Ramadan 2022 - Juz 19

Ramadan 2022 - Juz 19

Ramadan 2022 - Juz 19

أَرَءَيْتَ مَنِ ٱتَّخَذَ إِلَـٰهَهُۥ هَوَىٰهُ أَفَأَنتَ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِ وَكِيلًا ٤٣

“Have you seen ˹O Prophet˺ the one who has taken their own desires as their god? Will you then be a keeper over them?” — Quran 25:43

Taking one’s own desire as a god means to prioritise desires over all else. To always be at the whims of what one fancies, whatever fleeting caprice comes to a person they follow it without real question or intention. Living a life of hedonism.

Even if all the desires are halal, this prioritisation of one’s own wants and desires over all else, is still just “halal hedonism”!

A healthy diet wouldn’t work like this, one would just snack whenever they felt peckish! A physical diet requires focus and discipline. Likewise to live a life that is healthy mentally and spiritually requires discipline and focus.

The modern brain is so over-stimulated, people often live their lives on auto-pilot, going to work, watching TV, scrolling social media, eating indulgent foods without giving a second thought to their intention behind it all. What’s the overall purpose? What are we aiming to achieve? What is all of this in service of?

"رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ : " إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ، وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى

"The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "Indeed actions are considered by intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention." [Sahih]

We should be clear on our intention — always being true to our goals and thinking about the bigger picture. We should have the self-discipline to transcend fleeting whims, and to act on what we know is best for us.

This is as simple as taking 10 seconds to pause and think about our intention and purpose before performing an action. Making sure we are on track with what is important to us in our lives overall. Making sure we are not just idling away time on auto-pilot and doing what feels pleasurable in the short term.

Be bored - less stimulated

There are times to work and time to play, we shouldn’t just work all the time if that is our routine and nor should we just play and indulge all the time when that is our craving. We should however moderate ourselves and take each aspect of life in it’s due balance.

This discipline is better for ourselves in the long term. Discipline speaks to the human condition’s need to be metered and controlled. We are with our self, our ego, our nafs at all times like a horse and a rider. We sit atop the beast as a driver, if we rein in and control our ego we can quickly travel the path to success.

If however we let our ego and our desires take control, then we will be carried away by this wild beast wherever it wants. Somewhere that feels good in the short term, without any thinking to what we want or need in the long-term.

The human desires are not forbidden in Islam, everything has its place. Ramadan is sent to show us that balance. How much richer are our lives when we don’t just indulge in constant snacking because we’re bored? Rather we save up our hunger for the sake of God.

During the day this gives us a clear intention. We are able to get through our fasts thinking of God and the greater picture. Knowing that we are giving up something temporary to please God.

Our intention is clear once again when it’s time to break our fast. We build up to a lovely meal with family and friends, seeking to enjoy ourselves and have enough energy for the day to come.

In these last ten nights, let us be clear with our intentions and reflect on what we are doing. Let us not wander around following the crowd like a herd, rather let us think about what is most important to us, what is most pleasing to God, and how we can most effectively live a life that is pleasing to Him.

أَمْ تَحْسَبُ أَنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ أَوْ يَعْقِلُونَ ۚ إِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا كَٱلْأَنْعَـٰمِ ۖ بَلْ هُمْ أَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا ٤٤

“Or do you think that most of them listen or reflect? They are only like cattle—no, more than that, they are astray from the ˹Right˺ Way!” — Quran 25:44