slip-sliding away…..

Archive for August, 2010

Where the heart is

Posted by Yacoob on August 29, 2010

They say that home is where the heart is; and in my case, the saying certainly rings true. You see, this weekend, I’ll be moving homes, insha-Allah – and the impending move has inspired reflections on the homes I’ve had throughout my life.

As I think about the places I’ve lived, I realise that – for the most part – each home has really been where my heart is. I’m a “home body” – someone who loves their home and stays in it a lot. I’ve never been the kind of person to go out a lot; and given the choice, I’d rather be at home. It’s comfortable, relaxing, and I can enjoy myself just as much – most of the time – as I would by being ‘out’ (although going out also has its perks).

I’ve lived in 8 different homes over the course of my life, and each has a special place in my heart.

1. Babyhood

My first memories of ‘home’ are set in a small, one-bedroom flat in Durban. I think it was my parents’ first home away from their own parents (i.e. once they moved out on their own). The memories are vague and unclear – from climbing out of my cot in the middle of the night (into my parents’ bed – which was right next to the cot); to the TV shows we’d watch on a Monday night (such as The A-Team and Knight Rider); to having to be bribed with sweets in order to get eat my porridge or get my nails cut. (Which may explain why I grew up as a sweet addict ;).

2. Childhood

Next up, probably before I started school, we built this huge house in the same area – which was filled with hills and valleys, and what seemed like never-ending sunshine. The house was massive to me, and the way it was structured made it somewhat exciting yet at the same time scary (especially at night). Those were probably my favourite childhood years – whose memories are overwhelmingly filled with peace, warmth, and a feeling of safety. We had a big garden in the back, and someone had told me that under one of the paved parts, there was an Anaconda. (Probably my older brother – he liked to scare me). I was always scared of that area – worried that the massive snake would awake one day. It never did (obviously – since it wasn’t even real!), but we did have a snake come up a plumbing pipe once – into the bathroom. That was scary – and I’ve always been terrified of snakes and reptiles. But that fear didn’t stop my cousin and I, who, one time, threw stones at a chameleon that was on the wall between our house and the neighbour. (We had massive lizards in and around that house). We didn’t realise that the stones were hitting the neighbours’ roof / wall – and we said nothing when she came out wondering what was going on.

3. Adolescence

A few years before High School, we moved again – to a house in a formerly white neighbourhood It was classified as such under Apartheid, and when the seller found out our race, I think he tried to pull out of the deal or something (I don’t know the details).

The place was very convenient in terms of schools, shopping, and facilities in the area. For me, the best part of that period and home was the outside activities. We’d spend hours and hours playing in the yard – cricket, soccer, and even tennis (though the space wasn’t big enough). And there was a field near by – which we played cricket matches on; as well as tennis courts, which we spent many, many hours on. One time, we played until after sunset – we tried to squeeze as much game time as we could before we couldn’t see anymore. I knew it was time to go when I was chased by a bat (there were fruit bats, I think, in the trees around there). I ran so hard from that thing, and decided if it got near my, I was going to swot it with my tennis racquet. Thankfully, I never had to deal with that eventuality.

It was also the house that I became a victim of crime in. My father and I were nearly hijacked in our garage one afternoon – but the hijackers failed in their attempt, though they did manage to fire a few shots (one of which hit the window directly above me). It was a life-changing experience for my father, and for me, one which should have been deeply traumatic – but I don’t think the trauma lasted very long. It did bring about a home visit from my school headmaster, and as he was leaving, my dog bit his bum…which was the most amusing part for me (though it probably wasn’t pleasant for him).

Even though I only lived there 8 years (followed by another 4 visiting in the holidays), that home left the biggest impression on me. To this day, in my sleep, most of my dreams that involve a home are set in that house.

I didn’t want to let it go – I thought we’d always keep it, and I’d live there as an adult too.

4. Moving away

After school, I moved to Cape Town – and lived with my brother, who was also studying here. The flat we stayed in was right next to the railway line; and it was small – yet big enough for me. The bathroom wasn’t my favourite place, though – it was kind of gross, and I was glad when – a year later – my mother decided to renovate it.

