Meeting Preparations

BismiAllahir Rahmanir Raheem

A teacher once said that the sahabas' yearly focus revolved around the month of Ramadhan. For about six months following Ramadhan, the sahabas used to seek God's forgiveness for having not made the most of the blessed month. The remaining part of the year would be used to prepare for the upcoming Ramadhan.

This past weekend my brother reflectively and matter-of-factly mentioned that Ramadhan is just around the corner. I was actually quite surprised that he had mentioned this, so I decided to calculate how long we have left. Okay, well Rabbi Al-Awwal is over or just about over at least... Hmm.. so there are about five months left until Ramadhan.

But what can we do to prepare for this blessed month?

Often in Sha'baan people ask me if I'm ready for Ramadhan. I'm never really quite sure how to answer the question, or even worse what they mean when they're asking it. How am I supposed to be ready? Do you mean is the freezer filled with samosas, both the chicken/beef and vegetable varieties? My answers alternate from, "I'm as ready as I can be" to "I hope so" to the most honest of all "I don't think I'll ever be ready."

Sometimes it feels like we have fallen into a similar trap that many (though not all, of course) of our Christian counterparts experience each week as their religious teachings have little bearing in their lives except on Sunday.

Maybe this year can be different for me and for us all. Maybe.

So what can we do? Below I have compiled a list, primarily for my benefit, of ways to try to get out of my self-destructive hole. Although I know that I am weak, it will at least serve as as reminder, God willing. Even if this effort doesn't bear any fruits for me, I can only hope that it can or it will for any eyes that may meet these words.

1) Become timely with all five of our daily prayers, and focus our hearts in our prayers.
2) Read more of the Quran each day.
3) Listen attentively to the recitation of the Quran.
4) Learn more about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), his way, his life, etc. and send more greetings to him, salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam.
5) Participate in wholesome community activities.
6) Listen to lectures (these are easily available online) or attend classes regarding Islamic matters as a way to inspire us to improve.
7) Find ways to express compassion to loved ones, colleagues, and those who we surround ourselves with.
8) Attempt voluntary fasts, perhaps three times a month (on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of each lunar month) or on each Monday and Thursday - both of which were practices of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). As a shaykh once said, "sawm nurtures taqwa" (fasting nurtures God consciousness).
9) Work on improving our character, rectifying our errors, and repenting for our sins.
10) Work on developing a relationship with Allah, a relationship that we are all responsible for developing ourselves. Whatever you consider beautiful and necessary in a relationship, even complaining, take it to Allah.
11) Make a sincere effort to reflect on the bounties, blessings, and signs of Allah in all aspects of our existence.
12) And if we cannot do any of that, then perhaps we can at least try to grasp the essence of our deen again. This lecture is a good place to being: True Spirit of Islam. [The filming itself is blurry, but it is still very audible, and thus beneficial, insha'Allah. I'd suggest you just listen to it instead of messing with your eyes by trying to watch it.]
13) Oh, consider this a bonus point: Elements of Success.

Hoping to meet Ramadhan in a better state this year compared to last year is simply a means, God willing, to get us to the sweetest of all ends - being close to our Lord.

What more do we need?

*What a wonderful world this would be if we open our eyes to see He is all that we need right now, and we can all come together somewhere, somehow.*
- Zain Bhikha


Update: 2007-04-18

Here's a nice nasheed that resonates with me and gets to the heart of it. It's simplistic enough for a child to grasp, yet something that we can reflect on as adults. Absorb the message, insha'Allah. May Allah help us all, ameen!

The Heart of A Muslim
By Zain Bhikha

8 comments:

iMuslim said...

Mashallah, that nasheed & accompanying video was wonderful! May Allah reward them.

*!~Faith~!* said...

Masha'Allah what a lovely nasheed! =)

Farzeen said...

Assalaamu'alaykum sisters

Glad you enjoyed the nasheed. I hope you find it of benefit as well, insha'Allah. If you're interested, there are lots more on YouTube by other people including brother Dawud W. Ali. The problem with YouTube though is that there is a lot of other less-than-pleasant things (I'm being nice about it here) there. There is a relatively new website called IslamTube... it doesn't have everything YouTube currently has in terms of Islamified stuff, but in good time I'm sure it will, insha'Allah.

My flash player (I'm assuming) is in one of its moods again, so the video isn't working for me on this blog or on anybody's blog for that matter...Ah well.

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

JazakAllah-khair for that entry; it's funny, it seems like every year in Sha'baan, I hear about how the Sahabah would prepare for six months prior to Ramadhan.. but this is the first time I actually read that nearly six months before Ramadhan!

Your list is good, I should print it out and post it in my cubicle. It's amazing how easy it is to fast for 30 days straight, and how hard it is to attempt one voluntary fast outside Ramadhan!

iMuslim said...

You've been tagged, sista!

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah brother

Wa iyak. I'm reminded of what Moez Mas'ud said once in a lecture. He was saying how a calcium-deficient child won't understand why his mother forces him to have milk. His mother won't lose/gain anything whether or not the child takes the milk. Nonetheless, she knows the importance of the milk to the calcium-deficient child. Point being that God makes some things fard on us, which are a gift to help our souls. Beyond that, we still have so many avenues/opportunities to continue improving the state of our souls. (Insha'Allah)
[My apologies if the above isn't clear.]

Something to think about:

"My servant continues to draw near to Me with superogatory works so that I will love him. When I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it."

Slow, steady, and consistent..insha'Allah.
_______

Assalaamu'alaykum sis

Hmmm... tagged, eh?

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

Just thought I'd mention as well.. the video did work for me here on this blog.

And your comment was clear, and makes sense. That hadith qudsi you quoted has resonated with me for a while, because I've had the honour of meeting people that I feel have attained that status where every action they do, every step they take seems to be guided with a direction and purpose from Allah.

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah

I'm glad to hear the video worked here for you too. I think my computer is to blame for its failure in playing videos on blogs. Mind you, I can watch videos on YouTube or Google Videos, but not on blogs. It was working about a week ago, but one day it just decided not to. I suppose I could uninstall and then reinstall my flashplayer and see if that works, but the effort doesn't seem worth it since its failure is recurrent.

I love that hadith as well. SubhanAllah...may Allah make us all and our loved ones among such people, ameen. That's life at its best. SubhanAllah :). The beauty of the words is that they are clear guidance. We often look for practical ways to get to lofty goals, and there is it. The way I see it (and correct me if I'm wrong), reaching such a state isn't from our own efforts but rather a gift bestowed on those whom Allah favours after they follow His guidance... wa Allahu'alim. From Him are the best gifts :).

Oh! I'm reminded a story that Shaykh Mukhtar once told. He was talking about an 'aabid who spent his days in worship of God. One day while he was sitting and praying, he said to God that God doesn't punish him for all his sins. Then "God replied" (so to speak).. does the man now not experience the sweetness in his worship. Meaning that God had punished him by taking away the sweetness which was something he once had when he worshipped God.

For those who have tasted even an atom's weight of that sweetness, to lose it....... ya Rab...

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

Archives

Subscribe

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Inspiration

"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]