Ramadan is on our door step, Al-Hamdulillah! May Allah accept our worship, protect us from His disobedience and engulf us with His mercy, Ameen. I would like to share a few reminders with you:
1) Prepare for this blessed month from now – if you haven’t already done so. Sort things out and manage your time carefully. Make a timetable, if possible. It is good to make a to-do list (Qur’an, tahajjud, salawat, dhikr, dua, charity) and to-not-do list (watching TV, smoking, backbiting, slandering, hurting feelings, arguing, etc).
2) Ramadan is a month of Taqwa. ‘Taqwa’ refers to being mindful that we will be answerable to God concerning all that we do, say and write. Although fasting, tarawih and other acts of worship are important; the most important thing is to avoid sins – especially those related to the rights of creation (huquq al-ibad). Quarrelling, arguing, backbiting, swearing, slandering, obscenity and other similar acts must be avoided at all costs. It is better to sleep all day (doing only the fard acts) and avoid sins than worship Allah accompanied with sins! The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said, “[A true] fast is not to [merely] avoid food and drink; it is to avoid sinful and obscene acts.” (Ibn Hibban)
3) Please take extra care in guarding yourself from the sins of the tongue. Backbiting (ghiba) and other such sins must be avoided. The great Tabi’i, Imam Abu ‘l-Aliya said, “A fasting person remains in a state of worship even if he remains sleeping on his bed, as long as he does not backbite.”
4) A hungry man is an angry man! As such, control your anger. Why wash away all the rewards of fasting by doing something foolish, especially near the end when tempers can really flare up! Avoid arguments and fights over parking, in the Masjid or kitchen at Iftar time, and do not unnecessarily scold children. Remember, Ramadan is a month of mercy; and if we want Allah’s mercy, we need to show mercy to others.
5) Ramadan has a special connection with reciting the book of Allah. Spend as much time as possible in recitation. Focus more on quality than quantity, meaning recite slowly with reflection and understanding. Imam Malik would stop teaching Hadith (and other sacred sciences) in Ramadan, and focus on reciting Qur’an.
6) It is highly important not to disturb others during Ramadan. Whilst attending the Masjid, remember the neighbors may be sleeping and have to wake up early for work. Do not disturb others, or park your cars as you wish – thinking that we have a God-given right to do as we wish!
7) It is Islamically wrong to come for prayers at the Masjid with bad body/mouth odor. The Prophet (peace be upon him) condemned it emphatically saying, “He who has eaten garlic or onion [or anything else with a strong smell] should keep away from us or our mosques.” (Bukhari) As such, ensure to brush your teeth, clean your mouth and apply some fragrance (for men)! It is wrong to harm others with bad body or mouth odor. This is especially important at Maghrib (after Iftar, when you might have just consumed something) and Tarawih. Don’t burp whilst in Salat, and don’t smoke just before entering the Masjid!
8) Maximize your time and do not waste it. If possible, take a break from social media; and even better, from the internet altogether. I also will not be posting any messages during Ramadan. I ask all of you to remember me in your prayers. Ramadan Karim!