بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Okay, I wasn’t sure what the title of this post should be.
By “Ramadan Muslims”, I was referring to those who only worship Allah during Ramadan, or those like them who only worship Him during a specific time (e.g. during Hajj or during a calamity).
I recently heard a lecture series where the speaker, Shaikh Uthman Al-Khamees, pointed out the difference between two individuals: the one who always worshipped Allah and another who only believed when death came to him.
The former was Yunus (alaihissalam).
وَإِنَّ يُونُسَ لَمِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ
إِذْ أَبَقَ إِلَى الْفُلْكِ الْمَشْحُونِ
فَسَاهَمَ فَكَانَ مِنَ الْمُدْحَضِينَ
“And, verily, Yunus was one of the Messengers, when he ran to the laden ship. He (agreed to) cast lots, and he was among the losers.
فَالْتَقَمَهُ الْحُوتُ وَهُوَ مُلِيمٌ
فَلَوْلَا أَنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُسَبِّحِينَ
لَلَبِثَ فِي بَطْنِهِ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ
Then a (big) fish swallowed him and he had done an act worthy of blame. Had he not been of them who glorify Allah, he would have indeed remained inside its belly (the fish) till the Day of Resurrection.
فَنَبَذْنَاهُ بِالْعَرَاءِ وَهُوَ سَقِيمٌ
وَأَنبَتْنَا عَلَيْهِ شَجَرَةً مِّن يَقْطِينٍ
وَأَرْسَلْنَاهُ إِلَىٰ مِائَةِ أَلْفٍ أَوْ يَزِيدُونَ
فَآمَنُوا فَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ
But We cast him forth on the naked shore while he was sick,and We caused a plant of gourd to grow over him. And We sent him to a hundred thousand (people) or even more. And they believed; so We gave them enjoyment for a while.” [Surah As-Saffat (37) :139-148]
So, Allah states that had Yunus (alaihissalam) not been one of those that always glorified Him, he would not have been saved!
[And obviously, Yunus (alaihissalam) was one of those who always glorified Allah because he was a prophet.]
Yunus (alaihissalam) did the following dua (supplication) in the belly of the whale:
وَذَا النُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَاضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَىٰ فِي الظُّلُمَاتِ أَن لَّا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا أَنتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ
فَاسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُ وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ مِنَ الْغَمِّ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُنجِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“And (remember) Dhan-Noon (Jonah), when he went off in anger, and imagined that We shall not punish him (i.e. the calamities which had befallen him)! But he cried through the darkness (saying): ‘None has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)], Glorified (and Exalted) are You [above all that (evil) they associate with You]. Truly, I have been of the wrong-doers.’
So We answered his call, and delivered him from the distress. And thus We do deliver the believers (who believe in the Oneness of Allah, abstain from evil and work righteousness).” [Surah Al-Anbiya (21) : 88]
So, when he did dua, Allah saved him.
[And notice how he blames himself in the dua, not Allah.]
[Important point: Having any sort of bad thoughts about a Prophet is not permitted. Some people get a bit confused when they read this story, so it would be better for them to refer to the commentary of the Quran.]
As for the latter (the one who believed at the time of death), it was the Pharoah.
وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
فَالْيَوْمَ نُنَجِّيكَ بِبَدَنِكَ لِتَكُونَ لِمَنْ خَلْفَكَ آيَةً ۚ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ عَنْ آيَاتِنَا لَغَافِلُونَ
“And We took the Children of Israel across the sea, and the Pharaoh with his hosts followed them in oppression and enmity, till when drowning overtook him, he said: ‘I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He Whom the Children of Israel believe, and I am one of the Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s Will).’
Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidoon (evil-doers, corrupts, etc.).
So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs , revelations, etc.).” [Surah Yunus (10) : 90-92]
So, he only believed when he was dying. His repentance was not accepted because Allah says:
وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا
“And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent;” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.” [Surah An-Nisa (4) : 18]
[Note: Repentance just before death is accepted, but not when the process of death has already started (i.e. when the soul is leaving the body).]
So, the one who always worshipped Allah was saved and the one who only submitted at the last minute was destroyed.
Interestingly enough, the part about Pharoah’s “repentance” is mentioned in Surah Yunus, and it is thus named because of the following ayah (verse):
فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ آمَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَا إِيمَانُهَا إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّا آمَنُوا كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ الْخِزْيِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَاهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ
“Was there any town (community) that believed (after seeing the punishment), and its Faith (at that moment) saved it (from the punishment)? (The answer is none,) – except the people of Yunus; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the (present) world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while.” [Surah Yunus (10) : 98]
So, the people of Yunus (alaihissalam) are the only ones whose repentance was accepted when they saw the punishment (obviously, this means that it was before the moment of death).
As for why they were the only exceptions, Allah knows Better.
So what am I trying to say?
We need to worship Allah through the year, in Ramadan and outside of it, in times of ease and in times of hardship. That is what will truly benefit us.
تعرف إلى الله في الرخاء يعرفك في الشدة
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Know Allah in times of ease and He will know you in times of hardship.” [Sahih Al-Jaami, Hadeeth No. 2961]
من سره أن يستجيب الله له عند الشدائد والكرب فليكثر الدعاء في الرخاء
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whoever wishes that Allah would respond to him during hardship and grief, then let him supplicate plentifully when at ease.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3382. Graded “hasan” by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3382]
Just being a “Ramadan Muslim” is truly of no benefit. So we shouldn’t wait for Ramadan, or for a calamity to strike, in order to start worshipping Allah.