Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ramadan 14: Know Limits

Homophones are words that sound the same but have very different meanings.

Know limits.

No limits.

Which one is Islam?

Right! In Islam the right word is: KNOW.

Know your limits.

While you're fasting, there are some situations which start you down a slippery slope. Every major haram started with a smaller inroad towards that haram. Maybe there are friends with whom there is no conversation without backbiting. Maybe there is a TV show that has a hot dude or sweet-looking chick, which gets you to wanting someone beside you.

Or perhaps you are actually trying soooo hard to be perfect, like an angel, that you can't maintain that uber-goodness the whole day and it all is going to boomerbang BANG back on you.

Be careful of over-stepping the limits of what keeps you good.

At the same time, don't keep from challenging yourself to be better.

What are the most surahs you know? Oh, really? What's up with that? How can you be in Islam for the last five years and only know three surahs? The Quran we memorize will be the only company in the grave from the day we die until Judgement Day. You really want to have just Al-Fatiha, Qul Huw, and An-Ness?

Think how you can go beyond, even if it is only one step today and another step tomorrow. Half of Ramadan is still awaiting us. By the end of Ramadan you could have accomplished something to be proud of that really stretched your previous notions of who you were.

Know the limits of others.

Stand up for keeping your privacy.

In America, we are told that being friendly is being open. That is cultural. It is also un-Islamic.

It's hard in a workplace setting to say, "I don't really discuss that," but it's within your rights to say so.

If you want keep your privacy without being offensive, you don't have to say anything negative, just say, "Ah, wouldn't you like to know!" in a joking way. Then ask them a question directly related to what they had been trying to ask you about, for instance, "How about you? What do you think?" Americans really want to talk about themselves, anyway. Give them a platform and listen without saying much.

For women especially, know the limits of modesty. A man will always try for more; it's in his nature. You hold the key to the whole deal. Do you throw the key away? Do you give it to the man who says he's going to use it wisely because he cares about you? NO! Unless you are married, you keep holding the key.

There are many other limits within our mulitude of dynamic human relationships.

Know the limits for us from Allah.

We actually do know these in our deepest centers but the noise and confussion of the TV, the co-workers, the men or the women, the backbiters, the cultures--ALL of it can keep us from remembering Allah.

Read Quran.

I've been reading An-Nahl The Bee. What a lot of great sections are in there! I know, born Muslims want to say, "All of Quran is great," and it is. I'm just saying that some greatness is going to speak to you, i.e., reach you better than others. As a revert Muslim, I understand that idea and I'm not afraid to admit that I gravitate more towards some parts of the Quran than others. That will change, subhanallah, from time to time and need to need as The Quran is truly a living organism as much as we are.

So, read Quran.

Learn Hadith and Sunnah, the sayings and daily life of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him.

Learn Fatwa and Shariah, the laws of Islam. I love reading Cyber Counselor on You can learn alot, msahahallah, from other people's problems. Think: Dear Abby for the Muslim set.

Once you know, then you decide. Is anything more precious than the Love of Allah? If you held all the money in the world, down to the last penny, would it be worth more than the Mercy of Allah? Or if you held on to the most beautiful woman in the world, would she be better than The Most Beautiful One?

Sometimes, it's lonely being a follower. Look at the prophets, peace be upon them. They weren't often the most popular people. They were often ridiculed and scorned. But they found solace, and so do I, in knowing that if I had all the support in the world but none from Allah, then I'd have nothing.

This Ramadan, gain something. Gain more than what you had before. Admit where you are now, and think higher; think better. Realize how others around you might not respect your limits, so enforce them yourself. Secure yourself in the knowledge of Islam and once you know the limits, do your best to stay within the safe borders which keep us to the straight path.


Karim Baz said...

Wow - I just woke up a little bit ago and this wasn't something I expected. The idea of looking at "Know limits" vs. "No limits" is pretty awesome and even helps to explain the difference between Muslims and others.

Another thing that struck me was the part where you said, "How can you be in Islam for the last five years and only know three surahs?" I'm not a revert but I didn't start taking Islam seriously till about 4 years ago. Anytime I hear something like that, it's an eye opener because that's one area I've struggled in. Perhaps I've focused too much on areas without giving the Qur'an the attention it demands from us. Not necessarily that I shouldn't focus on anything else but that the Qur'an needs to play a huge role in our lives.

I also liked how you pointed out that people do not have to answer questions asked. It doesn't really matter if it's someone who is a Muslim or non-Muslim. Issues that are private are just that...private. Having said that, I think I'll keep some of the other thoughts to myself. =D

Jazakumullahu Khayran for a(nother) great post.

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom Br. Karim,

I like any comment that starts with, "Wow". If it had been all in caps with an explanation mark, then that would have really been the best. LOL!

But seriously, I am glad you got something out of the posting today. When I write my diatribes, I am not really writing to a certain person, but to all the people, and that includes myself. I haven't attempted to learn any Quran this Ramadan. If I started now, then I'd be happier with myself by Eid, inshahallah.

I'd really like to learn Al-Kursi.
It's not a surah, as most of you know,but rather part of Al-Baqarrah--around 215, I think. There is a lot of protection that comes from reciting it. It is one of the three surahs to know for protection against the evil eye.

That's a great point about born Muslims who eventually gravitate towards the truth and yet find they don't have it all together. I'm so used to born Muslims being too proud of their status. I hear your humbleness and it's mashahallah a wonderful quality. Keep feeling that you could do better; don't ever lose that.

Pleading the Fifth Ammendment? LOL! Ya, I'm soooo bad at keeping quiet. Just read this blog and you'll know that in a second!

I will say that I did take down one blog entry that I felt was telling too much about a person who did wrong. I did cover their sins...even if it was belatedly. Long time readers: shhhhhh! If you know what I'm talking about, don't say!

So, I'm improving, inshahallah.

Thanks for your approval, Br. K. I was thinking that you should designate the blog entries you like with MBA: The Muslim Bloggers Approval. This kind of awarding is already done by ijtema or itjema, but the more the merrier!

Keep reading and commenting!

Umm Travis said...

assalamu alaykum... ma shaa Allah, a lovely blog :) thanx for the reminders... I really needed to hear it today, jazackallah khair!

Bosnian hijab girl said...

Yes inshaallah there is ease....

Yosra said...

Wa alaykom asalam UmmTravis,

Thanks for gracing us with your beautiful flowery self :) I'm glad that you got something out of what I wrote. Alhumdulillah. We all know these ideas somewhere in us. Seeing them re-arranged differently on the screen makes us remember and understand them better, inshahallah.

Come back another time :)

Asalamalaykom Bosnian HG,

Inshahallah, I feel it today and hope that for all my readers. If you don't feel the ease today, then at least know it's real and it's coming towards you soon. Just get out of the way whatever you have that's blocking the path.

Love to you :)

*~Ange~* said...

ahhh i love your blog layout.. very beautiful.