RAMADAN : Deep fry your Nafs
Ramadan Journal 2013
Ramadan. Now you see it. Now you don’t. This Holy Month, the annual guest of the Faithful, has drawn to conclusion even before we have fully become conscious of it. Ramadan is traditionally viewed to be a spiritual preparation for the future and remorseful compensation for the past. Nevertheless, it is also an opportunity of stock-taking our blessings and happenings from previous Ramadan.
Spiritual enrichment is undoubtedly the primary objective of this Month. Moments of heart-anguish in prayers help our souls to become GOD-lush. Irrespective of all the atheistic materialistic challenges around, GOD continues to be ‘sold out’ thing among the faithful. And we, the Faithful lot, still haven’t laid down our weapons of ‘Prayer’. With prayers, there is no distinction between usual and unusual, which prevails only on the earth. Not in the Heavens. And there is no weapon as powerful as Prayer in dealing with our personal and public problems around.
Our FEAR of Allah’s punishment makes sense only when there’s HOPE in His Mercy! And Ramadan is the superb balancing act between these two opposite forces. It is also a spiritual frying pan to deep fry the ‘Nafs’ in His Mercy & Forgiveness. And His Beloved Rasool has given us the recipe to prepare for this Banquet. In fact, any attempt otherwise will result in having our hands burnt. For, Rasoolullah is the ultimate love-route to Allah. Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.
It is only with Allah that we don’t need to feel embarrassed about asking from ‘pin to elephant’. In fact, many a times we cannot distinguish from what to and what not to ask from HIS treasury of blessings. Such is His generosity and benevolence.
Being a moderate during Iftar is a greater challenge than being an ‘extremist’ in fasting. Moreover, Ramadan is also a month of maximum and manifold reward for good deeds. How can we claim to serve God when we indifferently ignore his creations? Any such ignorance would amount to oppression of their rights. Therefore, at least in this Holy Month, devotees should lend a helping hand to the womenfolk at home. The Prophetic Sunnah revolves not just around growing beard and absorbing in ritual prayer, but also playing an active role in doing the daily chores at home. Patriarchal Muslim community has not only to get rid of their dictatorial regimes, but also home-grown tyrants who refuse to acknowledge the ‘family man’ in the person and mission of Holy Prophet of Islam. Nevertheless, the womenfolk have to bear in mind not to compete with their Iftar delicacies and then end up completely exhausted for the worship of the Lord.
The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and that to a woman’s may be through washing the dishes the kitchen sink. However, my neighbors could quickly tell when I took in charge of dish washing. The sounds of breaking ceramics left no room for their doubt.
The state of our Ummah isn’t a happy one. Political chaos and societal turmoil have rocked almost every predominantly Muslim country. And where they are a minority, its threat to survival. Unfortunately certain parts of ISLAMIC world are ‘celebrating’ Holy Ramadan with street violence & suicide bombings. Religious zealots with meter long beards and forehard-marks of prayer are brainwashed to blow up themselves, with no dignity for the sanctity of human lives.
A true Believer, however, is a Divine hotspot transmitting Peace and Love to all HIS creations. Therefore let us pray and hope the dust will settle at the earliest.
One of the saddest losses I faced this year was my Grandmother. She was an active listener to all my wild ideas since I was a child. And was extremely proud of those little things I accomplished from my dreams. Even in her last years, she generously celebrated any news connected with my writings. She was often tormented by various critical illnesses. But that did not stop her from taking pride and displaying it openly. I was told that once when was in treatment at the hospital, she was reading the features section of a newspaper when the doctor was making his rounds of checkup. As the doctor approached, she eagerly showed him the article saying, ‘Look. This is my grandson’. It will be not be the same after she is gone. I will miss one of my greatest well wishers and fans. A mother of nine children and grandma to several others, she underwent tremendous challenges in life. After her death, she is now on the winning side with the prayers of this mammoth family she brought up, directly or indirectly. She was an ardent worshiper of her Lord, reciting the Holy Book at everyday dawn, and was profound in her usage of proverbs in daily conversations. She was well versed in folklore poetry and was intrigued by contemporary political events. Strange qualities for a woman of her generation.
On the achievements side, Allah has provided countless blessings, known and unknown. While everything He gives is special, notable among them are: the latest four wheel vehicle I brought last June. The machine-beast has been a long-term wish and I am finally able to own it.
More importantly, I had the opportunity to travel to four countries in one go, Jordan, Palestine, Palestine, Israel and Egypt, which I fondly call as Mission Olivistan. The previous such journey was to four sates of North India in 2010. During Olivistan journey, I had the profound chance to offer Juma prayer at Masjid Al Aqsa and visit numerous historical places including mausoleums of various Companions of Holy Prophet and other prominent saints and scholars.
I also had the opportunity to perform Umra with my family and was blessed to meet the American Muslim scholar, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in the courtyard of Masjid Al Nabawi. How magnificent a place to meet such a spectacular scholar of repute who is nothing less than a gift of Allah for this troubled Umma. I also gave presented a copy of my latest book; Meem is for Mercy, to the ‘rockstar of traditional Islam’. The book is a collection of poems in praise of Holy Prophet. Co-incidentally, I also met him again during a lecture at the American University of Sharjah.
Besides, Allah blessed with several other recognitions in my professional and creative endeavors during this period.
DEATH – Well Ended is Fully Done
During the first part of Ramadan, I attended the funeral of a distant relative in Dubai. He had passed away in a ‘royal way’ during this Holy Month, i.e., during the congregational Tarawih prayer in the Masjid. Perhaps there was no other way to quit more befitting than this kingly manner.
The best investment one could put in their children’s education is that which can help him with his funeral rites. All the money spent will be a waste if our children don’t know how to lead our funeral prayer. The best and ultimate returns on investment on our children is in their prayers for us, after our life-screen is blank.
We are Allah’s Property
Calamities and trials, of health and wealth, continue to overwhelm us. We or our loved ones shall be tested with physical illness or other trials. We have to trust Allah with his Power and Justice and hope for His Mercy. We are accountable to Him and not He to us. For, a Master is not responsible to his servants.
‘Oppression is when anyone encroaches on someone else’s property. How can Allah oppress anyone since the entire creation is the property of Allah‘ ?