“Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”
- Langston Hughes
My daughter Salma sitting in our somewhat cluttered garage.
By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
•*• Ramadan Mubarak! •*• Alhamdulillah for the arrival of this sacred and special month! May Allah bless our brothers and sisters all over the world.
Going into Ramadan, many of us are experiencing hardships of some kind. Some of us are dealing with painful relationship problems, difficulties in our marriages, problems with in-laws, breakups, debt, loneliness, or are struggling with feelings of shame and guilt.
Let’s allow Ramadan to be a soothing balm for our souls. Let it purify us. Let Ramadan remind us of Allah’s immense and infinite favors. Let Ramadan do its inner work on us, and when it’s over let’s not go back to what we were.
If Ramadan allows us to climb ten steps higher on the ladder toward Jannah, then maybe after Ramadan we fall back two or three steps, but not all the way. Be better and stronger than we were. This holy month will teach us, if we let it.
New Habits, Insha’Allah
I told my daughter Salma a few days ago – she just turned six years old – that Ramadan is a time for giving up not only food and water, but also bad habits. I said, “Let’s make a deal. I will try not to lose my temper when you misbehave, and you will work on being less grouchy and more grateful for all your blessings.” To my pleasure, Salma smiled and said, “Okay, that’s a deal.”
Of course I don’t want this to be a change in Ramadan only. I hope that Ramadan will set me on a new course, enabling me to be a better parent all year long, and will teach my daughter how to be more aware of the ne’mah (blessings and provisions) in her life.
As for the fast itself, it is hard. Ramadan is in summertime, while much of the world is suffering from heat and drought. When we get to Maghreb, it’s a relief and a joy to break fast, especially with family and friends.
Even better than that is Allah’s reward, which comes when we need it most and least expect it, and is always greater than we can imagine, Insha’Allah.
As the Messenger of Allah (sws) said, “The fasting person experiences two joys: one when he breaks his fast, and one when he meets His Lord” (Muslim).
Give Sadaqah and Make Dua’
Lastly, let’s remember those who are suffering. Afghanistan and Yemen are in the midst of famine. The Horn of Africa is withering from drought. The people of Syria are struggling and dying as we speak. Give sadaqah if you can, through organizations such as Islamic Relief, Islamic Relief UK, and Life for Relief and Development.
And make dua’! Your dua’ matters. The Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, said that there are three whose dua is never rejected by Allah: a fasting person at the time of breaking fast, the just ruler and the one who is oppressed.’ (Ahmad,Tirmidhi)
O Allah, for You do we fast, and for You do we break our fast. All praise is due to You, who fed us, and gave us to drink, and made us Muslims. Purify us during this month, relieve us from our burdens, and forgive us. – Ameen.
By Wael Abdelgawad | IslamicSunrays.com
For every setback, Allah has a comeback. For every trouble, He helps you double. Every day He shows you the way. Alhamdulillah.
Allah does not get tired of you. He does not write you off, or forget about you, or give up on you. In fact, when you need Him and call on Him, He comes to you quickly, at speed, rushing to help you:
The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
What an amazing, benevolent, merciful God is Allah. He is Master of all: He could have been capricious, selfish, or destructive, and we would have been helpless pawns, unable to help ourselves or be helped. But that is not His nature. In hundreds of verses of the Quran, Allah Almighty describes Himself as “Ghafurun Rahim”, that is One Who forgives and has mercy.