بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
So, there we are walking. We see something harmful on the ground like a nail or a safety pin, for example.
What do we do? Well, most of us make sure that we avoid it and then we proceed to forget about it.
“So what’s wrong with that?”
Well, if one wants to be average, then there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if one wishes to excel in the hereafter, then a great opportunity has been lost.
الإيمان بضع وسبعون أو بضع وستون شعبة . فأفضلها قول لا إله إلا الله . وأدناها إماطة الأذى عن الطريق . والحياء شعبة من الإيمان
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Iman (faith) has over seventy or sixty odd branches, the most excellent of which is the declaration that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and the lowest of which is the removal of what is harmful from the path: and modesty is a branch of iman.” [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 56]
Here’s a man who took advantage of this great opportunity:
بينما رجل يمشي بطريق ، وجد غصن شوك على الطريق فأخره ، فشكر الله له فغفر له
Narrated Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu): Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “While a man was going on a way, he saw a thorny branch and removed it from the way and Allah became pleased by his action and forgave him for that.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 1, Hadeeth No. 624]
I was telling one of my friends about the virtues of fasting 3 days a month. She was very surprised. She pointed out that if we did these little deeds, we could earn so much reward, yet we were so lax. [Little things add up, remember?]
And this is the truth. Fasting three days a month and moving a harmful object from the way are very easy things. Sadly, we find that few people do them.
So, let’s try to implement these little things, for the sake of Allah. Who knows, perhaps they will be our entrance to Paradise, as they were for the man mentioned above.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Firstly, one can practice just about all the deeds that one does in Ramadan outside of it, so there’s no reason to limit ibaadah to Ramadan.
Secondly, we need to understand what ibaadah is.
When we refer to “ibaadah”, it means everything that Allah loves and is pleased with. It could refer to an action of the heart, the tongue or the limbs. [Fearing Allah is an example of an action of the heart.]
Here’s an article which explains the definition of ibaadah in more detail.
Our problem is that we confine ibaadah to just a few things, and that shouldn’t be the case. Any lawful (halal) act can be turned into an act of worship with the proper intention.
Thirdly, so what can we do in Ramadan?
a) Do the basic acts of ibaadah (prayer, fasting, etc) properly.
You know, we always think in terms of quantity. Let’s first try to work on the quality. That should keep us busy for a while.
b) Add the other acts that are easy for us.
Is giving charity is easy for you? Then do it.
Is reciting the Quran easy for you? Then do it.
Is doing dawah easy for you? Then do it.
Is keep good relations with your family and neighbours easy for you? Then do it.
Is feeding orphans easy for you? Then do it.
Is making iftar for the poor easy for you? Then do it.
c) Try to improve in those acts which we fall short in.
Can’t stop snarling at your mom-in-law? Hey, Ramadan is a good time to change that.
d) Try to think about the proper deed to be done in every situation.
For example, you’re late for taraweeh. Whilst rushing to the masjid, somebody in front of you slips and falls.
Do you keep rushing to the masjid? NO! Stop and help that person. That’s the right thing to do at this time. It’s okay if you’re late for taraweeh.
Another example: Suppose you’re breaking your fast in the masjid. Do you sit and recite Quran whilst some other brothers/sisters serve the food and also end up cleaning the whole mess?
No! Get up and ask them if they need any help with the serving or with the cleaning.
Another example: Your neighbour walks into the elevator with you (let’s assume that both of you are of the same gender).
Do you stare coldly at this person or try to be cordial given the fact that they have rights over you? Be cordial and ask them how they are. You might think of this as useless talk but it isn’t if you talk about halal things and you do it with the intention of keeping in touch with your neighbour.
Remember the best thing to do at a give time is the one that pleases Allah the most.
How would we know what pleases Allah the most? Well, we need to seek knowledge. That’s what knowledge ultimately is: knowing how best to worship Allah at a given time.
e) Leave evil deeds.
You know why? Because that’s also an act of ibaadah.
A few points to keep in mind:
a) Don’t compare yourself to anybody else.
If you have to compare yourself to someone who you feel is doing more than you, then please do it to motivate yourself and not to demotivate yourself.
b) Don’t follow those famous Ramadan planners.
Sorry, I can’t stand those. They make me feel depressed.
They have a long list of all the good deeds to be done in one day and after you toil away trying to do each one, you check the list and find that you still have half the list left!
Don’t get me wrong. Some of them are useful but not as your main Ramadan planner. They’re just good for some ideas on what types of ibaadah that you could do.
I think what would be better than this, is for each of us to sit down and plan what deeds we can do during Ramadan. We could add the obligatory, then the voluntary that we are good at and then the other deeds which we need to improve upon. At least this way, we won’t feel like such losers.
Another reason that I don’t like those planners is that worship then becomes a numerical thing rather than a spiritual thing.
c) The more that you do outside Ramadan, the easier it is to do more in Ramadan.
You know why? Because your soul, body and mind are already used to doing these things.
When you dump things on them out of nowhere (like in the first few days), they get exhausted because they aren’t used to doing all these things.
d) Strive to purify your intention.
It’s the most difficult thing to do yet it is the most important one of them all.
It’s possible that someone who does a little deed with a pure intention (i.e. to please Allah alone) might get more reward than the one who does a whole lot of deeds but with an intention that is not very pure.
e) Try, try and keep trying.
