Most ladies are accustomed making lists for everything; purchasing groceries, vegetables and meat, household items, clothes and accessories. Some write down on scraps of paper, some in books and some keep their lists in their heads. Some are becoming high tech and making their lists on their cell phones or ipads.
Making lists is part of a woman’s capability of organization and multi-tasking. In fact, many housewives and working women rely upon these lists to accomplish all the tasks of the household as well as those in their workplaces.
When Ramadhan begins, ladies also make lists; lists for cleaning, shopping and invitations for Eid ul Fitr. Some ladies also make lists for items for aftari; either at their homes or in the masjids and most importantly lists for Eid clothes for everyone in the family.
But this year in the midst of making all these lists, stop a minute and think!
Will making these lists and accomplishing all these tasks assist us when die?
At that time, will we be able to enjoy our homes, guests and eat delicious food. At that time, we would not be wearing the latest or most expensive dress, cosmetics and perfumes. We would be bathed in warm water; camphor will be put on us and we would be wrapped in white cotton. Many of the things that we consider to be important here in this world would be of no consequence when we enter our graves (qabr).
This year as we begin Ramadhan, we could consider; in addition to all the other lists, making a different kind of list; a list to assist us in the hereafter. We could choose one, a few or as many as possible of the following:-
1. Making arrangements to learn to read the holy Quran if we haven’t already done so.
2. Listening to recitations of the Quran by famous reciters such as Mishary Raashid al-Aafaasee, Shaik Abu Baker Al-Shatri, Mahmoud Khalil Al-Hussary. These can be obtained from the internet and can be used when doing individual reading to assist in pronunciation. Every afternoon after Asr or Maghrib, I listened and followed Al-Aafaasee’s recitation of Surah Yaaseen so that I could now read it myself, morning and evening.
3. Memorizing some new verses of the Quran this year Ramadhan, so that we are able to read them in salaat for the rest of the year.
4. Reading or attempting to read the entire Quran this year Ramadhan. If we make a sincere intention, then perhaps with the permission of Allah, we could achieve it.
5. Teaching/encouraging someone to read the Quran. I can still remember being a nine year old child and as soon as I had learnt to read the Quran, teaching a middle-aged woman to read the Quran in the old masjid in Princes Town and being so pleased when she had completed the Qaida and could read the Quran herself.
6. Buying and reading a book such as:
- Bahishti Zewar by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (R.A.).
- Uswai Rasool-e-Akram by Dr. Muhammad Abdul Hai
7. Recitation of zikr (planning and fulfilling a quota of zikr for the day or the entire month) such as
- The first kalima
- The third kalima
- Darood Sharif
- Asma ul Husna
8. Listening to programmes by lecturers such as:-
- Maulana Yunus Patel- the sufi whose simple style and clear soothing voice resonates in the heart. His lecture on 20.07.2004 on Sukoon e dil (peace in the heart) renders sukoon to the listener and his zikr majlis on 25.01.2001 brings tears to the eyes. These lectures and many others can be found on his website and are free to access.
- Maulana Naeem Motala- the sheikh whose powerful zikr majlis of the first kalima and 40 durood is so very captivating.
- Maulana Suliman Katani – the charismatic speaker whose fascinating lecture on “Death- The Forgotten Love Story” is mind boggling.
- Imam Anwar Al Awlaki – the controversial martyr, whose series on the ‘Lives of the Prophets’ bring them to life from the Quran and Hadith.
9. Learning about the history of Islam. Our role models should be the wives of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa sallam), and in reality, they are his legacy to us as women. We should consider the support provided by Sayyidah Khadijah in the earliest days of Islam. The obedience of Sayyidah Saudah and the manner in which she took care of the children of the Holy Prophet (sallalahu alaihi wa sallam) after the death of Sayyidah Khadija. The scholar Sayyidah Ayesha and the impact her knowledge has had on Islamic history.
The month of Ramadhan is special to Muslims and is eagerly looked forward to by many. It is in Ramadhan that we develop taqwa and we build our shields that will protect and safeguard us for the rest of the year. However, the strength of our shields will depend upon how much effort that we, as women put into building them. This is why I urge you as well as myself for this Ramadhan;-