Assalmu Alaikum Quran Weekly This is your bother Nouman Ali Khan, hopefully with a- a reminder for myself and all of you, on the upcoming Ramadhan, Inshallahu Taa’la and i wanted to share with you some insights from the Quran that I particularly find very powerful.
All of you know, or probably most of you know, that in the Quran- The entire discussion on Ramadhan and on fasting is actually encapsulated in one small section in Surah AL-Baqarah. This one passage- deals with the subject comprehensively- and you know, the legal aspects of it and the spiritual aspects of it- and all of it is done in this one, concise passage, and it’s not mentioned anywhere else in the Quran, which is very powerful.
So when we look for guidance and advice about the month of Ramadhan, Obviously, the logical first place to start, is the book of Allah, and to turn to this passage. And in this passage there are a few Ayat that deal with, you know, sometimes the technicalities, you know, “What days are you supposed to fast? Until when? When does the fast start? When does it end?” “What if you’re sick?” etc. All the legalities of it.
But on the other side, Allah SWT also mentions this phrase that comes up “la ‘ala” And i want to talk to you a little bit about the word “la ‘ala” first, and then, Inshallah I will share with you- Some really beautiful things that I find fascinating. The word “la ‘ala” in Arabic actually means several things.
It means ‘So that’ SO Allah will say something and at the end of his statement he’ll say “la ‘allakum” “SO THAT all of you…” So whatever Allah has said, the purpose of it, is after “la ‘ala” So whatever guidance Allah gave us, like Allah gave us Ramadhan. And at the end of giving us the month- He says “la ‘allakum” “SO THAT all of you…”, and then he will complete his statement.
So it’s like the purpose of Ramadhan is being told. “La ‘ala” also means ‘hopefully’. ‘Hopefully’. In other words- ‘I’ve given you this; HOPEFULLY you’ll do that.’ Whatever guidance Allah has given us, in this case it’s Ramadhan. The institution; the law of fasting ‘I’ve given this to you, HOPEFULLY you’ll benefit from it in this way.’ In other words, I gave this to you for this purpose- and secondly, hopefully you will attain that purpose.
Do you know what that teaches us? It teaches us that just because you and I fast, that doesn’t mean, that we are going to attain the results we were looking to attain. There’s a hope that we will, but it’s not a guarantee. So, the word “la ‘ala” does that. That, hopefully it will be attained, and “la ‘ala” also means ‘perhaps’. So, there is a possibility you will attain it, but it’s not a guarantee.
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But since the meaning includes ‘Hope’ in it; it has ‘Rajaa’ in it. What it does for us, is that it makes us optimistic. On the one hand, there are no guarantees that in Ramadhan- Whatever Allah wants us to achieve, we will achieve, but at the same time there’s hope in all of us that has been placed. So, with that brief introduction, let me share a couple of things with you.
First thing Allah SWT says: (2:183) “Those of You who have Imaan, Fasting has been made Law on you (has been prescribed upon you) Just like it was on people who came before you, SO THAT you may attain Taqwa” (You may become conscious) “So that you may become conscious” “You may become cautious/aware”.
‘Taqwa’ in Arabic is ‘an urge to protect yourself’ ‘To watch out for trouble’ It comes from the word ‘Wiqaya’, which literally means ‘protection’. You know, like we say “WAQINA Azaban-nar” “Qi” That part of that dua, that supplication, actually means “protect us”, “From the punishment of the fire.” So Allah says, ‘You were given fasting just like- it was given to the people before you. Hopefully, you people will develop the urge to protect yourself.’ That’s how i’m going translate it first. Also, ‘I gave this to so that you develop the sense of protecting yourself.’ Then, ‘Chances are you will develop’ ‘There’s a possibility you will develop the sense, the urge to protect yourself’.
The first, obvious question is, ‘protect yourself from what?’ Protect yourself from landing yourself in further trouble. Protect yourself from putting yourself in loss. From disappointing Allah. From disappointing the messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). From disappointing yourself.
You know, you’ll protect yourself from all of these negative things, and that’s why fasting is given to you So, I briefly want to talk to you about this idea, what’s the relationship between fasting and Taqwa? From perhaps a psychological point of view, and then we’ll conclude Maybe in another lecture, Ishallahu Ta’ala, i’ll share with you- some other insights about fasting and Ramadhan.
So, Allah Subhana Wata’ala, when he gave us fasting, It’s a physical thing, you can feel it, like- Even if you’re not a very spiritual person and you’re fasting, You’re going to feel the thirst, you’re going to feel the hunger It’s a physical thing that you feel, right, And, Your stomach is screaming at you. It’s telling you, “feed me!” Your throat is yelling at you. It’s telling you, “Feed me! Give me food! Give me water!”, right, So there is this battle that is going on inside you. A physical battle taking place inside you. And then, the only other entity inside you is your heart.
And it’s like your heart is in charge, and it yells at your stomach, and yells at your throat, and says, “You watch it! Not until Maghrib” We are not going to disobey Allah, until Maghrib. We are going to protect ourselves from eating that food, and drinking that drink, until that time. So, there is this war raging inside your body, and your heart is in control. Your heart fears Allah and your heart says ‘No!’ ‘We are not going to eat this and we are not going to drink that’
I know fasting has to do with more than just eating and drinking, but, i’m focusing on the physical aspects that at least everybody feels. Everybody feels thirst, everybody feels hunger when they fast. Okay? Now you know when – think outside of fasting – you’re walking down the street, and you have an urge. You know, one of you younger guys walking on the street, and you see a woman pass by, and your eye just goes towards her. And you fail to lower your eyes. You know, there was an urge just like your throat had an urge and your stomach had an urge, your eyes had an urge; they wanted to look.
But when your stomach and your throat, they had an urge, your heart was telling them ‘Stop!’ ‘No, no, no you will not quench your thirst.’ ‘You will wait until the right time.’ But when your eyes look towards the wrong thing, Is your heart in charge and is your heart telling you ‘Hey!’ ‘Don’t even raise your eyes.’ ‘look the other way’ ‘Say Astaghfirullah’ Not until Allah gives you the halal option Not until you get married, not until Jannah, not until later. What Allah has is better for you, Even if you have to wait for it, Even though your urge, your thirst, your appetite is very strong, Even though that’s the case, you have to stop yourself, you have to protect yourself.
That doesn’t happen for most of us. We don’t stop. We look, we feel bad later, then we go to Jum’ah and say “Man, I’m really messed up” and you know, the cycle perpetuates. Ramadhan is an opportunity, 30 days in a row, your heart is in charge, and your body is submitting. You know the consciousness of Allah is alive! And your body is submitting.
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You know, Jum’ah is a good spiritual high, But then you have 6 days to get weak again. Like, what does Allah do in Ramadhan? 30 days, you are winning this battle. And by the way, one of the primary drivers that makes you lose this battle- Is Shaytaan and his marketing to you, right, he just keeps telling you ‘Come on’ ‘Come on, just a little sip’ ‘Just a little bit, just taste a little bit’ ‘Just look a little bit, just do a little bit it’s not that bad’ ‘At least you’re not like that guy over there’, you know, But all of that will disappear for you in Ramadhan. If you go through a 30 day rigorous process like that- It’s like the heart, the command of the heart has been made strong, And the urges inside you have been made weak.
They have been made weak. Now you are prepared truly to protect yourself, when you’re out there in the real world. So, the last example i’ll give you before, Inshallahu Ta’ala, I share the rest with you in another session.
You know police officers, and like, firemen And military, these people when they train, The don’t go actually into a burning building and train, They first go to like these training facilities, and do mock exercises, And they get ready for the real thing, And they go to shooting ranges and they shoot, they practice Before they hit the real thing, right?, Before the real enemy strikes It’s kind of like that with Ramadhan, For 30 days, Allah puts Shaytaan away. Right?
And he allowed us to train ourselves to get stronger, and stronger and stronger. And now that your training is done, you are not always going to be inside the training camp. The police officer is going to have to deal with real danger outside, the fireman is going to have to fight the real fire, just like that, we are going to have to fight the real enemy, the Shaytaan. And his command over our Nafs, we are going to have to engage in that real battle, once that training is over.
That’s when we are going to need to learn to guard ourselves, protect ourselves, and Make our hearts these strong forts that Shaytaan cannot enter in to. So that’s the spirit of “La ‘alakum tatakun” ‘You’ve been given this institution of fasting, So that you may be able to protect yourselves’ May Allah Azawajal make all of us people, that are able to protect themselves In, and beyond Ramadhan. And may Allah Azawajal make the training of Ramadhan something that lasts in us, and we are able to take the spirit of it, and drive that in the rest of our lives.
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