Photo Courtesy: https://www.alquranclasses.com/

Do you remember your first Ramadhan? I am talking about those days when fasting to you was for mum and dad’s sake. That is to say; if mum or dad and of course the “reporter” sibling in the family did not see you break the fast, your fast is still valid. You can deny it and I can, but Allah saw you every time you drunk half the water meant for rinsing your mouth while taking wudhu. But of course it was not a big deal, we were young and the thought of staying the whole day without food or water to drink either seemed torturous or mission impossible. I remember thinking to myself that even the adults sneak a sip or two of water when no one is watching because there is no way anyone can stay that long without water. At the age of 7 to 10 years Ramadhan to me was to be able to convince the people around me that I have stayed the whole day with neither food nor water.

Imam Siraj Wahaj puts it nicely when he says, Islam means progress. Right now I can look back at those years and see the progress in my Ramadhan. Maybe the adults around me understood it too and that is why they did not punish me when I broke my fast two hours to Magharib adhan (too dumb, I know that now). I was on training and it was okay to slip here and there, my relation with Ramadhan was still being nurtured. However, I never cease to enjoy the holy month. Apart from the hunger and thirst torture, there was the joy of having the extended family meeting up almost every day and excessive playing with friends (no wonder the unbearable thirst). Having the masjids full during all the swalahs, cooking the best foods and being able to witness the amount of blessings increase in the month. Till date, Ramadhan at my home is known as the month of barkah; not because we were taught so but because we saw the blessings. And then there was the ultimate joy that was Eid. So, in a nutshell, Ramadhan to most of us at that young age was torture from hunger and thirst, good food, friends and family.

When you do something wrong and you know it is wrong but no one reprimands you for it and they all act like it was okay for you to do what you have done, your conscious kills you. Or at least that’s what happens to me. At the age of 11-12 years, during Ramadhan all I could think about is that I got to do better. I have to see to it that I stay true to my fasting. It was a real struggle, reminding myself when it got hard that I can do it, I can stay the whole day with no water. Accomplishing this would make me happier than ever during the time of breaking fast and whenever I failed the enthusiasm of breaking the fast was lost all together. Ramadhan to me then was to be able to stay with no food or water the whole day; and it was enough.

Whenever I speak about Sheikh Khalifa, some people look at me with that eye of “oh she is at it again”. The truth is that given a chance to speak about my high school, I would not shut up. I love my high school. Not because it is the best high school in the Coastal province, though it is a bonus, but because of the role it played in building me as a young Muslimah. It was there that I also learnt that finishing the recitation of the whole Qur’an was highly recommended during Ramadhan. I still remember how people would struggle to finish the Qur’an at least twice while I would be struggling with my one khatm. I admit, I would be disappointed when I could not meet my one khatm goal, knowing that most of my friends had two khatms and others even three. All the Ramadhans in Sheikh Khalifa, my goal was that one khatm. I think I realized it once though I’m not so sure.

One of my biggest dream is to speak Arabic. I once told my friend that the day I would be able to speak Arabic fluently, I would not stop talking. He said that is the reason why I have not learnt Arabic till now. I am sure he is wrong. Being outside sheikh Khalifa my thirst for Arabic became intense; not just so as to be able to speak but I really wanted to understand the message in the Qur’an. My recitation was fluent but apart from a few surahs, I didn’t understand most of it’s message. So I asked one of the local ustadh to teach me Arabic at the same time I found myself a mushaf with the translation. And if you thought finishing a khatm was hard try doing it with the translation. Truth be told, I’m yet to accomplish it and I am disturbed by it. Still I was glad that I not only got to recite the qur’an fluently but I could also understand what it was saying to me.

Every Ramadhan has been different to me with different meanings. I have studied specific surahs, I have used Ramadhan to quit some sins. I have done memorizations of specific surahs, supplications and hadith. I have struggled to make each Ramadhan mean something to me. And it all comes back to; Islam means progress. I have seen my progress in my meaning of this beloved Holy month, and if Allah enables me to see more Ramadhans, I pray that I find more meaning to it.

Now as a 25 year old lady I ask myself what does Ramadhan mean to me and my mind goes back to the verses of the Qur’an that I memorized a long time ago due to how much they would be repeated during this month;
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous” (2:183)
In them I get my answer. This month was meant for me to attain Taqwa. To build the strongest bond possible with my creator and as Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (Rahimatullah) said ;
“Taqwa is not praying long into the night and fasting long into the day but it is to abandon the obstacles between you and Allah (SWT).”
In other words, it is to abandon sin.

Ramadhan was meant for me to have that ultimate connection with the Qur’an. Not only by finishing multiple khatms or memorization but to be able to gain the guidance that Allah talks about when he says;
“Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgement” (2:185)
So yes, Ramadhan is meant for sharing, showing love and compassion to each and every one of us, for the ummah to be united more than ever, but at an individual level, What does Ramadhan mean to you?


