By: Sundus Ikram
I see them lighting up the street, I see them preparing delicacies, I see them buying new clothes, I see them changing the curtains and carpets and I think to myself, is that all this beautiful month deserves? Shouldn’t its arrival be celebrated more with acts of worship and obedience to Allah? Isn’t lighting up our hearts and preparing our souls more important to show our love for fasting? We should be devoting most of our time in reciting and understanding Quran, in correcting our Salah, in asking for forgiveness, in helping the needy and in giving charity.
Our hearts should be yearning for months for the arrival of the treasures that Ramadan holds for a believer:
It is the month of mercy where sins are forgiven;
The Prophet said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
Prophet said : “The time between the five prayers, two consecutive Friday Prayers, and two consecutive Ramadan’s are expiations for all that has happened during that period, provided that one has avoided the grave (major) sins.” [Muslim]
It is the month of salvation where people are saved from the fire;
“There are in the month of Ramadan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [Hadith Ahmad, Saheeh]
“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 the month of bliss where people are granted Jannah;
Prophet said :”There is a gate to Paradise that is called ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim].
“When Ramadaan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains. (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 3277).
It is the month of Layla tul Qadr – The Night of Power;
Indeed We have revealed it (Qur’an) in the night of Power. And what will explain to you what he night of Power is? The night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein descends the Angels and the Spirit (Jibreel) by Allah’s permission, on every errand: (they say) peace”(continuously) till the rise of Morning!” (97:1-5)
We Muslims nowadays have forgotten all these blessings that Ramadan comes with and think of it as a month of abstaining from food and drinks only. Maybe that’s why we have lost the longing for its arrival unlike our pious predecessors who were called as the best people by the Prophet
Narrated by Abdullah: The Prophet said, “The best people are those living in my generation, and then those who will follow them, and then those who will follow the latter.(Sahih Al Bukhari-Book of companions of the Prophet )
To become best in religion, the Muslims of today should follow the steps of these people. These were the Muslims who understood the importance of Ramadan and all the blessings it brings along with it. That’s why they would wait eagerly for its arrival.
Ma’ali bin Fudail said, ‘They used to ask Allah the Almighty six months before Ramadhan to grant them long life so that they could reach Ramadhan and they used to ask Allah the Almighty six months after Ramadhan to accept their fasting’.
This way their entire year was full of supplications and worship.
It’s also narrated that Ibn Umar used to say when Ramadhan started, ‘Welcome oh the month that purifies us from the sins’.
The Prophet and the companions used to engage themselves in various forms of worship before and during Ramadan. They gave much charity and engaged in even more kind acts, recitation of the Quran, prayers, remembrance and retreat. Their day was full of supplications and free from vain talks. They understood that spiritual power is in the essence of souls, it is not dependent on food or drink.
The companions of our Prophet used to give special preference to the Quran during the holy month of Ramadhan. Their recitation was not only reading the verses but also contemplating its meaning.
When the time of iftaar arrived, they used to race in feeding the poor and the unfortunate. It’s narrated that Ibnu Umar used to break his fast with the poor people and if a poor person came to him asking for food while he was eating he used to give him his portion.
Our pious predecessors and their love for Ramadan should be an inspiration for the present day Muslims for spiritual and moral improvement. We should never forget that the true essence of Ramadan is to keep us on the right track of religion; to attain Taqwa
“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the people of Taqwa).” [2:183]
Taqwa is being hyper-vigilent and the fear of doing haram out of neglect of Allah’s orders. It is the state of consciousness; to be mindful of Allah at all times and achieve His maximum pleasure at all times. We Muslims nowadays feel that Ramadan is all about abstaining from sins during those thirty days only and we continue to sin after the month has passed. The good deeds that we practice during Ramadan should be carried forward throughout the year. To maintain the state of taqwa and to attain nearness to Allah a true believer will continue to please Allah and avoid committing sins even after the end of the blessed month of Ramadan.
We should be grateful to Allah for the month of Ramadan because it gives us a chance to restart every single year. It gives us a chance to purify and strengthen our hearts. It gives us a chance to attain nearness to Allah. Our love for Ramadan can bring us closer to love of Allah. What bigger reason do we need to love and wait for this beautiful month?
May Allah guide the Muslim ummah to utilize the coming month of Ramadan in achieving rewards and forgiveness and in seeking the love of Allah.
“O Allah, I ask You for Your love and the love of those who love You and love of the action which will make me reach Your love. O Allah make Your love more beloved to me than myself, my family and cold water”