Isn’t Ramadan a nafs-killer?
When you want to eat you cannot eat, and there is blessing in eating at a time when you’d rather not eat! (sahoor)
When you want to sleep you push yourself to stay awake and when you’d rather be awake you know you have to get some sleep so you can remain sane…
It almost feels like you have no control over your life any more… you cant do what you please, its all about what Allah wants. This is exactly what we have signed up for:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَىٰ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الْجَنَّةَ
Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. [9:111]
And this is what is expected of us:
التَّائِبُونَ الْعَابِدُونَ الْحَامِدُونَ السَّائِحُونَ الرَّاكِعُونَ السَّاجِدُونَ الْآمِرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَالنَّاهُونَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَالْحَافِظُونَ لِحُدُودِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
[Such believers are] the repentant, the worshippers, the praisers [of Allah ], the travelers [for His cause] / those who fast, those who bow and prostrate [in prayer], those who enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong, and those who observe the limits [set by] Allah. And give good tidings to the believers. [9:112]
O Allah, accept from us our lives, and give us Jannah. Ameen.
– Taimiyyah Zubair
Imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i all recorded a Hadith from Abu Hurayrah — and in the wording of An-Nasa’i’s version it states — that he said,
“The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) recited this Ayah,
﴿يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا ﴾
‘That Day it (the earth) will declare its information.’ (Surah Al Zalzalah 99:4)
Then he said, «أَتَدْرُونَ مَا أَخْبَارُهَا؟» “Do you know what is its information?”
They said, `Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said,
«فَإِنَّ أَخْبَارَهَا أَنْ تَشْهَدَ عَلَى كُلِّ عَبْدٍ وَأَمَةٍ بِمَا عَمِلَ عَلَى ظَهْرِهَا أَنْ تَقُولَ: عَمِلَ كَذَا وَكَذَا يَوْمَ كَذَا وَكَذَا، فَهَذِهِ أَخْبَارُهَا»
“Verily, its information is that it will testify for/against every male and female servant, about what they did upon its surface. It will say that he did such and such on such and such day. So this is its information.”
-Tafsir Surah Al Zalzalah from Tafsir Ibn Katheer
Just as those on Haj are blessed with the opportunity to turn to Allah, repent and “come out as sinless as a newborn child” (Al-Bukhari), the ones not on Haj also get a somewhat similar opportunity.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Fasting the Day of ‘Arafah (9th Dul-Hijjah) is an expiation for (the sins of) the previous year and an expiation for (the sins of) the coming year.” (Muslim)
Praise and thanks to Allah who has made us reach the blessed month of Ramadan yet again this year. He made it a month of mercy, forgiveness, du’aa and multiplied rewards. Every night of this blessed month, He invites the fortunate ones who witness it, to race and compete with each other in doing righteous deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “On the first night of the month of Ramadan, the devils are chained, the jinn are restrained, and the gates of Hellfire are closed and none of its gates are opened. The gates of Paradise are opened and none of its gates are closed. A caller announces: O seeker of good, come near! O seeker of evil, stop short! Allah will save them from the Hellfire and that is during every night of Ramadan.” (At-Tirmidhi-682)
How amazing is that? Could our names be among the ones whom Allah removes from the list of people going to Hell? Insha Allah, Yes! With the devils being chained and the entrance to Paradise made so easy, racing to do all that Allah has commanded and trying our best to avoid all that He has forbidden has been made easy for us in this blessed month. Ramadan is without doubt a golden opportunity for all of us who hope to be saved from the Hell fire and yearn to dwell in Paradise, where we will have all that we desire. This is not a month of socializing and feasting even though it is common to see this around us. This is a month of competing with each other in improving our relationship with our Creator – A month where we ignore all distractions and race to him by doing lots of good deeds. Allah says, “And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden [i.e. paradise] as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:133)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There has come to you the month of Ramadan, a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with grace, sending down mercy, forgiving sins and answering supplication. Allah looks at your competition in doing good therein, and boasts of you before His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for truly the wretched person is the one who is deprived of the Mercy of Allah during this month.” (At Tabarani)
The Messenger (peace be upon him) and his companions would pray, fast, spend time with the Qur’an and be obedient to Allah all year round but in Ramadan, they would maximize their efforts to excel in various good deeds. Nothing can be better for us than following their footsteps in this world and then being rewarded by having their company in the Hereafter. The Messenger (peace be upon him) mentioned many actions which, if performed sincerely, grant us great rewards.
The best of such actions in Ramadan is fasting, which has been made obligatory by the Almighty. The exact reward for fasting has not been specified but it is expected to be tremendous because of the way this hadith describes it: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be multiplied between ten and seven hundred times. Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, said: Except fasting. It is for Me and I shall reward for it. He gives up his desires and his food for My sake.” (Muslim-1151) SubhanAllah! We need to perfect our fast by not just avoiding food and drink but also false and hateful speech and deeds so the rewards can be maximized. According to another hadith, there is a gate to Paradise that is called Ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one who fasted] has passed through the gate, it will be locked. [al-Bukhari and Muslim].
The blessed month of Ramadan is a celebration of the Qur’an as the blessed Book was revealed in it. Striving hard to spend the month in reading, reciting and listening to the Qur’an carries huge rewards. Regarding reciting it, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Laam, Meem’ is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Laam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” (Tirmidhi-2910)
While for the one who listens to the Qur’an attentively (in prayer at the masjid or elsewhere), it was said that mercy does not come quicker to anyone than the one who listens to the Qur’an according to the words of Allah: “So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy.” [Qur’an 7:204] The words “you may” make it mandatory for Allah! (Tafsir Al Qurtubi)
In addition to studying the Qur’an, there is a narration by Ibn Abbas that emphasizes the need to be generous in giving all kinds of charity in Ramadan: “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was the most generous of people and he was the most generous in the month of Ramadan, when Jibril would meet him. Jibril used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an.” (Bukhari-1716, Muslim-4268)
Speaking of charity, you can also easily get the reward of fasting not just 30 fasts in the blessed month, but 60, 90 and so on! Surprised? Well, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Whoever gives a fasting person (food or drink to break their fast), they will have similar to the reward of the one who fasted, without any decrease for the one who fasted.” (At-Tirmidhi-Authenticated by Al Albani) Buy some dates and hand them over at some masjid, for the worshippers at the time of breaking the fast or hand over bottles of cold water and small packets of dates on the road sides at the time of Maghrib. If you are unable to do any of that, then just helping out in the kitchen and setting up Iftar with dates and cold water for your family will bring a similar reward insha Allah.
Making extra voluntary prayer along with the 5 obligatory ones is another way to race to Paradise according to the narration of Rabi’a b.Ka’b who said: I was with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) one night and I brought him water and what he required. He said to me: ‘Ask (for anything you like)’. I said: I ask for your company in Paradise. He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Or anything else other than it?’ I said: That is all (what I require). He (peace be upon him) said: ‘Then help me to achieve this for you by devoting yourself to frequent sujood [prostrations].’ “(Muslim-990) Let’s rush to the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise by spending the nights of Ramadan in prayer as whoever prays qiyaam – i.e., Taraweeh – with the imam until he finishes, it will be recorded as if he spent the whole night in prayer.” (Hadeeth classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
According to a hadeeth, performing an Umrah in Ramadan is like accompanying the Prophet (peace be upon him) on Hajj.” (Bukhari-1764) But as for those who live far away from the blessed land of Makkah and feel sad because they cannot perform Umrah in this blessed month, well you can get the ultimate rewards of Hajj and Umrah, from right where you are. According to a hadeeth, whoever prays Fajr Prayer in congregation, and then sits and remembers Allah until the sun rises, and then prays 2 units of voluntary prayer (Al-ishraq), he will gain a reward equal to that of performing a perfect, perfect, perfect Hajj and Umrah. (Al-Albaani, Saheeh Al-Jaami’-6346)
“Race to [all that is] good.” says Allah in the Qur’an (2:148) and one can think of no better time to do this except in the blessed season that we find ourselves in. Restraining our temper and our tongues from evil or idle talk, helping those in need, being patient in upholding ties with relatives even if they are rude to us will make us gain not just tremendous rewards but also the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise in this blessed month. Some short but beautiful and meaningful phrases of praising, glorifying and exalting Allah taught by the Prophet should also be recited in Ramadan to get those extra rewards. He (peace be upon him) said:
- “Whoever says Subhaan Allaah il ‘azeem wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allaah the Almighty), a palm tree will be planted for him in Paradise.”(Tirmidhi)
- “There are) two words which are dear to the Most Merciful (Allah) and very light (easy) for the tongue (to say), but very heavy in weight in the balance. They are: Subhan-Allahi wa bihamdihi, Subhan-Allahil-Azim (Glory and praise to Allah, and Glory to Allah the Almighty)’. (Bukhari)
- “Glorify Allah a hundred times by just saying Subhanallah (Glorified is Allah) and a thousand good deeds will be written for you, or a thousand sins will be wiped away.” (Muslim)
- “Say ‘Laa Hawla Wa Laa Quwwataa Illaa Billaah’ (There is no might or power except with Allah) in abundance, for indeed it is from the treasures of Jannah.“ (Bukhaari) This means that this phrase is a treasure that will be preserved and rewarded to the servant in Jannah if he utters it.
How Merciful is our Lord, Who enlightened us to countless good deeds that lead to His pleasure and Paradise – Alhamdulillah! Regardless how much we do and how much we offer we will always fall short fulfilling Allah’s rights upon us, therefore we must increase in seeking His forgiveness and always seek His guidance and help in doing good for His sake. He says: “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways (the means to attain the acceptance and pleasure of Allah). And indeed Allah is with the doers of good.” (Qur’an 29:69)
May Allah grant us the strength and tawfiq to make the most of this blessed month and be winners in this race to be among His beloved ones. Ameen.
– Written Mariam Anwer
A condensed version of this article originally published in Arab News
“This Ramadan, I am afraid I won’t be able to do much Ibadah…”
Did you find yourself saying this to yourself or someone else? Perhaps it continued like this “… because I have exams”, or, “… because the fasts are super long and I have work”, or may be “… because kids have school” …or something else?
I know, Ramadan is exciting, but the fear is also real. However, before you decide not to set any goals for yourself this Ramadan, or allow yourself to take it easy, read on:
1. Ramadan is a month whose every day and night is Mubarak – in fact EVERYTHING about this month is Mubarak, including the food we eat at suhoor. Simply explained, mubarak is something that has barakah in it, and barakah is ‘when you get more out of what appears to be little’.
So while you may be genuinely afraid about your limited capacity and time assure yourself of Allah’s special aid this month, and take comfort in knowing that even the little will suffice inshaAllah.
2. Allah loves deeds that are consistent, even if they may be small. Ramadan is an opportunity we really don’t want to miss no matter what is going on in our lives, because it is unlike any other time of the year. So aim for something, even if it may be small. The nights are short for many of us, but Allah’s mercy and generosity is great. If we can stand in prayer for a few minutes only, lets do it.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: Would any one of you like to return to his family and find there three large, fat, pregnant she-camels? We (the sahabah) said: Yes. Upon this he (ﷺ) said: Three verses that one of you recites in his prayer are better for him than three large, fat, pregnant she-camels. [Muslim: 1908]
Perhaps you can do more?
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever recites ten verses in the night, a heap of reward will be recorded for him, and that is better for him than the world and whatever that is in it.” [Saheeh at-Targheeb a at-Tarheeb: 638]
And of course, the reward for Ihsan is nothing but Ihsan.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Whoever recites a hundred verses in the night, then the worship of the entire night will be recorded for him.” [Musnad Ahmad: 16958]
May Allah allow us to worship Him in the best way that we can this Ramadan, consistently and beautifully. Ameen.
– Taimiyyah Zubair
A few years ago, sitting at the iftar table at an uncle’s place, I found the lady of the house toiling away in the kitchen, around Maghrib time, to put together an intricate meal for breaking fast. We devoured the meticulously prepared delicacies as the aunt stayed back in the kitchen to serve some more smoking hot fritters. ‘Won’t aunt join us?’ I enquired. ‘She does not fast,’ the uncle said. ‘Besides, she earns her reward through serving us, people who are fasting. She doesn’t need to fast.’
Ramadan is the month of fasting. Paradoxically, it has become the month of food. Lots and lots of it. It is when consumption of food goes up and you find yourself thinking more about what you will feast on at iftar and suhoor. It is that time of the year when our mothers and wives take their roles as ‘kitchen queens’ too seriously and the above scenario — of the mother/wife slaving away in the kitchen up until the Maghrib azan becomes a common one.
The truth is women also have the same spiritual needs as that of men. They are as much obligated to fast, pray, read the Holy Qur’an, and perform all other acts of worship as men are. Why then should they be burdened solely with increased cooking, which results in them missing out on the bounties of the blessed month?
Moreover, eating like there is no tomorrow at iftar is not from the sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him)
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to prefer breaking the fast with simple foods such as dates, and water. He is reported to occasionally enjoy dishes such as Sawiq (a coarse mixture of ground wheat and barley), Tharid (meat mixed with bread), Talbinah (a sweet), soups, vegetables, roasted meat and dishes prepared with cheese and refined butter, but he never demanded for special dishes to be made.
Sadly, today the time, energy, effort and money that women should spend in worshipping Allah SWT is instead spent in preparing, consuming and clearing up multi-course meals, all in the name of keeping up Ramadan ‘traditions’. Not many seem to remember that charity, fasting and prayer are the actual prophetic traditions of Ramadan.
While mostly women are expected to rustle up elaborate meals, sometimes, they themselves are to blame for their state. Exerting oneself to cook elaborate meals, a favorite dish for every member of the family, and setting up tastefully done iftar party tables with at least two more dishes than the neighbor’s iftar party table, are not unheard of.
While it is rewarding for women to cook for their families, women who spend every day of their lives preoccupied with housework and/or child care will tell you that it is endlessly tiring and even dispiriting. Even an hour’s break a day to immerse oneself in spiritual acts can be a luxury.
What should you do in Ramadan?
From the lives of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Sahabah, we understand the concept of Ramadan to be:
— A month of obedience, righteousness and learning
— Days of activity, production and good deeds
— Nights of prayer, supplication and more good deeds
— Recitation and study of the Qur’an
— Avoiding sin and seeking forgiveness from Allah
— Simple meals
— Visits to relatives, the ill, the distressed, etc., that are pleasing to Allah SWT
— Efforts to help the needy and the poor
— Patience and caution in speech, with tongues fasting from gossip and dispute, thanking and praising Allah, advising and comforting others
— Additional acts of worship, such as attendance of Taraweeh prayers, especially during the last ten nights.
How can you do it?
— Men, help your mothers and wives in the kitchen. And maintain that practice for the rest of the year. There too is a reward.
— Plenty of food stalls and restaurants across the city sell tasty ‘Ramadan special’ treats in reasonable rates. It’s a good idea to get a few food items from outside to take some load off home cooking.
— Think about the less fortunate ones to arouse compassion in the hearts. It will help you avoid gluttony.
— Focus on the spiritual aspect of Ramadan and busy yourselves with acts of worship, allotting minimum time and thought for eating. Be thankful that Allah SWT has blessed you with another Ramadan, another opportunity to seek His forgiveness.
— Ponder over this Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “The offspring of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Sufficient for the child of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must eat more, then a third should be for his food, a third for his drink, and a third left for air?” (Musnad Ahmad)
— One good deed that women ignore is the Taraweeh prayers. Many mosques, especially the bigger ones, across the Kingdom allocate specific areas for mothers and children. Even if your toddler makes it impossible for you to pray, you can still enjoy the cool, spiritual ambiance of the mosque while reading the Holy Qur’an, a blessing that many women who are unable to go to mosques in certain parts of the world are deprived of.
One needs to look beyond women’s role as cooks and caretakers in Ramadan so as to enable them to entirely benefit from this blessed month. Men and other family members should introspect if their culinary expectations are depriving the women of doing more important good deeds and seeking rewards. Women’s spiritual needs and their obligations are not second to those of men. It’s high time we realize and let not this Ramadan be wasted away.
-Written by my friend Afifa Jabeen Quraishi
Originally published in Arab News
The purpose of our life is a topic that we seldom think about or it is a discussion that is put aside after occasional brief reflection. But it is extremely critical for us to know about this topic as it is having a purpose in life that pushes us to use our intellect and abilities in the right direction and it serves as a core factor to success and happiness. As Muslims, we believe that the great purpose for which we exist in this world is to worship our Lord, our Creator – Allah, Who says: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” (Qur’an, 51:56)
Indeed Allah created the creation so that they could worship Him alone, without associating any partner with Him. Whoever obeys Him will be completely rewarded, whereas whoever disobeys Him would be punished with a severe punishment. And He has informed that He is neither dependant, nor does He have any need for them. Rather, it is the creation that is in dire need of Him, in every condition and circumstance, since He is the One who creates, sustains and provides for them. Imam Ibn Katheer said: “Ibaadah (worship) is obedience to Allah by acting upon what He commands and abandoning what He forbids; and this is the reality and essence of Islam. And the meaning of Islam is: ‘istislaam’ (submission and surrender) to Allah – the Most High – along with the utmost compliance and submissiveness to Him.”
Whatever a servant of Allah does to seek His pleasure, in accordance with the Qur’an and Sunnah is Ibaadah. As Muslims we need to realize that from the conditions of our worship to be accepted by Allah, is that it needs to be sincerely for His sake. Allah says: “So whoever hopes for the meeting with His Lord let him work deeds of righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of His Lord.” (Qur’an 18:110). Similarly, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said “Indeed Allah does not look at your faces nor your wealth but He looks at your hearts (intentions) and your actions.” (Muslim) Also there is a Hadeeth Qudsi where the Messenger (peace be upon him) said that Allah said, “I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having partners. Thus, whoever does an action for someone else’s sake as well as Mine, will have that action rejected by Me to him whom he associated with Me.” (Muslim)
After sincerity the second vital condition of worship is that it should be correct and therefore acceptable to Allah. Our worship of Allah should be as He and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have commanded us. Allah says: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.” (Qur’an 47:33)
The Messenger (peace be upon him) said regarding this: “Whoever does an action which we have not commanded will have it rejected.” (Muslim) He (peace be upon him) also said “Whoever does an action (of worship) in a way different from ours will have it rejected.” (Abu Dawood)
It has been narrated that `Umar Al-Khattab once passed by the monastery of a monk. When the monk came out, `Umar looked at him and began to weep. When people asked him why he was weeping, he replied: “I remembered the statement of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, in His Book: ‘Working [hard] and exhausted. They will [enter to] burn in an intensely hot Fire.’ [Qur’an 88:3-4] So that is what has made me cry.” (Tafsir Ibn Katheer)
Hence, if an act of worship is correct but not sincere, it will not be accepted and if it is sincere but not correct it will not be accepted until it is both sincere and correct. Sincere means that nothing but the Face of Allah is sought by doing it and correct means that it is in conformity with the Sunnah.
Unfortunately, when we look around us today, we see a lot of people ignoring these two conditions; using worship as a tool to get worldly benefits or taking the way of their fathers, ancestors and other people as the yardstick of right and wrong. There exist in Muslim communities, several innovated cultural practices and beliefs which have no basis in the Qur’an and Sunnah. Innovated practices are actions like specifying words of Dhikr that are not prescribed in the Sunnah, or to say that a particular du’aa, a certain chapter/verse from the Qur’an or a specific Name of Allah should be recited a fixed number of times without any proof from the Hadith. These innovated actions also include singling out a day or night for worship and religious celebration that the Prophet (peace be upon him) or his companions never did (like the day of 12th Rabi’ ul Awwal, nights of 27th Rajab and 15th Sha’ban).
Yet, when these misunderstandings are brought to the attention of people, many respond in the exact words of the disbelievers of old times, “This is what our forefathers used to do so we will do the same.” People who make such statements should think about whether they are following the guidance of Allah or the way of the disbelievers. One of the key characteristics of Islam is the importance given to verification of information and to the prohibition of blindly following practices which are proven to be unislamic.
Islam is a complete way of life. All acts of worship that we need to get closer to Allah have already been revealed and explained to us by the Messenger (peace be upon him) who said, “I have left you upon the clear path, its night is like its day and no one deviates from it after me except that he is destroyed.”(Ahmad) This hadeeth should push us to acknowledge and accept the facts and not be careless, making our actions vain like Allah has mentioned regarding some people: “And We will regard what they have done of deeds and make them as dust dispersed.” (Qur’an 25:23) Rather let us become cautious and send something foreword for the Day of Judgment, the Day when we will be in great need for good actions, i.e., our sincere and correct Ibaadah.
Originally Published at Arab News
About three years ago I was listening to a lecture on the Magnificence of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He). The lecturer came upon this verse:
“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.”(Quran 59:21)
The scholar, Mirza Yawar Baig, then stopped for a moment, and said, “If Allah had revealed the Qur’an onto a mountain, it would have crumbled out of the awe of the words of Allah. Then what mountain has crept up into our hearts that our hearts do not even tremble at the remembrance of Allah?”
Allah (swt) Himself asks a similar question in Surah Hadeed:
“Is it not time that those who believe, that their hearts be submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has been revealed of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.” (Qur’an 57:16)
Allah (swt) is asking a question that should tug at the heart of every believer. Is it not time that the believer is moved by the words of Allah? Is it not time that when the believer comes across the mention of paradise, the believer cries to Allah seeking it? Is it not right that when the believer hears of the mention of the hellfire, the believer humbly seeks protection from it? How is it that a movie can bring believers to tears (which is fine), but the mention of the heart-breaking story of Yusuf `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him) keeps us stone hearted? Allah (swt) then gives the example of the people who were given a book themselves earlier and mentions what happened to them. A long time passed and their hearts hardened. And a hardened heart leads to a defiantly disobedient soul.
It has been a long time since the last Ramadan. Sadly, for most of us, it has meant that the quality of our good deeds has gone down. We make du`a’ (supplication), but there is no longer that fervour, that neediness that we displayed in front of Allah (swt). We were so conscious of sinning back then. Now, we let so many of our sins slide. Heart-breaking it may be, but the truth is that for many of us, over the past year our hearts have indeed gone hard. A mountain has crept up that is not humbled anymore at the remembrance of Allah (swt). But we are believers after all. While the ayah (verse) above is reprimanding us, it is still calling us believers. And in that very word lies the hope. Allah (swt) continues in the next ayah:
“Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. We have made clear to you the signs; perhaps you will understand.” (Qur’an 57:17)
The nature of the words of Allah (swt) is such that after every warning there is hope. After every reprimand there is advice. Allah doesn’t tell us about His anger or about our weaknesses such that we feel a serious bout of low self-esteem and wallow in the ocean of self-pity. Rather Allah gives warnings, mentions His punishment and scolds the believers to only remind them of their purpose and bring them back to Him. After Allah reprimanded us for the hardening of our hearts, He gives a very clear coded message. Allah (swt) is the One who gives life to the dead earth. Similarly, He is the One who can give life to our dead hearts.
Both the land and the heart are revived by what Allah (swt) sends from the sky. For the land, Allah sends rain; “And who sends down rain from the sky in measured amounts, and We revive thereby a dead land – thus will you be brought forth,” (Qur’an 43:11). For the hearts, Allah sent down the Qur’an; “O mankind, there has to come to you advice from your Lord and healing for what is in the chests and guidance and mercy for the believers,” (Qur’an 10:57).
The Qur’an is to our heart what the rain is to the land. Just like the land is revived by the rain, so are our hearts revived by the Qur’an. And what is the only thing that can actually break through a mountain? Water.
Water breaks through a mountain not because of its power, but because of its persistence. In front of us lies Ramadan, the month in which was revealed the Qur’an. There is no better time than now to start hammering at the mountain that has crept into our hearts with the water that has been sent.
The best time of the year to revive our dead heart is now. This Ramadan, let us irrigate our hearts with the Qur’an. Wherever we are with the book, let us improve our relationship with it. Perhaps we struggle to read the Qur’an. Make time to read the Qur’an more this Ramadan. Perhaps we read fluently and want to start reading a good translation of the Qur’an. Perhaps we might enroll in an Arabic course to understand the Qur’an better.
Let us heed the advice of the narration of our beloved Prophet ﷺ (peace be unto him):
“O people of the Qur’an, do not go take the Qur’an lightly. Recite it during all hours of the night and day. And spread it, beautify it and reflect upon it so that you may be successful.” (Narrated by al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman)
–Written by Raiiq Ridwan
Source: Virtual Mosque