The Ramadan of Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya
The Ramadan of Shaykh al-Hadith Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelvi and Our Elders By Shaykh Dr Muhammad Ismail Memon Madani
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My main inspiration for the translation of this work was my shaikh, Dr. Ismael Memon. May Allah 0* bless him with a long life. And then, my father, Dr. Niaz Ahmad, who has done everything for me and more. This book would not be in your hands without his dedication to raising his son piously. I also would like to thank Tamer Osman and Meekail Smith for reading through the translation and offering beneficial advice on ways to make it better. May Allah 0z accept them and the countless others who helped throughout the different stages in the completion of this book, in this world and in the next.
all praise is to Allah 0z, the Most gracious, the Most merciful, and may His blessings and salam be upon His honorable and last prophet, Muhammad j§&, his Companions u§t, and the Salaf and Khalaf [earlier and later predecessors] who preserved and relayed the message of Islam to us as they received it from the Companions jj|k., who received it from the Blessed Prophet j§&, who received it from Jibra’il $g£ who received it from the Sustainer of the Worlds.
The intended purpose of this book is to learn how the elders of the past spent and cherished each moment of their Ramadan. Though their whole lives were already dedicated to the •work of Din (religion), whether through the teaching of hadith, tabligh (propagation of Din), teaching in traditional religious schools, or giving talks, all such work came to a halt in the month of Ramadan and they devoted themselves solely to prayers and remembrance of Allah Jgs.
One might ask the question that if their whole lives were already dedicated to the work of Din, why did they feel the necessity of setting this aside during the month of Ramadan? After all, devoting time to worship benefits only the worshipper, whereas time spent in the work of Din benefits others as well. Would it not then be more beneficial and virtuous to continue the work of Din and in fact increase it in Ramadan in order to gain the full blessings of Ramadan? However a look in the hadith reveals that the Blessed Prophet Jls devoted his time solely to the worship of Allah during this blessed month. Our elders, by following in his footsteps, were only reviving this long forgotten Sunna of the Blessed Prophet J&.
The month of Ramadan is a time to heal the soul from the effects of sins. It is also meant to remove ignorance of Allah 0z and love of the material world. If a person does not refresh his iman in this month and does not strive to eliminate the effects of evil that settle in the heart, then his spiritual condition worsens year after year, until he meets Allah 0z in the state in which Allah j0& dislikes meeting him, as narrated in the hadith. Such a person’s love for the material world and his dislike of Din increases to the extent that objections against the Din, criticism of the friends of Allah 0* and those who represent the Din of Allah 0* become his way of life. He fails to see his own spiritual deterioration or his own faults. Instead, he becomes mired in the worldly life and only finds solace in wealth and things that stimulate the self [nafs] . These are all effects of ignoring the great blessing of this month and the opportunity that it offers to be returned to a state of good spiritual health.
Every Muslim should perform i’tikaf the last ten days of Ramadan at least once in a lifetime, if not every year. In i’tikaf, the withdrawal from the material world and seclusion in the house of Allah 0z offers the opportunity for a Muslim with the -weakest of iman and the worst of characters to reconnect with Allah 0z and begin life anew. The connection that is built in the month of Ramadan will then help one through the remainder of the year until the next Ramadan. It is like the example of a person crossing the desert. He will survive if he takes with him water, food and other such provisions that are necessary for him to reach his destination. If he does not, he will die before he reaches his destination. May Allah J^& give us all the ability to cherish this blessed month and to gain the true understanding of Din as our elders had. It is true that the success of our umma in this world and the Hereafter, is in following our elders, not others. May this book be a source of guidance for how to spend the month of Ramadan and a way to establish a relationship with our elders, who showed us through their example what it means to love Allah 0z, his Blessed Prophet j§& and His Din.
Going through this book, the reader will encounter new names, foods, people and a vastly different culture from which the elders, whose routines we will be reading in this book, came. It is important for the reader to look past such things and keep their minds focused on the objective of this book, which is to capture the spirit of the Ramadan of our elders and their love for this special month.
‘Asim Ahmad March 28. 2010