Ramadan Reflections

Alhamdulillah there is no better time to get serious with freeing our souls, than in the blessed month of Ramadan. We are on the 12th day of fasting in this blessed month, and you will have noticed that changes have occurred around us. Changes that are nothing short of miracles, in my opinion. You will see that masajid are full in the evenings, when normally they would be empty at that time of the night. For a salah that is Sunnah – when normally the Fardh salah of Isha is never this busy. You will notice people performing salah- who would never consider salah on a normal day. You will notice many opening the Qur’an and reading aloud, when normally you may not witness this. Maybe you are one of those people who see these changes in yourself? I certainly am seeing many changes in myself!

Let us contemplate, why do we exert more during Ramadan? Why do you think we feel closer to the masajid and to our deen in this blessed month?

One reason could be that our Beloved Rasulullah SAW exerted himself more: A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year; and he would devote himself more (in the worship of Allah) in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he did in the earlier part of the month. (Muslim).

Or perhaps we want intercession on the day of judgement: Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said- Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede on behalf of Allah’s servant on the Day of Judgment: Fasting will say, “O my Lord! I prevented him from food and desires during the day, so accept my intercession for him.” And the Qur’an will say, “O my Lord! I prevented him from sleeping by night, so accept my intercession for him.” The intercession of both will thus be accepted. (Ahmad and authenticated by Al-Albani)

Some of us may want to take the chance to achieve forgiveness: Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

But let’s be honest how many people have actually heard these sayings and are practicing upon these to increase their devotion and spirituality?

I have another theory, as to why we become more spiritually elevated during Ramadan. That is- As well as concentrating on the things that we must DO, we avoid the things we SHOULD NOT DO. I am not going to list the do’s and don’ts because we all know what these are. I simply want to remind us that if we concentrate only on the list of things we must do and do nothing about the things that we should not do, then we will not see our lives change after Ramadan. The DOs and the DON’Ts are an ever growing list but it is my theory that just like on normal days we may be cautious of the things we must do- like performing Salah, being honest, and not backbiting- but if I do not look at the DON’T list I am in danger of not making any progress. But my message today is that as well as the ahadith that relate to why Ramadan becomes spiritual for us, it is also the avoidance of certain deeds and habits that elevates our spirituality even more.

Another example -My current state outside of Ramadan may be that I enjoy the benefits and comforts of my bad deeds- for example , if I spend most of the day playing computer games- but then I stop to pray fardh salah when the time comes- or when my food is ready. Now nobody will say to you that it is wrong to play computer games. But when it becomes all-consuming and we spend the whole day- or the whole night or the whole weekend playing computer games- it can become harmful. Furthermore, The danger of this habit is that I could end up only concentrating on the duties of salah- but what about my duty to my children, and my spouse- do I ever spend time in preparing food for us and getting the children ready for school. What about the time for self-improvement and my own learning. Again- I am not saying that playing computer games is harmful- but I am saying that spending all day playing computer games can be problematic. Likewise spending a lot of time on the mobile phone- using social media- is equally harmful. Spending a very long time watching television programmes- that do not enhance your life – can again be harmful to our relationships and to our mental health and wellbeing.

So how do we make these changes after Ramadan? Firstly appreciate that, if we can make the change during Ramadan- then it can be done even beyond. This shows that it is not impossible. The very first step is to seek the help of Allah. The second is the actual process of trying to change. Even in tazkiyah (purification), we have to try and tie our camels and then have tawakkul (trust in Allah). We don’t simply pray for relief without actively striving for it. Remember, If we can give something up in Ramadan then we can give it up after Ramadan. We must ensure that we are not in the dangerous territory of doing good actions to balance out our negative actions. Remember the Angels on the right and on the left – write in each book. This book will be weighed on the day of judgement – we want the book on the right to outweigh the book on the left. We don’t want them to simply balance out.

This month of Ramadan is especially the time to liberate ourselves spiritually. No matter how you feel you’re doing in your relationship with Allah, no matter what your past has been, what your issues are or how weak you may currently feel, you can always have hope in Allah to finish strong. One third of Ramadan is over, and every day is an opportunity to get back into the race, and repent from what distresses you from the past.  May Allah help us all in this Amazing Race toward His Pleasure. I Pray that Allah helps us all in our personal struggles whatever they may be. Ya Allah help us to give up what is displeasing to you and help us to adopt those actions that are pleasing to You and Your Prophet. Aameen.

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