Its Ramadan, its here again— a blessed month like no other. 29 or 30 days in which we have a chance—a chance for what??
FOOOOOD—– FESTIVITIES WITH FAMILY! WOWOW its great! Fantastic I know. The shoping is nice, the late nights together talking and laughing, and the special deserts that mom always makes for us. Hmmm. Lets not forget the Sahour. Its like majical moments being awake and being close with every one in warm and tender moments waiting for the athan. Then we all pray and fall into bed and sleep until– until well, I am not really sure when, it depends. It doesnt really mater. Sami for sure won’t be awake he stayed up chatting on the net all night. Danny was watching some scary movie, and Amanda was on the phone with Inas. Me?? Ohh– well, I was reading a good book. The Quran?? Oh, yes, I have it somewhere on the shelf, but no it was an exciting romance novel.
But wait? Is this the way Resullallah used to spend his time in Ramadan? Is this what fasting is all about? Will Ramadan end and then we wish we could go back and start it over again and do it right? Why wait for it to end to feel regret that its gone and won’t come back? Let us start now, tonight, from day ONE! Let us think what should we do with our time.
- Instead of spending hours and hours in the kitchen cooking huge meals, explain to all family members that this ramadan is different, we will not gorge ourselves on food, we will follow as the prophet did and fill our stomachs with 1/3 water, 1/3 air, and 1/3 food. Simple dishes such as a soup, salad and one dish is more, more, more than enough.
- Get the family in there to help you and talk about islamic stories while you work.
- Remember to start every action you do with bismillah, especially when cooking.
- Wake up for suhur but make it simple, laban and dates, fruit, water, grains like the prophet pbuh used to eat. Spend the extra time reading Quran, praying sunna, or teaching each other new hadith.
- Spend time with the children reading islamic seerah or stories of the prophets or of the caliphs
- Gather the family to pray the sunnah and “don’t let your homes be as graves” (Bukhari) Also: Narrated Zaid bin Thabit: Allah’s Apostle made a small room in the month of ramadan (Sa’id said, “I think that Zaid bin Thabit said that it was made of a mat”) and he prayed there for a few nights, and so some of his companions prayed behind him. When he came to know about it, he kept on sitting. In the morning, he went out to them and said, “I have seen and understood what you did. You should pray in your houses, for the best prayer of a person is that which he prays in his house except the compulsory prayers.” (Book #11, Hadith #698)
- Help in the home so that your wife can join the rest of the family to go out for Taraweeh prayers on a regular basis, encourage other family members to go if they do not already.
- Let your children join you as much as they can for kiyam al layl and let them see you reading Quran al Kareem. Remeber children do as they see not as you tell them.
- Make it a goal to read the Holy Quran in full during this month.
- Try to wake up in the last third of the nights to read, pray and make doa and thikr
- Try to not spend the whole day sleeping and wasting of time when you can keep making use of the day also in reading and sunnah prayers.
- Find ways to make dawa, by inviting your neighbors for iftar, giving in charity, visiting the poor and needy, helping the orphan.
- If you cannot go out, call those you have lost touch with and great them with salam, ask about their needs.
- If you have fences that need mending do it now. Do not leave angry feelings for another year. If you have cut the rope of al rahim ( family ties) try to repair it as best you can and leave the rest up to Allah swt.
- for young men, make bags of drink and dates and distribute on the streets to those who may be late getting home.
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). (Book #1, Hadith #5)
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said: “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards (not for showing off), all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Book #2, Hadith #36)
Narrated Abu Huraira: One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, “What is faith?” Allah’s Apostle replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.” Then he further asked, “What is Islam?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of ramadan.” Then he further asked, “What is Ihsan (perfection)?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.” Then he further asked, “When will the Hour be established?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “The answerer has no better knowledge than the questioner. But I will inform you about its portents. 1. When a slave (lady) gives birth to her master. 2. When the shepherds of black camels start boasting and competing with others in the construction of higher buildings. And the Hour is one of five things which nobody knows except Allah. The Prophet then recited: “Verily, with Allah (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour–.” (31. 34) Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet said, “That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion.” Abu ‘Abdullah said: He (the Prophet) considered all that as a part of faith. (Book #2, Hadith #47)
Narrated Abu Jamra: I used to sit with Ibn ‘Abbas and he made me sit on his sitting place. He requested me to stay with him in order that he might give me a share from his property. So I stayed with him for two months. Once he told (me) that when the delegation of the tribe of ‘Abdul Qais came to the Prophet, the Prophet asked them, “Who are the people (i.e. you)? (Or) who are the delegate?” They replied, “We are from the tribe of Rabi’a.” Then the Prophet said to them, “Welcome! O people (or O delegation of ‘Abdul Qais)! Neither will you have disgrace nor will you regret.” They said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We cannot come to you except in the sacred month and there is the infidel tribe of Mudar intervening between you and us. So please order us to do something good (religious deeds) so that we may inform our people whom we have left behind (at home), and that we may enter Paradise (by acting on them).” Then they asked about drinks (what is legal and what is illegal). The Prophet ordered them to do four things and forbade them from four things. He ordered them to believe in Allah Alone and asked them, “Do you know what is meant by believing in Allah Alone?” They replied, “Allah and His Apostle know better.” Thereupon the Prophet said, “It means: 1. To testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle. 2. To offer prayers perfectly 3. To pay the Zakat (obligatory charity) 4. To observe fast during the month of ramadan. 5. And to pay Al-Khumus (one fifth of the booty to be given in Allah’s Cause). Then he forbade them four things, namely, Hantam, Dubba,’ Naqir Ann Muzaffat or Muqaiyar; (These were the names of pots in which Alcoholic drinks were prepared) (The Prophet mentioned the container of wine and he meant the wine itself). The Prophet further said (to them): “Memorize them (these instructions) and convey them to the people whom you have left behind.” (Book #2, Hadith #50)
There are for sure many more things that we should do and can do during this blessed month. Let us not be tied up in the pace of this wordly life which is so short compared to the hearafter. Its a month that Allah has given to us and in it are many gifts— shall we throw those gifts away unheaded and unthankfully?
Lastly, as a challenge, I ask, why when Ramadan ends do we suddenly drop all the good behaviors we strive to learn, waking in the last third, reading Quran, making doa, making thikr— suddenly life goes back to normal and fast paced again as if these behaviors only need to be done in Ramadan. Challenge ourselves to be moderate and to keep these good deeds even after Ramadan is over— until the next Ramadan comes- the blessings are great inshallah.