23 يوليو, 2018 - 10 Dhu-al-Qi'dah 1439

Take Advantage

Take Advantage

Many of us have heard the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) in which he says, “Take advantage of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.”[1]

This hadith is full of deep wisdoms, such that books could be written to highlight each and very truth it contains. Yet at its most basic level, this hadith, this advice from our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) can be reduced to its most common denominator:

When you’re given an opportunity in this life, for the love of God, take it!

Yes, it can be rightfully said that each and every moment in our lives is an opportunity for good, which we must strive to take advantage of. As the famous saying goes, “Al-dunya mazra’a al-mkhira” (this life is the land where we plant for the next life).

Yet with that being said, God Almighty has decreed in His infinite wisdom and mercy to make some days and nights more blessed than others. This means the opportunity for reward in those days and nights are multiplied and increased, so that the normal reward for good deeds are increased according to God’s will and mercy. We might ask ourselves why would God make some days better than others, or why would the same deed equate to a greater reward today than tomorrow.

While a lengthy and detailed answer is beyond the scope of this article, it is important to keep in mind that God is our Creator, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. As He says in the Quran, “Verily We created the human being, and We know what his soul whispers to him. We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (50:16)He knows the nature of the human being and our ability, or should I say lack thereof, to maintain a perfect and consistent level of worship (or any other act for that matter). He tells us in the Quran, “Therefore fear God as much as possible, and heed the commands, and obey, and spend in God’s cause, for your own good; and whoever is rescued from the greed of his own soul – is they who will be successful.” (64:16)

He also knows that we often times need motivation. Yes, we would love to claim that we believe in and worship God Almighty solely for the fact that He is God, and He is deserving of all praise and worship. Yet, how many of us find our good deeds going up when we face hardships, and how many of us find ourselves being lazy and negligent when life is going smoothly? Yes, at the end of the day we are working for our own self-interest. Although it would be great if we can reach that higher spiritual state, seeking the rewards that God has promised us is also a good trait in and of itself. As God praises the believers in the Quran for saying, “Our Lord! Give us good in the world and good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of fire!” (2:201)

With that in mind dear reader, we are at a time unlike any other time of the year. The blessed month of Ramadan is here. It is a time like no other. A month of mercy and forgiveness, and a month which contains a night equal to that of a thousand months. Ightanim ya mu’min! (Take advantage, O believer!) We might have fallen short all year. We might have been negligent all year, but God forbid you and I reach this blessed month and don’t take advantage. Don’t be afraid to be called a “Ramadan Muslim!”[2] By God, in one way or another almost all of us are Ramadan Muslims. We are not able to do what we do in Ramadan throughout the year, and that is ok. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself would do more acts of worship in Ramadan than in the other months of the year. Our mother Aisha, may God be pleased with her said, “The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year; and he would strive even more in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he strove in earlier part of the month.”[3]

This is part of God’s mercy toward us, that he gives us this opportunity to not only encourage us to do what we can’t normally do throughout the year, but also by blessings those acts to be rewarded to a degree not reached in any other time of the year. Yes dear reader, be a Ramadan Muslim! But while you’re being a Ramadan Muslim ask God to accept your deeds and give you success and guidance to continue on the straight path after Ramadan as well. Remove the desire from your heart to return to any and all evil you might have been doing before Ramadan, yet stopped during it.

    

[1] Reported by Al-Hakim and others. See Al-Hakim’s Mustadrak, Hadith 7846.

[2] A term often used to belittle Muslims who are not usually seen in the mosque, except in Ramadan.

[3] See Al-Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Saliheen, Book 9, Hadith 204.