Lamya's Corner

"There was for Saba, aforetime, a sign in their homeland [Yemen] two gardens to the right and to the left . . . be grateful to Him[Allah] . . .But they turned away, and We sent against them the flood released from the Dams [Maarib dam]" (Qur'an. Saba:15-16)

On Completion of Surat Al Anbiyaa (Chapter 21) September 21, 2010

Filed under: Reflections on "attended" halaqat — lamyaalmas @ 10:53 pm

Inspired by Sister Raghad’s interpretation of verses 97-112

We completed the interpretation of Surat Al Anbiyaa and came to the realization that this surah is indeed a summary of the beginning and the end of our lives. Allah (SWT) the most powerful of writers, draws our attention at the onset of the Surah by describing the state of humankind—us included of course—in the face of the grave journey ahead of them:

“As the reckoning of humankind draws near, they turn their backs to it in heedlessness. There never comes to them a new reminder but that they listen to it while they are engrossed in play, their hearts preoccupied and distracted.” (21:1-3)

Each of us has a “departure date and time” on our tickets out of this “life” and the verse creates a sense of anxiety as that date and times creeps up on us. The anxieties that are precursors to a journey within the confines of this world are minuscule compared to the final journey of our life. So, right away we are drawn into this surah, by a reminder of our real “journey of a lifetime.” We are hooked from the very first verse of this chapter.

The closing verses of the Surah revisit the beginning verse but in an entirely different way—did I not mention that Allah (SWT) is the best of the writers. Nowadays, we are in awe of methods of the telling of events in books and movies—but by all standards Allah (SWT) is above all  in this respect as well. This time He (SWT) presents us with a mental picture of the end of the” journey of a lifetime” for those whom Allah (SWT) described as heedless at the very beginning. They have reached their “final destination.” Here are their initial sentiments:

“And as the true promise of the Day of Resurrection is fulfilled, then you shall see the eyes of the disbelievers fixedly staring in horror. They will say, “Woe to us! We were indeed heedless of this. We were indeed the wrong-doers.” (21:97)

On reaching their final destination they absorb their new surroundings—the Hellfire. Their glassy eyes  fixedly stare in horror. So unlike their jaw dropping and awe-striken gazes in this world. The breath-takings gasps at the sights and sounds, are now exchanged  with self reproach.  They will personally declare themselves “Losers” with an outstretched thumb and forefinger on their foreheads spelling the letter “L.” A fitting  price for their heedlessness, for their hearts and minds being preoccupied with things other than their final destination–their return to the Creator (SWT). Of course, there is no doubt that we will all witness moments of heedlessness of the fact that we will return to Allah (SWT) for either reproach or praise, but the question is: for how long will we place preparation for the most crucial moment in our life’s journey in the back of our mind? On the back burner? On the top shelf behind scores of books? Or in a small box in the farthest corner up in the attic? In earnest, for how long are we going to push it  further down on our list of things to do? For how long are we going to continue to commit this utter injustice to ourselves? Why don’t we reproach ourselves and return to Allah (SWT) today rather than tomorrow before it is too late? Every single one of us should have a “regretful self” that pulls the reins on us when we stray—a self that is constantly nagging us and reminding us of Allah (SWT) and our final return to Him (SWT). That reminds us of the final journey to the moment of truth.We will all develop a certain degree of “heedlessness” it is human, but our trips back to Allah (SWT) for repentance should be quick. For there are those who are heedless for a month, week, or day, but there are those who are heedless for merely hours, minutes or even seconds. You want to aspire to the latter, and you should be able to achieve it the closer you become to Allah (SWT).

To these losers beyond return, Allah (SWT) the All Merciful and Compassionate responds unsympathetically:

“Certainly, you, along with what you have worshipped besides Allâh, are fuel for Hell! Surely, you will enter it. Had these idols been gods, they would not have entered it. They will all abide therein. Therein they will be breathing out deep sighs and roaring in torment, and therein they will hear not.” (21:98-99)

Allah (SWT) has decreed  their “final” place of arrival and settlement/residence  is the city of “hellfire.” There is plenty of room therein for both them and their idols. They are likened to “hasab” which are literally “pieces of wood thrown in to sustain a roaring fire.”  And indeed both they and their idols provide the fuel to sustain their own  lives in their  abode of Hell. In other words, their injustice to themselves make their eternal world in the hellfire go round.  Note, this does not include the prophets (as), angels (as), and righteous who were taken as idols besides Allah (SWT)–but rather the idols made out of wood, metal, ivory and other material.

Then we hear them in the Hellfire. We hear their deep sighs of sadness and regret at the heedlessness of the certainty of this day. We hear them “roaring” with the pain of the physical and psychological torment. So absorbed are they in their own state of loss that they are oblivious to anything beyond it—they hear nothing but their own sighs and cries of  regret and pain. Their sadness engulfs them, as did their heedlessness in this world.

In our books, this incident is one of the future but in Allah’s (SWT) it is of such certainty that it is a thing of the past. Indeed, who can give us a certain promise of the detailed events of the Hereafter except Allah (SWT)? Who has the right to talk about this part of the history of life? Indeed, no one but He (SWT). Although Allah (SWT) has provided us with a rundown of the events to come, we have not delved into the words of Allah (SWT) to internalize and boost our own certainty of the journey ahead of us prepare ourselves to the best of ability. Let not our case with Allah (SWT) be like that of this story:

A father  travels abroad and writes back caringly to his family. Yet when he comes back he neither finds his family nor home –the former was destroyed and the latter sold. After investigation he finds out that his letters of guidance, counsel, and advice were never opened.

Let not the words  of Allah (SWT) be more than words preserved in ink confined to pages imprisoned between two hard covers. If we are lost, it is not because He (SWT) misguided us, but we chose not to be guided. If we did not hear, it was because we chose not to listen. If we are lost, then it is because we chose not to follow.

Then Allah (SWT) the Merciful pacifies hearts that have trembled at the terror of these events:

“Verily those for whom the good has preceded from Us, they will be removed far there from. They shall not hear the slightest sound of it, while they abide in that which they desire. The greatest terror (on the Day of Resurrection) will not grieve them, and the angels will meet them: “This is your Day which you were promised.” (21:101-103)

This verse is a smile-in-the- making tugging at the corners of a believer’s lips. The goodness of the believers’ hearts fueled their good deeds in this world, and will in turn fuel their life in their final abode. In the Herafter, these believers are obviously saved from the fate of the heedless. So secure. Their hearing is sheltered from even the slightest sound of the hellfire (Arabic “hasees”)—yes fire has a sound listen. Their emotions are sheltered from the terror of that day–and the word for “terror” in the Qur’an is “Faz’a” which is a state of fear that is sudden and so intense that one fears for ones life, and is likely to cause unconscious or even loss of sanity.  In comparison, the terrors of this world are transient and experienced by a select few–such as the ones we witness on TV in news reports of wars breaking out,  mothers widowed, children orphaned, deserted and even killed, homes destroyed, and many slaughtered and massacred. But the terror of the Hereafter ALL will witness except those Allah (SWT) the Merciful  has decreed them “exempt from terror.”

The angels will receive them and welcome saying “this is your big day”—the happiest moment in your life. The happiest moment in your entire life is not the day you got married, or had your first child these and many more of this word are all transient. Rather  it is the day you are met with this greeting from the angels and you are shown into your final abode—Paradise.  And when you enter, there is not even the slightest sense of anxiety one normally witnesses on arriving at a new destination. No getting lost before settling in. You know the address to your palace in Paradise like the back of your hand. You head home. Your worries in the world that were of the Hereafter are laid to rest forever. And you will achieve and continue to achieve in it, “that which they [you] desire.” In this world,  luxuries are fulfilled at least through articulation or the simple push of button, but in Paradise they take on a new level.  “Desire” it and it is yours—you don’t have to take the trouble of asking or pushing a button, just desire it and it appears in front of you.

Such are the two final destinations for the two kinds of passenger on the journey of life, and with that Allah (SWT) flips the final page on the book of this life. Like a teacher who closes the book at the completion of the curriculum. And with that He (SWT) , “. . . roll[s] up the sky like a scroll rolls up books, As We began the first creation, We shall renew it, (it is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it.” (21:104) (For a detailed account of this either read Qur’an: prior to science and civilization by Mlivo Mustafa , particularly “The Big Crunch” (p.59) and “The Contraction and Time Reversal” (p.60). Or I would highly recommend you listen to Dr. Zaghloul Al Najjar on this matter here). But in brief,  here is the history of the earth as non-Muslim scientists have mapped it unaware of Allah’s (SWT) statement in the Qur’an, “As We began the first creation, We shall renew it, (it is) a promise binding upon Us. Truly, We shall do it” (21:104)

“The universe starts with a Big Bang, expands to a maximum dimension, then recontracts and collapses (to the Big Crunch); no more awe-inspiring prediction was ever made.” Quotation from Charles W. Misner, Kip S. Thorne and John A. Wheeler in “Gravitation”, W. H. Freeman, San Francisco, 1973, page 1196.

Scientists today are theorizing that the world will come to an end. Life as we know it will cease to exist. But Allah (SWT) the Creator of the universe confirmed this with certainty and not hypothetically or theoretically 1400 years ago.  So, do you believe Allah (SWT)? If you do, then know that evidence of belief is manifested in ones actions—so your life should  attest to this certainty from Allah (SWT).

Then Allah (SWT) says:

“And indeed We have written in Az-Zabûr [i.e. all the revealed Holy Books – the Taurât (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel), the Psalms, the Qur’ân] after (We have already written in) Al-Lauh Al-Mahfûz (the Book, that is in the heaven with Allâh), that My righteous slaves shall inherit the land (i.e. the land of Paradise). Verily, in this Qur’ân there is a plain Message for people who worship Allâh.” (21:106)

Allah (SWT) reiterates in this Qur’an His (SWT), as he did in previous books, His (SWT) one and only master plan for the purpose of life and that is so that: “. . . My righteous slaves shall inherit the land” (21:106) It never was top secret. It was not hidden behind closed doors. It was revealed to humankind in all the books that were ever revealed to them. It had no expiration date. The big question is: what land will the righteous inherit? Is it the earth? Or is it Paradise? We don’t know for sure! But we know that on this earth as in the Hereafter, Allah (SWT) establishes the believers. Being on the pure faith in this world—i.e. of balancing between the material and spiritual  to generate contingent ideas more meaningful to our times– is essential for temporary as well as eternal establishment. Material establishment alone is transient. Faithless civilizations decline with the decline of their man-made morals—morals that go against those encoded in our “fitra” or “natural original state we were created by Allah.” Their morals metamorphose ever so often to accommodate human desires. This abandonment leads to a vacuum that eventually engulfs these civilizations into oblivion–into a point beyond return.

Then Allah (SWT) addresses Prophet Muhammad (saw):

“And We have sent you O’ Muhammad  (saw) but as a mercy for the universe. So, say O’ Muhammad (saw): “I am only one upon whom revelation descends. Your God is but One God. Will you submit to Him?” (21:107-108)

The Prophet of Islam (saw) is characterized by Allah (SWT) as “Mercy for the universe” and indeed he (saw) was to the whole universe.  A study of his (saw) Seerah (biography) attests to a heart that accommodated everyone and everything in the universe. He was the first to call for kindness for animals, before any Animal Welfare Act. It was Narrated by Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah bin Mas’ud , “We were on a journey with the Messenger of Allah, and he left us for a while. During his absence, on seeing bird we took its young ones. The mother bird circled above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When the Prophet came back he said: ‘Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her.’” (Muslim) In another narration, Aishah (raa) narrates: “I was riding a restive camel and turned it rather roughly. The Prophet(s) said to me: ‘does it behoove you to treat the animals gently’. (Muslim) It was also narrated by Yahya bin Said,” The Prophet(s) was seen wiping the face of his horse with his gown. When asked why he was doing that, he replied: ‘Last night I had a reprimand from Allah regarding my horse for having neglected him’” (Al-Muwatta) He consoled wood as narrated by Ibn ‘Umar (raa), that the Prophet (saw ) used to deliver his sermon while leaning against a trunk of a date-palm tree. When he (saw) had the pulpit made and used it instead, the trunk started crying and the Prophet (saw) went to it, rubbing his (blessed) hand over it (to stop its crying). (Sahih Al-Bukhari) He was the first to call for conserving nature: “Even when the world is coming to an end, if anyone has a palm-shoot in his hand, he should plant it.” (Musnad Ahmad) His heart accommodated those who lived during his time, and his ummah after him (saw):

“Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) came to a graveyard and said, ‘Peace be upon you, abode of a believing people. Allah willing, we will join you. I wish that we could see our brothers.’ They [the companions] said, ‘Are we not your brothers, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You are my Companions. My brothers are those who have not yet come.’ They said, ‘How can you know someone of your community who has not yet come, Messenger of Allah?’ . . . ‘” (Muslim)

For  a lecture by Bilal Assad on the Prophet’s mercy, click here. And as Surat Al-Anbiyaa points out, the religion conveyed through the Messenger of Allah (saw) is a mercy to humankind. It brought them from darkness to light, from the tightness and limitation of this world to the vastness of the universe and what is beyond it. It allowed them to achieve a balance within themselves, as opposed to perturbation. Achievable only when they draw the circle of their lives with Allah (SWT) as its center.

And to those who turn away from Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his news flash Allah (SWT) orders him to say, “If they turn away say,’I delivered the message to all alike. I know not if what you you are promised is near or far. Say [O’ Muhammad (saw)] Verily, He (Allâh) knows that which is spoken aloud (openly) and that which you conceal. I know not whether this is a temptation set before you, Or else enjoyment for a little while.’”  (21:109-111)

“Mission accomplished,” the Prophet of Allah (saw) delivered the message for all to hear regardless of their race, color, or creed. It is a universal message, one that all of humankind can relate to and feel at home with. As for the question as to when the Hour of truth is, neither the Prophet (saw) nor the very angel Israfeel know (Israfeel is the blower of the horn signifying the onset of the Hour, and our Prophet (saw) says that he has raised the horn to his lips and pricked his ears in wait for the final order from Allah (SWT)). Then the Prophet (saw) reminds and warns those who turn away, that Allah (SWT) hates hypocrisy in faith—where ones appearance tells one story but their heart tells another. This state of affair of their hearts is in Allah’s full view (SWT). Then the Prophet (saw) claims no knowledge of the events that befall humankind in this world—whether calamities are tests to show ones true mettle or whether enjoyment is temporary before final subjugation to eternal torment. The certainty of it all is in Allah’s knowledge alone. And in the face of opposition, the Prophet (saw) is advised by Allah (SWT) to say, “My Lord, judge with the Truth. Our Lord, the All-Merciful, is our source of help against what you [disbelievers] recount.” (25:112)

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Calling ALL who visited the Science Museum for Eid ul Fitr September 13, 2010

Filed under: Miscellaneous Announcements — lamyaalmas @ 4:55 pm

Those of you who visited the Science Museum for Eid Ul Fitr–can you please please please provide:

1) Anecdotal information about what worked well aT the Science Museum for you this Eid ul Fitr.

2) Also, why do you think it is important for them to continue to provide these events for our religious holidays?

3) And what would be relevant to the community (from your perspective) for the future?

We want to help the organizers who are passionate about this to plan, organize and advocate for future events. So, please please please do provide your feedback in the comment section to this post.

Jazakom Allah Khayr.

 

Do not be like the woman who unravels to shreds her weaving! September 8, 2010

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 10:26 pm

Allah (SWT) says, “And do not be like the woman who unravels to shreds her weaving once she has spun and made it strong. Nor take your oaths to practice deception between yourselves, lest one party should be more numerous than another: for Allah will test you by this; and on the Day of Judgment He will certainly make clear to you (the truth of) that wherein ye disagree.” (16:92)

In this verse, Allah (SWT) provides a parable for clarification.. One of a woman of Quraish during the days of Al Jahiliyyah. She was nicknamed the “Foolish Qurashiyah.” Her real name was Rayt’a Bint ‘Amer. What earned her this nickname? Well, early morning to noon Rayt’a would order her servant girls to sort and prepare animal shearing for spinning, then hand spin them into yarn, and finish off by weaving them into cloth. But from noon to evening, she would order them to unravel what they had woven to “shreds”—to the very animal shearing they had initially started with that very same morning. Let’s contemplate on Rayt’a’s daily endeavor.

Sorting animal shearing and preparing the wool fibers for spinning, then spinning them into yarn with a hand spindle, and finishing off by weaving the yarn into material is a difficult and time consuming process. The fine irregular threads of fiber are made into one  single, wide, long, knot-free, and streamlined yarn with a device called a spindle. Then the yarn is woven into cloth. The basic principle of cloth weaving involves lacing two sets of threads together at 90 degree angles. The warp consists of thread laid parallel to one another, stretched across a loom or other structure that keeps it in place. The woof is then pulled through the warp in an under and over pattern, creating a single joined piece of fabric when completed. It is a process that needs time, patience and strength, hence Allah (SWT) says, “. . . once she has spun and made it strong” (16:92). The strength needed for the whole process is magnified as the verse associates it with the weaker of the two sexes, physically speaking that is. So, the effort and time exerted is no doubt manifold. So, there is no mystery as to why Rayt’a bint ‘Amer was nicknamed the “Foolish Qurashiyah”–for indeed she was involved in a foolish endeavor. She bore the hard labor in the sorting, preparing, spinning, and weaving (check out the videos to see how much time and labor goes into the whole process) only to undo a hard days labor. Allah (SWT) captured an image of utter foolishness  and is witness to it Himself, and through it conveys a lifelong lesson of guidance through the Qur’an.

This verse is of significance to us today, especially, as we bid Ramadan farewell. All of us have worked hard this Ramadan—we have toiled and sweated. We have deprived ourselves of food, rest, and sleep. Many of us have gotten rid of bad habits. Many of us have returned to Allah (SWT) after being away for so long. Remember, Shaytan will be released tomorrow after Maghrib prayer , determined to take revenge from us for unraveling his work of the past year. He is mad; he is angry.  He has unprecedented energy and determination to ruin what we have managed to accomplish this Ramadan. Such is his state after every obedient act by a Muslim; he exerts super duper power to lead us astray. You will find temptations practically running after you, so don’t say I did not warn you.  So, let Allah’s expectations ring in your ears, and mutter it to yourself in the days ahead, “And on them did Satan prove true his idea and they followed him, all but a party that believed” (34:20). What does this mean? This means that Satan expects to undo your work with a wave of his finger. Don’t live up to his expectations? Be among the “party that  believe” (34:20).

Shaytan is not going to delay a month or two. He wants us to fall into his trap right after he is released from incarceration—right after Maghreb, or during Eid prayer at the most. He wants to gain a foothold on you by winning over you psychologically—by throwing you into doubt about whether your effort in the past blessed month has been accepted by Allah (SWT). He will attempt to lower your self-esteem by making you feel worthless right after Ramadan. He will target that good feeling in your heart—the sweetness of eman—and empty your heart of it. If you let him, know that things will go downhill from there. So, resist him with all your might, and have faith and trust in Allah (SWT) that He (SWT) has accepted you. Don’t be like Ray’ta who after all the work and labor that went into her and her servant girls’ labor, she ordered them to pull one string and undo it all.

It’s scary! I know. But it is easier when you know what to expect, or so I believe. It keeps you awake. Most importantly it doesn’t make you let your guard down. Indeed, many of us right after the “Crash Course of Ramadan” want to relax, rest and take it easy. Naturally, we have been working hard for a month now.  But know, this is his cue. He will mobilize his forces while you are in this laid back state, and guess what he will win.  So, what do we do? Well, hold onto yourself with both hands. Guard your heart and mind. Clutch your tongue.  Of course he will notice you’ve changed, and accordingly he will change his tactics. But stay strong—and know that those who remain strong the first week after Ramadan continue through the rest of the year, Insha Allah. Success the first week is enough to build confidence to continue after Ramadhan, and hope that maybe our deeds have been accepted. In no way am I claiming that you are going to turn into angels after Ramadan, but rather: be on your guard, know his plans, and be in on his game plans and Insha Allah you will be granted immunity from his workings.

Don’t let Shaytan jump up gleefully and say, “Hurray! Hurray! O Allah, for a whole month they have been working hard to worship you and come close to you. But it only took me a day to undo it all.” Remember Rayt’a bint ‘Amer.

 

O Allah Click My Heart’s “Refresh” Icon this Ramadhan! September 7, 2010

Filed under: Ramadhan Corner — lamyaalmas @ 8:08 am

(Inspired by a lecture by Mustafa Hosny) I delivered a summarized and revamped”version” of this during the Ummah Project event Friday the 3rd of September, 2010.Taking into consideration the event, and the audience.

Remember the angels’ reaction to our creation?

“And remember when Allah said to the angels, ‘I shall appoint a deputy on earth,’ and they answered, ‘Will you place therein one who sows discord and sheds blood while we chant Your praises and proclaim Your Holiness?’ Allah said, ‘I know what you do not.’” (2:30)

The angels didn’t expect any good from us—we were an accident waiting to happen, nothing but trouble. But Allah (SWT) the All Knowing knew what the angels didn’t. Thus, on one of these upcoming nights known as “Laylat Al Qadr” (the Night of Determination) the angels, “By their Lord’s leave” (97:4) will embark on their annual trip to this earth.  Do you know why the angels will descend? They will descend to witness firsthand Allah’s (SWT) knowledge in us.

You know, the angels were right to an extent. Today the earth is full of corrupt humans, more evil than any of the angels’ wildest nightmares. It’s no secret, our newspapers and channels are full of their daily atrocities. But the angels won’t be taking the journey from the heavens to the earth for them—they don’t deserve the honor. But rather they will be here to marvel at, and greet with “peace” those who are indulging in obedience to their Lord (SWT). Those for whom the creation of the whole human race was absolutely worth it.

So, on this night Insha Allah we will be elevated solely for living up to Allah’s (SWT) expectations of us. Before that night we might have not been worth a dirty old brass penny, but after it–out of Allah’s Mercy– we are shining stars brighter than any in the sky. On this night it will be determined whether we are among: 1) those who sow mischief on earth, i.e. the low of the low, scum of the earth; or 2) those for whom the creation of the human race was absolutely worth it. I am hoping you intend on the latter. So, let’s give it our all during these last few days of Ramadhan—let’s stand strong to the very last minute. It is the night our “kind” will be determined in the eyes of Allah (SWT).  Plus its fair game, the Shaytan is out of the game entirely—so we are back to our “original self.” It’s a time to determine who we really are—a night our mettle is proven.

But unfortunately many of us will be the latter solely during Ramadhan; we will be “the worshippers of Allah in Ramadhan” rather than “worshippers of Allah during and after Ramadhan.” For us Ramadhan is a mere opportunity to prove how smart and intelligent we are in “grabbing” the rewards offered by the blessed month, and the Night of Determination. There is no secret how for the Prophet (saw) in numerous hadiths spelled out the rewards of this blessed month—you can simply Google the key words “rewards of Ramadhan” and scores of entries will pop up on your screen. My blog included. Yes, we all know that the prayer we pray, the Qur’an we recite, the charity we give is worth an x number of rewards, and on the Night of Determination to the power of over 84 years.  We have become like hawks hunting around for rewards; and for our special duas to be granted. Indeed, our relationship with Allah (SWT) has become superficial and selfish. And it is more pronounced in Ramadhan than any other time. No doubt, that is why it fizzles to the point of “casual acquaintance” to “non-existence” after Ramadhan.

We see Allah (SWT) as the Giver of rewards, and after we have maintained them we candidly turn our backs on Him (SWT). Then when we have yet another selfish request to ask of Him (SWT) we don our “worshippers of Allah” costumes once again, only to give him the cold shoulder once again after He (SWT) so generously grants our request/s.

Really, how many of us desert the house of Allah (SWT) after Ramadan? Desert raising our hands in dua as often as we do in Ramadhan? Desert the beauty of feeling our tears rolling down our cheeks during Dua? How many of us will deprive our hands of holding the Qur’an, our eyes from looking at the words of Allah (SWT), and our fingers turning its pages? How many of us will place the Qur’an back on the shelf and leave it to accumulate dust? How many of us who wore hijab during Ramadhan will have a hijab-less newlook during Eid and thereafter? How many of us will place goals and objectives for their Hereafter and the benefit of this Ummah on the backburner—like a half finished pullover, patiently waiting for next Ramadhan for the stitches to be picked up.

I sometimes imagine Allah (SWT) asking us why we aren’t in His home as often as we were in Ramadan?  Why we aren’t reading His book as often? Why we don’t remember Him as often? Really, why aren’t we close to Allah (SWT) the rest of the year. You know why? Because we attended for the gift, and not the Gifter! For Ramadhan, and not the Lord of Ramadhan! For the Night of Determination, and not for the Bestower of the Night of Determination! Want proof? Go look over your list of duas for this Ramadhan. I would publish mine, but it would probably take up all the capacity on my blog. We all want provisions: of health, wealth, happiness, bright futures both in this World and the Hereafter. We want graves as wide as football fields, full of light. We want a Jannah where we can enjoy what no eye has seen, ear has heard, or imagined in the most wildest of imagination. Allah (SWT) is able to grant them all, for His ability is between two letters—‘B’ and ‘E’—for He says, “Be and it is.” But in earnest, we only need one thing on our list; one thing that will guarantee that all that’s on it will be granted.

