My name is Aliza Kim. I work with a lot of people who are just learning about Islam. So in this series, I’m going to be coaching you on the basics of Ramadan.
Welcome to the first episode of Ramadan Coach. Now, why exactly we’re calling this series “Ramadan Coach”, we’re going to know by the end of this episode.
Technically, Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, the month of intense heat and the word ‘ramad’ means to bake a sheep in its own skin.
The lunar calendar is 10-11 days shorter than the solar calendar. This is significant because actually each year passes, Ramadan moves a little bit earlier in the year. So if Ramadan now is in summer, at some point it’s going to move in spring… so Muslims are been able to fast every single season.
Now, what else do I want to tell you about Ramadan? Ramadan is also known as the month of the Quran. This is the month which is revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
This is the month a lot of Muslims focusing on the recitation and how much they study about the Quran, not only reciting but also understanding the meanings of the words and trying to apply the lessons in their life.
Why do we Fast?
So now we know a few things about Ramadan but we still haven’t discussed why we fast. Well, there are few reasons one of them is that we get more rewards and easier to fast in Ramadan and do other acts of worships because Satan is locked up. Since he’s not bothering us and messing our prayer up… it’s just a lot easier.
A huge reason why we fast and we do more acts of worship during Ramadan is to build taqwa. What exactly is taqwa? Taqwa is often defined as God fearing. However, this isn’t quite accurate. The word waqa means to preserve, to protect, and to keep oneself safe.
If we think about it in Islam, how we protect ourselves, how do we keep ourselves safe from falling into sin? We think about and we are conscious about Allah. We know that Allah is watching us, we’re less likely to fall in sin and do things that were not supposed to.
So this is a better translation of the word taqwa; it actually means being God conscious.
Let me give examples of what I mean by God consciousness. We basically know that in Ramadan we fast from food and drink but of course that’s not the only things we fast from. Surprise! I’m going to talk about that in next video.
We usually fast from food and drink and we actually remember Allah more because all sustenance comes from Allah and when we feel hungry, we should be thanking Him and thinking about Him so that we are grateful and that we’re conscious about where our sustenance comes from.
Another example when we do charity work, we should be observing people that we are helping and remembering that Allah is the giver of rizq. Rizq is actually wealth of money, children, health and more…
So for remembering that Allah gave us wealth that He didn’t give the people that we’re helping. So we remember to be conscious of Allah, where our wealth comes from and also to be grateful to Him.
Attitude of Gratitude
I’ve mentioned gratefulness in both of these examples and that is another reason why we fast during Ramadan and we do extra acts of worship, it is to build an attitude of gratitude.
Everything that we have, every comfort, joy, every positive in our lives, life lessons whatever they might be all come from Allah. And because of that we are grateful to Him and because of the fasting and the extra acts of worship and the lessons that we gain, if Ramadan is done properly, we do develop this attitude of gratitude.
Up to now, you might be thinking that Ramadan is something that we do for Allah, that is something that Allah wants us to do for Him but, in reality He doesn’t need anything from us. He is the controller, the creator, the Lord of the universe and everything in it. Does He need anything from us? No.
Let me give you another perspective. Ramadan is a mercy on us from Allah. Now not only are we gaining good deeds but it’s just another chance for us to redeem ourselves.
You know, there is actually no way for us to do enough good deeds, to do enough acts of worship to get to Paradise by ourselves, but Allah is constantly giving us chances to burn our sins, to redeem ourselves and to gain His mercy. And Ramadan is one of those huge mercies.
There is a hadith that tells us that from Ramadan to Ramadan, if our Ramadan is accepted, all of our minor sins are absolutely completely wiped away and our books are clean from the minor sins. (Muslim 233)
This is a huge mercy to us. That means that Allah doesn’t need our fasting, He doesn’t need our acts of worship, but we ourselves need it so that we can ask for His forgiveness and be forgiven so that we have a better chance to enter Jannah.
Why Ramadan Coach?
Why we call this series “Ramadan Coach” is because Ramadan is like our off season training.
This is when we have intensive training on remembering Allah, reading and understanding the Quran, doing more charity, giving alms, doing more acts of worship, whatever they may be… they may be extra voluntary prayers… so many different acts of worship that you’re trying to do more of during this time and so many different desires, desire to eat, to get angry, different types of emotions, negative feelings, negative thoughts that you’re trying to control during this time.
So in this month, you’re just trying to be so good and you’re focusing so much good so God willing for the rest of the year, in comparison, it should be a lot easier and it should be able to continue doing the good, doing the acts worship, thinking good, being good for the rest of the year due to intensive off season training.
(This video is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)