Ramadan. A time for prayers, self-reflection and repentance. And although the entire world is going through an incredibly tough period, it is imperative we all maintain a positive mindset, and a great way of doing so is through this year’s Ramadan. No better opportunity will we get to worship our Lord. No better opportunity will we get to repent for our sins, and no better time will be available to us to evaluate our lives. So, it is essential we make the best use of this Ramadan in lockdown. To be able to do that we need to prepare. Physically, mentally and spiritually.
I’ll be honest, amidst these worrying times it had completely slipped my mind that this blessed window was right around the corner. So, I decided to prepare by setting myself some goals for the 30 days. Although these goals are such that would’ve been more challenging in during any other Ramadan, I see myself fulfilling them to a greater extent as a result of this lockdown.
It is a common practice to complete the recitation of the Holy Qur’an within the month of Ramadan, as it was in this month that the revelation of the Holy Qur’an commenced. During Ramadan, the Angel Gabriel (as) would revise whatever had been revealed of the Holy Qur’an up to that point with the Holy Prophet (sa). However, in the final Ramadan of the life of the Holy Prophet (sa), the Angel Gabriel (as) revised the entire Qur’an twice with him [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 61, Hadith 129]. It is for this reason that my first goal for Ramadan in lockdown is to attempt to complete the recitation of the Holy Quran twice in these 30 days.
“Sadaqah wipes out sins like water extinguishes fire”[Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Book 6, Hadith 74]. From this small yet comprehensive hadith, the importance of giving sadaqah (charity/alms) could not be clearer. Especially in the month in which the gates of hell are shut and the gates of heaven are open [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 30, Hadith 9], giving sadaqah is an excellent way to attain the mercy of God Almighty. Therefore, my 2nd goal for Ramadan is to give as much sadaqah as I can, and that too on a regular basis. However, by giving sadaqah, I don’t mean to be emptying my bank balance. In fact, the Holy ProphetPBUH said that the most desirable deed to Allah is that which is done with regularity even if it is little [Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith 36].
Along with everything else, the main goal for every Muslim should be prayer, as without it, our fasts, our good deeds, our sadaqah, and the everything else is useless. Prayer is that nucleus around which everything should revolve. Especially in the unprecedented times in which we are currently living in, the standard of our prayers must go up.
Our beloved Imam, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) in his Friday Sermon on the 10th April 2020 stated:
“One should remember that prayer is the most powerful of means. One ought to pray with the belief and conviction that God listens to prayers. Pray for yourself, your family, the community and the whole of humanity.”
Further, beloved Huzoor (aba) in his Friday Sermon of 24th April 2020, emphasising the importance of Ramadan; especially in these times, expressed how no Ahmadi Muslim should let this Ramadan go to waste. Huzooraba mentioned the fact that the whole family is at home, so it is a great opportunity for parents to themselves along with their children get closer to God Almighty, and as long as our intentions are pure, then Allah the Almighty, who is the Knower of the unseen, will accept our prayers.
In the end I pray that may this ‘Ramadan in lockdown’ enable all of us to get closer to our Creator, and may He shower the rain of mercy upon humanity. Ameen.
Spiritually Charged Audience
Like many University graduates I had dreams and expectations to land an amazing job after graduation, as this is what I was led to believe. I ended up with a 1st class degree from a good university. However, when I actually started looking for a job, my degree didn’t help me much and the realities of life hit me. Like many people I ended up in a job not related to the field I studied. I was constantly depressed and unhappy. By the grace of Allah, I had a personal audience with Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba. I told him about how I felt and all my problems. Beloved Huzooraba listened to my struggles and advised me to “study ICT or Computing”. At first, I was reluctant to go back to education again, but I finally heeded his advice and did a conversion course in computer science. By the grace of Allah, that has been the best decision of my life, I managed to secure an amazing job even before I finished my degree and then have gone on to work with some amazing companies. By listening to Huzooraba, I discovered that software engineering is my passion and now I am in a job and field, which I love. I find it amazing that such advice which came from a meeting of only a few minutes was so spiritually charged that it really did change my life.
I have been following the whole debate around the stock market: taking money back “from Wall street to Main street”. Recently, we saw small investors invest in stocks which sent certain stocks shooting through the roof, however, as they quickly fell many people lost out. Unfortunately, it became quite evident that it wasn’t as simple as people hoped it would be. I am certain some of us, who have been following this saga, will ask were these actions just? According to the House Committee on Financial Services, the answer is no. This whole episode reminded me of the chapter of the Holy Qur’an which pertains to being just in all matters. Perhaps it’s now time to stop running our entire financial edifice on cash that does not exist.
The Spirit of Sacrifice
As you are aware, MKA UK has been covering the security shifts for Islamabad (whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines). Before the pandemic, these would be covered by Khuddam from across the country as each region took turns to bring a dozen Khuddam who would perform their voluntary duty for an entire day. As lockdown began, this responsibility fell to those Qiadats around Farnham and Muqami region as a whole. Khuddam have been much lifted by the manner in which Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba has shown his love for those performing these duties (see article in January 2021 edition). Recently, I learnt of a khadim in my Qiadat who walked nearly 1 hour to Islamabad so that he could cover his voluntary post. Though we have not really been offering prayers at the Mosque for over a year now, I believe the spirit of the second aspect of Islam—rights owed to humanity—is ever alive and growing.
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