One question I get asked a lot is “What is the best way to start Ramadān?”
I thought about this for sometime, and here is my answer:
“The best way to start Ramadān is the way you ended it last year.”
Meaning: you should start Ramadān with the same passion, focus and commitment that you completed the last ten days of last year’s Ramadān. (If you didn’t end it well last year, stay tuned for another short reminder soon: “How to fix a broken Ramadān?”)
Do These Seven and Go to Heaven, Insha’allah (God willing)!
I know it sounds easy. But give it a try! Try having the same passion you had last year in the following areas today and see where it takes you tomorrow:
1. When you stand to pray, muster the passion you had a year ago as Ramadān came to a close. The concentration and taste of it should be in your heart, your body should be calm and your soul submerged in the light of prayer. The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever prays and his/her soul does not disturb him/her during prayer, his/her sins are forgiven.”
2. When you make du`a’ (supplication), let it all out, give it to Allāh subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) now, feeling impoverished to him like you did last year at the end of Ramadān. The Prophet ﷺ said, “The supplications of a fasting person are accepted.”
3. Let the tears flow now. Dry lands can’t grow much and neither can dry hearts. A teacher once told me, “Tears come from fertile hearts like springs come from fertile soil.”
Sit alone with Allah (swt) and cry to Him, seek Him, beg Him and flee to Him. “You will find him forgiving, merciful.”
4. When you remember Allah (swt), do so with the same focus you did last year. Know that “Remember Me and I will remember you” is happening every time His blessed names flow from your heart and speech, and that wherever you remember Him (work, home, mosque, school, alone or in a group), He mentions you in front of the angels, says your name and they seek blessings and forgiveness for you, as is mentioned in the Qur’an, “Forgive those who believe, follow your path and save them from Hell.”
5. Taste the sweetness of the Hereafter, knowing the bitter taste of this life. Recall how your heart felt the last 10 days; there was nothing more valuable to you then drawing nearer to Him and farther from excess here. Muster that passion now. Become a stranger in this life or a traveler because this is not your permeant abode!
In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) addresses Adam and his wife saying, “You two get out of here (Paradise).” In other places He says, “You (all) get out of here.”
My teacher said, “‘You (all)’ is all of us, Adam and his progeny. We were evicted from our real home and soon, God willing we will return to it if we lived good lives for Allah. This world is not it. Paradise awaits.”
6. Guard your time now like you did last year. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “I know people more cautious with their time than bankers are with money.”
7. Guard your tongue and your character now like you did the last ten days a year ago! Recall the statement of our Prophet ﷺ regarding a person who fails to look after the outer aspects of fasting, “Allah will say, ‘I have no need that you left your food and drink.'”
Gain Infinite Openings
If you start this now, this struggle, God promises you openings and growth. He says, “Those who struggle in our way, we will guide them to infinite ways.”
High Intensity Taqarrub
What you are doing when you take on Ramadān like this is intense taqarrub (seeking nearness to Allah, distance from sins and Satan).
The Prophet ﷺ said that Allah (swt) said, “A person does not come to me a hands length, except I come to him/her an arm’s length. If he/she comes to me walking, I run to him/her.”
If you take this bull by the horns and start this month off with the same passion from a year ago, you are the person mentioned in the hadith (narration) above, insha’allah.
Illuminated Endings are Rooted in Illuminated Beginnings
Remember! How you start now tells a lot about last year and this year. Push yourself, asking God to dilate your heart and soul, filling it with guidance and light.
Sheikh al-Islām, Ahmed Zarūq radi allahu `anhu (may God have mercy on him) said:
من كانت بالله بدايته, كانت إليه نهايته
“Who’s beginning was with Allah, then his ending is to Allah.”
( Reprinted from Virtual Mosque )