Each year, Ramadan comes along, manifested as winds of mercy and peace, happiness for all and equal kindness, leaving in its wake, a tranquil atmosphere of serenity, awakening within Muslims, a spirit of goodwill, generosity, and compassion.
As Ramadan arrives, not only does the Muslim community experience a religious awakening but also, a cultural and traditional awakening. Hence, Ramadan, to Muslims all around the world, is much more than merely a religious duty. It is a lifestyle, a routine and our favorite time of the year.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the sacred Islamic month in which Muslims throughout the world observe fasts from the break of dawn until sunset. During this time, not only must they refrain from eating and drinking but also from evil thoughts, actions and sins for the pleasure of their Lord.
The beginning of the month is marked by the sighting of the crescent moon, after which celebrations and festivities ensue, signifying the utter rapture of the whole Muslim community.
Virtue and blessings of Ramadan
“He who fasts Ramadan, having faith and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven.” [Bukhari]
Ramadan holds a special place in the hearts of Muslims due to the plethora of virtues it presents, which are not only restricted to strengthening our physical health but also extend to numerous spiritual benefits.
Self reflection takes the lead among the virtues of Ramadan. As the focus from eating and drinking is diverted, the fasting person gets a chance to reflect on his character and mannerisms, which, in turn, allows for self improvement, another benefit of Ramadan.
As a result of self reflection, the fasting person realizes his flaws and shortcomings. By reconnecting to God through prayers and increased supplications, he undergoes a process of spiritual healing which results in self improvement.
Ramadan provides extensive opportunities to rekindle the severed connection with our Lord. Whether through reading the Quran at home in an intimate setting or during night long Taraweeh sessions, listening, understanding, observing and reflecting upon the word of God brings nothing but contentment. The opportunity of spiritual healing is therefore, among the blessings of Ramadan.
Charity is one of the most gratifying virtues of the month of Ramadan. Fasting allows a person to reflect upon the hardships of the needy and allows us to feel an infinitesimal fraction of the suffering that they are subject to on a daily basis.
During Ramadan, it is observed that the act of charity increases. The fasting people, realizing the suffering of the people who are not materially as blessed as the rest of us — and to attain the pleasure of God — indulge in acts of kindness and compassion.
Charity in Ramadan
“Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another but that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah but that Allah raises his status.” [Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim]
Charity, in Islam, holds great significance. However, during the month of Ramadan, a large number of Muslims step forward to provide aid to fellow Muslims.
Contrary to the popular belief, charity is not just monetary contributions. The word charity encompasses within it, all activities and gestures of mercy, kindness and compassion.
Charity could be a donation of a sum of money, clothes, food, toys, educational resources, health care resources and even our time.
Giving to others is such a rewarding experience in addition to the reward you are promised by the Lord of mankind. This Ramadan, let’s pledge to spread happiness among the whole community by performing simple acts of kindness.
Here’s a list of things we can do this Ramadan to spread smiles and to obtain reward of Allah:
Volunteering is a great way of humbling oneself by experiencing firsthand the hardships of people around us. In addition, it is an incredibly rewarding feeling when you lend a hand to help someone and witness the joy on their faces.
Volunteering could be anything from volunteering to set up roadside iftars, contributing to the iftar setups in mosques, delivering food supplies, clean water, new clothes for Eid and the like, individually or through an organization.
Simply volunteering to lend a hand to an elderly trying to cross the street will be appreciated by them more than we can fathom.
As mentioned earlier, according to the Prophet (S.A.W); “Charity does not decrease wealth…” and once you really do begin donating portions of your wealth to the needy, you will realize just how true his (s.a.w) words are.
In Islam, paying Zakat and Sadaqah is ordained upon every Muslim who finds himself self-sufficient in regards to wealth. During Ramadan, Muslims increasingly engage in paying Zakat as the reward for good deeds, according to one hadith — albeit da’eef — is multiplied by seventy in the month of Ramadan. Ramadan brings happiness for all.
However, donations can be of anything other than money. It could be clothes, food or other necessary supplies of everyday use.
According to a hadith by the Prophet (s.a.w):
“When a Muslim spends something on his family intending to receive Allah’s reward, it is regarded as Sadaqah [charity] for him.” [Sahih al Bukhari]
3. Share with the needy
If donation and volunteering is off the table, sharing works too. Apart from sharing portions of our wealth with the needy we can also share food, smiles, happiness and our time with them.
If you are aware of a neighbor who has been struggling with making ends meet, cook a delicious suhoor or iftar and share it with them.
Nobody deserves to feel alone, especially during Ramadan. Make sure none of your neighbors or relatives have to spend Ramadan in solitude.
Even though due to the lock down, social distancing does not allow meeting up with people, the least we can do is share a couple of hours of our time with them by speaking to them on the phone and making them happy.
4. Lend a hand to the womenfolk
This one’s mostly for the men but some women can take heed too if they realize they are being lazy.
Usually for the the Muslim womenfolk, Ramadan is a very busy time. While the rest of the family finds ample time to engage in religious activities like reciting the Quran or praying extra Salah (Nawaafil) while still having sufficient time to rest, play and have fun, the women of the family barely do.
Starting early morning, they prepare suhoor for the family after which they spend about an hour cleaning up. As iftar time closes in, they are given a long list of food preferences for which they begin preparing everything from mid day.
It doesn’t end there though, they must clean the dishes, the kitchen and prepare dinner in addition to the suhoor meal for the next day.
The word, ‘helping’ does not merely translate to helping poor people through donations and the like. Charity begins at home and believe me, lending a helping hand to your mother or sister would be greatly appreciated by them.
Not only will such a small gesture from you make them happy but will also spare them some time to rest or perform their religious duties and ultimately it will make your Lord happy with you.
5. Spread kindness
Making someone happy does not have to be a difficult task. Happiness can be easily distributed by simple gestures of kindness. Saying salaam to a passerby, offering your seat to another on the bus, offering to help someone with work, spending time with others and even passing a smile to random people.
We never know what someone might be going through and what kind of problems he or she might be facing in life. A smile can cheer one up, make them feel wanted and loved and may even provide them with the support or courage they need to get through difficult times.
You could take this kindness a step further by offering to pay for someone’s food, volunteering at an old age home, a hospital or an animal shelter and buying someone a small gift.
Like they say, what goes around comes around. When you lend your services to help the people who might need it to spread kindness and happiness,in the end, you are met with the same kind of compassion and kindness in your difficult times.
Everyone has a right to happiness and if we can facilitate in delivering it to someone, it will bring nothing but contentment and joy to us. Lets promise to be the kind of people who are helpful and kind. Lets begin acting upon it this Ramadan and pledge to continue doing so even after the month of mercy is over.
// Happiness for all