Ramadan is here and the countdown has officially begun. Thinking about the early morning suhoor, family iftars, and bonding with our faith excites Muslims across the globe.
My mission for every year is to make sure my Ramadan is better than my last. Seeing the growth from each Ramadan year-by-year shows how significantly closer I am to Allah (swt) – even saying it, gives me the chills. Every year, we should compile a list of goals for Ramadan because it can help keep you grounded and center your objectives. Here is how to make the most out of your Ramadan:
Work on Time Management
This may sound cliche, but we all know everyone has been through those moments where you sit back and say what you want the upcoming Ramadan to be like, but little by little, your end-goal starts drifting away.
The first step is always making plans that you know you will have the time for, or that you will make time for. Small goals, big goals, anything! Writing an itinerary of your daily life can help keep your priorities for the day in check. Making lists is psychologically proven to keep you organized and more grounded!
Building a Stronger Deen
Find a way to incorporate prayer in your everyday life leading up to Ramadan. For instance, reading an extra prayer, everyday, ultimately gets you more into a routine of reading five times a day.
Try to make more duas! Duas, otherwise known as prayers, are our safe haven in times of need, but we should find a way to make that our means of communication between us and Allah (swt) happen on a daily basis.
Start becoming accustomed to using a tasbih (prayer beads), throughout Ramadan before and after your prayer, so the repetition becomes muscle memory for you.
Taking Time out Daily to Read the Qur’an
Read the Qur’an, every single day! Create the goal of finishing an entire Qur’an, during the month – the reaping of the benefits become endless!
Being busy during the Holy Month, it is one of the biggest challenges, but be consistent! By being consistent, you are more likely drawn to reading a little, every single day – plan and organize how you want to do this.
By implementing the Qur’an more on a daily basis, rid yourself of distractions! We occasionally find ourselves filling our free time up with watching TV, listening to music, going on social media, etc. – use this time for reading the Qur’an!
Give Charity, in Some Way, Every Single Day
Ramadan is a month of giving – offering a hand with housework, donating to your local mosque, giving zakat after prayer, are all means of giving charity.
One of my personal targets, every Ramadan, is always volunteering at any local drive that gives packaged meals to the less fortunate, and with this pandemic, a lot of mosques are resorting to donating food to the less fortunate in a safe way.
Real Purification of Intentions
Last, but not least – go into this month with pure intentions. Real intentions are what is valued the most during this month which is why we should not think of this month as an obligation – it is, instead, an opportunity.
Opening your heart during this Holy Month is what will make the most out of any Ramadan you are blessed to take partake in.
Giving your all to Allah (swt) and the people surrounding you is what will allow you to achieve the benefits of a blessed month.
Our hearts should be engulfed every single Ramadan because of the opportunity we are given, to be closer to our Lord. Every year that we participate in this blessed month, we are greeted with another chance and we should take this opportunity and make the most of it.
Ramadan is just as much a period of spiritual growth as it is cultural significance. Muslims across the Ummah engage with their faith through fasting, abstinence from sin, Qu’ran recitation, and other practices while the scents of sambusas, pakoras, and other regional Muslim dishes linger long after the last iftaar meal.
However, this month-long timeframe of individual introspection and communal care tends to be performed in solitude by Muslim converts, who often lack the community at home to sustain their well-being until Eid ul-Fitr. I conversed with Anna and Nabigal-Nayagam, Sinhalese and Tamil Muslim converts, respectively, in an effort to examine how the Ummah as a whole can make sure that converts aren’t left out during Ramadan.
For Anna, this year will mark her first Ramadan since converting to Islam in July of 2019. “I wish I could celebrate [iftaar] with friends or family, or celebrate [Eid] in a larger community.” she recollects.
Convert Muslims arguably experience as much Islamophobia from the outside world as they do from the home, and because of this, my first tip in making sure that converts aren’t left out for Ramadan is simply lending a hand.
From bringing converts home so that they can enjoy a traditional iftaar meal to inviting converts to masjid services so that they can connect more with their local Muslim community, there are numerous easy ways to ensure that the converts in your life know that they’re not alone.
“I think new converts like myself have a lot of questions and confusion about Ramadan when observing it for the first time,” Anna stated. “The lack of feeling like we belong to any one community – Muslim or non-Muslim – makes it hard. There is always the fear of judgment from born Muslims, although most are very welcoming.”
Nabi mentioned that he’s “not a huge mosque-goer, because [he’s trans],” which he mentions is surely self-explanatory. What he believes to be a significant disadvantage during his conversion process, however, is essentially the shaming of converts during Ramadan for not being Muslim enough.
“Converts are often expected to dive headfirst into fasting with no prior experience, while born Muslims were often eased into it from childhood. Many of us also don’t have a sense of community and support from born Muslims, and we frequently are ostracized from the very tight-knit circles we find at the masjid,” Nabi stated.
Nabi became interested in Islam about six years ago, although he didn’t formally convert until 2017 due to physical violence and threats of disownment from family members. “When I was still living with my parents, I couldn’t fast for Ramadan, as this would easily out me as Muslim, which was something my family was already strongly suspecting and vigilant about,” Nabi recalls. “The inability to fast made me feel like I was not a good Muslim, that God wouldn’t love me, and that I was not ready for Islam.”
Anna shared similar remarks: being ethnically Sinhalese, very few of her cultural traditions don’t intersect with Buddhism. She feels guilty celebrating Sinhalese holidays in that their Buddhist iconography entails shirk in Islam, yet her Muslim identity has also come under attack from family: her father threw away books she was gifted from a masjid, forbade her from seeing some Muslim friends, and “considers converting to Islam [the] equivalent [of] joining ISIS.”
Because of this, it’s important to refrain from shaming converts during Ramadan for lack of tradition, religiosity, or even not being able to fast. Although fasting (sawm) is one of the central tenets of Islam and every Muslim is expected to fast, convert Muslims aren’t afforded the privilege of not having to choose between practicing one’s religion and preserving one’s safety.
“If you are an imam at a masjid, please reach out and offer whatever resources you feel are fit for a convert who may be going through Islamophobic abuse at home,” stated Nabi.. “If you can’t do that, then don’t shame [converts] for not being able to fast.”
As it relates to convert experiences during Ramadan, however, the experiences of Black and brown Muslim converts are often overlooked.
“I’ve noticed a lot of white converts get more attention, extra help, and catering-to compared to Muslims of color, who are either not read as converts (brown converts), or are often completely unwelcome ([Black] converts).”
Anti-black racism is ubiquitous in Muslim spaces and especially predominantly-non-Black Muslim spaces, so when reaching out to converts altogether, be sure to prioritize inclusion. While the experiences of white converts do matter, Black and brown converts often experience the brunt of Islamophobia from both family and society-at-large. Developing community with them during Ramadan is essential in ensuring that converts aren’t left out.
Finally, in reflecting on the importance of Ramadan to himself as a Shi’a Muslim convert, Nabi mentioned the futility of striving to be “Muslim enough” in the first place.
“The most important thing about Ramadan to me is that it is a tool for the soul to become acquainted with God,” Nabi stated. “When I am fasting and abstaining from food and drink, I am denying my body a very prominent source of worldly bond and pleasure. This detachment gives me the mindset to forego the temporal, illusory nature of this world and focus on the Permanence of Allah.”
Whether you’re Muslim or non-Muslim, there are many ways someone can participate in Ramadan festivities – by gaining knowledge through a fellow Muslim friend during this month, or simply trying to find more ways to participate during Ramadan as a way to gain even more rewards.
What is ‘Ramadan’?
Ramadan is a time to gather and observe the ninth month of an Islmaic calendar year by abstaining from indulgence and praying to become closer to God. The month of Ramadan is a sacred month because it marks when Allah (SWT) gave the first chapters of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad. Let’s dive right into the conceptual of Ramadan.
What is ‘suhoor’?
Suhoor is the meal consumed before sunrise as the meal before the day of fasting begins. This meal is very important because those that fast need to make sure they have an intake of meals that will give them high energy, throughout the day. The day of fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, which means participants need to ensure there is enough energy, especially if they are working, as well.
How many times do we pray?
In our daily lives as Muslims, we are asked to pray five times a day, whether it’s during Ramadan or not. The five prayers are named Fajr, Zuhur, Asr, Maghreb, and Isha. After suhoor takes place, it’s time to pray Fajr because Fajr also takes place prior to sunrise. The next prayer, Zuhr, takes place after noon. In the late afternoon, Asr takes place followed by Maghreb, which happens after sunset. Lastly, Isha prayer happens before going to sleep, as a way to remember God before heading into the night.
What is ‘taraweeh’?
During Ramadan, there is a voluntary prayer offered which is called, Taraweeh. Taraweeh is led by the congregation as a way to listen to the recitation of the Qur’an and as a way to pray voluntarily. This process, in itself, is extremely spiritually beneficial and is one of the gifts we are given by Allah (SWT) during the month of Ramadan. **Please note, that not all Muslims sectors partake in Taraweeh.
What is ‘iftar’?
As mentioned before, Maghreb takes place when the sun sets, as does iftar. A Muslims’ fast opens up when the sunset has taken place and Maghreb time has begun as well. Typically, you open your fast with something small such as a date or dried fruit before going and praying Maghreb. After praying Maghreb, Muslims continue to eat their larger meals as a way to give their body the fuel needed after fasting, since sunrise.
Who can fast?
Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which means we are all obligated to fast, but there are exemptions. People who are recognized as exempted from fasting include those who have health problems – being ill or having to take medications. Also, women who are nursing or pregnant – nursing and pregnancies, both, are times where your body needs continuous nourishment. Women who are menstruating are not allowed to fast, during this month, as well.
Why do Muslims fast?
The question is often asked – why do we fast? As Muslims, we’re granted this month by Allah (SWT) as a gift to become closer with Him. By praying and doing things like reading the Qur’an, we bring knowledge into our minds and remembrance into our hearts. Ramadan is a month of bringing our relationship closer to God and giving back, in small ways such as charity, donating to the local mosque, and many more – anything small counts.
We hope that this article was informative. Feel free to share this with your friends and inshAllah you can make the most out of the Holy Month. Ramadan Kareem!
This year for Ramadan, going into this month with a positive attitude is all that matters. Ramadan is a time to take advantage of everything that will become spiritually beneficial for you, but also for indulging in iftars surrounded by friends and family. COVID-19 has resulted in social-distancing, which means we need to be 6 feet apart from everyone, at all times. But, that doesn’t mean we have to put a stop to friends joining in on iftars!
Let’s dive right into how to make the most of this month’s iftars.
Invite everyone and any one, because you can
Hosting a virtual iftar can be done with as many people as you’d like, anywhere from a crowd of a few people to many people. We are all missing our friends and families during this quarantine but, seeing them virtually can still occur. Families can easily be projected onto a larger screen to see each other. Given so many platforms, we can find ways to interact, in numerous ways.
Zoom is a platform where you can video-share up to 100 people! I don’t know about you, but my cousins have been using that platform to their advantage, even Pre-Ramadan.
By using this platform, we can have the feeling of everyone’s presence when breaking open our fasts. Ramadan brings families closer and this year should be no less – even with the craziness going around – we should all partake in something that will have us near the people who matter most.
Get that dusty Whatsapp family group chat running again
Having a groupchat with your family is also the move. Preparing for the different, yummy foods for iftar for the perfect finished product can go a long way. Taking pictures of everything and sending them to your family members and receiving pictures of their iftars as responses can make you feel as if you are there and also gives you ideas for preparing your iftars.
Prep with the best
While prepping for your iftar, you can also videochat everyone while they prepare for their iftars as well. Connecting in ways like this makes it easier for everyone when they’re preparing, as the time ticks closer and closer towards breaking your fast. Cooking together and having your finished iftar set up, while being on video call, gives everyone a sense of feeling like they accomplished something, together.
The virtual world has given us endless options as to how we can be connected during these difficult times, and it’s important to remember that it’s what you make of these difficult times that count!
We can find ways through social media, video calls and group chats to make the most out of these days. Ramadan is a month that we as Muslims look forward to, every single year. Being in quarantine should not stop us from being connected with the people who matter the most to us.
In times of uncertainty, we need to be able to have love surrounding us – even if it’s not physical, it’s always there.
Ramadan is a time where we all benefit so much from having everyone surrounding us during this blessed month. Having everything become virtual, in such a short notice has made it difficult for everyone to adjust. But, having family and friends be a part of your life, virtually, will be a memory everyone can look back on and be grateful for.
Throughout the Quran, Hadith and history of Islam, there has not been many topics that captivated the minds like the subject of Jinn. The simple thought of these amorphous beings roaming the earth alongside us is strange but incredibly thrilling.
Yet, we know so little about them.
That might be the reason why a respected academic scholar wrote a seemingly innocent and informative thread on Twitter about how these incredible creatures interact with humans. While it was in fact informative, it also stirred some pots and left many users in total shock, disarray, and craving for more.
So, who and what are these entities that Allah named an entire Surah after?
Jinn are shapeless, shapeshifting and invisible beings, who are – according to the Quran and Hadith – made of smokeless fire.
“and the jinn We created earlier from scorching fire.” (27:15) Al-Hijr
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Angels were created from light, Jinns were created from a smokeless flame of fire, and ‘Adam was created from that which you have been told (i.e., sounding clay like the clay of pottery).” Muslim.
Surah Al-Jinn fully reviewed their various conditions, their position on the message of Islam, the diversity of their sects, in additon to the glorification of their believers to God, glory be to Him. There is hardly an era that went by without mentioning people viewing what appears to be Jinn and as well as Muslims; Christians, Jews, the Sabeans and others believed in their existence. While they might be completely different beings than humans, they do share certain commonalities.
Jinn eat, drink, sleep, procreate, and die. They think, contemplate and have the freedom of choice to be and do good or evil. They are part of Allah’s creation who are subject to commands and prohibitions, just like human beings. There are believers, disbelievers and scholars agree unanimously that they are accountable for their actions.
The complete comprehension of our fellow inhabitants is mystifying and is utterly strenuous, because they are part of the world of the unseen, a world out of our reach. However, the opposite is not true for them.
The djinn are said to interact with humankind in variety of ways. We can categorize them as:
Visitations Influence Possession Marriage Abduction
Scholar, writer and historian Ali Olomi took to his Twitter to share his knowledge and expertise on how the world of Jinn interferes with the parallel world – ours.
Olomi, who is a historian of the Middle East and Islam and the host ofHead On History podcast, decided to create a Twitter thread about the numerous types of interaction Jinn has with humankind.
He categorized them as visitations, influence, possession, marriage, and abduction. The first type being the most common as Jinn can transform and take the shape of a human or an animal. The most aggressive is possession and abduction, which Olomi says can go as far as snatching children and infants.
Of course, marriage seems to be inconceivable, but since Jinn are like humans, in that they fulfil physical and psychological needs such as hunger, thirst and sleep, they also fall in love.
Marriages happen through means of possession, and it can also go the other way around.
Naturally, people passing time on Twitter, patiently waiting for Chrissy Teigen to roast her famous husband or clapback on a hater, stopped scrolling and were taken aback.
Asma thought highly of the thread, and while her 14-year-old son was fascinated as well, it seemed like he was a tiny bit spooked. A sentiment that another Twitter user, Kalia shares, as she took some precautionary measures just to make sure no Jinn were visiting or planning anything else.
Another Twitter user amusingly mentioned a category that is probably not researched in depth, a woke type of Jinn.
Besides the obvious fun and entertainment this contributed to the Twitter-sphere, genuine interest and allure was even more clear. We believe these almost magical, but actually real, beings only prevail on movie screens or the pages of a book. Yet, the stories around them forces us to take a step back and think,
Can we actually connect with Jinn? Have we already done so? Did we, by chance, mingle with some?
The possibilities are endless.
They can be identified by something being off about them. Usually their eyes.
In this form they generally are just there to observe. One can ask them to leave if they appear inside the home. Forcefully but with respect
Much like the Hunger Games, life is an arena filled with challenges, hurdles and people trying to take you out, and while we wish the odds to always be in our favour, sometimes it feels like they rarely are.
To navigate the world as a young Muslim, failures have an extra layer of disappointment that we so often put on ourselves and the source of this behaviour is important to discuss, but here, we would like only to share a simple and easily accessible remedy to help you get through your difficult day.
Before delving into these beautiful Ayat, it is important to underline that they are in no way or form a substitute for professional help. There is a difference between having a bad day and a mental issue. If you are truly struggling, know that Allah is there for you, and so is therapy in all its forms.
1- “God tasks no soul beyond its capacity.” (2:286) al-Bagarah
The last verse of the longest surah in the Quran is an empowering statement from Allah to his servants. When your deadlines are due, things at home are not good, your friends are not there for you and everything is falling apart and you are drenched and overwhelmed, recite this verse out loud.
Know you are strong, powerful and incredible, because with everything going south, you sense God’s belief in you, in your capability to overcome whatever you are put through.
Allah is literally telling you, you got this.
2- Whosoever does evil or wrongs himself, and then seeks forgiveness of God, he will find God Forgiving, Merciful. (4:110) al-Nisa
Mistakes are inevitable. You will make them.
No matter how mild or severe in nature they are, the aftermath of our mishaps has such a heavy negative load on our psychological well-being. This verse from surah number 4 of the Quran should be on a mental post-it in your mind whenever the light at the end
of the tunnel of life seems dimmed. The cathartic power of this verse is that it
recognizes that any evil we commit towards others is a wound we inflict on ourselves. The medicine is forgiveness, and what is more of a sign of pure love than to know that Allah’s doors are always open.
That light is never turned off.
3- And We will indeed test you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth, souls, and fruits; and give glad tidings to the patient— those who, when
affliction befalls them, say, “Truly we are God’s, and unto Him we return.” (2:156) Al-Bagarah
This verse is a reminder to never forget, no matter what is going on in your life, your final destination is Allah, and patience is the path towards arriving safely to that terminus. While most of us heard this verse during incredibly tumultuous times,
remember it when you get caught up in all the mundane little problems of your life and see how they become insignificant and unworthy of your attention and energy.
4- For truly with hardship comes ease! Truly with hardship comes ease! (94:5/6) Al-Sharh
When we are having a bad day, we tend to forget that it will be over at some point. This verse from Surah al-Sharh is a beautiful reminder of how intertwined the experience of distress with the relief of tranquillity. We can never really appreciate our good days without the countless bad ones. They inform each other and allow us to know deep down and in the thick of it that easing through is possible.
5- And your Lord has said, “Call upon Me, and I shall respond to you. (40:60) Ghafir
There aren’t many things that can lift your spirit after a dreadful day like a conversation with someone who loves you. Yet, even the ones who care most about us are often busy and tangled up in their own chaos. This verse is an extended invitation that is never revoked, retracted nor withheld. Allah is forever there, listening attentively to what you have to say, without any interruption.
Make the call, Allah will answer.
The Quran puts things into perspective and reminds us of the strength we possess, the blessings we have and the forgiveness we can attain and should practice. These verses are only the tip of the iceberg that is our miraculous healing book.
Islam has been a religion that has been around for centuries, yet it seems that in modern times people act like it’s something that has just been born. Oftentimes non-Muslims ask questions, questions that are ignorant. However, it is not exactly humanity’s fault. Society has painted these negative images of the Muslim community, that’s on them. Yet it is up to you to stop choosing to be ignorant. I bet, and hope, you’re tired of asking these questions. Trust me Muslims are tired of hearing it. To get to know your Muslim neighbors better don’t say these things, and you just might be invited to the next Jummah
1. Do you speak Muslim?
I cannot stress enough how much this question hurts our little hurts. The definition of a Muslim is someone who follows and believes in the religion of Islam. You cannot speak Christian, Jewish, or Catholic, so it doesn’t make much sense for people to believe you can speak Muslim. There are Muslims everywhere, some speak Spanish, Turkish, Arabic, some just even English. So if you want to know what language us Muslims speak, please take into account that that are 7 continents, over 100 countries, and over 6,000 languages, every single Muslim does not speak the same language.
2. “Do you wear that when you sleep?”
This goes out to all the Hijabis. So many times Muslims women who wear the Hijab get asked questions like, “are you bald”, “do you shower with it on?” “Why do you wear that on your head?”. It gets tiring trust me. First things first, learn what the headpiece on our heads are called, the word has five letters and two syllables it is not that hard to learn, don’t be scared to say the word Hijab. Second please do some research on what the Hijab is, why, when, and how we wear it. Also, no one is forced to wear the hijab, everyone has their own-self will. Essentially the Hijab is an important part of Islam, instead of gutting your neighbor’s poor hijabi heart maybe just ask google.
3. Assuming every Arab is Muslim
Here are the basics, not every Muslim is Arab, and not all Arabs are Muslim. Islan did originate in what is now the Middle East, however it spread to many parts of the world. People like Mans Musa brought Islam to Africa. Today there are Latino Muslims, Asian Muslims, white-European Muslims. Muslims are everywhere. Islam is not attached to one race, it is attached to those who believe in it.
4. “You’re Muslim?”
Although Islam has been around for centuries people still have trouble identifying Muslims. This question, I’ve noticed, gets asked towards the girls who wear Hijab more. From my understanding, people seem to confuse Muslims with Nuns. Although both cover their heads, nuns have very distinct clothing, the traditional black dress, with the white-collar. Muslim women can just wear anything that is modest.
5. “You Can’t even drink water?”
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world don’t eat or drink fromSunrise to Sundown. The part that confuses people the most is that Muslims can’t drink water. If I had a dollar for every time I was asked this I could pay my college funds in cash. In all seriousness, I understand that it is hard to understand not eating for 10+ hours straight. However yes the water is included, water is a drink, drinks are liquid. Which passes the test of being something to not drink during Ramadan
6. “Pork is sooooo good”
For anyone who doesn’t no Muslims are prohibited from eating pork as pigs are considered dirty. When people find this out their first reaction is usually “but ham is soo good”, yes Susan I’m sure it is. Telling Muslims pork is good is not very important information, what do you expect them to do with it? I am happy that you like pork so much but we won’t be eating it.