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FaithPractice

Journaling, Destiny, and Renovation

The highlight of the Islamic spiritual calendar is, without doubt, the holy month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. We draw closer to Allah through self-denial and remembrance of the divine.

Journaling: For Ramadan & Beyond

The team at Jeem – husband and wife duo Tauseef and Sarah – love to journal. We’ve experienced the positive impact of writing down our thoughts, worries, and hopes, practising gratitude for the small things in life and feeling inspired by quotes that lift you up after a long day.

We tried out all sorts of journals, but what was missing was a journal that reflected our various identities. Specifically, one that allowed us to seek strength through our Islamic faith tradition.

As busy professionals who like everyone else, juggle work, family, and life, we wanted to create a toolkit that would allow us, and you, to convey and capture your thoughts and brain waves, whilst inspiring you to keep going and plan for the months ahead. Crucially we wanted this to take place within a framework that draws inspiration from Islam. Meditation, mindfulness, and gratitude are all concepts housed within the building of Islam so we have tried to incorporate them in a modern context to help you navigate the highs and lows of daily life.

Last Ramadan we launched the Jeem Journal: the realisation of the need for a synergy between traditions  – a journaling tool that enables cross-pollination between faith practised over millennia and a scientifically proven mechanism that fits neatly into our hectic schedules.

We were really heartened to see how the journal had not only helped to transform people’s experience of Ramadan, put a smile on recipients’ faces on Eid but also how the journal has supported our growing community of Jeemers beyond the holy month and throughout the year.

How to Harness the Power of the Nights of Qadr

The highlight of the Islamic spiritual calendar is, without doubt, the holy month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. We draw closer to Allah through self-denial and remembrance of the divine.

The inner awakening that is incubated throughout the month is realised during that night, or in some cases nights, of destiny. Scholarly opinion points towards the odd-numbered nights of the last ten days of the month. Their identity is purposefully vague yet sufficiently precise to lend them an aura of the supernatural. It is firmly believed that on those nights, sins are forgiven, destiny is decreed, new futures are forged.

What better time to reflect upon what’s been, the now, and begin to craft what lies ahead?

There are numerous rituals recommended for these special nights. The dedicated, the desperate, and the driven keep vigil all night praying and drawing closer to the Creator. More often than not though very little time is left over to simply reflect and ponder

“The contemplation of an hour is better than a year’s worship” – Prophetic narration.

Just imagine how powerful this time could be when coupled with introspection. Make that introspection focused and the potential is magnified manifold.

A few years ago, a mentor of mine spelled out how to harness the power of these nights in a manner that totally transformed them for me. She recommended:

  1. Use one of the nights of destiny to map out one’s life and where one wants to be.
  2. Use another night to fine-tune and consolidate these goals. 
  3. Use a final night to earnestly pray for the actualisation of the plan. 

I took the mapping directive rather literally and sat down at my dining table and mind-mapped until dawn. By the end of the three-night process, I was replete with rocket fuel for the year ahead and would recommend it as a framework for maximising the power of these nights.

Essential to the success of the process is to focus on core areas that constitute the tapestry of our lives. These areas serve as perfect branches for the resulting mind map.

  • Spirituality & connection with Allah
  • Purpose & Personal Growth
  • Physical Body & Health
  • Relationships
  • Career & Finances
  • Contribution to society and others

The Jeem Journal has a Jeem Life Mapper section that serves as a toolkit to flesh out your plans for the year ahead and capitalise on the enormous spiritual energy contained within these holy nights.

The beauty of the framework above is that it can be called upon at any time, not just the Nights of Qadr. Use it to create New Year’s resolutions, to turbo-charge a poignant event, or even when you’re just feeling reflective.

Wave Goodbye to Ramadan. Say Hello to the New You.

If you’ve ever had any building work done at home, you’ll know that there’s a lot of Shawshank before you experience any Redemption. There’s the dust for starters. Multiple decisions need to be made simultaneously often under extreme time and financial pressure. Then there’s the dust. Well-intentioned plans need to be redrawn. Did I mention the dust?

However, despite the intensity of the building period, the end result – a new extension, a loft conversion, or even a redecorated room – certainly sparks joy and reminds us of the art of the possible.

In a similar vein, the physical and spiritual struggles of the month of Ramadan are akin to the challenges a building project presents. Except in this situation, the project to be remodelled and reconstructed is you! Hopefully we wave goodbye to the month of Ramadan with a spiritually spring-cleaned interior.

After a few weeks, as the building work and foundations settle, small hairline cracks may begin to appear in the plasterwork and you get busy preparing a snagging list of all the things the builder needs to sort out before signing off on that final invoice.

The Ramadan redevelopment of ourselves often follows a familiar pattern: the initial flawlessness, the hairline cracks, and maybe even the wholesale collapse of the building itself! 

As with building repairs, solid foundations and early intervention are key.

The foundations that Ramadan embeds revolve around bestowing our days with a rhythm and connecting us to our Creator. The rhythm of regular prayerroutine reflection, and remembrance form the concrete upon which our Ramadan new-self rests.

A lick of paint here, some builder’s caulk there, these relatively minor but important quick-fixes help keep your house in order. Similarly, the practices of gratitudecontribution, and gentle accountability that the Jeem Journal fosters ensure that the shimmering facades of the buildings we create in Ramadan remain intact and continue to gleam throughout the year.

Let’s pray for each other to actualise our potential.


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