Alhumdoelillah! We have successfully reached the middle of the wonderful month of Rajab; the Mubarak month to think, the month to act, the month to ponder and to reflect. The Most Glorious Qur'an regards the heart of a human being as an instrument of understanding. In fact, the greater part of the Qur'anic message is addressed to the human heart - a message which is audible to the ears of the heart alone, and is inscrutable to the other receptive faculties.
Accordingly, it attaches great importance to the care, protection, and development of this instrument. Throughout the Holy Qur'an, we constantly come across such notions as purification of the self, kindness, forgiveness, purity, and the enlightenment and purification of the heart as we learn from verses 9 & 10 of Surah Al Shams (The Sun):
"Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it."
The month of Rajab is our golden opportunity to ponder and reflect upon life so that we may Insha'Allah come to the understanding that our earthly life is a very short transitory stage. We must constantly remind ourselves that we are travelers just passing through this world of delirium and that we should be concerned only with the things that would be beneficial to us in the Aghirah. Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam points out that if a Muh'min endeavours to seek reality and Truth with an open and impartial mind, his heart can never deceive him in this regard; it will always guide him towards the Path of Seerathal Mustaqeem. And about the salvation and enlightening of the heart, Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala's promise is made very clear to us in verse 29 of Surah Al-Anfal:
"O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant
you a Criterion to judge between right and wrong."
As long as a Muh'min is in search of Truth and Reality, and treads the Path of Truth, whatever he encounters in this course is nothing but truth. This is, of course, a very delicate point which is often misunderstood. When someone falls into misguidance and loses his path, it is because he was following a certain direction which was not determined by sincere search of truth. Answering someone who had asked the Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, "What is virtue?", he replied, "If you really want to know what virtue is, then understand that when your heart is serene and your conscience is at rest, whatever has caused them to be such, is virtue. But when you are attracted towards something, and that does not bring peace and serenity to your heart, then you should know that it is vice and sin." Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala declares in verse 69 of Surah Al-Ankabut:
"And those who strive in Our (Cause) - We will certainly guide
them to Our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right."
When our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam was asked about the meaning of Imaan [faith], he said: "When one performs an ugly deed, and is overwhelmed with the feeling of reproach and displeasure, and when one performs virtuous deeds and feels happy and joyous, it means that he is endowed with Imaan." Contrarily, the Most Noble and Holy Qur'an time and again reminds us that indecencies infect and darken the human soul, and deprive the human heart of sublime inclinations and virtuous tendencies. At one place the Holy Qur'an, speaking on behalf of the believers informs us in verse 8 of Surah Al-Imran:
"Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate
now after Thou has guided us."
During the month of Rajab let us feel and experience the delight of our nearness to Almighty Allah in our hearts where the whole world will appear small and insignificant. Let us strive with all power to liberate ourselves from the glitter, the glamour, the allurements and bondages of this material world. We all came from Almighty Allah, and there is doubt that we shall all return to Him. It is clear that the very meaning of faith makes Islam penetrate deeply and constructively into every aspect of life. Islam warns us against superficial concepts and rituals, against lifeless formalities and non-effective beliefs. That is why the Holy Qur'an gives ample importance to the idea of exaltation, edification, and purity of the soul of society. In verse 2 of Surah Al-Ma'ida we are reminded:
"...And help one another in righteousness and piety,
but help ye not one another in sin and rancour:
Fear Allah: for Allah is strict in punishment."
Beloved Ummah of Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam! The religion of Al-Islam
(lit. submission) has its name because it stands for absolute submission and resignation towards Almighty Allah's Command and Will - something which has been a characteristic of all the Ambiya Alayhim Salaam from Nabee Adam Alayhis Salaam to our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. The Call for submission to Divine Will has underlain all prophetic missions, although it has received its most articulate and pronounced form in the Truth brought by Almighty Allah's Beloved Nabee - Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. In verse 177 of Surah Al-Baqara Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala explains the full meaning of righteousness:
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces (in prayer) towards
East or West; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah and the Last
Day, and the Angels and the Book of Allah, and the Messengers; to
spend your wealth-in spite of your love for it - for your kin, for orphans,
for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of
slaves, to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill
the contracts which you have made; and to be firm and patient, in
pain and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the
people of Truth, the Allah-minded."
