10 Spiritual Guidance For Ramadhaan.
1) To be honest and sincere in your devotion to Allah having the pure intention of fasting for His sake, wishing to please Him, and hoping for His reward to eventually win paradise and be saved from hellfire.
The following will aid you in having this intention:
The Hadith of Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “All the good deeds of the son of Adam multiply his reward from ten times to seven hundred times.” Allah said: “Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I reward for it.” Hence, Allah gives a fasting a special status; worship by fasting is indeed one of the greatest means of getting closer to Him.
Fasting opens up way for the pure fitrah (innate nature of the human being) and the clear soul to ascend to the level of full submission to the commandments of Allah. It frees them from the overpowering bondage of lusts and desires that stand as hurdles in the path of those seeking Allah.
Fasting strengthens the will of the human being and his ability to make decisions based on awareness, logic, heart, and soul. It weakens the desire of the human being to deviate in pursuit of his desire for food and sexual satisfaction and his anger. All of these ailments are remedied by fasting so that we may become godly servants.
2) To recognize the value of time during Ramadhaan because it is indeed an invaluable opportunity for the wise. The first third of the month is mercy; the second is forgiveness, and the final third salvation from hellfire. During this month Laylat ul Qadr occurs, a night greater than a thousand months. In the Hadith of Rasulullah (SAW) he says: “If the Muslim Ummah knew what Allah had in store for it during Ramadan it would have wished that the entire year was Ramadan.”
In reality we see many Muslims spending their nights watching TV and with friends and with friends and their days sleeping or shopping. This month is a month of worship, recitation of the Qur’an, remembrance of Allah, supplication, charity, and calling others to good. Let the Muslim be honest with himself, without deceiving himself or attempting to deceive Allah as hypocrites do, and ask himself an important question. If I had the opportunity to work overtime in my field, be it medicine, engineering, education, etc, and get paid over seven hundred times my regular pay, and the opportunity to work one single night and get paid the salary of one thousand months, would I refuse? Let the godly servants answer this question for themselves.
3) To strive to complete the recitation of the Qur’an at least twice, once in taraweeh and once in an individual recitation. To aid you in accomplishing the first, remember the Hadith of Al Bukhari narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Whoever spends the nights of Ramadan in prayer out of faith and for the sake of Allah his sins will be forgiven.” Night prayers without the Qur’an are like a body without a head, and night prayers with the Qur’an but without Khushoo’ (attentiveness and consciousness) are like a body without a soul. It is indeed compulsory upon you to have your mind, heart, and soul present and living the verses of the Qur’an as you recites them. Let us remember that some of the companions used to recite the entire Qur’an once every week in days other than Ramadhaan; when Ramadhaan came, they would devote their day and night to the Qur’an. I recommend that you divide your recitation of the Qur’an between taraweeh, night prayers, and individual recitation. Most importantly, read Qur’an with your spouse and children at home. Thus, you will have achieved a series of recitations, one between you and Allah one with your family, and one with other Muslim brothers in the Masjid.
4) To review what you have memorized from the Qur’an in the past. Jibraeel (AS) used to review what had been revealed of the Qur’an during the previous year with Rasulullah (SAW) during Ramadhaan. In Ramadhaan of the year in which Rasulullah (SAW) died, Jibraeel (AS) reviewed it with him in its entirety twice (Al Bukhari) Let this example, set for us by Rasulullah (SAW), be a driving force for all those who have memorized and then forgotten what they memorized. It would also be prudent of them to be fearful when they recall the Hadith of Rasulullah (SAW) in which he says: “Whosoever memorizes the Qur’an and then forgets it shall meet Allah.” (Abu Dawud) We need to make a record of all the verses and portions of the Qur’an that we mentioned at one point or another and begin the process of reviewing, for perhaps when we meet Allah we can ascend one level in paradise for each verse that we memorized. A clear mind and pure heart no doubt will make the process of reviewing much easier, as well as remembering the words of Allah: “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?”
5) To strive to provide food for other people when it is time to break the fast, either at home or in the Masjid. You can either prepare the food yourself or spend some money for this purpose because the reward for this is very great: forgiveness of your sins and salvation from hellfire. All of this reward is reserved even if you provide a person with water or some milk and half a date to break his fast. This shows the boundless rewards Allah showers upon his servants if they approach him with sincerity, even with the smallest of deeds. This is a great opportunity for brothers to donate from their money and for sisters to prepare food so that everyone may have the opportunity to attain many rewards and forgiveness.
6) To make supplication when breaking your fast as in the Hadith of Ibn Majah, narrated on the authority of Abdullah bin Omar (RA) that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The fasting person is awarded a supplication when he breaks his fast that shall not be turned down.”
Abu Dawud also narrated that Rasulullah (SAW) would never break his fast without saying: “Bismillah. O Allah, for You I have fasted and from Your blessings and provisions I break my fast.”
Abdullah bin Omar (RA) used to say when breaking his fast: “Oh Allah, I ask You by Your mercy that has encompassed all things to forgive my sins.” I recommend that you make a supplication for all your Muslim brothers and sisters, that Allah returns us to His commandments, that He used us in the service of Islam. Also, let each brother remind his wife, children, and brothers at the Masjid to make a supplication when breaking their fast. The sister also has an important role in reminding her children to make a supplication when breaking their fast.”
