Delivering Trusts, Fasting in Shaban, Ramadan Goals
Issue 590 » July 16, 2010 - Shaban 4, 1431
Al-Nisa (Women) Chapter 4: Verse 58 (Partial)
The basic and most important trust is that which God has implanted in human nature. This is the one which the heavens, the earth and the mountains refused to accept, but which man undertook. It is that of willingly and deliberately recognising Divine guidance and believing in God. Giving testimony in favour of Islam is an important way of delivering this trust.
- This takes the form firstly of striving hard within oneself so that one's life, feelings, actions and behaviour become a practical translation of faith.
- Another way of giving testimony in favour of Islam is to call on people to believe in Islam, explaining its values and principles.
- Testimony is further given by taking steps to help implement Islam as a code of living for the Muslim community, and in human life in general.
Another trust which is implied in the above is that of dealing with people and delivering to them whatever they have entrusted to us. That includes honesty in daily transactions, giving honest counsel to rulers and ruled, taking good care of young children, protecting the interests of the community and defending it against hostile forces and observing all duties and obligations outlined by the Divine code.
The verse can also be translated as "Allah commands you to deliver trusts to those worthy of them." This forewarns Muslims against the evils which had afflicted the Israelites. One of the fundamental mistakes committed by the Israelites was that in the time of their degeneration they had handed over positions of trust (i.e. religious and political leadership) to incompetent, mean, immoral, dishonest and corrupt people. The result was that corruption spread throughout the nation. The Muslims are directed to take heed of this, and to entrust positions of responsibility only to those who are capable of shouldering the burdens of such positions.
Fasting in Shaban
Ayesha said: "I never saw the Messenger of Allah fast a complete month except for Ramadan, and I have never seen him fast more in a month than he did in Shaban." [Bukhaari, Muslim]
Usamah ibn Zaid inquired: "O Messenger of Allah, I never find you fasting in any month like you do during the month of Shaban." The Prophet responded: "That is the month the people neglect. It comes between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are raised to the Lord of the Worlds. I love that my deeds be raised while I am fasting." [An-Nasaa'i, authenticated by ibn Khuzaimah. Hasan according to al-Albaani]
Narrated Abu Hurairah, Allah's Messenger said: "When the month of Shaban is halfway, do not fast." [Reported by the five, Ahmad disapproved it].
As-San`aanee says in Subul us-Salaam: "One can fast provided he has to observe a compensatory fasting (in lieu of the Fard - obligatory ones) or the other prescribed ones which may be categorised as Wajib (compulsory). However, the volitional fasting is prohibited lest one should be subjected to exhaustion and weakness that may in turn render the Ramadan obligatory fasting difficult for him."
- Eat, drink and be moderate
Almost all of us do it - once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it's hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we're supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let's try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
- Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
- Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan's blessings. Don't miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least one week.
- Go on a technology diet
Even if you work in the IT industry, you can do this. Avoid checking personal email and surfing the web during your fast. After Iftar, instead of plopping yourself in front of the screen, go to Tarawih. The same goes for the television. The point is to try to give our full attention to spiritual elevation this month.
- Read 5 minutes of Quran a day...just five, not more, not less
Even if you feel you've got absolutely no time, set a timer or the alarm on your cell phone and find a relatively quiet place. You can read the first page of the Quran you open or follow a sequence. The choice is yours. The point is simply to connect with God through His revelation in the month of the Quran.
- Forgive everyone who has hurt you
Still got a festering wound from the fight with your friend last year? Still upset about something your spouse said during a heated argument? Or are you still bitter about the way your parents sometimes treated you as a kid? Let go of the anger and pain this Ramadan and forgive those who have hurt you. Forgiving someone is not only good for the body, but it's also great for the soul. And in Ramadan, ten days of which are devoted to Allah's forgiveness, shouldn't we lesser beings forgive too?
If you find it very difficult to forgive everyone, forgive at least three people.
"10 great goals for this Ramadan" - SoundVision.com