Friday, May 4, 2012

11 Weeks Before Ramadan

Asalamu Alaykom to You,

It's Friday in Egypt.  We are all wondering what the day will bring.  It's tense here.  Alhumdulillah that we who are members of faith can focus on Allah today.

Allah is The One Who Knows.  He has knowledge of the seen and the unseen.  He knows who you are better than you know yourself.  Before you can verbalize a thought, he knew.  He knows this day and all the days ahead until the end of the world. 



I'm listening to a khotbah which might seem out of place.  It's about Ramadan.  This year Ramadan will begin inshahallah on July 20.  So why listen to it now?  Because we need to prepare.

If we knew there was a life-altering event ahead, wouldn't we want to get mentally and physically prepared?  A marriage?  A birth?  An operation?  A trip?  We would prepare.

Ramadan?  What about Ramadan?  Are you preparing?

Let me ask you:

1.  Where are you going to be during this Ramadan?  Visualize that.

2.  When are you going to be reading Quran?  Picture yourself.  Picture the spot on the rug or the cushion on the chair.  Is there good lighting?  Is the Quran in an obtrusive place within your house?  Think if you can avoid seeing it.  If you can avoid seeing it then it's not in a good place.  Put it somewhere where you MUST see it every day.  Then you will treat it as a part of your life.  Make a goal of reading the Quran everyday in Ramadan---and maybe start getting in the habit now. 

Is the thought of reading the entire Quran in one month too much?  Then start reading the Quran now with the goal of finishing it during Ramadan.

3.  How many surahs have you memorized?  Write them down if you have not already.  Make an excel spreadsheet if you wish.  Put down which surahs you know.  What about your husband?  Your children?  Put them on the chart.  Make it real.

Which surah (or surahs) will you be memorizing before Ramadan?  Which surah (or surahs) will you be memorizing during Ramadan?  Which can your children learn?

4.  Which masjid will you visit during the month?  Do you have a place to go?  Do you know how to get there?  Do you have a way to get there?  Figure that out now. 

5.  Who will be fasting with you?  Who is someone that you feel together with in this faith?  And "yes" it needs to be a real person in your real life---internet (sorry) doesn't count like a person you can hug after magrib prayers.

Are your children going to fast?  For how long each day?  Make goals. 

Is there someone who is not in Islam but is welcoming of interfaith experiences?  Call them up and ask them to fast one day with you.  Make an effort for outreach.

6.  Who will you invite over to share iftar?  What will you make that first night?  How can you make it special?

Is there someone who is lonely?  Is there someone new to the community?  When I was alone in a new country, I can't tell you the immense difference it made in our lives to be welcomed for iftar dinner. 

7.  We all have children in our lives---even if they are not our own.  How can you make this Ramadan special for them?  School will be out.  Is there some way that THIS Ramadan be a time which they will remember EVEN when they are grown (with children of their own)?

For those of us who are reverts, we have warm, fuzzy memories of American culture at holiday times.  There are many of those memories we can recreate at Ramadan and Eid time.  Cookies?  Yes, you can bake them.  Cards?  Yes, you can make them.  Decorating the house?  Yes, as long as we are not aping another celebrations but rather incorporating the goodness, we can do it all. 

8.  Who are you now?  Is this who you want to be after Ramadan?  Is there an element in you which makes you feel dirty or shameful?  Don't tell me.  Don't tell anyone.  Tell Allah and ask Him to remove it from you.  If it is a bad habit or repeated action, then make du'a; a prayer that you will have the strength to stop.  Ask that this Ramadan you will rid yourself of those feelings and that addiction.

9.  Who do you want to be?  This is a chance...a golden recreate yourself.  Start imagining the person you would like to be.  If it's in your head then it's within the realm of possibilities.  You can be better.  Not better by anyone else's standards; this isn't a popularity contest.  No, I mean better by your standing with Allah SWT.  He is The Only Judge.  Since no one is perfect, that can't be your aim.  However, you should be able to get introspective and quiet enough to find the part of yourself which is shyly hiding.  What can you afford to let out?

10.  What do you want for your family this Ramadan?  I'm meaning both your family members who are yours by blood and those by faith.  Is there a way to strength the bonds?  Is there someone who has hurt you?  Can you forgive them?  Get ready now to forgive them.  Is there someone whom you've hurt?  Can you ask them for forgiveness?  Get ready to ask.  Think if there is something standing in the way; a wall of some kind which you can break down.  Maybe it's prejudice or injustice or maybe it's money.  Let nothing stand in the way and start taking down the bricks now.

Know how much zakat you are mandated to give in order to make your earnings halal this year.  Give charity to those who are due your help.

"No Regrets this Ramanda" is the name of the khotba I've posted.  Think how you can start laying down your intentions as a foundation to make that dream a reality.


New Wife said...

mashaAllah tabarak Allah what an excellent excellent reminder! Many of us (myself included) don't start preparing until right before the month and by then we are too late to do much preparation.

Is it sunnah to start making du3a about ramadhan several months ahead of time? I can't remember now exactly how long... six months maybe? subhanAllah the sahaba started preparing very early for each ramadhan

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom New Wife,

Thanks for commenting!

I do wonder what's going to happen inshahallah when you've been married a while. Are you going to have to change your name to "Old Wife"?

I don't have any proof of the sahabi preparing six months in advance. Let me know if you find it. What I do have is the hadith describing two months ahead of time.

Here is what writes

"Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab --- two full months before Ramadan --- the Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to supplicate thus: 'O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health).' "

It is mentioned in the video I watched. The Imam talks about how amazing it is that the Prophet of Islam didn't feel secure in living long enough to make it to Ramadan so neither should we. We should focus on the month long before it comes.

It's not yet Ragab. We've got another couple of weeks inshahallah. Yet, this idea should be, in my opinion, within us that we are going on a kind of trip...a journey of soul.

May God bless you for all your efforts.

Safiyah said...

JazakAllah kheir for the reminder =) May Allah swt help you reach all your goals, ameen!