Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ramadan Nook

I always have a nook ready for Ramadan which keeps me focused. My writer's study is my den, my safe haven from the world. And there, on ground level (in a shelf) exactly before where I sit down to pray i.e. my Musallah, I set up this beautiful, cozy little nook. 

  • Golden LED lantern (Left): from Christmas time Five Below.
  • Quranic script calligraphy storage bow (below lantern): It is a Quran box, came with a boxed Qur'an.
  • LED string lights Moroccan lattice: Target
  • Woollen mats at the base: Target
  • Laser stencil cut, wooden Allah pen holder: from ICNA-MAS convention bazar
  • Wooden bamboo photo frame (base of pen holder): from Karachi
  • Decorative pillars, set of 3 were a gift
  • Lamp is from Dubai International Airport
  • Sheesha is from the airport as well.  

Ramadan Diaries printables are my favorite to display every year. So, I put them all up. Some beautiful glass bubble magnets were at Five Below and they matched my feel of Ramadan Diaries. Dark blue night sky type of thing. 
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  • Board: Quartet brand (best!) from Walmart (also sold online).
  • Background wallpaper: HomeGoods gift wrap
  • Fanoos LED keychains from YAHSSS store on Etsy. I bought these at the grand bazaar at the ICNA-MAS convention last year (2016). 
  • The glittery crescent moon and Moroccan pattern cutouts. Cardstock from Dollar Tree.
  • Brown patterned paper with floral stained glass look border is scrapbook paper from Michaels.
  • String lights are Moroccan lattice LED string lights from Target (also on Ebay).
  • Glass bubble magnets (blue dark night edition) from Five Below.
  • Circle Allah magnet: purchased from ICNA-MAS Convention bazar.
  • Printables: done from Staples.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Ramadan Diaries: Ramadan Adventure Films

Ramadan Adventure Films was a new feature to the Ramadan Diaries! I have enjoyed compiling these daily movies SO much. I am so glad Instagram added the stories feature. It made my life so easy, I did not have to put up with editing movies and then uploading to YouTube and then sharing. My friends enjoyed this so much since it was all auto-posting to Facebook! The Ramadan Adventure Films features our Iftar and Suhoor fun times (the foods!), the prayers and activities, the Ramadan crafts, and so much more! Hover your mouse cursor over each image and a Play button appears! Magic! 

A post shared by Abbie (@sisterlyyourssy) on

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ramadan Diaries Day 29: Ramadan Takeaways, Saying Goodbye

And here we are on the last day of Ramadan wondering 'what happened? where did Ramadan go?' This is typical. Just when the beautiful, peaceful days are beginning to feel like the best lifestyle ever ... they end. It will be an entire year before we can experience this feeling again. I will miss waking up for Sehri (minus the huge Paratha I had to stuff at 3:30 am). The late sleeping in routines and the late night Qiyaam sessions with Mum and Sara will be incredibly missed! I know I'd crave Fruit Chaat with the nighttime Chai for many days and the presence of the daily sweet treats of Sara's Baked Creations in the fridge will be strongly missed. Another little precious bit is the Rooh Afza drink that I shared for so many Iftars with my darling almost 3 year old niece, Maryam! Sara and I have had great laughs watching little snippets of the Ramadan transmission on a Pakistani news channel hosted by a journalist who has come to become a tease for me in my household somehow (Sara's notorious doing!). The two of us have enjoyed making Sehri and Iftar together. The fruit re-stocking trip to the foodstore during peak hunger hours will also be remembered. 
On an emotional level this month was a test of nerves. I have realized that it will only get more challenging with age because health, patience, and tolerance levels are journeying down the hill.
I am glad I have sorted out my life's goals this month and I know what and how I wish to walk on now. I am in debt to my Creator - missed prayers and missed fasts - and those need to be worked upon. I have found a direction in charity and giving, and I have managed to disconnect from a yet another big chunk of the troublesome side of the world. I have learned that if you try hard - pray hard - you can manage to distance yourself from elements that create Fitnah (evil malice).
I have also established that my physical and spiritual both forms belong to Allah SWT and He will do with them whatsoever He pleases to do and I am no one to question Him. Whatever physical state of being He chooses for me, I must accept. The lasting side will be the spiritual and only I can secure Paradise for it. And so I proceed ...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Al-Qadr: The Decree



Surat Al-Qadr was revealed to Prophet Muhammad SAW in Makkah. 

Prophet Muhammad SAW was made to experience and pray the actual Night of Al-Qadr and then was made to forget which specific night it was. He used to perform I'tikaf in the first 10 nights of Ramadan; seeking the Night of Al-Qadr and its rewards, but was informed by the angel Jibr'il AS that it was the latter of the nights. The Prophet started observing I'tikaf in the middle nights, and angel Jibr'il AS informed him that it was one of the odd nights of the last 10 odd nights of Ramadan. This is when Prophet Muhammad SAW gave a sermon on 20th Ramadan, and called back all those who had performed I'tikaf with him earlier and asked them to perform it again in the last 10 days. He announced that he saw himself in a dream praying the Night of Al-Qadr and it was an odd night and it was as if he was prostrating in mud and water. The companions of the Prophet SAW then narrated that they set out to pray on that night. The roof of the masjid was made of dried palm-tree leaves and the sky was clear, there was no rain cloud. But then the winds picked up and drove rain clouds in upon them. It rained and Prophet Muhammad SAW continued to lead them in prayer. This is when the dream came true - prostrating in mud and water - and the companions saw mud and water on his forehead. 

