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Ramadan: Invest the time!

Ramadan is a month full of blessings like no other. There are countless ways to gain good deeds while remaining in worship for hours as we fast during the day and pray at night. To add to these good deeds, Allah (swt) multiplies each deed in Ramadan as a sign of the blessings of this virtuous month.

The Quran was revealed during Ramadan.

The Quran is the primary source of guidance that we have been given by Allah (swt), and it was revealed in the month of Ramadan. When Ramadan is mentioned in the Quran, it refers to the Quran being revealed:

Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the standard (to distinguish between right and wrong). So whoever is present this month, let them fast. But whoever is ill or on a journey, then (let them fast) an equal number of days (after Ramadan). Allah intends ease for you, not hardship, so that you may complete the prescribed period and proclaim the greatness of Allah for guiding you, and perhaps you will be grateful. (Surah Al-Baqarah)

Allah (swt) wants to elevate the status of the month of the revelation of the Quran to a very high status, and it’s as though fasting is a celebration of the Quran being given to us. No doubt, without the Quran, what guidance would we have? What ethics and laws can be lived by? The Quran guides us to what is right and wrong and outlines the values and etiquettes that Allah (swt) would be pleased with. The month of Ramadan is that blessed month, the one that we elevate, the one in which the Quran was revealed, the biggest blessing of all.

Learning to control oneself

Allah (swt) has made fasting obligatory during Ramadan, but fasting can also be done during the remaining days of the year as an additional form of worship. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us don’t fast outside of Ramadan, but let’s take a closer look at an important verse:

O believers! Fasting is prescribed for you – as it was for those before you – so you may become mindful (of Allah). (Surah Al-Baqarah)

When fasting, many of us can only think about when we will break our fast and what we will eat. We create a sense of deception in our minds and block the purpose of fasting. This verse mentions the purpose of fasting, which is to become mindful of Allah. When we fast, we refrain from many things, promoting worship and good actions. This is a means of forcing us into a position where we become more mindful of what we do to please Allah (swt) and be aware of him. We are already in a state of hunger and battling our bodies against our own will to eat or drink. But the mosques are busier, charity is given much more, and most of us consciously try to behave better. So, there is no doubt that the difficulty of fasting brings out the best in us.

The expiation of sins

Expiation means making amends for something that has been done wrong (i.e. sins). Allah (swt) says, “Surely, good deeds erase the bad deeds”. The good deeds in Ramadan are indeed a means of making amends and seeking forgiveness for the evil deeds that we have done too. Ramadan is a month in which so many good deeds are done that they begin to wipe out our bad ones like no other time of the year. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: 

Whoever fasts Ramadan knows its limits and avoids whatever he should avoid in it (Ramadan), which will be an expiation of what is before it. (Ahmad)

For any God-fearing person, Ramadan encourages us to engage in these good deeds much more than any other month. This encouragement (in the form of being compulsory) is a great blessing. 

How many of us would fast during Ramadan if it was not compulsory? How many would charity in Ramadan? 

So, rather than looking at Ramadan as a difficult month, we should look at what we achieve from this blessed month. We can liken it to the words of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) when he said: 

Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains. (Al-Bukhari)

Allah (swt) is forcing us to do something we naturally don’t want to do, forgiving us of our sins and making us better people. It’s a one-sided deal in our favour! The Hadeeth implies that we don’t want to go to Jannah (Paradise); we would rather stay here in this World. But Allah (swt) wants much better for us. Instead, he (swt) would force us to fast, pray, and give Zakat so He (swt) could take us to His Jannah. Ramadan is the month in which we can worship so that we can be forgiven – all for that end goal of a place in Jannah and Allah’s (swt) mercy.

Ramadan brings people together.

All year round, everyone is busy with life. Situations that affect us all can bring us together, whether in difficulty or happiness. Ramadan brings us together, especially families. We wake up at the same time and eat together. We break our fast together and, again, eat together. We worship together in numbers that don’t exist outside of Ramadan. We are unified in the same cause and are supportive of each other. Following Ramadan, we celebrate Eid together. These are times when we engage in a common cause and appreciate one another like in no other month of the year.

So, how is this a blessing? One of the effects of fasting is that it slows you down, and naturally, the body will reserve energy so that we can sustain ourselves until we can re-energise at Iftar. Slowing down allows us to engage with people better; our families become more conscious about each other and share the burden of the fast. So, we are becoming more mindful of Allah (swt) and humbling ourselves to become more conscious of the people around us. We begin to appreciate what is around us and what we take for granted outside of Ramadan and learn to become more forgiving.

So, during Ramadan, let’s not think too much about the difficulty of fasting but contemplate and appreciate all of its blessings. So many times, we focus on the negatives and difficulties, but we never think about how Allah (swt) has blessed us this month just so He (swt) can forgive us. By the end of Ramadan, we can celebrate Eid as better people!