Monday, September 8, 2008

Ramadhan Challenge

Recently, I had the opportunity to join the Friday prayers at the IIUM mosque for the second time in my (almost) three years here. I don't know about other mosques in other universities (or anywhere else in Malaysia), but I love the fact that there are many females who join the Friday prayers here. Most of them are international students of course, but there are also a couple of Malay girls who go. And another thing that makes IIUM unique is the fact that the sermon (khutbah) is either in Arabic or English. It so happened that on that particular Friday, the sermon was in Arabic. I tried my utmost best to understand the sermon based on my rather pitiful Arabic vocabulary, and there were a couple of things which I understood.

Fortunately, the khatib repeated the sermon in English, and it turned out that he was talking about how Ramadhan is a month of good deeds, good behaviour, etc. But the challenge is: Can maintain carrying out the good deeds and good behaviour even when Ramadhan is over?? Since Ramadhan is a month of training, lets hope that we will apply and continue to practice all these good stuff even after Ramadhan.

On another note, we are now entering the last ten days of Ramadhan. How time flies! I think it's a big challenge today to accomplish our daily tasks, yet still try to perform tarawih prayers and other types of ibadah. But we should be grateful that we have it easier than the Prophet and his Companions who fought in the Battle of Badr while fasting. Or to take a more modern example, at least we have sufficient food (regardless whether the food is tasty or not...heh heh) for iftar and sahur compared to our other unfortunate Muslim brothers and sisters in Iraq and so on.

So lets try our best to increase our ibadah activities...and may Allah bless us all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Ramadhan!

I know it's kinda late to wish Happy Ramadhan to my fellow Muslims, but at least the first week of fasting isn't over yet. Alhamdulillah, I got the chance to fast at home with my family these first few days since IIUM "kindly" gave us 5 days of midsem break - which is over tomorrow. Sigh.

It seems that we've just celebrated Hari Raya & Raya Haji, but all of a sudden it's Ramadhan again. I'm sure that most of us are already thinking about and planning for Hari Raya (myself included), such as what to wear, what kuih raya to order, etc. But to be able to celebrate Hari Raya happily, we have to first complete the fasting month. Because that's what Hari Raya is all about anyway...a day of victory for the Muslims who have successfully completed 30 days of fasting.

To me, Ramadhan is also a month of jihad - jihad with our own self (Nafs). Since all the Syaitans have been chained up by Allah, the only thing that can still whisper bad things to us is our own nafs. Like one lecturer always said, it all comes back to the soul factor. If your soul is good, it will motivate you to do good things, insha Allah. Check out this hadeeth:

Al-Bukhaari & Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“When Ramadaan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are chained up.”

As mentioned in the hadeeth, all the gates of Paradise are open to us in Ramadhan. If we do 1 good deed, Allah will reward us with 10 good deeds. But if we do 1 bad deed, Allah will only punish us with 1 sin. There...isn't Allah the Most Merciful?

So let's all step up our efforts and increase our 'ibadah this month...may this Ramadhan be better than the last for all of us, and may Allah accept all our deeds and 'ibadah, insha Allah.

Happy fasting to everyone!

**If there are any incorrect facts, please let me know.
“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
- Martin Tupper