Your son in Australia just told you that he is coming to visit you after an entire year without seeing him. How does it feel? How will you prepare yourself? Your home, your heart to meet him? It’s always exciting to welcome a special guest! We stop thinking or worrying about anything else. We go out of our way to prepare our homes and selves.
Ramadan is our guest today and it is the most honorable and noble of guests. Are we ready? Ramadan is a time of change but in order to change for Ramadan and for Ramadan to be the source of our change, we must appreciate and value it. The more we glorify Ramadan, the more it will give back to me. We honor Ramadan because it is the glorified month of Allah (swt) full of gifts to us like rahma (forgiveness) and increased closeness to Allah (swt), an increased taqwa.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God” [2:183]
Allah (swt) wants us to fast to attain taqwa: a consciousness of Allah (swt) at all times. Taqwa is a state of mind where we are always found in a state that Allah (swt) wants us to be in. We are always aware of Allah (swt). This is the goal of Ramadan. Ramadan is a time of increased good deeds and worship and If we attain taqwa then we are able to continue the khair we started in Ramadan after Ramadan. Imam Ali (RA) said taqwa is that Allah (swt) only finds you where He has commanded you to be and does not find you in a place where He has forbade you from.
Taqwa starts and ends with the heart, so let’s start today, and let’s start simple.
First, we must empty our hearts. The heart is a container that must be filled with Allah (swt). This is done by actively training ourselves. One activity can be to look at your day and see where the distractions are. Are you watching TV? Listening to music? Spending hours on social media? Or maybe you spend a lot of time cleaning and cooking? Or perhaps you spend all of your free time working and studying? Whatever it is, we all spend too much time on our worldly lives and not enough on Allah (swt). Ramadan is the time to focus. Start by decluttering your heart, mind, and life.
The next step is to assess your salah. If you do not pray right now, then start praying. If you do pray, then pray on time. If you pray on time, then pray your sunnah. The Prophet ﷺ said: “Perform salah more often. For every prostration that you perform, Allah (swt) will elevate you by one degree and will remit one of your sins” [Muslim]. Salah is our foundation and we can always do more to improve our salah. But quality most certainly outweighs quantity when it comes to Allah (swt) so read more Quran in your salah, spend more time in your sujood (prostration), and allow yourself to be alone when you pray.
Another point of focus is to be more generous. Ibn Abbass (RA) reported that “The Prophet (pbuh) was the most generous of the men; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Jibril visited him every night and recited the Qur'an to him. During this period, the generosity of Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) waxed faster than the rain bearing wind”. If the Messenger of Allah (swt) was this generous in Ramadan, then certainly we can increase in our generosity. We must be more generous with our money, our time, our compassion, and our mercy, for Ramadan is a month of mercy.
We ask Allah (swt) to allow us to experience another Ramadan and be among those that He forgives. Ramadan Kareem!
- Content from a lecture given by Dr. Haifaa Younis in Dubai; written from notes provided by a sister who attended (may Allah reward her).