Ramadan Refuge – Fasting in the Pandemic

Tom Facchine


Channel: Tom Facchine

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So don't want to come up to Allah

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let's get him set up here

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somebody's coming off to La everybody hope you're doing well

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just getting everything set up and giving people a minute or two and then we will begin

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Okay, that's been thrown around him and handled Allah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah Salam alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Dear Brothers and Sisters, Ramadan Mubarak to everybody. Thank you for joining today Alhamdulillah I'm grateful that we have this opportunity to sit together for a little bit despite the distance between us during this time.

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So today, I want to begin by sharing some of my reflections on what Ramadan might mean for us and what it can be during this time of worldwide hardship and uncertainty. At the end, there's going to be plenty of time if anybody has any questions or thoughts to share, but during the stream, I'm probably not going to be looking at the comments, but I promise I'll get to them at the end inshallah. And I'm a little bit new to Facebook Live, so bear with me if I commit any technical errors.

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over 1400 years ago, during the holy month of Ramadan, the for the dawning of his Prophetic Mission, Mohammed Abdullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam began to seek refuge in the cave of head on top of Jebel knew

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he would go there to sit alone and to contemplate the creation of the heavens and the earth. His retreat lasted until whenever his provisions ran out. He passed all of his time there in prayer and solid to

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living in Medina myself for the last part, for the last five years, I have had Mohammed de la the opportunity to climb this mountain Jebel North a few times. And the first thing that struck me about Jable note was how tall and steep it was. I guess I was imagining something

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not as tall when I hadn't even seen it before. But once I got there, and if you ever go you'll notice that the small neighborhood roads and alleys become so steep as you approach that most people have to get out of their cars, and, you know, climb uphill for blocks before they even reach the end of the road. Usually, at this point, people who have come there the visitors, they realize that scaling the mountain itself is going to be quite difficult. And so there is a small message and a couple of shops where those who have changed their minds can sit and wait for their family members who do wish to go on when they come up.

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When you begin when you crane your neck up basically as as high as it can go and you'll see how far away you have to go to reach the top of the mountain. And the hundreds of people making the same climb. As you they look like a distant trail of ants marching and align.

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Now today, double note is very, very different than at the time of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa salam. There are paved steps now making a staircase the whole way up. There are rest stations with benches. There are even a couple of makeshift convenience stores with corrugated metal roofs that sell water and snacks. There are a lot of beggars, there's a lot of trash and even souvenirs for sale once you reach the top. None of that was there, of course and the 40th year of the life of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam when he began taking refuge at the mountain and meditation and prayer. There were no other people. There were no refreshments save for the simple provisions that

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Khadija his wife gave to him as he left home. There weren't even any stairs

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when you reach the top of the mountain today

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When you gaze out over Mecca, and you see, you see that jungle nor is actually surprisingly far from the Kaaba. When you look at how small the cave of Hira is basically only one or two people can fit inside of it. And it's bizarrely contrasted by dozens of people pushing and shoving to get in. When you see all of this, you realize how truly isolated it was from the hearts of Mecca itself, and how isolated it was from the trouble and the troubling situation down below.

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We now refer to the Meccan period before revelation was sent down as the Jedi Lea The Age of Ignorance. It was a time of widespread idolatry and oppressive superstitions. People practiced opportunistic infanticide. They murdered they their baby girls for fear of financial hardship, in justices upon the poor and weak were rampant.

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All of that must have bothered the Prophet salallahu alayhi wa sallam to no end gnawing at him from the inside. And so in the sacred month of Ramadan, he would hike out into the arid mountains and climb the steep slopes of Jebel knew he needed a quiet place, he needed solitude, time and space for quiet reflection and prayer.

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Perhaps it was only in the case of head off, in this most basic shelter with the most simple provisions in this place of solitude, and austerity, that the hearts of the last Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam could be prepared, prepared to receive the light of revelation. And so it was in one of his retreats, the angel Gabriel revealed the first verses of the Koran and you know the rest of the story the Prophetic Mission began.

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Now this Ramadan we to like the prophets of Allah, who it who was Salam on Jebel note, find ourselves in a state of isolation. were removed from our day to day activities were removed from work, our social gatherings, everything that we're accustomed to. But unlike the profits a little while to us, we didn't choose this retreat.

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And, as we have all I'm sure felt in the past several weeks not every period of isolation brings solitude, or peace. If it did solitary confinement as a punishment wouldn't exist.

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Isolation or confinements can provoke restlessness, anxiety, loneliness, depression, fear, despair. Some of us have probably felt stir crazy, more agitated and irritable. Others of us might have felt lazy, or stuck in a fog.

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But it's also true that confinement has the potential to be turned into a refuge. We have in Islam, a long line of prophets and righteous people who are able to achieve solitude in their isolation, and let it be a blessing for them.

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Like us. Now, the isolation they faced was not always their own choice. In fact, sometimes Allah and his infinite wisdom and mercy threw them into that isolation against their own will.

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Take for example, Prophet Jonah, who was cast into the sea, swallowed up and confined to the belly of a whale, he had no way out except to pray and wait for the Command of Allah. Similar there was Joseph, he experienced a similar scenario twice, once when he was cast into the well by his brothers, and then again a second time when he was thrown into the dungeon, waiting in prison, where he depended entirely on circumstances beyond his control to be released.

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There are even instances of entire communities being cast into isolation. Recall the followers of Moses who came out of Egypt, who winced once they refuse to enter the promised land. They were sentenced to wander the desert for 40 years. Those years were spent in extreme hardship and loneliness. When will this end they must have thought and how many of us will even leave live to see it.

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As they wandered on and on their days must have blended into one another. They must have lost sense of both time and purpose. When they leave Egypt, they have hopes of freedom and salvation. Now wandering in the desert. Those goals have been pruned back to merely surviving and waiting.

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They begin to complain about the food that Allah provided to them. They even even reminisced about their time and slavery with Roe

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tinted glasses. I said, Last set in the Koran. What in Poland's OMYA Musen Hospira more federal bank, Federal Bank annual frigiliana, to be two out of them in the body healthy

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for me, how are others see how our boss only?

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And when you said Moses, we will not put up with just one kind of food. So ask your Lord to supply us with some of what the Earth produces. It's green vegetables. It's cucumbers, that garlic, the lentils and onions, Moses response them, saying, Paul adds a 70 Nona Levy, who,

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who are happy with whom is wrong in that.

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He said, Do you really want to exchange what is inferior for that which is better? Go back to Egypt, then you will have what you are asking for. Here, Moses isn't criticizing his people's culinary tastes. He's concerned about their entire spiritual outlook. Moses really wants His people to achieve contentment and gratitude, even when times get tough. He wants them to taste the sweetness of faith and reliance upon Allah, that is more nourishing than any type of food that they could want on Earth. But as people don't get it, they can't see the big picture. They only see as far as their next meal. And so their period of wandering continues in a state of misery. Now, both physical and

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Such an exclusive concern with our material well being at the expense of our spiritual well being is exactly what the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was worried about for us. He said for Allah He let it suck off Shaniqua what I can ask her on a phone and tube Sato la cama dunya, can I use it as an argument cannot come back home for 10 of us who have come out and if so, what to Nikka Come, come catch him.

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He says on the LA Hollywood salon, I swear by Allah, that it's not poverty, I fear for you. Rather, I fear that the dunya will be given to you like it was given to those before you and you will compete for it just like those before you and thus it will destroy you. Like it destroyed those before you. It's hadith is in Saki and Behati. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he feared that the dunya would be given to us that we would have it too good that we would get too comfortable that we would get complacent. And being complacent would make us weak, and Islam would be brought low in the world because of our weakness. Our Beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam feared

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that in our preoccupation with our material provision, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the things we have, we would neglect and lose our spiritual provision, our faith, our alliance, gratitude, our patients and our generosity.

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We too, are wandering in a kind of desert, a desert of uncertainty, wandering from day to day, wondering when this pandemic will be over and when life will return to normal. This month, especially our heart aches for our regular traditions, we yearn for the Miss G for Tata, we, when will we be able to go back to worshiping together? When will we be able to break bread again, together? We miss our family and our friends, we worry about their safety, we worry about their health, we worry about their economic security. When can we go back to work? Will there even be a job to go back to? will will will we be able to pay rent and keep the lights on?

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When will we be able to go outside without the fear of contracting a deadly illness? Or being the carrier of a deadly illness to people who are more vulnerable than ourselves? Many of us have been engulfed in sudden loneliness and fear. And the stress is real. We don't know what will happen. We pray and we hope for the best. But still we ask ourselves when all this finally passes, what will be left? How will life change?

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In times of hardship, we remember that nothing happens except by the will of Allah,

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that everything in the heavens and the earth belongs to Him. And He is the power the sustainer the Compeller in times of hardship as Muslims, we don't lose sight of the will of Allah, but we also don't lose sight of His mercy and His wisdom. We ask you

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In earnestness and not in contempt, why would Allah put us His beloved people through pain, and fear and isolation?

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We try to understand and see and accept the wisdom and the purpose.

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In the Koran, whenever Allah puts the prophets or the believers into acute hardship, into times of desolation, of poverty of confinement in exile, it is almost always because he is purifying their hearts. He is strengthening their faith. He is developing their virtues, and he is preparing them for something better. Going back to the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, in the cave of Hira and the anguish he felt due to the situation of his people. His isolation in that cave was preparing him for something greater that was right around the corner.

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Namely, to accept the revelation of the noble Koran, and to begin his Prophetic Mission to guide his people back to the sincere worship of Allah.

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That guiding light of revelation would be his refuge for the rest of his life. He would draw strength from it to face incredible hardship and sacrifice to come.

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For the followers of Moses, they're wandering through the desert produced a stronger, more obedient generation. They have renewed faith, that generation that was finally worthy of receiving the gift of the Promised Land. Once their sentence of wandering for 40 years was over, they returned, they were humbled, they were stronger, they were more obedient. They relied upon Allah alone. And they were grateful for whatever provision he decreed, and so Allah gave them Palestine.

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Without going into the belly of the whale, there would be no triumph for Jonah, who successfully guided his people back from error. Without going to prison, Joseph would not have become one of the kings trusted administers guiding the region through an intense famine, and eventually reuniting with his brothers and his father.

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These times of isolation, these times the loss of restriction of deprivation, and uncertainty, they are important, they have meaning. They're not. They're not random, and they're not accidental. If we turn to a law, and we rely upon Him, to see us through it, once we pass through this time of hardship, we will find that there was something better right around the corner, waiting to be bestowed upon us.

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The question that we have to ask ourselves, though, is for what, what is the law preparing us for?

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Every single one of us will be able to look back after this whole thing is over, and pinpoint specific things that this ordeal has given us or prepared us for ways this time shaped us into better people. For each of us, the blessings and lessons and growth will be unique. However, there is one thing that applies to every single one of us. One thing that is so fundamental and essential, that if we don't realize it, if we don't let it sink in, then we will not have reaped perhaps the greatest benefit from all the inconvenience and hardship that we're now going through.

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This pandemic has reminded all of humanity, of our vulnerability and our mortality, something that is seldom remembered in the hustle and bustle of our modern lives. No matter how long we live, it's all going to come to an end at an appointed time for every one of us.

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Now, Allah is shaking us awake, shaking us awake to our fragility to our dependence to our inevitable mortality. He is here he is the all able he's capable of ending this entire creation in the blink of an eye.

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He has the ability to hold everything just in an instant, no matter no matter how strong the superpowers of the day think they are, no matter how far science advances.

