Ramadhan: A Month of Sincerity

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blue Mosque, Shah Alam, Malaysia

Welcome to Ramadhan.

It is the month when we abstain from things like food and water daily from dawn to dusk. The average person would probably find that daunting but us Muslims actually look forward to Ramadhan and we love it for many reasons. For example, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) received his first divine revelation during the month of Ramadhan. It is also when the gates of Hell are shut and the gates of Heaven are opened. Families and communities come together in anticipation of iftar (a meal to break the fast) and then they pray taraweeh (night prayers performed especially in Ramadhan) in the mosque.  However, a Muslim can be exempted from fasting if he or she is physically unfit or unable to fast (e.g. a pregnant or breast-feeding mother) but for the rest of us, fasting is obligatory as it is one of the pillars of Islam. All in all, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar is a time of spiritual uplift because we focus on a personal struggle to conquer our desires and weaknesses.

Fasting is not easy but most of us make a special effort to be better Muslims during Ramadhan because we know the significance of this month and the benefits of fasting. Or do we? While I agree with those who say that it results in spiritual and physical detox, a better sense of self-control and a greater appreciation of simple daily pleasures that we often take for granted, we must always remember that God has succinctly told us in the Holy Qur'an regarding the true purpose of fasting in Islam.

“O you who believe! Observing the fast is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become God-fearing.” {Surah Al Baqarah, verse 183}

What does it mean to be God-fearing or in other words,  to have taqwa? It is to be conscious of Allah swt, the Ever-Living and Ever-Present; because even though we can't see Him, God can certainly see us and He is aware of everything that we are thinking, feeling and doing. He knows our intentions - the ones we make obvious and the ones that are deep within our hearts.  We may not realise it but sometimes we can get our intentions mixed up and in Islam our deeds are judged according to our true intentions.

“When the Day of Resurrection comes, Allaah, Blessed is He and the Most Exalted, will come down to judge between His slaves, and every nation will be kneeling. The first ones to be called forth will be a man who learned the Qur’aan by heart, a man who fought for the sake of Allaah, and a man who had a lot of wealth. Allaah will say to the Qur’aan-reader, ‘Did I not teach you that which I revealed to My Messenger?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord.’ He will say, ‘What did you do with that which I taught you?’ He will say, ‘I used to read it night and day.’ Allaah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘Rather you wanted it to be said that So and so is a reader of Qur’aan, and that is what was said.’ 
When the wealthy man will be brought forth, and Allaah will say to him, ‘Did I not give you ample provision so that I did not leave you in need of anybody?’ He will say, ‘Yes, O Lord.’ He will say, ‘What did you do with that which I gave you?’ He will say, ‘I used to uphold the ties of kinship and give in charity.’ Allaah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘Rather you wanted it to be said that So and so is generous, and that is what was said.’
Then the one who was killed for the sake of Allaah will be brought forth and Allaah will say to him, ‘Why were you killed?’ He will say, ‘I was commanded to fight in Jihaad for Your sake, so I fought until I was killed.’ Allaah will say to him, ‘You have lied,’ and the angels will say to him, ‘You have lied.’ Allaah will say, ‘You wanted it to be said that So and so was courageous, and that is what was said.’” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) struck my knee and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, these three are the first of the creation of Allaah who will be dragged into the Fire on the Day of Resurrection.”
{Narrated and classed as hasan by al-Tirmidhi, 2382; classed as saheeh by Ibn Hibbaan, 408, and Ibn Khuzaymah, 2482}

When I first read the above hadith it made me realise that having pure intentions is a matter that is not taken lightly in the sight of Allah subhana wa taala. It's scary to think that riya' (showing off) can nullify our good deeds and that means we have to be very careful with our intentions. So where does fasting fit in the midst of all of this? Fasting is an ibadah (act of worship) which is truly special because only Allah swt knows whether you fasted or not and if you did it with the purest of intentions. Therefore fasting is a really good way of teaching us how to worship God with complete sincerity thus strengthening our relationship with Him.

"Every (good) deed of the son of Aadam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundred fold reward. Allaah The Almighty said,‎‎ ‎'With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give reward for it.’" {Sahih Muslim} {from The Secret of Fasting}

InshaAllah, this Ramadhan will be a month of sincerity for all of us and alhamdulillah, we've been given another opportunity to experience this blessed occasion so let's make the best of it because we don't know for sure if we'll be lucky enough to be alive next Ramadhan, do we?

Ramadhan Mubarak everyone! May Allah subhana wa taala continuously increase our iman and accept our good deeds in this month and the years to come. Ameen.

4 comments:

bosnishmuslima said...

Ameen to your dua! Beautifull post on this topic...Wish you a blessed Ramadan <3

Xiet_Enigma said...

Salam Ramadhan Kareem Sis,
May Allah bless us all :P

Salma @ Chasing Rainbow said...

Ramadan Kareem and thanks for the wonderful post and dua.

Nur said...

Ramadan Mubarak!