TOWARDS MAXIMUM UTILIZATION OF RAMADAN
Hassan was a graduate of the Mausica Teachers' College, taught at the Princes Town Senior Comprehensive School in Trinidad. He served as Imam of the Abdul Aziz Memorial Masjid, Aldana Street in Princes Town and as a General Council Member of the Trinidad Muslim League. May Allah SWT bless his soul.View all articles by Hassan Mohammed
Tazkhiyyah or spiritual training of the Individual during Ramadan
"(Say O Muhammad (uwbp), surely my prayer and my sacrifice and my life, and my death are all for Allah the cherisher of the Worlds". Qur'an 6:163)
To strengthen your relationship with Allah during Ramadan, the following spiritual exercises are important:
1) Salaah - (prayers) - Fard/Nawafil [Compulsory/Voluntary]: Apart from the required obligatory (fard) Prayer, other sunnah and nawafil (voluntary) prayers should be offered. as is reported in a hadith (saying of the Prophet 9uwbp):
(a) Abu Hurairah reported that Allah's Messenger (uwbp) used to exhort (his companions) to observe prayer (at night) during Ramadan, without commanding them (to deem it to be obligatory and said 'He who observed (tarawih prayer) during the night of Ramadan, because of faith and seeking reward (from Allah) all his previous sins will be forgiven.' (Mishkat)
(b) Jabir reported Allah's Messenger(.uwbp) as saying "When anyone of you observes the prayers in the mosque, he should earmark some share of his prayers for the house, for Allah would bless his house because of his prayers." (Muslim)
Apart from tarawih, other nawafil [voluntary] prayers are recommended, especially tahajjud (late night prayer). Maulana Maududi has stated "But make it a point that you offer the nafl [voluntary] prayers indoors and in secrecy so that your personal attachment with Allah might increase, and sincerity of purpose develop in you. Show of nafl or tahajjud prayers gives way to hypocrisy and self-importance which is detrimental to sincere belief".
(2) Saum (fasting):- This is a continuous, rigorous, spiritual, discipline and self control, that trains one for perfect and cheerful obedience of Allah. It strengthens one's faith in Allah and makes one sincere, faithful and obedient to His commands. It enables us to be the master and not the slave of our desires and appetites - thus we develop confidence. Fasting also develops a strong sense of nearness and closeness to Allah and of His presence everywhere. The Prophet (uwbp) has said:. "There are two pleasures for the fasting person, one at the time of breaking the fast and the other at the time when he meets his Lord, then he will be pleased because of his fasting".
(3) Lailat-ul-Qadr and Itikaf [The night of Power and spiritual retreat to mosque]: Ayesha related that "When the last ten days of Ramadan began, the Prophet (uwbp) use to prepare himself for prayer. He stayed awake throughout the night, and also wakened the members of his family."
Ayesha also relates how the Prophet (uwbp) spent these last ten days of Ramadan: " -... the Prophet (uwbp) observed 'Itikaf and went into seclusion during the last ten days of Ramadan and he advised the people to look for the night of power in the odd nights of the last seven days of (Ramadan)". (Muslim).
(4) Zikr-i-llah [remembrance of Allah]:
Mujaddid Alf Thani explains:
"If a person is fortunate enough to perform a good deed in the month of Ramadan, the blessedness of it will not depart from him for the whole year and if this month is spent in distress and frustration the danger is that the whole year will pass for him in the same way." The most appropriate way to remember Allah, taught to us by the Holy Prophet (uwbp) is to try and learn by heart, as many duas as possible, fully grasping their meanings fl and reciting them often keeping the meanings present in your mind. It is reported in Tirmidhi, that the Holy Prophet (uwbp) has said that Allah will not refuse the duas of three persons - the righteous and just Imam, the oppressed one, and the fasting person.
(5) Infaq-fi-sabilillah:(spending in the way of Allah)
Ibn Abbas related that the Prophet(uwbp) was the most generous of all men, but in the month of Ramadan, when Gibrael, used to come to him, his generosity knew no bounds. It is also related in Bukhari and Muslim that during the day of Ramadan, the Prophet (uwbp) appeared to be faster than the wind in acts of charity and benevolence. Hence, acts of charity, obligatory as well as nawafil, (to the extent of one's means), should be , continuously done. It is related in Mishkat 7:i:iii - This is a month in which the sufferings of the poor and their hunger must be attended to, Many Muslims use Ramadan for payment of zakaat [charity], which in itself is a purification, becomes ten time its worth in the sight of Allah, during this Month.
(6) Preference for Aakhirah:
Since our eternal abode is the hereafter, we must in our spiritual development give due consideration and preference to this fact and try to develop a conscious preference for Al-Aalchirah [hereafter].
By involving ourselves in the above mentioned spiritual exercises, one can develop an everlasting attachment with Allah and enjoy His companionship.: "When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close to them. I listen to the prayer of every crier who calls on Me-. Let them also with a will listen to My call, and believe, in Me, that they may walk in the right way". (2:186)
The Muslims during Ramadan can now evaluate his consistency and commitment to Allah and his din [way of life].