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Selma Cook

 

QUESTIONER: Adbul Qayyum    - United Kingdom

 

QUESTION:  Salam Alikom, this Ramadan has witnessed a great deal of violence and catastrophe in many parts of the world. There is so much pain and suffering, how can we enjoy eid? Should we?

 

ANSWER: Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and I pray that Almighty Allah will bless this Ramadan for you and answer your duas.

I agree that there are so many violent acts going on around the world - all the time! Not just in Ramadan. Perhaps we are more sensitive in Ramadan and perceive things differently, so it seems as if there are more. On the streets around the world there are young people using knives and guns on each other, then there are politicians waging war and terrorists making havoc.

We all feel pain and disgust at such behavior but are often left feeling helpless - what can we do to stem the tide? Practically speaking, not everyone is in a position to do something directly to rectify things, but there is another level of our lives that is often overlooked.

Ramadan is drawing to a close and if we have been observing even the basics of fasting, prayer and remembering Almighty Allah, we will feel spiritually uplifted; at least more than usual. After all, we get out of Ramadan what we put into it. So having embraced more prayer, and more spirituality during this blessed month, we get to feel a certain kind of power that comes with that.

This power is spiritual in nature: it transforms lives, heightens perception and leads the individual to noble behavior and thought.

If we could take this spiritual power and retain it throughout our lives (even to some degree!), we would be part of the transformation of what is around us. Allah the Almighty tells us in the Quran that He changes our condition when we change ourselves... that says it all!

A violent act is not just one act alone - it belongs to a chain of events, words, and decisions that all build up to that final scene. The question I believe we should ask ourselves is: What have I done to add to the violence and aggression in this world?

As Muslims, we should try to avoid feeling depressed. If we understand the verse I just mentioned, we can't really sink into despair because we know the way to make change. We also remember that Allah will judge everyone for what they did or did not do and all injustice will be sorted out of the Final Day. That said, there is no room for apathy in this life and to just let things happen without reacting or without making dua, resisting in the best way we can and having a voice for positive change.

`Eid is a celebration of what we achieve in Ramadan. It is also a time to boost each other's morale and it can be a time to remind each other of the important things in life. We mingle with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere and this is a perfect time to discuss matters and perhaps have an impact on the way people think.

I think it's important to separate the issues: `Eid is one thing and the state of the world is another. We have the right and the duty to celebrate `Eid, and we also have to duty to speak out and try to change the state of the world.

Have a great and beneficial `Eid!

 

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QUESTIONER: JH    - United Arab Emirates

 

QUESTION: Salam alakum, thanks for giving your time today. I want to say that I have not had a very good Ramadan. I have felt quite bored and felt it to be a burden. I began with lots of hopes but they disappeared into the difficulty of the month. What does all this mean?

 

ANSWER: Salam alaikum, and many thanks for your question. I pray that the remaining days of this Ramadan will be better for you!

I think we all experience this. We have our good and bad days in Ramadan but what matters is that we should feel 'better' than we usually do.

Sometimes we make lofty goals and are unable to attain them (maybe the goals were unrealistic) and this can leave us with a sense of failure. Did you do that? Did you make too many goals? If so, take it as a lesson for next Ramadan, insha Allah, that you will only make a few realistic goals...

Feeling bored and feeling that the fast of Ramadan is a burden can come about if the person is not getting enough sleep and not eating well. I really believe that if we have a good state of health we will be able to make the most of the time. So maybe ask yourself, if your sleep pattern has been good and if you are eating healthy food....

These are now the last ten days and we know that this is an especially blessed time. It is possible that you could make up for what you feel you have lost during these days.

Make a clear and sincere intention to focus on the remaining days. Get up and do the night-time prayer and make a lot of sincere dua to Allah. Ask Him to help you get on track and stay focused. Keep close to Almighty Allah and remember Him when you are driving, walking and so on - thank Him for the blessings in your life and most of all, be a power of good in this world, wherever you are.

