Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 2011

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

As some of you may already know, my posting on this blog is now limited to one post per month. For that reason, I've simply put the month and year as the title. These posts may be rather long at times, because I will try to fit in a variety of topics and updates. Inshaa'Allah, it will give you all plenty to think about and work on. Considering that I have close to 200 posts already on this blog, I'm sure if you get tired of reading the monthly post you can find something else to dig up and read, if you're in need of an "extreme" fix, LOL!

Ramadhan Preparation and Plan:

Last year we spent the majority of Ramadhan in Madinah, mashaa'Allah. The beauty of that lay in us having absolutely nowhere to go during the day and sitting at home. It set the scene for a program that benefited every one of our family members. The children read the daily juz from The Noble Qur'an, Khan and Hilali translation.They also read the Daily Sittings in Ramadan by Shk. Uthaymeen. As we only have translations of the Daily Sittings up to day 26, we selected certain pertinent major sins from Adh-Dhahabi's Major Sins book, and have them read and answer questions about them for the last 4 days. My 4 year old didn't read those things, but her 7 year old sister (mashaa'Allah) read to her or told her what she had learned each day. In this way, every one of us came away with the fiqh of fasting, in depth details about Jennah and Jehennem, and read the complete Quran over the month.

After the first 10 days, the system changed a little. We started out informally asking the children during the iftar meal what they had read about and learned that day. It became obvious that some were really reading and understanding and others were not. To remedy that, I read ahead and wrote out questions for them each day. They were given the questions and had to write the answers and hand them in each day. This not only pushed them to read for understanding, but I could focus the questions on key points and areas I wanted to instill in them and teach them.

This year, we have planned to do the questions for the Quran reading and Daily Sittings from the beginning of Ramadhan. They will be different from last year's and less in number.  This should remind, solidify, and build on what they learned last year, inshaa'Allah. We will also be doing three lessons/questions and answers from Shk Yahya al Hajooree's book on Aqeedah and Fiqh that was written for his children. These are the types of questions that are essential for all Muslims, but are presented in a way that is simple and the proof for each answer is something short enough to be learned and memorized. I'm hoping to learn some valuable proofs myself while teaching this to the children, inshaa'Allah.

The children, from the beginning of Rajab, are steered away from reading fiction and towards reading non-fiction and books to increase their Islamic knowledge and understanding. The bedtime stories for my girls are the Goodnight Stories from the Quran, Goodnight Stories about the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam), and now that we have finished those, the stories for children on World of Islam Portal that are all either telling hadith or learning events in Islamic history. They are wonderful, mashaa'Allah. The children have a library of books about the Prophets (alayhum as salaam), stories from the Quran, Islam and the environment, and loads of non-fiction books such as children's encyclopedias, science books, etc. They have time on the computer, time to play, and time for games and fun...but they operate within the premise that it must be beneficial, happily mashaa'Allah.

We are all expected to continue with our Quran memorization and The Daily Account will be amended to include cards for fasting, memorization, and completing the daily questions in good time, etc. There will be a gift at the end of the month for those with an excellent Daily Account....because just as Allah rewards his obedient servants, so will we reward them inshaa'Allah, as an incentive.

Yesterday, I baked batches of ginger snaps, hazelnut shortbread crescents, and different flavored biscotti as part of my Ramadan preparation. As much as possible, I will do ahead of time what I can so my time is as free as possible for worship. 

Islamic Inspiration:

If you have time, refocus and reground yourself. Read something to put you in a higher state of emaan and clear focus for the month of ibadah. The Ideal Muslimah and The Ideal Muslim are excellent all-round books that address every aspect of your being.  Remind yourself of what and where you should be.


I'm currently learning Surah Nuh, and when I got to ayah 5 and pondered on it for a moment, I realized what it was context. Nuh cried to Allah that he had called his nation to Islam night and day. He told Allah that it did nothing but increase them in arrogance and that they covered up their ears and covered their heads with their clothing. He faced such ignorance, such extreme rejection, for so many years. And what did Allah tell him? Build an ark in the middle of the desert where there is no body of water and limited supplies of wood. Nuh's mission lasted over 900 years...and nobody gave him the time of day.

