Just like the Salaf
As we progress through the last 10 days and nights of Ramadan, many of us will experience some of the following thoughts and questions:
– When will I go back to my normal routine?
– Was this an easier/harder Ramadan than the last one?
– It seems that I haven’t been able to do anything special this year;
– Has my health improved or deteriorated with iftars?
– I haven’t realised that I can go through this much sleep in a weekend;
– Will I pray tahajud only on the 27th night, or will I include the 29th and the 25th?
– WOW! Ramadan has flown so fast;
Ramadan has certainly flown so fast, and although these statements and questions may not fully apply to each one on us; however, the overarching question is: what sort of transformation have I experienced throughout this month.
The month of Ramadan to the companions, and the following righteous generations, was a transformation spiritually, mentally, physically, and socially. However, their approach to this month was far different to what is highlighted above. It is narrated that the Salaf (predecessors) would spend half the year praying that Allah SWT grants them the ability to live through, and experience the upcoming Ramadan, and then follow this through with the other half of the year in supplications and prayers to accept their actions throughout the month.
This practice seems to convey on one level mental preparation prior to a major transformational event, and on the other, a clear understanding of the opportunity that awaits those who invest their time wisely and utilise this month to its fullest.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Allah the Exalted and Majestic said: ‘Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except As-Siyam (the fasting) which is (exclusively) for Me, and I will reward him for it.”
The commentary on this narration points out that the multiplication of reward 10 to 700 folds and more does not apply to fasting due to the nature of this worship; being discrete and hidden between the Lord and his servant, and involving a struggle against all permissible desires.
Nonetheless, and regardless of our preparation for this month, it is clear to anyone practicing the worship of fast, that a transformation of some capacity must be felt throughout these 30 days or so. The imperative question that then needs to be asked is: how much of this intensive course can we take forward to the rest of the year.
Hopefully we’ve all managed to wake up every day for Fajr, and pray in congregation at the mosque, and even free up a few nights for taraweeh/tahajud. We’ve all given more focus to reading the Quran, and listening to more reminders, and being a lot more careful and responsible about what we say, hear, and see, and none of this should be erased from our routine; it does become somewhat of a routine when you consider and focus on these practices daily for a whole month.
The scholars point out that amongst the numerous signs that reflect the acceptance of worship by Allah (SWT), is following it up immediately with more worship and good deeds, just like a plant that requires continuous nurturing and care in order for it to grow into a solid tree that bares fruits to all those around it.
Finally, and as is the case with any type of worship, we have to be hopeful that Allah (SWT) accepts our efforts and avoid becoming of those mentioned in the following narration:
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said:
“There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.”
Fear of being amongst this group has to be balanced with hope; hope that our efforts are accepted and our reward is multiplied abundantly. The balance between those two states should bring about humility and sincerity and ultimately increase our faith and assist us beyond this blessed month and into the rest of the year.
Therefore, start considering the impact that you want to carry with you beyond Ramadan, and just like the Salaf used to do, make sure to follow it all up with continuous prayers and supplications for Allah to accept it from you.
Bilal Naas is the head of MABY’s HR and Branch developement department. By day profession he’s an accountant and office manager. He enjoys travelling and exploring new places.