Channel: Yasmin Mogahed
The Darkest Hour and the Coming of the Dawn
By: Yasmin Mogahed
Yasmin talks about finding the light after the darkest times with the help of Allah’s (swt) mercy.
Presented on July 13, 2011
Assalamu alaikum This is espionage ahead and you're listening to serenity streaming live on one legacy radio.
Today I'm going to talk about the darkest hour and the coming of the dawn. Now, according to the well stated proverb, the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
Now, although this is astronomically incorrect, the darkest point is much earlier, the truth of this proverb is actually metaphoric and in no way less real. See, we so often find that the darkest times in our lives are followed by the most precious often it's at the moment when everything looks broken, that something least expected comes and lifts us up and carries us through it. Now if you think about, for example, the story of Prophet a you didn't he lose everything one by one, before it was all given back and more. Yes, for profit a tube The night was real. And for many of us, it seems like it lasts forever. But Allah does not allow an endless night. In his mercy, he gives us the sun.
Yet there's times when we feel like those hardships, they don't end and maybe some of us have even fallen, fallen, you know so much to such a spiritual low that we feel disconnected from Allah subhanho wa Taala, disconnected from our Creator. And maybe from you know, for some of us, it's so dark that we might not even notice that we've become disconnected from Allah subhanho data. But like the sun that rises at the end of the night, our dawn has come in his infinite mercy, Allah subhanaw taala has sent the light of Ramadan to erase the night, he sent the month of the Quran so that he can elevate us and bring us from our isolation to his nearness. And he's given us this blessed month
to fill our emptiness and cure our loneliness and end our souls poverty. He sent us the dawn, so that we can find after darkness light.
Allah subhanaw taala says that it is he who sends blessings on you, as he as he does his angels, so that he might bring you from the depths of darkness into light, and he is full of mercy to the believers. And this is chapter 33, verse 43. And this mercy extends to all who seek it. That's the beauty of Allah's mercy. The beauty of Allah's mercy is he has a rocky mantle Rahim which means, you know that his mercy, it is Allah subhanaw taala says that his mercy, he says
rahmati was actually Shay, which means that my mercy expands and encompasses every single thing. Even the most hardened sinner is told to never ever lose hope in Allah has infinite mercy, and to lose hope and Allah's infinite mercy is to limit Allah's mercy. If I think that my sins are too great to be forgiven, then what I'm saying really is that my sins are greater than Allah's mercy. And Allah subhanaw taala also says in the Quran, say, oh my servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah for Allah forgives all sins, for he is oft forgiving, Most Merciful. It's upon Allah and this is sometimes the hardest thing to do. See, it's
very easy to believe in Allah's mercy when we're doing well, right when we're when we're when we you know, we're at the top of our game in our Deen and we're, you know, we're not we feel like we're doing okay, you know, we're praying and we're, we're basically pleased with ourselves, we're pleased with our deeds. It's really easy to you know, to look and believe in Allah's mercy but it's a lot harder to believe and and have hope and Allah's mercy when we're not doing so well. When we're when we're when we're maybe at the bottom of our, of our, you know, our paths are at you know, we're not doing so well in our in our Deen is kind of, you know, it's struggling and we feel like, you know,
we've lost that connection with Allah subhanaw taala it's at those times when it's hardest to really, really believe and have hope in the mercy of Allah. But it's at those times when we need it the most. It's at those times when we need to never ever forget that Allah subhanaw taala has mercy is so much greater than any of our sins and all of our sins combined. And Allah is the owner of mercy and there is no time when the mercy of Allah subhanaw taala is showered more on us than during the blessed month of Ramadan. The Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has said about Ramadan, it's beginning
His mercy, its middle is forgiveness, and its ending is liberation from the Hellfire, every moment of Ramadan is a chance to come back to Allah subhanaw taala whatever we are now going through in our life, even if it's, you know, it's a direct consequence of our actions, if we're humiliated or we feel low, it's our own sins which have lowered us. And it is only by Allah subhanaw taala that we can ever hope to be elevated. If we are consistently unable, for example, to wake up for fetchit or finding find it increasingly difficult to stay away from home, we have to examine this relationship with Allah subhanaw taala. And most of all, we should never be deceived. And we should never allow
ourselves to think that anything in this world succeeds or fails, or is given or is taken, or is done or is undone without Allah subhanaw taala it's only by our connection with him that we rise or fall in life, and in our relationship with our world. It's only through our relationship with Him that that any other relationship is defined.
