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A Day in the Life… during Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us. Ramadan is a time of deep prayer and fasting. It brings many special gifts, and recommendations for many extra practices. If your life and schedule are already full, it can feel daunting to try to fit all the practices into your day.

Alima Moosa, a community leader from our Austin community, offers a glance at how she schedules her day during this month.

Note: If you do not have time to fit in all of these practices, look at what might fit where for you, and start there. Especially if you are new to the path, start simple and work in more as you feel ready.

 
Here’s a general overview to help you decide where to focus (from Alima):

The 1st 10 days are days of Mercy. During this time, I focus on reciting and sitting with Qualities associated with Allah’s Mercy, making special du’a for His Mercy.

The 2nd 10 days are about Forgiveness. This is a time for reciting and sitting with Qualities associated with His Forgiveness, asking for & anticipating His Forgiveness.

The 3rd 10 days are about Freedom. This is a time for reciting and sitting with Qualities as you feel guided to; seeking refuge in Allah (especially from the fire).

It’s my intention to rise around 4:35am for Tahajudd – the night prayer prior — sometimes i naturally wake about 4am. Currently, Fajr prayer, the dawn prayer, is just after 5am.

A typical /day insha’Allah (God willing):
4:35am – Tahajudd, the night prayer prior.
4:45am – We make a light breakfast, like a protein smoothie or egg with avocado, and we hydrate well.
5:05am – We pray Fajr and then do al-wird practice.

…I Continue with reciting YaSiin, Wazifa and the Qualities. Specifically during this time I’m committed to read (transliteration) a few pages per day from the Qur’an holding a sincere desire to draw close, not worried about pronunciation so much, going as far as i can.

Mohamed Moosa recites at 7:30am mornings on the Sufi Communities conference line, alhamdulilah (thank Allah), so I hear the resonance and read along via transliteration or sometimes in English.

In the afternoon, I read, write and contemplate, aiming for 2 pages from Sidi’s books. A few days a week, I’ll do a healing exchange.

Regular work gets done too: I’m developing a website and working on a syllabus (in guidance & research still). I sit w/guidance and books outlining what to teach in my recurring Thursday class. I attend meetings, make travel arrangements and juggle many moving parts coordinating details for the upcoming Sufi school in October… And do regular salat prayers (daily prayers) throughout the day, too, of course.

In the beginning of the month, my energy usually drops about 5:30pm, and I’ll nap (kitties’ favorites time to nap too). I don’t do regular exercise this month, but will go for a walk instead.
6:30pm – I’m checking emails then trying to figure out what to make for dinner. Once I get something going, I’ll break for 20 minutes to do al-wird recitation. We’ll break fast with dates, have a meal and pray Maghreb (sunset prayer). After Maghreb is a good time to draw closer to the Qualities — I’d like to do a special practice with them this month.

Inshallah, some nights after Isha (night prayer) may include tarawih (extra) prayers and time with beloveds, attending or hosting iftars (community meals for breaking fast together). Mostly, I look forward to being quiet and alone with my Lord, especially in the last 10 days. I cherish that time.

I pray that Allah writes for me good deeds during this time especially and gives me a heart full of Light, a soft smile and kind words. — and Allah knows best.

Ramadan Mubarak
‘Alima

 
Thank you Alima for sharing your life with us. We hope you can pick from this schedule what works for you to enrich your heart and spirit during this special time.

May you have a blessed weekend and ease into the beauty and richness of this special time.

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

How Can You Know the Divine Light Within You?

 
Intellectually, most of us have some notion that the Essence of Spirit is contained within us. God created the human being in His image, as a reflection of His Light.

This is one of the core concepts in Sufism that lies at the foundation of why we were created and why we are here in this life on this earth.

Nura Laird, USHS Faculty and chair of Department of Peacemaking, recorded this short teaching for us a while back, which explains perspectives of this teaching according to the Sufi principles.

I thought you might enjoy this today.

 

 

May you have a blessed weekend, seeing and knowing the Light of God in yourself and in all that you see.