So what can we say about ourselves, when we lose heart and get impatient after just a day, a week, a month, or a year without results or success. We have no idea what true sabr is. We need to give thanks every day for Allah's incredible mercy, that He doesn't lay tests upon us that are greater than the little ones we have, and that the tests He presents us with are so short and so simple in comparison.

Miscarriage Number 10:

Over the past three years I have had a series of miscarriages...and I am currently recovering from my tenth, al hamdul'Illah. Why so many? Qadr Allah, mashaa fa'al. The only medical testing left to do is for chromosomal abnormalities; otherwise all the other tests show that there is nothing wrong with me, mashaa'Allah,

I think that Allah is ensuring I still qualify as a woman worth marrying, LOL, as He is proving at this middle stage of my life that I am perfectly fertile, mashaa'Allah. Of course, He is also giving  us tests that we must respond to, react to, and formulate an attitude towards. We have been incredibly blessed with our two daughters and fully accept Allah's Decree.

The difficult part is becoming pregnant so frequently and then being in limbo between expecting the best from Allah and thinking positively, and noticing every twinge and cramp, dreading the sight of blood or not detecting a heartbeat. It is a far bigger mental and emotional test, than physical...even though it is physically painful.
The Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wasalam) said, upon him peace, "The miscarried child will pester its glorious and mighty Lord for His entering its two parents into the Fire until it is told, 'O miscarried child that pesters its Lord! Enter your father and mother into Paradise.' Then it will drag them with its umbilical cord until it makes them enter Paradise." Ibn Majah and Abu Ya`la from `Ali.

And again, "By the One in Whose hand is my soul, truly the miscarried child will certainly drag its mother with its umbilical cord to Paradise, provided one expects recompense [for sabr (patience)]." Ibn Majah and Ahmad from Mu`adh.

And he said, upon him peace: "Your little ones are the larvas (da`aamees) of Paradise. They will meet their parents and grab them by their garments or their hands to no end other than that Allah will enter them Paradise." Sahih Muslim.

Isn't that a divine reward for your heartache?

Also, the Prophet (SAW) said: "I swear that a miscarried child of mine I send forth before me is more beloved to me than [raising] a mounted knight that survives me." Ibn Majah from Abu Hurayra.

Fortitude with faith and surrender with ridaa - absolute acceptance - through losing a child, require inordinate strength of character because SABR carries huge reward and its difficulty means even more reward. "And whoever yatasabbaru (=is racked trying to endure in patience), Allah will grant them SABR, and none was ever given a greater gift than SABR." (narrated in the Five Books). Hence the magnificent, tremendous aya states {Verily the sabirun will receive a reward without measure} (39:10).

Hence Umm al-Darda' would say: "Those that gladly accept the Divine decree have a level in Paradise that the Shuhada' will envy them the Day of Resurrection."

May we be the envy of the Shuhada' - ameen!
"When Allah tests you it is never to destroy you. When He takes something out of your possession it is (only) in order to empty your hands for an even greater gift." (Ibn Al Qayyim)

Al Barakah:

After 5 years of working towards the goal of living in the Middle East with our children, we are here in Madinah al Munawarrah. After 8 years of dreaming and planning to buy land so we could have our own homestead, as of 20 July 2011, we now own 51 acres of land near Roy, New Mexico, wa al hamdul'Illah! We have somewhere to take our sheep in times of fitna, somewhere to realize our dream of Sunnah living, somewhere to plant seeds, build cob houses, raise animals, and truly know the simplicity of tawakkal (reliance on Allah)  and ibadah (worship), bi ithn Illah, taala. 
The objective of zuhd (asceticism) is to leave all that harms the servant's hereafter, and the objective of 'Ibâdah (worship) is to perform all that will benefit his hereafter. (Majmû 'ul-Fatâwâ, 14/458)
It is nothing less than a favor from our Lord, an amanah (trust) with us to honor and use for His worship, the implementation and propagation of the Quran and the Sunnah.. It is a huge blessing - and so it's name will be Al Barakah, inshaa'Allah.

It's all Good:

We are approaching the month of Mercy, the month of Forgiveness. Don't let it pass you we don't know if we will see another Ramadhan after this one. Please don't linger on the negative, focus on the positive. See the "al hamdu l'Illah" in everything and say it for everything

"It's all about Jennah; everything else is insignificant."