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Fasting is meant to mellow us into exhibiting the finer traits of human character. We ought to welcome Fasting as a practical means of reforming…

Fasting is meant to mellow us into exhibiting the finer traits of human character. We ought to welcome Fasting as a practical means of reforming ourselves rather than considering the period as an inevitable religious bondage, eagerly awaiting the time to free ourselves there from at the end of the month, to resume our ways of old again.

But by far, the most significant event to hope for during these last days of Ramadan is Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Indeed We have revealed it (the Qur’an) in the Night of Power. And what will explain to you what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) ‘Peace’ (continuously) till the rise of morning!” (Qur’an 97:1-5)

As we bid the Holy Month of Ramadan bye, it is time to reflect on Lailatul Qadr, the Night of Power, the Greatest Night of all nights. The last book of Allah to His creatures, the Qur’an, was revealed in this Great Night which occurs only once a year, in Ramadan. Allah chose the night because of the special blessings in it. A good deed in this night is better than the rewards of deeds of 1,000 months (about 83.3 years). It is this night that all Muslims are invited by Allah to look for in the month of Ramadan. Specifically, the night should be expected in the last ten days of Ramadan and usually in one of the odd days (i.e. 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29).

Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah: ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.’” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Tirmidhi). The transliteration of this Dua is ‘Allahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘annee.’

Since we are in the Farewell Mode, one Sister Jaleelah Alhassan wrote with her own Farewell Notes titled WAJABAT, on her recent losses:

“In the past three weeks, two deaths have jolted me intensely. They were both on a Sunday and both due to a car accident from a burst tyre. But they had an even more outstanding thing in common. The two people involved were blessed with a sign that they are of Jannah in sha Allah! Good testimonies (Kyakkyawar Shaida). Everyone who had known them had only good to say, in terms of ibadah and in terms of their daily interactions with the people around them. The Hadith below needs no explanation, ‘Wajabat’ is what is translated as ‘It has been affirmed’.

Narrated Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him): “A funeral procession passed and the people praised the deceased. The Prophet Muhammad (upon whom be peace) said, ‘It has been affirmed to him.’ Then another funeral procession passed and the people spoke badly of the deceased. The Prophet said, ‘It has been affirmed to him.’ Then Umar bin Al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Allah’s Messenger ‘What has been affirmed?’ He replied, ‘You have praised this one, so Paradise has been affirmed to him; and you have dispraised (spoken badly of) the other, so Hell has been affirmed to him. You people are Allah’s witnesses on earth.’” (Bukhari 2:448)

“I have never in my life seen a death that affected so many people at once like Umma’s. Not ‘affect’ as in the usual sad effect death, or the mention of it, has on people, but in the sense of loss that was personal and deep for a great number of people. Family or not, you could see the sorrow on everyone’s face. Literally hundreds of people came, prayed and testified for her, not because she was famous but just because of the kind of person she was and how she had touched so many lives. Umma was a role model to a lot of people, and a pillar to even more. Every single person spoke khair of her. Wajabat, in sha Allah.

“Misbahu lived up to his name, literally. After secondary school when everyone else was going off to university, he decided to go to Maiduguri to memorise the Qur’an. While his mates had their degrees, he came back a hafiz. While they were busy with school or work, he was busy leading tarawih prayers and teaching the Qur’an. In fact, the classmates he had left at Zubairiya Islamiyya, Galadanci had become his students! Only after his hadda [memorisation of the Qur’an] did he enroll in university and, with just a few months to graduate, he passed on. Degreeless, but with the whole Qur’an in his heart. Everyone speaks of his humble and grateful character. True to his name, he was a Lamp to those around him. Wajabat, in sha Allah.

“May Allah forgive and grant His rahmah upon them, and all those that have passed on this year and the years before…amin.

“Now, to you and me…if death were to come upon you right now, this minute, what will people say about you? Really, think about it and be honest to yourself. What will people say about your character, your deen, your muamalat [interactions] with them? Will there be that sense of loss or will you be just an ‘Ayya! Allah jikansa/Allah jikanta’? Or worse still ‘Ayya! Ga pictures dinta nan har yanzu a Facebook’?

“These days, people have nonchalant attitudes about what others say about them, not knowing it matters. Wajabat! So think about it. What will people say and what would you rather they say? In the difference lies the key. If you know what you want to be said, then you can work to reflect that. ‘Begin with the end in mind’ as they say in management. And of course, don’t postpone, ‘Death comes without permission, without knocking, unexpected.’

“Ramadan is a great opportunity to work on both our ibadah and muamalah. Seek forgiveness from Allah. Forgive others and seek their forgiveness. Live well so that in the end, only khair will be said. Wajabat, in sha Allah.

“…And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Qur’an 59:18).”

And finally, dear Readers…my publisher, Media Trust Limited, is introducing a Coffee Table edition of the publication aimed at enhancing the company’s profile. To this end, they request that I (and my other columnist colleagues) submit one previously published article which we cherish the most, and are quite happy with, for inclusion in the Coffee Table edition. So now, dear Readers, Over To You: I suggest you suggest to me which article to send, if you can remember any. The article with the highest number of suggestions goes to Coffee Table, and you may be lucky to read and reread it while you wait at the Doctor’s. We have until next week to send. Thanks.

And may we be fortunate to witness Lailatul Qadr, amin.

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