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Gearing Up for Ramadhaan

We will soon enter the month of Ramadhan inshaa’ Allah. In order to reap the full benefits of this month, we need to appreciate that it is a blessing from Allah. He the Most High said: "The month of Ramadhaan in which the Qur’ân was revealed, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance of the Criterion between right and wrong. So whosoever of you sights the crescent for the month of Ramadhaan, he must fast that month." [Surah al-Baqarah 2:185]

Indeed the Messenger of Allah sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam used to give glad tidings about the coming of Ramadhaan, reminding the companions of its virtues and urging them to perform righteous acts. Abu Hurairah RadhialLahu `anhu reported that he sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Ramadan has come to you - a blessed month. Allah has made obligatory upon you its fasting. In it, the gates of heaven are open, the gates of the Hellfire are closed and the evil devils are chained. To Allah belongs a night in it, which is better than a thousand months. Whosoever is prevented from its good, then he has been deprived." [Ahmad & An-Nasaa'ee]

It is a month of challenges – it is not easy to restrain one's appetite, desires and anger with the best of intentions and purely for the sake of Allah, but let us not complain about having to go hungry, being tired and weakened or about the many preparations for `Eid, for if this is how we view Ramadhaan, then we are in fact one of the losers.

Let us instead adopt the attitude of the Salaf (pious predecessors) who took refuge in and found great pleasure in the worship Allah. Yahya ibn Mu`adh said, "How can I not love a life in which I have my provision, earn my livelihood and love to perform acts of obedience on account of which I earn Paradise?" [Tazkiyatun-Nufus]

Let us bear in mind that this month is a gift from Allah. Let us remember that fasting is in fact a magnificent opportunity Allah has given us to increase our scale of good deeds. "Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk." [al-Bukhari]

Abu Umaamah RadhialLahu `anhu said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise'. He said: 'Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it.'" [An-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]

We should thus give thanks to Allah for allowing us to see yet another Ramadhaan, for this is a month in which we can strengthen our commitment.

Truly, this month is short… TIME is short! Have we not often said to ourselves, "Oh, it is Ramadhaan again… a whole year has passed… where has the time gone?" We would do well to remember that our time is precious – it is fleeting and once gone, cannot be reclaimed or relived. It is a wealth but a wealth more precious than any gem or gold.

As Muslims, we must ensure that NONE of our time is devoid of the remembrance of and dedication to Allah. Abdullah ibn Mas'ood said, "I have never regretted anything as much as I regret a day on which the sun set, my term was shortened and my deeds did not increase." Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz said, "The night and the day are surely acting upon you, so act you therein."

We do not know if we will live long enough to see the end of this Ramadhaan, much less the next, so let us not procrastinate but hasten towards good and abandon all that is evil. As Salman ibn Dinar said, "Whatever you would like to accompany you in the Hereafter, plant it today and whatever you hate to accompany you in the Hereafter, abandon it today." [Sifatus-Safwah]

This Ramadhaan, let us occupy ourselves with acts that bring us closer to Allah such as reading the Qur`an, making dhikr, performing taraweeh, charity, performing i`tikaaf, seeking forgiveness and increasing du`aa. Let us remember the words of Yahya ibn Mu`adh in his will and testament, "The night is long so do not make it shorter by excessive sleeping. The day is pure so do not stain it by your sins. Be like a passerby in this life, realising that leaving comes after a little rest and that moving along comes faster than the respite."

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