As Islamic institutes begin their "Juz a Day" series and people wipe the collected dust off their Quran's, the excitement of Ramadan starts to buzz in the air.
I never understood what it meant to prepare for Ramadan. If you mean putting trays of homemade spring rolls, samosas, and mantu in the freezer, then that's my definition of pre-Ramadan. (fine. I don't have trays of mantu, but I love it to bits because my Afghan friends have gotten me addicted. Their ancestors are the creators of the most heavenly dish on this earth. Afghan dumplings are the juiciest meatiest loveliest and...before I start drooling I'm gonna stop). It's really interesting how the one thing we are supposed to refrain from during this month is what we end up spending all our energy in preparing. MasterChef Canada, anyone? I'm ready to binge-watch tiny cooking Tasty videos.
Abu Bakr al-Balkhi said: "The likeness of the month of Rajab is that of the wind, the likeness of Sha’baan is that of the clouds and the likeness of Ramadaan is that of the rain; whoever does not plant and sow in Rajab, and does not irrigate in Sha’baan, how can he reap in Ramadaan? Now Rajab has passed, so what will you do in Sha’baan if you are seeking Ramadaan? This is how your Prophet and the early generations of the ummah were in this blessed month, so what will you do?" (IslamQA).
It feels like Abu Bakr al-Balkhi said this just so it could fit perfectly in my post. You see, today is the first day of Ramadan (as per my local moonsighting). That means this is it. It's here guys. There's no more preparing. We're in a marathon and everyone has already run ahead. For many people, this thought may be frightening. They may feel like they have already lost but honey, let me tell you something. There has got to be something you planted, something you irrigated. It's time we stop sulking. Maybe today was the day we got into a fight. Maybe we haven't touched the Quran yet. Maybe we slept right through our alarms. I understand. But we can rise above our mistakes. How? Enter: Tazkiyyah Series. In Arabic, Tazkiyyah means to purify. In purifying ourselves, we can reflect deeply on the Quran and use it as a guide rather than a decoration piece in our living room shelves. We can break bad habits and create good ones, learn from our prophets and build a stronger relationship with Allah (swt). So what if today is already the first day of Ramadan? That's more of a reason to start!
We usually end up preparing to-do list's in Ramadan like this example below:
1. Hastily finish reading the Quran at least once
2. Try not to doze off during night prayers, Taraweeh
3. Try to eat as much mantu we can in one sitting (wanna fight? I'm 99.9% sure I'll win)
Change your outlook. Let's aim towards purifying our actions, words, and most importantly our intentions for Ramadan. Basically, this is my thought-process: I make a few posts about the lessons I've learned about tazkiyyah, during the days of Ramadan. I have a little bit of understanding (and Sheikh Google by my side), but I need your help! If you have anything you think is worth discussing, please let me know (and sign-up for the email list on the blog sidebar. Everyone is welcome. Even if we're enemies and you hate my guts...that shouldn't be relatable. Message me if it is.). If these short posts will hopefully help us gain more than we input, why don't we go ahead? Are we going to sit around and let others do the work? Or are we going to work towards the greater goal?
Are you ready for Ramadan 2018?
May Peace Be Upon You, Asalamu Alaykum!
P.S. Ramadan Mubarak, friends!
"O you who have believed, do not put [yourselves] before Allah and His Messenger but fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing." - Quran 49:1 (Sahih International)
"The best among you are those who have the best manners and character." - Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
"I am not what happened to me, I am what I chose to become." - Carl Jung
"The function of leadership is to create more leaders, not followers." - Ralph Nader
"You have never had to steal my breath or take it away, somehow you have always managed to convince me to hand it over freely." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb." - Najwa Zebian
"I finally understand that I do not write, I leak." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"I am too little butter on too much bread. I am too many thoughts in too little head." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"How can land be owned by another man...is the sky owned by birds and the river owned by fish." - Lupe Fiasco
"Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on." - Carl Newport
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
"The pain leaves bit by bit. Be patient. You are healing." - Yasmin Mogahed
"An image I always like is of a circle of knowledge — but as the circle grows, as the diameter increases, so does the circumference that’s in contact with all that darkness outside the circle of light — that ignorance." - Stuart Firestein
"Sometimes the only way to catch your breath is to lose it completely." - Tyler Knott Gregson
"It's the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Muhammad Ali
"Love isn't soft, like those poets say. Love has teeth which bite and the wounds never close." - Stephen King
"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or a rainbow in its climbing, falling colors." - Maya Angelou
"What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible." - Theodore Roethke
"Travelling. It leave you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." - Ibn Battuta
"It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone." - Rose Kennedy
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory." - Dr. Seuss
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson