Monday, October 15, 2007
This blog is a living room in cyberspace where whoever wishes to speak can speak, sing, write, present food or any other thought relating to the experience of fasting and spirituality. We will be back next Ramadan 2008, God willing and hope that we see you all then.
May God accept all our efforts to be the best we can be, and make the world the best it can be. To create, if only one garden from heaven, on earth, before we leave to make the Journey of all journeys.
Hope your Eid has been blessed and we wish you all many more happy days to follow, Amin.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I take this opportunity to wish all readers of this blog and all those who took part in the spiritual journey of Ramadan a very happy, peaceful and blessed Eid. Eid Mubarak.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
during yom kippur we fast.. we refrain from procreation.. we dont drink.. dont use perfume and dont wear leather..
this year the fast began at around 5pm on the friday and finished at around 6.20 pm on saturday.. just over 25 hours..
it has become very popular to fast these days in israel.. even for secular people.. the tradition in it.. the spirituality.. the sense of community are amazing.. and the serenity of ignoring your daily needs is very cleansing..
the kids fill the streets on bicycles and roller blades and people stroll the roads as if no car ever existed except to decorate the side walk..
this year after breaking the fast at my grandmother's house (which my family tends to do with a special drink my mother makes out of fresh apple juice into which she sprinkles crushed pecan nuts and almonds.. pommegranite seeds.. a little vanilla.. a little cinammon.. a little bit of lemon juice and mayet zahar..) i went to a friend's place where a bunch of us got together with special sweets that out grandmothers had made..
it was awesome.. there were fresh fruit slices (nectarine.. mellon and mango) moroccan cakes.. hand made truffles.. cheeses.. cakes.. angel hair (thinly shred halva) and various different types of wine..
the atonement.. the reflection.. the communal experience of the rythm slowing down and then rejuvinating.. seems to be something we all share..
we have now finished our festive season.. new years eve - yom kippur and succot..
i take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful year and may peace salam and shalom rest on all of us..
Together with Queen Rania of Jordan, UNICEF urges people across the world to give of their wealth to the children of Darfur, Palestine, Iraq and many more places where children are denied the basics of life like security, water and schooling.
We have put up a long list of links on our side-bar where you can donate your Zakat for this year, as well as any other charitable giving you wish to do this month.
As Ramadan prepares for its departure, and we are all still alive to make the most of it, lets all try up our efforts at giving of what we have in abundance.
*Picture taken in July 2006 of children on the Sun Pyramid in Visoko, Bosnia.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
This video is titled "Multazim Per Dua". It's not a Hamd, neither a Naat; but it's a supplication made to Allah by an ordinary human who has realized the worthlessness of the life in this world and now seeks Allah's Forgiveness and Guidance.
The beautiful verses in here have been composed by Mufti Taqi Usmani, a well - respected religious scholar. I thought I'd have also included in here a writeup attempting to translate the supplication from Urdu to English for the larger benefit of readers who don't understand Urdu, but have decided against it as the depth of the feelings which make this audio worth a special listening just cannot be captured in a translation. Frankly speaking, whenever I listen to it, my eyes are filled with tears because it really brings out the most inner feelings and prayers and the manner of supplication which one would want to portray oneself when praying but just fails in it.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It is under the title - 'Experiencing Ramadhan'.
To think that a month alone could change someone's behavior is somewhat naive in the sense that without taking the proper measures or procedures to actually grasp what such a month, such as Ramadhan can hold in terms of benefits for the human body, mind and soul.
For it holds the power to lift you up, only if you are willing to be lifted, there is no such thing as being elevated above the ground to be on 'road of glory' or any fictional path we may have conjured up in our heads.
Ramadhan is an experience that should be taken in with broad arms for an education that crosses vastly beyond modern information and what it has come to from the beginning of time to this very minute.
It is an experience that should be reached out to, no matter what obstacles stand in our way. For a soul and mind is entrapped in the body that needs to be nourished the right source of information and Ramadhan is a perfect timing for such a thing to happen.
Between now and then, Ramadhan has changed a lot in the society; it seems to have moved from the spiritual meaning of life and all its endeavors to the materialistic needs and wants of today's families.
Is it not time, we rekindle the affair we long always had with Ramadhan once again
Sunday, September 23, 2007
- Pakistan has become more and more of a place where people show off their "standing" in society, ramadan brings an oppertunity for a lot of people to throw, big well catered Iftar parties for people they know, so you witness an obscence amount of money spent to entertain guests in the guise of ramadan.
- Crime apparently increases during ramadan in Pakistan, while people are having iftar parties at their friends houses, others get a free hand in their houses to come steal and rob houses.
- I have also noticed that during the tarabi times the mosques are empty and people go for tarabis to houses of the affluent so that they can say they offered tarabi at so and sos house. I have the privelage of seeing an empty mosque 20 yards away from someones house who had tarabi arrangements in their house including a kid you not "Valet" service.
I know most of this is negative and a lot has changed from the last time I had ramadan in Pakistan, but there is a lot of positives too, you also see people offering iftar to hundreds of poor, you see gift baskets available for charity. Through this dark cloud you can still see the sun trying to shine its way through, may Allah give us strength to serve him and his people, to think of those less fortunate then ourselves and to thank him for all his blessings. Ameen.
Friday, September 21, 2007
While Cat Stevens is known for his English verses, Junaid Jamshed has released 2 Urdu Albums on Hamd (in praise of God) and Naat (in honour of the Prophet).
Jalwa-e-Jaana (Light of the Beloved), a beutiful rendering in Urdu and Arabic below:
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
*Hadith is Arabic and refers to the sayings and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Ok, maybe not, but the singer sure does look like him! This is quite a favorite Ramadan Song by Driton Salihu from the Balkans among last years readers. People liked the fact that the song Agjëro and its video had a simplicity to it and that it was free from the Arabization of Islam that is present today where one presents a onesided version of islamic culture in terms of dress, language and cultural expressions.
Well, see for yourself and let us know what you think!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
When something special is cooked in a house, the housekeeper distributes part of it to other homes in the locality; so I had a one of its kind experience - a neighbour had sent over sweet samosas. It was amazing and I'd eaten it for the first time yesterday. Samosa with beef, chicken and vegetable fillings is normal and we are all used to it, but it was something so different, filled with all kinds of nuts and raisins!!! Gotta lookup for a recipe!!
Monday, September 17, 2007
I can't believe it is already the close of the fifth fast here. I've been checking in here since a few days before the month started, but was always pressed for time. Today, sitting at work, with an hour to go till iftaar, I'm hungry, slightly cranky, and really don't feel like working... seems like the perfect opportunity to blog :)
First of all, kudos to "Shasha" for all the work she's done in revamping this space. All the pictures of pakoras and mentions of lassi and dates is the perfect way for me to think of Ramadan back home in Pakistan.
However, since I am not at home and don't have a chance of having right-off-the-stove pakoras (or, more appropriately still-dripping-in-oil pakoras), I have decided that this month I will attempt to drop that last 10 that has been hanging out around my mid-section for some time now. Yes, that's 10lbs. So no pakoras for me, no samosas... I'm living on protein bars and nuts this Ramadan and hoping I'll be blessed with a flat tummy, among other things like forgiveness and redemption from hell etc.
I do think that given the whole month is actually about forgiveness et. al., I should work more towards that; but it is soooo very difficult. So far, I am managing my prayers and taravihs (although not in mosque), but that is really it. If you ask me if I'm doing anything extra during this month (other than giving up food an drink during the day), I don't think I'll have much of an answer for you... "No" I guess. I am just hoping to manage the obligatory bits this time round... pillars 2 - 4 of Islam (salat , zakat, fasting). The festivities and celebrations come with having people around you, friends, family, and some time to enjoy their presence. I look forward to the time I can be back among family and friends and celebrate Ramadan the way it is meant to be celebrated.
However, that time is far away. At this point, the most I'm looking forward to is iftaar... half-an-hour more.... to this:
Sunday, September 16, 2007
It's been a week now since we have been back on-line and we have had an overwhelming amount of visitors besides the 6,400 we had last year, we are now up to 11 543 visitors!
Every couple of days we put up a new poll on our sidebar. The old ones will still be running on the bottom of the sidebar until the end of Ramadan.
We will also show pictures on the side-bar and invite you to send in your Ramadan Pictures for viewing to ramadankareemblog (at) gmail (dot) com
Happy Reading and we hope you enjoy your stay with us here!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Like every other place, people here are so very hopeful of the tidings that the holy month brings with itself. However, the start of the fasting season was mired again by sullen terrorism - related incidents that've shook this country. The first, on the eve of the holy month, when seven persons including six students were shot down in a brutal manner infront of the University of Karachi; another incident in which around twenty Special Services Group members of the Pakistan Army were martyred in a suicide bombing, up north; and another today in which a renown religious scholar was shot dead in Peshawar. So one gets a fair idea of what the mood would have been in this country.
It's so saddening to know that when all evil is supposed to be shunned and in times when the Greatest of Allah's blessings are guaranteed upon the slightest of pretext, we humans choose to be so lowly.
Today was the second of Ramadan here in Pakistan and things have been rather good, I am currently in Karachi and the good news is that before ramadan we had power shut down at least 4 to 5 hours a day and we haven't had that in the last 2 days. Otherwise, if you go out there are samosa and akora vendors who attract quite a crowd before Iftar, work closes early so that eole can get home in time for iftar. Thats all from my end for now, more soon when I have a regular internet connection.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Friday zakat casablanca style..
Old ladies walking in and without any questions being asked the shopkeeper reaching into a bowl of coins and silently leaving the coins on the counter.. no lady had to ask.. just appear.. apparently its normally an afternoon thing on fridays but this shop was acting early that morning and i was truly in awe..
Yesterday in Tangier a shopkeeper (khalid) explained to me that during ramadan you choose a local poor person and give them enough money for a meal every night.. he said the going rate was about 20 moroccan dirham but no less than 10 and that 10 should in fact be enough for a decent meal..
I was really impressed.. I have to say..
Wishing us all a pure and holy season.. Ramadan Kareem and Shana Tova
The days are long, without doubt, until 7.30 pm when Maghrib prayer falls in and the doors to foodland open once again.
Sweden knows its Ramadan, like never before. In the subway (metro) I saw ads from local phone companies giving Ramadan discounts to the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Germany and other "Muslim hot spots". Our local grocery store ICA, has started selling Lassi!! I nearly walked into a wall when I saw the ad outside the store.
Aftonbladet, one of Sweden's largest newspapers has a Ramadan Blog! Well...we were first! lol You can follow 26-year old Lama during Ramadan...all in Swedish though.
The same phone company, Tele2 that offers discounts on calls now also offers Quran downloads to cellphones!
Sweden is in general a tolerant place to be, as a Muslim, but this new Ramadan Acknowledgement is of course more to do with the fact that Swedish companies have realised that Muslims, who are 400 000 out of 9 million people here, are a huge money making market!
One can say whatever one wants about that, but I for one love to be able to walk in my home country and see signs of Ramadan around me.
Last year on the blog I posted a song by German group CoTu called Lord of Ramadan. They were amusingly coined "the Muslim Backstreet Boys", however their song is somewhat of a classic for Ramadan and here it is for you once again.
Ramadan 1428 / 2007
To our Muslim brothers and sisters everywhere:
All praise and thanks be to the one God whom we all worship, who has called you to worship Him after the manner of al-Islam, and us to worship Him according to the gospel of Jesus, whom both faith traditions hail as the Messiah: it is our deep wish that God strengthen you in your devotion to God, your love of God, and your trust in God during this month of Ramadan, and that everything that you do for His sake may be pleasing to Him.
We have joined you in keeping the fast of Ramadan this year, as a freewill offering to God accompanying our prayer for peace, justice, and a spirit of love to grow among the peoples of the Abrahamic religions. It is our desire that all over the world, if God so wills, Muslim, Jew and Christian can learn to stand together in brotherhood in the sight of their Creator, and encourage one another in faithfulness and good deeds. But we are mourning many of the deeds of our government and our people, as they continue to involve themselves in the affairs of Islamic peoples, and the lives of Muslim detainees held at United States facilities, without sufficiently caring or understanding what they are doing to the people whose lives they affect. To our sorrow, we see many American Christians trusting, supporting, and following policy-makers whose guiding principle seems to be “let us do evil, that good may come of it,” as if they did not know that our own scripture explicitly condemns it (Romans 3:8). In repenting our own complicity in this, we hope to lead our brother and sister Christians into repentance.
Our power to make the world’s leaders humble themselves, question their own behavior, and let their hearts be turned, seems very small. And yet we draw hope from our certainty that we are listened to by the true Ruler of this world, the Turner of Hearts, who sees everything and holds all power. This month we curb our natural appetites during daylight hours to be more mindful of the One to whom we must return, the Highest, our Helper. We perceive, sadly, that many American Christians lack understanding of what it means to be a Muslim. How better to change that than for some of us to join the Muslim world in its Ramadan fast? We also hope that such self-restraint as we gain from the fast might help restore a spirit of self-restraint to the worldly culture of the industrialized nations, in however small a way, for on our learning self-restraint now seems to depend the saving of the world from ruin.
Advised by Jesus himself to fast privately and without open display (Matthew 6:16-18), we make ourselves available for responses to this communication but without identifying ourselves individually by name. May God comfort you, sustain you in hope, and bestow on you every blessing.
Ramadan Fasters of Christ
Thursday, September 13, 2007
We wish everyone a blessed Ramadan and hope that we can all find blessings and warmth on this forum or, as I like to call it, online Iftaar! May God accept our fasts and efforts in this Holy Month, Amen.
To our Jewish brothers and sisters (including fellow blogger Lirun who is touring the world surfing) who are celebrating their Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), we wish you all peace.
To this he attributes the lack of following the sunnah (the recommendations beyond the obligatory that the Prophet gave us through speech or action). "It is the problem of the intellectuals who question everything and dismiss a practice as unnecessary unless a clear point can be proven to them." He talked further about the recommendations the Prophet gave us for how to fast:
- To break/open our fasts with an odd number of dates (i.e. 1, 3, 5 etc)
- To always take the pre-dawn meal (sehri/suhoor)
- Praying Salatul Taraweeh (a prayer of a recommended 8, 12 or 20 raka'at only in the month of Ramadan) Though the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) prayed 20 raka'at.
When we insist on logical explanations or reasons for every act and recommendation we miss out on the spiritual aspect of our faith, he argued, and thus are at risk of not being sensetive to spiritual experiences such as that of The night of Power.
Shaykh Al-Habib finished the talk with a short prayer for the acceptance of our fasts and deeds and for the good of the people of Sweden (note: he did not say muslims of Sweden, but people of Sweden).
97:1 We have indeed revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power:
97:2 And what will explain to thee what the night of power is?
97:3 The Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
97:4 Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand;
97:5 (That night is) Peace until the rising of the dawn.
Shaykh Al-Habib Kadhim went on to mention the second part of Ramadan, after talking about Intention. That of feeling a sincere happiness that Ramadan is here yet another year. A feeling we should do our best to spread to our friends and family through our meetings and talks with them.
He mentioned a hadith where the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said that a person who fasts will be happy on two occasions; when he breaks his fast and when he meets his Lord.
The third and final important part of Ramadan is doing righteous works and deeds. "It is possible," he went on, "that a man goes through the whole of Ramadan fasting without getting any reward from it. The Prophet (pbuh) was concerned about this and wanted nothing but for us to attain the highest place in paradise; Al Firdaus." He then tells us about the instructions left to us by our Prophet (pbuh) on what to make sure one avoids during Ramadan, besides food:
- backbiting and slander
- corruption (of soul or mind, like e.g. telling lies.)
- raising ones voice
- and if insulted or angered by someone to reply "I am fasting"
to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion:
He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.
Through the mercy of our Prophet (pbuh) we have been left with recommendations on certain times when it is highly recommended to supplicate:
- Supplication (Dou'a) in the middle part of the night.
- Supplication while prostrating (Sajda/Sujood)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Shaykh Al-Habib Kadhim speaks with animation, his hands moving and voice intensifying when he wants to emphasize something. "Ramadan is a noble guest that enters our homes, and that is how we should treat it," he says, adjusting the white shawl he has folded into a sash, lying over his right shoulder.
Drawing on a hadeeth* in the Al-Hakim Collection which (roughly speaking) says that The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is reported to have said that both our fasts and the Quran will take shape on the Day of Judgement to intercede on our behalf.
He goes on to mention three important parts of Ramadan:
- To find yourself in a position of extreme happiness over the coming of Ramadan.
- To do righteous works and deeds
was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint,-
* hadeeth are the prophetic sayings or traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
Read lesson one here.
His Yemeni-Arabic was made comprehendable to the Swedish crowd of Muslims thanks to the American Muslim Yahya Rhodus translation. "Give thanks," he started, mentioning the great merit in not only giving thanks to God for whatever blessings one has but also giving thanks for being able to give thanks.
"Thank God first and foremost for our faith", he pointed out that those who also thank God for the blessings He gives other people, be it friends or family, will partake in those blessings as well and help guard ones heart from any ill will one might harbor to take those blessings away from others. Giving thanks (alhamdulillah*), he concluded, is one of the greatest ways of drawing near to our Lord.
*Alhamdulillah is Arabic for 'All praise is due to Allah'
Some verses from the Quran on giving thanks:
Ch. 40 Verse 61 It is Allah Who has made the Night for you, that ye may rest therein,
and the days as that which helps (you) to see. Verily Allah is full of Grace and Bounty
to men: yet most men give no thanks.
Ch. 54 Verse 35 As a Grace from Us: thus do We reward those who give thanks.
Below you can all read and comment on the latest article that was published on the TimesofOman.com website, under the title 'The spirit of Ramadhan'. Do enjoy!
For once, I would be glad if Ramadhan to everyone was just about being around the family, going to the mosque every night lending your ears at least once in a year to hearing the Qura'nic verses of the Holy Quran or a lecture from the Imam at a near mosque whether it was a moral to be learnt about the story of our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) or one his age-old battles that helped conquer Islam after seeing that it was the solution to spread the religion that believes that there is ‘No God But God’.
For once, I would like to see people actually making an effort to putting the energy that they put during the holy month of Ramadhan throughout the whole year. They have no idea what it is they’re missing out on. The feeling of joy that fills someone up and lights up their soul is beyond all meaning and all measures that could ever be looked into. It would be like seeing a young child smile an innocent smile with the entire gleam in their eyes.
This is the month that God closes the doors on Hell and locks up the Devil away during the entire month and sends the Angels down to Earth to help protect and see the good deeds that God's subjects are into during the holy month. This was the month that God delivered the Holy Qur'an upon His last Prophet, Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
I really hope this would be the month that would truly change a person's life from bad to good, from worst to fair, and from better to great.
I really hope and wish that everyone would just think for a second about what the Ramadhan spirit is all about."
(The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of timesofoman.com)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
In Ramadan 2005, Dandawi, a group of somali male and female singers from Djibouti, performed the song Asma u Xusna (Asmaa ul Husna), a song which is traditionally sung by Muslims all over the world to different melodies. It is about God's 99 names mentioned in the Quran among them being Allah (The Lord/God), Al Rahman (The All Merciful), Al Raheem (The All Compassionate), Al Salaam (The source of Peace). In the songs you will always hear the word Ya sung before God's names as a sign of affection and invocation.
Other songs by Dandawi on YouTube: Nabi Awaan, Alahu ya alahu
On our link bar to the right we have included a list of some of the best sites we have found. Jamal e-cards and Eid Mubarak are our favorites. Eid Mubarak specializes in all occasion e-cards and has the extremely hillarious character Latif the Poet featured on some of its cards. Have a browse and send family and friends a greeting for Ramadan!
The name of the song, Ramadan Moon, is taken from the forthcoming children's album I look, I see Vol 2. The song is all about the different aspects of Ramadan as well as the sighting of the new moon in order to determine when the Islamic month of Ramadan will start.
I do not have a problem with drums in music however the voice only version is in my opinion the best one. Have a listen and enjoy!
Monday, September 10, 2007
It has been a year since we said Ramadan and Eid Mubarak (Have a blessed Ramadan and Eid), and as is rule with Ramadan, it moves back 10 days every year and will most likely start this Wednesday or Thursday, September 12/13th.
I brought 11 kilos of Dates with me back from the UAE a couple of weeks back, (yes I know that is a lot of dates!), and have distributed small packs to my friends to prepare them for the guest we wait for every year with anticipation.
The blog is back up and running for everyone who wishes to post pictures, or thoughts on Ramadan or fasting wherever they may be and whatever their background may be.
Ramadan Kareem wa Mubarak!
Have a blessed and spiritually uplifting Ramadan!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Those of you who are wondering, will Ramadan Kareem be back next Ramadan? I am glad to inform you that if we are all alive and kicking (god willing) we'll be back with a peaceful bang next Ramadan 2007.
If you wanna join us as a contributor next Ramadan, send me or Destitute Rebel an email.
Meanwhile, a new project called Global Themes has started with members of our old Ramadan Kareem team, and it's a weekly theme based photo blog with contributors from all over the world. Come join us there and feel free to contribute!