Saturday, May 23, 2015

Preparation for Ramadan Mubarak!

Highlights of Shaykh Amin's Pre-Ramadan Talk - May 17, 2015

--Allah is capable of doing much more than we think He is capable of doing for us, but we consistently undervalue His Ability

--Personal hygiene was made Fard `Ayn so that we could draw the attention of Angels who are otherwise repelled by foulness. Angels love purity and good smells, especially when that purity comes from Muslims making dhikr of Allah

--We must rediscover not only the academic legacy of the ummah, but also its spiritual legacy: that all humans are eligible for the Fadl of Allah, provided they access it through obligatory and extra acts of worship. Islam's greatest gift is to connect human beings to the Creator, we must remember this.

--If Allah gave Maryam(A) fruits out of season, realize that this came about because of her intense personal devotion to Allah. Islam isn't in season these days, but He can give us fruits if we immerse ourselves spiritually as she did. Maryam (A) was not a Prophet, she was literally secluded in a closet making dhikr, but she was able to experience the Fadl of Allah. Muslims are given this month of Ramadan to similarly seclude themselves and make it easier to be eligible to receive similar fruits out of season. In Ramadan, Allah wants us to focus on this spiritual realm by secluding ourselves from the dunya, so that we can gain some of this Fadl

--There are many Muslims who are closet deniers of Allah's Fadl because they see nothing happening for Muslims in the dunya. They think that because Muslims aren't winning in the games of the dunya, that Islam has failed us and isn't useful anymore.

--Allah has made it easy for us to access this Fadl by giving us this month wherein all you have to do is immerse yourself in the culture of this month, which is to remove yourself from the world for a few days. Hence Prophet(S) cursed the one who missed out on Ramadan: you don't have to do much to benefit. If you miss out, its on you, not on Him

--Ramadan is not a time for you to be concerned with the Ummah's affairs. You have the other 11 months for this. Be concerned with your soul for at least 1 month!

--Ramadan is the time for each of us to renew and increase our share of Allah's Fadl for another year

--American Muslims must change how we view Ramadan: an opportunity to gain Fadl through Ibadah. This must become a civilizational value if we truly wish to benefit from this month. Every other agenda that we have for Ramadan -- da'wah, fundraising, etc.--must be removed from our mindsets.

--Historically, Muslim civilizational values were such that everyone took extra time out during their daily lives for extra dhikr/awrad. Today, if you mention this, one group of Muslims will cry bid'ah, and another group will say that this has no benefit for fixing the problems of the Ummah.

--Imam al-Ghazali (R) writes that during his time (wherein he lamented about the death of spirituality in the Ummah), people would line up at the Jami` Masjid (the main Mosque in a city where Friday Prayers were held) on Thursday night itself in order to be the first to arrive for Jumu'ah and gain that immense reward for early arrival. They would stand all night with candles in line, but even then, many people wouldn't get in. Today, we only stand at night with candles when it's time for a vigil when people die, rather than doing something for ourselves when we're alive.

--Only when we come to terms that the reality of this spiritual realm exists, and that we need to benefit from this realm, only then we will see change in our physical world as well.

--Ramadan is a time to access that spiritual realm. Today, we spend more time in Ramadan buried in the physical dunya than outside of it.

--You should reject unnecessary social gatherings in Ramadan. We have made it a communal value to attend every single iftar and social gathering during this month, thinking that being "social" in this month is being Islamic. We have committed civilizational bidah with the amount of socializing we do today under excuse of Ramadan. The Ummah historically never did this: they socialized outside of Ramadan, not inside it like we do.

--We need to benefit ourselves from Ramadan first before going around trying to benefit others. We bring people to this watering hole under the banner of da'wah but don't drink ourselves.

--If you absolutely must do social da'wah during Ramadan by attending Iftar for 3 hrs for interfaith dialogue, then that's fine if it's a rare occurrence. But what are you doing to make up for those 3 hours for your self?

--I'tikaf isn't just a physical act that we are recommended to do for the last 10 days. It's a total month-long mindset for the Muslim in Ramadan to isolate himself from everyone else and focus on his own soul.

--All the awliya that were great social reformers that we praise today, look at their personal practices in Ramadan: they focused on ibadah/dhikr/dua/recitation of the Qur'an during this month, they did not focus on fixing the Ummahs problems. Because they did this focused spiritual practice for a month, it provided them with the energy to bear the burdens of the Ummah for the other 11 months.

--When Muslims make time for themselves in Ramadan, it climaxes in Laylat al-Qadr, such that Angels come down to invite us into their world. Laylat al-Qadr allows us to plan for a 1000 months, but this is a plan based on spirituality and worship. This is how our ancestors planned for the Ummah. We cannot praise the social and reform work of our ancestors while ignoring their level of personal worship.

--You lament that there is no Abu Hanifah of our times. Realize that Abu Hanifah saw Laylat al-Qadr every year, sometimes even outside of Ramadan! How? Because of his worship regimen on a personal level. He prayed Isha and Fajr for 40 years with the same wudu. Do his regimen first, then you can start talking about opening doors of ijtihad. Otherwise, without excess ibadah, you will fall flat on your face after merely saying the word "ijtihad"

--"Flee towards Allah": that is our theme for Ramadan. This is how our dunya will be improved, when we run away from it during this 1 month.

--You have 11 months to worry about your dunya, Allah asks you to take 1 month for your akhirah, but we think even this is too much?

Notes by Kamran M Riaz
(Darul Qasim)

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