Monday, October 22, 2007

Post Ramadhan worship

Alhamdulilah the month of Ramadhan has completed for another year, and we move
on to the month of Shawaal.

The previous month saw the Mosques full of people worshipping Allah (SWT) in the day and night, millions of Muslims the world over sacrificed their time and energy to seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT), praying the Taraweeh Salaat, doing Itikaaf, making Umrah whilst fasting all the while. Ramadhan is a month of great blessing, and a time when all Muslims openly enjoin in the good deeds, however, the good deeds need not stop at the end of Ramadhan.

Islam is a Universal religion and ideology, with all rules for all people. Its absence in implementation in society though has led to the prevalence of non- Islamic pproaches to deal with the Muslims conduct. Consequently the Muslim community and countries are affected by various concepts that dilute Islam. One of these is the compartmentalisation of Islam to certain time periods. Hence in Ramadhan many people openly practice the rules of Islam, fasting, attending the mosque for Taraweeh prayers and Qiyam, reading the quran etc, yet after Ramadhan for many there is little adherence to the Deen. Even though practicing these actions beyond Ramadhan can also yield reward in the hereafter. For example Fasting in the month of Shawwal is a highly recommended action: Abu Ayyoub reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan and then follows it by fasting six days during the month of Shawwaal will be rewarded as if he had fasted the entire year." [Related by Muslim, at-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood and Ahmad by way of Jabir].

Likewise fasting on the day of `Arafah (9th Dhual- Hijjah) is also recommended. This is for those who are not performing the Hajj (pilgrimage). Abu Qatadah said : the Messenger of Allah, (saw), said: "Fasting on the day of `Arafah is an expiation [of sins] for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it and the fasting the day of `Aashuraa' [10th of Muharram] is an expiation for the year preceding it." [Muslim, an-Nasa'i, Ibn Majah, Abu Dawood].

Furthermore, Abu Dharr Al-Ghifaari said: "The Messenger of Allah (saw), said "Whoever fasts from every month three days, it is like fasting the whole year, then Allah revealed what backs this in His book "Whoever comes with a good deed, he is rewarded ten folds", one day for ten." [Ibn Majah and at-Tirmithi].

And Abu Dharr Al-Ghifaari said: "The Messenger of Allah (saw), said: "O Abu Dharr! if you fast three days of every month, then fast the 13th, the 14th and the 15th [these are call the al-ayaam al-beedh, the white days]". [Note these are dates of the Islamic Month!] [Ahmad, an-Nasaa'i and at-Tirmithi; Sahih]

These ahadith clearly show that the recommendations to fast are not restricted to certain periods, but extend all year round.

Likewise the other good actions should not be saved only for Ramadhan, but should be extended all year round. So the believer should not wait for certain times or periods to be good in his choice of actions but should take every opportunity to gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT).

Abu Hurairah reported: Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning, and would sell his Faith for worldly goods." [Muslim].

Abu Hurairah reported: Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Hasten to do good deeds before you are overtaken by one of the seven afflictions.'' Then (giving a warning) he said, "Are you waiting for such poverty which will make you unmindful of devotion; or prosperity which will make you corrupt, or disease as will disable you, or such senility as will make you mentally unstable, or sudden death, or Ad-Dajjal who is the worst expected absent, or the Hour, and the Hour will be most grievous and most bitter.” [At-Tirmidhi].

On the authority of Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah said, "Do not envy one another; do not inflate prices one to another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from one another; and do not undercut one another, but be you, O servants of Allah, brothers. A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim: he neither oppresses him nor does he fail him, he neither lies to him nor does he hold him in contempt. Piety is right here-and he pointed to his breast three times. It is evil enough for a man to hold his brother Muslim in contempt. The whole of a Muslim for another Muslim is inviolable: his blood, his property, and his honour."[Muslim]

On the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (saw) said, "Whosoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the grief's of the Day of Judgment. Whosoever alleviates [the lot of] a needy person, Allah will alleviate [his lot] in this world and the next.

Whosoever shields a Muslim, Allah will shield him in this world and the next. Allah will aid a servant [of His] so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, without tranquillity descending upon them, mercy enveloping them, the angels surrounding them, and Allah making mention of them amongst those who are with Him. ''Whosoever is slowed down by his actions will not be hastened forward by his lineage." [Muslim]

All these ahadith which cover the conduct of a Muslim clearly push him to hasten to do the goodactions and avoid the bad actions, and this applies all year round, to the young and to the old. For all are accountable to Allah (SWT). There is no concept in Islam of periods of good versus bad, so the idea where people think they can avoid Islam and it rules all year except in Ramadhan is a false one. Yet this idea is promoted by those who hold the secular view. This compartmentalisation of Deen emanates from secularist view which separates spiritual issues from other issues, so whilst all spiritual orientated activity is to be kept pure, there is no limit to the corruption of the non-spiritual activity. So away from the Mosque or Ramadhan it is encouraged upon the Muslims to engage in the corruption.

One example of this was the attempted staging of the Miss World Beauty contest which was to be held in Nigeria in Ramadhan, but organisers fearing a backlash from the Muslim population postponed it for later. The backlash happened anyway due to other reasons, and Muslims of the Nigeria aired their opposition to holding the event not just in Ramadhan but at all. Later the contest was moved out of the country.

Similarly in the Western Societies the Muslims are encouraged to practice Islam as individuals, but maintain a Western political outlook when dealing with non-spiritual matters, so when a Muslim in the West wants to get a job or start a business his criteria judging what is correct is what his mind says is correct and not what Islam says is correct.

This is in spite of the clear evidences in Islam guiding the believer to judge only with Islam. Allah (swt) says in Sura An-Nisa, "But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission."[TMQ An-Nisa: 65]

Thus all actions whether they be worships or actions related to working need to be in accordance to what the Shari'ah has brought down and consequently there is no concept of choosing to live by a non-Islamic viewpoint followed by periods of extra worship in the Holy month.

Rather at all times the Muslim is advised to live by the guidelines of Islam, and in certain periods he is guided to do more than he is already doing. The listed ahadith clearly show the encouragement and potential reward for following the deen. Unlike the western mindset, the Islamic outlook shapes the persons actions according results in this and the following life. It is only by following Islam in this life that a believer can expect to succeed in the next.

Allah (SWT) says in Sura An-Nisa: "And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace" [TMQ An-Nisa :69]

All the actions a Muslim engages in today impact his next life. Whereas in the Western mindset there is no engagement of what is the consequence of their actions in the next life. Rather the objective for such a person is simply seeking pleasure for one self. Regardless of the consequences, and the impact of the action upon others. Hence it is acceptable to exploit other people or even other nations with such an outlook, and the exploitation of others is prevalent. One such example of this is the use of the infamous sweatshops in the third world, which exploit people to work under harsh conditions and for minimal wages to produce products that are sold to high paying consumers in the western world.

Conversely the Muslim should engage in his actions to purely seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT), by following the Shari'ah he not only acts in accordance to onsequences in the following life, but also acts in a just way in this life.

Allah (SWT) says in Sura An-Nisa: "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well Acquainted with what you do." [TMQ An- Nisa: 135]

On the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah, among the sayings he relates from his Lord is, "Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones." Then he explained it [by saying that]: "He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not one it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed."[Bukhari, Muslim]

May Allah guide us to that which pleases Him and establish us firmly upon the True Deen.

Asim Khan
Khilafah Magazine December 2002

No comments: