Fasting & Ramadan International Affairs Reflections

Allah is Greater

By Aisha Shahnaz

It is drizzling outside and the raindrops gently fall against my window. Though it is raining, the sunlight has remained undiminished during the downpour, leaving an ethereal landscape that is caught temporarily between sunlight and rain. God’s mercy pours down upon us this Ramadan, this month caught somewhere between who we were before it came, and who we will be after it leaves, this month, fostering contemplation and compassion, while quenching thirsty hearts across the globe. How blessed we are to have been granted this opportunity once again, to be in the midst of such a long awaited and beloved realm of worship, reflection, and renewal.

Photo: Emil Melgaard

This Ramadan, many of us have been fervently shaken by the plights of our sisters and brothers, in humanity and in Islam, who are facing severe and unexplainable oppression, discrimination, poverty, famine, and injustice. A picture of a beautiful toddler fills my computer screen and my heart overflows with a sense of helplessness. I cannot help but cry. ‘Darling baby brother, why wasn’t I able to save you? Why wasn’t I there to wrap my arms around you and shield you from harm? I reel inside from the pain of having lost your precious smile, and the smiles of so many pure souls.’ I search for something to quell the feelings of helplessness and inadequacy—something to rein in the turmoil—and then I remember three words we hear with every call to prayer, three words we say every time we pray, three words that every atom of the universe testifies to, three words spoken so eloquently by our Imam at a janazah (funeral prayer) in our community some years ago. Three words that bring stillness to our souls and cause our anguish to transform with renewed purpose. Three words: Allah is Greater.

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He) is Most Great, and acknowledging this, means recognizing that He is truly Greater than everything. He is Greater than our anguish. He is Greater than our fears. He is Greater than our sense of helplessness. He is Greater than our inadequate attempts to make sense of the world. His plan is Greater. His knowledge is Greater. His promise is Greater.

Let us use this last Ramadan day to do whatever is in our capacity. Let us pray, make du`a’ (supplication) with sincerity, reflect upon the Qur’an and its relevance, and donate our time, money, and effort to make serious changes for a more just and peaceful world. Let us excavate pathways to the hearts we own, and glean treasures of love and renewal along the way. Let us shed the bitterness and cynicism we have held onto for so long, and realize there are so many more important things to attend to. Most of all though, let us acknowledge with the very depths of our beings that indeed: Allah is Greater. Only then can we truly clear away the clutter that has filled our lives until this Ramadan, and return with humility to the One who is Most Great, and Greater than everything.

May Allah (swt) help all those who are suffering and oppressed, and alleviate their burden. May Allah (swt) help all those who holding onto their last threads of hope, and enable us to assist them to the best of our abilities. May Allah (swt) bless the aunty who shares her prayer rug, the uncle who passes out plates for iftaar (breakfast), the children who fall asleep on the masjid carpet, the donators and the volunteers, the hufaaz (people who memorized the Qur’an) and imams, with their recitations and supplications swirling up towards the masaajid (mosques) ceilings, the believers who entreat and shed tears of gratitude in solitude, and the rows of worshippers standing shoulder to shoulder in congregation, with the moonlight spilling through the window, late into the night.

The rain has diminished outside and the water droplets left on my window from the brief shower sparkle in the sunlight, like believers that glow with renewed purpose after being showered by Allah’s mercy in Ramadan. How blessed to have this beloved month. How blessed to be a part of this amazing, indescribable ummah (community). How blessed to know: Allah is Greater.

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  • Assalamo Alykom,

    JazakomAllahu kheir for your reflection. May Allah make everything easy for you and your wife. May Allah make this hardship a means of earning His pleasure.

    It’s very true, we often live as if there is no hereafter. May Allah grant us the ability to always be focused on Him and our concern to be earning His pleasure. I learned from my teacher about how each situation in our life, good and bad, we should see it as an opportunity to worship Allah. In Surah Al Mulk, Allah says Blessed be the One whose hands is the dominion, He is the true king, The true owner, everything is in His hands. He is the One who has created death & life [He created hardship & ease, joy & sadness, he created opposites, why?] to test you, which one among you are the best and in tribulations can perform the most beautiful of deeds. I know for me it’s easier said than done…. but this ayah gives me hope that if Allah puts us in a situation then Allah knows that I can handle it and through my reaction I can make it an opportunity to get closer to Allah.

    Sorry for my long email. But I just wanted to let your wife know that she will be in my dua in sha Allah. I also want to share a story of another sister that I know, Rehab El Buri, she passed away a few years ago at the age of 26 from cancer. I never meet her but ever since I have read about her, I often make dua for her. She was an amazing person and touched me so much.
    The following are links about her, if you can please share with your wife:–-a-believer-who-walked-gently-on-the-earth/

    Her blog:

    If you can also please share the following lecture with your wife. “Why to bad things happen to good people” by Ustadh Hassan Elwan. This sheikh is an amazing teacher and his talks are always heart touching, making you realize how the most beautiful thing to have in life is true love and focus on Allah.
    Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? – Ustadh Hassan Elwan

    JazakomAllahu kheir

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