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Augment Ramadan Practices: Learn Qur’anic Arabic

 
The very holy and special time of Ramadan begins in less than two weeks. It’s the perfect time to learn to read the Qur’an.

This course for beginners starts TOMORROW, Tuesday, May 16th, and runs for 8 weeks.

Our brother Ahmed Manway, who was asked by Sidi to teach us to read and write Qur’an, sent this video to explain how he teaches students Qur’anic Arabic, and how his students have success.

 

 

Allah has placed many secret clues in this world that we can observe with our human senses to learn more about ourselves so that we can know Him more completely.

Ahmed is offering this very special opportunity to learn in a small group with personal instruction.
If you feel called to learn, it’s not too late, but you need to act quickly.

To register:
Qur’anic Arabic for Beginners: http://sufiuniversity.org/programs/beginning-arabic-summer2017/
Intermediate Arabic: http://sufiuniversity.org/programs/intermediatearabic/

If you have questions about any of these courses, email Casey at CASEY at SUFIUNIVERSITY dot ORG.

Hope to see you there!

Much love and gratitude for you!!
Mastura Graugnard and Casey Twining on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

Powerlessness: 3 Ways it Show Up, and How to Take Your Power Back

 

 
The topic of Powerlessness has been showing up in many ways lately. It is always present in some way, but it seems to be highlighted in flashing neon lately – a gift to help to learn about the subtle tricks of the shaytan that keep us from trusting in Allah.

Here are a few ways it shows up. If you hear yourself saying any of these statements, try shifting the conversation within yourself and between you and God.

 
1. “I can’t have [fill in the blank] because I don’t have any money.”

Money carries energy. In itself, it is inert and has no power over you. There is plenty of it in this world, and it is not difficult to get the money energy to flow to you. Furthermore, if Allah puts a desire in your heart for something, or gives you a gift to steward in this world, then He also gives you the means to fulfill that desire or care for that gift.

Whether you desire a vacation or to pay your rent, try shifting the conversation to “Beloved Allah, my heart has a desire for… If this desire is from You, I trust in You to provide me the means. Please open my eyes to see, and guide me to right action to receive Your provision. I trust in You. Thank You!”

Then really trust. Put it in Allah’s hands. And take action.

For example, if you need $!00, say the Fatiha (Opening prayer, if you know it) and ask for guidance. Make a list of all the ways you can bring in $100. Then take action, with confidence, certainty, and trust in Allah’s provision.

 
2. “I can’t control my eating. At certain times of day or in certain emotional states, the urge to eat overpowers me, and I binge.”

What is the urge that overpowers you? Is it bigger than you? This urge is an energy, and it is not bigger than Allah.

Call it out of your body, and face it directly. Say the following phrase directly into the energy: “Le illaha illa ‘llah.” There is no god, but the One God.

Watch as the energy of the urge shrinks in size and the strength within you increases.

Nothing has power over God, and only God has power over you. God wants you to know Him through knowing yourself. Know the power God puts in you, and let it be bigger than the urge for food.

 
3. “My life is overwhelming. There’s not enough time to do everything I need to do. I feel like I’m always behind.”

Sometimes life gets so busy, and it feels like the to-dos become a swarming cloud overhead, or maybe the cloud is engulfing you. Now your life has taken charge, and it is managing you instead of you managing your life.

Again, this overwhelm is an energy. It is not bigger than you, and certainly not bigger than Allah. Call on the strength of Allah, al-Aziz. Call the cloud into formation in front of you. Say “Le illaha illa ‘llah” into the cloud.

Let the strength of al-Aziz build in your core. Call on al-Muqaddam, the orchestrator. Take your power back from the cloud and become the manager of your affairs, with the grace and ease of the attributes that Allah has put in you to know Him.

 
 
Whether you struggle with money, food or time, notice what voices are playing in your storyline. Where have you surrendered your power?
The Sufi teachings say to be self-sufficient in the world and needy only for Allah.

