Oh My Sha’baan…

If you want For the last few years whenever I heard the Ramadan preparation lectures which usually came near the end of shabaan… it made me think that there should be lectures before shabaan to tell us how we should be using this great month for the preparation of the even greater month after it…

With this thought in mind I did some planning in Rajab how I was going to spend shabaan… and felt rather pleased that in sha Allah I was going to be super ready for Ramadan this year…

But as it happened that just a few days after this month of preparation started… I woke up one morning to find that I was unable to get out of bed… the muscles and nerves of my lower back had become so stiff… that it felt like impossible to move even an inch… but I had experienced this last year too so I was not as scared as I had been at that time… I prayed to Allah for his help and gradually and slowly I managed to get up and take the first few painful steps… did wuzu and prayed fajar in the most awkward posture… all the time thinking how lightly we take all these blessings of the body and soul…

But then all I could do was to slide back in bed after taking some painkillers and wait for things to get better…

Whatever I went through my illness during the rest of the month of shabaan, is another story, but the thing is that all my plans for preparation became impossible to implement… and it made me really miserable how the days just kept slipping by without me being able to do anything…

I tried to reason with my crying heart that this was what I really needed… being in bed might not be the affliction… but an opportunity to think deeply and analyse my mistakes and do lots and lots of istighfaar and other duas… and actually it did help me to realize my sins and I began to thank Allah for making me do all this soul searching… because now I had the wonderful opportunity of Ramadan coming ahead in which I could get forgiveness for all that I have not done right… and also seek Allah’s help in removing all that is not good in my heart, in my attitude, in my speech and in my actions…

And then one day I came to know that my dearest teacher Dr Farhat Hashmi was going to do a lecture on welcoming Ramadan… but I could not go because of several reasons… one of them was that I could not even sit for more than a few minutes…

Although I tried hard not to feel bitter about it but my heart just wouldn’t stop crying… why cannot I go…? I just have to go… please please please… on and on like a stubborn child…

But what could I do except to pray… and again do istighfar… because sometimes it is only our sins that keep us deprived from going in the way of Allah… 😦

On the day of the lecture, my back was hurting even more and I was literally in tears, when I got a call from an old friend with whom I had almost lost touch for the last few years… so I was quite surprised…

But the real surprise came when she said that in her Ladies Club they were going to arrange a lecture on the welcoming of Ramadan… and she said if I could give this talk?

My first thought was “of course not!!”

I couldn’t even sit or stand… and more importantly I didn’t have any experience…

But then simultaneously I recognized this to be an answer to all my duas… I felt like this was Allah’s way of teaching me that the best way of preparing for Ramadan is to share with others what I wanted to do for myself… and if I say yes to His offer then it is all up to Him how he will make me do it…

And so I heard myself saying to her “yes in sha Allah I will do it” without saying even one word about my illness or any other excuse…

She was obviously very surprised and relieved that she didn’t have to persuade me or anything… and so the commitment was made… with me lying in the bed, not knowing how I was going to do anything about it at all…!!

The miracle of her sudden call, was followed by another miracle that suddenly I felt like my illness had gone… I got out of bed almost effortlessly and walked smoothly to the kitchen… so happy to find my energy back… and knowing it to be a gift from Allah, made it all so much sweeter… Alhamdulillah 

For the next two days I worked like crazy… researching and making notes as if the guidance of the whole world depended on this 30 minutes talk!!:) But in my heart I knew that this was for my own guidance and most especially a lesson of depending on Allah…

I was also so very scared that I would make mistakes due to being so inexperienced and forgetful… what if I offend people by my blunt and critical attitude? What if I become a cause of them going further away from religion instead of coming closer?

BUT all I could do was to pray to Allah to save me from my clumsiness… and  to work hard and keep my intentions purely for pleasing Allah… and not my own self…

Alhamdulillah, yesterday I went and with the help of Allah I was able to deliver His message to the ladies there… But instead of feeling that I was teaching anyone… I felt like I myself was the most in need of learning… and Alhamdulillah I learned so much… 

I learned that if you want to feel the pure faith in which nothing else matters except Allah… And to feel his eyes on what you are doing and why you are doing… And to feel your utter dependence and closeness to Allah…

You have to stand in a place where you can actually see that nothing can help you except Him…

You just have to get out of your comfort zone and you realize that the only one who can save you is Allah…

I pray that we all walk into the month of Ramadan with the ultimate level of faith and taqwa… so that not even one moment of that blessed month should go waste… may we all be successful in implementing our intentions… may all our dreams of serving Allah become a reality… Ameen