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Ramadan

ramadanThe Holy month of Ramadan is a month of purification that allows us a golden opportunity to develop the consciousness of Almighty Allah's presence.

The Holy month of Ramadan is a month of purification that allows us a golden opportunity to develop the consciousness of Almighty Allah's presence. Constant remembrance of our Glorious Lord and Creator is the anti-toxin against the evils of Shaythaan and protection against the trials and tribulations of this world. Almighty Allah declares: "Whoever keeps his duty to Allah has attained Taqwa". It is for this that they have been given the distinguished position of "Khair-ul-Umam" (the best of all peoples) in the Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an. The Holy month of Ramadan is a great gift to mankind. It is a time of reflection and a time of discipline and training.  

As individuals and as an Ummah - Ramadan has summoned Muslims to an intense and sustained life of fasting and Ibadah, a life of devotion and discipline, a life of caring and sharing, and a life of obedience and struggle. It has summoned us to a life of redoubled endevour to become what Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala desires a Muslim to be, as individuals and as a society belonging to a single brotherhood. How well have we responded to this call? What effect has Ramadan had on our discipline and our training? What effect has it had on our actual commitments and efforts? Such are the searching questions we need to ask and answer if we are to derive any spiritual benefit from this most Holy month.

O ye who believe! The Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an was brought down from the "Lowhul Mahfuz" to the "Sama'ud Dunya" during the month of Ramadan from where it was revealed to our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam over a span of twenty three years. Nabee Ebrahim Alayhis Salaam received his scriptures on the first or the third of Ramadan. Nabee Dawood Alayhis Salaam received the Zabur on the twelfth or eighteenth of Ramadan. Nabee Moosa Alayhis Salaam received the Taurat on the sixth  of Ramadan and Nabee Esa Alayhis Salaam received the Injeel on the twelfth or thirteenth of Ramadan. From this, we note the very close connection between the Divine Scriptures and the Holy month of Ramadan. We also need to remember that Ramadan has often been the time of enormous sacrifices and struggles in the history of Islam. Some of the most decisive encounters took place during Ramadan.  

Ayyuhal Mulimoon! These encounters were filled with shining examples of sacrifices and submission to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. Ramadan is therefore a time of increased activity wherein the entire Muslim Ummah should willingly strive for attaining the pleasure of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala. We know from our history that our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam dispatched Hazrat Hamza Ibn Abdul Mutallib R.A. with thirty Companions to investigate the presence of 300 people from the Quraish who had been camping in the area of Saif al Bahr.  These people from the Quraish were the Munafiqun [Hypocrites] of Madinah who had built their own Masjid which was called Masjid al-Dirar. Hazrat Hamza R.A. was sent to Saif al Bahr by our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam on the orders that this masjid be destroyed. This incident took place during the month of Ramadan in the first year of the Hijrah.

On the seventeenth of Ramadan, in the second year after the Hijrah, at the watering station of Badr some one hundred miles due south of Madinah, It is an encounter which is described in the Most Holy and Glorious Qur'an as having taken place on "Yawm-al-Furqaan" - the day when Almighty Allah separated truth from falsehood at the Great Battle of Badr. The Battle of Badr is one of the decisive battles of world history. In some respects, it may even be called the most decisive battle in world history.  A measure of its importance can be gauged by the supplication of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, just before the battle as he surveyed the small band of his followers who were terribly outnumbered and who were about to be pitted against the military might of the well armed Quraish.

"O Allah," he prayed, "Fulfil Your promise, O Allah, if this little band of those who have surrendered themselves unto You is destroyed, You will not be worshipped on earth henceforth."

The fact that we call ourselves Muslims, that we can gather in Masaajids , that we can fast during the holy month of Ramadan, that we can identify ourselves with Islam and the Muslim Ummah, that we can perform all of our Islamic duties  is a direct result of the outcome of the decisive encounter at Badr. The background to the battle must be sought in the long history of the opposition and the persecution and torture of the Muslims in Makkah by the pagan Quraish. This is succinctly referred to in verse 30 of Surah Al-Anfal a chapter that is concerned with the Battle of Badr almost in its entirety.

"And remember, O Prophet, how those who were  bent on denying the truth were scheming against you, in order to restrain you from preaching, or to slay you or to drive you away."

The basic facts of the battle are well known: the deployment of the armies, the initial challenges to single combat, the general engagement that followed, the routing of the pagan forces, the number and names of those killed on both sides, the number and names of those taken as prisoners of war and so on. Apart from those bare facts, the Battle of Badr is illuminating on a number of counts: First of all, it demonstrated the power of supplication and turning to Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala for help.  Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and the Muslims realized their weak and helpless position in the face of an outwardly superior and well armed army. They turned to their Glorious Creator realizing that in the ultimate analysis, He is the One who can grant and withhold victory, that He is the source of sustenance, power and courage.

Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam's opening prayer demonstrates this awareness of the total human dependence on Rabbul Ala'meen. Secondly, the battle of Badr showed that the true basis of community and brotherhood in Islam is the community of faith and not one based on family, tribal, nationalistic, racial or linguistic considerations. In this battle, fathers faced sons and sons faced fathers, uncles faced nephews and cousins faced cousins. The Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam faced his uncles and cousins, Hazrat Abubaker R.A. faced his son, Hazrat Umar R.A. faced his uncle and Hazrat Abu Ubaydah R.A. faced his father. From this point of view, this was an unimaginably harrowing battle especially as some of the encounters ended in mortal blows. Thirdly, the battle established a new basis of human worth and dignity. Abu Jahl, the avowed and bitter enemy of Islam was mortally wounded in the battle. As he lay dying, he lamented his fate, not so much that he was about to die but that his death should have been accomplished by two thirteen year-old striplings - Muaz bin Amr and Muaz bin Afra, of the non-warrior tribes of Madinah.

