5 Deep Questions to Help You Start Ramadan Right
My 4-year old niece has her ‘questioning moods’ .
During these moods, she asks soooo many questions – from the light-hearted ones that make us crack up to the deep ones that stop us in our tracks – wondering how to answer with meaning and to her level of understanding.
Asked in all innocence, some of her questions make us rethink issues from a new perspective, while responding according to her experience and understanding. It’s always an exciting and enjoyable learning experience for us just as it is for her.
Children typically ask a lot of questions with which they expand their minds and understanding of the world. Adults should equally ask deep questions while reflecting on the world around.
As Ramadan is approaching, it is even more important to create time from your daily routine and ponder these 5 Ramadan readiness questions below.
They will help you start your fasting month right while expanding your understanding of the essence of Ramadan and understanding its countless blessings.
Question 1. If this was your last Ramadan, how will YOU spend each moment?
In trying to answer this question, your concerns will not include the latest TV shows, fashion styles or the hottest gist on the block.
Neither will you worry much about that ‘friend‘ who is living in the white mansion overlooking the beach, or carrying the latest smart phone or traveling on yet another shopping spree.
Or will it?
Your top concerns will likely include;
- How to be sincere in everything you do
- How to maximise your time on good and rewarding deeds
- How to cut down on negative influences and distractions
- How to earn Allah’s pleasure and meet Him in the state that He is most pleased with you
Imagine this was truly your last Ramadan. How hard will you work to safeguard your fasting month?
Devoting each day to worship with utmost sincerity, whether you are at work, taking a nap or praying tahajjud (night prayers). Tracking your hours so you are gaining from each deed you perform.
And a sincere attitude to top it off.
Consider you are being paid the top rate per hour for a top job position in the entire world – what attitude will you carry?
You get the gist, right?
That’s your attitude as a fasting servant who is experiencing your last Ramadan. No excuses whatsoever, no laxity, no procrastination and no lackadaisical attitude. You are ever ready to put in the extra hours or even days to earn your pay, prestige and position.
Is earning Jannah from a V.I.P gate worth putting in extra hours for?
Reflect again on Question 1 and set your intentions straight as you approach Ramadan.
Sincerity is the golden key that will help you start Ramadan right. Sincerity in your thoughts, words and acts moment-by-moment.
Question 2. Imagine ‘Ramadan’ was a blank cheque, how much will YOU cash?
You just received a blank check from the richest person in the world to keep for a month ONLY, what figure will you write out?
Will it be a figure ending in one zero, two, six or even nine?
Come on, be honest.
Ramadan is T.H.A.T blank check – so full of opportunities and you can even create more.
Think of the following blessings and bonuses;
- A breadth sweeter than fragrance of Musk to your Creator
- A night better than a 1000 months of worship
- Gates of Paradise opened and gates of hell closed with devils chained.
- Having your past sins forgiven
- Distance from hell fire
Let me take a pause here. You do get the gist, right?
The Prophet (saw) said: “The five daily prayers; one Friday prayer to the next Friday prayer; and (fasting) Ramadan to the next Ramadan expiate the sins that occur in between them, so long as the major sins are avoided.” [Muslim]
The Prophet (saw) also said: “There is not a servant (of Allah) that fasts a day in the way of Allah, except that Allah removes his face from the fire by the distance of seventy years because of that.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Reflect on question 2 again and answer. List out all the opportunities you will like to cash from Ramadan in your journal.
OK. Let’s get a move on…
Questions 3. What is your connection with Allah (swt) right now
and how will YOU like it to be on the last day of Ramadan?
Your heart is kinda rusty and you feel it.
You feel spiritually disconnected from Allah (swt) right now.
There’s hardly any time to do dhikr, make dua or even pray on time. You often yawn through your Isha, miss Fajr and find yourself among those with little or no connection with Allah (swt).
Ramadan offers you a time like no other to re-connect with Allah(swt) and unplug from the distractions around. A month of spiritual re-awakening awaits you; as well as physical striving and financial commitment.
Consider the following ways you can reconnect with Allah (swt);
- Du’a at the break of fast and renewing intention at pre-dawn meal
- Going for I’tikaf (seclusion)
- Going for Umrah
- Reciting the Qur’an and reflecting on meanings
- Reflecting on your blessings while remembering those who go hungry and thirsty worldwide
- Devotion in the last ten days and nights (the nights in which Laylat-ul- Qadr falls (The Night of Decree)
- Optional prayers in congregation (tarawih) and other acts which result in unity & brotherhood as the Ummah fasts together for a month
Allah (swt) says: “Laylat-ul-Qadr is better than a thousand months.”
[Surah Al-Qadr: 3]
The Prophet (saw) said: “Whoever stands in night prayer during Laylat-ul-Qadr with faith and seeking reward (from Allah), his past sins will be forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Find the means to reconnect with your Creator while savouring the entire experience.
4. If your Ramadan experience was compiled into a book,
what will the title, chapter headings, characters, prologue, epilogue etc be?
Think about the most beneficial book you have ever read – whether from childhood, teen years or as an adult.
What made it beneficial? Was it the layout, design, language, stories included, charts, images etc
You have the chance to infuse your Ramadan with benefits for yourself and others. Volunteer, help out with your skills, education and experience, teach children or adults, share ideas, resources, reminders etc.
Strive hard and make yours a worthy Ramadan experience.
Yes, it is between you and Him to begin with, and that’s a BIG motivation.
Allah says: “Every good deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting, for it is for Me and I will reward it.” [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari and Muslim]
But it should not end there.
Be that bestselling book which passes through many generations.
Be the classic warrior, settling for nothing but that top prize of Taqwa.
After the prize, comes ‘happily after’…
5. How can you strengthen Your love for Allah (swt) in Ramadan?
How much do you love Allah (swt)?
Very much, I guess you will say.
Its so easy to talk about love. Yet, it isn’t easy to live it. Love is about sacrifice and servitude.
How do you manifest your love for Allah (swt) in your day-to-day affairs. And how far are you willing to strengthen this love?
Ramadan offers many opportunities to surrender, sacrifice and submit in all matters.
Whether it is through reciting His words, pondering over it’s meanings, heeding the advice within, adopting the words guidance, gratitude for having such a Book and extra devotion in your personal and professional life – using Qur’an as your reference point.
The devils are chained and gates of Jannah thrown wide open, so no excuses to dampen this love. Nurture it, improve and brighten the flames constantly with all the manifestations of a strong love.
Say (O Muhammad (saw): ”Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)
“I have not created the Jinn and Mankind except that they should worship Me.”
I must confess.
I end some of the questioning play sessions with my darling niece by diverting her to Gramma or the next adult in the room. This allows me to laugh harder or ponder deeply on her mind-boggling question(s).
Disclaimer: You are advised not to do the same. If you find any of the questions mind-boggling, do not run off to Gramma or the next adult with you (except its a knowledgeable person).
Seek your answers through authentic sources – Qur’an (and Tafsir e.g Tafsir Ibn Kathir), Books of Hadith and Seerah of the Prophet (saw).
Online platforms like Islamic Online University (IOU) offer authentic learning opportunities.
Whatever you do, make sure you ponder and answer these questions – preferably written down in your Ramadan journal for further reflection.
Your turn, what other deep questions can you reflect upon to help you start Ramadan right?
Image credit: via Pixabay.com