Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a very blessed month and we should strive to spend more time in prayer, reciting Quran, charity and doing good things during this month. We list out the main things that Muslims can and should strive to achieve during this blessed month:
1. Attain Taqwa
Allah SWT says: “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa,” [Al-Baqarah, 2:183]. Attainment of Taqwa (Piety) is the foremost requirement in the life of a believer. One who has attained Taqwa has attained excellence in the worship of the Lord. It is beyond doubt that fasting stands as one of the sublime means in attaining it. In many verses of the Qur’an Allah SWT says that the reward of the people of Taqwa is Paradise. “Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord and for a garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth prepared for the Muttaqeen (people of Taqwa), [Al-Imran 3:133].
2. Seek Taubah
Making Taubah is a precursor to achieving Taqwa and what better time than the month of Ramadan to do this. The month of Ramadan provides a wonderful opportunity for accounting of ones’ sins and making repentance. Taubah is about reflecting on oneself and then taking note of the sins that one commits. As human beings, we are prone to making mistakes and it is incumbent upon us to repent for the mistakes that we commit. It should not become a ritualistic exercise but we should be sincere in our Taubah. In fact, the last few 10 days of Ramadan, when a lot of Muslims observe ‘Aetkaaf’ in the mosque, is one of the best times to reflect on ourselves and make Taubah.
Taubah is something that is between you and Allah SWT. Seeking Taubah is not only confined to Ramadhan, but is a continuous process. Allah SWT says: “Surely, Allah loves those people who constantly repent to Him (do Taubah to Him),” [Al-Baqarah 2:222]. One important point to take note of in this verse is that Allah SWT did not say: “Allah loves the Taa’ibeen (those who repent),” but he said ‘Tawwabeen’ which means “those who constantly, over and over, repent to Allah.”
The Messenger of Allah SWT said: “O mankind! Do Taubah (repent) to Allah and seek His forgiveness, for surely, I do so 100 times every single day.” [Saheeh Muslim]. In actuality Taubah is one of the purposes of our very creation as human beings. Human nature is submerged in sins. The month of Ramadan gives us a huge opportunity to do Taubah and draw ourselves close to Allah’s will.
3. Seek Forgiveness
None among us is perfect. We all have weaknesses and bound to indulge in wrongdoing. We commit sins out of ignorance or for fulfilment of desires and whims. Abu Hurairah narrated that Allah’s Messenger PBUH said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain ALLAH’s rewards, and then all his past sins will be forgiven,” [Bukhari]. “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan (and that is called Qiyam) faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain ALLAH’s rewards (not for exhibition), all his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari]
4. Develop Relation with Quran
As this sublime truth, the glorious Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan. It deserves more attention and thoughtfulness during this month. We should strive to come closer to Quran and it’s message during this blessed month. It is beyond doubt that whoever develops a connect with the Quran will surely attain the goal of Ramadan (i.e. attainment of self-restraint, piety and noble conduct). Allah SWT says: “And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims),” [An-Nahl 16:89].
The days and nights of Ramadan should be spent in the recitation of the Qur’an and reflection on its meaning. The Prophet PBUH said: “Verily, Allah elevates some people with this Qur’an and humiliates others by it,” [Muslim].
Abdullah ibn `Amr reported that the Messenger of ALLAH PBUH said: “The fast and the Qur’an are two intercessors for the servant of ALLAH on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say: ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Qur’an will say: ‘I prevented him from asleep. Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted,” [Ahmad].
5. Strive to be amongst Siddeeqeen (true followers) and Shuhadaa (martyrs)
A man came to Prophet PBUH and said: “O Messenger of ALLAH PBUH, what if I testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah SWT and that you are the messenger of Allah and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay the Zakaah, and I fast and stand in prayer in Ramadan, then amongst whom shall I be? He PBUH said, Among Siddeeqeen and the Shuhadaa,” [Ibn Hibban].
6. Cut sexual desires
Fasting also helps in restricting ones’ desires. Alqama said: ‘’While I was walking with ‘Abdullah he said, “We were in the company of the Prophet and he said, ‘He who can afford to marry should marry, because it will help him refrain from looking at other women, and save his private parts from looking at other women, and save his private parts from committing illegal sexual relation; and he who cannot afford to marry is advised to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual power,” [Bukhari].
May Allah bless us all and help us in achieving the true virtues of Ramadan. Aameen