In the Name of Allah, the Most High.
By the Glory of Allah SWT, we have reached the month of Ramadan. How blessed we are to witness this sacred month once more in our lifetime. Ramadan is a month of forgiveness, mercy, self-reflection, and self-betterment. Ramadan teaches us to starve our nafs of sins and temptation so that we may fill our soul with good deeds, patience, and God consciousness (taqwa). As we go forth this month, let us strive to better ourselves by asking Allah SWT for sincere forgiveness and by establishing concrete steps we will take to grow closer to Allah SWT.
Ramadan as a Month of Forgiveness
Abu Huraira RZ reported that the Prophet Muhammad SAWS said, “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven,” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Hence, we should enter the month of Ramadan with sincerity in our longing to be forgiven and belief that we will be forgiven by the One who loves to forgive. However, at times we may feel that the weight of our sins is too great to be forgiven or that we have strayed away from ibadah (worship) for too long, so how can we turn back now? As prevalent as these thoughts may be, we must remember that Allah’s SWT mercy surpasses His wrath, (Bukhari). Allah SWT, Himself, has told us in a Hadith Qudsi: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind…” (at-Tirmidhi)
Allah SWT has ninety-nine names, and several of his names highlight his mercy and forgiveness, including, but not limited to Ar- Rahman, Al-Ghaffur and Al-Ghaffar. Furthermore, what better month to turn back to Allah SWT then the month of Ramadan? Ramadan is broken into three parts, each emphasizing Allah’s SWT mercy and forgiveness “…the first part of which brings Allah’s Mercy, the middle of which brings Allah’s forgiveness, and the last part of which brings emancipation from hellfire,” (Bukhari). Ramadan is a gift to humankind; the ideal time to ask for forgiveness, self-reflect on our relationship with Allah SWT, and flourish our soul with goodness.
Ramadan as a Month of Self-Betterment
Several Muslims prepare for the month of Ramadan by writing down a list of concrete resolutions or actions they hope to implement and perfect during the month of Ramadan, with an optimism that these actions will continue and become a part of their daily ibadah even after Ramadan. Abu Huraira RZ reported that the Messenger of Allah SAWS said, “Every action a son of Adam does shall be multiplied—a good action by ten times its value, up to 700 times.” Allah SWT says: “With the exception of fasting, which belongs to Me, and I reward it accordingly. For, one abandons his desire and food for My sake,” (Muslim). Fasting is for Allah SWT alone, and He SWT will reward us for this action. Along with fasting sincerely, think of other actions to add to your daily ibadah. As you consider deeds for this Ramadan, keep in mind that they should be realistic and attainable. Abu Huraira RZ reported, The Messenger of Allah SAWS said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few,” (Sunan Ibn Mājah). Here are a few suggestions (this is not a definite list, it is simply a place to start thinking of ideas):
Recite the Quran everyday
Read the translation of the Quran every day (even one surah a day)
Remembrance of Allah (Zikrullah) as taught by Imam Mahdi AHS.
Read Surah Mulk every night, for it will intercede on the Day of Judgement
Memorize one name of Allah SWT every day, and continue after Ramadan until you have all ninety-nine names memorized- Abu Huraira RZ stated, Allah's Messenger (SAWS) said, “Allah has ninety-nine Names, one-hundred less one; and he who memorized them all by heart will enter Paradise,” (Bukhari).
Memorize at least 3 duas- examples: dua when eating, dua when waking up, dua when sleeping (etc)
Morning and evening Adkhar
Watch MICC recorded lectures and read previous newsletters
The month of Ramadan is a month of mercy which Allah SWT sends upon us every year so that we may be forgiven and better ourselves. It is a month to restart if we feel lost, a month to strive in the way of Allah SWT, a month to help others, and seal a beautiful ending for ourselves. The Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad SAWS said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So, show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted,” (Tabarani). Consider and write down how you will grow closer to Allah SWT this month and what you will abstain from so that you are mindful of your actions. Seek Allah’s SWT mercy and forgiveness, knowing He is the All-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.