By: Hana Hassan, 6th Year Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University
Throughout history, men continue to hold their undying legacy for being forgetful. Aye, indeed. We tend to forget things here and there. One that I would like to specifically pull your attention to is as a matter of fact, something that we should NOT have forgotten in the first place. No, it is not about us forgetting to turn the stove off, as critical of an offence that could be. Nay, it is something much greater than that.
The failure of the remembrance of Allah.
If you are a Muslim, you should know by now that we have a goal of wanting to remember God at ALL times because the result of doing so is it makes us remember the commands of Allah. The benefits of this one, simple act is astoundingly stupefying; just like a web, how remembering one thing interconnects and can unlock the many doors towards righteousness. Hands down, remembering Allah can only do us good.
Despite knowing the undoubted gains of amr ma’ruf wa nahyl munkar (doing good and forbid the evil), again and again, we keep on being lured and trapped into the false temptations of satan and the dunya. The devil works in a slickly manner. They tempt us with things we love so they can steal our time from developing a relationship with Allah and the rasul s.a.w. They make it so that the ibadah of Allah feels like an ordeal to each individuals. Foods, entertainments, gossips, excessive rest and mindless chatters. Are these not the things keeping us from spending more time with Allah s.w.t?
Allah al-alim, al-hakeem recognises these distractions that keeps his servants from getting close to him thus devises a special month designed to cast these temptations aside, allowing those who obeys his specific instructions to reach the sweet, fruitful taste of iman.
“The month of Ramadhan (is that) in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. ….. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and (wants) for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.”
[Quran 2: 185]
In the holy months of Ramadhan, we are refrained from the temptations mentioned earlier. Food and drinks are the most basic demands of the human body. The reason why we go out to work from the break of dawn till before sunset is so that we can get those bread and butter to feed our family. The outcome of eating not only gives you the physical drive for your body to work but also gives you the emotional feel of satisfaction from a filled stomach.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient”
[Quran 2: 155]
Being deprived from this powerful need, we can’t help but to think of hunger. Through this, God is pulling our attention and is trying to remind us. Now, once this feeling of hunger has been established, He is enabling us to ponder and communicate with the many righteous principles that had been instilled within ourselves, waiting to be fully put use.
Narrated Abdullah: We were with the Prophet while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah’s Apostle said, “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.”
[Sahih Bukhari: Book 62, Hadith 4]
The hadith above illuminates how hunger is not the only thing to withstand from during fasting. It has a powerful effect of training us to be patient. We are to abstain ourselves not only from food and water, but also from many other less productive acts as mentioned earlier.
Patience from uttering pointless matters.
Patience from watching fruitless entertainments.
Patience from indulging in luxurious splendours.
And of course, patience from gratifying gluttonous appetites.
One of the best and effective method in trying to achieve empathy is by letting one experience a certain circumstance themselves. Through fasting, one can easily feel what the less fortunate feels and what better month than this to make people realise the importance of zakat and sadaqah.
Rather than giving excuses like “I’m sorry I can’t do that, I’m fasting”, one of the objectives of the month of Ramadhan is to train ourselves to conform or to tailor our daily schedules so that we can still function well during fasting seasons. What we can get from this is how Allah s.w.t. is trying to point out that we should learn how to plan well and adapt when things are not going to plan.
Remember how much we used to complain when we first learned to fast during our younger years?
Remember how kind and cosy the bed was and how the eyelids refuses to be apart during suhur?
Remember how inconceivably long taraweeh prayers took to finish?
See, we weren’t always like this. Everything seems better and easier now after years of practise. Just like the many ibadahs of Allah, fasting is an approach that was decreed upon us with the purpose of training us for the better; physically, emotionally and spiritually. Most of us, when we were a child, we did not immediately start performing an ibadah because we felt the importance of it. It was more of a ritual at start. But with time, the understanding and love grew. So ignore those who call you a hypocrite. The bigger the change, the better.
This is the time for us to enhance our relationship with God.
This is the time for us to change ourselves for the better.
This is the time for us to care for more than ourselves.
This is the time for change.
“O ye who believe! Eat of the good things wherewith We have provided you, and render thanks to Allah if it is (indeed) He Whom ye worship.”
[Quran 2: 172]
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.”
[Quran 2: 156]
Last but not least is the remembrance towards this one phrase; “Alhamdulillah”. From all the things that has been happening in our lives, what God wants is for his servants to rely on him, to think back and say their thanks to him for all the rizk and baraka that he has showered us at every second.
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.”
[Quran 2: 183]
Those with the mentality that the month of Ramadhan is some kind of burden, please, change that. We are not the only creations that are being tested by God. Apart from us, the animals, plants, the seas and the skies are all being tested in their own way. Like how a land is deprived from water and goes through drought for far longer years than what we go through. But when rain comes, the land rejoices and sprouts again while bidding their thanks to the all powerful creator with a heartfelt “Syokr Alhamdulillah”.
Ramadhan comes every year. It is up to us whether we want to embrace the golden opportunity laid out in front of us or to simply let it slip. Let it be known that it brings absolutely no difference to God whether we take up this special offer of his or not for the one who is at loss here is nobody but ourselves. Take it or leave it.