It is time to reap the harvest of our training from Rajab and Sha’ban as we begin the blessed month of Ramadan. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) reminds us in the Qur'an that these are limited precious days, with an extraordinary opportunity to reach out and connect to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) tells us of this powerfully, “All the actions of people are for them, except for fasting. Fasting is for Me and it is I who reward it.”1
The purpose of this month is Allah, and Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) alone. Fasting is a means to attain nearness to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala). The best way to take advantage of Ramadan is to develop a Ramadan battle plan; failure to plan is a plan for failure. If you don’t set goals, you can’t measure yourself and assess the current state of your worship. In setting your targets for the month do not forget to describe the plan you will use to fulfill them. To make the most use of this blessed month, do not pile tasks into your schedule in hopes that you will fulfill it but instead allocate time for each goal. Make sure you evaluate the intention and sincerity with which you are entering this holy month, for what we intend is what Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) gives us.
Ramadan’s training regimen should be structured around seeking from Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) His Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation from hellfire.
The Mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) is what will admit us into Paradise on the Day of Resurrection. Deeds alone will not be enough to enter us into Paradise:
“No one’s deeds will ever admit him to Paradise.” They said, “Not even you, O Messenger of Allah ﷺ?” He said, “No, not even me, unless Allah showers me with His mercy. So try to be near to perfection. And no one should wish for death; he is either doing good so he will do more of that, or he is doing wrong so he may repent.”2
So the believer must remain in a state between hoping for the Mercy of Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) and fearing His punishment. Train to seek Allah's Mercy at all times but especially during this month make this one of the ‘battle goals’ and remember Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says: “Declare (O Muhammad ﷺ) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Most Forgiving, the Most-Merciful.” (15:49)
يا حي يا قيوم برحمتك أستغيث
Yaa Hayyu yaa Qayyoom, bi Rahmatika astagheeth
O Living, O Sustaining, in Your Mercy I seek relief!
Seeking forgiveness is the fruit of Islam. Repenting for your sins and abundantly seeking forgiveness opens the doors of mercy and goodness for you. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) says, “Ask for forgiveness of your Lord, indeed He is ever a perpetual forgiver. He will send rain from the sky upon you in continuing showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers.” (71:10-12)
Seeking forgiveness for a believer is vital because none of us are perfect. Ramadan is one opportunity to seek forgiveness that has immense benefits as our ultimate goal in life is to attain forgiveness and by Allah’s mercy reach our final destination, Paradise. The Messenger ﷺ said “Whoever establishes prayers during the nights of Ramadan faithfully out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, all his past sins will be forgiven.”3 The Messenger ﷺ also 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.”4
Therefore we should take advantage of all the rewards and blessings of this holy month and continuously seek forgiveness from the One who is Most Forgiving.
أشْهَدُ أن لا إلهَ إلا الله نَسْتَغْفِرُ الله نسأَلُكَ الجنَّةَ ونَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ النَّار
Ashadu alla ilaha illallah, nastaghfirullah, nas’aluk’l-jannata wa na`audhu bika min an-nar
I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship other than Allah and we seek the forgiveness of Allah. We ask You for Paradise and take refuge in You from the Fire.” (3 times)
Allah forgives many people and frees them from the Hellfire during Ramadan. It is highly recommended to repeatedly ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for forgiveness with a heart that is present and focused on Him (subhanahu wa ta'ala) . Make use of these days in sincere repentance seeking salvation from the hellfire.
The last 10 nights of Ramadan (Laylat Al-Qadr) should be a key part of your plan. In them, du’a is answered, especially after one finishes a complete reading of the Qur’an. The Messenger ﷺ said, “Laylat Al-Qadr is within the 10 remaining days. Whosoever stays up in prayer and worship, Allah will forgive all of their past and future sins. And it is on an odd night, the 9th, or the 7th, or the 5th, or the 3rd, or the last night.” It is also important throughout these nights to attempt to pray both Isha and Fajr in congregation. On the authority of Sayyiduna Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), the Messenger ﷺ said, “Whosoever prays during Laylat Al-Qadr both Isha and Fajr in congregation then they have taken from Laylat Al-Qadr the greatest portion.”
اللهمَّ إنَّكَ عَفُوٌ تُحِبُّ العَفْوَ فَاعْفُ عَنَّا(3) يا كَرِيم
Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna
“O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).
اللهم إنّي أسْألُكَ العَفو وَالعَافِية والمُعَافاة الدَّائِمة في الدِّينِ والدُّنْيا والأخِرَةّ
Allahumma inni asa’aluka al-‘afū, wa al-‘āfīyah, wa al-mu‘āfāt al-dā’imah fī ad-dīn, wa ad-dunyā, wa al-ākhirah.
O God, I ask You for pardoning, good health, and constant well-being in my religion, worldly affairs, and afterlife.
Let us strive to not be of those who get nothing from their fasts except hunger pains. It is the month to make our bond stronger with our Lord and attain God Consciousness. Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) does not need our worship, but indeed it is us who need Him (subhanahu wa ta'ala). Let the Hunger Games begin!
By Selma Chaudhry , 03 Jul 2014