KEY CONCEPTS TO RECONSIDER BEFORE RAMADAN
Our intentions shape our actions, and our actions shape our destiny.
Ramadan is upon us, and with it comes a chance to reflect, to grow, and to rediscover our faith. As we prepare for this holy month, it is important to reconsider some concepts that might have unfortunately lost their significance.
KNOWING ALLAH TO CALL UPON HIM
Knowledge of Allah has two different kinds: The common knowledge, and the special one. Special knowledge of Allah is reserved for those who love Him, fear Him, and obey Him. Ramadan is a chance for us to get to know Him more.
Moreover, social media might have distorted our understanding of Dua. It is crucial to remember that, in Islam, we do not need intermediaries of any kind to reach Allah. He is always with us, listening to our every plea.
We do not need to post our Dua on social media, we do not need to ask people in video comments to make Dua for us, and we most definitely do not need an imam or a scholar to make Dua on our behalf. In Surah Qaf, Allah says: “Indeed, it is We Who created humankind and fully know what their souls whisper to them, and We are closer to them than their jugular vein.” [50:16]
It is time to call upon Him, to show Him our vulnerability, and to seek His forgiveness. He is the Most Merciful, the Provider, the Protecting Friend. Let us get to know His names, His power, and His love. Let us learn more about Allah and Let us pray with an open heart, for He can change our lives with just one prayer.
PLACING TRUST IN ALLAH
Tawakkul is a beautiful concept that we should implement in every aspect of our lives, especially our endeavours of worship. It means placing our trust in Allah and relying on Him wholeheartedly. During Ramadan, we should rely on Him to guide us, awaken our hearts, and help us make the most of this holy month. Our good deeds are a manifestation of His guidance and love. Let’s put our trust in Him to help us become the best version of ourselves.
PRIORITIZING ALLAH, OUR SOUL, AND OTHERS
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it is easy to lose sight of our priorities. Ramadan is a chance to reprioritize, to focus on what truly matters. Our first priority should be the Almighty Allah, for He prioritizes us despite our weaknesses.
Our second priority should be our soul, for we are responsible for its well-being. During flights, we are often told that in the case of an emergency, we should put on our oxygen masks first before helping anyone else. The same thing applies spiritually, you need your soul to be alive, and well-sustained to be able to guide others and help them. Let’s take care of ourselves first, so we can take care of others.
Lastly, relationships are of key importance to the sustainability of our religious spirituality. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Beware of evil with each other, for indeed it is the Haliqah.”
“The Haliqah” in this hadeeth means that which severs the religion.
A great thing to do this Ramadan is try to mend our relationships with our families and friends. The vulnerability that comes from loneliness and heartache cannot encourage the community to focus more on worship during Ramadan.
THE POWER OF INTENTIONS
Our intentions shape our actions, and our actions shape our destiny. Infusing every deed, even the simplest ones, with the right Niyya [intention], changes everything. During Ramadan, let’s set our intentions for our fasts, for remembering our loved ones, and for feeding the needy. Let’s do everything for Allah’s sake, and let’s make every action a worship. Let’s be mindful of our intentions, for they have the power to transform the value of our actions.
Every act we do in this life, should also have a value in our afterlives for this is not our home, this is a passage to our true home in everlasting life.
For example, if fasting depletes you of all energy, set the intention of sabr [patience] and you shall be awarded for it.
A CHANCE TO KNOW YOUR NAFS
There are three ranks of Nafs in Isam: Nafs al-Ammara Bissu’ (the Nafs that urges evil), Nafs al-Lawwama (the Nafs that Blames) and Nafs al-Mutmaʿinna (the Nafs at Peace).
During Ramadan, we have the chance to know our true Nafs and more importantly, it is an opportunity to tame it. During the time of fast, even the pleasures of life that are halal are not permissible. This abstention reminds the Nafs that it, desire, does not control us, the body and soul both adhere to the commands of their true owner, Allah.
An important thing to be aware of is the negative impact of frustration and shame, when we follow the Nafs, it can bring us down and make us despair from the mercy of Allah, which is dangerous.
Remember that all humans make mistakes, Muslims repent from theirs. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: “All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often.”
We should not think of penance with our mundane understanding. Unlike us, Allah does not shut his doors in our faces, no matter how much we sin. Do not despair, keep on knocking on Allah’s door.
RAMADAN IS A VERY SPECIAL MONTH
Finally, remember Ramadan is not like any other month. It has become common to criticise people who put more efforts into pleasing Allah during Ramadan, but it is actually the most sensible thing to do.
Ramadan is a season of forgiveness and blessings, that alone should fill our hearts with joy. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “Your Lord has commanded winds of beneficence in the days of your lives, so benefit from them.” It should thus be seized!
It is the season to cleanse our hearts from what weighs them down and to recharge our energy after depletion. Most importantly, we should strive to pick up new religious habits and keep them after Ramadan passes.
Sahih al-Bukhari 7392: Book 97, Hadith 21.
Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2508: Book 37, Hadith 94.
The Comprehensive Book 16, Hadith 41.