Tuesday, 8 September 2009
The Ramadan Mindset
The Ramadan Mindset
"...Allah desires for you ease; He desires not hardship for you; and (He desires) that you should complete Ramadan, and that you should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that per adventure you may be thankful." (2:185)
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said,
"When Ramadan comes:
1) the gates of Heaven are opened
2) the gates of Hell are closed,
3) the devils are chained."
A Month of Blessings
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) says,
"Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted." (Narrated by Tabarani)
Ensure your Ramadan is filled with opportunities with seeking Allah's reward and try not to fall into the following:
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah, Prophet Muhummad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) said, "Many who fast obtain nothing from his fasting but thirst, and many a one who prays during the night obtains nothing from his night prayers but wakefulness." (Al-Tirmidhi)
Generosity of Heart & Purification of the Soul
Ibn ‘Abbas, May Allah be pleased with him and his father, relates:
“The Prophet , was the most generous of people. He was even more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel would meet him and review the Qur’an with him. Gabriel would come to him every night of Ramadan to review the Qur’an. During these times, the Messenger of Allah, was more generous than the freely blowing wind.”
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him), said:
“Whoever fails to leave off ruinous speech, and acting on it [during Ramadan], God does not need him to leave off eating and drinking.” (Al-Bukahri)
Try to avoid:
* all arguments
* unnecessary worldly entanglements as much as possible.
This month is devoted to dedication to Allah and His worship.
Also, look to making amends with friends and relatives whom we've lost touch with throughout the years. Seek brotherhood and unity. Remember to help the needy and encourage your family to be involved.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) has said:
1) “…Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month - Ramadan), shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time;
2) whoever performs an obligatory deed in (this month), shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time.
3) It is the month of patience, and the reward of patience is Paradise .
It is the month of charity, and a month in which a believer's sustenance is increased.
4) Whoever gives food to a fasting person to break his fast shall have his sins forgiven, and he will be saved from the Hell-Fire, and he shall have the same reward as the fasting person, without his reward being diminished at all.” (Reported by Ibn Khuzaymah)
Nine reasons why we must plan for Ramadan
Have you noticed that each year, Ramadan goes by faster and faster? Personally, I can remember details of Ramadan 11 years ago better in some ways than of Ramadan last year. It’s frightening.
This blessed month can’t be left to become a blur in our memories. It has to be more than that time of the year we squeeze in fasting amongst the other things we do daily.
One way to make the most of Ramadan is to plan beforehand. Here are nine reasons why you should plan for Ramadan:
Reason #1: To be in "Ramadan mode"
By planning for Ramadan before it arrives, you put your mind in "Ramadan mode". If you plan, you will mentally prepare for it, and it will force you to see it as the special month it is outside of your regular routine the rest of the year.
Reason #2: To adjust your schedule
By planning in advance, you can adjust your work, sleep and meal schedules in such a way as to make time for Suhoor, Iftar, etc. That means, for instance, that if you normally go to bed at midnight, in Ramadan you would sleep earlier in order to get up early for Suhoor. Or if you usually study late, you can instead sleep earlier and start studying after Suhoor in the early morning hours. Planning in advance allows you the luxury to make time for the change in schedule that Ramadan brings.
Reason #3: You can plan Ramadan family time
Is dinnertime usually an individual affair in your home, as opposed to a time the whole family eats together? Are Friday evenings the time every family member goes off to his/her own social activities? Planning in advance can change this at least in Ramadan. Calling a family meeting about a month in advance, explaining the importance of Ramadan, its implications for the family and the need to eat Iftar together when possible as well as to attend Tarawih prayers, for example, will allow all family members to adjust their work and school schedules accordingly. That will, Insha Allah, make Ramadan a blessing not just to every person in the family, but to the family as a whole.
Reason #4: To make the menu
While Ramadan may mean extra Ibadah to some of the brothers, it usually means extra cooking for most of the sisters. Ramadan’s blessings are for men and women. Making a Ramadan menu for Iftar and meals, and working out when you want to invite relatives, neighbors and friends for Iftar will give sisters the opportunity to catch Tarawih and various other advantageous Ibadat instead of spending Ramadan’s 29 or 30 days stuck in the kitchen. (And by the way, brothers, helping out with cooking or cleaning was a practice of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him-maybe this is a way you can increase your Sawab [rewards] this month).
Reason #5 : You can plan a Iftar at your home
You may have eaten fantastic Iftars at friends’ homes last year. This year, open your doors. There is blessing in feeding a fasting person other than yourself and your family. Planning in advance gives you the luxury of calling friends over the month before and setting a date, so you can "grab" them before others get an opportunity to. Muchos Sawab, Insha Allah!
Reason #6: To make a travel schedule
Do you know a fellow Muslim in your neighborhood who wants to get to the mosque for Tarawih every night but doesn’t have a car? Or do you look at your work schedule and realize you have to work overtime near the end of Ramdan, so your family will miss out on Tarawih at the mosque the last ten nights of Ramadan? Planning in advance helps you work out your daily or weekly travel schedule to attend Tarawih prayers at the mosque, or even a trip for Iftar at a friend’s place who may life farther away. It also helps ease the burden of transportation in winter. Maybe you can start a car pool? Since you have the time before Ramadan begins, you can work this out with neighbors and friends.
Reason #7: To do good at high Sawab times
Being generous is definitely an Islamic merit, but being generous in Ramadan is even more highly rewarded. Match Ibadat with specific times that carry more reward. Prepare to do Itifkaf, increase asking Allah for forgiveness in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Plan to give increased Sadaqa this month. Plan to visit that relative you may have not seen for months, if not years. Thinking about and arranging to do these things and finding other ways of gaining the pleasure of Allah in Ramadan will Insha Allah help you benefit more from it.
Reason #8: You can squeeze in Eid shopping
Planning in advance helps you think about all of those things you wanted to do in time for the end of Ramadan or Eid last year but couldn’t. Maybe you wanted to go Eid shopping for gifts for family and friends in the last week of Ramadan but were too busy with the last ten nights of Ramadan. No problem. This year, you decide to go in the third week of Ramadan instead.
Reason #9: You can plan Dawa activities during Ramadan
Some Muslims have gone to soup kitchens and made meals during Ramadan, while they were fasting. Not only will, Insha Allah, they be rewarded, but this is a great Dawa opportunity to explain what Ramadan and Islam are about. Planning in advance for such an activity gives you the time to call up a soup kitchen in your area, explain what you want to do, and get your act together. You can also plan school Dawa activities in Ramadan by planning in advance, by meeting with the principal or teacher beforehand, preparing a presentation, etc.