Ramadan – A Precious Gift


Fast Ramadan
The fragrance of the blessed month of Ramadan is already in the air and almost everyone has started feeling the slight sensation of excitement that this blessed month brings with it. Isn’t it amazing how we look forward to this month with such excitement and anticipation? A month where we spend more than half of the day – in the scorching summer heat – without eating or drinking and the nights in reading or reciting the Glorious Qur’an. For Muslims, Ramadan is a month filled with so much meaning and goodness that on the final day even the children do not want it to end. How can the believers not rejoice at the coming of this blessed month when Allah ‘opens up the gates of paradise, closes the gates of Hellfire, and chains up the devils?’ (According to hadeeth in Bukhari)
 
To reach the month of Ramadan and strive in worship in it is one of the greatest blessings from Allah. This has been explained in a narration by Talha ibn ‘Ubaydallah who reported that there were two men who had accepted Islam at the same time. One of them used to strive in good deeds more than the other, but one day he fought in a battle and was martyred. The other remained behind him for another year, and then he also died. Talha said, ‘I had a dream in which I saw that I was at the door of Paradise and the two men were with me. Someone came out of Paradise and allowed the man who passed away later to enter first. Then he came out again and allowed the martyred one to enter. Then he returned and said to me, ‘Go back, for your time has not come yet.’ Talha woke up and informed the other companions about this. They were all surprised and eagerly went to inform and ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) about it, who said, ‘What are you surprised about?’ They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Out of them both, this one strove harder (in Jihad) then he was martyred but this other one entered Paradise before him?’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Did he not remain behind him for one year?’ They said, ‘Yes (he did).’ He said, ‘Did he not reach Ramadan, fast and pray with such and such number of prostrations in the year?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘So the difference between them is greater than what is between the heavens and the earth.’ (Sahih Ibn Majah 2/345, 346 – Al-Albani’s ‘al-Silsilah al-Sahihah)
 
What a gift and what an honor Subhan Allah! This is why the Muslims of the early generations used to ask Allah six months before Ramadan to grant them long lives so that they could reach Ramadan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadan to accept from them. Do we do the same or do we take this blessed gift for granted, wasting away its precious days and nights?
 
Allah says: “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.” (Qur’an 2:185)
According to scholars, the word ‘so’ (fa) in this ayah leads to the following paraphrase of one aspect of its meaning: “Fast this month because it is the one in which the Qur’an was sent down.” We celebrate the Qur’an in Ramadan by reading, reciting, listening to it while pondering over it day and night. Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated from her father (peace be upon him) who told her that Angel Jibreel would rehearse the Qur’an with him (in Ramadan) once every year, and he did so twice in the year of his death. (Bukhari).
 
Fasting and spending time with the Qur’an is what reconnects us to our Creator hence nourishing the souls and recharging faith in the blessed month. Since the body is restrained from food and drink and the soul is fed with its divine nourishment, we feel peaceful, satisfied and re-energized in Ramadan. This is what pushes us to hold ourselves accountable, to repent and reform before it gets too late. It helps us in bringing positive changes in ourselves for the sake of Allah and be foremost in the race of drawing closer to Him by doing good deeds.
 
It is said in Tafsir Al Qurtubi that: The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense heat and dryness, especially on the ground. It is so called because Ramadan burns down the sins with good deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and seeking reward, then Allah will forgive all of his previous sins.” (Muslim) He also said: “Verily, Allah has people He redeems from the fire at the time of breaking fast, and that is during every night. (Ibn Majah)
 
It is indeed from the extreme mercy and love of Allah, that He gives us the opportunity to increase in good deeds and be of the forgiven ones in this blessed month. Let’s make sure we don’t make it a month of laziness and sleep, or of practicing the art of cooking and planning lavish meals, or of shopping and entertainment. Rather, let’s prepare to welcome Ramadan by trying to learn all its virtues and rulings. Let’s make sincere intentions to do our best and prepare our Ramadan goals with detailed, realistic schedules for each day. According to a hadeeth, we will be rewarded for our intentions to do good deeds, even if we fail to actually do them. (Bukhari and Muslim).
 
Let’s sincerely repent from our sins and learn to forgive, forget and pardon others. It’d be wise to make a massive du’aa list and note down the times from the sunnah when our du’aas have higher chances of being answered e.g. while breaking our fast, in sujood and in the last part of the night before Fajr.
 
This could be our last Ramadan so let’s plan well and make arrangements to have the best one ever. It truly is the month of great gains and profits. The smart trader is the one who makes the most of this special occasion to increase his profits. May Allah make us witness Ramadan in a state of good health and strong faith and help us to be among the smart ones who do their best to gain maximum rewards. Ameen.
 
-Written by Mariam Anwer
Originally posted in Arab News
AN Gift Ramadan

I will L.E.A.P. for every Prayer


LEAP

This Ramadan… ———————-I will L.E.A.P. for every salah.

I have fought way too many Nafs vs. Heart wars, and lost way too many times to give in to this anymore. Is not my Rabb the most important aspect in my life? Does He not deserve that we leave everything of our petty dunya activities and hasten to the remembrance of our Grand Creator? What can really be so important that I cannot pause for fifteen minutes to show my true love and dedication to Allah? To really prove that I deserve the blessing of being Muslim and that I value His Deen enough to stand to attention every time the call to prayer is made? To prove to Allah that I deserve the blessing of salah itself — yes, it is a blessing that Allah allows us to stand in front of Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala. How can I show gratitude for this blessing that, for many, isn’t even a reality? Walid bin Aizar narrates that the Prophet (salla Alahu alayhi wa sallam) was asked, “Which deed is loved most by Allah?” He (salla Allahu alayhi wasallam) replied, “To offer prayers at their early (very first) stated times” [Sahih Bukhari, 5970]. We’ve all read this hadith a countless times, but have we ever reflected over the fact that this deed is even more beloved to Allah than some other acts of worship we may engage in? If we’re reciting Qur’an or preparing iftar for our families, or doing something else and the time of Salah enters, the most beloved act to Allah at this moment is that we LEAP. Recall the incident when Musa (‘alayhi salaam) had his appointment with Allah: Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala asked him, “And what made you hasten (away) from your people, O Musa?” He said, “They are close on my footsteps; and I hastened to You, O my Lord, that You might be pleased.“ [TaHa, 21:83-84] If any of us had a single opportunity to converse with the Lord of the Worlds, wouldn’t we rush to this meeting? Wouldn’t we leave everything and consider this the most important task above all? Yet, don’t we all have an appointment to converse with Allah five times a day? How will we respond to His call? Action points: – Set an alarm clock/adhan on your computer to remind you when salah time enters. – Drop everything you’re doing when you hear it and just get up (seriously, it won’t work if you even delay 10-15 min). – If any men in the household are leaving for salah, make that an indicator that it’s time to pray and don’t just let them reap the rewards alone! – If you still find yourself delaying, put a condition on yourself: For every salah I delay without a valid reason, I will fast an extra day or pay X amount in charity. (For this to work, you have to put a condition that will make your nafs understand you’re not playing around). – Constantly remind yourself of the importance and beauty and blessing of salah. Listen to lectures on salah, pick up books on the topic, write out your own thoughts on why this should be important to you. – Ask Allah to make you successful in your efforts. This #Ramadan… may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala give us the opportunity to LEAP towards His Pleasure and Mercy. Ameen. –Originally published at I Got it Covered