Naureen Aqueel

Spring is near!

Posted on: August 31, 2007

Published in The News, Iqra page, August 31, 2007.

Spring heralds a season of happiness, joy and colour—a time when nature is in full bloom. One such season is about to dawn upon us. However, this is not the spring of nature but the spring of Islam or the spring of good deeds—the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the month of blessings; the month of greatness; the month of kindness and good deeds; the month of patience; the month of charity; the month of mercy, forgiveness and freedom from the Hell Fire; the month of the revelation of the Quran and the month of the blessed night of Laylat-ul-Qadr. With so many positive words used to describe this month, it would be a loss indeed to miss it and let it pass by like any other month.

Ramadan is the month when the Quran was revealed.

This month brings with it feelings of joy, peace and spirituality which cannot be expressed in words. It is in this month that the spirit of Islam blossoms to its absolute best. Good deeds and acts of kindness dot this month like flowers in a lush garden. Things that we don’t normally do throughout the year, we do eagerly during Ramadan. An unexplainable aura of spirituality fills the air, and most muslims, whether very religiously inclined or not, can feel it. Every moment of this month carries with it such great treasures of excellence and blessings that voluntary good deeds (nawafil) reach the ranks of obligatory deeds (faraiz) and the (reward of) obligatory acts becomes seventy times greater. (Baihaqi)

It is in this blessed month that we received the great blessing of the Holy Quran and the blessing of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) as the Messenger of Allah (swt). And not only this. In this month lies another treasure more valuable than thousand months of effort and all the wealth we could amass in them—the blessed night of Laylat-ul-Qadr which is described in the Quran as better than a thousand months.

Ramadan is basically the month of fasting as fasting is made compulsory during this month. Allah says in the Quran:

“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa.” (Al-Baqarah:183)

Fasting is one form of ibadah that is unique from all others

Abu Huraira (ra) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “ The reward for every good deed of a person is increased by ten to seven hundred times (according to the intention and sincerity); but in respect of the reward for fasting Allah proclaims: “Fasting is for Me and I, Myself shall bestow the reward. The person who fasts forgoes his desires, eating and drinking for My sake. He will be entitled to two kinds of delights: one at the time of breaking the fast and the other at the time of meeting his Lord” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Many ahadith of the Prophet (s.a.w) emphasize on the fact that the one who is deprived of the blessing of Ramadan is indeed unfortunate. At one instance the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) is reported to have said ‘Ameen’ to Jibrael’s (a.s.) prayer for destruction for the one who witnesses Ramadan but does not have his sins forgiven. (Hakim)

The Prophet (s.aw) used to prepare his companions before the coming of Ramadan to benefit fully from the treasures this month has to offer. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; a month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast, shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.” (Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah)

Now imagine: if you were told that there is a sale somewhere and that your most needed items and most favourite things are available there at the lowest rates and in great quantities, would you not race to avail this opportunity? Would you not spend the night planning all you want to get and then spend the next day shopping and then try to stuff as many things in your car as possible? Maybe you would even hire a bigger vehicle to fit in all that you want. You would cancel routine plans, arrange alternate replacements for tasks in which you are needed but dare you miss this opportunity!

Now compare this to the excellent month that is about to dawn upon you with all its treasure trove of blessing being showered each day and each moment. Abu Huraurah (r.a) related that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: “On the very first night of Ramadan, the Satan’s and rebellious jinns are chained. The doors of Hell are closed; not a single one of these is left open. Whereas all the doors of paradise are opened, not a single one of these is left closed. And a proclaimer (angel) announces, “O seeker of goodness! Advance and do not delay. O seeker of evil, halt!” And in every night of Ramadan, Allah liberates people from Hell.” (Ibn Majah)

To gain maximum benefit from this month we must make effort, plan and prioritize and try to manage our time in such a way as to capitalize on its every moment. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Whoever fasts in Ramadan with faith and seeks Allah’s pleasure and reward will have his previous sins forgiven.”

Complete pending tasks, get over with Eid shopping, prepare in advance for those fancy meals (possibly by preparing and freezing items used in Ramadan) to minimize time spent in other activities. Get everything done before this month arrives! And plan the best use of your time. During Ramdan, be sure to take out some time to understand the Quran and learn about the life the Prophet (s.a.w) in addition to other acts of worship.

So, as the doors of the heavens open for the shower of blessings, we must prepare the land in order for it to produce the best fruits…Let’s sow our seeds and pray to Allah to give us the opportunity to reap the greatest benefit and then do our best.

Are you ready?

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