I clutch my bag tightly as I walk down the stairs off the plane. As I shield my eyes from the sun, I realise that it will be Maghrib in a few hours. I speed up my steps with a sudden urgency for I know I must reach my destination on time. I smile as I remember how I stayed with my dear friend a year ago. That month had flown past! I get into a Taxi outside the airport and relax as my thoughts wander off to the coming days and nights…
Few hours later, I step out of the Taxi and take out a scrunched piece of paper. Yes I am on the correct street and the house should be… Just at the top of the road. Alhamdulilah, I have made it safe and sound from my long and tiresome journey. I can’t wait to surprise my friend that I am finally here. Though the sky is not yet fully dark, I could see the new moon emerging. How beautiful, how serene it is to look at! Truely Allah Al Khalaaq is the most perfect Creator! At last I reach the door and I gently knock three times. I hear a scuttering of feet. A lock opening. The key turning. The door opens with a slow creak and at last I am faced with my dear friend whom I haven’t seen in almost a year.
My friend gasps in amazement and says: ‘Is it really you? Alhamdulilah! I can’t believe you are finally here! I have eagerly waited your arrival! SubhanAllah, it has been 11 months since I last saw you. Welcome my dear friend, come in’
Suddenly, a small boy pops his head from behind the door. ‘Mamma, who is this?’
Before my friend could reply, I smile and say to the boy ‘Assalamu alaikum, little one, has your mum not told you about me?
The boy creases his eyes brows and replies ‘Nope. What’s your name then?’
I smile again. ‘My name is Ramadhan. And I have come to visit you all again. I have brought many gifts. Will you let me in?’
* * *
Each year by the Grace of Allah, the most special of guest knocks on our door. Some eagerly await its arrival. Some reluctantly open the door. Some don’t even open the door at all!
It is so sad that the blessed month Ramadhan is not welcomed as it deserves to be welcomed. It is a month where your every breath is reward, your sleep is worship and our duas are most certainly answered. A month in which Shaytaan is securely placed in his rightful home whilst we strive to attain our rightful home…Jannah. A guest like this does not come often, nor does it stay for very long. So we must pull our socks up, tighten our hijabs and welcome Ramadhan with open arms (and an open heart!).
Imagine being told by the Boss of Harrods in London that you can take anything you want from this grand shop but you only have 24 hours to collect as many items as you can. What would you do? Well you’d race towards the shop and collect everything your hands can grab wouldn’t you? I’m sure you’d even compete with the other eager ladies (maybe innocently nudge a few out of your way!) to get the big expensive things. And off course you would most definitely not sleep, rest or worry about anything else. Your mind would just be focused on the FREE stuff at Harrods! How dedicated we would be, how enthusiastic our minds would feel and how happy we would feel with the materialistic goods.
And yet Allah offers us much more exquisite gifts, much longer lasting happiness and an abundance of rewards in the blessed month of Ramadhan. Allah promises us that our deeds will be multiplied. Allah promises us that souls will be freed from the clutches of Jahanam. Allah promises us that our invocations will be answered., our sins forgiven and our deeds accepted. And yet we don’t rush towards Ramadhan and its days with eagerness, enthusiasm and dedication as we would for worldly pleasures? Why? Look into your heart, do you see great love for Allah Ar Rahman there? Yes? Then you would intently listen to Allah when He addresses you and commands:
”O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain Taqwa (Allah-consciousness).” [2. Al-Baqarah:183]
Driving in the fast lane of the Dunya distracts the heart of the one whose craving closeness to their Lord but can’t seem to attain it and thus throughout the year, the heart becomes weak and sick. To make matters worse, the constant dining that we have become accustomed to has hardened our hearts and dulled the mind. And to make matters even worse, Shaytaan’s constant whispering adds to it all! So what does Allah Ar Raheem do for us? He chains the Shayateen, orders us to fast and gives us a beautiful month in which our heart can cleanse themselves and become closer to Allah. Free of all distractions. So should we not be grateful slaves and utilize this great month, this honourable guest before it leaves us?
So how do you give Ramadhan its due rights as a guest?
Give Ramadhan your undivided attention. You wouldn’t ignore your guest at a party and start fixing the kitchen drain would you? (Unless you’re strange that is). Well you must make sure that your time spent in Ramadhan is productive, spiritually uplifting and prioritised. Stack up on the big prizes. Below are some examples of how to honour your guest this month (and no I don’t mean your Iftaari guests, I mean Ramadhan as your guest!)
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2] Heartfelt, sincere and concentrated Salah. Prolong your sujoods, lengthen your recitation and beautify your actions. Remember you are standing in front of Al Jameel, the Most Beautiful so your Salah must be a moment of beauty too. Did you know your one Salah will be multiplied by at least 70 times too, Alhamdulilah.
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2] Increase in your recitation of the Qur’an for it will intercede for you on the day of Judgement! Implement steps towards understanding the Qur’an better such as reading Tafsir. As we know, in this month the Qur’an was revealed to our Prophet as the best form of guidance for mankind. Sadly Muslims have become more concerned with the sacredness of its physical attributes such as wrapping it in silky cloths on a high shelf rather than utilising it for its actual purpose. And that is for guidance, learning and remembrance.
”Ramadan is the (month) in which we sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to humankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). [2. Al-Baqara:185]
[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2] Make lots and lots and lots of dua until your hands tire from raising them. How can we pass up on the opportunity when our Rabb is listening to our every plea and answering them in multitude?
[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2] Be active and beneficial to the people! Allah did not tell us to just sit at home and worship, worship and worship. We were commanded to also give Dawah, help the needy and benefit society as a whole. Do you know that most of the Muslim Ummah won’t have enough food to break their iftaari with? Or even have clean enough water? Or clothing decent enough to pray Salah in? This month is called the month of mercy for a reason. So we must also open our hearts, our pockets and help those desperately in need.
So lets STAND up, rub your palms together and brace yourself for a month full of total submission, total dedication and total sincerity. So that if Ramadhan really came as a person and stood before Allah on Yawmal Qiyamah…it would say ‘Ya Rabb these faithful slaves of yours truly honoured me as a guest, enter them into Your Paradise which You have promised them…’
The Prophet said: ”O people: You are about to enter the shadow of a great blessed month… It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Jannah.
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