How to determine what Impact Ramadan has on our lives?
By Dr. Aslam Abdullah
The month of fasting is over and life is now slowly returning to the pattern that we all had before Ramadan. Let us take a moment to reflect on what we gained during this month besides the reward from God, Almighty. Let us also plan to use during the next 11 months the training that we had in self control in the month of Ramadan A simple way of doing that is to compare ouselves to the branches of Iman as identified by the Quran and the Ahadith. The Prophet said in several of the statements attributed to him that there are some 60 or 70 odd branches of Iman. The highest is to bear witness there is no god by Allah and Muhammad is his messenger and the lowest is the removal of harm from the road and modesty is also of faith.
Imam Bayhaqi (d. 486 A.H identified some 77 branches of Iman. Some 30 of these branches deal with the heart, some seven with tongue and the remaining with our actions.
Let us see how the self discipline exercise in Ramadan would help us to impact our behavior, attitude and actions in relation to these branches of Iman.
The branches of Iman related with the heart
By the grace of Allah, the Almighty, we all
1. Believe in the oneness and uniqueness of Allāh Most High.
2. Believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah, the Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.
3. Believe in the existence of angels.
4. Believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true and the Quran is the final divine testament.
5. Believe that all the prophets are true and Prophet Muhammad is the last messenger and Prophet of Allah.
6. Believe that Allah Most High is the creator of the knowledge of everything.
7. Believe that Resurrection will definitely occur.
8. Believe in the existence of Heaven.
9. Believe in the existence of Hell.
10. Have love for Allah, the Most High.
11. Have love for the Messenger of Allāh, ﷺ.
12. Have intention of serving God
13. Fear Allah Most High.
14. Trust in Allah Most High.
Do all these beliefs lead us to have?
15. Hope for the mercy of Allah Most High.
16. Regrets and remorse when a sin is committed.
17. Have modesty.
18. Gratitude over a bounty or favor.
19. Commitment to our promises
22. Mercy on the creation.
23. Acceptance of the reality that we face in our lives
25. An attitude with malice or hatred towards anybody.
26. No jealousy towards anyone.
27. Control over our anger.
28. .goodwill to all and malice to none
29. A balance attitude for the world.
30. Love or hate someone solely because of Allāh.
Concerning the branches of Iman dealing with our tongue
we need to ask would we continue
1. To recite the Testimony of Faith [Kalimatu-sh Shahādah] with our tongue.
2. To recite the Qur’an regularly.
3. To acquire knowledge.
4. To pass on knowledge.
5. To make supplications [du’a] to Allāh Most High.
6. To make invocations [dhikr] of Allāh Most High.
7. to evaluate ourselves to ensure that we do not lies, backbiting, vulgar words, curse, and indulge in useless talks and actions.
Branches of Iman concerning our actions.
We must ensure that we
1. Make ablution [wudū], take bath [ghusl], and keep one’s clothing clean.
2. are steadfast in offering the prayer [salāt].
3. Pay the tithe zakāt and Zakat-l Fitr.
4. We continue to fast.
5. Perform the Hajj if we have means.
6. Make tawaf during the Hajj.
7. Move away or migrate from that place which is harmful for our practice of religion [din].
8. Fulfill the vows that have been made to Allāh Most High.
9. Fulfill the oaths that are not sinful.
10. Pay the expiation [kaffārah]for unfulfilled oaths.
11. Cover those parts of the body that are obligatory [fard] to cover.
12. Perform the ritual slaughter.
13. Enshroud and bury the deceased.
14. Pay off our debts.
15. Abstain from prohibited things when undertaking monetary transactions.
16. Do not conceal something true which we may have witnessed.
17. We do not go closer to fornication and other lewd actions.
18. Fulfill the rights of those who are under us.
19. Provide comfort to one’s parents.
20. We rear children in the proper manner.
21. Do not sever relations with one’s friends and relatives.
22. Obey one the law
23. We are just.
24. We do not initiate any way that is contrary to the generally accepted legitimate ways of Muslims.
25. We obey the legitimate rulers, provided what their governance is not contrary to the principles of justice.
26. We make peace between two warring groups or individuals.
27. We participate in noble tasks.
28. we command the good and forbid the evil.
29. We reprimand ourselves for mistakes according to divine guidelines.
30. We stand up to those who are bent on destroying the divine guidance
31. We fulfill one’s trusts (amana).
32. We give loans to those who are in need.
33. We see to the needs of one’s neighbor.
34. We ensure that one’s income is pure.
35. We spend according to the divine guidelines
36. We reply to one who has greeted you.
37. We say yarhamuka-Llāh [Allāh have mercy on you!] when anyone says alhamduli–Llāh [all praise is for Allāh] after sneezing.
38. We do not cause harm to anyone unjustly.
39. We abstain from actions contrary to Islamic teachings.
40. We remove pebbles, stones, thorns, sticks, and the like from the road.
Let us use this list as a barometer to determine the impact of Ramadan on our Iman and let us be prepared to correct ourselves once we realize that we are lacking in some aspects of our behavior and character.