بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
I still remember 2007. That year, I had just finished a chapter of my life and I had no idea what to do next. I was completely lost.
Then, Allah guided me to preparing for Ramadan. There were seven weeks left. As I was free at that time, I made that my goal.
Before I started preparing for Ramadan, I had been quite depressed and I felt like a complete loser. After I started preparing for Ramadan though, the story was different. Because I had so much free time, I was able to focus on worshipping Allah.
And that changed everything. It was one of the big turning points of my life. So many doors of good were opened for me after that.
Everything slowly fell into place. I because a bit more busy and then even busier as the years went by.
I’m no longer lost. In fact, I’m one of the few people that I know of that knows exactly what she wants from her life, alhamdulillah. And I’m not depressed nor do I feel like a loser (okay, on some bad days, yes).
Now, when I look back, I see that this period of time was a great mercy from Allah. It was a highlight of my life and something that I wish, from time to time, that I could return to. I was free to worship Allah in peace, something that I wasn’t able to do in subsequent years because of too much work.
I think the following ayah (verse) sums it up perfectly:
وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 216]
That was ten years ago. It’s 2017 now and at the time of writing this post, there are exactly seven weeks to go for Ramadan.
So, my question to you is: Have you started preparing for it? If not, then why not?
Isn’t Ramadan the most important month of the year? Isn’t it the month of worship? And didn’t Allah create us to worship Him?
Oh, wait, it’s the dunya (worldly life) that is getting in the way, right?
عَنْ عَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ أَبَانَ بْنِ عُثْمَانَ بْنِ عَفَّانَ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ خَرَجَ زَيْدُ بْنُ ثَابِتٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ مَرْوَانَ بِنِصْفِ النَّهَارِ فَقُلْتُ مَا بَعَثَ إِلَيْهِ هَذِهِ السَّاعَةَ إِلاَّ لِشَىْءٍ سَأَلَ عَنْهُ . فَسَأَلْتُهُ فَقَالَ سَأَلَنَا عَنْ أَشْيَاءَ سَمِعْنَاهَا مِنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ يَقُولُ “ مَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ فَرَّقَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرَهُ وَجَعَلَ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَا كُتِبَ لَهُ وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الآخِرَةُ نِيَّتَهُ جَمَعَ اللَّهُ لَهُ أَمْرَهُ وَجَعَلَ غِنَاهُ فِي قَلْبِهِ وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ رَاغِمَةٌ ” .
Abdur-Rahman ibn Aban ibn Uthman ibn Affan narrated that his father said:“Zaid ibn Thabit departed from Marwan at mid-day. I said: ‘He has not sent him out at this time of the day except for something he asked.’ So I asked him, and he said: ‘He asked me about some things we heard from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) say: “Whoever is focused only on this world, Allah will confound his affairs and make him fear poverty constantly, and he will not get anything of this world except that which has been decreed for him. Whoever is focused on the Hereafter, Allah will settle his affairs for him and make him feel content with his lot, and his provision and worldly gains will undoubtedly come to him.” [Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadeeth No. 4105. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]
This hadeeth essentially summarises the problem that many people have today: focusing on the worldly life rather than the hereafter.
If only these people would make worshipping Allah their primary goal in life, they would see a vast difference in their fortunes and more importantly, would finally feel that contentment that they are yearning for.
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ إِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى يَقُولُ يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ تَفَرَّغْ لِعِبَادَتِي أَمْلأْ صَدْرَكَ غِنًى وَأَسُدَّ فَقْرَكَ وَإِلاَّ تَفْعَلْ مَلأْتُ يَدَيْكَ شُغْلاً وَلَمْ أَسُدَّ فَقْرَكَ ”
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Indeed Allah, The Most High said: ‘O son of Adam! Devote yourself to My worship, I will fill your chest with riches and alleviate your poverty. And if you do not do so, then I will fill your hands with problems and not alleviate your poverty.'” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 2466. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani.]
I learned two lessons 10 years ago:
- If one is struggling or lacks focus, one just needs to go back to the basics i.e. worshipping Allah.
- Worshipping Allah completely changes one’s life for the better.
Now, I mentioned that everything changed after I started preparing for Ramadan. Yes, but I should point out that preparing for Ramadan is not the main goal. That would be worshipping Allah and attaining His Pleasure.
However, having a short-term goal like preparing for Ramadan helped me to focus on the main goal. So, that’s why I advise YOU to do it as well, especially if you’re in the situation that I was in i.e. feeling like a loser.
By giving yourself a short time span like 7 weeks, you’ll find it easier to focus. Once you’ve reached Ramadan, you focus on just that month. After it finishes, you give yourself a new short-term goal, like being ready for Dhul Hijjah or having a useful summer.
The point isn’t actually the short term goal. It’s making sure that you are taking steps towards your main goal by way of these smaller goals and so are always in a state of worship.
Apart from helping you to enter Paradise, working towards the main goal will pay dividends in this world too, as the above two ahadeeth prove.
So, do you want to write a new chapter in your life and don’t know how? Well, I would suggest preparing for Ramadan. Hey, it worked for me.
I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote from Dr. Bilal Philips: