© Naziyah Mahmood, 2016.
© Naziyah Mahmood, 2016.
Wishing all of my wonderful friends, family and fellow geek/science fanatics, a truly blessed and rewarding Ramadhan!
The month of Ramadhan is the Islamic month of fasting and restraining oneself from worldly pleasures. From sunrise to sunset, Muslims around the world observe their Sawm (fasting – one of the five pillars of Islam) in which we not only cease eating or drinking between these times, but also aim for increased spiritual elevation and a cleansing of the soul through prayer and self-reflection.
We try to be the best ‘us’ we can be by increasing our efforts in charity, kindness, compassion, self control and the spreading of love, however, this does not mean that it should stop when the month ends!
Depending on one’s location, the time duration of the daily fast will vary, and here in Scotland we’ll be approximately observing a 20 hour daily fast to begin with. SubhanAllah!
Many of my non-Muslim friends often ask me about the health risks associated with fasting, however, there have been many studies to show that there are, in fact, several health benefits!
There are obviously exemptions to those who must fast (for example, the elderly, young children, those who are ill etc), and fasting itself aids one in attaining a good sense of self-control over the use of energy! It’s used productively and not wasted.
This is a practise that has been carried out in many faiths and cultures for millennia.
Considering that these will be the longer fasts (the Islamic calendar, being a lunar calendar, is 10 days shorter than the Gregorian solar calendar, meaning the dates for fasting move back approximately 10 days every Gregorian year), I wish all those observing fast a healthy and safe month!
It’s time for the spiritual retreat that I’ve so painfully been waiting for and needing!
At iftaar (time to open the fast), let’s not only open our mouths but also our minds and souls in self-reflection.
May Allah (swt) bless you all! God Bless!
Image © Naziyah Mahmood, 2015.
Deepest slumbers, gently nudged, by the softest voices of my travelling conscience;
“Awaken, my sweet, come to prayer, come to salvation”
The words rolling through the skies, over the hills of atonement.
Fading moon, rising sun, light kisses on their mutual passage through time;
“Cleanse your soul, illuminate your being, I am waiting”
A gap in the dawn, veiled by the radiance of His Majesty and Grace.
Silent struggle, standing tall, ascending towards self purification;
“Spiritual cleansing, physical ablution, absolved from worldly bounds”
An incandescent aura, emanating from every limb and every motion.
Open soul, intimate words, a liberation through prostration;
“Free yourself, share your tears, I am here”
An elevated state, reached through the humbling gestures of adoration.
Rising up, heart content, facing the day with a reinforced hope;
“I am with you, I have always been with you, and always will be”
Sweet whispers of the sunrise that ready me for my lifelong journey.
“…I am here”
© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014
(Image taken from road2jannah.com)
(It’s a bit late, but this is written as part of the Daily Post: Daily Prompt – New Dawn: How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).)
To all my fellow bloggers (celebrating or not!), just a quick message to say I’d like to wish you all a fantastic Eid day!
As the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadhan (the Islamic month of fasting), let’s not forget to carry on our hard efforts to be better people for the rest of the year too.
As we celebrate, let us remember to make a special prayer for all of those people who go through pain, suffering and oppression every day.
We are so incredibly lucky and blessed to have everything that we do; knowing that we will be presented with tables worth of food, safety, security, love and peace isn’t something that everyone is blessed with.
We are truly lucky.
Every time Ramadhan ends, I tend to feel a bit down because of how much I know I miss the blessed month. The peace, blessings, mercy and strength that come with it all make it feel far too short, I can’t believe it passed so quickly.
Ramadhan… If God wills, I will see you in one year, my friend.
(Image found through a random search, I can’t locate the source, but words added by myself).
(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Adult Visions: As a kid, you must have imagined what it was like to be an adult. Now that you’re a grownup (or becoming one), how far off was your idea of adult life?)
I would like to announce the birth of my beautiful baby niece, born Tuesday 22nd July, to all of my fellow bloggers and readers!
This is the first grandchild on our side of the family, and so my family and I are incredibly excited and full of joy!
(My sister and brother in law are still at the hospital, and so I am yet to hear all of the details; possible name choice, weight, time of birth etc.)
As I sit here in my sister’s house, waiting for my new niece and her parents to return home from the hospital (I’ve secretly decorated the house in anticipation of their arrival!) I found it almost ironic that the question posted in today’s Daily Prompt was to do with childhood.
In reflection of the current moment of joy, I’d like to address the question in the most fitting manner possible, as a quick letter to my niece.
I will most likely write a longer and more meaningful letter in the near future for her (maybe even a quick video!?), but this will have to do for now!
To my beautiful, my beloved, my darling,
As I sit here in your future home, anxiously awaiting your arrival from the hospital; I find my mind to be a complete jumble of things I’d like to tell you. Where could I even begin!?
You, my precious, have been born into a world that has many faces; many beautiful, some terrifying, and others confusing.
Just as I discovered through my own growth and years, the steps you now take will be instrumental in shaping the beautiful woman you will become, and I have no doubt that you will blossom into the most beautiful of flowers.
