Welcoming Ramadan

Written by Amelia Natasha Jafar

It’s not the usual Ramadan, but Alhamdulillah we made it to another. 


My soul dances
with bloomed flowers
 and spring’s wind
as it grins
to greet the new moon. 

How blessed are we 
to experience another year
another Ramadan
another opportunity 
to get close to our Creator. 

I pray your heart is split open
So the good can go in 
and your soul be at peace
as you dive within. 

May your days be filled
with good deeds
 As we fast to cleanse our bodies
from ego and greed. 

May your nights be filled
 with gratitude and prayer
seeking redemption
and guidance from your Maker. 

My brothers and sisters
Though this year’s Ramadan
 is new to us all
But let’s not forget the point of it all. 

Setting intentions
minding your words
And Inshallah
All your prayers will be heard. 

Ramadan Kareem! 

Featured image by Nadeem Ghafur @nadeemghafur

Thank you Amelia for sharing such a positive and warming ode to the welcome of Ramadan.

1. Al-Fatihah: The Opener

Bismillahi, Wal Ahamdulillahi, Was-salatu was-salamu ‘ala Rasulillah, sal-lal-lahu ‘alyhi wa sallam

In the name of Allah, and exaltation be to Allah, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, (peace and blessings be upon him).

Structure:
Verses 1-3: Praising Allah and believing in His Oneness
Verse 4: The Last Day
Verse 5: Worshipping Allah Alone
Verse 6: Seeking help from Allah
Verse 7: The path of the good doers and the path of the veil doers

Revelation:
– Meccan Surah
– First to be revealed
– Consists of 7 verses
– Titled as ‘The Opener’ also translated as ‘The Opening’

Key Themes and Messages:

– Sometimes referred to as al-Sab’a al-Mathani (seven oft-repeated verses)

– Also referred to as Umm al-Kitab (mother of the book), it is referred to as this for it is the foundation and essence of the Quran

– Mandatory part of the Salah (prayer), and is recited at least 17 times a day in the 5 obligatory prayers

– The prayer is taught by Allah to mankind, as a favour, allowing mankind to see the format of prayer which is acceptable to him

– Allah responds to each segment of the prayer

– Importance of supplication and its etiquettes

This Surah covers core themes of the Quran:
– Belief
– Worship
– Living guide

Al-Fatihah has a prayer and answer relationship with the rest of the surahs in the Quran, Al-Fatihah is the prayer from the reader and the rest of the Quran is the answer from Allah. While engaged in salah and reading Al-Fatihah we are making supplications to Allah and without understanding of the Quran we could be getting the answers to our problems in the surah we could be reading or the surah the imam could be reading, but without this ability we are at a loss.

Selected Verses:

1:1 Allah’s beautiful names

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

1:2 Praise is only for Him

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Lord of the worlds

1:4 First mention of the Hereafter

مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.

1:5 Sincerity

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

It is You we worship and You we ask for help.

1:6 Steadfastness

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Guide us to the straight path

1:7 Seeking good companionship

This is the way of “the prophets (nabiyyeen), the truthful ones (siddiqeen), martyrs (shuhada) and the righteous (saliheen)” [4:69]

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

Virtues:

While I was praying in the Mosque, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) called me but I did not respond to him. Later I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I was praying.” He said, “Didn’t Allah say’–“Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle when he calls you.” (8.24) He then said to me, “I will teach you a Sura which is the greatest Sura in the Qur’an, before you leave the Mosque.” Then he got hold of my hand, and when he intended to leave (the Mosque), I said to him, “Didn’t you say to me, ‘I will teach you a Sura which is the greatest Sura in the Qur’an?’ He said, “Al-Hamdu-Li l-lah Rabbi-l-`alamin (i.e. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds) which is Al-Sab’a Al-Mathani (i.e. seven repeatedly recited Verses) and the Grand Qur’an which has been given to me.”

[Sahih Al Bukhari 1: Chapter 66, Hadith 4474]

On the authority of Abu Hurayra, the Prophet (s) said: “Whoever does not recite the mother of the Quran ‘Surah al-Fatihah’ in the prayer, then the prayer is invalid.”

[Tirmidhi 2953]

Supplications:

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Guide us to the straight path

صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

Selected Vocabulary:

Lord [v.2]                     رَب

Owner [v.4]                 مَالِكِ

Path [v.6]                     الصِّرَاطَ

Straight [v.6]                الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Ramadan Reflections

Written by Naman Siad

Sadness is not unprecedented in Islamic tradition. Our most beloved role models from Prophets to Sahabah have all experienced sadness, anxiety, and difficult obstacles in life. Often we are fed this narrative that there is no room for sadness in the hearts of “strong believers”, that exhibiting sadness is a form of being ungrateful for the blessings we are given. I have felt this especially in recent times. Constantly feeling that tension between feeling sad about the loss of normality, and feeling guilty for feeling that way when the daily death toll exceeds 800 here in the UK. How can I be sad about missing being with friends and loved ones during Taraweeh and Iftar when there are people entering Ramadan with the fears of food insecurity or mourning the loss of a loved one?

