It is the eve of the first of Ramadaan here in South Africa, 09 July 2013 and our first taraaweeh. Tomorrow will be our first sawm In-shaa-Allah. Emails, blackberry and whatsapp messages are flying across networks tonight, all wishing for a blessed Ramadaan. Indeed we are fortunate to have witnessed yet another glorious month of the Qur-aan. Yet how many of us will actually take full opportunity of this auspicious month?
“The month of Ramadaan in which was revealed the Qur-aan, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the distinction (between right and wrong).” [Surah 02/al-Baqarah, v:185]
“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa (piety).” [Surah 02/al-Baqarah, v:183]
The aim of Ramadaan is gaining nearness to Allah and Taqwaa through discipline of the self. Taqwaa is not just piety or fear of Allah but a consciousness of Allah. We should consciously ask ourselves, “Have I increased in good deeds? Have I spoken bad of someone? Have I missed some of my prayers (salaahs)? Have I skipped the recitation of my Qur-aan?”. Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said, “Whoever does not abandon falsehood in word and action, then Allah has no need that he should leave his food and drink.” [Bukhaari]. So mere fasting without conscious effort in hope of earning the pleasure of Allah will not avail anyone.
Once we have that in check we can concentrate on being steadfast and doing our good deeds sincerely for Allah alone. There are many good deeds that we find is easier for us to increase in like praying more or giving charity because our environment is more conducive for this as a hadeeth mentions that Abu Hurayrah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) as saying: “When the month of Ramadaan comes, the gates of mercy are opened, and the gates of Hell are locked and the devils are chained”. [Muslim]. For many, good deeds are not that difficult to do in this month but remaining steadfast and avoiding ostentation or “doing for show” can be a little more of a sensitive issue since this is generally only known to the one suffering from this spiritual malady. If one feels that on might suffer from this (even if one does not suffer from lack of steadfastness or boasting of ones good deeds or even the slightest feeling of “I am better than the one who does not exert in good deeds”), we should always ask Allah to protect us from the evil of our own selves (nafs) and the whisperings of the devil and keep us steadfast and sincere, because we are never too pious to fall into sin, and as such we can never be too “safe” and rest assured that we are incapable of slipping from the straight path.
Iftaar is a time where we tend to just gulp and again we are not conscious of what we put into our bodies. No one is saying leave the basbousa and pies and samoosas but exercise moderation in eating and drinking. Remember this month is a time for cleansing and purging ones system, physical and spiritual of everything undesirable. How indeed does one pray with a belly replete with food and drink barely able to bow in gratitude to His Lord?!
Let us remain united in praying taraaweeh and take advantage of the “cleansing”. We, at Ummul Hasanaat wish one and all a blessed and spiritually uplifting Ramadaan. May Allah accept our good deeds and cleanse us completely, forgive our sins and grant us nearness to Him.