It's just been 10 days since Eid and its seems like an age since we experienced the endless Mercy, Blessings and Noor (divine light) of Allah descending upon us. Time for some introspection.... How did all that Noor disappear so quickly?? And how do we preserve whatever is left of it?
Shakyh Zulfiqar Ahmed Naqshbandi (madda-zhilluhim) gives a beautiful example: The blessed month of Ramadhan filled out lives with Noor just like a tank is filled with water. However if a tank has many holes, all the water will leak out, and amount of leakage will differ according to the size of the holes. In a similar manner the holes of our sins cause all the noor to drain out of our lives. No matter how much we pour from above, the leakages do not allow for us to retain the Noor, Mercy and Blessings. Whereas the Awliyaa of Allah, are free of such leakages and are able to retain it all. That is why their entire life is like Ramadhan, while we go back to our normal ways shortly after Eid. However its never too late. We can still try and save whatever we have left of it, by mending the holes inshaAllah.
What can we weaklings do to retain as much of the Noor as possible? Below are some pointers given by Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed during the Weekly Tazkiyah majlis on Channel Islam International. I pray that they are of benefit to all those who read them, as much as they have benefited me, and that Allah gives me, and all the readers the ability to put these simple steps into practice. Ameen.
Firstly one should try to observe the 6 fasts of Shawwal. There is a great amount of benefit in them as fasting aids us in continuing what we did during Ramadhan. Even though from Shari'ah point of view these fasts are optional, we should regard them as incumbent on ourselves. We can either keep them consecutively or space them out. It would be advisable for youth especially to space them out so that every time they feel they are slipping, offering one fast will help them bring back the balance in their stride.
There are two sins that lead to swift loss of the noor of Ramadhan. We should therefore try to abstain from these as far as possible.
1) Allowing the gaze to wander, and fall on unlawful things. 2) Being careless with regard to consuming food which is Halaal and Tayyib.
An unlawful gaze is a poisonous arrow of Shaytaan. Be careful not to let it stray. Though most of us are cautious about eating food prepared from halal ingredients, Alhamdulillah, we are not as wary about partaking Tayyib (wholesome) food. Wholesome food refers to food that is prepared by a Muslim, better even if it is prepared in the state of wudhu, whilst making zhikr.
Simple acts that will ensure that we preserve the Noor of Ramadhan Furthermore, Shaykh Kamaluddin mentions that if we are able to spend Shawwal correctly, inshaAllah we will be able to spend the rest of the year well too. Below is a list of simple actions Shaykh urged us to be punctual with during the month of Shawwal.
1) Remain in the state of Wudhu (ablution). This will serve as protection from Shaytan, and also make it easy for us to engage in worship. Often we think of performing nafal salaah, or reciting Qur'aan but get lazy because we do not have wudhu. By remaining in the state of wudhu at all times we will not feel this laziness inshaAllah.
2) Sprinkle your entire conversation with the name of Allah by repeatedly saying Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah, AllahuAkbar, MashaAllah, InshaAllah, etc.
3) During the entire day ensure that you experience at least one moment of heartfelt Shukr (gratitude) and at least one moment of heartfelt Sabr (patience). During 24 hours we have numerous moments wherein we can either be grateful for something or patient about something. However because of our neglect we let them pass with either ingratitude, or impatience. Sabr and Shukr are two roads to Allah. Let there be at least one moment of each during the day.
4) Learn about the benefits of silence and taste the candy of silence. Too often we are deprived of invaluable lessons because we are too busy talking. Be silent, observe, and absorb. We find that we have to comment on everything, and react to everything. At least have one moment a day wherein you remain silent and swallow when you could have reacted.
5) Rasoolullah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has said to the effect that when a believer gives a fellow believer an unexpected happiness, Allah (SWT) will give him unexpected happiness. Strive to have one such moment each day wherein you take someone by surprise and make them happy. For example, call someone who would love to hear from you, bring flowers for your wife, tell your parents how much you love them etc.
6) Engage in at least one optional (Nafl) act of worship everyday. Be it a nafl salaah, or nafl zhikr, or nafl muraaqabah (contemplation of Allah), or nafl durood or istighfaar. This is to show our love and commitment to Allah, that we are not believers who only fulfill what is obligatory and we do not only worship Allah out of duty, but we also have a passion for Allah that makes us do an act that is optional merely out of love for Allah. Through Nafl acts of worship a slave gains the closeness of Allah.
7) Have at least one moment a day wherein you make sincere heartfelt dua to Allah as you did in Ramadhan. Make dua in a manner that you would had you known for certain that that moment is of guaranteed acceptance.
InshaAllah if we inculcate these simple actions in our lives then we will be able to retain and preserve the blessings and the Noor of Allah that we had gained in Ramadhan, and inshaAllah they will also be a means of us attaining more Noor and Blessings.
No life ever grows great by itself until it is dedicated, focused, and disciplined. Also no life is ever happy until it is lived for the glory of Allah.
May Allah bless me, bless you, and the entire Ummah. Ameen
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