Make the Most of this Ramaḍān

Make the Most of this Ramaḍān

By Shaykh-ul-Ḥadīth Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Muḥammad Saleem Dhorat ḥafiẓahullāh

Once again, the best of all months, Ramaḍān, is upon the horizon. It is a month in which at least one du’ā is accepted daily from every Muslim, one sunnah/nafl act is equivalent to the reward of one farḍ act, and one farḍ act is rewarded seventy times over. From morning to evening and evening to morning, each and every second, Allāh ta’ālā showers His choicest blessings and barakah upon His servants.

It is the month in which lies a night (i.e. Laylatul Qadr) greater in virtue than a thousand months. It is the month in which the provision of the truthful bondsmen is augmented. It is the month in which the fish in the sea seek forgiveness for the fasting servant, and Allāh ta’ālā ends mercy upon those who partake of suḥūr. During the first part of this month mercy is showered, forgiveness is granted in the second part, and the last part brings emancipation from Hellfire. As for the bondsmen who keep the fasts of this blessed month with īmān and in search of Allāh’s recompense, all their previous sins are forgiven.

It is during this month that the Shayātīn are shackled, all the gates of Hell are closed and all the gates of Heaven are flung open. Allāh ta’ālā makes it easy for His servants to acquire Jannah, and makes it difficult for His servants to tread paths that lead to Jahannam.

During this auspicious month we are expected to fast and keep control of our base desires so that we may acquire taqwā: a blessing that leads to success in both worlds.

O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those that came before you, so that you can become muttaqīn. (2:183)

Through mujāhadah (striving), fasting, tarāwīh and devotion, we will develop the quality of taqwā and its nūr will enlighten our hearts. This in turn will make our hearts such that not only will they begin to shun the filth of sin, they will also begin to despise it.

But why is it then, that having witnessed the passing of this blessed month often, our lives have not yet changed, and we continue to lead a life of sins. We need to strive to make this year’s Ramaḍān a turning point in our lives, as there is no guarantee that we will live to see the next one. With this purpose in mind, let us ensure we follow these three points:

  1. Abstain from sin. We must resolve to spend the entire month of Ramaḍān without committing even a single sin, and resolve to continue the same after Ramaḍān.
  2. Do not waste a single second. We should make a timetable from now; set our times for our daily prescribed practices and slowly but surely increase them, e.g. our recitation of the Glorious Qur’ān, zikr etc.
  3. Make a firm resolution to change your life this Ramaḍān. Daily, we should sit and contemplate our past, for at least fifteen minutes. In particular, we should think about what we were supposed to have done but failed to do, and how many opportunities were given to us by Allāh ta’ālā yet were wasted. As a result we should make plans to improve our future lives.

In addition, Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam mentioned four things we must do abundantly in the month of Ramaḍān, two for the Pleasure of Allāh and two that we cannot do without.

  1. Recite in abundance the kalimah LĀ ILĀHA ILLALLĀH.
  2. Seek His forgiveness through istighfār.
  3. Ask for His Jannah.
  4. Ask His refuge from the Fire of Jahannam.

My late father, Ḥāfiẓ Ibrāhīm Dhorat raḥimahullāh taught me a prayer during my childhood, which I assume he did keeping in mind the aforementioned hadīth of Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam. He taught me to recite abundantly during the month of Ramaḍān:

LĀ ILĀHA ILLA ALLĀH, ASTAGHFIRULLAH, AS’ALUKAL-JANNAH WA A’ŪDHUBIKA MINAN NĀR.

There is none worthy of worship besides Allāh; I seek forgiveness from Allāh; I beg from You [O Allāh] Paradise, and I seek refuge in You [O Allāh] from the Hellfire.

May Allāh enable us all to truly value Ramaḍān this time round, making it the beginning of a new chapter in our lives in which we gain His pleasure and become as He wishes us to be. Āmīn.

Guidelines for Ramaḍān

Guidelines for Ramaḍān

By Shaykh-ul-Ḥadīth Ḥaḍrat Mawlānā Muḥammad Saleem Dhorat ḥafiẓahullāh

Once again the month of Ramaḍān dawns upon us with all its blessings and mercies. From the moment the moon is sighted and the blessed month commences, we can be sure to find every second filled with mercies and barakāt. From day one, Allāh ta‘ālā will begin to liberate His servants from the Fire of Hell and through His Mercy, make them deserving of the bounties of Paradise. Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has said:

When Ramaḍān comes, the doors of Jannah are opened and the doors of Jahannam are closed and the shayātīn are chained up. (Muslim)

To understand the value and importance of this most blessed month, we only need to look at how our Beloved Nabī ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam used to anticipate its arrival. Upon the advent of Rajab, sixty days or so before Ramaḍān, he would say:

O Allāh! Grant us barakah in the months of Rajab and Sha‘bān and make us reach the month of Ramaḍān. (Aṭ-Ṭabarānī)

This du‘ā shows that Nabī ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam, despite being constantly anxious to meet his Creator, strongly desired to remain alive until Ramaḍān in order to reap its benefits.

The month of Ramaḍān is a month of mercy, forgiveness and deliverance from the fire of Jahannam; during it the doors of Jannah are opened, the doors of Jahannam are closed and the shayātin are chained up. It is a month of goodness and goodness only. In this month, the acquisition of the Pleasure and Nearness of our Creator is made easy.

Therefore, we should endeavour to spend it without wasting a single moment. As a guideline, the following points should be kept in mind:

  1. 1. Abstinence from Sins
  2. Sins, whether major or minor, should be understood for what they are, i.e. disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. If the thought of a sin comes into our minds, we should think, ‘How can I disobey Allāh ta‘ālā who has created me and blessed me with so many favours?’ Ramaḍān itself is such a great gift from Allāh ta‘ālā that to disobey Him in it would be the height of ingratitude and wretchedness.
  3. 2. Tawbah and Istighfār
  4. The month of Ramaḍān has been bestowed upon us by the Merciful Creator to cleanse us from the filth of sins and to strengthen us in taqwā in the future. Hence, self-reckoning and seeking repentance should be done in abundance. We should ask Allāh ta‘ālā for forgiveness for our past sins with a regretful heart, resolve not to commit any sin in the future and ask Him for His Guidance and help to remain steadfast. The month of Ramaḍān is also to help us make a u-turn, to leave the path that leads to Jahannam and embark upon the path that will take us to Jannah by repenting sincerely. Allāh ta‘ālā states in the Qur’an:

O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those that came before you, so that you can become muttaqīn. (2:183)

My late mentor and Shaykh, Ḥājī Muḥammad Fārūq raḥimahullāh used to recommend that during the month of Ramaḍān we should beseech Allāh ta‘ālā frequently in the following manner:

O Allāh! You created the month of Ramaḍān to make us muttaqīn servants, so by Your Grace and Favour turn us into Your muttaqīn servants.

  1. 3. Do Not Waste Any Time
  2. Even outside Ramaḍān, every second of our lives is extremely precious, as it has the potential of being used to acquire the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā and earn great reward. During this blessed month, these moments become even more precious, hence we should take even more care to use this gift correctly.
  3. 4. Tilāwah (recitation) of the Qur’ān in Abundance
  4. The Qur’ān has a special connection with Ramadān, as it was revealed in the month of Ramaḍān. Sayyidunā Jibra’īl ‘alayhis salām would recite the whole Qur’ān to Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam and vice versa during this month. The pious predecessors took great care in engaging themselves in the recitation of the Qur’ān as much as possible during this month.
  5. 5. Du‘ā
  6. Engage in du‘ā as frequently as possible, asking for all your needs of this world and the Hereafter, beseeching the Creator with conviction that He will grant what you are asking from Him. Do not be neglectful, especially during those moments wherein acceptance is guaranteed, e.g. tahajjud ṣalāh, prior to iftār (breaking fast).
  7. 6. Spending Time in the Masjid
  8. Perform all ṣalāh with jamā‘ah (congregation). In addition to ṣalāh, we should try to spend as much time as possible in the masjid, the House of Allāh ta‘ālā, where special mercies descend. We should remain engaged in ‘ibādah with the intention of nafl i‘tikāf for as long as we are there. We should also endeavour to spend the last ten days in i‘tikāf, for it was the regular practice of our Beloved Nabī ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam after he migrated to Madīnah Munawwarah.
  9. 7. Refrain from all Sins
  10. Fasting should not only be confined to refraining from eating, drinking and cohabitation; we should abstain from everything forbidden by Allāh ta‘ālā, including lustful glances, ghībah (backbiting), consumption of harām, etc.
  11. 8. Make Resolutions
  12. Most importantly, reflect upon your life and make resolutions for the future regarding your religious progress. Having repented from all past sins and adopted good deeds through the blessings of Ramaḍān, we should also firmly resolve to continue improving our relationship with our Creator in the future.

These guidelines, if adhered to, will inshā’allāh grant us the opportunity to reap the fruits of Ramaḍān.

As we pass through the final days of Sha‘bān, let us not be neglectful. Let us start preparing now and not delay any further. Let us immediately turn to Allāh ta‘ālā, repent, seek His Forgiveness, and busy ourselves in rectifying our lives and freeing ourselves from all types of sins. Let us make a firm resolution that we will value this coming Ramaḍān and leave no stone unturned in striving to achieve the Pleasure of Allāh ta‘ālā and become one of His muttaqī servants.

Extracted from ‘Inspirations’ (Part 1)

© Islāmic Da’wah Academy