WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: BARE FEET

Have you had the luxury of walking without shoes? Yeah, I said luxury because sometimes, the best things in life are free and right under our noses but we do not see them.

You should try it. Remove your shoes and walk on the cool tiles in your home or on the patio. If you’ve got a lawn or garden, try to walk on them unshod. Allow your feet sink into the soft padding of the grass and relish the tickly sensation.

I know this may feel alien to you and all the hair on your neck may stand up in fear that you are going to step on a reptile or bug but try it anyway! Your OCD may kick against getting your feet dirty; ignore it!


If you’ve got access to a beach, after work/school/picking the kids from school, you may want to go to the shore and remove your flip-flops. Burrow your feet into the cool, soft squishy sand with the wind in your face.

Exhilarating and liberating!

Alright! Go to a pool and sit down at the edge with your feet in the water if you cannot attempt the above.

You really should try it today or sometime during the weekend 
And remember to share your experience here.

Enjoy!

Caveat: If you step on a nail or sharp object…get yourself treated. At least, you can console yourself that you tried!

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WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: Deed of the Day Q41.46

A’isha (R.A.) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) …used to say: Do as many deeds as you are capable of doing, for Allah will not become weary (of giving you reward), but you would be tired (of doing good deeds) ; and he also said: The deed liked most by Allah is one to which the doer adheres constantly even if it is small.- Sahih Muslim 782

Do you notice how surprised some people seem when you perform an unexpected act of kindness to them? Ever detected the question in people’s eyes when you behave considerately like they are wondering what you’ll benefit from your gesture? Have you observed the amazed look on their visage when they notice you are a Muslim being kind to a non-Muslim like it’s a rarity? This is because kindness is rapidly becoming extinct.

Here are some ways we can revive the flagging spirit of humanity:

• Removing a stone or stick out of the way which may harm someone
• Allowing another driver right of way as we drive
• Smiling and saying salaam first; responding to the greeting
• Visit someone at home, in boarding school, at NYSC camp, the hospital, prison, orphanage, anywhere your visit will be appreciated. Don’t you dare go empty-handed!
• Send an inspirational text to the Muslims on your phone
• Call your family members
• Send someone a recharge card
• Share your lunch or buy someone one
• Call your subordinates by name and ask about their families
• Give a hand to someone carrying or lifting a load
• Help pick fallen books, keys or other items. And no! Not only because you have a crush on him/her!
• Tip the messenger who just served you
• Pay the bus fare/ticket for a stranger
• Hold the door for someone behind you
• Help a child, the blind or a senior citizen cross the road
• Give someone a lift to the gate, bus-stop, masjid…
• Hold the elevator for someone rushing to get it
• Allow someone join the queue in front of you
• Return misplaced items or declare them found
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This list is by no means, exhaustible.

These acts may be small but are significant both to the person we are kind to and especially on our scale of deeds. We may, by these little efforts, plant beautiful thoughts in people’s minds toward Islam and leave behind wonderful memories of their encounter with a Muslim. That single positive act (amongst others) may be what will tilt that individual to seek out the truth in Islam.

Like the hadith above mentioned, we should strive toperform these acts consistently, no matter how small they seem.

May Allah guide us all and may we not be led astray after being guided. May He not let us tire easily of doing good.

NOiR: Endowing Wednesday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 19:Q27.82-Q29.69]

Today is the day we endow someone with a gift with this question in the front of our minds: Will I be happy to receive what I give?
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Think of someone you would like to give a gift. While we tend to save our gifts for Eid, think of the bonus we miss by not giving gifts in Ramadan instead. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top but it should be for the sake of Allah.

It may be something really special and expensive or simply thoughtful but cheap. It could range from a phone recharge card to a pack of sweets for fasting children. And it should not be limited to Muslims; non-Muslims can also benefit from our largesse.

Remember to be careful about whom you endow with a gift, and work within your means.

