“Wisdom comes from reflection.” ― Deborah Day,
The other day, the Wise Owl was telling me about the different spiritual tier of a person in Islam. The first tier is Muslim. Technically, a person who has recited shahadah is a Muslim but the true definition of a Muslim goes deeper than that. It also means total submission to the Will of God.
If a person is a Muslim, and he or she works hard to increase his or her spiritual standing with God, then the person becomes a ‘Mukmin’. Mukmin basically means God fearing or devout. The thing is, all Mukmin are Muslims but not all Muslims are Mukmin.
The third tier is “Muttaqin”, which is the highest degree or status in the eye of God Al Mighty. A Muttaqin person completely abstains from committing any sin or committing shirk. This person dedicates his or her entire life for God Almighty. Their level of piousness is extremely high.
The question is how do we know which tier do we fall under? The answer is…we don’t!. Well… we can declare ourselves as Muslims, but are we truly Muslims?
How can we be sure that we are not habitual or part-timers? Habitual Muslims are those who perform certain acts of worship out of habit because he or she was trained since small. They may not understand as to why they are performing these acts but neither are they bothered to find out or know.
Part-timers are probably the worst. They understand the religion but they pick and choose the period that they wish to be Muslims. When they don’t feel like it, they will find justification for not following the Commandments of God. The thing is, being a Muslim is not just an oral declaration of faith, but it also a reflection in our conduct.
A person can’t declare himself or herself a Mukmin or a Muttaqin because only God is qualified to judge the level of piousness and faith in a person. There is not special exam that one can take and be given a grade and a certificate with the word “Mukmin” or “Muttaqin” endorsed on it, if we pass with flying colors. We need to self reflect to ensure that we DO NOT fall outside the definition of a Muslim.
This Ramadhan, so far, has been very different for me. Somehow, God Almighty has arranged for ‘lessons’ for me to reflect and learn from it. Some are sweet but some are quite painful.
The Wise Owl said to me, “sister, we always need to stop and do a post-mortem on everything. Always remember that everything happens for a reason. Nothing is co-incidence.” I must admit that sometimes I can be quite thick in the head or daft because it will take me forever to figure things out. Sometimes, the understanding of the lesson comes swiftly that it is like a slap on the face…ouchhh!!!
Anyway, when hubby suggested we break our fast at the mosque on weekdays, I agreed. The diva in me still whines silently because I have no clue what the menu at the mosque will be. I’m a fussy eater but I found out the true meaning of rizki and barakah. You are truly, a thankful and a grateful servant of God when you accept wholeheartedly and willingly, whatever rizki and food that God is giving for you, at that moment, without any expectation or preference.
“Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Messenger of Allah () never found fault with food. If he had inclination to eating it, he would eat; and if he disliked it, he would leave it.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
I ate whatever that was served without any complaint and enjoyed every morsel of it. I was just thankful that I had proper food for iftar instead of having to search for some. The food that was served was in fact, a Mercy from Allah SWT as it was very tasty, delicious and abundance.
I learned to eat just enough to appease my hunger without overdosing. In the past, I would eat to my heart’s content and lie down like a beached whale, too full and sleepy to even move and pray! Looking back, I cringed at myself over my own gluttony….Astagfirullah…..
“Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa'I, Ibn Majah – Hadith sahih]
When I mentioned earlier about ‘lessons’ learnt, I now truly understand that Ramadhan is not just about physical fasting. It is also the fasting of the soul, the lips, the eyes, the ears, mind and the heart. Fasting is akin to starving our desire so that it remain slim and undemanding. Fasting can cleanse or purify our heart but on the condition that we plug our ears and eyes and mouth to prevent any impurities or "dirty’ elements to enter our heart. Otherwise, the cleaning process would be futile. It would be like continuously pouring contaminated water into a pail of clean water, hence the water will never be clear or clean. When we stop pouring dirty water into the pail, only then can we clean and replace it with new and clean water. Then after, we need to protect the pail filled with clean water, from being contaminated again by covering it.
Similarly with our hearts. To truly clean it, we need to stop the impurities from entering it. Once that is done, cleanse it with fasting.
The Prophet SAW said, “Everything has a cleansing agent. And fasting is the cleansing agent for the body. Fasting is more a matter of patience than of anything else.
Hadith Ibn Majah
Futhermore, we must advantage of this blessed month because satan is chained up during Ramadhan hence, technically, less temptation and satanic whispering. the operative word here is 'technically'!
“Abu Hurairah, (may Allah be pleased with him) quoted the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying: “When the month of Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of the Hellfire are closed, and the devils are chained.” (Reported by al-Bukhari)
I asked the Wise Owl, “If satan is chained during Ramadhan, then why do people still sin?” To which the Wise Owl replied, “sister, that is because that person is satan himself! Those people refused to cease committing sins and prefer to give in to their desires, for so long that satan is no longer needed to tempt them. In fact, as far as satan is concerned, their job is done!. They are on satanic auto-pilot. Their souls have turned evil.” oooooooooo……I could feel my ears turning red! Thank God for my hijab, otherwise, the Wise Owl could see the tell-tale signs…eerrrrmmmm…..I wouldn’t say that I have been a complete saint this Ramadhan for I have committed a sin or two BUT, I’m not satan. I’m not! I’m not! I’m not!
So, the moral of my story is, take this time to reflect on ourselves. Take this opportunity also to cleanse your heart and soul when satan is away on detention program. Seize the opportunity to do good as the doors of Jannah is wide open and the doors of Hell is closed shut. Every good deed will triple, if not quadruple in rewards, during Ramadhan, In Sha Allah……..Oh! One more thing….seek for the night of Laylat Al Qadr……