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Do something! Time is running out and everyone knows that time gone cannot be caught. This strange commodity comes free of cost but people do not value it; it cannot be bought for millions of dollars once its gone. Time is a harbinger of happiness or an omen of distress; a messenger of honour or a bringer of disgrace; a vessel of good or bad; a scale for heaven or hell.

The divine tongue that spoke the truth said, "All men go forth in the morning and deal in their tongues and time; when the sun goes down, some have means of destruction in their possession and some have collected means of goodness and deliverance."

So the means of destruction and deliverance can be weighed at the end of each day and the scales of difference can be set up at the end of life too. On the Day of Resurrection every human will come to know what he acquired and what he lost. But the ones who believe deeply in that day take themselves to account daily. They look up to those who are greater in stature in Imaan and endeavour; and when they do this their own sentiments get fired to do more…….what people were they whom we follow! People of heaven striding the earth, people of light who had broken the halos of darkness, the flag bearers of spirituality, people treasuring every drop from the water of time, people who spent every moment with care; people who stepped every instant towards Allah's pleasure and the vastness of Jannah.

There is no need to look at their whole lives but just glimpsing how they spent their Ramadhan……….will hang heads in shame. They used to look forward to the next Ramadhan as soon as one was over; when would those blessed days arrive when Jannah would be wonderfully adorned, they thought; when the shayateen would be imprisoned; when the rewards for nawafil would be equal to faraidh, and the reward for faraidh would be multiplied 70 times; when hunger and thirst would give pleasure like a full stomach; when the days would be spent in remembrance and the nights in sighs; and when the Ramadhan crescent would appear these people would be happier seeing it than the Eid crescent; when the arrival of this heavenly month spread a light of happiness on their faces and its departure made them weep.

The whole month would see a cut back in the amount of food eaten, the amount of sleep taken, and the number of social calls made. With the result that some had the blessing of finishing the whole Qur'an in a day not counting the different aurad and wazaif (recitations). Even the women of the household used to finish ten chapters from the Qur'an along with taking care of the children and doing household chores. Every house resounded with the echoes of recitations and every person tried to surpass the other in giving charity and alms.

My humble pen is not attempting to reveal the luminous, remote past but showing some faces from recent history. Searching can find such people even today.

A couple of years back I met a unknown man of Allah who I was told had been fasting regularly for the last twenty five years; except the five prohibited days, he had never failed to fast. Before meeting him, I had once met a man who had been keeping fasts for the last 35 years, read the whole Qur'an every day, prayed a hundred nafil raka'ah, and on top of it worked on his job during the daytime. At the time his age was 70 years. I don't mean to say that we should emulate them and fast the whole year; I just mean to point out the difference between each of their days that they consider as Ramadhan and every night that they consider the Night of Power, and our days where even the importance of Ramadhan is missing.

Spring came and went, the beseeching filled their hands with flowers but the pass-overs collected nothing but the thorns of transgressions. Their minds were not fragranced by the flowers (of good deeds) nor did they shed the stench of sins. There is no dearth of those who mistake stench for scent and autumn for spring, and in this error the messenger of death comes to claim their lives. They want to run but can not, they want to save themselves but fail to.

My grievance is not only with those who do not value this spring of rewards, but also with those who keep fasts, pray the taraweeh but looking at their routine it seems that fasting is not the name of eating and sleeping less, but eating and sleeping more. Do we fall on our food out of Ramadhan the way we do this month? Excess in iftar results in such heaviness that it is a trial to say the 'Isha prayer. Overindulgence in sehri makes us so sleepy that many fasting people loose their Fajr prayer. They never get up before noon or one in the afternoon. The leftovers from sehri and iftari are thrown in dustbins making a mockery of the aim of Ramadhan to sympathize with the hungry.

Why don't such people think that the One who gives can also take away; the One who sends riches can also send poverty. This has happened many a time that when His blessings were not appreciated, He took them back; the ones who fed people were forced to beg from others. But why should they think? Satan has tainted their minds and made them proud. Some of them do not even realize that times can change; if it were not for Satan doing his work, then why would the millions of people not recognize the calls of forgiveness, the decorated Jannah, the blessings of sehr and iftaar, the mercies of I'takaf and Shabe Qadar. How would millions not realize when Ramadhan came and when it went? Their routine remained the same, their trade remained the same, their nights and days remained the same, the same attitude to life, the same intoxication and pleasures, song and music, selfishness, and serving the self.

Who will make them understand, O Allah's slaves, hurry! Time is running out! Half the month has gone by but the other half is still there. Maybe the same could be said for many lives, maybe several of us would be even nearer to our graves. The warrants are out; there can be a knock at the door any time now. Ramadhan will come again, it will be celebrated, the door of repentance will be ajar, blessings will be showered but maybe we won't be there. Here "maybe" means "definitely". Pray each salah as if it is your last prayer and fast each fast as if it is your last fast, pay their rights. I hope we will be able to do so too!

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