Ramadan 2018

Inner Dimensions: The Fast

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Last week I began my Ramadan series Inner Dimensions by writing a little bit about how we can tap back into the spiritual aspect of our prayer, the foundation of our worship. Today I want to take it one step further and talk about fasting, the foundation of our Ramadan.

We know that there are two distinct dimensions to fasting: the inner and the outer.  Our outer fasting is what we tend to think of most often when we think of Ramadan – no food, no drink, no intimacy, from dawn until sunset for 30 days.

But Allah says in the Qur’an:

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (attain taqwa).”

Qur’an 2:183

This verse makes it clear that the whole point of fasting, we could even say the whole essence of fasting, is not to make ourselves hungry and thirsty, but to use fasting as a means to attain a higher status in our inner-selves, to become more righteous. Continue reading “Inner Dimensions: The Fast”

Advertisements
Ramadan 2018

Inner Dimensions: The Prayer

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Salaam alaikum and Ramadan mubarak to all my amazing readers! I can’t believe this beautiful month is already here, and I am so grateful that you have decided to spend some of your precious Ramadan time here with me.

Today will be the first post in my Ramadan 2018 series, Inner Dimensions. This Ramadan, I really want to go back to basics and look at our worship not as an end in and of itself, but the means to the end of bringing ourselves closer to Allah swt.

And I want to start with one of the five pillars, and the foundation of our faith: the salah, or five times daily prayer.

The more sisters I talk to, the more I find that we tend to really struggle with our salah. We struggle to pray on time, to concentrate during our prayer, and even to feel anything when we pray. From my experience, many of these salah issues come from a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of salah.

So often, we think of our salah as merely an obligation. It is a fard, an item that we must check off of our to-do lists five times every day, a ritual to be performed.

But the point of salah is not to be performed; it is to be experiencedContinue reading “Inner Dimensions: The Prayer”

Resources

Book Review: The Dua Journal

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

While it has been great to have some time off for April, I decided to break my blogging silence to share something exciting with y’all.

Around a month or so ago, I got the extended version of The Dua Journal (pictured below), and after using it in for a while now, I wanted to share some of my experiences with you.

I’ve had my eye on The Dua Journal ever since it came out around a year ago, but because of the lack of decent postal system in Algeria, it ended up being relegated to my “someday” list. So, you can imagine how excited I was to finally be able to get not only The Dua Journal, but the extended green-cover version! Continue reading “Book Review: The Dua Journal”

Resources

Book Review: Reflections from Life

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

I’m so excited to be bringing you the second book review in two months, alhamdulillah! Today I am honored to be bringing you a review of Reflections from Life: A Muslim’s Guide to Inspiration by Aisha Idris of The Bookish Nomad . It is her debut self-help book, and it is full of Islamic inspiration punctuated by real-life lessons taken from her personal experiences.

I was glad to receive a copy of the e-book to read and review; the book was just the perfect mix of spirituality, real life lessons, and personal development, all the things I am so interested in these days! Continue reading “Book Review: Reflections from Life”

Personal Development

My 5 Favorite Personal Development Resources

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

To continue on with the personal development theme that I originally had wanted to create for this month, today I want to share a few of the best resources I have come across that have aided in my personal development journey.

  1. Rising Soul: A Guide to Personal Development by Muhammad Mansur was the first Islamic personal development book I ever read and was a gift from a dear friend. You can find a full review here.
  2. The Ideal Muslimah by Muhammad Ali Hashimi is one book that I just keep coming back to over and over again. Because it outlines the whole character of an “ideal Muslimah” there is always a new gem that you can take from each new reading! I have a full review here.
  3. Playing Big by Tara Mohr is the first non-islamic personal development book I ever read, and one that I recently gave a re-read! I love this one and it is a great place to start breaking into the personal development field.
  4. Reflections from Life by Aisha Idris is a brand new book, that actually just came out recently! I was lucky enough to get a copy for review, and in shaa Allah you will be getting a full review by the end of this month!
  5. Purification of the Heart is a podcast by Qalam Institute that I am absolutely loving! It is all about learning to recognize the signs of diseases of the heart in ourselves and begin to work on curing them and instead replacing them with sunnah actions and behaviors instead. Definitely great for listening to during a commute or while doing chores around the house.

I’m always looking for new books and podcasts to put on my list, so please do feel free to add your suggestions in the comments! I do love to hear from y’all.

 

Personal Reflections

Scattered Reflections

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

I had a post planned today on Islam and personal development, two things which, you will know by now, I am really into.

But I can’t seem to get my brain to focus on anything within that topic. I’ve searched Pinterest for a spark of inspiration, I’ve combed through a few articles looking for a hadith or ayah to base my reflections upon, I’ve wracked my own brain looking for a little streak of wisdom to share with y’all.

Nothing.

