25 Do’s For Ramadhaan
There is nothing more vital for us in our very short and limited lives than to take absolute maximum benefit from the blessed month of Ramadhaan.
So at this moment of clarity, where the stomachs, hearts, eyes, ears, tongue and mind are all enjoying their greatest moment of purity, let us all try and make sure that we profit from the following points gleaned from the advice of our Pious Predecessors …
1) Make sure that this blessed month becomes a period of accounting for your actions, a revision of your daily routine, an opportunity for the betterment of your life for all your years to come. To enter Ramadhaan not believing it to be so will be a total loss. You’ve actually made it all the way here now, so let’s reap the harvest! Think about all those who were aiming for this month but found a dark grave instead. Reflect on all those who woke in the morning but found that their evenings never materialized. Consider for just a second as our scholars said: if you can’t change your ways and gain at such a blessed time then at what time will you change?!
2) Try to make sure you perform all of the taraweeh prayers in congregation Rasulullah (SAW) said; “Whoever prays with the Imam until he leaves, it is written for him that he prayed the entire night.”
3) Do not be wasteful or extravagant with your wealth, for not only is that impermissible, but you reduce the opportunities of giving more in charity for which you could be rewarded for.
4) Commit yourself to continue after Ramadhaan that which you have prepared yourself to do during Ramadhaan. “The sign of one’s fasting being accepted from him in Ramadhaan is the continuation of his good actions and character after Ramadhaan.”
5) Remember: this is a month of worship and hence action, not lethargy and sleeping. This is even more relevant here in the West considering winter is so close with its short days and long nights. It is well known from the Companions, in emulation of Rasulullah (SAW), that they used to say: “Reap the benefit of winter by fasting its days and standing (in prayer) during the nights.”
6) Make your tongue habitual in the Dhikr of Allah so that you don’t become from those: “… who do not remember Allah except little.”
7) When you feel the pangs of hunger, just remember how weak you actually are, how dependent you are upon food and other such necessities from the immense blessings of Allah, may He be glorified.
8) Make a concerted effort to permanently leave that which doesn’t benefit you, but rather causes you harm. This is even more so when you are fasting. “The weakest of fasts is that in which only food and drink is left out.”
9) Remember: your actions are a trust from Allah so audit yourself like any successful company does; have you performed and fulfilled your deeds as is deserving of them? This obviously applies to all our actions such as prayer, Dhikr, manners but particularly fasting. “Our fasts need Istighfaar to make up for their deficiencies, and good deeds to intercede for them.”
10) Hasten to seek forgiveness from those whom you have oppressed in any way, before they take from your (very few) good deeds. Don’t forget, the greatest oppressive tool is the tongue so tether it as strongly as possible. ‘Umar (RA) said: “Fasting is not just refraining from food and drink, but refraining from lying, falsehood, backbiting and swearing.”
11) Strive to feed the fasting one so that you can obtain a reward equal to his. Ibn ‘Umar (RA) used to always break his fast sharing with the poor; if any of his family tried to prevent him from that, he would refuse to spend the night with them. It was also reported from him that whenever someone would come to him asking for food, he would give them his share and then return home to find his family had eaten what was left of food in his house. He would not let on and would end his fasting day without eating anything.
12) Know that Allah is the Most Generous and that He is the Most Merciful. He accepts the repentance of the penitent, more so than ever at such a special time.
13) If you have committed a sin or done something wrong which Allah, may He be glorified, has concealed for you from the people, know that this is an opportunity for you to seek repentance for those mistakes. Hasten to seek forgiveness and make sure that you do not return back to that sin.
14) Try to increase your knowledge of the explanation of the Qur’an (tafsir), the narrations of the Messenger, his biography (Sirah), and the principles of our religion – to seek such sacred knowledge is one of the highest forms of worship.
15) Stay away from such company and people which don’t benefit you; try to accompany righteous good folk as much as you can. Good people always spread their blessings to others.
