Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Messy Closets and Rajab

Rajab has been a tough month for many people. Three weeks ago we started out, in this month of tawba and forgiveness, with images of sweet tears and background music guiding us through this month.

Instead it has been a struggle, and hard work. No background music has been playing and many a dry eye has begun to wonder if this seeking of forgiveness business is even working.

Tawba is a lot like cleaning a closet. Before you start, the closet looks fine. It might not be something you would show your mother-in-law, but it doesn’t seem to be that big of a job. Six hours in to cleaning your closet, you are dusty, sweaty, and surrounded by piles. Children are beginning to fuss and whine, dinner needs to be made, and you are tempted to bag it all and try again next month. Don’t succumb! Step by step, deal with the piles, wash the floor, fold and hang, and put all the pieces back together. Stand back and look at your beautiful closet. Now it will serve you well.

In the middle of a tawba, we are feeling a lot messier than we felt at the beginning of the month. Surrounded by lists of sins, shortcomings, and character flaws along with the rest of the world beckoning for attention, you may be tempted to just forget it and try again in Ramadan. Don’t succumb! Step by step, deal with the sins, wash your heart, hone and tone your character and put yourself back together. Stand back and present your new self to the umma of our beloved Messenger ﷺ. Now you will be able to serve the umma in truly productive ways.

Are you tired? Make yourself a strong cup of coffee and hold on to istighfār. Let the words energize you and fill you.

Are you frustrated? Give money in charity to someone in need, give a gift card to a student, send your mother a gift box. Let the coolness of easing someone else’s hardship calm you.

Are you thinking that you might not want to improve? That you are fine just the way you are? Take a chance on becoming your best self. Take a chance on becoming of the best of people ever created. Take a chance on a full tawba.

{You are the best of peoples brought forth for humanity, enjoining what is right and preventing what is wrong and believing in God..} (3:110)

{كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ}

Only through tawba can we hope to become the umma that we were meant to be. Enjoin what is right within your very self. Be encouraged, just like the closet seems worse before it becomes better, you are on your way to health and healing. Prevent evil and wrongdoing in your intentions and deeds. Decide to make a change. Seek forgiveness for what is past. The forgiveness of Rajab is washing you, sorting you, and fixing you. Don’t quit. A shining, clean and joyful heart awaits you. The umma awaits you.

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