We begin in the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful and send salutations on the Messenger Muhammad (saw).
On the 6th/7th June 2016, Muslims across the world will welcome the blessed month of Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is the holiest time in the year for Muslims. It provides us with an opportunity to recharge our imaan (faith) and renew our relationship with Allah. Aside from abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours, the higher purpose is to go above and beyond – bond with other human beings, empathise with those who are less fortunate, give charity, perform good deeds and increase in worship to benefit from the mercy and forgiveness Allah promises to bestow in this month.
The month of Ramadan provides the perfect opportunity for us to inwardly reflect on our lives and make sincere resolutions to change for the better throughout the proceeding months. As the hadith of Aisha (ra) states, ‘The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) used to strive more in worship during Ramadan than he strove in any other time of the year; and he would devote himself more (in the worship of Allah) in the last ten nights of Ramadan than he did in earlier part of the month’ (Muslim). It is important that we keep these wise words in mind during this month and work towards emulating the practice of the beloved Prophet (saw).
Allah says in His book, ‘The month of Ramadan [is that] in which the Qur’an was revealed…’ (2:185). In this month of Ramadan, we must make it one of our goals to reconnect with the Book of Allah and look to apply the advice it gives into our daily lives. We will see, through regular listening and recitation of the Qur’an, the significantly positive effect it has on our emotions, intellect health and general wellbeing.
The month of Ramadan should be used as a means of moral and spiritual growth. It is important that we plan out our month in advance to ensure we are maximising the benefit we take from it. We should make a conscious effort to pray in congregation 5 times a day, look to pray the nafl (additional) prayers, stand in vigils through the night prayers (Taraweeh) and look to eating healthy, nutritious foods. Through all this, you will notice a natural closeness develops with Allah and a sense of calm and belonging comes over you. It is also important to ensure we use this blessed month as a time for moral development, self-improvement and self-discipline. Ramadan teaches us that we as can refrain from halal things (i.e food and drink), similarly, stay away from haram activities such as lying, backbiting, cheating and fighting. We must ensure that Ramadan is a time where we drop all our bad habits and look towards improving our behaviour through truthfulness, honesty, respect for others, sacrifice and generosity.
Let us also make this Ramadan about building stronger relations with our neighbours and the wider community. The hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) says, ‘Anyone who feeds a fasting person will be given an equal reward to his’ (Muslim), so let us make sure we open our homes and our Mosques to feed not only our Muslim brothers and sisters but also invite the wider non-Muslim community to share this blessed month with us. Ramadan can be used as an opportunity to change the negative perceptions around Islam and Muslims by sharing the goodness of this month with those around us.
May Allah accept your prayers and good deeds this Ramadan and enrich our lives.
Qari Muhammad Asim, MBE
Imam, Makkah Mosque, Leeds