Editor’s note: This article is based on an Eid Khutbah by the author. It was first published in 2012.
Many of us think that we reached the end of our Ramadan journey. Not at all! The Journey has Just Begun.
Our Journey has just begun and will continue with us until the next Ramadan, may Allah extend our life until we reach next Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan is like the preseason camp for a football team or the prelaunch work for a new store or the development time for a new product. The football season only starts after the camp is over.
The store opens after the prelaunch work and the product goes to market after the development time is over.
Our Journey has just begun.
This year, our theme was the month of Love. Through the fasting, prayers, charity, helping the needy, cooking food for our friends and families and sometimes for people that we do not even know, we tried to revive in our hearts the love for Allah, the love for our families, the love for humanity and the love of our environment.
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him said:
“A person will taste the sweetness of faith if they have three qualities: To love God and His Messenger more than he loves anything else, to love a person for no reason but to please God, and to hate to return to disbelief after God had saved them from it as they hate to be thrown in the fire.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Believing in Allah has a sweet taste that is experienced by those who clean their hearts from anything but love. Our love for Allah supersedes our love for even ourselves.
This is the reason that we prevented ourselves from what we love and enjoy during the 16-hour days that we had this year. This is evidence that deep in our hearts, we have love for Allah. We tried to revive it and it is definitely revived to a degree.
Anas also reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whoever likes Allah to extend his provision and to extend his life, let him connect his family ties.” (Al-Bukhari)
Our families are our most important social network. Our love for our families should be deep in our hearts, even if we feel that our families do not reciprocate or do not show us back. Connecting with them, asking about them, ensuring that we have connected strong ties with all our family members, returns back to us with extension of our provision and our life.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad(peace and blessings be upon him him) said:
“By Allah, you will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I guide you to something to do to that will make you love one another? Spread the greetings of peace (salam) among yourselves.” (Muslim)
This Ramadan, we have been experiencing many different events throughout the world that reflect hatred from one group towards others. Shooting, killing, disputes, harassment and many other acts of bullying at small and large scales reflect lack of love towards one another.
Loving one another is evidence of our belief. Our belief is not validated until we have in our heart such love and seeking to spread peace among ourselves is the key to open the door of love.
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told us that if the hour (day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of us is holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.
This hadith is very deep in meaning as it reflects a level of altruism that is difficult to even comprehend. Not only we should love our environment and take steps to sacrifice to keep it healthy and alive, but we should do that even if we realize that there is a possibility that the environment is about to change and our effort may be altered. If this is all what we can do, then we should do it.
The love we learned this Ramadan is a different type of love. It is love based on putting something else ahead of our own self. With this love, we prepare ourselves to start a journey back in life.
Outside the camp of Ramadan and as we depart it with its strict rules and schedule to go back to our different lives with its own rules and its own schedules, we are going back with something different.
As we leave the camp of Ramadan, we observe around us a world that is in dire need to what we experienced together: Love. Our community, our nation and the world is in need for new ideas to bring love and peace to everyone.
I was reading a book called Where Good Ideas Come From? It accompanied me throughout the summer and every time I finish a chapter, I say to myself, there is no more things to learn. However, once I open a new chapter, I realize that good ideas do not just come in random to anyone anywhere.
Good ideas need environments that nurture them and grow them, environments that do not block or limit new ideas, that encourages experimentation, that opens new branches of possibility, that invites and encourages everyone to explore the edges.
In those environments are people exploring what is around them and bringing knowledge and experience across different domains. People who develop hunches and write them down to think and act upon; people who appreciate the connection with one another and the diversity of experiences and background that everyone brings.
As I read through the different chapters and look at our community here, I realize that each one of us and collectively as a community, we are utilizing very little of our full potential.
Through believing in ourselves as individuals and as a group, by connecting with one another across cultures and disciplines and by exploring the edges of our relationship, we form fertile ground for new ideas that instill love and spread peace. Ones that would increase confidence in faith and belief and that will bring people together to focus on building a better future.
Armed with love to everything around us and with the foundation provided to us by the Qur’an and the examples of the messengers of Allah, we owe it to our nation and community to seek new ideas and find opportunities to make a difference and offer solutions.
We owe it to ourselves, to change our conditions to the better. We owe it to ourselves to take a step further outside our comfort zone, to try new things, to connect with new people, to learn new cultures, to expand our horizons and to offer our nation a better path forward.
Let us leave this Ramadan with determination:
– To carry in our heart nothing but love towards everyone
– To have the will and the courage to face our limitations and push our boundaries
– To have an intention to make a difference in ourselves first and in those around us
Through love, courage and determination, we can make a difference.