English Column: “Ramadan is approaching but I feel nothing”
Picture by Umar Mita of Langitilahi
Ramadan is approaching but I feel nothing
People sure are intrigued, excited and thrilled with the upcoming Ramadan, more or less 5 days ahead of us. Articles, posters, videos and poems about Ramadan go viral on the internet intensifying the exhilaration to welcome Ramadan as our honored guest.
That may be a normal scene every year prior to Ramadan. But in the midst of excitement, believe or not, exist such people who are not touched by the wonders of Ramadan. They could not care less with their surroundings, always turning a blind eye and a deaf ear towards Ramadan.
Outwardly, they are seen as enthusiastic. They “share” and “like” posts and links about Ramadan. But their actions say the opposite.
They feel nothing. Numb. “What’s so special about Ramadan?” They say.
Do not be shocked with the existence of such species. They are living around us, with us.
Why do I feel nothing?
The heart is the key. It is like a sponge. Water can be discharged from it when it is soggy, but when it is dry, it decays in time. The heart is vital in making one in an emotional state or impassive state. The heart determines the eyes to be watery or dry.
The emptiness inside is felt due to the dryness of the heart. When the heart has lost its sensitivity, the eyes will lose its ability to excrete tears.
The heart has died and currently living in a living corpse. This is a known as a “dead heart” described by Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah.
This heart has no recognition to Allah. Never does it worship Him in the way He ordained, in accordance to what He has prescribed and which he is gratified. Instead, it is thirsty for lust and animalistic desires even if they are likely to result in Allah’s wrath and resentment.
It worship things other than Allah, and its loves and its hatreds, and its giving and its withholding, arise from its whims, which are of paramount importance to it and preferred above the pleasure of Allah. Its whims are its imam.
Lust is its guide. Ignorance is its king. It is engrossed in its pursuit of worldly pleasures. It is intoxicated in its own thirst of desires, its longing immediate momentary pleasures. When the calling alarm to Allah is sounded, it refuses to respond but follow the cunning devil instead.
Befriending an owner of this heart is like taking poison, living with him is absolute destruction. The heart will be enraged with anger making it blind and deaf to anything except what is evil.
This is the result of constantly committing sin without repenting.
Reviving a dead heart
It is weird seeing people who are in pursuit of success but food for their hearts are constantly insufficient. They are willing to travel long distances to fill up their empty stomach but their empty hearts, they are not capable to perform prayer at the Masjid only a stone’s throw away from them.
If they perform prayer, they perform it extra fast like on a hot pursuit chase. If they fast, they are no different than people who don’t by fulfilling their daily endeavors by cursing and gossiping.
At times, they will feel bored with their lives full of sins and wish to change to be a better person; some of them may voice out there inner struggle like “If there are any pills in this world that can change me to becoming a better person, I will buy it no matter how much it costs.”
But sadly, such medication does not exist in this world. A dead heart can never be revived with a pill even though it is labeled “revive.” There are no shortcuts in reviving a dead heart.
In revitalizing a dead heart, one should hinder from committing sins. In doing so, Dr. ‘Aidh bin Abdullah Al-Qarni in his book “To those who have transgressed against themselves” (“Pesanan untuk Orang Berdosa”) (إلى الذين اسرفوا على أنفسهم) has introduced 4 crucial steps in preventing one from transgressing.
Al-Muraqabah is the everlasting remembrance of Allah in every moment of one’s life. The feeling of being watched 24/7 by Allah is the feeling that should be instilled in every living soul. Whenever we go, we are observed.
In an exam hall, students who intend to cheat will be extra cautious of their surroundings because the examiner patrolling the hall might spot them. If they are caught cheating, they can be expelled from the institution.
The feeling of cautiousness should be greater with Allah because Allah never sleeps and never fails to spot the sins of His slaves. The examiner may not spot the cheating but Allah will:
“Who sees you when you arise, And your movement among those who prostrate.” Surah As-Syu’ara’: 218-219)
Quiet contemplation here refers to the act of reflecting to the greatness of Allah. Distract yourself by immersing and submerging your mind, body and soul before His creations.
Reflecting from the wonders of nature is sure a form of pleasure far greater than what we gain from committing sins:
But this world is full of signs,
from the moon and the skies,
from the bees and the bugs,
makes it need to look up,
and question what’s up.
(Excerpt from Boona Mohammed’s poem “Signs”)
Contemplating on the wonders of nature is a form of escapism also; escaping from transgressing. Escapism may connote a negative implication but escapism from transgression sure is a positive application.
2. Reminiscence of death
No one can deny the gloomy atmosphere surrounding death. It is one of the most feared occurrences in life. Only lunatics feel happy upon hearing death of their loved ones.
Death is not in favor of status or age, everyone is treated equal, it comes without saying hello or knocking on your door step; it bluntly comes to you without you realizing it. We know that death comes out of the blue but many of us chose to commit sins instead.
Death is one of the most powerful and effective tools for us to hinder from disobeying Allah. If you don’t believe in this theory, take some time for yourself and think about your death. Are you ready to die? Is your bank account of deeds sufficient to exempt you from the wrath of Allah?
3.Remembrance of Allah’s blessings
Remember the blessings of Allah. Observe yourself, who created you? Who gave you food? Who made you the person you are now? With all the countless abundance He has given us, what have we done to return the favor?
Conclusion: Revive your dead heart!
Ramadan is 5 days away. But many have died before Ramadan. Will we have the chance to meet Ramadan again this year? Will this Ramadan be the best Ramadan ever?
Prepare our hearts.
“What’s so great about Ramadan?”
“Ramadan is the manifestation of life. A booster. A catalyst.”
No more “Ramadan is approaching but I feel nothing” but ”Ramadan is approaching and I feel everything!”
Revive your dead heart!
There’s still time.
‘Aidh Abdullah Al-Qarni. 2009. Pesanan untuk Orang Berdosa. Kuala Lumpur: Al-Hidayah Publications.