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And as we stand in awe of Allah's power, and in fear of our own fragility and weakness, we find that that there is an opportunity to prepare our hearts so that when death does come to us, we can meet it with acceptance,

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so that our souls actually go to the angels willingly and with ease.

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We can actually lie in our graves and tranquillity and face Allah after our death with joy in our hearts. This is what Allah is preparing us

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difficult times discipline the believers just as times of ease make us complacent. These times are meant to break arrogance to shatter complacency and to tenderize the heart.

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But as we saw with the children of Israel wandering in the desert, it's not an automatic process. So how do we do it? How do we turn this isolation into the refuge that Allah wants for us?

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Maybe the solution can be found in another story, Allah tells us in the Koran, about a different group of believers under lockdown in their own homes. This particular case is most similar to us. Not only is their isolation forced upon them, there's an element of danger threatening them if they were to leave their homes. It is the followers of Moses again, but this time back in Egypt, they were accustomed to only making their prayers in their public houses of worship. Then as Moses as mission progressed, Pharaoh decided to come down harder and harder upon them. It got to the point that they might be risking their lives, even if they left their homes to make congregational prayer.

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How could religious life in this scenario possibly continue? Allah reveals the solution to Moses and Aaron

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whoa Hain

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Musa Elfi

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Saba Tomiko mabie. Miss level your towel.

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Towel out the Masada? Well, best shooting and meanie. We inspired Moses and his brother with this message. Take dwellings for your people in Egypt, turn them into places of worship, and establish the prayer and give glad tidings to those who believe.

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This is a more specific version of the instructions that Allah gives the same group of people in Surah Al Baqarah when Allah says

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Johann Lenin monastery you know where slavery was sought.

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Oh, you who believe take refuge and patience and prayer.

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Turn your dwellings into places of worship. establish the prayer. Take refuge in patience take refuge in prayer. These are the instructions of Allah. When you can no longer pray in congregation when the doors of the masjid have been shut. What do you do? Turn your homes into places of worship. When the prophets of Allah Hatha he was salam returned from the cave of Haydock shaken by the first experience of revelation and the weight of his mission, his home became a center of worship, just as it was in solitude that the revelation itself began. It was in the confines of a single home that the teachings on the slam were firmly established that the hearts of the first few believers were

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This Ramadan is like no other any of us have lived through before. For many of us, it might not even feel like Ramadan. We miss the community if we miss visits to our friends and our families. We miss tucked away in the Miss G. Without this, the month has lost its special feel like the people of Moses. Some of us have spent the last week wandering in the desert. Scrolling through our news feeds, moping around in a kind of self pity, sleeping too much perhaps. Yet, maybe already. Some of us have also discovered that there is a certain hidden blessing in this confinements of ours. Perhaps some of us have spent this week more like people finding refuge in our solitude, in our

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patience and in our prayer.

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Ramadan is naturally a time of looking inward, a time of restraint. It's a time of intentional, ritualized deprivation and hardship, which Allah has prescribed as a pillar of our faith. Partly because deprivation and hardship are good for us, and they're good for our souls. going without food or water already makes our lives more focused and simple. This pandemic could turn out to be the even more intensive refuge that all of us needed to deepen our worship during Ramadan. If we respond to it correctly, the vulnerability and uncertainty and fear that we are experiencing can actually become the pathway to stronger, more meaningful faith.

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This year, could be the most meaningful Ramadan of your life.

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Because as wonderful as our acts of fellowship together are

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Sometimes all the social obligations can take away from our worship. Sometimes Ramadan gets the feeling of IE that before its proper time.

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And as wonderful as our congregational worship is, sometimes it can turn us into spectators. Instead of active participants. Allah is giving us the opportunity to get back in the driver's seat and take command of our spiritual connection to him. This is the opportunity for each and every one of us to turn our own dwellings into places of worship. Caught away can be done in the home, you can hold the most half. When you're leading Tada, we, according to the majority opinion of the football hub, gather your family, turn the lights down low, make it an experience to remember. Let your children's set up the prayer rugs. The older children can be in charge of carrying incense throughout the home

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before the prayer, think of ways in which everybody can participate.

