King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz • الملك عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz • الملك عبدالله بن عبدالعزيز

I was sitting on the couch with Y when suddenly he said, “There are all of these things on Twitter saying that King Abdullah died, but I don’t know…”

“Do you think it’s true?” I asked.
“I’m not sure…” he replied.

We went on doing whatever it was that we were doing. I think we had the MBC movie channel on the TV and both of us were sort of mindlessly scrolling through social media dashboards on our phones. All of a sudden the channel changed to the live feed from Makkah. Not just one of the channels, but all of them.

I could tell by the look on Y’s face that this had more significant meaning than a strange technical glitch. A few moments later the channel quickly changed to a news broadcast. The man on the screen announced the death of the King.

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Y looked at me with such sorrow in his eyes and said, “King Abdullah is one reason that I met you”.

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون
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الحمد لله‎


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Happy Eid عيد سعيد

Happy Eid
عيد سعيد

Wishing you all a blessed Eid
كل عام وانتم بخير

May God accept all of our fasting and prayers.
تقبل الله منا ومنكم

Thanks be to God الحمد لله‎ for this past month of Ramadan
and God willing ان شاء الله it is not our last.

What is Eid Al-Fitr عيد الفطر ?
It is the celebration marking the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan).
Everyone wears new clothes, enjoys delicious food and thanks God for all of His blessings.

There is an obligatory act of charity, prayer, time is spent with family and small gifts of money or candy are given to children.
It is a beautiful time to reflect on the lessons and realizations of the past month.

الحمد لله‎


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Umrah عمرة

Umrah  عمرة

Umrah is a non-mandatory pilgrimage to Makkah, which can be performed at any time of the year.

Umrah is comprised of a series of acts related to events that happened to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his second wife Hajer raḥimahā Allāh (may Allāh have mercy upon her). It is also meant to provide a sense of solidarity between Muslims.

The pilgrimage is full of prayer to and remembrance of God subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) .

Thursday, July 3 we left Riyadh for Makkah to do Umrah.

This was one of the best trips of my life.
It was beautiful, 
it was fulfilling, 
it was refreshing,
and it strengthened my faith.

In sha Allah ان شاء الله our Umrah is accepted.

I will make a second post with more details about the trip later on.

الحمد لله‎


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Ramadan Kareem – رمضان كريم

Abu Huraira (may God be pleased with him) Reported: God’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained.”

 . عن ابي هريرة رضي الله عنه ان رسول الله صل الله عليه وسلم قال : اذا جاء رمضان فتحت ابواب الجنة ، وغلقت ابواب النار ، وصفدت الشياطين
(رواه مسلم)

رمضان كريم 
Ramadan Kareem

As we enter Ramadan I would like to wish you all a blessed and successful month.
May God accept all of your prayers, fasting, and good deeds.
May God give you peace, happiness and prosperity.
May God protect you and guide you.

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Ramadan Mubarak
Congratulations for the holy month of Ramadan
May God be upon you in protection and in faith.
and May God accept from us our deeds.
Every year may you become closer to God.

الحمد لله‎


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Ramadan رمضان

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Ramadan رمضان

Abu Hurairah, (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.” (Reported by al-Bukhari)(x)

The holy month of Ramadan is almost here!
اللهم سلمنا لرمضان وسلم رمضان لنا وتسلمه منا متقبلا
Oh Allah, safeguard us for Ramadan, safeguard Ramadan for us and accept it from us.

The Islamic calendar is a type of lunar calendar with 12 months in 1 year.Each month is measured by the amount of time it takes for the moon to go through its phases: new moon, half moon, full moon, and back to its initial phase. A new month begins with the sighting of the crescent moon.

Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. It lasts 29 to 30 days and ends with the beginning of a new lunar cycle. The reason that Ramadan is considered the most important month in the Islamic calendar is because it is the month that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad. During Ramadan, muslims fulfill one of the 5 requirements of Islam: fasting.
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Fasting begins at sunrise and ends at sunset. It includes abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sex. Time during the fast is spent in prayer, reading or reciting the Quran, remembrance of God and solidarity through charitable deeds. Not to mention living  normal everyday life like going to work or taking care of family. Aspects of fasting -Sincere love for God. -Hope to please God and seek His Grace. -Devotion, dedication and closeness to God. -A sound conscience: being faithful to the fast in public and in private. -Patience and selflessness: feeling the pain of deprivation, but enduring. -Moderation, willpower and discipline. -Adaptability: being able to change the entire course of daily life. -Social belonging, unity and equality before God.
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Suhoor is the meal before the first prayer  of the day when fasting begins. Iftar is the meal just after the fourth prayer of the day when fasting ends. Before the prayer it is common to break the fast by eating dates.
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“Throughout it all, we maintain an ambiance of joy and gratitude for all that God has blessed us withand reflect on those in this world who have been given much less.”  (x)

الحمد لله‎


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Riyadh Gallery – الرياض جاليري

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Continued…

Friday morning we woke up and ordered coffee, tea, dates and a couple cheese sandwiches from the shop below the hotel. We enjoyed the food, talked and watched tv.

