Ramadan and the Asma ul Husnaa – Part 2
On 20/07/2016 | 0 Comments

By Sharhidd Booley

 

When Allah declares his closeness to us 1, we should realise that His closeness is unlike ours. His proximity cannot be measured or gauged in terms of distance, space, or time as we know it. It is a presence in a dimension reserved for Him alone, allowing Him to be within our reach, for He is Al-Qarib 2, The Nigh, Al-Muhit 3, The All-Pervading. This closeness allows Him, The All-Hearing 4 (As-Sami’) not only to exercise His divine role as The Watchful (Al-Raqib 5) but to hear the prayers of His servants because He undertakes to listen to them 6. But His hearing and listening would have been futile and empty were it not for His acknowledgement – through His status as the one upon whom is called for help (Al-Musta’an 7) –  that He is Al-Mujib 8, The Responsive, the One who answers us as He wills. As believers, we are guided only to turn to Him and reciprocally listen to his call 9. What better way than to be warmed and caressed by The Light (An-Nur 10), The Mighty (Al-Aziz 11), The Majestic (Al-Mutakabbir 12), The Holy (Al-Quddus 13), and Al-Majid 14 (The Most Glorious) to show us the way out of ignorance, indecision, and waywardness. Allah Alone is divinely radiant.  His Might and Majesty is incomparable. He is inviolable. His grandeur is supreme.

As repeated throughout His Glorious Qur’an, Allah calls on us to believe in Him 15. To me, this is a sign of His singular authority, His role as eternal progenitor of all creatures ever created, and His unparalleled power and ownership of all that is true. These attributes are marvellously captured in His Beautiful Names of Al-Wahid 16 (The One), Al-Kabir 17 (The Most Great), Al-Awal 18 (The First), ­Al-Akhir 19 (The Last), Al-Muqtadir 20 (The Powerful), Al-Bari 21 (The Maker), Al-Qahir 22 (The Omnipotent), and Al-Haqq 23 (The Truth). How naive for us, as believers, to think in our weaker moments, that we have authority over creation, powers of creation, power to do all things, or knowledge of, and control over, real truth!

Allah’s assurance that we shall indeed be on the right path by believing in Him 24 is no more than His excellent assurance of His Safety if we put our trust in Him. He is As-Salam 25, The Author of Safety, and Al-Wakil 26, The Trustee, best qualified to guide us on a path made safe and trustworthy by Him alone. This path embraces our physical needs too.

Who better to vouch for the gratification of our carnal desires than the One, who created them, as well as to recognise the role of the male over his consort in marriage during Ramadan. However, He wants us to approach them only at night after breaking our daily fast 27 because he is Al-‘Alim 28 (The All-Knowing) and Al-Hakim 29 (The Wise) about what is best for us during and after the duration of fasting. He supplements this restriction and allowance with the metaphor that married men and women are ‘garments’ for each other 30. This mirrors Allah’s wish that we accept His continual Mercy of congenial partnership between married males and females as a portrayal of mutual support, protection, consolation, emotional warmth, identity, character, and as a sign of each other’s belief. Allah is, without a doubt, The Witness (As-Shahid 31), and Al-Akram 32 (The Most Bounteous) of all our deeds and wants. He merely desires actions without taint and trespass on our part by His plan and boundless capacity to provide. His awareness of our past deeds in respect of our mates, including errors of judgement, were forgiven by Him 33 who is firstly The Reckoner (Al Hasib 34) of what we had done, and then The All-Forgiving, (Al-Ghafur 35) who is not merely The Forgiver (Al-Ghafir 36) but indeed (Al-Ghaffar 37) The Great Forgiver. We, lowly humans, struggle in our endeavour to fathom the real import and sheer richness of these wonderful attributes of our Rabb. The repetition of His allowance of association with our wives during Ramadan that it be satisfied as Allah wants us to 38 confirm His pre-eminence to dictate His terms as Al-Qahhar 39, The Dominant, The Superior, the one who has no precedent or precursor. It is only He who can beseech us to have the sort of social relations that He had ordained for us 40, an act of which He, The Self-Sufficient (Al-Ghani 41) and Al-Qayyum 42 (The Self-Subsisting) is in no need.

Ramadan is essentially about the abstinence from and timed consumption of food and drink, and allows us freedom of consumption until the ‘white thread’ of dawn, though not beyond 43. This beautiful, wondrous sign of nature, of He who is The Manifest (Al-Zahir 44 and Mubin 45) yet Himself, The Unseen (Al-Batin 46) and Al-Hayy 47, The Alive, continues to be conjured up in the dusk and sunset that Allah uses as the point of conclusion of our daily fasting 48.

