By Sheikh Mohammed Al–Hilli
As we enter the beautiful holy Month, that of sincerity and devotion, I ask Allah ta’la to grant us all the tawfeeq to observe the fast whilst importantly understanding its essence and benefits.
Some quick spiritual tips for us all to reflect upon:
1. Niyyah (intention) is wajib, and should be made either on the first night of the month or on each night. It doesn’t need to be uttered verbally.
2. It is highly recommended to have sahar (sahari), even if it is water. Many traditions from the Ahlulbayt (as) point to the believer attaining salwat from the angels if they practice this.
3. This month is all about positive change. However, we should not overburden ourselves with long lists, but rather focus on one or two areas to improve and stick to. Consider making a commitment to stop one bad deed and to start doing one good deed on a continuous basis.
4. Let’s make the holy Quran our best companion in this holy month. Not only should we recite (in arabic), but we should allocate some time in the day for reflection and understanding its rich meanings. It will connect with our hearts, since this Month is the spring of the Quran (Rabi’ul Quran).
5. The Month of Ramadan is a month of community service and assistance to others. Charity, tabligh, or any form of help is highly rewarding and spiritually uplifting.
6. Importantly its a month of strengthening our will power and self-control, purifying our intention, improving our akhlaq and quashing our egos.
7. Most of us will be routinely reciting duas throughout the holy month. Whilst this is good, perhaps we should set aside some time to reflect on some parts of these supplications and understand their meanings. In particular, our ulema have emphasized Dua Abu Hamza to be spiritually refreshing.
8. This glorious month is an opportunity to re-ignite relationship with family, kinsfolk or friends that we may have God-forbid severed relationship with or not asked about. A phone call, message or even a gift goes a long way to re-establish lost connections and is beloved to Allah (swt).
9. Let us remember that the best deed in this holy month, according to the beloved Prophet (saws) is to stay away from that which Allah has forbidden. For example, its summer in many places so it’s crucial to lower the gaze when out and about and people are inappropriate dressed. It’s also good idea to continuously ask for forgiveness and not wait till nights of Qadr. Perhaps writing our sins on a piece of paper, feeling remorseful and guilty plus determination not to repeat are good ways to self-cleanse.
10. We should all make a special effort this year to pray for the oppressed believers around the world, especially the people of Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The beseeching of the believers and sincere supplication to The Almighty (swt) to defeat the terrorists and those supporting them will undoubtedly be powerful. We should not underestimate the power of dua, especially in the month of dua. May Allah ta’la protect us all from the evil of the enemies of humanity, such as Daesh and their supporters, and grant peace to all.
‘Peace be upon you, oh the Greatest Month of Allah, and the time of happiness for His friends…You are a burden (and long) for the wretched, whilst beautiful for the believers.’
Imam Zaina Al-Abideen (as) in Sahifa Al-Sajjadiya
May Allah (swt) accept our a’maal and dedication.