Sheikh Ali Suleiman Ali
Director of Muslim Family Services (MFS)
Welcome Ramadan 2018!
The blessed month of Ramadan has arrived. It’s Muslims’ annual guest and one that comes with infinitive blessings and rewards. It’s the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Almighty Allah said: “Ramadan is the (month) in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guide to mankind, and as clear (signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong) 2:185.
Indeed, Muslims ought to celebrate the coming of the month of Ramadan for many reasons. Among them are the following:
1. The first revelation of the Qur’an took place in the month of Ramadan. In fact, the revelation of the Qur’an, unquestionably marked the end of slavery, oppression, injustice, as well as the salvation of mankind and the universal mercy for humanity.
2. When an observant Muslim does a good deed in this month, hoping for a reward, he may be rewarded for it in good fashion without limit. Hence, the month of Ramadan is called the month of the Qur’an and the generous month. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to review the Qur’an with the Angel Jibril (asws) in every Ramadan. In the year which the Prophet (pbuh) died, he reviewed the Qur’an twice with the Angel Jibril in addition to his regular reading of the Qur’an in tahajjud.
3. Among the blessings of this month is the fact that, the influence of Shaytan becomes weaker and less significant for those who properly observe the fast.
4. The month of Ramadan is a great source of spiritual exercise and growth for Muslims. It provides a platform for family reunions and it strengthens the bounds between relatives and friends. The month provides a golden opportunity for Muslims to get closer to Almighty Allah through the offering of more prayers, giving sadaqah, reading the Qur’an, building our sabr and the practicing of husnul-khuluq, good manners in dealing with people.
5. One of the special features of this month is one of its exquisite features, compared to other religious holy days, is that the month puts smiles on the faces of the needy and less fortunate. Allah provides for them through generous Muslims who are seeking the great rewards for their sadaqah and Allah also provides for them through zakat al-fikr. Unlike holy days reminding some of what they do not have, those of Ramadan help the less fortunate look forward to the month.
6. Fasting is the only physical ibada (act of worship and servitude) of the pillars of Islamic practice in which riyaa (doing an act for the sake of show, praise and admiration) is practically non-existent. Only Allah knows if and when a person is truly fasting and following its regulations. Hence, the fast is for Allah only and He rewards it accordingly. Thus, the virtue and reward of fasting in Ramadan can be without measure.
Here is a list of things you can do to demonstrate gratitude to Allah for the blessing He bestows during this blessed month.
1. Make your intention to fast this Ramadan as if this may be your last Ramadan. For example, remind yourself of your mortality by bringing to mind that you observed last Ramadan with some relatives and friends who passed away and are not with you for this Ramadan.
2. Do not miss any fard, obligatory, prayers . If you can pray all your prayers in congregation (jamaa‘h), please do it.
3. Read Qur’an as much as you can. You may read in two different ways: a. without necessarily reflecting upon the meanings, and b. with reflection and pondering. Please reserve some time for this second method.
4. Try not to miss taraweeh prayer.
5. Invite someone to break fast with you, even if it is one time.
6. Give sadaqah as much as you can, it will increase your wealth, not diminish it.
7. Pray as many extra prayers as you can
8. Reserve a good portion of your time for istighfaar, dhikr and du‘aa for yourself, parents, relatives, friends, peace for the world and relief for the oppressed.
9. Be on guard against backbiting, not telling the truth and making promises that you may not fulfill. These spoil your fast.
10. Visit your parents and relatives.
Aliah Azmeh, MSW, CSW
Take care of yourself this Ramadan
The month of Ramadan has already entered its second week. May Allah grant us forgiveness, mercy, and the ability to persevere with certainty that Allah will bless us during our fasts, prayers, and supplications.
There is no better time for a human being to inwardly evaluate him/herself then Ramadan. This month has been given to us as a blessing to slow down, de-clutter our lives, and turn back to what we were created for to begin with. Our true essence is through connecting with Allah and finding salvation and peace in doing so. In other words, we really have submit to our Creator – to let go.
To let go of all our anxieties, insecurities, frustrations, and to give it all to Him. Allow yourself to carry less baggage and to feel lighter.
Many of us are constantly bombarded with work, school, family, and juggling many different responsibilities that we forget to truly sit with ourselves and reflect. A good example would be that we complete our 5 daily prayers quickly. Even if we do concentrate, we focus on the words we are saying, and not what our hearts yearn to tell Allah.
It is through our connection with Allah that we find peace within ourselves because we know within our hearts that Allah is in control of everything and that He loves us. When we allow ourselves to submit to Him and to encompass ourselves with His love and mercy, our cups are filled with love and mercy and we are able to give that to our families, friends, and everyone around us. Allah knows that we need more peace and love in this world, in our communities, in our homes, and within ourselves.
We were created for a high purpose. Thus, our mere existence means that Allah has given us value and love. We must remember who we are and what we were made for in times of ease and especially in times of difficulty.
I ask Allah to turn our hearts to Him and to save us from hypocrisy, misguidance, pride, laziness, and a hardened heart.