By Imam Ahmad Hamid
Eidul Fitr (1439 AH), which is on the frist day of Shawwal, may probably be on Friday May 15. This means we will have Salatul Eidul Fitr and Salatul Jumauh. It is customary for us to say farewell to Ramadan. To do this let us personify Ramadan that offered the key to the Door of Ar-Riyan. Ramadan has been an honorable guest in our homes. In this month, fasting is highly emphasized and it is obligatory on all adult Muslims with a few exceptions. Allah has put a number to the rewards (27 times, 70 times, more than 1000 months) for whatever we do to please Him. However, for fasting there is no number and no means to quantify the rewards. This is left totally to the discretion of God. He would personally reward those who fast.
Let us quickly reflect for a few moments upon our successes and failures generally and specifically. Ramadan came as a blessing and as a test from God so that we can prove to ourselves the degree of our faith and our trust in Him. When we fail, what do we do? Do we give up or try again? A failure makes us stronger, more determined, because we learn from our mistakes. Getting up from a fall and trying again is a sign of faith and hope that Allah will give us what is best for us in this world and the next.
Muslims have hopes, and dreams of success. Older Muslims may say farewell to Ramadan with sadness. The passing of this Ramadan means so much to Muslims in their twilight years, the refugees, in war torn countries, the bed-ridden, those suffering from ailments, and those with calamities. The hearts of senior Muslims burst into tears because of the high probability they may not have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of another Ramadan. They are not afraid of death. They suffer the sorrow that they may need the blessings of another Ramadan to get them across Pulsiraat (Bridge to Paradise).
Younger Muslims may operate according to the laws of averages: they expect to see many more Ramadans, and make a pledge that they will make up for any deficiencies in future Ramadans. Many will be unable to honor those pledges. Once we miss the blessings of one Ramadan, they cannot be regained no matter how many Ramadans we experience.
For all of us, young and old, this is a real farewell. It is not just goodbye or the formality of a “See you later” attitude. Next year may find us not as strong and healthy. Some may find it difficult to go to a Masjid while others would have passed away. Let us make dua to Allah to shower His mercy upon us, forgive us our sins, and save us from the sickness of old age.
Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith: ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. (Q3:193)
Our submission and obedience measure our closeness to Allah and His Messenger. If we really look within our soul, we shall see the type of person that we really are. Ramadan is a month of personal sacrifices, abstention, blessings, forgiveness, and freedom from the hell fire. We have struggled to increase our faith, and develop strength to overcome our temptations. Food and drink were the least of our problems. We had to resist all forms of pleasures. Ramadan is the month of strict discipline and training to acquire the strength, courage, and faith to face the challenges for the next eleven months.
Did we make any resolutions before or during Ramadan? This is one way to judge and measure our achievements. Examine our failures and the extent to which they have affected our lives. Were our dreams shattered and our hopes crumbled into the dust? Life is like a linear line; it is progressive. We cannot undo what we have done, but we can definitely help to build a bright future. We make and break our destiny. That is why Ramadan comes with the key to Jannah. It brings unimaginable and limitless gifts for those who are willing to grab them. It is an opportunity to make a fresh start and to become strong.
We can recall very easily taking suhur early in the morning, and the attack of sleep during Taraweeh prayers or when driving home from work in the evening. After Ramadan, the body and mind will once again have to adjust to regular daily routines. We have to be resolute and benefit from the training we experienced in the month. Ramadan came with the message that we must guard our tongue, clean our hearts, and constantly make dua seeking forgiveness.
“Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah,
Lord of the worlds.” (Q6:162)
We cannot afford to allow all our days of fasting, prayer, charity, sacrifices, and the gains we have made go waste. Differences, disputes, suspicions, and hot words blacken the heart and soul and rob us of the Barakah of Ramadan. We have to assert ourselves as qualified recipients of the gifts of Ramadan. Let us live in hopes and die in submission to God’s will.
God loves us and that is why he ordained fasting, the payment of Zakaah and Zakaat Al-Fitr. He continuously grants us an opportunity to gain His forgiveness. Let the heart and soul be subdued and bow to the will of Allah. Purify our thoughts and make our actions count to gain the mercy, blessings, and forgiveness of Allah.
Do not forget to pay your Zakaat Al Fitr/Sadqatul Fitr. You can pay that today. Don’t wait until Eid Day to do it. You will be in a rush. The Sadqatul Fitr is meant only for the poor so that they can make Eid a happy and joyous day. They will be waiting for your charity to celebrate Eid. Giving it a bit late will not have the same effects as giving it early. The celebration of Eid by the poor and needy must be on the same day like ours. Do all that is within your powers to make Eid a happy occasion for them. Invite your friends and relatives. Visit friends and relatives to celebrate the festival.
Let us make the most of the remaining days of Ramadan. Let us pray to enjoy the blessings of Lilatul Qadr which are greater than 1000 months (limitless). Spend some time in the Masjid in acts of Ibadaat. Bring your family, oldest to the youngest, to the Masjid. Allow them to enjoy the experience of spending time in the Masjid praying. They will never forget this experience. Bring them during the odd nights.
“When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me. Let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way. (Q2:186)
Let us make preparations for Eidul Fitr. Take leave for Eid. Politely ask your boss for leave for the day. Don’t go to the Masjid then rush to get out or anxiously and wish the Imam cut short his Khutbah. There are others who came specifically to enjoy the day and spend time in the Masjid; exchange greetings, meet friends and relatives, and even to share delicacies. Make Eid the best day of your lives with gifts, feasts; decorate your home with fairy lights; organize a family reunion. However, you must remember the poor, needy, and distressed.
I ask Allah to bless all of us, and accept the efforts of every one of us in the struggle to gain Jannah. I ask Allah to light up our lives with His blessings, mercy, and guidance. May He make us successful in this world and the next, and make us love more the Akhirah than the pleasures of this Dunya.
The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.