Some scholars suggest it is the 21st night of Ramadan (2 Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim), some say it is the 23rd (in Muslim), some say 25th, most agree to the 27th, and there are suggestions it is the 29th as well. It is; therefore, best to pray the odd nights of the last 10 days. Tirmidhi has also recorded in unanimous agreement of many others that the Night of Al-Qadr keeps moving from year to year as the Prophet SAW said. So, it is safe to pray all odd nights of the last 10 days. 

ุฅِู†َّุง ุฃَู†ุฒَู„ْู†َุงู‡ُ ูِูŠ ู„َูŠْู„َุฉِ ุงู„ْู‚َุฏْุฑِ - 97:1
Verily, We have sent it down in the Night of Al-Qadr.

The Night of Al-Qadr has been exalted and blessed with merits. It is the very Night in which Allah SWT sent down the Qur'an all at one time from the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz). It is this Tablet in which all that Allah SWT has decreed is written. Changes are made to it according to Allah SWT's Will. The Qur'an (all of it, pre-conceived) was sent down to the heaven of the earth (Baytul-'Izzah) (House of Might) in the Night of Al-Qadr. Over a period of 23 years, incidence after incidence, the Qur'an was then revealed to Prophet Muhammad SAW via angel Jibr'il AS. 
ูˆَู…َุง ุฃَุฏْุฑَุงูƒَ ู…َุง ู„َูŠْู„َุฉُ ุงู„ْู‚َุฏْุฑِ - 97:2
And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr is?
ู„َูŠْู„َุฉُ ุงู„ْู‚َุฏْุฑِ ุฎَูŠْุฑٌ ู…ِّู†ْ ุฃَู„ْูِ ุดَู‡ْุฑٍ - 97:3
The Night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months.

Prophet Muhammad SAW informed us about the obligation of fasting in Ramadan and described the sacredness of this month. In Ramadan, he informed, the Gates of Paradise are opened and those of Hell are closed and the devils (shayateen) are shackled. And nested in this month is a night that is better than a thousand months and whoever is deprived of its good (misses it) has suffered a great loss. The worship of this Night is equivalent to the worship of a thousand months, and whoever asks Allah SWT for reward and stands in prayer on this Night will have all his previous sins forgiven.

ุชَู†َุฒَّู„ُ ุงู„ْู…َู„َุงุฆِูƒَุฉُ ูˆَุงู„ุฑُّูˆุญُ ูِูŠู‡َุง ุจِุฅِุฐْู†ِ ุฑَุจِّู‡ِู… ู…ِّู† ูƒُู„ِّ ุฃَู…ْุฑٍ - 97:4
Therein descend the angels and the Ruh by their Lord's permission with every matter.

The sacredness and sanctity of this Night is such that legions of angels descend from the heavens - in tremendous numbers - to the earth. "And verily the angels who are on the earth during that night are more numerous that the number of pebbles." [Ahmad 2:519]. They descend along with the Mercy and Blessings of Allah SWT that are already descending. And just like they do when the Qur'an in recited, they lower their huge wings in respect and they surround the circles where Dhikr (remembrance) of Allah SWT is taking place. Ar-Ruh here refers to the angel Jibr'il AS and he too descends and has been mentioned separate from the general group. Decree of Allah SWT is written on this Night regarding all matters - life, death, and provisions. 

ุณَู„َุงู…ٌ ู‡ِูŠَ ุญَุชَّู‰ٰ ู…َุทْู„َุนِ ุงู„ْูَุฌْุฑِ - 97:5
There is peace until the appearance of dawn.

And there is peace until dawn which refers to safety and security from the evil of Satan and angels delivering greetings of peace upon masjid-goers and people indulged in worship. Prophet Muhammad SAW said: "Verily, the sign of the Night of Al-Qadr is that it is pure and glowing as if there were a bright, tranquil, calm moon during it. It is not cold, nor is it hot, and no shooting star is permitted until morning. Its sign is that the sun appears on the morning following it smooth having no rays on it, just like the moon on a full moon night. Shaytan is not allowed to come out with it (the sun) on that day." [Ahmad 5:324].

This is the end of the tafsir of Surat Al-Qadr. All good is from Allah SWT and all shortcomings are from Shaytan. May Allah SWT accept and forgive, ameen.

The Blessed Script: A Sisterly Yours' Tafsir Project

The Blessed Script is a Sisterly Yours tafsir (exegesis) project that I am undertaking as part of a personal Qur'an study goal. I am unassisted and my study materials are the 10 volumes of Tafsir Ibn Kathir (abridged) - the most authentic exegesis of the Qur'an - and online resources. I view the world and the immediate reality from an alternative mind. Let's just say Allah swt has blessed me such. So I shall be including my own thoughts and perspective into the study, and shall be linking my learning to the modern day world. You can expect to find graphics (some even scenes out of movies), paintings, documentaries, films and whatever media I can find to help comprehend the teachings of the Qur'an. I wish to do this because we live in a contemporary era of sensory overload. We need convincing visuals. That's exactly what I wish to compile, Insha'Allah.
The list of entrees in the index below will grow, Insha'Allah, as I cover the chapters (surahs) little by little (in no particular order). Small surahs will occupy a single entree while longer ones will be broken down into several entrees. May Allah swt help me increase in knowledge and convey to friends and family and clarify misconceptions about the message of Islam which is the message for the universal good of humankind. Ameen.
Chapter 97: Al-Qadr: The Decree