Purpose of fasting: O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you1—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺. [2:183]
What made Ramadan special is the Qur’an, not fasting: Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard ˹to distinguish between right and wrong˺. So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then ˹let them fast˺ an equal number of days ˹after Ramaḍân˺. Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful. [2:185]
Alhamdulillah, the blessed season of Ramadan is almost here. And like any major event, we must prepare for it. Ask yourself how you prepare for:
A new job or a new school:
- Get to know the new place (what do you know about Ramadan?)
- Prepare some goals (have you written your goals for Ramadan)
- Make some friends who can help you (who’s your taraweeh buddy or quran teacher?)
- Checklist of everything you need to bring (what are you taking into Ramadan?)
- Sites you will see (what things do you need to experience in Ramadan?)
- What you can’t do like drink local water (what do you need to stay away from in Ramadan?)
- Training schedule in place (how are you training to understand the Qur’an?)
- Protection against injury (how are you going to stay strong in the middle of Ramadan?)
- Develop your form and mental focus (where is your mind at during the days and nights of Ramadan?) On eating or with Allah(SWT)?
As I was reflecting on this topic, I asked myself what I miss out on in Ramadan and would like to improve on and I noted 3 areas which I am weak on which I’d like to share in case you also felt this.
Reflecting on the Qur’an
Missing the signs in our lives which relate to the Qur’an:
– Story of Ustadh Asim and the beggar on Christmas
– Our reality when a war is not only just but our (sacred) duty
– Story of Imam Siraj when preparing a khutba
Dua – a real conversation – the final ayah on the page of Ramadan which is intrinsically linked to its purpose is about asking our Creator as a Slave, with no intermediary, unlike many other faiths.
The Sahaba asked the question is our Lord close by that we should ask quietly or is He(SWT) far away that we should raise our voices. The Prophet(SAW) said we are waiting for a response. Allah(SWT) responds “When My servants ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond ˹with obedience˺ to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided ˹to the Right Way˺.”
The scholars explain that this is a statement filled with love, because Allah(SWT) says when they ask about me, then immediately Indeed I am close, rather than tell them I am close.
– How long can you talk to your best friend? How about with Allah(SWT)?
– How often do you talk to your best friend? Do you ever stop paying attention in that conversation?
– How much time do you take with your best friend? What about the speed of your conversation with Allah(SWT).
– How do you feel after catching up with an old friend?
Imam A’raj (literally means to be limp) rahimahullah was a famous hafidh of hadith, faqih and qur’an reciter and scribe (of Moshafs) and his actual name was ‘Abdurrahman ibn Hurmuz who died in 117 a.H. He was known for his participation in Jihad and he was a teacher of prominent scholars such as Abu Az-Zinad and az-Zuhri. He learnt qira’a directly from Abu Hurairah, ‘Abdullah ibn’ Abbas and ‘Abdullah ibn’ Ayach and he is one of the teachers of Nafi’i ibn Abi Nua’im (one of the 7 qurra’ and teacher of Warsh and Qalun) . He was a tabii (Companion of the Companions of the Prophet(SAW)) too. Such a great scholar – where did he get his nickname al A’raj which means to be lame (unable to walk properly because of a problem with one’s feet or legs). While he was young he caught a bird and he tied a rope to it and whenever it would fly, he would pull it down. He said why? Don’t worry I’ve got it under control. His mother said that you dont have control over anything, you may break its leg. He said, I know better, its fine. But after some more tries, he pulled it and broke its leg. His mother was so upset she said May Allah(SWT) do the same to you. From this day, he was lame and his name came from this incident.
Make effort to be worthy of Rahma
Recently, I was fortunate to be coached by a CEO of a Muslim charity, an old friend of mine and we were discussing priorities. He mentioned the importance of putting the big things in first and said he prays every salaah in the masjid and works around his jamaat times.
However, the question to ask is “Whats the quality of my salaah”
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The first action for which a servant of Allah will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection will be his prayers. If they are in order, he will have prospered and succeeded. If they are lacking, he will have failed and lost. If there is something defective in his obligatory prayers, then the Almighty Lord will say: See if My servant has any voluntary prayers that can complete what is insufficient in his obligatory prayers. The rest of his deeds will be judged the same way.” Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 413
If this is the first thing I will be questioned about and its quality is poor, what of all my other responsibilities?
Mawlana Zubair narrated that two people were condemned to Jahannum – one running towards it and one hesitant and slow. When Allah(SWT) sees them do this, and He knows better, he asks why? The runner said I spent my life disobeying you so I thought now I must obey. The other said I make my way there but then I think of Your Mercy and then I remember my sins and continue and then I remember Your Mercy. Allah(SWT) forgave both of them.