Ramadan Mubarak! Happy Ramadan 2016 / 1437
The month of Ramadan has just begun, by Allah’s grace.
It’s a strange time right now. Everyone I know is still emotional over Muhammad Ali’s death two nights ago – may Allah have mercy on him.
Ali’s passing was not entirely unexpected: he was elderly, and suffering from Parkinson’s for decades. But there are people who are such towering historical figures that you almost expect them to always be there.
Muhammad Ali inspired an entire generation of youth by standing up for what was right; he spoke out proudly as a Muslim, as an anti-war icon, and as a self-thinking black man at a time when that kind of strength was desperately needed.
But this is the life of this world. Everything and everyone ends, and in the ends are beginnings, though they may be hidden at first. In a purely chronological sense, Muhammad Ali’s life ended, and – like a soothing balm or a consoling embrace – Ramadan begins. Is there a better time to pray for his soul? Is there a better time to be inspired by his strength?
My daughter, who will be ten years old soon, will attempt to fast the entire day for the first time this Ramadan. The days are long and the weather is hot here in Central California. Insha’Allah she will succeed.
Meanwhile, the suffering in other parts of the world continues unabated. I’m thinking particularly of Syria, where some cities have been under siege for years, and populations are starving.
Every Ramadan I have a mission for myself, something I want to work on and change. My mission for this year is charity. Ramadan is a time of sacrifice, giving up what we desire for ourselves so that others can eat, be clothed and survive.
I want to ask you, brothers and sisters, to please donate generously to those for whom even a meal, or a roof over their heads, or the promise of security, would be life-changing.
Here are some organizations that assist Syrian refugees, Palestinians in crisis, people suffering from drought in East Africa, Haitians still homeless from the earthquake, and others.
Will you help them? Remember that when you give to Allah Most High, He gives back more to you. It’s a guarantee, and I have seen it in action in my own life.
Together we can make a difference, Insha’Allah.
Oh Allah, make this Ramadan a time of peace and faith and safety. O Allah, for You do we fast, and in your name we break our fast. All praise is due to You, who fed us, and gave us to drink, and made us Muslims. Purify us during this month, relieve us from our burdens. You are the Most Forgiving, so forgive us and and guide us forward. Ameen!
Fresno, California, USA