By JAVAID AHMAD WAGAY
“O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer (Salaat); for Allah
is with those who patiently persevere.”
We are Allah’s great creation! As a token of extreme respect and appreciation, the angels were asked by the Almighty Creator to prostrate in front of Adam. That was the status of ‘Man’ created by God. The angels respected and appreciated Allah’s mighty creation. Unfortunately, it was the Man who degraded himself, humiliated himself and by constantly following the Devil, ungratefully disobeyed Allah too, devaluing himself to the extent that Hell became the destination for many.
Allah is Infinite Mercy! He is full of compassion, mercy and blessings for mankind. He forgives man every time the sinning man repents and asks for Allah’s forgiveness. Ramadan is a blessed month and Allah the Almighty loves to shower His blessings and mercy on mankind during this month. Ramadan is the best opportunity to revive and consolidate our connection with the Divine. During this month, we can easily program ourselves to a discipline that is liked by our Lord Almighty and later on we can stay connected with our Creator for the rest of the year. The best way to get connected with the Almighty is to please Him by obeying His Commands and following His Revelations.
“And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer); but those who are
too arrogant to serve Me, will surely find themselves in Hell – in humiliation!” (al-Quran 40:60)
Ramadan is the best occasion to practice and continue the journey on the spiritual road. It is the best kick-start that you can get without any investment or without any extra effort. One-month journey on the road to righteousness should enable you (and facilitate you) to follow the arduous road to piety otherwise difficult. Ramadan can help you to make the ‘good deeds’ as part of your routine daily life. It can also help you to pursue the goal of piety and righteousness without any special effort. But if, unfortunately, you are unable to follow the spiritual ‘right’ path after a month of fasting in Ramadan, then it is not the fault of Ramadan (the declared month of blessings). There is something missing in you effort, in your pursuit and in your ‘connection’ with the Almighty.
Those people are very unfortunate and unlucky who have the opportunity to get the maximum benefits and Allah’s unlimited blessings during the month of Ramadan but fail to get a ticket to Paradise. Maybe, their efforts lack sincerity and honesty of purpose. They treat Ramadan as an ‘obligation’ that they ‘must’ perform otherwise other people would criticize them. Ramadan is not a social duty; neither a face-saving performance; nor is it an action to show-off. It is an opportunity to establish and consolidate your connection to Allah. All good deeds and rituals in Islam (prayer, fasting, charity, good deeds, etc.) are meant to discipline us so that we become righteous and pious. Allah makes it very clear in the Quran:
“O you believers! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that
you many learn piety and righteousness. (al-Quran 2:183)
Same thing goes for prayer (Salaat). It is supposed to make us pious and righteous so that we can stay away from evil and indecent behavior. We are supposed to glorify Allah’s name and remember Him all the time, under all circumstances. Only the remembrance of Allah can protect us from evil as it thwarts all attacks from the Devil and his friends. It’s the best shield. Allah says in the Quran:
“Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular prayer; for prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds. And remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do.” (al-Quran 29:45)
The Almighty says that the prayer (Salaat) restrains us from shameful and unjust (evil) deeds. But if it (the prayer) doesn’t do that, it is not the fault of the prayer (Salaat). It is our fault because we lack the conviction, the sincerity, honesty, concentration and devotion. There’s definitely something missing on our part. We need to be very serious, committed and devout in our prayer. We should not take it lightly. It is a very serious and important matter. Allah commands us:
“Guard strictly your (habit of) prayers (Salaat), especially the middle prayer; and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).” (al-Quran 2:238)
It is very naive to consider and perceive Islam as a ‘religion’ – a part-time ‘once-a-week’ affair that has nothing to do with our daily life affairs. That wrong concept was given to it by the evil-spirited promoters of Capitalism as well as Communism. They wanted to keep religion out of the daily lives of people because religion helps humans to connect with their Lord Creator. Religion obligates prayer and the prayer is the best way to connect.
In fact, Islam is NOT a mere religion. It is a system, a way of life that covers all aspects of our lives – social, cultural, political, financial, educational and religious. Religion is just a part of Islam. The major part concerns ‘others’ (our families, friends, neighbors, community, the poor, the needy, the less fortunate, etc.). Islam was introduced to mankind to make us pious and righteous so that we could establish a society based on social justice and equality. If we can achieve that immensely important and great objective, we would be successful in both worlds. Here’s the guarantee from the Lords of the Worlds:
“Those who believe, and do deeds of righteousness, and establish regular prayers and regular charity, will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (al-Quran 2:277)
We need to be God-conscious and God-fearing in all our worldly affairs. The fear of chastisement of Allah and the reminder of the Day of Justice should work as a perfect deterrent against evil deeds. We should be able to achieve a state where everything we do, we do it for the pleasure of Allah. Islam means to surrender or to submit to the Will of Allah. The Almighty commands us:
“Say: ‘Truly, my prayer and my service of
sacrifice, my life and my death, are (all)
for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds!”
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