Have you ever stepped back and tried to realise how much Allah is Helping us?
Allah is Helping us constantly, in ways we cannot imagine and to the extent that we cannot count what He Has Done for us. So let’s heed this Help, let’s start to build up our Imaan (level of faith) and keep it rising. We are now half way through the month of Shawwal (at the time of writing) and it’s probably a good time to just have a look at what our journey is and has been and could be.
In the month of Sha’ban, in the run up to Ramadan, we are encouraged by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to do voluntary fasts. And remember that fasting is not just about refraining from food and drink etc – it’s about increasing your faith/Imaan, improving your state, being a better Muslim, praying more, worshipping Allah more, learning your deen more. So whenever fasting is mentioned, it always means more.
Aisha (ra) narrated “..I never witnessed Rasoolullah, salallahu alaihi wa sallam, fasting for a whole month except Ramadaan and did not witness him fasting in any month more than the month of Sha’ban” [Bukhari]
Anyway, getting back to the point.
Rajab – one of the sacred months
Voluntary fasting is especially encouraged during the four sacred months. Rajab is one of these four sacred months. So imagine if you were to do some fasting in the month of Rajab – you could do a few or even more than that. By doing this, insha’Allah your Imaan would rise. But doing good deeds is not restricted to just fasting – there are much more that you can do, such as reading Qur’an, remembering Allah, contemplating on Islam, learning the deen, improving your character, and so on.
Then after Rajab, comes Sha’ban. As said above, we are encouraged to fast in the month of Sha’ban – this is good discipline for Ramadaan but, again, also builds up your Imaan/faith. Again, other forms of worship are good too.
The comes Ramadan and I think all Muslims are aware of this being an obligation – even non-Muslims are aware that this is an important time for Muslims and Islam. I touched on some of the benefits of fasting in Ramadan in my other post: https://standup4islam.wordpress.com/2010/09/08/always-ramadan/. Needless to say that after a whole month of fasting and engaging in worship, Ramadan should be leaving its mark on us. If it isn’t, then this is something we probably all want to reflect on.
After Ramadaan, comes Shawwal and it is commonly known about fasting the 6 voluntary fasts in this month. (Note that it is not necessary to fast the six fasts continuously or immediately after Eid – the fasts can be kept as your convenience, at any time during the month of Shawwal).
Abu Ayub al-Ansari (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The one who observes the six fasts of Shawwal after (having fasted throughout) Ramadan has, as if, fasted throughout the year.” [Muslim]
So after a month of fasting, we are encouraged by Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him) to continue fasting – at least six! Not much to ask, is it? But what’s the gain? Again, by the Grace and Will of Allah, Muslims can benefit by raising their Imaan and becoming more pleasing in the Sight of Allah.
Are we seeing a pattern here? Allah Wants only the Best for us!
Dhul-Qa’dah – one of the sacred months
After Shawwal comes Dhul-Qa’dah – another of the four Sacred Months. Again, we are encouraged to do good deeds and fast during this month – this has benefit in that it prepares us for Hajj, subhan’Allah! And those who are not going on Hajj can also benefit from doing ibaadat during this month. It should be noted that the blessings/rewards of good deeds are multiplied in this month.
Dhul-Hijjah – one of the sacred months
Following Dhul-Qa’dah comes another sacred month – the month of Hajj! And what a sacred month that is! Those who do not go on Hajj can benefit from fasting the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah, until Eid-ul-Adha. Those who go on Hajj; there are so many blessing contained within this act, one of which, if your Hajj is accepted by Allah, is to return with ALL your sins wiped away from you – you start again with a clean slate! Subhan’Allah!
Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Good deeds performed on other days are not superior to those performed on these (first 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah).” [Bukhari]
Muharram – one of the sacred months
Dhul-Hijjah signifies the end of the Islamic year. Then the new Islamic year begins with Muharram, another sacred month. Again, this is another time for Muslims to engage in doing deeds that are multiplied in reward and blessings.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The best of fasts beside the month of Ramadan is the fasting of Allah’s month of Muharram and the best of salat beside the fardh (compulsory) salat is the tahajjud salat.” [Muslim]
Fasting on the 9th and 11th of Muharram, or the 10th and 11th of Muharram is a great virtue. But so is praying so do not restrict your ibadaat to fasting only.
After Muharram come the months of Safar, Rabi-ul-Awwal and Rabi-ut-Thani.
From Rajab onwards, for a nine month period, there are specific times where Muslims are encouraged to worship more, increase in deen and Imaan and improve their state. Needless to say that Muslims are encouraged to do good throughout the year but it’s important to see that Allah Has Put in Place steps which encourages us to do good continuously – to be consistent in our worship – and this can only lead to more good things happening to us! The sacred months have been placed in such a way as to keep Muslims consistent, to keep on gently pushing them to do good deed and refrain from sins. It is also worth noting that sins in the sacred months are heavier than in other months.
This kind of consistency will help build Imaan, insha’Allah. So take advantage of it! Imagine what you could do for Islam, if you were stronger in faith. Imagine what everyone could do together, as an Ummah, if we were all stronger in faith.
Allah Has Put Things in Place to Help us. So Muslims, help yourselves and take advantage of these blessings and motivations.
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