Allahﷻ sent Ramadan to enable us to draw close to Him. That’s why He said about the purpose of Ramadan:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
Baqara 2: 183 O you who believe! Fasting (Sawm) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon
All promises of Allahﷻ are for people of Taqwa. Not merely for Muslimoon, but for the Muttaqoon.
إِنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ وَّالَّذِينَ هُم مُّحْسِنُونَ
Nahl 16: 128. Truly, Allah is with those who have Taqwa and those who are Muhsinoon
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا
وَيَرْزُقْهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ
Talaq 65: 2 And whosoever has Taqwa of Allah, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). 3. And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.
The questions to ask is: Do we want Allahﷻ to be with us or not? Do we need Allahﷻ or not? Is Allahﷻ sufficient for us or not? We have the time now. Let us reflect and decide once and for all and change our lives to reflect this. Because remember, only actions yield results. Only doing, counts. Not merely knowing. Knowing and not doing, is proof against the slave.
Taqwa is the goal and its own best reward. All the other rewards of Ramadan are a bonus. We ask Allahﷻ for His Bounty and Mercy.
Let us ask: Will we enter Ramadan, or will Ramadan enter us?
Let’s monitor our gains going forward: Look for the signs of Taqwa:
- Doing more, not less or the minimum required – in all good works.
- Being careful with the boundaries of Allahﷻ. Don’t go near them.
- Always earn and eat Halaal.
- Who do you look to for reward? Allahﷻ or people?
There are 4 things to do as we enter Ramadan:
- Clean our hearts:
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
Shu’arah 26: 89 Except him who brings to Allah a clean heart [clean from Shirk (polytheism) and Nifaq (hypocrisy)].
No hatred, enmity, jealousy, greed, envy, fear of anyone but Allahﷻ.
- Fasting in what comes out of our mouths: Fasting is not only about what goes into our mouths but about what comes out of our mouths. Let us guard against Gheeba (backbiting), Bohtaan (slander) and Nameema (inuendo, casting aspersions). Allahﷻ warned us against these because they are like cancer which is your own cells which kill you. Allahﷻ said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Hujuraat 49: 12 O you who believe! Avoid much suspicions, indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And have Taqwa of Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful.
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA), Rasoolullahﷺ said, ‘Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allahﷻ is not in need of his (fasting) leaving his food and drink.’
Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ asked, ‘Do you know who is bankrupt among you?’ They said, ‘The bankrupt among us is one who has neither money nor any property.’ Heﷺ said, ‘The real bankrupt of my Ummah would be the one who would come on the Day of Resurrection with Salat, Saum and Sadaqa, (but he will find himself bankrupt on that day as he will have exhausted his good deeds) because he reviled others, brought calumny against others, unlawfully devoured the wealth of others, shed the blood of others and beat others. So, his good deeds would be credited to the account of those (who suffered at his hand). If his good deeds fall short to clear the account, their sins would be entered in his account, and he would be thrown in the (Jahannam) Fire”. [Muslim].
Remember that what we say on social media has global reach and eternal life. If that is by way of anything evil, then it will keep earning the Fire of Jahannam long after we may have died. How futile and terrible is that? I advise myself and you to settle our accounts before we meet Allahﷻ.
3. Forgive everyone no matter who: Because that is what we want from Allahﷻ.We ask Allahﷻ as He taught us to ask:
رَّبَّنَا إِنَّنَا سَمِعْنَا مُنَادِيًا يُنَادِي لِلإِيمَانِ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِرَبِّكُمْ فَآمَنَّا رَبَّنَا فَاغْفِرْ لَنَا ذُنُوبَنَا وَكَفِّرْ عَنَّا سَيِّئَاتِنَا وَتَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الأبْرَارِ
A’al Imraan 3: 193 Our Rabb! Verily, we have heard the call of one (Muhammadﷺ) calling to Faith: ‘Believe in your Rabb,’ and we believed. Our Rabb! Forgive our sins and erase our evil deeds and make us die in the state of righteousness along with Al-Abrar (Obedient ones).
