As the UK gets ready to come out of what is effectively the third national lock down Muslims are gearing up for the coming of a sacred month called Ramadan; in hope it can be experienced in its complete sense with communal night worship and breaking of fasts in mosques. Ramadan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting (sawm), prayer, reflection and community service. This is a month where able body Muslims both men and women fast by abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations from dawn till dusk to a gain deeper spiritual insight in their faith known as taqwa or God consciousness. According to Islamic lunar calender, Ramadan moves approximately ten days forward each year following the previous year’s celebration of Eidul Fitre; a celebration which occurs at the end of the month long fasting. For observant Muslims fasting in Ramadan is much more than simply abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations from Dawn till dusk. In general ramadan is often times misunderstood and can lead to incorrect meanings being applied to ramadan. Many people assume Muslims fast to feel the pain and hunger of the poor. If the essence of fasting was to feel the suffering of the poor, then why would the poor Muslims be required to fast?
What is the purpose of رمضان and fasting?
Ramadan’s purpose is to help a believer attain God consciousness. That is, be able to live his or her life in the strong mindset
1. Allah, is watching him,
2. Allah hears him and
3. Allah is with him throughout his or her life. Ramadan is a divine positive force for perpetual change for a muslim. It is not a month for Muslims to feel the pains of the poor by fasting but it has a greater purpose. Although a side outcome of رمضان can be a show of support for how the poor and hungry people feel throughout the year. A good example is to say Ramadan is similiar to a crash course for a Muslim to realign and refocus is his life around Allah. It is as if Allah is saying if your 11 months of the year was going off the rails, here is your chance to clear the slate, begin afresh and be a new person. The month is a rehab centre for the habitual sinful and weak in faith to grow; for the more Conservative and observant Muslims it is a chance to further grow in nearness to Allah. Ramadan is a month long sale for a believer; to get closer to Allah faster than any other month, to be able to get more rewards for doing simple acts of generosity. This is highlighted by numerous prophetic sayings on the virtues of Ramadan, the greatness of doing good deeds in this month of charity and prayers.
How can I prepare for Ramadan in lockdown so it is different to previous years?
In anticipation for the coming of Ramadan Muslims are encouraged to begin their preparation in Rajab the 7th month of the Islamic calender. This is so when Ramadan arrives Muslims are already in the correct mindset and understanding to gain the maximum benefit from the month. The month of Rajab is one of four months that are virtuous according to the Creator, Allah (Almighty). In Surah number 9, verse 36, Allah (swt) states, “The number of months with Allah has been twelve since the time he created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. That is the right religion. So do not wrong yourselves during them.”
It is reported the Prophet ﷺ said,
Rajab is the month of Allah, Shaban is the month of the Prophet and Ramadan is the month of the Ummah. (Hadith).
In commentary of this Prophetic hadith scholars have mentioned "Rajab is the month of Allah" means, a Muslim should begin to correct his beliefs and ideas who Allah is in this month. It is in this month a Muslim should begin to fulfill his responsibilities to Allah; if a believer is not completing his prayers on time for instance. Then he or she should start offering his prayers, he or she should learn about Allah, his attributes and traits.
"Shaban is the month of the Prophet ﷺ " means a Muslim should get closer to the Prophetic sunnah, start adopting some of the Prophetic habits into his or her life. He should learn about the life of the Prophet of Allah ﷺ . Do extra optional fasts in preparation for the month of Ramadan to come, do extra charity so when Ramadan comes its in the system of a Muslim to be kind, generous, and welcoming. In another famous Prophetic Hadith it is said, "there is no month other than Ramadan in which the Prophet ﷺ would fast more frequently than Shaban".
And finally, "Ramadan is the month of the ummah" refers to the fact a Muslim should (in Ramadan) correct his relationships, make amends with his kinship, mend broken relationships and seek to fulfill the rights of other creation. Only then can a person imagine to benefit from Ramadan, by focusing on above above mentioned three areas; Allah, his Messenger ﷺ and the creation of Allah. One cannot claim to get in the mode of Ramadan once the month has already arrived as it takes time and effort to lose ones bad and sometimes sinful habits. For example, this is the year in which the Olympics will take place in Japan, a tournament which show cases the talent of human abilities, where the greatest sportsmen and women come to compete and win gold medals. Ramadan is like the Olympics for Muslims, it is a chance to outdo themselves in good, in charity, selfless service and reflection. Athletes in any competition do not start their training camp once the competition has started, nor does a soldier begin to learn how to use a weapon of war in the battlefield but these are done before a competition starts or before a soilder goes to war. Likewise to benefit from Ramadan a Muslim should begin his spiritual training camp now in rajab so when the Olympics of Ramadan arrives he will be ready to win gold medals at the end of Ramadan; which is the rewards from Allah given to believers on the night of eid.
Visit www.propheticpath.co.uk where a free practical mentoring program is avaliable which can help a person prepare for the upcoming Ramadan 2021