We are now days away from the greatest month of the year. This is the spiritual MOT we all wait for, the esteemed guest we hope we get to host for one more year. The imam mentioned the hadith which is translated to say:
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘There has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month, which Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has enjoined you to fast. In it the gates of heavens are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and every devil is chained up. In it Allah has a night which is better than a thousand months; whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.”‘
Dear brothers and sisters, this is a month that we are eager to reach, a month of contemplation, an opportunity that only this month provides, an opportunity for forgiveness, and the person who loses out in the great month has no one to blame but themselves.
The month of contemplation led by the reduction in desires, the increase of acts of worship, being alone in contemplation with his Lord, praying nightly prayers and reading of the Quran
A month that worshipers get happy, to be competitive in our good deeds and worshiping, to seek Allah’s forgivness and avoiding hellfire.
And with this we find some that lose the month of Ramadan – may Allah protect us from this, and lose this yearly opportunity, and lose all its good deeds, and lose the opportunity to be immersed in Allah’s mercy. The imam mentioned the following hadith to illustrate the mercy this month has on us. It’s translated to say:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The five (daily) Salat (prayers), and from one Jumu’ah prayer to the (next) Jumu’ah prayer, and from Ramadan to Ramadan are expiations for the (sins) committed in between (their intervals); provided the major sins are not committed”.
Dear brothers and sisters, 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)Fast beyond just limiting what you eat and drink: Most people believe fasting is about not drinking or eating, but they have missed the main reasons why we fast, our tongue is one of the most significant reasons for breaking our fast not food. The Prophet SAWS was quoted in this point and it is translated to say:
“There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand that fasting is prohibiting your mind, tongue and body from all impermissible actions. It is to detox the soul as well as the body from the dirt that has been accumulated over the past year. Don’t miss the opportunity to reap the complete rewards of this month.
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. Alongside that, get involved in community events, food banks, homeless shelters and other social causes so that this month maximises your reward with your Lord.
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.