Rediscovering Ramadaan#3

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

This is the Book (the Qur’ân), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqûn [the pious and righteous person

(Al-baqarah 2:2)

Every word in the Qur’aan bears profound meanings and is not random or spontaneous. Since this is the month when the Qur’aan came down and the month where Allaah says ( in the translation)

O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)

(Al-baqarah 2:183)

How do these ayat link? How does one gain taqwa through this month?  And what exactly is taqwa?  And does taqwa precede guidance?

Taqwa is a difficult word to translate to English. Many translate it to mean fearing Allaah, but that is missing the point by a huge margin. Fearing Allaah is a byproduct of taqwa but the meaning is greater than that. The most apt translation that I can think of is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of mind where the individual is removed from one’s feelings, thoughts and external events. Where the individual has an internal island protecting oneself from everything that Allaah dislikes.

So having taqwa is the foundation for receiving guidance.

As for guidance, hidaayah; the word I relate the most to is consciousness, an awareness that transcends one’s animalistic whims and survivalist tendencies.

The truth is everywhere around us, and there are infinite levels to it, and only Allaah can open our eyes to it. Contrary to what many Muslims think, hidaayah doesn’t stop at the shahaada ( laa ilaaha Illallaah) or fulfilling one’s obligations.

Just like Allaah said

وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ

Over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allâh).
(Yusuf 12:76)

Guidance is in understanding a piece of knowledge. It’s seeing beyond one’s immediate reactions and thoughts and transcend what one thinks they know.

Ibn al-Qayyim says in his phenomenal book Al-Fawaaid ;

فكلما اتقى العبد ربه؛ ارتقى إلى هداية أخرى؛ فهو في مزيد هداية دام في مزيد من التقوى، و كلما فوت حظًّا من التقوى ؛فاته حظ من الهداية بحسيه. فكلما اتقى زاد هداه، و كلما اهتدى زادت تقواه

“The more the slave is mindful of his Lord, the higher his consciousness (guidance) will be. So as long as he is mindful, his consciousness expands. And whenever he becomes unmindful, he misses out on a bit of consciousness in proportion to the degree of mindlessness .

Thus; the more one is mindful ( has taqwa) the more consciousness ( hidaayah) one gains. And the more conscious one becomes, the more mindful one becomes (of Allaah) ”

(al-Fawaaid pg 139)

Recap:

– Being mindful is prerequisite to gaining more hidaayah ( which I translated to mean consciousness)
– One misses out on guidance in proportion to one’s mindlessness

Ibn al-Qayyim continues:

و إنما كان الصبر و الشكر سبباً لانتفاع صاحبهما بالآيات؛ لأن الايمان ينبني على الصبر و الشكر ؛ فنصفه صبر و نصفه شكر. فعلى حسب صبر العبد و شكره تكون قوة إيمانه، و آيات الله إنما ينتفع بها من آمن بالله و آياته، و لا يتم له الايمان إلا بالصبر و الشكر.
فإن رأس الشكر التوحيد و رأس الصبر ترك إجابة داعي الهوى
فإذا كان مشركاً متبعاً هواه لم يكن صابرًا و لا شاكرًا
فلا تكون الآيات نافعة له و لا مؤثرة فيه إيمانًا

“Indeed, patience and gratitude are prerequisites for the individual to benefit from the verses . This is because Eemaan ( faith) is built on patience and gratitude. So, half of it       ( Eemaan) is patience, and the other half is gratitude.

In accordance to the patience of the servant and their gratitude is the strength of their Eemaan.

This is because the only ones who benefit from Allaah’s aayaat ( verses,signs) are those who believe in Allaah and His aayaat. And one’s Eemaan is not actualized without patience and gratitude.

Why? Because the pinnacle of gratitude is Tawheed ( to worship and believe in Allaah alone) and the pinnacle of patience is to resist the urges of one’s desires.

So if the person is a mushrik ( one who worships others besides Allaah)  who follows his whims, he would not possess patience nor gratitude and hence the aayaat (verses,signs) would neither benefit him nor have lasting effects on him in the form of eemaan.

(al-Fawaaid pg.140)

P.s. I wrote this in a hurry without double checking, so if you see mistakes in the translation or typos please let me know so I can correct it. And pardon my jumbled writing. This is more a free flow of thoughts than an essay.

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