Ramadan. Another month of spiritual joy and yearning for the proximity of the Most Merciful. To undo our wrongs with as much good, be it with extra prayers, philanthropy or polishing human relationships with forgiveness and overlooking others’ faults.
That said, every achievement has a price. The price of Ramadan is not only to refrain from the regular forbidden checklist of God, but the permitted ones as well. Those who relinquish the permitted deserve a greater knighthood in the spiritual kingdom than those just refraining from the prohibited acts.
Ramadan 2014 coincides with FIFA 2014 as well. And that is no easy challenge for the average believer of our distracted times. The most exciting matches would be scheduled at the most crucial prayer timings. Making choices in such times would not be a piece of date (since the dry fruit is the most popular during this Month).
May Allah kindle our decision-making cerebral centers with His Light and Love.
Men and women have an instinctual drive to count their wealth. And lo TIME is the greatest of fortunes one could amass in our lives. The value of time, however, is measured in relation to the nobility of the actions for which it is spent.
Paradoxically, we are lavish with time when it comes to trivia of dunia and stingy with the khair of the akhira. We forget to cast a glance at the clock even as hours upon hours are drained in front of the Idiot box. We preciously count every letter of dhikr we murmur but keep no account of the encyclopedic gossips we blab. We boast of the handful of minutes we stand in night prayers but can’t recall the amount of time spent in shopping malls.
Time is Life. And vice versa. May Allah bless both.
‘And they lived happily EVER AFTER’. One beautiful state of life we all crave and starve for with all our resources. We all wish with the bottom of our heart and heights of mind that we live in joy for the rest of our lives. And that usually means till eternity.
The promise of eternity sells like no other commodity. Satan was successful in convincing our great grandparents using this very bait to have them expelled from paradise. He guaranteed them eternity in return for eating from the ‘forbidden tree’.
Real estate firms today offer the same false promise of ‘paradise-like’ lifestyle with eternal pleasures and comforts. ‘Eternal’ and ‘paradise’ keywords prominently figure in their doctrinal literature. It is, as if, they are acting as the agents of the Accursed One by securing ‘eternity’ on the earthly plane than to wait for a paradise in the life after.
Salvation is no vacation business for the Adamic lot. It is pure struggle in His Path. A ceaseless struggle against the wrong, within and outside us. But as the bygone nobles warned, those within may be the hardest to fight and resist.
May Allah give us victory.
But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.” [Quran 7 : 20]
Who would not want to be rich? Who could say no to wealth?
But the Q remains what is real wealth? Is it a number followed by infinite zeroes in the credit balance? Is it a palatial structure covered by equally palatial walls? Is it the enviable sports cars or priceless diamonds? Is it dining in the odd-numbered star hotels or cruising in the luxurious yachts?
The fun of Wealth is neither in earning nor in storing it. Wealth is rather like rain. It does not stay in one place. From the clouds it disperses into the air. After falling on the earth, it seeps to the ground, quenching the thirst of plants and animals, flows to the well and then perhaps to the seas.
The real experience of wealth is in facilitating it to the rightful beneficiaries. Therefore, the real wealthy are those rich in distributing it. The thrill of distribution is more than the joy of accumulation.
May Allah bless us with wealth and the health to disperse it to the deserving candidates.
Whatsoever be the spiritualizing argument, Ramadan is prima facie all about hunger and thirst. Believers go without food and water till sunset and refrain from all other temptations during this period of abstinence. Satan weeps and angels rejoice. God wins.
Enter sunset. Dining table is filled with eats and drinks. The battle which the Adamic candidate was fighting is about to conclude. But lo! There falls his armor. Satan falls upon him as he forgets the limits of his food intake and covers himself in all sorts of extreme delicacies. He loses his control over his body and mind and Satan overpowers him as he bows before the Lord. Angels cry foul. Satan laughs. Man loses.
Moral of the story. Food is from God. Gluttony, from Satan.
May Allah help us to win during the fast and after the iftar too.
The poor orphan in Homs refugee camps. The innocent men’s dead bodies on Baghdad streets. The widows in drone-hit Kandhahar. The old man whose son died in the communal riots of Lankaland. The repressed and oppressed thousand in Rohingya.
Ramadan 2014 is not that rapturous after all. It is far from just to sit in air-conditioned palatial mosques reciting the Holy Book and bend the body in various postures and calling it Prayer, while we snub our spiritual brothers and sisters as the bleed across the world.
The oppressed Muslims’ corpses today are disposed with far less respect than a tissue paper. Even as the Ummah today mindlessly consumes the ‘soft exports’ of sinister powers, they are unmindful of the plight of the suffering brethren.
Leaders are doing their best. Meetings upon meetings. And then follow-up meetings to agree on the previous meetings. But it is doing nothing to reduce the count of the dead. Nor improve the plight of the living.
Preachers say the Last Day is near and nothing better could be expected. Economists say the situation is due to lack of funds. Politicians say negotiations need to be accelerated. Revolutionaries say revolt is the only way out.
HOPE on its own may not be hopeful any more. Nevertheless, it is Ramadan. Let us give it a chance.
May Allah bestow upon the world peace. Let the flames of suffering die. And the tears of oppressed dry. And smiles rise high.
Islam offers an amazing template for almost every instance of life. It beautifies our days and nights with the most noble of all human perfection.
It prepares us not only for life, but for death as well. And what is as close to Death as much as Sleep? It is a state of complete auto-piloting our system submitting it to our unconscious part of our mind. We let go our complete hold on our body and mind and trust another Force to protect us.
Sleep, however, should not be seen simply as another biological function. Islam has commanded remarkable significance to this otherwise normal nocturnal exercise. Quran has counted it as an important sign of God.
Sleep is a feast of Divine blessing in Islam. And every feast comes with its lavish preparations. Sleep, according to Prophetic practice, is to be preceded by ablution. There are specific Quranic chapters to be recited and another series of Divine phrases to be repeated.
Sleep is also the only platform where one can board the train called Dream. And the destination of such a journey is unpredictable.
May Allah help us to reach interesting places.
Its sunset time. The heat is still on. Plants’ leaves are burnt and crispy. Birds are retreating to their nests. Women at home are busy adding their finishing touches to their delicacies. Men behind wheels are rushing to reach the Iftar table. But the neighbourhood children are excited as even at this ‘breaking’ moment. They are vigorously pursuing their amusements and games.
But they also have another noble cause of staying outdoors. They are the ones who devotionally run to their household to alarm them of the Maghreb adhaan from the mosque. They are the bearer of that good news which the fasting slaves die to hear.
We need to tailor our talk like that of these children. Become the carriers of news which are relieving to the mind and refreshing to the body.
Sympathies are dear to most of us. Some may be deserving. Majority are not.
In Ramadan, we tend to crave for an extra quota than other times. And some mistake sympathies for privileges. They feel it is their right to break the shopping queue, perform lazily at workplace, impatiently demand quicker service from service providers and so on.
Ramadan is an intensive battle for self development. It is actually the believer’s overtime in his faith. Extra prayers, extra kindness, extra performance.
We are to be extra kind to others and extra ruthless with our own selfishness. It is the month for serving sympathies, not seizing it from others.
If at all we expect sympathy, it is from the Most Merciful alone.
May He be lavish with us in His sympathies. Allahumma irhamna ya arhama rahimeen.
Over the months during the year, the earth gets dry and rigid. It hardens as a rock. Then when the monsoon raindrops kiss the cheeks of the dry dust, it returns to its true moisturised state.
Our hearts’ story is more or less the same. Long periods of mechanical engagements harden our spiritual organ. It loses its original state of compassion when disconnected from its Lord.
But when the teardrops in Ramadan prayers water its canals, it reverts back to it’s pristine glory.
Ramadan is the monsoon for the believer’s dry hearts.
May our hearts be forever moist with the remembrance of Allah and the love of His Beloved (Sallallahualaihiwasallam)
Wrongs do irreparable damage to our souls. They drain our inner confidence and strain our future salvation. They displease our Creator and embarrass the angels.
Ramadan however provides an excellent opportunity to undo the cracks within the walls of our house of faith. The second tenth of this month is exclusively dedicated to restore the pure and original state of our Adamic innocence.
By seeking Allah’s forgiveness, we are in fact undoing the sinful damage we inflicted upon ourselves.
May Allah return to us our newborn innocence and cleanse us from the sinful stains.
The second half of Ramadan is speeding fast. And this part is all about forgiveness. And what would be the easiest but the surest guarantee to winning the amnesty from the Lord of the Worlds?
The Creator has clearly outlined the formula of this zillion dollar question in His Book.
Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, FOLLOW me; Allah will LOVE you and FORGIVE you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (3:31)
The algorithm is self explanatory. If you wish to be LOVED by the LORD, then simply follow HIS BELOVED. And where is the question of forgiveness when Allah would love you? Love is the flower, forgiveness it’s fragrance.
His Love transforms the worthless to the wealthy. Beggar becomes the king. Thorn turns to the Rose. From the lowly to the lovely.
May Allah help us to befriend the ways of His Beloved in our lonely lives.
Sallallahu ala Muhammad, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.
This Ramadan, besides other religio-political challenges, is fatefully passing through a merciless summer. Sun is in real form and so is its heat. At least in the region from where this piece is written.
Despite the modern cooling appliances, the heat en route from home to masjid is unbearable. It is during this short walks that the date fruits appear gleaming from its sturdy leaves.
The date fruit offers exceptional lessons for the onlooker. It selflessly absorbs the entire summer heat to ripen, evolving its color from green to yellow to red to black. In its first phase, it may taste sour. But after burning itself in the scorching heat, it turns sweet for its beneficiaries- young or old, birds or beasts.
The believing folks act more or less the same with their lives. No matter whatsoever the torturous trials and tribulations they face, they remain the sweet benefactors for the creations of God. They are the earthly stations of Allah’s mercy and love.
The moon tonight had a special glitter. The sweet 14th blushing smile that is. It was heading to its prime youth.
Ramadan had reached its mid. Half left. Half over. The most important Q is what are we leftover with?
We need to develop a more intense interaction with the nature and learn to take cues from its signboards pointing to our spiritual plight. Nature and its sights are after all for the spiritualization of children of Adam.
May Allah help us to keep our eyes and heart open to reflect upon His signs.
‘Life Expectancy’ is such a treacherous oxymoron. Could we actually expect any assurance from the ever deceitful fate? Would Life be the colorful life at all if everything happened just as we expected?
Death is not to be feared.
But it is definitely to be accepted
In the least unexpected moments.
What else would one conclude after listening to the deaths of believers during this Holy Month. Over the 100 lives who passed away in this Month, majority were of the 40s category. Youths who answered the call of death just after a refreshing Iftar.
And there are others who, despite their creed, give a damn to the priceless blessing of life. Three of the five suicide cases in this Holy Month were by Muslims. Even unfortunate was that of an Indian Muslim mother of two children, an aeronautic engineer by profession, who jumped from the building, while in a state of fast. The greatest question here is about the ethos and ethics of our educational factories. What exactly is our education teaching us. Perhaps everything but Life.
Life has its limits. We could not realistically wish like my four year old ‘I want to enter Jannah. But I don’t wish to die’.
The only thing we could expect is for Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, both in life, death and thereafter. And that is what Ramadan Expectancy is may be all about.
Art is pleasing to the ears and delightful for the eyes. It soothes our hearts. Art is an act of charity, helping the poor hearts to rejoice.
A believer’s life, if modeled after the Beloved’s ways, too is nothing short of art. His words are poetic to the listeners. His actions are light for the disheartened. His smile will heal the broken-hearted. His embrace will cheer the scared. His prayers will magnetize the skies. His glance will eclipse the stars.
May Allah help us to emulate Madina in our lives.
A believer shall leave no stone unturned. He or she will explore the nook and corner of every virtuous opportunity to do good and be good to others. For the servant of God, every second of Ramadan counts. Virtue is not limited to ritual prayers and formulaic utterances. One doesn’t waste time for the silent nightly hours to spiritualize their head and heart.
Instead, a smart believer perfumes every Adamic moment with divine scent. For, every smile at the workplace counts. Lending a helpful hand for domestic chores counts. Giving way on the roads counts. Holding the door for others counts. Refraining one’s tongue in argumentative moments counts.
May Allah help us to incense our senses with His Pleasure and Fear.
Ramadan 17 1435
Science has made many impossibles of the past to the possibles of the present. It has added new colors into the canvas our experiences, and in certain contexts, blurred the lines between conveniences and comforts.
Science is a sum total of observations and conclusions aided by our intellect. It is unearthing the treasures of knowledge with the spade of our understanding. A honest endeavor to unlock Nature’s door with the keys of our mind.
Science revolves around our understanding. And the greatest merit as well as its demerit its evolutionary nature. Human understanding, upon which Science rests, progresses just as the universe outside him. It is quite natural, therefore, for one scientist to disprove the other. As human understanding and the tools which enable them improve, each scientist has made the other obsolete.
Several theories in almost all fields of science have been discarded or upgraded for ‘more’ scientific ones. And going by the same logic, it is only natural for the present ones to be replaced by better ones in the future.
What then is the case of those innocent enthusiasts who fit the leg of Revelation in the shoe of Science? It is becoming an ‘unreasonable’ sight these days for wannabe preachers to prove eternal Revelation in the light of temporal Science. In fact the evaluation should be other way round. Science should be validated in the test tube of Revelation.
Science stops where the moon of our intellect fades. Reality, however, rises wherefrom the sun of Revelation starts. The planet of Ramadan revolves around the sun of Revelation. Science is just another moon somewhere in between.
Miracles are miracles, but below the sky, not above it. What we consider to be supernatural on earth is simply natural in dimensions beyond the domain of our everyday physics rules. Supernatural are seemingly ‘super’ only because they appear different from our worldview.
Our laws of nature aren’t a limitation by themselves. Nevertheless, it would be a folly to consider them to be absolute in all dimensions. Just as we don’t expect physics theories to explain the content of our dreams.
The merits and blessings of Ramadan are slightly different from our everyday realities. We don’t refrain from fasting fearing the warnings of nutritionists. Nor do we abstain from spending, read as investing, in charity even as our banks recommend saving needs.
Ramadan is an everyday miracle for believers. May Allah count us among the true ones.
The final 10 is prominently known for seeking protection from hell fire. But it is also the time when believers submit their earnestly submit their eager wish list. For salvation in the hereafter and betterment in this world. For increase in wealth and plentitude of health. For loving comforting spouses and virtuous offspring. For stability of nations and security between communities.
Whatsoever be the length of our wish list, we have to be qualified to wish like a king. Most wish like beggars. Allah expects us to be royal with our wishes.
No minute of a believer goes in waste. There is always something to keep him run in the God-mode. If he runs out of all modes, then there is the thankful-mode. He finds the joy of thanking his Creator infinitely more than that of simply receiving His Blessings.
And even if he finds no great fortunes to be grateful about, then perhaps he is thankful to Allah for being let alive to complain, at least.
May Allah help us to be thankful for His immense blessings.
Modern man, like his ancient counterpart, derives pleasure in admiring one form or other of supernatural force. Albeit our contempt for our predecessors for their fear and respect of the unseen creatures, the living ones too are lost in a similar maze of confused realities.
And the irony is that those amused with jinns and devils are amazed with aliens and superheroes. There’s more fiction in the name of science today than those in the name of religion.
While jinns and devils are Quranic realities, UFOs, aliens and superheroes are creations of pure comical minds with no proven record so far.
The last 10 days of Ramadan also witnesses huge traffic of shoppers in the markets. Despite hectic experiences each year, many keep their Eid shopping for the last minute which cost much time from this precious Month.
But to spiritually celebrate God’s glory and power while commencing shopping is perhaps the hardest thing to do. Perhaps, the reason for the tremendous reward for the dua while entering markets.
Duniya is cheap. Akhira, for the believer, is the real premium.
Marriage is one half patience. The other half if anything left is Love.
Unfortunately, such patience is mostly one-sided. In fact, most relationships live on with the unilateral patience on the part of the wife and rarely from the husband. The reason why it is proverbial to blame the impatient wife for the increase in divorce rates.
Self-righteous Muslim husbands, who passionately teach their kids about paradise found under their wives’ feet, should also show empathy for their spouses and try not to make their lives a living hell here.
There’s been no other community as the Asian Muslim women, more so than their western counterparts, who have historically relinquished their Divine rights in favor of their men. They are victims of everyday denial of justice from morn to evening.
And such injustice is more in this Month. Although they give up food and water just as their menfolk, in addition to surviving lengthy prayers and completion of recitation of the Holy Book, they also have to make sure the Iftar table is full of delicious delicacies with all ingredients in the most finger-licking proportion. Rearing children including teaching, feeding, bathing and dressing are besides. Washing dishes, cleaning the entire house and laundry are not recognised as well. The case is no different for the working mothers in whose case it is several times more the station of patience. Simply because they have been created as compassionate creatures and out of self-imposed ignorance of their rights, they perform these duties which were never part of the responsibilities mentioned in the Law of God.
Only Allah can reward them fully for this selfless life of jihad. The least their men could afford to repay is with token of love.
The Day of Judgment and Paradise become inevitable in the case of these ‘sufi mothers’ at least.
Amid all the spiritual and philosophical talk surrounding Ramadan, it would be a great disservice to ignore the contribution of the womenfolk at home.
Journey to God isn’t short. Easy either. It is of infinite miles.
Yet HE has outlined a blueprint for the believers on how to attain HIS proximity without much hassle. Allah becomes closer only to those who route their journey via His Beloved Prophet (Sallallahualaihiwasallam).
A believer cannot imagine a day in his life without fashioning his actions and words in line with those of the Prophet of God. Perfection for him is to reflect as closely as possible in the mirror of Madina.
Life is a beautiful song. And Mustafa its sweetest melody. Sallallahualaihiwasallam
Truth is mighty and beautiful. But it doesn’t allow its adherents to be arrogant about it. In fact, arrogance about Truth is as good as denying it.
A believer does not waste time wondering to which floor of hell would his enemies be damned. Instead, his concern is about his own entry to paradise. Everyone has a right to agree or disagree with what they perceive as the truth.
Truth doesn’t superimpose itself on any heart. Instead, it is the seeker who should welcome and embrace the Truth into his abode of faith.
We make mistakes throughout our life. We wrong ourselves and others in pursuit of our needs and ambitions. Sweet lies and bitter truths rob us of our hopeful entry to paradise. But no wrong is big enough to beat the limitless mercy of Allah. To suppose so would be another wrong in itself.
Allah is our creator. He knows well our tendency to sin. But is we who are ignorant of His Forgiveness.
May Allah forgive all our sins, past and present.
The life on earth would make no sense were it not for the hereafter. But the vice versa is equally true. The akhira is all about stocktaking our earthly existence. Friends and foes there are a product of our worldly interactions.
Allah is not joking when HE says he will take us to task on the Day of Judgment. A believer will fervently shiver as he listens to the verses of chapters such as Qaf and Waqia from the Holy Book.
May Allah grant us His Merciful glance.
As Ramadan draws to a close, the believer is eager if he would get another day ad night from the Holy Month. Would he get another chance of the Tharaveeh prayers? Would he able to weep before the Lord in the Qiyamul layl?
Or would he have to commence the preparations for Eid? A suspense builds up in his heart…