Striving to do ibaadah is itself an ibaadah, so don’t give up, because we don’t fail when we keep trying.
We only fail when we give up.
Yes, I know. Perhaps I actually managed to befuddle you with that title. [Then again, perhaps not.]
Okay, so what is the point of the Recover Ramadan project, you ask?
Well, it’s to remind us that we always need to be striving hard to try to please Allah. That’s what we do in Ramadan and that’s what we need to do outside of it.
Too often, we forget the purpose of the salah, charity, fasting, dua, obedience to parents, good character, marriage, etc.
Yes, they are all good deeds (with the proper intention) but why are we doing them again? Ultimately, any good deed should be done as a form of worship to Allah in order to achieve His Pleasure.
Now you might say: “But a person can get married just because he/she wants to, and a person might just be good to his parents because he loves them! What’s wrong with that?”
Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. However, that’s not al-ihsan. What’s al-ihsan? It’s worshipping Allah as though you see Him. That’s the highest level that a Muslim can reach.
So, a muhsin (one who attains al-ihsan) would intend to get married because it is pleasing to Allah and would strive to obey his parents (in matters that are not contrary to the shariah) because that is what Allah loves. See the difference? This person performs daily life activities as a way of worshipping Allah.
Why? Because he/she always remembers the purpose of doing those deeds.
So, be sure to never forget the purpose, because if we forget the purpose, we’ll lose our way.
PS. I hope the post itself didn’t befuddle any of you.
“Spread the good because the good only results in more good.”
Or so said my teacher (in Arabic), Ustadh Khalid Ismail while teaching us the Seerah. He was talking about how the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was reciting the Quran in prayer one night in front of the Kaabah. Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiallahu anhu), who was quietly listening, become affected and embraced Islam as a result of this.*
[*This is the more authentic story of Umar’s (radiallahu anhu) conversion. The one where he beats his sister is not a very authentic story (it has weakness in its chain).]
Then he pointed out that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) had just been reciting the Quran. He hadn’t intended to convert Umar (he didn’t even know that Umar was lurking around). So, Ustadh Khalid Ismail, may Allah reward him immensely, advised us to spread the good (“Intashirul Khair”) because it will only result in more good, as this story clearly proves.
This sentence really struck me. Subhan-Allah, we give up doing the good deeds so easily.
But why? They’ll only result in better things, both in this world (even if we cannot see it at present) and in the hereafter.
[By the way, “good” = whatever is good according to the Quran and the Sunnah.]
And it’s strange, you never know who will benefit from that good that we may do.
Once I remember a sister (who wasn’t practicing at the time) saying how she had seen a fully covered sister coming in to the masjid. This sister’s appearance had struck her, and she had gone home to her husband and said: “We have to change!”. Subhan Allah, that’s what we call “dawah through practicing Islam”.
Also, many years ago, I saw two sisters doing itikaaf in Ramadan. I had no clue what itikaf was at the time. I was so struck by seeing them that I had wanted to do it too (and I got permission to stay for one night, alhamdulillah). That’s when my addiction to itikaf started.
And in subsequent years, I’ve managed to encourage a few people to go as well, alhamdulillah. So these sisters don’t even know that they managed to get others to do itikaaf !
So, I say to you as our teacher said to us: Spread the good, because the good only results in more good.
[Okay, so the “itikaf in the kitchen” wasn’t my joke (but the “tawaf around the office” was).]
You’re stuck in the kitchen? And you spend your entire Ramadan there?
Or perhaps you’re stuck in the office? And you spend your entire Ramadan there?
[By “stuck”, I mean “stuck” as in used in the following sentence: “I am stuck in quicksand.”]
I suppose now would be a good time to give you a lecture about not being too obsessed with the dunya (worldy life) but it’s the Month of Mercy, so I’ll spare you and let you read the following two articles so that you can be encouraged and not be discouraged:
I would like to know what actions are recommended during this blessed month in order to increase one’s reward, such as dhikrs, acts of worship, and mustahabb actions. I know about Taraweeh prayer, reciting Qur’aan a great deal, seeking forgiveness a great deal and praying at night. But I want to know some words I can repeat during my daily duties such as when I am cooking or doing housework, because I do not want to miss out on the reward.
I was searching for one thing and then I came across something totally different but equally wonderful.
Website # 1
A sister had asked how children can be kept occupied during Ramadan rather than waiting for iftar. Well, I have a long reply in mind but for now I’d suggest that all those who have the same problem, first read this post and then visit the following site: http://1000gooddeeds.com/
It’s absolutely fantastic. They have mentioned so many good deeds, along with the evidence.
Website # 2
It’s from the same person who wrote the post that I linked to above.
[Note: The main blog which I linked to also has many Ramadan goodies for kiddies. Be sure to check that out as well.]
Here’s the sister’s Ramadan site and its blog:
Website # 3
Another Ramadan blog…..
Great minds do indeed think alike.
It’s got some great stuff (including fatwas, planners, etc)
It also has a sister site (Ramadan crafts): http://rplanfamily.wordpress.com/
Very nice indeed.
May Allah reward all the people behind all three websites. They’ve obviously put in lot of effort.
PS. I think all three of them deserved their own posts but I thought I could save more time this way….