What Ramadaan? Part IV
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
*This post tries to cover some (it does not even attempt to cover all) of the awesome-ness that is the Ramadhan effect, inshaAllah*
Many struggling with the five daily prayers not only become steadfast on them overnight throughout Ramadhan (and importantly beyond Ramadhan), but also take part in additional prayers during Ramadhan such as the taraweeh prayers.
The book of Allah, which so many of us normally neglect, suddenly takes its rightful place of constantly being in our hands and recited on our tongues. You will see Muslims with Quran everywhere, doing everything- on the tube, during breaks at work, waiting in a car park for someone (this last one is definitely me when I’m behind the wheel during Ramadhan grocery runs!). Suddenly people who struggled to complete the recitation of just one Quran in a year manage to complete multiple recitations of the Quran and still want to recite more out of love for Allah’s words. Ramadhan is a motivational factor for many Muslims to keep up that attachment with Quran once the month is over: many begin polishing up their recitation of the Quran, taking lessons in Arabic to understand its message in the language of its revelation (non-Arabs) and memorising more of its chapters by heart.
Individuals who insist they cannot function on less than a certain quota of sleep during the rest of the year manage to abandon their beds during Ramadhan, staying up to worship their Lord. Qiyaam ul Layl (standing in prayer during the night), which can seem so hard outside Ramadhan, becomes something longed and waited for during the daylight hours! When we attach our hearts to something during the month long intensive that is Ramadhan, it becomes easier to remain steadfast once the reminder (month) is gone, Allah willing.
The stingy tight-fistedness that can normally overcome some of us (‘I need to be saving not giving charity’, ‘I don’t have enough to give’, ‘I need to be spending on X so I really can’t spare any cash for others’) is more easily combated in Ramadhan when we’re constantly putting Allah before our own whims and desires. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was very generous ordinarily and even more generous during Ramadhan, encouraging his followers to do the same. Ramadhan really helps to combat one of our chronic failings- ingratitude. Suddenly you realise how blessed you really are and turn an eye to your extravagances and wastefulness. With that realisation comes another that others are not so fortunate and suddenly giving charity doesn’t seem so difficulty after all.
While Ramadhan helps us to renew and refresh our acts of worship, during the month and beyond, it also does wonders for other aspects of our lives such as our manners and character. Ramadhan is one, long tutorial in patience, a quality whose reward lies with Allah. Our tongues, which can cause us so much trouble throughout the rest of the year (e.g. backbiting others), are suddenly put on a taming leash which shows us that if we make the effort we really can change our habits. The rights of others, which we can be so quick to neglect, we suddenly realise the weight of. People who are not speaking to one another and despair of finding a way to end their disagreement, find their way in Ramadhan when hearts on both sides are softened, alhamdulillah.
And the list goes on!
There’s something really important for me to point out for non-Muslims and perhaps Muslims too: Ramadhan isn’t a stand-alone affair. The point isn’t to exert ourselves for a month and then fall back into all our previous sins and faults as soon as the day of ‘Eid is upon us. Rather its likeness is that of an intense training camp where, freed from all our regular distractions, preoccupations and those who wish us harm, we can refocus and retrain ourselves with amazing success. Having seen the fruits of our exertions we can leave the camp with determination and an established routine to take home with us, until the next Ramadhan comes along inshaAllah.
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who said:
“Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says:
‘Fasting is Mine and it is I Who give reward for it. [A man] gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for My sake.’ Fasting is like a shield, and he who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of him who fasts is better in Allah’s estimation than the smell of musk.’ ” (Bukhari)
Praying in Beirut, Lebanon, this Ramadhan