Ramadan – The Month of the Awliya (Allah’s Friends)
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Prophet of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam narrates from Allāh, “Whoever displays animosity towards My walī (friend), I declare war on him. My slave does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the farā’id (obligatory deeds) that I have imposed upon him. And My slave continues to draw close to Me with the nawāfil (voluntary deeds) until such that I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. If he were to ask Me, I would give him. If he were to seek refuge with Me, I would give him refuge” [Bukhārī].
Ramadān is a season in which hasanāt (rewards for good deeds) are multiplied, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Jahannam are shut, the devils are chained and every night people are freed from the Hellfire.
Ramadān is a catalyst for those seeking friendship with Allāh Al-Karīm. This is because during it the believers are more enthusiastic about ‘ibādah (worship). They are eager to combine between the farā’id and nawāfil. They couple the obligation of salāh (prayer) and siyām (fasting) with the voluntary tilāwah (recitation) and sadaqah (charity). This union between the obligatory and voluntary continues for weeks during Ramadān. How then is it possible that an individual enters Ramadān and leaves it without attaining wilāyah? Does he not with the fulfilment of every fard and nafl draw closer to Allāh?
Sadly, many wrongly presume that they cannot reach wilāyah and therefore do not intend or even hope to be from the awliyā’ (friends) of Ar-Rahmān. That very thought is removed from their hearts and minds. How can this be the case when the Prophet of Allāh outlined in this hadīth (Prophetic narration) a very simple method to attaining wilāyah? The Prophet of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam explained that wilāyah is achieved through obedience ― through the fard and nafl deeds.
Enter Ramadān, determined to reach the station of wilāyah. Be truthful (sidq) in this because even if you fall short it may be that Allāh will rank you with His awliyā’. The Prophet of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever asks for martyrdom with ṣidq, Allāh will make him reach the stations of the martyrs even if dies on his bed.” [Muslim] Al-Nawawī commented, “In this is an encouragement to ask for martyrdom, and an encouragement to intend good acts.”
Have a sincere and truthful intention, and ask Allāh to be from His awliyā’. This is because your intentions and your hopes are actions in and of themselves by virtue of which you draw closer to Allāh.
The following benefits are observed in the main hadīth (top):
- The slave should not be deceived into concentrating his efforts on the voluntary deeds whilst he is neglectful or complacent with regards to the obligatory deeds. This is because the obligatory is more beloved to Allāh than the voluntary.
- The slave should realise that when he feels distant from Allāh it may be due to his negligence in the obligatory deeds. Many a times, people engage in the nawāfil when feeling low and disconnected in the hope of reconnecting and filling that void. However, it is more than possible that the cause of their distancing is not due to a lack of nawāfil, but a negligence of the farā’id.
- The slave should be aware that the deeds of the heart and mind are from the obligatory and voluntary deeds. He should not be deceived into only focusing on the deeds of the limbs. For example, yearning and hoping for good, intending righteous deeds, observing patience with the bad character of others, forgiving a Muslim, thinking good of a Muslim ― all of these are actions that draw one closer to Allāh.
- The slave should know that unlike the obligatory deeds there is flexibility in the nawāfil. A slave has no choice but to carry out all of the obligatory deeds. However, he can choose to engage in any one of the acts of nawāfil ― He is not bound to all of them. So if he finds ease in giving charity then he should draw close to Allāh with that such that Allāh loves him. If he finds ease in socialising and being of assistance to people then he should draw close to Allāh with that such that Allāh loves him.
- Additionally, the slave should seek the love of Allāh through istighfār (seeking forgiveness). This is because Allāh does not forgive a slave except that He loves him in return. Hence, He coupled His Names, Al-Ghafūr (The Forgiving) and Al-Wadūd (The Loving). See 85:14. Perhaps this contributes to reasoning behind the legalisation of seeking forgiveness in the last ten nights of Ramadān. ‘Ā’ishah asked, “O Messenger of Allāh! If I was to know which night is the Night of Qadr, what should I say therein?” He answered, “Say, ‘O Allāh! Verily, You are One who Pardons and You love pardoning, so pardon me!’” [Tirmidhī]
Every night in Ramadān, an angel calls out from the heavens, “O Seeker of Khayr (Good)! Draw closer!” Yearn for khayr. Yearn for wilāyah. Yearn for Allāh’s love. And follow all of that with determination and action!
والحمد لله رب العالمين
وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد