Hajj: The Greater Pilgrimage

What is ‘Hajj’?

Hajj, known as the greater of the two forms of pilgrimage (see Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage), takes place in the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar – Dhu Al-Hijjah. Muslims are expected to make at least once during their lifetime, if indeed their means, circumstance permits them to do so. It is said to be the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, with 2.35 million pilgrims from across the world performing it last year alone.

Hajj is both a collective undertaking and a deeply personal experience. It involves a series of rituals around Mina, ArafatMuzdalifah over a period of 5 or 6 days.

The rituals have their origins in the time of the Prophet Ibrahim (Upon Him Be Peace). Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) led the Hajj himself in 632AD.


Entering the holy city of Makkah, the journey begins…

It begins with pilgrims arriving in the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah.


At the centre of the Masjid Al-Haram in Makkah is the Kaaba, around which pilgrims perform Tawaf, circling the Kaaba seven times in anti-clock wise direction. During tawaf, pilgrims will recitate supplications, prayer and the Talbiyah. The purpose of Tawaf is to symbolically represent the idea that our life should revolve around thinking and remembering Allah Almighty.


لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ ، لَبَّيْكَ لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ لَبَّيْكَ ، إِنَّ الْحَمْدَ والنِّعْمَةَ لَكَ وَالْمُلْكُ ، لَا شَرِيكَ لَكَ

لَبَّيْكَ إِلَهَ الْحَقِّ لَبَّيْكَ

“Labbayka Allaahumma labbayk, labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk. Inna al-hamd wa’l-ni’mata laka wa’l-mulk, laa shareeka lak.

Here I am, O Allah, here I am. Here I am, You have no partner, here I am. Verily all praise and blessings are Yours, and all sovereignty, You have no partner”.
This is the Talbiyah recited by the pilgrim doing Hajj and ‘Umrah.

More on this: http://understandquran.com/six-parts-of-the-talbiyah-are-you-ready-to-taste-its-sweetness.html

The hills of Al-Safa & Al-Marwa, performing Sa’i

In Islamic tradition, Abraham (Ibrahim) was commanded by Allah to leave his wife Hagar (Hajar) and their infant son, Ishmael (Isma’il), alone in the desert between Safa and Marwa. When their provisions were exhausted, Hagar went in search of help or water. To make her search easier and faster, she went alone, leaving the infant on the ground. She first climbed the nearest hill, Safa, to look over the surrounding area. When she saw nothing, she then went to the other hill, Marwah, to look around. While Hagar was on either hillside, she was able to see Ishmael and know he was safe. However, when she was in the valley between the hills she was unable to see her son, and would thus run whilst in the valley and walk at a normal pace when on the hillsides. Hagar traveled back and forth between the hills seven times in the scorching heat before returning to her son. When she arrived, she found that a spring had broken forth from where the archangel Gabriel (Jibra’il) hit the ground with his wing as both sustenance and a reward for Hagar’s patience. This spring is now known as the Zamzam. (source)

And so, once their Tawaf is complete, pilgrims will walk between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times to commemorate this advent.

Safa and Marwa are mentioned in the following Quranic verse:

“Behold! Safa and Marwa are among the Symbols of Allah. So if those who visit the House in the Season or at other times, should compass them round, it is no sin in them. And if any one obeyeth his own impulse to good,- be sure that Allah is He Who recogniseth and knoweth.”

— Surah 2, Al-BaqarahAyah 158[1]

8th of Dhul Hijjah – Hajj Begins

Once pilgrims have completed their premiere Tawaf and sa’i between Al-Safa and Al-Marwa, and as dawn breaks on the 8th of Dhul Hijja, they make their way to Mina, the ‘city of tents’, situated 7km east of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. It is here that pilgrims will undertake their daily prayers, remain immersed in worship.

Day of Arafat – 9th of Dhul Hijjah

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:

“The Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat, the Hajj is ‘Arafat” [Tirmidhi]

As dawn breaks on the 9th of Dhul Hijja, pilgrims make the 14.4 km journey from Mina to the plains of Arafat, Mount Arafat itself, or Jabal al-Rahmah (Arabic: جبل الرحمة; ‘Mount of Mercy’), also known as Mount Arafat, the scene of the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) final sermon. Pilgrims spend the day here in remembrance of their Lord, repenting for their sins and seeking His mercy. Many muslims around the globe, who are not performing Hajj, choose to fast on this day. The Day of Arafat is considered one of the most important days, not just of Hajj, but of the Islamic calendar.