What is the one and only dua that you need on your dua list? It is, “O Allah, you named Yourself “Al-Muhyi” (Giver of Life), give life to my heart by expiating my sins this Ramadhan so that I may be worthy to be close to you throughout my life’s journey.” “Al-Muhyi is the one who“. . . gives life to the earth after it had been lifeless! Verily, this Selfsame God is indeed the One that can bring the dead back to life: for He has the power to will anything.” (30:50) Remember, Ramadhan is the anniversary of the Qur’an—on a day, within this very same month, 1400 years ago the Qur’an was revealed to the heart of the Prophet (saw) and from him to the hearts of the inhabitants on the face of the earth.  Dark hearts empty of their Creator (SWT) all of a sudden came alive with knowledge of their Creator.  The power icon to their hearts was clicked to refresh. That’s what you should aspire to achieve during Ramadhan: that the power icon to your heart is clicked, and your hearts achieve the three R’s– refreshment, resuscitation and re-acquaintance with its Creator. Why? So that you are worthy of completing this life’s journey with Allah (SWT) in preparation to be close to Him (SWT) for all eternity in a Jannah whose width and breadth is that of the heavens and the earth.

So instead of rushing to complete the Qur’an in 30 days in Taraweeh or 10 days during Tahajjud to get the rewards allocated for each letter, read the Qur’an because you want Allah (SWT) to speak to you. Pray, because you want to call Allah (SWT)—for prayer is His (SWT) number—and hold a conversation with Him (SWT). Don’t strive solely for the sake of Jannah, remember you were created in it and it is your final abode, if you want to go home. Say, “O Allah grant me Jannah so I can spend the rest of my life near you.” It is your love for Allah (SWT) and wanting to be close to Him (SWT) that wins you Jannah—it is collateral.  Let’s not race for rewards, but rather race to the Giver of the rewards—and the rewards will come despite themselves.

So, how is this closeness to Allah (SWT) achieved? What is the obstacle that comes between us and Allah (SWT)? Our sins. It is the gaze that we enjoy despite the fact that we know that it displeases Him (SWT); the curses we hurl knowing that He (SWT) hears us; the arrogant attitude we show towards the needy despite knowing that a humble demeanor is what pleases Him (SWT). You get my drift. So, Allah (SWT) the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful empties our hearts of all the sins it has accumulated that so we can start anew and afresh with Him (SWT). Turn a new page with Him (SWT). This is the true objective of Ramadhan and the Night of Determination. So, let’s not grab the rewards of Ramadhan and turn our back on the Bestower of the rewards.  If you leave Ramadhan with Allah (SWT) in your heart, He will be the light that you see with, the ears that you hear with, the heart that you feel with, and the mind that you think with during your journey after Ramadhan.  So say, “O Allah open your doors of Mercy to me. Invite me in so that we can continue together after Ramadhan.”

Now back to the angels:

“When it is the Night of Determination, Allah (SWT) orders the angels to descend from the Heavens to the Earth, because His Creations have adorned themselves with acts of obedience to Him (SWT)– fasting and prayer in the days and nights of Ramadhan. And they have adorned the Houses of Allah with lamps and lanterns. The Lord (SWT) says to the Angels ‘You accused humankind when I created them and said, ‘Will you place therein one who sows discord and sheds blood?’ Did I not tell you that I know what you know not. Go to them tonight, so that you may see them standing, performing ruk’u, and prostrating, so that you know that I chose them out of my knowledge of the Universe.”

Allah is telling the angels, “You expected that they would not turn to me; that they would not love me. Go down and see how much they love me. How they turn to me. How they desperately want to please Me. Go and watch!” So, let’s ask Allah to save us from our selfish selves. Let’s ask for refuge from provisions that will make us forget Him (SWT); or rewards that would make us strive less for His (SWT) pleasure; or abilities that would make us feel, in any way, that we don’t need Him (SWT).

So, ask yourself now as we experience the last couple of days of Ramadhan: do you want to walk out with Allah (SWT) or the gifts He (SWT) offers in Ramadhan? And by the way, He (SWT) wants you. He (SWT) chose you the day that He (SWT) told the angels, “I know what you know not.”  Let’s be like the wife of the Pharaoh and say: “. . . ‘My Lord build me a house by Your side in the Garden’” (66.11)