Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Laila-tul-Qadr and I'tikaaf

The Night of Destiny and Spiritual Retreat

In His infinite Wisdom, Allah (swt) has prescribed unalterable rules for His creatures ensuring them a dignified life in this world and blissful happiness in the hereafter.

Among these rules is fasting which He has ordained to successive communities of believers. Far from being reduced to abstinence from food, fasting must be accompanied by a mastery of the senses and more particularly of the tongue.

The spiritual exercise of fasting must demonstrate to man his ability to deprive himself for a [period of] time of what seemed essential to him. It must reveal to him that, in this domain, as in many others, he can have the power to do it [when there is a will, there is a way!] provided that the intention is firm and that the aim sought is the pleasure of Allah.

The purpose of such an act of worship has been clearly defined as the search for the state of reverential fear of God (piety, Taqwa) criterion of superiority of one individual over another. This quality is only measured by that of the works that bear witness to it.

The school of fasting is without equivalent and must lead to silence in everyone the tendency to the domination of the others, ostentation, the fear of others other than God and all the insidious forms of the call of the devil, the only real enemy of the human race.

The diploma sanctioning the month of fasting is a sum of virtues nourishing the believer during the short earthly stay which, let us remember, is a sum of trials which only the return to God will end.

In a world where matter becomes the sacred unit of measure, the fast of the month of Ramadan is there to put into perspective the dominant concept and to provide those who want it with a foolproof weapon. For indeed, fasting is a shield for the believers.

The fast of the month of Ramadan is the fourth of the five fundamental foundations on which Islam is built. The obligation to fast was established for Muslims, in the second year of the Hegira, by the revelation of this verse from the Quran: “O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous.” (Al-Baqara 2: 184)

The Holy Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) told us about it: “It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is paradise. This is the month of giving. It is a month in which the believer’s resources increase. A month whose beginning is mercy, the middle of which is forgiveness and the end is liberation from hellfire.” (Bayhaqi).

Who says Ramadan, also says Laila-tul-Qadr (Night of Destiny), an extraordinarily blessed night reserved for sincere servants who strive to seek its benefits; such a night that is worth more than a thousand months of blessings.

Regarding the Night of Destiny, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “All past faults are forgiven for whoever spends the Night of Destiny in pious vigil with faith and hope of reward.” (Muslim).

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) also said, “Look for the Night of Destiny among the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Bukhari)

That is to say, the night of which the next day corresponds to 21, 23, 25, 27, or 29 of Ramadan.

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) recommends repeating this invocation during the Night of Destiny: “Allaahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee’.”

(O Allah, You are the One who forgives and You love to forgive, so forgive me). (Mishkat, Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi).

In order to search for the Night of Destiny, the Holy Prophet (pbuh), His companions, His wives and the believers since the beginning of Islam, and as well as those up to the present day (and till the Day of Judgement) go on a spiritual retreat (the Itikaaf). This retreat consists in remaining in the mosque in a spirit of devotion to please God. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) retired during the last ten days of Ramadan and continued to do so until his death (and the year he died, he remained in spiritual retreat for twenty days). He said, “The mosque is the refuge of every pious man. God has promised to him who retires there to grant him serenity and mercy, to enable him to reach His grace in paradise.” (Tirmidhi).

The last ten days of Ramadan are fast approaching. The Night of Destiny is within our reach in two ways. First, physically during the Night of Ramadan, and secondly during the whole life of a Messenger of Allah where the Holy Spirit (Ruh’il Quddus) descends on the Chosen One of Allah to spread the divine blessing in the form of divine revelations for the guidance of humanity. Therefore, this Blessed Night, Allah has reserved it for you in these two ways because it is not every day or every year that a person or a people [nation] or the world as a whole testifies to the arrival of a Messenger of God to warn him/ them and give him/ them the good news from Allah.

Lucky are all those who live this Blessed Night day by day, an era which is plunged into darkness but which is revived thanks to the advent of a Messenger of God. Such a Messenger who is a sincere advisor to the people. Through divine revelations and instructions, he gives warnings and makes prophecies. And Allah knows very well those who are really sincere and those who are less sincere, and there are those who, as I told you in my message of 05 May 2020, although sincere, but if the moment of their death has been decreed, because death is inevitable, then, these people certainly die but live again in eternal completeness, in the pleasure of Allah and His paradise...'

---From the Friday Sermon of 08 May 2020~14 Ramadan 1441 AH delivered by Imam-Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam Hazrat Khalifatullah Munir A. Azim (atba) of Mauritius.