The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ramadan Message 2008 - Day 18 (The Ark of Obedience)

When you mention the Ark, Noah comes to mind. Noah was one of the many instruments of change which Allah used to guide the people to the right way.

Like all the other prophets, Allah “…sent Noah to his people: He said, “O my people! Worship Allah. Ye have no other god but Him. Will you not fear (Him)?” [Qur'an 23 Verse 23]

Most of the people did not like Noah (or anybody for that matter) to tell them what to do. Particularly the rich and noble “…among his people said: "He is no more than a man like yourselves: his wish is to assert his superiority over you: if Allah had wished (to send messengers), He could have sent down angels; never did we hear such a thing (as he says), among our ancestors of old." [Qur'an 23 Verse 24] They encouraged the masses to stick to their old ways - worshipping other gods (as their parents did), practising evil and injustice.

Noah’s “Worship God alone” outreach campaign lasted for about 950 years. He used all methods at convincing them. He told them of the Paradise reward, and the Hell punishment; he emphasised on spiritual growth and impoverishing materialism, nothing worked. Absolutely nothing. 950 years of relentless propagation only 80 believed with Noah. In fact, they laughed at him, called him crazy and refused to follow him.

Then warnings came: “You shall not worship except GOD. I fear for you the retribution of a painful day.” [Qur'an 11 Verse 27]

Now, not only did they abuse him, they stoned him and ridiculed him in public. They challenged him to do his worst. So, Allah ordered: “Build the ark under our watchful eyes, and with our inspiration, and do not implore Me on behalf of those who have transgressed; they are destined to drown”. [Qur'an 11 Verse 38]

The sight of a massive Ark being constricted by an elderly man, whose sanity was previously not in doubt, whose lineage was known, whose dedication to his God-Consciousness Cause was unmatched, this sight did not cause these people to think. They ridiculed: prophet-turned-carpenter etc, but Noah was steadfast: “While he was building the ark, whenever some of his people passed by him they laughed at him. He said, “You may be laughing at us, but we are laughing at you, just as you are laughing”. [Qur'an 11 Verse 39]

When the Ark was ready, he called on all the believers and he took a pair each of the animals. God caused the sky to rain while the rivers and sea overfilled flooding everywhere and every person who was not on the Ark.

“They rejected Him, but We delivered him, and those with him, in the Ark, and We made them inherit (the earth), while We overwhelmed in the flood those who rejected Our Signs. Then see what was the end of those who were warned (but heeded not)” [Qur'an 10 Verse 73]

What if we had lived at the time of Noah, would we have been on the Ark or flooded with the masses? The situation then was similar to the situation now: false-worship, evil and flagrant disobedience, antagonism, challenging and abuse of Allah. Are the God-conscious people not the object of ridicule today? Are people not being oppressed or discriminated against simply because of their religion?

In fact, there are more distractions today than during the time of Noah. So if the flood were to happen again, ask yourself, which side would you be on? Will you be rescued or will you be like the son of Noah, who lived with the truth but did not value or accept it?

Now assuming that Ark, the Ark of Obedience, is the month of Ramadan, it is gathering the people of taqwah. Look at the many opportunities you have missed in the past; the many prospects offered by previous Ramadan, which have not changed you.

This story is instructive, only one in twelve believed, amongst the people of Noah; will you be among the one in twelve to be rescued by the Ark of Ramadan? Perhaps you will hear many stories during the Tafsir in Ramadan, how instructive are they to your obedience of Allah?

-Contributed by AbdulGhaniy, UK.

“There is in their stories instruction for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented but a confirmation of what went before it, a detailed exposition of all things and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe.”

(Qur'an 12:111)


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

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