By Zahra Anjum
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Being on an empty stomach during the long hours of fasting in Ramadan, we tend to become irritable and moody. Our rumbling stomach makes us want to sleep all day, find ways to kill time, and spend hours in the kitchen preparing fine delicacies.
On the contrary, this hunger should divert our attention to the countless Muslim brothers and sisters who are being tested with different trials of life. Ramadan should remind us of all those who go hungry under the horrors of war, the children who were starved to death, and those forced to eat leaves in order to survive. It should remind us of those unjustly imprisoned throughout the world and the less privileged who do not have enough means to make both ends meet.
“You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind, resembling one body, so that if any part of the body is not well the whole body shares the sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever with it.” (Bukhari)
He also likened the believers to a single structure: “The believer is to the believer like parts of a building, each one of them supporting the other.” (at-Tirmidhi; authentic)
Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him or hand him over to an oppressor. If anyone fulfils the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfil his needs; if anyone brings his (Muslim) brother out of any discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection; if anyone screens a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari)
Let’s ask ourselves the following questions in light of the Prophet’s words:
- Do I feel the pain of my fellow Muslim brothers in different parts of the world?
- Have I ever wept for them?
- Did I ever have a sleepless night because of them? Or am I occupied by my personal problems only?
- What portion of my sincere prayers are for them?
- Do I try and find ways to help them?
- Do I try and raise awareness about them?
- Have I done anything to bring comfort to and remove discomfort from my fellow Muslims so that Allah (swt) brings me out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection?
- Do I endeavour to fulfil their needs lest I have a case registered against me on the Day of Judgement, and Allah (swt) asks me: “O son of Adam I asked you for food and you did not feed me?” (Muslim)
- Do I leave my Muslims brothers without support as they are oppressed by others? Or am I one of the oppressors?
- Am I kind, forgiving and helpful towards others?
- Do I screen the shortcomings of my fellow Muslims or do I backbite and make fun of them, going further in bringing discord?
- Do I care for the spiritual needs of other Muslims and share the knowledge that I have with them? Do I strive to bring them closer to the path of Allah?
What to do?
After evaluating ourselves with the intention of practicing these important hadiths of the Prophet (sa), we can do the following in Ramadan:
- Remember the suffering Muslims in your special Duas every day and in the last ten nights. Also ask Allah to guide you to ways to help them.
- Spend five to ten minutes each day to read the news about Muslims worldwide, or about the problems of Muslims in your area.
- Make a list of 30 practical things, one for each day in Ramadan that you can do to strengthen the bond between yourself and other Muslims. Try and implement.
- Be extra generous and charitable in the month of Ramadan following the Sunnah (way) of the Prophet (sa). Ibn Abbas (ra) narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) was the most generous of men; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Angel Jibreel visited him every night and recited the Qur’an to him. During this period, the generosity of Messenger of Allah (sa) waxed faster than the rain bearing wind.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
- Introduce your children to the concept of Ummah. You can read more about raising Ummah-centered children here.
Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor and translator based in Islamabad, Pakistan.
© IIPH 2016