"The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely." [Quran 8:2]
Change and Ramadan
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Have you ever read about the emaan (faith) of a fellow Muslim online or in a magazine? Most likely the feeling you were left with was probably a sense of wonder, and possibly bittersweet inspiration. Many Muslims are blessed with being able to relate how the light of Allah, the All-Powerful, is ever-present in their lives, or how they have found peace in fulfilling the rites of Islam. These true-life stories are heartwarming. But not every Muslim can speak from the same place. Some may not have as tight a grip on their faith as they would like.
It is a cold, hard fact that life always intervenes to test our faith to the limits. Some of us can bear hardships and resist temptations. Most of us can't. Often we feel disconnected from our Creator, as if wandering in a dark abyss, unaware of just how precarious our situation may be.
But emaan is like a river of depleting ebbs and mighty flows, at times receding into the distance, then raging back to bubble over its banks. We all feel it. At moments of great joy or fear, most of us turn to Allah, praising Him, seeking help and mercy, and our emaan skyrockets. In others, when we're jostling in the mundane world pursuing our earthly tasks, our emaan can dip downward.
This is what Allah is telling us when He All-Mighty Says (what means): "The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely - the ones who establish prayer, and from what We have provided them, they spend." [Quran 8:2-3]. Emaan rises and falls depending on what we do—for, indeed, one's actions are a part of one's eeman, perhaps the best indicator of its vigor.
The question is how seriously do we take this fluctuation to ensure we are not drawn away from life's purpose by the whispers of Satan. Do you take precautions against this? Do you feel it vital to protect and enhance your emaan on ongoing basis?
If you do, there is a real opportunity for you to light up your life this Ramadan. And I know you know that. But the opportunity, to me, is not in Ramadan itself, but lies instead in being able to awaken yourself to the fact that Allah has created us innately amenable to change.
More specifically, this opportunity, or rather the challenge, is whether one succeeds in making his answer to these questions an inspired move that allows him to overcome the murmurs of vanity and doubts in his heart? Will he muster every bit of willpower to courageously steer himself back in line with guidance he certainly recognizes to be true? Or shall the darkness of his weak emaan enveil him and cause him to stray far from its broad path.
Every Muslim who has fasted Ramadan and experienced its affirming and inspiring power and all it brings with it knows that seizing this opportunity for change is actually the easier choice, for, indeed, it leads to ease.
Here is the main reason why.
In this month, 14 centuries ago, the Quran was revealed to the Seal of Allah's Messengers to call all of mankind back to the One and Only God, Allah the Lord and Creator of all. Allah Says what means: "The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people..." [Quran 2:185] and "O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers." [Quran 10:57]
So, this means of change is mercy and guidance from Him. And the gates to this mercy and guidance are open throughout the year but especially so during the days and nights of Ramadan.
If your emaan is not where you want it to be, use this Ramadan as a springboard to recommit your life to God. Start now and keep your emaan going all year round by arming yourself with `ilm and `amal—knowledge and action.
If you believe this and truly seek to change, you will succeed.