Thaqofah: Moment for sober reflections

Thaqofah: Moment for sober reflections

Preamble

Sometimes in life we need to pause and reflect between a year ending and another one beginning; this makes a complete year’s evaluation for a Muslim who believes in the life and the afterlife, believing that the afterlife will depend on this life, very important. This is an admonition from Allah and a sunnah of the prophet.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

O you believers! Fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.

The past is gone, the present is now (today, this moment), and tomorrow is yet to come. A wise Muslim should reflect on the good and bad of his past to shape his present for better future.

Time

A year is a collection of twelve months, a month begins and ends with new moon, a day counts as the sun rises and sets.

Muslims and Time

These are the measurements of time. What should we be doing with them? Worship of Allah.

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإنْسَ إِلا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

And I (Allah) did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.[7]

All acts of obedience to Allah is worship, even in the mundane.

  1. Solat, Qur’an recitation

أَقِمِ الصَّلاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا

Establish solat at the decline of the sun until the darkness of the night[8] and [also] recitation of the Qur’an at dawn.[9] Indeed, the recitation at dawn is ever witnessed.[10]

  1. Hajj, righteousness

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الأهِلَّةِ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَنْ تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهَا وَلَكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَى وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, “They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj [pilgrimage].” And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may be successful.[11]

 The sunnah of new moon

When the prophet sights a new moon he will say:

الله أكبر، اللهم أهله علينا بالامن والايمان، والسلامة والاسلام، والتوفيق لما تحب وترضى، ربنا وربك الله[12]

Allah is the greatest, oh Allah! Let it appear to us with safety and faith; peace and Islam; and conformity with what you love and pleases you, our Lord and your Lord is Allah.

In this supplication there is a lesson of faith and awareness, a lesson of observation and planning, and a lesson of organization and reflection.

Time for assessment

Assessment or evaluation is a highly recommended measure for checks, balances and improvements. Large companies and organizations serious about success in their businesses and goals make plans for assessment. Regular meetings, quarterly reviews and yearly assessments are standards recommended for continuity; if economic and political success is taken that serious, what about spiritual success. Muslims must give precedence to the infinite later (i.e. life in the hereafter) over the finite present (i.e. life of this world).

A Muslim should ensure regular evaluation of his spiritual life as he does with his mundane life, or even better. Periodic evaluation of activities is recommended – daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

Daily: Just before going to sleep at night, make ablution and flash back your memory to your activities of the day, there are lessons in experiences; thank Allah for things you did right, appreciation is a means to gain increase from Allah’s bounties[13]; feel remorseful on things you did wrong, regret is repentance[14].

Weekly: The Islamic week starts with Saturday and ends with Friday; every Fridays, evaluate how you have spent the week and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Monthly: At the sighting of new moon, supplicate to Allah as described in the sunnah; outline your plans on how to ensure the safety of your Islam and faith in the midst of overwhelming misguidance and corruption, and how to attain the pleasure of Allah through righteous deeds.

Yearly: Pause to reflect in Dhul-hijjah, the last month of the year; gather your evaluations and create a master plan for the coming year.

Plan with written record: Evaluation and plans are more convenient, easy and best when written. An evaluation chart with list of regular and major activities of a Muslim is a good method for better organization and reminder. Find a template attached with this article, make copies of it and use to assess your acts of worship.

Plan the Day ahead

اقْتَرَبَ لِلنَّاسِ حِسَابُهُمْ وَهُمْ فِي غَفْلَةٍ مُعْرِضُونَ (١) مَا يَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ ذِكْرٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ مُحْدَثٍ إِلا اسْتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ (٢) لاهِيَةً قُلُوبُهُمْ وَأَسَرُّوا النَّجْوَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا هَلْ هَذَا إِلا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ أَفَتَأْتُونَ السِّحْرَ وَأَنْتُمْ تُبْصِرُونَ (٣)

  1. [The time of] their account has approached for the people, while they are in heedlessness turning away. 2. No mention [i.e., revelation] comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play 3. With their hearts distracted. And those who do wrong conceal their private conversation, [saying], “Is this [Prophet] except a human being like you? So would you approach magic while you are aware [of it]?”[15]

 أَمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّا لا نَسْمَعُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ بَلَى وَرُسُلُنَا لَدَيْهِمْ يَكْتُبُونَ

Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private talks? (Yes We do) and Our Messengers (appointed angels in charge of mankind) are by them, recording.[16]

Have the goals in mind

As you evaluate your acts of worship, you should always have the goals in mind. The purpose of worship is to attain righteousness; this purpose was made clear in the instructions given for each form of worship. The most righteous Muslim is the least harmful and the most beneficial.

Iman for righteousness: True belief in Allah as defined in Islam is the highest level of worship and the basis of true[17] righteousness.

Solat for remembrance: Allah commanded all good things and forbade all bad things. A constant awareness or remembrance of Allah is a good reminder of righteousness.

Solat is to remember Allah[18]; to avoid sins and vices[19], it is an often repeated act of worship and a very effective means of attaining righteousness.

Fast for piety: The purpose of fasting was made clear in the same verse of its legislation[20]; piety is a motivator for righteous deeds.

Zakat and Sadaqat for soul purification: Allah gave an instruction to the prophet and whoever will be an administrator of Muslims’ affairs:

خُذْ مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ صَدَقَةً تُطَهِّرُهُمْ وَتُزَكِّيهِمْ بِهَا وَصَلِّ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ صَلاتَكَ سَكَنٌ لَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

Take Sadaqah (alms) from their wealth in order to purify them and sanctify them with it, and invoke Allah for them. Verily! Your invocations are a source of security for them, and Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.[21]

Keep away sadness for progress in life

Long sadness burdens the heart and makes a person heavy and unproductive. Belief in Qadar or divine predetermination of affairs is a quick and effective solution to ward it off. Unfortunately, many Muslims today are kept unproductively backward because they never improve on their creed as required.

Appreciate what you have already

If you observe well, you will notice some individuals in your society who have eyes but cannot see they have ears but cannot hear they have legs but cannot walk; these are exemptions in the creation of Allah in order to teach others that the natural favours are not by chance, perhaps so they may reflect and appreciate.

Due to the manner in which Allah distributes His favours among His slaves; it is not possible that a slave will have all the favours, each person should appreciate what he has been given and should not worry himself unnecessarily with what wasn’t given to him; he should patiently strive to attain more blessings within what Allah has decreed for him.

Make the hereafter your highest goal

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا، قَالَ: أَخَذَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِمَنْكِبِي، فَقَالَ: «كُنْ فِي الدُّنْيَا كَأَنَّكَ غَرِيبٌ أَوْ عَابِرُ سَبِيلٍ»

Abdullah ibn Umar said: The messenger of Allah held my shoulder and said: “Be in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveler”[22]

Manage your time efficiently

A Muslim should not just be busy but full of activities. Be efficient in implementing your schedule and be intelligent to think ahead of your present task. Do not occupy yourself too much with one task on the schedule neglecting the rest. Plan concisely, implement efficiently and advance productively.

Notable event in the year 1435 AH

Glorious victory for the Gazans: During Ramadan this year, the Muslims in Palestine encountered another bloody confrontation with the aggressive Zionist regime. Operation Protective Edge was the fourth major Zionist offensive on Gaza population; Alhamdulillah, the tyrant was humiliated and the oppressed were victorious.

[1] The ability to think and learn faster and became more proficient.

[2] Islamic works such as hadith collection, fiqh, etc were better organized into sections, topics and title

[3] A prominent scholar who stood firm against the mu’tazilah was Imam Ahmad ibn Hambal

[4] It is symbolized with fire

[5] It is symbolized with darkness

[6] The religion of fire worshippers of ancient Persia.

[7] Surat-ul-Dhariyat (Q51:56)

[8] i.e. the period which includes: solat zuhr, asr, magrib and ishai

[9] i.e. solat fajr, because recitation is prolonged in it.

[10] Surat-ul-Israa (Q17:78)

[11] Surat-ul-Baqarah (Q2:189)

[12] لسيد سابق فقه السنة vol. 1, pg. 605

[13] Surat-ul-Ibrahim 7

[14] Sunan Ibn Maajah, Book 37, Hadith 4393

[15] Surat-ul-Anbiyaa (Q21:1-3)

[16] Surat-ul-Zukhruf 80

[17] True or false righteousness: Righteousness is to withhold harms and extend benefits. However, righteousness will be true when done sincerely for the sake of Allah; harms that are withheld due to fear of consequences or benefits that are extended in order to control the benefactor are false righteousness.

[18] See Surat-ul- Taha (Q20:14)

[19] Surat-ul-Ankabut 45

[20] Surat-ul-Baqarah (Q2:182

[21] Surat-ul-Tawbah (Q9:109)

[22] Sahih Bukhari, Book 81, Hadith 5

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