For some people, the zeal or himmah in Ramadan comes almost naturally. For others, either due to a lack of preparation, or just a test from Allah, we find it difficult to get out of our pre-Ramadan slumber and go all out like some of our mates. If you are one of those, perhaps this might help.
1. Watch this “Receiving Ramadan” advice by Habib Ali al-Jufri.
It is seriously worth every minute.
Some take-aways from the video:
a) In Ramadan and through fasting, we abstain from food & drink and also sexual relations. Food & drink is essential to continuing life, and sexual relations is also a means to continue human life. When we are able to abstain from them in the daytime in Ramadan, it sends the message to us psychologically, physically and to the nafs that if we can control ourselves when it comes to the ESSENTIAL means of LIFE ITSELF, we can TOTALLY control ourselves when it comes to other less-important things – major booster for when we are tempted to sin outside of Ramadan.
b) The difficulties we go through in Ramadan tells us that we CAN DO THIS. Many lofty & righteous affairs often APPEAR difficult to do at the beginning, and many of the harmful desires and cravings that we have always present themselves as if we can never leave them and then we are surprised to discover that WE CAN leave them and WE CAN do that which our lower selves do not incline to.
c) We oblige our physical bodies for 11 months a year and only occasionally deny it and feed our spirits instead. During Ramadan, we should focus doubly, triply more on our spiritual needs and ask Allah to help us in this regard so we can spend more of our time with the Qur’an and in supererogatory prayers and keep our souls full and happy.
2. Read this no-nonsense wake-up call.
I always find that Imam Zaid Shakir says things as it is and even though he does not sugarcoat his advises, it still comes across as warm & inviting while being astute.
3. Watch this gallery of pictures of people celebrating Ramadan around the world.
If you’re the visual type, then this amazing gallery of excitement and festivity about Ramadan might rub off on you. It certainly got ME excited and humbled to know that I’m a part of a much bigger family and that Ramadan is being celebrated literally all around the world.
Watch the gallery here: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/07/ramadan_2013_begins_1.html
4. Read the news.
I know it sounds counter-productive but if you just watch the news, you will know that the Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang are banned from fasting, our brothers and sisters in Gaza are CURRENTLY being attacked and there are more than a million Syrian refugees. The list of oppressed Muslims is pretty much endless and they’re unable to fully celebrate Ramadan. If that doesn’t make you want to appreciate your freedom and religion, then I don’t know what will.
Please keep them in your prayers.