English Column: Help me! I’m slowing down!
“Help me! I’m slowing down!” says the rabbit
picture by TIO… of flickr.com
Have you ever experienced you set your alarm clock at full volume for Sahuur, but you end up waking up when the light of dawn (or even dhuha) is shining in your eyes and the feeling of depression and hunger that you just missed your only appetite of the day?
Can you still remember the moment when you’re fasting; you were so thirsty and hungry and tired that you were so disturbed, intimidated and annoyed by the presence of non-fasting people eating with full of pleasure in front of your eyes?
Can you remember again the time when you spent all day long thinking of what you are going to eat for iftar and then after iftar you felt bad because you missed a day of rewards?
I am sure that you remember the sinking feeling when you went back to sleep after Subuh, and woke up late for work/class in the mode of not-in-the-mood for anything plus being lectured by your mom for wasting half of the day?
Have you ever felt so energetic for the first ten days of Ramadan you could finish more than 10 juz of the Quran but towards the middle and end of Ramadan, you can’t continue on reciting and you just don’t know why?
Answer these questions honestly, reply “ T_T “ for yes and “ ^_^ “ for no. No need to answer it to me. Answer it in your heart and let it be a little secret between you and Him.
I’m not being all great here, frankly, this is what I’m feeling and experiencing this very instant as we approach the 12th of Ramadan. “Help me! I’m slowing down!” Are you experiencing the same as me, love?
Why is this all happening to me?
It is an undeniable fact that we are prone to transgress the boundaries of Islam. If we look close, when we fulfil our life with sins, it is hard for us to do something or to achieve something. Let us ponder; we have been studying for hours but not a single chapter we understand. It is as if the good deed that we are doing is prevented by another dominant force from entering our heart.
The reason why our heart is prevented from doing good deeds is that whenever a sin is done, one black spot will grow in our heart. There is a hadith:
Malik related to me that he heard that Abdullah ibn Masud used to say, “The slave continues to lie and a black spot grows in his heart until all his heart becomes black. Then he is written, in Allah’s sight, among the liars.”
In this hadith, the issue that is emphasized is lying. Lying is a sin, if someone who does a sin, black spots will grow and his heart will become black and he will be counted in Allah’s eyes as sinners. Am I right?
So why is this happening to me? Why am I slowing down although it’s Ramadan?
Because my heart is pitch black. Although devils are chained but they have left their successors to do their job; straying me away from doing good deeds. Who’s the devil now? My Nafs a.k.a ME. I’m the devil now! I’m the devil of my own heart! Huaaaaaaa!
My heart is so dark. Yeah dark as hell. People kept on saying to me;
“Come on man! It’s Ramadan. Aren’t we supposed to fulfil our life with rewards?”
I gave a smile; a very unpleasant smile evil-like-smile then replied “So, what’s the big deal?” then continues on watching the movie Fast Five, then Harry Porter, then Transformer 3.
This is my entire fault. I didn’t prepare my heart properly prior to Ramadan.
I didn’t strive for the worst and hope for the best to preserve my heart from doing bad.
I’ve watched too many movies and Anime’s during Ramadan compared to before Ramadan.
O Allah! What have I done?
Ok I need to S.T.O.P! S.T.O.P for what?
S = STOP
T = THINK
O = OBSERVE
P = PLAN
I need to stop on what I’ve been doing. Just literally stop. Freeze myself from doing anything. Now inhale and exhale. Make my heart as calm as possible.
Now think, penetrate my mind to critically think. These things I’ve been doing, is it syara’? If it is NOT syara’ as in HARAM, will Allah like it? But what if it is makruh, still, will Allah be satisfied with it?
Not waking up for Sahur – I’ve lost the barakah of it.
Anas (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “Take meal a little before dawn, for there is a blessing in taking meal at that time.”
Waking up when it is already Dhuha – HARAM! Because I’ve missed Subuh prayer!
Narrated Amr ibn Umayyah ad-Damri:
We were in the company of the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) during one of his journeys. He overslept abandoning the morning prayer until the sun had arisen. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) awoke and said: “Go away from this place.”
You know, when I read this hadith, it is as if the prophet is saying to me “Go away. I don’t wanna see you anymore” in my face T_T
Thirst, hunger and restlessness is like burden to me –
“Many of an observer of fasting will not receive from his fasting any reward but the pain of hunger, and many night worshippers will not receive any reward from his prayer but the loss of sleep.”
(Nasaie and Hakim)
What have I done? (T_T again…)
What about if I do any big SINS? – Definitely HARAM!
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” 
Now I feel very weak. What have I done?
My college that is Hilal Asyraf have written an article on “Motivasi: Ramadhan yang lebih berstrategi” or in English “Motivation: The more structured Ramadan”.
He gave many suggestions in that article to make our Ramadan better. I’m not going to write the same thing so I’m just going to give the summary from that article. My summary is in one word that is ‘IDEAL’.
What is IDEAL?
I = Identify
Identify your problem.
D = Define
Define each and every problem you have identified and plan the strategies on how to combat these problems.
E = Execute
Execute the solutions you have made, don’t make it only in your thoughts.
A = Assess
Assess all the preventive measures you’ve taken. Are the efforts you’ve done taking affect or not. Try it all over again.
L = Learn
Learn from the mistakes from the assessment you did and do not stop repeating this process over and over again!
Conclusion: There’s still hope!
Upon submitting to the King of all Kings, the Creator of all creation, God and Lord of the universe, by hook or by crook, we need to declare a WAR against SINS.
If at this moment, we are still entertained by the sins we “LOVE” to do, then we have to try and loosen it slowly and steadily.
No one can change that very second! But in order to change, we have to endure lots of unbearable pain!
But Allah will never say NO to repentance.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
I heard the Prophet saying, “If somebody commits a sin and then says, ‘O my Lord! I have sinned, please forgive me!’ and his Lord says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven my slave (his sins).’ Then he remains without committing any sin for a while and then again commits another sin and says, ‘O my Lord, I have committed another sin, please forgive me,’ and Allah says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven my slave (his sin). Then he remains without Committing any another sin for a while and then commits another sin (for the third time) and says, ‘O my Lord, I have committed another sin, please forgive me,’ and Allah says, ‘My slave has known that he has a Lord Who forgives sins and punishes for it I therefore have forgiven My slave (his sin), he can do whatever he likes.”
And remember what Allah has to say about our attitude to obtain forgiveness:
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ التَّوَّابِينَ وَيُحِبُّ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ ﴿2:222﴾
for Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.
In 2: 222, Allah used the word (التَّوَّابِينَ) which means we are not required to repent only once, but constantly repent to Him. After we do a sin or not, we just have to repent to Him over and over again. “To err is human”.
Let us declare this WAR against SINS once and for all!
Yeah! You and me, hand in hand!
Let us defeat our NAFS!
We will WIN!
How many days till Ramadan end? Approximately 18 days.
Inshaallah… We’ll find our way…
Just do it man!