Collect pebbles at Muzdalifah 

After sunset, the pilgrims will make their way to Muzdalifah – a 9 km trip – where they spend the night under the stars. Many will also begin collecting pebbles here for tomorrow’s rites at Jamarat, departing again just before sunrise.

Eid Al-Adha – 10th of Dhul Hijjah

This day starts by casting stones at Jamarat, three stone pillars which are pelted as a compulsory ritual of Hajj in emulation of the Prophet Ibrahim (upon him be peace). They represent the three locations where Ibrahim (upon him be peace) pelted the shaytan (Satan) with stones when he tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son, Ismail (upon him be peace). The pillars are called ‘Jamarat-al-Ula’, ‘Jamarat-al-Wusta’ and ‘Jamarat-al-Aqaba’. Throwing stones in Jamarat reminds the pilgrims to be conscious of temptations and act against them, to counter our nafs, or lower self, and to remain steadfast in serving God.

Pilgrims must then slaughter a sheep, goat, cow or camel – or pay for it to be done in their names. Eid Al Adha symbolises the devotion to God and a commitment to help the poor and the needy. The symbolism is as well in the attitude — a willingness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Str and please God.

After Eid, pilgrims will return to Makkah to perform the final circulation of the Kaaba, a ‘farewell’ tawaf.


Philosophy of Hajj

Hajj is more than a series of rites to be undertaken, Hajj is founded on the tenants of spirituality, unity, equality and simplicity. Pilgrims performing Hajj are known as the ‘guests of God’. It is, ultimately, a pilgrimage aiming to revitalise the pilgrim’s love for their Lord in their heart, seeking His mercy and forgiveness for all their transgressions.


Hajj is the last pillar of the Five Pillars of Islam. The five pillars being:

  • ShahadaFaith
  • SalatPrayer
  • ZakātCharity
  • SawmFasting
  • Hajjpilgrimage to Mecca

Many steps lead us to Hajj, bring us closer to Allah. These steps can be followed through the order of the pillars. After the shahada their is prayer, a concrete action that illustrate the love of the worshipper in his/her daily life; charity will improve and purify your soul, whilst fasting is the expression of your devotion, then comes pilgrimage where you worship in the symbolic abode of your Creator.

The Prophet (saw) says:

إِنمَا فُرِضَتِ الصّلاةُ وأُمِر بِالحَجِّ والطّوافِ وأُشْعِرتِ المَناسِكُ لإقَامَةِ ذِكْرِ اللهِ، فإِذا لم يكُنْ في قَلبِكَ لِلمذكُورِ الّذي هو المَقصُودُ والمُبتَغى عَظَمَةٌ ولا هَيبَةٌ فَما قيمَةُ ذِكْرِك؟

“The daily prayer, Hajj, circumambulation, and the other rites are aimed at remembering Allah. But when there is no remembrance of Him in your heart, what value will your oral remembrance have?” [Hadith Qudsi]


From all over the world, people converge unto the same place, at the same time of year in order to perform the same act of worship: Hajj. Hajj is a perfect illustration of the universality and beauty of Islam, the construct of ‘Umma’ is brought to life before one’s eyes. It’s a unique, very powerful and immersive experience, where you feel a strong connection with fellow Muslims through your supplications, prayer and the recitation of Talbiya (Labbayk Allah). This is the beauty of Hajj, to be  connected to God and connected to one another – one Ummah (community), one body, one faith, one heart.

Simplicity & Equality

Wearing simple clothes is essential, the Hajj is performed in a state of Ihram. In addition to the simplicity of the attire that must be worn, is the simplicity and piety of the manner in which a pilgrim must behave; stripped of worldly possession, and immersed in worship, the pilgrim exists in a supreme state of simplicity – even the accommodation is reflective of this, Mina is a temporary camp, for example.

Prophet Muhammad PBUH, said:

“Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” [Bukhari]

Be it under the tents in Mina, or as pilgrims congregate on the plains of Arafat, during Hajj, every pilgrim worships as an equal to their brother or sister, equal in the eyes of their Creator – your worldly station matters not.

For those preforming Hajj, may it be accepted by Him, and for those who have not been blessed with the opportunity as of yet, may He call you to Him in due course, give you the opportunity to perform this beautiful pilgrimage, inshAllah! On this day, the 8th of Dhul Hijja, may all our duas be accepted, our sins forgiven – may we all be in receipt of His mercy inshAllah!

– Hawazine HAOUAT –

Some useful resources:

  1. https://yaqeeninstitute.org/en/ibrahim-hindy/living-abrahams-legacy-relevance-of-rites-and-rituals-in-the-modern-age/




Thoughts & reflection on the past 7 weeks at Grenfell Tower

Our founder Omar Salha, shares his personal thoughts and reflection on the past 7 weeks at Grenfell Tower:
“The past 7 weeks has been one of the most difficult, transformational, profound and moving experiences of my life. On the night of the Grenfell Tower Fire, I was driving back from East London Mosque from Taraweeh prayers after finishing up from our daily RTP Open Iftar. That night we hosted our Patron Professor Tariq Ramadan, and the topic of the talk was about Tafakkur (deep contemplation) and our need to refine our approach to worshipping God by appreciating His creation in His vast universe. Sadly, that evening ended in heart-ache, despair, desperation and agony.
Grenfell was a childhood memory. Memories which were stored in Summer afternoons and Wintry nights playing football at the base of the Tower with friends and locals who lived in the neighbourhood. Memories of praying & breaking fast with brothers at the car park and engaging in thoughtful discussions and debates on the grass parallel to the Tower.
Those memories were quickly removed through schemas and experiences at the night of the fire. Screams of young children still ring loudly in my head. Residents frantically rushing around with buckets of water. Streets filled with families desperately looking for their loved ones. It was total chaos but the community reacted quickly opening up their homes and attending to the needs of those families that evening.
What ensued in the first couple of weeks was an astounding response from local communities across London and Britain. People from as far as Scotland drove down to donate goods and offer their time to volunteer and support. RTP was among the hundreds of individuals, charities, and organisations to be at the scene. During the blessed month of Ramadan, as we prepared each night for Open Iftar, hot meals were distributed to displaced families, survivors and volunteers. As a local resident in the area, now 17 years and counting, I took it upon myself as an obligation and duty to support my local community. However, the need for a coordinated response was essential.
The Grenfell Muslim Response Unit (GMRU) was set-up by volunteers bringing together key Muslim agencies to provide immediate support to families regardless of race, religion, background and creed to ensure their needs were met with dignity, care and compassion. 7 weeks on we have continued to support the needs and well-being of the families including all the trauma, anxieties, depression and PTSD they have encountered. By Allah’s grace alone, during this journey myself alongside all the volunteers have been blessed in our position to help all the families in one way or another. Whether it was through a small or large act of charity, it put a smile on the faces of the families. We pray to Allah that He accepts it from us all. Ameen.
On this journey I have met some wonderful, incredible, inspiring and honourable individuals, volunteers, colleagues, family members and residents. Selflessly dedicating their time, efforts and energy to help assist in bringing some comfort and ease to the families affected by the fire. As I look back after these eventful 7 weeks, I reflect on the words of Prof Ramadan that first evening and the importance of appreciating God’s creation in His vast universe. Serving people, serving humanity, serving our community is by way of virtue serving our Lord through helping others. Throughout my personal journey during this experience, it has reaffirmed my belief that contemplation, Tafakkur, as an Islamic form of worship is in fact a cognitive spiritual activity in which the rational mind, emotion and spirit are combined. That spiritual activity takes form in serving those around us and deeply reflecting and being appreciative of the people in our lives, and the situation we are currently in.”
As Allah SWT says, “It is God who brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and minds, so that you might be thankful” – Holy Qur’an 16:78

A reflection on the tragic events in Britain: a message of hope, unity and peace.

Salam alaykum,

Following the recent acid attacks on our fellow brothers and sisters, the Grenfell Tower Fire and the spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes, Islamophobia and terrorist attacks against the Muslim community, it is important for us to be aware, vigilant, unified, look out for each other & pay attention to our surroundings.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon us to follow the advice and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Our beloved Rasool was not only a man of faith and a messenger but was also a fair, modest and calm leader who spoke with wisdom, firm conviction and reliance upon Allah. In these tough times, it may well feel like there isn’t anyone to turn to and our only option is to live in constant fear from walking out of our homes and going to work and our children going to schools. Do not be afraid, for indeed Allah is with us. Allah is the controller of all affairs, He is the sustainer, the Protector, the All-Loving. Our community must stand united and stay true to our high standards of Islam and repel evil with good.

