Dear Brother, in this lesson we will, insha-Allah, talk about a fairly delicate subject; Muslims are honored by fasting in Ramadan, then some of them break their fasting on the first day of Shawwal.
We should maintain the gains we achieved in Ramadan.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
"The one who fasts has two pleasures: when he breaks his fast it is a pleasure and when he meets his Lord, He is pleased with his fasting."
In fact, the problem is that we should preserve the acquisitions that we achieved in Ramadan after Ramadan. In reality, Ramadan strengthens human's will, so any thing that Allah honored you with during Ramadan should continue after it, until fasting becomes a qualitative jump in your relation with Allah.
After Ramadan, you should avoid all the wrong doings and sinful deeds that you left in it. Actually, in one way or another, Allah the Almighty has made this month as strengthening of the will, however Allah exists in all months and years (not just in Ramadan), i.e. if human regretted or missed performing a good deed in Ramadan, he can take a decision to do it after Ramadan because Allah the Almighty is always there, and he is with human in every minute. Allah the Almighty says:
"Allah comes in between a person and his heart (i.e. He prevents an evil person to decide anything"
In addition to that, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, taught us that the most beloved deeds to Allah are those done continuously and persistently, even if they are few. Actually, continuity causes an accumulation while burning enthusiasm fades after a while, then causes frustration. There are some people who are accustomed to perform too many deeds in a tremendous enthusiasm for a limited time, then they soon lose all their zeal, while a believer imitates the prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, whose deeds were performed continuously.
So, if you decide to pay a charity, to perform salat in a mosque, to lower your gaze and to control your tongue; to prevent yourself from saying calumnies and backbiting, then try to do that persistently (not just in Ramadan).
Rites of adoration and good deeds
The believer's relation with Allah the Almighty is firmly based on his moral straightness, and when he separates religion from his life affairs, and ritual acts of worship from transactional ones then he falls in a great frustration. Actually, the worst thing in life is to separate between religious verdicts and life regulations, i.e. a man may perform salat, fasts, performs hajj (pilgrimage), and pays zakat (obligatory charity), however, as for his everyday life in his house and his work he lives as most (heedless) people live, away from Allah; he lacks faith, and performs acts of worship with fatigue. Allah the Almighty says:
"And truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for Al-Khashi'un (the true believers in Allah)"
The prayer is heavy and hard except for he whose heart submits to Allah, and who stands firm on His order.
The real believer versus the Muslim of occasions
In fact, Islamic occasions (like Ramadan, the day of Arafah, etc.) are wonderful, they have a good benefit, and they cause a movement as it said: Ramadan is an intensive course. This is a nice thing. However, the believer's righteous work is basically continuous.
In poetry and literature, there is a poet of occasions, he does not have a good position in society, it is said: In each wedding he has a meal. So he is only a poet of occasions, while the committed author embraces his nation’s case, and devotes all his time for its sake. This one is the true great author. As for faith, there is a believer of occasions, who fasts the 27th Rajab, the 15th of Sha'ban, and other days of virtue, he performs salat a lot in Ramadan, but on sh3er days he is one of the heedless people, so he has no value in the sight of Allah. So as there is a poet of occasions, there is also a believer of occasions. As for you, you should be a real believer and maintains the continuity in your principles, your method, your rectitude and your piety.
"Say (O Muhammad ): "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).
Your deeds, as a committed believer, should be continuous, permanent and constant. While the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, described the hypocrite as the she-camel whose owner detained it (then released it), so it did not know why it was detained nor why it was released. This is the case of the hypocrite, he leaves food and drink (in Ramadan), then he breaks his fasting in Shawwal and returns to what used to do before (his previous sins). So when you commit yourself to be a true believer, and to be straight all the time, truthful all the time, chaste all the time, honest all the time and you perform your salat permanently, then you are now a true great believer. However, sometimes you find a woman who always commits a (major) sin, then she fasts on the 27th of Rajab because it is a virtuous day !! and she finds it strange if other people are not fasting on that day!! Actually, this is the problem we suffer from, the problem of 'occasions believer' while you, as a true believer, must have identified your target,followed the way leading to it, and had an accurate set of values and principles, so in prosperity and in adversity, in ease and hardship, before marriage and after it, in Ramadan and after it, you get organized by your fixed principles and you follow fixed values. Verily, this is a very accurate point.
Of course, it is very important to discuss this matter now: as the month of Ramadan passed away, (you should ask yourself): is it possible to lie (again)? Is it ok to cheat people while selling and purchasing ? Can I commit something prohibited? After Ramadan,I should continue to leave what I forced myself to leave during it, so that Ramadan becomes as a staircase; in each Ramadan there is a jump, then you walk for 11 months, in the next Ramadan there is a second jump, you walk for 11 months, then next Ramadan there is a third jump and so on. So you are raising and and growing. Actually, if you do not increase your faith it will always decrease.
Human being is time
Dear brother, trying to understand Human's reality is a very important issue, who believes that you are time? You, as a whole, are time, and the most exact inclusive definition of human being is that he is time, a several days, i.e. whenever a day passes, a part of him goes away, so he is some days. In fact, there is a computer program in which you write your date of birth, and it calculates your age, like for example: 37 years, 11 months, 6 days, 7 hours, 5 minutes and 3 seconds, so you are basically several days, whenever a day passes, a part of you goes away. Again, you are time, and it is the most critical thing in your life. Moreover, time is you, and is your wealth, and all your success depends on the management of your time. Actually, the most distinctive characteristics of the developing countries is that time is absolutely worthless to them.
How could human invest his time?
Although time is you and is your capital, you can spend it profitably:
"O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment? * That you believe in Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives, that will be better for you, if you but know!"
There is a trade with Allah; time is your capital, while when you do not exploit your time you waste your capital. Verily, most people get surprised with death, then Man will say:
"Alas! Would that I had sent forth (good deeds) for (this) my life!"
And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: "Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger ( Muhammad).*"Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend!*"He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur'an) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need."
The crucial factor is thatregret means you have a weak mind because the intelligent never regrets. Moreover, regret means that you are negligent because you wasted precious opportunities, and missed many profits so you regretted. It was reported that the prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:
((The shame will adhere to a person on the Day of Resurrection until he says:' Oh Allah, send me to the Hell, it is easier than what I experience', despite he knows the severe torment awaiting him there))
The past, the present and the future:
Dear brother, all your success lies in living the future, while fool people always live the past, they sing the praise of their past (their past achievement) like when the poet said:
Banu (the sons of) Taghlub were distracted from every noble deed
Due to a poem composed by Amr Bin Kolthoum (praising their past)
Let me say frankly: Stupid people sing the praise their past, the less stupid live the present, while the most intelligent people and the most rational ones live the future. Now, the difference between the developed countries and the developing countries is that the former plan for the twenty next years, while the latter's movements are mere reactions; the other party acts, while they think what to do. Verily, there is a big difference between being active or passive, and a believer should live the future. I will say to you frankly: what is the most dangerous event in the future, for you as individuals not for the nation? It is death, to leave this world, to leave from everything to nothing, from a big house to a grave, and from grand garments to raw cloths. So who are the great people? They are those who start from the end, from death. So you should consider death as a target, then adjust yourself to it.
Once, a student who got the first degree in the secondary certificate was asked: what is the secret behind your success and your excellence? He answered: because the examination moment didn't leave my mind for a second.
A believer should account himself:
A true believer always thinks: if I said this word Allah would punish me so I will not say it, there is a doubtful matter in this money so I will not take it, men and women are mixed in this evening party, that does not suit me so I will not attend it, and so on.. So whenever he wants to perform an act, he asks himself this question: what shall I answer Allah (when He will call me to account for it)?
Dear brother, there is a written monologue for imam Al Ghazali, by Allah I have never heard someting more eloquent than it, he said: (O my soul, if a doctor prevents you from a kind food that you like, surely you will abstain from it), like the one who has - God forbid - a heart disease and the cardiologist ordered him not to eat a certain food because it would cause a great harm to him (if a doctor prevents you from a kind of food you like, surely you will abstain from it, do you consider the doctor more truthful than Allah the Almighty?) When the Creator of the universe prohibits you from doing this thing, you do not care about His prohibition, while when the cardiologist prevents you from salt, you abstain from putting it in your food immediately although food becomes tasteless without salt, and you lose the best thing in food, yet, you obey the doctor whatever he says!! (Do you consider the doctor more truthful than Allah the Almighty? Then how disbelieving are you!) What does Allah warn people from? He warns people from Hell, while what does the doctor warn people from? He warns them from illness. ( Do youconsider the warnings of the doctor severer than those of Allah? Then how disbelieving are you!!)
So those who disobey Allah are stamped by ignorance and kufr (disbelieve). Of course, kufr has degrees, even if he believes in Allah, when someone does not follow an Islamic verdict, pays no attention to it, and does not obey it, it means that he disbelieves in it, and this is the accurate meaning of kufr.
Dear brother, one of the noble Companions was the leader of the tribe of Ghatfan, his name was Naeem Bin Massoud, he was polytheist, alchohol addicted, and he was a tribe leader. When the tribe of Ghatfan wanted to fight the prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in the battle of Al-Khandaq (trench),, he was sitting in his tent and he spoke to himself, this is called personal dialogue, or the artistic expression ( a monologue), a personal dialogue like when someone says to himself upon being called to an invitation: why shall I go to that place ? it is distant, and the guests are from low social level, I will not accept this invitation, this is the personal dialogue. Also, like when someone is traveling from Damascus to Aleppo, he is silent, but is his heart silent? No, he keeps making monologue all the way to Aleppo, something like: thinking in visiting a person or not, talking to him or not, working or not, etc.. You can keep on doing that for five hours, all the way from Damascus to Aleppo, and never stop for one minute. Actually, this is the inner dialogue which everyone does it.
The story of Sayyidina Naeem
Sayyidina Naeem was a tribe leader, he came to fight our Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, he was sitting at night in his tent, then he asked himself: (why did I come to fight this man? He did not shed blood, violate an honor or steal money, he is a virtuous man, where is your mind O Naeem? Those people with him are good people, so why do I fight them? Where am I heading for?)
By Allah, dear brother, when someone thinks clearly, perfectly and comes to a result, and takes a decision then he is a hero. However, as the saying goes: people are sleeping (headless) but when they die they realize the truth, like Pharaoh:
"I believe that La ilaha illa: (none has the right to be worshipped but) He," in Whom the Children of Israel believe"
He knew the truth when it was too late, Allah the Almighty says:
"Now (you believe) while you refused to believe before and you were one of the Mufsidun (evil-doers, corrupts, etc.). "
So Naeem Bin Massoud stopped, took a decision to withdraw from this war, and headed to the prophet’scamp and searched for his tent. When he entered it, the prophet wondered and said to him: Naeem ?! He said: Yes, Naeem. The Prophet asked him: why did you come to us? He told him: I came to you to announce becoming a Muslim. What a nice thing!! He, as a commander of a hostile army, took a decision (to withdraw from the war and to become a Muslim) he asked the Prophet to give him an order, so he ordered him to weaken the morals of the other parties. By Allah, what he did was unbelievable, as he converted to Islam secretly and neither Quraish nor the Jews knew about that, he behaved in a way which I consider the highest degree of intelligence, he came to the Jews and said to them: (if Quraish tribe fights Muhammad and does not succeed, they will leave you alone to face him, and you cannot endure that alone, so I advise you to ask them to send to you some of them as hostages so that you ensure that they will not leave, because they may betray you, and go back to their city, their family, their children and their women, and leave you alone with him, then the prophet will eliminate you, so request hostages.) Then he went to Quraish and said to them:( the Jews regretted fighting Muhammad, therefore they want to take some people from you as hostages in order to give them to the prophet in exchange for returning to their treaty with him.) Then sayyidina Naeem left. So, when Quraish requested hostages from the Jews and the Jews requested hostages from them, a dispute erupted, and Allah helped the believers by sending severe winds to the infidels that destroyed their tents, and turned their pots, and Allah sufficed the believers from fighting. Thus, if you take a heroic bold decision, Allah will enable you to be the cause of victory.
Thus, triumph was almost ascribed to (the plan of )sayyidina Naeem, so why do not you take a (vital) decision to have a good relation with Allah, to turn the page and sincerely turn to Allah with repentance? You can make this decision at any time.
Sensual pleasures versus happiness
I wish that this point is clear to you: in life, there are pleasures and there is happiness. Actually, pleasures are of a sensory nature, they steam form good food, not bad one, from comfortable big and sunlit house with a breathtaking view, luxurious furniture, electronic devises, heating and air conditioning system, and all other things. Also, they steam from beautiful views, a luxurious vehicle, and a beautiful wife. Unfortunately, these pleasures do not steam from inside but from outside, like food, a house, a vehicle, location, a view, and a sight, and they need money, lots of money, because a big house with breathtaking view or a luxurious vehicle costs a lot. So the problem is that pleasure comes from outside, and needs money, time, and good health. According to absolutely great wisdom, you always miss one of these three factors, i.e. when you are young, you have time and good health, but you do not have money, then you have a good health and money, but you do not have time, you are busy with work, and when you grow old, you have money, and time, but you do not have good health. This is (the reality of) pleasure, first of all it is decreasing, then it ends in depression, if it comes from disobedience to Allah, or in boredom. On the other hand, happiness comes from within, and it doesn't need any external condition at all, it comes from the inside and grows, and everyone possesses its reasons, whether he is poor or rich, whether he is strong or weak, whether he possesses a house or rents it, and whether his house is of a high or low level, expensive or cheap. So everyone has the reasons of happiness. Verily, reasons behind happiness are: obedience toAllah:
"Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest."
Guidance from Allah:
"And my guidance cannot come except from Allah, in Him I trust"
Also, when Allah defends you:
"Truly, Allah defends those who believe""
And in security:
"(So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know."* It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping sh3er besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided."
These are reasons behind happiness.