Ramadan Mubarak – The Secret of Ramadan
Ramadan Mubarak to all our readers and my fellow Editors! For those in North America, the Fiqh Council of North America has announced that the first day of Ramadan will be Monday, August 1, 2011.
May Allah help us to grow closer to Him in this blessed month, increase our worship, purify our niyyah, forgive our sins, and make us among the people of Jannah.
Ramadan can be hard, but it's also a critical time of spiritual growth.
I practice martial arts six days a week, and every year during Ramadan my classes occur during fasting time. This year will be difficult because Ramadan is in the middle of summer and the days are long and hot.
At times in past years my (non-Muslim) fellow students would say to me, "Are you alright? You look pale." They would ask me, "How many days left?", thinking that I was looking forward to the end of Ramadan so I could eat normally again.
I tried to explain that yes, it's difficult, but that does not mean I want it to end. Ramadan is an amazing paradox, a blessed puzzle of sorts. We experience the hardship and we are grateful for it, because the hardship and sacrifice are the source of Ramadan's blessings, the secret of its power. If it were easy, what would be the point?
The hardship, the gnawing hunger and dry thirst, the weakness and lack of energy as we go about our daily routine, working, attending school, caring for our children, and then praying at night, making dua', losing sleep until we feel exhausted and weak - all that is the secret of the glory of Ramadan.
The secret of Ramadan is deprivation. It's an open secret, but so many people fail to grasp it. They sleep all day during Ramadan, and then socialize and eat all night. They actually gain weight during Ramadan. They miss the entire point of Ramadan.
We are supposed to experience hardship. We should be waking up for Fajr, going to work, sticking to our daily routines, and then moderating our food intake even at night. We should increase our salat (prayer), dhikr (praising Allah), and reciting Quran. We should seek the difficulty of Ramadan.
When we do this sincerely, seeking only Allah's face, Allah's rewards and forgiveness come flooding into our lives.
Imagine what Ramadan was like for the Prophet (pbuh) and the Sahabah, fasting in 120 degree heat, going about their affairs, tending crops, shepherding animals, hunting, trading, running caravans, even fighting battles, and then breaking fast with a few dates, a cup of milk, and maybe a few bites of meat if they were fortunate.
Imagine what it's like right now for the people of East Africa who are experiencing drought and famine. (If you can, click here to donate to needy families).
Many of the readers of this website, IslamicAnswers.com, are experiencing hardship of a different kind. Many of you are dealing with painful relationship problems, difficulties in your marriages, problems with in-laws, breakups, or are struggling with feelings of shame and guilt.
Let Ramadan be a soothing balm for your soul. Let it purify you. Let Ramadan remind you of Allah's favors to you. Let Ramadan do its work on you, and when it's over don't go back to what you were. If Ramadan allows you to climb ten steps higher on the ladder toward Jannah, then maybe after Ramadan you fall back two or three steps, but not all the way. Be better and stronger than you were. This holy month will teach you, if you let it.
O Allah, for You do we fast, and for You do we break our fast. All praise is due to You, who fed us, and gave us to drink, and made us Muslims. Purify us during this month, relieve us from our burdens, and forgive us. - Ameen.
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