The final day of Ramadhan started a few hours ago (A day starts as soon as the sun set, in Islam). My heart sinks deeper as Ramadhan approaches the end – a feeling equivalent to when I am about to lose something very important. A feeling that makes me constantly thinking, ‘Have I done a good job? Have I go through Ramadhan with the best of my ability? Will I be able to meet Ramadhan again next year?’
It bothers me that Syawal is celebrated in a way that is very different from sunnah in Malaysia. Even though it consists of many bida’ah hasanah (added customs that are considered good in Islam) such as asking forgiveness, reaching out to family members whom we haven’t meet for so long and giving money to children, my heart aches at the thought that most Malaysian Muslims, due to following customs, strayed from the spiritual path which they travel earlier in Ramadhan into material pursuit in the end. When Allah offers more ‘rewards’ in the final days of Ramadhan, that’s when most of us start shifting gears into the race of getting new-everything.
To make it clear to you, fellow readers, let me demonstrate it in a fictional story. Abu and Aminah are husband and wife. They have three kids – a son and two daughters. In the beginning of Ramadhan, they all went to Tarawih together as family. They read Quran together every night. They did well in the first phase of Ramadhan – the phase of rahmah (mercy). When Ramadhan enters the second phase – the phase of forgiveness – the family starts to slow down. Aminah and the daughters are busy fixing the curtains. The family went out at night shopping for baju raya and cookies. When Ramadhan enters the final phase – redemption from hellfire – the family is well in the mood of Hari Raya. They turn on CDs of Hari Raya songs collection; the men are busy fixing the new furniture and painting the house; and the women are busy making Raya cookies and mending new clothes etc. This is the most important phase in Ramadhan wherein Allah tests our consistency, but we are busy spending time on material pursuits! MasyaAllah.
Are those materials important? Yes, they are. We’re not living in Cavemen Era, I understand. I’m just stating that we are doing it at the W.R.O.N.G. time. I mean, we can get busy with new furniture, new clothes and new curtains before Ramadhan or, at most, the beginning of Ramadhan. Get busy with more important and significant things like tafakkur, Quran-reading, solah and many other good deeds in the end of Ramadhan. Get in the race to receive HIS attention. ‘First things first’, Brian Tracy puts it. All those material pursuits are mostly for getting human attention. I look deeper and I see that this case reflects all other aspects of our life today. People work hard to get people’s attention, they are losing grasp of the more important values in life.
Imagine a family, similar like Abu and Aminah but different in a sense that they value the importance of Ramadhan. They made sure their children understand the rewards promised by Allah in the final phase of the month and they urge their children, together with them, to join the race to get HIS attention. This is the phase where there exist a night which is better than 1000 other nights. This is the month where HE tests, not only our strength in following HIS rules but more importantly, our consistency. This family understands this, so they set benchmark for the whole family to better themselves each year and set records in the hope that they can break them during next Ramadhan. They constantly urge each other to do good deeds, especially, in this final phase of the month.
This entry is a reminder for me so that one day, if HE wills, when I have my own family, I can take on the role to set my family in motion in the more healthy race – the pursuit of seeking HIS mercy and forgiveness. InsyaAllah. Ramadhan is a very special time of the year if you take to heart the real meaning of it. One more day to the end, I’m still praying this will be the best Ramadhan ever. Ameen.
Happy Aidilfitri to you!