This Ramadan has approached differently to other years.  Whether it was in the middle of an exam period or during the long summer working hours, I have always felt like I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be. Stumbling to cut off bad habits that have grown throughout the year, days before or trying to play catch up with the list of goals I still haven’t achieved from last Ramadan, I always felt like I was rushing haphazardly into the month. This Ramadan; however, comes at a time unlike any other.

Our hearts are confused, filled with fear and uncertainty, and a collective yearning for our former daily lives that we often took for granted. For the first time, we have all had to take a pause, allowing our minds and thoughts to catch up. The slow removal of the day-to-day distractions has forced so many of us to truly look inwards. In a strange way, it has felt like a sort of preparation for the introspection and reflection that is asked of us during Ramadan. What other time have we felt like life has slowed down like this, ready to welcome Ramadan’s embrace? Ramadan, with its blessings and light, is almost like a refuge, arriving to heal the hearts of so many of us who feel broken.

If I’ve reflected on anything in these times, it is to be kinder to ourselves. To give ourselves that space to feel. And to use this Ramadan to turn to Allah (SWT) as our source of comfort in such a strange and often terrifying time. To turn to Allah (SWT) to heal our hearts in a time where everything feels uncertain and grim. And to additionally be there for one another. This Ramadan will not be easy for many of us. Isolation, while good for deep reflection, can lead us to feel alone and helpless, a void of that warm community feeling that Ramadan is usually associated with. Now more than ever, it is important we show up for each other in whichever way we can. Checking in on friends who are experiencing this Ramadan alone, helping the most vulnerable members of our community get through the month, this month will be an opportunity to truly heal our communities, our homes, and our hearts.

In a time where silver linings have been scarce, may Allah fill our hearts with His light and blessings this Ramadan. May He (swt) provide ease for those who are carrying heavy burdens on their hearts and for those who will be tested this Ramadan. And may He (swt) allow this Ramadan to be a collective healing for us all. Ameen. Ramadan Kareem.

Thank you Naman for your resonating and healing words.

0. Introduction

All thanks and praise is due to Allah. We seek His help and forgiveness, and we seek refuge in Allah from the evil within ourselves and the consequences of our evil deeds. Whoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whoever Allah leads astray will never find guidance. I bear witness there is no God but Allah, alone without any partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is His servant and His Messenger.

Allah Almighty said, “O you who have faith, fear Allah as it is His right to be feared and do not die except as Muslims” (3:102)

And Allah Almighty said, “O people, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. Fear Allah, through whom you ask one another and maintain family ties. Verily, Allah is ever watching over you.” (4:1)

And Allah Almighty said, “O you who have faith, fear Allah and speak upright words. He will correct your deeds and forgive your sins. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has won a tremendous victory.” (33:70-71)

Verily, the most truthful speech is the Book of Allah, the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), and the worst of affairs are newly invented matters. Every newly invented matter is a religious innovation, and every religious innovation is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire.

The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us, without the right planning and resources it can be easy for this month to fly past us without us realising, I myself have been a victim of this. We only have a short time, just think back to when this year started and how we are almost half way though this year already, just like that ramadan will come and go, so we need to make a conscious effort to improve ourselves in practice and knowledge of the Deen. 

I have written a series of posts to help you increase your ability to understand surahs from a number of different aspects when they are being recited. It can be easy for the mind to wonder when the quran is being recited and you do not understand what is being recited. 30 days is not enough time to delve into the depths of Tafsir and full meaning of the Surahs in the Quran, so these blog posts will aim to be bite sized posts highlighting the following key elements from each Surah:

  1. The structure of the Surah, what topics are mentioned in the Surah
  2. Revelation – When was it revealed
  3. Key themes and messages from the Surah
  4. Selected verses from the Surah
  5. Virtues of the Surah
  6. Supplications from the Surah
  7. Further reading / listening – resources to gain a deeper understanding of the Surah

So this won’t be a deep insight to the depths of Tafsir, it is a high level overview that will allow you to take key points that are easy to remember and think and reflect upon them when the Surahs are being recited. I will be posting from Al-Fatihah to Al-Hijr, every second day I will post the next Surah in sha Allah.

I hope my time and efforts into this brings you benefit In sha Allah and if there are any suggestions or corrections that need to be made you can reach out to me on Instagram @saibnawaz or any of the @ramadanmovementcommunity team .

I would like to thank Zinab @breatheinbeautiful for another year of enabling this platform and community, and being the driving motivation behind these efforts, may Allah Jalla Jalaluhu reward her, and the tireless efforts of the rest of the team. Ameen.

I ask you to provide constructive feedback, and to also remember me in your Duas in this blessed month. May Allah allow us to reap the benefit of this month and elevate our status in this world and the hereafter. Ameen.

Aqulu qauli hada, wa astaghfirullaha li wa lakum walisairil muslimin, Fas taghfiruh, innahu huwal Ghafurur Rahim.

I say this saying of mine, and I seek forgiveness from Allah for me and for you, and to the rest of the Muslims, so ask Him for forgiveness, He is the forgiver, the Merciful.

Sohaib Nawaz