7) To hurry in breaking your fast and to delay suhoor (meal before dawn). It was transmitted by Muslim and Bukhari, on the authority of Sahl bin Sa’d (RA), that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “People will still be in a good state so long as they hurry in breaking their fast.” As transmitted by Tirmidhi, narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA), Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Allah said: ‘the most beloved of My servants to Me are those who are quick to break their fast.”’ As for suhoor, it was the Sunnah of Rasulullah (SAW) to delay it until right before Fajr (dawn). He encouraged us to practice this Sunnah, as transmitted by Muslim and Ibn Majah narrated on the authority of Anas bin Malik (RA) that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Have suhoor, for in suhoor there is blessing.” As transmitted by Ahmed, narrated on the authority of Abu Sa’eed Al Khudri (RA), Rasulullah (SAW) said “Eating suhoor is a blessing, so do not leave it, even if it is but a drink of water, for Allah and His angels pray on those who eat suhoor.” Rasulullah (SAW called it the blessed meal in another Hadith transmitted by Abu Dawud. Hence, the Muslim’s desire and love for food diminishes and is replaced by love for Allah above all things. He hurries to break his fast not out of hunger and love for food but in order to attain the love of Allah. He delays his suhoor because it is a blessing and because Allah and His angels pray on those who eat suhoor. This understanding makes us the quickest of people to follow the Sunnah in breaking one’s fast with dates, water, or juice, praying Maghrib, and then eating one’s meal. It also makes the Muslim delay his suhoor until the end of the night and right before Fajr. Otherwise, he may oversleep and miss both suhoor and Fajr prayer, and hence miss the blessing of suhoor with the prayer of Allah and His angels, and miss Fajr prayer, the greatest of all prayers in reward.
8) To spend from your wealth and to donate generously. Let each one of us evaluate himself, because if his fasting is good and acceptable his generosity will be great in amount. Bukhari tells us in his narration, that Rasulullah (SAW) was the most generous of people, and he was the most generous during Ramadhaan. When he used to meet Jibraeel (AS) he used to be more generous than the wind is sent with rain. This is a clear and simple criterion. If our fasting is good and well done, our faith will be great, and our desire to build our future in the hereafter will increase, along with our desire to please Allah and to avoid His wrath and anger. Consequently, spending and giving with generosity becomes easier on the person because of his clear and pure soul, and one does not feel the reluctance he may feel at other times. There are many ways to do good and be generous during this month, the most important of which is feeding the poor and the needy and sponsoring them wherever they may be. Start with your relatives because it is both an act of generosity and a connection to your relatives. Then there are acts of goodness such as establishing Masaajids and schools and calling people to Islam. It is also preferred that you pay your zakaat maal during Ramadhaan because the reward for performing a mandatory duty during Ramadhaan is multiplied seventy times the reward for performing it any other time. Zakatul Fitr is a cleanser for the fasting person and a source of food for the needy as Rasulullah (SAW) tells us in his Hadith transmitted by Abu Dawud. Hence, this month is an opportunity for each one of us to build his hereafter with some of the blessings and provisions given to us by Allah in this life.
9) To remember Allah constantly, Ibn Habban narrates that Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Four things you should do plentifully during this month, two with which you will attain the pleasure of your Lord, and two of which you cannot do without. The two with which you will attain the pleasure of your Lord are to testify that there is no God worthy of worship but Allah, and to seek His forgiveness. The two which you cannot do without are to ask Him for paradise and to seek His refuge from hellfire.” A sincere and devout servant cannot do without these four characteristics of remembrance and supplication if he wishes to please his Lord and benefit himself in the hereafter. Make use of the time on your way to work, on your way home, on your way to the Masjid, or one your way anywhere, and enliven it with the remembrance of Allah, perhaps Allah will remember us with His boundless mercy and blessings. Remember that on the Day of Judgment you will regret most those moments that you wasted without remembering Allah.
10) To reconcile any disputes you may have with any of your family members, friends, or Muslim brothers and sisters. This should be accomplished prior to the beginning of Ramadhaan because Allah forgives all sinners except those who are in dispute or in fighting. If we want to realize the impact that personal feuds and arguments can have on the mercy that befalls the entirety of the Ummah, let us look at Sahih Bukhari, the Book of Laylat ul Qadr, chapter 4 titled “Concealing Knowledge of Laylat ul Qadr Due to Fighting.” In the Hadith narrated on the authority of ‘Ubadah bin al Samit he says: “Rasulullah (SAW) said, ‘I came out to inform you of the time of Laylat ul Qadr. But so and so fought one another and the knowledge of it was lifted from me.”’
It is clear from this Hadith that Rasulullah (SAW) knew the time of Laylat ul Qadr, and he was coming out to inform the companions and the entire Ummah of its time. However, when two of the Muslims disputed with each other, Rasulullah (SAW) was made to forget it. From this serious Hadith, one can conclude that any fight or hate instigated with a Muslim brother can lead to delay in victory, loss of rewards, division in the Ummah, and loss of blessings. Perhaps, Ramadhaan can be an opportunity for us to reunite and to cleanse and purify our hearts.
These are ten recommendations for every Muslim brother and sister to take the opportunity and avoid missing out on any of the rewards and mercies of his blessed month, so that everyone may attain the pleasure of Allah and avoid His wrath and punishment. This needs honest and sincere devotion, a strong will, organization of time, struggle with one’s self, patience with worship, befriending the pious, sitting with and learning from scholars, reviewing one’s self, purifying the soul, and cleansing the heart. Our hope is that we will truly be godly servants who will win happiness in this life and in the hereafter.