The Month of Mercy
By Dr. Yunus Aidaroos
“Ramadan is a month whose beginning is Mercy, whose middle is Forgiveness and whose end is freedom from the fire.” – Hadith of the Most Beloved Prophet (May Allah Bless him and give him peace)
Mercy * Forgiveness * Freedom from Fire
Ponder on the inherent logical sequence ( subhan’Allah ) of the above! We cannot be exempt from fire without first being forgiven. And to be forgiven, we must be graced by Allah’s mercy.
The first one third of Ramadan (10 days ) is MERCY from Allah
1]. Can we expect to receive mercy if we only deprive our bodies of food and drink? Of course not. Because Ramadan is meant for SPIRITUAL development through fasting. Physiologically, by fasting the body eliminates toxins efficiently and the mind becomes clear for “power thinking” so that one may ponder on the meaning of the Qur’an, Hadith and the necessity of dhikr. One must also do some self-analysis to monitor and correct one’s behaviour if necessary. With meditation the mind becomes quiet and so should our tongues!
2]. Allah is looking for a sincere commitment from us and not just physical starvation till sunset and then returning to the status quo. Ramadan does not end at every iftar. It ends only on sighting the hilal of Shawwal. So the hard spiritual work must carry on for the whole of the month.
3]. One must plead for mercy and sincerely cry to receive it because without it, we are stuck at stage one and our prospects of “freedom from fire” will be bleak.
4]. Therefore this stage one is for sincere confession to Allah that we are weak and sinful and that we desperately need His mercy. We have only about 10 days to qualify to stage two.
The second one third of Ramadan is —– FORGIVENESS
1]. We must now beg for Allah’s forgiveness because we have broken so many of His rules and covenants and disobeyed His commands during the year, both knowingly and unknowingly. We must say istighfaar day and night and ask in every sajda for forgiveness. We must be afraid that if Allah does not forgive, we will surely be among the losers. Here again, Allah will be assessing the degree of sincerity in our repentance. He looks not for lip service but for soul service!
2]. We must also be forgiving to other people’s mistakes and tempers.
The last one third of Ramadan is ……… FREEDOM FROM FIRE
These are our last ten days or so. Instead of just focusing on Laylat Al-Qadar (the night of power) one should intensify supplications for the whole last third of Ramadan. If possible and affordable then do go for Umrah … it will be probably the most spiritually fulfilling experience you will have, aside from Hajj. And Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to having done a Hajj with our Most Beloved Rasool (May Allah Bless him and give him peace) ! At the completion of the last fast, be optimistically hopeful that you will be alive to give similar pious worship during the forthcoming Ramadans. And if you remain guided in your life then you’ll be will be admitted to Paradise, insha’Allah, by the Ryan gate of Paradise! Indeed Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala does not break His promise to his slaves.
The month after Ramadan is Shaw’wal.
Those who fast just 6 days of this month, get the reward of fasting the WHOLE of the year! So if one has missed fasting for 12 yrs of his/her life, just 6 days ( in any order) of Shaw’wal fasting gives one an opportunity to make up for our past deficiency of fasting days. SubhanAllah , isn’t Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala indeed SUPER-MERCIFUL?