What better example of this practice than that of our Nabiy Muhammad, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him. His was a practice guide that found equal status in the abstention from his wives during Ramadan’s departing days of ‘i’tikaf 49(i). A way to master his carnal desires through the faithful observance of Allah’s way 49(ii). Allowing believing men and women the opportunity to subdue their natural instincts, in the restriction of sanctity and separation in the masajid. Extending our fasting to kerbing the two appetites (food and sex) leads to pristine clarity and closeness to our Rabb. This state affords the devotee to offer their ibadah in earnest to Al-Kabir 50, The Aware, and Ash-Shakur 51, The Appreciative. The Nabiy also used the opportunity to repent to the Accepter of Repentance (At-Tawwab 52) for his trespasses and transgressions of Allah’s commandments. We, his ummah, would do well to follow suit.

Allah reiterates with glorious recognition of our weaknesses and frailties that these Divinely set limits on marital relations during the month of Ramadan 53, are further evidence of the One who is Al-Latif 54 (The Subtle), Ghalib 55 (The Predominant), and Al-Musawwir 56, The Fashioner, of all that we do and of all existence.

Without verse 188 of the Surah, Allah’s treatise on the month of Ramadan would have been incomplete. It exhorts us not to squander, nor be wasteful of or be curmudgeonly and greedy of our wealth and property and that of others 57. For this, the verse contextualises the matter of fasting to life and actions beyond its practice. It draws our attention to the status of Allah as The One who encompasses all things visible and concealed; that He is Al-Muhyi 58, (The Giver of Life), Al-Mumit 59, (The Giver of Death), Al-Ba’ith 60, (The Awakener), Al-Jame’ 61, (The Gatherer), and supremely, Al-Baqi 62, (The Everlasting One) and As-Samad 63, (The Eternal) – that even His glorious month of Ramadan has an end.


Professor Sharhidd Booley has a PhD in (Social Science); MEd (Adult Education); MSc (Social Research); Certificate in Spoken Arabic (UWC); International Consultant for Postgraduate Research; former lecturer of social science, psychology, social work; author of several academic and professional pieces; former Director of SANZAF and Project Designer for IDM; 20 years experience in Family and Child Care (South Africa and United Kingdom). Professor Booley’s Red Kufi Books column ‘AS I SEE IT’ will be featured monthly at redkufi.com


REFERENCES

1 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:186
2 ————-, Hud, Surah 4:61

3 ————-, Fussilat, Surah 41:54

4 ————-, Ál-‘Imra, Surah 3:38

5 ————-, Al-Nisa’, Surah 4:7

6 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:186

7 ————, Al-Anbiyah, Surah 21:112

8 ————, Hud, Surah 11:61

9 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:186

10 ————, Al-Nur, Surah 24:35

11 ————, Al-Hashr, Surah 59:23

12 —————————————:23

13 —————————————:23

14 ————, Hud, Surah 11:73

15 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:186

16 ————, Al-Mu’min, Surah 23:16

17 ————, Saba’, Surah 34:23

18 ————, Al-Hadid, Surah 57:3

19 —————————————:3

20 ————, Al-Qamar, Surah 54:42

21 ————, Al-Hashr, Surah 59:24

22 ————, Al-An’am, Surah 6:18

23 ————, Al-Hajj, Surah 22:6

24 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:186

25 ————, Al-Hashr, Surah, 59:23

26 ————, Al-Nisa’, Surah 4:81

27 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

28 —————————————–:115

29 —————————————–: 129

30 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

31 ————-, Al-Nisa’, Surah 4:79

32 ————-, Al’Alaq, Surah 96:3

33 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

34 ————-, Al-Nisa’, Surah 4:6

35 ————-, Al-Malaika / Fatir, Surah 35:28

36 ————-, Al-Mu’min, Surah 40:3

37 ————-, Al-Nur, Surah 24:10

38 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

39 ————-, Al-Ra’d, Surah 13:16

40 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

41 ————-, Al-Mala’ika / Fatir, Surah 35:15

42 ————-, Ál-‘Imran, Surah 3:2

43 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

44 ————, Al-Hadid, Surah 57:3

45 ————, Al-Nur, Surah 24:25

46 ————, Al-Hadid, Surah 57:3

47 ————, Ál-‘Imran, Surah 3:2

48 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

49(i)   Al Qur’an, Al-Baraqah, Surah 2: 187; 49(ii) Sallie, A H 2011, The Evolution of Islamic Legislation, Daddy’s Books, Cape Town

50 Al Qur’an, Saba’, Surah 34:23

51 ————, Al-Mala’ika / Fatir, Surah 35:34

52 ————, Al-Mu’min, Surah 40:3

53 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:187

54 ————, Al-An’am, Surah 6:104

55 ————, Yusuf, Surah 12:21

56 ————, Al-Hashr, Surah 59: 24

57 Al Qur’an, Al-Baqarah, Surah 2:188

58 ————, Al-Rum, Surah 30:50

59 ————, Al-A’raf, Surah 7:28

60 ————, Al-Hajj, Surah 22:7

61 ————, Ál-‘Imran, Surah 3:9

62 ————, Al-Rahmán, Surah 55:27

63 ————, Al-Ikhlas, Surah 112:2

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