Ramadan Series: Part 1: The Pre-Ramadan Checklist | Part 2: Increasing Spiritual Nourishment During Ramadan | Part 3: Keeping It Going After Ramadan
[Originally published in June 2014. The following is a transcript of a lecture by Shaykh Khail Abdur-Rashid. It contains minor modifications from the spoken word for the purposes of readability. Transcribed by Musaab Salloum.]
Part of the adab towards the month of Ramadan is to prepare for it in earnest, and as this blessed month approaches, here are three points we should focus on in our preparation:
Before Ramadan, those of us that have medical issues and take medication on a regular basis should consult their physicians regarding fasting. We have to make sure we are medically cleared to fast, and this is documented in our tradition and our fiqh literature. The tabib (physician) has the final say when it comes to fasting in Ramadan. Also, we have to keep in mind that this coming Ramadan is going to be a tough Ramadan. In some areas, suhoor will end close to 3AM, and iftar will not be until close to 9PM. It is a very long fast. Those of us that have conditions need to consult with our physicians about that.
Importantly, we have to keep in mind that with 17 hour fasts coming up, it’s not healthy for us to keep our normal eating regimen up until the doorstep of Ramadan, and then begin fasting all of a sudden. We have to start weaning our self-off of our normal eating habits from now so we can minimize the shock that happens to our body. We must remember also that travelers have a rukhsa (dispensation) that they don’t have to fast, and we should understand know what the fiqh ramifications are if we have to break our fast due to dehydration. If we have to break our fast because of dehydration or some other condition it is important that we know what we have to do according to the Islamic law with regards to making up that fast, including the requirement of feeding a poor person in some schools.
We need to be in the mindset starting right now of Zakat al fitr. We know that at the end Ramadan we are obliged to pay zakat, and we need to prepare for that in the month of Sha’ban. The exact amount varies, usually $8-10. The head of the household is responsible for paying the zakat for each member of the household. The Zakat is due on the day of Eid, but you want to start putting that money aside from now, as early as possible. In addition, many of us asses the zakat due on our wealth during the time of Ramadan; we should start thinking about how much money we need to pay based on our savings. Consult a scholar in your area about this.
Moreover, Sadaqa is very important in the month of Shaaban, and most important in the month of Ramadan. Start getting into the habit now of donating some type of sadaqa. If it’s not on a daily basis, then give most definitely on a weekly basis. At every Friday when we go to Jummah, or even if you don’t go to jummah for whatever reason, give sadaqa. The sadaqa will increase your wealth. The zakat purifies your wealth. You want to get into the habit of routine giving. This is where the sadaqa comes in. Even if it’s something small—5 cents, 25 cents—give to the masjid, give to an organization with a good cause. Give to those that are needy. Give to your neighbors. Give to your distant relatives.
Do a general assessment of the “halaalness” of your earnings. How halal is your paycheck that you are bringing home? If you have a portion of your paycheck that is coming from haram or doubtful means, you want to assess that, and do your best to rectify the situation. If you can’t rectify or correct it, you want to at least make plans to correct it. Make a plan, set a goal for yourself. Make the intention to ensure that part of your income does not become something that is a stable part of your income, and that you have plans to eliminate the haram aspects of your income.
In summary, purify your wealth (zakat), increase your wealth (sadaqa), and eliminate any type of haram sources of income that you may be procuring.
If you have a ship that goes into stealth mode, it is there but it is undetected. It is not seen, but it is present. Something is there, but it is hidden and invisible. In preparing for Ramadan we have to begin making our nufoos (egos) absent from ourselves. To make ourselves and our habits slowly recede into oblivion, our bad habits recede into oblivion, such that we begin to eliminate the idea of “I,” and replace that with the idea of “huwa”, Him, Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. The idea of stealth is that you start to become invisible to yourself, and you replace your own self with the presence of Allah, subhanahu wa taala, and you start to see your own actions as something that is before your “I’s”. You start to replace your actions with the actions of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). Instead of saying I did this, you say He did this. Instead of acknowledging something that you’ve done you give praise to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala). You start to correct your thinking. You start to dethrone your own self and correct your habits. Assess all of the habits that you adopted which are based on blameworthy characteristics and start to try to wean yourself off of yourself. Lay the foundation for the process of purification that Ramadan brings to us.
Health, wealth, and then stealth. Start to disappear from yourself and bring Allah to the forefront of your mind as we approach this blessed month.
By Khalil Abdur-Rashid , 30 May 2016