By Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS
Alhamdullilah, ALLAH, The Almighty, has blessed us to nearly complete another Ramadan season and fast. The blessings of this glorious month have been showered on the faithful believers as payment for the conscious restraint we have placed ourselves under by fasting. ALLAH has said this Ramadan fast is solely for the purpose of increasing our Taqwa. It is ordered for us yearly because we are not to think that we can just exercise this fast once and that is enough for a lifetime. Our memories are too short for that.
But one of the things we can do to get the benefit of the fast throughout the year is to consciously focus on the restraints which lead to the benefits of the fast. So many thoughts of wrong doing and sin enter our minds each day that it is a constant struggle to focus on righteousness. And donâ€™t feel that you are a no-good person because these thoughts enter your mind. It happens to every human being in varying degrees. And for some of us it is more of a challenge than it is for others.
I know of several people that are challenged by bad behavior brought on by a history of physical and mental deficiencies. They may allow themselves to be denigrated and spit on by people who are really less than they are. These un-practicing ones (not practicing or following the scripture to gain strength) may have a history of spousal or child abuse where they find it almost impossible to resist the same type of abuse they have been accustomed to in the past because they think they deserve it. And they only feel they deserve it because they have been told they deserve it by the Evil One. But our Rabb lets us know that this is not the life existence He desires for His servants.
ALLAH is so aware of our shortcomings and so merciful to us because of them, that He actually gives us a blessing for thinking to do a wrong thing but NOT doing it. This is so because you have actually done a good thing by restraining yourself from whatever you allowed to slip into your consciousness. Whether you are thinking of slandering someone, abusing someone with less strength than you, or even thoughts of doing wrong to yourself â€“ it is all the same. If you donâ€™t do it, ALLAH will reward you for your restraint and patience. Fasting in Ramadan gives us this strength to remember ALLAH and gain more self-restraint.
After we have fasted the month, the Eid day brings out smiles and happiness in the Muslims. If we think of it in the proper manner, it is a recurring happiness that seems almost automatic. Virtually no one argues on Eid day. In many communities gifts are given to the children and exchanged by adults in such a gleeful, unselfish manner that happiness is almost guaranteed.
This is supposed to be the way we live each and every day of our lives. We collect money during this time to give to those in the community who may be undergoing financial difficulties so they can have less worry on their minds and they can enjoy the Eid as well. ALLAH, the Almighty, does not wish for us to be unhappy and sad.
As we focus on our blessing for being Muslim, let us show our gratitude to our Creator by trying with all our heart to obey Him. Itâ€™s the right thing and also smart; because thatâ€™s the only way to success.
As Salaam alaikum
Al Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin