Ramadan is fast approaching and it is about time we pick up the pace and prepare for this month in the right way. How do we prepare for a very important meeting for example? We spend time planning and drawing up a schedule to organize what needs to be done beforehand so that we are ready for the big day. Ramadan requires more dedication than that.
Usually people are excited and zealous in the start to make the best out of this blessed month but many begin to slack off and wither down soon. Not setting the right foundation before Ramadan begins is one reason for that. Let’s remember that witnessing another Ramadan is a great blessing and mercy of Allah that many have been deprived of this year. So many people passed away last year. They are not with us this Ramadan and they do not have the chance that we have to do good deeds and seek forgiveness.
Allah tells us in the Qur’an that the purpose of fasting is to become Muttaqoon – those who have Taqwa. Taqwa means piety or being conscious of Allah Almighty. It means to avoid sins fearing His punishment and do good deeds hoping for His reward. Think about it, do we become like that or even close to that quality at the end of Ramadan? If the answer is yes, then Alhamdulillah, we have Insha Allah made benefit out of Ramadan. But if the answer is no then we have missed the whole point of fasting!
One reason for this sad reality is that people are not ready for Ramadan when it begins. Stocking our refrigerator with food for Suhoor and Iftar is not the real preparation of Ramadan. Fasting is a worship that we do in obedience to Allah’s commands seeking His pleasure. We strive to become more righteous and get closer in our relationship to our Lord.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it...” (Al-Bukhari, 3/31, no. 118)