Just Another Ramadan?

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By Idris Tawfiq

When it comes to Ramadan, we’re all “new Muslims.” We may be good at putting on a good show, even fooling ourselves at times that our intentions are pure, yet when our foreheads touch the ground in prayer we are all novices in serving our Creator.

Ramadan is that special gift of Allah which allows all of us to return to Him, whether we have been Muslim for fifty years or for five minutes. It is a time when we can honestly take a look at how we have been living our lives over the last year, and resolve to improve and be better Muslims in the year ahead.

It is the time for us to declare once more with our lips and to mean with our whole heart and mind that there is no created being worthy of worship other than Allah alone, and that Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His Messenger.

Let’s be honest. We talk about “calling others to Islam,” yet very often we are the ones who don’t even get up in the morning to pray. We invite others to be Muslim, yet often we pay them very little regard once they have declared Shahadah and accepted Islam.

Ramadan, then, is a time for all of us to re-think how things have been going. It is a time to set things straight once more, to put our spiritual house in order and to re-set our priorities as Muslims.

How many people in the world would love such a chance to start over again, to put aside the mistakes of the past and to set off once more in the right direction. We have only to look around us to see that many people in the world are lost in the pursuit of worldly things or of selfish ambitions, clutching at this or that to bring them happiness. Their happiness can only be found in Allah Himself.

This Ramadan, we might try to remember just how blessed we are in having been called to be Muslim from all the people on the earth. It was Allah’s plan from the beginning of time that we would be Muslim. How beautiful it is for us to read these words in the Quran which mean:

[This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as your religion.] (Al-Ma’idah 5:3)

How we should reflect on these words each day of Ramadan, imagining Allah Almighty speaking the words to each one of us, reminding us what we are fasting for.

It is easy to get into routines and to fall into habits. Some of these routines and habits are good. It is good, for example, to get into the habit of regular prayer. It is a good routine to establish that we get up at a certain time each day to pray.

We must never let these routines and habits, though, become just another thing we have always done, without giving them any thought. We should not allow our fasting this Ramadan to be just another something we always do, devoid of any real meaning.

In other words, if we are to reap all the benefits which Allah Almighty wants for us this year, we should not allow this to become just another Ramadan which, once gone, has not had much real effect on our lives.

Again let us pause and reflect on what we are doing in Ramadan. In effect, by fasting for Allah’s sake, we are missing lunch and a few cups of coffee during the day. Put  that way, it doesn’t seem the great effort that we make it out to be. Put that way, it certainly doesn’t warrant all the long faces and miserable looks we put on to let everyone know how much the fast is hitting us.

If we need to drive the point home even harder, we need only think of those people in the world for whom the absence of food will not stop each day of Ramadan with the Call to Prayer. There are many in the world who will starve to death on the same day that we break our fast with dates and special Ramadan drinks, followed by an evening of feasting and laughter.

Some translations of the meaning of verse 183 of Surat Al-Baqarah read as follows:

[O Ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you that ye may learn piety.] (Al-Baqarah 2:183)

We fast, then, because Allah tells us to. Let us be quite clear about that. If there is no other tangible result of our fasting, we will have done what is required of us if we have fasted during daylight hours for Allah’s sake.

Allah Almighty, though, always wants our good. There are countless blessings to be gained during this month if our intentions are pure and if we truly desire to seek Allah alone and to please Him.

So what can we do to make the most of this Ramadan, not allowing it to become just another something we have always done? Well, it may sound rather bland, but we need first of all to get enough sleep. Our thoughts will surely not be on Allah alone during a day of fasting if we can hardly keep our eyes open because we stayed up too late the night before.

We need also to get up in time to eat sahur (pre-dawn meal) properly before the day’s fast begins. There is no need to exaggerate the effects of the fast so that our thoughts are only on our stomachs. Eat well before the fast begins, so that you are armed well to strive in Allah’s cause.

We should be realistic, too, in the goals we set to ourselves for Ramadan. If, for example, we have fallen into the habit of missing Prayers, it is asking too much that we should resolve to pray five times a day, attend Tarawih Prayers in the mosque and then get up in the middle of the night to pray as well.

Similarly, if we never open the Quran from one day to the next, it is unreasonable to expect that we will recite the entire Quran during Ramadan and take great comfort from its meaning.

Be realistic, then. If this Ramadan is going to change your life, set your intentions right from the start. In the first days of Ramadan, repeat again and again that you want to be a better Muslim and to live for Allah alone.

When your head is touching the ground in Prayer, beg the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in between to help you this Ramadan. Ask Him for the strength to take each day at a time and to listen attentively to what He is saying to you.

This way we will gain from the gift of Ramadan which Allah gives us. This way, too, we will return once more to the straight path and this Ramadan will touch our hearts and our lives, spurring us to teach others by the way we live that Islam is so beautiful, gentle and sweet. Don’t allow this to be “just another Ramadan.” Let it be the first day of the rest of your life.

Source from www.readingislam.com

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Image from www.idristawfiq.com

Idris Tawfiq is a British writer who became Muslim a few years ago. Previously, he was head of religious education in different schools in the United Kingdom. Before embracing Islam, he was a Roman Catholic priest. He now lives in Egypt. For more information about him, visit www.idristawfiq.com.

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Islamicevents.sg Team would like to say thank you to Bro Idris Tawfiq for allowing us to publish this article here in our Blog. We would also like you to join us in this prayer for him too..

Ya Allah, Most Merciful & Most Gracious, allow this Man ( Bro Idris ) to give him great health so that he can continue doing his great work in propagating your religion. Give him the means and ways to motivate and encourage others who have lost their way to be guided to the path that you wish to destine them to.
Ameen.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed Ramadhan.

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