Friday (Jumu’ah) in Islam is like Sunday in Christianity. There is a special prayer in congregation on Friday at the noon prayer. The athan will sound as usual, but there will be a sermon (khutbah) before the prayer.

“Oh you who have believed, when the athan (call to prayer) is called for the prayer on the day of Jumu’ah (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Allah (God) and leave trade. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah (God), and remember Allah (God) often that you may succeed”.
~Quran, Surat Al-Jumu’ah (The Congregation, Friday), 62:9-10

The prayer on Friday is half of what the noon prayer is on all the other days of the week, a beautiful gift from God.

After the Friday prayer we packed up our things and left the hotel.
We started driving around trying to decide what shops to stop at or what mall to visit. Most of the shops were still closed because of it being Friday. It is similar to how everything closes early on Sunday in the USA, except the shops here in KSA open later instead.

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Eventually we decided to go to Riyadh Gallery – الرياض جاليري .
It is a three story mall with a beautiful, almost park like design in the middle of the ground floor. There are all kinds of shops, a supermarket and tons of restaurants.

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I really enjoyed walking around the mall with Y, Mom and H. We went in and out of various shops, sat to relax while the stores were closed for the afternoon prayer and eventually made our way back out to the car.

It wasn’t my first time at the mall and even at this mall in particular, but the experience was different because of who I was with. I’m not sure how to explain, but just having them around me there made it a much more beautiful experience.

Y’s mom would come to me with a skirt or a shirt that she thought I would like and there is something about that action that makes whatever item more important or more valuable. It is the same feeling that I get when I receive a gift from someone I love, no matter how small. These are things to cherish.

Grocery shopping with Y reminded me of home. It was comforting to have him by my side, pushing the shopping cart and making suggestions of things I might need. It might seem silly, but these are small moments that bring warmth to my heart while he’s away.

To be continued…

الحمدلله


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5 times a day

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

5 times a day, every single day,  you will hear the athan أَذَان‎ or call to prayer from nearly every direction.
Muslims perform obligatory prayers 5 times each day.

For example, today’s prayer times were:
فجر Fajr:  5:11 AM
ظهر Dhuhr: 12:08 PM
عصرAsr: 3:21 PM
مغرب Maghrib: 5:45 PM
عشاء Isha: 7:15 PM

At each of these times you will hear the following words echoing beautifully from each mosque.

الله أكبر,الله أكبر
God is greatest, God is greatest (x2)
أشهد أن لا اله إلا الله
I bear witness that there is no deity but God. (x2)
أشهد أن محمدا رسول الله
I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God. (x2)
حي على الصلاة
Hasten to worship (x2)
حي على الفلاح
Hasten to success (x2)
الله أكبر
God is greatest (x2)
لا إله إلا الله
There is no deity but God.
(At the morning prayer you will hear an extra line that says prayer is better than sleep)
If you have never heard the Islamic call to prayer take a minute to listen:

The athan is not only a call prayer, but also a beautiful reminder of God.
I love hearing the athan here.
It is a blessing.

الحمدلله


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Just Pray

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Alhamdullah for the beautiful religion of Islam. On July 17, 2011 at about 4 am, I said my Shahada:
أشهد أن لا إله إلاَّ الله و أشهد أن محمد رسول الله
[Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha il-la-l-laah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulul-laah]
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.

I can’t explain my feeling in that very moment, but I will never forget it. I will never forget the first time those words formed in my mouth, rolling off my tongue and out my lips. I will never forget the first time I set my forehead on the floor in prostration during prayer.

At the same time, becoming a new muslim requires learning so many things. It is not an easy task, but just remember that even if you make mistakes God knows what is in your heart.

A really difficult part of being a new muslim is learning to pray. I know that it took me a long time to feel comfortable in my prayer. Luckily, there are a lot of great references out there. Here is an extremely helpful video that provides a “step by step guide to Salah”.

I made index cards with the Arabic transliteration of what needs to be said during prayer, along with the English translation and it helped me so much to memorize. I would hold them during prayer and I would read them until I could remember parts without looking. I still use this method when I want to memorize a new Surah.
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The one on the left is a piece of paper that I used the first time that I prayer. It just had a few things written on it. The picture on the left if of the cards that I used to learn the prayer more fully.  I still have the word document for the prayer cards and I am more than happy to share it.


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