Alhamdulillah, another Ramadan is upon us and we are all looking forward to the month ahead. Some of us are a little nervous when thinking about the long fasts and short nights, but doesn’t the time just fly by once we are in it?
Subhan’Allah, we always make so many plans and have so many great intentions, but many of us end up falling short of our goals and ambitions. This doesn’t mean that we weren’t invested, this just means that we didn’t go in with a realistic plan or expectations.
The month of Ramadan is one of purification and deep reflection, not only of our own state, but the state of those around us and the world. All year, from Ramadan to Ramadan, our hearts become so hardened by our own setbacks, sins and desires that we become desensitized to the pain of others, but this is the month where the heart can soften and become the instrument of mercy and change that it is designed to be. When those hunger pangs hit, when we are working away in the heat with empty stomachs, when we are deprived of sleep so we can call out to Allah SWT, we can truly begin to realize the pain of those who are hungry in Syria and Somalia, of those that work day and night to put food in the mouths of their children while their own mouths remain empty in Palestine and Iraq, of those who cry out to Allah in the dead of night for just a moments respite in Burma and Yemen. We are the people of privilege…we only have to do this for a month out of the year, while others across the world suffer this and much worse everyday without the relief of cool water to quench their thirst and dates to satiate their hunger at sunset. To deeply reflect on the plight of another human being is a powerful thing. It can move, restore, transform…if we let it.
“It is no virtue that you turn your faces towards the east or the west, but virtue is that one should sincerely believe in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets and, out of His love, spend of one’s choice wealth for relatives and orphans, for the needy and the wayfarer, for beggars and for the ransom of slaves, and establish the Salat and pay the Zakat. And the virtuous are those who keep their pledges when they make them and show fortitude in hardships and adversity and in the struggle between the Truth and falsehood; such are the truthful people and such are the pious.” (The Noble Quran 2:177)
However, we tend to treat Ramadan like a race…A race to see how many Qur’an we can finish, a race to see how many Taraweeh we can pray, a race to attend and hold the most Iftaars. A race to finish a wayward list of rituals that seem to overshadow the actual purpose of this blessed month. The thing about racing is that we are so focused on the finish line that everything else becomes a blur. There may be major milestones that we are just zooming passed in the rush to reach the end. We must learn to slow down, set realistic goals and stay true to the essence of Ramadan. This is a month to set the pace for the following months. We shouldn’t let the time go to waste by doing things that don’t help us to make genuine reflection and changes. Remember Shaytan is locked up during Ramadan, so the only things holding us back are our own desires. This is the best time to perfect your Salah, overcome mental hurdles that keep you from increasing your knowledge of Islam such as procrastination and laziness, above all it is the best time to get out there and spread some good and help those in need. People are in pain and they just need that one smile or one hug to make all the difference. Be that person for someone this Ramadan. Be the person that the comfort seekers want to embrace and the children cannot wait to see.
Ramadan is the month the Quran was revealed. This month many people set out to read the Quran in Arabic and take blessings from it’s recitation. We should realize, however, that reading the Quran with translation and Tafseer would be more beneficial for our Deen and with understanding, reflection and action we will bring the highest blessings to our lives. Remember, with the Quran, quality time is better than the quantity of time we spend. Would a more realistic goal be that we finish Surah Al Imran with recitation, translation and Tafseer this Ramadan? That we reflect deeply on Allah’s message and what it means to us and our existence? Why are we in the state that we find ourselves in today all across the globe? The Quran has the answers, but it will only truly open for those who approach it with sincerity and a clean heart. Nothing worth getting comes without hard work.
“We have certainly sent down to you [people] a book in which is your mention. Then will you not use reason?” (The Noble Quran 21:10)
Please check out some links below for great places to find the Quran with Translation and Tafseer, Insha’Allah.
Ramadan may seem long, but in reality it goes by so fast. We must work out a good schedule for ourselves which includes quality time with the Quran, charity work and Ibadah, all while not ignoring our regular duties to our family and work. Many people lag in this last point, but it is crucial for the fasting Muslim to make sure that they do not neglect their regular activities and keep their attitude and manners in check.
May this Ramadan be most blessed for you and your loved ones, may you be successful in reaching all the goals you set and maintain the changes you have made, may Allah SWA open up your heart to the Light of His Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW), Ameen.
Ramadan Message from Shaikh Hamza Yusuf, Where is your heart?:
Quran with English Translation:
Quran with English Tafseer:
Quran with Urdu Translation and Tafseer:
Find your language (check out the menu on the left side):
Sahih Al Bukhari (ENGLISH):
Sahih Al Bukhari (URDU):