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August 16, 2010

8

Teensie-Weensie Reminder (Day 6): Remember to enjoy yourself…

by Umm Muawiyah

Assalamu Alaikum.

Enjoy myself, you ask? But it’s Ramadan! There’s so much work to do. So much ibaadah that we need to pack in!

Uh-huh.

Let’s start from the beginning, the very best place to start*:

[Yes, I know that sounds familiar because I stole the line from somewhere.]

Firstly, let’s all ask ourselves: “What are the kinds of things that we are supposed to enjoy doing?”

I think that everybody would agree that it would be doing the things that we love. It would also include the good things.

Hmm….so isn’t fasting in Ramadan something that we should love doing? Isn’t praying Taraweeh something that we should love doing? Isn’t giving charity something that we should love doing? Isn’t preparing iftar for your family something that we should love doing?

These are all acts of worship and these are things which are pleasing to Allah, so shouldn’t they be pleasing to us? Shouldn’t we be happy to do them?

Shouldn’t we be enjoying ourselves when we do these things and all the other acts mentioned in the shariah?

Sadly, this isn’t what happens today, is it? The following is what happens:

Scenario #1:

A Muslim man enters his office during Ramadan looking pale. His non-Muslim colleague asks: “What’s up, old boy? You lookin’ pale!”

The Muslim makes a traumatic expression that would lead one to believe he had just been released from an Israili prison: “Awww…I’m fasting! And I had to pray the whole night yesterday. And you know, I barely get enough sleep because we need to get up early in the morning to eat something.”

The non-Muslim feels very sad for his poor overwhelmed colleague and thinks what a tough religion Islam must be. Good thing he wasn’t a Mozlem.

Scenario # 2:

Muslim woman wearing hijab is out shopping . She starts to talk to a non-Muslim lady who is all decked up and looks totally glamourous.

The non-Muslim asks why she’s wearing that thing on her head.

The Muslim makes a sad face and says: “Islam says we have to”.

[Hmm…well done with that dawah opportunity, sister!]

Scenario # 3:

A Muslim man’s zakaah is due. He asks around to see if there are any poor people. When the time comes to part with the money, he almost bawls in pain.

Okay, so I may have exaggerated a tad but this is how it is generally, isn’t it? Most of us look so sad when we practice our religion and do the good deeds. I wonder what the non-Muslims think? Do you think we’re giving them a reason to study Islam??? After they see our state, they would consider it a very harsh religion!

When is it that we enjoy ourselves? When is it that we laugh? Unfortunately, it is when we are doing things that are contrary to the religion of Allah: when we watch movies, when we’re in mixed parties full of gossip, etc.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning one more time:

1) We are practicing the Religion of Allah. The fact that we are Muslims is the greatest blessing of Allah upon us. This is enough reason to be happy.

And remember, the religion of Islam is PERFECT and COMPLETE:

“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Surah Al-Maaidah (5) : 3]

After reading this ayah (verse), how can anybody be sad to be practicing Islam?

2) What are the three questions in the grave?

Who is your Lord?

What is your religion?

Who is your Prophet?

Interestingly, there is a supplication that has the answer:

Saad ibn Abi Waqqas reported: The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “If anyone says on hearing the Muadhdhin: ‘I testify that noen has the right to be worshipped except Allah alone without an partners, and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger, (and that) I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Muhammad as a Messenger, and with Islam my deen (code of life / religion), his sins would be forgiven.[Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 749]

Interestingly, there is also a supplication that is recited in the morning and evening that states the same thing as the part in red.

Notice, it doesn’t say “I accept”, rather it says “I am pleased with” because acceptance can be forced but pleasure is not. It comes from within.

So, are we really pleased with this religion? Or is it just mere words that we utter?

Remember: If we say them in truth today, we will be able to say them when Munkar and Nakeer (the two angels) come to ask us these questions when we are in our graves.

If we’ve lied, we won’t be able to reply those questions when we’re asked.

3) We can look at Islam in one of two ways:

The Negative Way

We look at all the rules and regulations as a burden and constantly moan and groan about following the orders of Allah.

In the process, we destroy ourselves and turn others away from this wonderful religion.

The Positive Way:

We are happy that they are so many rules and regulations because we see ourselves as being travellers searching for the way to Paradise, and we see these rules as being sign posts that always direct us to the correct path.

Also, we imagine Islam as being like a huge candy store (Candylicious in Dubai Mall perhaps?). All the rules are like sweets. Knowing more about Islam isn’t a burden, rather it is a sweet and eating this sweet allows us to feel the sweetness of iman. And we’re so happy that there’s so much to know because that means there so many different sweets to eat (i.e. so many different ways of pleasing Allah).

I sometimes wonder how it is that anybody can live without Islam. If I didn’t have it, I would have gone crazy. Or I’d be a constant fixture at the shrink’s office. I was pretty much dead a few years ago but this religion revived me. It gave me both happiness and sanity, alhamdulillah.

So, why don’t we make another positive change this Ramadan?

Let’s be happy with Islam and the shariah.

Let’s enjoy ourselves when we’re obeying Allah and let’s look sad when we are disobeying Him.

Let’s have the time of our lives following this fantastic, awesome religion so that:

– The non-Muslims look at us and think: “Hey, these guys look happy! What is this religion all about?” Who knows? Perhaps some of them will be guided to it.

– More importantly, we get two joys:

1) The joy of feeling close to Allah in this world and

2) The joy of actually being close to Allah in the Hereafter.

And that is the greatest joy that the people of Paradise will have. So can there be anything better?

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8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Faiza Abbasi
    Aug 17 2010

    Another wonderful piece! They keep getting better.

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 17 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Jazakillahu kheira for the kind words.

      Reply
  2. Fathima
    Aug 17 2010

    Assalamu Alaikum

    I loved this post; it hits home for a lot of us. Looking forward to more brilliant, but not so teensie reminders – keep ’em coming inshaAllah :D

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 17 2010

      Wa Alaikum Assalam.

      [Something finally made you leave a comment!]

      Jazakillahu kheira.

      It’s weird but unless I get comments, I can never tell what hit home for the readers. Hence, the importance of the reader’s input.

      I’ll try, insha-Allah.

      Reply
      • Fathima
        Aug 17 2010

        Assalamu Alaikum

        Yep, I know, I’ve been inactive on the comments scene. InshaAllah I plan to do a better job and resume my AiC duties soon ;)

        Reply
        • Umm Muawiyah
          Aug 17 2010

          Wa Alaikum Assalam.

          It’s okay. Ramadan is a break from your AiC duties.

          Come Shawwal and I’ll pile you with emails, insha-Allah…

          Reply
  3. Andulusia
    Aug 17 2010

    Would you please put a counter like you did before Ramadan but instead, on how many days of Ramadan are left? So that we can feel urgency of how time is slipping through our hands easi;y….

    What do you think?

    Reply
    • Umm Muawiyah
      Aug 17 2010

      Assalamu Alaikum.

      Yes, that did cross my mind.

      I’ll do that, insha-Allah. Jazakillahu kheira for the suggestion.

      And you’re right, Ramadan really is slipping away…

      Reply

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