Journey towards beautiful Ramadan

Journey towards beautiful Ramadan

Two weeks ago I travelled to New Orleans. At first, when I found out that we were going there, I felt so excited and started packing. I made a checklist of things I am going to need when I go over there. I also had a party to attend, so I packed everything up without missing anything. Now I am here at my home in wondering what I will do in Ramadan. I remember preparing extra things for my journey to New Orleans. Ramadan is only few days away. What have I prepared? Alhamdulillah I have made few goals for this Ramadan which I plan to do insha Allah. May Allah Swt help us reach Ramadan Ameen!

Here are some of my goals which I like to share,

1. Seek Allah’s forgiveness

We all make mistakes and many times we also forget them. It’s always good to try to seek Allah’s forgiveness all the time and Ramadan is the best time to seek forgiveness from all our sins. Subhan Allah!

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day.”( Bukhari)

Our beloved Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) used to seek forgiveness from Allah seventy times a day, even though he never committed a sin while we have mountains full of sins and we fail to seek forgiveness from Allah. Let’s try to seek Allah’s forgiveness everyday. We never know when we are going to die. It could be that one day we seek Allah’s forgiveness and Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala decides to take our soul on that day? May Allah Swt grant us a blessed end Ameen

2. Kindness towards parents.

Kindness to parents is indeed one of the best acts that can get us closer to Allah Swt. Ramadan is the time we should try to do more good deeds and I find this one of the best deeds. If you live far away from your parents then call them up and talk with them in a pleasant tone insha Allah. It will mean a lot to them.

Our Prophet (ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The pleasure of Allāh is found in pleasing the parents, and the anger of Allāh is found in making the parents angry.” [Musnad of imām Aḥmad].

 Ka’ab bin Ujra (may Allah be pleased with him) relates, “And we came near the pulpit. When he (Prophet Muhammad, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him) ascended the first step of the pulpit, he said: “Aameen”. When he ascended the second step he said: “Aameen”. When he ascended the third step, he said: “Aameen.” When he descended, we said: “O Prophet of Allah, we have heard from you today something which we never heard before.” He said “(When I ascended the first step) Jibra’il (peace be upon him) appeared before me and said: “Woe to him who found the blessed month of Ramadan and let it pass by without gaining forgiveness.” Upon that I said: “Aameen.” When I ascended the second step, he said: “Woe to him before whom your name is mentioned and he does not invoke Allah’s blessings on you.” I replied: “Aameen.” When I ascended the third step, he said; “Woe to him in whose presence his parents or one of them attain old age, and through failure to serve them is not allowed to enter Paradise.” I said “Aameen.” (Hakam, Tabarani)

3. Give lots of Sadaqah (Charity):

How many times we go to the masjid and never put even a dollar in the Sadaqah box? How many days go by we do not even give a single penny in charity? It’s really sad. Ramadan is the best time to be generous just like Rasulullah (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam).

“The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous person, and he used to become more so particularly in the month of Ramadhan because Jibreel used to meet him every night of the month of Ramadhan till it elapsed. Allah’s Messenger used to recite the Quran for him. When Jibreel met him, he used to become more generous than the fair winds sent (by Allah) with glad tidings (of rain) (in doing good).” [Sahih Bukhari]

4. Smile at others

My four month old baby is the most smiling one Masha Allah. He smiles even in his sleep. Smile is a charity in Islam. It is also the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam). We should try to be more easy going and smiling at others. Smile at your siblings, your parents, friends, neighbors etc..

Abdullah ibn Harith (may Allah be pleased with him) said:“I never came across a person who smiled as much as Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi was Sallam) regarded smiling to a brother as an act of charity.” (At-Tirmidhi, 3641)

5. Share food with your neighbors

One of the most amazing times in Ramadan is “Iftar Time”. Everyone’s eyes are on the Maghrib time so that they can all rush to open their fast and start eating. While you do that, do not forget your neighbors. Before Iftar, send some food to them as well.

I have read this in the book, The Ideal Muslim: “The true Muslim is always alert to the spirit of social responsibility which the Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) instilled in the Muslims in the words he spoke to Abu Dharr (Ra):

´O Abu Dharr (r), if you cook some broth, add extra water to it, and take care of your neighbour.’ (Muslim)

According to another report he said, ´If you cook some broth, add extra water to it, then think of the families in your neighbourhood and send some of it to them.’ (Muslim)

Zaid ibn Khalid Al-Juhani reported: The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever feeds a person who is breaking his fast will earn the same reward as his without anything being lessened from the reward of the fasting person.”
[Sunan At-Tirmidhi 807, Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to At-Tirmidhi]

6. Make Qur’an your companion:

Spend more time with the Qur’an by reading it and understanding it. Ramadan is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed.

“It is a Book that We have sent down to you blessed, so that they may contemplate its verses and so that people of understanding may take heed.” [38:29]

It is reported that Al-Bukhârî used to complete a recitation [of the Quran] once a day in Ramadan, and would pray after Tarâwîh every night, completing another recitation every three nights.

Al-Dhahabî, Siyar A’lâm Al-Nubalâ` 12:439

I am sure we can at least try to finish reading the entire Quran once in Ramadan.

7. Tahajjud prayer

Tahajjud prayer is one of the most amazing prayers and one of my favorite also. I remember whenever I needed something, I knew the best thing I could do is pray Tahajjud prayer and ask Allah Swt for it. This is the time Allah Swt is closest to us in the seventh sky.

Abu Huraira (Radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Our Lord Descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: `Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?”[ Bukhari and Muslim.]

Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” [Muslim]

I will tell you an easy way to catch Tahajjud prayer. You already wake up for Sahoor in Ramadan. While your mom, wife, sister or brother or your friend prepares the food in the kitchen. Before you even drink water, just go use miswaak or brush your teeth. Then make wudu, you will feel so fresh. After this, pray at least 2 Rakat Tahajjud prayer. It will only take 5 minutes to do so. In these minutes, you will feel so much peace in your heart. It’s like you have been honored to pray this night prayer and talk to the King of the kings. Allahu Akbar! Whenever I find it hard to pray Tahajjud prayer, I tell myself it must be because of my sins I find it difficult. I, then try harder and go pray.

Ibn Mas`ud (Allah be pleased with him) was asked, “I cannot pray at night.”  He said, “Your sins have prevented you.”

Abu Umama al-Bahili (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him, his family, and companions) said, “Hold fast to night prayer, for it was the way of the righteous before you, a way of drawing closer to your Lord, an expiation for wrong deeds, and a shield from sin.” [Tirmidhi, and others] In some narrations, there is an addition, “And it repels sickness from the body.”

8. Itikaaf

This year in Ramadan, let’s try our best to do as many acts of Sunnah as possible. Read more about the Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam) and try to imitate him as much as possible. Revive his Sunnah and send lots of peace and blessings upon Rasulullah (Sall Allahu Alayhi wa Sallam).

Itikaaf is Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam). We should do our best to perform Itikaaf. Last year during Ramadan I met little kids about the age of 8 years old and younger performing Itikaaf. It was so cute Masha Allah! They brought their blankets to the Masjid and prayed the Tahajjud prayer with the Imam. If the little kids have done it, we can do it too insha Allah!

‘Aisha (Radi Allahu Anha) reported that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, used to practice I`tikaf in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan” [Bukhari]

9. Du’a & Dhikr

Dua is a very special moment … when you raise your hands and whisper to your Lord about all your problems. Your heart feels this closeness to Allah. You know in your heart that He is listening to you this very moment. In this special time you ask your Lord of whatever your heart desires. Never forget to make dua. Keep making dua and never lose hope thinking it would never get fulfilled. Make dua for this ummah, yourself, your families. This is the best time to create your own dua list. Before Ramadan comes, have your list of dua and dhikr list ready and read it everyday. May Allah Swt accept all our duas Ameen

Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) softens our hearts. I know one of my cousin used to spend one hour making dhikr everyday Masha Allah. She would sit from the time of Asr to Maghrib prayer time and make lots of dhikr. It’s great to know special people in your life whose hearts are pure and who are closer to Allah Swt. Sometimes I make dhikr while cooking or cleaning or while taking care of my baby. You can make dhikr whenever you want, when you are stuck in the traffic, while waiting in line at the mall, when you are going for a walk etc.. Especially in Ramadan, if we make lot of dhikr then we get reward multiple times.

10. Catch Laylatul Qadr

One of the most fortunate people are the ones who are able to catch Laylatul Qadr. Usually people get exhausted by the time they reach the last ten days of Ramadan. They slow down their Ibadah and start preparing for Eid etc.. The last ten days are the most special days. We cannot lose this special time.

Aisha (Radi Allahu Anha) reported that With the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet (Sall Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to tighten his waist belt (i.e. work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. [Bukhari]

We cannot afford to get lazy during these last ten nights of Ramadan! Drink coffee, have some tea, keep yourself awake. Remember the times when you had a huge final exam and you would stay awake the entire night to prepare for it. Laylatul Qadr is worth more than that!

Allah says in the Quran:

“And what will make you know what the Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is? The Night of the Decree is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allāh in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months). [97: 2-3]

SubhanAllah! Do not eat too much during these nights so it would be hard for you to get up and pray. You will easily fall asleep. In one of Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan’s lectures, he said that one of the best ways to have khushoo in Salah is to wear your best clothes and pray in front of Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala. If you try very hard, you can do it Insha Allah! Paradise is not easy to get, we have to work hard for it. Let’s make this the best Ramadan ever insha Allah!

May Allāh help us to reach the night of Qadr and bless us to reap its rewards in full, forgiving us our sins and releasing us from the Hellfire. Ameen