Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Sawm = To Abstain

Linguistically, Sawm means to abstain. Islamically, it is to abstain from food, drink and marital relation from dawn till sunset for a whole lunar month, the month of Ramadan. Alhamdulillah, those aren’t the only things Muslims abstain from. Ramadan is a great time to look at our character and do our best to get rid of those aspects which aren’t pleasing to Allah the Exalted or mean that we are not fulfilling our duties well.

When you recite Surah AlKahf today ponder upon the story of those young men who chose Allah and went to the cave to protect themselves and belief from the influence of their people.

{The young men said to one another:”And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah, then seek refuge in the cave; your Lord will open a way for you from His mercy and will make easy for you your affair”} Surah Al-Kahf 17:13-16

Shirk (taking partners with Allah in worship) is the gravest sin a person can commit. These young men believed in Allah alone and  did not stop there. We can learn from their example.

  1. They removed themselves from what could tempt them or force them back into shirk
  2. They had good company to remind and support each other
  3. They made Dua to Allah and trusted in him

For example, if my aim is to stop gossiping then I should remove myself from the situation where I feel compelled to speak about other people. This may also include finding strategies to change the topic of conversation. I would also choose to sit with a different group of people and ask Allah for guidance and strength. Change calls for courage.

In terms of acts of worship, laziness may be a problem for some of us. Here I say surround yourself with motivated people and ask them to include you by calling, texting, reminding and advice. Your endeavour to draw closer to Allah is valuable to you. Be determined not to give in to watching “just this one show” on TV.  Remove yourself. Make the intention and Ask Allah to keep you steadfast.  

What other examples can you think of?

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