Every Muslim looks forward to the Blessed Month of Ramadan (Ramzan) with great zeal. This very special ninth month in the Islamic calendar arrives as a training period for believers. It symbolizes Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and generosity for fasting Muslims all across the globe. Fasting in Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam and thus rendered obligatory on all adult and pubescent Muslims. We should all set up a Ramadan checklist and follow it.
As is the case with everything in life, man needs to be bound by rules and tips to organize himself. By the same token, following some key tips by way of a Ramadan checklist, is critical to a Muslim’s growth during the month. Essential tips that define the most fundamental means of reaching the loftiest of goals. These tips can help a Muslim meet his spiritual, mental, and physical goals during this month of abstinence, Allah-willing.
The Ramadan checklist that has been prepared on this occasion can be divided into the following categories:
A). Three tips related to the rights of Allah.
B). Five tips related to the rights of Allah’s slaves.
C). Two tips related to self-progress.
Ramadan checklist: Three Tips related to the rights of Allah
Acquire Taqwa (God-consciousness)
In Surah Al-Baqarah, believers are informed that fasting is prescribed for them like it was for those who preceded them, so that they may attain piety. A Muslim must strive hard to adopt taqwa during this blessed month. He should fear Allah’s displeasure in public and private and be mindful of what he says and does. In reality, the spiritual environment, strict regimen, and consequent purity that Ramadan represents aid a Muslim in his God-consciousness.
While fasting, he abstains from eating, drinking, and marital sexual relations. Upon breaking his fast, he attends the Taraweeh prayer. The remaining hours are spent on daily chores and recitation of the Noble Quran, etc., leaving him with little or no time to sin.
Draw Closer to Allah
According to a Hadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari, Allah said that His slave doesn’t get close to Him with anything more cherished by Allah than the duties He has made mandatory.
It is Allah’s right upon every fasting Muslim that he use the fulfilling of this obligatory rite of fasting to his full advantage. This can be accomplished by keeping his tongue moist with Allah’s remembrance while fasting. He must also strive to perform every good deed and stay away from sin to protect his fast. By doing so, he stands a good chance of making himself worthy of gaining Allah’s Nearness.
Patience (Sabr) for the Sake of Allah
According to a narration from Ahmed, Allah mentions patience more than 90 times in the Quran.
In a Hadith from Ahmed, Muhammad (PBUH) called Ramadan the Month of Patience.
A Muslim who fasts must exercise patience and self-restraint. Patience, when he avoids all that is forbidden during fasting, is inevitable. In addition to showing patience when quelling the pangs of hunger he may endure, he must also swallow his anger through patience. It is Allah’s right upon him that he adorns himself with this beautiful quality during Ramadan, in particular.
Ramadan checklist: Five Tips related to the rights of Allah’s slaves
In a Hadith from Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah helps us as long as we help others.
Every Muslim gets to experience first-hand, through his own fasting, the hunger and thirst the poor and needy in his community face throughout the year. This should ignite a spark of compassion and empathy in him. It should encourage him to spend lavishly on the underprivileged segment of his society. Providing Iftaari and basic necessities is always a good place to start.
Enjoin Good and Forbid Evil
Allah says in Surah aal-Imraan that Muslims are the best nation for mankind as an example. The reason for that is that they believe in Allah and also promote good and forbid evil.
Elsewhere in the Noble Quran, Allah SWT asks believers to remind each other. Enjoining good and forbidding evil should be done according to the demands of the situation a Muslim is confronted with. Not every reminder is to be given in public. A fasting Muslim should always place himself in someone else’s shoes to know how he would have liked to receive the advice and reminder.
Keep others safe from your Hands and Tongue
According to a Hadith from Bukhari, the Prophet (PBUH) said that a believer is one who does not harm others with his tongue and hand.
As mentioned earlier, the month of fasting is a training period for every Muslim. The right of a fellow-Muslim can easily be infringed upon by a harsh word, curse, or abuse. A fasting Muslim should work on self-control and not harm his brother in faith, either verbally or physically. This is closer to piety.
Fulfill the God-Given Rights of Fellow Muslims
According to a narration in Sahih Muslim, the Messenger (PBUH) said that Muslims have six rights over each other. One must greet others with Salam, accept invites from them, sincerely advise them, respond to their sneezes by saying Yarhamuk Allah, visit one if he falls sick, and go to his funeral if he dies.
This essential tip on the Ramadan checklist is amongst the most important and comprehensive. Every fasting Muslim is obligated to fulfill the rights of his Creator and His creation. Apart from the six rights a Muslim has over another Muslim, there exist rights of parents, neighbors, guests, and even animals that every believer should be mindful of. A fasting Muslim must seek knowledge of these rights with the best of intentions and use this blessed month as the means of expediting their fulfillment.
Work for Muslim unity
In Surah Ali ‘Imran, Allah tells us to hold fast to His rope and shun all division.
Division, though prophesied and inevitable, is a curse for the Muslim Ummah. A fasting Muslim should attend congregational prayer and Taraweeh in Ramadan to uphold this unity. Conflicts, biases, and envy are some of the evils that contribute to division in society. Ramadan is the perfect time to mend one’s differences and reconcile.
Ramadan checklist: Two Tips related to self-progress
In Surah Al-A’raf, Allah tells us to eat and drink without being excessive and wasting. Indeed, He doesn’t like those who waste in such a manner.
Ramadan is not about having lavish feasts for breaking the fast. Instead, one should eat in moderation. Islam is, after all, all about moderation. Overeating and stuffing oneself with rich and oily food is not only unhealthy but makes a worshipper lethargic. This is something a fasting Muslim should take seriously and bring awareness about. Just think, if food fit for a king is consumed, this defeats the purpose of Ramadan, which is to share in the pain of others, whenever possible.
Allah states in Surah Ar-Rad that He won’t change a people’s condition unless they change what’s within them. All fasting Muslims should bear in mind that the good habits they’ve acquired in Ramadan, are to be adopted for good. Who doesn’t hanker after a change in their lives? Allah’s condition for making ourselves worthy of the change that we seek is very telling.
Planting the seed for self-reformation is relatively easier in Ramadan. Muslims should make it count and ensure that their transformation is an enduring one.
In Surah Hud, Allah calls on us to be patient, as He does not allow the reward of those who perform righteous deeds to be lost.
Ramadan is a blessed month for Muslims. Hence, we must try to take advantage of it as much as possible. We can do this by focusing on the obligatory acts during the month, such as fasting. However, we should go above and beyond by also taking part in the sunnah and optional acts. Doing all this will help us get closer to Allah, which is the ultimate objective of this blessed month.
The first and most obvious thing to do is to fast during this month. Muslims must refrain from eating, drinking, engaging in marital relations, etc., between Fajr and Maghrib. Additionally, we must also avoid all sinful acts, which Muslims don’t necessarily pay attention to, but they should. This is a critical component of fasting, which should help us to build our overall character.
Sunnah acts during Ramadan include praying Taraweeh, which is a widespread sunnah already. Many Muslims pray congregational prayer during every night of Ramadan. Visiting the mosque should also be a regular part of our activities during this month. Moreover, we should give as much charity as we possibly can during this month. All good deeds get extra rewards during Ramadan, which should be enough motivation.
Among other beneficial things we can do include reading the Quran. Making dua during this month is also essential, and we should also repent to Allah for our mistakes and evil deeds. Another excellent act is to mend relations with our friends and relatives. Ramadan is a month that we should all aim to benefit from. The aim should be to come out of Ramadan in a better position than how we entered it. The only way to do that is by worshiping Allah and getting close to Him, which is the only method of succeeding.