​THE POWER OF SLEEP


Have you ever pondered over the miracles of sleep and wakefulness? Do you know that sleep is so important that an average man spends a third of his lifetime sleeping? Do you give thanks to the One who gives you the ability to sleep and the grace to wake up from your sleep? 

Sound sleep is a mercy from Allaah (Qur’an 79:9). Not everyone gets it. All you do is lie on your bed with the intention of sleeping; the rest of the story is not within your power. If you doubt me, ask anyone who has suffered from insomnia and had to take strong pills in order to sleep. AlhamduliLlaah for the gift of sleep! 

Sleep is the youngest brother of death. Your consciousness, nay, your life is taken away temporarily. However, your heart keeps pumping blood throughout your body. Your lungs keep taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Your urethra and anus remain tightened so that you don’t pee or poo on the bed. Your brain is refreshed and rejuvenated. Flashes of information pop up within your brain and you see them as dreams… Have you ever wondered how these processes keep going on while you sleep? SubhaanaLlaah! 

Waking up is the greatest miracle of all. You don’t choose to wake up. Allaah chooses who wakes up and who doesn’t. He created the “circadian rhythm” which triggers you to rise up when your body has rested well enough. And No, it wasn’t just because of the ringing of the alarm clock or crowing of the rooster. 

So tell me, how can a person sleep and wake and not appreciate that it is a privilege to sleep and wake? 

“It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” (Qur’an chapter 39 verse 42)

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MY MIRROR

I love mirrors. I love it when walls are richly adorned by them. There’s this giant mirror in my room. It is almost twice as tall as I am, and about a meter wide. Daily, I stand in front of it and take a long look at myself from head to toe… 

I look into the mirror for a maximum dose of self-love. I call it “self-crush”. I look for the differences between yesterday and today. I see flashes of hope for a better tomorrow, in shaa Allaah. I see the strands of grey hair which herald senescence. I see the freckles and wrinkles which remind me of the ephemerality of my existence… 

I see the mistakes of the past and the opportunities of the future. I see life and death, and the thin line between them. I see my achievements and how awesome I am. Then, I see my weaknesses and how fallible I could be… 

This mirror, besides being an essential piece of furniture, is a great source of reflection and reminder. That, is why I love mirrors. 

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“… Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!” (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 201)

THANK YOU… 

Dear husband, 
Calm down! This is not a rant. I’m not here to complain about anything. This is a letter of appreciation. I just want to say THANK YOU… 

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being my Godsent protector and sustainer. Thank you for crowning me as the Queen of your heart. Thank you for trusting me enough to make me the manager of your home. Thank you for believing in my dreams and helping me achieve them. 



Thank you for the basic provisions and the bonuses. Thank you for hustling in the midday sun while I bask in my air-conditioned room. Thank you for going through the bustles of the city to bring me food and clothing. Thank you for risking your life so that I can enjoy mine. 

Thank you for putting up with my mood swings and periodic nagging. Thank you for your understanding during the times I was weak or sick. 
Thank you for the little things you didn’t even remember you did – like fixing the light bulbs and replacing the clock batteries! 

Thank you for the things I didn’t expect you to do but you did anyway. Thank you for the surprise gifts and occasional treats. 
Thank you for your kindness towards my parents and siblings.

Thank you for assisting me to keep my duties towards Allaah. Thank you for waking me up for tahajjud and enjoining me to pray on time. Thank you for reminding me to recite the Qur’an and daily adhkaar.

Thank you for everything I forgot to thank you for. Thank you for the little things I didn’t notice. Thank you in advance for the good things you’re planning to do. Thank you for the things you intend to do but you don’t have the means yet. 

JazaakaLlaah khairan! 

Signed

A grateful wife. 

​RAMADAN LIFE OF A MUSLIM DOCTOR

 

Switching from pre-Ramadan to Ramadan mode can be very challenging for those of us in the “special duties squad”… Health care professionals, security personnel, etc. It’s much better when you’re working in a place where there are other muslims to identify with. Otherwise, you have to contend with people eating, drinking and gossiping around you while you’re fasting. 
The painful part is having to (occasionally) eat suhoor and iftar in the hospital, away from your family. Sometimes, it becomes inevitable to skip suhoor when you’re in the middle of an emergency which doesn’t get resolved until fajr. Sometimes you miss the taraweeh in jama’ah and have to make do with witr plus/minus 2 or 4 raka’at whenever you’re free. You plan to finish 2 rounds of tilaawah, but you end up struggling with one… All the same, AlhamduliLlaah! 
When work gets busy, time runs fast.  Before you say Jack Robinson, it’s time for iftar. The excitement of serving humanity and saving lives makes you forget about hunger and thirst. The sight of patients in pain and suffering makes you see the home-cooked iftar as a non-issue. The constant reminder that sickness and death doesn’t respect age or status, makes you more humble and thankful. 
Personally, Ramadan makes me more patient with patients. I’m more calm when talking to them. I can listen more attentively. I’m able to show more empathy. I don’t mind if you’re malingering, I’ll hear you out and offer you soothing counselling after your rant. I feel how it is to be hungry, so I understand how a patient on “nil by mouth” feels… 
Ramadan is such a blessing and a period full of lessons. If Ramadan doesn’t make you more pious, I wonder what will. 

O Allaah, open our hearts to receive the blessings and open our eyes to see the lessons. Aameen. 
“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) – Qur’an chapter 2 verse 183. 

​FASTING AND PREGNANCY

 


Pregnancy is not a disease in itself but there are significant physiological and anatomical changes that may pose some discomfort to the pregnant woman. According to the scholars, pregnant women can be categorised into 2 as far as fasting is concerned:

1. The one who is healthy and fit, who is able to fast without any jeopardy on herself and her baby. 
2. The one who is sick and weak, who is unable to fast because of perceived harm on her and her baby. 

For pregnant women in category 1, fasting is waajib. The same ruling applies to breastfeeding mothers (after 40 days of postnatal bleeding). 

As for those in category 2, they are expected to stop fasting and repay the missed days after childbirth and before the next Ramadan. They fall in the same ruling as the sick or traveller. The evidence for this concession is in a hadith reported by Imaam Ahmad from Anas bin Maalik Al Ka’abi: “Allaah has relieved the traveller of fasting and half of the prayer as He relieved the pregnant and breastfeeding women of fasting” (hasan) 

Pregnant women can fall into category 2 due to conditions such as:

*Severe hyperemesis gravidarum (nausea and vomiting with metabolic derangement and marked weight loss) 

*Infections like Malaria, respiratory or urinary tract infections etc. 

*Pre existing medical conditions with worsening during pregnancy, eg. Sickle cell anaemia, diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, etc. 

*Longstanding infertility or recurrent miscarriages in the past or bleeding in the present pregnancy (fear that fasting may lead to pregnancy loss) 

*Any other condition necessitating hospital admission and aggressive treatment. 

Dear mothers, study yourself but do not assume. Discuss with a qualified doctor who also knows some basic fiqh of fasting and let him advise you on which category you fall into. 

“… and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you… ” (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 185)

​BETWEEN THE QUR’AN AND MUSIC… 

Last year, I posted a write-up – “9 bad habits you can drop in Ramadan”. I think the list was incomplete. I  need to add one more thing – Music. Majority of the people will argue that music isn’t bad; that it is, in fact, a healing balm. I’m not going into that line of argument because there are overwhelming authentic evidence to show that music is a form of idle talk and musical instruments are tools of shaytan. (See Qur’an chapter 31 verse 6 and its exegesis by Ibn Katheer, Qurtubi, Tobraani and others) 

I had plenty of music in my head from childhood, but when I got to secondary school, it became much more. By JSS2, I could chant hundreds of musical lyrics from my memory. I bought the book of lyrics (with my meagre pocket money). I bought audio and video cassettes. I crammed every hit album as they drop. Yeah, I was that girl…

AlhamduliLlaah for Islaam. A brain that has memorized the Qur’an has no business enjoying music anymore. Music stinks when the Qur’an is being recited. The Qur’an lifts your soul in a way music can never come close to… 

The feelgood effect of music is indisputable. But is that our purpose in life? To come and feel good and die? No. We are here to worship Allaah and Allaah alone. Feeling good is not a sin, but the “feelgood experience” that doesn’t take you closer to Allaah; that even makes you disobedient to Him; is that one a feelgood?!  

How do we avoid music in a world that is full of it? Well, that’s where your intention comes it. Try your best and leave the part you have no control over. When the neighbours loud their music, loud your Qur’an. When the bus driver starts the music, put on your earpiece and listen to the Qur’an from the comfort of your mobile phone. 

Dear brethren, promise yourself to discard what is left of music in your life today. Start this Ramadan and don’t look back. It may be difficult, but it’s doable.

​PREPARING YOUR BODY AND MIND FOR RAMADAN

 


Think of Ramadan as a fresh bridegroom and you, the new bride. Imagine how the new bride prepares for the D-day… She undergoes a total beauty makeover. She goes for a medical check up to rule out any infectious or genetic disease. She buys the best of dresses, the finest of perfumes and jewelries of gold and silver to adorn herself for her groom. She also studies a lot about marriage and how to be a good wife from the first night and beyond…. 
This is how a muslim should welcome Ramadan. Begin to simulate the things you would be doing when Ramadan finally arrives (more nawafil, more qiyamul-layl, more recitations, etc). The best way to prepare for Ramadan is by fasting.  The Prophet (saw) used to fast more in the month of Sha’baan than in any other month of the year (Hadith). Fasting helps to prepare your system so that the 29/30 consecutive days  will not come as a shock to your body.
You also need to understand the physiology of fasting. Fasting is one act of worship in which EVERY part of your body participates. Fasting is a potent detoxifier. When you begin to feel the pangs of hunger, the stomach sends a signal to your brain and your brain transmits a “low time” alarm to the rest of your body. So, you tend to be less aggressive, less distracted, albeit spiritually motivated. No wonder fasting was prescribed as a way of curbing sexual urge… 
Visit a clinic and do basic health check for yourself and your family. If you have any chronic medical condition or you’re taking some medications routinely, discuss with your physician to see if you can fast and if you can adjust the dose to suit the timing of fasting. The ruling of fasting by the sick is clear. If fasting would harm you or aggravate your sickness, skip it and pay later. (Qur’an chapter 2 verse 184-185)