The auspicious month of Ramadan has arrived. People invest in this occasion in different ways and with different actions and activities. Some people make this an occasion for laziness, idleness, sleep and neglecting acts that would accrue abundant rewards. They may swap the day for the night by sleeping during the day and staying awake at night eating, drinking and watching TV. Others find it as a good opportunity to socialize, shop, relax or travel.
But if you intend to maximize your time in Ramadan in order to amass abundant rewards, I suggest that you plan your Ramadan days and nights meticulously and invest your time wisely in doing whatever will bring you closer to Allah. Avoid squandering your time and opportunities during and after Ramadan. You never know when Almighty God will cause you to die.
On the other hand, some people know very well their purpose of life and invest in every opportunity that comes their way to get closer to Allah Almighty. To them, Ramadan is a golden opportunity on a silver platter. Such people receive this blessed month of Ramadan happily and enthusiastically as they believe that it is an opportunity to attain forgiveness for their sins and make a new start.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to give Muslims glad tidings on the arrival of Ramadan saying, “there has come to you Ramadan, a blessed month in which Allah has enjoined you to fast, during which the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are shackled. In it there is a night which is better than a thousand months – whoever is deprived of its goodness is indeed deprived.” (Saheeh – Authentic according to Al-Imam Albaani). If you intend to fast for the sake of God Almighty and reap a lot of rewards, do the following:
Supplication and gratitude
Pray that you live to experience Ramadan, and when Ramadan has begun, be grateful to God for keeping you alive to invest in that meritorious month of Ramadan. If you are grateful to God, He will grant you more favors and blessings.
Since Ramadan is the month of repentance, you should rush to repent before and during Ramadan and pledge that you will do your best not to commit sins again. If you have wronged someone, try to reconcile and make amends. God says what can be translated as, “And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” (24:31)
Patience increases in Ramadan by abstaining from food, drink, sexual intimacy, bad behavior, quarrelling, fighting and anything else that would make fasting pointless. Commensurate with the fact that patience is one of the most important virtues for the soul, it is said to represent half of faith. Those who patiently persevere will be given an immense reward as confirmed by God in what can be translated as, “Indeed, those who patiently persevere will be given their reward without measure.” (39: 10)
Devotion to Almighty God
Allah says what can be translated as, “So whoever hopes to meet with his Lord – let him do righteous work and associate none in the worship of his Lord” (18: 110). In Ramadan, it’s easy for someone eat and drink unnoticed while claiming that he is fasting. But the sincere fasters know that Allah is watching them. To do acts of worship solely for the sake of pleasing God is to our benefit. You may be a generous, kind, modest, altruistic person, serving others without any ulterior motives.
The problem is that – in most cases – people do not appreciate; but rather they might seek to undermine you. So if your aim to serve them was to expect them to appreciate and reciprocate, you will definitely be the loser if they don’t appreciate. However, whatever you do for Allah (SWT), He will reward you in one way or the other.
Inasmuch as you ask Allah to forgive you in Ramadan, be quick to apologize to those whom you have wronged and forgive those who have wronged you – try your level best to reconcile with them. Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) asked God some questions, among them, “Who among Your servants is the most honored and most beloved to You?” Allah replied, “The one who forgives when he is capable of revenge…” (As-Silsilah – As-Saheeha, 3,350).
Adhere strictly to Sunnah
Acts are accepted by Allah when they meet two conditions-sincere intention, which is that one should do it only for the sake of Allah Almighty, and that it is in accordance with the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH). Update your knowledge about meritorious acts that will accrue a lot of benefits. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “Whoever innovates any act of worship in our religion, will have it rejected.” (Collected by Imam Muslim 1,718). Finally, try to replace negative feelings and emotions with positive ones and make sure you start the month of Ramadan with a clean heart, believing certainly that God will forgive you and accept of you all your good deeds.
Courtesy of the TIES Center: The TIES Center aims at empower Kuwait’s expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, please call 25231015/6 or e-mail: [email protected]
By Hassan T Bwambale