Getting Ready for Ramadan? (Exclusive Video)

By Reading Islam Staff
Sunday, 11 May 2014 00:00

Getting ready for Ramadan is what we’re talking about: preparing for Ramadan.GettingReady-for-Ramadan-Exclusive-Video

And these few words are intended primarily and mostly aimed for new Muslims, but they could be very useful words for Muslims who perhaps slid back a bit and find the prospect of fasting in Ramadan a bit daunting, maybe they have not fasted for a while.

So it’s for those two: new Muslims to help them who just embraced Islam may be they have never fasted Ramadan before.

So it’s for you… It's for those who are new to Islam, and for those maybe their Islam has slid and want to get it back. And it’s also for all Muslims, and for people of all faiths and of none to learn a little bit about Ramadan.

In the Quran, Allah Almighty says to us:

{Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may learn taqwa.} (2:183)

Taqwa is an Arabic word roughly translated; it means: “fear of the Lord” or “piety”

So what does that mean?

Well, I understand it best, it helps me to understand the word taqwa as humility before God, being humble before God, Allah.

So an image of that would be for example when a Muslim prays (we pray 5 times a day) when our foreheads touch the ground in prayer, for me that’s the most beautiful image of Islam because then our foreheads are on the ground and we say to Allah Almighty: “O Allah, I am nothing without You… I can do nothing without You… All my efforts would come to naught.. Anything I do would just be me, me, me..”. So that’s what taqwa is; piety, fear of the Lord.

So Allah Almighty tells us {fasting is prescribed to you} so it’s something He wants us to do, He tells us, He commands us to do, as it was prescribed to people before. Prophet David (peace be upon him) for example used to fast. {so that you may achieve taqwa}

My First Ramadan

Let me tell you about my first Ramadan.

I wasn’t Muslim at all. I was teaching in a school in London, and the pupils, many of them were Muslim, approached me and said: “Sir, we’ve got nowhere to pray in Ramadan and your room is the only room with a carpet”

Subhanallah, what a coincidence, some might say…

So I said: “I’d be honored if you come.” And I said to them as well: “to encourage you in your prayer, I will fast with you during Ramadan.”

So that first Ramadan; I wasn’t Muslim at all. I fasted, I suppose really I didn’t fast for Allah’s sake, I fasted for the sake of the children to encourage them. So that was my first experience.

Preparing for Ramadan

the breakfast (Iftar) meal is a very joyous occasion

Getting ready for Ramadan. It’s very important, my dear brothers and sisters, to remember that Ramadan is not a punishment. People who are not Muslim might look at Muslims and say: “Oh gosh! They eat nothing from morning till night… how awful… what a terrible burden that must be…”

And yet you've only to meet any Muslim children, they are looking forward with great excitement to Ramadan.

Muslim homes during Ramadan are often decorated with balloons and bunting or special Ramadan material. In the evening, when Muslims celebrate the breaking of the fast with Iftar, the breakfast (Iftar) meal is a very joyous occasion.

In fact to me, you know as one who accepted Islam 12-13 years ago or so, it seems to me, and I’ll be perfectly honest, that Ramadan is like Christmas and New Year and birthdays, and Thanksgiving… all roled into one. And it doesn’t only last for one day, it lasts for a month.

So Ramadan is not a punishment. It’s very important to remember that when you're preparing, it’s a very joyous time.

But look, if you’ve not fasted before and your first Ramadan is coming up, I suggest that what you do is like an athlete preparing for the Olympic games; he goes into training, gets his body ready so he can give the very best when the Olympics game come, or the World Cup.

Well I suggest to you, that as Muslims, we need to get into training and prepare ourselves. And if you’ve never fasted before for a whole month, maybe prepare by trying. I don’t mean to fast the whole of July in order to prepare; no I don't mean that. What I mean is for example what you can do is try first of all, if it helps, (some people take to fasting like a duck takes to water it’s not problem at all) I must be honest and put my hand to my heart fasting my first Ramadan wasn’t a problem at all. But it might be difficult for you.

Gradual Fasting Load

get ourselves into the mood. Maybe fast a morning at the weekend
So I suggest what you might do if it’s a daunting prospect, fast for maybe half a day one weekend, start this weekend.

Set yourself a time, you know, from 8:00 in the morning till 1:00pm – something like that – so you’re not overly busy at the weekend and just go without food.

Ramadan, what it really means is we’re going without breakfast, few cups of coffee during the day, lunch if we take it and that’s it.

It’s not the most feat we’re attempting. So get ourselves into the mood. Maybe fast a morning at the weekend. Once you've done that, why not try to fast for a morning at work, half a day at work; maybe go from 7 in the morning till 1 o’clock when you’re working. You know, then you'll feel your body will start to rebel and tell you, “I want some water, I want a cup of tea, I want whatever it might be… Then once you’ve managed that, you might do that once or twice, three or four times, then try longer than that, try maybe ¾ of the day at the weekend, then at work, see how it goes.

It’s not a punishment, you’re not punishing yourself. In fact, there are many doctors who tell us that the effects of fasting (we don’t fast for this reason; we fast for Allah alone) are very good for you.

You know in this modern age, when we talk about toxins and healthy diet, many doctors will tell you that fasting from the very first thing in the morning when it’s dark, from when the sun comes up till when the sun goes down it's actually good for the body; because it clears your body from all the rubbish we take in. Think of all that rubbish we take in.
It’s not a diet as well, don't think you’re not fasting to lose weight, you’re not fasting to please anyone, you’re not fasting to please the Muslim community if you’re new to Islam, it doesn’t matter what they think; you’re fasting for Allah’s sake.

So once you’ve tried half a day, and may be ¾ of the day then try fasting for a whole day and see how it goes. Be gentle on yourself. As you’re preparing for Ramadan, read about Ramadan, read what it’s about.

The Best Month of the Year

one night in Ramadan is better than a thousand months
You know, the Quran tells us (in Ramadan there is a night that): {is better than a thousand months}.

Can you imagine, one night in Ramadan is better than a thousand months?

And this gift that Allah gives to the world of giving up all the bad things that the body craves, all the things that control us most of the time. Giving them up helps us to realize that the body isn’t in charge of me, I can say to the body no.

It also teaches us, you know most of the time, we can go to the fridge whenever we want, we can turn on the tap and drink water or whatever fizzy drink we want, and we take these things for granted. Ramadan helps us realize that there are many people in this world that when the fast ends for Muslims, when the sun comes down, there are many people in this world whose fast won't end because they will starve to death.

So Ramadan teaches us many things.

Final thought, you need to begin to think in your mind what are your expectations of Ramadan?

You’ll find as I’ve found as a new Muslim, many people will tell you: “Oh, it’s going to be great, it’s going to be this/that…”, it might not be, you might not like it at all. You might find that the fasting gives you a headache. You might find that you are weak … So if people are telling you how wonderful is going to be, don’t expect to see butterflies and rainbows and little rabbits jumping all around… Allah does not promise us that.

The promise of Ramadan, and this is the beautiful thing, what do we get out of Ramadan: we get to please Allah. That’s what Ramadan is all about.

We learn fear of the Lord, we learn to be humble in God’s sight. In the presence of Allah, we learn to say: “Oh, Allah.. You are everything and I’m nothing.”

So start to prepare. Read about Ramadan; read what the Quran says about Ramadan.

Think about what your expectations are; and be realistic. Don’t think that you’re going to spend the whole night in prayer and fast all the time and do charitable work, so if you’ve never done it before; take gentle steps.

And it’s also worth bearing in mind, if you fail in your fasting, well at the end of the day say to Allah Almighty: “I’m sorry, I failed today” but don’t give up… Carry on, start and there will be time afterwards to make up for any time you fail.

So Insha’Allah from these days on, our minds and thoughts can start looking to the great blessing that Ramadan will be in our lives Insha’Allah.

Source: http://www.onislam.net

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