MAINTAINING AND INCREASING SPIRITUALITY ; RAMADAN AS A CASE STUDY.
Author: SHEHU Abdus-Salam Aladodo.
In the name of Allah The Compassionate, We seek Allah’s refuge from Shaytaan the accursed.
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our noble prophet Muhammad, his household, his companions, and his followers until the Day of Judgment.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines spirituality as :
_”The quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters : the quality or state of being spiritual.”_
Spirituality defines the conscious state of a Muslim in adhering to the injunctions of Allah and the Islamic rulings. Engaging in goodness and restricting himself from evils.
Muslims are enjoined to act in accordance with the Islamic teachings, for they’ll be rewarded with goodness if they indulge in that which is good and rewarded with evil if they indulge themselves in evils as well.
There is no specified time for spirituality. On normal basis, a Muslim is expected to be spiritual in all his dealings.
He’s expected to be moral and ethical.
He should refrain from going against the will of Allah in order to satisfy his own whims and desires.
Talking of Ramadan; A Muslim is expected to enter the sacred month with the intention of making the best of it.
Maintaining the Spirituality he had before Ramadan and increasing it as well. Ramadan was decreed upon the Islamic ummah (Nation) in order for everyone to attain piety.
This is evident in a verse revealed as regards the month of Ramadan :
_”O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous._
(Surah Al-Baqarah verse 183).
As a Muslim, one should always strive to attain goodness no matter the hurdles one might have to face.
One should do away with major sins that attracts the punishment of Allah. Sins like; zina, drinking alcohol, consuming riba, murder, and other major sins.
The major sins are the major hurdles and they become a stumbling block to maintaining or increasing ones spirituality.
One should as well strive to scale above the small hurdles as well as refraining from the small sins referred to as “Lamam” as they also become a stumbling block to maintaining spirituality.
The majority of scholars are of the view that “Lamam” is referred to as “minor sins”.
What is meant by lamam is that which was mentioned in the Qur’an :
_Those who avoid the major sins and immoralities, only [committing] slight ones…..”_
(Surat An-Najm verse 32).
In explaining the meaning of the verse cited above, Imam Al-Sa’di (May Allah be pleased with him) said :
_“Those who avoid great sins and Al‑Fawaahish (illegal sexual intercourse)” means : they do the duties that Allaah has enjoined upon them, omission of which is a major sin, and they abstain from major forbidden actions such as zina, drinking alcohol, consuming riba, murder, and other major sins, “ except the small faults ”, i.e., minor sins in which a person does not persist, or which a person may do rarely. The fact that he may have done them does not mean that he is no longer regarded as a doer of good. If he also does the duties that are required of him and avoids haraam things, he will be forgiven by Allaah, Whose forgiveness encompasses all things._
This points to the fact that a Muslim might refrain from Major sins but find himself wanting in minor ones.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, “I have not seen anything that resembles Al-Lamam better than the Hadith that Abu Hurayrah narrated from the Prophet ,
« ﺇِﻥَّ ﺍﻟﻠﻪَ ﺗَﻌَﺎﻟَﻰ ﻛَﺘَﺐَ ﻋَﻠَﻰ ﺍﺑْﻦِ ﺁﺩَﻡَ ﺣَﻈَّﻪُ ﻣِﻦَ ﺍﻟﺰِّﻧَﺎ، ﺃَﺩْﺭَﻙَ ﺫﻟِﻚَ ﻟَﺎ ﻣَﺤَﺎﻟَﺔَ، ﻓَﺰِﻧَﺎ ﺍﻟْﻌَﻴْﻦِ ﺍﻟﻨَّﻈَﺮُ، ﻭَﺯِﻧَﺎ ﺍﻟﻠِّﺴَﺎﻥِ ﺍﻟﻨُّﻄْﻖُ، ﻭَﺍﻟﻨَّﻔْﺲُ ﺗَﺘَﻤَﻨَّﻰ ﻭَﺗَﺸْﺘَﻬِﻲ، ﻭَﺍﻟْﻔَﺮْﺝُ ﻳُﺼِﺪِّﻕُ ﺫﻟِﻚَ ﺃَﻭْ ﻳُﻜَﺬِّﺑُﻪ »
_(Verily, Allah the Exalted has decreed for the Son of Adam his share of Zina and he will certainly earn his share. The Zina of the eye is by looking, the Zina of the tongue is by talking and the heart wishes and lusts, but the sexual organ either substantiates all this or not.)”_
This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said, _”The eyes commits Zina by looking, the lips by kissing, the hands by transgressing, the feet by walking, and the sexual organ either materializes all of this or not._
When one commits sexual intercourse, he will be someone who committed Zina. Otherwise, it is “Al-Lamam.”
Masruq and Ash-Sha`bi also held the same view. `Abdur-Rahman bin Nafi`, who is also known as Ibn Lubabah At-Ta’ifi, said ;
“I asked Abu Hurayrah about Allah’s statement,
(except the Lamam), and he said ; _`It pertains to kissing, winking one’s eye, looking and embracing._ When the sexual organ meets the sexual organ in intercourse then Ghusl is obligatory, and that is Zina.”
The above references examines the concept of Al-Lamam and it’s implications.
However, considering the fact that they are small sins and are forgiveable, Allah says in the Qur’an :
_“If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expiate from you your (small) sins (lamam)…”_
Nevertheless, one should strive as much as possible to refrain from them (small sins). One shouldn’t be too negligent to committing minor sins, for persistence in minor sins makes them major sins which nullifies the sins being minor and they turn out to be major sins.
The Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us against being negligent as regards to minor sins, and he said:
_“Beware of minor sins, like a people who camped in the bottom of a valley, and one man brought a stick, another man brought a stick, and so on, until they managed to bake their bread. There are some insignificant sins which, once (they accumulate) and a person is questioned about them, they lead to his doom.”_
(Narrated by Ahmad).
Imam Al-Ghazaali was reported to have repeatedly said :
_”Committing small sins has a great effect of blackening the heart. It is like the effect of water dripping onto rock, which will inevitably erode it, even though water is liquid and rock is solid.”_
Conclusively, one must strive to do away with both major and minor sins in order to maintain and as well increase ones spirituality in the blessed month of Ramadan.
Thereby, fulfilling the main purpose why Ramadan was decreed i.e _”In order to attain piety.”_
“`Do not think of minor sins as insignificant, for mountains are made out of pebbles.“` – Imam Al-Ghazaali.
May Allah grant us all goodness, May He forgive our shortcomings in this blessed month of Ramadan and admit us all into Jannah. Aameen.
– Merriam-Webster Dictionary
– Tafsir Ibn Kathir
– Tafsir of Imam Al-Sa’di
– Saheeh International ; Translation of the Qur’an
– Tafseer Al-Muyassar
– https://islamqa.info/en/47748 .
Dated: Wednesday, The 7th Day of June 2017 – Equivalent to : The 12th Day of Ramadan 1438A.H.