The Likeness of Ramadan and Wimbledon – Part 4
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
[Note: No, this is not the last part. Sigh. There's another one, insha-Allah, that will talk about the rest of the season, the rest of the career and retirement.]
AFTER THE TOURNAMENT
[Unlike in Wimbledon, there's more than one winner in real life, alhamdulillah!]
It’s championship point. Silence all around. Serve, return, forehand, backhand. It’s a winner. He’s done it! He sinks to his knees in joy while the crowd cheers.
Ah, that winning feeling. It feels amazing, doesn’t it?
Doesn’t it feel amazing to have had a great Ramadan, or a great Hajj or even a great day where we worshipped Allah properly?
What’s even more amazing is that this is wonderful feeling is the “little happiness”. The greater happiness is in the next world.
يَا عِبَادِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ وَلَا أَنتُمْ تَحْزَنُونَ
“(It will be said to the true believers of Islamic Monotheism): My worshippers! No fear shall be on you this Day, nor shall you grieve,
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَكَانُوا مُسْلِمِينَ
(You) who believed in Our Ayaat (proofs, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and were Muslims (i.e. who submit totally to Allah’s Will, and believe in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism).
ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ أَنتُمْ وَأَزْوَاجُكُمْ تُحْبَرُونَ
Enter Paradise, you and your wives, in happiness.
يُطَافُ عَلَيْهِم بِصِحَافٍ مِّن ذَهَبٍ وَأَكْوَابٍ ۖ وَفِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِيهِ الْأَنفُسُ وَتَلَذُّ الْأَعْيُنُ ۖ وَأَنتُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them, (there will be) therein all that the one’s inner-selves could desire, all that the eyes could delight in, and you will abide therein forever.
وَتِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي أُورِثْتُمُوهَا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُون
This is the Paradise which you have been made to inherit because of your deeds which you used to do (in the life of the world).
لَكُمْ فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ كَثِيرَةٌ مِّنْهَا تَأْكُلُونَ
Therein for you will be fruits in plenty, of which you will eat (as you desire).”
[Surah Az-Zukhruf (43) : 68-73]
The winner takes his victory lap (with the trophy, of course). He then soaks it all in for a few days. After that, he goes back to work, because the season isn’t over yet, nor is his career.
Winning the tournament is not the end, it’s just a step towards greater glory. A real champion needs to build on his win. If he doesn’t, his win might be a “fluke” and he would get labeled a one slam wonder.
Many brothers and sisters have a good Ramadan. Once Eid comes around, they just revert back to their pre-Ramadan selves as if Ramadan had not even happened.
The scholars said that one of the signs that a person’s Ramadan was accepted was that he/she would continue to do the good beyond Ramadan.
The one who had a great Ramadan and does not build upon that should reflect over why this is so. [Ramadan Muslims should read this post.]
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ
“And those who give that (their charity) which they give with their hearts full of fear, because they are sure to return to their Lord (for reckoning).” [Surah Al-Muminun (23) : 60]
Who are these people? The following hadeeth tells us:
سألت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عن هذه الآية
Aishah (radiallahu anha) the wife of the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: ” I asked the Messenger of Allah about this ayah (verse):
وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ
“And those who give that (their charity) which they give with their hearts full of fear…..” [Surah Al-Muminun (23) : 60]
قالت عائشة : أهم الذين يشربون الخمر ويسرقون قال لا يا بنت الصديق ولكنهم الذين يصومون ويصلون ويتصدقون وهم يخافون أن لا تقبل منهم
Aishah said: “Are they those who drink wine and steal?” He said: “No, O daughter of As-Siddiq. They are those who fast, pray, give charity while they fear that their Lord will not accept it from them.”
أُولَـٰئِكَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَابِقُونَ
“It is these who race for the good deeds, and they are foremost in them.” [Surah Al-Muminun (23) : 61]
[Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3175. Graded "sahih" by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3175.]
So, one should never be certain that one’s deeds are accepted, rather one should ask Allah to accept one’s deeds and hope that they have been accepted.
After all, Ibrahim (alaihissalam) and Ismail (alaihissalam), two Prophets, asked Allah to accept their good deed, which in this case was building the Kabah!
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَاهِيمُ الْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ الْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَاعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
““And (remember) when Ibrahim and (his son) Ismail were raising the foundations of the House (the Kabah at Makkah), (saying), “Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. Verily! You are the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 127]
Also, the one who has done lots of ibaadah (worship) should never take it easy, rather they need to continue doing good deeds.
Until when, you ask?
وَاعْبُدْ رَبَّكَ حَتَّىٰ يَأْتِيَكَ الْيَقِينُ
“And worship your Lord until there comes unto you the certainty (i.e. death).” [Surah Al-Hijr (15) : 99]
We need to keep doing the good deeds until death. This is “istiqaamah” (steadfastness).
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is (only) Allah,” and thereafter Istaqaamoo (i.e. stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding therein (forever), a reward for what they used to do.” [Surah Al-Ahqaf (46) : 13-14]
A win gives one the confidence to keep going.
Many people don’t believe that they can be good slaves of Allah. However, after they’ve had a good Ramadan, they realise that it is possible so this becomes fuel for them to continue beyond Ramadan.
This is because the good only leads to more good. It’s a wonderful circle.
[Sins however lead to more sins. That's a vicious circle.]
However, the winner shouldn’t get amazed at oneself or get arrogant. It’s easy to get swayed away by the praise. “The greatest ever!” scream the papers.
If one has had an amazing Ramadan, then one should praise Allah, not get amazed at oneself.
This is something that every single one of us should be wary of us: arrogance and self-amazement.
Arrogance (kibr) is believing oneself to be better than others. Ujb (self-amazement) is being amazed at all that one has done and seeing it as something great. Both of these traits are something that a true believer should NOT possess.
إن المؤمن يرى ذنوبه كأنه قاعد تحت جبل يخاف أن يقع عليه ، وإن الفاجر يرى ذنوبه كذباب مر على أنفه ، فقال به هكذا . قال أبو شهاب بيده فوق أنفه ، ثم قال : ( لله أفرح بتوبة العبد من رجل نزل منزلا وبه مهلكة ، ومعه راحلته ، عليها طعامه وشرابه ، فوضع رأسه فنام نومة ، فاستيقظ وقد ذهبت راحلته ، حتى اشتد عليه الحر والعطش أو ما شاء الله ، قال : أرجع إلى مكاني ، فرجع فنام نومة ، ثم رفع رأسه ، فإذا راحلته عنده ) .
So who celebrates at the end of the tournament? Obviously, it’s just the winner and not the runner up or those that lost early. Imagine one’s surprise if the losers were to celebrate after the tournament!
So Eid comes around, and everyone looks happy. One can understand the joy on the faces of those who had a good Ramadan, but what about the joy on the faces of those that had a bad Ramadan???
What about the joy on the faces of the people who couldn’t even manage to pray 5 times a day in Ramadan? Does that make sense? No, it really doesn’t.
If the person who had a bad Ramadan was truly devastated, he/she wouldn’t be this happy on Eid.
Here’s a really amazing article on this issue.
Of course, being a runner up isn’t all that bad, especially if he hadn’t been in form coming into the tournament. However, he would still feel the sting of having lost and would want to improve on his performance next year.
If one’s Ramadan went better than one expected, than one should take heart in that and use that as motivation.
However, one should always strive to have a better Ramadan the following year.
Note: Sometimes trying is the same as winning. Someone could try to get something and not get there but they might get the intended result. An example of this is the man who killed 99 people. He wanted to repent and so was told to migrate. He died before reaching the new land but he made it to Paradise anyway.
A real champion strives to recover from his loss.
Anyone can give up. However, a believer does not. He keeps going.
If he has an setbacks, he tries to use that as a push to get better. [Remember the two kinds of people?]
Should the loser throw in the towel because he lost? No, obviously not. There are other tournaments to be played and his career isn’t over yet.
Some people get so devastated with a bad Ramadan, or bad Hajj or any sort of setback, that they just give up.
And this is completely wrong. A person has until their death to rectify themselves. Of course, that could be today or twenty years from now, nobody knows.
What one should do is to strive to do good deeds before death so as to improve one’s standing in the hereafter.
What he needs to do is to go home and analyze why he lost, as well as ask those around him. Was it mental issues or was it a weakness in his games? He then need to fix those problems, step by step.
So, what was the reason for the bad Ramadan? Was it waswasa (whispers) from Shaytan (the devil), lack of fear in Allah, lack of ibaadah (worship), etc? One cannot fix a problem if he/she does not know what it is!
One of the main reasons for problems is one’s own sins. [It's our own fault, remember?]
So, one needs to do plenty of istighfar (seek forgiveness), strive to seek knowledge and also consult the people of knowledge about his/her issue.
After this, one needs to work on fixing the problem, step by step.
Were he not prepared enough? Or did he lose to a better player?
There are two reasons why things don’t go the way we want them to.
The first reason is because we didn’t do enough. So, for example, if the Ramadan didn’t go well, it might have been because we didn’t prepare for it properly or we overdid it the first few days.
These are the type of the things that we can and should improve.
The second reason is that we don’t have control over what happens. Thing which displease us may happen and we have to accept them and submit to Allah’s Will.
For example, many women are devastated that they cannot do night prayers in the last 10 days due to menstruation. They have no control over this situation so they should realise that this is a test from Allah and strive to be content with His decree.
Another example would be illness. I fell ill TWICE in the last 10 days of last Ramadan. I couldn’t believe it at the time. Fall ill in Ramadan? That had never happened! It was definitely an eye opener.
The loser shouldn’t console himself with words like: “If things had gone a bit differently I might have won.” That isn’t the right way to go about doing things.
المؤمن القوي خير وأحب إلى الله من المؤمن الضعيف وفي كل خير . احرص على ما ينفعك واستعن بالله ولا تعجز . وإن أصابك شيء فلا تقل : لو أني فعلت كان كذا وكذا . ولكن قل : قدر الله وما شاء فعل . فإن لو تفتح عمل الشيطان
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) reported Allah’s Messenger (sallalallahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “A strong believer is better and more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone. Abide by that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had done so and so, such and such would have occurred, but say: Allah decreed and He did what He willed. For verily, “if” opens the (gate for) work of the Shaytan (Satan).” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth, No. 6441]
If we had a bad Ramadan, we need to just accept our mistakes and move on. The past is to be learnt from so that one can use these lessons to work in the present so that one has a good future. [I hope that made sense.]
Of course, a loser shouldn’t give up. Sometimes, a loss is the turning point in one’s career.
[Ironically, one of the greatest Wimbledon champions credits the turning point of his career as being a loss in the finals of a grand slam event!]
Yes, we never know what is good for us.
وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) :216]
Regardless of whether one is a winner or a loser, one should not look back, rather one should look ahead.
Regardless of whether one has had an easy life or a difficult one, a bad Ramadan or a good Ramadan, etc, one needs to continue being obedient to Allah.
عجبا لأمر المؤمن . إن أمره كله خير . وليس ذاك لأحد إلا للمؤمن . إن أصابته سراء شكر . فكان خيرا له . وإن أصابته ضراء صبر . فكان خيرا له
The Messenger of Allah said (salallahu alaihi wasallam): “How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 7138]
To be continued…
Note to the sister who was dying for the series: 1) How’s it going? 2) Sorry for the delay.