Written by: Sidra Siddiqui
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar- a month in which Muslims have been instructed to fast from food, drink, and intimacy, every day from dawn to dusk. This is a month of physical as well as spiritual detoxification. A month of reflection and re-calibration.
On the surface, it seems like Ramadan is only about starving ourselves. But in essence, the goal is greater. An empty stomach opens up our minds and hearts and reminds us of Allah’s favors upon us, and drives us to be grateful for those blessings. In this way Ramadan takes away our attention from physical fulfillment, and assists us in focusing on spiritual fulfillment, thereby encouraging us to strengthen our relationship with Allah.
Here are five ways we can get started with strengthening and beautifying our relationship with Allah during Ramadan:
Clear our hearts of animosity: This is a habit that Allah loves. Allah Himself loves to pardon His slaves. We must strive to hold no grudges and to clear our hearts so that Allah may be pleased with us, and we may come closer to Him.
Establish a habit of dhikr: The remembrance of Allah is a powerful thing. It reminds us of His majesty and keeps us conscious of Him. Ramadan is an excellent time to develop this habit of keeping our tongues busy with the remembrance of Allah,
Make lots of Dua: Dua is the weapon of the believer, as Shaykh Yasir Qadhi says. It reinforces and strengthens our belief in Allah and brings us hope and optimism in His grace and mercy. Since the dua of the fasting person is, according to a hadith, never rejected, we must not let go of this opportunity.
Develop one new habit: This could be anything- reading the Quran even if it just one verse a day. If we already do that, we could start learning and pondering over the meanings of the verses we read. Since becoming consistent with our prayers is something that automatically happens in Ramadan, we could add the sunnah prayers to our routine. It doesn’t have to be the sunnahs of all the five prayers- we could start with any one or two prayers.
Establish a consistent deed that is very personal and is between you and Allah alone: Allah loves deeds done in private and with consistency. Even if it is just a certain dhikr we do that no one knows about, or charity of some kind, or a special prayer we do when no one is around (maybe Duha, or Tahajjud). It doesn’t have to big, it just has to be consistent.
Ramadan, even though it seems long (29-30 days), is actually a very short time. It comes and goes faster than we can make sense of it. We must try and ensure that we don’t let it go waste. We must try our best to reconnect with Allah in this month and carry that renewed connection over to the rest of the year.
I pray that when Ramadan ends and the moon of Eid is upon us, we are all closer to Allah than we ever have been and that Eid is truly a joyous event for us all.