Most times when you feel like something is immense or significant, a little perspective can help you determine whether that really the case. Often we step back and see the bigger picture and realise that the thing is not as huge as we thought. But Ramadan is different. No matter how significant and special we think it is, our understanding often falls short.
So much has been written about the amazing benefits of this month. We are often in awe of this month. Yet when we stand back to get some perspective what do we find? The example of the sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) who spent six months preparing for Ramadan and hoping that they would see it again.
There is also the enormity of the opportunity this month brings:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said; Three supplications will not be rejected (by Allah (SWT)), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveller. (al-Bayhaqi, at-Tirmidhi)
Then there are the immense rewards:
"Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk." (Bukhari)
Fasting will intercede for a person on the Day of Judgement, and will say, "O Lord, I prevented him from his food and physical desires during the day, so let me intercede for him." (Ahmad 2/174).
Whoever fasts one day for the sake of Allah, Allah will remove his face seventy years' distance from the Fire. (Muslim, 2/808).
"In Paradise there is a gate called al-Rayyaan, through those who fast will enter, and no one will enter it except them; when they have entered it will be locked, and no-one else will enter through it. (Bukhari, no. 1797).
"Whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and with the hope of reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven. (Bukhari, no. 37).
At the breaking of every fast, Allaah will choose people to free from Hellfire. (Ahmad, 5/256).
So when you get some perspective on Ramadan it’s mind-blowing – the opportunities, the immense rewards and the promises of freedom from hellfire and entry into paradise for the next world.
So how do we make the most of this month? In a sisters study circle we came across the following hadith today:
Abu Umama reported that the Messenger of Allah said, "Whoever dreads to endure the night, or is miserly about spending money, or is too cowardly to fight the enemy should say often: 'Glory be to Allah and with His praise.' It is more beloved to Allah than a mountain of gold spent in the Way of Allah." (at-Tabarani)
Many people spend the nights in worship and the days doing good deeds and giving more charity than we do during the rest of the year. But not everyone is able to do this. I know as a mother of four, I’m often too tired to worship for long during the night and I don’t get enough time during the day to do good deeds because I am doing the good deed of caring for my family.
So the hadith above really touched and inspired me. It put into perspective, that not everyone can do great things at all times, but that there are still simple things we can do for great rewards insh’Allah.
“And remember your Lord much and exalt [Him with praise] in the evening and the morning." (Quran 3:41)
"Those who believe, and whose hearts find their rest in the remembrance of Allah--for, verily, in the remembrance of Allah hearts do find their rest." (Quran - 13:28)
“Abu Dharr reported that some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah *said, "Messenger of Allah, the wealthy have appropriated the rewards. They pray as we pray and they fast as we fast, but they give sadaqa since they have more wealth."He said, "Did not Allah give you that which you can give as sadaqa? Every glorification is sadaqa. Every takbir is sadaqa. Every praise is sadaqa. Every 'la ilaha illa'llah' is sadaqa. Commanding the right is sadaqa. Forbidding the wrong is sadaqa." (Muslim and Ibn Majah)
"The difference between the one who makes dhikr and the one who doesn't make dhikr is like the difference between the living and the dead." (Bukhari)
(All images courtesy of my sisters blog here)