Ramadan Advice – Part 1

This is a beautiful lesson given on the meanings and wisdoms of Ramadan in Tarim, Yemen by one of the amazing female scholars there. It’s rather long so I’ll post in stages for ease of reading.

Bismi’AllahiRahmaniRaheem, AlhamdulillahiRabil’alamin,

 Wa salAllahu ‘ala Sayyidina Muhammadin wa ‘ala alihi wa sahbihi wa sallim

 The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam has informed us that every action is judged according to its intention.

 So in terms of the action we are about to undertake, i.e. the seeking of knowledge and the preparation of Ramadhan, the hadith is clear. So we begin with good intentions, good intentions in order that the etiquettes are found in this class and in order that the light that we search for is found in this class. And from what the scholars have taught us, we should intend to learn, to implement, and to teach others. To not just take this light, but to allow this light to eminate into the depths of our souls, and to allow it to eminate to our families, and into the depths of our homes, ameen.

Infinite is the native land from whence Allah has created the soul… the soul was made to reside in this infinite, ultimate, beauty of the native land. And this is where the soul wants to return to. Our lives are journeys that are about returning from exile, to our native land. The soul always feels like a foreigner, it always calls out for something greater, the infinite, the infinite space where we belong, it is always in turbulence, but once the soul becomes comfortable with this life, there is something seriously wrong. Ramadhan serves as one of life’s reminders of where we belong, where we are heading, where we long to be and helps us in our return journey. It is said that in the grave we call out, “How I wish that I prepared for my life” – the real living – in the permanent abode.

The Muslim sees this life as a temporal zone, and The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam said, live your life as a wayfarer. Meaning pass through it, don’t build in it.

‘Isa alaihi salam said the world is like a bridge, so don’t build upon it, just cross it.

 “And I did not create mankind or jinn, but to worship Me” – adh-Dhariyat – The Winnowing winds, Verse 5:

The Ulema tell us that this is the reality behind the creation of man and jinn. The understanding of life upon earth, is worship. We are part of this reality. The Ulema tell us that we cannot worship Allah unless we know Him. So we seek knowledge to know Him, so that we can fulfil this purpose – realising existence and that your very existence is based on worshipping Allah. But how can you, without understanding, without knowing?

 “There is no good in worship that is not understood” – Imam Ali, may Allah ennoble his face

 Imam Ali is known as the gate to the city of knowledge – the city of knowledge is The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam. Yet if you worship without understanding, there is no good in it. Why? Because the act of ibadah would be reduced to just getting it done, rather than knowing or experiencing the connection contained within it, which is only accessed through understanding, and which comes from knowledge.

 “Fasting is enjoined upon you as it was enjoined upon those before you, so that you may become God conscious” – Baqara – The Cow, Verse 183.

 This is the command on fasting, and Allah has told you that it is nothing new – every nation from the beginning of time till the end of time has done it, because it has such a powerful affect on the soul and the mind. There are so many wisdoms behind fasting, and it is potent with respect to strengthening that connection with Allah subhanuwata’ala which becomes severed if there is no God consciousness. When we lose that connection, we are no longer conscious that He exists, that He is watching, that He Sees you. The tie is severed and it is very easy to fall back on your wayward ways. The fasting helps with consciousness. This is why The Prophet salAllahu alaihi wasalam used to fast constantly -although his connection to Allah was of a different type. But in essence, this is why fasting just for a month, is prescribed for us, because of the powerful affect it has on our connection to our Lord. And it is because of this our teachers tell us that the obligatory fast is only for the stingy.

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