“What really matters are good endings, not flawed beginnings.” – Ibn Taymiyyah Rahimahullah (Minhaj as Sunnah | V.9.| P.416)
Ramadhan is the time of the year we all look forward to as Muslims. It’s a family time, a time of memories, a time to eat together and a time to feed our soul more than our stomachs. In Ramadhan, it is the norm for many families to host other family members for iftar and to attend the mosque in the evening for tarawih prayers.
In 2020, COVID-19 has hit us all and has changed the feeling of Ramadhan. This year, in Sha’ban when we said; “O Allah allow us to reach Ramadhan” there was a sense of urgency behind this. As everyone seems to know someone who has fallen ill due to COVID-19, in serious condition or sadly passed away. We reverberated these words with a newfound desperate faith.
The Prophet ﷺ “Every servant of Allah who observes fast for a day in the way of Allah, Allah would remove, because of this day, his face farther away from the Fire of Hell to the extent of seventy years’ distance…”(Sahih Muslim | Book 12 | Hadith 217)
I didn’t want to write this article until I had spent time in this unique Ramadhan. Now we’re past the half way mark and I feel I have understood it and can find the gems of this Ramadhan I thought I’d write and I hope this can be of benefit for the later half of Ramadhan.
Lockdown requires us to remain at home and only leave for essentials and daily exercise, it has stopped us from meeting our family, going shopping, attending the mosque and going to work. It has been a strange situation that we can’t really get use to. On one hand we want to follow the government guidance to try to stop the spread of the virus, on the other hand we wonder when this will end? These changes do not just impact us physically but being locked up at home can mean us locking up our hearts and minds for many. Even if lockdown is eased, Ramadhan won’t be the same as we still have to be careful, especially as COVID-19 seems to be more fatal to those from ethnic minorities.
Lockdown has led to an increase of domestic violence, an increase of calls to the NSPCC and families to feel overwhelmed. It has made, already multi-tasking women, take on more tasks at one time. It has forced us into a survival mode somewhat different from what would be expected. It can impact everyone’s mental health. All of these restrictions and the constant stream of depressing news weighs heavy on the heart and mind. Many resort to more friendships online while others feel drained. It was all a joke at first from toilet rolls to zoom calls but now it’s kind of settled in and we wait to be freed like a caged bird. This can lead us to a dip in our emaan as we don’t have the same things in our life, we don’t have physical classes, family or the mosque. The many things we attach our heart and faith to.
So for this Ramadhan there hasn’t been tarawih prayers, jumuah prayers or opening your fast at the mosque. It’s been trying to make the most of it at home. Every home is different. Not all of them are made up of people that love each other however there are ways to try to be hopeful, positive and happy this Ramadhan.
You can make the most of Ramadhan by trying to turn negatives into positives, it may be difficult, it may be a test but strive and see the fruit of your intentions and actions. Since lockdown began we were inundated with messages, videos filled with ideas of how to be productive, activities for kids and free courses however we should only take on what is realistic, that is right for us and something that we can continue after. Quality over quantity.
Unlock your Ramadhan by having a schedule that can change. A schedule that has time, to take time.
If you’re working from home, have healthy breaks and walk around. If you’re not working but have other responsibilities such as children and caring for the home, set a time for it. Try to make a checklist for each day of the “must do” things that you tick off whenever you want. So this would be:
2. Qur’an recitation – not all parents have all the time for ibadah but trying to get in a bit every day with the meaning may be more beneficial to you than reading pages.
3. Thinking of one thing you are grateful for every day.
These are the main things that apply to most people for Ramadhan. Ramadhan is all about increasing in taqwa and in between all the productive tips and videos on social media we may have lost the true meaning of this. It’s about refraining to do that which leads us to sin. Someimtes we overthink all the things we want to achieve but forget all the things we need to leave. Think of habits you want to get rid of: bad language, unnecessary talking, over use of the phone, backbiting, music and negative thoughts and work on leaving those things.
This Ramadhan, as we are in isolation; Allah, the Most High has given us a chance to look at our deeds behind closed doors. Something we forget in the usual buzz of life. We can examine our intentions and actions when no one else is looking as that is our true self.
Think about it. What have you done when isolating? Did you do good deeds without onlooked? Did you recite? Did you beautify your salah and du’a? Did you refrain from listening to the devils whispers?
Unlock lockdown Ramadhan by working on your true self. By adopting a positive mindset and allow that positivity to fill the air around you and brighten up the day of everyone around you. Everyone is struggling in one way or another.
Try to make the last Ramadhan beneficial and productive by having the checklist as above, creating a prayer corner for yourself and resting well so you can fill the nights with worship. Work as a team with your spouse when it comes to your children so you can find that time to enjoy Ramadhan and leave Ramadhan of those that are forgiven.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, ascended the pulpit and he said, “Amin, amin, amin.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the pulpit and said amin, amin, amin.” The Prophet said, “Verily, Gabriel came to me and he said: Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and he is not forgiven, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin. I said amin. Whoever sees his parents in their old age, one or both of them, and he does not honor them and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin. I said amin. Whoever has your name mentioned in his presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, then he will enter Hellfire and Allah will cast him far away, so say amin. I said amin.”Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 915