Solid Foundation, Measure of Greatness, Lonely Ramadan
Issue 694 » July 13, 2012 - Shaban 23, 1433
Al-Maarij (Ways of Ascent) - Chapter 70: Verse 32
This is one of the basic moral qualities on which Islamic society is founded. The honouring of trust and pledges begins, according to Islam, with honouring the great trust that God offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains but they refused to accept it, fearing that they would not be able to fulfil its commitments. Man however accepted it. This is the trust of faith and the fulfilment of its requirements out of choice but without compulsion. It also involves honouring the first pledge taken from man's nature, before birth, when this nature testifies to the truth of God's oneness. Faithfulness to all trusts and pledges in worldly transactions is founded on honouring the first trust and this first pledge.
Islam repeatedly emphasizes the importance of such faithfulness, to trust, confirming its role in building its society on solid foundations. It considers such faithfulness a distinctive feature of a believer. This is often repeated in the Quran and the Sunnah, leaving no room for doubts as to the importance Islam attaches to faithfulness.
"In the Shade of the Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Vol 17, p. 261
Measure of Greatness
In society, each person has a window (status) through which he or she looks out to see others and be seen. If the window is built higher than their real stature, people try to make themselves appear taller through vanity and assumed airs. If the window is set lower than their real stature, they must bow in humility in order to look out, see, and be seen. Humility is the measure of one's greatness, just as vanity or conceit is the measure of low character.
The Messenger, peace be upon him, had a stature so high that it could be said to touch the "roof of the Heavens." Therefore, he had no need to be seen. Whoever travels in the realm of virtues sees him before every created being, including angels. In the words of Said Nursi, the Messenger is the noble aide-de-camp of God. He lowered himself to stay in the world for a while so that people might find the way to God. Since he is the greatest of humanity, he is the greatest in modesty. This follows the well-known saying: "The greater one is, the more modest one is."
The Prophet, peace be upon him, never regarded himself as greater than anybody else. Only his radiant face and attractive person distinguished him from his Companions. He lived and dressed like the poorest people and sat and ate with them, just as he did with slaves and servants. Once a woman saw him eating and remarked: "He eats like a slave." The Messenger replied: "Could there be a better slave than me? I am a slave of God." [Haythami]
"The Messenger of God: Muhammad" - Fethullah Gulen, pp. 297, 298
For most Muslims, Ramadan is family time. You get up together, eat Iftar together, pray together, etc. But what if you don't have your family near you?
Waking up in a lonely apartment and eating food you've sometimes burnt in an effort to catch Suhur in time are some of the realities of being a single Muslim in Ramadan. But there are ways to make Ramadan special when you're on your own. Here are few ideas.
1. Establish a Suhur telephone tree
Get a couple of friends together and establish a telephone tree to wake each other up for Suhur. Establish a time to call and a schedule of who will call whom. Make it a little exciting by adding some funny phrases every week that will really wake everyone.
2. Invite people over for Iftar
Even if even you couldn't eat the food the last time you cooked, invite people over for Iftar. Make it a potluck, order pizza or if you can afford it, get it catered. The food isn't the thing. The blessing is in the company, and you'll be rewarded for feeding everyone. Make sure to especially invite those who are away from their families.
3. Attend prayers at the local mosque/MSA
Even if the Imam's recitation isn't the best and the behavior of other Muslims can be more than annoying, try to attend Tarawih prayers organized by your local mosque or your Muslim Students' Association (MSA). While praying alone in peace and quiet is great, praying shoulder-to-shoulder with other Muslims with whom you have nothing in common except your faith is a unique and uplifting experience.
4. Keep the Quran playing when you are alone
It's often tempting to keep the TV or radio on when we're alone to avoid the silence. This Ramadan, find a Quran reciter you like and play their recitations during those moments when you want to fill your place with some sound. Choose selections you'd like to memorize, like the 30th part of the Quran.
5. Take care of others
Know a new person at the school/office? Is a friend who lives nearby having problems with their spouse? Or is someone you know having money problems? This Ramadan, reach out with an attentive ear, a generous hand, and most importantly, an open heart to others. Don't let these small opportunities for gaining blessings slip you by.
6. Pick and pursue Ramadan goals
Choose at least three goals to pursue this Ramadan. Whether it's curbing a bad habit or starting a good one, doing this will help you focus and work harder this month to change for the better. It takes 21 days to establish a good habit. With Ramadan, we've got 30. Why not make the best of it by picking up the good?
"A single Muslim's guide to Ramadan" - SoundVision.com