16) Going significantly early to the Mosques is a sign of great love and desire to please Allah; a sign that you are in need of him at all times, not just those times in which all the congregation are together. Abu Hurairah (RA) said: “The Companions would often spend much of their fast in the Mosque so as to purify it (i.e. purify the fast itself from useless talk, gossip, backbiting etc).”
17) Pay attention to those who are under your authority such as your family, guiding them to that which will benefit them in their dîn, for they will far more willingly take their example from you than from other people.
18) Do not go to extremes by preparing many different dishes for the Iftaar meal. This leaves the women of the house no opportunity to benefit during the daytime of Ramadhaan such as reciting the Qur’an etc., especially if they are just busy cooking all day.
19) Reduce the amount of time you spend shopping in the night-time during Ramadhaan, especially the last ten nights. This will prevent you wasting your time at such a precious and blessed period of your life.
20) Strive to spend these last ten special nights of Ramadhaan standing in prayer. Remember: there is one particular night amongst these ten, known as Laylat al-Qadr which is in fact greater than a thousand months of worship. Surely to hit the jackpot on such a night is beyond our wildest dreams yet it is a jackpot available to everyone with no need to purchase a ticket and no need to take any risk – that’s gambling dîn style.
21) Don’t forget that ‘Eid is a special day of thanksgiving to our Lord, so don’t make it a day where you lose control of yourself, wasting all the good works of your heart and soul as it kept your desires in check for the entire month.
22) Set aside for yourself, even but for a small time, a period of isolation in the mosque known as i’tikaf (women can do i’tikaf in the home) – you will probably never enjoy such an intensely beneficial period for your soul to reflect upon how it is so cultured by day-to-day life in the 21st Century. This period of respite for the heart, mind and soul will allow you to replenish your vital organs with what they really need – the elixir of life which is nothing other than to be immersed in the worship of Allah, the Most Exalted.
23) On the festive day of ‘Eid as you enjoy yourself with your family, take a brief moment to remember all those brothers and sisters of ours who are orphans, stricken by poverty, famine and war. Know that if you have the ability to make a difference, hasten to such an excellent deed; if you are unable, do not forget to thank Allah for His unlimited favours He bestows upon us.
24) Set aside for yourself regular days of fasting throughout the year – don’t just make your relationship with fasting limited to Ramadhaan only. Now that you have seen the rewards on offer for the fasting one, his special entrance of ar-rayyân in Paradise, his supplication which is not rejected, his closeness to his Lord during his fast, his moment of joy as he breaks it, his increased ability to refrain from the bad and embrace the good – now that you’ve actually realized these benefits, carry them over to the six days of Shawwâl just after Ramadhaan which is equivalent to fasting the entire year! Don’t forget also the middle three ‘bright’ days of every month, Mondays and Thursdays when our actions are presented to our Lord, as well as a host of other special occasions to double up from such as the Days of ‘Arafah, etc.
25) Finally, reflect upon your overall condition; make an audit of all your daily affairs so that you can identify areas for improvement and rectification. These will include: sticking to the congregational prayers, paying zakaat fully and on time, maintaining your family ties, being honourable with the parents, being mindful of your neighbours, rectifying old feuds and problems between previous friends and colleagues, cutting out extravagance and the wasting of wealth, culturing and educating those under your guardianship, being concerned with the affairs of your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters around the world, delighting in and then acting upon sincere advice, protecting oneself from showing off, loving for your brother that which you love for yourself, not allowing yourself to fall into the trap of backbiting others. Carry on reciting the Qur’an and reflecting deeply upon its meanings and last but certainly not least, humble yourself as you listen to His Words being recited.
“O Allah, give us the ability and strength to make this Ramadhaan our Ramadhaan, a time for change and maturity, a time for quality and success,. May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Beloved Messenger, his family and all those who follow in his footsteps until the Final Day.Ameen Thuma Aameen”