Genesis 11:5

The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. Genesis 11:5

You Absolutely Can't Go Wrong with Pancakes

This morning I took time to convince myself that it was OK to eat, despite the sun shining outside. Hah, it's strange to suddenly start eating and drinking during the daylight hours after having not done so for an entire month.

I love how huge the syrup in the picture (above) looks in proportion to the pancakes and two scrambled eggs. Ironically, the syrup was probably the smallest of all. I enjoyed a delicious lunch of 3 blueberry pancakes and eggs with dear friends this fine Eid afternoon at The Vinegar Factory. Not much beats pancakes over delightful conversation on Eid.

As soon as I walked into the masjid (mosque) this morning I was recruited to collect Zakat Al-Fitr and charitable donations from the women coming for Eid prayers. Thankfully, my task was not terribly difficult, as the Zakat Al-Fitr box was only meant to remind anyone who had not yet paid $10 of Zakat to do so. Technically, Zakat Al-Fitr should be paid prior to the first of the Eid prayers at some point during Ramadan, and if the deadline is missed, it cannot be made up. Nonetheless, it is important to give Zakat Al-Fitr as soon as one is able. As is stated in the Zakat Al-Fitr Wikipedia article, The Prophet of Allah said that, "The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr." Mine was given directly to someone in need; it is not necessary to pay Zakat through the masjid.

The mercy of Allah astounds me. Eid is the day when the reward for fasting Ramadan is distributed. If the fast of one person is accepted, Allah forgives the sins of the entire congregation. Allah is abounding in mercy, and is looking for every possible excuse to bestow this Rahma (mercy) on us. Several hadith point to the mercy of Allah, even after those who sinned on earth are denied heaven.

Abû Sa'îd al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allâh (saw) said,
"Allâh (subhana wa ta'ala) will admit the people of Paradise to Paradise and He will admit whomsoever He will by His Mercy. And He will admit the people of Hell to Hell, then He will say, "Look for anyone who has the weight of a mustard seed of faith in his heart, and bring him out"". [Sahîh Muslim, Kitâb al-Imân, Bâb Ithbat ash-Shafa'ah wa Ikhrâj al-Muwwahhadîn, 1/172]

Anas ibn Mâlik reported that the Prophet (saw) said:
"Whoever says Lâ ilâha illâ Allâh (there is no God worthy of worship but Allah) and has a barely grain's weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, "Lâ ilâha illâ Allâh" and has a wheat grains weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire. Then whoever says, Lâ Ilâha illâ Allâh and has an atom's-weight of goodness in his heart will be brought out of the Fire". [Sahîh Muslim, Kitâb al-Imân, Bâb adna Ahl al-Jannah Manzilatan, 1/182]

Never, however, can we take the mercy of Allah on us for granted. Quite the opposite! We must constantly express our gratefulness to Allah, and be thankful servants, following the example of our Prophet Muhammad (sallalauh alayhi wa salaam - peace and blessings be upon him).
Narrated Al-Mughirah: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to offer night prayers till his feet became swollen. Somebody said to him, "Allah has forgiven you your sins of the past and the future." On that, He said, "Shouldn't I be a thankful slave of Allah?" [Sahih Al-Bukhari, 6/4836 (O.P.360)
Prayer area for the imam downstairs at Islamic Cultural Centre of NY. Children like to hide hear during Tarawih prayers. No one is restrained from entering this space, unlike the Orthodox church, for example, which restricts the altar area to men.
After passing a lovely morning and afternoon with very dear friends, I enjoyed the evening with my Moroccan friend Khadijah, who I speak to most naturally, as if she were my biological sister. We enjoyed salads and bread at Le Pain Quotidien, and watching the sunset at The High Line. The picture does the beauty of the sunset and atmosphere no justice at all, unfortunately. Together we rejoiced over the happiness we experienced this Ramadan, the gift it was.

Back to fasting tomorrow (Monday), as it is recommended to fast 6 days of the month of Shawal. Thawbaan said that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The fasting of Ramadhaan is equal to ten months and six from Shawaal equal two months so together they are equal to a year of fasting". If I'm going to fast 6 days of Shawal, I prefer fasting away from home.

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