Honouring Ramadan: Keeping the Grace of Rida’

Ramadan is for Muslims to benefit – change and strive towards goodness, strengthen relation with Allah (swt) and enable themselves to make a better place for all of mankind, writes SHAZIA CHOWDHURY.

 

We tend to clean the house when a guest is coming to visit us. Why? Because we want to make sure the guest is happy and comfortable. We make sure the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room are sparkling clean and tidy –all things put in place – walls are colored and fixed, cushions are lined up on the sofa, all the fabrics are washed, the crockery sets are set straight in the kitchen and so on. Ramadan is that VIP/guest that visits us once a year and stays with us for a month. This guest is special and blessed. It is important for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state- all these are cleanliness, which is good for our wellbeing. The best way to keep the guest happy is by, keeping all the negatives away for a month, and try to maintain it in our daily lives for the rest of the year. It is as essential as food and water. It should be practiced from an early age, as the most foremost responsibility of an individual.

For Muslims, observing this month is very important. We are given an opportunity to better ourselves as individuals and to strive to do good, forbid wrong, work hard to get our deeds accepted and to get closer to Allah (swt).

We are told and believe:

“When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the Heaven are opened and the gates of the Hell are closed and the devils are chained.”- Sahih al-Muslim & Sahih al-Bukhari

During the month of Ramadan, Book of Allah – the Qur’an was revealed; hence, we should seek knowledge about this beautiful religion to strive to better ourselves.

“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance to mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So anyone of you who sees in that month should fast…” – Qur’an (2:185) 

Following would be the dos and don’ts, Muslims follow during Ramadan and should try to uphold for the rest of the year for a fulfilling lifestyle, and also forbid the wrong:

 

What does Charity mean for Muslims? And why do we do it?

Zakat (charity) is a means of getting closer to Allah (swt). It is when we spend for the sake of Allah (swt), for people who are in need or are poor, and to help them with their worldly lives, in order to get a beautiful reward from Allah (swt) in Akhirah.

Zakat Calculation

  • 5% on the total annual gross income (if the total income in more than the nisab rate)
  • It is paid after deducting all allowable basic expenses
  • It is paid after deducting all the liabilities

Muslims should donate and help the poor all throughout the year. We are told:

“Those who give, (in charity) out of their own possessions, by night and by day, in private and in public, will have their reward with their Lord: no fear for them, nor will they grieve.”- Qur’an (2:274) 

What is Tahajjud?

It is a special night prayer that is prayed after Isha prayer or before Fajr prayer. The best time is to pray on the one-third of the night, after waking up from sleep. It is not obligatory but is recommended. The prayer is not limited in number. It is said, that Allah (swt) descends to the lowest heaven in the last third of the night to give, answer and forgive His believers.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Our Lord (swt) descends each night to the earth’s sky when there remains the final third of the night, and He says: Who is saying a prayer to Me that I may answer it? Who is asking something of Me that I may give? Who is asking for forgiveness of Me that I may forgive?”- Sahih al-Bukhari &Sahih al-Muslim

The Six Days of Shawwal

Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “Whoever fasts (in Ramadan) and follows it with 6 days of Shawwal, it will be as if he fasted for a year.”- Sahih al-Muslim

Prophet Muhammad (saws) said that every good deed is multiplied by ten, so then you have one month worth of fasting, which covers ten months, and then if you fast for six days of Shawwal, it covers the remaining days of the year. Muslims should try to fast them right after Ramadan, when there’s an opportunity because if you don’t, then you’ll miss this possibility and lose out on earning the great rewards. Can you combine intentions between these voluntary fasts? Yes. If you decide to fast every Monday and Thursday, then you can combine the intention of the 6 fasts with Monday and Thursday, inshaAllah.

Sunnah Fasts

Prophet Muhammad (saws) used to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. It is a Sunnah to fast on those two days. Fasting on Monday is recommended because Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “On that day I was born, and on it, the Revelation came to me.”- Sahih al-Muslim

Fasting on Thursday is recommended because Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “Deeds are shown to Allah on Mondays and Thursdays, and I like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.”- Sahih at-Tirmidhi

We should adapt the habit of fasting these Sunnah fasts, all throughout the year and earn rewards. These fasts are encouraged and recommended for Muslims to practice. This keeps us in check and does not make it difficult on us when it is time for us to fast the whole month of Ramadan. Recently, it has been covered by the mainstream media that it is recommended to fast on Mondays and Thursdays as it is a healthy choice to live a better life. The research has only shown this recently, but we Muslims have been exposed to this from a very long time. These blessed, Sunnah fasts has its benefits on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual being.

Conclusion

Ramadan is for Muslims to benefit – change and strive towards goodness, strengthen relation with Allah (swt) and enable themselves to make a better place for all of mankind.

At the end of a rough journey, we always want to go to our perfect little home to relax. This life is a journey for us, and we should prepare and decorate our homes in Akhirah with what we do in Dunya. We are told by Allah (swt) that He has perfected our religion and we should follow it in order to get the perfect home in Jannah which will be eternal.

Allah (swt) says:

“Today I have perfected your religion for you, completed My blessing upon you, and chosen as your religion Islam (total devotion to God)…”- Qur’an (5:3)

May Allah (swt) allow us continue doing the good deeds that we have done in this Ramadan and to see the next Ramadan in Imaan (faith) and health. May He accept our acts of worship and overlook our faults. May He forgive us and protect us. May He enlighten us with the infinite light of His beauty and magnificence and have mercy upon us all. Aameen.