsible for our lives and there will come a day when we will be accountable for everything we have done and everything we do. We can’t come on that Day with an excuse of; ‘I didn’t know’ or ‘I wasn’t aware’. It won’t help us then. It’s not helping us now.
So let’s take this moment – you and I – and make a promise to become more aware of ourselves and our lives – so we can get rid of the unnecessary clutter and be content.
Here are some quick tips:
1. Spend at least 15 minutes each day in quiet contemplation. No, not whilst you’re multi-tasking a billion things but just you and Allah and that’s it. Listen to the silence. In these 15 minutes do some dhikr or tasbee to help you focus. Try this after fajr or after isha or both. Listening to silence is extremely powerful!
2. Read up on ‘Purification of the Heart and Soul’ topics – to find out how our pious predecessors really got to know their inner core. They have left us with vast treasures and oceans of knowledge in this area. And we need it so much more today than they ever did back then.
3. By following the above two steps you will be able to question yourself on what makes you truly happy, what brings your down, what is it that you’re yearning, what is it that you’re trying to achieve – these types of questions can really take us to our core and help us understand ourselves – help us become aware of ourselves. So don’t be afraid of that internal dialogue – I mean, c’mon, it’s always chatting away in the background anyway – so how about we put it to some real use.
4. As a Spiritual and Creative Mentor/Coach I can help you unlock some of your deepest fears and help you towards self-awareness. To book a *FREE* 30 minute session email firstname.lastname@example.org (or use the booking form on the website).
....From this moment onwards make a conscious decision to become more aware of whom you are. You have only one life here on planet Earth. Isn’t it time you lived it with some awareness?
Ramadan Mabrook to one and all! :)
Weather you started to observe your fast today (Saturday) or yesterday (Friday) - have a blessed month ahead, make the most of all your time and I pray that all your duas are answered! Make the most of our guest - because our guest is only around for 29 or 30 days, once every year - and we're definately blessed if we get to meet our guest!
May Allah accept it from us all - ameen!
Today's topic is about; 'Courage and being Courageous’.
Before we continue further I just want to point out that this topic is not only for females but also for males.
In a society where gender biases are at a high we are always told that men are brave and women are weak.
We're not talking about the gender differences which Allah (swt) has created but how we always tell boys; 'Boys don't cry they are brave' and we tell girls; 'It's ok to cry, you're a girl!'.
By doing this we subconsciously start accepting how we should behave when we get older and sometimes lack courage, self-confidence and self-respect in situations where we really need them the most.
We are all human and we all fall and we all - female and male - need to learn to be courageous, have self-confidence and learn self-respect.
Although these three - 'Courage, Self-Confidence and Self-Respect' - make for a nice separate essay each, I'm going to link all three together today in this short blog post.
Why do we lack in courage, self-confidence and self-respect? When did it all start! And how did we allow it to eat us up and leave us for ruins?
Well, it all started when you were little...
*Re-wind to when you were 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7*....(grab the Kleenex if you need to and maybe some chocolate!)
Picture yourself trying to do something really cool (maybe dangerous) and something your friends hadn’t already tried. You were like the groups coolest kid! And just when you were about to take that step someone n the group called out ‘You can’t do it you’re a chicken – you’re too scared – watch you’re going to fall!’ and the sniggering and laughing started! (God, kids can be really crewel at times!).
Maybe that specific scenario didn’t happen to you (me neither!) – Whatever it was, it was something that you were about to do but everyone laughed at you and said you couldn’t do it!
Or maybe you were trying to read one of those hard-to-read books or trying to draw some cool pictures or wanted to make a really big Lego thing or try to score some goals in a football match. It was something that you believed you could do and someone said that you couldn’t and made a joke out of you.
It stuck with you forever!
Maybe not the way it happened way back then – but you conditioned your mind in such a way that you started believing that you can’t achieve something, anything.
*Think of freshly baked bread – take a deep breath and smell that lovely aroma....mmmmm*
(We have to do that, to snap you out of the past!)
The craziest part is that you don’t have to think about your past all the time BUT those early years up to the age of 7 are when beliefs are formed and become part of us forever (Note: if you have younger siblings, nieces/nephews or children that age, then please feed them with positive beliefs NOW – you’ll thank me later!)
All those negative thoughts, beliefs and I can’t do, achieve, be this , that or the other become part of our subconscious and whenever something goes wrong now (whatever age you are right now) then we automatically fall back into that mind-set. And then you’re left wondering why you think all that stuff when it was way in the past!
It becomes a trap – you’re trapped and can’t get out of it and it becomes like a cycle – a vicious cycle. Every time something negative, wrong, not good happens, you fall back into the trap.
As we grew older those beliefs we formed at a younger age started to affect our confidence. We stopped being confident to do what we wanted to do. We don’t seem to have the courage to do what we believe deep inside we can do. We are afraid that we will fall and hurt and get laughed at. Fear paralyses us and either we don’t do anything (and stay in a negative, unhappy state) or do all the wrong things we know we shouldn’t really do! All those dreams, hopes and wishes we wanted to achieve – we just can’t seem to do them. We start looking for validation from others. We get into the wrong relationships, with the wrong people, for the wrong reasons. This is where we lose our self-respect. Maybe even getting into haraam. We constantly allow ourselves to go round and round in this cycle. We don’t apply for that job we want. We don’t change our bad habits (in our health, wealth, emaan) to better and positive ones and we get into our comfort-zone, one where we know if we don’t try, we won’t get hurt and we’ll be ok. We think we are happy there.
Ask yourselves – will you truly be happy?
If YOU don’t pluck up the courage and believe in yourself, then who will?
Why look towards others for validation?
Know that the one who created us – Allah – believes in us – and with Allah by our side we can achieve anything!
Now, you must be wondering; ‘I have so many negative beliefs – I want to get rid of them – what do I do?’
Read on insha’Allah...
Courage is not the lack of fear – in fact, fear teaches one to become courageous and I believe we have all come through some form of fear to make us brave and courageous. And I don’t think that once we have gone through a fearful event and learnt courage it stops. We will face fearful events all the time – from the very small to very big – it’s how we react when we’re in that situation and how we deal with that situation and how we come out of it which shows whether we are courageous or we lack courage. It gets stronger with time. It has to get stronger.
Courage is also linked to patience (make sure you read the post on ‘Patience’ if you haven’t already ---> http://www.webeinspired.com/1/post/2012/01/is-your-patience-a-virtue.html <--- ).
Allah (swt) says; “But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs” (42:43)
Tips and Action Points:
1. The past is the past – don’t fight it now – your present is what matters – BUT respect the past to move on. The past is what you were and what was back then – that is not who you are today and it won’t be who you are tomorrow. Make peace with the past and if you need to speak to someone to put the past to rest then email email@example.com we’re here for YOU!
2. Are you praying your Salah and reading your Qur’an daily? If not, start now!
3. Dua – is truly the weapon of the believer. Make lots of dua and sincerely ask Allah for help – he will help you.
4. Who is in your ‘Pit-Crew’? Who are your friends? Did you know that the 5 people you are around the most (minus your family) or who you interact with the most (In person, phone, emails etc) determine your success or failure? Are your friends with you or against you? (Don’t go dumping them all after you read this!) Are they negative or positive? Do they support you in your dreams or put you down? Are they your personal cheerleaders?
5. Grab a pen and paper and write down all those negative thoughts, words and statements. The ones that really make you feel like you are nothing. Be determined to move on and make positive changes in your world. Say; ‘Goodbye negative past’ and rip that piece of paper into tiny pieces and throw it away! Take a deep breath and let all those negativities all fall away – just as leaves fall off from trees on a windy day.
6. Grab a new piece of paper and write down all the positive words about yourself, your achievements, your successes (yes, this part can be hard – but then you need to train your brain to think in a new way) and who you desire to be. Read it over and over again and picture all that you want to be. Imagine it all. See it all happen. Just the way you want it to happen. Say Bismillah and start working on your new you NOW.
Again, this is not easy because all those thoughts and beliefs have been there for a long time. But remember that we have been feeding ourselves all that negativity for many years and we’ve invested many hours of training our brain that way. It will take a little time. But invest in it now and you shall reap the positive rewards insha’Allah.
Remember, be courageous in whatever you do – you have one life. Make the most of it. Work on your ibaadah. Don’t lose out. You can achieve all you want. Believe in yourself. Allah believes in you!
Nadia Leona Yunis