Monday, September 3, 2007

Readying for Ramadan: Lightening

Time to lighten the load.

Ramadan is a journey and you can't take everything with you.

You can't take anything which no longer serves you.
There are too many things cluttering your life.

You are holding on to mementos of sad times. You pass by them and remember the person who gave them to you and it hurts you to know that you no longer talk. Well, either talk with them or admit that you can never talk again. If you can no longer hold them as a friend, you should no longer hold onto that object.

Free up that space for blessings yet to come.

You are holding on to mementos of happy times. You see them and wistfully wish for what was, like children's clothes that they've outgrown and you will never fill again. Can't another child utilize that which sits in storage? When you donate to charity those clothes and toys, you are giving sadaqa.

Giving away gets you ready to receive.

Remember, as a small kid on the playground, that feeling of finally getting the ball? I mean, you wait and wait and wait until somebody throws you the ball. When it lands in your hands, you almost can't believe it! And then comes the realization that everyone is shouting at you to throw it to them! You could just hold on to it, but that would stop the game. You throw it and the game continues. You play joyfully, knowing that the ball will come to you again, if you believe and you're patient.

None of what we have in this world is for us to hold onto. We have to let it go; to flow.

It also helps our lives stay organized and clean, which is a hallmark of Islam. Life is easier when it's simpler. When you live a simple life, you free your time up, as you are no longer spending so much effort guarding and dusting the things of the dunya. You can stop being a slave to the stuff and start being a servant of Allah.

There are some that have so little. If you have so much, then getting ready for Ramadan can include cleaning out the piles that no longer serve you.

You truly can't take it with you. Go ahead and lighten your load. Isn't it funny that the phrase, "lighten your load," connotates not only making things less heavy, but also making things brighter?

May your preparations for Ramadan be lightening and enlightening.


Anonymous said...

Assalaamu Alaikum Yosra,

Awesome post. I've been going through some things today and giving up a few "ghosts" that have been hanging around for too long now. Being the pack rat that I am...oh my...I've got a ways to go! But Alhamdulillah you have inspired me to keep going and get things in order around here.

I've been thinking about a yard sale for awhile. Some folks may enjoy all that, but not me. It's really not worth all the trouble. It is just easier than loading the stuff up and hauling it off.

But you know, I was going down the road the other day and saw a huge commotion up ahead, cars everywhere. "Yard Sale" I thought. But when I finally got up there, no, it wasn't a yard sale. These people had a huge sign out front "Everything Free". And the stuff was being hauled away for them! Alhamdulillah.

So this is what I might just do too. I won't have to worry about hauling much off and what a nice surprise for people looking for a yard sale to find it's all FREE!

Thanks for the nice post. Keep'em coming. You have such a good way of provoking

*big hugs*

Sara said...

Salam alaikum,
Ramadan approaches and I believe it is a time to haul the load off our souls by praying and submitting to Allah...

It is the precious season of time to help our souls grow and forget about materialistic and money concerns...

May Allah aid us all to become a better spiritual being...

UmmLayla said...

Great thoughts and great picture!LOL I have done lots of this in my personal stuff. Anything that was associated with an old, useless memory went to a local charity. I found I have been holding onto lots of things that I no longer need or want in my life. It felt good to do that. Now if only I could convince DH.......

Maggie, the everything free thing is a great idea! I have thought about it 100x's!LOL

John & Anthea Mullis said...

Marhaba Yosra

Well, I've been examining the load on my donkey cart and yes, there's some stuff there that I need to leave behind if I want to make this journey - isn't there always!!!

One is to do with personal transparency, so tonight I will tell my Christian friends of my Ramadan pilgrimage. I'm sure they won't be too surprised as we have lived and travelled extensively within the Islamic world over the last 7 years and they know our hearts very well so I'm sure they will understand. Inshallah. :-) However having enjoyed a fairly high profile within the Christian community here it may rattle a few fundamentalist chains so please make D'ua for my intentions.

The other is a disclosure to this group, which Anthea and I have enjoyed so much over recent weeks. Anthea is presently back in UK till November while I have the interior of the house remodeled (we have had it rented since early 2000 when we began traveling) so it would just be me, a solitary male travel companion!. If this is a problem to any of you, please feel free to express your concerns as I wouldn't want to compromise the integrity of the group. Otherwise, cant wait!!

Yosra said...

Wa alaykom Asalam Maggie,

I love your mind! You are really a very free person and maybe that's why you 1. chose Islam and 2. love the idea of giving things away.

Asalamalaykom Sara,

Great imagery!

The time before Ramadan is when you start with the physical and work towards the spiritual. We human beings LOVE the stuff/the seen. We have to, as Muslims, learn to love the spirit/the unseen. It is WAAAY important to detach and AMEEN to your du'a. :)

Asalamlaykom UmmLayla,

So nice to see you here! Makes a nice excursion from your town, eh?

"Useless memory" is a good one. Yes, there are many of those that we need to chuck...or up-chuck.

Asalamlaykom J(&A),

I will continue to think of you as a pair...regardless of your distance from each other; you are still holding another dearly.

I will write to you as a pair. I will not write to only you, John, even if you're the only writing to me :) what's the deal with your faith? I have never asked. I know you are on a have to be to read me! But, where are you resonnating? Are you considering yourself as a Muslim? Say what you wish and no matter are welcome here.

maggie said...

I do feel like a free person.....inside. But outside, I've got that transparency thing going on that John spoke of. For me it's not the best place to be right now as my first Ramadan approaches.

I long to be totally free to live openly as I believe. When I think of that ever happening, it seems like it will probably take forever, if ever.

But Allahu Alim...God knows. He's got it all planned out for me and I just try to take it one day, one minute even, at a time. Little by little Allah is opening the doors for me. Giving me the opportunities to let it show. Little bits at a time.

As you know I have just recently told my daughter the two BIG truths in my life. I have never discussed Ramadan with her, but Sunday, out of the clear blue she asked "Mama, when is it that you will start fasting?" God bless her. That spoke volumes to me. She has been doing some research on her own about it all.

I've always believed in miracles. I believe with all my heart I am about to embark on a miraculous journey now, this Ramadan. Maybe it will bring me closer to the day when I can freely and openly live as I believe.

John & Anthea Mullis said...

Wa Alaikum Asalam Yosra

Why do I want to make this Ramadan journey with you all? Good question.

I suppose I feel a bit like Ibraham. He & Lot set out on a journey in later life, not knowing where it was God was sending him. Like his (though I'm not as old as he was), mine is a faith journey, I've no idea where it will end but having bought the ticket I'm staying on for the rest of the ride! However, to give that a little contextual reality, I've spent most of my adult life
in a fairly fundamentalist Christian vacuum which for the past several I've been trying to expand.

My reason for following your blog? In the spring/summer of 2000 I spent 6 months in Asia and the Middle East living mostly with local people. It was my first experience of Islamic culture and I just felt very at home in it. So much so that when we returned to England I chose to work within the Pakistani community then took a two year contract in the Balkans (Albania) and spent a further 6 months last year in Central Asia along the Silk Route. I don't see my self (necessarily) as seeking to become a Muslim - I suppose in recent years I've just discovered that God has outgrown the God box I had him in so conveniently all these years. I'm certainly not seeking to play the 'Christian Missionary', just to learn from you all and discover more of God. so . . . . that's me. All baggage unloaded and ready to go.


Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom J&A and Maggie,

Subhanallah! Look at you guys! Wow! I wake up at 3 AM to turn off the air conditioner and discover your two comments. You live half a world away, yet are truly experiencing the same thing.

J&A: One of my favorite thoughts is, "Your God is too small." This alarms some who think I mean that The Almighty is less than amazing. What it really means is what you said, John, that your preconceived notions of God need redefining.

Bravo to you! I am really proud to know you, J&A! Truly, truly, truly (Arabs say things three times for emphasis, since there is no word stress) you are welcome.

Maggie-Pie: What a cool daughter! Guess she came from a cool mom! ;) May your faith journey continue enrich her life as well.

As for living! That's hard stuff! All of us are so scared to show who we are to those we love. It makes me feel empathy for gays who yearn to "come out". We all need to "come out" of our shells. We are the ones that keep hidden. Family or friends, or even society might THINK that we need to stay as we were (to make them feel comfortable). The truth is that then we all miss out on knowing the real person and the real possibilities.

I wish for all of us the power of possibilities. The unknown....the unseen...that is the space where faith steps in.