Sunday, November 06, 2005

How did you do?

Life provides us with many challenges - sometimes they come as a surprise and at other times we know they're coming and we get the chance to prepare for them. Ramadan belongs to the second group. We have the whole year to prepare ourselves and thirty days to prove ourselves and then, we have the final chance to evaluate ourselves.

So before we can evaluate ourselves we need to know what we should have done. Perhaps you would like to ask yourself a few simple questions and then you can get an idea about whether or not you have grown in any way throughout this blessed time.

· Do you feel closer to Allah?
· Do you feel less nervous and stressed?
· Do you feel the desire to do good deeds and enrich yourself spiritually?
· Do you feel more mercy for people generally?
· Have you healed any estranged relations with family members and friends?
· Do you feel that your life now has a clear aim and you feel the ability to meet the challenges?

Ramadan is a time of spiritual renewal and strength. It is well-known that the spirit controls so many aspects of the self, including the body. So if you really want to do something in your life and your desire is sincere and determined, your body will simply follow.

There are three possible conclusions to the fast of this Ramadan. Either you:
· had a wonderful successful Ramadan, (congratulations and may Allah accept all your good deeds),
· had a reasonably good Ramadan but there were times you got angry or did bad deeds (hmmm, now is a good time to do more good deeds to cover those slip-ups),
· or it was a disaster, meaning you missed Fajr Prayer most of the time, over-ate and over-slept, were grumpy and moody and couldn't wait till it was over (needs heavy re-thinking about yourself and what you do)!
But as long as there is life, there is hope to change, be better, and improve your relation with Allah Most High.

Most of the time people fail to perform well in Ramadan because they don't really understand what it is all about. Allah Most High has enjoined fasting on all people throughout time through their respective prophets (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon them all). It is an act of worship that draws the person closer to Allah and helps to purify the heart and mind and teach him to focus on life and what is important and what is not. Fasting softens the heart and makes the person feel more compassion and generosity toward the poor and needy. All these things will take place if the servant of Allah does this act for His sake, seeking to be close to Him, and receive the reward of fasting.

However, if someone fasts only because it is a habit to do so and a part of one's culture and family practice, then obviously the effects of fasting will not be felt in the same way. The essence of acts are found in the intentions behind them. You are the best one to know the answer to this question. Why did you fast in Ramadan? Was your intention solely to obtain the pleasure and mercy of Allah Most High? If your intention was anything other than this, and the outcome of fasting was not that of spiritual renewal and closeness to Allah, then you have to know that your intention did not hit the target.

On a brighter note, be sure that Allah Most High is the Most Merciful and He loves to forgive! So if you have, for any reason, fallen short this Ramadan, turn to Him and seek His forgiveness and ask for guidance to better yourself and then start to prepare for next Ramadan.....
sent by email by Zaheer Mahomed

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