I am not Feeling Ramadan

I am not feeling Ramadan

Alhamdolillah! We are over half way through the blessed month of Ramadan and many of us are unfortunately still only warming up in our worship and righteous acts. We keep talking about how much we love the month of Ramadan. We love how we could focus and worship. We talk about how we love the feeling of the shayateen being chained, and we are just so… happy. And all we can think is, “I want to feel that!”

We read articles, listened to lectures, and tried to get ourself pumped up but it just isn’t there. We’re not “feeling” Ramadan.

Maybe Ramadan didn’t start off like we planned. A common excuse for this is that due to the long hours of fasting in the heat, coupled with having to go to work and look after ones family, it is difficult to strive towards supplementary voluntary acts of worship beyond the taraweeh prayers. The mantra of ‘I am tired’ is probably the most frequent form of dhikr on the tongues of many of us today. As a way of motivating us to hasten towards ihsan (excellence) in our worship so that we get the best out of Ramadan, rather than the bare minimum, it is worth pondering on the following hadith.

It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) ascended the minbar and said: “Ameen, ameen, ameen.” It was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, you ascended the minbar and said, ‘Ameen, ameen, ameen.” He said: “Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to me and said: ‘If Ramadan comes and a person is not forgiven, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘O Muhammad, if both or one of a person’s parents are alive and he does not honor them and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen. He said: ‘If you are mentioned in a person’s presence and he does not send blessings upon you and he dies, he will enter Hell and Allah will cast him far away. Say Ameen.’ So I said Ameen.””

There are three supplications being made in this hadith, all significantly important. In this hadith, Jibreel (peace be upon him) is essentially supplicating against someone who witnesses Ramadan but is not forgiven in it. So severe is such a failing according to Jibreel (peace be upon him) that such a person should be thrown into the Hellfire and distanced from Allah’s infinite mercy.

While it’s true that Ramadan is a time to focus, life doesn’t stop because it’s Ramadan. We still have our jobs and responsibilities but that doesn’t mean one cannot benefit. Life is stressful at times and things won’t suddenly become easier once Ramadan starts. Yes, the shayateen are chained but we still have to work on ourselves.

I used to think that as soon as Ramadan came in, I would feel better. I would plan to officially sit down before Ramadan started and repent for all of my shortcomings and resolve to do better- start off on the right foot. And I would get my Ramadan goals in order. But despite doing all of that, something was still missing.

I realized that Ramadan isn’t just about outside changes. You can read all the Quran and hadith, listen to all the lectures and read all the Ramadan articles, but it might not affect you. And when that happens, we need to look inside. You’ve heard that you can’t pour water into a dirty glass…

Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“When the believer commits sin, a black spot appears on his heart. If he repents and gives up that sin and seeks forgiveness, his heart will be polished. But if (the sin) increases, (the black spot) increases. That is the raan which Allah mentions in His Book: ‘Nay! But on their hearts is the Raan (covering of sins and evil deeds) which they used to earn’.” [Al-Tirmithi]

So we need to polish and soften our hearts.

Allah says,

“Then, after that, your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.” [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:74]

Maybe you have given up and wonder “what’s the point of fasting and praying if I can’t be a better Muslim?”  Watch “Never Give Up Hope” by Nouman Ali Khan, if you feel this way.

Or maybe there is something in your life right now that you don’t want to address. Maybe you know what you need to work on but you just don’t want to. Allah says,

“Have you seen him who takes his own lust (vain desires) as his ilah (god), and Allah knowing (him as such), left him astray, and sealed his hearing and his heart, and put a cover on his sight. Who then will guide him after Allah? Will you not then remember?” [Surah Al-Jathiyah, 45:23]

Maybe you are not on good terms with another Muslim.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “The gates of Paradise are opened on Mondays and Thursdays, then every servant of Allah is granted forgiveness if he does not associate anything with Allah in worship. But the person in whose heart there is rancor against his Muslim brother, they will not be pardoned. It will be said about them, ‘Hold both of them until they reconcile.’” [Muslim]

Or maybe you’ve overloaded yourself with preparing for Ramadan and you felt overwhelmed and gave up before it even started.

Whatever the cause, start correcting it now. Go back to the basics. Renew your intentions and remind yourself about what Ramadan is all about. Make specific, smaller goals and don’t feel sad if you got off to a slow start.

It is a time when the mosques are overflowing with worshipers, when entire families who may not offer prayers during the rest of the year, pray obligatory and voluntary prayers in the mosque, when all around you, believers are completing a recitation of the Quran, when purses are being emptied to give charity in the way of Allah, and when the tongues are restrained. Indeed it is a time when the believers are united in worshiping Allah. If in such a month someone is unable to obtain Allah’s forgiveness, then wretched indeed is he, and thus, deserving of Allah’s punishment as supplicated for by Jibreel (peace be upon him) and the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “May his nose be rubbed in the dust (an Arabic expression for humiliation) who fasts Ramadan and Ramadan ends without him being admitted into Jannah.” [al-Tirmidhi]

Insha Allah, Let’s not let that be us!

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