Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ramadan 4: Mindfulness

God-conscious is what we are commanded to be. In fact, all of our actions should start with "Bismallah," in the name of Allah. Often times, we become mindless and mere beasts who stumble bumble through life just doing what fits our needs at the moment. Ramadan gives us a chance to raise ourselves up from the mud and muck and become the higher beings who we were created to be.

Be mindful of the hours you have been given on this earth. We all have an allotted time with a set number of days and after that no more. Don't waste the gift of, "now": use each second.
Be mindful of the gifts you have been given. Think seriously if you are squandering them. Are you thankful for all you have? How are you treating your body? Your talents?

Be mindful of others. How are you treating family and friends? Think if you could exhibit more patience or share more love and understanding. Does an "enemy" need you to make amends?

Be mindful of your beliefs. If you are a Muslim, how would anyone else know? What are you showing others? Are your actions in conjunction with your thoughts? Are you truly you?

Be mindful of your priorities. Not everything is equal. We need to give more time and energy to that which is most important; to that which helps serves Allah's command.

Be mindful of the past. There were great people who came before us who we can learn about in The Quran. We can also learn about our own past history and figure out where we succeeded and where we went wrong.

Be mindful of the present. We can ask forgiveness and do better. We are not slaves to the past. We can break free from old patterns and problems each day.
Be mindful of the future. Are you welcoming each prayer as eagerly as you welcome breaking the fast? If today was your last, would you die happily doing your best?
Let me share a true story.

There was a salesman who was Muslim by name only. He was born as a Muslim but he didn't practice his religion. He came in and did his job, went home afterward, and never stopped to pray. His Muslim boss had never made a comment on this. Often times, we don't encourage others to do better. Although, something inside this middle-aged man suddenly clicked one day.

One day, he walked into the store, sat down in his usual chair, and announced to his boss that he was not going to miss another single prayer for the rest of his life. These were big words from a man who hadn't even gone one day keeping this obligation.

That day he did all his prayers.

The next day was the same. He was a new man.

Two blessed days of prayer! This was surely a miraculous turnaround. Subhanallah!

But would it continue?

On the third day, he didn't show up to work. He was found dead of natural causes.
From Allah we come and to Him do we return.

Alhumdulillah, he said he would never miss a prayer for the rest of his life and he kept his promise. Allah took him once he had fulfilled his highest potential. The man died a good Muslim (Allahu alim). May Allah accept him.

I saw his empty chair in Florida. It serves as a reminder to be mindful.

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