Since the time of the ancient civilisations to the present day, the title ‘servant’ carries negative connotations. However when a Muslim is called a ‘slave of Allah’, there is no greater honour, no greater privilege, no greater purpose than to serve the Creator of the world. As a Muslim, this is something upon which we would all agree.
Now, Ramadan presents a great opportunity for us to further our servitude – or in some cases to begin serving Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). First you must be fully aware of what it means to serve the Possessor of Honour and Majesty
What is true servitude?
By definition a servant is someone who serves their Master. So ask yourself this question: Who do you serve? On the outset you may deceive yourself into thinking you serve Allah, but in actuality many of us live to serve our families or our boss, or country, sports team, or bank account, our desires (or all of the above!). If that is the case we should rethink our purpose in life, we could be serving Allah (Subhanahu WaTa’ala) if we rectify our affairs and our intentions.
Ibn Taymiyyah states: ”if the slave is sincere towards Allah, He will choose him, revive his heart and bring him close to Him, and will turn away from him all evil and shameful deeds that contradict that.”
What we can gather from the above is that in order to serve Allah we must cut off servitude to all other things unless we serve them for the sake of Allah, such as serving our parents or our spouses or theummah. Ramadan is the time for us to regain focus, focus on our Lord. We need to evaluate our actions, obligations and ask ourselves if we are intending to seek the pleasure of our Lord through any action we do.
Once we have the correct focus, we will heighten our levels in worship, in remembrance, in tranquility and attentiveness, in recitation and connection to the Quran (when we read the Quran, our relationship with Allah becomes more clear and we will be able to further submit ourselves to Him). Many of us view Ramadan as the month to return to The Quran and revive our relationship with it. Let us ponder on the words of Hasan Al-Basree: ”O son of Adam, how is your heart ever going to be softened by the recitation of Quran when all you do is aim to read the end of the surah?”
We also need to remember that there is a great reward for those who serve others for the sake of Allah. Ramadan is the time to gain some serious rewardbi’ithnillah, we need to seize this short period of time.
There are many ways in which we can serve others, even providing iftar for others is an act of service and the magnitude of the reward is narrated byZayd ibn Khaalid al-Juhani who reports that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever gives iftar to one who is fasting will have a reward like his, without that detracting from the reward of the fasting person in the slightest.” Imagine the reward! All you have to do is buy a box of dates for £2.00 with over 30 dates, and distribute them in the masjid after Maghrib!
Another obvious but beautiful way to serve others this Ramadan is engaging in charity. Muslims are generally good at fundraising all year round (I think it is our specialty alhamdulillah) because the numbers we splash out are awe-inspiring! Even after all the sadaqah that is given, we are still able to live very comfortably alhamdulillah. Why? Because Allah, The
Most Generous, The Provider, promises to return us the reward of giving in charity.
So why not increase our donations and make this the most beneficial Ramadan for the orphans, the widows, and the poor? If you have the circumstances to do so, you could even travel to a poor Muslim country and help build schools, wells, and physically serve the poor or better still, help out at a local charity this Ramadan.
Serving the Masjid
As some of my very close friends are committee members at my local Masjid, I see first hand how stressful Ramadan time is for them.They need all the help they can get, and I would assume it is the same case in many masajid (plural of masjid). There are a number of ways you can help from being a parking steward during Taraweeh times to handing out flyers/leaflets – the best and most beneficial thing to do is to approach the Management Committee in the masjid let them know you want to volunteer this Ramadan.
Service at Home
Be more eager and hands-on in your house work. Most Muslims will have guests over at one point, take initiative with the cooking and cleaning. Even though such tasks may seem tedious or irrelevant, you could get reward for every moment spent as you are seeking His pleasure by pleasing your parents. You can strengthen family ties by helping around the house as your family would your efforts. But if there seems there is nothing for you to do, just ask around and you’ll find out that there is more than meets the eye! You know your home better than me, so I leave it to you to apply this one practically.
Service to the Wider Community
Every Ramadan, with the consent of the Masjid, a few brothers go knocking door to door on the road where the Masjid is. They provide traditional sweets for the non-Muslims in celebration of the commencement of Ramadan. This is a great way to speak to them about Ramadan (and Islam), clear any misconceptions, and show them how welcoming Muslims and the masjid are.
Time to start preparing yourself! Use your creativity, it is at your disposal. Apply the principles above to your local community, and rake in all of the reward this Ramadan insha’Allah.
I pray you have a great Ramadan and that we all submit willingly to our Master and offer the most prolific of services to Him as sincere and productive Muslims, Ameen.Please do share your ideas below on how we can be useful servants this ramadan!
Imran ibn Mansur Khan