Shaykh Rami Nsour gives advice on how you can draw closer to Allah this Ramadan by breaking your routine so you can give more time towards building your relationship with Him.
Sometimes we go through the actions of our daily lives and they become routine. Then we have to remind ourselves that there is a reason why we do things. When that happens we lose the spirit of why we perform these acts.
For instance, when people marry, the first few days, months, years of their marriage is filled with love. But if they allow their marriage to become routine they lose that spark. And if they don’t work to bring that back it can be detrimental to their marriage.
A person in that state has to remember why it is they married. Revive that love. And turn their interactions as husband and wife back into being married out of love for each other.
Why do we fast?
Using that as an idea, let us look at fasting. When asked by non-Muslims or children why we fast, the common example we give is that it is healthy. We fill our stomach with food for a whole year, not giving it a chance to rest.
We say “It’s good for our health.” “So we can feel with the poor.” “So that we can appreciate the blessings of Allah.” ”So that we can gain the reward that Allah has promised those who fast for his sake.” And sometime we say: “We’re ordered to do that. Allah ordered us to fast and so we’re obeying the orders of Allah.”
These are all valid reasons and purposes of the fast, but there is a deeper purpose there. When we look to the religion of Allah and the beautiful Shari‘a, we see that it is there for the protection of certain things. When we look at all that we are commanded to stay away from, there’s a clear reason to do so.
What the Shari‘a Is For
The Shari‘a is there to preserve our religion, our life, the lineage of people, property, and intellect. These five things:
- 1. Religion
- 2. Life
- 3. Reproduction
- 4. Property
- 5. Reason
are the basis for what the Shari’a protects.
If we look at things that harm the intellect like alcohol and drugs, they become haram because it harms one of those essentials that Allah wants us to preserve. If we look at usury and gambling, they harm our wealth, and Allah is teaching us to protect our wealth. The Shari‘a revolves around the safeguarding of these things.
Allah Forbids What Consumes the Hearts
At another level, Ibn ‘Ajiba, one of the great Maliki scholars of Morocco, said: “The reason why Allah makes things haram is because they consume our hearts and leave no room for love of Allah.”
Take alcohol. People who consume it are consumed by it. It consumes their hearts, their wealth, their life, their reason. It consumes their ability to love other than the bottle. Marriages break down because of love of alcohol. Jobs are lost because of love of alcohol. The same can be said of gambling.
So when Allah makes things haram for us He is giving us the platform to make room in our hearts to work on filling that with love of Allah.
Fasting Lightens and Expands the Hearts
But remember, we can also be consumed by things that are permissible. Things such as wealth, family, businesses, careers, and so on. If we look at this from the aspect of time we see that the time we give to permissible things, if they consume us, takes away from time in the presence of Allah.
One of the beautiful aspects of fasting, especially during Ramadan, is that it breaks us out of our routine and makes room in our hearts for love of Allah. It brings a new schedule, a break from routine.
In Ramadan, we are run by the schedule of ritual prayers. By Suhur or the pre-dawn meal, by Fajr, by not having to break for meals during the day. Then comes Maghrib, you break fast, and you go to pray Tarawih, and then sleep. This give us time to reflect and to work on our love of Allah.
So, take the opportunity to break from routine this Ramadan. Take the time to reflect and to make room in your hearts for love of Allah.
Shaykh Rami had the honor of studying with the famed Murabit al Hajj in Mauritania for many years, and is the co-founder of a remarkable organization, the Tayba Foundation – through which many CA inmates have been able to learn about their deen and prepare for life after prison.
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