As mentioned in the previous post, it is vital to prepare for the month of Ramadhan by taking into consideration our habits as well as being prepared both mentally and physically.
Primarily, there are two things that should always be kept in mind when executing any act, for without these two things being present the act will be deemed useless.
1. Correct Intention.
The first thing is to have the correct intention and to ensure that we are doing an act solely for the pleasure of Allah.
In the month of Ramadhan, we have to eradicate the temptation of doing any act for show, to please another or through the fear of someone. It is vital that whatever act we do, we do it for the sake of Allah alone.
مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ
“Whoever fasts in the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.”
It is clear in this Hadeeth that a person who intends reward whilst having faith is the one who will be fortunate enough to have his previous sins forgiven.
In another Hadeeth it is stated that many people receive nothing from their fast except for thirst, for which one reason is given as them having incorrect intentions.
2. Correct Method.
It is vital that along with the correct intention one adopts the correct method of carrying out an act of worship. Many people have the misunderstanding that their actions will be rewarded regardless of their quality and correctness as far as their intentions are correct. However, this is a great deception from Shaytaan and a trick that he plays to give people false hopes in achieving something when in reality nothing comes from their worship.
We can take an example of that person who intends to travel to London but instead is taking the road that leads to Scotland. No matter how sincere and correct his intentions may be he will not reach his destination. This is because the method, being the correct road here, is incorrect; he wants to travel South but has taken the route the leads North.
Therefore, along with intention, it is vital that the method we adopt is also correct. These rulings should be applied in all the acts we carry out, be it during Ramadhan or out of this blessed month.
Any act which is contrary to the order of Allah and the teachings of our Beloved صلي الله عليه و سلم will be classed as incorrect and will be against the method we should be adopting.
During the Month of Ramadhan
It is vital that in the month of Ramadhan we are of those whom Allah has forgiven and not of those whom Allah has cursed as well as Jibra’eel عليه السلام and our Beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم. This is one of the main objectives of this month.
The Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم has informed us:
ان جبرئيل عرض لي فقال بعد من ادرك رمضان فلم يغفر له قلت آمين
“Jibreel came to me and said, Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have his sins forgiven and so enters the Fire, then may Allah distance him, say Aameen, so I said Ameen”
The aim for this month is therefore to be of those who acquire Allah’s forgiveness and to be saved from becoming from those people who acquire this month yet become more distant from Allah due to negligence.
Minimum Level of Worship That Should Be Performed.
In order to acquire the forgiveness of Allah in this month we need to be certain that certain things are kept in mind when acts are being discussed.
The most vital and important act of worship, without argument or compromise, is abstention from sins. Enough emphasis cannot be made regarding this act and negligence from this will render the rewards of one’s fast useless.
قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ” مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ
“Whoever does not give up telling lies and evil actions, then Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink.”
كم من صائم ليس له من صيامه الا الظمأ، و كم من قائم ليس له من قيامه الا السهر
“Abu Huraira related that Rasulullah said: Many people who fast get nothing from their fast except hunger and thirst, and many people who pray at night get nothing from it except wakefulness.”
These above two Ahadeeth mention the importance of abstaining from sins and keeping one’s fast free from all defects and corruption. A person who fasts yet does not uphold the rights of that fast is like one who has fasted and only acquired hunger and thirst from his fast. Such a person does not receive any benefits from that fast except that the obligation of fasting is lifted from him; as far as rewards and benefits are concerned, he receives none.
Allah’s forgiveness has to be achieved, and the minimum requirement in this month to achieve this forgiveness is to respect the month of Ramadhan and the fast that one keeps. This can only be done if one has the correct intention for the fast he is keeping whilst adopting the method shown to us by the Shari’ah and thereafter abstaining from sins during this fast as well as throughout the entire month.
This, as mentioned, is the minimum requirement for each individual in this month. Although one should not aim to achieve only the minimum it may be that this is enough for a person to acquire the forgiveness of Allah. It is entirely the decision of Allah to forgive whom He wishes; if abstaining from sins is a great achievement for an individual and an immensely difficult task then this may be sufficient.
Nevertheless, one should excuse himself in front of Allah for having achieved the minimum and not carrying out further acts of worship during this month. One should intend that through abstaining from sins during this month He is hoping for the forgiveness of Allah and the bounties that lie within this month. Finally, one should, if possible, supplicate to Allah as often and as much as possible if he is unable to execute any other acts of worship.
Additional Things to Keep in mind.
The month of Ramadhan is the month of worship; it is the month within which a believer strives to remain engages in direct worship rather than indirect worship (as mentioned in the previous post). In this month no amount of worship can be classed as the ‘maximum’ and therefore a believer should strive to worship in this month to the peak of his ability and adequacy.
However, it is paramount to keep a few things in mind so that one’s efforts are not rendered unworthy of acceptance.
1. Abstention from Sins.
Abstention from sins is essential and should be primarily kept in mind. A person who commits a sin in normal circumstances eradicates the rewards of worships he has carried out; but a person who sins in the month of Ramadhan not only removes the rewards he has accumulated but also becomes subject to having his fast rendered as just thirst and hunger and one from which no benefit is derived.
The example of such a person, who carries out acts of worship but does not abstain from sins, is like that person who carries water in a bucket containing a whole. It is apparent that eventually all the water (being his deeds) will have seeped out and nothing will remain.
2. Steadfastness on Essential and Obligatory Acts.
Although this seems obvious and basic, it has been seen that many people will make an extreme effort to perform something which is Nafl (recommended) while totally disregarding that which is Fardh/Wajib (obligatory). We see this example in the lives of many Muslims where people will run to the mosques to sit in the speeches and talks that take place on ‘big nights’ such as the 15th of Sha’baan etc but are misguided and neglectful of the five daily prayers.
It is essential that this habit does not follow us into Ramadhan and does not come back to us after the departure of this greatest month. In Ramadhan it is vital that we should stay from sins; and leaving a Fardh/Wajib act is also a sin. Therefore, more important than any act of worship is that act of worship which has been made incumbent and necessary upon us.
3. Correct Intention.
Although this may seem as repetition, it is essential that a person has his intentions rectified and correct. The Nafs (self) of a person is such that it craves for attention and status. Therefore, in this month, when we are performing acts of worship we will at times be subjected to the desire of ‘showing’ people how ‘pious’ we are; or we will without realising at times perfect our acts for onlookers. This is a trick of Shaytaan and the Nafs, they don’t prevent us from doing an act of worship but instead will deem our worship valueless.
Acts which Can Be Performed.
Insha Allah in the next post I will mention a lists of ‘Ibaadat (acts of worship) that one can perform during the month of Ramadhan.
May Allah give us all the inclination to prepare for this month and to reap benefits from it once it arrives. Aameen.
اللهم بارك لنا في رجب وشعبان وبلغنا رمضان
“O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan”.