By: Asmah Bibi
The coming of Ramadan brings with it many hopes and fears for the one who believes in Allah. If one feels a colossal rising in their imaan and sees a boost in their spirituality during Ramadan, inshaAllah they have attained some level of success. Ramadan is a time where one can focus on leaving bad habits for new ones and train the mind, body, and soul to return to its true purpose: to worship Allah through our statements and actions. It is a time of great sacrifice benefit and multiple rewards.
“O People! The month of Allah (Ramadan) has come with its mercies, blessings and forgiveness. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months. The days of this month are the best among the days, and the nights are the best among the nights, and the hours during Ramadan are the best among the hours. This is a month in which you have been invited by Him (to fast and pray). Allah has honored you in it. In every breath you take is a reward of Allah, your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations are answered. Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in all earnestness with hearts free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fast, and to recite the Holy Qur’an. Indeed!” [Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1965]
For many revert Muslim brothers and sisters, this may be the first time they practice fasting and, therefore, feeling a sense of dubiousness and apprehension is part of the territory. However, for some new reverts, a level of worry will arise because they may not be in the best of personal circumstances, or the practicalities of fasting are an issue. Examples may include living at home with a family who is not Muslim (where you are not openly practicing), or where your family and friends are not yet aware that you have become a Muslim. Ramadan can almost become a period of loneliness and isolation for someone who doesn’t know where to go for support. Still, you must try to not let this impair your planning and preparing for a Ramadan in which you will potentially benefit, and which could be one of the greatest things that you experience as a new Muslim.
While there are many reverts out there who have became established ‘Ramadaners,’ it is integral to show support to those who are just starting off. So essentially my first piece advice goes out to those who have been reverted for some time. It’s important you take new reverts under your wing as you know what it’s like when you start off. Show a degree of empathy and understanding towards them. Go to your local masjid and seek the new reverts out so you can mentor them during Ramadan, explaining and showing them how to do things or helping to answer any queries. This is an opportune time to show how you “love for your brother/sister what you love for yourself,” by guiding and helping those reverts who are probably feeling a sense of vulnerability before Ramadan.
For the new revert I have put together some important tips to keep in mind this Ramadan:
- Make dua:It’s essential you make dua that Allah make your Ramadan easy on you and bless you with knowledge and understanding. Making dua is nothing less than pure benefit for you. You need much support from Allah the Almighty so don’t stop asking Him. Ask Him to make your first Ramadan full of blessings and a means for you to attain Jannah and increase your status and reward. Ramadan is full of opportunities for rewards that are manifold, so start making dua now that Allah blesses you with this.
- Attend gatherings of ilm (knowledge):Find out if your local Masjid or Islamic knowledge gatherings are holding talks, especially towards Ramadan, because they are worth attending to gain the knowledge you need surrounding Ramadan and its rulings. This is also an ideal time for you to have any uncertainties surrounding Ramadan and its rulings clarified.
- Learn:Read around the subject of Ramadan before Ramadan begins. Analyze and reflect on the Islamic history of some of the events that took place in Ramadan such as the revelation of the holy Quran and the battle of Badr. Allah Azzawajjal gave the Muslims victory in this battle which took place in Ramadan. You also want to psyche yourself up to have a victorious Ramadan, so reading about such matters should help encourage and aid you in becoming victorious. Ultimately this will help boost your imaan before Ramadan. Seeking knowledge is a great act of worship and all acts of worship are good deeds and all good deeds are a means of us increasing our Imaan.
- Spend time with your local community.If you have difficulties at home and are worried about how friends and family will react because you are fasting, then try spending your evenings at the Masjid.
- Join the Taraweeh congregation:After breaking the fast, stay for the Taraweeh prayer to increase your good deeds and closeness to Allah. It will give you that imaan boost you need to go another day of fasting. The Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) told us, “He who observes optional prayer (Tarawih prayers) throughout Ramadan, out of sincerity of Faith and in the hope of earning reward, will have his past sins pardoned.” [Bukhari and Muslim ]
- Take part in joint iftars:Many brothers who are reverts go to the Masjid for Iftar, which again helps you come into contact with other Muslims in the same position as yourself. Also, if someone offers or invites you for Iftar, do not refuse; for essentially, they will also be rewarded a great reward for giving or offering you the Iftar.
- Utilise the special time for dua:Make sure you make dua at the time of breaking your fast because it is highly likely to be answered. This is the time to ask in abundance because this is what Allah told us via our Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) who said: “Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving ten times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said: ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me’. For the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time of joy when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of Musk.” [Muslim]. So Allah loves those who fast and rewards those who fast.
- Appreciate the blessing and opportunity:Finally, one must be thankful to Allah for being blessed with this most merciful recommendation and it is essential that a new revert reflects on this. Allah tells us in the Quran: “and fast, it is better for you, if only you knew” [2:184 ]. If Allah says that something is better of us, it is really better for us; therefore, we should strive to perfect it.
The month of Ramadan, in essence, is a time where worshipping Allah is at its height. For a new revert, it is incumbent to start benefitting from the many benefits and mercies bestowed on us from Allah the Almighty during this great month.