Ramadan is here and its unique aura is being felt by people throughout the Kingdom. Supermarkets are flooded with common Ramadan staple foods like dates, dried figs and apricots, oats and lentils for making soups, desserts, and sweet syrups and fruits for juices.
While Muslims are keen on physically preparing for Ramadan, most of us neglect the spiritual and emotional preparation for this special month.
Have we reflected in depth on the true purpose of fasting? Did we make a list of the spiritual goals we intend to accomplish in 30 days? Or will we spend our day hours sleeping or watching television to pass the time?
Qur’an and Islamic education teacher at Dar Al Zikr in Jeddah, Shaikh Muhammad Al-Damdami, advises Muslims on how to spend the holy month of Ramadan spiritually.
“Allah has given us on Earth special gifts or bonuses which open the door to greater rewards and bring us spiritually closer to Him. These gifts come in the form of holy places and holy times. The month of Ramadan, the day of Arafat, the 10th day of Muharram are times during which good deeds are multiplied, sins are forgiven, and supplications are answered. The nights, days, and hours of Ramadan are unlike those of any other month. Therefore, all Muslims should be fully aware of this golden opportunity and we should do our best to take advantage of this month,” said Al-Damdami.
“First and foremost, every individual should renew his/her intention and sincerity before the advent of Ramadan, and to acknowledge that the goal of fasting is to seek the pleasure of Allah alone. Starting from now, we can work on strengthening our connection to Allah. Ramadan provides the ideal chance for change and for getting rid of bad habits,” added Al-Damdami.
Part of preparing for Ramadan includes identifying from now on our weaknesses and the areas in our lives we wish to improve so that we can achieve our goals during the blessed month, whether it is quitting smoking, losing weight, memorizing chapters of the Qur’an, reconciliation in troubled relationships, or learning to relax and calm an agitated temperament.
“The key to spending a fruitful and fulfilling Ramadan are sincerity, understanding the value of Ramadan, positive change, asking Allah to guide and help you, and remaining active,” Al-Damdami said.
He also advises us to envision Ramadan as a garden filled with jewels, gems, and precious diamonds. However, Muslims only have a limited number of days to collect the treasures. So, do not waste your time sleeping, watching television, or chatting aimlessly with friends.
“You should exert every effort to obtain as many of the riches as possible, and that precisely is the mentality that all Muslims should enter the month of Ramadan with. As a form of training I recommend performing the Sunnah and late night prayers and reading the Qur’an from now,” Al-Damdami said.
According to scholars, a good plan for Ramadan includes organizing sleep-hours and avoid staying awake all night because certain hormones responsible for repair, regeneration, and regulating mood are released by the body only when it is asleep during night time.
Overeating is discouraged because it causes weight gain, indigestion, and heartburn, which leads to laziness and interferes with one’s concentration during Taraweeh prayers.
The preparation of feasts during Ramadan is the time when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions would eat less, be patience and generous, and put acts of worship ahead of basic needs and wishes.
In a Friday sermon, Shaikh Tawfiq Al-Sayegh of Lami Mosque on Tahlia Street urged all Muslims to liberate Ramadan from the limitations and the binding definitions which we have imposed on this sacred month in recent years.
“Muslims have unfortunately drifted away from the spirit of Ramadan and during this month they indulge in watching TV serials, shopping, preparing and eating elaborate meals, and sleeping all day. We need to revisit the concept of Ramadan, bring back, and taste once again the true flavor of Ramadan, which is in fact a month of spirituality as it elevates the soul and brings serenity to the heart and mind. Ramadan is the month of fasting, praying, reading and memorizing the Qur’an, giving charity, feeding the poor, strengthening ties between blood relations, refraining from backbiting and gossip, removing harm from the road, and enjoining good,” said Imam Al-Sayegh.
Asim Alzuabi, a father of three, said, “As an encouragement every Ramadan I announce a SR200 reward for each child who completes the recitation of the entire Qur’an before Eid. It is not as hard as most young children think because by simply reading 20 pages a day, you can finish reading the Qur’an in one month.”
A beautiful and beneficial Hadith to remember during Ramadan: The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.”