Ramadan's here again and I'm sure most of you have lots of things you want to achieve in this month. For example, some might want to finish reading the whole of Qur'an by the end of the month. Some might also want to be involved in a charity program or volunteerism.
I don't know about you but I find myself feeling overwhelmed by the whole thing. I admit that I had never been that productive in the previous Ramadans. (You know, I was one of those who thought that it was like any other month except for the fact that you can't eat and drink for about half the day.) So, to have those kinds of big goals staring in my face this time, I just feel like ... fainting and giving up.
But then I remembered that Allah SWT mentions in the Qur'an:
"Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!"
(Surah al-Zalzalah, verse 7)
See, no matter how small or simple our deed is, Allah knows it and will reward us for it. So, for those of you who are feeling stressed up and are on the verge of giving up (myself included), don't fret. Don't think that because you can't manage to volunteer in a charity program, you can't do any good deeds. There are many other simple, little deeds that you could do this Ramadan, such as;
Be kind to your parents
Have you ever noticed that during Ramadan, your parents (especially your mum) have to wake up super early to prepare for your sahur? And that your mum has to make sure dinner is ready early so you can break fast on time? Not only that, in between those two, she has to sweep and mop the floor, throw out the trash, wash the dishes, wash your clothes, take care of your brothers and sisters ...and the list goes on.
Why not, this Ramadan, you try to wake up early and help your mum prepare for sahur? In addition, why not help your parents wake your brothers and sisters up from their sleep? Besides that, help clean up the house a bit – for example, by cleaning up the table and washing the dishes after you've finished eating. Maybe you can even help to take care of your brothers and sisters by reading a story about Prophet Muhammad SAW to them (while refreshing or maybe adding your own knowledge about him at the same time).
Plus, if you haven't already, it is always fun when you and the whole family help out to prepare the meal for break-fasting. So, do that. Try it. It is indeed fun when everybody do their part and help out in the kitchen.
Besides that, try your best to not be spiteful to your parents in any way – either through your words or actions (a reminder for myself too).
Allah SWT mentions in the Qur'an:
"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour."
(Surah al-Isra', verse 23)
Give salaam to fellow Muslims
We are all aware that we have to give salaam to fellow Muslims, but do we actually do it? Be honest, when you walk into your classroom or office or the mosque, do you give salaam to the fellow Muslims you meet? I myself have to admit that I don't always do it. Maybe sometimes – okay, most probably once in a blue moon. Most of the time, I just, er, ignore them and pretend like I don't see them. Sometimes I even pretended like I didn't hear it when a fellow Muslim gave salaam to me. And that is so wrong.
Allah SWT says in the Qur'an:
"...But if ye enter houses, salute each other – a greeting of blessing and purity as from Allah..."
(Surah an-Nur, verse 61)
"When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things."
(Surah an-Nisa, verse 86)
Rasulullah SAW was quoted as saying, "You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: 'spread salaam' (the greeting of peace) among you." (Reported by Muslim)
When a man asked the Prophet about the best actions, the Prophet SAW replied, "Feeding the hungry, and saying salaam to those you know and those you don't know." (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)
So, don't take giving salaam for granted. Even if it is just a simple deed, it is considered one of the best actions by Prophet Muhammad SAW!
Stop gossiping and think positively
I used to think that I tend to gossip because I have shaytan whispering sweet nothings into my ear and encouraging me to gossip by telling me it's okay because it is a 'normal' thing to do and it is somehow therapeutic. (It is NOT by the way. I never feel better after a gossip session. I always end up feeling worse. To make things more worse, I find myself digging up other people's faults to gossip about more often and therefore, never feel at peace.) But then I still find myself gossiping even during Ramadan, a shaytan-less month. Why is that so?
I have now learned that even when shaytans are chained during Ramadan, we still have our nafs – and habits. I will always have the nafs to backbite others. Plus, like any other habits, gossiping will be hard to be kicked because, well, it has become a habit. But since we have an advantage this Ramadan with shaytans out of the way, insya-Allah, it will be easier for us to kick the habit and control our nafs if we really want to (because the only thing standing in our way is our own selves).
One of the ways to avoid gossiping is by avoiding negative thoughts and suspicions. Instead, think positively. When we think positively, we would find ourselves not finding other people's faults anymore – instead, we would see others' behaviours in a positive light. For example, when we see a young couple holding hands at the shopping mall, if we think negatively, we might suspect that they are just boyfriend and girlfriend and what they are doing is haram - and there is a high chance that we might proceed and gossip about them with our friends. In contrary, if we think positively, we would think that they might be a married couple and what they are doing is halal, so there is nothing to gossip about.
Allah SWT mentions in the Qur'an:
"O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, in deeds some suspicions are sins. And spy not neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah, verily, Allah is the one who accepts repentance, Most Merciful."
(Surah al-Hujuraat, verse 12)
If you haven't already noticed, all of the deeds above are mentioned in the Qur'an, so by doing them, we are not merely remembering or reading what Allah tells us to do through the Qur'an. Instead, we are actually PRACTISING them. Yay us! Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah :)
Besides them, other simple deeds that we could do this Ramadan include refraining ourselves from getting angry, treating our less fortunate friends dinner (break fast) and watching beneficial TV shows which can give us knowledge like "30 Minit Ustaz Don" and the "Madrasah" series on TV Al-Hijrah.
It has to be noted that no matter how big or small, complex or simple your deeds are, in the end, it is the NIAT (intention) that counts. If you are sincere in doing your deeds (by making your intention right – which is to do everything for Allah SWT), then, insya-Allah, Allah will accept your deeds. But if your intention is wrong – for example, you do a good deed just to show everyone that you're being productive this Ramadan – then, your deed will just be a waste.
So, don't worry if you can't do it all. Just do your best. Nonetheless, we have to try and take full advantage of this blessings-filled and shaytan-less month. But no matter what, always remember that everything we do, our life, our death, are for Allah, the All-Loving, Most Merciful, our Creator. Insya-Allah, Allah will accept all our deeds for Him. Amin.
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