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Passion Islam I August 2009 SPECIAL FEATURE I 21
person who fasts and prays but makes
no effort to stay away from sins or
attain purity of the heart through the
numerous opportunities offered by
Ramadan. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu
alayhi wa sallam, warned us: “There
are those who get nothing from their
fast but hunger and thirst. There are
those who get nothing from their
nightly prayers but loss of sleep.”
Those who understood this, for
them Ramadan was indeed a very
special month. In addition to fasting,
mandatory Salat, and extra Travih
Salat, they spent the whole month
in acts of worship like voluntary
Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an),
Dhikr etc. After mentioning that this
has been the tradition of the pious
people of this Ummah throughout
the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi
notes: “ I have seen with my own
eyes such ulema and mashaikh who
used to finish recitation of the entire
Qur’an everyday during Ramadan.
They spent almost the entire night in
They used to eat so little that one
wondered how they could endure
their own sake. The second category
and appear before Allah to remind
all this. These greats valued every
consists of indirect Ibada --- worldly
ourselves that none but He is worthy
moment of Ramadan and would not
acts that become Ibada through
of worship and of our unfaltering
waste any of it in any other pursuit…
proper intention and observation of
obedience. Ramadan takes this to the
Watching them made one believe
Shariah. While the second category
next higher plane, providing intense
the astounding stories of Ibada and
is important for it extends the idea
training for a whole month.
devotion of our elders recorded by
of Ibada to our entire life, there is
This spirit is captured in I’tikaf,
also a danger because by their very
a unique Ibada associated with
This emphasis on these acts of
nature these acts can camouflage
Ramadan, in which a person gives up
worship may sound strange --- even
other motives. (Is my going to work
all his normal activities and enters a
misplaced --- to some. It requires
really Ibada or am I actually in the rat
mosque for a specific period.
some explanation. We know that the
race?). Here the direct Ibada comes
There is great merit in it and every
term Ibada (worship and obedience)
to the rescue. Through them we can
Muslim community is encouraged to
in Islam applies not only to the formal
purify our motives, and re-establish
provide at least one person who will
acts of worship and devotion like Salat
our relationship with Allah.
perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of
, Tilawa, and Dhikr, but it also applies
Islam does not approve of
Ramadan. But even those who cannot
to worldly acts when performed in
monasticism. It does not ask us to
spare ten days are encouraged to
obedience to Shariah and with the
permanently isolate ourselves from
spend as much time in the mosque
intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a
this world, since our test is in living as possible.
believer going to work is performing
here according to the Commands Through direct Ibada we “charge
Ibada when he seeks Halal income
of our Creator. But it does ask us our batteries”; the indirect ones allow
to discharge his responsibility as a
to take periodic breaks from it. The us to use the power so accumulated
bread-winner for the family. However
mandatory Salat (five daily prayers) in driving the vehicle of our life.
a distinction must be made between
is one example. For a few minutes Ramadan is the month for rebuilding
the two. The first category consists of
every so many hours throughout the our spiritual strength. How much we
direct Ibada, acts that are required for
day, we leave the affairs of this world benefit from it is up to us.
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