'Marhaban ahlan wa sahlan ya shahra Ramadan' (Greetings and welcome O month of Ramadan) - dear readers, we are now in Ramadan, the holiest month of the year and I would like to take the opportunity to do some reflections to be shared with readers based on the little knowledge I had after following closely 'tazkirah' (Islamic lessons) almost every night for several years.
From the many lessons I learned, the first thing I would like mention is about time. Well, what does Allah SWT The Almighty says about time? Allah SWT had warned us about time in Surah Al-Asr (The Time): 1. By Al-'Asr (the time). 2. Verily! Man is in loss, 3. Except those who believe (in Islamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma'ruf)which Allah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar) which Allah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islamic Monotheism or Jihad, etc.)
Then what does Allah SWT says about the purpose of Him created us (mankind)? In Surah Adh-Dhariyat (51), 'ayahs' (verses) 56 and 57 He says: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me."
Yes 'our mission' in this world is to worship Allah. 'Subhanallah' (Glory to God) how is our days and years (time) spend on earth? Each and everyone of us is given 24 hours a day; let's us now evaluate on what we do in our everyday life. Perhaps our (the writer included) 24 hours were full of playful and useless activities and being wasted away without us being guilty!
Let us look at look at the things we do during those 24 hours given to each of us by Allah SWT. A large part of it (about 6-8 hours) we sleep, another 8 hours we spend it working, and for the balance time, we are engage in routine activities such as eating, watching TV, playing games, going to the toilets and so on.
This is what ordinary people do, as for a busy person such a businessman, a journalist or a politician; he may spend perhaps up to 16 hours doing business or work and some may complain he or she has no time to say his/her ‘solat’ (prayers).
Imagine, from the 24 hours a day given by Allah SWT, he/she has the guts to say that he/she has no time to say his five times daily ‘fardu’ (compulsory) prayers! Some dared to say they have no time to perform even a prayer! Remember that Allah SWT has sent us to earth to worship Him for He had said: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me." (ayah 56-57 Surah Adh-Dhariyat)
How come when a person says he has no time for prayers yet pious people during the same period of 24 hours could perform all five times daily prayers in congregation in masjids and some could offer up tens or even hundreds of ‘rakaat’ of ‘sunat’ (recommendation) prayers. If a ‘busy’ person complains he has no time to even flip the pages of the Qur’an, then there are pious people who could complete reading (khatam) the whole Qur’an in a day!
And during 'football seasons' such as the World Cup, a fanatic football fan would perhaps spend all his/her 24 hours a day given by The Almighty with his ‘eat and sleep way of life’ in front of the idiot box (TV).
Perhaps he/she is too busily engrossed in his interest that he/she has no time to perform his obligations to Allah SWT such as performing his ‘solat’! Yes his/her 24 hours a day is spend only of football yet pious people with the Hereafter as their main concern, could do numerous good things that ‘insya-Allah’ (God willing) would please Allah SWT and would rewarded handsomely by Him.
Then there were among us who managed to say our prayers but they were done 'in a nick of time'. We were 'too stingy' with their time to be with God; we prayed 'when we have the time' and the obligations were done during our 'free and spared time'.
Take for example the way some of us performed our 'zuhur' (midday prayers). 'Zuhur' begins at about 1:15 pm; but at that time we were busy with our office chores and were reluctant to have our lunch hour not fully used. We would rather be at the lunch table joking with friends rather than joining congregators at masjids or be at our office's 'surau'.
After lunch we were back to our office work. Suddenly at 4.15 pm when we were preparing our desks to go home, only then we realized we had not perform our 'zuhur' prayers. We rushed to the 'surau' and managed to say our prayers 'in the nick of time' because 'asar' (late afternoon) prayers begins at 4.25 pm.
Then there were some of us who pray during commercial breaks while glued to their TV favorite programs shows and films such as Hindustani movies and football games.
'Subhanallah' dear readers including myself, if our lives 'fit the above description' then during this timely occasion of Ramadan, let's do some reflections. Surely during all 'those years' we had done injustice not only to God but our ourselves.
Allah SWT The Almighty has given us 24 hours a day, is it fair for us to give Him 'our lousy time'? If we have 'no time' to be with Allah SWT, then what could be said about our relationship to Him? I am afraid if we have 'no time' to Him, then 'He would also have to time to us'.
An 'ustaz' described the situation as such: "If you hired a worker what do you expect from him/her? Say his/her working hours is from 9 am to 5 pm (8 hours), what's your reaction if he/she spend 7 hours doing things of his/her wish and fancies and only an hour to do work subscribed by you? Of course you would get angry, would not pay him/her but 'kick him/her out'.
"Then please have a mirror to look at ourselves. Allah SWT has created us to worship Him but what's our attitude to Him. We not only 'do not do what He told us to do' but we go against Him; only once in a while we give 'our spare time' to Him. From our 'ill attitudes' we should be able to judge 'what rewards' we would get from Him.
"The correct way is allocate our prime to Allah SWT. Please give our time to Him. If He expect us to say our 'solat' (prayers) at the earliest time possible, then do it...if 'zuhur' begins at 1.15 pm, prepare for it earlier - take our ablutions and headed for the masjid - we should give priority to His orders. Remember we are His servants...we are send to earth to worship Him."
A hadith narrated by Ibn Abbas: Allah’s Apostle s.a.w. said: “Take benefit of ‘five’ before ‘five’: your youth before your old age, you health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your preoccupation and your life before you’re your death.”
Dear readers especially myself, please make full use of the opportunities given by Allah the Almighty, not to waste them. We should appreciate what we have especially the ‘five’ mention in the hadith - youth, health, wealth, free-time, and life.
Now we are in Ramadan which in it is the obligation of 'siyam' (puasa in Malay or fasting) with the main aim is to increase our 'takqa' (piety) to Him.
It is a timely time to do some reflections on our overall practice of Islam. For example how is our 'solat' nowadays - is the 'quality' of our 'solat' at 50 years of age the same as our 'solat' when we were 15 years old - that was 35 years ago?
The same could be said about our 'puasa' - is it the same as the yesteryear when we refrained ourselves from only eating and drinking or 'puasa yang yok' (cheating by eating or drinking when one is alone) but keep our eyes open seeing 'haram' (forbidden) things and open our ears to all sort of gossips and our tongues lash out bad and 'laser' words.
Well, what about our 'zakat' - is it the same old you ‘that only pay for tithes during Ramadan' and forget the compulsory zakat for incomes, agriculture yields, gold and livestock such as cows and sheep?
And how's our daily chores going on for example things we take for granted such wasting of money and food, spending on unnecessary items and involving in immoral activities such as going to pubs and disco and involving in smoking, gambling and drinking.
Then how's our time being spend? People tend to waste time; only a few 'veterans' prefer to seek knowledge including attending 'tazkirah' (lessons) at masjids, the rest waste their time doing unnecessary and unproductive activities such as spending long hours chatting or playing 'dam haji' (checkers) in 'warong kopi' (coffee shop). And during this Ramadan, people spend a lot of time at 'Pasar Ramadan', 'Bazar Ramadan' and so on.
The question is, have we been auditing ourselves? We tend not to look at ourselves but waste our precious time on others. Over the course of the year, we can easily fall into the habit of focusing too much on the affairs of others.
In true sense, our time could be better spent working to improve ourselves in the religion and seeking the Mercy of Allah and seeking His pardon for our own errors and mistakes. Remember our time left is too short; perhaps the Lord would called for us in a year time, tomorrow or even today or after reading this article! Subhanallah. - ES