A Ramaḍan in lockdown comes with its own tests and trials. For many it will be a calamity and others a blessing. A true believer will take utmost benefit out of it with patience and perseverance. You will find him grateful to Allah for giving this Ramaḍan where he receives a blessing of more free time. It will be a golden opportunity to increase more ibadah [worship], recitation of Qur’an and nawâfil [non-mandatory Prayers]. He will not waste it in loitering and sleeping. Rather this Ramaḍan may be his best one, to take maximum advantage and have success in its purpose.
Whilst for many, it will not be less than an adversity and a hindrance to attain any rewards from fasting. Entire days spent in sleeping and with the breaking of fast, chit chatting on social media.
Thus, they will lose the benefits of fasting, and their Ramaḍan might be a total loss.
عَنْ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فِيهِمَا كَثِيرٌ مِنْ النَّاسِ الصِّحَّةُ وَالْفَرَاغُ
6049 صحيح البخاري كتاب الرقاق باب لا عيش إلا عيش الآخرة
Ibn Abbas reported:
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “There are two blessings which many people (regretfully) lose: health and free time.” (Ṣaḥîḥ Al-Bukhârî, 6049)
In the Arabic text of the Hadith, the term for waste is Maghbûn. Maghbûn comes from the root word Ghabana. It means something that is taken up as a dependency by a person —and which, if lost, makes him a loser and helpless. For example, a person has a million dollars as his entire capital which he invests in business to get a steady income. But due to some reasons, the entire capital is lost; this regretful loss is called Ghaban.
Don’t Be among Those who Regret
One of the titles of Qiyâmah [(Day of) Standing] is Yaum Al-Taghâbûn [Day of Regrets]. The term taghâbûn also comes from Ghabana. Sûrah Taghâbûn focuses on the irrevocable regret a person will feel when he realizes that he has wasted his health and free time during his stay in the world:
The Day He will assemble you for the Day of Assembly – that is the Day of Deprivation… [Sûrah Taghâbûn, 64: 9]
The same verse also appreciates those who will be happy receiving their reward for utilizing their lives and blessings of life. And as for whoever believes in Allah and does righteousness:
…He will remove from him his misdeeds and admit him to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment. [Sûrah Taghâbûn, 64: 9]
Turn Quarantine into a Blessing
There are three categories of people who are healthy and having free time in this quarantine lockdown.
- Those who waste a lot of time on the internet, entertainment and gossiping.
- Those who utilize their time only in worldly achievements like keeping themselves occupied, either doing courses online or credentials benefitting due presence, at the cost of ignoring Akhira-oriented goals and success.
- Those who utilize their time dutifully with family, pursuing worldly achievements without missing and leaving their spiritual requirements.
Ibn Abbas quotes the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
“Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” (Mustadrak, vol. 4 p. 306. Imam Hakim has declared this Hadith as authentic)
Identify and Acknowledge the Blessings
If you are healthy and have free time during the lockdown, these are the blessings to make your lifetime-worthy and valuable. Look around, you will find numerous people in your circle living but not blessed as you are. Sickness and being occupied with no free time might have turned the same people helpless and weak. They may desire to do more good deeds, but senility or ailments make them deprived from the fulfillment of this bounty as youth is now past.
If you have youth, take it as a priceless blessing as you still have an opportunity to increase in good deeds and rectify your actions.
If you are healthy and have free time at home, then you are fortunate to get benefit from Ramaḍan in that state.
Develop Sabr: Patience Gives you Strength and Stamina
Inner strength comes out of patience, along with a hope of reward. Allah declared —in the Quran as a glad tiding to the believers— a reward in full without taking them to account— in fact, a reward more than ninety times itself.
Instead of being impatient and depressed in quarantine, focus on the benefits one may get from fasting and by praying Qiyâm Al-Layl [Standing at Night], as well as reciting the Qur’an as much as you can.
This patience should help you avoid remaining idle, unproductive and unhealthy, which could otherwise result in constricted and depressed days and nights in this quarantine.
Only those who are patient shall receive their reward without measure. [Sûrah Al-Zumar, 39:10]
The situation of lockdown can cease our materialistic productivity for the time being, but it also offers opportunities for spiritual productivity to rise. These days any of us may become out of work, and some may run short of food as well. Yet the attitude towards the difficulty should be positive:
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA)
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “Richness does not mean having a great amount of wealth (property) but richness is self-contentment….” (Ṣaḥîḥ Al-Bukhârî, 453)
A Lockdown of a Different Kind but more Difficult than Today
In the story of the Prophet, (صلى الله عليه وسلم) there was a boycott of the new Muslims and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). It was like a political lockdown which lasted for around three years and during which the people could not buy or sell their stuff, little children were crying out of hunger, and nothing reached them except only a little food through some compassionate Makkans.
Umar bin Al Khattab (RA) said,
We have found that our best period of life was while we were patient. (Ṣaḥîḥ Al-Bukhârî, 477).
When Ibn Taymiya was in jail, he did not waste his few years there mourning or nagging but a compiled his Majmu’a Al-Fatawa, which later became a masterpiece in Islamic literature. If you use the time in lockdown fruitfully, you can expect very beneficial outcomes.
Build a Campus of Learning Dîn at Home
Valuing free time and health by utilizing them to amass more good deeds is a way to show gratefulness to Allah.
You can even turn your house into a Madrasa (homeschool) and motivate your family to get closer to Allah.
Demonstrate Gratefulness to Allah and Teach Children Gratefulness, too
Gratefulness is not time and situation-bound but character-bound. For many, this Ramaḍan may be an excuse for leaving it’s fasting and Qiyâm. Yet for the few who may find this Ramaḍan a blessing, the lockdown will increase their ‘Ibaâdah and Dhikr as a result of their gratefulness. This is how Allah promises an increase in blessings if we remain grateful in calamities as well as in prosperity. These are the glad tidings for the few of Allah’s servants who are grateful to him.
Allah had commanded the same to the families of the Prophets:
“Work [goodness], O family of David, in gratitude.” And few of My servants are grateful. [Sûrah Saba’, 34:13]
Notable scholars like Ibn Abbas and Aisha Siddiqah, (Allah be pleased with them) were students of the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) at home. They rose to a very high level of academicians in various Islamic sciences like Tafseer, Fiqh and Hadith.
For this Dîn to have reached us with authenticity and security was due to its transmission from such esteemed students of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
Most of us as parents lag behind in keeping a watch on the abilities and qualities of our children. As we find no time, or infrequent time, to prioritize our children’s Tarbiyah (personal training and development) or to check out their progress, this can cause a decline of morals due to lack of diligence and our preoccupations in our professions. It is wajib [mandatory] upon parents to focus on the character of their children:
Beware, every one of you is a guardian and every one of you shall be questioned with regard to his trust. (Ṣaḥîḥ Muslim 1829)
This year, Ramaḍan in quarantine provides you that opportunity. So, grab it!
Be Good to your Family
Many people lose their patience during hardship and turn depressive and stressed up due to a shortage of money or food. Social scientists are cautioning about an increase in divorce rates and domestic upsets during the lockdown. Being good to family is a source of a blessed Rizq.
Serving parents can turn to be a reason for a calamity to be removed by Allah.
In the story of the three men who were trapped in the cave, who used their past good deeds as a wasîla (DEFINING WORDS) in du’a (supplication) to get out of the situation, one of them presented his good conduct towards his parents as his wasîla. Imam Al-Bukhârî, titles the same Hadith with these words – “The invocation of the person who is dutiful to his parent is accepted by Allah.” (Ṣaḥîḥ Al–Bukhârî, 5)
Worship Allah as much as you Can
Establishing Dîn at home via collective worship, like congregational prayers and Tarawîh (Night Prayers), will instill Islamic habits and enthusiasm in children. Encourage them to memorise more surahs, and masnûn supplications, too.
The above points are offered as suggestions as to how an effective Islamic environment can be created at home. Ramaḍan offers the best time and opportunity to improve or re-instate Islamic family life because in this month Allah facilitates good deeds with ease. Even if you miss out on the obligatory prayers, Jumu’ah Khutbah and Tarawîh in your Masjid, yet quarantine in Ramaḍan can be turned into something very beneficial for you and your family. Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunitiy!