By Umm Ibrahim
Physical intake should decrease in Ramadan; spiritual intake should increase. One of the best ways to increase spiritual intake is to connect to the Quran, to recite it and reflect on it, individually and in a group. Both modes have their own benefits and virtues.
Alhamdolillah, I’ve been trying to attend Quran sessions daily. The 20-min journey to and fro provides quiet time to think and reflect. One of the things that I always think about during this journey is: death. The reason being as straightforward as this: I pass a huge, sprawling graveyard on the way.
As the car zooms by, I recite the Prophetic dua for the occasion. One of the versions say:
“Peace be upon you all,
O inhabitants of the dwellings (i.e. the graves),
amongst the believers and the Muslims.
Indeed, we are soon to follow (i.e. to die as believers also) inshaAllah,
We ask Allah for well-being for us and for you.”
(Muslim, an-Nasai, Ibn Majah)
This is truly an amazing dua. See how it shifts focus from the dead to the living, from the grave-dwellers to us- the travelers of the dunya, who are about to hit the grave one day too.
It is just as if the dead are telling us through their condition:
We were like you one day
You shall be like us one day.
Yes, the graveyards are full of ‘indispensable’ people. Young mothers, busy professionals, university students- all had met the angel of death suddenly, at the appointed time and place. They thought they still had plenty of time. They thought they would do better tomorrow. Except that the command came from the Highest Authority for their mission to be aborted; and for them to be unceremoniously plucked out of the examination hall, to be sent to the waiting room/internment center until the results are formally announced.
Death is enough as a reminder. Whenever I feel lazy to go to class, or follow the commandments of Allah, or matters in life seem heavy upon my soul, death is enough as a reminder. For those who procrastinate and kill time, death is sufficient as a shocker.
This could be our last Ramadan. Where’s the guarantee that it isn’t?
The graves might already have been dug while we are heedless.
The cloth for the shrouds might already have reached the marketplace.
We were all manufactured with an expiry date. Make hay while the sun shines.