By Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Nadvi
Translated by M. Owais Jafrey
Ramadan visited us with all its auspiciousness and divine blessings and left. While bidding us farewell, Ramadan also took along with it a part of our life. We all live on a borrowed time and the time which has gone-by will never return. Each passing moment shortens our life. The caravan of days and nights will never stop for us until the journey ends and we reach our destination. Aayah 30 of Surah Al-'Imran tells us about our destination in these words:
"On the Day when every soul finds all the good it has done present before it, it will wish all the bad it has done to be far, far away. Allah wants you to be aware of Him, but Allah is compassionate towards His servants."
Infusing Allah's consciousness, Ramadan trained us in purity and piety, and brought us closer to Him through repentance and virtuous deeds. The month disciplined us to overcome temptations. This august month has softened our hearts, and we feel more inclined to obey Allah and His Prophet (SAW). While bidding adieu to Ramadan, it is our responsibility to maintain the momentum of our spiritual journey and keep making efforts to achieve piety and closeness to Allah. The proof of the acceptance of any virtuous deed expresses itself in enabling us to continue practicing it. Returning to the state of disobedience after having made repentance is condemnable.
No special month has been singled out for good deeds, but Ramadan is a month with multiplied recompense, remuneration and reward. It is month to regiment the self and make spiritual progress. Let us keep up with our performance. We observed fast during Ramadan to carry out Allah's command. Let us also fast once in a while during the rest of the year as it is an effective means to get control over inordinate temptations and enables us to tread the path of piety. Among such are the six fasts of Shawwal. These can be observed soon after Ramadan at a stretch, or separately, whichever suits.
"Prophet (SAW) said that he who fasts in the month of Ramadan, and also fasts for six days in the month of Shawwal; it is as if he has fasted for the whole year." [Muslim]
The Holy Qur'an mentions that Allah (SWT) in His infinite mercy bestows 10 rewards for one good deed. Aayah 160 of Surah Al-An' am says:
"Whoever has done a good deed will have it ten times to his credit, but whoever has done a bad deed will be repaid only with its equivalent – they will not be wronged."
Ramadan's fasts are equal to 10 month's fasting and six fast of Shawwal are equal to fasting for two months. These six fasts are like Nafil (optional) after obligatory prayers. Sunnah and Nafil requite for any shortcoming in obligatory prayers, similarly these six fasts of Shawwal make recompense for any flaw in Ramadan fasting. Fasting in Ramadanis a means to seek Allah's forgiveness for the sins. Fasting in Shawwal is a humble gesture showing that the servant can do extra worship to please his Master and to express gratitude to Him for having forgiven the sins. Having been forgiven is a significant accomplishment on the part of the servant. There are three fasts in each month in the Islamic calendar guaranteeing great reward.
Hazrat Abu Hureyrah (RA) relates that he was directed by Prophet (SAW) to observe fast for three days in every month, to offer two Rak'ah (optional) Duha prayer at forenoon and to offer the Witr prayer before going to bed. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Hazrat Qatadah bin Milhan (RA) narrates: "Allah's Messenger (SAW) directed us to fast on the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth of the (lunar) month." [Abu Dawud]
Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA) said: "It was the practice of Allah's Messenger not to omit fast on 'bright days' [13, 14, and 15 of the lunar h] whether he was staying at a place or on a journey." [An-Nasa'i]
Similarly fast of Ashura, Arafah and ten fasts of Dhul Hijjah are in accordance with the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW), who also observed fast on Mondays and Thursdays each week.
Hazrat Abu Qatadah (RA) narrated that when asked about fasting on Monday, Allah's Messenger (SAW) said: "That is the day on which I was born and the day on which I received Revelation." [Muslim]
Qiyam-ul-Lail, i.e. staying awake and praying extra during nights was the gift of Ramadan. Make it a habit as it is one of the characteristics of the Saliheen, the puritans as mentioned in Aayah 16 of Surah Al-Sajda.
"Their sides remain apart from their beds. They call their Lord with fear and hope, and spend (in charity) out of what We have given them."
In case the late night prayer, i.e. Tahajjud is not possible, try then to pray Isha and Fajr in congregation. Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (RA) narrated: "I heard Allah's Messenger saying: "One who offers 'Isha prayer in congregation is as if he has offered Salat for half of the night. And one who offers the Fajr prayer in congregation is as if he has offered Salat the whole night." [Muslim]
According to Hazrat ibn Umar (RA) Prophet (SAW) said: "Prayer in congregation is twenty-seven times more (in reward) than a prayer offered individually." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Hazrat Abu Hureyrah narrated that Prophet (SAW) said: "A man's prayer in congregation is twenty five-times more rewarding than his prayer at home or in his shop, and that is because when he performs his ablution properly and proceeds towards the mosque with the sole purpose of offering prayer in congregation, he does not take a step without being raised a degree (in rank) for it and having a sin remitted for it, till he enters the mosque. When he is engaged in prayer after entering the mosque, the angels continue to invoke Blessings of Allah on him as long as he is in his place of worship in a state of ablution. They say: "Ya Allah! Have mercy on him! Ya Allah! Pardon him. He is deemed to be engaged in prayer as long as he waits for it."" [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
In essence Ramadan has passed but a Momin has to hold fast to the spirit of Ramadan."
Aayah 102 of Surah Al-'Imran says: "You who believe, be mindful of Allah, as is His due, and make sure you devote yourselves to Him, to your dying moment."
To give up the Ramadan's routine of prayers and the practice of piety indicates ingratitude. We should safeguard your deeds, be concerned about Aakhira, and alive through prayers and remembrance of Allah. Past is all history and future is but a dream and uncertain. Seize the present moment and make the best use of it before it turns into past. Let the blessings of this Ramadanextend to the next and may we always live under the shadow of this blessed month, and each succeeding Ramadan may find us a better Muslim. Aameen!