Without thinking of death in abundance, we will have no inclination to reform. Life will rotate around eating, sleeping, and accumulating. We will be lulled into a false sense of security until the bubble of life bursts.
Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam forewarned us: “Think of the obliterator of pleasures (death) in abundance.”
Thoughts and discussions of death, extinguishes the joys of life.
Observe how the T.V. is not only switched off, but even covered and stored away, in a funeral home. Everyone forgets the World Cup, the World News and their favourite programs. Maut’s icy presence freezes all debates and pleasures.
Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam advised Hadhrat Umar (Radiallahu Anhu) to count himself amongst the dwellers of the Qabr.
The thought of the Qabr as one’s home, will lessen the love of the World. Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam said: “Love of the world is the root of all evils.” By thinking of the evil nature of the world; the violence, bloodshed, wars, crime, sicknesses, hypocrisy, jealousy and pain, we will treasure our Imaan which has taught us about another existence – the existence of a beautiful Hereafter.
However, the quality of that life is dependent upon the deeds we perform in this life. If our actions are wrong, they require reformation; if they are right, then we need to be grateful, and with the Fadl of Allah Ta’ala, they need to be constantly supervised and taken account of. Good deeds are only good, if they are in tune with The Shari’ah and The Sunnah, otherwise they are rejected by Allah.
Ramadaan is supposed to affect both the stomach and the heart. Empty stomachs we experience; but what about empty hearts? The purpose of fasting is to fast the heart from pleasures and feast the heart with Allah Ta’aala’s Thikr and Fear. Once Rasullullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam pointed at his Mubarak heart and said thrice: “Taqwa lies here.”
Allah Ta’ala states: “But their hearts are blind”, and “but their hearts are diseased”. A sick heart, a blind heart is the worst calamity that can befall one – for such a heart cannot see the Truth, nor sense its own evil. Thus, let us exercise great caution: Let the heart not become blind, let the heart not become diseased!
Not only is an empty stomach the key to the heart, it also empties the brain of self-deception, etc.
Ramadaan is a time to open the door of the heart and look into it. Is it immersed in Tauheed – fully comprehending that harms and benefits are ONLY from One Allah?
Does it possess such Taqwa that it beats in tune with The Shariah?
Is the heart free to wander and roam in the Divine Love of Allah Ta’ala?
Is its state of Thikr a wall of fire against Shaytaanic Wasaawis (whisperings)?
Can the Taqwa of the heart crush the craving for name, fame and wealth? Most importantly, has its Taqwa sufficient power to spotlight our own deficiencies to us? Yes, Ramadaan is the time to have that nice, thorough annual “check-up”.
As we all know, fasting is the ultimate form of submitting the heart to Allah Ta’ala, because the heart is forced to surrender its joys of eating, drinking and cohabitation.
This is exactly the type of submission which our Rabb wants from us daily in every aspect of our lives. In our Ibaadah, our business dealings, our relationship with our families, our laughter, our sorrows, our sleeping, our eating, our seeing, our hearing, our walking and in our breathing – this submission, this Taqwa is to be the goal. Taqwa and only Taqwa matters.
Ramadaan is ONLY the starting point and a training period for the Rooh to make Taqwa its mission in life. Cut the desires, chop the Nafs, trim the heart, let the Imaan be strengthened and the Rooh be enslaved to Allah’s Commands. Whilst fasting, the entire body is in a state of Sabr, in submission and in obedience. The Rooh, dressed in this garb of Taqwa, will then happily submit itself to Malakul-Maut. ONLY then will it submit itself happily to Malakul-Maut, otherwise it will rebel!
How to judge our fasts? Are we only staying hungry and thirsty or is our Taqwa becoming stronger?
Fasting without contemplation, is denying the fast of its essence.
Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah (Rahmatullahi Alayh) explains how to monitor and build up Taqwa :“Just as strategies and tactics are employed in worldly affairs, so too should they be utilized in Deeni Affairs. With the Fadl of Allah Ta’ala, this lowly servant has formulated a strategy in order that a Taalib-e-Saadiq (a sincere seeker of the Truth) may beforehand be prepared for combating his Nafs and Shaytaan.
Think deeply over what you will do if Allah Ta’ala tests you. By conducting the following spiritual exercises, we will be able to discern whether our fasting is merely a ritual or whether it has benefited us:
* A beautiful woman is walking towards you. What will you do? Will you glance at her or will you observe Taqwa? Will you attempt to gaze at her, speak to her or avoid her with determination? What does the heart say?
* Someone made a mistake in a transaction involving thousands of rands. You are in a desperate financial situation and need the money. Shaytaan tells you to take it and that you will somehow repay him later. Will you give in to the urges of greed of the heart?
* Your spouse makes you angry. You are furious and upset. Do you lose your temper or do you have Sabr (patience) and Hilm (tolerance)? What effect is the fast having upon your heart? Humility or arrogance?
No matter how difficult, we should turn our gazes and hearts away from that woman; let us return the money to its owner, let us make a little Sabr at the anger of our partner. Yes, let us please Allah Ta’ala! Only then, would Ramadaan have benefited us. Otherwise, know that a lifetime of Ramadaans, a lifetime of I’itikaaf and a lifetime of Laylatul-Qadrs will come and go – and we will remain where we were – just like last year and the year before! Until, one day, when Maut will come unexpectedly…