Thursday, 22 December 2011

Holidays into Holy Days

There has been such an increase in the volume of readers of this blog from the Northern Hemisphere, that they not only constitute the majority of  readers for recent months, but have displaced the South as all-time majority. I therefore apologise if this article reflects a Southern bias, but the points remain universal.

سليمان الكندي

عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أنهم ذبحوا شاة ، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ما بقي منها ؟ قالت : ما بقي منها إلا كتفها قال : بقي كلها غير كتفها  رواه الترمذي وقال حديث صحيح

Our Mother 'Aishah radiyallahu anha narrated that they slaughtered an ewe [and distributed most of the meat in charity]. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم then asked, "What remains of it?" 
She replied, "Nothing remains of it besides the shoulder."
 Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم responded, "All of it remains except for its shoulder." [at-Tirmizi]

In other words a believer's focus is not limited to what is physically apparent, but his gaze stretches to Allah and the next life. The response of 'Aishah  radiyallahu anha was correct in material terms that all that was left in the Nabawi Household was the shoulder. Yet Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم wished to train her in gazing "with the light of Allah." A gaze of faith would show that the meat given in charity was "banked" in the Hereafter which is forever. The meat left for worldly consumption would be consumed and gone. Thus, "All of it remains except for its shoulder." 

The friends of Allah generally have this quality. I especially notice this ability to draw spiritual benefit from the mundane in the writings of Ibnul Jawzi. I view these few penned words to be inspired by that spiritual and mental titan of Iraq.
The following Hadith authenticated by al-Imaam as-Suyuti and al-Imaam ash-Shawkaani is often quoted in the context of "miraculous inspiration," yet in the light of the above lesson of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلمthere is no reason why the ordinary believer cannot train himself to look at the most mundane experiences "with the light of Allah."

عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : " اتَّقُوا فِرَاسَةَ الْمُؤْمِنِ فَإِنَّهُ يَنْظُرُ بِنُورِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ 

Abu Saeed al-Khudri radiyallahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Beware the insight of a believer, for indeed he gazes with the light of Allah Most Honorable and Majestic."

The western world is undergoing a holiday season. There is no way we living in the west can expect to be unaffected. Yet there is no reason why we should not gaze at this with "Allah's light" and gain spiritual profit from what otherwise is of no gain to our eternal life.

The beginning of every holiday involves the use of some kind of vehicle or the other. Remember to recite the dua of  Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلمMore than recitation, reflect on the sublime wisdom of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the lesson he imparts. 
"Pure is He who brought this [vehicle] into our control when we were not capable." 

Reflect how these words apply not only to man taming giant camels and elephants but any modern vehicle and even spacecraft. Entering a vehicle can be a mundane activity or a means of reflection, appreciating Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and drawing closer to him. The choice is yours.

"And indeed we are moving towards our Rabb"
Every dua in one way or the other contains this reminder that we are on a journey towards Allah. Reflect on this and your journey will be free of sin. Holiday is no excuse to disobey Allah.

Many people head towards the sea or other bodies of water. An opportune time to meditate over the words of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم "The comparison of this world to the Hereafter is like a man who dips his finger in the sea and looks at what it returns."

What returns is not even a drop. When I reflected on this Hadith when visiting Mombasa, Kenya, I realised my error is thinking of this Hadith in terms of drops. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم never used the word, "drop." There was a thin film of water on my finger which only by holding my finger upright, coalesced into a drop. This world compared to the next is less than the drop compared to the sea of the Hereafter. Spend a moment reflecting on the wisdom of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and you might come home with something better than just sunburn.

Most people spend more money this time of the year than during other times. Reflect that Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم refused to fix market prices as prices are set by Allah. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم explained in the Tafseer of Surah ad-Dukhaan that conditions descend upon us based upon the deeds we send to the heavens. Every purchase we make should not be limited to moaning how prices keep rising, but is a chance to reflect how the rebellious deeds of man being sent to the heavens are causing unfavourable conditions to fall back on him.

Summer heat drives us to air-conditioners, cold beverages etc. What will our condition be on the Day of Resurrection when the sun will be so much closer above our heads? The only "air-conditioner" will be Allah's Throne. Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم taught us that seven categories of people will receive the shade of the Throne and there will be no other comforting shade. Let us gaze at the heat with Allah's light and ponder how we can join this exclusive club of seven.

Unbearable thirst? Avert your gaze from Coke and Pepsi and look with Allah's light. Whoever drinks Kawthar water from the blessed hands of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم will never feel thirst ever again. In  which category of Kawthar applicant will I be associated with?
1.      An imitator of the Muhajirun who sacrificed everything for Islam?
2.      The Ansaar who helped Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم and those who sacrificed?
3.      The people of Yemen who embodied the qualities of Imaan i.e. hear and obey?
4.      An ordinary Muslim who just makes the mark?
5.      A rejector of the Sunnah whom the angels will block from Kawthar and Rasulullah صلى الله عليه وسلم himself will chase away?   

The end of the year is also the time of announcing examination results, graduations and congratulations. How will I do in the examination of the grave? 

May Allah grant that we all be recipients of the best of congratulations - the angels lining up and congratulating us as we enter Jannah - aameen!!

سلم عليكم طبتم فادخلوها خلدين 

Peace be upon you! You have done well! Enter here forever!!! [az-Zumar: 73]

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