Ramadan is less than two months away. Ramadan ushers in a suite of blessings, restoring balance and harmony in our lives. Days and nights revolve around the rhythm of prayers. Hearts and hands are extended in giving. And families, neighbors, and communities gather in the spirit of love, care, and concern.
As we ‘race in competing to do good deeds,’ how can we ensure that this blessed month sets the standard and becomes the pattern on which we live the rest of our lives? Here are three ways that we can carry the blessings of Ramadan into our daily lives, and prepare for the spiritual month to come.
Lighten your pocket and give sadaqah
Sadaqah (voluntary charity) is often increased in the month of Ramadan.
It is reported that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was “…naturally the most generous of people and he used to be more generous than ever in the month of Ramadan.”Sahih Bukhari
Every man and woman who is able to must give Sadaqatul-Fitr, a special charity, preferably given in food, to the poor at the end of Ramadan. It plays a pivotal role in purifying the month of fasting, and endeavors to ensure that everyone has enough to eat on the day of ‘Eid ul-Fitr.
Apart from this special instruction, many Muslims increase their voluntary charity in the month of Ramadan. Non-profit organizations, mosques, etc, all benefit from the charity in Ramadan. However, many organizations raise the concern that their efforts – to feed and clothe the needy; to maintain mosques, schools, and clinics; and to build and strengthen livelihoods – continue after Ramadan and that support is required throughout the year.
How can we uphold this spirit of generosity? In Ramadan, we often become more aware of those in need, both in our local area as well as in the wider community. While it is not always easy to maintain this awareness, select a project this month – an institution or a needy family – and make the intention to support this initiative throughout the year. Be sincere and consistent in giving.
Tread lightly on the earth
Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) life exemplifies the Qur’anic verse which speaks about the servants of Allah (SWT) as “the ones who walk upon the earth softly…” (Al Furqan:63).
While towards the latter years of his life the Prophet (SAW) had attained a position where “he had the treasures of the world at his feet,” he chose simplicity: in his food, dress, and living.
Ramadan provides an opportunity for us to assess our lifestyles. Are we living lightly, like the Prophet (SAW)? We can use this month of reflection to look at our ecological footprint, the demand which we are placing on the earth’s natural resources, and endeavor to lighten our impact on the earth.
Straighten your heart
In standing shoulder to shoulder when we perform our prayers, in the meals we have shared for iftar, and in the joyous celebrations of Eid, we have blossomed in the warmth of humanity. These occasions for social interaction throughout the month of Ramadan build and strengthen love and cooperation in the home, community, and society.
The importance of kindness and consideration towards families, neighbors, the poor and the destitute, fellow Muslims, and indeed all of creation is heightened in this month. Ramadan gives us the chance to love and care for humanity and remove the prejudice and intolerance which is dividing our world.
Give, live simply, and love all Creation
The restorative properties of Ramadan, like an oasis, revive the spirit and awaken the senses. Our hearts, bodies, and pockets, weighed down by an attachment and desire for the life of this world, are now lighter. Before we continue our journey, take hold of these blessings of Ramadan to light the way ahead.
As we exert ourselves to attain the sweetness of Allah’s (SWT) mercy, forgiveness, and freedom from the fire in this month, what will we do to sustain this effort? As we hold on to every second in this sacred month to cleanse our souls, improve our characters and purify our hearts and bodies, how will we ensure that we do not return to a state of neglect? As Ramadan departs, let us strive to live all our days on the beautiful pattern which we tried to establish in this blessed month.
Written by Dr. Najma Mohamed, originally posted on sistersmagazine.com