Stillness, Good Deeds, Your Share
Issue 897 » June 3, 2016 - Shaban 27, 1437
Fussilat (Clearly Expounded) - Chapter 41: Verse 39 (partial)
The meaning of the earth quivering and swelling is that its bareness and stillness (khushu) has been removed and its place vegetation grows. This then shows that the khushu that it had was stillness, lowness, and lack of growth. The same applies to the heart: when it has khushu, its base desires and thoughts arising from the following of carnal lusts are laid to rest, and it breaks and submits to Allah, Mighty and Magnificent. Khushu replaces the hearts remoteness, haughtiness, arrogance, and lordliness. When it settles in the heart, the limbs, organs, and motions - even the voice - are stilled.
"Humility in Prayer" - Ibn Rajab al Hanbali, pp. 21, 22
In the Old Testament, people are told to repent for their sins; but in the New Testament, it is no longer necessary, as Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the people. "Paul did not call upon his hearers to repent of particular sins, but rather announced God's victory over all sin in the cross of Christ. The radical nature of God's power is affirmed in Paul's insistence that in the death of Christ God has rectified the ungodly (see Romans 4:5). Human beings are not called upon to do good works in order that God may rectify them." So what incentive did we even have to be good, when being bad could be a lot of fun?
Society has answered by redefining good and bad. Any childcare expert will tell you that children must learn that their actions have consequences, and they encourage parents to allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions. Yet in Christianity, there are no consequences, so people have begun to act like spoiled children. Demanding the right to do as they please, demanding God's and peoples' unconditional love and acceptance of even vile behavior. It is no wonder that our prisons are over-flowing, and that parents are at a loss to control their children. That is not to say that in Islam we believe that we get to heaven based on our deeds, on the contrary, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us that we will only enter paradise through God's Mercy, as evidenced in the following hadith:
The Prophet said, "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and receive good news because one's good deeds will not make him enter Paradise." They asked, "Even you, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Even I, unless and until Allah bestows His pardon and Mercy on me." [Bukhari]
"Stories of New Muslims," Sumaya Fannoun's account , pp. 63-67
Ramadan is undoubtedly great and blessed, but not everyone who happens to live it is automatically entitled to get the blessings it brings. When it rains, different ponds and pools, canals and rivers receive their share according to their own depth and size. Also, different parts of the land yield crops according to their varied capabilities. The rain is the same for all, but a small pit cannot receive as much of it as can a big pond. Then, the downpour on a rock does not benefit it much; it remains on the surface and flows out from there. But if the downpour is on a fertile land, it enlivens it. The same is true of men, their nature and their destiny.
What is going to be your share from the treasures of Ramadan? Like the fertile soil, you may become soft-hearted and moist-eyed, sow the seed of belief and determination inside yourself, and add to your capabilities. Thus, a seed will grow into a sapling, and a sapling into a tree. The tree will be laden with the fruits of good deeds, and you will reap the fruit - the fruit of eternal bliss. Just like the farmer, as you sow so shall you reap; and the more you toil, the more you shall get. But if you remain hard-hearted, like the farmer who slept when it was time to wake up and work, then the blessings and goodness of Ramadan and Tarawih (night prayers during the holy month) will pass without benefiting you, just like the downpour that does not benefit the rock.
Nothing is gained without Allah’s Will. But Allah’s Will favours only those who strive hard in the way of Allah. If you stand still, impervious and oblivious, then Allah’s Will cannot be in your favour.
So, be careful lest the whole blessed month of Ramadan passes, with its downpour of blessings and goodness, and you remain empty-handed.
It all depends on you! Get yourself ready to welcome Ramadan most befittingly, and try to make most of it. Discover the secret of the greatness of Ramadan, understand the importance of preparations and resolve to welcome it, use the opportunity it provides to get optimum benefit, appreciate the points that merit our attention and focus, recommend ways and means that make the journey to the destination easy and more rewarding, and avoid the path and approach that may frustrate the whole purpose and lead to failure and destruction.
"Making the Most of Ramadan" - Khurram Murad, p. 7