970952_378342775600795_2038395910_nToday sees the first day of Ramadan: the Muslim month of fasting (sawm). Observing the fasts of Ramadan unites Muslims the world over in common purpose and creates great social cohesion. But more than its social benefits, or benefits to the body (which is always a welcome side effect), Ramadan is principally designed to be spiritually and mentally transformative.

The whole point of fasting in Ramadan, the fourth pillar of Islam, is to foster a state of detachment from the world, as also from our ego and desires. This creates, as it were, a space in our souls for the remembrance of God and for awareness of His presence: O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may become mindful of God. [2:183]

Thus, that we become of those who are mindful of God and profoundly aware of Him (in Arabic, muttaqi) is, according to the Qur’an, what we were all created to be. And it is in accordance with such mindfulness that we have been called upon to mould our lives, actions and aspirations.

Ramadan, therefore, is that time of the year when our awareness of God sharpens and diligence to acts of devotion strengthen. Along with the five daily prayers and actually fasting, the main acts of devotion a believer engages in are: reading the Qur’an daily, aiming to complete it by the month’s end; becoming more charitable; seeking God’s forgiveness (istighfar) profusely; praying tarawih and night prayers; working to cleanse the heart from diseases like pride, vanity, ostentation, jealousy, greed and harbouring malice or ill will against others; empathising with the poor and learning to live for the poor; remembering God frequently; entreating God abundantly; guarding the tongue from lying, backbiting, slandering and gossiping; strengthening ties of relations; and being of greater service to others. It is through commitment to such acts that we start to become what we were born to be: muttaqi.

14 thoughts on “Ramadan: Becoming What We Were Born to Be

  1. each step that is taken for the next month..is a test..but failing to do the best is daunting…..it’s what lies within our hearts…and the good intentions, that still counts ….salaam………….x

    1. You are right about: “it’s what lies within our hearts”. But you forget the second part: “it’s what is expressed in our acts of faith too”.

      The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah does not look at your forms or your appearances, but He looks at your hearts and your actions.”

      Thus, the Divine gaze pierces hearts, to see if they house faith in, and loyalty to Him; and it examines actions, to see if inward faith is sincere and true and is given concrete expression in work of faith.

      Again, you are right: failing to do the best is daunting. But Allah asks of us just to try our best.

      Rather than giving ourselves excuses of why we shouldn’t act, perhaps it would be better to pray to Allah to give us the strength to do the works of faith He has enjoined on us to do. For He is the One who is near and Who hears and responds.

  2. May Allah reward you and your family for your good work. May Allah remove all the diseases you mentioned from our hearts and body. May Allah guide us to use our tongue as we are surely going to be accountable for it on the Day Of Judgement. May Allah help us be strong and not hard.
    Ramadhan Mubarak to everyone.

  3. Mashallah…..never a true word said. It is like cleansing and polishing all our organs, especially the heart, soul and brain. This is the time to do it and inshallah it will be maintained after ramadan.

  4. Assalamu’alaikum wa rahamtu Allahi wa barakatuh…
    Jazzaka Allahu khair Ustadh your reminders always come at the right time MashaAllah!! One of my test started a bit earlier it was on the last day of sha’abaan actually the last few months have been quiet testing for us here in The land of Shinqit… I was so looking forward to Ramadan to find that solace that Ramadan always brings to our lives…And on that late afternoon when the markets were flooded with last minute buyers for their so called Ramadan shopping…. .this happened…

    “I stood in the market today after my weekly shopping and my eyes filled with tears..Next to me was the widow where I buy my lettuce from. She kept trying to comfort me after finding out that my purse was taken out of my bag. Another aunty kept saying “say alhamdulilah this is just worldly things!!.” Little they knew, that my reason for my pain.. was not for the cash…nor for my residence, ID or bank cards but because of the moment this person has chosen to commit such an act. What kept going through my head was the verse in Surat Al-Baqarah
    ” وما ظلمونا ولكن كانوا أنفسهم يظلمون ”

    On my drive home, I had to find it in my heart to forget about my loss and to ask Allah swt to make it a gift to purify my actions. I found myself sincerely praying that this person will use this blessed month as a training and tarbiyah for his nafs to repent and to never violate another persons right. Recalling the story I heard of ibn Al-Fudhayl when he wept, and when he was asked why. He replied “I feel sorry for those who wronged me, because they will have nothing to say to Allaah The Almighty as an excuse.” ”

    As for the ones tested they might feel emotionally drained and sometimes the timing might seem to be the toughest time for these trials to occur. But it’s through reminders like these and previous ones we find the ability to improve on ourselves and to make us more aware in how to implement what is in our hearts to our actions… Kind of like getting us back on track after being derailed…So again Jazzaka Allahu khair wa ja’aalahu fee mizaani hassanatik.

    Please remember me and my family in your duaas as we spend another Ramadan in Nouakchott and the Echoes of it’s night prayers…
    I pray you all have a blessed Ramadan with your loved ones full of qiyyam,siyyam and feeding the poor!!!

    1. May Allah grant you patience and replace your loss with something far better, Umm Shayma. May He further raise you and your family in goodness for having it in your heart to forgive the perpetrator and ask for his/her islah or rectification. For the patient believer, in every hurt there is a hidden healing.

      Allahumma taqabal siyamana wa qiyamana wa tilawatana.

    1. May Allah grant me, you and all the Muslims acceptance in Ramadan, and cause the barakah of our fasting to be a means to achieve all that the last paragraph enjoins.

  5. Greetings,

    Thank you very much for this post. I read it last year, and I read it again now.

    It’s inspiring and nourishing and helpful.

    All good wishes,


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