Ramadan | Honour the Fleeting Guest!

As the breeze of Ramadan gently wafts into our lives it brings with it a tingling of joyous anticipation. Our guest has arrived, bringing with it showers of Allah’s SWT Mercy. The masājid come alive; acts of charity increase; ties of brotherhood are strengthened, and there is a general atmosphere of peace within the community. Any optional act of virtue performed in this month is equal in reward to a fardh performed at any other time, whilst a fardh is equal to the reward of seventy farāidh. It is the month of patience, sympathy and forgiveness. Fasting is not meant to punish the body but to strengthen the mind; it is not meant to parch the throat but to moist the heart, with faith and commitment. Fasting removes the stains of materialism, selfishness and heedlessness from our hearts.


How are we going to honour this fleeting guest? Will we be content with simply adjusting our eating times? Have we at all chalked out an action programme for this blessed month? Consider including the following in your daily schedule:


Du’ā [Supplication]:

Nabi SAW has said: “During each day and night of Ramadan at least one du’ā is accepted.” (Targheeb) This is a month of giving, for those who wish to receive. It is a month of emancipation from the fire of hell, a month of seeking His forgiveness, and earning the pleasure of Allah SWT. Du’ā can change our life, our outlook, and our fate. It is the key that unlocks the Treasures of Allah SWT; the weapon of a believer. With it we can never fail— without it we can never succeed. The most virtuous time for du’ā is at the time of iftār.


Connect to the Qur’ān:

This is the month of the Qur’ān. The Qur’ān is Allah’s SWT way of talking to us. Are we listening to His Speech? Are we reciting His Word? Have we attempted to understand its meaning? What is our relationship with the Qur’ān? Will it serve as an argument for us or against us on the Day of Qiyāmah? Your status in both the worlds is determined by your degree of attachment to the Qur’ān. “Verily Allah raises some people by way of this Book and lowers others by it” (Muslim). Dedicate some time daily to read and understand the Qur’ān!


Take Time to Reflect:

Spend time in isolation; think about your life. Where have you come from and where are you going? What is the purpose of your existence? Are you living a purposeful life? Spend some time daily thinking about the Greatness of Allah SWT. Think about His creation; think about His Greatness. lbn al-Qayyim described Allah’s Greatness, saying: “He governs the affairs of the various kingdoms and He commands and forbids, creates, sustains, gives death, gives life, gives power, strips off power (to and from whom He wills), and alternates the night and day. He gives varying fortunes to people and alternates regimes (and states), destroying some and bringing some into existence… He hears all types of voices and they do not confuse Him. Rather, He hears each voice in its distinct language and need, and no voice will make Him busy from fulfilling the need of another, and no need will ever escape His Perfect Knowledge… His Sight encompasses all that which there is. He sees the movement of a black ant on a barren rock during a dark night.”


Nature all around us mirrors the attributes of our Creator! If you want to know the attributes of your Creator, marvel at His creation!


Display Compassion:

The Qur’ān repeatedly stresses the vital link between faith and acts of charity and compassion. Charity in Islam is not restricted to giving out money to help the poor and the needy. Rather, the concept of charity extends to include many other acts such as enjoining good, counselling against corruption and evil, treating others with respect and dignity. The concept of charity includes every imaginable act of kindness or contribution that one can possibly do in order to improve the condition of humanity, or any of Allah’s I creatures. Make a difference to the lives of the distressed and poor; lend your support to them!


Give up One Bad Habit:

Ramadan is the opportune time to give up a bad habit. Ask yourself what are some of your bad habits… not reading Salāh, smoking, listening to music, bad company, addiction? Whatever it is, this is the time to commit yourself to reform. People spend countless hours and rands each year attempting to break bad habits and often do not have any success. Why? Because there is no magic bullet. Change is hard work and there is no short cut to achieving it. Ramadan provides the ideal opportunity to kick the habit. It requires commitment, patience and du’ā. It is better to try and fail, than to fail to try. Remember that strength does not come from physical capacity but is derived from determination and will. If you endure you will conquer!


Do not Miss the Night of Power [Lailatul Qadr]:

The last ten nights or Ramadan are called the Nights of Power. Only the most wretched deprive themselves of the blessings of this night. Spend the greater part of the last ten nights in ibādah, tilāwah, dhikr, and du’ā. It will earn you the rewards of more than a thousand months of worship. Nabī SAW has said: “Anyone who stays awake for the Night of Power, with belief and for the Pleasure of Allah, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Bukhari and Muslim). The Night of Power is better for you to live, to experience and to enjoy than one thousand months of worship!


May this Ramadan be a time of true fasting, of deeper understanding and character building.