Ramadan

“After Ramadan…Istiqama”

“After Ramadan…

Istiqimama

***

Allah states in the Qur’an:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُأَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُواوَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

{Indeed, those who have said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then remained steadfast – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised’}.[1]

The ‘school’ of Ramadan teaches one to have patience and forbearance. It teaches one to be firm on the command of Allah to avoid eating, drinking, sexual relations or other prohibited things even if the society around the one fasting is doing the complete opposite. The above verse mentions those believers who have strong faith (iman) and open declaration of their belief in Allah and taking Him as their Lord. The verse then mentions {they remained steadfast}. The various meanings given for this part of the verse include:[2]

[1] to have sincerity in all actions;[3]

[2] to adhere to all the obligations of Islam.

[3] to remain firm on the obedience and worship of Allah.

[4] to obey Allah’s commands and avoid His prohibitions.

[5] to remain firm on the shahada and what it entails until one’s death.

The fruits of this istiqama include:

[1] Mercy because the above verse mentions: {Angel will descend on them}.

[2] Peace and tranquillity because the verse mentions they will not fear nor will they grieve, i.e. they have nothing to worry about in the Hereafter as well as what had passed in this world because their reward will not be diminished.

[3] Paradise because the verse says: {receive good tidings of Paradise} due to the struggle and sacrifice required for istiqama.

The means of gaining and maintaining istiqama are many including the following actions:

[1] combating the self (mujahadat al-nafs) in order to overcome it and make it submit to Allah’s commands.[4]

[2] maintaining sincerity (ikhlas) in all actions so they are purified and accepted by Allah.[5]

[3] learning Islamic knowledge as it alone is the means of knowing Allah and drawing closer to Him.[6]

[4] Plenty of supplications (du`a’) for help, assistance and succour.[7]

[5] Keeping company with the righteous as they remind of Allah and His Messenger and the need to adhere to Islam.[8]

_________

The ‘graduate’ from the ‘school’ of Ramadan knows that what he has learned and gained from the blessed month is necessary for continuing his worship and obedience to Allah for the entire year. There will be tests and tribulations as well as hardships in life such as: (i) the constant attack on Islamic precepts, ideas and beliefs in the Media or by wider pundits, academics and activists (e.g. shariah, jihad, khilafa, Islamic dress, etc.), (ii) the pressure to conform to secular liberal values due to the Government force, intimidation and bullying of the Muslim community or (iii) the pressure to accept a modified and altered (secular) version of Islam that fits the government agenda to silence any Islamic dissenting voice against its actions domestically and abroad and many more.

To combat all this requires keeping conviction in the Islamic `aqida, firmness on Islamic and continually beseeching Allah for aid, assistance and strength.

s.z.c.

________________________

[1] See Q. 41:30.

[2] See al-Qurtubi, al-Jami` li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, 5:319-320:

 }إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَقَامُواْ } فقال: استقاموا والله على الطريقة لطاعته ثم لم يَرغُوا روغان الثعالب. وقال عثمان رضي الله عنه: ثم أخلصوا العمل لله. وقال عليّ رضي الله عنه: ثم أدوا الفرائض. وأقوال التابعين بمعناها. قال ابن زيد وقتادة: استقاموا على الطاعة لله. الحسن: استقاموا على أمر الله فعملوا بطاعته واجتنبوا معصيته. وقال مجاهد وعكرمة: استقاموا على شهادة أن لا إلٰه إلا الله حتى ماتوا. وقال سفيان الثوري: عملوا على وِفاق ما قالوا. وقال الربيع: أعرضوا عما سوى الله. وقال الفضيل بن عياض: زهدوا في الفانية ورغبوا في الباقية. وقيل: استقاموا إسراراً كما استقاموا إقراراً. وقيل: استقاموا فعلاً كما استقاموا قولاً

[3] Cf. Ibn al-Qayyim, Madarij al-Salikin, 2:103 where he compares istiqama in one’s state like the soul is to the body. Without the soul, the body is lifeless and so without istiqama, one’s actions, religiosity and states are corrupt:

 فالاستقامة للحال بمنزلة الروح من البدن، فكما أن البدن إذا خلا عن الروح فهو ميت فكذلك إذا خلا عن الاستقامة فهو فاسد…و سمعت شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية قدس الله روحه يقول: أعظم الكرامة لزوم الاستقامة

[4] See al-Sha`rani, al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya, pp.57-58.

[5] A short post on sincerity (ikhlas) is https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/ikhlas-sincerity-notes/

[6] On virtues of knowledge, see https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/the-virtues-in-seeking-knowledge/

[7] On du`a’, see https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-benefits-of-supplication-shaykh-ata/

[8] Refer to https://daralnicosia.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/impediments-to-strengthening-the-nafsiyya-part-3-bad-company/

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