Only a few days are remaining before the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous “(2-183)
In this article, I would propose to see 3 steps on how to develop our self spiritually for the coming month of Ramadan.
Before to discuss the three steps, there is a prerequired condition to understand: the month of Ramadan is not a goal to achieve in itself. It is not a fashion or culture that we follow. Don’t be among the “Ramadanist – the people of Ramadan”. They are those people who worship Allah only during the month of Ramadan. Who practice worship actions only during that period of the year. Those people who are already scheduled to stop all spiritual activities after the month of Ramadan.
At the opposite, the month of Ramadan is a step; it is a springboard. The goal is to be in a better spiritual condition after the Ramadan that the one we were before to enter in the month Ramadan.
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
“There are people who fast and get nothing from their fast except hunger, and there are those who pray and get nothing from their prayer but a sleepless night.” (Sunan Ibn Maja)
If you understand this prerequired condition, then let’s start:
The first step is to purify your intention. You have to fast with love and sincerity. To fast with love means that you imagine that there is something greater behind abstinence. Thus, if you tell someone that he cannot eat, drink and having an intimate relationship with his spouse or husband, it sounds as there is a kind of rigidity and deprivation. If we stop here, it will be complicated to fast with love. But if you believe that behind this abstinence there is more fabulous food which is spiritual food. If you see all the great things that are behind the abstinence, then your intention will change. You will start to fast with love, and it will be much more accessible for you.
Thus, if you are among this who are sad or complain during fasting, dive in the Baraka of the month of Ramadan. Be in the benediction of the month of Ramadan. You have the opportunity to purify your soul, to taste the pleasure of the worship. Don’t neglect that month and work on your intention before the beginning of Ramadan’s month! Don’t fast for your friends or parents demand. Be sincere!
Umar b. al-Khattab that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “(The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it. A man will be rewarded only for what he intended. “(Sahih Muslim)
The second step before starting the month of Ramadan is to examine your conscience.
Firstly: examine your relationship with Allah SWT: what is your situation with the aspect of the religious obligations and the religious prohibitions. If you see that you neglect some essential prohibitions and you often transgress them, you have all the month of Ramadan to try to improve and change your situation.
Let’s see two examples: the one who is very neglecting the five daily prayers. The month of Ramadan is the best moment to strengthen his link with the five prayers. Another example, the one who is touched by the sin of the cigarette. Smokers are in the obligation not to smoke during several hours of the day; this is an excellent opportunity for him to stop smoking. I know it is easy to say but doing is difficult, nevertheless, a lot of people stop to smoke during the month of Ramadan so be interested about that, there are a lot of ways to start quitting smoking.
Secondly, examine your relationship with others. If you are someone who has a lot of problems with contact, because you get angry fast, you know that during the month of Ramadan the one who fasts cannot get angry even when he is provoked.
In Ramadan, especially, take advantage of the practice of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) . He said: “If someone makes you angry, do not argue with them or fight with them but say to them instead, “I am fasting.” (An Nassa’i)
Thirdly, after you have examined yourself, make repentance “tawbah” to Allah. The goal is not to criticize yourself; instead, it is, to be honest, and sincere towards Allah. The goal is to improve yourself and to have a positive attitude.
It was reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) , said: “Allah The Almighty says: ‘My slaves, you commit sins by day and by night, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness from Me and I shall forgive you.'” [ Sahih Muslim]
The 3rd step now that after you made your examination of conscience, you will set targets to reach. If you have observed for example that you are weak for Fajr prayer, take the opportunity of Ramadan to be more efficient for this prayer. About prohibitions, we spoke about the cigarette, if you have this problem you can try to make your best to be far of it during the Ramadan and after it.
Then after you set your targets, you will also try to optimize your relationship with your entourage, do not forget that the month of Ramadan is the month of sharing. It is also the month when we will pray together in the mosques. It is also the opportunity to show the beauty of Islam to the non-Muslims. Don’t forget that if you live in a non-Islamic society; thus, you will try to make your best not to annoy the non-Muslims especially in the evening. Instead, you will show them that Ramadan is synonymous of sharing, maybe you can invite them to share your iftar meal, and we will try to explain the image of the Muslim who is courageous and patient. Who despite fasting, he continues to be hardworking, smiling with good mood.