Part Three: What Ramadan Means
I begin with mentioning the perfect and beautiful name, Allah (SWT)
The Nature of Man and Ramadan
Fasting is dear to Allah (SWT). Why so? That question brought me to seek what it take to be the servant who is righteous (muttaqoon) in the eye of Allah (SWT), the Creator, the Fashioner, The Governor and The Provider.
“O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become Muttaqoon (the pious)” [Al-Baqarah 2:183]
‘What makes a Muslim muttaqoon? What is it in fasting that it serves as a gateway to piousness?’
It came in bits and pieces and the dots began to be connected one after another, and significantly through the class of tadabbur and the secrets of al-Qur’an by Sheikh Sa’ied Abdel Latif al-Karawyah in the month of Rajab 2013. I was introduced to his class by a lady I met in a mosque whilst having breakfast at a café within the compound.
SubhanAllah! I was indeed looking for a teacher who could enlighten my understanding about the sacred words of Allah (SWT) through His book, al-Quran. Word for word. Just like I did with al-Qur’an Text and Translation by Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali and other commentaries by several authors. This time, it is Qur’anic Arabic. Every article, letter, word, word selection are wrapped with meanings and secrets.
At the end of the first class I attended, I wept in gratitude. I stood there before the teacher and in the presence of the rest of the students. Sheikh Sa’ied was standing still after shaking hands with the brothers.
Seeing me struggling and weeping, and as a man of fine ethics, he came down to his knee. He kept on glorifying Allah (SWT) and tried to calm me down.
I was finally able to summon my voice, “Alhamdulillah. Do you know how long I have been waiting for this moment, Sheikh? Five years. Listening to you is like a dream that vividly comes true. SubhanAllah! I want to be close to al-Qur’an, as I can’t afford to continue with a poor relationship with it for the rest of my life.”
The verse being discussed then was ayah 55 to 57 of surah al-Baqarah,
And (remember) when you said: “O Musa! We shall never believe in you until we see Allah (SWT) plainly.” But you were seized with a thunderbolt while you were looking (55) Then We raised you up after your death, so that you might be grateful (56) And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you al-manna and al-salwa, (saying) : “Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,” (but they rebelled). And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves (57)
“We have heard the reminder from Allah (SWT) over and over again. And yet we feel we are not part of it. We feel as if the warning was meant only for the children of Israel during the time of Prophet Musa (AS).
Let’s reflect within how we respond to Allah’s (SWT) command and the good choices He wanted us to choose from, commensurate with our nature, fitrah.
The parables in al-Qur’an established our system retrospectively. It is always relevant and remains relevant as the ayah are the words of Allah (SWT).
Whenever we read the parables about Prophet Adam (AS), Prophet Saleh (AS), Prophet Isa (AS) for example, the behavior of the people then, never think that “it is all about them.” Pause and reflect. Does our behavior and attitude have similar traits.”
I felt almost limbless. How poor my relationship with al-Qur’an was despite the fact that I was able to recite it since the age of 7 years old. Alhamdulillah for that my curiosity to learn about the words of Allah (SWT) was rekindled.
Today, Sunday June 22, Sheikh Sa’id gave us a special discourse on the months of Rajab, Sya’ban and Ramadan. How best to welcome Ramadan, what are the six things we gain from Ramadan and how do we give back to Ramadan are among the messages that have been embedded in me.
I see fasting not as an isolated act of worship. It entails physical and spiritual deeds. A holistic process to return to the nature of a human being as Allah (SWT) fashioned is one that I am still learning to embrace fully. Please make supplication for me, o my brothers and sisters of tawhid. May Allah (SWT) choose us to be the people of muttaqoon.
Inshaa-Allah in the final part, I will write on the six reciprocal items as mentioned by Sheikh.
Ahlan wasahlan yaa Ramadan al-Mubarak!