Because what is really on my mind is a smattering of too many things. I’ve been back home for a visit for a little bit now, and ever since I’ve been here I can’t seem to motivate myself to get online and write or be present on social media. Which is not to say I’m just loafing around over here…

I get up every morning after fajr instead of napping,  I eat my breakfast and then I do chores around the house. I do some exercise; just today my grandpa and I started a morning walking routine. I’ve been playing catch-up with alimah classes, running errands that need to get done while I’m here, and making dates with family members that I want to visit.
Continue reading “Scattered Reflections”

Lifestyle

Islamic Best Practices for Social Media

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll probably remember a post I did ages ago on social media and Islam. I remember back then feeling so hesitant to write about that topic, though I did and still do think it is an important one, because I was afraid to sound preachy.

And reading the post back, I kind of did sound a bit preachy.

As this blog has been growing and I have been finding myself more and more “visible” in the online world, reflections on social media and internet presence in general once again seem to keep coming up in my mind.

And because this is a time when virtually everyone is on social media, and many seem to have various issues, whether they be in the form of being a “keyboard warrior” to plain social media addiction,  I thought perhaps it would be beneficial to share some of those reflections again today.

Instead of writing a more prescriptive post, however, I want to share with you some of my own social media best practices, that I have built up as I try to perfect my own Islamic character and manners. It is an ongoing journey, and of course I am nowhere near perfect, but these are the guiding principles that I try to keep in mind whenever I am online. Continue reading “Islamic Best Practices for Social Media”

Personal Reflections

Islam Against All Odds

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

If y’all are on my newsletter list (you can get in on that HERE), you will probably remember a content survey I sent out a little while ago. One of the common answers to the question, “What would you like to hear more of from me?” was that you would like to hear more about how I came to Islam and what drew me to it, despite all of the negativity in the media.

To that end I have already shared my convert story Parts I and II, but today I wanted to look a little deeper about what it actually was the attracted me to Islam in the first place, and what kept me learning more even though in the beginning, I for sure did have my qualms.

“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided.”

Qur’an 28:56

Continue reading “Islam Against All Odds”

Personal Reflections

Transition: My Hijab Story

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

As I have been sharing my convert story with you all over the past few weeks, I thought it might be beneficial to also tell the story of how I came to embrace the hijab.

From the very minute I started to realize that Islam was going to be my way of life for (in shaa Allah) the rest of my life, the concept of modesty and hijab started taking the fore-front in my mind. I knew from the beginning that it was a requirement in Islam, and I knew that, for myself, if I wanted to embrace Islam I was going to embrace all of it. Even if there were parts I didn’t like or understand at the time.

I would like to tell you it was hard, and in some ways it was surely a challenge for me, but taking up the hijab was not as much of a struggle for me as I have seen other converts face. Yes, in the very beginning I did experience an amount of resistance; that is only natural. I had been living my life one way for 21 years at that point, and to think that I could suddenly change over night would be completely ridiculous.

I loved the way I dressed. Cute dress, cardigan, tights and flats. It was my go-to uniform, something in which I felt both pretty and feminine as well as comfortable and practical. There was a point in my life at which, no matter how fashionable they were, I absolutely hated maxi dresses. The idea of modesty as a complete lifestyle outside of hanging out with one’s grandparents or going to a church function was foreign to me.

And, of course, I was terrified of what everyone around me would think to see such a drastic change, and such a visible proclamation of my new beliefs and allegiances. Continue reading “Transition: My Hijab Story”

Spirituality

Reconnecting to Spirituality

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

I have been talking a lot in the past few months about my journey not only to Islam, but through Islam as well, and how I pulled through my “everything is haraam phase,” and came full circle into a more loving, spiritual, and passionate form of practising my faith. I was realizing then, and still believe passionately, that this is such an important topic to talk about, as often and as loudly as I can.

There are far too many blogs and pages out there that say they are about Islamic “reminders,” but end up just spouting hate and a “holier than thou” attitude towards anyone and anything that does not fit into their black-and-white- version of Islam. The only school of thought they follow is their own, and so often these kinds of pages and reminders get so stuck up in the minutiae of haraam-ness that they miss the forest for the trees, and fail to see the whole picture and the spirit behind the rules that they seek to implement so rigidly (to illustrate that point: I know a person here in Algeria who daily extols the virtues of living here because the West is all just evil, disgusting and full of kaafirs, and she can tell me every detail of why a colored jilbab or Nike shoes are haraam, but then when I check the label on the sweets she is offering me it is clearly marked “pork gelatine”).

I know I have written a lot about this issue in the abstract (you can check out some posts here, here, and here), but today I want to go a little bit further and actually share with you some of my tips to help you move past the haraam/fard dichotomy, find your own spiritual path, and really begin to reconnect with your deen and Allah swt in a way that takes the rules into account, but also seeks the deeper understanding behind all of the things we practice. I figured the beginning of January is a great time to do this, as many people are looking forward to the beginning of the new year, reflecting, and making changes in their lives.  Continue reading “Reconnecting to Spirituality”