The month of Ramadan is now well underway.
We were waiting, like Captains of the ships of old, for the right breeze to come and take us forward on our journey. We should have been preparing, but in our hustle, bustle life style I'm sure that most of us were ill prepared. We've hastily hoisted sail and the strain of fasting and praying at night is taking its toll.
This breeze that is Ramadan will only last so long. It is a great chance to take on provisions for our journey through this life to the akhira, but some of us will come back to the same port empty handed, with nothing in the hold. We will have got nothing from this breeze except exhaustion from hoisting the sail and running around the deck, and hanging on as the waves of thirst and hunger and desire try to wash us overboard. Perhaps we attained some remote feeling of satisfaction that at least we got out to sea, and experienced the hardship of those for whom this is a daily ordeal!
Allah sends this breeze every year, and Allah ordained that we should set sail in it for a reason and purpose.
"Oh you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you and those who came before you that you may acquire taqwa."
Allah has ordered fasting that we may attain taqwa.
If you leave port in your ship with the hold and coffers empty and return home with the hold and coffers empty, what did you get from that voyage?
Make an assessment of your level of iman, your sins and good deeds.
How much charity have you been giving the past year, how about your prayers at night? How much Quran do you read everyday?
Have you been keeping up with the sunnah prayers?
When you see evil do you try to stop it, or how much have you let slip by?
Have you been giving dawa, telling others at school, work, neighbors about Islam?
Where do your eyes wander and at what do they look? And your tongue, and what topples people on their faces into the hell fire like the harvest of the tongue? Have you restrained it from lies and deceit and foul language and argumentation.
Have you done extra fasts, made the adhkar of the morning and evening. Have you set for yourself a routine of dhikr to make everyday?
How has your treatment of your parents and family been? What have you done for the suffering ummah and humanity and planet?
Have you been a spendthrift, a waster?
Make an assessment now. Take stock now. Look into that hold and see what you've got.
This breeze that takes you on this voyage of 30 days is an unprecedented opportunity stock up on the most important provision of all. Taqwa.
Taqwa is that which will guard you like a shield from Allah's wrath, anger and punishment. Taqwa is that which will lead you the safety of the harbour of His good pleasure from the furious crashing waves of His displeasure.
We seek refuge in Him from Him, in His Mercy from His wrath.
In these days Allah has chained those devils and thus restrained them form harming us. The gates of paradise are opened and the gates of hell are close.
So obedience is made easy.
In this a great benefit and blessing and lesson. If you can restrain yourself over these days, we can acquire a habit, we learn the ropes of obedience to Him again. We climb the rigging and begin to feel the breeze in our hair and the smell of the fresh clean air.
Yes it is hard, but life is hard. Life is a test, and in Ramadan we are learning the patience, restraint and self discipline that is essential to succeed in this life's voyage to the akhira.
When this month ends make sure my brothers and sisters that it does not end with you having gained nothing for what follows in the year ahead.
Make sure that in some way at least your life is different and improved and stays that way.
Make sure that you have increased in some way in obedience to Allah, and have decreased in disobedience to Allah, and you maintain that course, and that if Allah allows us to see another Ramadan then that one will see a change for the better in us also, until we meet our Lord!