This Ramadan hasn’t been quite great from the lens of all those articles screaming how to make the best of Ramadan, how to have the most productive Ramadan ever and what not. This Ramadan, I have not been at my best, for some reasons beyond my control (like health) and some reasons that ARE in my control (like phone addiction and poor time management).
I appreciate those who say ‘This is how you should feel, so it’ll motivate you to work harder’ or ‘Intentions are what matters! Make the best through them inshaAllah’. But honestly, after having Ramadans much better than this, times when a connection with Allah and Qur’an were much better than now, I am honestly unable to accept the way things are now; even if I have a million reasons for it, even if i have concession from fasting, even if Allah knows my heart and intentions; even if everyone says so.
I cannot explain the sorrow that lingers in my heart to not be able to do all that I used to be able to do in the Ramadans of the past. Is it something somewhere I went wrong? Is it just circumstances of life I’m yet to learn to adjust to? Did I lose a chance I was given before because I took my blessings for granted? Questions keep lingering in my mind with one thing constant – sadness of missing the best of me, my health, spiritual and physical, during this best month of the year. 😥
So in my own way, this is the best I have tried so far with Ramadan and what can I DO to improve on my Salah, connection with Allah and the Qur’an. So far, its going o-k-a-y, but maybe its the best I can honestly, honestly give.
Here are some quick tips kinda thing for the people who’s Ramadan ain’t going so well yet, for those unwell and exempted from fasting and still yearning for the ramadan spirit:
1) One STRONG prayer:
Make ONE strong sinceeeere dua for connecting back to Allah and the quran. Make it one strong one even if it takes a lot of time. Do it sincerely. With istighfar and all. All it takes is an act of sincerity for our merciful Lord.
Choose ONE prayer where nothing is going to distract you, and focus on your relationship with Allah SWT. Focus on every ‘Allahu Akbar’ that Allah is greater than everything else, and here you are, standing before Him, sincerely pleading Him to get you back to Him.
This must inlcude lots and lots of repentance; for definitely, it is our sins that block us from His bountiful mercy, its our sins that are blocking us now from perhaps feeling the best in Ramadan; so lots and lots of sincere istighfar. 😥
2) Not fasting, so Keep tongue moist….err….with Dhikr!
If you’re unable to fast, then increase in dhikr (remembrance of Allah) whilst doing your chores. Look for the most beautiful of beautiful ways to glorify Allah swt. These couple of days, I am in love with glorifying Allah SWT by the dhikr:
‘سبوحٌ قدوسٌ ربُ الملائکهِ و الرُّوح’ and maybe in a couple of days it would be….. hmm Hamdan Katheeran Mubarakan Feeh or Allahumma innaka afuwwun tuhibbul afwa fa’fu anni.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “What you mention of glory of Allah, of at-Tabsih (Subhan-Allah), at-Tahlil (Allahu-Akbar) and at-Tahmid (Al-Hamdu lillah), revolves around the Arsh of Allah, buzzing like bees, reminding of the one who said it. Wouldn’t any one of you like to have, or continue to have, something that reminds of him (in the presence of Allah)?'” [Sahih]
SubhanAllah! (Say it now!)
Just imagine your name being buzzed like a bee around the Arsh of Allah SWT! Scholars agree that the Prophet SAW used the terms Tahmeed, Tahleel and Tasbeeh in the form at-Tahmeed, at-tahleel, and At-tasbeeh, meaning it includes not just SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah And la ilaaha illAllah, but also every possible adhkar or glorification that praises the perfectness of Allah SWT! SubhanAllah!
[Source: Sweetness of Salah: Rukuh, by br.Farhan Abdul Aziz]
Keep your tongue moist with anyyyy glorification of Allah SWT often. Play it in your mind like a tape recorder on repeat; whilst washing dishes or folding clothes or cooking etc. Include conscious repeated istighfar here too.
3) Recite just 10 verses!
Manage a mininum of 10 verses in the night. Just 10 minnnimum. To gain something thats better than the world and more! Yes!
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Whoever recites ten verses in the night, a heap of reward will be recorded for him, and that is better for him than the world and whatever that is in it.” [Saheeh at-Targheeb w at-Tarheeb: 638]
This is for any night, imagine then the nights of Ramadan, the month that is not like any other month, where rewards are only magnified to an extent only Allah SWT knows!
For those who can do more than 10 verses, by all means must. This tip is for those whose toddler/babies demand their attention while they are reciting and they’d have to stop for a while or so, or those who are too sick or tired such that reciting get them tired.
4) Listen to some eman inducing lectures
We have plenty available online. Right now, with an aim to improve on my Salah, I followed a lecture series on the sweetness of Salah, and Alhamdulillah its been an amazing one so far, slowly helping me refocus on my iman. There are plenty more. Just do this for the sake of learning more, improving on your own self by practicing what you learn, even if little by little.
My teacher Taiymiyyah Zubair said something I really needed! – ‘Do you know that Qiyam al-Layl is not restricted to ‘Standing in prayer’ during the night? It actually includes any act of worship that a person performs in the night, whether it is Salah, recitation of the Qur’an or listening to it, Du’a, Dhikr, and even listening to good speech!
And the Prophet (s) said that whoever ‘qaama’ in the nights of Ramadan with faith and expectation of reward will be forgiven for all his sins. So if you are not able to pray Salah (such as Tarawih or Tahajjud) in the nights of Ramadan, spend at least some time in the worship of Allah, even if it is just making Dhikr and Du’a. And if you can recite the Qur’an that is even better. Check this out:On the Day of Judgment, the Qur’an will say, “I am the one who kept you awake at night, and made you thirsty in the day” [as-Silsilah as-Saheehah: 2829] ‘
5) Stick to this reminder whenever you forget:
Whenever I feel like ‘it’s ok to slack once in a while’; this article
I read last year, and this hadeeth in particular, is what makes me realise ‘No its not ok! Get up and do something about it!’ –
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم ascended the pulpit and said, “Ameen, Ameen, Ameen.”We asked him, “O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the pulpit and said Ameen, Ameen, Ameen?” The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Verily, Jibreel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.
Whoever sees his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and he does not honor them and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.
Whoever has your name mentioned in his presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say Ameen. I said Ameen.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban]
May Allah SWT save us from being amongst those prayed against by the Prophet SAW and Angel Jibreel AS! Ameen.
Take little steps towards Allah SWT, no matter how weak you are now; He will take HUUUGE steps towards you without fail.