June 21, 2017

This blessed month of Ramadan

This is a very blessed month indeed! Just think of the blessings Allah SWA gave us! An opportunity to redeem our sins; accumulate huge multiples of merit for every good that we do. He closed the doors of Hell and opened wide the doors of Heaven. He gave us the opportunity to review our character and change our negatives into positives. In fact it’s our annual chance to cleanse ourselves from the grime of the past year. What benevolence and what mercy!  But procrastination may just bust that chance. Who knows if we will be alive for the next Ramadan. This is all the more reason we need to use the chance even now in these closing days of this holy month. In local Maldivian parlance we say “vehey iru fen nagaashey” yes, collect water when it rains (it will not be available when it stops).

What benefit of a cleaner soul did we get after all these years of fasting? What is the true meaning of fasting? It is a month of worship and the expression of our charity and a time to feel with the hunger of those not as fortunate as us so that we acquire some sense of humility and open our eyes to the blessings we have as opposed to the pittance many others have. It's certainly not one of fun and games (but Satan has left us deluded to its merits and so we stud Ramadan's days and nights with entertainment). Ramadan is also viewed as a month when we eat too much and waste too much of it and we waste the valued entity of time when we should be using this time to remember Allah and think of others and thus investing in the hereafter which by the way will get us fully assured dividends in the Hereafter like no worldly investment can. This is Allah's SWA guarantee. This is the month of charity and this charity must be like a breeze of fresh air that would affect everyone (as the Prophet SAW so cogently said.

Please realize that we will not even get close to what we truly want without making sacrifices in life. We must give and give of what we also still want. Giving old clothes does not constitute charity in Islam. What we give must be of good quality; those that we still find difficult to part with. Best of all, Ramadan has always been the month of personal transformation for the better. This month Shaitan has a lesser hold on us and so it should be easier for us to parry evil advances. Personal transformation comes in different ways. The following is a good vignette.

A Bulgarian couple touring Turkey in 1995 found themselves one day after missing their bus, in an isolated rural setting where there seemed no one within miles. It was just about sunset and soon to get dark. With no other option but walking on to see what they can find, they ventured along. As the light dimmed and darkness shrouded, they spied a flicker of light in the distance. With renewed hope they trekked towards it. Soon they came upon a poor dwelling; they knocked on the door; after a while the creaky door opened, doe-like pair of eyes peered, and was slowly invited in. Five members of a poor family - the parents and three children - sat in silence in the dimly lit room. The tourist couple explained their plight and sought to find a hotel nearby where they could spend the night. To their surprise the man invited them to stay the night and for them to look for other means the next day. With flowing gratitude the couple thanked the man but asked the man where the family would sleep instead. In the next room the man had said. In the morning the couple found that that the family was not to be found and there was no other room. This was just a one room shack of an abode. They opened the creaky front door to check the surroundings. What they saw moved them to tears. Under a tree nearby they all lay, the children still huddled in sleep and the parents waiting for their front door to open. They had given the relative comfort of their home to two strangers and roughed out the night in the cold.

The couple was so moved by this event that they reflected deeply about this bighearted sacrifice and the tenets of this alien religion to them called Islam. The poor man had shown the sample behavior of true god-fearing Muslims to some other human beings. After spending much research into Islamic literature and its teachings, their conviction was confirmed and they entered into the fold of Islam. Their more than two decades of work since has by now brought in reverts to Islam in several hundreds. This is the miracle of how Allah works to bring light into people's hearts. The good that people do makes its rounds in unending perpetual cycles.

With the waning days Ramadan, I hope every one of us has found in themselves a reform of sorts however small it might have been. Take heart, what remains will still be transformed. InshaaAllah we will see it in a next Ramadan. May Allah SWA bless us all!

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