Foolproof Steps for Starting Ramadan Right (#1: Reflect on the ‘Why’)
Part 1 of 3: Reflect on the ‘WHY’
Just like a long lost dear friend, there is always a lot of anticipation for the arrival of the special month of Fasting – Ramadan.
And although it seems like only yesterday when we enjoyed the days and nights of Ramadan & accompanying Eid celebration, a full cycle has gone by. 11 months of the lunar calendar has since gone by from the ever familiar routine changing of day into night and night into day.
Part of the excitement comes from realising that Ramadan brings with it the opportunity to get more rewards from doing the usual good deeds – like charity, supplication and even community work.
But the reward will be more profound if you can think beyond the acts and how to carry them out, to the intention behind what you are doing.
Stop & think!
Will you simply stay hungry or thirsty for part of 29 or 30 days while thinking, if I want more reward I must maintain these fasts till the end of the month – no more, no less!
Or give of your time, money and knowledge just to pass the time till break of the fast?
Or cook, host parties and attend tarawih prayers in a bid to fulfil customary or societal norms?
Well, it obviously isn’t about denying yourself food and drink for the entire month, or getting super busy during the day or impressing others.
It is much more than that.
Yes it is!
The inner struggle is meant to rise beyond the physical motions and daily Ramadan routine.
So why do we fast?
The Prophet [saw] said:
‘Every act of the son of man is for himself except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward it…’
This secret act is meant to discipline the character, awaken one’s spirituality and direct the heart towards goodness.
With an attentive heart focused on Allah (swt), one can easily enter a state of utter submission and surrender to Allah – while foregoing all desires – and hence draw closer to Him with deep consciousness.
Scholars have described the month of fasting as a school for great training of the soul and purification of the heart. This school has various doors all leading to different kinds of rewards.
The biggest bonus is that the gates of paradise are opened while those of hell are closed; and the devils chained throughout the month.
So ask yourself, why do you fast?
Do you fast….
– Because your wife/ husband fasts & everyone around will be doing the same? [*Thinking*I don’t like to be the odd one out]
– Just to follow cultural or family practices? [*Thinking* I have been fasting since I turned seven]
– Because it is cool to be a Muslim these days?
Reflect, then assess yourself answer now.
People’s pleasure or Allah’s pleasure?
The great power of intention cannot be underestimated. Starting your Ramadan right is necessary, by having the right mind-set and following it with the correct intention.
You can fast for others’ pleasure or you can do it for Allah’s pleasure alone.
The one who fasts experiences two joys; he feels pleasure when he breaks his fast and he is joyful by virtue of his fast when he meets his Lord.
If you want to begin your Ramadan with the right state of mind, and stay committed while partaking actively in rewarding deeds this Ramadan; Ask yourself, Why am I fasting?
Reflect on your ‘why‘ right now in Sha’ban, before Ramadan. Then for every morning you wake up for the pre-dawn meal… ask yourself the same question. Begin your daily fast with this sense of purpose.
What will you like better than connecting with your Lord in the coming month of Ramadan & beyond.
Think of Paradise. And the pleasure of meeting your Lord.
With such high aim, you can re-purpose your Ramadan by directing your intention & thoughts towards gaining closeness to Allah (swt).
As the days draw closer, if you have not done so already try to think about the reason you will be fasting this Ramadan. Then read about the fasting of the Prophet (saw) and his companions so you can take simple lessons for yourself.
Use the key lessons to prepare your mind & body even as you make supplication to Allah (swt) to make you witness the month of Ramadan as the companions used to ask for.
Start your Ramadan right with a ‘WHY‘. Accompany this with a correct intention and follow the path of the great companions in their manner of preparations for this great month.
You can work towards starting Ramadan right.
Start with a why.
So are you willing to start your Ramadan right?