This was well brought out by the encounters, for example, between the chief of Quraish Abu Jahl on the one hand and the former slave and shepherd boy Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud on the other; or by the encounter between the "head of Kufr" Ubayy Ibn Khalaf on the one hand and the former slave Hazrat Bilal Ibn Rabah R.A. The battle of Badr ushered in a new phase, a phase of intense activism not just on the part of a few individuals but of the whole community. Those who took part in the battle of Badr - the Ahle Badr - will forever continue to have a very special place of honour, respect - even of awe, in the hearts of the Muslim Ummah. In the sixth year of the Hijrah, Zaid Ibn Haritha was sent to Wadi-al-Qura heading a detachment of the Muslim army to confront Fatimah bint Rabiah who was the queen of that area. She had previously attacked a caravan led by Zaid and plundered all its wealth. She was an avowed enemy of Islam  and was renowned for her open hostility towards our Beloved Nabee sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. She was killed in that battle during the month of Ramadan.

By Ramadan of the 8th year of the Hijrah, the Treaty of Hudaibiya had been broken and the Muslim armies had engaged the Byzantines in the North. Our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam felt the need to strike a fatal blow to the pagans and conquer the city of Makkah. Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala had declared His Holy Sanctuary a place of peace, security and religious sanctity. The time had now come for the Beloved of Allah to purify the Holy Kaabah of nakedness and abomination. The determination of the Muslims, guided by the Will of Rahmathul Liel Ala'meen, became so awesome that the city of Makkah was conquered without a battle on the 20th of Ramadan. The 20th of Ramadan is one of the most important dates in Islamic history for Islam was now firmly entrenched throughout the Arabian Peninsula and all the great idols of Arabia i.e. al-Lat, Manat and Suwa were completely destroyed.

Such was the Holy month of Ramadan during the time of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam and the illustrious stars of humanity - the Sahaba Ridwanullahi Ta'ala Alayhim Ajma'een. Ramadan was a season of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding evil, caring, sharing and striving with one's life and wealth for the Pleasure of Almighty Allah Azza Wajjal.  After the demise of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam, it was left to his Ummah to carry on the tradition and Alhumdoelillah, Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala used the true Muhmins' during different ages to affect the course of history and the Holy month of Ramadan continued to be a time of great trials and events.   
  
Ninety two years after the Hijrah, Islam had spread across North Africa, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Spain was ruled by a tyrant called King Roderick of the Visigoths. Musa Ibn Husair who was the governor of North Africa dispatched his courageous general Tariq Ibn Ziyad to lead an army of 12,000 Muslim troops. During Ramadan of that year they were confronted by a 90,000 men army led by Roderick himself. Tariq told his army that victory and paradise laid ahead of them and defeat and the sea lay to the rear. His army burst forth with great enthusiasm and Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala granted them a resounding victory over the forces of Kufr. Roderick was killed and his forces were annihilated. Tariq Ibn Ziyad and Musa Ibn Husair liberated the whole of Spain, Sicily and parts of France. So started the Golden Age of Al-Andalus where Muslims ruled for over 700 years.

In the year 582 A.H., Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi, after battling the Crusaders for years, finally drove them out of the Holy land during the month of Ramadan. The Muslim world was then destined to meet its most frightening challenges head on. In the seventh century A.H. the Mongols swept across Asia destroying and annihilating everything and anything that lay in their path. Genghis Khan called himself the "Scourge of God" and proclaimed that he was sent to punish humanity for their sins. In 617 A.H. Samarkand, Ray and Hamdan were destroyed and more than 700,000 people were killed or captured. In 656 A.H. Hulaga Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad and as many as one million eight hundred thousand Muslims were killed in this carnage. In the wake of this disaster, Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala raised Saifuddin Qutz from the Mamluks of Egypt who united the Muslim army where they met head on with the Mongols at Ain Jalut on the 25th of Ramadan.

With the help of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala, with their strategy and unflinching bravery, they crushed the Mongol army and reversed the tidal wave of horror. Such was their love for Almighty Allah and the spirit of Ramadan that enabled our illustrious forefathers to face impossible challenges. It was an era of intense activity, spending the day fighting on horseback and spending the night in Ibadah and begging Almighty Allah Rabbul Ala'meen for His Mercy and forgiveness.

"Oh you who believe!" Let us all strive as an Ummah that surrenders completely to the Will of Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala; an obedient, helpful, tolerant, loving, caring and sharing Ummah. Let us make it an Ummah that condemns disobedience to our Glorious Creator. We must strive to make this an Ummah that deplores the humiliation and abuse of others; an Ummah that deplores jealousy, envy, Fithnah and prying into the affairs of others, and an Ummah with its diverse nationalities, people of varying languages and colours that can come together with the same intentions, conforming to the same prescribed methods and engaging in the same activities as were witnessed during the lifetime of our Beloved Nabee Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.  Surely, Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala and His Angels invoke peace and blessings upon our Beloved Nabee Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam. O you who believe! Send your peace and blessings to him forever."

And Almighty Allah knows best.

Baarak Allaahu Feekum wa-sal Allaahu wa-salam 'alaa Nabiyyinaa Muhammad Sallallahoo Alayhi Wasallam.

Was Salamualaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu

Abdul Hamid.

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