With the blessed month of Ramadan around the corner, it’s vital that we start preparing for it and get ourselves in the right frame of mind.
Want to know how to avoid common mistakes we make in this holy month? Here are seven valuable tips that can help you take full benefit of the holy month.
Simply observing the rulings of fasting without paying attention to their meaning will turn it into a mere ritual. An outward show of piety. By doing this we can lose the spirit and essence of fasting altogether. What is the essence of Ramadhan? The blessed Prophet (pbuh) taught us that Ramadan is; a time of patience, sympathy of others, seeking the nearness of Allah Almighty, praying day and night, reciting The Majestic Quran and listening to it. He described Ramadan as an intercessor for us on the day of judgement and a means of atonement for our sins. One way of making fasting a ritual is to regard it as dieting – fasting is for pleasing our benevolent Lord and following in the footsteps of the blessed Prophet (pbuh). Fasting the sunnah way leads to losing weight anyway, so don’t make the mistake of fasting with the intention to diet; it’s an act of worship.
Fasting is a great spiritual exercise that helps us on our journey to the Lord, however, giving up food sometimes makes us think more about it. This is evident at Iftar time; the dinner table becomes a sumptuous banquet. Someone will have spent hours shopping, cooking and laying out the table, instead of concentrating on Salah, Quran and other acts of worship. This missesthe very purpose of fasting, to control our desires and delights. Islam teaches moderation.
In Ramadhan, our sleeping pattern changes because we get up early for suhoor (breakfast) and go to bed late because of the Tarawih prayer. Because of this, some people end up spending more time in bed. The month of Ramadhan is too precious to be wasted like this. The Quran reminds us about the nature of Ramadan by saying; “these are limited few days”. Before we know it this month of forgiveness will be over, so every moment should be spent in the worship of Allah. Try to give up TV, Netflix, playing on the games console and listening to music. The blessed Prophet (pbuh) said;
Due to late night Tarawih prayer, some people don’t get up for the Suhoor. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Eat suhoor it has blessings’ (Bukhari). Make sure you get up for Suhoor and eat something healthy that will keep you going for the whole day. I usually have a bowl of porridge and some dates and alhamdulillah it keeps me going for most of the day.
Dua, or prayer, is a believer’s powerful tool against the attacks of shaitan and the ego. It is an expression of humility towards our creator and submission of dependency on the Almighty Lord. The prayer of the fasting person is accepted at the time of breaking fast. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Three prayers are not rejected: the parent’s prayer for children, the fasting person, and the traveller’ (al-Bayhaqi). This is a time to pray. We must all be careful that we do not get caught up in working, cooking or doing something else.
The Quran describes the purpose of fasting.
Fasting trains us to obey the teachings of Islam and motivates us to follow the shariah. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink’ (Bukhari). Praying, giving Zakat and doing good is part of Ramadan, and anyone who neglects these is depriving themself of the great benefits of Ramadan.
Here are three wonderful activities in Ramadan that no one cannot afford to miss.
Inviting others for breaking fast is sunnah, however, be careful not to make it lavish. Giving sumptuous banquets in this month goes against the spirit of simplicity and frugality, the core of moral teachings, it defeats the objective of spirituality.
This is a Spiritual retreat, when the fasting person stays in the Masjid or for women, staying in their rooms at home. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “the Messenger used to retreat during the last ten days of Ramadan, he did this regularly and after him I do it”.
It’s better than a thousand months of worship. The Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Seek Lailat ul-Qadr, the night of power among the odd-numbered nights of the last ten nights of Ramadan’ (Bukhari). Spending this night in worship, seeking forgiveness and Divine nearness marks the climax of Ramadan.