Notice is you are passively waiting for someone or something to rescue you. Why have you given more power to something outside of yourself and Allah. Turn to Allah and His attributes that He has put in you to know Him.

Generally, we need to take action to meet what Allah has for us. Allah sends many gifts, and sometimes we have to get up and open the door to let them in.

What gifts are knocking at your door?

May you have a blessed and fulfilling weekend, in trust of Allah and positive expectancy of His decree for your life.

Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

She asked, and she received!

 

Today’s message comes from Mary Halima Fleming, Muqaddam Murabbi Ruhi, a beautiful beloved, teacher and community leader from Fort Lauderdale.

FROM HALIMA:

After trying sixteen different careers, trying to find my purpose for myself and the truth of who I was and why I’m here on this earth, I wrote a letter. It said, “God, if you’re out there, I want to know You. I want to pick up the phone, and I want You on the other end. I want to know from You what the truth is. I don’t want any middle man.”

The priest didn’t know, my mother didn’t know, the teachers didn’t know. I wanted to know God right from God. So I asked.
Within a few weeks, I met Dr. Ibrahim Jaffe, I went to a workshop about Sufism, and two months later I was at the school [now USHS], and I knew I was home. I finally knew who I was, why I was here, and I knew without doubt that I could have a direct connection with the Divine, without a guru, without an intermediary.

As Sidi wrote in Path to Allah Most High:
“Know that the human spirit was created in the best of form, meaning with a predisposition to receive the Divine overflowing without intermediary, and that the human is unique in this rank as compared to other creations.”

If your soul is calling for the truth, this is a straight path that can help you to know the truth of who you are, to know that you can have a connection with the Divine that keeps growing and growing and growing; to be able to carry that light and help others to know the truth of who they are, why they are here, and that there is life beyond the everyday.

Now that I have something real to give, my passion is to help heal people, to be the catalyst to help awaken their souls and spirits, to find their purpose and express it in the world. My passion is to pay forward what I’ve been given.

Now, more than ever, I’m blessed to be a part of the awakening of the soul of humanity. That’s what is going to save the world. It’s now a spiritual revolution. it’s no longer a fighting-in-the-street revolution. It’s time for us all to wake up.

I’m thankful every day for this path and all that I learned at the University and all that I have received. It has shown me a way to heal and help other awaken that’s clean, straight, pure and safe.

Al-humduli’llah! Amen!

 
May you have a blessed weekend filled with enlightenment to know the truth of who you are!

With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Photo credits: Adobe Stock Photo © Marek #102440857

 

Amany Shares Secrets About the Number 7

 

 
“You think you are a small star,
when in fact you contain the whole universe.”

-Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal
 

 
Do you ever notice that when you think you’ve grasped a spiritual concept, there appears another door that leads to a whole dimension you hadn’t been aware of? I do. The universe is bigger than I thought!

Such is the case yet again.

I was speaking with Amany Shalaby about her upcoming webinar series, Expanding Our Perceptions, and she began sharing with me some of the secrets around the Number 7. So, of course we popped onto a Zoom call so we could record and share it with you.

In this video, Amany talks about how the Number 7 shows up to support us in awakening our consciousness in many ways. It shows up in the creation of the Human Being, the Earth, the universe, in sound, in the alphabet, in language, in color and light, and even in prayer times and all stages of our lives!

The Number 7 is reflected for us in every way perceivable through all of our senses and at every level from the microcosm to the macrocosm.

Stay to the end of the video if you can. Amany guides us through an exercise (of 7 repetitions) to awaken to deeper and more expanded levels of consciousness!!

 
This is a taster from her upcoming webinar series, Expanding Our Perceptions. And now I understand more about why Sidi wants us to learn the Arabic language. The Secrets are everywhere!

I’m finding that when you think you know, that’s the time to ask, “What else is there? What’s next?” An infinite universe of knowledge is waiting to be explored, and we human beings were created by Allah for gnosis.

There are secrets in the numbers and in the letters and words and sounds. If you want to know more, to follow the path of gnosis for which you were created, please check out our Spring Webinars.

