Have you prepared your heart to host Ramadan?

A guest like no other is coming, have you prepared your hearts to be able to host this guest? Are you going to be the best of hosts to this wonderful guest? Or are you going to let the guest leave without having benefited from all of the gifts that the guest is going to bring? We know that it is our Islamic obligation to honor a guest that comes to visit us, So how will you honor this guest of yours? Before you answer, first look at how this guest is going to honor you. Our messenger ﷺ‬  used to go around and congratulate the companions on the fact that this guest has arrived. 

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ لَمَّا حَضَرَ رَمَضَانُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَمَضَانُ شَهْرٌ مُبَارَكٌ افْتَرَضَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ صِيَامَهُ تُفْتَحُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ وَيُغْلَقُ فِيهِ أَبْوَابُ الْجَحِيمِ وَتُغَلُّ فِيهِ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِيهِ لَيْلَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ مَنْ حُرِمَ خَيْرَهَا قَدْ حُرِمَ

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said when the month of Ramadan arrived, “The month of Ramadan has come, a blessed month in which Allah Almighty has obligated you to fast. In it the gates of the heavens are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed, the devils are chained, and in it is a night that is better than a thousand months. Thus, whoever is deprived of its good is truly deprived.” 

Because of this guest, the doors of Jannah are opened and the gates of the hellfire are close, the devils can not be around during this special time that you will be your guest so they will be chained and on top of this the guest comes with the ultimate gift that you could hope for. He comes with a night that will be better than a thousand months which is over 83 years. Ramadan is truly a special time where a person that doesn’t take advantage is truly deprived as our messenger ﷺ‬ indicated. How do I avoid being from those that are deprived in the blessed month of Ramadan? How do I make this the best Ramadan? 

Ramadan is a time of seeking the forgiveness of Allah ﷻ. It has already been made very easy for you to attain forgiveness in this month. Look at these following statements from our messenger ﷺ‬ that teach us the ways to attain forgiveness this month. 

مَنْ صَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ وَمَنْ قَامَ لَيْلَةَ الْقَدْرِ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan due to faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven. Whoever stands in prayer during the Night of Decree due to faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.

مَنْ قَامَ رَمَضَانَ إِيمَانًا وَاحْتِسَابًا غُفِرَ لَهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِنْ ذَنْبِهِ

Whoever stands in prayer during Ramadan due to faith and seeking reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.

We are offered three opportunities to earn full forgiveness of our sins in the month of Ramadan. Fasting the days of Ramadan, standing during the nights of Ramadan, standing during the night of Power (Laylatul Qadr). If a persons does one of these three things with two conditions which are having Imaan and only hoping for the reward from Allah ﷻ they will be forgiven for all of their sins. This is the mercy of Allah ﷻ. Opportunities after opportunities offered to every single one of us in order to attain His forgiveness. 

The oppertunites to earn forgiveness are not just limited to these three things but so many other oppertunities present themselves for you to elevate your status with Allah ﷻ. One of the greatest blessing that many people take for granted in the month of Ramadan is the time of Suhoor. This is a time where majority of the people fall into one of two categories, those that are awake during the time and are kept busy with eating and drinking as much as possible. The other group of people have decided that they would rather sleep and wake up for Fajr and pray and go about their days. This Ramadan we should not fall into these two categories but rather we should be from the blessed third group. 

The third group when it comes to the time of Suhoor is that they are awake and they are eating a little bit of food but most of the time they are spending one of the easiest things to do but maybe the best thing when it comes to attaining the rewards that you desire from your Creator ﷻ. It is the seeking of forgiveness during that time. The people of Jannah will be talking to one another and they will describe to each other what were the things that they used to do in this dunya and one of the things that they mention is the following. 

كَانُوا قَلِيلًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ مَا يَهْجَعُونَ

وَبِالْأَسْحَارِ‌ هُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُ‌ونَ

They used to sleep little in the night, and in the hours before dawn, they used to pray for forgiveness. 

The people of Jannah are being described as being from those that during the hours before dawn they used to seek the forgiveness of Allah ﷻ. Ramadan offers you a unique oppertunities because we are most awake during those times. For this Ramadan to truly be a Ramadan like no other, you will need to seek forgiveness in those beautiful moments before dawn. A person who is busy with seeking forgiveness in this life will be from amongst those that are deserving of glad tidings for the life that is to come. 

Look at this beautiful Hadith from our beloved messenger ﷺ‬, 

طُوبَى لِمَنْ وَجَدَ فِي صَحِيفَتِهِ اسْتِغْفَارًا كَثِيرًا

“Blessed is he who finds many prayers for forgiveness in his record.”

This Ramadan we will need to fill our scroll of good deeds with many many Istigfaar (Seeking forgiveness) we might belittle the small deeds in our daily lives but it will be the little deeds that will bring us the most happiness on the day of judgement. In this beautiful month of Ramadan make sure that your tongue remains moist with the istigfar as well as other forms of Dhikr. 

The best of Dhikr that you should be doing during the busy work/school days are the statements of SubhanAllah, Allahu Akbar, Alhamdulilah, and the best of them all the Statement of Tawhid (La ilaha illallah). Our messenger ﷺ‬ said about these Dhikr the following: 

وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلَأُ الْمِيزَانَ، وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلَآنِأَوْ: تَمْلَأُمَا بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ،

Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah) fills the scales, and subhan-Allah (how far from imperfection is Allah) and Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah) fill that which is between heaven and earth. 

Imagine how many times you can say these small words that are beloved to Allah ﷻ in a single day, now multiple it by the 30 days of Ramadan and the increased reward that you will achieve? Sometimes Shaitan makes us believe that a person should be doing very very big things in Ramadan and we become neglectful of the small things that have a huge impact not only this in life but also in the hereafter. Dhikr in the month of Ramadan has to be a top priority. 

For the best results this Ramadan focus on the following things; 1. Make sure that the big actions (fasting, taraweeh, hunting for the night of power) are done with the conditions that have been stipulated by our messenger ﷺ‬ in order to attain the benefits that one is seeking. The conditions are doing it with Imaan (belief) that this is from Allah ﷻ and it is an action that will get us closer to Allah ﷻ. The second condition is that it is going to be with only hoping for reward from Allah ﷻ and not from the people or even one’s nafs. The other thing that you will have to do is to keep your month moist with the remembrance of Allah. If we are able to do these two things, our Ramadan will be very impactful not only during the month of Ramadan but also the months that come after it. 

May Allah allow us to reach the blessed month of Ramadan. May it be one in which all of our sins are forgiven. A Ramadan in which our brothers and sisters suffering all over the world will be victorious over their oppressors. Ameen.