We ask Allah to count us amongst those who would witness this blessed month of Ramadan. There has been a lot of Ramadan preparation programs going on. But I still wanted to say one or two things about this blessed month. That’s not because I think people don’t know what Ramadan is but because most of us fast for fasting’s sake, or maybe we grew up and saw our families fasting Ramadan and so we joined the trend.
And at times when you look around you, you see everyone spiritually hyped about the month. But you don’t feel the same level of spirituality. That doesn’t mean you’re less of a Muslim, nothing is wrong with you. Our Eman is never stable, at times you are at your peak, and at times you just don’t feel it.
Ramadan is not a Means of Difficulty
Once we begin to approach the month of Ramadan, there are various fear and concerns some of us have. We begin to think about: how can I fast in this heat? I’ll suffer this Ramadan! etc. Some even have the misconception that the month is just a means of difficulty. I want you to clear your mind off any thought of facing difficulty. If you approach the month that way then you are missing the whole point. To gain the most out of the month you have to approach the month with the correct mindset.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you so that you may attain Taqwa. “ [ Surah Al-Baqarah | verse 183]
This Ayah goes to show that we fast not just for fasting’s sake but in order to achieve and attain Taqwa. Fasting is an exercise of Taqwa. If you realize, when fasting, our body urges us to eat and drink. But we resist it out of love and obedience of Almighty Allah. We become cautious about the kind of deeds we do and things we say. So, Ramadan is not a means of difficulty. It is a cleanses process that helps us develop & strengthen our power of self-control, so that we can resist wrongful desires and bad habits.
Some Virtues of Ramadan
Talking about some virtues of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan itself is a gift to Muslims because it helps us to achieve Taqwa (Piety or God-consciousness). It teaches us sincere love for Allah, patience, unselfishness, kindness, moderation, willpower, discipline, a spirit of social belonging, unity, sisterhood, brotherhood, to name a few. In the Quran and Sunnah, the month of Ramadan has advantages over the other months.
Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an
In regards to revelation and study. On the authority of Ibn Abbas(RA): Angel Jibreel used to meet the Prophet (saw) every night in Ramadan and used to study the Quran with him. That is why it is strongly advised to recite the Quran even more during Ramadan. And if you can’t recite the entire Quran, you don’t have to burden or overwhelm yourself. Do what you can and be consistent and surely your reward is with Allah SWT. It is not a competition.
Ramadan is a Month of Being Generous
We should be more generous in Ramadan by having a good attitude, sharing our knowledge, giving money, and using your position of authority or physical strength to help others. Combining fasting with feeding the poor is one of the means of reaching Jannah. And with the current situation were a lot of families out there are living in severe hunger, you can donate to organisations that are into the mission.
“Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which he breaks his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” [Tirmidhi 3:171]
So let us reach out to those family suffering. Charity and generosity are especially urged during Ramadan. We learn to give, and not only to take. The deprivation of fasting makes us sympathize with the suffering of others, and desirous of alleviating it, and it makes us remember the blessings of life which we normally take for granted.
Ramadan is a month of standing in Voluntary Night Prayer
Throughout the month of Ramadan, we have long nightly prayers during which lengthy chapters of the Quran are recited known as Taraweeh. We can also stand in salah in the night on our own. And also make Du’a in our own way within our capability. These prayers, although they are not compulsory, they are greatly recommended. And it brings about so much peace and contentment of the heart.
Some Etiquette of Fasting
It called a pre-dawn meal the food we eat prior to starting the fast for the day. It is recommended to eat Suhoor but if you don’t there is no sin upon you. The reason we eat Suhoor is that it is a blessing and it strengthens us, making us energetic, and makes fasting easier for us. You can eat in a small or large quantity, or even just drinking a sip of water, or eating some dates, it is still considered as you following the sunnah Rasulullah (SAW) When it comes to Suhoor.
Anas (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah Sallallahu `Alayhi wa Sallam said: “Eat a pre-dawn meal, for there are blessings in it.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri (RA) reported that the Prophet Sallallahu `Alayhi wa Sallam said: “The pre-dawn meal is blessed, so do not neglect it even if you only take a sip of water. Verily, Allah and the angels pray for those who have the pre-dawn meals.” [Ahmad].
Try having Suhoor. Claiming you fast without eating Suhoor doesn’t really make you strong, in fact, you are missing out on the barakah.
Breaking your fast
When breaking your fast, it is preferred that we hasten in breaking your fast when the sun has set. And it is recommended to break the fast by eating an odd number of dates. If that is not available, then drinking some water. The time for breaking the fast is one of the times when Du’a’s are answered, but most of us lose out on this golden opportunity because we are so lost and indulge in cooking. Please strive to make use of this golden moment.
Sahl Ibn Sa'd (RA) reported that the Rasulullah (SAW) said: “People will continue to be upon virtue so long as they hasten in breaking the fast.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] Anas (RA) reported that: “Rasulullah(SAW) would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water.” [Abu Dawood, Al-Hakim and At-Tirmithi].
Using the Siwaak
It is preferred for the fasting person to use a chewing stick or a brush. There is no difference if you use it at the beginning or the ending of the day. It is confirmed that the Prophet sallallaahu `Alayhi wa Sallam used chewing stick [ the Miswak] while fasting. The essence is to lay emphasis on cleanliness.
A lot of our loved ones were with us last Ramadan. Many of them have passed on and won’t have the opportunity that we have to witness this month. Many will start the month but won’t be privilege to live to the end of the month. Which is why you need to consistently strive in this month. You need to try as much as you can to put in so much Iklhas in your deeds. What if it is your last Ramadan.
We have our day to day activities. We might have to go to school, or be in the office. Just do not allow the busyness of this Dunya distaract you from making the most out of this month. If you are not spiritually motivated yet. Just try to cut down any form of distraction around you, clear your brain so that you can connect with your soul. In order to find that spiritual connection with Ramadan.
We should also make an effort to strive to achieve good deeds in this month of mercy. May Allah ease our task and grant us Barakah of this blessed month. Also, grant us the opportunity to witness this blessed month. And make it easy for those struggling to find a connection with the month. Ameen