There is no happiness for a believer in God who knows what is supposed of him than having the capacity to be more observant in what have been made compulsory for him in his religion such as upholding the five pillars of Islam.
Likewise, nothing has given believers in God more happiness than giving the opportunity to witness the ninth month of Islamic calendar purposefully named Ramadan. The very month the glorious Qur’an was revealed to prophet Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam); the only month in which the gates of paradise are opened for all and sundry; that month on which the doors of the hell are closed and the only time when the Satan is chained so that he will not be able to misguide man into evils according to prophet Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam).
The month of Ramadan is the only month which both the dead and the living are desperately want to be present in. In all other months, it is only the living that are desirous of them. As for those that have dead, they do not crave any other Islamic months than the month of happiness,the month of Ramadan.
In the words of Ibn Jaosiy ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a), he posits that:
” I swear if the people of cemetery are told to seek anything from God, I swear again; they will seek only a day in the month of Ramadan to be alive!”
For the happiness packed in this month is non-count while its merit cannot be overstated! This is the reason those that are fortunate to witness it are advised to judiciously devised some rubrics in maximizing the gains of this happiness known as Ramadan!
A rubric is an established rule, custom and guideline to something so as to derive maximum benefit from it. It is for this that another Islamic savant, giant in learning and worship and a leader, Al-Imam Ibnu- Qayyum ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a), has devised three guidelines for maximizing all happiness, Ramadan inclusive.
Imam Ibnu-Qayyum has suggested three guidelines for maximizing one’s happiness including that of Ramadan as follows:
When the servant of God is blessed with a felicity or happiness it is demanded from him to be grateful for in doing so, he is chaining his felicity into himself on one hands while he is calling for its increment on the other hands. The equivalent of this can also be seen in the words of God in the glorious Qur’an as follows:
” And when your Lord made it known: if you are grateful , I will certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful , my chastisement is truly severe ” _ Qu’ran 14:7
Gratefulness is therefore one of the rubrics of maximizing the gains of Ramadan. This can be achieved by ruminating about the grace of being alive; the grace of being hale and healthy; the grace of being a believer and the grace of having the capability to fast; an exercise which confers special more grace on its observant than any other ones after the belief in God! This is confirmed by an Hadith of prophet Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) thus :
” The prophet says that: Allah says:” Fasting is for me and I will singularly reward its observers”.
A critical examination of the prophet’s words above reveals an extension of a deeper love from God to whoever fasts during the month of Ramadan since every other deeds of man ordained by God will be rewarded by nobody except God, it seems that fasting Ramadan is even more dearer to Him and its Observers, who through their fasting, have attracted more love from Him to themselves than others who engage in other deeds than fasting in the month of Ramadan.
The second rubric for maximizing the gains of any happiness man may be given which includes Ramadan, according to Ibnu-Qayyum is that:
” When a servant of God is tried he should be patient”
It should be noted here that trial in the context of Ibnu-Qayyum ‘s words above is two-faced, i.e trial may be both positive and negative! The example of positive trials are witnessing new Ramadan – for it is a trial to see what the one favoured to witness it will do; will he be able to stand the pangs of hunger and thirst? Will he be able to give alms to others out of the abundance in his care ? Will he prefer his wive to abstinence and will he overlook the faults of those who oppose him while he fasts?
Patience to overcome the above conundrums is therefore one of the guidelines to enjoying his success and felicity in life. Failure to uphold it in this month of felicity and blessing may renders all his deeds therein nugatory! This is what a part of the Hadith mentioned above is telling the faithful. We read it as follows:
” He ( the one observing Ramadan) abandons his food and drinks because of me!”
Furthermore, prophet Muhammad ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam) has categorized patience into three:
_ Patience to do or uphold what is good and beneficial, like the one an observer of Ramadan will need to wake up in the nights of the month to take his Sahur which is another blessing of the month as contained in the prophet’s Hadith as follows:
” Eat Sahur ( the earlier morning food) for it is embedded in it, a blessing”
_ Patience to forestall evils and against them. It is this type of patience one will need to be able to avoid the temptations around him while observing the month! It is a safeguard against pockets of evils in the minds of man during the month despite the fact that Satan and his mentes have been chained by God. This is a defense against evils which the prophet has surmised that it flows like blood in the veins of man.
The last form of patience is the one one will be needing in the face of bad and unfortunate happenings when the Ramadan is going on as parts of Allah’s predestination on man.
The last guidelines suggested by Ibnu-Qayyum for maximizing the gains of any happiness like Ramadan is that:
” When the servant of God errs he is to seek forgiveness”
Seeking forgiveness is another custom of the successful! They , whether they err openly or in the recess of their homes, seek forgiveness of man and God profusely without minding their positions with other men and their conditions in relation to God! Doing this is a form of defense against their success and their own life.
Allah ta`ala says:
“Allah will not destroy them as long as you are among them. And Allah will not destroy them as long as they are seeking forgiveness.” Quran – al-Anfaal [8:33]
It has been related by at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Abu Musa al-‘Ash’ari, who said that the Prophet said:
“Allah has sent down two protections (amaanatayn) upon my Umma; ‘Allah will not destroy them as long as you are among them. And Allah will not destroy them as long as they are seeking forgiveness.’ For when I am gone, then I have left for you the seeking of forgiveness.”
Therefore, seeking forgiveness while fasting is another bulwark against any evil that can befall one’s fasting in the month of Ramadan. It is a strong protection against the unintentional beholding of illegal things their eyes see during the month, an eraser of the errors which slip out of the tongues and a cleanser of what their hands hold in errors while the fasting is going on.
The three rubrics of happiness as postulated by Ibnu-Qayyum above ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a) are therefore a must for servants of Allah who are fasting the month of Ramadan to emulate for the continuation of their success now and after the month has receded into its safe.
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