Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
(Originally Posted: August 2, 2020)
Alhumdulilah, this was my most productive first ten days of Dhul Hijjah to date!
It started with preparing my children for this blessed month. We did a number of hands-on projects, reading, video watching, and program attendance to acquire a true understanding of the significance of this month in relation to the story of Prophet Ibrahim (AS), the foundation of the Kaa’ba, and the essence of Eid Al Adha. Yet, even more than preparing them with valuable insights, it was important for me to come up with a plan to truly reap the benefits and rewards of the best ten days of the year. Rabata’s “Pilgrims @ Home” experience afforded me the opportunity that I was craving in a thoughtfully planned and supportive manner.
Anse Tamara Gray describes “Pilgrims @ Home” as a “spiritual olympics” where in women are encouraged to engage in extra ibadah to increase their rewards in Dhul Hijjah. While we may not physically be on the Hajj, our hearts and spirits can be connected with Allah (swt) through making this time highly meaningful. The program is designed as a challenge to flex our spiritual muscles in ways that we may not have since Ramadan.
P@H is accessible to women around the world through the downloadable PDF instruction guide and scoresheets. A person can choose to formally participate by being placed in a team of four other women or simply use the guide as a reference for increasing one’s own ibadah during Dhul Hijjah. What I love about Rabata’s programs is that they are designed by women, for women–meaning that there were alternative acts of ibadah for the menstruating participant to engage in and still feel spiritually connected to this month. I also appreciated being part of an accountability team that truly encouraged and supported one another in the ups and downs of our daily scores. Our team leader was amazing in checking in with us to make sure we awake for tahajjud and in reminding us of the true purpose of the challenge when we were feeling low about some of our scores. May Allah bless her. Ameen. During the first eight days, the total potential score that a person could accumulate was 100 points. While I never quite reached 100, I felt motivated by my small wins and action items that I did complete.
My takeaways were innumerable, and I will share some of them here with you:
- I learned new types of prayers that I had not previously known about, such as: Salat Al Haja and Awwabin, along with their merits and virtues.
- Seeing all of the prayers–fard, sunnah, etc.–that can be taken advantage of a single day listed in one place kept me on my toes about trying to complete as many of them as I could.
- While I was adding up my “points” for each day, I enjoyed reflecting upon what the angels may have recorded for me, hoping that it was accepted, and realizing how many opportunities to communicate with Allah (swt) and seek His forgiveness on any given day I had been missing out on.
- I began to memorize new adhkar that I can add to my daily remembrances.
- Whereas I thought that it would be difficult for me to engage in extra prayers due to the children, they began to join me in those additional prayers, and that was truly special and beautiful.
- Leaving the challenge, I have made a plan for how to be consistent throughout the remainder of the year in incorporating these practices into my spirituality routine, even if it means just one extra act of worship per day.
I’m really hoping to participate in this program again in coming years and to make the practices learned more consistent in my daily life, in sha Allah. It was truly a remarkable experience that I cannot recommend enough and highly encourage other women to partake in!