Now, the final of the winning 6 stories (don't worry, we'll be putting up some of the others in the future, inshā'Allāh)… Congratulations to sister Shirien Elamawy (of EgyptianGumbo.com), for her submission. Although it may seem a little outdated (the hurricane is over after all, alHamdulillaah, keep in mind that certain things never get older – certainly not reminders of Allāh's blessings upon His Slaves.
Very, the reminder benefits the believer, so O believers, take benefit from this inspiring story!
As a runner-up, sister Shirien wins a free single adult's registration to this year's Texas Da'wah Convention!
You're probably reading this wondering why someone would write a whole article about a giant bubble. “Surely I have better things to do with my time than read about a bubble,” you say to yourself. Well, while a bubble did appear in Louisiana — It's wasn't exactly made of soap.If I had titled this article, “Ramadan reflections from Hurricane Gustav” you wouldn't have been very interested and instead would have probably already made your way to YouTube to watch videos of skateboarding dogs. The bubble I'm referring to is both a blessing and a hardship from Allāh. Having no electricity could have been one of the best blessings Allāh had given the Muslims here in Louisiana, but was also a huge test.
Last week, starting exactly with the first day of Ramadan, 1.4 million people were without power, and many still are. In the beginning of this whole ordeal, I knew this was a test from Allāh. “I'm going to sooo pass this test, inshā'Allāh,” I told myself. And as the first two days went by, I smiled, unaware of what it would be like for the rest of the week.Now, I don't know how many of you know what it's like to go without electricity for that long, but let me set the scene for you:
- No light
- No air conditioning in hot/humid weather
- Everything in the refrigerator has about 2-3 days before it's thrown out
- Most, if not all the stores are not open, including grocery stores
- Few gas stations were open and running on generators which caused people to wait in a half mile long line to fill their tanks
- There were no cell phone signals for a few days
- No internet
- No TV to watch the news and know what's going on in the outside world
- No cooking anything but barbeque
Now, so far I've listed things that all seem negative in their nature. And although they are definite hardships, wallahi there is another side that very few people tend see or talk about in this situation.
This is the reality of what Ramadan is like for Muslims living in Louisiana so far:
First, we have plenty of time to read Qurʾān. No one has work or school due to the downed trees all over the city and the lack of electricity. The avenues that were use to distract us from the worship of Allāh have now been taken away from us. We can no longer spend hours on the computer, talking on the phone or watching TV.
Muslims and even non-Muslims are starting to appreciate the blessings of Allāh so much more. Allāh 'azza wa jal says in surat Ibrahim “Wa in ta3ddu na3mit Allahi la tuhsuha, innal insaana la thalummun kaffar.”There was never a time I loved electricity and yearned for it like I did in those days. I loved it more than a fat kid loved his cake — and even more, walhamdulillah. And I, like a lot of you, was waiting for the īmān bubble of going to the masjid everyday for taraweeh to help my īmān rise from the low that it was in. I was just waiting for something new to happen so that I can start anew. But Allāh 'az wa jal had something else written. Taraweeh was done in our homes. One of our masājid had been damaged by the storm. Both of our main masājid did not have electricity. Therefore, I was told brothers were praying in the dark, and the sisters were asked not to come. I still, to this day, have not gone to one iftaar or one taraweeh prayer in the masjid this Ramadan. Wallahul musta'an.
I could be telling you this to babble, but since I've gotten my electricity back, alḥamdulillāh after a week, I decided to try to continue using my time for the worship of Allāh. I kind of actually miss how it was. Every day that passes the more I get distracted with my school work among other things. So what's my point?
You've waited for Ramadan to become a better Muslim and to raise your īmān. But what if may Allāh forbid, Allāh sent a “Gustav” to you? And remember, you don't have the internet to listen to your lectures; all you have is to read Qurʾān by candle light in the middle of the night. You shouldn't depend on anything other than yourself and Allāh to become a better Muslim. Acknowledge tests as they come to you, and be determined to pass them no matter what Allāh puts in your path to test your truthfulness and īmān.
When Muslim Matters put up their “Ramadan Story Contest” I really didn't think to submit anything, and for the record this isn't for the contest. But as I was going through the tests Allāh has put in our path, I knew I had a story — but didn't know how to tell it. I mean, let's face it — many people don't care what happens in another part of the world so long as they are not directly affected. Allāh gave us here in Louisiana a chance to remember what our brothers and sisters in Iraq and other parts of the world are going through. While non-muslims complained about not having electricity, we shed tears remembering our brothers and sisters we've forgotten.
This is your chance not to forget.
I'd like to request that you help the relief process here in Louisiana by donating through ICNA relief. Many people already knows that I work in public relations, but subḥānAllāh, I neither work with ICNA relief nor do they know of me writing this article. I know personally many of those who work with ICNA relief here in Louisiana, some of them are even in the photos ICNA put on their website. They were in the front lines during hurricane Katrina, and I can testify to the amazing job they did and are still doing. And now, subḥānAllāh they are asking for more donations.Barak Allahu feekom.
Any may Allāh shower you all with his blessings and mercy, āmīn.