Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Beyond Ramadan: 'Strive to Remain with Allah'

For this last Friday in the month of Ramadan (30th day of Ramadan/ 15 June 2018), I would like to give some advices (for you all) to follow so that these Ramadan days are not wasted and that the good habit developed during this blessed month remains (strong as ever). First of all, after Jumu’ah prayer, read 2 cycles of additional prayer (A 2-Rakat Nawafil Salat). In the first cycle, after the Surah Al-Fatiha, read the Surah Al-Ikhlaas 10 times and in the second cycle after the Surah Al-Fatiha, read the Surah Al-Kafirun 3 times. And after the prayer, read the Darood Shariff 10 times.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “The supplications of a faster are never rejected.” This is because the heart of the faster is in a state of repentance. In fact, he has reached close to Allah and has obeyed Him. He has abandoned his food and drink for fear of Allah, his King, his Sustainer and Supreme Donator. The faster has restrained his desires in obedience to the Lord of the Heavens and Earth.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said: “Supplication is worship.” Thus, if you see a servant (of Allah) seeking charity (i.e., the charity/ mercy of Allah) by praying a lot, doing long prostrations with lots of duas, then know that he/ she is close to Allah and trust (and confiding) in Him.

The companions (Sahaba) asked: “O Messenger of Allah, is our Lord near to us, so we can secretly talk to Him, or is He far, so we should call upon Him (loudly)?” Thereupon Allah the Almighty revealed this verse: 

And when My servants ask you 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.” (Al-Baqara 2: 187).

Moreover, the Messenger of Allah has said: “Truly, you do not call to one deaf or absent, but truly to One who hears and sees; and He is with you; and He to whom you pray is nearer to you than the neck of your camel (riding beast).”

Allah (swt) requires us to ask of Him, to call upon Him. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” (Al-Arraf 7: 56).

In another verse of the Quran, Allah says: “Your Lord says: Call upon Me and I will respond to you. Verily, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell in humiliation.” (Ghafir 40: 61).

Recognize the True Worth of Ramadan

Therefore, it is with deep pain, regret and sadness that we watch the blessed month of Ramadan come to an end. But we need to thank Allah that we have got the opportunity to witness/ live this month of Ramadan this year, and we need to reflect upon the fact that others have not gotten this opportunity and had passed away before the advent of this blessed month. There are even those who lived at the beginning of this blessed month but who could not witness its end.

For this last Friday of the month of Ramadan, we must never lose hope, and we should not preoccupy ourselves with such matters which are of no concern to us, such matters which are not important. And we need not show such joy which denotes that we are absolutely relieved that Ramadan has come to an end, and see this as a way to revert to our past sins. If such is the case, then what positive changes the month of Ramadan has brought into our lives? Ramadan goes away and another Ramadan comes and it is only in this month that we attach ourselves with the acts of worship such as fasting, paying Zakat, frequenting the mosques etc., and afterwards (after the Ramadan) everything goes back to normal, back to the wrong habits and sins which we used to do during the past eleven months. In other words, most unfortunate are those who receive Ramadan, change their lives temporary for the better but who after Ramadan goes away return to their old conditions/ habits filled with all kinds of vices. They bid goodbye to the performance of good deeds and the physical, moral and spiritual reforms of their beings.

Thus, those who return to their old bad conditions, they do not really know the true worth of this blessed month (i.e. Ramadan). They failed in their spiritual training that Allah bestowed upon them in this holy month. On the contrary they should have seized this golden opportunity to take maximum benefit from it and groom themselves in such a way that they become worthy of acceding to the proximity of Allah for all times, not just during Ramadan. The one who succeeds in taking Ramadan as the right spiritual training and put these good habits into practice, such as worship (Ibaadat) and the remembrance of Allah (Zikr/ Zikrullah), that person opens for himself the door of salvation for the rest of his life. And this shall come to be when he transforms for himself those days into true spiritual treasures. The one who attaches himself to Allah, verily Allah comes closer to him and accede to his duas/ requests/ supplications.

Seek and strive for Divine Proximity

When Allah says that He is near and that He responds to the call of the one who calls upon Him, this means that He shall always be there for those who seek Him and preserve their proximity with Him, and He is far away from those who remain aloof, at a distance from Him. The more efforts you make towards Allah, the more you shall find Allah close to you, but if you neglect Allah, and if you neglect His remembrance and worship, you shall therefore have the impression that Allah is very far away from you despite the fact that He is indeed always very close and is watching you and knows the every secret you conceal within you, in your heart and soul.

Therefore, keep yourselves attached to Allah with prayer (be it Farz, Sunnat and Nawafil), recitation of the Holy Quran every day, Zikrullah, duas, acts of charity etc. We all need to remain in the spiritual bath (i.e. the spirit of spirituality) so that our vices, and sins such as jealousy, arrogance, avarice, and vain disputes and discussions disappear/ dissolve like salt.

O fasters, you have done all sorts of sacrifices during this sacred month. You have suffered hunger, thirst and have maintained distance from all the temporary forbiddance which your Lord imposed upon you during this blessed month. Alhamdulillah. But you need to make sure that all your good deeds do not lose its value after this holy month. Work hard to enable your good deeds to increase in value before Allah, by continuing with your Ibaadat and Zikr and continue to do such good deeds which shall please Allah. Like Allah says in the Holy Quran: They used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.” (Al-Anbiya 21: 91).

The Path of Prayers and the Prophetic Exemplars

After the month of Ramadan, we should remain like a faster (i.e. with or without fasting (optional fasting), and by continuing with the performance of good deeds and Ibaadat like during the holy month of Ramadan) and we should know some of the ethics of supplications (dua), among which, resolution of the heart and trust in the generosity and favours of Allah. Among the ethics, the servant of Allah need also to praise and glorify Allah as well as send Darood Shariff (blessings) upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We should also be conscious of the moments when duas are accepted. We should also not curse others (except of course for the Messengers of Allah in the extreme cases when they receive instructions directly from Allah to do so – i.e. sending curse – in the case of Mubahila (duel of prayer) – upon the enemies of Allah). But in the normal course of life, without getting any divine order to do so, we should never send curse on our fellow human beings, even if he is our enemy, and we should not cut asunder blood relations/ ties of kinship.

Thus, we must make the necessary efforts and seek the help of Allah (swt) to become good human beings and to do good to ourselves and to seek anything from Allah alone, for He is the Self-Subsisting. We are poor and He is rich. We are weak, and He is ever strong. We shall one day taste death whereas Allah is Eternal/ Immortal.

Hazrat Ibrahim (as) supplicated Allah in this way: My Lord! Enable me and my offspring to establish Prayer, and do accept, our Lord, this prayer of mine. Our Lord! Forgive me and my parents and the believers on the Day when the reckoning will take place.” (Ibrahim 14: 41-42).

As for Hazrat Musa (as) he prayed as thus: “O my Lord! Open for me my chest. And ease my task for me; and make loose the knot from my tongue, that they understand my speech, and appoint for me a helper from my family, Harun (Aaron), my brother; increase my strength with him, and let him share my task, that we may glorify You much, and remember You much. Verily! You are of us Ever a Well-Seer.” (TaHa 20: 26-36).

Hazrat Sulaiman (as) prayed to his Lord (Allah) in the following way: “My Lord, forgive me and bestow upon me a kingdom such as none other after me will deserve. Surely You are the Bounteous Giver.” (Sad 38: 36).

There are four advantages of supplications (duas):

1. Realisation that Ibaadat for Allah (swt), humility towards Him and trust in Him is the very raison-d’ĂȘtre of Ibaadat and its fruit.

2. Replies to our supplications/ queries comes after establishing good and forbidding evil by restricting people from doing harm. Nobody except Allah has the capacity and power to enable us to do this.

3. Allah preserves all rewards of our supplications. It may be that Allah does not fulfil our supplications here on earth, but recall that on the other hand He has stored the equivalent of its reward (and much more) for us in a much better world which shall be eternal for us. Indeed, this is much better for us, and reap much more benefits.

4. Supplication (dua) to Allah expresses our belief in the unicity of Allah and our trust in Him. It breaks our dependence on others which is not Allah, and instead of seeking favours from other people, it is with Allah alone that we should place our requests/ supplications and this is best in all aspects.

Lastly, I end this sermon with the following duas: Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire. Our Lord! Do not make our hearts deviate after You have guided us aright and grant us from Your mercy; surely You are the most liberal Giver. Ameen, Summa Ameen.

---Friday Sermon of 15 June 2018 (30 Ramadan 1439 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.