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MUHARRAM- TIME TO REFLECT, RESOLVE AND RECLAIM.

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Muharram is one of the sacred months of the Islamic year. It is derived from the word ‘haraam’ which means forbidden. What is forbidden during this month is fighting. We are not heads of countries that wage war on others, but we have our own battle fields in our homes, families, workplace and even our neighbourhoods.
Most of us live at such a frenetic pace that when we get home from work we are tired and stressed. This is the time when impatience and intolerance flares up and we fight with our partner, or our children. A good thing to do is to remember who they are and what they mean to us.  With consciousness it becomes possible to think before flaring up. The same thing often happens at work as well. When we remember that we are all working to provide a service, even if we never know who benefits from what we do, it could change our attitude.  Another thing that is useful is be aware that we are all different and unique, and that we are all the divine creations of Allah. Being conscious at all times that even if we cannot see Allah, Allah is seeing us, should make us pause and consider before we act impulsively.
Rasullullah (SAW) said that on the 10th day of Muharram we should be more generous to our family. We do not have to confine such generosity to the tenth day, or for that matter, for the month of Muharram. Nor does generosity have to be limited to monetary spending. We can be more generous with our time; when a child runs to tell you something while you are busy, it will make a world of difference to him if you stop to listen. In this way you will be giving time as well as kindness. The child will feel validated and very often will then leave you to continue what you are doing.  Opening up to your family about your thoughts, dreams and hopes, is an excellent method of getting them to share theirs. Knowing the hopes and dreams of your children is invaluable as a means of achieving family cohesion. Another form of generosity you can share with your family is to share with them painful moments, and what you learnt from the experience.  This could lead to them sharing things which had hurt or traumatised them and as a family you can brainstorm what lessons   can be learnt from their experiences.
This year Muharram is falling during the silly season, and we can very easily get caught up in the hype surrounded the New Year. It is also very difficult to focus as the body clock is winding down after a year of working and this can make us even jitterier and inclined to go a bit haywire.  This is the time when reflection is very important; we need to think about what we have done and what we plan to do next. Allah speaks several times in the Quran about the need for reflection, particularly in the following lines:
“If we had caused this Quran to descend upon a mountain, thou, (O Muhammad) verily hadst seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitude coin We for mankind that haply they may reflect”
Surah Hashr; V 21.
This is the time of year when everyone makes resolutions, so this is a good time to engage in reflection and resolve to make the shift to do better. We know that we are going to be judged by our intentions, so let us try to have only good intentions for the rest of the year, Insha’Allah. The word resolve has a two-fold meaning:  it means to make a resolution or intention to do something, but it also means to solve an issue.  Many of us carry unresolved issues, and these clutter our lives and prevent us from true spiritual connection. It is hard to have closeness to Allah when we harbour grudges against people for real or imagined slights. Forgiveness is the key, it does not excuse the other person’s action, but it does set us free. It is also important to forgive ourselves when we feel we have done something we subsequently regret. Regret is a dead end street; forgive you for being human and resolve to do better.
The third is to reclaim. We are all born pure and innocent; we are born with a Fitrah. Somewhere along the way we have become contaminated by experiences.  The thing is not to beat you up about it, acknowledge what happened and accept it. Now try to do better. Resolve to reclaim your Fitrah, the perfection that Allah created you with. It has not been lost, it has just been overlaid with a lot of stuff, but it is still there. In the stormy sea of life we have often been tossed around, but with Allah consciousness we can keep our heads above water. Use this period to reflect, resolve and reclaim what we were truly meant to be, Insha’Allah.
“The believer is the ship and the world is the water. As long as the water remains outside the ship, it will sail through it. Once the water enters the ship, it will sink. So navigate through the world, but do not let it enter your heart and sink you into itself”
(Imam Al Ghazzali)

Muharram Mubarak to all from Jasmine Khan

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