P.S. My dad passed away this day in Ramadhan, 3 years ago. It would mean a lot to me if you could spare a du’a for him. May Allah forgive his sins and grant him Al-Jannah.

NOiR: Selfless Sunday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 16:Q21.01-Q23.35]

We are half-way through Ramadan already! How time flies.
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Alhamdulillah for our lives. May Allah spare us till the end of the month and beyond.

Today is about service; being selfless enough to look out for others today.

As we go through our activities for today, let us keep our eyes peeled for those who need help and we should offer them our services.
We could assist a blind man who needs help crossing the street, someone whose books fell, a child who misplaced his money, a stranger who is lost, our neighbour whose arms are laden with shopping bags or groceries, someone who needs some change to pay for services…the list is endless!

Be ready to lend a helping hand today.

NOiR: Sanguine Saturday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 15:Q18.51-Q20.135]

This is a continuation of last week Saturday’s post.
Today is a fun day and it should be! At least, for the sake of the young ones (and the young-at-heart) among us.
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I know we are all tired from the pressures at work or school; and with the kids on holidays, things may be a tad more difficult but let’s make today special for them. They may be our kids, nephews, nieces, neighbour’s kids or children we babysit or tutor.

Here are some ideas to include them in Ramadan and help them create beautiful memories of Ramadan:

• Adhaan competition
• Abaya/Hijab fashion show
• Islamic quiz
• Memorization contest
• Calligraphy competition
• Charades on Islamic themes
• A one minute talk on Islamic topics picked randomly from a bowl
• Simple games like who is faster in setting the table for iftar, who helped mummy out more in the kitchen, who completed Tarawih, who woke on his/her own for sahur etc. can make the kids excited.

The games can be done an hour or two before iftar when their energies are beginning to dip. However, remember to have gifts to encourage them and boost their morale especially as it is a weekend and fasting may be more difficult for them without the distraction of school.

Give the older kids who have been fasting incentives to motivate them and their younger ones to keep fasting.

May Allah continue to bless our sweet children.

NOiR: Friday Findings

[Qur’an in Ramadan 7:Q6.13-Q6.165]
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Today’s assignment is this:

Go for Jumu’ah (or Tarawih) early today and look around. Let the scales fall from your eyes and truly see the masjid as it is. Observe the deficiencies in the masjid and its surroundings. Take a walk around the grounds, if possible. Is it the classrooms that need dustbins, a whiteboard, desks, new windows? Is it a janitor that’s needed?

Do the masjid rugs need changing, does the masjid need a new public address system or microphone or a new coat of paint? How about the shelves of books? Do they need more recent books, new Qur’ans? Or is it the ablution area that needs new tiles? Kettles? A water tank? It could even be something little like a light bulb in the prayer area or some chalk in the classrooms. If you cannot find a thing, try to ask the imam what the mosque needs.

Whatever you observe, try to see how you can correct in next week Friday. And please, work within your means.

NOiR: Thankful Thursday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 6:Q5.01-Q6.12]
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Today’s project involves writing a list. All we need are a pen(cil) and paper.

All we will do today is write down all the things Allah has blessed us with and we are grateful for. Not just this morning, throughout today so we can list them down as it comes to us.

This is to help us focus on the things we have, not the innumerable things that are beyond our grasp at the moment; those innumerable things that haunt us every day and run loops in our brain.

Choose to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty.
No matter how mundane it is, even if it is the last piece of cake you found in your fridge, write it down. At the end of the day when you review it, you should be able to marvel at the beneficence of Allah and be profoundly thankful.

NOiR: Meditative Monday

[Qur’an in Ramadan 3:Q2.253-Q3.112]

This series starts with meditation on our resolution for Ramadan. You may or may not believe in a list of resolutions but here is one we will do together, in sha Allah.
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1. Pray Fajr on time and preferably in congregation.

2. Get to work or school on time, earlier than usual, so you can reflect. Thank Allah for letting you reach your destination safely. If you have nowhere to go, wake earlier than usual from your post-fajr nap and meditate.

3. Get a sheet of paper and write out the qualities of the person you would like to become this Ramadan and beyond. Don’t make vague descriptions like ‘to become more pious’ or ‘to become a better Muslim’. Instead, write achievable and measurable goals like ‘to observe salaah within 30 minutes of the adhaan’, ‘eat a salad for iftar on alternate days’, ‘give x naira, dollars or pounds to a homeless person every day, decline visits to non-productive places, work out for 30mins daily, stop lying’. Visualise this individual and believe you shall become like that by the end of Ramadan bi idhnillah. Save this sheet of paper to look at and visualise every day at Fajr.

4. Write out a checklist (if you haven’t already) containing all the acts of ibadah you hope to achieve in Ramadan like reading 20 pages of the Qur’an daily, observing the 2 rakats before Fajr, Sunnah prayers before or after every of the 5 daily prayers, giving a certain amount in alms daily, attending tafsirs (sermons), itikaf (seclusion in the mosque), umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah and Madina) etc. Review your progress daily and see how you can do better the next day. No matter how bleak it seems when you do not meet up, keep forging on till the end. For the mere fact that you intend to do this, Allah will reward you, in sha Allah.

5. Reflect on your life, at how far you have come and how far you have to go to become who you desire. Reflect on the fact that not everyone who fasted last year is alive this year. Resolve that this Ramadan is going to be the best you have ever had, in sha Allah.

6. Bring out your Qur’an and read a part of your daily quota (or all of it, if you have enough time).

7. If this was your last Ramadan, what would you do differently from last year’s?

I would love to read your thoughts.

WEEKEND CHALLENGE: NO COMPLAINTS Q55.1-78

Today’s challenge is about complaints.

Oh, my, we do love to complain! We express displeasure at the weather, at our jobs, our employers/employees, our spouses, our friends, our kids, our houses, our health, the traffic, the Ummah (Muslim Community), sights, smells, sounds, tastes…the list can go on till tomorrow!
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SubhanAllah! How terrible this is. We convert something enjoyable to something distasteful and something distasteful to something abominable. This is particularly true of me when watching our Nollywood home videos. I point out all the errors and inconsistencies in them that until there is often no hope of enjoying them no matter how good the script is. Occasionally, when I lay aside my complaining tongue, I realise it’s not so bad after all.

Same with our jobs: we begin a job we like and enjoy it for a while until the complaints begin; from co-workers then ourselves. Before we know it, we are job-hunting again for an elusive better offer.

Same with our lives: we refuse to see how Allah has blessed us but spend the whole time bemoaning our fate. We are undergraduate then we graduate. Oh no! We are single! Then we eventually get married: childless. When we have children: no boy/girl. When we do get both sexes: grandchildren. And when they come: our health and so it goes until we are buried.

Today, no complaints! Which of Allah’s Favours can we deny? Let’s endeavour to enjoy all we have and be grateful. The less we complain, the happier we will become.

Are you taking up the challenge with me?

WEEKDAY CHALLENGE: OUTDOORS Q16.3-18

When was the last time you prayed outdoors, apart from Eid prayers? When did you ever take your prayer rug outside and lay it on the grass, beach sand or snow? Have you or your children ever climbed a tree or rock to call the adhan? Or performed ablution in a cool clear stream?

There is such an intensity that comes with praying outdoors, particularly for us women. It just feels so delicious and awe-inspiring and special. The wonder of Allah’s creation surrounds us and is filled with such beauty and colour. Fruits, birds, animals, trees, mountains, the sun, the clouds, the moon, stars…the quiet serenity of nature…
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Challenge yourself and pray outdoors today. You will be glad you did!
PS. I would love for you to send me your pictures and share your experiences. Do e-mail me @ anchorwithkeidi@gmail.com and I will share your pictures with us all.