Ramadan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa - III

Ramadan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa - III
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… Continued 

According to some scholars fasting is a secret between the slave and his Lord. Some of them even believed that fasting is a secret whose essence no human being knows. A fasting person may break his fast in seclusion away from people’s eyes, but a true believer fasts out of sincere faith and hoping for the rewards of his Lord. He offers this act of worship to Allah The Exalted and knows that He is watching him at all times. Allah The Exalted Says (what means): {Who sees you when you arise * And your movement among those who prostrate. * Indeed, He is the Hearing, the Knowing.} [Quran 26:218-220]

The fasting believer knows that his Lord sees him wherever he is; therefore, he would never violate or invalidate his fast even if no one could see him. He endures hunger patiently, knowing that he is unable to endure the wrath of Allah The Almighty. This is what the scholars meant by fasting as a secret between the slave and his Lord and that fasting should be done out of faith. The fasting person abstains from eating and drinking out of his sincere faith in Allah The Exalted Who commands him to fast and out of his belief that it is his Lord Who forbade him from satisfying his desires while fasting.

The effect of a sound and correct fast should be translated in people’s conduct and behavior at all times. A fasting person should not undermine his fasting by doing misdeeds or unfavorable acts. In this case, such fasting entails having one’s sins forgiven. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain the rewards of Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.

Indisputably, fasting with its commendable fruits and virtues is appealing and endearing to people who possess pure hearts. People with sound and pure souls rejoice at fasting that grants them the opportunity to purify their hearts and experience an elevated state of spirituality. However, the deviated and corrupted souls see fasting as a heavy burden and wish for the month of Ramadan to end. This is a clear difference between the believers and other people. The believer wishes that Ramadan would last forever. One of the Companions  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said, “If Muslims knew what (reward) is in Ramadan, they would have hoped that the whole year was Ramadan.

Dear reader, do you see the difference?

Some of our righteous predecessors and the pious allies of Allah would consider the whole year as Ramadan. They used to carry out the same acts of worship and good deeds of Ramadan all year long. They used to fast most of the year, break their fast with the poor and if their families tried to stop them from doing that, they would express their dismay by not having dinner with them that night.

Some of them used to serve their friends the most delicious food and tend to them while fasting, out of self-discipline. Such people used to wish that Ramadan would last the whole year. They did not perform extra acts of worship in Ramadan more than they already did in Rajab or Sha‘baan; for they were active and diligent worshippers all year long. However, those who fail to grasp the significance and rationale of fasting, their hearts are not affected by its fruits. They are unable to learn its great lessons and find fasting a trying duty and a heavy burden. They would wish for Ramadan to end as soon as possible and rejoice at the end of every day that another day of Ramadan is over. Indeed, this is not a sound and correct fast. A pious fasting believer wishes that Ramadan would last longer. Many people whose hearts encompass weak faith would wish for Ramadan to end and rejoice at seeing the moon of Shawwaal, as if they got rid of a heavy burden.

We advise our brothers and sisters to ask themselves whether they are among those people or not. One should investigate the extent of the influence of this act of worship on himself/herself. If the fasting person finds that he has benefited from fasting and that he continues to carry out the acts of worship and righteous deeds after Ramadan, then he has successfully benefited from this holy month. However, if he does not carry out the same acts of worship and righteous deeds after Ramadan and continues to commit sins and misdeeds, then he has failed to benefit from fasting. Ramadan for such people was not an opportunity to attain Taqwa and they might not be rewarded for it.

Therefore, our righteous predecessors  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  them were keen to make sure that their fasting was accepted by Allah The Exalted. They used to supplicate Allah The Exalted for six months before Ramadan to enable them to live until they reach it and then benefit from it and for six months after Ramadan to accept their fasting. They were eager to perform righteous deeds and after performing them perfectly, they were concerned whether they would be accepted or not. One of the righteous predecessors  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him saw some people laughing boisterously on the day of ‘Eed. He said, “If the fasting of these people was accepted, then this is unbecoming of thankful people, and if it was rejected, then this is unbecoming of those who fear Allah The Exalted.

Bear in mind that sins and wrongdoings have repercussions, one of which is hardening the hearts! Ramadan is the month of abundant blessings and the optimal season for soft-hearted people. If you no longer have a pure heart that is free from sin, you may not be able to attain Taqwa in Ramadan. Perhaps the one who fails to savor Taqwa in Ramadan will not be able to relish it after Ramadan.

Do not make the days of Ramadan like your regular days. Instead, make them the best days of your life. You should assign greater attention to purifying your fasting [from any sin or misdeed] just like you are keen to maintain the purity and cleanliness of your clothes. Therefore, you should avoid idle talk, obscenity, vices and ill manners. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Fasting is not [abstaining] from eating and drinking only, but also from vain speech and foul language. If one of you is being cursed or annoyed, he should say: "I am fasting, I am fasting.” [Ibn Khuzaymah and Al-Haakim]

Do not be among those who were described by Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) when he said: “Perhaps a fasting person will get nothing from his fast save hunger, and perhaps the one who stands to pray at night will get nothing from his standing except sleeplessness.” [At-Tabaraani]

One should see fasting as self-training and self-disciplining experience that grounds in him the nobility of character and cultivates virtue in his heart. When Ramadan ends, one would reap the fruits of his fasting and he would have benefited from this blessed month duly.

Al-Hasan Al-Basri  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said, "Allah The Exalted rendered the month of Ramadan a track for His slaves on which they would compete in earning His Satisfaction through carrying out acts of obedience to please Him. Some may win the race and others may face failure. How strange is the laughing competitor on the day when the pious people win and the wrongdoers lose!

Dear reader, imagine that you travel to get something you need for thirty days and after reaching your destination, you return empty-handed! Imagine wasting your efforts and striving in vain. What would you do then?

Very few people care to prepare themselves before Ramadan in order to receive those blessed days with hearts that are full of hope and fear of their Lord. You should be among such wise people.

Let us implore Allah The Exalted together to enable us to witness the coming Ramadan and grant us His Mercy.

Ramadan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa - I

Ramadan: A Great Opportunity to Achieve Taqwa - II

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