Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadhan is upon us. This sacred month in which the Prophet (SAWS) used to give glad tidings.
This month has the potential to carry so much weight for us into the next life. The imam mentioned the 185th ayat from Sura Bawara. It is translated to say:
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
The Prophet SAWS has mentioned the whisperings of Shaytaan that we all suffer from throughout the year and what impact the sacred month of Ramadhan has on this. The imam mentioned the hadith which is translated to say:
When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained
Dear brothers and sisters, we can deduce from this then that the month of Ramadhan is truly a mercy to us. It is a time to rest and revitalise our faith. A time to strengthen our connection with our Lord and to polish up on our faith.
As Ramadhan approaches it is imperative that we begin thinking about how we can benefit from the journey ahead of us. Here are five simple ways that we can benefit from the month of Ramadhan:
1)Intention: Make the sincere intention that you want this Ramadan to be a sacred and special Ramadan.
2)Make a plan: Plan how you would like to spend each day this Ramadan. Postpone things that can be postponed, and focus on activities that will benefit you,insha’Allah, in the hereafter. Here are some examples: Set a target for how much Qur’an you will recite, and make a plan for when you will recite it. Set a target for how many prayers you will pray at the masjid, and make a plan for how you will reach this target.
3)Make a du’a list: Make a list of supplications and include the following: a) your needs for this dunya; b) your needs for the hereafter; c) the needs of your family members and friends; d) the names of your friends and family members.
4)Serve: Go beyond just yourself and your own needs during the month of Ramadan. Before Ramadan begins, find an avenue for community service so you can serve others throughout the month. Take notice of any charity events being held in this month and aim to participate in at least one of them. Local charities like the Myriad Foundation amongst others run charity events all year round so get in touch.
5)Charity: Figure out how you can spend less on yourself so you can spend more on the needy during Ramadan. Begin calculating your assets, so that when Ramadan begins, you are ready to pay your zakat and sadaqah. It is often the case this month that we hear about all the wonderful projects and initiatives being run all over the world to help the needy. Although it can become overwhelming to hear of all these aid requests, bear in mind that there is no better month to commit to these worthy causes than the month of Ramadan insh’Allah.
Dear brothers and sisters, the month of Ramadan is that month that the soul yearns for all the other months of the year. It is the month that is the equivalent of a car’s service or MOT as it boosts the imam, cleanses the body and strengthens the resolve for another eleven months of the year.
Only Allah SWT know if we will make it so see another Ramadan. We need to treat each one as if it is our final Ramadan and therefore act accordingly. The imam mentioned the following hadith of the Prophet SAWS in which he said:
“Whoever spends the nights of Ramadan in prayer (Qiyam) out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins, and whoever spends the night of Lailat Al-Qadr in prayer out of faith and in the hope of reward, he will be forgiven his previous sins.”
Scholars have stated that this is subject to us fasting with sincerity and with belief that we will be rewarded for it. It is subject to us fasting for the sake of Allah SWT and for nothing else. Not to show off to others, or because others are doing it. And it is also subject to us not committing major sins during this sacred month.
And how do we know if our efforts have been accepted? Ultimately this is solely with Allah SWT and we pray that we are in the favoured group but a good indication of our efforts being accepted is the change we feel in our hearts.
Practically, it is the desire to carry on all the good habits and efforts we begin in the month of Ramadan like the points mentioned earlier.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the imaan boost we pray for all year round. There is no better time than Ramadan to pray for forgiveness from your Lord. We can do this by making this Ramadan the best in terms of what we achieve during it. By doing this, we can aim to be of the people that benefit most from this month in this life and the next insh’Allah.