I discuss the importance of balance and how it may be a missing component of our “spiritual” diet.
What's the benefit of Shawwal other than the rewards of the optional 6-day fast?
— Usama Al-Za'tari (@usamaalzatari) July 5, 2017
I was asked on Twitter: “What’s the benefit of Shawwal other than the rewards of the optional 6-day fast?”? I give some commentary here.
إِنَّ الَّذينَ لا يَرجونَ لِقاءَنا وَرَضوا بِالحَياةِ الدُّنيا وَاطمَأَنّوا بِها وَالَّذينَ هُم عَن آياتِنا غافِلونَ
أُولٰئِكَ مَأواهُمُ النّارُ بِما كانوا يَكسِبونَ
“Those who don’t look forward to their meeting with Us, who are satisfied with the life of this world and who disregard Our Signs (verses) they’re going to have their home in the Fire on account of what they’ve earned for themselves.” — Qur’an, 10: 7-8
قال الحسن: والله ما زينوها ولا رفعوها ، حتى رضوا بها وهم غافلون عن آيات الله الكونية فلا يتفكرون فيها والشرعية فلا يأتمرون بها
Ibn Kathir relates in his Tafsir: “They adorned this life and praised it until they became completely satisfied with it. They were unconcerned with God’s signs in the universe, nor did they ponder over them. They were also unconcerned with God’s commandments, nor did they adhere to them. Their resting place on the Day of Resurrection will be in the Fire; that’s their reward for what they earned in their worldly lives through all their sins and crimes, and that’s in addition to their rejection of God, His Messenger and the Last Day.” — Hasan al-Basri
Never Being Satisfied With One’s Character
من قرأ القرآنَ فقد استدرج النُّبوَّةَ بين جنبَيْه غيرَ أنَّه لا يُوحَى إليه لا ينبغي لصاحبِ القرآنِ أن يجِدَّ مع من وجَدٍّ ولا يجهلَ مع من جهِل وفي جوفهِ كلامُ الله تعالى
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Whoever recites the Qur’an, they have approached prophethood, the only difference being they do not receive Divine Inspiration. It is not appropriate for the Companion of the Qur’an to act hastily with a hasty person nor be ignorant with an ignorant person while having the Word of God in his breast”. — al-Mundhiri, al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
اغْتَنِمْ خَمْسًا قَبْلَ خَمْسٍ شَبَابَكَ قَبْلَ هَرَمِكَ وَصِحَّتَكَ قَبْلَ سَقَمِكَ وَغِنَاكَ قَبْلَ فَقْرِكَ وَفَرَاغَكَ قَبْلَ شُغُلِكَ وَحَيَاتَكَ قَبْلَ مَوْتِكَ
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Take advantage of five things before another five are taken from you:  youth before old age;  health before sickness;  wealth before poverty;  free time before becoming busy; and  life before death”. — Narrated by ’Abdullah bin ’Abbas in al-Bayhaqi’s Shu’ab al-Iman
Satisfaction With The Creator vs. Created Things
إِنَّ الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَعَمِلُوا الصّالِحاتِ أُولٰئِكَ هُم خَيرُ البَرِيَّةِ
جَزاؤُهُم عِندَ رَبِّهِم جَنّاتُ عَدنٍ تَجري مِن تَحتِهَا الأَنهارُ خالِدينَ فيها أَبَدًا ۖ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنهُم وَرَضوا عَنهُ ۚ ذٰلِكَ لِمَن خَشِيَ رَبَّهُ
“However, those who believe and do what’s morally right are the best of creatures.Their reward lies with their Lord: everlasting gardens beneath which rivers flow — and there they shall remain — God well pleased with them and they with Him. This is what’s in store for the one who adored his Lord.” — Qur’an, 98: 7-8
Your relationship with Allah cannot be separated from your worship of Him.
— Marc Manley (@manrilla) March 9, 2017
Taj al-’Arus al-Hawi li Tahdhib al-Nufus by Ibn ‘Ata Allah al-Sikandari (al-Iskandari)
The Bride-Groom’s Crown Containing Instructions on Refining the Self
“The master of nature is vainly believed to be an adequate substitute for self-mastery.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
In his work, Sufism For Non-Sufi’s, Dr. Sherman Jackson writes,
“…part of Islam’s essential struggle from the very beginning was to identify good, substantively sound spirituality and distinguish it from and elevate it over bad, misguided spirituality. In sum, not all spirituality was or is good.” – Sherman Jackson
What is the function or purpose of spirituality from a Muslim perspective?
- Inspire us: to do good, to do self-help, in all things which inspiration is required.
- Elevate our morals: the world pulls at us asking us to merely adapt, not to transform.
- Imbue us with “devotional confidence and resolve” to connect with God, worship God and put God front and center of our lives.
Spirituality and antinomianism:
- “one who holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation”;
- one who rejects a socially established morality;
Spirituality in the Muslim tradition should also perform two functions:
- Affirm the supernatural.
- Eschew the superstitious.
من علامة الاعتماد على العمل نقصان الرجاء عند وجود الزلل
“Amongst the signs of leaning on one’s own handiwork of deeds is the loss of hope in the presence of mistakes.”
“Amongst the signs of relying on deeds is the loss of hope in the presence of mistakes.”