By J. Samia Mair
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Prayers? Check. Qur’an? Check. Suhoor? Check. Tired? Check. Thirsty? Check. Dhikr? Well…
Whenever I see the full moon of the month of Ramadan, I start to panic a little. It never fails; I’m surprized that Ramadan is already half over, and there is so much more I would like to do. This blessed month seems to go by quicker and quicker each year. And most years I am not exactly where I have hoped to be in my ibadah (worship) schedule, which I had planned well before the month of Ramadan began. Some years I am closer to my goal than others. But I don’t think I’m very completely satisfied.
This year my daughters did not attend camp during Ramadan, which cut into what I had hoped to accomplish each day as I try to make their Ramadan days special and their fasting successful. We also had some work done on our house–work that was supposed to be done over a month ago! Having strangers in your house, your furniture and belongings in a total disarray, and forced to make mundane decisions about dunya-related matters are distracting to say the least. I tend to like to “hibernate” during Ramadan, staying at home during the day, socializing and texting only when necessary, speaking much less, but this year has not ended up like that.
I’m sure I’m not alone. I suspect there are many Muslims out there who had grand ibadah and Ramadan plans, and for one reason or another, things have not worked out as they had hoped. But as we find ourselves in the last ten days of Ramadan, we still have time to turn things around. Start with intention. “The reward of deeds depends on the intentions.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 3898, Book 63, Hadith 124) Intend to increase your ibadah, avoid distractions, or change whatever else you feel has interfered with your Ramadan goals so far.
What we need is time at this point, so commit to cut down on texting, Facebook, email, Internet surfing, reading/watching the news, and other forms of social media that often begin with a quick check and end up lasting much longer. Do less errands, postpone unnecessary shopping, put aside reading, lectures, YouTube videos that aren’t related to the Qur’an, as Ramadan is the month to focus on the Qur’an. The goal here is to find time, precious time, to do those things that are most important to do now before the month ends.
If you made a Ramadan schedule, review what you had hoped to accomplish. Perhaps, you were too ambitious. Perhaps, unexpected circumstances arose that have interfered with your plans. Choose a few things that you KNOW, insha’Allah, you will be able to do on a regular basis for these last blessed days and focus on those. The Prophet (saas) told us:
Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little. (Sahih al-Bukhari 6464, Book 81, Hadith 53)
If you did not make a Ramadan schedule, make a quick one by writing down what you would like to accomplish with the days that remain. Do you want to attend Taraweeh (extra prayers during Ramadan after isha, the night prayer)? Do more dhikr? Recite a certain amount of the Qur’an each day? Read tafsir (commentary on the Qur’an)? Make more du’a (supplication)? Give more charity? Again, don’t be too ambitious. The goal now is to increase your ibadah and be constant in your effort. The overused saying “quality, not quantity” is apropos here.
But whatever you do, don’t despair about what has or has not happened during Ramadan thus far.
Say: “O ‘Ibadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (39:53)
We all have time to turn things around, Alhamdulillah. May Allah (swt) fill these last blessed days of Ramadan with much barakah (blessings) for us all.
J. Samia Mair is the author of five children’s books, the most recent Zak and His Good Intentions (2014). She is currently working on a sequel to Zak and His Good Intentions. She is a Staff Writer for SISTERS Magazine and Discover, the magazine for curious Muslim kids and has published in magazines, books, anthologies, scientific journals, and elsewhere.
© IIPH 2015