In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Every year, Al-Huda International delivers a “welcome Ramadan” talk. Alhumdulillah, I was blessed with an opportunity through the generosity of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to attend their talk this year as well. This is an attempt to share some of the things that were discussed in the talk. All goodness is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and all shortcomings are my own. Please make du’a for the speaker, Sister Maryam Saeed, for her knowledge, kindness, and gentleness, ma sha Allah la hawla wala quwatta illah billah, seldom I have come across a religious teacher who is respectable “and” respectful towards her students. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala bless this sister and her parents and teachers for raising her with admirable traits, ameen. The talk was heart touching.
[To take benefit from the Qur’an, sign up for Dawrah Qur’an (Journey through the Qur’an), starting on May 7, 2018, in sha Allah. You can also attend as a listener or register and access recorded talks]
Questions to think about:
Q. What are my goals for Ramadan this year?
Q. What is different this year?
Q. What was I unable to accomplish last year?
Al-Huda’s Goal for Its Students (this year):
To make our Ramadan like the Ramadan of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (in sha Allah)
How are we going to accomplish this? By following the footsteps of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. By studying and adopting the character of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – one character/manner a day.
[Angel Gabriel is known as Jibreel in Arabic]
When the wind blows it affects everything – how is our Ramadan affecting others? Our Ramadan should be such that everyone around us feels it. Do not leave out anyone from your generosity.
Good company has an effect. With Jibreel (AS), the Prophet (SA) could recite more Qur’an. Choose your Ramadan buddies.
TASK: Adopt the Prophet’s characteristics
Make a Plan: What are you going to do throughout the day? What are you going to do after you come back from the Taraweeh? Include your family in your plan. Make a schedule according to your individual routine.
Preparing for Ramadan with Emaan – Not Waiting for Ramadan to Begin so we can have Emaan
Symptoms of Weak Emaan
- Committing sins and not feeling any guilt – Feel sorry for your sins and ask Allah SWT to forgive you now so that you can enter Ramadan without the baggage of your sins
- Feeling lazy to do good deeds – We know that the call to the prayer has been given but we are still engaged in other things. We say let me do this or that first, then I will pray. We know the virtue of giving sadaqah and that it doesn’t include monetary charity only but smiling, kindness, giving our time, sharing our skills are all types of sadaqah, yet we are not “as fast as the wind” when it comes to generosity.
- Neglecting the Sunnah – We know the rewards for praying the Sunnah yet we are negligent of it and say, “Oh, it’s only a Sunnah!” Follow the footsteps of the Companions (RA) who were eager to follow the Prophet (SA) in every aspect of their life. For example, drinking water in three sips, using miswak [wooden toothbrush] before every prayer or at least once in the morning and night.
- Desiring status and wealth – Money is a requirement to live our life on earth but it should not become our main purpose or focus such that we are preoccupied with the thoughts about money the entire day. Earn money in a permissible way but don’t get attached to it nor seek fame or status. Don’t run after desires because such a person is a mad man who does not use his intellect and is governed by the desires. Love of wealth also opens up the doors to other evils such as deceit, jealousy, greed, and arrogance.
So now the question is, how can we strengthen our emaan?
We can make the most of Ramadan when our emaan is strong.
For example, every Muslim desires to visit the House of Allah in Makkah – Bait Al-Harum. When the people are invited to the House, whether they are on Umrah or Hajj, they don’t know what to do. They are copying one another, asking one another, “after” they have reached the place. What a missed opportunity! Had they prepared before leaving for this blessed journey, they would have returned with a higher chance of their worship being accepted.
Likewise, please don’t waste the month of Ramadan by entering it unprepared. Learn the essentials – the dos and dont’s, the athkar and supplications before the month begins.
Q. What is the connection between Ramadan and Emaan?
Let first study the definition of emaan. Emaan is al-yaqeen ul jazih – meaning the conviction that I’m fulfilling my obligation so that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will reward me.
Every Ramadan we get three chances of forgiveness:
– standing in Taraweeh
– Observing Layla tul Qadr
Evidence? Let’s review the following Ahadith found in Saheeh Bukhari and Muslim.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
“Whoever spends the nights of Ramadan in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
“Whoever spends Laylat al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, will be forgiven his previous sins.”
It tells us that we need to work on our emaan – the stronger the emaan the more chances of our forgiveness. We should also remember that we should not fast or pray Taraweeh to seek attention or praise of the people. We are doing sincerely for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. All of our previous sins can be forgiven if we fast with emaan and sincerity. All those who have not been given the chance to go for Hajj, it is a great blessing from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that we get to get our sins forgiven by fasting in Ramadan with emaan and ikhlas. Subhan’Allah!
Enter Ramadan with Happiness
– Don’t complain about the long hours
– Don’t complain about the heat (remember you have fasted in winter too)
– Don’t complain about your responsibilities (whether it’s work related, school related or home related)
Don’t even talk about this – if someone else mentions the heat or the long hours distract them and yourself by saying something positive.
Enter Ramadan with a Plan
– What are my goals?
– How can I achieve them?
– Who can help me achieve them?
– Do I need to send reminders?
TASK: Memorize and recite the Sunnah Tahajjud Du’a every night when you get ready for Tahajjud prayer. [Please see the Dua here.]
We can increase our emaan by gaining beneficial knowledge and through ma’arifa [recognition] of Allah. What will be the sources of our knowledge? The Qur’an and Sunnah.
A heart that is filled with emaan doesn’t question Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. He created us, He knows what’s best for us. When you sense that you are not feeling well or are unable to perform your duties as a Muslim, then who would you go to? Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and look through the Qur’an because that is our manual. It tells us how to function. We imitate the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam because he is the best example for us. He showed us how to live this earthly life and what we are supposed to do in which situation. He didn’t leave out anything. How are we to act in happiness and sadness and in loss and victory, he showed it to us. We need to show Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala how grateful we are for this perfect gift [the Prophet].
We need to believe with conviction that whatever tests Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala placed us in are the best for us.
When we believe in this with conviction then that is a sign of strong emaan. Because He knows and we trust Him. Through the tests, He purifies us so that we can move on to the next level.
Sign of Strong Emaan:
We don’t complain
Don’t say anything displeasing to or about Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It means we need to control our thoughts because whatever is in our heart comes out through our tongue. Our heart and tongue should say the same. Only a hypocrite says something else by the tongue and has a different feeling in his heart.
Purpose of Ramadan
❝O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.❞ [Qur’an 2: 183]
What is taqwa? It is to stop from what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has prohibited and to do what He has commanded us to do whether someone is watching us or not, whether someone else is doing or not. We do what is pleasing to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
(contd. in next post, in sha Allah)