Yusuf M Abdullahi
In the name of Allah who states “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn self-restraint (al-taqwa)” Q2:183
May the everlasting peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant our master Muhammad and his purified progeny.
Congratulations to the Ummah on the completion of fasting and Sallah celebrations respectively. Looking at the significance of the month identified with mercy, forgiveness and prosperity, the need to uphold its lessons cannot be overemphasized. That was why believers were generally encouraged to put in more efforts to acquire the pleasure of Allah in the month. Simultaneously, its significant historic events were also commemorated. There is always need to assess our fasting. And the assessment should be done on individual and societal levels. Generally, all forms of worship were adhered to especially recitation of the noble Qur’an. “those to whom We have given The Book study it as it should be studied; they are the ones that believe therein; those who reject faith therein, the loss is their own” Q2:121. Qur’anic recitation is obviously the most important function of the month. As such, I use this medium to encourage all on the need to maintain the the companionship of the noble book. For those not conversant with it, they should do their best to master it. Why is our attention more on the secular direction. How many of us acquired their first, second degree and PhD but are lagging behind regarding the noble Qur’an? So we must wake up and do the right thing for our goodness. We should try to recite the whole Qur’an as many times as possible and sacrifice such rewards to parents and loved ones dead or alive even as the month is over. Other forms of Allah’s remembrance such as Salatun Nabiy, Istigfar etc must be maintained as well. We should always befriend the books of supplication like Mafaateehul Jinaan and Dhiyaa’us Saaliheen among others.
Another significant aspect adhered to was the superogatory prayers. Taraweeh was the most popular in that regard even though different series were observed. We all participated in such prayers in search of the pleasure of Allah. So now, as the month is over, we should to the best of ability uphold the habit. Prayers were also given a lot of attention. Allah said “When My servants Ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed Close (to them); I respond To the prayer of every supplicant when he calleth on Me; Let them also, with a will listen to My call, And believe in Me; That they may walk in the right way” Q2:186. We should remain adhered to them for Allah’s forgiveness and mercy to our humble selves, parents and beloved.
The generosity taught by the month must not be neglected. The prophet (S) has encouraged the Ummah especially the rich to do their best in this direction. The reward of kind gestures are really tremendous even in other months. That was why group and community Iftar were encouraged to help the needy. So also Zakatul fitrah at the eve of Sallah celebration. These habits should maintained to balance the unnecessary (artificial) gap within the society. On the educational aspect especially the Tafseer sessions attended and listened to during the month. It was very relevant looking at the numerous lessons highlighted in the noble book. Apparently, adherence to the teachings will no doubt be more effective if we remain attached to knowledge acquisition. So we should seek admission to relevant Islamic schools where we should learn more from the teachings of our sacred religion. And we must make sure that we put into practice the lessons therein as actions speak louder.
On the historical aspect of a blessed memory, we observed the life of mother of believers, Sayyidah Khadija who spent good fifteen years with noble messenger (S). And throughout their stay he did not marry anyone. She was given glad tidings of Allah’s forgiveness and mercy in the hereafter! Abu Talib on the other hand was the father of Ali. He believed in the noble prophet and gave him utmost protection even though the enemies of his son have rejected his faith. Both died in the same year for which the noble messenger suffered a lot and named the year as the year of sorrow.
The battle of Badr was fought on the 17th of the holy month when believers were faced with the persecution of Meccan pagans under the instruction of Abu Sufyan. However Allah helped them with great victory killing seventy enemies and taking similar hostages! “Assuredly Allah did help you In many battle-fields, And on the day of Hunain; Behold! Your great numbers Elated you, but they Availed you naught; the land. For all that it is wide, Did constrain you, and ye Turned back in retreat” Q9:25. With their little number and few arms, no one could imagine victory to the believers when the unbelievers have multiplied them more than three times and fully armed to teeth! Allah has promises similar victory to believers forever provided they are steadfast and sincere in their faith! “O Prophet! Sufficient unto thee is Allah, And unto those Who follow thee Among the Believers” Q7:64
Birth of Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba was part of the historic events. He was born on 15th Ramadhan, 3 years after hijra. His father was the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali son of Abi Talib and mother Sayyidah Fatima daughter of the noble prophet (S). At his birth, the prophet went to the house and took him in his blessed arms, recited Adhan and Iqama naming him al-Hasan! He was brought up under the patronage of the prophet (S). However, he was finally murdered on orders of his father’s enemy, Mu’awiya son of Abu Sufyan, 50 years AH.
The martyrdom of Imam Ali, commander of the faithful by Mu’awiya’s tool, Ibn Muljim happened on the 21st Ramadan, 40 years after hijra when the Imam was leading the morning prayer at Kufa. “And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead; nay (they are) alive, but you do not perceive” Q2:154. Before his last breath, the Imam passed his lengthy will to his eldest son Imam Hasan, part of which; “… I advice you all my children, members of my family and everyone whom my writing reaches to fear Allah, to keep your affairs in order and to maintain good relations among yourselves for I have heard grandfather (the holy prophet) saying; improvement of mutual differences is better than general prayers and fasting…”
The International Quds declared by Imam Ruhullah Khomeini (may Allah have mercy on him) in 1979 was also observed across the world. The day is meant to express solidarity and unflinching support to the oppressed Palestinians and indeed all other oppressed people of the world. The event observed in the last Friday of every Ramadan is usually preceded by the justice seeking protesters that storm the streets of central London in UK, some parts of Europe and the United states on the ill-treatment of defenseless Palestinians mostly women and children for over seven decades by the merciless Israeli government. It is imperative to acknowledge this effort by the people wishing peace to reign and justice to prevail all over the world. The Imam maintained “the Quds Day is a universal day. It is not an exclusive day for Quds itself. It is a day for the oppressed to rise and stand up against the arrogant.”
Popularly referred as the day of the oppressed, the International Quds day was meant to sympathize with all oppressed irrespective of all differences, and to fight oppression and injustice as common enemies. On this principle, the Imam debunked apartheid and helped Mandela in the fight against it. In appreciation on the other hand, Mandela said "the independence of South Africa was incomplete without the freedom of Palestine", and on his first visit to Tehran after release from long incarceration, he acknowledged the fatherly role of the Imam and the Iran in that direction. Late Hugo Shahvez was very active in observing the annual Quds day where he would be seen in the forefront of the events among other protesters in his country.
In one of his Intifada opening conference, the leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamne’i said " Muslim countries have a responsibility to support Palestinian resistance which should be a source of unity in the Islamic world’ the issue of Palestine can and should be the pivot of unity for all Islamic countries’ the top priority of the Islamic world and all those fighting for freedom across the world is the Palestinian cause and unity to support that cause" Allah repeatedly states “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves” Qur’an: 3:103
In our self and general assessment, we should never forget that fasting is a special act of worship enjoined on Muslims with a clearly stated objective that culminate in positive multiplier-effects to the entire society.
As usual, we use this medium to emphasize the urgent need for Shaikh el-Zakzaky’s (H) unconditional release together with all his disciples.