"Islam helps us to live, because this whole life is a test. Allah (swt) promises us that he will test us. And already in advance we have declared that we will never compete with the decree of the Almighty.
We believe that He is in command. We play our role, and the rest we will leave in the hands of the Almighty. Whatever He then decides to do, we will surrender to it.
May Allah (swt) never make us from those who question His decree, and who question His power, and His independence, and the fact that He is in supreme control.”
"The importance of having the blessings of Allah in one’s marriage. How the wedding can affect the presence or absence of blessings in one’s marriage."
"My first Ramadan with Amr, we went to taraweeh prayer at the largest congregation in Alexandria. Thousands of people gathered to pray in the open air by the sea. When the prayer was done, young men were collecting money for one of those most severe famines in Somalia. I got some of my money together, handed it to Amr, and he gave it to one of the men collecting donations.
My last Ramadan with Amr, we prayed taraweeh at a local masjid in Alexandria. As we were heading home, he said to me “I still don’t think we give enough charity.” And upon that, we saw an elderly woman sitting on the side of the road asking for money. He took a bill out of his wallet, put it in my hand and asked me to go give it to her. I did, and she made dua for us.
That is one of the last things we did together.
Charity…from my hand, to his. From his hand, to mine. That’s how it was between us, and that’s how it is with love – at least when you don’t love selfishly, and when you understand that there is a greater purpose to love and to life – you give together, you pray together, you become better together.
Both my first and last Ramadan with Amr are punctuated by these events, and they have stayed with me. The image of Amr emerging from the men’s side of the masjid with a wet beard has also stayed with me. He never told me why he cried in those final prayers, and I didn’t ask.
One of the many things Amr taught me was giving charity. Not just giving money to those in need, but giving of yourself to your family, friends and community. I mean the kind of charity that is to be a positive force on this earth, to radiate goodness and fairness wherever you go – and to give from what is most personally yours – your heart, your smile, your good words.
I don’t think we really understand what charity means. It doesn’t mean that the person giving is rich, or noble or exceptionally philanthropic. Rather, those who continuously give are actually those who see themselves as in need.
They need Allah’s Mercy, His Forgiveness. They need to alleviate the distress of others so that Allah (swt) can alleviate a distress of theirs on the Day of Judgment. I think Amr realized how much we were in need of this, and so he endeavored to always give to me, our daughter, his friends, his community. He never stopped giving until the day he returned to Allah. He never stopped speaking the truth, he never stopped calling for justice, he never stopped being who he was out of fear of what others would say or do to him.
He never stopped giving because he knew that he needed Allah to give him something greater. I pray that he has received something much greater than what he gave away.”
A short video made during Ramadan for my hometown mosque in Sweden. It was mostly improvised and is a work in progress. Inshallah I will be able to put some more work into it.
"Some people laugh at those they call “Ramadan Muslims” [don’t get me started] but let me ask you: what were you doing last year? What were you just looking at on the internet? How dare you look down on someone who has said “La ilaha ila Allah,” they are your brothers and sisters and yet you laugh?
You demand solidarity in every student organization you belong to and can’t find it in your heart to show some compassion to someone who has said such a weighty phrase?
But you know what? I was thinking how The Qur’an says that if you kill one person it is as if you have killed all of humanity, and if you save one person it is as if you have saved all of humanity, and then it hit me:
What if your little snarky comments push someone out of Islam? Are you ready to bear those consequences? Think of all the prayers they’d miss, because of your negativity. If killing one person is equivalent to killing all of humanity, what do you think it would mean to push someone out of Islam?
And yet if you were just a little kinder, a little more patient, a little more Muslim, actually following The Command of Your Lord and brought someone back to Islam what sort of reward do you think you would get?
Just something to think about while fasting this Ramadan:
“for to fast is to do good unto yourselves - if you but knew it.”
- The Holy Qur’an [2:184]”
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah said:
"One of the supplications that the Prophet used to say was: ‘Allahumma, inni a’udhu bika min ‘ilmin la yanfa’u, wa mindu’a’in la yusma’u, wa min qalbin la yakhsha’u, wa min nafsin la tashba’u [O Allah, I seek refuge with You from knowledge that is of no benefit, from a supplication that is not heard, from a heart that does not fear (You) and from a soul that is not satisfied].’”
"As Ramadan starts to wind down, Here are some things that we can continue to do throughout the year:
The most obvious deed to continue is fasting because despite how long the days have been, fasting has become your second nature by now. So it’s no coincidence that we were encouraged by the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam) to follow up a month of fasting in Ramadan with 6 days of fasting in Shawwal.
Now is the time to start fasting Mondays and Thursdays and the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every Islamic month. Your body is used to it and your soul craves it. But here’s something else I would add. Although we really can’t have Ramadan outside of Ramadan, which is why the fasts will feel different, we can try to duplicate the experience as much as possible. What makes Ramadan special ASIDE from fasting is the Taraweeh prayer, Quran recitation, community/family iftars, etc. Obviously the month of Ramadan also has virtues that are completely out of our control like Laylatul Qadr, the gates of paradise opened, the gates of hell shut, etc. But for the first set of things, we should try to create a similar experience. So here are my tips:
1. Fast Mondays and Thursdays and the 3 middle days of the Islamic month
2. Invite family and friends to fast along with you
3. Organize an iftar amongst friends a few days a month that coincide with the sunnah days of fasting. This will continue to encourage one another to not let go of this habit. So rotate amongst yourselves every other Thursday or Monday, etc. This will also help build bonds for the sake of Allah and allow everyone to share in the reward of feeding the fasting.
4. Be sure to pray Qiyamul layl on those nights. I’m not attaching any significance to Qiyam on Mondays or Thursdays, but Qiyam is Sunnah EVERY night and fasting is as much about feeding the soul as it is about starving the body.
5. And finally on that note, be sure to read an extra amount of Quran on the days you are fasting. A person is undoubtedly more focused on his recitation and more aware while he is fasting.
May Allah allow us to be amongst the slaves of the Lord of Ramadan, and not Ramadan itself. May He grant us entry into Paradise through the Rayyan gate which is reserved only for those who excelled in fasting. ameen.”