Ramadan Kareem to you and your loved ones.
This is a blessed month for us and many muslims around the world. Amongst the reasons why is that it is the month that the Quran was sent down. It also a month of mercy, where God has promised to forgive the sins of the believer who fasts sincerely for Him. It is also a chance to strengthen our Taqwa (God-consciousness) and master self-control with God's help because as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said in the report by Abu Hurayrah (RA), “When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains.” (Muslim 1079)
But Ramadan is not promised to us. We don't know if we will be taken before it begins. Just like many others, we have lost loved ones who are not with us this year.
This is the main thing I am grateful for this week - that we (our Emaan Home family) has been granted another Ramadan to seek forgiveness, gain His pleasure and carry out good deeds that benefit humanity.
But there are many other things to be grateful for this week:
1. The "spirit" of Ramadan. Work slows down, people are nicer and more generous, the community spirit flourishes and air is filled with spiritual peace.
2. Living in the UAE during Ramadan. First, the shorter school days and working hours for public and private businesses. Second, listening to the call of prayer or the cannon fire during Iftar. Thirdly, the 'rules' for not eating in public certainly help. Although I should say that fasting in Canada around food and people eating is something you just get used to - you become stronger for being able to ignore it.
But having no one eating in public during Ramadan is a common rule in Muslim countries. It makes fasting much easier while you're out and is a sign of respect for those that are fasting.
3. Meeting a dear Emaan Home customer who I haven't seen in a long time. Reconnecting with her and having a private tour of her beautiful new home.
4. Community work with the boys. In the middle of the week we packed the boys and boxes of hot biryani, juices, water and dates in the car, and delivered the packages to the construction workers and security guards in our community. I am grateful to a dear friend who made it possible to do this. I'm grateful we could do this as a family. And I'm grateful that the boys were compassionate and brave during this exercise.
5. Iftar with the family
6. More time with the Quran. It's amazing how much time is spent eating, cooking or cleaning up after food. With everyone fasting, there is more time to spend on reading the Quran and listening to lectures.
7. Interview about Emaan Home for a local magazine. Hopefully my story will help others avoid the pitfalls I faced as they launch their own home-grown business.
How was your first week of Ramadan? What part of the experience are you most grateful for? I'd love to know.