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Nurturing the Heart for Ramadan

The hustling and the bustling, the shopping and the stocking up, the clearing and the cleaning, all accompanied with excitement, enthusiasm, joyousness and blissfulness has begun once again to fill the air! Can you feel it? Just mere weeks ago, the guest who was patiently waiting to knock upon the doors of each and every Muslim the world-over has arrived BiIznillah. Yes! It is indeed Ramadhan! All the preparations that have begun in order for us to welcome our most beloved and cherished guest each and every year is sweeping into our homes now and in the coming weeks. I for one am extremely excited and can hardly wait to be filled with the peace, joy, contentment, love and all the other emotions that comes with this most blessed month.

However, one of the more important aspects of our lives that need to be prepared for Ramadhan is ourselves – and more so, our hearts. While much of our time may be spent in seeing that our houses are cleaned, curtains changed, the walls painted and our kitchens stocked up with enough food and drink for suhoor and iftar, we may tend to forget that what really matters and what will gain us the most rewards for fasting in Ramadhan is the changes we make within ourselves for the better and drawing closer to Allah by maximizing our good deeds before, during and after the month. Allah tells us exactly what the purpose of Ramadhan is, where He says,
“O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint” [Surah Al Baqarah : 183]

Allah specifies that fasting is for us to learn self-restraint and in other translations as well it says piety. But how do we go about attaining this? Do we expect to wake up on the 1st of Ramadhan being a perfect Muslim rid of all bad habits done throughout the year and by the end of the 29/30 day period, we are back to our old ways? Subhanallah! No! The purpose of Ramadhan is not for us to be ‘good and pious’ for just one month, but it is one of many stepping stones in the lifestyle changes that we all need in order to attain Jannah In Shaa Allah. Imagine that every year Allah gives us a point where we can turn over a new leaf, begin again, renew our purpose in life and have the opportunity to wipe our slates clean. How lucky are we!

Now, making ourselves ready for Ramadhan and into the mode will take some getting used to and will take some effort on our parts; but the reward for making these changes will positively affect our lives in ways we could never imagine. These preparations are not only external, or only internal, but it will take a combination of both internal and external changes for us to see and feel the impact on our lives as a whole In Shaa Allah. By detoxing our lives of all the bad habits, the negative elements plaguing us, the bad company we keep and surrounding ourselves with thoughts of death and the hereafter can aid in the steps towards our transformation with Allah’s Help. Let us also remember to include our families in these lifestyle changes, as doing so as a family unit will surely bring that much needed barakah (blessing), peace and tranquility into our homes.

Here are some ways in which we can rid ourselves of the things that take us away from Allah and In Shaa Allah would help us in preparing ourselves for the upcoming blessed month of Ramadhan:

 

Detoxing from bad habits: Let’s admit it, we all have bad habits that we need to break but just can’t seem to do it for one reason or another. We may tell ourselves every year around Ramadhan that we will make the change and cut out these habits, whether it be smoking, drinking alcohol, watching too much television, not praying our salah on time.. and the list goes on. But this Ramadhan should not be any different in making those intentions once again and sincerely trying to make an effort to cut out these habits that may harm us – whether it is now or in the future because,

“Actions are judged by intentions..” {Bukhari & Muslim}

What matters the most is the fact that we make the intention and take the steps towards making that change in our lives for the better. Even if we slip and fall, we need to get ourselves up, make sincere Tawbah (repentance) and be assertive in the fact that we will not return to those habits again solely for the pleasure of Allah. By telling ourselves every day that we are getting one day closer to Ramadhan, this will help in building our enthusiasm and the will to do better will be increased with Allah’s Help.

Stay away from or minimize our activity on Social Media: It is commonplace for many of us to spend a big chunk of our day engaged in the social media world. While social media can be of benefit for us, spending too much time can lead to us wasting time – time that can be spent in preparing ourselves by reading Qur’an, making dhikr and even listening to beneficial Islamic lectures that remind us of Allah. Sometimes on social media we are lead into chatting and talking unnecessarily about matters that take us further and further away from Allah, which begins to harden our hearts, making the remembrance of Allah and reciting Qur’an even more difficult. So in preparations for this blessed and holy month, let us begin by spending less and less time on social media as the days go by. We can start by taking off an hour from the time we spend each day, and gradually decrease the time we spend in front the computer or our phones day by day.

Staying away from bad company: We all know the age old saying – “Friends will take you but they won’t bring you back”; this saying rings true today as so many of our youth are being led into fitnah and evil actions because of their friends. Everyone wants to be accepted and wants to please their friends, but what we need to understand as Muslims, is we must first please Allah and work to be accepted by Allah alone. Only then will He cause the rest of mankind to be pleased with us. As Ramadhan is here, let us try to surround ourselves with people who remind us of Allah and the happiness that awaits us in Jannah if we spend our lives in striving hard to please Him alone. If we have friends who encourage us in wrong, let us become the leader and say to them ‘let me show you a better way, the way of Islam”. Let the month of Ramadhan and all its blessings be our driving force to pull others towards and let us not be the ones being pulled away from it.

Some quick tips in getting ourselves and our families prepared for the month of Ramadhan:

  1. Getting the family together – husband, wife and children – and making a list of the things that needs to be improved in the family in order to get everyone in the spirit of fasting. Eg. Praying together and on time
  2. Hanging a Calendar where everyone can see it and for each day that goes by in Ramadhan
  3. Cutting down on the amount of television that is watched – for both parents and children.
  4. Praying the extra Sunnah and nawafil salaah every day. Eg. Sunnah that accompanies Fard Salaah, Salaatul Duha, Tahajjud, etc
  5. Make fun activities to do as a family which encourages good deeds to be done. For instance, get the kids together and have them each decorate a small box and label it “Ramadhan Charity”. Each day, (these days aren’t limited to Ramadhan as they can begin before and continue afterwards), have everyone in the family, parents included, place money in these boxes and before Eid give out the money to the poor as Sadaqah. Get the kids involved in giving charity and develop in them a sense of love for that.
  6. Make a pre-plan of the Suhoor and Iftar menu and carry the entire family shopping to stock up on healthy foods. This will help build a sense of excitement In Shaa Allah.
  7. Decorate! Yes decorate your homes a couple days before Ramadhan begins, to bring an atmosphere of joy and happiness in the home! Who doesn’t love nice, brightly coloured decorations?! The children especially will be all too excited to help and at the same you are building their love of Islam.
  8. Have daily chats with the family about the importance and benefits of Ramadhan, how we are pleasing Allah and obeying Him and how much reward we will receive for doing so. This will also act as great reminders to ourselves and build our Iman in process.

 

In Shaa Allah with these tips in preparing our hearts for Ramadhan, we will begin to see a change in our lives that is pleasing to Allah and to those around us as well. Our ultimate goal in life should be to please Allah and we are quickly approaching the time of the year where Allah gives us optimum opportunities to do so. Let us try our best to make the most of this Ramadhan for both ourselves and our families! Ameen.



Umm Hafsah Rumaisah

About

Rochelle Flores (Umm Hafsah Rumaisah), born in Trinidad & Tobago, is a 31 year old stay at home mother of two. She has an Associates Degree in Literatures in English and has studied Islamic studies for a few years at Knowledge International University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She currently writes for a local Islamic periodical newspaper, The Muslim Chronicle


'Nurturing the Heart for Ramadan' have 4 comments

  1. June 22, 2015 @ 7:32 pm Siti

    Jazakillahu Khair for this wonderful post. May Allah bless sister Umm Hafsah & family, ameen…..

    Reply

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  3. December 15, 2015 @ 5:49 pm sdorttuii plmnr

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