RAMADAAN REQUIRES DISCIPLINE
Ramadaan is nothing but a golden opportunity for a believer. Like how an astute businessman capitalises on times of the year so that the maximum profits can be seen so too does a prudent believer.
For many, Ramadaaan comes and goes. Sadly to some it is treated as any other month in total oblivion of the greatness and auspiciousness of the month. Our pious predecessors advise us to live the whole year as if we are in the month of Ramadaan. Again sadly this seems to be ‘impossible’ for an ummah so addicted to sinning. Thus Ramadaan comes as a saviour and an opportunity to put us back on track. However this can only be achieved if Ramadaan is spent properly.
The following advices should be heeded should we wish to reap the full rewards of Ramadaan.
Discipline: Most people already know to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from one’s spouse during the days of Ramadaan. This may be the salient and distinguishing feature of Ramadaan but it is definitely not the be all and end all of it. There is more to Ramadaan than just this. Discipline in other aspects also form part of Ramadaan. This additional discipline in Ramadaan must be developed to do other righteous acts and abstain from those acts which would earn the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala. This will be the real life changing factor for an individual. With this discipline one would wake up for earlier for suhoor so that Tahajjud Salaah can be performed and some tilaawah of Qur’aan can be also made. After partaking of suhoor, whilst waiting for Fajr Salaah one could engage in Duaa and Istighfaar. After fajr salaah one could wait a little while and then perform Salaatul Ishraaq. Thereafter one could rest if they wish to before starting the days work. Those who view Ramadaan as only fasting miss or attach no importance to all the above. It is only the correct attitude to Ramadaan and discipline that would result in the above.
The idea is to make a schedule or time-table and rigidly adhere to it without compromising. This is the desired discipline that is required should we wish to maximise our rewards in Ramadaan. One may ask, “Why did one not just put the first point as a ‘making a schedule’?” Well, the answer is very simple. Anyone can come up with a schedule, but it takes real discipline to abide by it.
Devotional life (‘Ibadah which means acts of devotion): Ramadaan is the month where Allah Ta’ala allows us to really fulfil the purpose of our being, and the purpose of our creation which is nothing but to worship Him, and Him alone. This becomes conducive and more easily done on account of being in the state of fasting. Whilst the types of Ibaadah are many one cannot forget or overlook the connection of the Qur’aan and the month of Ramadaan because the Qur’aan was revealed in this month. Therefore the best form of Ibaadah would be spending as much time as possible with the Qur’aan. The least we can do or should be doing is reciting the entire Qur’an once in this month. Also, one should try to memorize those chapters/surahs which are read often like Mulk, Kahf, Ya Seen, Waqi’ah, and Sajdah. Also memorize Surahs from the last juz at least and more if possible. However more important than reciting the Qur’aan and memorizing parts of it is making an effort to understand it and even more important is to begin living the Qur’aan by practically implementing its message. This is truly an achievement if we are able to do this.
Identifying with the Ummah: It is important that we feel our fast, i.e. feel hunger and thirst. Apart from that, we can use this to our benefit by making other people’s fast count for us as well. This means that if we feed or give to drink something to someone who fasts, we can get the reward of their fast as well without either’s reward being diminished in the least bit.
Another aspect of identifying with the Ummah is to be grateful for whatever Allah has given us and realize that a little of that we need to give to others so that they may have a decent Ramadaan and wonderful ‘Eid. See what the Ummah is going through and see how we can actively participate to help the Ummah in any way possible. With millions facing starvation around the globe we cannot overlook the dire-need to be of assistance to the ummah. This can be done more easily when in Ramadaan we give up our own luxuries so that the ummah can benefit. After all is Ramadaan not all about sacrifice?
Mujahadah: Ramadaan is a month of sacrifice and struggle. It is a month where Allah Ta’ala wants our time, our health, our wealth, and our whole being in exchange for tremendous rewards. We literally live the whole year for everything and anything. It is just one month…can we not live one month solely for our Creator?! So what if we have to sacrifice our sleep, and random other luxuries that we can do without anyway. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” The amount of sacrifice and struggle we put into this month, Allah Ta’ala will surely reward us in this world and the next accordingly.
Give yourself to Allah Ta’ala, and see what Allah Ta’ala has in store for you.
Duaa’: The essence of worship is supplication to Allah Ta’ala. This whole month, Allah Ta’ala is willing and readily open to accept all that we ask of Him regardless of them being our worldly needs or needs of the hereafter. It would be to our own detriment and loss if in this month of bounties and mercy we fail to draw from the unlimited treasures of Allah Ta’ala through Duaa. Not only does Allah Ta’ala accept whole heartedly our Duaas in this month but he has also placed times in this month where our Duaas are even more readily accepted. One of these times is the time of Iftaar. Therefore we need to prioritize duaa in this month especially at the time of iftaar. Ask firstly for yourself, then your family, community, then the Ummah at large. Within that, prioritize and ask for things pertaining to the hereafter, then ask for things pertaining to this world. We should remember that when it comes to Duaa that the point of dua’ is not that we need something or we need protection or refuge from some other thing, the point is that Allah told us to supplicate to Him, and that is why one should make dua’ abundantly. After all Duaa is an ibaadah too which clearly and beautifully exhibits our acceptance of Allah Ta’ala as our Creator, Sustainer and Nourisher and the one Who is in total control of every affair of ours. There are certain things Allah loves to do, and one of them is to answer the supplications of His servants who call unto Him. Nothing pleases Him more than Duaa.
And lastly when we engage in Duaa crying makes our duaas even more conducive to acceptance. When we are moved by the tears of someone would Allah Ta’ala Who is the most merciful of all those who show mercy not be moved? Tears are something foreign to Allah Ta’ala and therefore He has immense value for tears. The whole year we become filthy and impure spiritually by sinning, Ramadaan is the month where we purify and cleanse our sinful souls by bathing them in tears of remorse and regret.
Good Company: Whilst the Shayateen are chained in Ramadaan we should remember that the nafs is still on the loose even though to a lesser extent therefore even in Ramadaan we can still slip up. Ramadaan is a month to maximize on good deeds and keep bad deeds at zero. Being in the company of the righteous will allow one to attain this goal and protect us from sinning even in Ramadaan.
We end by a quote of one of our pious predecessors who said: “Whoever lives their life as they do in Ramadaan, then death will come to that person just as the moon of ‘Eid comes for the fasting person.”
May Allah Ta’ala make us from amongst the above, Aameen