Table of Contents
In our previous meditation, we introduced the concept of the animalistic part of our nature (our tabiyah) and the spiritual part of our nature (our fitra). We discussed how, in Shahru Ramadan especially, we feel much more spiritual because our focus is upon our fitra and we gave a few examples of how we can live a more fitra -focused life throughout the rest of the year.
In this meditation, we will go deeper into this topic and explain how we can feel a closer connection to Allah (SWT) throughout the remainder of the year. More importantly, we will begin to understand why this connection is so important, in sha Allah.
The biggest misconception that we have is that Allah (SWT) is far from us. Musa (AS), who could converse with Allah (SWT), asked Allah (SWT) about our closeness to Allah (SWT). Musa (AS) asked Allah (SWT) if we should shout to Allah (SWT), by making our dua loudly as He (SWT) is far from us or if we should whisper to Allah (SWT), through munajat (which means to whisper), as Allah (SWT) is close to us? Allah (SWT) replied by saying that we should whisper, as Allah (SWT) is always close to us when we remember Him (SWT).
When we reflect back to Shahru Ramadan, we can remember that close connection that we had with Allah (SWT). When we begin to meditate upon the reason for this, we begin to realize that Allah (SWT) is never far from us, it is only we who keep Him (SWT) far from us. Furthermore, it is our aamal that either keep us far from Allah (SWT) or bring us close to Him (SWT), as opposed to the time of the year.
During Shahru Ramadan, our aamal are fitradriven. Our salaat is deeper, we recite the Quran Majid with a yearning in our heart, we fast so that our focus is on internal control as opposed to external reaction and we give more to help those who Allah (SWT) wants us to help. When we look back to Shahru Ramadan, it was these aamal that brought us closer to Allah (SWT), aamal that we can do at any time of the year.
When we look at the singular form of aamal, an amal, we see a very interesting concept. This word can be spelt two ways, عمل or امل. When it is spelt as امل, this word means hope. When it is spelt as عمل, this word means action. From the same word, with different spellings, we see that we should begin every action with the hope that it brings us closer to Allah (SWT) and pleases our Lord (SWT).
When we reflect back to Shahru Ramadan, we can remember how much hope (امل) we had that our aamal would be rewarded and this motivated us in each amal (عمل). In order to live a fitra- fufilling life, it is important that we maintain this hope before each amal, throughout the entire year.
Rasulullah (SAW) explained this to us in the following incident. One day, Rasulullah (SAW) was sitting with His (SAW) companions and began to smile. The companions asked why He (SAW) was smiling. Rasulullah (SAW) said that He (SAW) was thinking about why we had to be chained to be taken to Jannah?
The wisdom in this hadith mubarak is that in Shahru Ramadan, we feel restricted and chained as we are limited to what we can do. However, we neglect the reason for this. When we return to the tabiyah and fitra example, we can understand this better.
When a young baby is crawling, the parents encourage it to walk. The baby, however, is comfortable crawling and does not want to walk, as it will fall and may be hurt because of the fall. The baby is fearful of walking but the parents know the benefit and freedom of walking.
Likewise, before Sharhu Ramadan, we are like the baby who is content with crawling. Allah (SWT), however, wants better for us and, through the spiritual process of Shahru Ramadan, helps us to upgrade and reach a level of walking. The problem is that many of us have become so comfortable with crawling that, after Shahru Ramadan, we soon return to that state, even though Shahru Ramadan has shown us a new and better level of existence.
This is why Rasulullah (SAW) said that we need to be put in chains (in this world) to be taken to Jannah, otherwise we will return to our lower level that pleases our tabiyah, as our fitra is not strong enough yet. These chains confine our tabiyah, so that our firtra can then be in control.
This leads us to an important question. When do we know that our fitra is strong? There is a beautiful hadith in which Rasulullah (SAW) informs us of this.
Rasulullah (SAW) said (paraphrased) that when what benefits you in the akherat comes easily and what benefits you in this world is hard, then you are doing well. When what benefits you in the akherat is difficult and what benefits you in this world is easy, then you are in trouble.
Let us look at this through an example. Salaat is an amal that is loved by Allah (SWT) and benefits our akherat. When it comes to the time for prayer, for some it is easy to perform their salaat, as their fitra is strong. For others, however, it is much more difficult as they are engrossed in another activity and they delay their salaat, as it is harder for them to pray. This is because their fitra is weak.
When we reflect back to Shahru Ramadan, we notice how much easier it was to perform salaat. Not only did we pray on time, we prayed beyond the obligatory prayers. Throughout the rest of the year, we find it hard just to pray the obligatory prayers on time, let alone praying beyond that. We can see just in this example, the difference that our fitra makes.
We have been placed in this world not for the sake of our tabiyah, which will be buried in the grave, but for our fitra, which will serve us in our akherat. It is our responsibility to develop this.
However, if we do not develop it, Allah (SWT) will send difficulties and challenges our way, to remind us of our temporary nature in this world and of our eternal relationship with Him (SWT).
One of the most prominent Sufi scholars was Hasan al-Basri. One day, he was delivering a lecture in Medina and said how difficult it was for us to go to Jannah. One of the attendees became worried as he thought that if Hasan al-Basrifound it difficult to go to Jannah, how difficult would it be for him?
That man then went to Imam Ali Zainulabedeen (AS) and narrated the experience to the Imam (AS), who then said that it was the opposite, how difficult is it to go to Hell, when our Lord (SWT) is so merciful to us? Subhanallah.
Allah’s (SWT) mercy is often seen in the difficulties and challenges that He (SWT) sends our way. Indeed, what is more merciful, a difficulty that brings us closer to Allah (SWT) and jannah or an ease that takes us further from Him (SWT) and closer to Hell?