After taraweeh last night, my mother signalled to me to pick up the garbage around her. She was already prepared with a plastic bag. I started picking up tissues and Al Ain Water cups and filling the bag with it. It seemed that everyone was oblivious to my action. I felt a bit frustrated and flustered.
On the first night of Taraweeh, my friend, the Imam's wife and I talked about the entire story of this great woman:
Abu Hurairah(ra) reported that a dark-skinned woman used to clean the Mosque and then died. The Prophet (pbuh) did not know about it. One day the Prophet (pbuh) remembered her and said: "What happened to that person?" The people replied: "Oh Allah's Apostle! She died." He said: "Why did you not inform me?" They said: The story was so and so." He said: "Show me her grave" and he offered the funeral prayer. [Sahih Bukhari]There really is no need for us to clean the masjid after us, since there's always someone hired to do it. However, that's not what Islam teaches us. You do not leave your garbage for someone else to pick up. I remember the saying that people in the West are unclean and keep their surroundings clean, whereas people in the East are personally clean but their surroundings are very dirty. Why are we so ill-trained that we cannot keep a tissue in hand and throw it a few metres away into a garbage can?
The Prophet (pbuh) said, cleanliness is half of faith and Alhamdulillah fills the scale, and Subhanallah and Alhamdulillah fill up what is between the heavens and the earth. Salah is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves." (Muslim).Our surroundings, the environment, are as much part of us are are our belongings, and we are required to take care of them. Alhamdulillah we don't face that problem in UAE, but in places like Canada, the mosque carpets are often smelling because of wet/dirty feet/socks or the mosque not being able to shampoo the carpets as often. We have to step up and solve these problems. The Masjid belongs to us. Read page one.
Our ranks are so low... but can we not strive to be like the woman who used to clean the masjid and the Prophet (pbuh) loved her action so much that he prayed for her? Would you not want the Prophet (pbuh) to pray for you?
Too many people say that one person is not going to make a difference. It is not true. Every big change starts with one person, a group, a movement, and finally a global voice- We will never know the impact until we train ourselves to be foresighted and understand the far-reaching effects of our consequences.
I thought about how what I'm doing may not have any effect on the women around me. I don't speak Arabic, so I can't give them a general talk on cleaning up after themselves. However, I know and believe that if I clean up as much as I can every day in Taraweeh, for the next 23 days or so, someone will notice and begin to follow, and soon it will pick up... inshallah!
This is a small action, but it illustrates the importance of your personal actions. Your actions will carry through for generations, and our reward lies with Allah (swt) alone.
In Surah Ibrahim, Allah (swt) says:
(And remember that) it is God who has created the heavens and the earth, and who sends down water from the sky and thereby brings forth (all manner) of fruits for your sustenance; and who has made ships subservient to. you, so that they may sail through the sea at His behest; and has made the rivers subservient (to His laws, so that they be of use) to you; and has made the sun and the moon, both of them constant upon their courses, subservient (to His laws, so that they be of use) to you; and has made the night and the day subservient (to His laws, so that they be of use) to you. And (always) does He give you something out of what you may be asking of Him; and should you try to count God's blessings, you could never compute them. (And yet,) behold, man is indeed most persistent in wrongdoing, stubbornly ingrate! [14:32-34]So true! Let's try to count some blessings of Allah (swt) until we exhaust ourselves, and then thank Him profusely for them. I find that the best time to do this exercise is when you're most depressed. Nothing lifts me than counting my blessings.
Another good time to do this is in tahajjud of course. Tahajjud simply is the best time to do any time of worship!
Here's a dua you can make in fajr/tahhajud from Surah Bani Isra'il:
Establish regular prayers - at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional prayer (or spiritual profit) for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a Station of Praise and Glory!
Say: "O my Lord! Let my entry be by the Gate of Truth and Honour, and likewise my exit by the Gate of Truth and Honour; and grant me from Thy Presence an authority to aid (me)." [17:78-80]
رَّبِّ أَدْخِلْنِي مُدْخَلَ صِدْقٍ وَأَخْرِجْنِي مُخْرَجَ صِدْقٍ وَاجْعَل لِّي مِن لَّدُنكَ سُلْطَانًا نَّصِيرًا