Ramadan’s almost here!
August 3, 2009
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“O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn.” (2:183)
Ramadan is fast approaching and I’ve been spending the past few days trying to get that into my head – it’s time to pick up the pace and prepare for Ramadan in the right way. I’ve still got under two weeks of vacation to go before college starts again so this is a golden opportunity to spend more time reading or listening to the Quran, audio lectures on various subjects and organizing other tasks. Every year, I enter Ramadan with a lot of excitement and zeal, only to slack off very early and this time, I’m hoping that preparing myself early on will protect me from going off track later on. Besides, every time we get to experience this amazing month, it’s a huge blessing from Allah(swt) – how many people have passed away during this year after the last Ramadan?
Allah(swt) commands us to fast and then tells us that the purpose of fasting is to become Muttaqoon – those who have Taqwa. Taqwa means piety or being conscious of Allah(swt), avoiding sin out of that awareness and happily doing good deeds for His Pleasure. When you think about it, does everyone who fast become such a kind of person or even close to it at the end of Ramadan? Everyone can analyse their ownselves here. If the answer is ‘no’ or something like that, we’ve missed the whole point of fasting. Sadly, that’s what we’re doing every passing year – not all of us, but many – and that’s why Ramadan’s coming and going makes no positive difference, may Allah forgive us!
Part of the reason for such a tragedy is that we don’t prepare for Ramadan at all. Washing your face and sitting down at the table for Suhoor on the first day of Ramadan is not what preparing for Ramadan is about. Checking out the Iftaar deals in your favorite restaurants is not preparation either. Fasting is for the pleasure of Allah(swt) and to strive to become more righteous in our relationship to Him and to His creation so that’s what our preparation should be about. But how does one prepare the soul and body for that?
Preparing the soul:
(Preparing the body is pretty useless without focusing on the soul)
- Read more Quran than in usual days, reflect and ponder upon it’s meaning
- Listen to Quran audio tapes or mp3 on your ipods, car CD players, etc. by your favorite Qari
- Read inspiring books geared at cleansing yourself of wrong characteristics, such as “The Ideal Muslim” and “The Ideal Muslimah” by Muhammad Ali Al-Hashimi
- Try to develop a routine that you can carry into Ramadan – such as one juz of the Quran recited after Asar prayer everday
- Try to offer your prayers in the golden timings – immediately after the Adhaan (except Ish’aa which is preferably delayed an hour or two)
- Become more conscious of all the wrong you’re doing as Ramadan is the time to work off those habits
- Keep a close check on the words you’re uttering, your relationship with your parents and other people close to you
- In the days leading up to Ramadan, try to wake up for Tahajjud if you don’t do that already
Preparing the body:
- Eat a little less than usual if you’re not already on the way of the Sunnah (that is, keeping only one-third of the stomach for food, one-third for water and one-third empty)
- Try to cut down on your sleeping hours to put in more time for Ibadah in Ramadan
- Something I’d like to do is take this opportunity to give up one bad eating habits (at least) this Ramadan, like giving up certain ‘junk’ foods InshAllah
- Try and go without food for six hours at least between meals, to prepare the body metabolism to adapt to the change
That’s what I can share right now. I’ve got to apply it all on myself first InshAllah. I really, really, really hope you all have an outstanding Ramadan InshAllah that strengthens the soul, liberating us from all the shackles that hold us back from worshipping our Lord and then carry that on throughout the year… Ameen!
“And I (Allâh) created not the jinns and humans except they should worship Me.“ (Quran 51:56)