That first year at varsity was intense. I had independence, yet I was also terribly home sick. And my brother and I didn’t have the most stable relationship at the time – so we fought a lot (as one of the neighbours would attest to).

For that year, and a few that followed, I was adamant that I would not remain in Cape Town after varsity. It was not my home – and I didn’t want to stay there.

The flat was also near my university, so I’d walk to and from varsity each day. And when I had tests or exams in the late afternoon, I’d walk home in the dark – alongside a canal at one point; scared that someone was going to jump out and murder me.

But the place was fine, and I had fun there.

5. The view

In third year, we moved to a bigger flat – still in the area, but nearer the university. It was physically higher up – closer to the mountain – so the view was awesome. If you’ve seen some of my pictures from the earlier years of this blog, you’ll get an idea of it. We had the mountain on one side, and on the other side, a vast lookout of suburbs and another mountain range in the distance. The latter side was also the position the sun rose from, and I was inspired by many a sunrise in those peaceful, beautiful mornings.

This was the home that played host to the biggest changes in my life; and the place I spent so much time in – growing from the child I was (since I still considered myself a child – even in varsity) to the adult I became. While the biggest changes were happening, I decided to remain in Cape Town after varsity was over. Durban no longer held much for me – even though I was (and still am) very attached to it. My life was different now, and I wanted to stay where I was – physically – because it felt like the right place to be.

This home was a place that was incredibly peaceful outside, yet the place where I had some of my most inwardly turbulent moments. I learnt so much in my time there, and I still treasure the place – because it’s an integral part of my history – through all the ups and downs that I experienced in those 6 plus years.

6. An even better view

Right after I finished varsity, my beloved Durban home – the house which I was so attached to – was sold, and the replacement home was a flat with an incredible view of the city and ocean. I was there when we moved over to the flat, and even though I liked the place – I was yearning to come back home, to Cape Town. This Durban flat, however, had a familiarity to it. It felt like our very first house (number 2 on the list, above) – both in its look and feel.

I’d periodically go back to visit Durban, and stay there – marvelling, every time, at the sheer awesomeness of that view. I spent precious moments alone, at the window at night, looking out over the city – pondering, praying, and enjoying being so close to the sky; close enough that the birds were up on that level; close enough that helicopters were probably only 20 metres away when they came past; and close enough that – when I looked at the night sky on an overcast kind of night – I was struck with both terror at the thought of flying (kind of like Peter Pan) alone up there, and awe at how magnificent that big canvas above our planet really is.

7. Solitude

The year after varsity, I had an internship with a company based in Pretoria. I had to spend a few months at their headquarters – studying / training in the field I was specialising in. The area was a suburban – a very white, Afrikaner kind of place; where pretty much the only non-white people I saw were gardeners and domestic workers.

I stayed in a guest house for those 4 and a bit months, and it was incredibly difficult at first – being so alone. But it strengthened my relationship with my Creator; and I grew to love the solitude of being totally alone – away from parents and family and anyone I knew. I had a little balcony that looked out over some of the other suburbs; and at night, there seemed to be so many more stars above than any other place I’d lived before.

At some points, I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my life – doing my assignments on weekends, and studying in the afternoons when I got home. I don’t think I’ve ever worked that intensely – for a sustained period – up till now. It helped me discover my capabilities in terms of what I can do when I’m driven to get things done.

I also indulged myself in those days and nights – planning to stay up to watch a TV show on a certain night of the week, together with my ice cream (I discovered Cookies n Cream flavour over there…I love it J) – yet I’d be so tired that most weeks I’d just fall asleep while the show was on.

I was sad to leave that place – but also happy to get back to my real home, and my real life.

8. The here and now

All of this brings me to my present home – which I dearly love. I’ve detailed how I came to live here in another post – so I won’t dwell on that part of the story here.

