SubhanAllah, it’s already that time of the year again. Hasn’t this year flown by so fast? Yet, the hearts are longing and the souls are in great need of enrichment. Oh Ramadan, we need you! We are waiting earnestly for you. My daughter’s latest favourite nasheed, which happens to be about Ramadan, goes –
“Knock, knock, knock
Where have you been, Oh Ramadan
We’ve waited for you such a long time
We missed you so, where have you been?
Please do come in
And stay for good
Everything’s so nice, when you’re around
We’ve waited long, my Iman is weak
The time is here, to really strive, and be the best
InshaAllah, I’ll do my best, to please Allah and read Quran“
Will this Ramadan be ‘the one’?
Yes the hearts are calling, our Iman needs a boost, and Ramadan is the best hope. But will this Ramadan be one where we actually draw closer to Allah? Or will it be one of the many other Ramadans, where the first few days are excitedly filled with Quran, prayers, constant ibaadah and then the *burnout* where we are too full of samosas, biryani, drinks and goodies to do as much. And we comfort our guilty ourselves saying: “I’ll do my BEST in the last 10, I really will”. How many of us are familiar with this cycle of events?
How many of us are familiar with this cycle of events?
Oh People of Quran! It is actually dangerous that we do NOT benefit from the month of Ramadan. It isn’t a favour that we are doing unto Allah. It isn’t something we do out of our goodwill or something that will help us just gain extra rewards. Indeed, most of the worship is not waajib, rather it’s recommended. Yet being negligent and not making use of Ramadan to have our sins forgiven is something serious.
Dua’ of an Angel and the Seal of the Prophets!
Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه reported that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ascended the pulpit and said, “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.”
We asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the pulpit and said Ameen, Ameen, Ameen?” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Verily, Jibreel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.
Whoever sees his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and he does not honor them and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.
Whoever has your name mentioned in his presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban]
What a strong word of caution! Notice how it contains three different ways of having our sins forgiven but also notice the impact it can have if we don’t use the opportunity. Two of them directly relate to Ramadan. How can we be so heedless after such a stern warning? A dua made by the best of angels and said Aameen to by the best of creations, seal of the Prophets. Do we, oh dear reader, understand the gravity of the situation?
Yet we have a people today who are not just lazy with worship and efforts to seek forgiveness. We have people who gather in their living rooms after Iftar for their Ramadan special shows and serials. We seek refuge in Allah from this.
Some do manage to take a break for Taraweeh and read some Quran (fulfilment of the bare minimum so that we can silence our guilty conscience) and then they get tired, so maybe follow it up by… another serial or two? Going a step ahead, some even engage in discussions about them with their colleagues and friends the next day at work too! And when the last ten nights come? The last nights that carry Laylatul Qadr, the Night better than a thousand months? We still witness those who who squander it away, shopping for days on end for Eid!
Oh people, wake up! Rasulullah prayed against those who do not have their past sins forgiven in Ramadan. Surely we do not need MORE sins?
Relationship Goals: Quran!
Oh People of Quran – yes, that’s you and me - hearken for there is no better time than Ramadan to improve the status of our Quran! In normal days, we usually have two things against us – Shaitan and the desires of our nafs. In Ramadan, the major Shayateen are chained.
‘Utbah ibn Farqad رضي الله عنه said: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “In Ramadan, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every shaytan (mareed) is chained up.” [Sunan An-Nasai]
Doesn’t that give us a better chance? Do everything in your power to give it your BEST. Allah aids those who strive for His Sake. Think and reflect: How did the Pious Predecessors deal with Ramadan? What was their time spent on in addition to fasting by days and praying at nights?
It is reported that: ‘When Ramadan started Sufyan At-Thawri رحمه الله used to leave all acts of worship and turn to Quran’ and ‘Malik ibn Anas رحمه الله used to run from all circles of knowledge and turned instead to the recitation of Quran.’
They left their studies of Deen for the Quran. What is our biggest struggle? Our cellphones, food, television, addictions? There is a common tendency in the present generation to complain that we have no time, yet we seem to have ample time for WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. We surely could make more time for the Quran despite a busy work/normal life?
Time for Action!
So what could we possibly do to ensure this Ramadan is our best yet?
1. Start Making Dua’
Success in anything lies only with Allah. Ask Him to bless your Ramadan and beg Him to give you the ability to do your best.
It was narrated from some of the salaf that they used to pray to Allah for six months that they would live until Ramadan, and then they would pray for five months afterwards that He would accept it from them!
2. Minimize Internet Usage
If you can delete your most used applications/social networks for Ramadan, by all means do so. If you are unable to do so, atleast try turning off your WiFi/Internet most of the day. Give yourself a fixed time for checking messages. It may almost seem like our lifeline today, but ironically these apps are doing the exact opposite – they kill our time, where second run into minutes, and minutes run into countless hours. No matter how much ‘good’ you maybe doing by reading and sharing knowledge online, it would still be better to just leave it all in Ramadan and get attached to the Quran.
Something profound I recently read (yes, ironically over WhatsApp) –
“I used to be surprised at the Salaf who stayed bent on the Quran and knowledge for long periods without getting bored. But when I saw the ones bent on their phone in our times, I am no longer surprised. And I realized that the heart, if it loves something truly, doesn’t tire or become bored of it.“
SubhanAllah! How striking is that?
3. Minimize all other activities
We don’t ask you to stop seeking a livelihood, nor that you neglect the necessities in life. But try to keep everything else simple. Plan ahead and finish whatever may be possible before the Blessed month.
– For those who need to regularly cook for your family, try to cook and freeze as much as possible, so you spend minimum time in the kitchen during Ramadan.
– Try to finish Eid, and any other shopping, before Ramadan.
We may never get another!
Whatever your mind tells you to do in Ramadan other than Quran and Ibadah, ask yourself: “Can this wait till after Ramadan?” If the answer is yes, then postpone it. Ramadan, my dear reader, comes only for a month. It’s a HUGE opportunity and a sin to neglect. We do not know if we will live to see another. And we would not want to be of those who desperately plead with Allah to return to dunya after their death, so that we are able to do good deeds:
“That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind.” No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected.” [Surah Muminoon]
May Allah enable us to perform Ibadah to the best of our ability in Ramadan and may He accept our deeds.
May we be of those whose sins are forgiven during the Blessed month and may we not be of those unfortunate ones who live through a Ramadan and Laylatul Qadr and not have their sins forgiven.
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