Husn-uz-Zann: Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Rasoolullahﷺ said, ‘Beware of suspicion, for it is the worst of false tales and don’t look for other’s faults and don’t spy and don’t hate each other, and don’t desert (cut your relations with) one another O Allahﷻ‘s slaves, be brothers!’ (Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Huraira (RA): Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Allahﷻ said, ‘I am to my slave as he thinks of Me, (i.e., I can do for him what he thinks I can do for him). (Bukhari)
Allahﷻ urges us in His Book to forgive people and be patient with their annoyance:
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاء وَالضَّرَّاء وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ وَاللّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Aal ‘Imraan 3:134 Who spend [in Allahﷻ’s cause] during ease and hardship and who restrain anger and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good
‘Abd al-Razzaq reported: A slave girl belonging to Ali ibn al-Hussain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (Zainul Abideen) (RA) poured out some water as he prepared to pray, and she dropped the pitcher onto his face causing an injury. She said, “Allahﷻ says: Those who restrain their anger (3:134)!” Ali said, “I have restrained my anger.” She said, “And those who forgive people!” Ali said, “I have forgiven you.” She said, “And Allah loves those who do good!” Ali said, “Go, for you are now free.”
Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated: Rasoolullahﷺ said: “Charity does not decrease wealth. No one forgives, but Allahﷻ increases him in honor, and no one humbles himself before Allahﷻ but Allahﷻ raises him in status.” [Muslim]
Ubaadah ibn as-Saamit (R) said: I heard Rasoolullahﷺ say: “There is no man who suffers an injury to his body, then he forgives [the one who caused it] as an act of charity, but Allahﷻ will forgive his sins commensurate with the extent of his charity.” [Ahmad]
Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf (R) said: Rasoolullahﷺ said: “There are three things concerning which, by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammadﷺ, I would certainly swear an oath: Wealth does not decrease because of charity, so give charity. No man pardons another for some mistreatment, seeking thereby the pleasure of Allahﷻ, but Allahﷻ will raise him in status thereby; and no one asks of people but Allahﷻ will increase him in poverty.” [Ahmad]
Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (RA) narrated from Rasoolullahﷺ that he said, when he was on the Minbar, “Show mercy, and you will be shown mercy; forgive, and Allahﷻ will forgive you.” [Ahmad]
- Do something special only for Allahﷻ and keep it secret: We all know the Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim about the three men trapped in a cave by a boulder that rolled over its mouth in a landslide and the dua that each one made, using the Waseela of something that he had done in secret only to please Allahﷻ. Allahﷻ moved the boulder and saved their lives. I ask myself what have I done, only to please Allahﷻ that nobody knows but Allahﷻ. As the poet said: Hallaka sirrun indAllah – baynaka anta wa byanAllah. Hallaka sadaqatun takhfa – La ya’lamuha illAllah? What secret deeds do we have? Maybe we have secret deeds but are they good deeds that we did for Allahﷻ or evil deeds we do to try to hide from people, even though we know that Allahﷻ sees everything? Let us make Tahajjud Fardh on ourselves and beg Allahﷻ to forgive us.
Talk to Allahﷻ in your own special way. We know the Hadith of the man who called on Allahﷻ in special words that Allahﷻ gave him. Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (RA) reports that Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Once a certain slave of Allahﷻ said ‘Ya Rabbi, Lakal hamdu kama yambaghi li jalali wajhika wa li ‘azimi sultanika’. (O Allahﷻ, all praise belongs to you, as befits the Glory of Your Countenance and the greatness of Your Might.) The Angels were uncertain and did not know what to write [as the reward of this]. They ascended to the sky and said, ‘O our Rabb, Your slave has uttered such a statement we are unsure how much to write as [the reward]. Allahﷻ asked – and He knows best what His slave said – ‘What did my slave say’? The Angels reply, ‘He said, ‘Ya Rabbi, Lakal hamdu kama yambaghi li jalali wajhika wa li ‘azimi sultanika’. Allahﷻ said, ‘Write it down just as my slave said it. When he meets Me I shall reward him for it.’” [Ibn Majah, Tabarani, Bayhaqi]
Let’s make a vow to continue this after Ramadan: Ramadan is not for Ramadan but for the rest of our lives. Taqwa is the key to Jannah. Ramadan is the game changer, the boot camp that Allahﷻ sent for us to reboot our lives and put them on the path of salvation. Let us not waste it.
Will we enter Ramadan, or will Ramadan enter us?