Archive for August, 2010

Mercy: Day 2 – Hunger

Its now 1 PM and my stomach starts to grumble.  I feel hungry but I am in the middle of only the second day of fasting.  Its now that most will start to feel the change of the eating pattern.  That is okay, I can push through.  Its now 4 PM and the grumbles return, but I ignore them.  I start to wonder what it must be like for some one who is under fed, someone who feels like this all the time.  It is an unsettling feeling.

The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of God upon him, said “Those who are merciful will have mercy shown to them by the most Merciful.  Show mercy to those who are on the Earth and The One who is in heaven will show mercy on you”.  Those are powerful words, and to be reminded of this during these first 10 days of Ramadan, during the days of mercy resonate within me.

My hunger will subside when the sun goes down, but for millions, and maybe for even more, around the globe they will go to sleep hungry, wake up hungry and live their days hungry.  At the same time we walk into a super market and find an unimaginable abundance of food that if it is not sold with in a week’s time is thrown out in the garbage!

I remember growing up and watching my neighbor hauling out boxes of produce from his truck that he salvaged from the supermarket garbage bin.  It was perfectly good food except it came out of a garbage bin.

When I was studying in graduate school at Stanford University, I would love to go into the library and read up on all the various subjects that interested me outside of engineering.  Once I was in the government documents library and ran across a United Nations report on hunger.  It was noted in a study conducted back in 1980 that if the United States would give just 2% of the excess wheat that it dumps into the ocean to keep wheat prices high, they could wipe out world famine! TWO PERCENT of the EXCESS! I was beside myself to say the least.

There is no mercy being on the receiving end of hunger.  There is however great mercy for the one who puts him or her self through hunger voluntarily to know what it means and then does something about it to alleviate it from others.  Showing mercy to others produces a multiplicity effect that continues to grow.

On Saturday, August 15th, 2010 a local charitable foundation and food bank, Rahima Foundation will be conducting their 7th annual Human Dignity Day by feeding the homeless in San Jose, CA.  They are looking for volunteers and it is a wonderful way to help show mercy to those who need mercy.

In The Shadow

Giving is Good.

Till tomorrow, Peace.

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Mercy: Day 1 – Sleep

Its 3:30 AM and I wake in a stupor to the rustling sounds of my wife getting dressed in a rush as she prepares to leave to help a woman give birth as her Doula. Its about 15 minutes before the alarm clock was destined to go off and wake us up for our first pre-dawn meal of Ramadan. In my half asleep state I remind her to eat and drink before she runs out. Asking me what time dawn enters, she dashes out. We have not seen her since.

Once she goes into action sleep is not an option until the miracle of birth is over.  I know the routine, having been in her shoes four times with my own children.  It is incredibly tiring, physically, mentally and emotionally.

So after she leaves, the alarm starts to blare and wakes me again.  Still tired, I wrangle myself out of bed and proceed to wake three of my four kids.  They get very excited to fast with us in Ramadan and they are getting to that age when they will have to fast, so getting used to it is not a bad idea.  The youngest of the three is only allowed to fast until he feels hungry, and the other two, well they insist on the whole day.  With all of us awake we make our way into the kitchen to prepare our meal.

Once we finish eating, I feel like I can return to bed, but the kids are now wide awake and want to get busy with their day.  Its 5 AM and its still dark out!  We do our dawn prayer and then, back to bed before its off to work.  Its now 7 AM, the alarm wakes me once more.  I wake the kids who ended up sleeping anyway.  We get dressed and we are out the door.  First off to grandma’s house to drop off the kids and then to class.

I still feel tired and wish that I could still be wrapped up and cozy in my bed.  But I push through.  The urge to lay myself down and close my eyes is great, I just want a little more rest.

