In the spiritual life of a Muslim, every day counts and working on your self-development and growth is an everyday job. Consistency is very important and that is why we try to do small good deeds, but make them consistent. After quoting the hadith of Rasulullah s.a.w.s. on the people of Badr, with all their sins being forgiven by Allah s.w.t., my beloved seerah teacher said: “Thats why we aim right and left, up and down, big and small, easy and hard with our deeds, because you never know what your Badr can be.”
We never know which of our deeds will be that special with Allah s.w.t. and will bring us His mercy and forgiveness.
Having that in mind, we have to say that there are some days when our work feels sweet, easier, when we feel strong results of even the smallest steps. Days and nights of Ramadan, for example. We can fast, even if we have to spend the day at work, we can get up and pray night prayers, read that daily juz that we usually struggle with, counting the pages on regular days before we go to sleep, realising we missed 3 or 4 of its pages again…. Every effort during Ramadan is sweet, we almost physically feel that warm and beautiful feeling in our chests, which can only come after ibadah or a good deed, even if its only smile or a kind word to a stranger. Its easier for us to control our tongue, swallow the anger, give from what we love. And we always wish for those days to last longer.
I felt something of similar intensity during my first participation in the international program “Pilgrims at Home.” So many Muslims feel sadness during the days of Dhul hijjah, because for various reasons they are not able to be at holy places and do the ibadah of Hajj. The words of talbiyya painfully ring in our hearts, though we rarely remember that those are the days when our ibadah is of special value – whether we are in Makkah or Sarajevo. Our Rabata teachers, with their education and ijazahs from some of the best scholars in the world, have come up with Pilgrims at Home, in order to inspire Muslim women around the world to do as much ibadah as its possible during these sacred days. The program takes place during the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, and it consists of the diverse forms of ibadat, duas, acts of kindness etc. that bring you points. Teams from all over the world compete for who will have more points collected – all in the spirit of Allah’s words: “ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ – So hasten to precede each other towards all that is good.” (Al Baqarah, 148.)
Honestly, the first year was a bit challenging, the following ones were easier 🙂
For example, you lose 50 points for a missed prayer (100 is a daily maximum), and you can compensate it only with 50.000 istighfars or surah al Baqarah to be recited twice in a day. What a reminder of what we are doing to ourselves if we miss or don’t care enough about our prayers….
There are so many lessons I’ve learned from this program:
- We can achieve so much more on a daily basis than what we are used to doing. The obstacles of everyday life do not matter as much when you have a clear goal and plan in front of you. Our teachers from Rabata told us that was actually their wish: for us to bring some of those efforts, habits, newly found strength and motivation into our lives and at least part of it to become the source for our daily spiritual food.
- The trace that only ibadah can leave on our hearts is absolutely priceless. My whole group testified beautiful and not insignificant changes in their lives. (Later on it became two groups from Bosnia.)
- One of the individual winners last year was a young girl, a convert from USA. While she was speaking after she has been announced as a winner, we all cried. She had the maximum number of points which could be collected, which was – for few points less – achieved only by a grandma of one of us – out of hundreds of participants. We were speechless in front of the strength of these wonderful women, because we knew how many night prayers, Qu’ran, fasts, dhikr, sadaqah, qurbans, goodness and kindness stood behind their achievement.
- There is no place or time when it comes to love, work and unity in the name of God. Only in 2017, hundreds of teams (with 5 women in each) from dozens of countries all over the world stood in the same spiritual line – listening to encouraging words from our Teachers and their hearty support to every one of us. It didn’t matter if halaqa was at 2 a.m., we were up and listening, breathless. It didn’t matter if our Teachers were miles away, we were all breathing in the same rhythm.
Our team was consisted of Bosnian women, but we were not all in Bosnia. Our most hardworking member was in Doha, with her 5 young children. She was sending us her daily points and inspiring us to do more and better. Those of us who were living in the same place, supported each other in every way possible. The leader of my team surprised me with a visit at my office one morning, bringing sweet energy cookies made of dates, hazelnuts and cocoa and a jar of handmade raspberry jam – to make me stronger for ibadah and to make my nightly prayers sweeter 🙂 It goes without saying that we all became really good friends and that we anxiously waiting Dhul hijjah every year 🙂
We continue to work on ourselves and now, we almost all attend the courses that Rabata offers, in Arabic language, aqidah, seerah, tarbiyyah and many others.
Rabata was created when its founder and one of our teachers Anse Tamara Gray wasn’t able to go back to a war hit Syria. In order to fight her sadness, together with her friends and colleagues she started this amazing project. She also wrote a book called Joy Jots in which she emphasizes gratitude, as one of the core habits of a believer – no matter what difficulties one meets on her way. Every Sunday we meet in the WhatsApp Joy Jots book club and discuss every chapter together, exchanging our opinions, experiences, our own joy jots – and our beautiful differences.
There are no words to express our gratitude and honor for being a part of this beautiful spiritual training, development, knowledge and progress. We are looking forward to our future with Rabata and hoping to contribute to the quality and quantity of Muslim women, who are more and more present in Islamic sciences, in society in general and positive effort towards contribution of revival of noble values of Islam.