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Ramadan: Geared & Bench marked for Success

Ramadan:  Geared & Bench marked for Success

شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ
(Al-Quran 2:185)

It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it.

Muslims around the world, since 1435 years, have been accumulating the rewards of mercy that are showered in the Glorious month of Ramadan. The unique bounties and privileges of this month are the same as in the time of Rasul Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) and his revered companions (may Allah be pleased with them), though we as Muslims have digressed and nowhere near the status of those superior beings. Yet, the Rahman, in His infinite mercy, hasn’t changed the dimensions as we deserve.

It is not only a time to fast, but to glorify the Sustainer, to perfect our articles of faith, to increase in supererogatory acts of worship, to fulfill the rights of the Creator and His creation, in short, attain the level of excellence (ihsaan) as befitting a true Muslim.

إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ ………

…..behold, Allah loves the doers of good. (Al-Quran 2:195)

It is as if Ramadan is designed to make us succeed from being nothing to becoming everything a Muslim should be. It is an epitome geared for success; a controlled exercise benchmarked for victory, that is, to earn the Supreme Pleasure.

The Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) used to strive hard (in worship) in the last ten nights of Ramadan as he never did at any other time.” Sunan Ibn Majah

The Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Apostle (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam), offers prayer perfectly and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he fights in Allah’s Cause or remains in the land where he is born.” Sahih Bukhari

Allah’s Apostle (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) was the most generous of all the people and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gibriel Alaihis Salam met him. Gabriel Alaihis Salam used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur’an. Allah’s Apostle (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). Sahih Bukhari

Ramadan began, and the Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: ‘This month has come to you, and in it there is a night that is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all goodness, and no one is deprived of its goodness except one who is truly deprived.’” Sunan Ibn Majah

Ramadan is not here to deprive you. It is here to revive you. (anon)

Truly, what a loss, to attain this remarkable opportunity to triumph in this world and the next, and yet remain deprived!

This month is benchmarked for success. Benchmark means to set a success criterion, and here the benchmark is Taqwa, piety.

Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwa (piety and righteousness).” (Al-Quran 2:183)

The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said:”… whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Imam Bukhari).

The month of Ramadan is regulated so that we can easily attain this benchmark.

It is an experiment in success of good over evil and like in every experiment there are certain factors:

1. Constants

Allah ta’ala’s mercy

The Prophet Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam said: When the month of Ramadan arrives, the doors of mercy are opened. (Sahih Muslim)

The Glorious Quran.

“Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was sent down, as a guide to mankind and a clear guidance and judgment (so that mankind will distinguish from right and wrong)” (Al-Quran 2:183)

2. Variables

Every experiment should have three kinds of variables: dependent independent controlled.

Dependent: what will be measured; Taqwa

The most honored by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwa.”(Al-Quran 49:13)

Independent: what is varied and will affect the dependent variable; our effort and passion to gain taqwa.

..And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew.” (Al-Quran 2:184)

Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said: “There is a gate to Paradise that is called Ar-Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection it will say: ‘Where are those who fasted?’ When the last [one] has passed through the gate, it will be locked.” [Bukhari and Muslim].

Controlled: removing factors that might affect the outcome (Taqwa), like eliminating the temptations of devils, restraining the unruly soul given to excess of sleeping, eating, drinking and base pleasures, so that the variables are held constant.

The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Imam Bukhari)

3. Number of trials

Once a year every year till the end of life, chance to perfect our faith and gain the pleasure of Allah ta’ala.

4. Time duration

Thirty days of boundless mercy and infinite pardon.

The Messenger of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalam) said:”… whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Imam Bukhari).

So what should be the best practices in the magnificent month of Ramadan to ensure optimal success?

Fasting is the key prerequisite of this month, apart from all the obligatory worships like salah. However, fasting will be effective only if it is followed by the conditions of tazkiya (purification) and taqwa (piety).

The Prophet of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wassalm) said: “Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst.” [Ibn Majah, ad-Darimi, Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi. Sahih]

Our pious elders and righteous scholars suggest some deeds which will help us attain the two attributes of tazkiya and taqwa.

Submit totally to the will of Allah ta’ala such that His command is your wish and you’re the obedient slave who accepts his Master’s decree.

Not one moment passes without the fear and remembrance of the Almighty.

Live a life in complete accordance with Shariah (Islamic Jurisprudence).

Love and hate only for the sake of Allah ta’ala.

Gain knowledge of Deen and strive to practice accordingly.

Try to keep away from all sins, manifest or covert.

Lessen food, sleep and unnecessary interaction with people.

Avoid foul language.

Fulfill promises.

Avoid injustice and hurting others, whether by hands, tongue or actions.

May Allah ta’ala make us among those who strive in His way and accept our meagre efforts. Aameen

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

But as for those who strive hard in Our cause -We shall most certainly guide them onto paths that lead unto Us: for, behold, God is indeed with the doers of good. (Al-Quran 29:69)


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