When we receive a special guest we try to make sure that we look our best and that our houses are clean. We request that the table is laid with our most expensive cutlery and dinner set, that the best meal is prepared, and that the house is spick and span in anticipation of the guests’ arrival.
And today, we all have a special and honored guest visiting us. This guest changes our personalities, a guest that makes us better people.
This guest is the month of mercy, the month of opportunity; it is the month of Ramadan, the month of the first revelation of the Glorious Qur’an.
It is a different type of guest. This guest does not care if you have the cleanest house, the nicest clothes, or the best smell, but cares about the cleanliness of your heart, and how pure your intention is. Ramadan wants us to take advantage of this precious time, to do everything we can to get the best rewards from Allah.
Unlike any other month, the rewards in Ramadan are doubled and tripled to thousands of times than in all the other months.
This month is so valuable that if you lose one day of it you can never pay it back no matter how hard you try. The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: “Whoever breaks his fast of one day in Ramadan without any excuse or sickness, he will never be able to make that one day up [in the amounts of rewards lost], even if he fasts for the whole year.” (An-Nisa’I, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
That is how great the rewards are for fasting in Ramadan. When we read the Holy Qur’an, we gain even greater rewards because it is the month that the Qur’an was revealed in.
Look at how the righteous followers of the earlier companions used to spend their days and nights in Ramadan.
Al- Aswad Bin Yazid used to read the whole Qur’an in only two nights in Ramadan; he would only sleep between Maghreb and Isha prayers. During the other months, he would complete the whole Qur’an in six nights!
When Ramadan would come, Malik Ibn Anas would avoid talking; he would only read the Qur’an until the month was over, just to pile up the rewards.
Ash-shafi’, the great scholar, used to complete reading the whole Qur’an in Ramadan 60 times. These people made reading the Qur’an their primary aim during Ramadan.
Honestly speaking, where are we in comparison to them? When Ramadan comes we get excited about the delicious sambousa and TV shows.
Many of us forget about getting closer to Allah.
We have forgotten the true purpose of Ramadan; women are busy shopping with full make-up on. Men are not lowering their gaze and coffee shops are full of men and women wasting their time.
This is Ramadan, there is no joke; the punishment is double the punishment in other months. Besides, these actions are unacceptable in all 12 months of the year, not only in Ramadan.
The Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “When Ramadan comes, the doors of Heaven are open, the doors of Hell are locked and the devils are chained up.” (Al-Bukhari)
Allah has made it easy for us to keep away from sins.
So, think about this opportunity — forgiveness from Allah. What can I do to be granted forgiveness from Allah?
First, I need to check my heart, purify it, and make the intention to fast in obedience to Allah and to seek His pleasure. During this month we should immerse ourselves in reading the Qur’an, giving charity, and praying late into the night.
The righteous companions of Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) were keen on purifying their intentions. Doing good deeds was like a competition for them, they would race for it. They would perform good actions with the intention of impressing Allah.
One day, Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) encouraged his companions to give charity. Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RadhiAllahu Anhu) wanted to surpass the generosity of Abu Bakr (RadhiAllahu Anhu), so he decided to give away half of his properties and wealth.
When the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) asked what Umar had left for his family, Umar replied that he had left for them the remaining half.
However, Abu Bakr, RadhiAllahu Anhu, came and he brought all of his money, everything that he had with him. The Prophet, SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, asked what he had left for his family and Abu Bakr, RadhiAllahu Anhu, replied, “I have left Allah and His Messenger for them.”
Umar (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said, “I shall never be able to compete with Abu Bakr in anything.”
It was always a competition and a race for doing good deeds and for helping those in need between the companions.
Competing with others and racing to good deeds is also proof that Allah loves you, because he chose you to serve others, to be one who people turn to, and to be one who opens the keys to doing good on Earth.