How to Effectively Prepare For Ramadhan amidst the Pandemic

By Nasser Abdulwahab, Manager Product Development and Shariah Compliance, Gulf African Bank.

The Holy month of Ramadhan is around the corner. It is a month of spiritual nourishment and renewal of faith and hope. It is during this month that billions of Muslims worldwide observe fasting and increase worship towards their Lord. This exciting time of the year is now full of anxiety, uncertainty and gloom due to the covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in negative impacts on people and brought about devastating effects on economic, social and spiritual spheres in our societies. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said in one of his narrations; “He is in a deep loss, a person who witnessed the Holy month of Ramadhan and his sins were not forgiven”. In light of this narration, it is imperative that we look at how we can prepare during these trying times that we are living in, and at the same time reap the benefits of this great month.

Here are five ways in which you can prepare effectively for Ramadhan amidst the pandemic:

  1. Having good and sincere intentions.
    Intention (Niyyah) is considered the most important component of any deed. Islam has set good intention as a pre-requisite of one’s good deeds to be accepted by the Almighty. In a narration the Prophet Peace be upon him) said “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended…. ” The connection between action and intention highlights the connection between the physical and the spiritual components of any human. It is important to have good intention for every physical act that we do, and a purpose for every action. It also brings to the forefront our conscious intention and the need to make the connection between our physical actions and their spiritual consequences. Intentions lead to results. When a change in intention occurs, a change in the external conditions will follow. Intention is also enough for the Almighty to make a change in our reality, so we should not belittle the necessary change in intention that has to occur in order for our external condition to change
  2. Giving to charity
    Ramadhan is a month of charity. Charity has great rewards. That is why the Prophet (Peace be Upon him) urged it on many occasions in His teachings and clarified that charity never reduces one’s wealth; rather, it increases it. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon him)   said: “Charity never decreases wealth. Rather, it increases it…” If charity is given in Ramadan, then (its reward) is combined with the honor of time. It is known that righteous deeds in Ramadan are distinct from those performed in other months. With majority of the population affected by the pandemic, it is crucial for people to consolidate their efforts towards relieving the burden of the less fortunate in the society during this sacred month.
  3. Avoid wasting your time in Ramadhan
    As the saying goes “Failing to Plan is planning to fail”. Plan your month from now. Ask yourself: What daily routine will you adopt? How will you juggle your family, work, and other commitments? How many social invites will you accept and how many evenings will you focus on personal worship instead? (Both are important, but it’s easy to be excessive! So set yourself your ideal balanced split from now). Do you want to focus on reciting the Quran, memorizing new chapters or understanding verses by reading? How will you share the mercy of the Month with your neighbors, work colleagues or friends? Start planning for your Month of Ramadan today. Set aside for yourself one morning or afternoon to do your planning and ideally write everything down so that you can refer back to it later. Set for yourself goals and get organized.
  4. Increase Supplication
    At the end of the day, we all know that although we should take the appropriate and recommended measures to stay safe, everything is ultimately in Allah’s hands. Allah alone knows how everything will work out. We should pray for our health and safety as well as that of humanity. We also don’t know how Ramadhan will actually look like yet; a lot can change between now and then. We should make lots of dua that the houses of Allah are up and running by that time, and that the health concerns are further reduced by that time. Ameen.
  5. Be Optimistic and never give up Hope
    One of the matters which a Muslim is encouraged to focus on is being hopeful on God’s mercy. In one of the narrations, the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) said “He who fasts has two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord.” With this in mind, a person should increase good deeds and charitable acts during this holy month and always be conscious to the fact that no good deed is lost in front of his Lord.
    While we’re unable to be around as many people as we would like to be in preparation for the Holy month, unable to visit worship areas or even give to the needy in the same ways we were used to before, not all is lost. By observing the above five pointers, we will to a great extent have prepared effectively for Ramadhan despite the current circumstances. Meanwhile, we at Gulf African Bank urge you to stay safe and abide by the set guidelines as we wait for these trying times to pass.

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