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Blogs for New Muslims – Islamic Education Blogs

6 Reasons Why the New Muslim Should Eat the Pre-Dawn Meal

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No, you don’t have to get up early to eat before fasting.

But you should.

Messenger Muhammad told us that there is blessing in it, and if someone wants to fast, they should eat that pre-dawn meal.

Here are some main benefits to eating the pre-dawn meal.

 

Boost

Eating that early meal will give you some more energy. Not eating it will make it much harder for you to find the energy you need all day.

Even if all you can take is water, that will help you and give you energy to read Quran, do your daily tasks, and offer devotions.

 

Mood

Eating the pre-dawn meal will help you have a better attitude towards others. We all know the word ‘hangry’. Relying on your previous night’s dinner will make you hangry, quicker.

Eating the pre-dawn meal will help with your mood, and make it easier for you to control your temper.

 

Ease

 

The fasting people who do wake up and eat the pre-dawn meal find fasting easier. You will see it, too.

Eating in the early morning and drinking water right before fasting helps fasting become easier. If it’s easier, then it’s more motivational to fast each day.

 

Prophetic

 

The most important reason to eat the pre-dawn meal is that Messenger Muhammad used to do so. And he recommended it himself.

Our practice of Islam depends on imitating the Messenger. We will get rewards for eating that pre-dawn meal, especially if we do it out of imitation of Messenger Muhammad.

 

Supplication

The golden time to supplicate to God is that last third of the night before the dawn devotion time.

If you sleep in until devotion time, you will miss that beautiful time in the morning that Messenger Muhammad told us that God answers supplications.

 

Punctuality

 

If you’re already up to eat the pre-dawn meal, then you’re wide awake for the dawn devotion time.

You don’t have to worry about not waking up on time, and eating the pre-dawn meal can give your sleepy mind more of an argument on why to wake up in the first place.

 

May God bless us all with the time-management and motivation to include eating the blessed pre-dawn meal to our mornings in Ramadan.

6 Ramadan Pitfalls every New Muslim Should Avoid

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Without a family and community around us, sometimes new Muslims will fall into mistakes during Ramadan.

These mistakes are not uncommon among those born Muslim, either.

They might seem natural to do, but they are harmful and will not help us fast. They will make it hard for us to enjoy Ramadan and get the most out of it.

Let’s take a look at what we can avoid, and why, in order to have a successful and not a regretful Ramadan:

Skipping Eating

So easy to just reach over and turn off the alarm…

Just a few more moments of sleep is all we need…or is it?

Does it really make a difference to our whole sleep time to add that few moments before the Pre-dawn (Fajr) devotion time?

Not really.

Missing out on the early meal (suhoor) is not worth it. You don’t know how that small meal can help you!

The Messenger of God said, “Eat suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.”

So get up out of bed and prepare something simple. Even if the only reason you’re doing it is because of the advice of the Messenger, there is blessing in it for you.

Stuffing yourself

When it’s finally time to eat in the evening, it’s really tempting to just dive in.

Our minds are in survival mode, as if there is a food shortage. We have an urge to eat like there’s no tomorrow, because we haven’t eaten all day.

Without checking ourselves, we will fill our bellies.

Not only is stuffing yourself harmful to your body, your digestive system, and the success of your next fasting day, it has an affect on your soul, too.

The self-restraint that we show when we avoid food, drink, and sexual relations has a direct effect on our priorities.

If we can hold ourselves back for a full month, then we can develop self-restraint. Even after Ramadan is over, this will keep us from sins and vices.

It will keep us from filling our stomachs the rest of the year, God willing, as is mentioned in this report from the Messenger:

Remember the report of the Messenger on eating habits: “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.”

 

Playing Dead

So you’re not eating or drinking all day.

One way to make it through the day is to try to sleep as much as possible.

Sure, sleep helps use up some of the long hours in the day. But you know what works even better?

Being busy.

You can lay around all Ramadan, or you can really make a change in your life and the lives of others.

You can prepare a meal for only yourself and eat it alone, or you can invite others to eat with you, or volunteer your time at a soup kitchen.

You can waste your time until you eat your evening meal, or your can use the time wisely. You can read the Quran, listen to Islamic lectures and lessons, and you can help a neighbor.

You can do any of these things during the day in Ramadan, but the choice is yours. It has to do with where you want to be at the end of the month.

If you want to have fasted Ramadan, you’ll get there.

Do you want to really change for the better and live the spirit of the month? Then you’ll choose the active, engaged activities that can make the difference between just not eating, and really living Ramadan.

 

Thinking Negatively

Some fasting people get the idea that it’s the lack of food that’s making them grumpy.

Not so.

You are in control of your emotions. If you’re a little tired, or a little grumpy, it’s time for you to ramp up your cheerfulness and energy.

It is humanly possible to get through a day without eating and drinking. It’s even possible to do it without being miserable the whole time.

Having a snack in our hands does not create a good mood, nor does it increase our motivation.

It’s just sustenance. It keeps us alive. It does not define who we are, nor how grumpy or happy we are going to be.

Part of the test of fasting in Ramadan is how we behave. It’s not enough to just get through the day, we have try to do it with grace.

 

Mouthing Off

Wait, didn’t I already mention about avoiding grumpiness?

Yes, but this part of the blog is about lying. Backbiting. It’s about not changing our ugly speaking habits while fasting.

Talking about others is something that is so natural to do. It’s something that is very common, too.

Before Ramadan, we may have been prone to lying. We may have had no problem insulting people.

That has to stop. And we should use the chance in Ramadan to stop it.

You see, we have to hold ourselves back from all kinds of desires. The desire to have people laugh, the desire for attention. The reasons people lie or backbite are varied.

If we can hold back from eating and drinking, and then in the evening hold back from stuffing ourselves, then we can hold our tongues, too.

Because the Messenger of God advised us, “Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, God has no need of him giving up his food and drink.”

That means it’s just as important to hold your tongue from lying and behaving badly as it is to avoid eating and drinking in Ramadan.

 

Training Ground

Ramadan is supposed to be a time when we establish good deeds that we can keep doing all year.

It’s a motivation to change what we do, get rid of bad habits and establish good ones.

We should never think that Ramadan is the time for good deeds and we stop once Eid comes.

All these things listed, and more than that, are preventing us from success on many levels of life.

May God bless us with the guidance and motivation to make these changes for good during, and after Ramadan.

Fasting is Mine : Rewards associated with fasting by God

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Unimaginable. When no clear descriptions are offered, that means it could be anything.

Limitless. When no limit is given to something, that means that we can’t imagine it ending.

Undefined. A hidden reward…something that we will only discover later…

This is the reward for fasting.

God says, “Fasting is Mine and it is I who give reward for it. [A man] gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for My sake. Fasting is like a shield, and he who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of him who fasts is better in God’s estimation than the smell of musk.”

Let’s take a look at each of these beautiful reminders about fasting:

 

In the open and in secret

 

The first thing God mentions about fasting in this report is that when people fast, they are doing it for His sake.

People who fast for the sake of God, and those that don’t can look just the same. One is fasting for the sake of God, and another one is fasting so that people will think he’s religious.

They are both giving up their passion, food and drink all day long.

The difference is the sincerity. How aware the fasting person is of God! He or she will not even take a sip of water, because of the sure knowledge God is watching!

What prevents you from eating, when no one’s around? You know you can’t hide from God, or trick Him. You actually have to do it.

So fasting people avoid food and drink when they are by themselves, or when they are in public where people can see them.

Because they know that God can see them. And that makes all the difference.

 

A challenge and a shield

 

The great, mysterious reward that God has decided not to describe for us looms just ahead of us as we make our way through each day of fasting.

There’s a bit of a personal victory at the end of each day, too, isn’t there? You hoped you could do it, then as the day went on you doubted yourself, but then, at the end of the day, you did it.

We challenge ourselves every day, and the more days we finish, the more confident we feel about the next day, and the rest of the month.

We can also begin feeling confident about the next life, too.

God calls fasting a shield. What it is shielding us from?

It is a shield from the hellfire.

We may think we are adding to a list of days during the month, but we are also adding layers to that shield as we fast.

 

Joy in this life and the next

Everybody’s happy when they break their fast. A little food in the stomach can do wonders for a fasting person’s mood!

When the time is coming soon, we get excited, and the food we break our fast with tastes delicious, even if it’s just dates and water.

That’s one type of joy.

The other type of joy is reserved for the next life.

On the Day of Resurrection, God will settle accounts with everyone. A man who used to fast might have nothing left in his account of good deeds.

Except fasting.

God will then allow the man into Paradise because of it.

He’ll even have a special door, which the Messenger called ‘Ar-Rayyan’ which is a VIP door for fasting persons only.

Imagine the joy.

 

What we smell and the scent of musk

 

We’ve noticed ourselves in the middle of the fasting day. The breath. It changes.

We avoid offending people in many different ways, like brushing our teeth or avoiding facing people.

It’s inescapable and to be expected…but God loves the smell.

He loves it so much, He mentions in this report that it is better to Him than the smell of musk. Perfume. Cologne.

That goes against our senses, doesn’t it? But we are not like God. And there’s nothing like Him.

It is to show that God loves fasting so much, and He honors someone who fasts in a great way.

 

May God bless us to be able to fast during this Ramadan, and help us to make it a regular habit throughout the year.

These 6 Things Happen to You When You Fast

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Follow the prescription. That’s how to do it.

God has prescribed fasting for us, and for those before us. For our own good.
So what’s good about fasting, aside from the great feeling you get when you made it to the end of the day?

Plenty. There are all kinds of good changes that are happening inside your body that you might not be aware of.

Here we list those hidden, behind-the-scenes benefits that take place when you fast.

You’ve got guts

Did you know that your digestive system works on what you eat up to 40 hours after you’ve had a meal?

That being said, it only takes between 6-8 hours for your food to pass through your stomach. So when you do not eat for a while, your digestive system takes a break.

The digestive system can end up taking energy that the body needs to heal and maintain the rest of the body.

So giving it a rest means more energy for the other good things your body needs to do to keep you healthy.

Mind

How are you feeling? When you fast, the hormones that make you feel excited and happy are at higher levels in your bloodstream. So fasting improves your mood!

Your mind becomes sharper because digesting your food is not robbing your body from energy. The physical act of eating and drinking also distracts the mind.

Studies have shown that your ability to think clearly is a side effect of fasting. Your memory even improves.

While fasting, we experience just a taste of what it must be like for someone who is often hungry, and not by choice. This thought makes us more sympathetic towards the poorest of the world.

Fasting is the only way we can really understand hunger.

Heart

When I first started fasting, I was worried because I tended to have low blood sugar. I was worried that I might faint while fasting.
I was advised to at least give it a try. So I did.

What amazed me is that I did not faint, and was not weak. And at the end of the month, I realized that I had no more problems with my blood sugar!

Scientists have noted that fasting helps stabilize blood sugar. Not only that, but fasting helps your heart stay healthy by attacking cholesterol.

Because your body uses up the energy taken from your food, it then goes after the fat stores in your body.

Cholesterol passes into your bloodstream and instead of clinging to your arteries and veins, it is eliminated by your body.

 

Fat

 

When the food that your body uses for fuel is used up, then the body starts using your fat stores as fuel. This happens after the 12-hour mark.

It might seem like a no-brainer that you would lose weight fasting. But it’s a good kind of weight loss that is not harsh.

It’s possible to lose a half a pound of body fat for each day that you are able to fast! The weight loss is steady and slow, but this is one of the more noticeable benefits of fasting.

 

Your Skin

If you struggle with acne or skin problems, then you may have already noticed that your skin is clearer!

This comes from the obvious: whatever you were eating that was giving you blemishes has been avoided, so your skin has a nice, healthy glow.

Processes in your body that react to fasting allow the body to regenerate cells, and discard old cells.

The skin being the largest organ in the body, it shows signs when your body is in poor health. So during Ramadan, your skin improves because the rest of your body is in such good health.

 

May God allow us to experience the blessings of fasting Ramadan in our bodies and our health.

10 Tips from Muslim Nutritionists on What to Eat in Ramadan

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Did you know that our bodies have rights over us?

 

We are supposed to take care of ourselves, for the sake of God. He gave us the bodies we have as a gift, but we will have to answer how we took care of them.

 

We like the sweets, and the fried foods, don’t we?  These treats can get to be a bad habit.

 

But during Ramadan, every meal counts. Don’t just take my advice about how to eat and drink during Ramadan. Learn from the experts: nutritionists.

 

Here is a sample of 10 tips from Muslim nutritionists on how and what to eat in Ramadan to maximise your health and your devotions:

 

A Simple Suhoor

  • Keep suhoor light and as simple as possible
  • Make sure to drink water through the night
  • Water with fruit and whole grains is best

Hold the Salt

  • Some of the foods you eat already have salt, like cheese
  • Salt dehydrates the body’s fluids, so cut down on the salt
  • A taste for salt can be brought down by gradually adding less and less

Fries with That?

  • Frying foods in oil is considered by everyone, not just nutritionists, to be poor for your health
  • Your fasting body will use up the sugars in your body and then process fats. You don’t want to add to the fat in your body.

Clean, Pure Water

  • When you wake, and as you prepare your meal, sip on water.
  • Keep fruits handy when you eat your morning meal, as they contain a lot of water, especially watermelon and grapes
  • Add a squirt of fresh lemon juice to give your digestive organs a gentle boost

A Hearty Soup

  • Your stomach won’t take rich sauce and meat right away, so begin your evening meal with some soup
  • A broth with beans and vegetables is a nice way to ease your empty stomach into a meal
  • Soup is of course a liquid and another way to make sure you keep up your fluids

Start with Salad

  • Consider a salad for the second course of the breaking-fast meal
  • Another gentle side to introduce eating to your stomach
  • Salads provide the good roughage that your digestive system will appreciate

Veggies with Meat

  • Balance your proteins with your carbs
  • Although carbs might give you energy right away, they will leave you hungry later on
  • You want to stay light, keeping in mind that you will be standing to offer devotions in the night

Best Midnight Snack

  • Staying up late to offer devotions will require more snacks, so stick to fruit and nuts, and water to replenish your energy stores
  • Stock up now on whichever fruits are your favorites: consider dried fruits, such as raisins and dates

Make a Smoothie

  • Fruits, milk or alternatives, and protein will fuel you through the night, or at the early meal time

Guilty Pleasures Sometimes

  • Eat your baklawa or candy bars if you need to celebrate an especially tough day
  • Do not make sticky sweets or fatty foods a habit, but an occasional indulgence

5 Lessons the New Muslim can Learn from Fasting

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I see it in my children, when the beginning of Ramadan starts.

 

The food stash, otherwise known as hoarding.

 

During the day, they see something that they want to eat, and then they take a little.  Then they hide it for themselves for later, when they break their fast.

 

Typical. Natural, even. Encouraging yourself to keep going, so you can have that tasty treat you saved for yourself.

 

Chances are the treat is not a healthy, nutritious thing. It’s junk. But our eyes want it, and our stomachs agree, at least at first.

 

During Ramadan, however, you have precious few meals, and those have to last. They have to be good, and wholesome, and beneficial.

 

God gave you food and drink that was meant to nourish you.

 

Here are some other things that fasting can teach you. May God bless you with learning these things as you fast this month:

 

Shunning Waste

 

You don’t really appreciate the taste of water until you’ve tasted water after a whole day. That water-date combination can feel like the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten, when you’ve been fasting.

 

One time all I had to break my fast was a bit of watered-down pop left over in a paper cup. What I probably would have thrown away any other time, I cherished and made sure to sip every drop!

 

So to waste food in a month when we are not eating most of the time should really turn our stomachs. Leftovers are great for the early morning meal, and extra food at dinner can be brought to a neighbor to share with!

 

Clean your plate when you are finished eating. In a report from the Messenger, he commanded the licking of fingers and the cleaning of the dish, saying, “You do not know in which portion the blessing lies.”

 

Ramadan fasting teaches us about avoiding waste. We get a better understanding of how real hunger feels, and can appreciate what the truly poor go through on a daily basis. It makes us treasure the food we have.

 

Sharing the Good

 

You know the saying ‘sharing means caring’? Ramadan can bring about a sincere care for our fellow humans through sharing food.

 

We might not know it, but a neighbor of ours could go hungry each month. Perhaps someone in our neighborhood could use some food. We share with our neighbors, and perhaps invite them to eat with us, out of care for our fellow human beings.

 

Feeling the pain of hunger  makes us want to try to make sure that the pangs of hunger we feel are not felt by anyone. We donate money and food to those less fortunate because of that feeling.

 

We are blessed with more than enough, and Ramadan motivates us to share what we have with others. Invite others to eat with you, too:

 

‘O Messenger of God, we eat but are not satiated.’ The Messenger of God said: ‘Perhaps you eat separately?’ They replied that they did. He said: ‘Eat your food together and say Bismillah before you start, that will bring blessings into your food.”

 

Quality vs Quantity

 

As the month progresses and we are more and more aware of our bodies and what they need, we see ourselves making better and better food choices.

 

We follow the advice of others.  But we also get to know what foods are going to help us with our fasting: healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and plain old water.

 

Our bodies have such a small amount of time each night to absorb those nutrients in our food, so we choose better things to eat. It helps us with our fasting, and it helps us be strong after we break our fast, so that we can stand and offer more devotions in the night.

 

Self-Restraint

 

It’s a funny mental exercise that we have to do daily when we fast.  We have to program ourselves that over-eating will NOT help us the next day, as if we were camels filling up on water before a desert trek.

 

That food and drink make us slow, and sluggish and bad-tempered.

 

As the month progresses we realize that that a full belly is not our friend.  If we stretch our stomachs’ capacity in one night, the next day becomes so much more difficult to fast!

 

When we choose smaller, more valuable meals, then we continue to train our body and have mercy on our digestive systems. We have mercy on ourselves by training our body, giving it nourishing food, and letting our digestive system have a break.

 

We learn to hold ourselves back from what’s in front of us. We learn to think ahead, and plan out how best to conduct ourselves. We learn that holding ourselves back from things is rewarding, and this translates to other things in our lives that may cause us problems in the long run.

 

Eyes and Stomach the Exact Same Size

 

Ever heard the phrase, “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? That can happen at the beginning of Ramadan.

 

At first, we have a misunderstanding that the more we eat in the evening and early morning, the better we will handle fasting. In reality, it’s just the opposite.

 

We think about our dinner all day long, and perhaps prepare or go out and get a lot of food. Then when it’s time to break our fast, we stuff ourselves.

 

Or at least we try.

 

As the month progresses, we get to know our capacity, and we hold ourselves back from a huge plate at either meal.  We eat what is enough for us, in accordance with the report:

 

“No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” Messenger Muhammad.

 

May God bless us with being able to experience these great lessons that fasting can teach us, to strengthen and train our bodies, and to make the most out of every day, and every meal.

5 Steps to Trusting in God

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When everything falls apart around us and we are alone, we beg God for support and help. If things are going great, we praise and thank God.

Trusting in God is mentioned many times in the Quran and the traditions of the Messenger Muhammad. It is a very important aspect of faith and it brings us such a great sense of peace and security.

But what does it mean to have trust (tawakkul) in God?

We have trust in God when our hearts depend on God for bringing us good things and protecting us from bad things.

Who better to trust than God?

Here are 4 Steps new Muslims can take to begin this journey of trust in God:

 

1.Knowing Our God

 

The more we study about God, the more comfortable we should feel with His Lordship over us. We can feel happy and safe knowing that God has all our affairs in order.

God’s beautiful names are full of benefit for us as new Muslims. When we learn about God, our hearts will be satisfied and happy.

The One Who Guides, God is the only one that can bring our families and friends to Islam. No matter the influences around us, our own hearts would not have come to Islam except that God guided us.

The One Who Elevates, God brings up the status of those who truly believe in Him. He will honor us when we remember Him.

 

2.Knowing Our Place

 

When we are backed up against a wall and a threat is coming close, we wish we had someone bigger or stronger around to help us.

Who is greater than God?

It’s not just when we’re in trouble that we need God’s help. Every breath we take is a gift from God. God is always protecting us, and guiding us towards good things.

Our position below God as slaves reminds us that we can’t do a thing unless He has allowed us to do it. We trust in the plan of God, because He is the Most Just, and Most Wise.

In the first chapter of Quran, we read “It is you alone we worship, and it is you alone we ask for help.” (1:5)

 

3.Knowing Our Provision

 

The One Who Provides, God controls and measures exactly what we are going to get, and when. When we realize this, we can stop worrying about money, food, and bills.

Our whole lives, God has been giving us what we needed. That will continue until we reach our final days.

Messenger Muhammad told us, “A soul will never die until it’s reached its time and it has taken in all its provision. So be proper about working for it and do not let a restriction of provision make you do crimes to get it..”

Since we know that God has already written all the goods in this life we will get, we can relax and trust in God for our provision.

We can work towards our goals and know that tricking people or lying to get provision won’t bring anything except what God had already written for us.

 

4. Knowing our Return

 

Everything in this life is temporary. We can only bring our good deeds with us when we die. Then we will be brought back to God, for judgement.

Our trust in God has to extend past just this life. We hope that God gives us Paradise, forgives our sins, and helps us enter the garden.

When we think about going back to God, we trust that God will accept our good deeds and hope for Paradise in the next life.

Our reward for the tests of this life, showing reliance on God, could be waiting for us.

We could be part of the chosen group that gets to spend the rest of existence in Paradise.

This is the Eternal Reward

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What are some of the biggest hassles of life? A lot of people complain about being tired. Not having enough time to enjoy life. Some people wish they had better relationships with others. And others just want it all.

In the next life, we can have it all, and more than we ever dreamed.

Because God made us for Paradise, human beings are naturally attracted to having whatever we want, whenever we want it. Paradise is full of delights, and pleasures that contrast the hardships of this world.

When we consider some of life’s most common drawbacks, we see that God has placed in the Quran descriptions of their opposites.

Here is a list of the things that Paradise holds for us, God willing.

No Poverty

We’ll never experience being poor in Paradise. To be poor means that resources have run out, or are limited. Paradise is limitless.

The food, drink, and fun of Paradise is never-ending. It is eternal, just as we are.

“Dishes and goblets of gold will be passed around them with all that their souls desire and their eyes delight in.” (43:71)

“They will have gardens of lasting bliss graced with flowing streams..” (18: 31)

No Bad Weather

Whether you are a fan of the hot or the cold weather, there are harsh extremes that no one likes in this life. A beautiful, sunny day can get really hot with no shade.

A nice, cool day can become really miserable when a harsh wind blows. In Paradise, the weather is always pleasant. No harsh heat or cold.

“They will sit on couches, feeling neither scorching heat nor biting cold.” (76:13)

 

No death nor sickness

Death is an unfortunate part of life on this earth. The sickness and death of others causes pain that lasts a while, and after death, the pain of missing them. In Paradise there is neither sickness, nor death.
Messenger Muhammad told us, “(The people in Paradise) will never fall ill, blow their noses or spit.” And he also told us that a call will be made, addressing the people of Paradise:

“Indeed may you be healthy and never be sick again
May you live and never die again,
May you be young and never grow feeble again,
May you enjoy, and never feel sorrow and regret again.”

Sickness and pain in this life can help us get forgiveness for our sins, and serve as a reminder to be grateful for healthy times, or for the sickness to not be worse than it is.

But in the next life, we are forgiven, and the tests of sickness and death have gone with all other earthly discomforts.

 

No hunger

 

Even if we’ve always had plenty of food, it is very sad to see that others go hungry. And if we ourselves have been hungry, then we know how bad it feels.

No one should go hungry on this earth, if people are responsible and share the earth’s resources.

There is no greed nor injustice in Paradise. The provision of God in Paradise is limitless and overflowing.

“Here is a picture of the Garden that those mindful of God have been promised: flowing streams and perpetual food and shade. This is the reward that awaits those who are mindful of God…” (13:35)

“This is what you are promised for the Day of Reckoning: Our provision for you will never end.” (38: 53-54)

No fading beauty

As we age we see the changes that bring us farther away from our youth and the beauty we used to enjoy. But in Paradise, everyone is the same age.

Not only do we never decline, we actually increase in beauty and attractiveness!

In a motivating narration from the Messenger Muhammad, we learn the transformation that happens every week in Paradise:

“In Paradise there is a market in which (the inhabitants of Paradise) will come to every Friday. The North wind will blow and scatter fragrances on their faces and on their clothes. This will add to their beauty and their attractiveness. They will then go back to their families after having an added luster to their beauty and their attractiveness. Their families will say to them, ‘By God you have been increased in beauty and loveliness after leaving us,’ and they will say, ‘By God you too have increased in beauty and attractiveness after us.'”

 

No people problems

Even if we don’t want to, we have to interact with other people. Sometimes that’s pleasant and other times, it’s not.

We endure insults and harm from others, and sometimes we hurt others. Fights break out. Everyone feels bad, even long afterwards. Words can hurt longer than bruises.

But God has told us that no harmful words are spoken in Paradise.

“They will hear no idle or sinful talk there, only clean and wholesome speech.” (56:25-26)

In Paradise there are no hurt feelings, and any bad feelings we had, we forget.

“We shall have removed all ill feeling from their hearts; streams will flow at their feet…” (7:43)

Messenger Muhammad told us that instead, of wasting time talking badly, people will be praising God:

“There will be no hatred or resentment among them, their hearts will be as one, and they will glorify God, morning and evening.”

 

Just nothing like it

We can see that Paradise is a beautiful reward for bearing the harms and discomforts of this life. Our hope is that learning about Paradise will motivate us to work harder for it.

All these delights are wonderful, but what is greater than that? We don’t even know. And we can’t imagine.

“No soul knows what joy is kept hidden in store for them, as a reward for what they have done.” (32:17)

5 Signs You’re Passing the Test

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When tests come, we try to do our best. We keep our faith strong, and ask God to make the tests easy. Yet how can we tell if we’re passing?

All it takes is a look inside, when things get rough outside.

 

Here are 5 ways we can tell we’re winning:

 

Gratefulness

What happens when things don’t go our way?  Do we complain and think the worst? Or do we think to ourselves, “Why us?”.

 

If we look to what happened before the test, we can be grateful.  We can appreciate the time of good before the time of bad.

Or look to those who have it worse off than us. Messenger Muhammad said, “Look at those who are beneath you and do not look at those who are above you, for it is more suitable that you should not consider as less the blessing of God.”

 

Maybe this present test is the worst thing we’ve ever been through, but it’s nothing to somebody else. We should get to know the hardships of others, so we can be grateful.

 

When we are grateful for the test, we realize

  • It could be worse
  • It’s nothing compared to what other people have to go through
  • The good things we still have are there, and we appreciate them more

 

Acceptance

We can tell if a test is a punishment by how we react to it.

 

If we’re freaking out and impatient, that’s a sign that we are not passing.  So, the opposite of that, acceptance, is what we show when we’re making progress.

Part of what can help us accept our test is that the Messenger of God told us, “Great reward comes with great trials. When God loves a people, He tests them, and whoever accepts it attains His pleasure, but whoever shows discontent with it incurs His wrath.”

 

So when God sends a test our way, we accept it as a test. We have a chance to get closer to God, to show Him that we are strong.

We accept the test, and we continue doing good things.  The test might make it harder for us, but with more work is more reward.

Humility

It’s amazing that just a slight change of our condition can totally throw off our day.  Like a hangnail, or a paper cut.

 

How fragile we are!  We’re top of the food chain, yet some small pain will cause us big problems.

And how sensitive we are. Our egos can be hurt so easily. Sometimes a test from God can be an chance to grow in humility.

 

The Messenger of God explained to us that God has tested the Prophets more than anyone else.  Then, the next best, and the next best people.

The more difficult the test, the higher in status we are. The Messenger continued to say that we are tested in accordance to our level of faith.

 

And tests and trials will continue to fall on us, purifying us our whole lives.

 

Asking Forgiveness

When you think about it, there isn’t a person living that is sinless.  Even the best people make mistakes and sin.

 

So we consider the tests of life, and realize that God is purifying us through them.  We admit we have sins to erase.

When tests come, we can take the chance to ask God to forgive us.

 

Messenger Muhammad told us, “Nothing befalls a believer, a (prick of a) thorn or more than that, but God will raise him one degree in status thereby, or erase a bad deed.

 

If we think to ask God to forgive us when we are in a test, then that’s a sign that we’re dealing with it well.

The tests of life are good for us.  Even if all we see in the test is a chance to have our sins erased.

Reflecting

‘Why me?’ is a common way to react when bad things happen. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, coming from pure defence.

 

We need to relax.  If we take a moment and reflect on the test, we might be able to see some good in it.  

Perhaps there’s a lesson in the test.  Even if it’s just a lesson on how not to be.

 

In the end, God has allowed something to happen to you. And He is the One Who plans everything for the best.

We praise and thank God for everything that happens, including the things we think are bad.

 

God does not allow any injustice to take place.  That means, eventually, justice will come. It’s not for us to force it to come, but for us to trust that God will sort things out.

 

In this life, or the next. And then, there’s this:

 

Messenger Muhammad said, “If a certain status has previously been decreed by God for a person, and he does not attain it by his deeds, God afflicts him in his body or wealth or children.

 

Think about the test.  Consider that God is lifting you up, bringing you closer to Him through it. So rather than ‘Why Me?’, we might start to say, ‘God chose me.’

 

Through our tests we always think the best of God.  We focus on Him, and His greatness and perfection. Whatever comes from God is good in the end, and will help us succeed in this life and the next.

How Passing God’s Tests Makes a New Muslim Stronger

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God sends us tests to strengthen us. We can’t let life make us tired and want to give up. Here are some examples from the lives of new Muslims that can help us pass the tests.

Troubles with Friends

 

Just because we’ve become Muslim doesn’t mean that we have changed…much. Then why do our friends treat us differently?

Is it just us, or are so many more things awkward now that we’ve accepted Islam? Our friends who used to be chill are now uncomfortable.  They are restless, and don’t seem to know how to be normal around us anymore.

 

A lot of these reactions to our conversions can be from fear.  Fear is usually caused by not knowing. So to solve this problem, we can educate our friends.

We can be brave and cut through the awkwardness.  We can explain to them what things are still the same, and what things are going to change.

 

When we take a stand on what we believe, our true friends can see our sincerity, how much Islam means to us.

Real friends will support us and try to understand.  If some friends don’t, then we pray for their guidance.  

 

If our circle of friends becomes smaller, then perhaps that is a way that it becomes stronger. Just like us.

 

Conflicts with Family

 

Nothing is more strong or more important to keep strong than family ties.

And nothing can be harder.

 

Some people in our families believe that we are in some kind of phase, and will ‘snap out of it’ eventually.

And that’s ok.  They are entitled to believe what they like.  We must make sure they know we are still members of the family.  And we are Muslims.

 

And those two things don’t oppose each other.

 

Maybe some of our family members are open for discussion. Maybe all they need is just to clarify a few points, so they can understand the little changes they will see from us in future.

It’s respectful and wise to explain things to our families.  But it is important to understand that they may continue to think what they want, regardless of what we tell them.

 

All we do is offer the info. Then, we know we’ve done our part.

How many Messengers of God had their families make trouble for them? Lots.

 

So we do what they did: pray for them.  Guidance comes from God alone.

 

Issues with Change

 

In our excitement after accepting Islam, we might want to make big changes, to reflect how different we feel inside.

But sometimes our circumstances just won’t allow for that.

 

Our work, our school, our living situation…they can slow down the changes we want to make.

As long as we are making progress, then we can expect the help of God. That may come as a change in our situations, or can also come as as peace in our hearts.

 

Change brings with it adjustment, and discomfort. But also strength.

 

Take things slow.  When we take things slow, we can lessen the growing pains on ourselves and those around us.

We can feel at peace, knowing we’re moving forward.

 

Distress with Judgement

 

As new Muslims, we have big challenges.  We are raised a certain way, with certain habits…and then one day, we make a change.

And those around us, who have been beside us, want to pull away.

 

But we’re still the same.  We haven’t become a different person altogether!  Yet we are judged.

 

Our friends and family want to analyse us, put us under a microscope: “Why are you doing this?”

“Are you just being a rebel?”  “Are you mentally ill?” “You’re just doing this to spite me.”

 

They may put together complicated theories tied to forgotten events, real and imagined.

 

But we have a simple answer: it’s the truth.

 

But only God can make them see that. Until they actually become Muslims themselves, those around us will just not get it.

So we move forward, and the distance of others can make us want to get closer to God.  We study His Names, learn more about Him and about our relationship with Him.

And we don’t feel alone. God gives us strength when all we have is Him.