بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Firstly, one can practice just about all the deeds that one does in Ramadan outside of it, so there’s no reason to limit ibaadah to Ramadan.
Secondly, we need to understand what ibaadah is.
When we refer to “ibaadah”, it means everything that Allah loves and is pleased with. It could refer to an action of the heart, the tongue or the limbs. [Fearing Allah is an example of an action of the heart.]
Here’s an article which explains the definition of ibaadah in more detail.
Our problem is that we confine ibaadah to just a few things, and that shouldn’t be the case. Any lawful (halal) act can be turned into an act of worship with the proper intention.
Thirdly, so what can we do in Ramadan?
a) Do the basic acts of ibaadah (prayer, fasting, etc) properly.
You know, we always think in terms of quantity. Let’s first try to work on the quality. That should keep us busy for a while.
b) Add the other acts that are easy for us.
Is giving charity is easy for you? Then do it.
Is reciting the Quran easy for you? Then do it.
Is doing dawah easy for you? Then do it.
Is keep good relations with your family and neighbours easy for you? Then do it.
Is feeding orphans easy for you? Then do it.
Is making iftar for the poor easy for you? Then do it.
c) Try to improve in those acts which we fall short in.
Can’t stop snarling at your mom-in-law? Hey, Ramadan is a good time to change that.
d) Try to think about the proper deed to be done in every situation.
For example, you’re late for taraweeh. Whilst rushing to the masjid, somebody in front of you slips and falls.
Do you keep rushing to the masjid? NO! Stop and help that person. That’s the right thing to do at this time. It’s okay if you’re late for taraweeh.
Another example: Suppose you’re breaking your fast in the masjid. Do you sit and recite Quran whilst some other brothers/sisters serve the food and also end up cleaning the whole mess?
No! Get up and ask them if they need any help with the serving or with the cleaning.
Another example: Your neighbour walks into the elevator with you (let’s assume that both of you are of the same gender).
Do you stare coldly at this person or try to be cordial given the fact that they have rights over you? Be cordial and ask them how they are. You might think of this as useless talk but it isn’t if you talk about halal things and you do it with the intention of keeping in touch with your neighbour.
Remember the best thing to do at a give time is the one that pleases Allah the most.
How would we know what pleases Allah the most? Well, we need to seek knowledge. That’s what knowledge ultimately is: knowing how best to worship Allah at a given time.
e) Leave evil deeds.
You know why? Because that’s also an act of ibaadah.
A few points to keep in mind:
a) Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
If you have to compare yourself to someone who you feel is doing more than you, then please do it to motivate yourself and not to demotivate yourself.
b) Don’t follow those famous Ramadan planners.
Sorry, I can’t stand those. They make me feel depressed.
They have a long list of all the good deeds to be done in one day and after you toil away trying to do each one, you check the list and find that you still have half the list left!
Don’t get me wrong. Some of them are useful but not as your main Ramadan planner. They’re just good for some ideas on what types of ibaadah that you could do.
I think what would be better than this, is for each of us to sit down and plan what deeds we can do during Ramadan. We could add the obligatory, then the voluntary that we are good at and then the other deeds which we need to improve upon. At least this way, we won’t feel like such losers.
Another reason that I don’t like those planners is that worship then becomes a numerical thing rather than a spiritual thing.
c) The more that you do outside Ramadan, the easier it is to do more in Ramadan.
You know why? Because your soul, body and mind are already used to doing these things.
When you dump things on them out of nowhere (like in the first few days), they get exhausted because they aren’t used to doing all these things.
d) Strive to purify your intention.
It’s the most difficult thing to do yet it is the most important one of them all.
It’s possible that someone who does a little deed with a pure intention (i.e. to please Allah alone) might get more reward than the one who does a whole lot of deeds but with an intention that is not very pure.
e) Try, try and keep trying.
Striving to do ibaadah is itself an ibaadah, so don’t give up, because we don’t fail when we keep trying.
We only fail when we give up.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
One of you asked for more lectures of time management so here goes…
[Reminder: I’m still waiting for feedback from those of you who have not gotten around to it yet.]
Here’s a lecture to remind us of the importance of each SECOND.
Making Every Second Count by Dr. Bilal Philips (Download)
[Sorry for taking so long with this series and the other series as well. This series has many more parts to come, insha-Allah.]
6) Understand that learning Arabic is a means of being steadfast in our religion.
The last Recover Ramadan post was about asking Allah to make our hearts steadfast on this religion.
Dua is one way to remain steadfast on the religion. (And we have to be steadfast on it. Who wants to go to Hell anyway???)
