English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The date for my journey was drawing closer, yet I had not decided on the appropriate gifts for my cousin and her three children. I was very excited and mentally doing a countdown but knew I couldn’t travel without any gifts.
It has been almost two years since I last saw them, so I wanted to get them something simple yet special; which they will love and find meaningful – a little token to show that I was thinking about them even across the miles.
On arrival, I was delighted to watch them opening their gifts with pleasure and even trying them out and feasting on their all-time favourite; chocolates.
Alhamdulillah, their joy made it worth the effort in addition to praying that it pleases Allah and strengthens the ties of kinship.
Would you agree that gifts – no matter how small or inexpensive, proclaim that someone is thinking about you? And this can serve as an effective means of expressing love that transcends the boundaries of time and place; leaving behind a trail of warm feelings & memories to last for a while or even a lifetime.
Thinking further, why would that ‘someone’ chose you to give such a gift? Could it simply be out of a feeling of love or because you deserve it; therefore must be given one? Perhaps in many cases, it is more of a gesture born of kindness, thoughtfulness, care and love rather than that of being deserving.
As the recipient, what kind of feelings do you experience when receiving a gift, and afterwards that keeps you attached to it or the giver? This may easily stem from emotions such as love and feeling special/remembered rather than reasoning about the quality and quantity of the gift.
Most times, we try to choose gifts that the other person will appreciate and connect with meaningfully; and also something to elicit a favourable response rather than a dull one. What will come to mind easily when choosing a gift is the recipient’s age, interests, career, likes and other personal qualities. So while cards and chocolates would be suitable to people of different ages and interests, a toy car or cookery book would be meaningful to fewer people.
And what better gift than from someone who knows you thoroughly! Now imagine, who will you truly like to receive a gift from? And what is your dream gift?
You earn when you fast
Neither cash nor gold
But bounties from the Almighty
Lasting to the hereafter
A month among many others
Yet so many blessings
How many thanks can you give?
For this priceless gift of Ramadan
Allah created us with knowledge of our needs and emotions. His love and mercy encompasses us in all phases of our life. His favours and bounties are limitless; with a promise of everlasting peace and happiness in the hereafter.
Amongst these favours, Allah offers us opportunities to repent and turn to Him through worship in various ways.
One of such opportunities is the month of Ramadan, where we not only benefit spiritually but at all levels.
Is there any gift with all its accompanying blessings and mercy that is comparable to that of the month of Ramadan? A gift from the Creator to His creations, Master to His slaves, Beloved to His servant; a private yet communal form of worship.
Abu Huraira Allah be pleased with him reported that Allah’s Messenger peace and blessings of Allah be upon him said: Allah, the Exalted and Majestic said: Every act of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting. It is (exclusively) meant for Me and I (alone) will reward him for it. (Agreed Upon)
Ramadan is a month of compulsory fasting which goes beyond simply restraining from food and drink. Rather, it is a way of life affecting every Muslim holistically and at all levels within and beyond the month. It is truly a divine gift, eliciting waves of positive feelings – ultimately leading to consciousness of Allah and gratefulness to Him.
Now let us look closely at this gift. What do we expect to find? Any surprises? We know that Ramadan is a month of…
– Forgiveness & Mercy
– Patience – Generosity
– Laylatul Qadr (Night of power) ~ better than a thousand months of worship
Wait…there is more.
Yes! It is also a month of Seclusion (I’tikaf), Striving, Self reflection, Multiplication of good deeds, Answering of supplications and protection against hell-fire. Devils are locked up and doors of paradise opened. There is also the festival of Eid after 29 or 30 days of fasting; a prescribed celebration for breaking of the fast. What other gift can compare to this?
The Messenger of Allah (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) addressed his companions on the last day of Sha`ban, saying, “Oh people! A great month has come over you; a blessed month; a month in which is a night better than a thousand months; month in which Allah has made it compulsory upon you to fast by day, and voluntary to pray by night. Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time. It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Heaven. It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer’s sustenance is increased. Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Fire of Hell, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.”
[Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah]
Undeniably, these blessings affect us at all levels – whether it is spiritual, psychological, emotional, physical, social or worldly wise. How is that possible? Well it is! Whether it’s through the discipline and commitment in worship, change of habits, communal worship, doing extra good deeds or remembering worship is not just fun or routine but a way to success.
In what ways can we strive to enjoy this gift of Ramadan; utilise its blessings during the month and beyond? How can we show gratitude and be thankful in ways befitting the Majesty of the One who has blessed us with this gift?
How can we take this gift with its fruits to the next level beyond this transient world, to the hereafter – our everlasting abode?
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (S) said : “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramadans are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins.” [Muslim]
For all the wise, it would be good to reflect deeply about the enormity of this gift, knowing that it is one given out of mercy from the Most Merciful and love of the Most Loving each year. Or do you think you deserve such a gift by virtue of being a Muslim?
True gratitude would mean preparing to receive and utilise the gift so as to make it into a wise investment as the companions used to do; Acknowledging and appreciating its blessings, relating it to the One who has given it. It is also a form of submission in worship by having sincerity and seeking the pleasure of Allah alone.
The big goal should be to gain His love and rejoice knowing that you are very special to be blessed with such a priceless gift that will only lead to more blessings and joy in this world and the hereafter.
Or what price tag would you put on this gift of Ramadan?
Originally posted on habibihalaqas.org