We are being approached by a month of mercy, forgiveness and salvation from Hell. It is the month of fasting, praying Qiyaam (the optional night prayer) and recitation of the Quran. It is a month during which rewards are multiplied and sins are expiated. It is a month that approaches us with all the immense mercy and abundant rewards that it includes. Numerous opportunities to perform different types of virtuous deeds are abound in this month. It is a month that subdues the soul to its Lord and frees it from being enslaved to whims and desires. The gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hell are sealed, and the Devils are chained. A caller proclaims at the beginning of this month: “O you who seeks virtue, come forth! O you who seeks evil, stay back!”
Dear fasting sister! Give the great bounties Allah has blessed you with their due gratitude. It is indeed a great blessing that Allah has prolonged your life to enable you to live until you witness this blessed month, during which you can increase the record of your good deeds and set forth for the time of your death. I am sure that you have friends or relatives whose deaths have prevented them from witnessing this month. Let this then be an admonition that encourages you to perform more and more virtuous deeds before you catch up with them.
Dear fasting sister! Remember that the ultimate objective to be achieved through fasting is to attain the state of piety and righteousness - piety that awakens the heart, revives the conscience and guards the soul from the filth of sin. If fasting does not yield this result, then its objective has not been achieved. A person who truly achieves this objective is the one whose limbs refrain from sin and whose tongue refrains from lying, foul language, backbiting and falsehood. The Messenger of Allah, , said: “When anyone of you is observing fasting, he should neither indulge in obscene language nor should he raise his voice; and if anyone reviles him or tries to quarrel with him, he should say: `I am fasting.`” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] The Prophet, , also said: “If one does not eschew lies and false conduct, Allah has no need that he should abstain from his food and his drink.”[Al-Bukhari]
So make your fasting a means of achieving this sought piety. Shun gatherings of useless talk and adopt the manners of fasting women who guard their tongues, vision and limbs from any prohibition that affects the reward of their fasting. Force yourself to say nothing but good and kind words and busy your tongue with the mention of Allah. Make your fasting days distinct from all your other days.
Dear fasting sister! Beware of the Ramadan bandits! Beware of those who eagerly wait for the advent of this month so that they can steal people’s minds and attract their attention. Falling into the trap of such people would ruin the distinct spiritual atmosphere of this month and turn people’s days and nights into periods of idle play, jest and time wasting. They seek to make people lose out on the best opportunity of attaining abundant rewards.
The devils are chained in this month, but these people are all too keen on taking on their roles and substituting for them during their absence!
As soon as Ramadan is about to start, many satellite television channels begin competing with one another for the shows that they will present. They broadcast “Ramadan Shows” that in reality have nothing to do with the spirit of Ramadan or the acts of worship during this month. In fact, what they present goes directly against the spirit of the month and what is meant to be achieved during it.
They seek to turn the blessed month from a month of competition in matters of virtue and exerting all efforts in this, into a month of play, jest, time wasting, extravagance, and the fulfilling of desires, whether lawfully or unlawfully.
Dear fasting sister! Will you guard your month and preserve your time (which is in fact your life) from the plans of these evil bandits? Or, will you give in to their plot and let them control you and thus lead you to wasting your time and squander your worship and good manners?
Dear fasting sister! Beware of frequent visits to malls and marketplaces during this month, especially during the last ten days. Try not to leave your house except when you have to. Beware of extravagance and exaggeration in food and drinks. Do not make this month a season of laziness and long hours of sleep during its days. Do not turn the nights of this month into nights of staying up late socializing and gossiping.
Let your main concern be the attainment of reward, exerting the utmost effort in acts of worship and utilizing your time in reciting the Quran, being kind to kinfolk, and praying to and mentioning Allah.
Dear fasting sister! Always remember the great reward awaiting those who win this race. Remember that it is a prize the size and importance of which makes any effort seem miniscule. Remember that the prize is Paradise and the expiation and forgiveness for all previous sins!
On the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, said: “Whoever observes fasts during the month of Ramadan out of sincere faith, and hoping to attain the rewards of Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven.”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Are you up to the challenge? Will you enter the race while the arena is still open for those who want to compete? The competition is continuing - will you be one of the winners?
All you need to do is to purify your intention and make it sincere for Allah alone. Supplicate to Allah earnestly to make you among the winners, and remember that Allah never forsakes those who are truthful and sincere with Him.