A Ramadan resolution
The best thing about the month of Ramadan is that it is a time of purification.
I hope that you will agree with me that certain issues must be dealt with head on, and that it makes good sense, sometimes, to talk and listen to one another in a way that shows that we have the courage to stand our ground no matter how hard the consequences may be.
Ramadan is a time of abstinence from our everyday luxuries. But it is not only food and drink that I am referring to. As Ramadan approaches, many of us, or so I hope, will resolve to do away with music and television, and the stronger of us may even give up the internet except for what is seriously essential. Free from these daily distractions, we have a hope of focusing our attention on the only thing that matters: becoming mindful of the Almighty and drawing closer to Him. We will watch our language and carefully guard our speech in order to avoid backbiting or lying. We will frequent the masjid, and those of us who would otherwise miss the prayer, will become more heedful.
Our Prophet Muhammad said that when Ramadan comes the gates of Paradise are opened and the devils are chained. We are told to fast for the sole purpose of gaining Taqwa (consciousness of Allah, fear of Allah). Allah says in the Quran (what means):
“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you as it has been prescribed upon those before you, so that you may attain Taqwa.” [Quran, 2:183]
Ramadan is the month when our sins are forgiven, our prayers are answered, and our good deeds are multiplied. One would be a fool not to take advantage of it.
There is a challenge this Ramadan for all of us Muslims, and even after this Ramadan.
Some questions need to be asked after the end of this month.
Is our journey towards Taqwa exclusive to only one month of the year? After ‘Eed Al-Fitr, do we not desire to keep getting closer to Allah? Are we so inescapably addicted to the diversions of this worldly life that we cannot stray from them except for one month of the year? Why is it so, if this is the case?
Ramadan is undoubtedly a special month. We are motivated to do good deeds during this period more than any other time of the year.
Here is the challenge. We must continue our gracious struggle towards Taqwa throughout the year and throughout our lives. As Muslims, we practice our religion in every aspect of our existence, at every moment of our life. Islam is not simply a religion which we adopt once a week, or once a year. It is a constant effort to gain greater faith from all of our actions, day and night, whether or not it is Ramadan.
I ask my fellow brothers and sisters to not revive their mp3 collections on 'Eed day, to not bring their televisions and computers back to life after a long month of fast. To continue watching their tongues, and being observant of their prayer. It will be a struggle, no doubt, but Allah promised to help those who strive for His sake Saying (what means): “As those who strive in Our cause, We will surely guide them in Our paths. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” [Quran, 29:69]
A mission even as simple as "doing good" is extremely difficult at first, with Satan's whispers deafening our ears, and the pleasures of this worldly life blinding our eyes.
But according to Allah's promise, if we patiently persevere, Allah will guide us, thus making our paths easier. Although it may sound difficult now, giving up the things that take us away from Allah will get easier every day, until it becomes natural. It is in man's innate nature to seek Allah, so it cannot be so hard after all. Allah says in a Qudsi Hadeeth: “He who draws closer to Me by a hand's span, I will draw closer to him by an arm's length. And whoever draws closer to Me by an arm's length, I will draw closer to him by a fathom's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
If we continue making an effort to get to Allah, He will make our sacrifices easier and reward us thereafter.
Let us make this year our Ramadan resolutions last a lifetime. Let us begin this blessed month with the intention of reform. Let us struggle for the sake of Allah day after day. Let us chain Satan and work hard to keep our gates to Paradise wide open even after Ramadan. Let us give the fruits of our fasting a true chance to last more than a month, a chance of influence to our everyday lives, and eventually our Hereafter.
Let us resolve to shape our lifetime and our eternity.