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan!

 

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QUESTIONER: Safia    - Egypt

 

QUESTION: Salama Alaykom,

Actually, my brother and sister use to spend a lot of time on the internet, even in Ramadan. I tried to advice them not to do so, and that they should spend their time in a better way, but they don't listen. I started to hate the internet!

 

ANSWER: Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

I do hope you don't end up hating the internet, or else you won't be visiting us at islamonline.net!! Remember, that the internet is just like any other form of technology - it can be used for good or bad.

In your question, you didn't mention what your brother and sister were doing on the internet... There are many great Islamic websites and ways to get interesting information about a huge variety of things. So what were they doing??

If they love the internet so much and you can't manage to tear them away from it, maybe it would be a good idea to teach them how to use it properly, rather than end up their enemy!

You didn't mention how old your brother and sister are, but if they are young and trying to fast, the time does pass slowly sometimes and the internet might be a way for them to keep busy while they're fasting. Young people are still learning to fast - to maybe work with them, sit with them, communicate with them in a positive way and discover different ways to use the internet and spend time together.

All the best for Ramadan for you and your brother and sister!

 

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QUESTIONER: Raghda    - United Kingdom

 

QUESTION:  Salams, actually after Ramadan I have to start a new job, and I'm quite nervous about it. I've been staying home for the past few months, but I need the money and I'm glad I've got this job. The point is that I'm very apprehensive about presenting myself as a Muslim in my new workplace. I'll be the only Muslim wearing hijab and praying etc.

I need your advice.

ANSWER:  Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Almighty Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

This is a perfect exercise in keeping the spirit of Ramadan when it is all over! Almighty Allah has given you a test. You have a new job about which you are nervous and it comes at the end of Ramadan. Good timing, I say!

After you've finished the fasting, prayers and extra acts of worship during Ramadan, you should be feeling spiritually uplifted and empowered. Being close to Almighty Allah gives us a sense of humility yet strength, and insight yet the desire to seek it more.

So when you go to your new workplace you should go there feeling good inside. It is so important to remember that Almighty Allah is with you; that He is just a prayer away and that if your intention is sincere. He will guide you safely through whatever you may face.

The situation you are facing now is also being faced by many Muslims around the world. We have to learn how to be confident in who we are. We should be deeply aware that what we are doing and standing for is right and then we should present ourselves in a polite, gentle, and understanding way.

So do your work as well as you can. Interact positively with your colleagues; be friendly, kind and supportive. Learn to ignore any negatively (as much as you can) and keep close to Almighty Allah.

There's an old saying 'the world takes you at your own estimation' - so be quietly confident and smile! You are on the right way!

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan!

 

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QUESTIONER: Yusuf    - South Africa

 

QUESTION:  Salaam Alaikum

There is a tradition here among youth to party before Ramadan, and then again immediately after Ramadan. To be honest I used to do that as well when I was at university. Now, I realized how foolish that was.

I'm referring to partying that entailed un Islamic behavior (going to nightclubs, etc). How does one change this behavior and attitude, particularly among the youth?

Thank you for your time.

 

ANSWER:  Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Almighty Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

I believe that very often people do such things out of ignorance. At the same time, we have to ask what is the Muslim community doing to provide alternatives for the young people?

You mentioned that you used to do this yourself when you were younger... do you remember why you did it? Was it because you lacked knowledge? Was it simply peer pressure? Was it lack of an alternative?

I really admire the people who work directly with young Muslims. Those who go and mingle with them, talk to them, befriend them and offer assistance, advice and alternatives.

If people really understand the meaning and significance of Ramadan and the importance of carrying on the good habits formed during it, they would never do such things because they would see all this as simply a waste of time.

What often happens, is that the imams will roar their disapproval and condemn the young people. They will order them to stop such things. But the reality is that the young people will not respond to that. In fact, their behavior may be a response to this image of Islam. So if you or some people whom you know have a rapport with the youth, use that to help them learn and see things differently.

As Muslims, we should want for our brothers and sisters what we want for ourselves and if we have enjoyed a spiritual Ramadan and have the desire and ability to carry that on after Ramadan, we should also want that for others. But like everything in Islam, what we say and do must be covered with compassion, gentleness and wisdom.

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan!

 

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QUESTIONER: Laila    - South Africa

 

QUESTION:  Salaams

What is the best way to maintain the spirit of Ramadan during the rest of the year?

 

ANSWER:  Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Almighty Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

 

I think most of us feel a difference when Ramadan comes to an end. But if we go back to normal life with our spiritual batteries recharged, more focus, sincerity and good habits, insha Allah, our lives will be in better shape.

The challenge is for us to keep up the habit of fasting which we can do by following the Sunnah fasts - fasting on Mondays and Thursdays and the 13, 14, and 15 of each Islamic month. Also, continuing to do the night prayer. Maybe it's not realistic to do it every night like many people do in Ramadan, but we could make a plan to do it once or even twice a week - on the weekends -or something like that.
And giving charity is an all-year-round thing.

We get out of Ramadan as much as what we put into it - and the same goes for life! We get out of life, what we put into it!

So make the decision and the plan to keep up the Sunnah fasts and the extra prayer - there can only be good from this!

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan!

 

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QUESTIONER: Liban W    - Netherlands

 

QUESTION: Salaam,

How to keep the spirit of Ramadan? It is easy for us to fall down to old life-style. So, how to resist this and keep your Iman at a high level, as it was during the Ramadan.

 

ANSWER:  Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

This is a dilemma we all face. If you have had a 'good' Ramadan, meaning you feel uplifted, calm and ready for anything, then now is the time to sit down and make a plan.

We often get the general habits right - like fasting, prayer and giving charity, however, it is also important to identify our weaknesses.

It is our weaknesses and faults that slowly but surely break down our spiritual power.

Some people find it difficult to acknowledge their weaknesses and this is where the real weakness lies!

Maybe it's a good idea to actually make a list of things in your own self that you have to watch out for. It might be anger, fear, bad habits, gossiping and much more. Identify them, plan to work on them and do this while keeping up with the Sunnah fasts and extra prayers after Ramadan. Also, make a plan to do the Sunnah prayers of even just one of the five daily prayers.

Most of all, it's important that we stay close to Almighty Allah. Keep company with people who help you to do this and watch programs and read books that make you feel close to Him.

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan!

 

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QUESTIONER: Maryam    - India

 

QUESTION:  Asalaamu Alaikum

I love Ramadan, but I also feel guilty because it's so hard in the summer to fast, I can't help thinking sometimes that I'm waiting for it to be over. But at the same time, once Ramadan is over I really miss it because I don't have the same spiritual feeling the rest of the year.

This is so challenging. What is your advice, and does it make me a bad Muslim when I feel like that?

 

ANSWER:  Assalam alaikum, many thanks for your question and may Allah bless this Ramadan for you and your family.

I think this feeling is part of being a human being. Almighty Allah tells us that He created us in weakness. The fact that you feel Ramadan is difficult is not as significant as the fact that you still fast!

Fasting Ramadan in the summer time is a really big test and you pass that test by completing the fast and persevering. If you can manage to keep in mind that every minute that passes contains a multitude of blessings, I think you will feel better, insha Allah.

When you feel a bit overwhelmed by the difficulty, do thikr and remember Almighty Allah by saying (subhana Allah, Alhumdulillah, Allahu Akbar) and all the other forms of remembrance that we know. Almighty Allah is there and His help is always near. This fasting is doing us a lot of good. It teaches us how strong we really are. It is letting us understand how the poor and needy people feel most of the time and it is an act of obedience to Almighty Allah. There can be nothing but good coming from it if our intentions are sincere.

All the best for the remaining days of Ramadan.

First published at IslamOnline.net

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