Tag archive for ‘ramadan tips’

Ten Tips for Ramadan

Woman reads Quran

A Muslim woman reads a copy of the Quran at the Istiqlal mosque during the second day of ramadan in Jakarta, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, on September 2, 2008. (ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images) #

By Nabeel Khan of http://annoor.wordpress.com/

As the blessed month of Ramadhan approaches, we need to prepare for it in such a way that we can gain the maximum benefit of this month. For many, Ramadhan comes and goes. However, very few people actually benefit from this great month.

Our teachers advise us to live the whole year as if we are in the month of Ramadhan. This magnanimous achievement can only be attained when the actual month of Ramadhan is spent properly. In order to acquire a droplet of the reality mentioned above, Insha Allah, I hope to mention ten points that were given as form of advice to me and many others.

1. Discipline:

Most people already know to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from one’s spouse during the daytime of Ramadhan. However, a level of discipline must be developed to do righteous acts and abstain from those acts which would earn the displeasure of Allah. That was a basic form of discipline that needs to be developed but along with that, one needs to have discipline in following a particular routine or schedule for Ramadhan.

This will be the real life changing factor for an individual. They wake up for suhoor but also pray Tahajjud at that time. Recite some Qur’an. They eat. Make dua’ while waiting for Salah. They pray Fajr. Recite Qur’an and make zikr. Rest if they need to.

The idea is to make a schedule and act accordingly the whole month without sacrificing their schedule. This is the desired discipline that is required.One may ask, “Why did he not just put the first point as a ‘making a schedule’?” Well, the answer is very simple. Anyone can come up with a schedule, but it takes real discipline to abide by it.

2. Devotional life (‘Ibadah):

Ramadhan is the month where Allah allows us to really fulfill the purpose of our being, and the purpose of our creation. Allah created us all to worship Him, and Him alone.Here, I will not mention virtues of various acts or worship because those can be found in the many books on the merits of certain deeds.

However, since Ramadhan and Qur’an are closely connected, I will say that much of our devotional life should be focused on the Qur’an. Reciting at least the entire Qur’an once in this month. Understanding it from erudite scholarship of our community or from accepted commentaries and Tafaaseer.

I am not asking that a person recites the entire Qur’an and completes one entire commentary of it in one month. Perhaps it may be feasible to recite the entire Qur’an and start off a regimen of a Tafseer and try to finish it on an annual basis.

3. Identifying with the Ummah:

It is important that we feel our fast, i.e. feel hunger and thirst. Apart from that, we can use this to our benefit by making other people’s fast count for us as well. This means that if we feed or give to drink something to someone who fasts, we can get the reward of their fast as well.

Another aspect of identifying with the Ummah is to be grateful for whatever Allah has given us and realize that a little of that we need to give to others so that they may have a decent Ramadhan and wonderful ‘Eid. See what the Ummah is going through and see how we can actively participate to help the Ummah in any way possible.

4. Contact with the Qur’an:

Ramadhan is the month wherein the Qur’an was revealed. This is the month of the Qur’an. It is extremely essential to establish a relationship with the Qur’an. Without going into much detail, I will just mention something practical with regards to the Qur’an and Ramadhan.For the average person, i.e. one who is not scholar or is not a Hafiz, they should read at least one juz per day so that they finish at a minimum one entire Qur’an for the month of Ramadhan.

If one can do more, than Alhamdulillah, no one is stopping anyone.The next thing is to understand the Qur’an. So take the first volume of Ma’ariful Qur’an (for example) and read one section of the Arabic part (if one can) and then read the translation, then read the commentary. Do this every day without fail. Obviously the whole commentary will not be completed in one month, but at least a schedule to read a portion regularly will be developed and hopefully within a year it could be completed.

Also, one should try to memorize those chapters/surahs which are read often like Mulk, Kahf, Ya Seen, Waqi’ah, and Sajdah. Also memorize Surahs from the last juz at least and more if possible.

5. Mujahadah:

Ramadhan is a month of sacrifice and struggle. It is a month where Allah wants our time, our health, our wealth, and our whole being. We literally live the whole year for everything and anything. It is just one month…can we not live one month solely for our Creator?!

So what if we have to sacrifice our sleep, and random other luxuries that we can do without anyway. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” The amount of sacrifice and struggle we put into this month, Allah will reward us in this world and the next accordingly.Give yourself to Allah, and see what Allah has in store for you.

6. Dua’:

The essence of worship is supplication to Allah. This whole month, Allah is willing and readily open to accept all that we ask of Him. It is only to our own loss and detriment that we lack in begging Allah for the things we need.

Prioritize your supplications. Ask firstly for yourself, then your family, community, then the Ummah at large. Within that, prioritize and ask for things pertaining to the hereafter, then ask for things pertaining to this world.Just remember one thing when it comes to dua’, the point of dua’ is not that we need something or we need protection or refuge from some other thing, the point is that Allah told us to supplicate to Him, and that is why one should make dua’ abundantly. There are certain things Allah loves to do, and one of them is to answer the supplications of His servants who call unto Him.

One final aspect regarding dua’ is crying or pretending to cry. Tears are something foreign to Allah and therefore He has immense value for tears. The whole year we become filthy and impure spiritually by sinning, Ramadhan is the month where we purify our spirits by bathing our spirits in our tears.

7. Good Company:

Ramadhan is a month to maximize on good deeds and keep bad deeds at zero. Being in the company of the righteous will allow one to attain this goal. I will keep this point short. The minimum benefit one gets by being in good company is that one will not sin which in turn will cause one to become the greatest worshiper.

There is a hadith reported in Tirmidhi wherein An-Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) took Abu Hurayrah’s (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu) hand and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, abstain from all prohibitions and you will become the best worshiper.”The maximum benefit is that being with the people of Allah, Insha Allah; a person may just Attain Allah. What can be greater?!

8. Gratitude:

The secret to an increase in anything is to be thankful for it. To make sure that we see this month the next year, appreciate it this year. Be thankful for all that we have in every aspect, even the basic things we neglect and take for granted. We have Iman, we have Islam. Alhamdulillah, we are the best Ummah. We have been given the best book, i.e. the Qur’an.

The best way to appreciate a bounty is to use it for its purpose. Allah has blessed with infinite blessing and bounties. Ramadhan is one of those bounties, so to fully appreciate Ramadhan, we must spend it the way Allah would like us to spend it and attain out goal which is Taqwa.

9. Following the Sunnah:

Anything of the beloved is also beloved. That is a principle of love. Allah has proclaimed the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) as His beloved. If we follow the Sunnah and show a resemblance, then we can also gain the focus of Allah. Particularly follow the Sunnah acts which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) performed in Ramadhan.

If we have to do something, might as well do it the best way possible. The best way for anything to be done is the way of the Sunnah. If by any chance it was some other way, Allah would have had His Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) do it that way then.

10. Istiqamah:

Imam Junayd Al-Baghdadi (RA) said, “Steadfastness is greater than a thousand miracles.” Please do not tire one’s self out in the initial stages of Ramadhan, rather figure out a routine that works and stick to it regularly. The most beloved of actions to Allah are those that are done consistently even though they may seem minor.

We all need to be thankful for the good that we have done and also for the evil we are able to abstain from. We also need to be thankful for whatever level of steadfastness that we have. We want to make Ramadhan last beyond Ramadhan as well.

I’ll end with a quote from one of our mashaaikh, Shaykh In’aam-ul-Hasan Kandehlawi (RA) said, “Whoever lives their life as they do in Ramadhan, then death will come to that person just as the moon of ‘Eid comes for the fasting person.”

To conclude, we pray to Allah that He accepts all of our efforts and overlooks and forgives all of our shortcomings. Aameen.

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5 ways to make your Ramadan extraordinary

Ramadan parade in Indonesia

Ramadan parade in Indonesia

Even though we are all excited by the coming of Ramadan, I think many of us harbor inner doubts, and fears of inadequacy. I recently came across this beautiful piece by Tawfique Chowdhury that addresses these issues honestly. Insha’Allah it will benefit us and stengthen our resolve. - Wael Abdelgawad, Zawaj.com Editor

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

My dear friends and students,

Welcome to our long-lost friend: Ramadan. How we have missed the days of self-restraint and the nights of mercy and delight! After eleven months of sinning, we now have the opportunity to avail ourselves of a month of mercy and forgiveness. For those whose duas have not been answered, the month of answered duas has arrived. For those who have drifted away from the soothing night prayer, or who have never achieved it, the month of the blessed taraweeh has arrived. Welcome to our Lord’s mercy: the month of Ramadan. No doubt each and every one of us approaches Ramadan with a special excitement. Alas for many of us, however: the excitement is met with fear and dread instead.

Will this Ramadan be like the previous ones where I failed to truly take full advantage and mend my ways?

Will this Ramadan only demonstrate to me how far away from Allah I truly am?

Will it be yet another month that passes by without my taking full advantage of it?

If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. Many of us feel this way and do not know how to tackle it. As a result, the fear and dread are enough for us to avoid setting new goals and higher aspirations for this month. As a result, we find ourselves at the end of the month in the situation of having failed to benefit from this opportunity and languishing in sorrow at the thought that we will never improve.

I too used to get these whispers and thoughts in my mind. However, I overcame these thoughts with the help of Allah. Here are five things that I have done to tackle these “Ramadan blues”. Let me share them with you; perhaps the suggestions may benefit you, and help you to overlook the past and focus on the future.

