We’ve focused on ourselves mostly up till now. How can I get the most of Ramadan ? How can I get ready for such an auspicious occasion ?
But is Ramadan only about the self ? In a way, it’s only about the self. And yet. Strangely. In order for it to truly be about just you, it has to include others.
In Sahih Bukhari, it is narrated that the prophet (pbuh) said:
“And whoever was at the need of his brother, Allah will Be there for his need. And whoever relieves a difficulty from a Muslim, Allah Relieves from him difficulty of the difficulties of the resurrection, and whoever hides the faults of a Muslim, Allah will Hide his faults in the resurrection”
You’ll notice how the prophet (pbuh) uses the past tense. This is an Arabic linguistic technique to indicate the strength of action, like saying “that you could do something with your eyes closed”. It also indicates that you should not be so distant from your brother that you need to start helping him, rather, that you are already there and the Prophet (pbuh) is merely showing you the magnitude of what you are already doing.
In the Sunan of ibn Majah, it is narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said (translated according to meaning):
“Indeed Allah, half way in the month of Sha’ban looks at his creation and he forgives them all – except a mushrik (polytheist) and one that carries negativity towards others”
Tonight will be the 15th of Sha’ban. May Allah purify our creed and our hearts. The one who’s creed is correct and yet he hates or loathes others – Allah will not forgive him tonight as per this hadeeth.
In a famous incident*, as ibn Abbas was leaving i’tikaf, he was asked: “how can you leave i’tikaf ?”
He replied that he had heard the messenger of Allah (pbuh) say that helping a brother in need was better than 10 years of i’tikaf in the prophet’s mosque (in another narration, 2 months).
It seems that everyones aspirations for Ramadan is to be able to go on Ummrah and pray at the harram. There’s nothing wrong with that. But few people realise that so many of our brothers and sisters around the world are dying and you could easily feed a village with the money of a ticket to Ummrah.
Each and every one of those people is better for you than 1000 months of i’tikaf at the prophets mosque !
By AbdelRahman Mussa
* there is contention as to the authenticity of this incident, but even without it, there are plenty of ahadeeth to support the validity of and indeed the obligation of being there for others.