Tag Archives: salat

Paid Your Zakat Yet?

If the answer is no, now is the time to do so!

First, what is “zakat”?

Zakat (or Zakah) is an Arabic word now used universally to mean “obligatory charity“. As prescribed to Muslims with means, it’s obligatory to make an annual contribution of 2.5% against all assets one holds for a minimum of one year towards charitable use.

A good example might be one has, after expenses, a $1,000 in the bank, gold or silver worth $5,000 and a car worth $10,000. Their total assets are at $16,000 and they’d pay a minimum of $400 against that.

Have you feared to present before your consultation charities? Then when you do not and Allah has forgiven you, then [at least] establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

The Holy Quran, 58:13

Check out this Zakat Calculator by Islamic Relief USA

With fasting, we purify our bodies, minds, spirits as well as our material things. To do so, we sacrifice a bit of everything to bring forward our renewed selves. Fasting from food to bring in good energy. Fasting from day to day worrisome thoughts to bring in happier thoughts (think meditation). Fasting from earthly things to remind ourselves of the bigger picture through worship and Quran reading. To fully complete the month of Ramadan, one must give their zakat before Eid ElFitr (Festival of Breaking Fast), hence the term “Zakat ElFitr” (Zakat of Breaking Fast).

Remember, zakat is also giving your time and reminding others to do their part as well. Many get caught up with work, family gatherings and Eid shopping that a kind reminder is always appreciated. I know I appreciated the one I received yesterday and I hope this post as those I’ve written for the last several years serves as your kind reminder to fulfill your zakat.

Who qualifies to receive zakat?

The idea of zakat is to support those in need. That can be in the form of food, shelter, legal services or any other means to help them live a decent life. What do you have that others may have less of? If you were in a bad situation, what would you need to get out of it. It’s hard to put ourselves in another’s shoes sometimes but one of the main ideas of Ramadan is just that. Living with little food, little energy, but lots of dedication to get through it.

With that said, there are so many organizations, both locally and internationally, out there in need of our zakat to continue the amazing work they do not just in Ramadan but year round. I recommend checking on those that have been highly rated by Charity Navigator, many of which four star rated.

I personally would suggest the following organizations:

  • Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) for their amazing efforts to provide medical aid to children across the Middle East. They are currently supporting refugee children in dire need from Palestine, Yemen and Syria.
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for their dedication to helping local communities at large with legal services, training and support. They are currently supporting those in need through the disastrous border immigration response and the xenophobic Muslim Ban currently in effect.
  • Islamic Relief USA for their excellent disaster relief responses, meal plans across the globe and orphan sponsorship programs. You can select one or multiple programs you want your zakat to go towards.
  • Project Feed SF for feeding neighbors in need right here in San Francisco for over 10 years now. This and other amazing campaigns worthy of your zakat are listed under Launch Good.

Insha’Allah this information is helpful to you all. May God accept our fasts, our prayers and our zakat… ameen.

Advertisements

My Public Love Letter To You

My dearest beloved,

I love you. I absolutely love you.

You are in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers daily. As the holiest of days is upon us, I wanted to be sure that you knew how I felt  and this letter is my humble attempt at expressing my love to you.

You are my mother. You are my father. You are my sister. You are my brother. You are my niece. You are my nephew. You are my uncle. You are my aunt. You are my grandmother. You are my grandfather. You are my cousin. You are my sister from another mister. You are my brother from another mother. You are my closest confidant. You are my teacher. You are a student of mine. You are my colleague. You are my agent. You are my client. You are an acquaintance. You are someone I met once, maybe twice.

You are someone I bumped into at a MUNI metro station in San Francisco a few years back. You are the shop keeper that gave me a great deal on a pair of shoes at one of Cairo’s many bazaars in the summer of 2011. You are the smiling officer whom directed traffic at a round about in Doha last month.  You are the barista that made my large mocha just right in the Financial District. You are the Tahrir Square protester that advised me to not join because of my American passport. You are the manager of a restaurant off Airport Road that stated I wasn’t allowed in with my friends “out of respect for my culture.”

You are the person that held the elevator door for me. You are the person that let me go ahead of you at the grocery store because I only had three things. You are the security guard that let me park in the VIP section of the bank for just a few moments. You are the person that complimented my English accent. You are the person that called my phone by mistake. You are the person that smiled at me yesterday.

You are someone that owes me money. I don’t want it back, please donate it. You are someone that speaks ill of me. It’s fine for my actions speak louder than that. You are someone I no longer associate myself with for whatever reason. I hope you are doing well nonetheless. You are someone that “unfriended” me on Facebook. I’m probably still not aware of that. You are someone that retweeted my latest on Twitter. Thanks for the RT. You are a devoted follower of my rants. I followed you back by the way.

You are a beautiful, smart, funny, charming, awesome human being. You are someone I truly do love.

I wanted you to know that every time I raise my hands in supplication, I include you in my prayers.

“Dear God, I pray for all that have asked me for a prayer and for all that may need a prayer.”
“.اللهم ادعي لكل من طلب مني الدعاء و لكل من يحتاج  الدعاء”

I wanted you to know that every time I kneel in salat, I make a prayer for you.

“Dear God, bestow us with ease to our situations, cure for our ill and mercy upon our deceased.”
“.اللهم يسر لنا ظروفنا و أشفي مرضانا و أرحم موتنا”

I wanted you to know that at least once a day, I praise God for you.

“Alhamdulillah for everything bestowed upon my path.”
“.الحمدلله على كل شيءٍ تبعثا في سكتي”

I wanted you to know that no matter the reasons, the distance or the unknown, I harbor no anger, dislike or hate towards you. I truly simply just love you.

Ramadan is upon us and I’ve learned many years ago that harboring any anger, dislike or hate towards another, dissolves one’s prayers and fasts. One’s good deeds are not accepted. You see, we must be of clear minds, pure hearts and good intentions when we enter into a conversation and action for God. So the thought of every supplication, every kneel and every praise that includes you not being accepted is in itself the reason why since then I’ve practiced to enter every conversation and action for God with the clearest of minds, purist of hearts and the best of intentions.

Believe me my beloved when I say, it’s an entire different feeling when one is not harboring anything but love. You end up making a prayer for those whom have hurt you, did you wrong, misjudged you, forgotten you. You end up loving them for the sake of God, with the intention that your love may uplift them from what may have caused them to do such things to you or anyone in the first place.

RamadanMubarak-hadeethI want nothing from you except for three things. The first is to love me back in your own way for the sake of God. This will lead to the second, to forgive me for anything I may have done that offended or hurt you. These two will lead to the third, to include us in at least one of your prayers a day.

If you can’t find it in your heart to love me, know that the first 10 days of Ramadan is God’s mercy upon us. If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive me, know that the second 10 days  of Ramadan is God’s forgiveness upon us. If you can’t find it in your heart to pray for us, know that the third 10 days of Ramadan is God emancipating us from the punishment. I humbly ask you to please make an effort with the knowledge that I love you, forgive you and have you in my prayers. Yesterday, today, tomorrow and always.

May you and yours have a joyous, rewarding and blessed Ramadan.

With love,

Ms. Hala

Disclaimer: My Arabic is not perfect. If there are any errors you find, kindly forward it to me so that I may correct it as I want my love letter to you to be perfect… =)

Ramadan Verse & Quote (Day 15)

I was recently having some interesting conversations with friends of mine about the various things that have been bothering us. It got me thinking about forgiveness.

Verse:

“Whether you publicize a good deed or hide it or pardon a (personal) offense (done against you), know that God has the power to pardon (all sins).”

 -Quran (4:149)

From Surah ElNisa’ (The Ladies Chapter), we are reminded that God (swt) is truly the one whom forgives. How can we not be able to be forgiving? Why walk around with this heavy hurt, this negative energy, this sadness? We hold on, unable to forgive thus forgetting that God (swt) may have already forgiven.

Speaking for myself, I was picked on and bullied almost all through elementary school before it weened out in the 8th grade. It caused me to be sensitive, sad, angry and hold extreme grudges for long periods of time. It has taken me years to grow out of that person and be the happy person I’m today. I owe that positive change in my life in part to a lesson I learned years ago.

The lesson was that God (swt) does not accept one’s salat (prayers), seyam (fasts) or zakat (charity) if they hold a heavy heart towards anyone. Why? For God (swt) is the one whom “has the power to pardon”, the all forgiving for He is the generous one. If God (swt) has forgiven them, how can we not? If God (swt) has forgiven us, how can we not?

It took me a long while to reflect upon that message and being honest when I said to myself, “All is forgiven. I forgive me. I forgive them. All is forgiven.” Alhamdulillah (Praise God), today, I’m in a great place in my life by the grace of God (swt), my family’s love, my friend’s support and of course my own hard work and determination.

I urge you all to reflect this Ramadan and find it in your heart to be more forgiving to yourself and to others.

Quote:

Not sure there’s much for me to add here…