So, today marks the 11th or 12th of Ramadan – depending on when you started – and I don’t know about everyone else, but my motivation is running really low.
I’ve been out of the game for the past week because I’m on my period, and you can’t fast while you’re on your period. This is because you’re in a state of impurity, but also because you’re losing nutrients and it’s not healthy to fast during that time. Because of this break in fasting, my routine is completely off and I feel like I lost my place in Ramadan.
After talking to a few of my friends, I realized that I’m not the only one who feels this way. For some reason, a lot of people aren’t really feeling the spirit of Ramadan this year, a time that we usually feel very joyous, close to Allah, and part of a community. This year, my masjid isn’t even as crowded as it normally is. Maybe this feeling stems from the fact that school is still ongoing for some people, or you’re spending Ramadan in a different place than usual, or you have other things keeping you from observing Ramadan like you typically would.
In any case, today’s topic is the benefits of Ramadan, so that we can remind ourselves why we practice Ramadan, and we feel the spirit once more!
Above all, we fast for Ramadan because Allah said to. Fasting this month is the 4th pillar of Islam and it’s just as mandatory as prayer.
Another reason we fast is to expiate our sins. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) has been noted as saying: “whoever fasts Ramadan out of faith and in hope for reward, his previous sins will be forgiven.”
Another great benefit is the amount of good deeds we stack up. For example, anyone who prays taraweeh with the imam until he has finished, it will be as if he has spend the entire night in prayer. Plus, fasting one month of Ramadan, is equivalent to fasting ten months, and the benefits you could reap from that are endless.
In this month, Allah (swt) has opened up the gates of Heaven, and closed the gates of Hell, as well as chained up the shaytaan so that we can be free of his temptations and we can therefore try to be the best Muslims we could potentially be.
And finally, the greatest benefit of this Ramadan is that we can have all of our prayers answered. During this month, you are so close to Allah (swt), it’s like having a channel open only for the two of you and the lines of communication are wide open. You can talk to him day or night and He will hear you.
One of the best times to make dua is right before Fajr. This is a time you’d normally be asleep, and to leave your comfort to ask Allah for something shows Him your sincerity. During this time, He comes down to the lowest level of Heaven and says: “who will call upon Me, so that I may answer him; who will ask me so that I may give him; who will seek forgiveness, so that I may forgive him.”
Another time when your dua is most likely to be answered, is right before Maghrib, because this is a moment when you’re at your weakest because you’re hungry and thirsty, and you realize how vulnerable you are without that which Allah provides for you. This humbleness will ensure that your dua’s are answered.
The moral of this, is that we fast for ourselves, not for Allah. Saying we fast for Him is like saying kids do their homework for their teacher; ultimately, the teacher is unaffected if we do our homework, but we do it so that we can learn. Ramadan is a time for self-reflection, and self-discipline. It reminds us of our privilege and gets us thinking about what we can to help the less fortunate.
If you’re having trouble getting into the Ramadan spirit this year, perhaps it’s because you’re not allotting enough time for self-reflection. I advise you to quit those things that are taking your focus away (Netflix, social media, etc.) and instead dedicate yourself to taking advantage of this blessed month.
Inshallah I hope this helped you get more into the spirit of this Ramadan and reminded you about why you fast. Stay tuned for the halfway check-in!