An effort in f a c i l i t a t i o n

A Ramadhaan Challenge for the Family

A super–clean house.  Extra cooking. Extra prayers. Packed social calendar. Does this describe a familiar Ramadhaan? It seems we get into these comfortable patterns of “Ramadhaan living”.

As parents, what does this teach our kids about the significance of Ramadhaan? That Ramadhaan is a time of celebration and social gathering? In part it is, but we all know this isn’t the real purpose. Even standing there night after night in Taraaweeh isn’t of itself the purpose.

The purpose is to re-center our priorities based on the teachings of Allaah- to refresh our minds with the meaning of the Quran so we may rekindle our spirits with the awe of our Creator and be in touch with that deep weariness about our eternal destination.

So, what can we do with our children to help them feel the difference in a spiritual way? To make Ramadhaan come alive in a way that will leave a lasting, meaningful impression on what it means for a Muslim family to re-center itself with Allaah.

This year, I challenge your family to do something different. I challenge you to do two things:

1.     Do something unique and meaningful together, and

2.     Do something unique and meaningful with others. Really experience Ramadhaan on the ground by interacting emotionally with those in your family and community.

You might be wondering what I mean by that. I will try to explain. As we sit here comfortably in our homes, going through our weekly cycles of life, chaos and pain are whirling around the earth. Much of this directly involves Muslims. Without getting into politics, the point is, with the over billion Muslims on the planet, how is it that so many people misunderstand us? Why are we so divided and have so many problems? How is it that so many people dislike us? No, it isn’t because of our enemies. It isn’t because of some Muslims who may behave un-Islamically. It’s really because the majority of us regular, everyday Muslims don’t interact meaningfully enough with others—often inside and out. We aren’t very neighborly. We are embarrassed to do Da’wah. We have a lot, (more like several hundred tons) of cultural baggage that invades our marriages, and at the end of the day, the beauty of the Islamic presence on earth is very, very dim.

For now

Try to imagine what Ramadhaan should mean on earth. Like the refreshing cool breeze that comes during sunset after a scorching summer day, the trickle effect of Ramadhaan on everyone in our wake should be felt around the globe. People of all faiths should look forward to it—can you imagine? I can.

Humanitarian charities of all kinds would count on Muslim donations in Ramadhaan, planning ahead on how they can use the money to aid those suffering. School teachers would look forward to well-behaved, helpful Muslim children. Volunteer projects would plan special work in Ramadhaan, knowing there would be scores of Muslims wanting to please Allaah. Places of employment would look forward to refreshed attitudes, and acts of random kindness by its Muslim employees. Crime would decrease. All would feel goodwill.

What does this have to do with you and your kids? Why, everything of course. You, as a parent, are setting a manner of living Ramadhaan that your children will feel comfortable with. Keep yourself contained in your own little bubble and your children will likely do the same. Emphasize culture over religion, and your children will likely do the same. Ramadhaan is the time to look in the mirror and adjust our reflection to show the humble, true face of Islam—to notice Allaah looking over our shoulders. It is the time to experience spiritual connections—to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and with all you come in contact.

Phase l: Something Unique in Your Family

Allaah Says (what means): {O mankind, fear your Lord, Who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allaah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allaah is ever, over you, an Observer.} [Quran 4:01]

This year, think about what issues your family has been struggling with. Have you been too busy? Not enough time together? Lots of bickering and petty fights? Whatever it is, tackle the situation head on with the mercy of Ramadhaan. Make a special time each day of the month of Ramadhaan that your family bonds. No judging each other. No criticizing. Just being grateful to Allaah for the time He has given you to be together and strive for His causes–as if you knew tomorrow it was going to end. Sit in a circle and hold hands. Love each other for the sake of Allaah. Talk about how your family is going to improve this year as Muslims. Set goals. Here’s an idea, let each member of the family lead the special time on different days—coming up with suggestions and ideas of his/her own on what the family needs. How the bonds of love and respect can be improved so that the depth of your spirits reach new heights. Here are some ideas:

1.     Take a lead in your home and rally your children into a fresh start mentality. Under the shroud of Ramadhaan, seek forgiveness of each other, openly and vulnerably. I’m serious… sit down together—looking one another in the eyes—and ask each person in your home to forgive you for anything you might have done during the year to hurt them—knowingly or unknowingly. Watch how this opens the hearts of your family—letting the mercy flow like water. Let each person take a turn doing the same.

2.     Then, tell each person something wonderful about them. Tell them something that ignites their spirit and inspires them to be better.

3.     Ask each person what you can do for him/her that would make him or her feel really happy. Nothing material—only emotional things. Such as, I would really like it if you could not shout at me. Or, let’s make an effort to share more thoughts on a daily basis. Can you show a little more affection?

4.     Everyone commit to making a change. Let each person in the family make a pledge to improve in one particular area. Dad will try to be more patient. Mam will try to be less busy. Tasneem will promise to be nicer to her brother. Amir will promise to work harder in school, etc.

5.     Making Du’aa’ repeatedly, thanking, Praising Allaah, asking Him for all that you wish for—together, as a family, in a language everyone understands. Let everyone participate.

6.     Read the meaning of the Quran. The hypnotizing Arabic of the Quran transfixes many of us, yet unless you and your loved ones are Arabic speakers, be sure to take the time to read out loud, together the translation. Talk about how you can apply it in your lives.

7.     Offer prayers at night together. The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam said: “Whoever performs prayers at night in it (the month of Ramadhaan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allaah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” [Al-Bukhaari]

Phase II: Something unique with others

Ibn ‘Abbaas may Allaah be pleased with him reported: “The Prophet was the most generous of all the people, and he used to become more generous in Ramadhaan when Jibreel (Gabriel) met him. Jibreel used to meet him every night during Ramadhaan to revise the Quran with him. Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam then used to be more generous (faster in spending) than the fast wind.” [Muslim]

Ok, now that Ramadhaan has softened your heart, and you and your family are truly feeling the blessings and mercy from Allaah—spread it. The lasting effect this will have on your children is priceless. Make sure you involve them in all steps of the planning and participation. Here are a few ideas:

1.     Invite some Muslim families you don’t know very well—maybe it’s a family new to the area, or a convert… whatever the case—reach out to new people.

2.     Find a volunteer opportunity your family can do together—visit elderly or sick people, work in a food kitchen, deliver goods to the needy …let your child participate in and experience actively doing charity.

3.     Go and introduce yourself to someone in your life you know you should be closer to, such as a neighbor, with the intention of starting a positive relationship.

4.     Host a gathering for Muslim children on the meaning of Ramadhaan and mold an experience for them.

5.     Offer your job to do a presentation on Islam and Ramadhaan. Bring in special foods and treats during Ramadhaan for your co-workers.

Be sure to write in and share your stories on how you lived up to the Ramadhaan challenge!

May Allaah help all of our families take advantage of this blessed month to re-center our spirits with Him. (Aameen)

Courtesy: http://www.islamweb.net/eramadan/index.php?page=articles&id=140537

August 26, 2010 - Posted by | Islamic Months: RAMADHAN | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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