Saturday, September 23, 2006,2:26 am
Ramadan: The Month of Mercy...
I begin in the name of Allah. The Beneficient, the Merciful. He is the Creator of heavens and earth, the Master of the Universe and of the Creation. One who alone deserves to be worshipped and who is the light of hope in the hour of darkness and of despair, One whose mercy encompasses all the creation and who is the most forgiving.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil) [2:183]

The month of Mercy is upon us once again. The month which brings with it great rewards and blessings has dawned on the Ummah of muslims. Yes it is a month of refraining from the forbiddin and embracing the goodily acts but the one has to look at the bigger picture of this Holy month. The narrations from the Prophet [pbuh] and the Imams [as] have stressed the need to use this Holy month for self reformation and self development. One needs to ponder on these narrations and find the answer as to why has there been such great importance on this month? Reflecting, something which the Quran stresses immensely. Why? because through this reflection one breaks the barriers and evolves. He or She starts to break free from their attachments and start to see their purpose of existence, purpose of their lives, purpose of their worship and much more. Allah created the human race to be the supreme of all creations. He blessed the humans with the intellect and the wisdom along with ambition and desires, through this intellect and wisdom and the right use of ambitions this creation can reach those high levels of spirituality.

This month also brings with it the cries of the household of the Prophet [pbuh], the cries of Imam Al Hujja [ajtf] and of Lady Fatima [sa]. The month of Ramadan bears the death of Ali ibn Abu Talib [as], the man who was the gate of knowledge, the protector of Islam and the father of the youths of paradise. What would be the Imam of our time Al Mahdi [ajtf] be feeling on the day of his grandfather's martyrdom, the one who was born in the house of Allah and the one who departed from the house of Allah too. It was a day of eternal sadness, the Angels, the Prophets [as] and Lady Fatima [sa] mourned for the loss of the man who was the peak of eloquence.

The purpose of our existence is to know Allah and worship Him. As the Quran states: "And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me" [56:57] so now the question is that how do we achieve this goal? And what are the obstactles in our path? The obstacles on our path are our sins and our disobedience to Allah [swt] and these shortcomings prevents us from evolving and progressing towards Allah [swt]. We are asleep on different levels of negligence and we need to truly awaken ourselves to the real goal in life which is to move towards our Creator and Sustainer.

"The one who knows himself knows his Lord" - a small but very meaningful narration. What does knowing ourselves mean and how does this knowing part comes about? The first step in the process of awakening is to reflect and contemplate on our destination and we need to work out for ourselves that are we following teh path or are we not? And if not then what are the reasons for it and how can we change that. A man has to reflect and find solutions himself. Imam Ali [as] in Nahjal Balagha says that the cure for everything is within us yet we are unaware of it. A beautiful narration states: 'One hour of reflection is better than 70 years of worship' and we find the perfect example to this narration on the plains of Karbala in Janabe Hurr, who contemplated for a few hours and in those few hours he realised the truth and his entire goal in life changed and his destination in life too.

'Oppurtunities come like clouds' - how true is that statement. We never realise the importance of something unless we lose it. The same can be said for the month of Ramadan. A month packed with blessings, rewards and spirituality. The month which is described by Ayatollah Tabrizi, in his book 'Spiritual Journey of the mystics' as the month in which Allah has invited the wayfarers (followers) of His path for a feast. At first that may seem a bit off since we are abstaining from eating and drinking but if one thinks and reflects upon those words then it truly makes sense. This is the month where a believer through his deeds and his supplications can fulfil his hunger for spirituality from this feast.

The Holy month of Ramadan is the month of mercy as in this month the doors of heavens are open and the door of hells are closed. Allah [swt] through His infinite mercy for His creation has blessed them with such an oppurtunity. This is a month where breathing is also worship of Allah. A month in which all the Divine books were revealed, the Torah was revealed on the sixth day of the month of Ramadhan, the Bible, on the twelfth night of the month, the Psalms on the eighteenth night of the month and the Qur’an on the Night of Qadr. It is the month whose beginning is mercy, its middle is forgiveness and its end, emancipation from the fire (of helI). Listed here are a limited number of virtues however the list goes on...

Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr) - The most important night in the Islamic calender. A night which is superior than a thousand nights, one thousand months of jihad, one thousands months of reign and the worship in it is superior than one thousand months of worship. This was the night when Allah the Almighty revealed the most Perfect Divine book the Quran to the seal of Prophethood, His last messenger Mohammad [pbuh]. It is a night when the sustenance and age of servants of Allah, and the good and evil of their affairs are destined. A night when prayers are answered, no one finishes this night empty handed. It is narrated that every lawful wish of a servant is answered in this great night. The Angels descend on this night all over the earth and when they pass through the gatherings of believers, they send salutations and praises upon them, and consider their prayers until the dawn.

Ayatollah Mirza Tabrizi in his book mentions about the Night of Power in such beautiful words, it would not be justice if I tried to write a summary about his work so I have copied the below passage from his book:

"...The invitation of Allah [swt], who is the King of all kings-is the King of Earth and Heavens - has invited us for His feast; in order to invite us has dispatched, his favourite angels, pious Prophets [as] and sinless Imams [as] as his couriers. He has assigned His angels to announce his invitation kindly and compassionately to us; has given us the glad tidings of giving us a permanent abode in the Paradise in return for a sincere worshipping during one single night; has promised such bounties, which have not been seen by any eye; have not been heared by any ear and have not been imagined through any human being's mind, as well as given us the glad tidings of illumination, ectasy, majesty, splendor, nearness, union and countenance, for whose least comprehension and understanding, faculties of reason and thoughts find themselves astonished and helpless..

Are we among those who have prepared for this night and invitation the way we ought to be and must be, in order to attain the eternal blessing and salvation? Or are we among those negligent and idle ones, who do not achieve any thing except loss and eternal doom? We must know better than the ones who act naively and lazily and do not strive to take advantage of the magnificent generosities of this night, when in the Hereafter, would see that those who were zealous, committed and vigilant during these nights - what they have achieved, and what magnificence, splendor and glory have been bestowed upon them. But they would gain nothing except regret - the regret so great and painful that the Hell's blazing fire and its torturous punishments would seem smaller as compared to their regrets and then together with the eternally doomed ones, they would cry loudly:

Lest a soul should say: O woe to me! for what I fell short of my duty to Allah, and most surely I was of those who laughed to scorn; [39:56]

But on the day when the gates of repentence would have been closed, there would be nothing left for compensation for the damage, every one would have seen the ultimate outcome of his deeds, and then feeling sorry and being regretful would not produce any gain. Therefore we must take a look upon ourselves, and before falling into such regret and grief, must admonish ourselves for being so lazy, naive and easy going. And before that we are called for accounting and be condemned into the state of wretchedness and destitution for wasting our precious capital - the capital through which we could have accomplished most precious and greater gains - we better put ourself to scrutiny."

I finish this piece with a short poetry from a book by Imam Khomeini, which says the following couplets:

"Alas! My life has passed in vain
Loaded with sins, with no devotional gain;
Tomorrow when I am brought to the Scene of Judgement,
They will say that repentence chance did not return."

May Allah give us the ability and the strength to make the most of the Holy month of Ramadan. May He forgive all our sins and give us the ability to reform ourselves. May He give us a chance to serve the Imam of our time Al Mahdi [ajtf]... Ramadan Mabrook!
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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