Our state after Ramadan

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A man reads the Koran in a mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, in Benghazi, Libya, in this July 03, 2016 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 July 2016

Our state after Ramadan

The true Muslim is the one who fears Allah; who practices good deeds and avoids committing sins and faults. He sticks to this and makes this a way of his life until he dies. Therefore, the seasons of the good increase his diligence in worship, his keenness on obedience and accustoming himself to the good. If these times are passed, their effects will be represented in his life as lively pictures, a tangible reality, and a perceivable concrete deed.

Farewell Ramadan
We have bid farewell to an honorable month and a great season. We fasted during daytime and prayed in nights, convenient to us. We recited the Holy Qur’an, increased our zikr (remembrance or Allah) and supplications and gave charity generously.
Moreover, we got nearer to Allah through performing acts of closeness to Him, hoping for His rewards and fearing from His punishment. How much efforts we exerted, got our bodies tired, made our hearts filled with Allah’s fear, raised hands in supplication and shed tears. Ramadan is the perfect month for seeking His mercy and forgiveness and seeking emancipation from the Hellfire.
This blessed month passed as a spiritual dreams; it passed with its blessings and benefits. This month passed from our age as a witness either for our good deeds or against us with what we performed during it. Everyone should open his book of account and see, what he had done. How his deeds affect his work and behavior. Have we adopted every possible means for (Allah) accepting (our deeds) after it? Did everyone continue performing good deeds or is the reality of people is opposite to that?
Did we follow the footsteps of the righteous ancestors? Those whose hearts were afraid and souls were sad when the month of Ramadan passed; as they feared that their good deeds would not be accepted. Therefore, they used to increase their supplications after the month of Ramadan to have their deeds accepted. Allah Almighty says: “And those who give that (their charity) which they give (and also do other good deeds) with their hearts full of fear (whether their alms and charities have been accepted or not), because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning).” (Qur’an, 23:60)
Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, asked the Messenger of Allah, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, about the people of this verse, “Are they those who commit adultery, drink wine and steal?” He answered, ‘No, O daughter of As-Siddiq! But they are those who fast, perform prayer, give charity, and fear that this is not accepted from them.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Moreover, Allah Almighty says, “Verily, Allah accepts only from those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (Qur’an, 5:27)
Each wise Muslim should look at his condition, think of his matters, and recognize the signs of gain and loss after practicing the deed. The most important sign is continuing to do the righteous deed and follow the good deed by performing another.
The one whose condition is better after Ramadan than his state before it, as he hastens to perform good deeds, is keen on performing the acts of obedience, preserves attending Friday prayer and congregational prayers, this will be a good sign that his deeds are accepted, Allah willing. In addition to the previous, he should be repentant, regretful, straight, righteous, and far from sins.
On the other hand, the one whose condition after Ramadan is the same as his condition before it, even if he got closer to Allah in this month, he will turn to his heels, return to committing sins. In addition, he will abandon good deeds commit what Allah forbids, miss prayers, and follow his lustrous desires. Moreover, he will not guard his hearing, vision, organs, sayings, deeds, and his money from the prohibited matters. This person will be more far from Allah, we seek refuge with Allah form that.
It is strange that the followers of this religion misunderstand the rituals of Islam. Thus, they do not perform good deeds except in certain seasons and specific times. When these times pass by, they will be the last times for them to perform good deeds. We seek refuge with Allah from going astray after guidance, Allah says, “And be not like her who undoes the thread which she has spun, after it has become strong.” (Qur’an, 16:92)
Someone of the ancestors was asked about those people who perform acts of worship during Ramadan, and abandon them after the month passed. He answered, “What bad people they are! They do not know Allah except in Ramadan; O slaves of Allah! Fear Allah; O you who performed good deeds in Ramadan, how can you leave them after the month passed; Did you forget that the God of all months is One and that He is the Watcher and the Observer on your deeds and conditions; O you who turned to your Lord in Ramadan, how can you forget Him after it?; O you who knew that the prayer is obligatory in its due fixed times and in congregation in the mosques, how do you ignore this after Ramadan?; O you who knew that Allah forbade committing sins, how could you turn again to it?; O you who embarked on reciting the Holy Qur’an, how did you abandon it?”
What an enormous disaster and what a great deprivation that some people are changed from good to evil, from guidance to going astray, and from the way of paradise to the way of the Hellfire. We seek refuge with Allah from that.
Where are the effects of fasting in the souls of Muslims? Where are the lessons and examples that were deducted from this great obligation? Where are piety and strength, sacrifice and patience, cordiality and sympathy? Where is cooperation by which Muslims should be characterized all the time in order to achieve their description in the Holy Qur’an and to be as the religion of Islam wants them to be? In fact, these effects should remain represented in the life of Muslims perpetually not for the present time, and eternally not temporarily.
Did you forget that Allah ordered you to obey Him, commanded you to worship Him, and He did not make an end to this except after passing away?
Al-Hassan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy on him, recited the following verse in which Allah Almighty says, “And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” (Qur’an, 15:99) and said, “Indeed, Allah did not make an end to the work of the believer except by death.”
Those who quit performing righteous deeds by bidding farewell to Ramadan should know this well. Do those people feel secure from the death, which would be faced at any time, at day or night? This would happen while they are in a state that does not satisfy the Mighty and the Ever-Lasting. This would happen while they are in a state that does not benefit them on the Day of standing before the One and the Ever-Subduing?
Has not the time come to us to realize that what has afflicted us, such as weakness and disunity, is from ourselves? It is a result of misunderstanding the rulings of our religion, and of our little benefits from the times of beneficence and charity. What if these times did not affect the hearts by making them alive after death, and did not affect the nation by uniting it after disunity?
Furthermore, what if these times did not contribute to solving our problems and dilemmas, and to recovering from trials and diseases? It will be a sign of the lack of insight and vision, of the low awareness, and of the misunderstanding of the ruling of the religious rulings.
This is a call full of sympathy and compassion toward those who decided to return to committing acts of disobedience after the end of Ramadan. We ask them to fear Allah Almighty because life is short and defined. Thus, how long will you let yourselves indulge in heedlessness and avoidance? You all should repent sincerely with no return to committing sins. This is, by Allah, the true thanking for the bliss of fasting.
Fear Allah, and thank Him for His countless blessings and His favors. Such favors are sent to you, in abundance, one after the other.

— The author is head of Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques’ Affairs - en.islamway.net


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.