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Monday, June 20, 2016

He Loves Me: A Ramadhan Journaling Entry

As salamu alykum! Ramadhan Mubarak! Alhamduleelah, today is the 15th day of fasting. We are at the half way mark. I always feel like it just zooms by. By now many of us who doubted ourselves because of the heat, work schedules, money issues, or children-husbands-wives-family issues have found that truly Allah is not only our Helper but that He also provides whatever we need. We can make it! We are knocking these days out, but more importantly we are fully submerged in that Ramadhan groove - soaring (enshallah).  This is the part of Ramadhan that I love the most. Allah reveals your weaknesses, your uglies, your beauty and your strengths and it just makes you want to bow down even more. Muslims we are a praying people, but there is no praying like that middle of night standing during Ramadhan prayer.  Even if you haven't prayed regularly during the year or haven't been to the masjid in years, have been engaged in things that you shouldn't have (we all do) --- this is OUR time to come back and seek Allah's forgiveness! He is waiting in these blessed days and nights to accept your prayers, repentance, your frustration, and disappointments because He Loves Me and You! Know that!

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

That beautiful and power hadeeth qudsi put me in the mood of writing some poetry in my journal the other night. Let me know what you think and if you feel like sharing one of your entries, I'd love to read it. 15 days to go! Keep writing, beloveds.

He loves me
 I know
Every struggle, every fight, every tear to fall throughout this life
He’s been there
The Most High
His Grace is so ripe
Even when I fall, get lost, turned the other way
 It’s never been in vain
He always softens the pain
 loves me
This I know
They’ve called me horrible names
Picked on my faults and thrown flames
Hoping to dim my faith
Break my resolve
Scare my soul
His Mercy
 Is always prevailing
His rope
 Is always extending
His Love
 Is true and
So fulfilling
And I
I can’t even bow my head low enough for His praise
I can’t do anything
Weak and sinful
Prone to error yet 
Chose me
To believe
 to pray
to fast
to give
His names
 Inspires and strengthens me
Closer than the jugular vein
Where would I be
Without His guidance in my life
It’s not a thought
 It’s a Nightmare on Elm Street fear
Wudu – that’s purification for the sincere
Seeking it five times a day because
It nourishes
It humbles
It shields me
 He hears and loves when I call on Him
And No one gives to me like Him
No one listens to me like Him
No one has ever befriended me like Him
No one Loves me 
like Him
The Most High
He Loves Me
This I know 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Journaling During Ramadhan: 30 Days of Ramadhan Writing Prompts

As salamu alykum readers. Ramadhan Mubarak! It's been a minute since I've posted. You know how it goes: prayers, babies, work, work, prayers and now Ramadhan is here. Alhamduleelah, I ask Allah to pardon us all, make our trials light, and to increase us in all of those things that brings about His pleasure and erase from our lives all of those things that brings about His displeasure, ameen. 

So last week I was able to accomplish my first webinar on Google hangouts! Ramadhan Journaling with Author & Educator was successful. So many of you signed up and came through. Despite the technical difficulties, I had a good time and I hope to host many more live events so that I can start interacting with all of you.  In fact, right after Eid, I plan to host a follow-up. So stick and stay for those details very soon, enshallah!

If you missed part of the live webinar or the whole thing, you can view it on YouTube here (please share, tweet, and pin):

Another reason why I have been so busy besides the aforementioned list of regular occupiers, is because I have been super focused on finishing up my next novel and children's book. Enshallah, I am so excited (and nervous!!) to share these new characters with you and discuss some of the issues that I written about in this book. Alhamduleelah, I just finalized the book cover for the novel and I am working with a really talented Muslim illustrator to design the children's book about an important issue plaguing Muslim world today. Enshallah, once I have both book covers finished and polished, I will post them on here and provide some more details (bi'ithnillah)! Pray for me. 

All right, without further ado, the following is the special 30 Days of Ramadhan Writing Prompts. My apologies for the tardiness. Let me know what you think of the list. If you have any great prompts you want me to add, feel free to send them to me:

1. Write about five goals that you have for Ramadhan 2016.

2. In the beginning of surah Al Baqarah, Allah says, "This is the book (that) guidance,". Think about the guidance that Allah has provided you in your life and write a paragraph reflecting on it. 

3. Giving sadaqah is an important part of Ramadhan. Are there any things that you are holding on to that you can give up or share with others? What are they? Who can you share them with or give them away to? 

4. Dhikr'Allah - Ramadhan is a time for reflection. Allah has many beautiful names that He uses to describe Himself to His creation. What are your favorite names of Allah? Why? Try to write for 5 minutes.

5. Submission to Allah means to me that I must....

6. I place my trust in Allah because....

7. I am pleased with Allah as my Lord and Muhammad (sallallahu alyhi wa sallam) as my prophet because...

8.  Fasting is not always easy, but Alhamduleelah...

9. I am thankful today for...

10. Oh Allah! Have mercy on....

11. Oh Allah! Pardon me and...

12. Reflect today on aya 153 from Surah al Baqarah, "O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salat (the prayer). Truly! Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)" How can you use this aya to help through the remainder of Ramadhan and after?

13. Remember death is apart of the trials of this life. Allah says in Surah al Baqarah, "Truly! To Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return." Write a reflection. 

14. Eating healthy foods to nourish you through your fasting hours is important. Make a list of some new, healthy fruits and vegetables to try this month. 

15. Write a recipe for success in Ramadhan. Include anything you want such as foods, prayers, and instructions.

16. Write a letter to yourself or a family member on how to benefit in Ramadhan.

17. Write a prayer for your spouse (or spouse to be or the spouse you are hoping Allah will send you, enshallah).

18. Write a prayer for a parent (or guardian). 

19.  Write a letter to a non Muslim co-worker, friend, family member or classmate explaining to them what Ramadhan is and why it is important to you.

20. The religion is advice. Advise yourself! Make a list of five good actions that you aren't partaking in that you add to your life to benefit yourself. 

21. I know Allah love me because...

22. I am being tested daily, but...

23. Reflect on the following hadeeth from the 40 ahadeeth collection of Imam An Nawawi and then write a reader's response: On the authority of Abu Hamzah Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) - the servant of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) - that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said :"None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself."[Bukhari&Muslim]

24.  Reflect on the following hadeeth from the 40 ahadeeth collection of Imam An Nawaawi and then write a reader's response: On the authority of Sufyan bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:"I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I can ask of no one but you.' He (peace be upon him) said, 'Say "I believe in Allah" — and then be steadfast.'"[Muslim]

25. My favorite verse in the Qur'an is ....  because....

26. My favorite hadeeth is ... because it reminds me.....

27. In the morning when I get up for Fajr my first thought is...

28. In the evening when I break my fast, I am grateful for ...

29. I am blessed to be a Muslim and to fast in the month of Ramadhan because...

30. Oh Allah! Bless me to see another Ramadhan so that I can...