We’re coming up to another amazing month of Ramadan. How do we prepare? If this will be your first Ramadan, welcome to this beautiful time of the year.
Imagine that a ‘rich’ VIP, who promises a great deal of wealth, is going to visit your house, what do you do?
The first thing you’re going to do is tell your friends and family, you’re going to prepare, you’re definitely going to clean your house. You’re going to talk a lot about it and you’re going to be planning for this VIP to visit and you’re going to be thinking about it.
A VIP Visitor
How many of us prepare like this for the VIP which is coming i.e. Ramadan?
Ramadan is definitely more important than any VIP who could come to your door. Why?
The VIP can’t take you to Jannah while Ramadan can open doors for you to Jannah.
The way that most Muslims prepare for Ramadan is by a lot of shopping before Ramadan begins. But the majority of us actually don’t think about Ramadan way in advance.
Understand the Spirit of Ramadan
This is the opposite to what the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to do. In fact it’s mentioned that the companions would ask Allah six months before to grant them a long life to reach the next Ramadan and they would ask Allah six months after each Ramadan to accept their fast.
This suggests and shows that the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) understood not just nuts and bolts of Ramadan, which would be the fact that we don’t eat from morning to evening, and the fact that we are praying certain prayers…
They understood the spirit and the depth of the month of Ramadan and the fast. Fasting has this amazing spirit because there is no guarantee that Allah is going to accept our fasts.
In fact there is a very nice hadith that says that many people who fast will gain nothing from that fast except hunger and thirst.
Imagine you’re fasting for long hours and all you’re getting is hunger and thirst! What does this actually mean?
This means that when we’re fasting, we might be fasting by not eating and drinking, but there are other elements of fasting.
Clean Your Heart
You need to spring clean. Usually when the spring comes, we start preparing, we start sorting the garden out, we start sorting our house out in preparation. For the month of Ramadan, we start sorting out our hearts. We need a clean heart. We need to clear out the sins.
Because when we’re sinning a lot and we’re not asking Allah for forgiveness, it’s like building a wall, brick by brick, each sin you do is like a brick and it’s building a barrier between you and Allah.
Seek His Forgiveness
The only thing that gets rid of these bricks is when Allah gives His forgiveness. We have to ask for that forgiveness and have the intention not to do that sin again. Even if we do that sin again, because none of us is perfect, we have to renew our intention and renew our asking for Allah’s forgiveness.
Satan is whispering all the time. And Allah describes Satan as a vowed enemy for us and He asks us to take him as enemy. Satan is going to whisper to your desire, he’s going to encourage you to do wrong and stay away from doing good and not to prepare for Ramadan.
We have to make sure that we understand that our asking Allah for forgiveness is threatened by Satan. Satan will try to make what we’re doing seem correct where actually they’re not correct.
We make excuses for ourselves, we justify our actions, we blame other circumstances… Satan will definitely build up from a small place and build up to something very huge.
The tongue is the greatest weapon that we have. We can use it to harm people, so we have to be careful to avoid what the Quran tells us:
Woe be to every slenderer and bickbitter. (Quran 104)
One of the biggest things that we do is to talk about other people in ways that hurt them.
Allah loves to forgive us. There is a beautiful hadith where Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says:
By Him in Whose Hand is my life, if you were not to commit sin, Allah would sweep you out of existence and He would replace (you by) those people who would commit sin and seek forgiveness from Allah, and He would have pardoned them. (Muslim)
This means that when you did a sin, if you go asking forgiveness from Allah, then Allah will forgive you and you are put in a higher place.
Ibn Al Qayyim said:
“The believers should repent until they return to Allah.”
Catch up your fasts from last year, and make sunnah fasts as you can. Shaban is like a training for Ramadan.
Just like we prepare when we are going to go on holiday, or when that VIP is coming, we make big preparations for Ramadan.
If you want to fast during this month before Ramadan, then do it; if you don’t want to fast that’s fine but make sure that your heart and your soul is prepared for this amazing month.
I look forward to speaking to you in the next video about how to build the spirituality and the relationship with Allah to prepare for Ramadan.
(From Discovering Islam archives)