By: Lali Suleiman Lali

Photo Courtesy: http://www.ramazannezaman.com/

Sujood – Prostration Have you ever wondered when to talk out yourself to your Lord, The Creator of The Universe?
Well, we’re about to discuss that, but before we do, you should know what makes you want to talk to Allah. Allah says in the Holy Quran; “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me. Indeed Allah! He is that giveth livelihood, the Lord of Unbreakable Might.” (Surat Dhaariyat,Verse 56 – 58).

Allah created us on a purpose that we worship Him and supplicate to Him only so that He provides the necessities of the life.He has granted us. Allah (SW) also highlights that demanding us to worship Him doesn’t at any level make Him inferior or needy of any favors from His creation, in fact, He possesses undefeatable powers over everything we’ve ever and never known. We find here that we are in need of Allah’s mercy and provision of livelihood and so we ought to find a perfect way to beg for His acceptance. Prostration (Sujood) is the only perfect position to talk to Allah on several points from which we’ll outline a few herewith.

First and foremost, it’s the closest place you can ever be to Allah, wherever you are. This has been approved by a prophetic hadith; Narrated by Abu Hurayra (RA) that the Prophet (SAW) said, “The closest a slave can get to his Lord is when he is prostrating, so increase supplications”.

Secondly, considering that we all need to supplicate (beg) to Allah, Sujood is the lowest, weakest and most submissive level a slave could drop for His Master. This affirms we’ve surrendered to Allah’s power and it purifies our intentions on what we beg from Him. Allah describes the reaction of several Prophets and Messengers he earlier mentioned in Surat Maryam; “…….When the revelations of the Beneficent were recited unto them, they fell down, adoring and weeping.” (Surat Maryam, End of Verse 58).

Sujood, being the closest and most submissive point, it therefore strengthens the relationship between us and Allah hence Allah is more likely to grant guidance, forgiveness, mercy and finally Jannah (May Allah make us among people of Jannah). A hadith narrated by Thawbaan (A freed slave of the Messenger of Allah) “You frequently need to prostrate to Allah, for you’ll not make one prostration to Allah but He raises you by degrees and erases sins from you” So brothers and sisters, what makes us hasten our Sujood? We seem to prioritize our worldly affairs over our relationship with Allah. The businesses that you run after in this world are doomed if Allah doesn’t bless them for you and all that comes from the Sujood itself. For every Rakaa you make in your prayers, you have two opportunities to talk to your Lord and ask whatever it is you wish you had (Subhaanallah) yet we hasten to make the conversation between us and Allah as short as possible. There is this common act most of us are used to; we arrive at the Masjid and find the Imam on prostration and we’re like, “Oh! That Rakaa’s gone; I’ll wait for the Imam to rise again” How about the Sujood? If you prostrate with the Imam in that Rakaa that you’ve missed, you get rewarded for the Sujood you’ll make and you still get a bonus chance to make supplications to Allah. (This doesn’t certify missing rakaas so you go for bonus Sujood). Why would you miss Takbeerat-ul-Ihram after all? What I’m trying to elucidate is “Never miss a chance to get close to Allah”

Sujood mainly comprises praising and glorifying Allah. Several body parts are involved in it including forehead, nose, both hands, knees and all toes embracing the ground. In Sujood, allow yourself to be mostly present and cognizant about what you are actually doing and what it is that you should be saying. Realize that you are at your lowest state in front of your Lord, The Most High when saying; ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻥ ﺭﺑﻲ ﺍﻷﻋﻠﻰ (preferably three 3 times or more, one time is obligatory). It has been approved by scholars that it’s best to add; ﺳﺒﺤﺎﻧﻚ ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺭﺑﻨﺎ ﻭﺑﺤﻤﺪﻙ ، ﺍﻟﻠﻬﻢ ﺍﻏﻔﺮ ﻟﻲ (Subhaanak Allahumma Wa Bihamdik, Allahumma Ghfir Liy) “Glory and Praise be to You Oh Allah, our Lord, Oh Allah forgive me. Then make as many supplications (Dua) as possible knowing that Allah listens to each one of them.

Before I end this, please don’t forget your parents in your supplications. A hadith by Abu Hurayra (RA) that the Messenger of Allah said; “A person is raised by degrees in Jannah and he asks, ‘What is this for?’ and he will be told, ‘This is from forgiveness asked for you by your child’ Authenticated by Al Albani. So whenever in Sujood, Ask Allah to forgive our parents by making this supplication; ﺍﻟﻠَّﻬُﻢَّ ﺍﻏْﻔِﺮْﻟِﻲ ﻭَﻟِﻮَﺍﻟِﺪَﻱَّ ، ﺭَﺏِّ ﺍﺭْﺣَﻤْﻬُﻤَﺎ ﻛَﻤَﺎ ﺭَﺑَّﻴَﺎﻧِﻲ ﺻَﻐِﻴﺮًﺍ (Allahumma Ghfir Liy Wa Liwaalidayya, Rabbi Irhamhuma Kamaa Rabbayaani Sagheera) -Oh Allah grant me forgiveness and to my parents, my Lord have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.) “Glorified be your Lord, the Lord of Majesty, from that which they (evilly) attribute (unto Him), and peace be unto those sent (Messengers), and praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!” (Surat Saaffaat, Verses 180 – 182)