10 July 2013

Ramadhan Series: Secrets of Ramadhan (Part 1)

Ramadhan is a month that we all have been waiting for. Alhamdulillah, now we are in it and hopefully we would be able to go through this whole month of Tarbiyyah. During this Ramadhan inshaAllah I will try to share with all of you my notes, lectures, points to ponder, life lessons, and some experiences so that we can reflect and share with each other during this holy month of Ramadhan.

For this first post, I would love to share a lecture by Brother Shazly Khan, the founder for iMuslim Institute entitled "SECRETS OF RAMADHAN". Briefly SECRETS OF RAMADHAN talks about the purpose of fasting, how can we benefit from it, and what to actually do to remain productive throughout this blessed month. Let me remind you that the words in this post are based on my notes and my understanding of the lecture. If I've misunderstood, or put things wrongly do let me know. I wouldn't want to spread false information and knowledge. To facilitate this post I'll also include Brother Shazly's slide so that all of you can benefit from it too.

In Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 183 Allah SWT  prescribed fasting upon us so that we may become among the Muttaqun. Allah uses the word "Muttaqun" which means people of Taqwa. To think critically, Allah did not say that He prescribed fasting upon us so that we may become Muslims, but instead Allah prescribed fasting for us to be Muttaquns.

Taqwa as we know is to do what pleases Allah and restrain ourselves from doing things that displeases Allah. Most of us, when we think about Taqwa, what comes into our mind is that we must fear Allah. We restrain ourselves from doing something because we fear that Allah will be displeased with us or we do something because we are afraid of Allah. We fear that if we didn't do our solah Allah will be mad at us. We fear that if we didn't do our fasting, we won't be able to go Jannah. Well, my brothers and sisters, this is the lowest level of Taqwa.

The Taqwa that we want to achieve is a higher level, that is, we do something or we restrain ourselves from doing something not because we Fear Allah, but because we Love Allah. There's a difference in doing something out of fear and doing something out of love. We have to remember that Allah said the mercy that we are seeing in this world is just 1%. The remaining 99% of His Mercy is kept with Him and would only be revealed on in the day of judgement.

We must put in our mind that Islam is not about fear of Allah but Love of Allah. We must balance the fear that we have towards Allah and the Hope and Love that we have towards him.

So which level of Taqwa are we?

Coming back to the Secrets of Ramadhan, Allah granted us the month of Ramadhan so that we can be a muttaqin and not just a muslimin. A person is a muslim the moment he says his syahadah, but a person is a muttaqin only when he do what pleases Allah and leave what displeases Allah.

Ramadhan An Annual Habit Change Workshop

Allah SWT grants us Ramadhan as an Annual Habit Change Workshop. Within this month of Ramadhan, Allah trains us to change our habit so as to becoming a better person. It is up to us whether we are up for it or not.

Psychologist says that if we want to inculcate a habit we need to continuously do it for 21 consecutive days before it becomes part of us. However, my brothers and sisters, Allah gives us 29 to 30 days for us to train ourselves, to inculcate the habit that we want. This 29-30 days is of course without the distraction of syaitaan.

The next question we need to think of is how will Allah train us? Is it just by giving us 29 - 30 days of Syaitaan-free environment? Well to think of it, yes. Allah gives us this Syaitan-free environment so that we can train ourselves and equip ourselves with the habits of the people of Jannah and for us to have a better focus in cleansing ourselves. By taking Syaitaan away from us, we would have a better focus in cleansing ourselves as there's no one around us whispering and trying so hard to deviate us from the righteous path.  

We should take this opportunity to inculcate the habit of people of Jannah. What is the habit of the people of Jannah? Well the answer is simple, all the good, nice and lovely deeds and characteristics. Didn't our mother tell us that in Ramadhan we should be practice patience, speak good things, not to backbite or slander others. Aren’t these all values and habits of the people of Jannah? Would someone who curses be considered as people of Jannah? Clearly the answer is a big no!

That is the reason why, this month of Ramadhan is said to be an Annual Habit Change Workshop because we are inculcating the habits of the people of Jannah.

Why is it so important for us to have this habit of people of Jannah?

Why is it so important? Well do you want to be in Jahanam? No. Nobody wants to. The habit of the people of Jannah will lead us to be a Mutaqqin (people of Taqwa). The difference between a Muslimin and a Muttaqin is that a Muslimin is promised of the hisab by Allah SWT. A Muttaqin is promised Jannah. So which one of this do we want?

If we are just a muslim, Allah will give us the opportunity to be in Jannah, but we must go through hisab. Our good deeds and bad deeds will be weighed on the Mizan. If our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, Alhamdulillah. We may go to Jannah. But if our bad deeds outweigh our good deeds? Nauzubillah.

But if we're a muttaqqin we are promised Jannah. Allah mentioned this in numerous instances in the quran. We can look into Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 2 and Surah An- Naba (78) : 31. The mutaqoon referred in this two verse are the same.

(78):31 If we want to attain Jannah we have to be a Muttaqoon and for us to be a Muttaqoon we must follow the Quran (2):2. Quran is THE guideline for us to achieve success, be it in this world or the hereafter. And verily, Ramadhan is being granted to us for us to train and work towards becoming a mutaqoon and ultimately, towards achieving Jannahtul Firdaus!

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