With the trial of this pandemic, Ramadan is going to be, inshaaAllah, the best Ramadan so far, and that is for many reasons …
From among the first blessings bestowed upon the believers the first day of Ramadan is to break away from life's daily routine, helping us re-valorizing the gift of life entrusted to us and the abundant gifts around us and within us. This year, living the unprecedented time of the pandemic, has had an impact on our thoughts, feelings and lifestyle. It has produced an effect of feeling more humbled toward The Creator, Allah (swt). Such an impact should help us comprehend more profoundly the revelation in this following Ayah: “O, Mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (Free of all wants and needs), Worthy of all praise. If He willed, He could destroy you and bring about a new creation. And that is not hard for Allah” (35:15-17).
Eye witnessing the weakness of the whole world in this time of the pandemic, opened our minds to understanding well, that hoping for prosperity, happiness and a good life from anything except Allah (swt), is exactly as building a home like the home of the spider. Indeed, the flimsiest of homes is the spider's home. “The parable of those who take protectors other than Allah is that of the spider, who builds (for itself) a house; but verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider's house, if they but knew” (29:41).
Having said this, we believe that the situation could have been radically fatal -a complete annihilation of life on earth by a global disaster could have occurred! Allah (swt) described for us such total destruction, which had happened in previous generations: “So each We seized for his sin. And among them were those upon whom We sent a storm of stones, and among them were those who were seized by the blast [from the sky], and among them were those whom We caused the earth to swallow, and among them were those whom We drowned. And Allah would not have wronged them, but it was they who were wronging themselves” (29:40).
Therefore, look around you and say, "AlHamdulillah, the earth is still breathing and the spring around us is blooming." Every believer true to his/her faith, certainly believes that no person can ever die except by Allah's leave and at an appointed term, and believes that “… if Allah were to impose blame on the people for what they have earned, He would not leave upon the earth any creature. But He defers them for a specified term. And when their time comes, then indeed Allah has ever been, of His servants, Seeing” (35:45). Then, again say, "AlHamdulillah," a Hamd filling that which is between heaven and earth.
Eye witnessing for the first time in our life at a global scale, the lock down of the world’s economy, the staying home of the people, and the closing of the houses of worship, makes one seriously think that the saying farewell to this life can happen suddenly and at any time.
Then, think that if all your prayers in this Ramadan are performed like performing a farewell prayer, you will certainly, with the help of Allah, attain a high level of focus, getting you inshaaAllah to the long-time sought level of Ihsan.
Think also if your reading of the Quran is done with such focus to make one feel as he/she is conversing with the Most Merciful, the One he/she will be meeting soon - the taste of the reading takes then another dimension. One starts to see life through the lens of the Quran, completely convinced with the message conveyed in the following Ayah: “What is the life of this world, but amusement and play? But verily, the Home in the Hereafter - that is life indeed, if they but knew” (29:64).
Think if your action of repentance this Ramadan were to be your very last opportunity to be redeemed before getting into a situation where one would live the painful doom of the most bitter, eternal regret. Kaab Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) in his narration of the trial he went through with other two companions, expressed the very bitter and frightening feeling while awaiting for a very long fifty nights for his repentance to be accepted by Allah (swt). He felt guilty to such a degree that the earth seemed constrained to him, in spite of all its spaciousness, and his very soul seemed straitened to him. Read Allah’s favor upon them in the following Ayah: “And [He also forgave] the three who were left behind [and regretted their error] to the point that the earth closed in on them in spite of its vastness and their souls confined them, and they were certain that there is no refuge from Allah except in Him. Then, He turned to them so they could repent. Indeed, Allah is the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful” (9:118).
These noble companions felt the earth closed in on them as result of the fear to not be accepted. Today in this time of the pandemic, the earth being closed in on us is, is in fact a reality, which is imposed on us. Should we not then take it as a great, positive sign reminding us the urge to repent while the gate of repentance is still open? Should we not welcome Ramadan with the belief that there is no refuge from Allah (swt), except in Him and make this Ramadan as it is - the ultimate opportunity to be forgiven? Listen then to Allah (swt) speaking to you: “O, You who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, [on] The Day that Allah will not permit to be humiliated the Prophet and those who believe with him. Their Light will run forward before them and by their right hands, while they say, 'Our Lord! Perfect our Light for us, and grant us Forgiveness, for You have power over all things'” (66:8).
Think of your Sadaqa (charity) in this time of trial as being the last resort to prove your sincerity to Allah (swt), to prove that your reliance is indeed on Allah, not on yourself, nor on your wealth, your family, or your friends! Such a way of giving Sadaqa removes from the heart the fear of poverty and embellishes it with the virtue of contentment.
All the Hamd (grateful praise) is due to Allah (swt), who has made us witness just some of His power and Who has shown us the very obvious weakness of humankind. All the Hamd is due to Allah (swt), Who is granting us the favor to still be able to act in order to be embraced within His Mercy.
Let’s in this Ramadan work on setting the feeling of safety and peace within our souls, and keep it from being sought from the outside world. Let’s remember the noble ones who faced more challenging times, in order to be our guides to the inner peace. Remember Ibrahim (pbuh) and the trial of the fire, remember Musa (pbuh) and the hard mission of saving his people from the injustice of Fir’oun (Pharaoh), remember Nuh (pbuh) and the struggle against his people ,which has lasted nine hundred fifty years, remembering Yunus (pbuh) and the distress of being imprisoned inside the whale, remember Ayub (pbuh) and the trial of long years of illness and the loss of his children and wealth, remember Yusuf (pbuh) and the long years of his imprisonment. Remember that, despite the hard trials these noble ones went through, they never lost their inner peace, because the source of joy is truly only found in the connection with Allah (swt).
This is the way one can be true to his/her covenant with Allah (swt). This is, indeed, the ultimate objective one needs to achieve in this Ramadan. One can then wish for the greatest of all rewards, the Mercy of Allah and the eternal life in the gardens of bliss.
Let’s, then in this time of trial, multiply our efforts. Let’s make the light shine in every home and every heart, the light of good deeds, adorned with sincerity, devotion and truthfulness.