Monday, September 29, 2008

Eid Mubarak! what?

For those enjoying the last hours of Ramadan, may Allah (swt) give you the strength and patience to make the best of every last minute. For others who are now enjoying their morning cup of coffee - Eid Mubarak! May Allah (swt) accept your fasting and worship and give you the chance to enjoy many more Ramadans.

To me, just as the beginning of Ramadan brings together the happiness of being given a chance to witness the blessed month and the fear of not being able to fulfill its rights and obligations; the end of Ramadan brings together the joy of breaking one's fast and the fear of slipping back into old sins even before the takbeerat are over.

Yes, Ramadan is different and it is probably impossible to continue the Ramadan worship routine (even without the fasting) every day of the coming year. Yet, one of the signs of an accepted Ramadan is that the believer continues some of the good habits and positive lifestyle changes she made during the holy month.

But, it's harder with shaytan around the rest of the year!! True, but remember what Allah (swt) mentions in the Holy Quran:
"...Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak." [4:76]

To understand this better, let us take a quick look at what scholars describe as the source of negative thoughts. Every deed (whether good or bad) begins with a thought (khatir). There are three sources of negative thoughts (those leading to sins):

1) Shaytan
2) The nafs
3) Leading (istidraj) from Allah (swt)

Out of the three, shaytan's influence is the weakest (the second is the hardest and the third is the most dangerous). All it takes to get rid of him are a few words:" I seek refuge in Allah from the rejected Shaytan." Constant remeberance of Allah (swt) (thikr) and being in a state of purity (taharah) are also great weapons against shaytan.

As often mentioned, it is the first week after Ramadan that is critical. Shaytan and his team are furious about all their hard work gone down the drain during Ramadan and are determined to take us back to our pre-Ramadan ways.

By the way, there's an easy way of telling if a negative thought is coming from shaytan or from the nafs. Shaytan will do anything to get you away from doing good deeds. He will go from one temptation to the next, from one negative thought to the next until he finds something you are willing to agree to. As for the nafs, it desires specific things. If you find yourself getting a persistant negative thought which doesn't change or go away even with thikr then it's probably your nafs. What do you do in that case? Tame your nafs as you would a wild animal: by giving it less food and more work (sounds familiar?).

May Allah (swt) bless us with steadfastness after Ramadan and protect us from the whisphers of Shaytan, ameen.

PS: this post is a glimpse from an amazing lecture series (in Arabic) by Sheikh Ali al-Jafri, may Allah (swt) reward him.


Sarah Al-Habib said...

That is a beautiful reminder!

`Id Mubarak Muslamics :)

Affad Shaikh said...

oh man! you beat me too it...