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As we have concluded the Holy month of Ramadan and returned to our normal life, we will notice that, in many ways, we have returned to our old behaviours and way of living. In this meditation, we will, in sha Allah, discuss the reason for this and look at ways in which we can rekindle the level of spirituality that we enjoyed during Shahru Ramadan.
When we look at ourselves, as human beings, we comprise of two elements, our tabiyah and our fitrah. Our tabiyah is our animalistic nature that belongs to our body and has three purposes, to ensure that we avoid pain, gain pleasure and survive. Our fitrah is our spiritual nature that seeks a deeper purpose and connection with Allah (SWT).
When we are young, our tabiyah is strong. This is why, when we are children, we find praying Quran Majid, salaat and performing other religious duties very tedious and difficult, as at that stage, neither of these help us to avoid pain, gain pleasure or survive.
As we get older, our fitrah develops as we start to understand our self and our relationship with Allah (SWT). We now find that praying Quran Majid, salaat and performing other religious duties becomes our natural companion when we feel pain, strengthening our relationship with Allah (SWT) gives us pleasure and our thoughts are no longer on survival in this world, but our position in the next.
Although this transformation from tabiyah to fitrah seems natural, it is something that very few of us fully realize. When we look at our daily life, we see that the majority of our time is spent fulfilling our needs of tabiyah. We may not hunt and forage for food and shelter, but we dress in a suit and tie to acquire the same things that an animal in the jungle spends their day searching for.
However, although our core needs are the same as the majority of animals in this world, what separates us is our fitrah. We can understand Allah (SWT), read and understand His (SWT) words, follow His (SWT) commandments and acquire His (SWT) pleasure.
Before the Holy Month of Ramadan would begin, Rasulullah (SAW) would tell His (SAW) companions that the month that was to soon be their guest was one in which their sleeping, their breathing and every action of theirs would be a form of ibabdah. Why is that that on the 29th of Shabaan this was not the case and on the 1st of Shawwal it was not the case? What made the Holy month of Ramadan so transformational and how can we return to this transformation?
Let us use the Sun and the Earth as an example. When one half of the Earth is facing the Sun, it is day and the Sun’s light reaches every corner of half of the world. When the other half of the world is deprived of the Sun’s light, it is in darkness and night, as there is an absence of this light.
Our tabiyah is like the night and our fitrah is like the day. During the majority of the year, our tabiyah is strongest. We eat when we are hungry, we drink when we are thirsty and fulfill other physical needs when we need to do so. When Shahru Ramadan enters, our fitrah becomes stronger as when we fast, we are placing our spirituality above our physical needs. We eat, drink and perform other activities when Allah (SWT) allows us to, not when we want to.
By placing Allah (SWT) and our spirituality (fitrah) above our physical needs (tabiyah), it is as if our life is covered in sunlight. When there is sunlight, that light spreads everywhere, not just in certain areas. Likewise, when our spirituality is high, it affects every area of our life (even our eating, drinking, breathing, sleeping and work), not just our spiritual ibadah.
In order for us to maintain the level of spirituality we experienced in Shahru Ramadan, it is important that we place our fitrah above our tabiyah. We do not necessarily need to do this through fasting daily or through praying throughout the night, but through small changes that bring us closer to Allah (SWT).
Let us use an example of eating. We can eat in two ways. The first is to just eat food quickly and see it as a task to be completed. The second is to say Bismillah, eat your food slowly, thank Allah (SWT) for giving you this food, the taste buds to enjoy the food, the digestive system to digest it and for giving you what millions of people around the world are lacking. Just from these two examples, we see how the same act can either be a tabiyah act of satisfying our hunger or a fitrah act of getting closer to Allah (SWT) by remembering Him (SWT) when you eat.
One of the purposes of Shahru Ramadan is to help us to transform our action from acts of tabiyah to acts of fitrah. However, as we return to our normal routine, we return to our normal way of doing things.
The normal way that we do things become our habits and our habits become our addictions. We become so used to doing something that is no longer a habit, that we can change consciously, but an addiction, that we must change subconsciously. Thirty days of Shahru Ramadan cannot change it. In order to do so, we need to work on strengthening our fitrah.
This is why Allah (SWT) created us to be creatures of habits and addictions. Allah (SWT) created these so that salaat, reciting the Quran majid, attending the Masjid, helping others, praying salawat, performing ziyarat and all of the actions that pleased Him (SWT) could become a habit and an addiction. Allah (SWT) made us creatures of habits and addictions so that we could easily do what pleased Him (SWT) and it would become our second nature to do so.
However, it is our tabiyah, our animalistic base that causes us to have the wrong addictions. We become addicted to that which gives us pleasure or takes away our pain, no matter how damaging it is to us and whether it is haram. This is why so many people are addicted to worry, anxiety, stress and, at a deeper level, to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, because it does precisely this for their tabiyah-driven being.
The Holy Month of Ramadan was a month of awareness, where we begin to reflect and understand what our negative habits and addictions are, so that we can begin to remove them, and to incorporate many positive habits and addictions into our life, so that we can maintain them.
Now that Shahru Ramadan has passed, it is important to look back with awareness and understanding to see how many of the negative habits of our and addictions of our normal life have returned and how many of the positive habits of the Holy Month of Ramadan ended with the Eid Khutbah.
By reflecting on this and beginning to remove the habits and addictions of our tabiyah and by reintroducing the habits and addictions of our fitrah, we can regain that sense of spirituality that many have lost since Shahru Ramadan ended and continue our spiritual journey with a new zeal.
May Allah (SWT) give us all the wisdom and understanding to evolve from beyond our tabiyah and grow into our fitrah, so that our life becomes a meaningful and purposeful spiritual experience, as opposed to a monotonous and meaningless experience of survival and tabiyah-driven routine . May our fitrah continue to grow stronger so that we build a deeper connection with Allah (SWT) and distance our self from the temporary and negative habits and addictions of this duniya. Aamin.