But see, here's the thing. Unlike humanity, our Creator doesn't hold any grudges. So imagine now receiving a clean slate. Imagine having everything that you ever regret doing erased completely. Ramadan is that chance. The prophets of the lady have seldom said that whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain a less reward than all of his past sins will be forgiven.
So now given this unparalleled opportunity, the question is how can we best take advantage of it? inshallah, when we return after the break, we'll talk about some ways, some practical, you know, some practical steps of how we can really take advantage of this blessing gift of Allah subhana wa Tada.
Assalamu Aleikum you're listening to serenity and this is yes, mean Mujahid. We're talking today about the coming of Ramadan and how how to really take advantage best advantage of this gift of Allah subhanaw taala and that's exactly how we should see Ramadan is is a gift. Allah subhanaw taala sends us Ramadan as a way to elevate us and to bring us back to him. Because during Ramadan we're told that everything you know everything that we do for Allah subhanaw taala is multiplied during Ramadan. And so it's his way less penalty and it's it's it's a time when Allah subhanaw taala showers His mercy on his creation, even more or less, Allah His mercy is infinite and in during
Ramadan, it's showered on us even more. And it's an opportunity for us, as we spoke about before the break, to actually have a completely clean slate. The prophets I send them told us that whoever fast Ramadan was sincere, you know, sincere faith and and really hoping to get that reward from Allah Spano Tata, that they can have all of their sins forgiven. And I mean, imagine that imagine having it be, you know, to come out of Ramadan clean and completely pure. And Subhan Allah, Allah subhanaw taala had ended, he does something else for us in order to make it more, you know, easier for us to to seek Him and to reach him. And to elevate us is that he chains, the shell team during Ramadan. So
the devils are chained in Ramadan. And so Allah subhanaw taala it's it's like, you know, those those whispers of the shaitan that often, you know, get us, you know, on the wrong track or get us off the right track if we're on it. That is suppressed Allah subhanaw taala change that and so he's giving us a greater opportunity to seek His mercy. But one of the things that we have to keep in mind is that in order to really take advantage of Ramadan, there's a couple things that that I think we should remember and keep in mind, and one of them is realizing and keeping in mind why it is that we're fasting. A lot of times we fast just as a ritual. It's it's something that we do because we're
you know, we're supposed to do it or because everyone else does it or it's some sort of tradition. And it's important that we understand the true meaning of fasting and the deeper you know, the deeper purpose that ultimately
Die that tells us about fasting in the Quran. You know, one of the things that we hear a lot, I've heard a lot. And I used to also believe as well is that the, you know, when people would ask, why do you fast? And the answer a lot of times that we give, that you hear a lot is we fast in order to feel what the poor people feel. And while that's a very beautiful consequence of fasting,
I wouldn't say that that's the purpose of fasting because Allah subhanaw taala tells us the purpose of fasting in sorbitol, Bukhara when he says what's translated as fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you that you may attain taqwa. So, in order to really understand that wisdom and the beauty of fasting we need to understand the Aqua taqwa is usually translated as fear of God. But it's more than just fear of God. It's It's It's It's God consciousness, it's really realizing that Allah subhanaw taala is watching us and then trying to protect ourselves from his anger. And really at the core of taqwa is love because when you really love somebody, that's when
you're going to be afraid of making them angry, that's when you're going to be afraid of not having that love returned to you. And it isn't like when when I really love someone, you know, my fear of upsetting that person. It's a fear, it's a real fear, right? I'm worried I'm scared, I'm anxious about that person being upset with me, but what is really motivating that fear, it may have nothing to do with the fact that that person is going to punish me, you know, I don't think that person is going to beat me up or, or put me in jail or, you know, hurt me in some way. If I if I upset them, but it's just, it's the fact that because I love them, I don't want them to be angry with me and I
want them to love me in return. And and this is, you know, magnified with Allah subhanaw taala, that if we really love Allah subhanaw taala we will have that as a direct consequence, that fear of displeasing him and talk what is that fear it's, it's protecting ourselves from his anger and from his punishment, but also it's it's, it's, it's, you know, again, a lot of that is driven by love. And it should be it should be driven by love and even if it is not, even if it's simply I am afraid of his punishment Still, this is you know, this is taqwa the fact that I am, you know, I am conscious of Allah subhana wa Tada. And I am afraid of displeasing him, and I'm afraid of his anger.