Some might consider this place small, but it’s never felt small to me. It’s always been spacious enough – I never felt cramped or confined. And I never felt this was a step down compared to any of the places I’ve lived before.

I had the huge realisation just now is that I’ll never have this again – this first home with my wife. This place is tremendously special because it was our first real home (i.e. after moving out from my parents’ place) – the one that was all our own; where we adjusted to living independently, to doing things as a couple in our own space – free of parents and family members. Where we could do things the way we wanted – have our home and habits exactly as we pleased, for the first time (though the ‘habits’ bit isn’t all good – because we’re rather untidy).

I think of old couples who sit and reminisce about their early days. Their first homes. Their struggles in the early months and years of marriage.

And for us, this home has been the setting for all of that. When we look back, years or decades from now insha-Allah, this place – this home – will be the one that we remember as our starting point. We had our fun here; and we also had our fights here too. We grew closer together as a couple here. We bonded over things worldly and spiritual here – including our first Ramadan together. We found out about our precious little one here – that Sunday morning before Fajr, when the 2 lines on the pregnancy test changed our lies forever. She grew, in this home, from being a tiny bean to a foetus, to a newborn, to the toddler that she is now.

I could go on and on – such is the vastness of precious memories we have in this home – but I’ll have to stop myself, both due to time constraints, and because I don’t want to bore you, the reader.

I think it’ll be a sad day, when we finally leave. When we say goodbye to our precious, first home.

But they say that change is the only constant in life, and we must move forward – which is why we’re set to move to the new place this weekend, insha-Allah. (Maybe I’ll write about that separately – if anyone’s still interested in the “Accommodating Adventures” series).

From all of these thoughts – all of these memories of homes past and present – I derive a great deal of thankfulness. Thankful that I’ve always had good homes –in terms of physical structures, the environments they’ve been in, and the way I’ve felt about them. So many people are forced to live in homes that, psychologically, are harmful to them. Whether they have to deal with unsafe neighbourhoods outside, or abusive relationships within their homes, or whatever else that makes their homes places of anxiety – rather than places of rest. They don’t have peace. They probably don’t find comfort in their homes. And they probably wish they could be someplace else.

I’m thankful to my parents for all they’ve done to give me these homes. And I’m thankful to my wife, for all she’s done to make my home one of love, comfort, and goodness. But most of all, I’m thankful to Allah – for blessing me with all of this (both homes and the people who shaped them); for making sure that, wherever I’ve lived, home really has been where my heart is.

Posted in Life stories | 1 Comment »

Looking forward: Part 2 – Salah

Posted by Yacoob on August 26, 2010

(This article is also posted at www.ramadan.co.za)

Ramadan is a month in which many of strive in our worship; and we hope that these high standards will be carried over to the 11 months that follow. And, like a re-run that just won’t go away, each year, it’s very likely that we fail to live up to those standards – and end up falling back into bad habits and laziness.

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, if we want to stop this trend, we need to make a conscious, planned effort to beat the post-Ramadan slump we often fall into. And that planning starts right now (or, if you read part 1, hopefully it will have already started).

Recap: essential principles
Once again, always bear in mind the hadith that tells us:
‘The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

The key concepts are:

  1. Being realistic: Don’t set such high standards – such intense expectations – which you know you won’t realistically be able to achieve. Take baby steps: set small, achievable goals; things that are realistic for you – given your spiritual level, physical condition, psychological state of being, and time constraints.
  2. Consistency: Don’t have one day of major, intense spiritual activity; and then follow that with a long period of nothing / very little. Do what you do consistently. Do not procrastinate, and do not be lazy. If you’ve set small, realistic goals – which you know you can achieve (albeit with at least some struggle), then you should be able to work consistently at it – every single day / period you’ve set for the activity’s frequency.

Challenge number 2: Salah
Hopefully, you’ve already planned how you’ll take part 1′s challenge – fasting – through to the rest of the year. The next challenge is one absolutely critical to your life as a Muslim: salah / namaaz / prayer (whatever you want to call it).