We must continue to speak out against all injustices and speak truth to power, through humility, patience and firm conviction in Allah’s will. We must support our brothers and sisters emotionally and mentally. Be ready to speak to them and nurture a space for healing and confidence building in their unique and wonderful abilities. We only have each other to turn to besides Allah when times are difficult and our faith is only completed through the service of assisting and aiding one another. For the one most beloved to Allah, is the one who is most beneficial to others.

We should also aim to protect ourselves from harm and evil and learn and recite the following dua. As the Prophet PBUH said:

“There is no person who says, in the morning and evening of every day: (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ) In the name of Allah (الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ) with Whose Name nothing on earth or in heaven harms (وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ) and He is the All-Hearing the All-Knowing (ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ) 3 times (فَيَضُرَّهُ شَىْءٌ) and is then harmed by anything.”
Remember to recite this 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening for protection from all evil.
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

Walaykum al Salam,

Omar Salha

Ramadan Reflections: Mercy

The heartbreaking tragedy at Grenfell saw many lives lost, many losing all that they have. May God have mercy upon the residents of Grenfell Tower and provide them with peace, strength, ease, and comfort, during these devastating times, ameen. May those who have passed rest is peace, in power, ameen.

The scenes of helpfulness and kindness were overwhelming, from Churches to Mosques, who opened their doors to all, and people traveling from all over London, and the UK, to offer their help and donations. We pray that the efforts and intentions of all those who helped and have supported, are rewarded and sustained; may God provide us all with the strength and ability to do more, to help and provide support wherever we are able, ameen.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Prophet SAW said, ‘Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One in the heavens will have mercy upon you.’ [Tiirmidhi]

In Conversation with Martin & Chylo: Islam From a Non-Muslim Perspective

As someone who has more friends that are non-Muslim, than Muslim – I have been surrounded by many different reactions and opinions to the fact I am a practising Muslim.  I am blessed, that my closest friends are the most supportive, accepting and positive people, which with Islamophobia on the rise, has given this fact more value than it normally should. While they understand how important my faith is to me, I was so surprised when I learnt one of them held a deep respect and appreciation for Islam, that went beyond the usual tolerance and acceptance I was used to.

Chylo Douglas–Forbes , affectionately known to me as ‘Doc’, is of Caribbean Descent and was raised by her father in south London.  I remember talking to her about Islam once just casually, and being surprised by her response; I distinctively remember her saying ‘Islam is such a beautiful religion’. I was so amazed that she held this opinion despite being non-Muslim. Her reaction went beyond any understanding my other friends had displayed; I was intrigued as to what lead her to this understanding. She then went on to tell me that it was because of her father, Martin, and his love and high regard for the religion, despite being Christian himself;  ‘Hmmm, for as long as I can remember we’ve had a Qur’an on our bookshelf. Well, actually on top of our bookshelf, as It’s meant to be right at the top or something? Anyways yeah, so we’ve always had that, and I remember having to wash my hand before touching it or opening it. Even before meals he says ‘Bismillah’. I was always raised to give thanks before eating or going to sleep, so always thought Bismillah was a lazy cop out, but I bet you he’s secretly Muslim’.

I was beyond fascinated at this point; how is it that despite being non-Muslim, this man held Islam in such regard that he had a Qur’an in his house, Calligraphy of Bismillah proudly displayed on his wall, and even said Bismillah before every meal? To me this was amazing, and I knew I had to talk to him to find out more.

And, so after meeting up with Chylo in Tooting and buying biriyani, and three different types of naan from Lahore Karahi, I found myself on the way to her dad’s house to interview him.  Now, it is important to note that I went in to this interview with Martin under the same assumption as his daughter: that he was a practising Christian who simply held Islam in high regard. What I discovered, however, shifted the whole course of the interview, and it became so much more than I was expecting it to.

After lots of laughter and several attempts to get serious, Martin sits down in an armchair in front me, and his daughter Chylo sits beside me, as we finally start the interview.

Do you consider yourself religious, and if so what faith do you follow?

