- Get the ball rolling – make Dua
The Sahabah (rta) used to prepare for the blessed Ramadan, six months before its arrival. They would pray: “Allahumma Balighna Ramadan.” So, it wasn’t as if one morning they woke up to find themselves battling with desires, low energy to fast, decreased level of patience, and an overall slumping Iman. No, not all! They very deliberately glided into Ramadan well prepared, highly motivated with a thriving Iman.
We naturally need to do the same. Invoke to Allah (swt) to help you reach and experience the best Ramadan of your life. Let your spirituality transcend worldly priorities. Plan now in terms of all your work, home, and other responsibilities to free up meaningful time for sincere Ibadah. Otherwise, intertwine it with your existing schedule like listening to the Quran while driving, cooking, etc. Read up the Tafseer while waiting, etc.
- Understand what ‘Sabr’ means
“Fasbir Sabran Jameel” -“So be patient (O Muhammad (sa)), with a good patience.” (Al-Ma’arij 70:5)
Fasting is challenging. Nobody says that it is a bed of roses. Otherwise, Allah (swt) wouldn’t promise a surprise reward for it. Unless we feel the pangs of hunger and low body energy we wouldn’t appreciate the blessings of our life and the suffering of the destitute. Hence, fasting requires beautiful patience which is when:
- Others do not even realize you’re being patient.
- Only Allah (swt) knows that you are being patient.
- Nobody can see your frustration or anger.
- Increase the Sunnah prayers
This includes the Nafl or voluntary prayers that the beloved Prophet (sa) used to offer. Hence, they become a Sunnah for us.
If a person prays the Sunnah prayers, the reward promised by Allah (swt) is enormous. If he does not pray, there is no sin, but a great loss of opportunity to excel in worship.
In anticipation of Qiyam ul Lail, or Taraweeh, start your Nawafil now by praying two extra units after Salah. Don’t bulldoze yourself; just jumpstart slowly for the grand finale.
- Forgive to be forgiven
“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allah’s Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (An-Nur 24:22)
Our Lord (swt) created us. Only He knows how hard it is to forgive someone who hurt us. Hence, he offers the best motivation to His slaves. He promises forgiveness to all those who cleanse their hearts of rancor and malice of others. So, we initiate goodness even if they never asked for our forgiveness.
What are the benefits of forgiving others before Ramadan?
- We will get more Taufeeq to do more Khair in Ramadan to increase rewards.
- Our physical abilities improve drastically. American scientists claim that patients who have higher tendencies to forgive recover faster from illnesses such as insomnia, back aches and stomach aches, etc.
5. Ask Allah’s (swt) forgiveness
“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.”
Sprint for Allah’s (swt) mercy. Don’t let procrastination, guilt, disappointment, past sins, heedless company, and hopelessness prevent you; it’s all Shaytan in disguise. Allah (swt) is your Creator. He loves you more when you come to Him burdened with sins and shame. Fall into Sajdah and cry your heart out. He will heal you and guide you to a better life. Ameen.
- Give charity
What comes in between you and your Ramadan? Love of this Dunya planted by Shaytan in your heart. I cannot wake up for Sehri and Fajr Salah because I love my sleep too much. I cannot fast because I need to eat on time. I cannot control my anger because I am a slave to my Nafs.
Allah (swt) suggests a remedy for us. Calculate and give your Zakah; plan your Sadaqat in cash and kind gestures as per the Sunnah. Parting from our worldly possessions and wealth tames our ego. It also grants a feeling of tranquility as you feel light and worthy to be able to help Allah’s (swt) creation in dire need.
- Celebrate Ramadan!
Do not fret over the long and hot days ahead. Do not worry how you will manage your schedule. And do not stress over less sleep and food. Ramadan is not a restriction or burden. It’s a training camp to fix us. But no other camp rewards you Paradise against your tireless efforts. All they can award you with is a certificate, some laurel or an upgraded worldly position.
Allah (swt) is preparing you for His breathtaking and desirable Jannah. Embrace the opportunity with open arms. And motivate family and friends too. Talk how Iblees will be chained. The doors of heaven opened. Allah’s (swt) mercy showering all over us Insha’Allah.
After all, in the dark and lonely grave, this best friend in the form of accepted fasts of Ramadan will be our companion and saviour. Befriend it with love and eagerness.
(Adapted from Sister Khawlah bintYahya’s Ramadan countdown)