Appreciating The Blessings In Our Daily Lives
It’s amazing just how fast Ramadan is passing by. As we chase for the blessings of Lailatul Qadr, some of us have begun our preparations for Eid. Getting new clothes for the first day, helping mom with baking cookies and pastries and basically cleaning up the whole house top to bottom. Amid all the excitement, let’s ask ourselves the following: How has our Ramadan been? Are we leaving Ramadan in the same state that we entered it?
With the benefit of hindsight, we are able to discover a lot of things about ourselves; our strengths and weaknesses, the times that we are most productive and of course, we realise all the things that we have in our lives that we ought to cherish.
Perhaps the most obvious is the blessing of food and drinks. Everyday, we barely worry about what to have for Iftar, knowing full well that our parents have cooked something at home, or perhaps the whole family is eating out at some restaurant. We also have the privilege of having Iftar with friends on multiple occasions, buffet after buffet. Say ‘Alhamdulillah’ for what Allah has granted you. But don’t forget about the people who cherish the mass Iftar at the mosques because that’s one of the few times they will have a good meal. Let us not forget about the low-income families whose parents prefer to go to bed on an empty stomach than see their children hungry, which is especially so in war-stricken places around the world. Let us not forget about our brothers and sisters who go for days without a meal.
We also learn from the many trips to the bazaars and food places that we don’t really need that much food to sustain ourselves. How many times have there been leftovers during Iftar that ended up being stored in the fridge or thrown in the bin? In fact, the month-long fasting has conditioned you to eating less than normal. We have learned to discipline our Nafs, refraining from over-eating or sleeping too much. And so, what is it that we aim to achieve from this experience? Ultimately, Ramadan should create a heightened sense of awareness in what we consume, on an individual level and as a community. At the end of the day, it is not enough that we help only ourselves, but we should try to the best of our abilities to spread the good to others less fortunate than us.
Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever”.
Secondly, we should feel grateful for the clothes that we have. Eid is a day of celebration for Muslims all around the world. We celebrate the victory over our Nafs and more importantly, we celebrate our renewed spiritual energy. In many Muslim communities, getting new clothes is part of the Eid package. Everyone will be clad in their colourful new outfits, visiting one another, strengthening family ties and getting to know extended parts of the family.
This same scene was present during the time of the Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, a great-grandson of Saiyidina Umar Al-Khattab. Despite his title as leader of the Muslims, he led a simple life and demanded the same from his children.
During Eid celebrations, the people would gather in the presence of the Caliph. All the children in the hall were all wearing beautiful, new clothes. When the Caliph looked at his own son, he saw that he was wearing an old, ragged robe. His distressed demeanour was noticed by his own son, who asked him what was bothering him. The Caliph was worried that he might be robbing his own son of having the joy of wearing new clothes for Eid, to which his son replied:
“Father! I am not broken hearted. The heart is broken of the one who knows Allah and then disobeys Him and the one who mistreats his parents. As for me, I have joy, because Eid lives in the hearts of those who obey Allah”.
This is the true celebration, the true joy and happiness which resonates from within; a heart that is once again connected to Allah and Rasulullah, a soul that is at peace with the remembrance of their Lord and a mind that is always conscious of Allah, His blessings and His Mercy. Therefore, Eid is not just Syawal. Eid is every single day that where we celebrate living in obedience to Allah,
Therefore, as we chase the remaining blessings of Ramadan, let us all hope that this special month has taught us once again to be mindful and conscious beings, always grateful for the blessings that Allah has given us. Not just about food and clothing, but all that we have in our lives that has contributed to who we are. A loving family, a loyal friend, a supportive working environment, good health, an abundance of wealth, perhaps even so much as the breaths that we take each second. These are the blessings that we should always be thankful for, as Allah says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you (in favour), but if you deny indeed My punishment is severe”.
May Allah constantly guide us to be better servants, every day, one step at a time.
Contributed by Ustaz Mizi Wahid of Safinah Institute.