Martin: I don’t know, I don’t know you’d have to be more specific. I don’t go to church or anything like that. I believe there’s a God.

You believe there’s a God? Do you follow a particular religion?

M: No.


M: No, I do not.

C: Not Christianity?

M: I don’t follow Christianity, where’s my Bible? Where’s my church?

C: That’s what I thought

Do you mind elaborating a bit more – so you believe there is a God?

M: I believe we’re created. I don’t believe in Darwinism, that we come from apes and all that. But, you know, maybe that idea has got some of its own strengths, but I believe in God. Those apes had to be created by something.

 Would you say that you believed in one God then?

M: Yeah, yeah. There’s more than one religion, so God will have many names, but there’s just the one.

 That’s really interesting

M: It’s the truth, isn’t it? I might say this in my language, you might say the same thing in your language, it seemingly becomes two different things.

C: Even in the Quran and the Bible, they have the same people, but with different names.

How were you first introduced to Islam?

M: Don’t know (Chylo laughs) I don’t know, I’ve known about Islam from a long time ago, when I was a young guy. But the younger you are, the easier it is for it fly over your head, you can ignore it.

So was it from family, from around friends?

M: Probably friends or something, probably something like (Louis) Farrakhan, or a rap video in which they mentioned something about the Nation of Islam. That was probably my introduction to it, I listened to a lot of rap music, and a lot of the rappers have moved towards it.

What were your first impressions of Islam?

M: My first impression was it’s not for us, it’s not in our language. That was my first impression, that it wasn’t for me. I don’t understand. The writing, it’s nice to look at, but it’s not of my people, I don’t know these people, they’re not speaking my language. When they’re calling to prayer, they’re not calling me because I couldn’t possibly know what they’re saying.

How do you feel about Islam now?

M: It’s for me; they’re my people – I like it. I don’t look at it as religion, I look at it as a way of life, if you want to live good, to live clean. It’s not about ‘follow us or you’re going to burn, follow us or you’re going to die’. Only God will judge me for what I am; it’s about what’s in your heart – it’s your heart that matters.

I remember someone once saying that when you see your brothers going in a certain direction, follow them. Basically, if you see people that you like, your favourite rappers, your friends, your elders, when you see them going to Islam – follow them.

How do you know so much about Islam?

M: I’ve got Muslim friends. Also, I work in a primary school and a big percentage of them are Muslim. And, if you like something, you ask, you enquire about it, that’s how you come to know. If you’re not interested in something, you don’t ask about it, you don’t look into it. You know, when people talk about it, you close your ears. If you’re interested you look, you listen, you ask and you learn.


So what is it about Islam in particular that draws you to it, that interests you so much?

M: When I look at Christianity, they show me a white man on cross in a country in which all the people have a tan, (Chylo laughs loudly) come on, now. I just think: ‘come on, why you telling me that? Why you trying to pull me to that?’ When I see Islam, I see different people of colour, permanent tan, original language, untampered.

C: There’s actually a lot of talk relating to why so many Caribbean, African people are converting to Islam. It may be that during slavery, it’s something slave owners told them, to keep them in fear, to not rebel against them.

M: What, Christianity?

C: Yeah

M: There’s a joke that if there was a heaven they wouldn’t tell us about it, because they wouldn’t want us there.

C: That’s why loads of people I know are converting.

So you’ve talked about how you feel it’s more inclusive to other races, is there anything else that draws you to it?

M: I like the way of life, I think it’s a good way of life. You know, Christians go to church on Sunday, they may pray when they’re eating, for example, but, in Islam, you’re praying a lot more; you’re keeping God closer to yourself. You know men and women pray separate, so your mind is on God, it’s not on ‘oh that lady in front of me she looks alright’…you know, things like that. It’s well thought out, it’s a way of life. When we’re living in these kinds of times, you need something, do you know what I mean?

That said, I’m going through life like a soldier, I’m not tied to one God, or one religion. I’ve got a sister in one church, a brother in another church, my dad goes to another church, nephews practising Islam and I’ve have friends that are Sikh. So, I’ve been everywhere, Gurdwaras mosque and churches, and I’ve gone there as myself. I don’t go there as a Christian in a Gurdwara, in a mosque, I go there as myself.  When you invite me, I come; you say cover your head, I cover my head.  You say don’t eat meat when you come here, I won’t eat meat. You say don’t smoke when you come here, you say take off your shoes, I’ll do that. Cause’ when I’m going, I’m going as myself.

