When something big happens in our life like getting married, getting a job, graduating from university, being blessed with a child, meeting with a loved person after a long time, overcoming a tough challenge, or achieving something that means a lot to us, we get humbled. Big events like these make us overwhelmed because we often work hard for them. Or we patiently wait for them. Or we secretly cherish them in the remotest corner of our heart. Or maybe they are events that suddenly present us with opportunities that we could only dream of. Or maybe they are events that suddenly free us from an utterly hopeless and helpless situation and show the light. Whatever, these events affect our life profoundly, and they cannot but make us humbled.
A huge event that profoundly affects the life of the believers, who have believed in the Truth brought by the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), is the holy month of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
The advent of Ramadan humbles us. The advent of it softens our heart, makes our eyes teary, and makes our heart overwhelmed.
How can it not?
This is the month during which Allah revealed Al-Quran, the Ultimate and the last Divine Guidance for humanity upon His most Beloved Servant and Honorable Messenger Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). This is the month during which the whole Quran was descended from the Lauhe Mahfuuz (the Preserved Tablet) to the first heaven. This is the month the believers cherish the whole year. This is the month that includes the glorious Night of Qadr, a night when worshipping is equivalent of worshipping for thousand months. This is the month that presents the believers with an opportunity to take themselves out from the darkness of their sins by seeking the forgiveness of their Lord and get more near to Him. This is the month whose “beginning is mercy, middle is forgiveness, and ending is liberation from the Hellfire.” [Ibn Khuzaymah, al-Sahih]
It is natural for a believer to get humbled when he ponders over any blessing of Allah that Allah has provided him with. And when the blessing is as enormous as the month of Ramadan, it cannot but tremendously humbles him.
Personally for me, this heart softening effect that the advent of Ramadan brings with it is a manifestation of`the infinite mercy that Allah bestows upon this holy month.
Now that our hearts have been humbled by the fragrance of this holy month, it is time that we hasten to prepare ourselves to make the most of this opportunity, and give thanks to Allah. That is why I have prepared a list of 10 Ramadan tips, mostly from the hadeeths of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), which I remind myself first, and then remind the Muslim brothers and sisters who are reading this. We should start practicing whatever we intend to practice during Ramadan, so that extra worshipping becomes easy for us from the beginning of the holy month.
- First of all, we need to purify our intentions. Intention is everything. Reported by Ahmed, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever fasts one day seeking the pleasure of Allah, if that is the last day of his life, he will enter Paradise.” [Ahmad, 5/391] Reported by Muslim, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will remove his face seventy years’ distance from the Fire.” [Muslim, 2/808] It is important to note that in both hadeeths, worshipping for the sake of Allah has been emphasized.
- Ramadan is not a food festival. Moderation in halal is important to prevent us from falling into haram. The Shaitan is surely locked up this month, and if we still feel inclined to do evil, then we should unerringly conclude that the urge is coming from our nafs, the lower self. Before defeating the enemy outside, we should defeat the evil that lies within us. Since nafs first gets its energy from food, to subdue its power, it is imperative that the food intake be moderated. If we do otherwise, one of the purposes of Ramadan, which is gaining control over our nafs, may remain unachieved.
- Ramadan is a marathon, so be consistent and keep track of your speed. The winners are those who start at a good speed and then finish strongly. Because the reward increases as Ramadan progresses, and the reward is maximum for the last ten days. So do not start like a Ferrari and then doze off in the middle. Rather make a plan, advance according to it, and improvise.
- Every second counts in Ramadan. So try to utilize every second by keeping yourself engaged in active remembrance of Allah. Stay out of TV, radio, computer, cell phone, and any other gadgets that may drain out your precious Ramadan time. DO NOT use them at all unless you REALLY need them. Also keep yourself at bay from meaningless gatherings.
- Try your best to observe (i) all obligatory prayers in congregation, (ii) all the sunnah muaqqadah and ghair-muaqqadah prayers, (iii) tahajjud and taraweeh each day.
- Do not miss suhoor. Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, “Suhoor is a blessed meal, do not neglect it even if it is a mouthful of drink. For Allah and the Angels bless those who observe it.” [Ahmed]
- Make lots of dua. Al-Tirmidhi reported the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying: “There are three categories of people whose supplications will not be rejected: the person who observes the fast until he breaks it, a just ruler, and a person who has been oppressed.”
- Make sure that you stay away from obscenity, falsehood, or any other kind of sin. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Whoever does not stop speaking falsehood and acting in accordance with it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 1903). Also if someone invokes you to engage in vain speech or in some sort of argument, it is important to push the bait away and exercise self control. The Messenger of Allah said, “If someone fights him (a fasting person) or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting, I am fasting.’” [Reported by al-Bukhaari and others. Al-Fath, no. 1894]
- Share your iftaar with your neighbors and with needy people when possible. The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever gives food to a fasting person with which to break his fast, will have a reward equal to his, without it detracting in the slightest from the reward of the fasting person.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 3/171; Saheeh al-Targheeb, 1/451).
- Last but not least, strive your best to achieve a Ramadan so that you will have no regret when you reflect your performance at end of this holy month.
Welcome Ramadan 1432 H. May Allah give us the tawfeeq to achieve a regretless Ramadan.