Uploaded on 02 May 2020
Ten days to work for maghfirah
Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam
Before beginning the second part of any current Ramadhan series I want to reiterate that it is not written in the format I did my earlier Ramadhan columns which were all written in the traditional, ulema-approved style. This was so even though I was not a trained a’alim.
A reason for this change is that among educated Muslims worldwide large sections have risen that know Islam rather well, but have not benefits well from Islamic seminaries. They practice and study Islam without the direct guidance from ulema. This has created a huge space for writers on Islam to work it in a different idiom. Hence, my resort to the latter idiom.
Another point I would like to make is that instead of Ramadhan, it is about the larger context of Islam itself. Hence, some of the better-known facts are not reiterated here.
However, to put the text in context, a lot of us state the second ashrah (ten days) of Ramadhan is called that of maghfirah, which is the state of a believer being pardoned by Allah and Blessed by Him to enter paradise in life hereafter. Those are the people about whom the scripture says: “Tell them the good tidings and let them know that they have been honoured with jannah (heaven)”.
All of us will do well to look up some authoritative Arabic-English dictionary to grasp the full meaning, connotations and emphases that the above Arabic terms suggest. (For a correct rendition and reference of the Quranic declaration in the above para, refer to some standard Quranic exegesis.)
One has to remember that the Prophet (PBUH) increased his time of nafl salaat, supplications, prayers and communion with Allah, besides spending on the poor, way farer, the needy, the infirm and virtually everybody else right from the beginning of the preceding month Shabaan. (For detail: read Ummul Momineen Aisha Siddiqua’s narration of relevant Hadith.)
According to such Hadith narrations sourced to prophetic household and other sources, the Prophet used to pray to Allah to take him (PBUH) through Shabaan to Ramadhan, the month of Allah’s endless bounty. To know the “endless bounty”. To experience it, one does not have to have an al-Azhar PhD or Harvard PhD in Islamic Studies. Even you and I, Muslims working as unskilled labourers on construction sites, farms and factories experience it. It is mubin (clear, self-evident).
From authentic Hadith accounts, by the time the second ashrah came around, the prophet (PBUH) was completely absorbed in dhikr (remembrance of Allah), prayers and supplication and spending one the needy to the exclusion of virtually everything else.
In the third ashrah this further gathered pace till the Eid-al fitra morning when he took something light and sweat. Some sugar in the blood to physiologically and psychological laid the foundations for a joyous day celebrating Allah’s forgiveness.
That also laid a firm physiological basis for joyous mixing together with friends and neighbours (not necessarily Muslims). At one place he said “I wish there was a law for Muslims to give a share in to neighbours from their property to neighbours (who did not have to be Muslims).”
Finally, I would like to emphasise that Ramadhan is merely a crash course for Muslims on how to spend the rest of the year in the same spirit. To end this part of the series we try to relearn Allah’s assertion in the Quran that He made the children of Adam dignified. The children come not from one religion but all, including religions that are agnostic, animistic and sections that have no faith.
The IOS is working on research of those issues for its next project that is likely to be presented in a 200- page book in a concise form.