What will you earn this Ídd?

The Holy Month, one of the most sacred in Islam is here again. This is the place to discuss and post facts and everything else about fasting and Ramadhan.
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What will you earn this Ídd?

Postby Umm.aly » 22 Aug 2010, 00:30

Just wanted to share this thought provoking article i got from The Community On Friday (http://www.communityonfriday.net), Issue No. 242-10, 28th May 2010/ 15th Jamadi ul Aakhar, 1431 AH

What will you earn this Ídd?
Mohamedarif Suleman (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is."
– Erich Fromm (German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist)

Ramadhan brings to the fore a set of values and propositions that tend to ruffle our otherwise routing lives in the most immaculate way, through fasting as an exercise and abstinence as a moral practice. The absence of constant animalistic behaviour, i.e. eating, humankind is made to go through the test of self control, will power and virtuosity. The question that begs our attention is not whether Ramadhan is a month of worship or merry making, but rather if we know what to become in our lives and in our hereafter so much so that we can practically implement a plan of action through this self disciplining month.

It is not debatable that the Holy Month of Ramadhan is an auspicious month, loaded with mercy and blessings. But none of these positive qualities are in absentia of performance by human beings. Our continuous striving is the only key to the attainment of the promised bounties of the month. Throughout the year, we have yielded to temptations and the actions surrounding economic rat races of the world. These have hardened us and have made us subservient to basic human instincts of survival and competition. Even the new world order dictates that we ought to be ahead of the others, not in step with them, for us to be truly successful.
With the start of the month of Ramadhan, a few things (with reference especially to the East African and Middle Eastern lifestyle), become ominous. People generally lose their strength to work productively. If this was a direct result of hunger and starvation, it would have manifested in all adherents, but in fact the feature is only visible in our nocturnal brothers and sisters (those living at night). Their days start late, their nights end later. And in all of this, it is not as though they are supplicatory in their demeanor (interestingly, the word supplication is drawn from an Indo-European root kat, meaning to flatten down). It is in fact, the very worldly temptations that we claim to have foregone during the month that haunt us through the night. The excessive eating and feasting, and then the large scale organised sporting activity, whose intention is to distract youths from engaging in felonious activities by providing them with an appropriate platform to expend their humongous stored energies.

So intense are these activities and events, that even when going through the ritual of Duá at the masaajid, our young people are busy warming up to their tightly packed fixtures of games and contests. With the beginning of a very unique culture in feminist liberty in some of these places, women too are regularly seen at joints and public places hanging out with peers just as boys and men have been doing for years, sometimes in the name of coffee and at others in the holy scripts of the kuku (reference to delirious sekela culture).
The issue here is never to slay sports as an activity rather the timing of the games. For Ramadhan, a month full of promises, is only meant for those who try to take advantage of the ope gates of mercy. This can only be done if we have used our energies in the direction of seeking for forgiveness and asking for His favours. But when our energies are engaged in something as high powered as "life starts after 9pm", we might have to re-assess what we really want out of life and after-life.

Spinoza, in his treatise, "On the origin of nature of the affects", states: "We strive to promote the occurrence of whatever we imagine will lead to joy, and to avert or destroy what we imagine is contrary to it, or will lead to sadness." That perhaps is the ideal of our actions as we go about seeking leisure and pleasure in the month simply because an extended night-life can lead to a valid excuse of a late morning and hence the subsequent rationale for sleeping till late and absconding from the other responsibilities of the Holy month and its struggles while away from food and drink. It may well be argued that this sport is the realm of the haves because the other half of the population has to work to earn a living. Well, it could be true, but infectious diseases do not question the occupation of man. They come and inflict all who rub their shoulders with the affected ones.

In reality, and in addition to the foregoing explanations, it could well be estimated that if we have defined our lives as one long chain of pleasure-seeking adventures, then we will naturally strive to improve that skill even during this month when we have larger company. If our aspiration is to excel as human beings in the definition of our Aimmah (AS), then prayer, and sincere worship will prevail upon us with added intensity in this Holy Month. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves whether we are really going to earn His blessings on the day of 'Idd this time round, or are our rewards within the society that we we so deeply ingrain ourselves?

"And when Abraham prayed: My Lord! Make this a secure town and bestow upon its people fruits, such of them as believe in Allah and the Last Day, He answered: As for the one who disbelieves, I shall leave him in contentment for a while, then I shall compel him to the doom of Fire - an evil destination (indeed)! (Holy Quran 2:126)
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