My yearly Ramadan Reminders post based on a lecture by Sh. Muhammad Al Shareef.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and rightousness” (Qur’an, al-Baqarah, 2:183)
Set your destination! You don’t go to the airport without knowing where you are going. Focus on what you want to get out of Ramadan and know your destination.
- Du’a: Make du’a during Iftar time. Break your fast and make du’a, lots of it. Try not to get caught up with the food or excessive talking. Make that same du’a throughout and it will be answered bi’ithnillah ‘azzawajal.
- Qur’an: Think about what the Imam does every day. During the day, the Imam has to review Qur’an consistently in preparation for Tarwih. He usually stays in the Masjid after Fajr for about 2 hours to do this and he also does not go around to dinner parties. We on the other hand go around, touring dinner parties which inevitably take us away from our ‘ibadah. Every now and then, an Iftar party is nice but eating should not be our main focus.
- Give: Shahrul it’aam became Shahru ta’aam. Ramadan went from being the month of feeding to the month of eating. Make a habbit of donating to some charity each and every day, even if it’s one dollar. Feed the poor and the homeless. Feed Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, and while you’re at it, give da’wah. This is a great time to invite people to Islam. And if you cannot afford the donation, then know that smiling in the face of your Muslim brother is charity. Do anything with sincerity and it will be accepted bi’ithnillah.
- Eating Habits: Most of the people who go to the dinner/iftar parties end up overeating, making it difficult for them to pray Tarawih and stay up for Qiyam-ul-lail. And before you know it, the excuses take over and Ramadan flies by.
- Itikaaf: Rasulullah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did i’tikaaf (absolute seclusion) for 10 days! Let’s make the intention to do i’tikaaf for the sake of Allah for at least one day.
- Journey: On the first day of Ramadan, the Masjid is full. By the middle, the number of people cut down significantly. And then all of a sudden, everyone shows up again at the end. Be there all throughout the journey InshAllah. :) (because that’s where the most reward lies)
- Changes: Try to make sure that when you look back at this Ramadan in the future, you feel like you made a difference in your life that will stick with you for life InshaAllah. Do something out of your comfort zone and pray that it transforms you for the better.
- Tears: Try to cry every single day. This basically means that we should make an extra effort to know Allah ‘azzawajal – His Greatness, His Majestly, and His favors upon us. Out of all the people in this dunya, Allah chose YOU to be a Muslim. When we realize this, it’s almost impossible not to be overwhelmed and completely imbued in the thought of standing before Him on Yaum ul Qiyamah. If you can’t cry, cry because you can’t cry.
- Giants: Think about how the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) spent their Ramadan. Think of all the righteous people and how they spent their days. Add some of their characteristics into your Ramadan and your commitments for this months InshAllah.
- Suhoor: Wake up for Suhoor and don’t just eat, but eat something healthy. What happens when we don’t wake up for suhoor is that our fasting basically begins from the time we hit the bed, and all that causes is more weakness and fatigue throughout the day and then the cycle continues. Make an intention at Fajr time to achieve something great during the day, and then.. make it happen. :)
- Excellence: Rather than sleep throughout the day and practically watch the day go by till Iftar time, continue with your regular daily activities. If you think you can’t do it, take a moment to look into the lives of the Sahaba (radhiallahu ‘anhum). Many of them would be fasting during battles and some of them would fast continuously. Especially for those of you who work out regularly, don’t stop doing so, maybe just cut down a little so you’re not burnt out.
- Portion Control: *Really Important* During Iftar time when everyone’s getting their plates ready, use a tea saucer plate, you know the small plates you put under a tea cup? Yea, those. Try to fit whatever you can for iftar on that plate and nothing more. Then after Maghrib, or actually after Tarawih (since you can use the time between Maghrib and Isha to read a juz), eat in the regular sized plate. :) Try this once InshAllah, and it will become easy.
- A Juz A Day (or more!): Read at least one juz of Qur’an every day. It may seem like too much at first but inshaAllah, if you read consistently, it becomes much easier. Start reading a juz a day a few weeks before Ramadan (now) to get in the habit but once Ramadan begins, start from Al-Fatiha. Have a reading buddy or compete with your friends and family to finish the Qur’an at least once during Ramadan. Use this time to strengthen your relationship with the Qur’an as well. Join a halaqa/dars or do self-study.
- Agua: Drink LOTs of water (agua, in Spanish) when you are not fasting. Hydrate yourself. This is obvious but most people forget.
- Conserve: Go to sleep after Tarawih so that you can get up for Suhoor. This way, you’ll be able to save your energy for the last 10 days InshAllah, when it’s really silly for someone to be sleeping at night rather than praying. Take a qailulah in the day as well if you get a chance.
- Niyyah: Purify your Intention. Again and Again and Again. What do you want to get out of this Ramadan? Who are you doing all this for? What is your ultimate goal?
- Goals: Write out your Ramadan Goals: What is it you want to do this month that will change you? Some examples: Quran Memorization goals, Mend relationships with people, Pray Tarawih all 30 days, For brothers–making prayer in Jama’ah more often , Itikaaf, Qiyam ul Lail, Intention to wake up for suhoor every day, Give back to your community, Strengthen your Yaqeen and Fikr for the Akhira, Take the Qur’an more seriously, etc.
- 30+ Du’as: Make a du’a list. At least 30 or more. Don’t focus on whether you can do it or not, rather Focus on the Power of Allah (swa) to guide you to doing these things. Sincerely ask Allah to bless you with the best in this life and the next. According to a hadith: Either you will get what you asked for, or you will get something better than what you asked for, or Allah will protect you from something harmful, or all this reward will be piled up for you in the akhirah. When the believers see all these hasanaat piled up on the Last Day, they will wish that none of their duas were answered in dunya and they could have everything for akhirah. SubhanAllah. :) So don’t hold back, make du’a. Know that when you raise your hands up to ask Allah and only Allah, Allah is shy to send your hands down empty. Remember that.
- Imagine: No matter what you ask for, Allah can answer it! So ask for anything good in this dunya and for the akhirah. What do you want? What do you want to do? To be? Maybe you want to start a business, or travel, or increase your threshold for ‘ibadah, or get a new house (no riba of course), or get married, or please your parents, or get a good education, or have children, if you don’t have any, what kind of children do you want.., or get a job, or have more barakah in your rizq. ‘Aisha (radhiallahu ‘anha) would ask Allah for something as small as a shoelace!
- Bounties: Make du’a for the prisoners, the poor, the oppressed, those who are suffering, the weak, the disabled, the ill, and the deceased. And most of all, sometimes we get so caught up in duas that we forget to thank Allah azzawajal for His infinite blessing and His infinite mercy upon us. Thank Allah sincerely and watch your bounties grow. :)
- Remembrance: Send Salawaat upon Rasulullah (sallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), the Anbiya of Allah, the Tabi’een. Remember the righteous, the martyrs, the mujahideen, the ‘Ulema, the Shuyookh, and all the Muslimeen in every du’a. Attribute all your knowledge to Allah and His Messenger and recognize the fact that you would be nothing if it were not for Allah’s favors upon you. If you can’t wet your tongue with water, wet your tongue with the dhikr of Allah.
- Repent: Sincerely ask Allah to forgive you and I for our sins and our many many many shortcommings. Allhumma Hasibni Hisaban Yaseera.
- Make this Ramadan the absolute best InshAllah. May Allah (swa) bless us in this Ramadan and make everything we do in this month a means for our purification and a means for us to achieve high statuses with Allah ‘azzawajal. Ameen. And last but not least, pray that you make it to next Ramadan
May Allah ‘azzawajal make us among those who are shaken by ayaat of Qur’an, by the words of the Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam). May we be protected from fruitless knowledge that has no benefit, or that sits in the back of our minds without action. May He protect us from hard hearts that remain unaware and from dua’s that are not responded to. Ameen.