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Ramadan: The Dawn of Hope

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RamadanTheDawnofHope

I still remember the first tears coming from my eyes during one of the Ramadan Tarawih nights. They were not related to acknowledgement of sins, interaction with the Quran, or fear of hell fire, they came out simply after hearing a du`aa’ that the Imam made for Palestine. They were sincere supplications that asked Allah to help our brothers and sisters in the holy land, to liberate Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa, to relieve the widows and the orphans and free the prisoners.

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Years and years after that, the list of oppressed countries continues to grow, and we started to learn about new names and new countries mentioned in the Imam’s du`aa’ (Chechnya, Somalia, Kashmir, Burma, etc…) until other countries that we already know about joined the “du`aa’ list” (Iraq, Syria, etc…).

And the question always popped into my head: what’s going on? Are we only living from year to year to witness another massacre, sign petitions for a new country, and protest for the rights of a new Muslim minority in the middle of no-where?!

Even in the age of facebook and twitter, nothing changed much, except the fact that we can literally see the martyrs breathing their last breathe, and we can see live pictures of children crying over the graves of their parents.

 

The forgotten victories

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First of all, remember that our biggest enemy, Satan, aims at destroying our faith, adding to our depression, and making sure that we lose our connection with Allah through du`aa’. That’s why usually we tend to remember the problems, the pains, and forget the moments of victory and success, both in our individual lives and on the bigger scale of the Muslim Ummah.

For example, If Gaza has been under war and siege for decades, isn’t it enough that this beloved city did not – and will not – surrender?

Isn’t it enough that the legend of Gaza is being repeated in different parts of the Muslim world (Homs of Syria, Benghazi of Libya, Fallujah of Iraq, etc…)?

Isn’t it enough that Islam is being spread all over the world and more people are embracing this great deen, despite all the attempts to destroy its image in the media and on the hands of Muslims themselves?

In our personal lives, we might have asked Allah for many things, and still waiting for His answer on some of these issues. But wait, why don’t you reflect on the supplications that were actually answered, in addition to the thousands of blessings and gifts that you were given even without asking?

One of my favorite pieces of the Quran is the beautiful conversation (I like to call it IM = Instant Messaging) between Allah and prophet Musa:

{[Moses] said, "My Lord, expand for me my chest [with assurance]! And ease for me my task! And untie the knot from my tongue! That they may understand my speech…}(Taha 20:25-28)

After this sincere du`aa’, the All-Hearer, the All-Knowing, the All-Merciful God says:

{You have been granted your request, O Moses.}(Taha 20:36).

But not only that, He starts reminding Musa about the moments of support, of help, of bless, that were given to him even without asking for it, when he was a child in the cradle:

{And We had already conferred favor upon you another time, When We inspired to your mother what We inspired, [Saying], 'Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.' And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.}(Taha 20:37-39)

The night is only a temporary period, and no body, no king, no Pharaoh, can overcome the will of Allah and stop the day from coming.
In our lives, there are thousands of stories similar to that of Musa that we overlook and forget. The moment you were guided to this deen (even if you were born as a Muslim), your first job interview, the time you met your spouse, the night your first child was born, the time you were saved from a certain death on a high way. Just remember these moments before you raise your hands to the almighty, and taste the sweetness of du`aa’, again !

 

The white line of hope 

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In Ramadan, we are commanded to fast, and to identify the proper duration of fasting by observing the sky and other elements of nature, something that we lost touch with in the age of prayer schedules, Adhan reminders, and salat apps. In surat Al-Baqarah, Allah says:

{… And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]. Then complete the fast until the sunset…}(Al-Baqarah 2:187).

Have you ever seen this scene before? I remember seeing it only once in my life, in a camp where the sky was crystal clear. Subhana Allah, a very accurate description from the One who created this amazing universe in the first place, and the One who gave us the ability to express ourselves and our observations through language.  

The thin line of the dawn that announces the end of a dark night reminds us of a similar law in the lives of human beings. It confirms to us that with every hardship, ease will come. It reminds us that the last minutes before the dawn are actually the darkest. It tells us that the night is only a temporary period, and no body, no king, no Pharaoh, can overcome the will of Allah and stop the day from coming.

Another hint about these last minutes before dawn: This time is referred to as the time of the Sahar (and that’s why the pre-fasting meal is referred to as Suhur). This time offers a great opportunity for your du`aa’ to be accepted, as the prophet PBUH says in the hadith:

Our Lord descends to the lower heaven during the last third of the night, saying: is there anyone asking Me so I respond to them? Is there anyone with any need so that I grant them what they want? Anyone out there who is seeking my forgiveness so that I forgive them? (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

 

Until they change themselves

In Ramadan, we prove to ourselves that “Yes, We Can!”
I think that the biggest hope that Ramadan carries for us, is that it puts the remote controller for change in our hands; it gives us that secret recipe and allows us to start the process of removing the injustice, both from our personal lives and on the bigger scale of the Ummah. We all know the equation of change mentioned in the Quran:

{Allah does not change the situation of people until they change what’s within themselves} (Ar-Ra`d 13:11)

In Ramadan, we beat our desires; we feel that our souls can breathe again, after choking them all year round by always responding to the needs and the temptations of the body. In Ramadan, we prove to ourselves that “Yes, We Can!” There is no bigger hope than the one that comes from your personal own victory.

Please, use this advice and these ideas to raise your spirits, and workout your muscles of faith before every du`aa’, and I hope that me and you will taste, again, the sweetness of those tears that will flow during du`aa’. Also, I hope and I ask Allah the almighty, to allow us to taste the sweetness of Allah’s victory and help coming to the Muslim Ummah. Ameen!

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