Seeking knowledge is another way to do so. Tawheed is the most important subject and is basically related to all the other subjects. (Yes, yes, yes. All the other Islamic sciences are related to tawheed.)
Learning Arabic is also part of seeking knowledge. In fact, it is one of the keys to seeking knowledge.
After all, where does the knowledge of Islam come from? The Quran and the Sunnah.
Which language are they in? Arabic, of course. Even their major commentaries are in Arabic!
So, in order to properly understand the Quran and the Sunnah, we have to learn Arabic.
Now, you might say “Hey, they’ve been translated.”
a) Do you know that the Quran is a literary miracle? The Pagan Arabs were the best poets of their time but they could not come up with something better than the Quran.
If they were the best poets of their time, it implies that they were excellent in the Arabic language, which implies that the Quran is an Arabic masterpiece.
Therefore, in order to understand the Quran PROPERLY and FULLY, we have to learn Arabic.
b) Also, the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said that he was sent with concise speech.
Which language did he use for this concise speech? Arabic, of course!
If you read the translation, you’ll have difficulty understanding how he is concise in speech.
c) Also, many of the people of innovation have used translations as a means of causing people to deviate.
For example, I was reading a statement of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) about an issue of aqeedah (creed). The Arabic text was there and so was the translation. The translator was one of the people of innovation.
This liar translated the whole statement of Imam Abu Hanifah properly and in the end, he inserted a word in parenthesis.
Do you know what happened? THE WHOLE MEANING CHANGED.
Yes, he just added one extra word at the end of the translation and that was it. He ascribed a false statement to one of the Imams of Ahlus Sunnah.
[It’s ironic. Ahlul bidah (the people of innovation) always accuse Ahlus Sunnah of incorrectly translating things (“It’s a Wahhabi translation!”) but they are the ones who mess around with the translation!]
So, how would we know if something was correctly translated or not? We’d be at the mercy of the translator!
Another example is the issue of the command to wear the hijab. I’ve heard many women say “Where is it in the Quran? It only says put your clothes over your chest.” [Please check Surah An-Noor, Ayah No. 31]
They point to incorrect translations as a proof. Well, the proof is in the Arabic text itself as the word used is “khumurihinn”. That means “their khumur”.
Khumur is the plural of khimar. A khimar is something that covers the head and arms so this means that we need to cover our head!
[Also, the part about putting the khimar over one’s chest can be understood when we see the history of the pagan Arabs. The women used to wear the khimar but would not cover their chests properly, hence showing their cleavage. So Allah ordered them to cover properly.]
So, when we understand Arabic, we no longer have to rely on translations, we can go back and check the main text.
7) What about those who have struggled with Arabic for years and have still gotten nowhere, you ask?
Wait, who said that they got nowhere?
What is the reason that we are learning Arabic? It’s to understand the Quran and the Sunnah.
WHY do we want to understand them? So that we can ponder over their meanings and apply them.
So, our goal is to learn how to worship Allah and to worship Him in the right way.
Isn’t seeking knowledge an act of worship? Therefore, isn’t struggling to learn Arabic an act of worship?
If our ultimate aim is to worship Allah and please Him, then we can attain that goal by struggling to learn Arabic, even if we don’t reach the target of actually learning Arabic.
So, if we struggle, we remain in an act of worship and we are doing something that is pleasing to Allah.
If we stop studying Arabic, we are no longer doing this act of worship.
People always compare their level of Arabic to others.
Why bother? Does it matter?
Perhaps there is a person struggling to learn Arabic and is unable to do so. However, this person fails to really learn Arabic. Perhaps this struggle of his will please Allah and He will grant him Paradise as a result of it.
And perhaps there is a person who finds Arabic very easy and becomes a scholar of the language. However, he is arrogant or does not follow tawheed or has improper intentions. So, it may be that he angers Allah with his actions which causes him to be thrown into the Hellfire although he mastered Arabic!
So, think of the real goal and don’t give up.
[To be continued…]
[Please excuse me for the poor editing. WordPress was not behaving today.]
So why were you created? And why was I created?
Well, for the same reason.
How do we know that? Because the 2 following ayaat (verses) clarify that:
“I seek not any provision from them (i.e. provision for themselves or for My creatures) nor do I ask that they should feed Me (i.e. feed themselves or My creatures). Verily, Allah is the All-Provider, Owner of Power, the Most Strong. ” [Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51) : 57-58]
Allah makes it very clear in the Quran that WE are the ones who need Him, not the other way around: