O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous — Surah Al-Baqarah 2:183
The fourth of the five pillars of Islam, Ramadan, the month of purification of the soul, is around the corner. It is the most anticipated month of the Islamic calendar. It does not matter if Ramadan falls in the scorching heat of June or during the bone-shattering cold of December. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Sighting of the Ramadan moons declares the beginning of the month and after 29 or 30 days, the sighting of the moon of the month of Shawwal marks the end of Ramadan. The Shawwal moon brings about the tidings of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Ramadan is the month where Muslims around the globe fast from sunrise till sunset. Fasting is a concept that is observed in all religions of the world. Different religions observe different forms of fasts, but they all follow the same concept, to refrain from something. This concept of fasting thus proves the fact that the origin of all religions is the same. They all originated from the same faith and then diversified into different ideologies.
We all want to get the most out of Ramadan because it is here only for a month. We might feel overwhelmed because we want to do things in the best possible ways and want to earn rewards as much as possible. By the end of the month, we want it to be the best Ramadan ever. We want to put our all in and do as much ibadah (worship) as we can.
There is so much to do and so little time, but with a little bit of time management and understanding, we can make things go in our favour.
Here are some pointers that will help in making sure that we have a blessed Ramadan:
Reciting the Quran:
“The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185)
Ramadan is when the Quran was revealed on the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). It is the blessing of the blessed book that this blessed month was gifted to us. We all try to recite and finish the Quran at least once during this month. One of the best ways to complete it is to make a schedule. Often it happens that we are too calculative in our scheduling and we forget the essence of the act. Mindfulness should be our priority before doing any of the deeds to truly understand the things we are doing. Committing to read the Quran every day and then specifying a time really helps.
Ramadan is also a great opportunity to collectively do ibadah. Collective worships are always more motivating and they also make us feel more enthusiastic about our deeds. Offering Salahs and sitting down together to either listen or understand and discuss the Quran and what it says are some great ways of collective worshiping as a family.
Every Act is Ibadah:
As women, we have other things to cater to. Our homes need tending to and our families demand our attention and the kitchen is always calling. Instead of feeling the heat of the moment and feeling frustrated, remembering that every act is an act of Ibadah and truly incorporating it in our understanding surely helps.
Abu Hurayrah, Prophet’s companion, reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Every action a son of Adam does shall be multiplied—a good action by ten times its value, up to 700 times. Allah says: With the exception of fasting, which belongs to Me, and I reward it accordingly. For, one abandons his desire and food for My sake.
Quite often we feel frustrated and left out during our menstrual periods. Understanding that Allah sends it and it is His command, and He relieves us from fasting is satisfying. Following what He has asked us to do with patience and acceptance, is also an Ibadah. During Ramadan there are also several other ways through which we can observe closeness towards Allah.
Balance of spiritual and other things:
A balance between our Ibadah and our worldly duties is a must. Finding a balance between these two activities is hard but not impossible. Time management and some scheduling goes a long way in making you feel comfortable in both the activities.
Taraweeh is one of the most anticipated aspects of Ramadan. We all have our memories from childhood when we saw our parents stand on their prayer mats for hours. During the times of a global pandemic when going to the mosques is also deemed unsafe for our health, experience of collectively offering Taraweeh has been a great experience and it is something that we all should invest our time in.
Ramadan is a month of changing habits, purification of the soul and Tazkiyah. We all try to set up new habits and try to soak up all the goodness of the month. We all try to make every year’s Ramadan the best Ramadan ever, which is great, but we should also try to make these new habits that we have acquired a part of our lives outside of Ramadan too.
The new habits and promises that we make during Ramadan often go away as the month of Ramadan dissipates. We should try to make lasting promises because Ramadan teaches us to be persistent and consistent.
Let us try to make some new habits this Ramadan and while we are at it, let us promise to keep at least one small new habit for the rest of the year as well. Aisha (R.A) reported that Rasulullah (S.A.W) said: “Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through Allah’s mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to Allah is that which is regular and constant even if it is little.” (Bukhari).
Ramadan is a month of hardships but it is so beautiful that we aspire to experience it. Its departure is really saddening and many of us begin to cry. These feelings are beyond the ken of words, only to be experienced and felt.