The Seeds of Ramadan
Allah, the Most High, mentions in the verses regarding fasting that which translate to: “O you who have believed, fasting has been prescribed upon you all as it has upon those who have proceeded you for you to attain “Taqwa” [reverence and true fear and dutifulness to Allah and protection from the punishment of the hereafter]” (Quran 2: 183). We see in this verse that Allah has essentially guaranteed and promised, yes promised that if we fast the month of Ramadan, we will attain a true sense of dutifulness and obedience to Allah in the life of this world and protection from the fire of hell in the next. Hence, the Prophet ﷺ says that which means: “Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faithfulness and expecting and hoping for its reward with Allah will have their past sins forgiven” (Bukhari & Muslim).
These are some potent effects of fasting during Ramadan, and yet, after Ramadan has passed, the work is not over. In a broader sense, the work is never over as long as there is breath in our lungs. Abdullah, one of the sons of Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal, once asked his father: “When will we ever be able to rest?” To which Imam Ahmad replied: “When we place our first foot in paradise.” Yet, in a minor sense concerning Ramadan, our duties do not end with the appearance of Shawwal’s crescent. We must protect and nurture our gains throughout the coming year.
Allah has Promised in the verse mentioned above, and subsequently, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, that if we fast the month of Ramadan as commanded, even one day properly as intended by Allah, He promises to plant a seed in our hearts. Some will have more powerful seeds than others, all based on the quality of their fast, yet seeds, nonetheless. And like all seeds, we must take care of them. They must be watered, cultivated, watered, weeded, etc. If left unattended, and if we allow our hearts and minds to slip back out into old habits and let the good habits we picked up during Ramadan be choked out, these precious seeds and gifts from Allah will die. We have to maintain our gardens, the proverbial garden of our “Ramadan hearts,” water it, weed it, and most importantly, only allow the best alongside it. This is all part of fasting and observing the month of Ramadan. It’s mentioned that the Prophet’s companions would spend six months before Ramadan preparing for it and the following six months protecting their gains from it. In other words, take care of your Ramadan garden!
By Sh. Ali Mashhour