And so Allah subhanaw taala is telling us that he prescribes fasting, as it was prescribed to those before us, which means that for one, that this is not a new prescription. This is not something new, but rather the people who came before us were also commanded to fast and that really goes to show how important this this practice is how important this a bad that this act of worship really is. And the question then is why what is it that fasting does for the person's soul and the person's relationship with Allah subhanaw taala. And the ayah goes on to say what it does, it says that La La Quinta de Hoon, that you may attain or reach taqwa, this, this this state of having consciousness
and fear of Allah subhanaw taala. And, you know, you you ask, you know, the natural question would be how, what's the connection between staying away from food and drink and fear of Allah? subhanaw taala? Well, if you think about it, what is it that keeps you from breaking your fast now assume that nobody is watching? And you're all alone? What is it that keeps you from sneaking in? You know, some food or water? Really? What is it? If no one else is watching? What is it that's keeping us from breaking our fast? And the answer is that we know that Allah is watching. And so what's that? What is that doing? It's breeding that concept and that awareness that Allah subhanaw taala is
watching me, and I am building the ability to control my actions. In this case, controlling myself from sneaking in a drink or some food, I'm building my ability to control my action out of what out of fear of Allah Spano data because I know that Allah is watching me and if I do eat something or drink something, he will be displeased. And that will be you know, that will be a sin in that case. And so we actually in Ramadan, what we're doing and when we fast, what we're doing is we're restraining the the lower part of the self, because it's the lower part of the self that wants to eat and drink, right. And so what we do when we fast is we control the lower part of the self, in
order to elevate the higher part of the self. So we control the body in order to elevate and feed the soul. So you know by by starving in a sense, the neffs by starving the lower part of the self, we're actually elevating and feeding the soul
In the higher part of the self, and it's, it's creating in us a sense of strength. Because if you can control yourself from something which is a natural need a bodily need, which is to eat and drink, if you can control yourself and control that, you know, that urge, then it then you can control yourself from sin outside of Ramadan. And so that it's almost like the same concept of, you know, if you want to build a muscle, what you do is you lift heavy weights, right? You You have to do some struggle in order to build that muscle. And that muscle really, if you think about it, it's taqwa. And so when I restrain I restrained myself from food and drink in Ramadan, I'm building that
muscle of the ability to restrain my neffs for the sake of Allah subhanaw taala. So, so from the beginning, we have to really go into Ramadan understanding why it is that we're fasting and remembering Allah subhanaw taala. Another aspect of fasting, which goes back to the issue of taqwa is that every time that I feel hungry, I remember Allah subhanaw taala. Because, you know, I might go through the rest of my day, a normal day and not remember a lot once. But when I'm hungry, and I think to myself, I'm hungry, I want to eat something. And then I think, Well, why is it that I can't eat? Well, the reason I can't eat is because of Allah subhanaw taala I'm doing this for Allah. So
it's a constant reminder. And every time I feel hungry, and every time I feel thirsty, I'm remembering Allah subhanaw taala and then what am I doing after that? I have a choice, I can either give into my hunger at that point and eat something or I can restrain my hunger at that point for the sake of Allah subhanaw taala and gain and gain something spiritually gained that that that nearness to Allah again that that you know, higher level of taqwa. And that's through my sacrifice. It's through the fact that I yes, I feel hungry, but for the sake of Allah, I'm going to resist that hunger, and I'm not going to eat. And so you know what, that's again, I think at the very you know,
