By Mukhtar Oyetunji
All praises to Allah in the beginning and the end by who’s leave all good deeds are achieved. No doubt Ramadan 1441AH is one distinct from previous ones in many ways but the essence is the same and it is to attain piety.
Allah says in Suratul Baqorah Q 2 vs 183
‘Oh you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may attain piety’
Piety indeed in a relative term for which scholars attempted defining in different ways.
One such popular definition is that Ali Abi Taalib defined it as; · Ali bin Abu Talib said: ” Taqwa means fearing Allah, practicing according to the Qur’an and Hadith, being content with little and preparing for the day of death and its aftermaths.
He also said; I advise you to observe taqwa because it is Allah’s right over His servants; and that you should seek His assistance through taqwa because taqwa serves as a shield today and tomorrow it will lead you to Paradise.
‘O servants of Allah! Taqwa prevents Allah’s friends from His prohibitions and mandates His fear in their hearts so that they remain vigil at night and thirsty during the day. They derive comfort from fatigue and quench their thirst from being thirsty. They deem their hour to be nigh and hurry in their actions (in preparation). They reject fantasies and observe their hour (of death).
The level of piety described by Ali (RA) is what Ramadan seeks to instill in us within and outside of it.
Alas! here we are at the cusp of the end of a 29/30 day journey of piety. Some rigorous personal exertions have taken place all targeted at seeking the pleasure of Allah. This striving is a necessity for all mankind as Allah says in Surah Al-Inshiqaq, Verse 6
O man! surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him.
Now as Ramadan comes to an end, the above verse comes as a shot in arm to remind that striving must not stop. It must continue in the same spirit as Ramadan even though the atmosphere of Ramadan cannot be replicated in other months.
The need not to rest on one’s hoarse after Ramadan is captured in Surah Al-Inshirah, Verse 7:
So when you are free, reoccupy.
A popular scholar once said in his book, Islam is a state of becoming and never a state of being, meaning their is no ultimate level of being a Muslim. Rather it is continuous striving and working to become better version of one’s self that makes one a better Muslim.
The day by day zeal to improve on every aspect of one’s Islam is what makes for a better Muslim.
Allah(SWT) says in Suratul Ankabuut Q 29 vs 69:
And for those who strive hard for us, we most certainly guide them in our ways, and Allah is most surely with the doers of good.
Verily, striving towards good deeds continues right from The day of Eid which Allah is to be praised and thanked for his guidance and favour.
Allah says in Surah Al-Baqara, Verse 185:
… Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you and that you may give thanks.
Then unto Sittatu Shawwal (6 Voluntary Fast in Shawwal) and many more around the year.
Surely the lessons learnt in Ramadan must stay with us round the year till it comes around the following year bi idhniLlah.
Goodness goodness surely breeds more goodness and it is the position of scholars that continuation of good deeds is a sign that one’s initial deeds have been accepted by Allah.
We ask Allah to accept all our efforts and strivings in the month of Ramadan and beyond it, forgive us our sins, accept all our prayers and count us amongst those emancipated from hell and admitted into his paradise.