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Spiritually Gearing Up for Ramadan

EsinIslam Ramadan Explorer

By Sumayyah Meehan

{The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down, a guidance for mankind, clear proofs for the guidance, the Criterion; so whoever amongst you witnesses this month, let him fast it.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 185)

The Month of Ramadan will be arriving in just a few short weeks. Muslims from around the globe have been awaiting its auspicious arrival for the past year.

Once it arrives, it will be gone before you know it.

Make the most of this Ramadan and spiritually gear up for an amazing month of fasting and worship of God. There are several different areas that you can focus on now, to ensure that you are spiritually ready to shine during this Month.

Get Your Physical Home in Order

Before you can focus on spiritual matters, you need to get your physical home in working order. Clutter, dust and disorder all take a toll on cognitive processes. A home that is in disarray leads to a thought process that is similarly cluttered. A messy living space can create anxiety, nervousness and worry. All of these emotions are distracting to the Muslim when he is seeking to pray and worship. It also makes fasting and preparing the Iftar meal more difficult.

Use the next few weeks to your advantage. Declutter your home by throwing away useless items and donating unwanted ones to charity. Replace broken furniture and appliances with ones that you can afford to ensure everything is in working order. Dust, mop and polish every surface until it sparkles. Remember that cleanliness of the home and body is a great virtue in Islam.

Personally, every Ramadan I reserve one corner of my home that is exclusively for prayer. That means that even my children are not allowed to play in that area or disturb me when I am engaged in worship.

Understand the Reasons Behind Fasting

Before you can begin the month of fasting, you need to know why Muslims fast in the first place. The reason can be found in the Quran:

{O you who believe! Observing the fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)} (Al-Baqarah 2: 183)

Fasting is an act of worship and obedience to God. It humbles the human heart and makes conscience of God's presence. Fasting also helps us to control our basic human desires such as thirst and hunger. The fasting person feel pangs of hunger during the fasting day and can empathize with the less fortunate who feel similar pangs due to poverty as a part of daily life. Breaking of the fast each day is also a great joy and mercy from God.

Follow the Sunnah of the Prophet when fasting in Ramadan. Turn to Islamic books or articles to learn about ways in which the fast is invalidated so that you can abstain from inadvertently breaking your fast. In these coming weeks, attempt a couple of trial fasts so that you can get the hang of fasting long before Ramadan begins. I always try to engage in a few fasting days well before Ramadan to prepare my body for the rigors of the fasting month.

Perfect Your Prayers

If you have not perfected your prayers yet, now is the time to do it. God Almighty says in the Quran: {And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.} (Adh-Dhariyyat 51: 57)

The Month of Ramadan includes the five daily obligatory prayers as well as the nightly Taraweeh prayers, which are recommended for all Muslims. If your prayers are lacking now, you might struggle to keep up with prayers during Ramadan. It is a great sin to miss a single prayer. Perfect your prayers now. These days you can learn how to pray properly from a DVD or even on the website YouTube. If you have any doubts, contact your local Imam and ask for assistance in learning how to perform the Islamic prayer properly.

Spend Time Learning the Quran

For most converts to Islam, their first encounter with the Quran is a translation of it in their own language. A translation is not the same as the real book, which was revealed and recorded in Arabic. To truly unlock the beauty and blessings of the Quran, one must learn the Arabic language. Start by learning Arabic alphabet. There are countless books, workbooks and DVD's available for sale online that teach the Arabic language. Granted, you cannot learn an entire language before Ramadan commences. But you can take small steps in the learning process. You should also continue to read a translation of the Quran, which will help to increase your Islamic knowledge and understanding of the religion.

Give Up Vices Now!

Vices such as backbiting, slander, lying or cheating are just a few of the unlawful activities that humans engage in. There is no room for these types of vices in the Islamic faith. Purging them from your heart will work wonders for your faith and help you live a life in accordance with Islam. The fasting day can even be rendered invalid as a result of certain vices. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

"Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, and ignorance, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink." (Al Bukhari)

Don't wait until Ramadan arrives to give up your vices, do so now to increase the chances that all of your fasting and worship in Ramadan will be accepted.

Other vices like drinking alcohol, consuming drugs or engaging in other unlawful activities should also be completely abstained prior to Ramadan. If you wait until the fast has begun, you risk the quality of your fast and may have trouble fulfilling each fasting day.

Open Your Hand

Prophet Muhammad was generous year round, but he was most open handed during the month of Ramadan. Remember that in Ramadan each good deed that we perform is multiplied by seventy times or more. It is a good idea to be generous with your wealth as much as possible. This is aside from the Zakat, which is poor alms in the amount of 2.5% of the yearly wealth. For those who cannot spend freely, there are other ways to be generous. You can be generous with your time by offering help to a fellow Muslim in need or by helping to make repairs to the local Mosque. Prophet Muhammad said that even smiling is considered a charity. So meet your Muslim brethren in faith with a hearty ''Assalamu Alaykum'' and a smile from ear to ear.

The Month of Ramadan is like a gentle breeze that hastens to cool a sweltering summer night. However, just as quickly as it arrives, it bids farewell much too soon. Get ready to welcome Ramadan today, so that you can take full advantage of the blessed days and nights once it arrives.

Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam almost 16 years ago. She is a Waynesburg College graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is currently working on two Islamic book projects. She is a regular contributor to Al Jumuah Magazine and The Muslim Observer Newspaper. Sumayyah resides in Kuwait with her husband and four children.

 

EsinIslam Ramadan Team

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