Preparing for Ramadan
Many of us have been counting the days remaining up to the holy month of Ramadan. Five days, four, three, two and the next thing you know here it is. For a believer the name of this month “Ramadan” gives the thought of joy, rewards and a feeling of Allah’s mercy. Truly, this is a season that should be awaited for. Anticipations and emotions for this month are not sufficient.
This holy month requires action and activity. It is about altering our timetables and schedules, it demands us to train ourselves to attain Taqwa (fear of Allah or devotion to Him) which in turn, is the element to carry us successfully through the ongoing journey towards the hereafter (akhirah).
But let us ask ourselves have we really prepared for this month? Are we ready to dedicate more time for our spiritual revival ? During the month of Ramadan the holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) would stay awake in the nights worshipping Allah, awaken his household and increase in worship. (Bukhari, Muslim). Even though we may have experienced many a Ramadans but every Ramadan must be treated as a once in a lifetime opportunity since we have no idea whether we will live till the next Ramadan. Let us look at a few hadith concerning this holy period.
Increased Rewards & Forgiveness
What are the rewards of good deeds in the month of Ramadan? The reward of every Fardh (compulsory) act is multiplied seventy times while every Nafl (optional) act earns the reward of one Fardh out of Ramadan. (Ibn Khuzaymah). It is important to understand the latter aspect in its proper perspective.
Tahajjud (Nafl Salah in the last third of the night) is an extremely great ibadah (worship). Great virtues have been narrated for this Salah. However, a lifetime of tahajjud cannot equal one Fardh of Fajr Salah! Yet in the month of Ramadan Almighty Allah grants us the reward of a Fardh action for every Nafl performed.
The fish in the sea seek forgiveness for those fasting until they break their fast . Allah decorates His Jannah (Paradise) every day and then says, “The time is near when My pious servants shall cast aside the great trials and come to me.” (Musnad Ahmed)
“When Ramadan arrives, the gates of Paradise are flung open, the doors of the Hellfire are closed and the Shayateen are imprisoned.” (Bukhari)
“All good deeds are for the one who renders them, but fasting. Fasting is exclusively for me (Allah).”(Bukhari)
“The odour of the mouth of a fasting person is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk.”(Bukhari)
“Fasting is a shield, as long as the fasting person does not tear it up (by disobedience).”(Nasaee)
“Not a single prayer made by a fasting person at the time of breaking the fast is rejected.”(Ibn Majah)
The Nights of Ramadan
“Whoever stands in prayer and worship in (the nights of) Ramadan, with Iman and with sincere hope of gaining reward , all his previous sins are forgiven. “(Bukhari, Muslim)
Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Power)
“Whoever stands in prayer and worship in the night of power with Iman and with sincere hope of gaining reward , all his previous sins are forgiven. “( Muslim)
“Look for the night of power among the odd numbered nights of the last ten days of Ramadan.” (Mishkat)
“The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) observed I’etikaf for ten days every year in the month of Ramadan. In the year he passed away he observed it for twenty days. “(Bukhari)
The Last Night Of Ramadan
“On the last night of Ramadan the fasting Muslims are forgiven. “(Musnad Ahmed)
It can be well comprehended from the above that during this month of Ramadan, Almighty Allah makes it easy for us to acquire His blessings, mercy and forgiveness. There can be no better time to attain this than this blessed month. All that is required on our part is to create in our hearts the desire, ambition, devotion, zeal, eagerness and that we exert increased efforts to acquire the pleasure of Almighty Allah.
While one should engage to the maximum in good deeds, the purpose of Ramadan must be kept foremost in mind, which is to acquire Taqwa. Thus together with the maximum amount of righteous actions one must totally refrain from all sins. We should ensure that no act of disobedience is committed. This abstinence in itself is a worship. One month of strictly conducting oneself in this manner will Insha-Allah have the effect of enabling one to live the next eleven months in a similar manner in the complete obedience of Allah.
Thus, can we afford to waste this time? Can we still have time for “loafing?” Is it possible for a person who values Ramadan to spend hours eating? or loitering around after taraweeh feasts and gatherings?, or have time for any other idle pursuits? Can we afford to spend valuable time glued to the airwaves listening to the opinions and views of one and all, whereas that time could have been used to at least recite the Holy Quran or send Durood upon our beloved Prophet (p.b.u.h.)? And entertainment? How can it be possible? The last thing that any Muslim who values Ramadan should be bothered about is, who somewhere in the world is whacking a little red ball all over a field or who is kicking a ball between two posts! Let alone comedy or other shows!
Let us really make this Ramadan a profitable one that brings change in our life. We leave you with a quotation of the honorable Mufti Zubair Bayat:
All the “T’s” of Ramadan must be kept in mind so that when Ramadan comes, “everything is to the T!”. These “T’s” are: Tilawah, Tahajjud, Taraweeh, Tasbeehat, Tadharru’ (fervent Dua), Tatawwu’ (Nafl Ibadah), Tasahhur (eating Sehri/Suhoor), Taubah (repentance), Tawadhu (humility) and Tafakkur (contemplation). May Almighty Allah make this Ramadan a turning point in the life of the long-suffering Ummah. Aameen.