Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

Ramadhan Workshop Write-Up! August 8, 2010

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 12:22 pm

As Muslims we don’t make New Year resolutions, but Ramadhan Resolutions!

Alhamdullilah Rabi Al’alameen—during our Ramadhan workshop we had more than 51 participant. May Allah insha Allah make this a productive Ramadhan, one that brings us closer to Allah (swt) and awareness of Him in all our actions, and results in us attaining Jannah and emancipated from the hellfire Ameen.

Perceptions/Misconceptions:

What is Ramadhan usually associated with in your mind?

  • Variety of food, Iftar, Suhoor

  • Spirituality. The ONLY month when you take a break from sins.

  • Gatherings with friends—O those long nights with friends after sunset to sahoor time. What fun!

  • A time to re-acquaint with the Qur’an and prayer

Where do you stand—this is an opportunity to put things in perspective for you regarding your perceptions or misconceptions about Ramadhan—so you can take a stand for or against? Remember Ramadhan is an opportunity for change—so don’t despair. If you put your hand on the problem then you are half way there to solving it.

Goals for this Ramadhan:

  • I want to be aware of Allah in all my actions—i.e. increase “Taqwa”

  • I want to build my character through lessons about the disposition of the Propher (saw) and his companions, as well as through the stories of the Prophets (as) in the Qur’an.

  • I would like to either attain excellence (ihsan) or even better perfection.

  • I would like to increase my spirituality & purify soul

  • I don’t know if I will make it next Ramadhan, my soul is in the hands of Allah (swt) so I want to prepare for death

Circle all that apply—but be realistic because if you are aren’t you will give up the very first day.

My Prayer (Salaah):

Give your five daily prayers a grade of 1-10—1 being the worst in terms of doing them on time, following through with its pillars, obligations and Sunnahs and attaining focus and khushu’u—10 being the best. If you have given yourself a low grade, don’t worry insha Allah work on it this Ramadhan. Here are some things to consider:

  • Work on improving concentration during prayer

  • Understanding the meanings of what you are saying during prayer, will make a world of a difference.

  • Be punctual—aim for praying within the first half hour after Adhan (the call for prayer)

  • Stand in night prayers (Tahajjud)—do your best. Either every other day, or 3 times a week, or the last ten days of Ramadhan. Promise yourself to continue this habit after Ramadhan. Again determine a realistic goal for yourself so that you can follow through—if you head to work the following day absolutely exhausted, it is less likely that you will continue during Ramadhan and after Ramadhan.

  • Go for congregational Taraweeh prayer—also try and pray in congregation at home as well with your husband, children, sisters, brothers etc. Do this for Taraweeh and Tahajjud (not for the Sunnahs before and after the daily prayers, those by default are not prayed in congregation). If you make it to any of the five daily prayers in the masjed but miss the Jama’a then find a sister to pray with to get the reward for it.

  • Be in the mood for more sujood, so incorporate non obligatory prayers in your daily routine—like witr, shurooq etc.

For families with kids who are in weekend Qur’an classes the whole year, it is time for parents to know how well their kids are doing. Have your children lead you in Taraweeh at home, either while holding the Qur’an so you can swell with pride at their mastery in tajweed or reading from memory. Rotate so that each child gets to lead two raka’s. It will boost your child’s confidence, and they will look forward to following Ramadhans, and work harder on their Qur’an. This is putting what they have worked on the whole year to practice, rather than it always being in theory.  I am sure you can think of more suggestions? Share them with us in the comment to this entry insha Allah.

My long lost friend, the Qur’an:

  • Read the whole Qur’an at least once—again be realistic one is plenty.

  • Memorize a few Surahs or even verses—start a Qur’an memorization contest at home, or among your friends and give out prizes at the end of Ramadhan.

  • Learn to recite the Qur’an with Tajweed—don’t know Tajweed then this is the time to start.

  • Understand the meanings of the Qur’an & ponder over its verses—it’s time to reflect. Allah (swt) is sending you messages, is talking to you. It’s time you understood what He (swt) is saying to you.

  • Study Tafseer (exegesis)—get a copy of the Tafseer of Ibn Katheer for instance and have a goal of studying the Tafseer of an x number of chapters or verses.

  • If you do not know how to read Qur’an yet, it is time to start. Don’t keep on postponing. Put all your fears and excuses under your feet, and stamp on them hard! Say, “Yes I can!” There are so many sources online that will help you achieve this goal, so get cracking.

Ramadhan is the month of the Qur’an, Allah (swt) says, “The month of Ramadhan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong.” (2:185) Furthermore, bn ‘Abbas narrates “The Messenger of Allah (saw) was the most generous person, and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan because Jibril would come to him every night and he would rehearse the Qur’an with him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6/486) All the above suggestions call under the umbrella of “rehearse” the Qur’an. If you know won’t follow through alone, find a Qur’an companion or group. Do not be among those who are mentioned in Surah Al Furqan Ayah 30? Look it up, that’s a start!

My list of Duas:

  • List your daily duas for Ramadhan

  • Focus on times duas are accepted, such as during sujood, just before Iftar.

  • Learn duas from Quran & Hadith

  • Have an emotional connection with your duas. Imagine that you are a child who has greatly disappointed his parents, and is knocking at their door asking for forgiveness. Wishing and hoping that the door will come unlocked and they will rush to take you in their arms. We want dua with fervor. Intenseness of emotions. Squeeze those tears out—but not crocodile tears, real ones!

Don’t say, my duas will come to me during Ramadhan. They won’t! Write them down, and whenever you have a minute take them out and start asking for them.

Let’s get fit:

  • Are there some bad habits that you would like to get rid of such as smoking? Well, Ramadhan is the time.

  • Be in control of your eating and sleeping habits—don’t overeat. It mind boggles me how so many Muslims ask around for detox programs, when they have been gifted one by Allah (swt) annually. This is the best detox program ever, so make use of it by making sensible choices of food and drink and activities.

  • Prefer fruits, vegetables and whole grains over unhealthy fried food. See the nutrition guide in my “Let’s Roll Up Our Sleeves and Warm Up for Ramadhan.”

  • Don’t cancel your gym membership for the month, or put your exercise equipment in storage. Light exercise is necessary during Ramadhan. Weigh yourself before and after Ramadhan to gauge how you did this month?

You are “Ummat Iqra”:

We are a nation whose first commandment was “read”—you should be doing this the whole year, but hey we are making Ramadhan resolutions here so don’t sweat if you haven’t picked up the habit yet.

  • Read Islamic books—make a list of books that you would like to read this Ramadhan that will increase your Islamic knowledge. Again be realistic. Put aside an hour a day—preferably the same time everyday—and isolate yourself i.e. “be in Khulwah” to read and contemplate about what you have read. Keep a notepad handy to write your reflections.

  • Attend Islamic lectures, in person and online. Yep, we are having regular halaqas this Ramadhan, and check my blog for any halaqa announcements insha Allah.

  • Start a study circle or Qur’an translation program—this is a great idea for sisters with young children who feel left out from joining the Ummah in the masjed.

  • Listen to Islamic CDs or Audio cassettes—there are so many wonderful series by da’ees, shuyookh and scholars. I would suggest that you choose two series for this Ramadhan, and promise yourself to listen to 1-2 Cd’s or cassettes a day. Check out this site for suggestions—click on “lectures.”

Enjoining Good:

  • Arrange for Iftar—for the rewards for this check out my article “Let’s Kindle the Energy for Ramadhan.” I will have a number of opportunities posted insha Allah in our community.

  • Reach out to your relatives—call them and wish them Ramadhan Mubarak, or send them an email, or a card. If there are relative ties that have been severed—connect them right away!

  • Be a good neighbor—to Muslim and Non-Muslim.  Reach out to your non-muslim neighbors this Ramadhan, send them Iftar and a note about Ramadhan. Do the same at work, it is a great opportunity for dawah. Be alert to the needs of your Muslim neighbors, they could be in hardships and you have no clue. They don’t have to tell you, but rather you be sensitive.

  • Lighten the burden of others—if you are a group of sisters with kids decide on a rotating “babysitting during Taraweeh prayer schedule” so you call benefit praying with the jama’a.  Welcome mothers with kids to the masjed, and ease her distress if she is struggling to get her kids to be quiet during prayer. Don’t make her feel like she is negligent and inconsiderate. Your kindness can open the door for you to give her advice on making better choices. Insha Allah.

  • Give to poor—in whatever shape or form.

  • Respect all elders—Muslm and Non-Muslim

  • Maintain good manners and behavior at home and work—fasting is not an excuse for you to be lazy and bad mannered. Remember Allah (swt) is doing you favors, and not torturing you. So, don’t play the “Ramadhan Victim” that calls for everybody’s sympathy or wrath.

Forbidding Evil:

  • Don’t lie—look up hadiths regarding lying. It is not the characteristic of a believer, any time of the year.

  • Speaking ill of others, gossiping—even about brothers and sisters in the masjed. Keep a box of toothpicks by your phone, to remind you that speaking ill of other or gossiping about them is like eating their flesh alive.

  • Don’t lose your temper—we will be having a halaqa with the BB4 Muslimas this Tuesday the 10th of August, 2010 about this Insha Allah. Will have an entry about it after the halaqa.

  • Don’t waste your time watching TV, serials, films, etc. Every minute in Ramadhan is precious.

  • Don’t talk just because your jaws and tongue need a good workout—beware of vain talk .

A night worth over a thousand nights:

  • Intend to search for it either in the odd nights of last 10 days, or the whole of the ten days. I would do the latter if I were you—especially now that we as Muslims don’t agree on the first day and last day of Ramadhan.

  • Seek forgiveness for past sins—make a list of sins that are bothering you and do Istighfar for them. May Allah (swt) lighten your burdens.

  • In your list for duas for the Night of Power, make sure you ask for guidance for future.

  • You and the Qur’an should be close buddies by now, so consolidate your relationship and recite Qur’an even more during these last ten days and nights.

  • As Muhammad Alshareef said, “Give your excuses a black eye” and no matter what happens stand in prayers at night. Charge yourself with reading up on the Night of Power. Insha Allah will have a separate entry when the time comes.

Let’s have the sincere intention of making this Ramadhan an outstanding one insha Allah!

Resources to help:

Outstanding Ramadhan

Heart Wheel Journal

Ramadhan Plan Sheets

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