Salah is the pillar of the religion. If you uphold it, you’re well on your way to upholding your religion. But if you’re negligent or destroy it, then you have a lot to worry about. Especially since salah is the first thing you’ll be asked about on the Day of Judgement.

So ask yourself: am I striving to make my salah better this Ramadan? And if so, am I going to take that commitment forward after Ramadan?

Whatever your answers, if you want to improve your salah now, and carry that through after Ramadan, you’ll need to work at it.

Resources to help:
I recently came across a good, short e-book which covers this exact subject. The free, 45-page book is entitled “TASTE IT! How to Taste the True Beauty of Salah”, is compiled from a series of lectures in Kuwait in Ramadan 2008. It consists of short, easy to read chapters that aim to help you taste the sweetness of salah, and experience the true beauty and tranquility of our daily meetings with our Lord.

You can download the e-book here: “TASTE IT! How to Taste the True Beauty of Salah” (502Kb) (Right click and choose “Save as…” to download).

To set you up for this book, there are two short audio (MP3) lectures which can also be beneficial, insha-Allah. Both are by Chicago based scholar Hussein Abdul Sattar,

  1. “Focusing on our salah” (12 minutes) (Right click and choose “Save as…” to download).
    This talk basically talks about how important salah is, and encourages its listeners to really pay due attention to it. It’s a good reminder to us all, and is short enough to put across the message without being boring.
  2. “Putting Khushu’ Into Our Salah” (17 minutes) (Right click and choose “Save as…” to download).
    This talk is also very short and to the point. It deals with issues around khushoo (concentration in salah), and will hopefully help its listeners to understand the concept of khushoo better – so that they can try to improve this aspect of so important an act of worship.

Note that all these resources are free downloads– so don’t worry about violating copyright issues by downloading them. (And you can share them – but obviously don’t go and try to make a financial profit from them).

The way forward:

After reading and listening to these resources, start working on how you’ll improve the quality of your salah. Each person’s task list will be different, but some possible questions you might ask yourself are:

  • Is my salah acceptable in the eyes of Allah? Am I really devoting my entire heart, mind, and body to Him whenever I make salah?
  • If not, why is this the case? What distracts me? What do I think of during salah – and how often do these distractions get to me? What is the root cause of my problem?
  • How to I minimize and eventually eradicate these issues – so that I can eventually come to the level I want to be at in salah?
  • How can I break this goal into small, manageable pieces? (Remedies that I can slowly but surely introduce over time so that I can build towards being better in my salah.)
  • How can I consistently, systematically implement these pieces over the coming months, so that I’m improving in my salah each day / week – and not slipping back into bad habits?

This month, we spend more time on personal reflection. We give more attention to our acts of worship. We strive to be better, and we find that it is much easier to be better in this month – compared to the rest of the year.

So now, in these precious days and nights, let’s take the time to analyse our salah and look at where we can improve, how we can improve, and then put our plans into action. And remember to make dua for success in this endeavour; and to regularly renew your intention in this – so that Shaytaan doesn’t destroy it for you later on.

Posted in Ramadaan | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

The Playtime Council Sleepover

Posted by Yacoob on August 25, 2010

The Playtime Council – previously pictured here – recently held a sleepover. Unfortunately, Abdurahman has disappeared, and so has Honest. (We hope Honest hasn’t been captured by those darn teddy poachers.) Ethan is, as always, away on a secret mission. In fact, he hasn’t been back in a very long time. Perhaps it’s time for HQ to reel him back in…

Pictured here are Chairman Pooh, along with Discovery® Bear – who may be joining the council. Discovery Bear was a gift from Discovery, the medical aid, when the baby was born. He entertains us much, but his one weakness is that he’s usually trying to get us to join Discovery’s “Vitality” scheme. A true sales bear, he never gives up – even though he’s been warned numerous times to stop advertising.

This particular night, Toddles (a.k.a. our baby) decided to put the two of them to bed. Pooh had a bit of a vomiting problem (hence the bib); while Discovery Bear had trouble at the other end (hence the nappy). But in this shot, both are primed and ready for bed – after finishing off the night’s playtime exertions. (Toddles was already asleep – so she isn’t in this shot).

