Ramadhan is here!
First of all, Ramadhan Kareem to everyone. I thank Allah for giving me the honor of seeing this Ramadhan and I hope that I make it through the month having earned His forgiveness and His mercy.
To all of my friends and family members, I pray that all our sins are forgiven and that we live up to new resolution of becoming better Muslims this year. Ramadhan for me is a like a new year starting. A new beginning that Allah grants to some of us. And so it is a great time to reconnect with Allah and the Quran to keep us going for the next 11 months.
Here are my Top Ten Tips for how to spend this month in peace and tranquility:
1. Start by wishing all your friends and family Ramadhan Kareem via SMS or fb but make sure you call the elders in your family. We need to realize that Ramadhan is a celebration for the Muslims and we should share the joy with the people we love.
2. Very politely tell your friends and family that you have a new family rule: "We can't go out to iftaris". And this rule cannot be broken. We go out to dinners and lunches 11 months of the year so this month we can relax and unwind and focus on praying. My father made this announcement many years ago when we started going for Taraweeh as a family and although some relatives get irritated by the no-show on the Iftar party, like everything else, they eventually get over it.
3. This month is not about food. Having said that we all need food to break our fast and for sehris. So, where it is good to be the one to get up at Sehri/Iftar and make sure that everyone eats what they like, this month should not revolve around food ONLY.
4. Connect with the Quran. Find an online lecture of tafseer to listen to or read one. You must go over the Quran by yourself so you absorb it at your own pace. The magic of ramadhan is that it connects a lot of people with the Quran and it is an everlasting relationship. I hope you are one of those special people this month.
5. Attend Taraweeh where Daura-e-Quran is coupled with it. It is an experience of a lifetime plus its a great routine to have in Ramadhan. Qayam-ul-Lail is the best way to spend the night and the best time to ask for forgiveness. I recommend the Quran Academy located on Sea-View. This will be our 4th Ramadhan there and I pray that Allah allows us the opportunity again. Inshallah.
6. I hope that clothes, shoes and bags for the family are sorted out. This should be the other un-breakable rule of Ramadhan: "We can't go out to the bazaar for shopping". The occasional grocery is required but not shopping for Eid clothes in Ramadhan. This should have been done a month back.
7. Realize that not everyone you know has lived to see this ramadhan so this may also be our last. Feel that every second of this month and improve the quality of your Salah and Dua. This month is about increasing our God Consciousness - taqwah, so focus on doing, saying everything based on Allah's command and the Prophet's method.
8. Make sure you listen to some lectures about Ramadhan Orientation and how to get the blessings of Allah. There is a great video on you tube by Ustaadh Nouman Ali Khan called "Ramadhan, a gift for Muslims". Do watch it and make notes because it will help clarify what your focus needs to be.
9. Try and go over the 'book of Sawm' and make sure you clarify questions/doubts that may have been nagging you regarding fasting beforehand. Make sure you review the Dua's for fasting and encourage your family members to read them and memorize them.
10. Remember that a lot of our family members and friends are no longer with us. Please make time to pray for them and remember that one day we will be 6 feet under. Then we will be hoping that someone prays for us.
I would like to end with a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad SAWS in Sahih Bukhari:
It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Anyone who spends the Night of Power in prayer motivated by belief and in anticipation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions. Whoever fasts Ramadan motivated by belief and in anticipation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions."
I hope that we find that night of power and earn forgiveness for our sins. Else we found nothing in 30 days of fasting except hunger and thirst.
Ramadhan Kareem to all.