End It With A Bang!
As Salaamu 'alaykum and Peace to all,
That day I called a friend of mine, asking if she wanted to have coffee with me that evening. She said she could meet up with me tomorrow, InshaAllaah and that she had to finish off a project due in 15 hours!
She said that just 15 hours earlier, her professor emailed her to inform of the probable grade she would get for his subject. She was just about 20 points short of getting an A, which is a 4.0 GPA. And she has a good chance for an A considering that she has yet to submit a project worth 30%. Since the deadline for the project is not over yet, the professor reminded her that if she decided to just pass the paper, which she has definitely achieved that, she could just forget about the project. However, if she wanted a better grade, she should make sure that the project is submitted on time.
Suddenly excited with the offer, she strived to finish off the project within 30 hours from the deadline. She is now left with 15 hours and is almost 80% there. The thing was that, before she received that email, she was all burnout and told herself she would be able to live with a B for that paper.
When my friend told me about her professor, I was really impressed that he took the trouble to remind his students of the chance to improve their grades. I mean, how many of us actually received e-mails or phone calls from our professors like that? Hana sure got herself one caring lecturer!
Later in the evening, as I was enjoying a hot steaming grey earl tea while looking through my 2006 planner, I saw a big red line marked across 9 days of my planner, stating there – MUST FAST. I looked at the dates on the marked boxes and I realized that it is already coming to the month of Zulhijjah. Time sure flies. I felt it was just like yesterday that I was fasting in Ramadhan. Subhanallaah.
Suddenly it dawned upon me that I have just received a reminder from my Lord, giving me one last chance to improve my ‘grades’ of my ‘report book’ for this hijri year. What was the reminder?
A message from my Lord, conveyed by my beloved Prophet, peace be upon him:
Abu Hurairah relates that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There are no days more loved to Allaah for you to worship Him therein than the ten days of Dhul Hijja. Fasting any day during it is equivalent to fasting one year and to offer salatul tahajjud (late-night prayer) during one of its nights is like performing the late night prayer on the night of power. [i.e., Lailatul Qadr]." [This is related by at-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, and al-Baihaqi]
Subhanallaah. I was totally amazed with myself. Here I was, thinking about the kindness of that one professor and how he was concerned about his student’s grades, that I failed to realize I, too had a message in my ‘inbox’, calling for a chance for ‘grade improvement’.
Allah has said that I have the opportunity of 10 days to fast and if I actually take up the ‘offer’ and do it sincerely for Him, I shall be rewarded a year of fasting for each and every day which I fasted. I looked at the hadeeth again. Fasting any day would be equivalent to fasting for one year. Is this for real?
MashaAllaah. Can you imagine that ? One day of fasting would allow me to receive reward which is equivalent of 365 days of fasting? And what better way to show obedience to my Lord other than the days He said He loved the most, right?
How gracious is my Lord, The Most Merciful and Most Kind? I sat there quietly, stunned, as I tried to digest this prized information.
A few things about this matter struck me and made me think really hard. Firstly, it is for sure that I am not able to fast one year straight, considering as a woman, I do have limitations and secondly, even if I am a man, I doubt that I could actually do it, anyway. Imagine, fasting for 365 days! The patience and endurance that I must have to be able to survive this ordeal is incomprehensible. But now, I was presented with this chance to be rewarded for an almost impossible thing for me to do. This is simply amazing. MashaAllaah. I felt my heart beaming with happiness and joy.
And you know what, not only that, Allaah also has given me another unbelievable chance to obtain reward I have always dreamed of, every year, every Ramadhan. What was it? Every Ramadhan I prayed to be rewarded with, of course, the Night of Power! I longed for that night. Until this moment, I do not know if I have ever received it.
But now, if I prayed one night prayer during any, and I repeat any of its first 10 days, it is as if I am actually praying during night of Lailatul Qadr. Goodness! I am really startled. Praying one night during these first 10 days of Zulhijjah is like I am praying the night prayer on the Night of Power! The night that is better than 1000 months.
I kept on thinking. First of all, even during Ramadhan, we, Muslims, don’t even know when the Night of Power is. But now, here, during this month of Zulhijjaah, Allaah actually has fixed the days and told us that if we want to get the equivalent of praying during the Night of Power, this is our chance. The first10 days of Zulhijjah, my friends! 10 days of Night of Power!
So, let me get this straight. These are the deals for the first 10 days of Zulhijjah - If I fast for one day, it would be as if I am fasting for 1 year. So, if I fast for 9 days, it would be as if I am fasting for 9 years? MashaAllaah. I felt the heaviness in my heart. I felt like crying.
Then, if I pray one salatul tahajjud in one night, I would get the equivalent reward of performing salatul tahajjud during one night of Lailatul Qadr. So, if I prayed 10 days of this night prayer, wouldn’t it be as if I am praying in 10 nights during the Night of Power? Ya Allaah, I needed 10 years to get an equivalent chance. But now, everything is given to me in only 10 days. I sensed that my knees are suddenly wobbly. This is an enormous reward from Him, my Lord, my beloved Lord.
No wonder beloved Prophet SAW told us that:
Ibn 'Abbas says about the Aayah, "Remember Allaah during the well known days," that it refers to the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah. [This is related by al-Bukhari]
He asked us to remember Allaah during these well-known days. And he is right, as always.
And as I was contemplating on the rewards that could be earned during this period, I wondered if I could have the chance to get my sins forgiven. Then I remembered this hadeeth:
Abu Qatadah reported that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "Fasting on the day of 'Arafah is an expiation for two years, the year preceding it and the year following it. Fasting the day of 'Ashurah is an expiation for the year preceding it." [This is related by "the group," except for al-Bukhari and at-Tirmidhi]
Subhanallaah. Not only, I was given the chance to earn extra rewards, but, I could also reduce my ‘red marks’ on my report card. And you know what, the ‘red marks’ involved would be the ones I had actually received (May Allaah forgive me) and also the ones I, as His servant, potentially would incur, Astaghfirullaah. I felt like weeping. I closed my eyes and kept silent for a few seconds to regain my composure.
First, He forgives existing sins, and then, He forgives the future ones he knew I am going to commit. And He is The All-Knower! Astghfirullah. The Most Compassionate. The Most Compassionate. Isn’t He?
Don’t you feel it in your heart how considerate He is? How much He loves us? How much He wants us to be in His jannah? How much He wants to forgive us? With the minimum amount of effort as a sign of obedience, He gives us the undeserving reward. His Blessings. His Love. His Forgiveness. Chance after chance after chance. That is what He has given me. Given you, given us. Allah!
This is an incredibly outstanding offer by my Lord that is beyond words to describe.
But then I realized something. What if during these days, I am unable to perform these worships because of my limitations as a woman? I would be at so much loss, wouldn’t I? Then, I saw this hadeeth that has given me a bit of consolation, alhamdulillah:
Ibn 'Abbas reports that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these days [meaning the ten days of Dhul-Hijjah]." The companions asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, not even jihad in the way of Allaah?" He said, "Not even jihad, except for the man who puts his life and wealth in danger [for Allaah's sake] and returns with neither of them." [This is related by the group except Muslim and an-Nasa'i]
So, any good deeds done during these 10 days are much superior than deeds done in any other days? I smiled. Good deeds? Is it like smiling, visiting ill people, making my parents happy, praying on time, saying kind words, withholding my tongue from bad words, being patience, kissing the children, picking up thorns from the street? I definitely can do that.
In fact, I will definitely strive to do that, InshaAllaah. And do you know what is the best part? The reward is even higher and better than making jihad in Allaah’s way! Allaahu Akbar. Most Merciful. When in other times can I smile to another person and receive reward as jihad? Think about it. Subhanalaah. Subhanallaah. Subhanallaah.
There is another thing that we could actually do during this time. And these deeds, we don’t have to wait during night time to perform. We could do it while driving, walking, eating, sitting, running and smiling.
Prophet Muhammad SAW told us:
Ahmad and at-Tabarani record from Ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said, "There is no day more honorable in Allaah's sight and no acts more beloved therein to Allaah than those in these ten days. So say tahlil (There is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah : Laa ilaaha illallaah), takbir (Allaah is the greatest : Allaahu Akbar) and tahmid (All praise is due to Allaah : alhumdulillaah) a lot [on those days]." [Reported by Ahmad, 7/224; Ahmad Shaakir stated it is saheeh]
As I sat on my chair, smiling and beaming, I thought excitedly on the coming of the best days in Muslim calendar. The end of the Hijri year, and I intend to end it with a bang! Yes, a celebration between me and my Lord, I want to seal the year with the acts of obedience and proof of my Love to Him, I want to seek for His forgiveness for all my sins, and I want to take up all His offers, the offers which can increase my grade and eliminate my red marks on my report card, InshaAllaah.
What about you my friends? Do you want to end this Hijri year with a bang too? Let us celebrate the end of this year by showing Him, our Lord, our Creator of our regrets for all the wrong doings that we have done. Let us end this year by earning bonus marks offered to us. It is so easy, don’t you think so? Just 10 days, my friends, just 10 short days.
The offer is about to arrive soon. For you, for me and for everybody. Be excited. Know what is coming to you. Be energized while waiting for these days. Are you ready? The countdown has begun. 3 days, 2 days, 1 day, 20 hours.
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