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Ramadan – Part II

Financial Sacrifices During Ramadan O ye who believe! Surely many of the priests and monks devour the wealth of men by false means and turn men away from the way of Allah. And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah – give to them tidings of a painful punishment. On the day when it shall be made hot in the fire of Hell, and their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded therewith and it shall be said to them: ‘This is what you treasured up for yourselves; so now take what you used to treasure up.’ (Ch.9: vs.34-35) These verses refer to people who have religious knowledge and who renounce the world for the sake of God; they seclude themselves from society ostensibly to worship Allah e.g. mullahs and Pi r s . Many of them devour other p e o p l e ’s properties unlawfully. A distinguishing feature of such persons is that they prevent others from advancing in the way of Allah by placing obstacles in the path to Allah. Also mentioned in the above verses are those who have such 24 Review of Religions – October 2002 Ramadan – Part II By Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad – Translated by Khalilur Rahman Mullick and Hamida Farooqui. Transcribed by Fauzia Bajwa Shortly, Muslims will embark on a month of fasting, abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours for a period of thirty days. The holy month of Ramadan has great significance in the Muslim calendar. What follows is a synopsis of a series of Friday sermons, originally delivered in Urdu by Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, discussing the philosophy and importance of fasting. The Editorial Board takes full responsibility for any errors that may have occurred in the process of translation and transcription. a deep love of wealth, that its acquisition, lawful or unlawful, becomes their goal in life and they waste their lives in collecting gold and silver. The distinguishing feature of this group of people is that they are unable to spend in the way of Allah. Both these groups are linked to those who deny the truth. The Holy Qur’an says of such people: Give them the tidings of a severe punishment, when their foreheads will be branded by red hot irons and their backs and sides will be stained and they will be told ‘This is what you gathered for yourself. Today you should enjoy this staining and see what you have collected for yourself.’ This punishment applies to both of the above groups. The Jama’at A h m a d i y y a is totally different to these two classes of people; members of the Jama’at do not earn unlawfully and they do not place obstacles in the path of Allah. Rather, they call people to the path of Allah and spend their wealth to call people to the path of Allah. A part of this verse sometimes applies to the weak members of the Jama’at Ahmadiyya, and is the negative result of their eagerness to increase their wealth. When they make financial sacrifices, many a time they do not do so in accordance with their capac- i t y, while poor people generally spend beyond their means to win the pleasure of Allah. The Holy Qur’an has given us a way of recognising whether or not we spend according to our capabilities. People who offer financial sacrifices, despite the fact that this may cause them some hardship or may make a dent in their wealth – according to the Holy Qur’an, these are the ones who are spending according to their capacity. Therefore every Ahmadi should test himself in this way – does he make financial sacrifices for the sake of Allah even when he cannot afford to and even when his love of wealth is beckoning him in other directions? If so, then he enjoys the protection of Allah and has nothing to fear. 25 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 This subject matter has a special link with Ramadan and also with one’s entry into paradise. In another place in the Holy Qur’an Allah says: ‘Those who reject Our Signs and turn away from them with disdain, the gates of heaven will not be opened to them nor will they enter Heaven until a camel goes through the eye of a needle. And thus do We requite the offenders’ (Ch.7: v.41). Jesus(as) has mentioned this subject in a different way. He said to his disciples: ‘Truly I tell you: a rich man will find it hard to enter the kingdom of heaven. I repeat, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God’. Here, instead of using the word arrogant, (as in the above quoted verse of the Holy Qur’an) the word wealthy has been used. The disciples were astonished when they heard this and exclaimed: ‘Then who can be saved? Jesus(as) looked at them and said: ‘For men this is not possible, but everything is possible for God.’ (Matthew Chapter 19, Verses 23-26). These examples given in the Qur’an and the Bible are similar – both are the Word of God. When religion reached perfection and the Seal of Prophets, i.e. Muhammad( s a ), was raised in the world, then the same parable was again put before us, but in a different way. The common factor in these two examples is that arrogance, which is a despicable trait, is in fact the sum total of a person who has no link with reality. Man’s ego results in self-delusion, which leads him to believe that he is greater than in fact he is. This is similar to the case of an insect which could pass through the eye of a needle but deludes itself into thinking that it is the size of a camel. What Jesus Christ(as) is trying to point out is that a wealthy person bloats himself in size. His love of wealth is such that he wastes all his life in collecting riches. As long as he increases his financial stature and adds to his material possessions he feels satisfied; if a stop were to be put to his acquisitions, he would be in a 26 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 state of misery. For him, paradise lies in monetary gain. Jesus Christ(as) has said that such a person will not be able to enter paradise. The same subject is discussed in the Q u r’anic verses mentioned above. Why are people who collect wealth prevented from entering paradise? The reason is that entry to paradise is through the paths of truthfulness and reality, and one who has made his position a false position cannot enter the narrow path of reality. The verses of the Holy Qur’ a n which deal with this subject contain a higher point of wisdom. Jesus(as) said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Now, it is not possible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle and hence this parable will make every rich person lose hope, as it leaves no path of salvation for him. But the parable which the Holy Qur’an mentions with reference to arrogance, says ‘till the camel has passed through the eye of the needle.’ In other words, there is a possibility of it passing through and one should search out the means of doing so. The path for achieving salvation is that of h u m i l i t y, of understanding o n e ’s situation. Once one discards arrogance and develops humility, one con- siders oneself to be no better than a worm for whom it is easy to pass through any narrow opening. As the Promised Messiah(as) said, ‘I am no more than a worm of the earth and despised by the worldly people.’ If man were to give up arrogance, he would certainly pass through the eye of the needle. The words of the Holy Qur’an are deep in rhetoric and eloquence and they illuminate points of wisdom for us. During the month of Ramadan, if the rich, truly desire to enter paradise, then the message of Ramadan is that Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ) should be obeyed. They should make greater financial sacrifices and humble themselves and limit their desires. If one cannot rid 27 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 oneself of greed, then one cannot practise humility or lighten one’s burdens. So in this respect Ramadan brings a message for everyone. On a physical level, Ramadan provides the opportunity to reduce fat from the body, and those people who are accustomed to eating rich food should use this time to shed their excess fat. On a spiritual level, Ramadan enables us to remove our spiritual errors. It is reported by Abu Huraira(ra) that the Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa) said: to purify everything there is a charity and the charity of the body is fasting. Fasting is also the charity of soul, of course, but here he has s p e c i a l l y mentioned the charity of the physical body. In another saying the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) s a i d : if you want to be healthy you should fast. Fasting melts the unnecessary fats and leaves the body in a lighter state. Then it goes on to say: the fast of Ramadan removes the impiety of the heart. How does it remove impieties? From the medical point of view, cholesterol is reduced. When arteries are blocked the flow of blood is restricted and as a result one feels a burning pain. Some call it heart burn, some call it angina. Many of the diseases suffered by man are caused by his laziness. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) says if you pass through the furnace of Ramadan your unnecessary fat will be burnt and you will find some health and spiritual 28 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 RAMADAN BRINGS A MESSAGE FOR EVERYONE. ON A PHYSICAL LEVEL, RAMADAN PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE FAT FROM THE B O D Y, A N D T H O S E P E O P L E W H O A R E ACCUSTOMED TO EATING RICH FOOD SHOULD USE THIS TIME TO SHED THEIR EXCESS FAT. ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL, RAMADAN ENABLES US TO REMOVE OUR SPIRITUAL ERRORS. comfort. He said that there is a charity to purify everything and what is meant here is that Ramadan is a charity for the inner and the physical self. Also, the practice of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) calls us to increasing our financial sacrifices, which is the remedy for our spiritual ills. Man removes his accumulated physical and spiritual ills during Ramadan. Some people try to maintain the benefits during the year, some, unfortunately, return to their old ways. The Jama’at should try to benefit fully from Ramadan by spending in the way of Allah using various methods. Basically one’s intention must be correct and healthy and whatever one spends should be purely for Allah. For example, people who loathe spending money on their wives and children, could during Ramadhan try to gain Allah’s pleasure by being generous towards their families. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) has said that even if you were to feed your wife a morsel of food with the sole intention of winning the pleasure of Allah, then that will be regarded as virtue. Start by practising virtue in your own homes. Having sorted out your domestic problems, you should take a look at your sur- roundings, your neighbours and other people suffering in the world. You should spend in charity and zakat for them and try to alleviate their suffering. You should give the zakat of your body and your heart and soul and all your self. And after giving this zakat, as is included in the meaning of zakat, man’s burdens are shed and his strength increases. By the end of Ramadan, Muslims have shed their burdens and increased their physical and spiritual strength, with the result that their speed increases and they can then progress at an increased pace. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas(ra) is reported to have said that the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) was the most generous person and that his generosity would gather even more strength 29 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 during Ramadan During the times when the angel Gabriel visited him to repeat the Holy Q u r’an with him, the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) w o u l d spend in charity with more force than the strongest winds. The Importance of Prayer The Promised Messiah( a s ), while discussing the spirit of Ramadan, said that Ramadan is heat of the sun. During Ramadan one controls one’s physical desires, and at the same time shows an eagerness to advance towards Allah; this spiritual and physical burning together make Ramadan. Ramadh means heat, and Ramadan means two heats. The Promised Messiah(as) says that it is necessary for both heats to mix together to become Ramadan. One should give both physical and spiritual zakat and then Ramadan will be created in the true sense of the word. Some people think that the two heats refer to the hot climate of Arabia combined with the heat of the fast but the Pr o m i s e d M e s s i a h( a s ) discounts this theory. He states that spiritual Ramadan means eagerness for spiritual blessings. It signifies the kind of burning that melts even hard hearted people. The Promised Messiah( a s ) mentions that the excellence of Ramadan is indicated by the fact that the Holy Qur’an was revealed in this month. The sufis say that it is a good month for illuminating the heart. Salat purifies a person and Ramadan enhances his visionary powers. What is the illumination of the heart? A person with an enlightened heart has many visionary experiences, such as true dreams or revelation. But the Promised Messiah(as) has said that one cannot develop illumination of the heart without purifying oneself through salat. How does salat purify? It purifies by distancing carnal passions and physical desires from a person. Without rectifying errors and dis- carding sins, the heart cannot be illuminated and reform cannot be achieved without 30 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 salat. During Ramadan special attention should be paid to salat. Prayers should be offered in such a way that man witnesses his sins falling away from him and his soul unburdened. By reflecting on the words of salat and by reconciling one’s conduct with these words, a great trans- formation can be brought about in one’s conduct. For example, Surah Fatiha contains the prayer ‘Guide us in the right path; the path of those on whom You have showered Your blessings, not the path of those who incurred Your wrath.’ Now such a great prayer has certain demands. Who were the people that were showered with blessings? Do I have any of their attributes? Who were the groups who incurred the displeasure of Allah? Do I have anything in common with them? Such reflection and self- analysis will result in an increased self-awareness. Initially only one or two shortcomings will come to mind. This is because one is engulfed in darkness; when one enters an illumined room from the darkness one only sees a little at first. To start with only major sins will come to light; these should be included in one’s prayers and pious intentions will help in the acceptance of prayers. As a result, the removal of those weaknesses becomes easier. There will of course be some struggle but with the blessings of Allah and with the help of Allah those sins will be discarded. Then, as the light increases and darkness is shed, one becomes aware of other evil habits. Again, the process of prayer and purification needs to be repeated. The Holy Qur’an mentions again and again, that the Prophet(sa) and his teachings bring his followers out of darkness into light and this can only be done through sincere prayers. Once a person is purified, illumination of the heart is bound to come. Truth and falsehood cannot co-exist in a person and light will only come when darkness is removed. 31 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 I’tikaf Some people choose to spend the last ten days of Ramadan residing in the mosque, devoting their time to the remembrance of Allah. This taking up residence in the mosque for the remembrance of Allah is termed I’tikaf. I’tikaf is actually for the last ten days, but as it is not always possible to determine whether Ramadan will last for twenty-nine or thirty days, as a precautionary measure, the Holy Prophet(sa) would start the I’tikaf a day early. When I’tikaf started and how it started and up to what period the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) kept on observing I’tikaf are some issues that will be discussed now. Since the creation of the world, I’tikaf has been inextri- cably linked to the worship of Allah. The concept of I’tikaf can be found in the first house that was constructed for the worship of Allah the Almighty, i.e. the Ka’aba. All religions of the world entertain some form of I’tikaf, but under Islam, the concept was matured and strengthened. Usually I’tikaf means to sever one’s worldly ties and to dedicate one’s time for the remembrance of Allah. In some religions, this takes on an extreme form. For example, Christian monks and Hindu hermits exile them- selves from the world on a permanent basis. The Holy Qur’an does not advocate the practice of secluding oneself for an entire life-span. Monasticism, as found in Christianity, was not taught by Allah – it is an interpolation of later generations – and thus a teaching full of wisdom was taken to a point where it could not be adhered to by every person. The Holy Qur’an is a universal teaching which is strongly connected to the Ka’aba – the first place con- structed for the worship of the One God. It must therefore be assumed that the Holy Q u r’ a n ’s teachings are in accordance with the way that I’tikaf was originally observed. In this regard, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) present- ed an unparalleled conduct 32 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 which explained the real aim of virtue. The entire life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) was an example of how to establish personal links with God. Cutting ties with the world is escapism, an escape from trials and tribulations. The conduct of the Holy Prophet(sa) was such that he led a full and active life and yet remained aloof from worldly attractions, never letting himself to be overpowered by them. This is the real Jihad – a person remains absorbed in Jihad on all fronts – trials are present- ed, but the person remains steadfast on the righteous path and does not let himself to be waylaid. This is actually the way to create a bond with Allah Almighty, as established by the conduct of the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ). The Siraat-al-Mustaqeem, the straight path, is the middle path which Allah has recommended for people; they should fulfil all their responsibilities and they should remain steadfast while still maintaining their bond with Allah. The real concept of I’tikaf is to withdraw from the world for a short period leaving all worldly trials behind. The Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ) did not call I’tikaf a high standard of piety, rather he called it a sacrifice. In the early days of Islam, the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) started the I’tikaf in the middle of Ramadan and continued until the twenty-first night of Ramadan. This practice remained in force for some time and gradually his companions took to joining him. As a matter of fact, some wives of the Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa) also put up their camps in the mosque. On one occasion, Hadhrat Ay e s h a( r a ) put up her camp in the mosque with the permission of the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ). When the other wives came to know of this, they too were desirous to partake of this piety and they took up residence in the mosque. Permission for this had not been taken from the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ), only from Hadhrat Ayesha(ra). When 33 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) arrived, he was surprised to see all the tents and was told that they were the tents of his wives. The Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ) exclaimed: ‘Is this their concept of piety?’ He expressed displeasure, that true virtue comes from one’s inner urge, it does not come from copying others. He was so displeased that in that Ramadan he did not reside in the mosque for I’tikaf, and made up for this loss in the following month, the month of Shawal. This was the glorious conduct of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa)! He did not ask his wives to remove their tents as he had declared that ladies were permitted to reside in the mosque and Hadhrat Ay e s h a( r a ) had already been granted permission. So there was no reason for denying the other wives that permission. But he felt that in this instance they were trying to outdo each other. So his final verdict in the matter was to remove himself. He did not admonish his wives but made his views felt in such a way that the right of those ladies were not trespassed upon and he was the only one who endured any suffering. He did not under- take I’tikaf. How did this I’tikaf then turn to the last ten days of Ramadan? Once the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) s a i d that he observed night of Lailatul Qadr, the night of destiny, on the twenty-first of Ramadan when I’tikaf had concluded. From then on, he decided to reside in the mosque for the last ten days of Ramadan. That year, two I’tikafs were observed – one was of the middle ten days and then the last ten days. The Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) then remained steadfast in his practice of residing in the mosque for the last ten days of Ramadan. While observing I’tikaf, one is not allowed to undertake any unnecessary tasks, both inside the mosque or outside it. One is only allowed to leave the mosque if absolutely neces- sary, and beautification and 34 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 adornment of the self is not permitted. Hadhrat Safia ( r a ) reports that on one occasion when the Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa) was residing in the mosque for I’tikaf, she visited him to discuss some important matters and this was not against the spirit of I’tikaf. When she was about to leave, Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa) escorted her to the door. There is a special glory which is displayed in that conduct. At that time the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) h a d temporarily made the mosque his home. So, to show his respect to his guest, he went with her as far as possible, and then bade her farewell. At that time two Ansaris were passing by in the street and saw this. They offered the Pr o p h e t( s a ) salutations of salaam. The Holy Pr o p h e t Muhammad(sa) asked them to stop and told them that he had been accompanied by Safia. The two companions were hurt and said ‘O Prophet of Allah, did you think we are going to entertain any bad thoughts about you? Why did you give us this explanation?’ The Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) replied ‘Satan is circulating like the blood flows in human beings and I was afraid that for some reason he may make you stumble. So that was why I gave you the explanation.’ This was the I’tikaf of the Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ). He used to worship in the concentrated form. His concentration on prayers was great in Ramadan anyway and in the last days the concentration increased even more. This continued until the last year of his life. In that year he stayed in the mosque for I’tikaf for twenty days. He probably had some fore-knowledge of his impending death but did not publicise it to spare his companions from grief. Hadith As regards the conduct of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) in Ramadan, there are various reports which will now be discussed. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas(ra) relates in Sahih Bukhari that the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ) was the most 35 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 generous of people and in the month of Ramadan his generosity increased. When Gabriel presented himself to repeat the Holy Qur’an, in those days the Pr o p h e t ’s generosity turned into gale force. Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas(ra) reports that the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) s a i d that for every person at the time of breaking the fast, there is a time of prayer which is never rejected. So at the time of breaking the fast people should refrain from idle pursuits. This is an occasion when Allah accepts the prayer and that time should not be lost. This special time of prayer is a point of wisdom – for the whole day and for the sake of Allah the Almighty, one has observed restrictions and has forsaken lawful things; then he starts to consume those lawful things in the name of Allah. So Allah the Almighty shows His appre-ciation of the sacrifices made for Him by accepting the prayers of the supplicant. At that time one should make such prayers which would be helpful for the hereafter. But it is not something that is automatically granted to every person who fasts. Only those who observe the fast in a manner pleasing to Allah are referred to in this Hadith. In Ki t a b – u l – Ta u h e e d , Abu Huraira( r a) reports that the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) said that Allah says: ‘The fast is for me and I am the reward of the fast.’ Closeness to Allah is achieved through fasting. Allah says: ‘My servants have given up their lawful needs for my sake and the fast is a protection against sin and there are two pleasures that are granted the servant. One pleasure is granted in this world when he breaks the fast; every day at the end of the d a y, he feels a sense of satisfaction. The other plea- sure will be granted in the Hereafter when that person will meet his Lord, and the Lord will be pleased with that servant.’ The Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) also said the odour of the mouth of the person who is fasting is more dearer to Allah than the beautiful fragrance of 36 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 musk. In other forms of worship one does not abstain from lawful activities; they have been allowed by Allah Himself and nobody is going to renounce them. But during the fast some otherwise lawful pursuits are disallowed. Allah does not need food or drink and in everyday life a person is dependent on food and drink. As a result of his sacrifice, the servant is drawn close to Allah, which is why Allah says I myself become the reward of that person because he tried to come closer to me. The Arabic word Abd means slave, one who has nothing of his own. Allah, in the Holy Qur’an has used the word Abd, because human beings are slaves to Allah. They have nothing of themselves, then Allah grants them temporary possessions and then it is demanded that of their own free will they give up their possessions and offer them to Allah. This is true worship as taught to the human being – that he came to this world empty-handed, he was granted possessions, he formed bonds with things. Then by his own free will, he has to attain a kind of death and give up those possessions; not all of them but some of them; if not for long periods then maybe for short periods. In the concept of Aboodiat (derived from Abd), man is forced to submit to the will of Allah but Abadat is when out of one’s own free will, bonds are formed with Allah and ties are severed from the world. Allah is made the central point of the desires of the heart. Whether this is mental or physical or spiritual, it is a migration towards Allah. The fast becomes helpful in this migration. It is the supportive action in offering oneself to Allah in such a way that one comes close to death. Ramadan means undertaking such hardships that sometimes take one to the verge of death and as a result Allah says: ‘I am the reward.’ The Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) during the month of Ramadan considered leaving the trials of the world to be a sacrifice. He said when a person breaks his 37 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 links with the world and lives in the mosque, all the good deeds he used to do outside the mosque are still written into his account by Allah, as if he is still performing those good deeds. The I’tikaf is to become attached to Allah. In Sahih Bukhari and Muslim, it is related that the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) s a i d that in paradise there is a door called Rayyan, i.e., it is the door of fulfillment. On the Day of Judgement, only people who observed the fast will be permitted to enter paradise via that door; those who did not fast will not be allowed through it. It will be announced: ‘Who are the people who observed the fast?’ and they will be called one by one and ushered through the d o o r, which will be closed after them. This hadith creates a picture of paradise which can be understood in relation to the five senses. A person with the sense of sight experiences the world in a manner which cannot be shared by one who is visually impaired. Figuratively speak- ing, there are five doors through which human beings interact with their sur- roundings. If one of these doors is closed to a person then that world ceases to exist for him; he has no link with that particular sense and his experiences are restricted. A visually impaired person cannot enjoy the pleasures of sight. People who were unable to fast will also enter paradise, they will enter because of other virtues. But what is meant here is that a special sense will be granted to those who willingly sacrifice their rights for the sake of Allah. This special sense will enable them to enjoy the blessings of paradise in a unique way. This is the door mentioned in the Hadith. In Sahih Bukhari, Hadhrat Anas bin Maalik relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) said: ‘O Muslims take your breakfast before dawn because that is blessed.’ Some people try to attain higher virtue by giving up breakfast, believing that the greater the 38 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002 hunger the greater the virtue. Whenever such people men- tioned this to the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ), he would admonish them. One can only please Allah in the way He has prescribed. He has instructed us to take breakfast before dawn; to forego that instruction is not piety. Taking the pre-dawn breakfast is an essential part of the fast. In Tirmidhi, it is reported that Holy Prophet Muhammad( s a ) said: ‘Your Lord has stated: For each good deed the reward is from double to seven hundred times, but fasting is for Me and I will Myself reward the person who fasts. The fast is a protection against fire.’ In the Holy Qur’an mention is made of the seed which sprouts, then seven cobs of corn grow out of it, each cob holding hundreds of kernels. This is the concept of how good deeds grow and flourish. The concept is not of counting things in these kinds of proportions; the Holy Qur’an uses such illus- trations to help people understand and to encourage them to perform good deeds. Even if they undertake a small amount of good they will be given ample recompense. The rewards are actually unlimited and this concept of limit- lessness has been taken from the Holy Qur’an because the final edge of infinity is Allah. This is why the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) has said that the reward can be increased by more than seven hundred times until Allah Himself becomes the reward! 39 Ramadan – Part II Review of Religions – October 2002