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by Raiiq Ridwan

We are going through that time of the year when there is a lot of religious worship going on! Starting from Shaaban when we try and fast in preparation for Ramadan, and then the Holy Blessed Month of Ramadan comes along! As Ramadan passes away, we miss that fasting fever! On comes Shawwal where we try to do 6 fasts to earn enormous rewards.

While not too much is done in Dhul-Qa’dah in our societies, it is a time when the flights for Hajj start, and family members, relatives and friends, and if fortunate ourselves prepare for the annual journey of a lifetime. Dhul Hijjah brings with it the ten best days of the year, the day of Arafah and another Eid for us. And it is all capped off with Muharram, titled “The Month of Allah” in hadith literature. [1]

The following few months are a time of a bit of a dampener in terms of our Imaan due to the fact that none of the months are “too special” as we would like to say. This is where we need to think back, look a bit deeply and remember that at the end of the day, Ramadan is not special because it’s Ramadan.

Arafah is not special because it’s Arafah. Muharram is not special because it’s Muharram! They are all special, because Allah, the Most Mighty Most High made them special. At the end of the day all our worship and our deeds are not for special occasions. They are for Allah, and Allah makes these special occasions because He knows that us as humans perform better with better incentives!

Allah says with regards to our creation, “I have not created the men and the jinn for any purpose but to worship Me” [2]. Ibn Abbas, radi Allahu anhu, and his student Mujahid both mentioned in the commentary of the verse that worship entails knowing Him. [3]

How to know Allah?

How do we get to know Allah? Imam ibn Rajab writes

“In the Qur’an, Allah, Exalted is He, invites people to acquire ma’rifah; or knowledge and gnosis [of Him], via two ways: Firstly, by reflecting upon the divine handiwork [in creation]; and secondly, by contemplating over the Qur’an and pondering over its meanings.

The former are His signs that are seen and witnessed, the latter are His signs which are heard and understood. “The first type is referred to in His saying: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and day; in the sailing of ships through the ocean for the benefit of mankind; in the water that Allah sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death; in the animals of all kinds that He has scattered therein; in the ordering of the winds and the clouds that are driven between heaven and earth, are signs for people who can think”. [4]

And His words: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of the night and day, are signs for those of understanding”. [5] Verses like these occur frequently in the Qur’an.The second is referred to in His saying: “Will they not reflect on the Qur’an?” [6] As well as: “Do they not reflect about what is being said?” [7] And: This is a Book that We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may reflect over its signs”. [8] Such verses also occur frequently.”

Thus Imam Ibn al-Qayyim shows two ways to know Allah- pondering on His creation and studying the Quran. How can you not be amazed except by seeing the sky, marvel at the clouds of various shapes, colours and sizes flying across the sky? Is it not amazing that there are 6 billion people on earth, and they have 12 billion eyes, and Allah knows what EVERY eye sees? How Allah knows what the 12 billion ears hear? And He knows what all these people think, wish and want to do?

Is it then not amazing that among all of his creation he decided to choose men to be the best? And among the human beings, he chose us to be Muslims, when billions are still lost, looking for guidance?

In the cycle of blessed days and months, let us ponder on the creation of Allah. Take time to watch a documentary about any of the creation of Allah, whether it’s the clouds, or animals, or even natural events like cyclones and tornadoes! Learn about them and marvel at the power and majesty of your Lord, Full of Might and Honour! And then open the Quran, and be marvelled at his beautiful message, the mauidhah (heart penetrating advice) that He decided to send to you and I!

For a better understanding of the Quran, learn Quranic Arabic. Enrol today at the Understand Quran Academy!

[1] Narrated by Muslim

[2] Quran 51:55

[3] Narrated by Baghawi

[4] Quran 2:164

[5] Quran 3:190

[6] Quran 4:84

[7] Quran 23:68

[8] Quran 38:29

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