Reflection in Ramadhan
The writer, Ayyad Dilawar Padhani is in Marketing at his family optical practice. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, Marketing and related support services. He has been rendering community services from a very early age.
iqdad, one of the loyal companions of ‘Ali (‘a), says: “I went to Abu Hurairah who said that he had heard the Noble Prophet (S) say: ‘Contemplating for an hour is better than the worship of one year.’
I went to Ibn ‘Abbas and heard him say that the Noble Prophet (S) said: ‘Contemplation for one hour is superior to seven years of worship.’
I went to another companion and heard him narrate that the Noble Prophet (S) said: ‘An hour of contemplation is better than seventy years of worship.’
I was astonished to hear each of them narrating differently from the other and so, I approached the Noble Prophet (S) and informed him of the three different versions. He said: “All three of them speak the truth.” Then, to prove his point, he summoned the three men. All of us gathered in the presence of the Noble Prophet (S).
The Noble Prophet (S) asked Abu Hurairah: “How do you contemplate?”
“As stated by Allah in the Qur’an: ‘(Men of understanding) reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth’.I too reflect upon the wonders of the heavens and the earth,” he replied.
The Noble Prophet (S) remarked, “One hour of your contemplation is better than one year of worship.”
Then turning to Ibn ‘Abbas, he asked, “How do you contemplate?”
“I reflect upon death and the horrors of the Day of Judgment,” replied Ibn ‘Abbas.
The Noble Prophet (S) said, “One hour of your contemplation is better than seven years of worship.” Then, he asked the other companion, “In what manner do you contemplate?”
The companion answered, “I reflect upon the fire of Hell and its dreadfulness and severity.”
“One hour of your contemplation is better than seventy years of worship,” the Noble Prophet (S) stated.
In this way the issue was solved and it became clear that the rewards for contemplation depended upon the intention that accompanied it.
“Do they not reflect within themselves: Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them two but with truth, and (for) an appointed term?” (30:8)
Imam ‘Ali (as) said: “Contemplation invites (man) towards good (deed) and its performance.” (Jame’ al-Sa’adat, Volume 1, Page 166.)
We know that pondering and spending time in reflection is super important and emphasised in Islam, we must become thinking Muslims.
Some example questions/ideas that can help jumpstart our reflective processes include the below, but are not limited to:
Creation of Allah (SWT)
Learning about biology, or astronomy, how living beings and the universe was created can show us how complex everything is, and how beautifully it has been designed, can empower us to be in awe of the creation of Allah (swt), to praise His Majesty, Power and Grandeur, as well as be grateful for the ability to witness it all and understand it as you do.
- What are my goals in life, short-term, and long-term?
- What do I value / What are things that I cannot compromise on?
- Who do I like to be around? What are their habits?
- Do these habits align with my long-term goals?
- Do I set some time aside each week or month to organise my thoughts and sort my emotions, feelings and experiences?
- Do I contemplate and spend time extracting lessons and inspiration from the ayaat of the Qur’an?
- Do I have an explanation for why I pray 5 times daily, partake in Jumuah once a week, Ramadhan and obligatory charity once a year, and hajj once a lifetime?
- What things can add value to my salaah? Perhaps starting with Adhan/Iqamah? Perhaps tasbih after salah?
- Do I perform wudu mindlessly while talking to others? Do I know the meaning of the wudu?
- What is the ultimate reason for worshipping Allah (SWT)?
- Am I treating my colleagues/employees with justice and fairness?
- Is there any worker that can have a credible complaint against me on the day of judgement?
- Am I not giving my best to my work, and not fulfilling my potential?
- Do I keep quiet when instead I should be saying something?
- Am I being paid fairly for the effort I’m applying? What are strategies I can use to match the payment to my level of input?
To end with I’d like to call you to think of what your response would be if the Holy Prophet (SAWW) told you to make any dua and he would make sure you got it. Ponder over it and then move on to the story of Rabi’ah below.
Rabi’ah Ibn Ka’b reports: “Once, the Noble Prophet (S) said to me: “O’ Rabi’ah! You have been serving me for seven years and therefore, will you not ask for something from me so that I grant it to you?”
“O’ Prophet of Allah! Grant me some time so that I may reflect on the matter,” I requested. The next day, when I arrived in his presence, the Prophet (S) said: “O’ Rabi’ah! Speak out your wish.”
“Pray to Allah that He makes me enter Paradise along with you!” I said.
Hearing this request, he inquired, “Who is it that has taught you to seek this from me?”
“No one has taught it to me. I considered that if I sought great wealth, it would eventually get exhausted; if I sought a long life and numerous children, the ultimate eventuality would be death; hence, as a result of this contemplation, I eventually opted for this request,” I replied.
The Noble Prophet (S) lowered his head for a few moments as he deliberated, after which, raising his head, he said: “I shall seek your wish from Allah, but you must help me too (in this matter) by prostrating excessively.”
This story shows the importance of contemplation over what we ask for, as well as generally what we decide to utter from our mouths.
May this Holy Month be a blessing for our lives, transform us, add barakah in all that we do, and not only remain as a fasting month from food but also words that haven’t been reflected upon and thought through thoroughly.
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