For me, like most people, Ramadan is about ‘reflection’; to reflect over the past, to reflect about the present and to hope that we get the chance to reflect in the future. I don’t remember the last time I fasted, but I do remember the sheer excitement of waking up for suhoor and the anticipation just before iftar. There was always a sense of unity and spirituality in the air, and that was always an amazing experience to be a part of. The absence of sharing these feeling and emotions with my family and friends for nearly a decade always leaves a sense of emptiness in my heart as each year goes by. My way of filling that void is to try getting one step closer to Allah (swt) by gaining as much reward during this month, doing as much ibadat as I can and wholeheartedly praying that I will be blessed with good health so I will be able to fast once again.
And every Ramadan I always read this beautiful hadith, to remind me that true faith will always guide you beyond the darkness.
Imam Ahmad reported that Umm Salamah narrated: Once, Abu Salamah came back after he was with Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) and said: “I heard Allah’s Messenger recite a statement that made me delighted.”
He said: No Muslim is struck with an affliction and then says Istirja`;
‘Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. llahummaa ujurni fi musibati w’ukhluf li khayran minha’
(Truly! To Allah we belong and to Him we shall return. O Allah, reward me for my calamity and compensate me with something better than that)
when the affliction strikes, and then says: `O Allah! Reward me for my loss and give me what is better than it,’ but Allah will do just that. Umm Salamah said: So I memorized these words. When Abu Salamah died I said Istirja` and said: "O Allah! Compensate me for my loss and give me what is better than it.” I then thought about it and said, "Who is better than Abu Salamah”?
When my `Iddah (the period of time before the widow or divorced woman can remarry) finished, Allah’s Messenger asked for permission to see me while I was dyeing a skin that I had. I washed my hands, gave him permission to enter and handed him a pillow, and he sat on it.
He then asked me for marriage and when he finished his speech, I said, "O Messenger of Allah! It is not because I do not want you, but I am very jealous and I fear that you might experience some wrong mannerism from me for which Allah would punish me. I am also an old woman and I have children.”
He said: As for the jealousy that you mentioned, Allah the Exalted will remove it from you. As for your being old as you mentioned, I have suffered what you have suffered. And for your having children, they are my children too.
She said, "I have surrendered to Allah’s Messenger.” Allah’s Messenger married her and Umm Salamah said later, "Allah compensated me with who is better than Abu Salamah: Allah’s Messenger.”
Umm Salamah (radi allahu-anha) was blessed to be the wife of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and she was truly compensated for her loss and patience.
Through this hadith we can truly understand not only the power of this dua (prayer), but also the continuing mercy Allah (swt) bestows upon us all.
I truly believe that Allah (swt) breaks our spirit to save our soul, he bestows pain upon us to make us stronger, he makes us face failure so we can be humble and he takes something away from us, so we can learn to appreciate all that we have.
Copyright © 2011 Asma Zaman (Bint Khalid)