Keep motivated in Ramadan

Keep motivated in Ramadan

By the grace of Allah, the first ten days of Ramadan have passed and we are nearing the middle of the month. Scholars used to divide the month into three thirds. As we approach 17th Ramadan, we recall that it is a special date in our history, as it is an anniversary of the Battle of Badr.

We know from the seerah the circumstances that led to the Prophet (peace be upon him) preparing 313 men to go to Badr. The plan was not to fight the Quraysh but to seize the caravan being led by Abu Sufyan. They wanted to reclaim their property that Quraysh had stolen when they left Makkah and migrated to Madinah.

Many companions like Ali, Ibn Masood, Zayd bin Thabit and the people of Madinah used to seek Laylatul Qadr on 17th Ramadan because that was the night of the day on which Allah distinguished between truth and falsehood, Yaum al Furqan, and made them victorious. It was their first Ramadan and the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed them to break their fast to fight. It held a very special place in their hearts.

‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

We went on a campaign with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ during Ramadan and the conquest took place in Ramadan, and we broke the fast in both cases. [Musnad Ahmad]

Allah had given the Prophet (peace be upon him) the permission to fight for the first time since the revelation. And He granted them victory, even though they were outnumbered 3 to1. However, when Allah wants something He just says ‘Be’ and it happens.

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِینَ یُقَـٰتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمۡ ظُلِمُوا۟ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ نَصۡرِهِمۡ لَقَدِیرٌ

Permission (to fight) is given to those against whom fighting is launched, because they have been wronged, and Allah is capable of giving them victory. [Al-Ḥajj, 22:39]

17th Ramadan is significant for us today, because it gives us hope that those who are following the path of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by being truthful, trustworthy, honest, and good and who side against oppression, even if they are the smaller party, will be victorious. Though it goes against the odds that 313 would win against 1000, it shows that if you are truly committed and connected to Allah, He will surely give you victory.

وَلَقَدۡ نَصَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِبَدۡرࣲ وَأَنتُمۡ أَذِلَّة فَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَشۡكُرُونَ

Allah certainly supported you at Badr when you were weak. So, fear Allah that you may be grateful. [Āli-ʿImrān, 3:123]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not just fight without reason. He had not planned to do that, as he just wanted to get compensation for what they had lost. However Allah had decreed something else.

Allah made it clear they could not have arranged this, their meeting was part of Allah’s plan.

إِذۡ أَنتُم بِٱلۡعُدۡوَةِ ٱلدُّنۡیَا وَهُم بِٱلۡعُدۡوَةِ ٱلۡقُصۡوَىٰ وَٱلرَّكۡبُ أَسۡفَلَ مِنكُمۡۚ وَلَوۡ تَوَاعَدتُّمۡ لَٱخۡتَلَفۡتُمۡ فِی ٱلۡمِیعَـٰدِ وَلَـٰكِن لِّیَقۡضِیَ ٱللَّهُ أَمۡراً كَانَ مَفۡعُولاً لِّیَهۡلِكَ مَنۡ هَلَكَ عَنۢ بَیِّنَة وَیَحۡیَىٰ مَنۡ حَیَّ عَنۢ بَیِّنَة وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَسَمِیعٌ عَلِیمٌ

(Remember) when you were on the nearest sideof the valley, and they were on the farthest one, and the caravan was downwards from you. If you had made an appointment [to meet], you would have missed the appointment. But (it happened like this) so that Allah might accomplish what was destined to be done, so that whoever is going to perish may perish knowingly, and whoever is going to live may live knowingly. Allah is indeed All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [Al-Anfāl, 8:42]

Defend your rights

You have to defend your rights in every legitimate way you can. The Prophet (peace be upon him) went to get his rights and get back what was rightfully theirs. And Allah supported them. It gives us hope that though the circumstances are against us, when we show resilience and trust in Allah and do all the preparations required from our side, we will have victory. We have to follow the path the secures our rights.

In that battle, 70 were killed and 70 were captured from Quraysh compared to 14 martyred from the believers. This is why the Companions used to seek Laylatul Qadr on 17th Ramadan. In the beginning of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) went into seclusion in the first ten nights, but Jibril came and said that Laylatul Qadr was in the next ten nights, and then Jibril said it was in the last ten nights.

That is why it is the confirmed sunnah to seek it in the last ten nights. We do not know if we will witness another Ramadan, so let’s do our best to recite the Quran with the intention that recitation is our conversation with Allah.

Visualise speaking to Allah

Al-Bayadi reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) narrated that the Prophet said,

“Verily, the one in prayer is in an intimate conversation with his Lord Almighty, so let him look at how he converses with Him. Do not raise your voices above each other with the Quran.” [Musnad Aḥmad]

When we read the Quran we should visualise that we are conversing with Allah. Then we will feel the sweetness of our recitation. The light you get from the Quran is different when you feel awe and veneration for the Quran as the words of Allah. Although we want the reward for recitation we should aim to go up to a higher level in our connection with the Quran.

Let’s make our recitation of the Quran with that feeling, it will elevate us and increase our closeness to Him and increase us in our obedience to Him, and understand His words and message better.

Don’t feel demotivated

You may feel deflated that you have not managed to do what you wanted to in your ibadah, in your fasting or recitation or tarawih. However, as the reward from Allah is increased and the month is not over, you can still make the most of it. Do not be disheartened, just pick yourself up and reap the rewards that are still being showered on us.

Do not miss your salah

Do not miss your salah. Roll up your sleeves and do not miss out on the blessings and mercy from Allah that He sends every night and day. We need salah to accompany fasting. Enjoy the sweetness of your salah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the best deed is salah.

Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah said::

عَنْ ثَوْبَانَ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ ‏ “‏ اسْتَقِيمُوا وَلَنْ تُحْصُوا وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ خَيْرَ أَعْمَالِكُمُ الصَّلاَةُ وَلاَ يُحَافِظُ عَلَى الْوُضُوءِ إِلاَّ مُؤْمِنٌ”‏‏.‏

‘Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is Salat (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.’

 [Ibn Majah]

Salah is the main pillar – it is a daily requirement unlike fasting which is once a year. Make the intention that you will commit to perform your salah on time and Allah will ease your way. Don’t make excuses that you are too busy.

We ask Allah to keep us motivated and enable us to reap the rewards and blessings of this month. Ameen

Based on the khutbah of Shaykh Haytham Tamim 22nd March 2024


Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.