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Leaking bucket!

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 Leaking bucket!

By Abdurrahmaan Umar

 

“I’m going to complete three Qurans”, said Omar, folding his mouth into a tight-lipped smile.

“Insha Allah!”  he added as an afterthought, “That’s my goal for this Ramadaan!”

Shaheed rubbed his temples, contemplating his words carefully as if they would turn into a promise if they escaped his lips, “I think I am going to focus on Zikr. Sheikh is always talking about the value of zikr, so I decided…” he ruminated a little more, “I am going to praise Allah by reading at least 500 times ‘La illaha ilallah’ every day, and I will increase that, Allah willing.”

“Guys, guys!” shouted Moosa as he clambered over the shoulders of those at the back struggling to get to the center of the discussion, “Ramadaan is a month of caring, a month when we supposed to feel empathy for our fellow Muslims,” pointing an accusing finger at Shaheed, he blurted out, “You can’t just worry about your own self and your Ibadat(worship). You have to worry about others…. that’s Ramadaan.”

Omar leant forward, almost crouching, “Yeh, yeh, but what about earing rewards in this month. We all know the amount of extra reward we get in this month”

“I can see the Shaytaan (devil)  is still not tied up. Look at us! Having a squabble on the virtues of deeds right in front of Sheikh. Let’s ask Sheikh.” Cried Shaheed as he turned to Sheikh Hammad, lowered his voice and asked, “Sheikh, what would be the best action to do in the month of Ramadaan?”

Some of the group floated away from the front, embarrassed that they had forgotten that Sheikh was still sitting in his regular place sipping his jasmine tea. Sheikh Hammad smiled broadly and continued quietly reciting on his Tasbih (Praising Allah).

“How long does it take to fill a bucket with holes?” Sheikh asked softly, stroking his now almost white beard. His hands bore the hallmarks of his aging body, the skin soft and wrinkled, the veins that once stood taut, were now tortuous lines of blue.

Farid shifted his thick spectacles as he pondered the question, he glanced around to see if anyone else was going to venture a reply. The rest of the group sat silent, trying to fathom the reasoning in the question. He adjusted his specs once more and ventured, “Sheikh, it depends on how big the holes are…big holes then it will never fill. Small holes…well maybe it will fill, but won’t stay filled. So, we have to see the holes, and, oh yes, the rate of flow of …”

Omar rolled his eyes and nudged Farid into silence. They waited in anticipation for Sheikh to explain.

“You see, Ramadaan is not only about filling our buckets of deeds with lots of Qur’an, zikr, extra Salaah, charity and all the other good things you mentioned. If we do these deeds, and they are all beneficial and valuable, but we often forget to plug the holes in the bucket.”

Scratching his head, Farid began, “But... Sheikh…why….” Omar didn’t allow him to carry on before nudging him hard enough to understand that continuing may be harmful to his health.

“Before you ask me what are the holes in the bucket,” Sheikh continued, taking a long sip of his tea, “Our sins are the holes! If we do all the good that we intend to do, but don’t make efforts to avoid sins then it’s like trying to fill a holey bucket,” Sheikh’s lips creased into a faint smile at his little pun.

“Together with doing good, we have to,” Sheikh emphasised, “we have to…., have to, give up sin. Any sin, small sin, big sin, open sin, secret sin, Allah knows them all! This is a month of Taqwa – as Allah mentioned in Surah Baqarah in the Qur’an:

“O You who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you may become of those who have Taqwa.”

Sheikh took another small sip of his tea, and continued, “Taqwa is many things, and the one definition that applies here is to get close to Allah. Ramadaan is a month of drawing close to Allah. And for that…Allah removed all the obstacles that obstruct us on this noble path – so the Shayateen, the rebellious devils, are locked up; and our base desires are suppressed through fasting. We just have to give up sinning, do good deeds and we will move closer to Allah.”

Farid nodded his head energetically in support of what Sheikh was saying, almost dislodging his topee from his head until a sharp nudge from Omar steadied him.

“It doesn’t help we read lots of Qur’an and then spend the rest of our time backbiting others or swearing or lying…then we lose out on the benefit of the Quran... it just leaks out of the holes and we don’t get the “Taqwa” that Allah Ta’ala wanted us to get in this blessed month.”

“And… this is the what Rasulallah, Salallahu Alaihi wa salam meant when he said as recorded by Imam Bukhari (RA):

"Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.”

Shiekh a long sip of his tea, watching as the young men nodded to one another as the cloud of puzzlement lifted from their heads.

Farid chirped, “Got it! Stop the sins, plug the holes… and we fill the bucket and get to Allah. Easy peasy!” He scurried out of the way before Omar’s nudge could reach him.

“So now you understand why you have to plug the holes,” Sheikh emphasised, “Don’t just do good – avoiding sin as important, if not more important.”

  www.eislam.co.za

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