Jaihoon’s Journal of Ramadan 2012
August 9, 2012
Here comes Ramadan
Like all previous years, we were all eagerly awaiting the announcement of Ramadan. While my ancestors would look up to the sky for moon-sighting, I, for reasons of context and convenience, was staring at my phone screen expecting the announcement from the Twitter community. The excitement was really high for the Ramadan to start on Friday, as if they wouldn’t take a chance for the next day. I felt they were demanding for the start by putting the Moon at gunpoint!? And true to their aspiration, it did commence on a Friday.
Jihad for Beauty
Last night as I went for a jog in the neighborhood with a view to garner energy for the Night Prayer, I came across the landscaping laborers from the Municipality. They were beautifying the trees and grass in the nightly hours so that the garden looked wonderful for the onlookers in the day time. A wonderful job with wonderful benefits for the people. Just then a man approached with a musalla (prayer mat) in hand. He had just completed his prayer in midst of this ‘jihad for beauty’. He had blended work and prayer in a handsome proportion.
The aim of Islam isn’t different either. Islam is not a private baggage to be kept hidden in the closet. It’s an amazing expression of compassion towards humanity and nature. It explores beauty in every aspect of life.
Islam is not just confined to mosques or monastic congregations. It reflects devotion in loving one’s wife and playing with children. It glorifies the hard working employee and a compassionate boss. Good manners to fellow humans weigh the highest in the scales of reward. It gives a sincere trader the opportunity to accompany the Prophets in the hereafter. Islam is not, as some misunderstand, an indifferent and isolationist attitude to fellow humanity and confined to ritual worship alone.
Many know the truth. The Blessed Few remember it. Ramadan is the Spiritual Workshop to remind oneself about such truths which our mundane mechanical lifestyle has forced us to be less mindful.
The greatest homework a believer has to accomplish is undoubtedly with his own nafs. His biggest victory is therefore in his wrestle with his own self. And in order to win, he or she has to take few precautions.
Allah asks us to donate with our wallets, not good deeds. We should be vigilant to stay away from backbiting others, especially in this Holy Month.
Ramadan is time to soften your voice and temper, not raise them. Whatsoever be the challenging situations, we have to remain calm.
Paradise has no place for the lazy snails. We have to cleverly plan for our times and places of worship and race for achieving them.
Ramadan is time to remember our enemies, and forgive them. If you expect Allah to forgive, then we should first empty our heart of all grudge and ill will for others.
Finding faults in others is one’s greatest fault, said Ali Bin Abu Talib (ra). Therefore abstain from shooting arrows against others and keep the magnifying glass towards your own Nafs.
Allah’s Gift for Sharjah
For past decade and half, Allah has blessed with an opportunity to attend the Qiyamul layl prayers led by Imam Salah Bukhatir. He is indeed Allah’s wonderful gift for believers in the aesthetic emirate of Sharjah. An excellent Qari whose recitation takes servants close to the Lord. The young and old flock to this masjid even from neighboring emirates.
Infinite wish list.
The Last Ten days of Ramadan are definitely the Celebration of His Forgiveness. So yesterday when I attended the Night Prayers, I felt a voice whispering within,
‘Tonight on, the KING is seeking the petition from his subjects. And know the best of HIS subjects are those who ask HIM the best. And know again, HE is in love with those who ask. So be not stingy in your questions and wants. Lay bare your heart’s wishes. Spread open for HIM your infinite wish list. HE is the KING of Mercy and Love. But don’t be foolish to seek His justice. Instead seek His Mercy. What else would a slave want? The KING is right here saying with a smile ‘Call ME and I shall answer you. Seek the fortunes of Mind and Matter, of Reason and Emotion, of Present and Future, of Life and Death’
These moments are among the best to ‘settle’ the account with Lord regards to our sinful actions. Being humans, it is impossible to remain without faults. Both the believer and disbeliever may get wounded with sins. While the latter may remain in despair, the former is equipped with the greatest weapon, Repentance. He is confident that, as Ibn Ataillah Iskandari mentions in Hikam, ‘it is enough reward for an action that He considered you worthy of performing it’.
Hope is another way of saying you believe in an Absolute Being who cares. Despair is the most dangerous WMD of Iblis. So a believer keeps away from it for good.
All these believers were weeping and sobbing in this masjid for fear of a Lord whom they haven’t seen or heard, ever in their lives. All they know and believe is that the Orphan of Makkah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) described HIM so. For, the Orphan sallallahu alaihi wa sallam could never utter a lie. His sincerity is their best bet in their belief in Hell and Heaven, of Angels and Holy Books. The Blessed Prophet is by creation the Noun, while mercy, beauty, love and mercy are his adjectives. Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.
Usain Bolt took only 9 something seconds to finish 100m. You won’t need as much time to reach your Creator in this Ramadan. This is the month of incredible proximity, spiritual that is, to the Almighty. And Compassion is the most repeated adjective, read attribute, of Allah in Quran.
Prayer for Rest of the World
The Muslim Ummah is going through tremendous trials. Their plight is relatively worse under Muslim ruled regimes than Non. The Arab Spring carried within it a labyrinth of popular aspiration which no political oracle could predict or project. In countries like Syria and host of other countries, its bombs exploding in this Holy Month, instead of crackers. The persecution of Burmese Muslims too is heart breaking. I pray that their Eid arrives minus their dictators and sufferings.
Terrorism has showed up in new forms and places. The Sikh temple shootout in US is as despicable as the media’s description of it. Terrorism of all colors is contemptible, be it white or brown.
For the first week of Ramadan, I had to spend some time preparing for a travel to attend a commemorative conference on the late Sayyid Shihab. I also had an opportunity to enjoy some killing natural beauty of Kerala.
Since the time I can recall in memory, it was my Mother who has been preparing our Iftars with utmost love and concern for each one of us in our family. But that has not stopped her from accomplishing her Ramadan Goals. Yesterday she has completed two khatms (complete recitation of Quran) when I was only half the way to completing first.
When one gives food for opening the fast, they too are rewarded for that person’s fast. My Mother who prepares Iftar for remaining four of us at home is rewarded in manifold. This may be true for all women at traditional Muslim homes. They seldom realize this greatness though.
08 / 08 Times 08
Eight years ago
Eighth day of
Escorted I home my-
Ever loving… al hamdu lillah.
This Ramadan also witnessed the Eighth anniversary of my marital life.
I expect my family, who is currently vacationing in Kerala, to join me just after the Eid. Life isn’t a bed of roses. Allah has made it even better with this Ramadan. Al hamdu lillah.