God has blessed you with wonderful parents who have loved you long before you were born today, and I know that you will be surrounded by the safety of their love and compassion for the rest of your life.
Your mother – my older sister – can be a little demanding! So you must learn patience, my sweet. However, I have seldom met anyone as caring, loving and thoughtful as she, and so I know you will cherish one another, even in those moments of naughtiness and yelling!
She will be the arms that give you warmth.
Your father – who is truly like a brother to me – can, at times, be somewhat abrupt! So you must learn compassion and empathy, my dear. He is a man of strong values and virtues with a heart of gold, and I am proud that he was the one to have taken my sister’s hand in marriage.
He will be the guardian that protects you.
You have loving grandparents from both sides, who are all so very happy to have you with us, and many proud aunties and uncles.
Your mother and I have always had a special bond, one that went beyond just sisterly love. She was my best friend, my confidante, my shoulder to lean on and was always like a mother to me.
For this reason, my dear, I will not only be your embarrassingly proud Aunty Naz, but I will be your sister, I will be your friend, and I will be your partner in crime!
(To be honest, I’ll probably be the one hiding behind you every time we do something naughty! At least I now have a side-kick!)
Unlike many children around the world, you have been blessed to be born into the safety and warmth of a loving and secure home. No matter how bad a circumstance may be, always remember that you are so very blessed, and very deeply loved.
I hope to see you grow into a wonderful and inspiring woman, one who will always stand by the truth and what she believes to be right.
No matter how many people stand against you, always stand by the truth, my love.
No matter how many people stand with you, always remain humble in your actions and words.
No matter how much the World may try to pull you down, always stand by what is true and just.
No matter how much the World gives you, always strive to become better than yesterday.
Hold strong to faith and frequently remember your blessings, for you are wonderful.
Hold dear the morals and teachings that make us better humans, for you will shine bright.
Stand strong in your convictions and adhere to righteousness, and you will defeat the doubts.
Stand strong in your love and devotion, my sweet, for you will conquer fear.
You have been born into a warrior cast, so always fight for justice but spread only love and peace.
As you grow, open your mind to all the beauties of this universe, and travel through its wonders and marvels on the wings of your imagination, for it is a powerful tool.
This is a world in which people can often give in to the pressures of society and their peers, and it can often happen without us even realising. Do not ever be afraid to be yourself, my darling, because there is only one of you on this planet, and as such needs to be known.
You are amazing just as you are, so just be you.
Always remember, my darling, that you are loved. You are loved by Allah, by your wonderful parents, by your loving grandparents, and by many who would happily cross the world to be by your side.
You are loved by this crazy, sugar-addicted, sword swinging, cosmic travelling, over-talkative, and embarrassingly proud Aunty Naz.
Our family has always been small, but our bonds have always been tenfold as strong for that reason.
In ten to fifteen years from now, when you read and understand these words, I pray that we will be so close that you will be reading the words aloud to me as I brush your hair or paint your nails.
(Keep in mind that I’m the cool aunt!)
Enjoy every moment of your childhood, and should you ever need someone to turn to, always know that He (the Almighty) will be with you always, and that I will always be looking over you.
You are beautiful.
You are exquisite.
You are blessed.
You are sensational.
You are truly unique, my sweet.
… You are loved…
I love you, and you are always in my heart.
Your crazy Aunty Naz.
(Witten as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Fearless Fantasies: How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?)
I fear not this world
Nor its oppressors, tyrants
For He is with me
© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014.
(Image from louisdyer.deviantart.com )
I am your child, from a burning land, drenched in the blood of oppression; Apartheid,
Mother, do you not hear me cry? Father, have you forgotten? Our silent promise.
I am your sibling, in this city of tears, drowning in torment so real; Massacres,
Sister, can you not see me? Brother, are you coming for me? I am still hiding in wait.
We were bound in a kinship before the birth of our ancestors – Humanity.
I was born in battle, blood as my milk, learning to dive before I could crawl; Survival,
A land far from you, surreal it may seem in the safety of your home, but I am real and I am flesh.
My screams are covered by worldly melodies, but it is used as their music; My oppressors,
I lie in wait, can’t you find me? A game of ‘hide and go seek’ leaving me aching.
I hide from the terrors, but the world hides me from its view – Apathy.
I was once told a story, of nations so great, their lands built on justice and law; Our dream,
We pray for stability for the generations to come, and yet I know I shall never see it.
I pray for a hero to rescue my people, as we are reaching a limit, a deadline; Extinction,
For if tomorrow will be just a clone of today, may my soul just depart now to the Lord?
Please hear my plea before it is too late – Annihilation.
I cannot see your colour, your faith or your name, but I ask of this favour; My wish,
Tonight, see my face in your mirrored reflection and I shall visit you in your dreams, my dear.
In the rubble of my former home, I am hiding beneath the blackened stones, my friend; Frozen.
I lie in wait, I shall hold strong in hope of your arrival, my freedom and my soul.
I am real… I wait for you… I am real.
© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014.
(Image taken from Globaltimes.cn – Edited by Naziyah Mahmood)