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MuslimKidsMatter | Ramadan Essay Competion | Reflections on Hardship

MuslimMatters

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Ramadan Essay Competition | Date extended!

Assalamualaikum kids! Ramadan Mubarak! We hope it’s been going great for you and you’re getting used to waking up at Suhoor. Even if you aren’t fasting yet, or not fasting the whole month yet, you must still be enjoying the awesome spirit of this precious month, Alhumdulillah.

Last month, we unveiled our Ramadan Essay competition! You’ve been given lots of time to write up a short essay on how Ramadan is like for your family. And what’s up for grabs? Share the Deen’s fabulous “Islamic Match Game” to the three top winners, Insha’Allah! :) So what are you waiting for? Check the details on the competition post here and quickly send in your entries.

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Another *bonus* for you here is that we’ve extended the date to 21st August. Yes, Insha’Allah, you now have a week extra to send in your essay… but make sure you do it quick! :) Insha’Allah!

Reflections on Hardships and Trials by Sr Nur Kose

During our adventure in this year’s ISNA convention in Chicago, we had to walk a lot!  And even though we missed our weekly exercise class, I didn’t feel at all guilty that I wasn’t exercising enough because I felt like I hadn’t walked this much in my entire life!  Not even during previous ISNA and ICNA conventions because the Rosemont Convention center is the biggest I have ever been to.

And the most surprising thing that happened was that I actually figured out how to get around by the second day there!  That was the surprising thing.

The bad thing – the thing I didn’t like was that some lecture halls were in the hotel next to the convention center and not in the convention center itself.  This required much more walking and much more rushing to catch the next lecture.  It was like a pattern. The first lecture I wanted to go to would be in the convention center and the next would be in the hotel and then in the convention center.  It would be easier to catch everything if they didn’t start right after the previous one ended.

Because of this, I missed some of the lectures I had really looked forward to attending.

But alhamdulillah, I am satisfied that I pretty much enjoyed the ISNA convention.

The ‘Gripping the Coal for the Sake of Your Soul’ lecture was in the Hyatt hotel which was about 15 minutes walking distance away from the bazaar in the convention  center.

The first speaker was Sr. Yasmin Mogahed.  It was pretty cool seeing her there after reading so many of her articles on suhaibwebb.com.   :)

Sr. Yasmin talked about the meaning and purpose of hardship.  She gave an analogy in the beginning.

Picture this.  You have a very dirty rug on your floor which has the dirty results of a year’s mess.  You like this rug a lot because it looks so pretty, but now it’s so dirty and dusty that you decided to clean it.

What do you do?  You drag the rug outside and hang it up in a tree branch or a clothesline.  Then you get a stick and, with all your energy, you beat the rug with that stick.

Why are you doing that? Imagine your little toddler brother coming outside to see what you’re doing.

“What are you doing?” he asks worriedly.

“I’m … beating … the … rug,” you answer, breathless.

“Why are you hurting the rug?” he cries.

“I’m not hurting it,” you say.  “I’m just taking all the dirty stuff off it so it becomes clean again.”

The purpose of beating the rug isn’t to hurt it but to purify it.

Similarly, when Allah sends hardships to test us, He isn’t trying to hurt us but to purify us.

But how can that purify us?  When someone goes through easy times, he might forget Allah.  But when hard times come, he remembers Allah and asks Allah to help him.

Think about it like this.  If a kid has all the toys he could possibly want, he doesn’t think he needs to make dua for anything else.  But just when the newest coolest thing comes out – Play Station 4 – then he wants it so badly.  Then he remembers Allah and makes dua to Allah all the time and asks Him to give him a PS4.

So it’s with Allah’s mercy that He sends hardships to us to shake us and wake us up to turn back to Allah.  He wants us to reach the state of tadarrah.

Sr. Yasmin said that people often translate ‘tadarrah’ as ‘humility’, but the meaning goes far more than that.  Imagine a person in the middle of the ocean.  He’s sailing along fine and gazing at the beautiful waves.  Then, suddenly, he happens to catch a glance at the sky.  Dark luminous clouds build up and darken the sky.

The wind and water start howling.  Waves crash against the sides of the person’s boat.  He struggles to hold on.  Suddenly, a huge wave of water goes over the boat and soaks him with water.  This person isn’t an expert sailor, and even if he was, he knows that the possibility of drowning is very high.

This person realizes that death is near and that there is no one except Allah who can help him.  So he turns to Allah in desperation and this is ‘tadarrah’.

When we are in hardship, our dua is so different than when we are in easy times.  We are so much more closer to Allah.

What do we do with gold when we want to remove the impurities from it?  We heat it up.  So that is what Allah is doing when He sends us hardships to remove our impurities.

What causes most pain in life is a source of attachment to other than Allah.  The problem is that we seek and depend on the wrong things.

When the storm comes, we want refuge and the only place we can find true refuge is in turning to Allah.

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Yasmin Raoufi

    August 6, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Mashallah, its so good that you guys are even getting kids involved with your blog by creating a Ramadan essay contest. I also love sister Yasmin’s analogy about the purpose of hardship. Thanks for including that as well. Jazakallah Khair!

  2. Avatar

    Shaheen rab

    August 9, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    Mashallah! Beautifully written Nur. You description of ISNA convention and the analogy was excellent! Enjoyed a lot reading it. May Allah (SWT) bless you.

    Shaheen Rab

  3. Pingback: Reflections on Hardships and Trials (Taken from Muslimmatters.org)

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#Life

MuslimKidsMatter | Muslim Youth Helping Neighbors and Having Fun: Please Vote!

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Loud, friendly chatter fills up a large, brightly-lit room as people scatter about.  As they pass through the room into the next to make way for a large group of newcomers, a collective gasp of amazement suddenly issues forth.  The chatter and laughter miraculously die down as everyone stares ahead wide-eyed.

An eight-foot sculpture appears, clearly in the shape of a water well with a bright orange bucket hanging from the top.  A low fence surrounds the well with the words “Water is Life” in front.  As the observers lean closer for a better look, they are startled when they realize that the bricks of the well and fence are actually food cans!  And the letters were clearly shaped out of juice boxes!  What is this amazing genius of engineering before their eyes, they wonder.  Can it really be that they are looking at a well made out of cans?

can well drama club pics 010

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This sculpture has actually been in display at the Zakat Foundation Delaware Community Center for the past few days.  The youth can project team members have anxiously watched as amazed fans of our well continuously edge closer to the sculpture, a truly frustrating action that worries us to no end.  Alhamdulillah, however, our well is still standing and has survived this past week to enter the judging phase of the DelawareCAN competition.

Having created a prizewinning masjid out of pasta boxes and tomato cans last year for the contest, we entered the competition a few months ago feeling a certain pressure this time around.  After our can sculpture from last year demonstrated the spirit of giving in Islam through the words “Feed the Poor” on our masjid, we felt compelled to again display a strong message in a magnificent sculpture for this year’s competition.  Realizing that participating in the contest would not only give us a chance to gain the special honor of being a winning group, but also the opportunity to spread a positive message about Muslims, we had a big responsibility and a whole lot of work cut out for us.

Through weekly meetings, many back-and-forth emails, dozens of sketches and plans, we eventually reached our goal, creating a magnificent well, complete with a roof, bucket, and fence.  Oh, and grass, too.  After hours and hours of working on our sculpture, we finally had our finished product standing in front of us.  After all those arguments and complaints (what do you expect from kids of ages 5-16 all working together) and tiresome hours (re-stacking cans after they topple over gets annoying after about the third time around), we finally had our well.

We had a break for a few days to admire our sculpture, and now the next stage of our contest is on…

Time to collect votes!  Now we are asking you to help us out.  No matter where in the world you live, what kinds of cans you eat out of, or what your favorite color is, you can help us win the People’s Choice Award.  All you have to do is click on the picture above or follow this link and like our well.  (Note: You will need a Facebook account.)  Please don’t blunder and like the entire album or make another such error.  We need you to help us now, to be there for us and to show us you care.  Thank you for taking the time (which should be a total of about two seconds) to give Muslim youth your support.

Friday at 12 noon (USA Eastern time) is the deadline.delawa

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Competitions

*Special Announcement* Photo Contest with $6,000 in Prizes!

Omar Usman

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Everyone has vivid memories of enjoying their time at the masjid in Ramadan. It might be when we were kids, helping put a date and samosas on each iftar plate and handing it to people as they walked in. It might be hanging out with our friends and breaking fast together as a student at the masjid close to campus. We can reminisce back to the powerful and emotional dua that the Imam made on khatm night and how it moved us. The masjid, particularly in America, serves as the ultimate community center. For many of us, a random night at the masjid could have been a major turning point in our lives – anything from taking shahadah, to meeting someone that would later become a close friend, to feeling an unmatched level of faith (eman) as we stood to pray.

This month we wanted to do something special and highlight our masajid. With that in mind, we’ve got a special photo contest with 4 prizes. Here’s how it breaks down:

Simply take a photo (or a few) at your masjid and submit in the appropriate category-

  1. Inside your mosque
  2. Outside your mosque
  3. With the Imam
  4. At Taraweeh prayers.
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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Write a short caption about what makes your masjid yours and let us know what’s in the photo.

*Contest is for masjids in the United States.

Once you’ve submitted a photo, make sure to let your friends know so they can vote. A winner with the top 3  votes in each category will be randomly selected for the prize. Each category has a prize of $1,500 – that’s $1,000 to your masjid, and $500 to you. And yes, you can enter multiple photos in multiple categories.

To get started with the contest, like the Guidance Residential page and submit your photo!

We’ll be highlighting random photos throughout the contest, and in the end we hope to have a great photoblog of masjids across the US.

Contest ends August 15th. Click here and get ready to win!

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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Announcements

The Spirit of Eid | MM Eid Photo Contest: The Winners!

MuslimMatters

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Announcing the Winners of the MM Photo/Instagram Eid contest!
It’s about time, right?! :)
We know you have been anxiously waiting, so let’s get straight to it!

*duff roll*


First Place – $500 Prize

Holding it down with Gramps masha'Allah. Eid Mubarak everyone! #Eid #Swag #mmeid #family

Holding it down with Gramps masha’Allah. Eid Mubarak everyone! #Eid #Swag #mmeid #family

Second Place – $300 Prize

The cuzzie wuzzie buzzie muzzie fuzzies!
Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

The cuzzie wuzzie buzzie muzzie fuzzies!

Third Place – $200 Prize

Women of Bandung, Indonesia, after Eid prayers in Institut Teknologi Bandung. By Jimprz

Women of Bandung, Indonesia, after Eid prayers in Institut Teknologi Bandung. By Jimprz

Runners Up – $25 Amazon Gift Card

This year they are doing the picture-taking

This year they are doing the picture-taking

Hugs after Eid prayer

Hugs after Eid prayer

My father and my son

My father and my son

Always admired ppl volunteering some of their Eid day to make prayer service safer for everyone else by putting themselves in front of 3000 lb vehicles.

Always admired ppl volunteering some of their Eid day to make prayer service safer for everyone else by putting themselves in front of 3000 lb vehicles.

Eid Mubarak from Houston, Reliant Center

Eid Mubarak from Houston, Reliant Center

After prayer, a Muslim family poses for the camera in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

After prayer, a Muslim family poses for the camera in Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Alhamdulillah, my new home allows me to spend every day reflecting upon some aspect of the beauty of Allah's creation. Honolulu, Hawaii.

Alhamdulillah, my new home allows me to spend every day reflecting upon some aspect of the beauty of Allah’s creation. Honolulu, Hawaii.

This is my family photo on the first day of Eid 2012 in our traditional Malay outfit.

This is my family photo on the first day of Eid 2012 in our traditional Malay outfit.

The day before Eid, I made sheep cake pops for an Eid party I was going to. They were a hit!

The day before Eid, I made sheep cake pops for an Eid party I was going to. They were a hit!


Congratulations to those who won, and many thanks to everyone who took part. It was a close competition, with many great entries masha’Allah. We hope you enjoyed capturing your special Eid moments. JazakumAllah khair for sharing them with us!

Please join us in congratulating all the entrants. Which was your favourite photo and why?

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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