This is an excerpt from a song by Aaron Niequist. They are a Christian chorus, and this is a Muslim blog, but I consider that irrelevant. It’s a beautiful song.
Love Can Change the World
Bridges are more beautiful than bombs are
Bridges are more beautiful than bombs.
Listening is louder than a lecture
Listening is louder than a shout
But Love – Love can change the world.
Oh do we still believe that
Love – Love can change the world.
An open hand is stronger than a fist is
An open hand is stronger than a fist
Wonder is more valuable than Wall Street
Wonder is more valuable than gold.
May we never stop this dreaming
Of a better world
May we never stop believing
In the impossible.
©2005 AARONieq Music
Center of the Milky Way galaxy, as seen from Cherry Springs State Park, one of the darkest places in the USA.
By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
The last ten nights of Ramadan are here. This is an amazing, powerful, unique time. These days are the most spiritually charged days of the year, more full of power than a great star or the mighty ocean. And one of these days is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, equal to a thousand months. Every prayer is magnified, every good deed is multiplied exponentially.
What to say during Laylat al-Qadr? It is recommended to supplicate a lot during this night. It is reported from ‘Aisha (ra), that she said: “O Messenger of ALLAH! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” The Prophet (PBUH) said.- “Say.-
(Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee.)
“O ALLAH You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.”
[reported by at-Tirmithi]
I also wish to remind everyone that all difficulties pass, all troubles pass. Hard times don’t last, but strong people do! Worry if you must, but do not fear. Allah is with you. He is The Forgiving, The Merciful, The Loving, and the Giver of Peace. Call upon Him, especially during this blessed time. You have no idea how much your worship at this special time is valued. More than any of us can count. SubhanAllah.
A Gate Called Ar-Rayyaan
let me in through Ar-Rayyaan,
with my daughter hand in hand.
Or if not, then shake me loose
of all I’ve done;
brush the sins off me like dust
and show me the path
to Bab As-Salat.
Or Bab Al-Hajj, or Bab-As-Saum.
Let me come home,
let me come home to You.
Bab At-Tawbah, Bab Al-Jihad,
with my child, that’s all I ask,
and let all else vanish
beneath the waters, or be taken
by the wind.
August 22, 2011
My father pulling my daughter Salma in her wagon in the backyard
By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
A friend of mine recently wrote about her son:
“There are moments in parenting that break your heart open with boundless love, where you see your child so clearly navigating their own space… a funny mix of pride, empathy and fall-over-yourself love and gratitude for the gift of your child ensues, followed by tears….watching Wilder walk up to a new friend on the playground at a new school and navigate the space between shy and easy was just such… thank you universe for giving me that moment.”
I know what she means. Earlier this morning I told my daughter Salma a joke and she gave me a smile as sweet as a mango that made my heart melt. And just now she climbed into the chair next to mine and said, “Baba, cover your eyes.” I did but I peeked between my fingers because sometimes she leaps onto me full bore, with her knees pointed at me, as if I’m a trampoline. But this time she climbed into my lap, and kissed me on the cheek.
Of course she followed it up by telling me she was bored, and asking me to buy her a new doll. Still, having this child has taught me to love as I never did before. I have learned patience, sacrifice, and aspiration, not for myself but for another.
I recently listened to a lecture by Umm Sahl of Damascus in which she remarked that our children do not belong us, but to Allah. They are given to us in trust, and we are their shepherds.
I can see that. How could I own or possess something so beautiful, and powerful, so unique? No one but Allah can hold a human being in their hand, seeing the essence of that person, knowing and appreciating every atom.
What a tremendous responsibility a child is. What a tremendous gift. May Allah make us all equal to the task, and help us to fulfill our roles as shepherds, providing tarbiyah and love, and ushering in a better generation than our own, Insha’Allah.
A sunrise in Africa
“However long the night, the dawn will break.” (InshaAllah) ~ African Proverb
I have been browsing your website for several weeks now, just reading through various articles. I just felt the need to thank you and let you know how truly inspiring you are.
The past few months have been a tremendously difficult for me, and reading your post about heartbreak really uplifted me in a significant way. Your insight is truly amazing, and reading your work soothes my pain amazingly well. Your words are further adorned with the truth about Allah, the Beloved Messenger and the reality of love and life. It is truly a gift that you have been blessed with, and may Allah reward you for sharing it with us.
I pray Allah blesses you with His eternal Love, Mercy and Kindness – and that He keeps us all on the loving and noble path of the Beloved Messenger, our Leader Mustafa, upon him be peace.
Hope you and your daughter Salma are well, and that you are having a great Ramadan.
Keep me in your prayers. Stay blessed, always!
Can You Sleep when the Wind Blows?
Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops. As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received A steady stream of refusals.
Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer.
“Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him.
“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.
Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!”
The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”
Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down.
Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, so he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
When you’re prepared, spiritually, mentally, and physically, you have nothing to fear. Can you sleep when the wind blows through your life? The hired hand in the story was able to sleep because he had secured the farm against the storm.
We secure ourselves against the storms of life by grounding ourselves in the Word of Allah. We don’t need to understand, we just need to hold on to His commands in order to have peace in the middle of storms.
(Note: I am not the author. I found this online some time ago, but I don’t know who wrote it. – Wael)
In Allah’s Loving Hands
May Allah swt be with you every step that you take,
May HE guide you with each decision you make,
May HE help you when life gets rough,
May HE lift you when you’ve had enough,
May HE protect you when you fall,
May HE hear you when you call,
May all your duas be accepted,
May you always be in Allah swt’s loving hands. Ramadan Mubarak x
- Anonymous Muslimah
I came across this wonderful site of yours in search of relief for my own problems, mainly on the subject of forgiving those who have hurt us. I have been reading it for the past hour. Mash’Allah, it has opened my eyes and my heart. May Allah bless you and your efforts to share and spread love.
Saima (fasting in this holy month of Ramadan) from London
Response from Wael:
You’re welcome, sister Saima, I am glad the website helped you. Letters like yours keep me motivated and remind me that what I am doing with this website is needed, Insha’Allah.
You may have seen these already, but here are some posts on the subject of forgiving others and yourself:
By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, purification, worship, charity and forgiveness, all to bring us closer to our Creator.
There are so many blessings and benefits to fasting in Ramadan. Some are physical, some are spiritual, and some relate purely to our aakhirah.
Among these blessings is the right to enter through Bab Ar-Rayyaan:
Narrated Sahl (ra) : The Prophet (sws – peace be upon him) said,
“Indeed, there is a gate in Paradise called Ar-Rayaan. On the Day of Resurrection, those who fasted will enter it and none except them will enter. It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ They will arise and none except them will enter it. After their entry, the gate will be closed and none will enter it.”
[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 31, Number 120]
Many Muslims have heard this hadith, but most don’t know the meaning of this name, “Ar-Rayyaan”. In fact I was at the masjid recently for a Ramadan class and I asked the Imam this question and he did not know. So when I got home I looked it up: the linguistic meaning of Ar-Rayyaan is something that is well-watered, and therefore lush, succulent and beautiful…
Doesn’t it sound lovely? I imagine it surrounded by water, maybe a river, stream, or a waterfall… A tall and shining gate, beautifully decorated, silver or golden… Allah knows best.
I want to walk through that gate, and I want the same for my daughter Salma. At this moment, I want that more than anything else I can imagine… if I achieve that, then I will have succeeded in life.
Fasting is a Key
Why should there be a gateway to Jannah only for those who fast? What is so special about fasting for only month every year, as opposed to praying every day, or making the great effort of Hajj, or giving one’s hard-earned money in charity, or any other important Islamic deed?
Actually we know from various saheeh hadeeth (authentic narrations of the Prophet) that there are many gates to Jannah. Some will reward people who perform specific actions, and according to the Prophet (sws), certain individuals willed be called to all the gates, and may enter from whichever they choose. SubhanAllah. This is a fascinating subject in its own right. However, Bab Ar-Rayyaan has been mentioned quite prominently in the narrations. It is clearly an important and privileged gate.
Why is that?
Fasting is designed to put us into a state of hyper-awareness of Allah. Hasan al-Basri said,
“By Allah, in the last twenty years, I have not said a word or taken something with my hand or refrained to take something with my hand or stepped forth or stepped back, except that I have thought before I have done any action, ‘Does Allah love this action? Is Allah pleased with this action?’”
This is how we should be when fasting. The fast is a highly personal act of worship between the servant and the Creator. It’s an invisible act. When you pray or perform tawaaf, you can be seen by others, so there is always the risk of one’s intention being tainted by the desire to be seen or admired. However, when we are fasting, no one can look at us and know that we are fasting. Even in Ramadan, a person could eat or drink secretly. It is an honor system. That is why Allah said in a hadith qudsi, “Fasting is for Me and I reward it.” (al-Bukhari)
Another truth is that fasting is difficult. It is more arduous than salat, or giving sadaqah. When done properly, fasting can be very hard, especially in summer or in hot climates. For me personally, fasting at the height of summer is the most punishing physical experience I go through, particularly on the days when I have martial arts classes scheduled.
The greatest mistake would be to think that fasting is only about hunger, thirst and abstinence. It seems to me that fasting is a physical experience that opens the doorway to a spiritual state of being. The hardship of fasting is a key that unlocks a tremendous reservoir of strength, and that plunges one into a state of humility, and an extreme awareness of one’s actions before Allah.
That’s ultimately what fasting is about. It is about being conscious of Allah, sacrificing for Him, being humbled before Him, growing closer to Him, and pleasing Him.
Fasting is a key that opens a door. And the door is called Ar-Rayyaan.
May Allah make us among those who enter through Ar-Rayyaan.