Usually a week before every Ramadhan, I would spend some quiet time to myself to ponder upon the past which may have not been perfect for me in terms of my contributions to the Almighty and His cause. Then I would draw up a plan to improve and even to eradicate mistakes made in the past by using the upcoming Ramadhan as the capstone to challenge my spiritual growth to a higher level than the previous Ramadhan. Then I would quietly supplicate after my solat and confess to the Almighty of what I need to change from within to be a better servant (umat) to Him. I would also ask Him to help me in achieving my goals set for this Ramadhan and subsequently the new Hijrah year thereafter. I would always ask Him to deliver me from evil, protect me from the follies of mankind, and to bless me in all my undertakings. I further tell Him of my action plan to be a better servant to Him. I go through this ritual before every Ramadhan.
I would like to share one particular commitment I made to Allah and how He has opened the door and paved the way for my heart to be open in the area of charity to the needy. The Almighty just answered my prayer on this matter and thereafter I have found the joy in doing such work now. Then the Almighty Allah expanded my scope of charity to include many other areas which are not usually categorized as “needy” such as sharing and imparting of knowledge without monetary consideration which I have found to be most enriching and fulfilling. Now these activities are part of my life as a “vicegerent” to the Almighty. This commitment which I have made to Allah has “nourished” my spiritual life personally and professionally. Interestingly, the Almighty has managed to always fill up my “coffer” to continue on this activity somehow.
Next, I would like to share an episode many Ramadhans ago when I asked Allah to help me and to protect me from the temptation of “empty talks” among friends when we are together in a group. This was hard to work on but today, I am pleased that Allah has helped me to actively avoid such participations. Many of my friends have viewed this to be extreme but I refuse to accept this as an extreme act because I remember that our Rasul (Prophet) had reminded us not to indulge in this sinful activity. It is inherent of mankind to do such activities but we have a choice not to indulge in it by staying away from it. I found this to be most fulfilling in my life and there are more to share but I have chosen these two examples because it means very much to me today.
May I take this opportunity to wish all my brothers and sisters in Islam to have a great Ramadhan filled with remorse, good deeds, empathy towards the less fortunate, self actualization, and repentance. I know it is difficult as a human but it is worth the shot with the blessing of Allah. God Willing (Inshallah) if we are sincere with our intention, we can do it.
May Peace be upon you.