Ramadan is truly a blessed time, a special time when we discover the reality of ourselves.
For some, this is a frightening experience while it is reassuring for others. When we endure the rigors of fasting, our pretenses fall and we are more likely to see what we are really made of.
This can be tough, especially when you find yourself doing things wrong. You might think, well wasn’t Satan supposed to be locked away?!
Indeed, Satan is locked away, but the influence he has had on you throughout the year lasts, just as a teacher you have been paying attention to all this time, then he goes on holiday for a while, but you still remember his words or whispers and he has a lasting effect upon you. That is what we see in ourselves in Ramadan.
We are human after all and inclined to sin, error, and weakness, but at the same time Almighty Allah has given us a heart, a mind, a soul, and guidance as well as signs of truth that exist all around us.
What happens is that sometimes we get distracted by things in this life and do not always see the wonders surrounding us and the wonders within us.
Ramadan opens all this up to us and makes us more sensitive to goodness and truth. Therefore, when we do good deeds (like giving charity, reading the Qur’an, and helping others), the effect of those deeds goes deep down in us and has a lasting impression.
People are on different levels of development and understanding. Someone might be weak and sinful today but in the future might be strong and pious and vice versa.
Does it Matter?
Ramadan is a pit stop in life, a time to recharge and rejuvenate ourselves so we can carry on in our lives with steadfastness, wisdom, and strength. Some young people are confused and doubtful; they recognize the truth and are content with it but tend to be uninterested in growing and reaching out.
Such people might sway between commitment and indifference. They have a lot of potential but may not make good use of it and they are vulnerable and likely to go astray.
There can be many reasons for people to be like this — the lack of Islamic knowledge and understanding or being in an environment or surrounded by friends who are calling them to the wrong way. If so, they will be lost between two ways of life and are in need of help, support, caring, and good advice; sometimes, without them even admitting so.
Young people who are rightly guided, firmly believe in all that is implied by the principles of Islam. Not only do they pray and fast and so on, but they also realize the benefits of doing so. What they love the most is doing good and gaining the pleasure of Almighty Allah and all the peace of mind and inner strength that comes along. They see that the greatest profit in life is in strengthening their faith while the greatest loss is to lose it.
Such young people endure the fast of Ramadan with courage and determination.
Both confused and doubtful young people, strongly grounded in faith, will benefit not only from fasting in Ramadan, but also from doing some kind of volunteer work.
Doing good strengthens the heart and the soul’s commitment, and this is obviously beneficial for those who are in a weak state. Likewise, those who are already strong and firmly grounded in faith will be further strengthened by reaching out to others.
Remember that Almighty Allah can turn weakness into strength, and doubt into certainty in the blink of an eye. If the individual seeks the help and guidance of Almighty Allah, he or she should understand that Allah’s mercy and assistance is always near. That is where the blessings of Ramadan are.
We get to see ourselves more clearly, plus we have the chance to build up our spirituality and inner resources so we can make up for our mistakes and, to top it all off, actually put our understanding into practice. This is where volunteer work comes in.
Loving and truly caring about the welfare of others is an essential part of our faith. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “None from among you can be a true believer until he (or she) loves for his brother (or sister) in faith that which he (or she) loves for himself (or herself).”
If a young person realizes this responsibility to Almighty Allah and the need to follow in the footsteps of the Seal of Prophets (peace and blessings be upon him) who was sent by Allah as a mercy to humankind, he or she will strive for the goodness and benefit of all those around him.
Moreover, he or she will do so while being far from egoism and far from giving consideration to his or her own good at the expense of the good of others. Such a person will strive with sincerity and without pride or desire for reputation.
If you want to be a better Muslim, a true follower of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), you will seek to develop a refined character, be gentle, liberal, noble-minded, clean-hearted, steadfast, enduring, and resolute.
Such a person will never waste any opportunity to do good deeds, and to him or her, worldly matters will never override the importance of compassion. This kind of person works with wisdom and in silence while being firm and excellent in his or her good deeds. He or she does not waste any opportunity to volunteer and do good but instead occupies himself of herself in actions that are beneficial for him of her and those around him or her.
It is important that we realize that no one has ever reached the point where they have “made it;” where they can be sure they have a one-way ticket to Paradise!
Achieving success in this life and the Hereafter requires that we earnestly seek to do good every day of our lives and use every opportunity until our very last breath.
Realizing this should keep us humble; with that humility and sincerity, such people become the pride of Muslims everywhere and a symbol of their prosperity and development.
These are the young people who will obtain the good of this world and the Hereafter. They are the young people who, by the mercy and guidance of Almighty Allah, will rectify the corruption among the Muslims and illuminate the spiritual path of those who seek the truth.
First published: June 2013