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Friday, April 19, 2024

On Ramadhan and related matters: Letter to my friend (Part 1)

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By Momodou Sabally

Rex, my good pal, I salute you with the Muslim greeting: Peace.
It has been quite a long time since I last penned you a missive along the lines of our (comatose) epistolary exchanges that started more than a decade ago. Indeed you have been quite quiet and this silence, I dare say, is not golden.
If it is true that we shall be asked about our divine endowments on the day of judgment, then certainly you and I have questions to answer about our literary endowments on that Day. We may not be prophets but the Qur’anic injunction of “Qum fa anthir” at the beginning of the 74th chapter of the Quran (Surah Mudathirr) is quite instructive if we would want to be close to those numbered among the ‘Ulul Albaab’ (those endowed with understanding) as repeatedly mentioned in our Muslim Holy book.

And speaking about the Holy book, the Blessed Qur’an, was it not during this holy month of Ramadan that this book was revealed?
Truly Ramadan is the month of fasting; but is it not also the month of Qur’an? Then shall we not remind each other about the importance of devotion to this tome of light and blessings during this holy month?
Indeed Allah makes it clear in verse 185 of Surah Baqarah: “Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)…”
Truly this mother of all Books about which Allah says “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah -“

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(Surah Baqarah, 2) has the solution to all of our problems if we would truly study it, understand it and apply it as taught in the practice of our noble messenger Muhammad (SAWS). Peerless in its literary brilliance as well as its scientific revelations/truths and relevance. Allah proclaims his oft-repeated challenge concerning this Holy Book in verse 88 of the 17th chapter (Surah Isra): Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support.”

Indeed it’s depth and breadth and its inner secrets and deeper manifestations are too complex to be rendered by my limited vocabulary or understanding so let me take one of its very own descriptions of itself as rendered in last verse of the twelfth chapter (Surah Yusuf) in this translation by Mohsin Khan: “It (the Qur’an) is not a forged statement but a confirmation of the Allah’s existing Books [the Taurat (Torah), the Injeel (Gospel) and other Scriptures of Allah] and a detailed explanation of everything and a guide and a Mercy for the people who believe.”

Is it not this Holy Book that Allah was speaking about when He emphatically stated in verse 21 of the 59th chapter (Surah Hashr): “Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would certainly have seen it falling down, splitting asunder because of the fear of Allah, and We set forth these parables to men that they may reflect.”
My good friend, is this Holy Book, then not worth every effort to study it, understand it and apply it in our lives? Shall we not increase our efforts and devotion towards this Blessed Tome in this Holy month of its revelation when the reward for good deeds are multiplied? Last time I visited you, I saw about three copies of the Qur’an in your living room, and I was glad that you maintain your connection with this Holy Book.

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And now, my good friend, as I bid you farewell in the first salvo of this particular missive, let me remind you of a great source of motivation regarding the Qur’an. It is reported under the authority of Abu Shurayh al-Khuza’i that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came out to them one day and he said, “Rejoice! Do you not witness that there is no God but Allah and I am the Messenger of Allah?” They said yes. The Prophet said, “Verily, this Qur’an is a means. One end is in the hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands. Hold fast to it, for you will never be led astray or ruined ever again.”
And unto the foregoing hadith let me add the Qur’anic exhortation “fa aina tadzhabun” ? Surah Takwirr, verse 26.

Momodou Sabally

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