Reflections on Ramadan
Reflections on Ramadan
By Shaykh Haytham Tamim
Every year I reflect on Ramadan and try to capture its meaning. Over the years I have accumulated many reflections, here is a selection on what I think Ramadan is about.
Glorify what Allah has glorified
One of the great tabiyeen, Qatada bin Di’ama as- Sadusi, (61-118 AH) said that Allah Almighty glorified certain things from His creation. He selected messengers from the angels, (for example those who were allocated tasks such as Jibreel who was sent with the revelation to the prophets, or Mikail who brings rain, etc). And from among people, Allah selected messengers, and from words He selected His dhikr, which is the Quran and made it special, and from all the land, He selected al masajid, (mosques) and made them special, and from the months, He selected Ramadan. And also the sacred months (Rajab, Dhul Qaddah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram) and from the days He selected Jumua’h and from the nights, He selected Layltul Qadr. So glorify what Allah has glorified.
Ibn Kathir observed that these parts of creation are only great because Allah Almighty made them great for those who understand and those who reflect.
Out of His creation we also have the awliya‘, those who are close to Allah Almighty and we ask Allah to make us all from His awliya‘.
Increased glorification of Allah
During Ramadan there is increased dhikr and recitation of the Quran. More people come for jumua’h, go to the mosques more for Jama’ah congregation and spend more time in night prayer. Though Allah is not just the Lord of Ramadan but the Lord of all nights.
The intercession of fasting
The Prophet (peace be on him) also said:
“Fasting and the Quran will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say:
O Lord, I kept him from his food and desires during the day; let me intercede for him. And the Quran will say: I kept him from sleeping during the night; let me intercede for him. And they will be allowed to intercede”. (Musnad Ahmad and Bayhaqi)
The increased acceptance of du’a
Imam Bayhaqi narrated that the Prophet (peace be on him) said three supplications are accepted from:
- the one who is fasting
- The one who is oppressed
- The one who is travelling.
Unless you are overstepping the limits, or asking for something haram.
Bonds are strengthened
In Ramadan we also have an increase in the communication with the community. We have the chance to reach out to friends, neighbours, extended family, siblings and so on. It brings the ummah together. When you go to the mosque, you find the people you see once a year in tarawih. It reconnects friends and families.
This does not mean that you should be hosting people all the time, or visiting people all the time, otherwise you will find that you have spent the whole month preparing food and washing dishes. We need moderation in everything we do even in Ramadan.
We should not underestimate the power of Ramadan in bringing people together.
Temptation is diminished
From the hadith we all know, the devils will be chained up in Ramadan. So we have no excuse for bad behaviour. Of course in the authentic narration it is maradatu shayateen ‘the giant shayateen’ the ones with big influence, not the minor ones, who are chained up. Why? Because Allah Almighty wants us to seize the opportunity and maximise this chance to gain closeness to Him. But He will not do it on our behalf, we need to take the first step and then He gives us the momentum.
Fasting from more than just food
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Allah said,
“If one of you is fasting, he should avoid foul language and quarreling, and if somebody should fight or quarrel with him, he should say, ‘I am fasting.’ Bukhari.
And Jabir bin Abdillah the companion said:
When you are fasting, let your ears fast, your eyes fast and your tongue fast from telling lies. And from prohibited things. And leave harming anyone and when you are fasting, let tranquillity descend on you and serenity envelop you and do not let the day of your siyam be like the day of no siyam, so don’t make them equal with your actions. Bayhaqi.
Unfortunately we make the day of fasting sometimes worse than a normal day. We can be grumpy, angry or miserable. We need to make it a better day, so we need to keep reminding ourselves not to make a day of fasting like any other day. If you are being provoked, irritated, or upset, control your anger, your tongue and your emotions. Remember you are fasting. It is not like any other day.
The Ramadan Package
Connection with Allah during Ramadan reaches a higher level. Usually, salah is our connection with Him, but in Ramadan it is more than just salah, it is about the whole day, the whole night, the whole month. It’s a different package. It is increased connection with Allah Almighty, an amplified connection.
Allah Almighty has given us the points of connection, but it is up to us to join the dots, by recitation of the Quran and dhikr. Unless we make the effort, the connectivity will not parachute down on us.
Reaching a higher level of fasting
Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali said:
Those who fast are of two categories, those who left their food, drink and their desires, and they are expecting Allah to reward them for that with Jannah. They are trading with Allah. And Allah will not waste their reward.
Allah Almighty will replace them with something better than that in akhirah.
The second category is those who are not just fasting from eating and drinking, they are fasting in dunya from anything but Allah Almighty.
They are not just fasting, they are refraining from any haram, and doing anything that displeases Allah. They are fasting throughout the year in this way, all their life. Their day of Eid is when they meet Allah Almighty.
This is a high level but we can aspire to it.
Discover inner power
You can tap into your hidden powers, which you are not aware of unless you’re under pressure. you can’t see these qualities, but you discover some of these in Ramadan.
Ramadan helps us purify our hearts and intention and actions. You discover your inner power. You find yourself doing what you didn’t expect. It is an unbelievable transformation that you are waking early, fasting the whole day, spending the night in prayer and getting by on less food and less sleep. You couldn’t imagine doing this at any other time.
So take the chance to change. Focus on just two or three things you want to improve in Ramadan. Say bismillah and go for it.
The moment we lose balance and equilibrium we collapse. We need to balance our heart and mind, our body and soul and our needs and wants.
Ramadan helps feed our souls. It is dedicated for heavenly food, which nurtures the heart.
It is the month of special closeness it is 29-30 days. It’s intense. You go to hajj maximum it can be finished in 5 days. Salah is maximum of an hour or an hour and a half. But Ramadan is more than 5 prayers or 5 days, it is 29-30 days. It is enveloping you from the beginning of the day, from dawn til dusk, and maghrib till fajr.
Whatever we do, Ramadan goes with us. The spirit of Ramadan envelops us. It is like a cloud above you, it gives you shade. Ramadan is showering us with the mercy of Allah. Not just one time, but the whole month. It extends our closeness to Allah Almighty.
We finish our month with seclusion. We shut down our distractions, all our background apps and focus fully on Allah Almighty. This is what Ramadan brings to us.
We ask Allah Almighty to bring us balance in our lives, increase our taqwa and gratitude, purify us and make us more connected to Him. Ameen.
Transcribed by Ayesha Khan
September 22, 2023
September 21, 2023