The arabic word for Ramadan means scorching heat. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) said: "Surely, the month of Ramadan has been named so because it scorches away the sins." Kanz al-Ummal, H: 23688
One of the distinguishing features of Ramadan, beside fasting, is forgiveness. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) explained in one Hadith that Ramadan is a month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and whose end is freedom from the hellfire.
Therefore, the month of Ramadan is a great time to ask God/Allah (swt) for forgiveness of our sins as well as a time to open our hearts to others, let go of grudges, and cleanse our hearts of anger and hatred - forgive others for any wrong they have committed towards you. The path to connecting with God is always paved with difficulties and tests and the only way to gain any form of spiritual uplifting is to pass those tests through dealing with hardships and rising above them.
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong". Mahatma Gandhi
This month is also a time to seek nearness to Allah (swt) through abstaining from worldly distractions and to purify our minds, body and soul and to take advantage of the blessings this month brings through nearness with the Almighty.
"When you fast, all your senses - eyes, ears, tongue, hands and feet - must fast with you."
- Eyes: Keep your eyes off unlawful things and objects; spend this most precious gift of God in good cause and pious acts and read the Holy Quran and Du'as.
- Ears: Abstain from hearing unlawful gossip, lies, false statements, music and obscene topics. Pay your attention towards sermons and topics of learning etc.
- Tongue: Do not tell lies or useless tales; do not spread rumours or, damaging gossips about other persons; keep aloof from falsity. Use the power of speech in spreading the word of God; in creating goodwill in the society.
- Hand: Do not inflict injury upon others by your actions; instead strive to help them as far as you can.
- Feet: Do not go towards forbidden places, like bars and cinemas. Do not run between people creating strife. Go towards those places where God is remembered; and your movements should be to bring people together.
- And above all, your heart and mind must be with you in fasting. Because fast in its real sense, will not be complete unless your thoughts, your emotions, your actions - in short, all aspects of our life - become pure, clean and free from blemish. " - Adapted from: Islamic Occasions
My resolutions for the coming month and year (I was pretty good about following through with most of my resolutions of the month of Ramadan last year, so again, here it goes):
- Read the whole Quran from front to back.
- Read Dua Iftitah every night of the month of Ramadan - one of my favorite duas.
- Make a habit of going to the mosque as much as possible.
- Watch my intake of too much sweets and unhealthy food. Since fasting is a means to keep ones desires in check, what better way to follow through with this than watching my desire for sweets.
- Less TV...more like no TV, however Suits is starting July 14th...maybe can exception can be made :D
- No shopping for myself of any sort during the month of Ramadan.
- Stay away from gossiping, curb my tongue, watch my road rage, learn to forgive.
Wishing all those a wonderful and blessed month of Ramadan! May all your prayers be answered!