Posted in But seriously..., Playtime | 1 Comment »

Re-awakening

Posted by Yacoob on August 20, 2010

I have been re-awoken. This month, which is usually so inspirational for me, has once again lived up to its greatness in terms of my personal development.

You see, I know this is the best time for self-analysis and change. It’s always like that – because it’s the month where other stuff steps back, into the background, and I can focus more easily on striving in my worship (which, for me, includes personal development).

For some reason, on day 1 this month, I started writing a journal. It’s kind of like my ‘Ramadan journal’ – which I envisaged would be just for this month. And every day, I’ve written of my experiences, thoughts, and realizations – much of which has been self-analytical.

Through this writing, I’ve pinpointed several huge issues that have negatively impacted n my life. And through this writing, I’ve been able to record what those root causes are, how I feel about them, and what I think can remedy the situations.

I used to write a lot. In emails to others; in personal, private things; and in blog posts – which were personal reflections as well as creative expressions. I used to love writing. It was therapeutic for me. Through writing, I was able to analyse so much – both in my own life and the outside world.

And then, with added responsibilities over the last almost-3 years, that side of me started declining. I just didn’t have time for writing anymore – the kind of time I used to have. And even when I did have time, my life wasn’t conducive to the conditions which fed that inner-writer.

I never wanted to lose that – that love of writing; that ability to express myself so easily and just pour out what was in my heart. And in that time where this side of me was in decline, the inspiration and writing came less often. And often, when it did come, I wouldn’t be happy with what I wrote. I wouldn’t feel it was so sincere – or rather, so intense in my heart. Some of it just felt mechanical.

And I thought: maybe that writing side of you will eventually disappear altogether, and become a thing of the past. And though I was sad at that, what else could I do? How was I to nurture and revive this side of me what everything in my life (including my own selfish desires) was just not co-operating to bring it back, or give it a chance?

But this month, consistently, I’ve felt waves of inspiration. Like that part of me is back from the dead. And it feels so good because it’s like welcoming back a very dear, beloved friend which you thought you’d never see again.

The thing is, I no longer have those large stretches of solitude and being alone – which was the fertile breeding ground that bred my past inspiration and creativity. But this month has brought with it something that is almost equal in effect; in that I’m inspired to write so much again, and I’m driven to write. I put it down, completely, to this being a gift that Allah has given me this month. And I’m tremendously grateful to have it.

Of course, I know I’m going to run into time issues – but I hope I’ll be able to work around that intelligently so that I can write the most important things.

Already, the pessimist in me tells me that this will be short lived: this is just a period, a high that will come down – and I won’t have this going forward. I mean, I have had a moment similar to this before – yet not a lot came after that.

Insha-Allah, it won’t end up the same. And I hope to prove Mr Negative wrong.

Posted in Meanderings, Ramadaan | 4 Comments »

Looking forward

Posted by Yacoob on August 19, 2010

The first week of Ramadan has flown by, and quite soon, we’ll be saying goodbye to the opening 10 days – which is the period of Allah’s Mercy. By now, we should be feeling that mercy; and embracing it by taking advantage of these precious moments we have in a month unlike any other.

Whether we’ve upped our commitment to salaah, the Quran, improving our character, or strengthening our intimate bond with Allah through dua – there’s no doubt that there’s no time like the present to do ‘more’ for our spirituality.

So, while the momentum is here – and while it’s hopefully building more and more each day – I’d like to propose that we start planning how we’re going to keep the goodness of this month active for those perhaps-dark days that lurk – those 11 months that follow Ramadan.

A recurring problem

Many of us know what it’s like to have high hopes for maintaining our standards of ibadah after Ramadan. And we also know what it’s like to then fail to keep those standards soon after the month is gone. It’s difficult – tremendously difficult – to maintain the willpower, strength, and motivation to keep going on a high level when Ramadan is over. After all, we no longer have the communal spirit – where everyone is fasting, everyone is going for Taraweeh, and everyone is trying to be a better Muslim.

And as much as we want to keep up our spiritual exertions – for we’ve tasted the sweetness of striving in Islam – it just isn’t easy. Life resumes its hectic pace, and we’re soon sucked back in to all the ‘important’ things that need to take priority over our spiritual wellbeing.

A way to break the cycle

Consider this early start the first step towards breaking that (perhaps) annual cycle of disappointment.

I intend this to be a “Looking forward” series  – in which I hope to cover a few areas where we can start building a personal plan to take Ramadan into the other 11 months of the year. And in this entire endeavour, there’s two concepts which you need to bear in mind at all times. They’re captured beautifully in the Hadith that tells us (roughly quoting):

The most beloved of deeds in the sight of Allah are those that areconsistent, even if they be small.

The key concepts here are consistency and being realistic.

You can plan to do a million and one things, and hope that you’ll maintain tremendous sincerity and intensity – but the stark reality is, you’ll probably burn yourself out soon; and then you end up doing nothing (or, very little).

So, with this series, we’ll aim to approach these areas in baby steps – so that we can set realistic, achievable targets; and remain steadfast on those actions so that we may attain Allah’s pleasure, and grow spiritually, insha-Allah.

Challenge number 1: Fasting

The first area is one which you’re well acquainted with in this month: fasting.

We often hear of the virtues of fasting 6 days of the month of Shawwal (which immediately follows Ramadan); and while it is a noble objective to aim for, we should go beyond just Shawwal.

There are various specific days on which the Prophet s.a.w. fasted outside of Ramadan. Among these were Mondays and Thursdays, as well as the middle three days of each month (by the Islamic calendar).

The Prophet s.a.w. informed us that our deeds are presented to Allah on Mondays and Thursdays – so the sunnah of fasting those days is because he loved to be in a state of fasting when his deeds were presented.

If you’re not already fasting these days, consider starting immediately after Ramadan has gone. And if you know you’ll find it difficult, then don’t commit to every one of those days. Start with just one day a week: either Monday or Thursday. Give yourself a few weeks to just settle into that rhythm. One day – that’s all.

And when you’re doing it, let that fast remind you of Ramadan. Let that abstention remind you that, not long ago, you fasted every single day for a month – because Allah commanded you to. Remember that you abstained from food and drink and sexual relations. Remember that you were careful of what you said and did. Remember that you tried to be conscious of your Lord at all times – because taqwa was the goal of your fasting.

And remember the reward you hoped for from Allah – the reward you hoped to attain by fasting properly.

But with Ramadan gone, can you still attain reward?

Most definitely – you can.

Consider the Quranic advice: if you love Allah, follow the way of the Prophet s.a.w. . By following his sunnah, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins(Surah Al-Imran; verse 31).

Keeping the sunnah fasts – even if it’s just one day a week – is a way to gain Allah’s love and forgiveness. And if you struggle to keep just that one day, then maybe lessen it to once every two weeks. Allah knows your capability – and if you just make the sincere, committed effort to do this for His sake, insha-Allah He will help you to get stronger and one day you’ll look back on your former weakness and be thankful that you kept going.

Of course, fasting outside of Ramadan also has health benefits; as well as financial benefits – because skipping lunch (and other snacks) can save you money – especially if you’re the kind that likes to indulge on a daily basis.

So, in this month of fasting and personal reflection, take some time to think of what your fasting means to you; and what fasting could mean for you if you’re able to keep it up after Ramadan has left you.

Posted in Ramadaan | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Reset

Posted by Yacoob on August 11, 2010

Knock knock.
Who’s there?

You know who.

That annual visitor,
who comes around
to remind you of how strong you really are.

Who brings with him
an abundance of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Whose presence marks a period
of tremendously increased reward;
where each good deed counts many times over,
and every bad one brings more guilt than it would at other times of the year.

You think you’re weak,
and your actions
over the last 11 months
certainly attest to that perception.

Yet it’s nothing but an illusion –
a figment of your imagination –
which you’ve made real
by letting yourself go,
because you no longer had the motivation
to keep up the pace you set when this visitor was last here.

But now he’s back;
and you’re ready for him:
you’ve made your plans,
and you know he holds the key
to bringing you out of your helplessness.

With his presence,
you can bring forth the best of what’s inside,
and discard that which has poisoned you for so long.

It’s time to reset yourself:
to admit your failures,
and move on to a new chapter;
a training period which –
you hope –
will see you emerge
stronger,
better,
more able to cope,
with the barrage of temptations and traps
that await you in just 30 days’ time.

Make the most of this blessed time,
and strive now –
for this limited period –
because although this visitor will be back next year,
you never know if you’ll be around to see him again.

Ramadaan mubarak to you all, and your families. May this month be the greatest of your life, and the one which will set you forth on a an unshakeable path to Allah’s Pleasure – the ultimate success in this life and the next.

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

You know who.

That annual visitor,

who comes around

to remind you of how strong you really are.

Who brings with him

an abundance of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Whose presence marks a period

of tremendously increased reward;

where each good deed counts many times over,

and every bad one brings more guilt than it would at other times of the year.

You think you’re weak,

and your actions

over the last 11 months

certainly attest to that perception.

Yet it’s nothing but an illusion –

a figment of your imagination –

which you’ve made real

by letting yourself go,

because you no longer had the motivation

to keep up the pace you set when this visitor was last here.

But now he’s back;

and you’re ready for him:

you’ve made your plans,

and you know he holds the key

to bringing you out of your helplessness.

With his presence,

you can bring forth the best of what’s inside,

and discard that which has poisoned you for so long.

It’s time to reset yourself:

to admit your failures,

and move on to a new chapter;

a training period which –

you hope –

will see you emerge

stronger,

better,

more able to cope,

with the barrage of temptations and traps

that await you in just 30 days’ time.

Make the most of this blessed time,

and strive now –

for this limited period –

because although this visitor will be back next year,

you never know if you’ll be around to see him again.

Ramadaan mubarak to you all, and your families. May this month be the greatest of your life, and the one which will set you forth on a an unshakeable path to Allah’s Pleasure – the ultimate success in this life and the next.

Posted in Meanderings, Ramadaan | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Mister Y’s mysteries (part 5)

Posted by Yacoob on August 5, 2010

Here’s a new mystery for you:

Why do so many zips have the letters “YKK” on them. What does “YKK” stand for?


Give it your best guess – then check back here for the answer (if no one gets it first).

Posted in Mysteries | 3 Comments »

The Ramadaan Planner

Posted by Yacoob on August 3, 2010

With Ramadaan on our doorstep, it should come as no surprise that many are preparing to make the most of the month. Preparations should, ideally, start long before the month arrives – particularly in the two preceding months (Rajab and Sha’ban). However, if you still haven’t put much effort into your preparations, there’s still time – so get cracking as soon as possible so that you can be ready to make this a month of tremendous benefit.

There are numerous areas that we can prepare in: physical, psychological, emotional, and most importantly, spiritual. (Read more about preparation in this article). And each person will go about his/her preparations in a different way.

One thing which I’ve found very important is writing down plans. Taking the time to sit and think through what I want to achieve, how I hope to achieve it – and then recording that in writing.

To that end, it helps to have a structure – a template – to use as a base for planning.

With that in mind, here’s an MS Word template which I hope will be of benefit to you. It’s very amateur, I admit – but it does the job. Remember that it’s only a template. You should customize it according to your own needs, so that it serves you in the best way possible. (And that includes making it look more attractive – because it’s nicer to look at a pretty document than this one  :)).

Download: Ramadaan_planner_template (48Kb)

Also, please remember to visit www.ramadan.co.za throughout the course of the month for daily Ramadan-related articles, advices, recipes and more.

May the remaining days be blessed for you, and may we all live to see another awesome month of mercy, forgiveness, and change for the better.

Posted in Ramadaan | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers

%d bloggers like this: