Although Ramadan is not the start of the year, I personally feel that it’s a stronger marker that a year has passed.
Maybe you know exactly what I’m talking about, or maybe for you this is the first Ramadan that you’re experiencing so congratulations for that and on a more somber note, maybe for many of us, it could be the last Ramadan for us upon this earth.
So if anything that should be a reminder or a motivation to make the most of our time.
So what do people do in a new year?
One thing that they do is to make resolutions, that’s a fancy word for intentions or niyyah, and that a very good idea of the stage.
The second thing that they do is to go on a detox, and that’s also a very good idea but I’m not talking about making smoothies of different vegetables and minerals. What I’m talking about… I’ll tell you a moment after we hear this verse of the Quran:
O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you may gain Taqwa. (2:183)
So it is true that Ramadan is not just a month of fasting even though that’s the first thing that comes to most of our minds. First and foremost, Ramadan is the festival of the Quran and that going to be the topic of the next video.
But certainly we have a goal behind everything that we’re doing in the month of Ramadan: from fasting to recitation to prayers to standing at night, making duas, giving charity, helping people, being kind to family and to neighbors… all of these things are helping us to instill within ourselves this important quality which is called Taqwa.
What is Taqwa?
So what is taqwa? What is that mean?
Sometimes people translate it as piety or as fear of God, maybe a better translation is reverence, awe, consciousness, and awareness of our creator.
But also taqwa, linguistically, is guarding ourselves. Guarding ourselves from those things which displease our Lord and which are harmful to our own selves.
And Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that:
“Taqwa is here (pointing to his heart)” and he said this three times.
And this reminds us that taqwa is a light in the heart. So we want to fill our hearts, our minds, our ears, our eyes, and our bodies with this quality of taqwa.
And in order to do that, we first have to detox ourselves and to cleanse ourselves of all those toxins that are preventing the taqwa from getting in.
So our motto here is “Toxins out, Taqwa in”.
So I’m going to speak about four toxins that we have to be reminded that we’re battling with in this month of Ramadan.
1- Toxic Sins
Whenever we do any act which is displeasing to Allah, a black spot forms on the heart. As the person continues to sin, if they don’t turn back to Allah, don’t repent, then those black spots gather on the heart until they cover all the entire heart and this blocks that light, and it blocks that guidance which allows us to navigate through life.
So it’s very important to turn back to Allah to repent. Even the lustful gaze when someone looks that’s displeasing to Allah, it’s described in a hadith as being like an arrow by Satan; and if you’re hit by poisoned arrow even if you removed that arrow, the poison will continue to course through the body.
And this is the toxic effect of sin.
2- Toxic of Materialism
We’re living in this world and we’re allowing to enjoy the good things of this world but we should hold the world in our hand and not in our heart.
Everyday, a lots of materialistic things are being shoved in our throats. This is a chance for us to return to what’s important which is cultivating and purifying the spirit.
3- Toxic Character
Ramadan is a month which brings to a surface our inner reality; it is a chance to improve the way that we deal with our Lord and also how we deal with our fellow human being. This is the chance to improve our Character inside and out.
4- Toxic Narcissism
This one could effect many of us who are very much engaged in social media; the constant search for likes and appreciation and worrying about how people perceive us.
Ramadan is a time to return to silence. It’s time to return to compensation to our Lord; to cut off that constant stream of so called information. By all means, you can update on Facebook and get any number of likes… But most importantly, let’s try to update our status with the Almighty and to earn His love.
With that we’ll conclude this episode. We’ll see you in the next one which is about the festival of the Quran.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)