AN OPPORTUNITY NOT TO BE MISSED
You have been given an opportunity of a lifetime. A business operates twenty four hours a day. The owner wishes to take a holiday and has requested you to run the business for one month. The arrangement is that for every second that you will personally man the business, you will get paid Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred. If you have to leave the business for any necessity, the person who relieves you will get the money for the duration of time that you are out! You have obviously grabbed the opportunity with open arms.
First, let the above scenario settle in the mind. Now imagine that the month of running the business has just commenced. A close friend phones to invite you to a lavish function. “You must come,” he urges. Your almost spontaneous reply would perhaps be: “I am sorry but I am very busy and will not be able to attend.”
The first weekend comes. Your children want to “go out for a drive.” “Not today. I am very busy,” says their father. The children’s mother also wholeheartedly agrees. After all she is also dreaming every night about what she will do with the Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second that her husband is earning. Hence she does not ask to be taken anywhere. How can she even think of it? Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second — and just for one month only! And you … well obviously you are working beyond the limits of overtime. No time to eat in peace. Only the minimal amount of sleep. No shopping. No “drives.” No time to sit around with friends over coffee. And entertainment? Whatever is that? The very word sounds unfamiliar. All this due to the once in a lifetime opportunity of earning Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second for one month.
ANSWER ON DAY OF JUDGMENT
Yet, if the person who slogged for the entire month to earn Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second … passes away on the thirtieth day, the wealth he earned will be of no use to him. He cannot take it along to his grave. If he does live to use it, the tax-man will be there to first take his share. He will have to worry about how to protect his wealth. Besides this, he will have to answer on the Day of Judgment about how he earned it and where he spent it. Generally, despite the abovementioned problems we will grab the opportunity of running the business for one month.
Allah Ta’ala is also granting us a lifetime’s opportunity. The month of Ramadhan with its unlimited blessings is here. One month in earnings at the rate of Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second cannot even be called petty cash in comparison to the rewards that Allah Ta’ala grants and the blessings and mercy that He showers in the month of Ramadhan. Every Ramadhan must be treated as a once in a lifetime opportunity since we have no idea whether we will live till the next Ramadhan.
What are the rewards of good deeds in the month of Ramadhan? The reward of every Fardu (compulsory) act is multiplied seventy times while every Sunat (optional) act earns the reward of one Fardu out of Ramadhan. It is important to understand the latter aspect in its proper perspective. Tahajjud Salat (in the last third of the night) is an extremely great ibadah. Great virtues have been narrated for this Salat. However, a lifetime of Tahajjud cannot equal one Fardu of Salat Fajr! Yet in the month of Ramadhan Allah Ta’ala grants us the reward of a Fardu action for every Sunat performed.
Thus, can we afford to waste this time? Can we still have time for “drives?” Is it possible for a person who values Ramadhan in a similar manner that he values Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred a second, to spend hours “eating out” at after taraweh feasts, or have time for other idle pursuits? Can we afford to spend valuable time glued to the airwaves listening to the “opinions” and “views” of all and sundry in Din matters whereas that time could have been used to at least recite Al Fatihah? And entertainment? Have we heard that word before??? Thus the last thing that any Muslim who values Ramadhan will bother about is who somewhere in the world is whacking a little red ball all over a field or who is kicking a ball between two posts!!!
Thus it also does not behoove of people who value Ramadhan to try to “save time” from the performance of ibadah. Many people “work out” the shortest taraweh — where they will be able to leave in the shortest possible time and head for the food outlets where ample time will be whiled away. Think of the Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second. We would break the records for over-time work. Thus in Ramadhan we should break the record for the amount of time spent in Salat, tilaawah (recitation of the Qur’an), zikr, dua, etc. Ramadhan is not a month to “save” time from the performance of these acts. Rather it is a month to engage every moment possible in these acts. Apart from Salat, tilawat, etc., Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has himself stressed upon us to excessively engage in some practices. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: “And in this month you should endeavor to perform four things in great number, two of which shall be to please your Rabb, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot make do. Those which shall be to please your Rabb are that you should in great abundance recite the “Kalima Tayyiba” (Laa ilaaha il’lallah) and make much istighfaar (beg Allah’s forgiveness with Astaghfirullah). And as for those two without which you cannot make do, you should beg Allah for entry into paradise and seek refuge with him from the fire of Jahannam.”
While one should engage to the maximum in the above good deeds, the purpose of Ramadhan must be kept foremost in mind, which is to acquire Taqwa (Allah-awareness and piety). Thus together with the maximum amount of righteous actions one must totally refrain from all sins. One month of strictly conducting oneself in this manner will Insha-Allah have the effect of enabling one to live the next eleven months in a similar manner — in the complete obedience of Allah Ta’ala.
May Allah Ta’ala enable us to appreciate and value the month of Ramadhan — more than what we value Ringgit Malaysia Two Hundred per second.