In the midst of the enjoyment of a sweet moment, one wishes for time to stop and for that very moment to extend to eternity. One might express this wish while enjoying a sweet family gathering, while celebrating an achievement, or while being applauded for a performance or receiving an award. But time is like a plow, it crushes sweet moments and renders them memories one longs to relive. But alas, they only can be remembered but never relived. Take the example of an old person wishing to relive his/her youth, or a person who was once famous, calling to mind his/her days of glory! It is a fact that confining one’s moments of glory and happiness to the realm of this life would be ending up, after the years have passed, as memories clouded with the bitter taste of regret and grief. They will be often recounted and wept over, being the lost “good old days.” But, the believer has another story! The moments he/she wishes to be extended to eternity are, indeed, deeds which would elevate his/her rank in the eternal life of the Hereafter.
We were very recently on an Umrah journey. While waiting for Maghreb prayer in the Masjid Al Haram, there was this peaceful, joyful ambiance reigning over the attendees. Some were reciting the Quran, others a in circle talking, young kids studying and playing, one glowing-faced brother going around the rows, giving away bread and dates. Another brother kept filling cups with Zamzam water and handing them all around. Behind me, there was an old man in his late 80’s, I presume, with features of our far-eastern brothers. He was trying hard to read a few words of the Quran, and a teacher next to him kept correcting him softly. Listening to this broken-up recitation overwhelmed my heart with an amazing warmth! As my sight hovered over this peaceful, joyful ambiance, an unspeakable feeling overtook me, making me truly wish that this moment lasts forever. Now as I reflect on this moment, I remember that the whole ambiance I have witnessed was, in fact, a form of prayer - as the Prophet (pbuh) has taught us that waiting for the prayer is being in prayer. And it is in Al Masjid Al Haram in which the prayer is multiplied by one hundred thousand times. These types of moments are the kind of the “Nafahat,” Godly grants of mercy, helping the believer to immerse further in the path of guidance. It has actually been narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “Indeed, in the days of your life, your Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, has Nafahat (blows/grants), so be exposed to them ...”
The sweet moments the believer wishes to last for eternity are, in fact, these grants from the Most Merciful, which one needs to be mindful of and taking advantage of, in order to deepen one’s nearness to Allah (swt). Such Nafahat (grants) can be felt in a deep, long Sujud (prostration), or in a sincere supplication, or during contemplation in a time of seclusion, or in a gathering of studying the words of Allah (swt) and/or the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). They are prompted by focus and sincerity and the mindfulness of particular blessed times (i.e: during the last third of the night), places (i.e: at the masjid) and/or states (i.e: when traveling).
These sweet moments are also folded by time but, unlike the good moments that are confined to the realm of the present life, they safeguard an intrinsic effect and travel with one’s soul unto eternity. Their remembrance is a deed of gratefulness and a recharging of the will to thrive. Their remembrance revives the longing to relive them again and again, and again, inshaaAllah, in the Hereafter. The servants of Allah will be enjoying evoking such moments when gathered together in Paradise. It will occur the like of the following: “And some of them draw near to others, questioning. Saying: 'Aforetime, we were afraid (of the punishment of Allah) in the midst of our families. So Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire. Verily, We used to invoke Him (Alone and none else) before. Verily, He is Al-Barr (the Most Subtle, Kind, Courteous, and Generous), the Most Merciful.'” (52:25-28). When dying, Mu’ath Ibn Jabal was crying and said: “I am not weeping for being about to leave this worldly life, but I am weeping because I am going to be missing the fasting of the long hot days of summers, the praying during the long nights of winters, and the gathering of scholars at the circle of knowledge.” These are some of the types of the sweet moments of the righteous predecessors, the like of Mu’ath, that are wished to last for eternity …
Ramadan is around the corner. It will be coming with tremendous Nafahat, inshaaAllah. These Nafahat (grants) are sensed by the feeling of sweetness one wishes to last forever. Then, long for them and expose your being to them. Seek them in every act of worship ... You will have then an exceptional Ramadan.
May Allah (swt) make us reach Ramadan.