All praise is due to Allah Almighty who is the benefactor of every favour. Peace and salutations upon the final Messenger of Allah to mankind, Muhammad (SA) who came to teach us how to be grateful to Allah, our creator, for the favours He has bestowed on us. The favours of Allah may be of a physical nature like limbs, children and the sending of rain or they may be of an abstract nature like having peace of mind, understanding and contentment. It is incumbent that one acknowledges that both these types of favours are gifts from Allah and that they must be thankful to Allah for them.
Having witnessed the month of Ramadaan is indeed a great favour from Allah. The month came as a season of blessings, mercy and forgiveness. Many muslims prior to Ramadaan were in great expectation to live until the most blessed month arrived in order that they would benefit from the treasures of Ramadaan but the angel of death visited them and they were not spared the time. Many had elaborate plans for worship in the month but sickness overpowered them and these plans were dashed. So we thank Allah for having given us the opportunity to live and to worship during this month for we do not know if the next Ramadaan will avail us.
The month of Ramadaan was indeed welcomed with great zeal and enthusiasm. The feeling of joy and happiness filled the heart when the new moon was sighted to commence the month. Likewise, there was an atmosphere of joy and happiness when the month of Ramadaan came to an end and the moon for the commencement of Shawwaal was seen. This signified the completion of a month of spiritual training and moral rectitude as it ushered the coming of the day of Eid ul Fitr. On the completion of the month of Ramadaan, there is delight and contentment with a deep satisfaction of achievement in the fulfillment of Allah’s commandments to fast and worship. This occasion of joy and festivity is celebrated on the day of Eid as a day of remembrance.
Allah Almighty says in the Quraan: “Allah intends ease for you and He (Allah) does not intend difficulty upon you. (He wants that) you complete the number (of days) and that you celebrate His greatness (with Takbeer – saying of Allahu Akbar) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.” (2:185)
Muslims remember the blessings and favours of Allah Almighty on Eid with the Eid prayer and convey praise and salutation for Him. Eid is also the time to celebrate the triumph of divine allegiance and increased religious devoutness over trivial and insignificant desires and needs of life. Eid celebrates the act of forgiveness, as Allah confers mercy and forgiveness to all those who approach him with sincerity. After the month-long fasting, Eid signifies a renewal of faith, hope, happiness, cheer, compassion and festivity.
Muslims should, however, not forget the significance of the fast of Ramadaan. Allah highlighted the objective of fasting in the Quraan:
“O you who believe fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn Taqwa (piety).”
Taqwa is an Arabic word which constitutes the core of all spiritual achievements and upliftment. It includes in its meaning – piety, God-consciousness, self-restraint, fear of Allah and sincerity. Thus, the fast in Ramadaan creates piety which is a moral quality and a product of intense love and fear of the Creator. Love of Allah is produced in the heart by a strong faith in His flawless Being and a deep consciousness of His perfect attributes of mercy, beneficence and compassion. Fear is produced by our consciousness of His wrath, displeasure and chastisement. The resultant feeling of the heart, mind and body is piety (taqwa), which is indeed the basis of sincerity and all good acts and a deterrent against all evil acts and inclinations.
Therefore, during the month of Ramadaan, Muslims engaged abundantly in such actions which attract the mercies and love of Allah, like fasting during the days; Salaah – compulsory as well as commendable like Taraaweeh, Tahajjud, etc; Dua (supplications); Dhikr (remembrance of Allah); Tilaawah (recitation of Quraan);
Charity – Compulsory Zakaah and optional Sadaqah; and other virtuous qualities such as patience, sincerity, sympathy, compassion and self-sacrifice.
On the other hand, many unworthy actions and degrading qualities were avoided fearing the wrath and chastisement of Allah, such as fighting, quarrelling, backbiting, slander, lust, lying, pride, anger, deceit, ungratefulness, etc.
The training in Taqwa is meant to empower man with the ability to continue in obedience to Allah and Prophet Muhammad (SA) even as Ramadaan has come to an end. The virtuous acts done during Ramadaan should be continued in the months which follow and likewise the sinful and disliked acts and vices that were avoided during Ramadaan should also be avoided after it. Muslims should keep their guards up and beware of the many tricks of Shaitaan, who would incessantly lull and influence them into disrepute, immorality and into the abyss of sins.
The true test of Taqwa learnt is to be constant upon these lessons in the future. The Prophet (SA) said: “The most beloved action to Allah is maintaining constancy (upon a virtue) even if it be of a small amount.” (Bukhari)
In another Hadith narrated by Sufyaan ibn Abdullah Ath-Thaqafi, who said: I said: “O Messenger of Allah (SA), Advise me in Islam such an advice about which I would not ask anyone beside you!” He (SA) said: “Say – ‘I believe in Allah’ and then become steadfast.” (Muslim, Tirmidhi)
The statement of the Rasuul (SA) should be understood as an advice towards a virtue which he (SA) gave to the Sahabah (RA) that he should be steadfast upon faith in Allah, as well as in the conditions of faith. Similar to the virtue of faith in Allah, the advice can also be applied to any virtue, that one should also become steadfast upon it.
Allah Ta’aala encourages the believers to develop the quality of steadfastness in good actions by mentioning the benefits of constancy in virtuous deeds.
The Quraan states: “Verily those who say: ‘Our Lord is Allah’ then they become steadfast upon it. The angels would descend to them (at the time of death) saying: ‘Do not fear (of the matters ahead of death) and do not grieve (of the matters of the world). But glad tidings (to you) of the Paradise which you have been promised. We were your guardians/companions in the worldly life and (will be your companion in) the Hereafter. For you is whatever your souls desire and whatever you beckon. A hospitable place (for you) from the Most Forgiving and Most Merciful.” (41:30)
One must therefore apply the many lessons of Ramadaan in their lives with constancy and then become hopeful of the magnificent rewards which Allah has promised in the verse. Such steadfastness leads to a death with Imaan (faith) in Allah and also of the glad tidings by the angels of the Paradise and the many benefits therein.
Worship in the month of Ramadaan should have brought about a zeal to please Allah in all our actions and undertakings. The questions may have arose, “How do we please Allah? What action pleases Allah? What action does not please Allah?” The answers to these questions as well as many others would only be solved with sound knowledge. During the month, one would have made the effort to learn the breakers of fast, the things which do not break the fast, the acts disliked while fasting, the laws of Salaah, Zakaah laws pertaining to the day of Eid, Sadaqatul Fitr, Duas (supplications), Verses of the Holy Quraan, etc. All these are being learnt only to safeguard our acts and rituals of worship so as to please Allah. Pleasing Allah does not stop with the end of Ramadaan and likewise seeking knowledge should also not stop at the end of Ramadaan. We would still need to know about the many aspects of our deen (religion) as it affects our lives, such as trade, marriage, divorce, inheritance, social rights, funerals, etc., as well as to enhance that which we had already started in Ramadaan. Therefore, even after Ramadaan Muslims should persist in their sacrifices and efforts for the sound and pristine knowledge of Islaam, as this would be essential for actions attracting the pleasure of Allah.
The day of Eid is a day of prize-giving. Allah gives us abundant rewards for fasting the month and for our worship and devotion to Him. We also should reciprocate with gifts to relatives, friends, children, elders and the indigent. This would foster love, compassion and spirituality at all levels in the society by enhancing family unity and well-being, social and community unity and well-being, and at large the entire nation becomes influenced with the Islamic spirit of happiness and peacefulness.
May Allah bless all of us on this joyous occasion of Eid.
Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago