Dear brothers and sisters, we should be thankful to Allah SWT for being given the blessing to witness this blessed month once again. Like an esteemed guest, we don’t know if when they depart, whether we will see them again. The same is true for this month.
This month is a gift because of the immense mercy that surrounds it. Not only do we feel rejuvenated at the end of this month, our soul repaired and restored but it is also a month of forgiveness from Allah SWT and we should be making the most of it.
Dear brothers and sisters, we live in a time and a place where time is slipping away from us. We are constantly bombarded with things that take away our intention and we rarely get time to reflect and ponder. This month is blessed in that it gives us that opportunity unlike any other month in the year.
With this month being the month of forgiveness, we should not let these 30ish days run away from us without gaining the most from the month for our souls. Remember, we may not be here next month as only Allah SWT knows if we will be here next year. Therefore, let’s not be careless with our time and waste this opportunity. Utilise it to the best of our ability in order to seek forgiveness and attain the best result for the everlasting hereafter we are all destined for after we leave this temporary existence.
The imam reminded us of the following two ayats from the Holy Quran which should serve as a stark reminder as to how blessed we are to have made it to this month again. It is from Sura Al-Muminoon, ayats 99 and 100 which are translated to say:
[For such is the state of the disbelievers], until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “My Lord, send me back 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.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to approach this month with the correct intention and heart. It is only with these two points intact do we stand the best chance of succeeding in this month.
In fact, to prepare for this month is in itself, a sign of success and sincerity in intention. This is illustrated through the passage of the Quran that the imam spoke of, specifically ayat 46 of sura Tauba which is translated to say:
And if they had intended to go forth, they would have prepared for it [some] preparation. But Allah disliked their being sent, so He kept them back, and they were told, “Remain [behind] with those who remain.”
And so, with this reminder we conclude with 4 practical tips to help prepare for the month of Ramadan. This can still be done even with the month having begun as Allah SWT is all merciful and forgiving.
- Prepare the heart and soul for this month by asking for forgiveness for any wrongdoing that you may have done or are doing. Remember, if the intention is to seek Allah SWT’s forgiveness then we need to begin by asking for it and for taking advantage of Shaytaan being locked up in this month and stopping the sin we are committing. Then with the permission of Allah SWT, we will both be forgiven for the sin and we will break the habit of committing the sin and freeing ourselves from it.
- Prepare the heart and mind by resolving any issues you have between you and others. This is especially true between family members but any relationship that has caused ill feeling ought to be resolved in this month. Remember, the greatest reward is with the person who makes the most effort so attain the reward of this action and keep ties between you and others.
- Prepare the body by reducing the amount of food consumed. Dear brothers and sisters, this is often a source of humour in social media where people warn one another of being stood next to an uncle in evening prayers in case he burps offensive smells but there is a serious message underneath the joke. Our iftars have the danger of becoming banquets. And there is an innocent reason behind this. For some of us, the month of Ramadan is a time of getting together. A feeling of unity and bonding that you don’t get at any other time of the year. Restaurants and Banqueting Halls are full during this month with groups of people booking their iftars at these venues. Although, in principle, the idea of sharing the iftar with your loved ones is a sound one, the reality is that often it becomes a banquet-like meeting with food and socialising overtaking the iftar and the month. We need to be mindful of this and remind ourselves of the point behind this month. Keep food to a minimum, keep food healthy and keep worship, not socialising, at the forefront of both iftar and suhoor.
- To prepare the mind to ensure that time is correctly planned and utilised. As explained in last weeks reminder, we ought to split tasks we want to achieve over the course of the month and plan accordingly. Whether it is to memorize a passage of the Quran, a new dua or whether it is to complete a recitation of the Quran from cover to cover, the task is not as important as the effort taken to plan for it accordingly. Be realistic in your goal, aim to complete with days to spare so that you don’t feel under pressure for trying to complete it. And remind yourself, that even if you don’t finish it on a particular day, the task is spread over the month and so don’t give up and make up for lost time in the following day.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are in the best time of the year. If you haven’t felt it yet, make an effort to switch off from your every day world and take a moment to ponder and reflect on the month you are in. This is Ramadan and we don’t have a moment to lose if we are to be the successful ones and make the most out of the biggest gifts bestowed upon us by Allah SWT.