Assalamualikum WarahmatuAllahi Wabarakatuhu,
I want to take this opportunity to welcome you and congratulate you on reaching this wonderful opportunity. Over the next 30 (or so) days Muslims across the world will increase their worship and servitude to their creator, in anticipation of his mercy and in gratefulness to his many blessings.
At MABY we will be producing these short blog reminders to share our experiences and little gems of knowledge in order for us to gain a maximum benefit from Ramadan, and we encourage you to engage and respond with your thoughts too!
As this is the first blog of Ramadan, I thought it would be a timely point to highlight some important sunnahs of the Prophet (PBUH) with regards to Ramadan, as he is our ultimate role model.
One of the first sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) we are taught is the first Hadith of Imam Al-Nawawi’s 40 hadiths, which states: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” It is important to remember this in everything we do, and especially when fasting. Many of us will subconsciously begin to think of Ramadan as a detox exercise, limiting the food and drink they have, or as a habit building month, attempting to instil good habits and removing bad habits. While they are important for an individual, they are not the ultimate goal of Ramadan. Allah (SWT) says in Surah Al-Baqarah: “Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness” [2:183]. “That you may learn piety and righteousness”, fasting is for Allah (SWT) and our intentions should reflect that. We should be careful of not mixing this intention with any worldly gain or aspect, even if they are an – extra – benefit of this holy month.
Another sunnah which many of us will overlook is that of Suhoor. Suhoor is the meal that is taken before sunrise, and the Prophet described it saying: “Have Suhoor for verily there is blessing in it”, and of those have this blessed meal: “Indeed Allah and His angels send Salah upon those who have Suhoor.” This means we should ensure to not allow tiredness to dictate that we miss this amazing opportunity to receive the blessings of Allah (SWT), and be sure to remember your intention when waking up for it!
The last sunnah I will touch upon is those related to Iftar, the meal taken at sunset to signify the end of the fast for the day. The Prophet (PBUH) has narrated many hadiths regarding this meal, describing it as a joy when he said: “Fasting is a screen (from Hell) and there are two pleasures (moments of happiness or joys) for a fasting person, one at the time of breaking his fast, and the other at the time when he will meet his Lord.” It is important to rush to this pleasure, and not delay it in an attempt to gain more reward as this goes against the sunnah, from the Prophet (PBUH) words: “The people will continue to do well so long as they hasten to break the fast.”
At the end of this blog, I want to remind myself and everyone to not take Ramadan for granted. This past year we have all lost many people, who we thought would still be with us now to experience this beautiful month again. We must ensure to take this opportunity and aspire to gain taqwa from it, as Allah instructs us, and for it to not just be an exercise in thirst and hunger.
– If you get a chance, I would ask you all to make Dua for my grandmother, one of the many people we thought would join us in another Ramadan but is inshAllah in a better place. –
Ahmed Ashraf is a PhD Fellow at the University of Manchester and the current head of MABY. He has served previously as the head of Human Resources and Branch Development and is passionate about self-development and improving the quality of life of his community.