The day comes to a close.  When arrive to pick up my kids, my oldest son is out like a light on the easy chair.  My oldest daughter is groggy and about to go out on the couch, the other two are still bumping around but not for long.  They have been up for nearly 12 hours, my self as well!  On the way home, a 15 minute drive, they all fall asleep, and I am starting to nod off as well.  We clamber out of the car and into the house.  Within ten minutes, we have all found a comfortable place and sleep overtakes all of us.

Sleep is such a blessing.  One of the great mercies of our Creator.  Every thing sleeps in one way or another.  From animals to plants, they all have a down time. To stretch out, to let your body sink in relaxation, to close tired eyes and to take a deep breath and letting go of all the worries of life brings a state of peace and tranquility to the soul. To relinquish all responsibility back to the Lord of the all things, and to put your trust in Him with certainty that all will be fine once we wake brings reassurance to the heart and repose to the mind that we are not in control and need not be.

Sleep brings peace to every facet of who we are and regardless of whether we become tired physically, emotionally, mentally – in any combination or all three.  It is a Mercy for every living thing and is a hallmark of the stamp of the Merciful in all of creation.  I am tried now, so I think I will go get me some Mercy.

Windy Hill Under Moon Light

Nighty Night

Till tomorrow, Peace.

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Ten Days of Mercy

The sun set in silence on the western horizon.  There was a slight breeze that caressed the face.  Suddenly a sliver of light emerged in the sky and the month of Mercy began.  Without fanfare or pomp, the month of Ramadan entered into our lives once again bringing with it the promise of great tidings.  It is a month in which the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God upon him, said “Its first ten days are a mercy, its second ten days are forgiveness and its third ten days freedom from the punishment of hellfire”.

With the ushering in of the crescent moon, the days of mercy begin wherein we slow down, unplug from the madness of the modern world, look within ourselves and find the shortcomings that need rectification and head down that path holding on to the Rope of God in constant remembrance with the hope of becoming better than we are.  Ten days for a settled heart, a calm mind, and a peaceful soul to find the solace they need to regenerate a beleaguered body back to its spiritual and physical center.

This month brings with it many blessings , too many to enumerate, too many to even know.  It is a classroom in ‘time’ that gives us the opportunity to focus on the improvement of ourselves, to strenghten the bonds of freinds and family and to reconnect with the community at large.  This opportunity comes but once a year and not taking full advantage of it, leaves one longing to see it again, with no certainty of ever making back.  Make use of this month to garner all that you can.  These first ten days, are for you to re-engage with your Lord.  So lets get to it.


Crescent Moon of Ramadan 1431

Ramadan 1, 1431

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Ramadan 1431 Announcement

It has been a very busy time the last few weeks here. Much teaching and work revolving around the start of Ramadan this year.

But I am both happy and sad to announce that Ramadan of the Islamic year 1431, will commence on the evening of Wednesday August 11th after sunset and the first day of fasting on Thursday August 12 according to the tradition of sighting the new crescent moon.  A valiant effort was made by several people in gathering reports from all over the globe, and in particular in South America where seeing the new crescent had the highest probability.  The was not seen anywhere in the world on this evening, even by yours truly.

So why am I happy, well that we now have Ramadan in our presence and we can begin again , God Willing, our fast in devotion of our Merciful Creator in a couple of days with clear certainty of its start.  And why sad?  Sad that we did not have the great fortune of seeing that amazing crescent moon this evening.  Tomorrow the moon will be much larger and higher in the sky and easy for almost anyone world wide to see it.  I encourage all of you to go out and look at this phenomenal sight, Muslim or otherwise.

The evening was special as it always is, with over 50 adults and probably an equal number of children as well came out this month to look for the crescent with me and many other sighting parties occurred with equal numbers.  Nonetheless the view was captivating and the learning of how to sight the moon was the best I had ever seen.

It is wonderful to see so many people interested in reviving this wonderful tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing of God be upon him.

So to all my Muslim friends and readers and to everyone else as well ~

Ramadan Mubarak!

Fog rolling in over Santa Cruz Mountains

Above The Fog

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