Teensie-Weensie Reminder (Day 12): The likeness of Ramadan and Wimbledon – Part 2
Here’s Part 1.
DURING THE TOURNAMENT
The great tennis players know that they now have to completely focus for the next two weeks. They cannot let anything distract them from their goal or else they’ll be out of the tournament. These two weeks have been blocked out on their calender. They only have one aim during this time: get their hands on that trophy.
The believers know that they now have to completely focus on their ibaadah. They cannot let anything distract them from their goal or else Ramadan will pass them by. This one month has been blocked out on their calender. They have only one aim during this time: attain piety and get granted Paradise.
The great tennis players know that they need to pace themselves during the tournament. There are 7 rounds to be played, all of which are important. However, they won’t give their all in the first few matches, because those matches will be against lower-level opposition. They don’t want to exhaust themselves too early. Rather they’ll keep something in reserve for the latter rounds (i.e. the quarter finals, semi-finals and the finals) because that’s when they’ll meet the better players.
The believers know that they need to pace themselves during Ramadan. There are 29-30 days of this blessed, ALL of which are important. However, they can’t put in all their efforts in the first few days only to get tired out for the rest of Ramadan. Rather they need to keep something in reserve for the last ten nights, which are the greatest nights of the night and which contain a night that is equivalent to a 1000 months.
The tennis players start their matches.
The believers start fasting.
It is imperative for the tennis player to not look ahead. He needs to take it point by point.
It is imperative for the believer to not look ahead. He needs to take it day by day. As a matter of fact, it would be better for him to live from prayer to prayer, because he doesn’t know whether he will be alive when the adhan of the next prayer is called.
The tennis player is alone. He cannot get anybody’s help during the match. It’s just him versus the opponent.
However, he will keep looking at the player’s box, where his entourage are sitting, in order to get some encouragement. After all, everyone needs encouragement.
Still, he needs to do all the work on his own.
A believer is responsible for his own life, meaning that nobody except him can lead his life. He will be accounted for his own actions on the Day of Judgment and there won’t be anyone for him to lean on.
“And fear a Day (of Judgment) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him nor will compensation be taken from him nor will they be helped.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 48]
However, in this world, a believer still needs help and encouragement from his Muslim brethren. So he will keep looking to them for support. This is why he should chose good companions, who will enjoin him to do good and forbid him from doing evil.
However, he does not depend on them. After all, they will not be there for him on the Day of Judgement:
“Then, when there comes As-Saakhkhah (the Day of Resurrection’s second blowing of Trumpet), that Day shall a man flee from his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children. Every man, that Day, will have enough to make him careless of others.” [Surah Abasa (80) : 33-37]
Unlike the tennis player, a believer is never alone. His Lord is always there for him to call upon, rely upon and ask for help:
“Allah is the Wali (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliyaa (supporters and helpers) are Taghoot [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 257]
“O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm.” [Surah Muhammad (47) : 7]
“Know you not that it is Allah to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth? And besides Allah you have neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 107]
So, the believer knows that the Lord of the Worlds is the only one that can help him, which is why he places his trust in Him alone and supplicates to Him alone. This is why the believer is never alone.
The true tennis player is the one who plays this game for the sheer enjoyment that he gains from it.
What is his ultimate purpose? He is an entertainer so his ultimate purpose is to entertain the audience. So, his ultimate purpose is not to get the trophy, rather the trophy is a result of playing him playing his game in the best manner.
So, this tennis player is the best because he knows the true purpose of playing.
The true believer is the one who fasts and does all his deeds for the sole purpose of earning Allah’s Pleasure.
What is a believer’s ultimate purpose in life? It is to do what he was created to do, which is to worship Allah alone. So, his ultimate purpose is not to get Paradise, rather Paradise is attained by worshipping Allah alone in the proper manner.
And this is the peak of sincerity – glorifying and praising Allah simply because it is His Right to be glorified and praised. It is not done just for the reward (i.e. for Paradise.). And this is something for us all to ponder over.
[Please see this excellent article for more on sincerity. Be sure to read the comments as well.]
So, this tennis player, because he plays just for the sheer love of the game, enjoys himself throughout the match e.g. while serving, while returning, etc.
So, the true believer, because he does all his actions out of the love of Allah, enjoys fasting, praying and doing all the other acts of worship.
If the tennis player is winning the match, he won’t relax and get ahead of himself. He needs to close out the match first. This is because he knows that the momentum can always change. So, he keeps going until he wins match point and then he allows himself to relax.
However, he knows that he cannot relax for too long because there’s another match to be played. So he cannot relax until the trophy is in his hands.
Even then, he knows that even if he wins the trophy, he needs to go on until retirement. That’s when he gets a permanent rest and enjoys the fruits of his labour.
[See this post.]
If the believer’s day is going well, he doesn’t relax and think that he has done enough ibaadah for the day. Rather he keeps going until he goes to sleep.
However, he knows that this sleep is just a short rest and that he needs to continue again when he wakes up. [Of course, he also knows that, with the right intention, the act of sleeping itself can be turned into an act of worship.]
If a believer’s Ramadan is going well, he doesn’t let up and start to relax. This is because he knows that he needs to keep going. He can’t let himself slide. After all, what if he died in that state?
He does not allow himself to relax until the moon for Shawwal is over. And even when it is sighted, he knows that he still needs to continue with his ibaadah until his death, because he knows that the heart can change.
Shahr ibn Hawshab said: “I said to Umm Salamah: ‘O Mother of the Believers! What was the supplication that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said most frequently when he was with you?’
She said: ‘The supplication he said most frequently was: “Yaa Muqallib Al-Quloob Thabbit Qalbee Alaa Deenik (O Changer of Hearts, keep my heart steadfast on Your religion).”‘
She said: ‘So I said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you supplicate so frequently: ‘O Changer of hearts, keep my heart steadfast on Your religion.’?
He said: ‘O Umm Salamah! Verily, there is no human being except that his finger is between Two Fingers of the Fingers of Allah, so whomever He wills He makes steadfast, and whomever He wills He causes to deviate.”‘
So (one of the narrators) Muadh recited: “O our Lord, do not cause our hearts to deviate after You have guided us. [Surah Aal-Imran (3) : 8]“ [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3522. Graded 'saheeh" by Al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3522]
[Please note: We do not blame Allah for deviating a person! If a person is deviated, it is because it is his own fault. He had some shortcoming inside and Allah knew that.
Something else to note: The greatest man created said this dua frequently. Shouldn't we say it then? That too frequently?]
So, the end of the day is simply a short relief. And the end of Ramadan is also a short relief.
A believer knows that he needs to go on until his death. This is his “retirement”.
“So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him). And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 98-99]
He can only relax when he gets admitted to Paradise. This is where he enjoys the fruits of his labour.
The beds of this world were only made so that we could rest in them temporarily. Paradise is the place where we get our eternal rest. And we won’t ever be tired there.
I remember a story of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimahullah) and his son. His son asked: “Father, when will we relax?” Imam Ahmad said: “With the first step we take to Paradise”.
May Allah make Imam Ahmad and his son one of the inhabitants of Al-Firdaus, for the great service that he rendered to this ummah.
It’s amazing. This is one of the greatest scholars of this ummah and despite all that he had done, he did not relax until he died. This is the way of the believers.
What if the tennis player’s match isn’t going well? What if he is losing? Does he give up?
No. A true champion doesn’t throw in the towel. He knows that it’s not over until that last point is played. He knows that the momentum can always change. He digs deep, refocuses and takes it point by point.
He isn’t going to give up. He’s going to put up a fight.
When a believer’s iman is low, and he has committed many sins and he is far from Islam, does he just say “Well, that’s that. I’m not going to make it to Paradise.”?
No, a true believer knows that the mercy of Allah is vast. He knows that hearts can change. He knows that he has a chance until his death. That’s the “last point”.
To be continued…
Part 3 will continue with what happens during the tournament. I had intended this to be a 3-parter but I think it’s going to be a 4-parter, insha-Allah.