This Ramadaan, let us draw up a plan for the remainder of our life. One new life begins at birth, another life begins at puberty, another one begins after graduating from one's studies or getting married, while another one begins after performing Haj. In the same way, another new life also begins from Ramadaan.
Start from now – the secret of Istiqaamat (Steadfastness)
We all literally witness and testify to the numerous blessings and mercy of Allah Ta’aala which descends in this month. Due to this special mercy from Allah Ta’aala we find an automatic boost to our Imaan during Ramadaan. We find it much easier to fast and make ibaadat in this month as compared to other months. We should take advantage of this boost by starting our new life now. Get ourselves ready for this boost so that when it comes we can reach even more higher level and experience the deliciousness and sweetness of Imaan and of the mercy and blessing which are descending from the heavens. Open your spiritual arms, look up and try and grab all that Allah Ta’aala is showering upon us.
The special secret of Istiqaamat (steadfastness) lies in this. In order to try and overcome this malady of only being good Muslims in Ramadaan and not maintaining steadfastness after this month, we should try and break this mental habit by starting from now - before the commencing of Ramadaan. Allah Ta’aala sees this special effort and will reward us accordingly. Just a few days sacrifice, but maybe a lifetime of steadfastness as its reward!
Therefore, let us resolve that from now that we will become more regular in our salaah than ever before. In the past, we would sometimes miss our salaah with jamaat and sometimes even perform it after its time. At times we were fast asleep during the time of salaah. Now let us resolve that we will be more punctual and regular in our salaah with jamaat, that we will increase our concentration and humility in salaah. Make a firm intention of doing even more this Ramadaan!
Awareness and fulfilment of the Rights of Others
Similarly, let us resolve firmly to discharge all our other Shar'i obligations like those concerning parents, family members, neighbours, inheritance, properties or the shares of others in partnerships or in business etc. This Ramadaan, make the intention that Insha Allah, we will discharge all the rights and dues that others have upon us.
Seeking Knowledge and staying in the Company of the Ulama and the Pious
AIso make this intention that, we will acquire as much knowledge of Deen as possible. We will read Islamic books, spend most of our time in Deeni (religious) circles, go out in the path of Allah Ta’aala, sit in gatherings of the Ulama and the pious friends of Allah Ta’aala.
Ramadaan - A Month that Marks the Beginning of Change
This Ramadaan make a firm resolution to do all this. Only then will this Ramadaan become a turning point in our life and induce us to change, and only then will it be a dawn of a new life for us. We are spiritually poverty stricken and in dire need of these gifts which Allah Ta’aala is showering upon us. Prepare from now for this race to acquire as much of this special mercy and rahmat from Allah. This is the month of rewards. Don’t miss out!
Sincerity and Correction of intention in Deeds
Simply this much is needed for Ramadaan: that we correct our intention and bear in mind the conditions mentioned in the Hadith of Imaan - that we keep fast believing strongly in the promises of Allah Ta’aala and ihtisaab - hoping for great rewards from Him.
The Month of lbaadah and Obedience
In trying not to lose out during this special period, most of our time should be spent in ibaadah and riyaadat (spiritually uplifting exercises), Zikr of Allah, taubah, istighfaar (seeking forgiveness from Allah), dua (supplicating to Allah) and recitation of the Qur'aan. However, we should also avoid talking too much-even if we do not indulge in gheebah (backbiting) because gheebah is something against which we must protect ourselves at all times and more especially during Ramadaan. In this month, we should avoid even permissible talk - like the discussion among friends at home about the happenings of our town or about the weather or about life in general, just to pass our time. This should not happen! Resolve to start practicing this from now and in shaa Allah, Allah Ta’aala will give us the taufeeq (divinely gifted ability) to carry on with this even after Ramadaan.
As far as possible, spend our time reciting the Qur'aan or in resting or staying in the masjid with the intention of i'tikaaf. One type of i'tikaaf is during the last ten days of Ramadaan but another i'tikaaf is an optional one that can be done at all times. For instance, from Zuhr to Asr or Asr to Maghrib - a person could be in I’tikaaf in the masjid. This is a type of partial or short i'tikaaf that we could also perform. Let us attach ourselves to the Masjid from now. Let us try and be glued to the Masjid!
Season for Reciting the Qur'aan
Thereafter, while fasting you should try to busy yourself with as much ibaadat such as Nawaafil Salaah etc. as is possible. More than in Nawaafil, spend your time in reciting the Qur'aan Majeed as much as your health, ability and time allows you, and this should be definitely more than on other days of the year. Some fortunate servants of Allah Ta'ala recite one complete Qur'aan daily during this month. Ramadaan is the month of the Quraan. Let us start now to increase our recitation of the Quran, let us brush up our Tajweed and pronunciation and fluency.
Let us from now service and warm up our vehicles for this beautiful journey lying ahead so that when we reach the highway we can be flying to our Creator on the fast lane!