â¦those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!1
Patience is inseparable from the purpose of Ramadan. Scholars mention four areas where patience is required: fulfilling acts of obedience to Allah; refraining from prohibitions; bearing trials and tribulations; and preserving oneâs heart and intellect from misguidance. Fasting allows us to exercise and develop all these types of patience.
For Days Passed By!
Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past!2
Al-Hasan al-Basri is reported to have said, âThe Hur al-'Ayn will say to a wali of Allah whilst reclining with her by a river of honey and being presented with a cup, "Allah looked upon you on a very long hot day, experiencing severe thirst and so Allah boasted about you before the Angels saying, 'Look at my slave, he has forsaken his wife, desire, pleasure, food and drink for my sake and for what is with me, bear witness that I have forgiven him!' So he forgave you that day and wed me to you".'
The fasting day is much longer this year and it will get even longer with the years to come. This creates more difficulty for everyone, especially those at work.
It is important to realise that we are all under the watchful gaze of the One who is above us all and that He is reserving our reward for us and soon enough we will find that reward with great happiness and joy.
This is a matter we should often remind ourselves of throughout the day especially when we feel the pangs of hunger; when we fast all the while being conscious that Allah is watching us, our rewards multiply.
A Private Affair
The fast is a secret between the slave and his Lord, no one knows about the difficulty and hardship the fasting person is going through except Allah. He is the one who determines the reward, and His bounty is unlimited! Allahâs Messenger said, âEvery action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times.
Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' Fasting is a type of communication with Allah just as prayer is.
It is as though we are calling out to Him, âI am only doing this action that no one knows about except for you. And this action that I do, even though I am doing it, it belongs to you.â
Striving to Win
Abu Musa al-âAshari is an example of one who came before us who truly understood the rewards and virtues of fasting and would love to increase his worship of Allah. He said, âAllah decreed upon Himself that whoever goes thirsty for Him on a hot day, that He would grant him water on the Day of Judgement.â3 Abu Musa would often fast and choose days that were hot and long.
The Highest Objective
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa (piety).4
We fast in order to attain taqwa. One scholar defined it in the following manner, âTaqwa is to act in obedience to Allah, upon a light from Allah, hoping for reward from Allah; and to abandon disobedience of Allah, upon a light from Allah, fearing punishment from Allah.â5
The Glorious Qurâan
âThe month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).â6
It is almost as though Allah is telling us that we should shift our focus and efforts during the holy month of Ramadan to reading the Qurâan. This is what some of the past scholars did as they would stop delivering lectures and answering questions.
Many of them completed it dozens of times during this blessed month. This is a great opportunity for us to become more proficient in our recitation and ponder much over the Quran.
We should read the Quran with its translation as this will help us to understand what Allah is saying to us and will aid us in learning the Arabic words that appear in the Quran often. Reading the Quran is not enough; we must understand and ponder over it.
This is why Allah said it is guidance for mankind so that we know what is right and what is wrong.
Only when we know what is being read can we take it as a source of guidance. An easy step to take in this regard is to simply select a small portion of your daily recitation and read the English whilst following the Arabic. By doing this every Ramadan one can really build up their Quranic Arabic vocabulary.
Intimacy of Tawheed
âAnd when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near. I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me. So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright.â7
This verse is among the same set that commands us with fasting; as we read the words of Our Lord and comply with what is asked from us, we should also ask Him what we need and want from Him. We should feel close to Allah in this month more so than any other month. As Allah speaks to us through his words in His book, we should speak to Allah in our supplications.
Whenever people questioned the Prophet about a matter and Allah addressed it in the Qurâan he would start by saying, âQulâ (Say) Yet, when Allah was asked about Himself as in this ayah, he did not say, âQulâ. This shows us that we do not need to go through anyone to reach Allah and ask of Him, emphasising the greatness and importance of His Oneness. This also shows us how close Allah is to us.
Allah also expresses His nearness to us by attaching the slave to Himself, âAnd when My slave asks you.â This also shows the great heights a human being can reach by being a slave of Allah.
Other verses refer to the slave as though they are distant and many, whilst here the slaves are being addressed as being near and as one individual.
So we know how close Allah is to us and that He promised to respond to His slave. Now imagine that this slave is fasting and the Prophet has told us that the supplication of the fasting Muslim will not be rejected!8.
The bounties and opportunities of Ramadan are many and unlimited yet the number of days we have to take advantage of it are few and limited.
Let us make this Ramadan different to all our previous ones. They say that actions speak louder than words, so let your actions (worship) therefore be as though you are speaking to your Lord.
Source: Dr. Haitham al-Haddad [External/non-QP] [External/non-QP]
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