Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists), Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,Who has taught (the writing) by the pen, Has taught man that which he knew not
[Holy Qur'an Chapter 96 Alaq 1-5]
Have you heard an old Arabic fable about a man who made friendship with the Angel of death? At the spring of their friendship the man made an unusual agreement with the Angel. He demanded that before arriving to take his soul, the Angel should send him a notice well in advance. The agreement was made. Weeks became months and months into years. One bitterly cold night, as the man sat alone thinking of his success in life, Angel of death tapped on his shoulder. “You are here too soon” the man cried out. “You sent no messenger. I thought we had an agreement!” The Angel whispered: “Dear, notice your hair, when we made friendship, it was full and black, skin was smooth, teeth were shiny, eyesight was sharp, body was sturdy and hearing was strong. Today, your hair has plenty of silver streaks; skin is wrinkled, hearing and eyesight has weakened, teeth have fallen off and body is frail. You had asked me to send one messenger but I have sent many through the years! I have kept my word. Still, didn’t you expect my arrival?”
This may be a fable, besides it holds a strong message and reality of our life.Death will be rude awakening for those who live in sluggishness, without remembering about the return journey despite the shadows fell on every luster of life. They would be panicked as the death knocks at the door. Qur’an warns that as death approaches, they are those who will plead:
“My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.” [Qura’an 63:10].
In the next verse Allah warns us that: “But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” (63:11)
In a Hadith reported by Tirmidi, Prophet (May Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) mentions: “Not a day passes upon the grave except it will say I am the home of remoteness, the home of loneliness, the home of soil, the home of worms. (Tirmidi)
Each Ramadan we meet should remind us that we are one more year closer to the inevitable reality of death. We must effectively utilize Ramadan to bring down our affection and affinity towards this mundane world. The main threes, which conquer the minds and flutter in the thoughts of a person, are food, home and sexual urge. Fasting separates these threes from us. While fasting, every believer abstains from food and physical urges. Through I’thikaaf (retreat in the masjid), believers temporarily separate themselves from the warmth of household.
Ramadan does not separate us from the ties of this world, forever. But, it powerfully reminds us about the transient nature of this worldly life. In brief, it strengthens our awareness and remembrance of the eternal life. It enables us to prepare for the big day. It purifies our life and prepares us to embrace the reality called death.
Those who live in the warmth of luxury and enjoyment would faint easily. Their hearts would be entangled by materialistic cravings. It would be grave hard for them to trot through the road of inner purity and piety. Let’s absorb the lesson of simple life, stoic thoughts, awakening death and the salvation of this life, from this Ramadan.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadu
Time is running fast. The passage of time is much faster than we could ever imagine. The guest whom we bid adieu a year back has returned to us once again. We should be mentally prepared to welcome that guest- Ramadan. We know the purpose of it’s return very well.
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported in a Hadith, “Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The five (daily) Salat (prayers), and from one Jumu’ah prayer to the (next) Jumu’ah prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals); provided the major sins are not committed”. (Muslim – Riyadussaliheen Book 1, Hadith 130)
We do not know when will we return to our Lord. Many of those whom we met, sat with us, we loved, we respected in last Ramadan, are not there with us in this Ramadan. They all returned to Allah bowing down to his decision. We have been given another gift from Allah – to be alive in one more Ramadan – to prepare ourselves to face Him with a purified mind in that unavoidable return. Welcome that Ramadan with a heart filled with happiness and contentment. Keep aside all the difficulties that we may have to pass through while adjusting our routines and lifestyles with Ramadan and embrace it with the immense happiness of being able to witness it once again.
Prophet (PBUH) said “There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained up. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months, and whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” (Sunan al-Nasaa’i Book 22, Hadith 2118).
How should we get ready to welcome this guest and derive benefit from the blessings it brings forth?
Firstly, make relationship with Allah strong. We should sincerely repent for the sins we have committed; repent to him secretly for the vices we committed secretly.
Secondly, refine our relationship with others. We should confess to our friends and near ones if we have done anything wrong to them and seek their forgiveness. We should be able to tell them: “Brother/sister if you can’t forgive me during this blessed month, Allah may not forgive me for my sins”. Our pride and arrogance should not stop us from doing this.
Thirdly, be sincere in our deeds. We should have the intention that our deeds are for the sake of Allah and should be done with revering piety or‘Taqwa’. Prophet (PBUH) has told in a Hadith that Allah does not accept anything except what was done exclusively (for Him) and for which His pleasure was sought. Islam is a religion that promised rewards even for sincere intentions. We should keep the sincerity throughout our lives in all that we do. Fasting is not for show offs. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “(Allah said), ‘Every good deed of Adam’s son is for him except fasting; it is for Me. and I shall reward (the fasting person) for it….’ (Part of hadith Sahih Bukhari Volume 7, Book 72, Number 811). Prophet told” Fasting is a shield” (Sahih Muslim Book 14, Hadith 2761). Yes, fasting is a shield, from the hell fire, from the sins. Prophet (PBUH) told “When any one of you gets up in the morning in the state of fasting, he should neither use obscene language nor do any act of ignorance. And if anyone slanders him or quarrels with him, he should say:” I am fasting, I am fasting. (Sahih Muslim, Book 14, Hadith 2759)
Fourthly, we should possess a pure heart. Prophet told pointing to heart “Taqwa is here”. There is no use of fasting if one’s heart is impure. The one who is fasting should not have a hatred or anger in his mind towards anyone. He should be able to bridle his mind. All his organs also should fast. He should be able to tie his eyes, it should see only what is allowed. His ear should not hear anything that is evil. We should engage our whole body in fasting, not just our stomach.
May Allah bless us to witness for such a Ramadan and be successful through it (Ameen).