“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong).” [2:185]
Ramadan is a time to strengthen our Imaan (faith) and love bond with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala via fasting, seeking forgiveness, keeping the tongue moist with Dhikr, reciting Quran, increase in voluntary prayers and giving charity.
In addition to this, for me it is a time to self-analyse and deep thinking ‘Tafakkur’ and review what I have done in the previous year; seek forgiveness to everyone I know close and far for anything done unintentionally for any actions that I may have not realise. Normally, when I do something wrong intentionally I always seek forgiveness straight away as tomorrow is not promised.
Reflection is so vital dear brothers and sisters. It is the food and light to the heart, mind and soul. Doors of experience are opened. Seeds of truth are grown and shown. It is time for learning from mistakes and trying to attempt to not repeat them. When reading the Quranic verses, you will find it deeply connects with you. Without reflection; there is a glimpse of darkness in the heart and the Imaan (faith) levels decrease.
Inspecting oneself, intentions and actions is known as Muhasabah which will consequently purifies our soul.
When we do any good deeds, we need to avoid thinking we are something when we are nothing but a servant of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. When you reflect on yourself and actions, you need to ask yourself are you doing it because you expect something in return from someone or are you doing it for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
We need to be humble. Even our Beloved Prophet Muhammad peace and blessing be upon him said:
“The thing that I fear most for my nation is associating others with Allah. I do not say that they will worship the sun or the moon or idols, but deeds done for the sake of anyone other than Allah, and hidden desires.”
[Ibn Majah, 4205]
We need to increase our awareness levels and to be alert of what is happening around us. One will never be able to count the blessings Allah has bestowed upon us, but one will be able to reflect on the beauty of these blessings such as spouse, family, health, shelter and friends. Our Beloved Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said:
“No act of worship is as meritorious as reflection. So reflect on God’s bounties and the works of His Power, but do not try to reflect on His Essence and Being, for you will never be able to comprehend it.”
After self-analysing, the second step is motivation. Motivate ourselves to improve our deen and character. Motivate ourselves to do good deeds and work for the Akhirah. Motivate ourselves to do our fundamental duties towards Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Islam, families, Ummah. Living life with a purpose. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says:
‘And those who disbelieve say, "Why was the Qur'an not revealed to him all at once?" Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.’ [25:32]
But we need to motivate and do things in small steps. For instance, to teach a child how to prayer won’t be learnt over night.Things will take time. A methodical manner.
Below is Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs that aid in how one can motivate themselves. It consists of 5 levels of factors and needs to start from the bottom level (red) and once achieved, they can then go up the next level like a ladder.
Tips/Reminders for Self-Analysis for myself and others.
- When we pray, do we pray in a state of khushoo’ (mindfulness)? At many times, our mind becomes heavy and worried about so many things that we lose concentration in our Salah. Let us hand our worries to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala who has the capabilities to remove our worries. Let us practice and train ourselves in mindfulness by increasing in Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala).
- How hard are we working for the Akhirah? Some may think they do enough good deeds and should relax. How do you know these deeds are accepted? We need to strive to always continue doing good deeds patiently. Allah subhanhu wa taala says
‘O ye who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.’ [2:153]
- When people criticise, accept it. It is better for one to aim and seek Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s pleasure. This then interlinks with Ikhlas (sincerity) as our intention is most crucial and should always be directed to pleasing Allah and him alone as our actions will be judged according to our intentions.
Tips/Reminders for Ramadan
Ensure you pray your 5 daily Salah and Taraweeh prayer diligently.
Increase in Dhikr, recitation of Quran, making Du’a and Dhikr.
Take part in dawah activities and/or activities taking place in the Masjid.
To serve others for fasting whether family, friends, neighbours, elderly etc.
Guard your tongue, eyes, ears, heart and thoughts.
To be generous to the poor and needy.
To respect all and never discriminate.
My dear brothers and sisters, always self-analyse and motivate yourself to become a better person and at the same time knowing that one cannot reach perfection. This may be our last Ramadan, so make use of it and don’t waste it. Ramadan is amongst the blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. Its a time for transformation. Let’s do it. Get ready.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us faith, strength us during Ramadan.