Embracing Ramadan

Heather Jone

March 5, 2024

It is customary for people to commence their preparations for Ramadan from the month of Sha’ban, contemplating the diverse array of dishes they will prepare. While this ritual of culinary anticipation is undoubtedly significant, it is equally crucial not to overlook the importance of spiritual preparation creating an atmosphere of faith and devotion to welcome the arrival of this blessed month.

Ramadan is not just a period of abstention from food and drink. A divine blessing warrants profound gratitude. It serves as a designated time for spiritual nourishment, a journey towards closeness to God, and an opportunity for elevation in the realms of righteousness. In this sacred month, avenues for renewal of one’s spiritual connection with God are plentiful[1]. It is a time for introspection, a chance to intensify acts of piety, and an opportunity for sincere repentance. Therefore, preparing for Ramadan should encompass not only practical arrangements but also a sincere intention to make the most of this auspicious period.

Anas (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the companions of the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) would eagerly await the sighting of the crescent moon of Sha’ban. Upon its appearance, they would increase their recitation of the Quran and engage in acts of charity, preparing themselves and others for the upcoming month of fasting.[2] This tradition underscores the importance of spiritual readiness and communal solidarity in anticipation of Ramadan.

Firstly, it is essential to contemplate the profound significance of fasting during Ramadan and its esteemed status in the eyes of God. Ibn Mas’ud (may God be pleased with him) relayed that he once heard the Prophet (God bless him and grant him peace) saying: “If my Ummah knew the greatness of Ramadan, they would wish that the whole year were Ramadan.” This highlights the exceptional virtues and blessings inherent in this sacred month, prompting believers to approach it with reverence and devotion.[3]

Indeed, reflecting on the virtues of the month of Ramadan is a matter of depth and significance. Sufficient reminder lies in the words of God, the Most High: “Ramaḍân is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide for humanity with clear proofs of guidance and the decisive authority.” (Quran, 2:185)[4] The earth met the heavens with the profound light of the Quran in this month. As awareness of the greatness and virtue of this sacred month settles in hearts, believers become vigilant to seize its blessings. They firmly resolve to draw nearer to the Almighty, and thus, they are committed to this endeavor.

Secondly, the renewal and purification of intention in welcoming Ramadan are paramount, as intention serves as the cornerstone of all actions, it is narrated that the Prophet, God bless him and grant him peace, said “Deeds are to be judged only by intentions, and a man will have only what he intended.”[5] While for many, the intention may solely revolve around the observance of fasting, for the discerning, it transcends mere ritualistic compliance. True intention encompasses a sincere desire to draw closer to God, permeating every facet of one’s life with devotion and mindfulness.[6] Accordingly, the believer considers all their commitments as integral to the worship of God. As God Almighty states: “Say, “Surely my prayer, my sacrifice, my life, and my death are all for God—Lord of all worlds.'” (Quran, Surah Al-An’am: 162)[7]. For the believer who aspires to the heights of excellence, there should be no distinction between what is considered religious and worldly. Rather, their entire way of life, encompassing all activities such as eating, drinking, sleeping, fulfilling desires, engaging in transactions, and beyond, is dedicated to God, the Lord of all creation.

Thirdly, the arrival of Ramadan should be met with rejoicing and gratitude, as it heralds a period of immense spiritual growth and divine mercy. This blessed month offers believers an unparalleled opportunity to seek forgiveness, attain spiritual purification, and draw nearer to their Creator. By embracing the blessings of Ramadan with joy and gratitude, hearts are filled with perpetual remembrance of God, and spirits are uplifted in anticipation of the countless blessings and opportunities for spiritual elevation that lie ahead.[8]

Ramadan stands as the pinnacle of spiritual devotion, with each passing moment resonating with the melodies of divine mercy and grace. As the month in which the Quran was revealed, its significance transcends all others. It is a time of unparalleled spiritual rejuvenation, where the faithful experience the joy of liberation from worldly distractions, soaring towards spiritual fulfillment and divine proximity.[9]

[1] Editorial Board at aljamaa.net, https://www.aljamaa.net

[3] Ibid

[4] Surah Al-Baqarah: 2:185, https://quran.com/2

[5] Mishkat al-Masabih 1, https://sunnah.com/mishkat:1

[6] Fadoua Nour, https://www.aljamaa.net/posts/%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%85%d8%a4%d9%85%d9%86%d8%a9-%d9%81%d9%8a-%d8%b1%d9%85%d8%b6%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%ad%d8%b6%d9%88%d8%b1-%d8%af%d8%a7%d8%a6%d9%85-%d9%85%d8%b9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%84%d9%87

[7] Surah Al-An’am: 6:162, https://quran.com/6

[8] Safae Tribak, https://www.aljamaa.net/posts/%d8%b4%d9%87%d8%b1-%d8%b1%d9%85%d8%b6%d8%a7%d9%86-%d8%b4%d9%87%d8%b1-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%85%d8%ad%d8%a8%d8%a9-2

[9] Mohamed Aouragh, https://www.aljamaa.net/posts/%d9%85%d8%a7-%d8%a3%d8%b9%d8%b8%d9%85%d9%83-%d9%8a%d8%a7-%d8%b1%d9%85%d8%b6%d8%a7%d9%86

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