“شَهۡرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِىۡٓ اُنۡزِلَ فِيۡهِ الۡقُرۡاٰنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَ بَيِّنٰتٍ مِّنَ الۡهُدٰى وَالۡفُرۡقَانِۚ”
It was the month of Ramadan in which the Quran was first sent down as guidance for all people, having in it clear proofs of divine guidance and the criterion for right and wrong…”
(Translation from Ahmad Zaki Hammad)
It is the month of forgiveness. The month of supplication. The month of strength. Most importantly, it is the month of the Quran. Indeed, it is none other than Ramadan. Due to the arrival of this guest of honor, we will take a break from our series of Ibaad Al-Rahman for this month. Last month, we began by asking ourselves what we shall do to prepare for the coming of this blessed month of fasting. Now that it has arrived, we should be asking ourselves, what have we done to prepare for Ramadan?
If you haven’t prepared enough or at all for Ramadan, it is not too late. Ramadan is the month of replacement. Replacement of what, you may ask? It is the month of replacing a bad habit with a good deed. If you are addicted to a particular sin, Ramadan is the absolute best month of the year in which you will be able to overcome Shaytan and be victorious. It is not just about ending a bad habit, but it is also about replacing it with something that is beneficial. That way you can exit Ramadan as a different and better individual.
Ramadan is also the month of the Holy Quran. As the Aya states, it is the month of Ramadan that the Holy Quran was revealed. So, if you are wondering where to begin, use this month to strengthen your connection with the Quran. To establish any bond between ourselves and the Quran, we must ask ourselves about our Salah. Do we pray the five daily prayers? Do we pray them on time? Do we feel anything when we pray? It is so important to remember that the Salah was given to us as a gift. It was given to us as a means of communicating with Allahﷻ five times daily. Allahﷻ does not benefit from our prayers. He does not need our prayers. Surely, it is mankind who is in need of Allahﷻ, so He blessed us with the gift of Salah. Start by understanding what is being said in the prayer. I do not mean read the translation of Surah Al-Fatiha, I mean dive deeper than the surface and grasp a firm understanding of every word we say. If you are having trouble praying all five prayers, then Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to fix this matter. Make it a habit to pray in the Masjid and then you will feel the blessings of Salah as well as Ramadan.
After we have established our Salah, we now can dig into the Quran itself. Remember, the goal of Ramadan is not to become a scholar of Sahabi by the end of it, because that is unrealistic and unattainable. Rather, set small goals that can be carried with you after the parting of this blessed month. Instead of trying to read the entire Quran, try half or a third of the Quran to begin. While you are reading this holy book, try to connect with it by understanding the words being said on each page and every verse. This will only drive you closer to Allahﷻ. In a Hadith, Prophet Muhammadﷺ states, “إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْفَعُ بِهَذَا الْكِتَابِ أَقْوَامًا وَيَضَعُ بِهِ آخَرِينَ”. “Through the Quran, Allahﷻ raises certain people and through the same Quran, He drops certain people.” So utilize this month to ensure that the Quran will elevate you in this life and the Hereafter.
As I conclude this special Ramadan reminder, I just want to give one piece of advice to everyone. This Ramadan, I would like everyone to pick one small, good deed. It might be praying two raka’at of Qiyam each night on your own, or donating even just $1 each day, smiling at everyone that you meet, etc. Pick one small, good deed and keep it only between yourself and Allahﷻ. Do not let anyone know about this good deed that you do except Allahﷻ. Begin with this good deed during Ramadan and let it continue outside Ramadan. In doing so, it will secure a level of sincerity between yourself and your Lordﷻ. We would know that our intentions are pure and sincere only for Allahﷻ, and no one else.
I ask Allahﷻ to allow us all to benefit the most from this blessed month, I as Allahﷻ not to let Ramadan exit without having forgiven all of our sins, and I ask Allahﷻ to grant us the privilege of witnessing the following Ramadan to come, Allahumma Ameen.
By Ahmad Salah