from the very beginning, we need to understand why it is that we fast. And, and the other thing that that I think is very important in order to benefit from Ramadan is that we should not make Ramadan, just about hunger and thirst, the prophets I send them, he warns us of this when he says in ahaadeeth, whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink. The point here is that fasting is not just about being hungry and thirsty, fasting has a deeper meaning it has a deeper purpose. And that is to restrain us and to make us you know, better in character, right? Because if we can restrain ourselves from food and
drink, it helps us to restrain ourselves. Also, from the huddle, though if we're, you know, not eating and drinking, and yet we're acting, you know, in ways that are displeasing to Allah, then then we're really contradicting the whole, you know, the whole endeavor, right? Because the whole reason that we're not eating and drinking is for the sake of Allah, we're sacrificing something, which is actually normally halen, right food and drink is Hillel. But we're sacrificing something which is normally Halloween, for the sake of Allah subhanaw taala. So it wouldn't make sense for us then to indulge in things which are haram all the time, which are normally How long? So again, it's
something to think about inshallah, what I want, you know, listeners to do is to, you know, join in the discussion on the chat box, give me your thoughts, and what are some things that you would advise, or what's some advice that you give, of how to really benefit from Ramadan and, you know, we can share our own experiences and our own advice. One other, you know, I think advice and something to keep in mind regarding how to really benefit from Ramadan would be that not to get caught up in, you know, the, sort of
the traditions of Ramadan, and it's, it's beautiful, to invite people and to get together and to eat together. And this is, you know, this is one of the beautiful aspects of Ramadan. But just to keep in mind, you know, that the focus is not what we're eating for thought. And the focus is not supposed to be you know, having these very fancy of thoughts which we have to spend the entire day in the kitchen cooking, because again, I feel that, you know, that that, that misses the point that you know, the point of Ramadan is, is really, in a sense to detach ourselves from this need for food and drink in order to attach ourselves more fully and focus more fully on Allah subhanaw taala. So
if we're using that time, to, you know, just cook in the kitchen all day, you know, then I you know, we're not not necessarily benefiting fully from that from that restraining of the nuts.
You know, lastly, we
We need to inshallah really make a plan and Allah subhanaw taala you know, Allah, the prophets I send them says that an MLM will be net that everything is by intention and that everybody will have what they intend. And so inshallah, if we can go into Ramadan and making a sincere intention, you know, really to have this be a purification and have it be a time for us to go back to Allah subhanaw taala and to you know, refocus our lives and refocus our our, our efforts on Allah subhanaw taala that that inshallah we will get what we intend so but we have to be very conscious when we do things so going you know, let us you know, shall make the intention now. And in the days coming up
to Ramadan, make the sincere intention of what it is that we want from Ramadan that we want this really to change us not to just be about, you know, being hungry and thirsty but rather that this is something that's going to you know, transform our lives and to really really, you know, totally reorient us on Allah subhanaw taala and to bring us back and inshallah we'll talk more about this you know, as Ramadan you know, goes you know, as we go through Ramadan and after, we have to also remember that Ramadan is intended to give us fuel and to refocus us, but, but it needs to continue after Ramadan. And so we have to make a plan of real lasting changes not you know, not just we do
things and we're, you know, we're on high during Ramadan, and then after Ramadan is over, we go back to our normal ways and that that will have meant that nothing really changed. Ramadan needs to be a time of change, inshallah, in a time of, you know, getting nearer to Allah subhanaw taala and that should really be a lasting change. inshallah, we'll take a quick break, and when we return, we'll continue with some advice of how to really take advantage of Ramadan.
Salam aleikum, you're listening to serenity and this is yes, men, which we're talking today about Ramadan, and about the gift of Ramadan, and how inshallah we plan on each and every one of us making the intention of really benefiting from Ramadan and what we intend to get out of Ramadan. Because the prophets I send them tells us that everyone gets what they intend from something and so inshallah we can make the intention of what what it is that we what it is that we're doing, what why it is that we fast, what it is that we hope to accomplish, and what we hope to get out of Ramadan. And inshallah, you know, this is a whole other topic. But the idea, a lot of people, you know, ask
about and think about is, you know, the shell teen, we know that the that the Shaitan, the devils are chained in Ramadan. And so the question naturally is, well, why do we continue to sin during Ramadan, and act exactly the same way? In a lot of cases, if the shayateen are chained? And I and I think that the, you know, one of the answers to that question is that, yes, shaitan is an enemy to us. He's the external enemy, but we have another enemy, which can be more dangerous possibly than shaitan. And that's the internal enemy of the neffs. And then EFS is not chained in Ramadan, the neffs is my own self, it's my own self, who calls me towards, you know, what is displeasing to Allah
subhanaw taala. It's the lower self. And so that self is not chained in Ramadan, but rather, that self is what I'm working on, restraining in Ramadan. And one of the, you know, one of the strongest ways to restrain the neffs is through fasting, and SubhanAllah. This is inside Ramadan, and outside of Ramadan, because what I'm doing when I'm fasting is I'm telling my neffs my lower self, No, I'm saying no to myself, because my self says I'm hungry, right, my next my lower self is I'm hungry, and I'm and I'm thirsty. And so by fasting, what I'm doing is I'm saying I'm in charge, not you, right, I'm in charge of my lower desires, which include, you know, the desire for food or drink or
or whatever, I'm actually in charge, and I will, you know, it's, it's a very important, it's a very important statement to make to the neffs that, you know, the neffs is not in charge, I am in charge of my knifes. And so this is part of the, you know, the purpose of fasting is to show the neffs who's in charge. So inshallah, you know, this is something to keep in mind and, and we'll be having, you know, a longer discussion on that. Actually coming up, inshallah I can give more details next week. There'll be a podcast halaqa, which we'll be having a webinar on Thursday, the 21st and shala. We'll be talking specifically about that topic of controlling and restraining the neffs in
For Ramadan and the connection between the two, but I want to leave you, inshallah, with this image in mind, I want you inshallah, to imagine for a second that it's raining, in fact that it's pouring. It's pouring rain. But imagine that what is falling from the sky is not rain. I mean, it's not water. Imagine that what's falling from the sky is dollar bills. In fact, imagine that it's $100 bills. So imagine you're sitting in your house, and all of a sudden, it starts raining outside, and it's not raining water, it's raining $100 bills or make it some of them our $1,000 is does that exist? If it existed? Okay, if it exists, I don't actually know if it does. Imagine that there, you
know that there are 1000s. So you're sitting in your house, and here it is raining outside? Now the question is, what would you do? Now?
I'm guessing that you'd probably go outside and try to catch as much of it as you can. And in fact, your entire neighborhood would be outside trying to catch as much as you can. And in fact, people would be falling all over themselves trying to catch as much money as they can. And they would, in fact, stand outside all night to try to gather as much money as they could. But we would do all of this for money. Because money to us is precious, right? But imagine for a moment that it wasn't raining something that had you know, a some price to it. Imagine that it was raining something priceless, not $100 bills, not 1000s, not trillions, but the mercy of Allah subhanaw taala and this
is a currency that no human currency can ever ever measure. And the prophets I send them tells us this that in Ramadan, he says in the Hadith, Ramadan has come to you. It is a month of blessing in which Allah covers you with blessings and he sends down mercy decreases sins and answers prayers. in it. Allah looks at your competition in good deeds and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourself. For the unfortunate one is the one who is deprived in this month of the mercy of Allah subhanho wa Taala of pulling Polly Heather was stopped for la de la come in una Rahim. subhanak Hello the hammock Nish Edwin la Illa illa Anta nostoc theorical in a tubular lake
was Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh