Ramadan, old friend, your arrival brings comfort, but before I know it you are leaving me once again.
The last ten days of Ramadan have officially started. Crazy right? Not nearly as crazy awesome as the benefits that await us in these latter days of this blessed month.
I want to talk a bit about the importance of these remaining days, touch on the immense blessing contained within Laylat Al-Qadr and end with an excellent video by Sheikh Omar Suleiman that will teach you all you need to know about The Night of Power.
When I was young, I used to think that Ramadan was all about staying hungry and then chowing down on some amazing iftar. Growing up iftar was the main event. It was center stage, it was the main attraction, it was the reason for staying hungry. The fried foods, the greasy entrees, the mouth-watering dishes, it was a gluttonous feast. Most families are still trapped in this way of thinking. They will spend more money on food in the month of Ramadan then in other months. People will actually gain weight in this month when it is supposed to serve as a break from our desires, a reminder to control our indulgences, and to focus on whats really important in our lives, worship of Allah (swt).
I don’t blame them….completely. I was there once. I never knew the real depth of Ramadan, I was never taught.
We all know that we shouldn’t listen to music, that we should abstain from watching TV and movies, that we should read more Quran, up our prayers, and limit our consumption of the duniya. But what does that really mean?
In my opinion Ramadan is a reflection of how we are supposed to live and act the rest of the year. What is always halal, food and drink, has been made forbidden for us for this month. Why? To show us that if we can restrain ourselves from what is halal we are strong enough to control our vices. That we have the ability and strength to become masters of our desires, instead of our desires ruling us. It is a truly beautiful thing.
So what if you mucked it all up. You spent the first three weeks of Ramadan in a samosa-induced-coma, post iftar and remained in a state of almost zombie-like don’t mess with me I will break you, pre-iftar? There is hope, there is always hope.
That is why these last ten days are so very important. They are days in which you can reconcile your losses by working on your patience, conquering your anger, and reflecting on your blessings. They are nights in which you can re-tune yourself to the real purpose of living. Spending time wisely in worship of Allah, controlling your tongue from backbiting, letting go of your ego, using your eyes, hands, ears, body and soul to draw closer to Allah.
These ten days include within them a great gift, a gift given by Allah (swt) to our Prophet (pbuh) for his Ummah. That gift is Laylat Al-Qadr.
I am no scholar so I will leave the scholarly exploration of this amazing night to Sheikh Omar Suleiman, but before I turn you over to him I would like to leave you with some departing words.
It is an immense mercy from Allah that you and me are alive right now, to experience not only Ramadan, but InshaAllah the night of Laylat Al-Qadr. This is a gift that those who have passed would love to experience again. An opportunity that those who have departed would give anything to come back to and take more seriously. Understand the gravity of this. That you are alive, right now, this moment, this Ramadan, to be able to gain the love, forgiveness and mercy from our Rabb. This gift might not be given to us again. Make the most of it, and realize that our lives are not meant to be lived for this world.
The attractions of this Duniya are many. Shaitan (the devil) is cunning and smart on how he uses this Duniya to attract us. To make us forget about our purpose, to inundate us with the pleasures of the self. Allah reminds us, through this blessed month, that we are stronger than shaitan, that we are stronger than our nafs, that we can become masters of this world, instead of being enslaved by it.
– Omar, trying to catch the Night of all nights