IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE BENEFICENT, THE MERCIFUL
[Shamim A Siddiqi,
“Action is the end of thought”, concluded by Ruskin. But the action itself is judged by the net result at the end. When a person labors for something or a man sacrifices a lot for his set goal, he or she becomes extremely happy and feels contented when he attains the objective or reaches the destination or gets the end-result that is beyond his or her imagination. A labor gets satisfaction when he gets his wages before his sweat dries out. A student becomes happy when he gets his result in his hands with flying colors, the culminating point of his yearlong efforts.
So is the case with Muslim men and women who fast the whole month of Ramadan, attend Traviah, do Qayamullail [Night vigilance] and labor hard in searching the “Lailatul Qadr [the night of power] during the odd nights of the last ten days of Ramadan. They get their immense reward on the day of Eid from their Lord, the Creator and Sustainer. This is a very special reward that is conferred by Allah in His magnanimous way. It is the day of climax when he or she gets the reward on the joyous day of Eid in respect of his or her Ebadah [worships] during the entire month of Ramadan. The Prophet of Allah confirms it in a Hadith that is quoted in Al-Targheeb Al-Tarheeb:
“Translation: Sa’d b Aws Ansari narrates from his father, Aws Ansari ® that Rasulullah (S) said, “ When the day of Eid comes, the angels of Allah take position at the corners of each street and declare, “ O the Believers! Proceed to your Lord Who is very merciful, tells you about the good deeds, favors you with Tawfeeq to practice them and then award you with big rewards. He ordained you for Traviah and you did it, He ordained you to fast during the day time and you fasted, you followed the directives from your lord, now come and pick up your prizes”.
When the people complete their Eid prayers, an angel announces, “ O the people! Your Lord has pardoned you, so returned to your homes with flying colors. This is the reward of Eid Day and this day is known in the world of angels as the Day of Reward.”
The question arises why this fanfare in rewarding the cherished compensation for observing fast, standing for Traviah, keeping vigilant at night for the entire month of Ramadan? It is so because the rewards for all the form of worships like Salah, Hajj, Zakah, Infaq and Jihad in the way of Allah are prefixed and their quantum are known but the reward for Sawm is not known. Allah (SWT) gives it in His own estimation in proportion to the quality of Sawm of each individual Muslim and Muslimah. He decides in His infinite mercy how much a person deserves. It would be a “custom-made” reward that Allah gives to each individual Muslim in terms of his or her quality of Sawm. The word “la-alla” [probably] confirms this concept that has been used three times in Section 23 of Surah Al-Baqarah that prescribes Sawm as an obligatory Ebadah: “La-allakum Tattaqun” [Verse 195], La-allakum Tashkrun [Verse 185] and La-allahum Yarshadun [Verse 186].
In our ordinary life when universities confer their degrees, kings decorate their servants with special titles; they hold convocations as special events with great pomp and shows. So when the Lord of this universe wants to honor His slave servants, He confers His reward on the “Convocation of Eidul Fitr” when all the devotees to Allah gather together to express thanks to their Lord Who gave them Tawfeeq to fast, do Qayam with devotion and complete surrender to Him. On this solemn occasion, Allah (SWT) sends His special angels to earth to confer the special reward that He has earmarked for each of His Abd [slave] in order to the efforts that each made to seek His pardon [Maghfirah]. Everyone in that convocation of Eid gets his or her reward from Allah in terms of contribution he or she made towards inculcating Taqwah, the Allah-consciousness, during the month of Ramadan.
In fact, the day of Eid is the day of “thanksgiving” to Allah (SWT) Who gave Tawfeeq to an individual Muslim and Muslimah to control the animal instincts of humans, the three fundamental urges of rest, hunger/thirst and sex by exercising his or her own free will through a constant habit of denial while fasting during the day [from dawn to dusk] continuously for a month, only for the pleasure of Allah. Simultaneously, this habit of constant check and restrain develops the feelings of Allah-consciousness [Taqwah] that purifies the sole, makes it transparent and brings it closer to Allah with a sense that he/she is constantly under His observation irrespective of the fact where he/she is and what he/she is doing.
In fact, human being is comprised of two simultaneous and interwoven existences:
1. Man’s spiritual inner-self: It is hidden or invisible. It is the “Amr-e-Rabbi” [the command of my Lord –Ref: The Qur’an: 17: 85], the very life that is blown in the womb of the mother when the developing image of human being becomes of 120 days. It transforms life in the body frame in the womb of the mother and causes to give birth as a living creature with action and mobility all around with the growth of time. It makes the humans to feel, think, decide and ordains the body to act accordingly. It is the supreme self of man that controls his or her existence as how to live, act and behave in this world. If this inner-self is pure and remains obedient to its Creator or the original source from where it came, it attains perfection. It becomes “Nafas-ul-Mutmaiannah” [the contented soul] and returns to Allah in all purity when the human dies. But if the soul, the inner-self is spoiled through wrongfully exercising the free will, making both body and soul subservient to human’s or animal urges, it returns to its Master as Nafas-e- Lawwamah [the accusing voice of man’s own conscience – The Qur’an 75: 2] after his or her death.
2. Man’s physical mortal frame: That is made of dust and to dust it returns. This physical existence of man needs food, water and rest [proper sleep] to sustain and maintain itself fit. The urge for sex develops at the age of maturity to continue human life or human survival on earth. It keeps multiplying the numerical strength of human society through the process of pro-creation up to a certain stage and then it gradually dies out. But how these urges are used by man, it is directed or controlled by the free will that lies within the domain of man’s spiritual existence i.e. Rooh whose purification or destruction lies within the inner self of the man. The Qur’an presents a scenario of great magnitude in the midst of Allah’s creations and bounties that are spread all around us.
“ By the sun and its brightness; and the moon when she follows it; and the day when it reveals the world; and the night when it enshrouds it; and the skies and Him who builds it; and the earth and Him who spreads it; and a soul and Him who perfected it; and inspired it [with conscious of] what is wrong and [what is] right for it.
He is indeed successful who causes it to grow or purifies; and he is indeed a failure who stunts it” [The Qur’an. 91: 1-10]
One who purifies his or her soul [inner-self] he or she attains the status of Nafas-ul-Mutmaiannah and one who dose not care, ends with the Nafas-e-Lawwamah. Thus, the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting, Traviah and Qayamullail enables the Muslim men and women to control their urges, make them their master, assist them in purifying their Rooh, the inner self, and thus bring them closer to Allah (SWT). The greater the inner-self becomes transparent and ethereal, the greater it is loved by Allah. The greater it is akin to Allah, the greater reward it gets and the reward that Allah gives for total devotion in Ramadan, is beyond our imagination. It is administered on the day of Eid and the angels of Allah in heavens call this day as the “day of Al-Jaaizah”, the Day of Reward. It is the climax of the month of Ramadan when everyone gets his reward and returns to their respective homes satisfactorily.
Al-Baihaqi in Shuab-Al-Iman quotes a Hadith [# 1995] narrated by Anas b Ma’lik ® that Rasulullah (S) said, “ When Lailatul Qadr occurs a multitude of angels descend and pray for the Maghfirah [pardon] for every individual who remembers Allah while sitting or standing.” When the Day of Eid starts Allah asks His angels, “What should be the reward of the person who perfected his work?” The angels respond, “O my Lord! It would be to compensate him befittingly.”
Allah says, “ O my Angels! My bonded men and women fulfilled their obligation. Then they came out to Eidgah [the open place for congregational prayers on Eid day], calling me throughout the way, I swear by My Honor, Dignity and Magnanimity, I will accept their prayers. Then Allah declares, “ You, my bondsmen return [to your homes] I have pardoned your sins and transform them with good deeds.”
Rasulullah (S) adds, “ People return to their homes under the condition that their sins are pardoned.”
Can there be any more auspicious day to a Muslim than the day of Eidul Fitr, the climax of the month of Ramadan? I am sure Allah (SWT) has pardoned the past sins of all the brothers and sisters who observed the foregoing month of Ramadan as it ought to have been observed. Can there be any more glorious day to a Muslim than the Day of Eid when all his past sins have been pardoned and he or she starts his or her life afresh.
Shamim A Siddiqi
December 9, 2002