 
CLICK HERE to learn more and to register.

Courses begin the week of May 15th. The Early Bird pricing is in effect through Friday, May 5th. Payment plans are available. Class sizes are limited.

You have many reasons to take action now and reserve your space.

Thank you!
Mastura Graugnard and Casey Twining on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

Are You the Microcosm or the Macrocosm?

Sidi teaches in his book Path to Allah, Most High, that we human beings are all a part of one body, each a cell in the larger body of the universe.

“If you look closely, you will find that the human being is called the big man, or the big world, or the microcosm, and that the cosmos is a big human being.”

Path to Allah, Most High, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i ash-Shadhuli

 
Yet, we contain the entire universe within us.

“You think you are a small star,
when in fact you contain the whole universe.”

Music of the Soul, Sidi Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i ash-Shadhuli

 
And Sidi also teaches that Allah made thousands of worlds like this one. When we would ask him about extra-terrestrials, Sidi would say,

“Why would you think you are the only one?”

 
As cells in a cosmic body, Allah has given us free will. Can you imagine what life would be like if we decided to give free will to a certain type of cells within our bodies? What kind of disease might reign the human body? And how might we bring healing to a group of cells who have run amuck within us?

We would certainly be forced to know ourselves more completely if we want to restore health to the larger body. And we would certainly learn to care about all of the cells of our bodies without making separation between them.

Disease teaches us the importance of overall health and the need to care for our physical bodies and self-care, our minds and thoughts, our hearts and emotional well-being, our souls and life lessons and purpose, and our spirits and connection to The One.

Disease teaches us that everything affects everything else. We cannot selectively give love to one part of ourselves and mistreat another part.

 
And, what does this teach us about what Allah asks from us on this planet day to day? Or in the larger body of the universe?

Sidi’s main teaching for us has been to care about our brothers and sisters without separation, to see the Face of Allah in every face. What is most important is of course to care about ourselves – the body cannot be healthy if we mistreat our own cells – and then to care about the poor and needy. Allah wants us to give love and compassion for His Face which is every face of every being, and to trust Allah.

It’s fascinating to think of ourselves as cells within a much larger body containing perhaps trillions of cells, and to think of ourselves as an entire universe containing trillions of cells within us. Smaller and smaller microcosms within larger and larger macrocosms, and one of many!

 
Yet, to have the health, peace and harmony which our hearts are coded to seek, it still boils down to the same principles – love, compassion, mercy, peace, justice, equality and freedom.

May you have a blessed weekend, in service to the fellow cells of your body, the microcosm and the macrocosm, with love and compassion for all.

With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

Hug a Tree. Bless the Waters. Shine Your Light!

Tomorrow is Earth Day, a day to remember the Earth Mother of Divine Compassion that we have been born into for this sacred journey.

Allah gives us everything we need to live the life we are meant to live here, to learn what we’ve come here to learn, to fulfill the purpose we have come here to fulfill.

In our natural perception of disconnection, we forget our nature and Allah’s Divine plan for us, and we get scared. Fear can cause us to grasp for safety – through whatever means we have come to believe will keep us safe. We are hard-wired for survival.

Unfortunately, fear-based grasping can result in taking more than we need and wasting that which we have. Provision for our material existence comes from the earth, and Allah is the Source of all provision, Who knows our needs and provides sufficiently for us.

Would Allah send us here for a purpose and not provide us with what we need to live out that plan?

Let this Earth Day be a reminder to return our trust to Allah and our respect and gratitude for the planet.

Hug a tree. Bless the waters. Shine your light. And have a blessed weekend!

NOTE: If you could use help increasing your trust and awareness of God’s abundance in this creation, check out the upcoming webinar with Amany Shalaby. It’s called Expanding Our Perceptions. The first module is about learning how to raise our sensual awareness of Allah’s created abundance in the physical world around us and becoming conscious of unity between all existents with the goal of cultivating qualities such as trust, gratitude and love.