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Now you might be saying, I can't do all that. Maybe you haven't memorized much of the Koran. Maybe you can't read Arabic. Maybe you're intimidated to do it on your own.

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If that's the case, then I have one last story for you.

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The first camera that I ever made, the Mecca was with a large group of students from the Islamic University. I was still fairly new, still struggling with Arabic. It was a Friday and having already completed our aamra writes the night before. We were sitting me and some friends and msg of how long reading Quran waiting for Joomla to begin.

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One of my friends reminded me that hey, it's Friday, we should all read. So it's uncaf because that's the seminar to do on Friday. I confess at that point, I had never read sort of El Capitan Arabic.

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I really doubted my ability whether I could do it or not. I figured if I tried, it would take me all day long.

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My friend saw my hesitation and he challenged me. He said, You'll never know until you try it.

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And I'm going to be honest with you. I was slightly annoyed by his forthrightness and his frankness. However, I decided to take his challenge. I opened up the Koran I started reading. So with his cat, yeah, I struggled, I struggled over some of the most the more difficult sections to pronounce, I moved at what seems to me like a snail's pace. But the amazing thing was that as the A then started to go off, and the flip bug began, I flipped the next page, and I realized that I had only one or two pages left until I was done the soul.

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After the prayer, I was like, You know what, I'm going to sit down and right where I am, and I'm not going to move until I finish this.

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And I did Hamdulillah, I was surprised at how Allah made something relatively easy for me

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that before I had thought was so impossible.

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This is something that Prophet Muhammad SAW some, of course, told us he said that, if any one of us begins to walk towards Allah,

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then Allah is going to do more than meet us halfway he's going to come to us running, meaning that whatever effort we expend, trying to better ourselves trying to please Allah, that Allah is going to treat us with even more

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mercy and lenience and acceptance and make it even easier for us.

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You don't have to be able to lead taraweeh at home, you don't have to have memorized any of the Quran. You don't have to even be able to read any Arabic. You don't need any of that to strengthen your relationship with Allah. Anyone with an internet connection these days can find the translation of the Quran in their native language this year, challenge yourself, try to complete reading an entire translation of the Quran in your native language at least once.

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If you find it's too hard, try to start in the middle, that sort of calf until you go to the end.

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And do me a favor don't beat yourself up if you don't accomplish as much as you want it to. The point is to notice how much you do get done this year. And keep it in your mind for next year. The goal here is to just keep getting better little by little year by year. The same goes for your prayer. There aren't some people that regretfully they fast Ramadan and they don't pray at all. If that Allah bless you if you're watching this right now, challenge to try to make your five daily prayers just during all of them. See what happens. It might be easier than you think. If you make your five daily prayers, but you're usually kind of lacks about the timings let's say you don't pray

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at work and then you back all them up and you know, finish them all at the end of the day.

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Your challenge this month is to try to make all five every day on time.

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If you've never tried praying at night before, guess what? This is the year to start.

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It doesn't have to be crazy. I know we hear the stories of the arena and the focal heart and the self that used to spend all night long and prayer and do these amazing things and finish the Koran like Abu Hanifa and Imam Shafi. They used to complete the Koran once during the day and once during the night Ramadan. For some of us, those stories can be intimidating. So don't put pressure on yourself. If you can just begin by doing three units of prayer three records, then if you can do it consistently, and guess what if you find, hey, this isn't so hard, then you can move up from there.

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Try everybody to strengthen your focus and your sincerity in your prayer. Now, some of you have noisy busy homes.

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If that's you try to just find one prayer, either a fun prayer or a silent prayer that you can do every day in a quiet place when nobody else is watching when everybody else is asleep. Take your time and your sujood take time to connect to Allah and turn back to him as best you can. The Prophet told us to take so Allah how to set him He told us to take advantage of our spare time before we find that we're too busy. Has there ever been a Ramadan? Will there ever be a Ramadan that gives us more spare time for most of us? Probably not.

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Final thought there are things outside of the Koran and prayer that every single one of us can and should do every day. But especially in Ramadan, reach out to people, check in on them, do whatever little things you can do to make someone's day a little brighter and a little less lonely. During these days, pay special attention to converts right that don't have any family who are Muslims, the elderly, and people who live by themselves, make sure you go out of your way to call them maybe cook a meal and leave it on their doorsteps. Offer to pick something up from for groceries or run errands for them whatever you can do. Don't worry if you don't have anything in common with the person you

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don't know the person. This isn't on the ball, you have an easy excuse. Allah is only concerned with your sincere effort. This is also a time for all of us to cultivate patience and compassion and generosity. Be gentle and forgiving with your children. Even if they're driving you crazy. I know it happens. For those of us with a full house. All this time you're listening to me, you're probably saying, what refuge? What are you talking about? For you, maybe, maybe your charity during Ramadan will be in the form of you giving quality time to each and every one of your children and to your spouse. Maybe your worship will largely be in the practice of accent having excellence. Holding your

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tongue when you want to complain about something, when you want to shout about something or yell at somebody or blame somebody for something they did. Every challenge is an opportunity for your purification and your growth. being cooped up with the same people for days on end is going to provide a lot of opportunities to practice patience and forgiveness, to practice overlooking the faults of others, and assuming the best and seeing the good in what people do find ways to worship together, turn your dwellings into places of worship, this whole world and everything in it is temporary, our enjoyment of it momentary, well, whenever Allah wills, he's going to bring all of

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this to an end, all we have guaranteed is the present. We have that to work with, to benefit from and to do good with what Allah has given us in the way of blessings and trials. Whatever condition we find ourselves in our job is simply to find the appropriate response. That way it will be good for us in this world and the next and with that, we will conclude and I asked a lot to make us sincere because from amongst his patient servants, and to put blessing in this Ramadan for us and to give us a a charitable attitude to the people who are around us. And to give us leniency and him forbearance with everybody that we meet, especially the people within our own homes. And I asked a

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lot to give every single one of us the inspiration and an extra little bump that we need to

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push ourselves because it's very easy to just get complacent and do the same thing every year to push ourselves just to push on

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Have a little bit more wherever level you're at now just to do a little bit more this year and next year try a little bit more. A little funny how that was stuck through. Lee welcome Al hamdu lillah wa salatu salam salam ala for anybody. I don't think anybody had any questions of the Romans was Salah you missed out on the rock man you didn't try to climb the mountain I highly recommend anybody who comes to Mecca.

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If you're in good health, and if you come on camera or hunch try to climb that hill. No, it is a spiritual experience. It's not worship. Okay, yeah, we get that could not worship it. Even the Prophet Muhammad never went back there after

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after the headphone, even though he had the opportunity, which is interesting, right? However, if you find yourself there and Bucha you have to try because just to put yourself through the same or a similar physical experience of the Prophet Muhammad Ali said on when to to see like this is a major, I was amazed. I didn't think it was going to be as tall. I didn't think it was going to be as far I didn't think it was going to be as difficult the prophesy said I must have been extremely fit to make that journey and to climb that mountain as he did so often. And it will give you it will let you feel a little bit closer to the Prophet Muhammad sighs I don't see anybody else that had any

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other questions.

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Why they come to Sudan so rocket allows everybody else who sent a message. Good to see you all. And I wish you all a blessed week we're going to do this in sha Allah every week, same time 1pm Eastern Standard Time 8pm Medina time for the next three weeks in sha Allah. And then once we get into the last 10 Nights, we're going to switch up the schedule and do some more things that are focusing on tafseer the Koran things like that inshallah.

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Anybody needs my contact info, it's on the Facebook page, while hamdulillah was still through law was salat wa salam ala Rasulillah Salam aleikum wa rahmatullah.