Have you ever considered converting?

M: I consider it all the time; I consider it all the time. I think about it all the time.

What prevents you from doing so?

M: I’m not committed, it’s just commitment – I don’t know. I think about it all the time. There are children in my school that ask me: ‘When are you taking your shahada? Are you Muslim? Have you taken your shahada?’ I tell them no, I haven’t.

C: I’m pretty sure it doesn’t, and I already kind of know the answer, but do you think the way  Muslims are portrayed especially recently…

M: Don’t affect me, don’t affect me.

C : (Laughs) Yeah, but you can see the difference now…

M: Don’t affect me. Back in the day, when I was growing up with yardies – if you’re Jamaican and you’re bad, you’re supposedly a yardie – all Jamaicans were supposed to be bad men. Jamaica wasn’t/isn’t full of bad people, Jamaica has lovely people. But there’s a percentage of them that are wicked, and they give all a bad name. It’s the same with everything. There’s always someone trying to spoil it, trying to spoil your name.

This interview lasted approximately five hours – I stopped recording after three. It evolved more in to a discussion and debate between all three of us, I couldn’t help myself from joining in. Martin was so fascinating to talk to, and the views he holds are so interesting. What you are reading here is a mere eleven minutes of the entire three hours – that is how rich the conversation was.

I feel I learnt a great deal from this interview, but the main thing I learnt about Martin, is that he is extremely compassionate, empathetic and tolerant. He also seeks to spread these values in everything he does. It was quite touching to learn he makes an effort to learn a few phrases in languages his pupils speak, so he can greet them in that language and make them feel comfortable. He tells me he always tries to see everything through a positive lens, so even if he does experience any negativity it goes unnoticed to him. Whether he decides to revert to Islam or not, it is beautiful to see how deep his understanding of Islam goes and that he has passed that down to Chylo.

I think we could all learn a little from Martin. In fact, the world could do with a few more people like my dear friends Martin and Chylo.

Talk, listen and share: Ramadan is more than lists and books!

I know, this probably seems like one of those “how to be productive” articles that somehow pop up every year during Ramadan. However, as cliche as it sounds, the holy month is about more than just fasting. It is a time to reflect on our weaknesses and plan our time efficiently. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a short guide to improve productivity, while remaining realistic.

1. Talk to people, and actually listen.

Learn about Ramadan through conversation! If you want to know something specific, why not ask someone you trust? This works both ways! If you have information to share, start a conversation. It’s important to encourage dialogue among friends, family and even acquaintances. Learning is much more than reading a book. We learn buckets from each other! And I’ve found often the deepest conversations are with friends from different [religious] backgrounds.  Let’s move out of our comfort zones, and dare to ask questions: What is spirituality? What is religion? Who is God to you?

2. Watch videos, but be selective.

We’re so often told that the internet is the enemy of productivity. Most productivity guides tell readers to avoid YouTube, stay off their phones and log off Facebook. But, is that the way of the future? We are lucky to have such easy access to our favourite imams and scholars, all from the comfort of our homes. From in depth and accessible tafseer videos by Nouman Ali Khan, to stories about the life of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), social media can be a great tool if used correctly.

3. Simply be with people.

As a time often associated with family gatherings, laughter and traditional food, experiencing Ramadan alone can be incredibly alienating. So why not look out for those who may be alone this month? You could invite friends to the masjid, volunteer at a local charity, or even invite them to attend our Open Iftar one evening. Having a friend who encourages you to be productive, makes the experience easier and less daunting.

4. Don’t be put off by the long hours. It’s about you!

The long fasting hours mean two things:

  • You have more time to get things done!
  • “The angels seek istighfar (forgiveness) for the believers(…)”

So, it’s important to keep a balance between spirituality and our own well-being. Remember Ramadan isn’t a competition based on who can give the most money, or how much Qur’an you can read and how quickly. Ramadan is both very personal, and about being part of a community; while everyone’s journey is different, we all have the role of encouraging each other.

Hopefully, following these steps will help us use our time more wisely. From reflecting on our spiritually, to picking up good habits, intention is what will make Ramadan a blessed and beautiful month – inshaAllah.

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