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Ramadān and Mortality

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Photo: Via Tsuji

Ramadān Reinforcement: Part I | Part II

A poet wrote that death was like arrows; it may miss you and hit someone else. But one day, it will capture you.

Nothing humbles us as much as our own mortality. It is one of the most effective ways to lasso a soul gone wild, a soul intoxicated by itself and the world around it. For that reason, Abraham `alayhi as-salaam (peace be upon him) said to Nimrod, “My lord causes life and death,” teaching him that, even though Nimrod had amassed a vast kingdom and was blinded by his own narcissism, one day he will perish. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) echoed this when he said to us, “Abundantly remember that which cuts deceptive pleasures, death.” 
Mortality screams at us, reminding us that we have a limited time to do good. But we are negligent. For that reason, the Qu’ran is filled with verses that speak of it. Imām Ibn Taymiyya said, “It is almost impossible to find a page of the Qur’an that the hereafter is absent.”
Ramadān brings with it a host of things; some of them obvious, like refraining from food and drink, and others more subtle, what scholars called asrār (En. secrets) of worship. Walk with me as I show you one of them.

During this month, we start the day strong and as it continues we get progressively weaker. So that shortly before the sunset prayer, our muscles start to tighten from dehydration—it gets hard to move and our facilities begin to fail us. Then, as the call to prayer is sounded, announcing the success, we rehydrate, eat, and find our souls overcome by a sense of peace and comfort.

The days of Ramadān are microcosms of death. They remind us, scream at us, our own mortality. We start life active.We flourish in our youth. If God blesses us, we live to be old and feeble. If we lived good lives, we will celebrate in the hereafter.

Our birth is fajr (dawn); our youth is duhā (when the morning sun is bright) until `asr (the afternoon prayer) and middle age sets in from then till maghrib, and just before death, we are resurrected by food and drink.

Each day is an analogy of life; we start strong and gradually get older and weaker. If we spend our lives struggling to worship God and serve others, we will break our fast after our deaths! We will break it drinking from the fount and hands of our beloved, Muhammad . Ibn Rajab said, “I have fasted my life from the forbidden and I hope to break my fast after death!”

Think upon this well and respect yourself, your age and your place. Use the time you have to serve your Lord and be useful to others.

Praying that your Ramadān is blessed, and asking you to please like and support Ella Collins Institute! An institute I started a few years ago. I’m about to embark on an important fundraiser and I will need your help!

Suhaib Webb

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship.

Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010 and his website, www.SuhaibWebb.com, was voted the best “Blog of the Year” by the 2009 Brass Crescent awards.

Suhaib Webb has lectured extensively around the world including in the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, North Africa and North America. Upon returning from his studies in Egypt, Webb lived in the Bay Area, California, where he worked with the Muslim American Society from Fall 2010 to Winter 2011. He currently serves as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Boston’s Cultural Center (ISBCC).

5 Comments

  • Jazzak Allah Khair! Thank you for this reminder brother, Webb! May the Ummah benefit from this post like all the other posts on this site. May all of our Ramadans be that of a reminder to us all to hasten in good deeds and not forget our purposes in life.

  • Ma sha Allah! :) A much needed reminder. Alhumdulillah! Jazak Allahu Khayran Katheera!. I have a doubt, though. As I’ve grown up, I seem to have lost the image of Ramadhan I used to have as a child.. At times it seems like an ordinary month for me.. When I was a 10,11 year old, it was completely different.. Could there be any specific reason for this queer feeling?.

  • Asalmaualaikum,
    JazakAllah for writing a wonderful article and explaining the life cycle in an easy example. Keep on writing !

  • Mashallah! Thank you, tears welled up as I read this, A very much needed reminder for me, when all around me people are just thinking “what should we cook, what should we eat”
    Jazaka allahou khairan

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