CLICK HERE for more info…

With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Photo credits: Adobe Stock Photo © soupstock #134541544

How to help someone when they do not want to be helped

We all have people in our lives who seem to struggle a bit harder than we believe necessary. It’s easy to look at someone’s life from a distance and see what they need to do to get their act together. We might offer all kinds of advice, financial support and more, but it seems to be swallowed by a black hole and nothing ever changes.

We pray – “Allah please send your Mercy. Please wake them up so they can see how to fix their lives. What more can I do? I’ve tried everything, but they are just not getting it!”

Sound familiar? Have you been there? But can we fix someone when they are not ready to be fixed? Can we throw them a lifeline when they are not ready to let go of the sinking ship they are clinging to for life?

Here are a few thoughts about this all too common relationship dynamic.
 

  1. Check your judgment/acceptance meter. We tend to judge others, and the world, from our perspectives of what we want for our own lives. Of course, we want for our brothers and sisters what we want for ourselves, right? But they might not want what we have for themselves. They might not believe they can have what we have, or they might see a necessary tradeoff that they would not want to make, and therefore choose to stay where they are.

    Even if they are complaining, or if you can clearly see they are struggling, even suffering, they might be as content as they are ready to be. And if they are not ready to change their situation, any attempts on your part will appear as judgment, disapproval, and even coercion.
  2.  

  3. Check your enabling/empowerment meter. Perhaps you’ve been providing support for a close friend while waiting for them to move through a rough spot, but they are not moving. Perhaps now you fear pulling your support would cause them hardship.

    Or, is continued support causing hardship to you? Even if it is not, setting a clear end point and sticking to it could give them the motivation and empowerment they need to make the changes they need to move beyond their current situation.
  4.  

  5. Check your fear/trust meter. Remember to keep an open heart of love and compassion, and trust in Allah’s plan for you and your friend. No one is outside of Allah’s care. Seek guidance for what Allah asks of you and wants for you. You may want to save someone from living through pains you have endured. However, each of life’s challenges brings with it opportunities for growth and evolution of the soul.

    Each of us is here to learn through our circumstances and come to know ourselves and Allah more completely. Unfortunately, it is the tough times that crack open our shells so we can find what is inside ourselves.

 
If you are struggling with a friend or family member who cannot see the light that you see for them, give yourself love and compassion. Allow your saddened heart to be watered with mercy. Allah knows your heart, and He does answer prayers. The answers don’t always come in the way we want them to, but they do come in Allah’s perfection and timing.

 
If you are celebrating a Holy holiday during this past week or the coming weekend, we wish you a blessed time with your loved ones.

In any case, have a beautiful weekend!

With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

Sometimes we just need to know we’re okay

 

It’s hard to see someone we love in pain. It’s natural to want to rush in to fix the situation, to make everything okay. But when we try to fix too soon, it can send the wrong message.

A person in pain needs to be witnessed where they are. They need to be heard and understood. They need to be affirmed and validated. They need to know that they are loved even in the moments when they feel less than perfect.

If we try to jump to solution before seeing, hearing and understanding the person’s heart, it sends a subtle message that it’s not okay to be where you are. It signals that something is wrong or broken and needs to be fixed.

While that might be true on some level, and the person in pain may feel that way and even be asking for help, it’s important to spend time listening and affirming first.

And what if the person in pain is you? What are the voices present inside yourself? It’s important to take time to listen to your own heart and to be present with yourself. Be careful not to judge or dismiss your own feelings. Sometimes the inner voices tell you exactly what you need.

Hold your inner self in love, compassion and acceptance. Call on Allah to receive the Divine love, mercy and compassion. Know that you are okay. Then ask Allah to send you signs and guidance so you can find what you need.

Whether for a loved one or for yourself, sometimes we just need to know we are okay right where we are.

Wishing you a happy weekend!

With love and gratitude,
Mastura Graugnard on behalf of all your friends and family at USHS

 

Photo credits: Adobe Stock Photo © ipopba #83713008