Seeking forgiveness in the final Ashrah of Ramadhan
Perhaps it may not be impertinent to denominate Ramadhan ‘a crash course’ which prepares us, moulds our behavior and getup, regulates our conduct, attitude, actions and mentality in accordance with the teachings of Islam so that we may harvest its fruits for the rest of the year.
Ramadhan inculcates a sense of accountability in us that we are being monitored all the time, all our sayings and deeds are preserved so finely that when we shall be asked in Hereafter to read our Naam-e-aemal ( book of deeds) as the Quran puts it: “(it will be said), read your record. Sufficient is yourself against you this day as accountant.”[17:14]
We shall stand agape and will scream in sheer consternation “Woe to us! What a book is this! It has missed nothing minor or major but has taken it into account. Thus they will find whatever they did before them, and your lord will not wrong anyone.” [18:49]
However in these final days of blessed Ramadhan instead of invoking our creator for forgiveness and mercy, everyone is looking busy in the chores of Eid, be it bargaining, buying, selling, shopping etc. On the contrary our Prophet (saw) used to strive so hard in the last ten days of Ramadhan that he even girded his loins.
Hazrat Aa’ishah (ra) reported: “The prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam used to strive hard (in worship) during the last 10 days of Ramadhan in a way that he did not strive at any other times.” [Muslim].
This a tragedy that people keep on fasting for whole month with zeal and zest…curious in knowing the Ahkaam (rulings) of Ramadhan like what are its obligations, which things are permissible, which to be avoided and so on. But they mostly, on the very first day of Shawal, break all the commandments of Deen and consider themselves free from all the prescribed limits maintained by Islam.
Is not this hypocrisy that we are pedantic about the teachings of Quran and Sunnah in Ramadhan, restrict all our deeds within the ambit of Shariah while in the remaining eleven months all its applications and rulings are abandoned so brazenly as if all the guidance and Ahkaams of Shariah were to be followed only in the month of Ramadhan!
This last Ashrah (part) of Ramazan is an opportune time to reconsider seriously whether we are willing to embrace Islamic injunctions whole heartedly and mould ourselves in sync with the guidelines elucidated in Quran and Sunnah in the same spirit as was followed by companions of Prophet (saw)?
Following Islam is a commitment one does with him/herself that all my actions are to be guided by Allah, all my priorities will be decided by his Quran and whatever the do’s and dont’s that I’m supposed to take care of shall be prescribed by his Deen.
This is a profound declaration that a slave makes before his Master, a lifelong pledge of obedience and a conscious decision of submitting ‘will’ before the will of creator. A true slave can never be free to do whatever pleases him nor can he follow the orders of his master as per his convenience. Such a demeanor amounts to disloyalty on part of a slave. The Quran maintains it thus: “Have you ever considered the case of him who has taken his carnal desire for his god?” [25:43].
Therefore it’s incumbent on us to know the will of our master in order to avoid overstepping Islam after Ramadhan as well. And such a “will” is defined in Quran which was revealed in Laylat-ul-qadr (the night of decree) which falls in the last Ashrah of this blessed month of Ramadhan.
“Indeed, it’s we who sent this Quran down on the night of power” [97:1].
This Ashrah e akheerah (last ten days of Ramazan ) requires us to solemnly resolve our devotion to Allah by asking for his forgiveness and adopting Taqwa (God consciousness) in our lives. It also requires every Muslim to find Laylat-ul-Qadr in its 5 odd nights (21st, 23rd, 25th, 27thor 29th)…a night which is better than a thousand months because it is in this night all our previous sins are forgiven & the blessings of Allah descend in abundance.
Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays on Laylatul Qadr out of faith and sincerity, shall have all their past sins forgiven.” [Bukhari &Muslim]
The final Ashra instils us the consciousness that Ramadhan is not mere abstinence from eating and drinking ,but seeking refuge from hellfire.
The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The first third of month of Ramadhan is the time for mercy, the second third for forgiveness, the third is emancipation from fire.” [Ibn Khuzaymah]. Moreover, it is in such Ashrah of Ramdhan we are commanded to give Zakat-ul-fitr so to feed the poor on Eid al-fitr. Rasullullah (saw) said, “the best of you are those who feed others” [Ahmad]
In another narration from Sahih Al Bukhari Prophet of Allah (pbuh) said, “He is not a believer whose stomach is filled while his neighbor is hungry”.
Ramadhan is departing very fast. We must ponder seriously the type of relationship we want with our creator whether we want to keep this occasional confined to just thirty days or keep it permanent and intact for the rest of the year.
Already the two Ashras have passed, now all we have is some remaining days of final Ashrah that too will pass hurriedly. We, therefore, should leave no stone unturned in order to mend our broken relationship with our lord so to seek his forgiveness and earn his pleasure. Lest this Ramdhan also passes and we remain bereft of Hidayah. May Allah almighty guide us towards righteousness and keep us steadfast on the straight path.