Top 10 Preparation Ideas for Ramadan 1437 AH

Want to make this Ramadan different? Want to be productive? Feel the need to lift up your spirituality? Make your plan for it and set these awesome goals this Ramadan! Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

🌜Pre Ramadan practical planning🌛

1) Get Your Eid Clothes and Eid Gifts Ready now so you don’t have to be in shopping malls during the precious Ramadan days and nights.

2) Analyze Yourself and Your Routine. Optimize your high energy levels.

3) Organize Your Dua List and supplicate the same important duas daily.

4) Increase Your Stamina: Start eating less from now. Train yourself to stay hungry for a little more time each day. Exercise. Get physically and mentally pumped up for the hard work in accumulating reward by focusing on good deeds throughout the month.

5) Make a Goal List: Make realistic goals of how much Qur’an you want to read in a day, how much charity can you give daily etc.

6) Declutter: Simplify your room, your work area, hour house. Remove any unnecessary items that may distract you. A cleaner environment can add to the peace and calm.

7) Limit Social Media: A good tip is to remove Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat and other such apps from your phone. Mute your Whatsapp groups and chats so you don’t get the urge to respond throughout the day. If it’s important, they’ll call you, otherwise it can wait.

8) Start listening to the Fiqh of Fasting, Virtues of Ramadan and other such lectures daily to get in the ibaadah mode.

9) Manage your sleeping Habits: the Nights of Ramadan are the best times of making Duaa and getting closer to our Creator. Don’t waste time watching TV and sleeping late.

10) Reach out to your family, friends and loved ones. You should really be doing this throughout the year but it becomes ever more important to engage with the family and friends now to get them into the Ramadan spirit as well.

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The Movie & the Brownies

Two teenagers asked their father if they could go to the theater to watch a movie that all their friends had seen. After reading some reviews about the movie on the Internet, he denied their request.
“Ah dad, why not?” they complained. “It’s rated PG-13, and we’re both older than thirteen!” Dad replied: “Because that movie contains nudity and portrays immorality as being normal and acceptable behavior.” “But dad, those are just very small parts of the movie! That’s what our friends who’ve seen it have told us. The movie is two hours long and those scenes are just a few minutes of the total film! It’s based on a true story and good triumphs over evil, and there are other redeeming themes like courage and self-sacrifice. Even the movie review websites say that!” “My answer is ‘no,’ and that is my final answer. You are welcome to stay home tonight, invite some of your friends over, and watch one of the good videos we have in our home collection. But you will not go and watch that film. End of discussion.” The two teenagers walked dejectedly into the family room and slumped down on the couch. As they sulked, they were surprised to hear the sounds of their father preparing something in the kitchen.

They soon recognized the wonderful aroma of brownies baking in the oven, and one of the teenagers said to the other, “Dad must be feeling guilty, and now he’s going to try to make it up to us with some fresh brownies. Maybe we can soften him with lots of praise when he brings them out to us and persuade him to let us go to that movie after all.” The teens were not disappointed. Soon their father appeared with a plate of warm brownies, which he offered to his kids. They each took one.

Then their father said, “before you eat, I want to tell you something: I love you both so much.”

The teenagers smiled at each other with knowing glances. Dad was softening.

“That is why I’ve made these brownies with the very best ingredients. I’ve made them from scratch. Most of the ingredients are even organic; the best organic flour, the best free-range eggs, the best organic sugar, premium vanilla and chocolate.”

The brownies looked mouth-watering, and the teens began to become a little impatient with their dad’s long speech.
“But I want to be perfectly honest with you. There is one ingredient I added that is not usually found in brownies. I got that ingredient from our own back yard. But you needn’t worry, because I only added the tiniest bit of that ingredient to your brownies. The amount of the portion is practically insignificant. So go ahead, take a bite and let me know what you think?
“Dad, would you mind telling us what that mystery ingredient is before we eat?”
“Why? The portion I added was so small, just a teaspoonful. You won’t even taste it.”
“Come on, dad; just tell us what that ingredient is?”
“Don’t worry! It is organic, just like the other ingredients.”
“Dad!”
“Well, OK, if you insist. That secret ingredient is organic … dog poop.”
Both teens instantly dropped their brownies back on the plate and began inspecting their fingers with horror.
“Dad! Why did you do that? You’ve tortured us by making us smell those brownies cooking for the last half hour, and now you tell us that you
added dog poop! We can’t eat these brownies!”
“Why not? The amount of dog poop is very small compared to the rest of the ingredients. It won’t hurt you. It’s been cooked right along with the other ingredients. You won’t even taste it. It has the same consistency as the brownies. Go ahead and eat!”
“No, Dad … Never!”
“And that is the same reason I won’t allow you to go watch that movie.
You won’t tolerate a little dog poop in your brownies, so why should you tolerate a little immorality in your movies? We pray that God will not lead us unto temptation, so how can we in good
conscience entertain ourselves with something that will imprint a sinful image in our minds that will lead us into temptation long after we first see it?”

