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. Abstinence from Sins
- 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.
- 2. Tawbah and Istighfār
- 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.
- 3. Do Not Waste Any Time
- 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.
- 4. Tilāwah (recitation) of the Qur’ān in Abundance
- 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. Du‘ā
- 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).
- 6. Spending Time in the Masjid
- 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.
- 7. Refrain from all Sins
- 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.
- 8. Make Resolutions
- 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