1) Good thoughts about Allah:

I remind myself that my Lord is most Generous and Kind. He loves me sincerely. The proof is that even when I disobey Him He still provides for me. That is why He is giving me yet another Ramadan: yet another opportunity to get closer to Him again. He loves to forgive, and His best friends are those who seek His forgiveness the most. He has brought me to another Ramadan so that I can have yet another chance at Laylatul Qadr, and yet another chance to make my duas accepted at the time of iftar, and yet another chance to do Hajj with Rasul-Allah (sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) by doing umrah in this month. He has brought me to Ramadan to sooth the sorrows in my heart with His remembrance, and for me to be reminded of the nights in my grave by the solitude of i’tikaaf: by seeing how it feels to be alone with Him in the mosque. He wants me to lighten the load on my mind, so that is why He has given me the month of the Qur’an: so that I can relive the amazing Word of my Rabb (Lord and Master).

The salaf (pious predecessors) would beg Allah for another opportunity for Ramadan, so how fortunate I am that He has given me this chance once again. How fortunate I am that He has given me the chance to know when this month is, so that I can take advantage of it. How fortunate I am that He has given me the yearning in my heart to meet my Lord in this month – and I know that the one who loves to meet His Lord, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala also loves to meet him.

2) Forget the past and focus on the future:

Forest path to sunlight

Forgive the past, and look to the future

I remind myself that past deeds are just that: a matter of the past. I live for the future, not the past. The past will be forgiven insha’Allah if I can mend the future. My concern should be the next deed that I do, because Allah loves to forgive; so I can have every confidence that He will forgive the past because I have nothing but regret for my past sins.

The most important consideration for me is what sort of amends I make now. I remind myself of what Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahu-Allah) said in his Nooniyyah:

By Allah I am not afraid of my past sins,
For indeed they are upon the path of repentance and forgiveness;
Rather my real concern is that [in the next deed] this heart
Might cease to act upon revelation and upon the noble Qur’an.

3) Evaluate previous attempts in order to plan a strategy to make it work this time:

I remember that it is illogical to think that my future chances of success are a reflection of my failures in the past. My past inabilities only show me what to do better this time so that I can increase my chances this time around.

So if I tried to pray taraweeh every night but failed, I should look back at what happened in order to learn lessons from those failures. Was it that the Imam’s recitation was not good? If so, then let me try to find a mosque to go to whose Imam recites better. If I failed to complete reciting the whole Qur’an last year, let me look at why that was the case and how I can change it. Can I put up reminders to read the Qur’an, or shall I buy a few more copies of the Qur’an and put them in more convenient places, such as one in my car, another in my briefcase and another on my table, so that I have a mushaf always on hand?

If I missed getting up for fajr last Ramadan, why did it happen and how can I change it? Perhaps I should buy more alarm clocks, so let me go to the store right now. Perhaps I should SMS my friends to start a fajr prayer-calling group so that each day one of us is responsible for waking the others up. Perhaps I should make my suhur my heaviest meal so that my body feels hungry at suhur-time and so I get up more easily.

4) Reward, challenge and penalise myself:

I can plan and prepare to reward myself if I finish this Ramadan satisfactorily. So I tell myself that if I can make myself pray all my prayers at the earliest time this Ramadan and recite the Qur’an five times this month, then I will buy myself a new laptop; if I can recite it ten times then I will go away with my family for a holiday, or some other significant reward that I know I would definitely like to treat myself with.

I warn myself that if I fail to at least recite the Qur’an five times in this month, then I will donate a thousand dollars to charity. I remind myself that even Allah’s Messenger sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to give worldly rewards to those who excelled in battle: e.g. half the war-booty from the raids to the Muslim knights who had taken part in the raid; he (saw) would consider it a great sin upon the one who fails to join the obligatory battle.

In the same spirit of reward, challenge and penalty, I would do this for my children and my wife as well by helping them with a reward if they do something extraordinary this month, and a penalty if they did not even do the minimum extra level. In this way I can give them an added incentive to do good in this limited time of Ramadan.

I remind myself that ultimately we must do it for Allah and never for a physical prize, but associating an emotional desire with an action and fear of a punishment at the non-performance of it will cause that action to be foremost in the subconscious part of my mind. I remind myself that the worst thing about not making this Ramadan special would be something worse than the penalty I have stipulated. It would be the disappointment of a Ramadan wasted, and the risk of Allah’s wrath.

5) Create peer-pressure and responsibility:

I remind myself that if I make my friends and family aware of some of my goals, then they might help me. So I share some of my goals with them, ensuring that I am doing it to engage their help in performing it, not in a spirit of boasting. I hope that this will give me added support and encouragement to ensure that they help me in achieving the good things I have set out to do. If they do not help, at the very least they should not mind when I excuse myself from their service or company in order to spend some time on working towards my goal.

Young Syrian women talking

If I share my goals with my family and friends, they might support me

I hope that some or all of these things will help you to look upon this Ramadan with a fresh outlook. Make lots of dua to Allah that this Ramadan will be special for you, for your family, and for the Ummah of our beloved sall-Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. I am interested in hearing from you if you have other things that you do to focus positively at the advent of another Ramadan.

Jazaakumullahulkhair and my duas for you and your family for a fantastic and blessed Ramadan, insha’Allah;

wassalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Tawfique Chowdhury
Director General
AlKauthar Institute and Mercy Mission World

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