As if to emphasize again a warning against deadening formalism, we are given a most beautiful description of the righteous and God-fearing individual. He should obey salutary regulations, but he should fix his gaze on the love of Almighty Allah and the love of his fellow-men. We are given four heads: (1) our faith should be true and sincere; (2) we must be prepared to show it in deeds of charity to our fellow-men; (3) we must be good citizens, supporting social organizations; and (4) our own individual soul must be firm and unshaken in all circumstances. They are connected, and yet can be viewed separately.
Faith is not merely a matter of words. We must realise the presence and goodness of Almighty Allah Tabaraqa Wata'ala. When we do so, the scales fall from our eyes: all the falsities and fleeting nature of the Present cease to enslave us, for we see the Last Day as if it were here today. We also see Almighty Allah's working in His world and in us: His Angels, His Messengers and His Message are no longer remote from us but come within our experience. Practical deeds of charity are of value when they proceed from love and from no other motive. In this respect, also, our duties take various forms, which are shown in reasonable gradation: our kith and kin: orphans (including any persons who are without support or help).
People who are in need but who never ask (it is our duty to find them out, and they come before those who ask); the stranger, who is entitled to laws of hospitality; the people who ask and are entitled to ask, i.e., not merely lazy beggars, but those who seek our assistance in some form or another (it is our duty to respond to them): and the slaves (we must do all we can to give or buy their freedom). Slavery has many insidious forms, and all are included. Charity and piety in individual cases do not complete our duties. In prayer and charity we must also look to our organised effort. There are certain signs associated with the state of certainty against which anyone can measure himself or herself to determine one's own degree of conviction.
These signs are: (1) Reliance on Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala in all our affairs, and having mind only for His good pleasure. To put it succinctly, it should be one's firm belief that there is no power or might (in the world) except that (it is derived) from Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala Who is the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth. (2) Humility before Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen, both inwardly and outwardly, at all times and under all circumstances, and obedience to His Commands to the smallest detail. (3) Possession of extraordinary powers through being close to Almighty Allah - a condition that comes about after one has realized one's insignificance and weakness before His Glory, His Greatness and His Majesty.
The month of Rajab is our golden opportunity to cure us of our immersion in the material world with all its glitter and glamour and our forgetfulness in regard to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. In order to cure ourselves of these symptoms, we must ponder and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth and the myriads of Almighty Allah's creatures. In so doing, that will Insha'Allah awaken within us the appreciation of the Glory and Power of our Glorious Maker and Creator. The deeper our Ibadah, our meditation and our contemplation on the beauty of the universe and the mystery of its creation, the greater our faith in the existence and unity of Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen shall become. Verse 191 of Surah Al-Imran:
"Men who celebrate the Praises of Allah, standing, sitting,
And lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders)
of creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the thought)
"Our Lord! not for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory
to Thee! Give us Salvation from the Penalty of the Fire."
It is the thought of Salvation that connects all these glories with man. Otherwise man would be a miserable, contemptible creature in these beauties and wonders of Nature. With his high destiny of salvation he can be lifted even higher than these glories! The Fire of Jahannum is a symbol of penalty. We pray for Almighty Allah's salvation from that penalty.
“Allahummah Bariek Lana fie Rajab wa Sha’baan wabaliegna Ramadan”
“O Allah! Make the month of Rajab and Sha’baan blessed for us, and keep us alive to welcome the Holy month of Ramadan so that we may benefit from all its merits and blessings.”
The Wisdom and Plan of Allah are beyond all Praise:
And Mercy and Truth proceed from Him, and there
is no other - none - besides Him. And Allah knows best.
By Imam Abdul Hamid