The Holy Qur'ān

It’s time for Ramadan again, God willing. Whether by calculation [which this author does not subscribe to as a primary means of determining the fast] or by the traditional method of sighting [shahādah], the Blessed Month is upon us. It’s that time when immaterial whims of the world, its assumptions and delusions, as Mark Slouka puts it, are cast aside in favor of an Unseen Favor. Even the reward for fasting is known only to Allah.

Ramadan is that time, even though we look towards the horizon to confirm our fasting, when reality ceases to be solely horizontal and we take on a consciousness of the Seven Heavens; the Qur’an passing down, its Revelation, punctuates the true vertical nature of reality: That God is above the Throne which sits above the Creation. And from this, our Master Muhammad [s], was called and commanded: “Recite!”

Ramadan is a time to rehumanize: To come to know oneself without the muddling of Shayṭān. We can put our ears to our hearts and listen to what’s really there. Are we miserly? Coarse? Shallow? It is a time to dedicate oneself wholly to a new cause – indeed the only cause worth dedicating one’s soul to: lā ilāha illa Allah, Muḥammadun rasūl Allah.

In a few days time the debate over calculations, cesarean moon births and the like, will fade away and mosques will be crowded with the needy; needy of heart and soul. Our minds and hearts will be filled with transcendent thoughts while our vision vignettes on the Qur’an, blocking out the static of the dunya [wordly life], by reciting it night and day. We will greet each other with the greetings of Paradise [السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته] with smiles on our faces. Our hearts will tremble as we take stock, throwing ourselves on the Mercy of the Court: rabbanā ighfirlanā dhunūbanā!

I pray that Allah grants us access to Ramadan and all of its treasures, that we live to reap its benefits. Amin. For those who have contemplated embracing Islam, there can be no better time than the Holy Month of Ramadan to do so. I hope this short message will be one of the last as we shut off our computers and reboot our hearts, put down our Blackberries, Palm Pilots, iPhones/iPads and all other distractions and harness the tremendous benefits of this month. May you all have a blessed Ramadan.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه, عن النبي, صلى الله عليه و سلم, قال يقول الله عز و جل الصوم لي و أنا أجزي به يدع شهوته و أكله و شربه من أجلي والصوم جنة وللصائم فرحتان: فرحة حين يفطر و فرحة حين يلقى ربه و خلوف فم الصائم أطيب عند الله من ريح المسك

[Ḥadīth Qudsī on the authority of Abū Hurayrah, may God be pleased with him, stated that the Prophet [s] said: “Fasting is Mine and I give its reward. One who abstains from passions, food, and drink for My Sake. So know fasting is like a shield; the one who fasts has two joys: a joy when the fast is broken and a joy when the faster meets their Lord. The odor eminating from the mouth of one who fasts is purer in God’s sight than the scent of musk.”

Marc Manley
27th of Sha’bān, 1431AH, Philadelphia

Bridging Our Gaps: Thoughts on Piety and Taqwa on the Cusp of Ramadan

First Khutbah – Main Points

Ramadan is a time of joy, happiness, reflection and purification for Muslims all around the world. But if we as Muslims are to truly benefit from this sacred time then we must extrapolate an Islam that is didactic, that is instruction in a complete and harmonious way, not simply a list of harām and halāl.

So I pose the question, what is it we should be reflecting on? The term itself suggests one is peering at or into something. For us, we must peer into our own souls, examining every deed, every strain of thought, every emotion. If we are to diagnose what maligns our souls, we must look at them in the mirror.

Yet, above and beyond the mundane prose lies a spiritual reality and awareness that demands more than just religiosity. Allah says in His Book:

شهر رمضان الذي أنزل قيه القرئان هدى للناس و نينات من الهدى  و الفرقان فمن شهد منكم الشهر فليصمه و من كان مريضا أو سفر فعدة من أيام اخر يريد الله بكم اليسر و لا يريد بكم العسر و لتكملوا العدة و لتكبروا الله على ما هداكم و لعلكم تشكرون

“The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down, a guidance for mankind as well as a explanation on that guidance and a criterion on which to judge. Let the one who has borne witness to this fast. For the one that is sick or traveling, then count your days therein, as Allah desires to make it easy for you, not difficult. Therefore complete your days when able and proclaim Allah’s Greatness for the guidance He has bestowed upon you all so that you may properly show gratitude.” [Q: 2:185]

Many of us today suffer from a false sense of piety, that piety is either some exceedingly difficult task or lifestyle, or a mode of dress, or something else conjured up from our own sense of piety. This is at the crux of a major spiritual crisis going on in the Muslim world today. Yet, Allah and His Messenger [s] have given us clear signs and examples of what constitutes piety. The Prophet [s] said:

الكيس من دان نفسه و عمل لما بعد الموت
و الأحمق من اتبع هواه و تمنى على الله تعالى الأماني

“The astute man passes judgment on himself and works for what comes after death –
The imbecile is the one who follows his passions yet expects God, the Exalted, to realize his wishes.” Continue reading “Bridging Our Gaps: Thoughts on Piety and Taqwa on the Cusp of Ramadan”