Farewell to Ramadan |
Khaleej Times - 16 August, 2012
Author: Khwaja Mohammad Zubair
This is time to bid farewell to our honoured guest, the Holy month of Ramadan, the month of special prayers, the month of charity, the month of piety, the month of spiritual-discipline, the month of Holy Quran with tearful thanksgiving and prayers for the acceptance of our fast and our supplications.
For 29 or 30 days, we have developed such an emotional relation with the blessed month that we are becoming worried and anxious about the departure of the holy month.
Eventually, the time comes and the day of its departure is here, and your beloved and blissful Ramadan, is leaving, and leaving soon. This wonderful guest is so polite that he does not come back very often, so that you always desire his return later.
Now that we realise his departure, we do not know if we will ever see him again. He might not come next year, or we may not be there when he comes back. These anxious thoughts of fear and hope provoke our heart to cry and our eyes to shed tears.
It’s the last night of the month of Ramadan. His luggage is packed, placed by the door and the place is full with people who came to have a final look at him and enjoy a last moment with the guest. As we watch the guest sipping his final drops of our hospitality, he asks to be excused; we realize now that all the hospitality we offered was not yet enough to meet his status. So we hold his hand tight wish that he would not let go and hope to keep him longer. We become remorseful and ask for forgiveness and say, “My dear guest, I’m sorry.”
At the end of this blessed month we say “O Allah, forgive me. My Lord, I could have done more but I did not, so forgive me. My Lord, excuse my shortcomings and blemishes, You are indeed oft -Forgiving and You love forgiveness, so forgive me.”
Istighfaar, or seeking forgiveness, at the end of every good deed, is the way of the righteous. We need forgiveness to patch the holes we created in our fasting due to our faults and mistakes, or at least for falling short on fulfilling the full rights of hospitality to the guest. After all, arriving with a batched record is better off than arriving with no records at all.
Omar Ibn Abdulaziz, the Umayyad ruler, used to send his deputies around the country with the command to summon the deeds of Ramadan with Istighfaar and charity. Let us have a moment of remorse, and excuse ourselves by seeking forgiveness from the Lord of Ramadan.
In order not to show our departing guest any sign of sadness on that day, we show him deliberate happiness. Therefore, we eat few dates prior to our arrival at the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer area. He now knows that we accept his inevitable departure, we just broke our long time fast.
Anas narrated: “The Messenger of Allah would not leave to Eid-ul-Fitr until he eats few dates, and he used to eat them in odd number.” (Bukhari)
It saddens our beloved guest not to follow the example of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Not breaking the fast until we come back from the Eid prayer is, indeed, a sign of fake piety.
As we prepare for the party, we make sure that everybody around is happy and satisfied. All should participate in this party and no one should be left behind. That was the reason why our guest had come visiting us for anyways, he came to teach us how to care and share. Our guest should not leave us seeing anyone unhappy or dissatisfied. We feed the hungry and keep Ramadan’s legacy alive. We give Zaka-ul-Fitr.
Escorting the guest out with chanting and du’a until he is out of sight is an Islamic etiquette of honouring the guest. And there is no guest who deserves it more than our beloved Ramadan. Once the announcement of his departure is delivered, as we sight that gesture at night—the Hilal, we start making our du’a and chanting our Takbeer until the Eid celebrations next day is over.
Our guest is leaving and as he slowly walks away, he turns to us and says: “Farewell my dear friends and good companions. Know that I may not see you again after this day.” The shocking reality strikes, we need to make sure that he leaves happy and satisfied and, therefore, we concern ourselves with the acceptance of whatsoever we offered of hospitality, even if it was little. It is no longer how much we did; it is how much was accepted and approved. We turn to our guest and present our case and say: “Please, accept the little of our hospitality, for what you saw was, indeed, the utmost we could afford of our generosity.”