Salam Dear Questioner,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“Verily actions are by intentions, and for every person is what he intended.” [Sahih al Bukhari]
One of the means to help revive the heart in Ramadan -and beyond-, is to remind oneself of the neyya (intention) before performing any act. This is a deep spiritual experience.
The heart that wants to be truly in the presence of Allah (SWT) and in connection with Him, always remembers Him and remembers to make a dedication to Him before every action.
Worshiping Allah is not limited to the few rituals we perform. Before embarking on doing any act, take a moment to say internally: “O Allah, this is for Your sake…for Your Beautiful Noble Face that I wish to see in Jannah.”
Even before sleeping and going to bed, the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to set his intention and show his pure faith in Allah (SWT). He used to say:
“O Allah, I have turned my face to You and I have surrendered myself to You and I have committed my back to You out of fear and desire for You. There is no place of safety or refuge from You except with You.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad]
By constantly reminding our hearts to set the neyya (intention) before every act, the hearts will continue to be focused and steadfast and we’ll find that our entire life has been dedicated to Allah (SWT) since we think of Him before doing anything.
It is a reminder that the action- in and of itself -is not the end. It is a mean to an end. It is a reminder that Allah is the end, His pleasure, His closeness, His unlimited rewards are the end. He is the Destination. So, seek Allah in every action you take.
In essence, we don’t want the heart to get absorbed in donia (the material/physical world), we don’t want the heart to get absorbed in the busyness of life. Accordingly, we remember to dedicate our actions in life for the sake of the One who granted us this life in the first place. With Him, even the smallest acts- with pure intentions- will carry enormous reward and enormous feeling of accomplishment. Allah is Ash-Shakoor (The Appreciative)!
The Prophet said:
“Do not consider any act of goodness as being insignificant even if it is meeting your brother with a cheerful face.” [Related by Muslim]
Practical tip: set your neyya now that you want to grow and elevate through this month. Remember to look beyond the physical act in order to acknowledge the greater meaning.
For example, why are you reading articles and seeking knowledge? Isn’t knowledge (‘ilm) a mean to reach Allah Al ‘Alim (The Most Knowing, The Source of Knowledge)? Why are you giving charity? Isn’t it a reminder of His generosity since He is Al-Kareem (The Generous)?
Why are you praying? Isn’t it a connection between you and Him? Why are you reading Quran? Isn’t it a mean to listen to Him? Why are you making supplications? Isn’t this a mean to speak to Him?
All these experiences help you become in the presence of Allah and help you experience the manifestation of His Beautiful Names in your life. This is our purpose in life, to learn about Allah, to know Him deeply and intimately and remain in remembrance and connection with Him…
So, set the neyya now. This month is for the revival of hearts. Dedicate your actions to Him, Al-Hafiz (The One who preserves every act). By doing so, your heart will remain connected, reminded and will find rest in Ramadan and beyond.
“For indeed, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” (Quran 13:28)
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.