B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e m


Ramadhaan is Approaching!

Are You Ready?
By Ayub A. Hamid

Success in whatever we do depends on how clear we are on the ******ives we want to achieve and how well we plan for it. Even a recreational activity such as going on a vacation takes much planning. It is not feasible for a person to simply just get up and depart to a vacation destination without planning, especially if one wants to have a good vacation or recreational activity. For example, if one is going to Disney World, usually planning is done months in advance of the trip. In addition to making traveling and accommodation arrangements, people consult friends, read literature and research on how to get the most benefit while there. Time and effort is spent deciding beforehand as to which rides should be given preference, which shows should be watched and which sites or theme parks should be visited, in what order and at what times of the day so that one can get the maximum benefit at minimum cost in reasonable time. People make significant efforts to plan the trip because it means so much to them to make such a trip.

What does Ramadhaan mean to you? Does it mean more to you than going for a vacation? Are you mentally and psychologically ready to attain all the goodness and blessings Ramadhaan has to offer? Are you then spending enough time and taking pains to plan how can you get the most benefit from the opportunity Ramadhaan affords you?

Some people do plan for Ramadhaan, but that planning is only to the extent of who to invite for Iftaar, where to go for one, what special foods to prepare or how to get the best deal on dates and iftaar delicacies. But is this the type of outcome that is the ******ive of Ramadhaan?

So, what are the action plans you want to undertake during Ramadhaan so that when it departs, you have seen significant growth in your Taqwa, you are more giving, more patient, more able to resist personal desires and temptations, more involved in life-long Jihaad and more tuned to the Qur-aan?

The ******ives of Ramadhaan are to:

· Increase our Taqwa

· Make us more charitable – both financially and in our social dealings

· Develop patience and will power to resist temptations

· Prepare us for our life-long Jihaad to remain steadfast on the path

of Allaah’s obedience

· Strengthen our relationship with the Holy Qur-aan, celebrate its

revelation; and

· Thank Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala for guiding us so kindly.

So, what are the action plans you want to undertake during Ramadhaan so that when it departs, you have seen significant growth in your Taqwa, you are more giving, more patient, more able to resist personal desires and temptations, more involved in life-long Jihaad and more tuned to the Qur-aan?

Ramadhaan is a wonderful opportunity to help us fine-tune our normal patterns of behaviour thereby changing us for the better. We can ask ourselves the question: What areas of our personality, attitude, behaviour, daily routines and lifestyle, etc. do we need to change to bring us closer to the Islamic standard?

What aspect of your life have you decided to improve on during this Ramadhaan and how do you plan to achieve this improvement?

We all need many changes and many improvements. None of us is perfect and our list of proposed improvements can be exceedingly long if we were being honest with ourselves. Naturally, one cannot pick a big list and work on all those areas in one month. The best approach is to pick only a few items where the most important change is needed and to devise a plan to make a definite improvement in those area(s) this Ramadhaan. Success in making the change would make you a winner this Ramadhaan and the month will be one of great triumph and blessings for you.

My Plans This Ramadhaan

How should we—simple, ordinary Muslims—spend this fasting month so that at the end of the month we feel inner joy and true happiness knowing that our ‘Eed day will be the day of celebrating rewards from Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala?

Here is a sample plan that you can use as your personal plan or use it as a model to develop your own personal plan:

This Ramadhaan, I will establish a close relationship with the Qur-aan. I will give top priority to increasing my knowledge and understanding of the contents and message of the Qur-aan. I will recite and study the Qur-aan with translation and tafseer regularly and steadily throughout the month from a good, authentic English translation and Tafseer. I will not sleep after Fajr, but instead study the Qur-aan at least for half an hour until I am ready to go to school or work. Throughout the day, I will find time to revise and re-learn the Soorahs and Aayaat I already know. Once that is completed, I will learn at least one Aayah a day from a Soorah I do not already know.

This Ramadhaan, I will sleep early, soon after Ishaa. I will go to bed with clear and conscious intention of fasting the next day, as well as with the intention of getting up early for Tahajjud. Then, while remembering Allaah, I will fall asleep. I will get up well before Suhoor time, thanking Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala for giving me life, offer Tahajjud and then make special Duaa for the mercy of Allaah on our Ummah, His help for its success and well being, and His interference to foil the plans of the enemy. I will also make special Duaa that Allaah protects my Ummah, my family and me from the Dajjaal and his Fitnah.

Because time is a precious gift of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala for effective use of which I will be held responsible, I will try to weed out any time wasting activities from my daily routine. I will re-examine my day-to-day activities and use the discipline of this month to abandon at least one activity that is not conducive to or effective in the attainment of Islamic ******ives for which Allaah has guided us to Islam. Because the value of time increases several hundred folds during this month, to make time for other more important Islamic activities, just for this month, I will not watch TV at all, not even the news. My knowing of what is shown in the news does not affect any affairs of the world. Watching the news causes only frustration, despair and anxiety. If I do not watch for a month, it will not have any impact either on me, my Ummah or the world at large. In addition, I can get a quick update of news from a website in a few minutes any way. Thus, I rather save my time from TV and spend it on my personal improvement and building a close, personal relationship with Allaah, rather than on an activity where I cannot make any difference. (Unless I am one of those few Muslims who write letters, articles or op-ed pieces to TV producers / anchors, paper editors / columnists, politicians and media in general to make Islamic points or to stand up for the Ummah. If I am one of those, I will continue this Jihaad in Ramadhaan).

While fasting, I will make a special effort to speak only to add value and to say only what is true, factual, positive, meaningful and useful. When I do not have anything good and useful to talk about, instead of saying anything else, I will remember Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aqala through the beautiful words taught by our Prophet Ŝall Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, while paying attention to their meanings and feeling the impact of the words on my heart, my mind, my thoughts and my attitude. Or, if I do not know them, I will learn those words of remembrance or prayer. Or, I will spend those moments reciting the portions of the Qur-aan that I know or learning those I do not.

I will not lend my ears to anything that is useless, indecent, negative, spiteful or inappropriate. In my car, I will listen to the Qur-aan or some good speech of a reputed scholar. If my car CD player has a feature that allows it to repeat the same piece over and over again, I will use it to help me learn new verses or Soorah. Similarly, while riding the transit or subway, I will use my pocket-sized Qur-aan or book of Prophet Ŝall Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam’s Duaas to recite, practise or revise those I know or learn those I do not know.

This Ramadhaan, I will particularly watch my gaze. While glancing on a member of opposite sex, I will move my gaze away before I start evaluating or assessing the attractive features of looks, appearance or personality or before I start paying attention to or begin enjoying those attractions. I will not participate or listen to the comments of sexual nature that my colleagues, peers or friends make.

While remembering Allaah in many other ways, I will more frequently ask for Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala’s mercy in the first 10 days of Ramadhaan (Yaa Ĥayyu Yaa Qayyoomu, bi-raĥmatika astagheethu) , invoke Allaah’s forgiveness in the second 10 days (astaghfirullaah- al-azheem- alladzi laa ilaaha illaa huwa-al Ĥayyu-l-Qayyoomu wa atoobu ilayh) and seek salvation from the Fire in the last 10 days (Rabbanaa aatinaa fi-ddunyaa ĥasanatanwa fil-aakhirati ĥasanatanwa qinaa adzaab-annaar) . During the last ten nights, I will frequent the Duaa: Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun, tuĥibbul ‘afwa, fa’fu ‘annee.

This Ramadhaan, I will be exceptionally charitable. The tears that fill my eyes when I see the scenes of devastation, disease, starvation, agony, displacement, killings, blown up bodies and severed limbs of poor, helpless people of Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir will ameliorate my heart and open my purse. I will send all my Zakaah to them right at the beginning of Ramadhaan through trustworthy Islamic charities. In addition to my Zakaah, I will pay whatever I can spare from my family’s necessities for helping those in dire need. If I have been paying my Zakaah to my relatives, this Ramadhaan, I will help my relatives from my other savings and resources, so that I can pay Zakaah to the victims of state terrorism and occupation forces. I will avoid spending money on non-essentials and non-necessities such as excessive home decoration, getting new clothes for ‘Eed when closets are already full or buying more video games and toys for my children, so that those who are in more need than me and my family can be helped. I will even pay my Fitrah very early in Ramadhaan so that it can reach those displaced from their homes before the severity of winter.

Also this Ramadhaan, I will be generous and forgiving to my family, friends and the Muslim community at large. I will clear my heart from anger complaints, suspicion, jealousy, grudges or dislike against any of them. I will be extra kind, accommodating, courteous, supportive and helpful to my non-Muslims neighbours and colleagues. I will find ways to have them participate in the blessings of Ramadhaan and happiness of ‘Eed by sharing my food specialties with them or giving gifts and chocolates to them.

This Ramadhaan, I am going to take my vacations in its last 10 days, so that the precious opportunity offered by those days can be fully utilized for developing my personal relationship with Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala.

I will kick at least one of my bad habits such as arriving late for appointments or breaking promises. I will show up or do what I indicate I will do and I will show up or do so on time. If I am a smoker, this Ramadhaan, I will not smoke even after Iftaar, before Suhoor or at night. I will keep my mouth odour free for prayers and Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala’s remembrance and my lungs, blood and heart from disease.

If I am a university student under pressure for tests and assignments, my act of worship is to do my utmost best to study hard and get the best possible results, given that any moment that is not spent on studying is not spent in any other pursuit except in the remembrance of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala or study of the Qur-aan. While travelling to/from or within campus or while taking a break from studies, I will automatically shift to remembrance of Allaah or recitation of the Qur-aan. For my studies, I will keep timings that are consistent with the spirit of Ramadhaan, i.e. sleep early and get up very early. Instead of staying up late at the risk of missing Suhoor or Fajr, I will adjust my body clock to Islamic lifestyle instead of the western lifestyle. When I get up to study at 2 or 3 AM, I will start with two Raka’at of Tahajjud and then continue with my studies. After Fajr, I will still spend 15-20 minutes on the study of Tafseer daily without exception.

If you have already decided to make this a meaningful and triumphant Ramadhaan by identifying areas requiring improvement and if you have prepared a plan of action, may Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala assist you and bless you for taking this step in your life. Congratulations on a good start!

If you have not done so, there is still time to do it. If we succeed this Ramadhaan in living as planned above, we will be able to look back and rejoice on the day of ‘Eed.

May Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta‘aala help us all to get the most benefit from the opportunities provided by the coming Ramadhaan. Aameen.


Copyright © 2007 Ayub A. Hamid
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