Monday, 22 September 2008

Too busy with Ramadan

Spiritual hedonism. A contradiction of course. Spirituality is seldom hedonistic, in whatever faith you look at. But my view, is that it can be. The most awe-inspiring, majestic month of Ramadan is now upon us, moreover, is fast dwindling away from us with its most blessed days now in our grasp. The masjids spill out onto the street, the banter and warmth between the Muslim brethren is more than ever. The salat are lengthy, the duas are tear-filled, alhumdulilah. The spiritual feeling of the Deen, exists in the hearts of people in abundance and people we see run to perform the nawafil deeds with longing and desire.

There is goodness in this of course, however it's no doubt that the atmosphere created in this month is utterly feel-good. There's a sense of unity and sense of togetherness which one feels as everyone is carrying out these ibadah actions. So one who seldom prayed a fard salah, stands still to the recitiation of taraweeh salat through the night, day after day within such an atmosphere. Of course as Allah Almighty says, that it is the rememberance of Allah, that hearts do find rest. But should we not be careful that the objective of our ibadah truly is subservience to Allah, and not in seeking the pleasure of feeling spiritual and at rest?

I mention this not to pick a bone, but because someone in this blessed month, when asked whether they had been discussing the recent devestating Pakistan bombing on their Ramadan radio station, stated that they had simply been 'too busy with Ramadan'. Too busy with this month to have been able to use a section of their radio airtime to discuss this critical and devestating event which not only killed Muslim brethren, but was important politically for the Muslims. To discuss that political unrest plagues the air of Pakistan, the place where no leader in the current system - be they Musharraf, Bhutto or Zardari - has acceptance from the people. Where the government, whoever the ruler, has betrayed the people by fighting it's warped war on terror against its very own people (I here have to mention Dr Afia Siddique). Where secular law has escalated sectarian and tribal violence; and where the people now call for justice and there is a growing call for Islam.

As Muslims it is our duty to understand the affairs of our Muslim brothers and sisters and be able to engage in advocating the correct politics for them in their declined state with the absence of Islam. This is a a crucial part of being Muslim. It was in the month of Ramadan that our beloved Prophet SAW became busy enough to fight the Battle of Badr, and in the 13th century that the famous Ain Jaloot battle in Palestine was fought by the Muslim army. Isn't it the month where all good deeds are multiplied, so giving in charity, wanting for your brother what you want for yourself, speaking for the oppressed and accounting tyrant rulers? Ibadah is living by Allah's rules, laws and commands. Be this fasting, praying, or politics.

Ibadah for a Muslim ain't just no feel-good drug. It's our passport to Allah's promised Paradise. Therefore we have to ensure that we use the rest of this month to not only multiply and intensify our ibadah to him - our praying, dua, Qiyam ul Layl through the thickness of the night; but our obligations to this noble Ummah of Rasulullah SAW.

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