SHAFAQNA | by Iffat Zahra : Ramadan has really helped me discipline myself. Every year, in this holy month I like to focus on one negative quality within myself and work on it and maintain it throughout the year until it becomes a norm for me.
In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُون
And when my servants ask you concerning me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on me, so they should answer my call and believe in me that they may walk in the right way. (2:186)
Every year a special month beholds on the Muslim Ummah across the world embarking of the ninth holiest month of Islamic calendar known as Ramadan. In this holy month the holy Quran was reviled to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). For 30 days, all the Muslims around the world will be fasting, which means no food, and no drink from sunset to sunrise.
From a very young age Ramadan was always one of the special months I used to look forward to. Being born and raised in the holy city of Qom, Iran, I automatically grew up in the spiritual environment and Ramadan left a special feeling in my heart. At the age of 10, I and my family moved to United Kingdom. Spending Ramadan in the UK was different but what never changed in the holy month of Ramadan was the feeling. I guess the feeling of Ramadan is such that wherever you are in the world the feeling never changes, and the biggest part of this was spending time with family, helping the needy, and remembering the less fortunate.
As I grew older I realized the importance of Ramadan and how this month is only for Allah (SWT). I learnt the importance of charity is in Islam. There are a lot of humanitarian work that can be done in a unislamic country, so I and couple of my dear friends decided to do a charity event to raise money for the orphans in Iraq. We did many different activities such as, face painting, henna, bouncy castle, auctions, raffle tickets, desserts, and many more. I did face paintings on children and henna on adults and children. These activities helped us raise money so we could help the less fortunate. Alhamdulillah, we raised over £5,000.
Allah (SWT) in the holy Quran says:
إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّـهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُورًا
[Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. (76:09)
This verse really reminded me of the day we did a charity event to help the orphans. After raising such amount of money my heart felt so peaceful. I felt really happy.
One of the best experiences in the holy month of Ramadan is the recitation of the holy Quran and pondering on the verses. For me, my aim in the holy month of Ramadan has always been to recite the holy Quran as much as possible and reflect on the verses. As this is the month of Allah (SWT) and we should ask Allah (SWT) for as much forgiveness as possible. The days of this holy month is the best days. Its nights are the best nights. Its hours are the best hours. In this month you have been invited to the hospiliaity of the Almighty Allah (SWT). its such a beautiful month in which its stated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in this month your breath is considered as glorification of Almighty Allah (SWT). Your sleep is considered as worship by Allah (SWT) and all your deeds and prayers are accepted in this month.
One of the experiences I would never forget in this Holy month is spending time in the kitchen with my paradise, my mother. Me, and siblings really enjoyed cooking colorful dishes with my mother, it was always exciting to help my mother cook and make different dishes every day and in our house Ramadan was never Ramadan without ‘Watermelon’.
Ramadan really thought me the importance of valuing my parents even more. From my mothers cooking all of favourite dishes for iftar to make sure we eat what we desire. Ramadan and family has really become a very closely linked for me. One of my favourite parts of Ramadan is saying prayers (Salah) with my family together before opening our fast and reciting the holy Quran.
Not to forget the nights of Qadr had always been beautiful with family. Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (AS) says:
O Jabir! Whoever during the month of Ramadan fasts in its days, stands up for prayers in part of the nights, controls his emotions and desires, puts a rein in his tongue, keeps his eyes down, and does not injury the feeling of others, will become as free of sins as the day he was born.
Therefore, this month has really helped me discipline myself. Every year, in this holy month I like to focus on one negative quality within myself and work on it and maintain it throughout the year until it becomes a norm for me.