Remember, we become de-sensitized a little bit at a time; it is the small and minimal sins that we forget the most.

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We Are the Carpenters

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Allah prepares a house in Paradise for every believer who offers twelve Raka’at of voluntary prayer everyday beyond that which is obligatory for him.” [Muslim]
 
Although this Hadith specifies voluntary prayer but our every act of obedience of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala)is an act of workmanship towards the properties we are preparing for ourselves in Jannah.
 
A highly skilled carpenter who had grown old was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.
 
The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter agreed to this proposal but made sure that this would be his last project. Being in a mood to retire, the carpenter was not paying much attention to building this house. His heart was not in his work. He resorted to poor workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. 
 
When the job was done, the carpenter called his employer and showed him the house. The employer handed over some papers and the front door key to the carpenter and said “This is your house, my gift to you.”
 
The carpenter was in shock! What a shame! If he had only known that he was building his own house, he would have made it better than any other house that he had ever built!
 
Our situation can be compared to this carpenter. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has sent us to this world to build our homes in Paradise by obeying His commands. Now, we have to decide how well we wish to build the homes in which we will live forever.  
 
Every work can be our last; every Salah can be our last; let’s pray and work with this realization.
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A King of the Buwaih Dynasty

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Three (things) accompany a dead body: members of his family, his belongings and his deeds. Two of them leave him, and only one remains with him. Indeed, his family members and his belongings leave him but his deeds remain with him.” [Bukhari]

Commentary: In Shadharat adh-Dhahab it is related that one of the kings of the Buwaih Dynasty, Fakhr ad-Daulah, said: “I collected enough wealth for my children and their army to suffice them for fifteen years.”

But when he died, the keys to his treasures were with his sons who ignored his funeral. Consequently, the people searched for an appropriate cover for him. They eventually bought one from the caretaker of the mosque. All the while his sons and soldiers bickered among themselves until his corpse rotted.

When the disputing was over, the people had to lasso his corpse and pull it from a distance because of its horrid smell. As they pulled his corpse, it fell apart on the stairway of his castle.

Here was a king who owned a great portion of worldly life, a legacy of two million dinars, eight hundred and fifty six thousand dirhams, and a sensational amount of 14,000 pieces of jewels, gems, pearls, diamonds, and gold. This is not to mention incredible amounts of silverware, furniture, weapons and carpets.

But when he died no one attended to him, with nothing to cover him except what they could scavenge from the caretaker of the mosque. This is the reality of this life. We come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed. Only our deeds enter our graves alongside us. Indeed, the wisest person is he who prepares himself for the afterlife by obeying Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) in the best of ways.

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The Legend of the White Bull: At Thawr il Abyadh

Once upon a time three bulls lived in the forest. One white, one brown and one black. They were brothers and lived together in harmony. In that forest also lived a tiger who had his eye on the bulls. But every time he attacked one of them the others came to his aid and together they drove the tiger away.

The tiger decided that he needed to change his strategy. So one day when the Black Bull was away, he went to the other two and said, “You know, the Black Bull is black and dirty and evil. Why do you keep him with you? His is a disgrace to you. You are beautiful and noble. If the Black Bull is no longer there, you will have all the grazing to yourself. He takes away your food and adds no value to you.” The two bulls listened to the tiger’s spiel and said, “Well, you know, he is our brother. What can we do?”

“You need not do anything at all,” said the tiger. “I am your friend. I will do what needs to be done. Just don’t come to the aid of the Black Bull when he calls you.” The others agreed.

The next day, they heard the voice of the Black Bull calling for help in anguish and fear. They listened to him and went back to their grazing. Gradually the calls stopped. The two brothers could not look each other in the eye but then, nice green grass wipes away memories and after a little while it was as if the Black Bull never existed.

Then one day the tiger came to the White Bull when he was alone and said, “So are you happy with the advise I gave you? Didn’t I advise you well? Now here is another advise. You are the real king of the forest. You are White and clean and pure and holy and beautiful. You are wise and good. You deserve to live in solitary splendor like a king. Not with some dirty brown trash who you have to share your food with. Why do you need him? He is a liability and an embarrassment to you.”

“Well, what should I do?”

“You know the score. Nothing at all. I am there to take care of everything for you. Just relax.”

Next day, the White Bull heard the dying screams of the Brown Bull and closed his ears and went back to his grazing.

The White Bull lived for a few days all by himself, grazing where he wanted and drinking from the clean streams of the forest. Then one morning the tiger came again. From the look in his eyes, the White Bull knew that this visit was different. All his life flashed before his eyes. He recalled the time when the three brothers stood together, shoulder to shoulder. Then he recalled all the incidents since then. As the tiger sat before him, not in any hurry, knowing that the result was pre-determined, the White Bull said to him, “I have one last wish. Will you grant it to me?”

“Anything at all my friend”, said the tiger.

The White Bull then climbed a hill and when he got to the top of it, he called out to the people of the forest, “O! People, I do not die today. I died the day the Black Bull died.”

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