بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهديه إلى يوم الدين
Usually when meditation comes to mind, we often link it to Buddhism. However, meditation is such a regular part of being a Muslim that sometimes we ourselves forget its importance.
We live in a time when there’s much hype about mindfulness. It is a concept which has been hijacked from Islam. Meditation helps one reach a state of mindfulness or khushoo’ in one’s daily aspects of life. One feels Allah SWT as Ar-Raqeeb. It’s living your life as a Muttaqi and practising Ihsan, i.e. worshipping Him as if you see Him by blocking out everything and everyone else from your mind. Truly focusing on Him as He SWT deserves in our various types of worship. You end up constantly looking at the Creator for approval such that your forget the creations. Allah SWT has taught us one key rule to develop that realization and that is through one’s intentions, constantly reminding ourselves before/during/after every act the reason as to why we’re doing what we’re doing. This engages our mind and fuses the circuit of automatic-pilot, converting what was habit into a healthy good deed eligible for acceptance in front of Allah SWT inshaa’Allah.
Some of the ways our Lord has prescribed meditation, or freeing of mind, are as follows:
- Obligatory Salah five times a day
- Extreme encouragement for qiyaam al layl in the quiet parts of the night and before dawn
- Authentic Dhikr in the form of Tasbeeh, Tahmeed and Tahleel and so on
- Dhikr in the form of recitation and thus contemplation of the Quraan inside and outside of Salah
- Often remembrance of death
- Forgiving others
Meditation has been seen to result in happier and more content people. Research has shown that people with such regular practices of meditation have high pain thresholds and their certain parts of brain clearly send special gamma waves which are indicative of better mental strength to pain stimulus in addition to better attention span or focus.
This is a post to remind ourselves that the purpose of Ramadan is to reach the proper level of focus or Taqwa. A spiritual state in which a person’s mind is free of anything and everything except the thought that Allah SWT is watching him. This spiritual state then results in a physical state of meticulousness when it comes to guarding oneself from wrong and pushing oneself towards good. The mind is very clear on its purpose of life thus resulting in the subsequent synchronization of the heart/soul and the body in enjoining good and forbidding the evil.
Allah SWT has blessed us with special barakah in Ramadan to reach great heights in mental clarity which otherwise would’ve been impossible. It doesn’t matter whether you are sick, not fasting, have kids who demand much of your energy or are working full-time and hardly having much time to spend with the Quraan. The fragrance of Ramadan ends up touching everyone’s spiritual being in one way or the other. Alhamdolilah. ‘Ibadah in Ramadan helps us reach that God consciousiness, Taqwa, a state which leads to success.
‘Ibadah of any type only results in any benefit when a person does it with proper intention, in the manner prescribed in the Sunnah with the proper belief , understanding what he’s doing.
Have you reached mid of Ramadan and not reached where you wanted to? You are not alone. If it makes anyone feel any better, this Ramadan hasn’t been going the way I wanted it for myself. In fact, according to my mathematical calculations, I’m only at 1/4th of what I used to do in my Ramadan in the past. It could be disheartening for those who despair of His Mercy but true believers keep hoping and keep trying!
If Ramadan has been chaotic or hasn’t been the way you wanted it to be so far, there’s still hope. You can still enjoy the true essence of Ramadan inshaa’Allah. You just have to try a bit harder from now until the end of Ramadan inshaa’Allah.
Without a shadow of doubt, the essence of Ramadan lies in celebration of the Quraan. It’s a month to love the Quraan in a manner you haven’t ever before. To make that extra effort than what you already used to do will definitely bring in the sweetness one’s heart longs for outside of Ramadan.
How can then one really celebrate the Quraan?
Through 2 routes:
- tadabbur or contemplation
- and also memorization
Route 1 : Pondering over the Quraan ~ The How-To
Step 1 for both Routes # 1 and # 2 :
Ideally in a distraction-free zone/time, approach the Quraan with:
- high level of Taharah
- intention to please Allah SWT
- double/triple intentions
- a heart that is longing for guidance
- a mind that is clutter-free
Step 2: Recite it in the best manner possible for it is only going to affect the heart when recited in the manner it was supposed to be recited. At least make an effort as much as you can. A hard or soft copy of colour-coded Tajweed may be helpful for those who may need it.
Step 3: Read the meanings. Think over how they might relate to your life. Think about how you can apply it.
Step 4: Go back to the ayaat. Focus on the endings especially the Names and Attributes of Allah SWT mentioned at the end of ayaat and try to figure out why He SWT mentioned those specific Names and Attributes. (This activity will increase your bond with Allah SWT and the Quraan to a level that you can’t imagine inshaa’Allah!)
Step 5: Now read tafseer of ayaat. You can access Tafseer ibn Katheer easily online over here on any of your gadgets. Take your time reading and understanding.
Step 6: By now, you definitely will have reached some level of eeman boost. Ideally, mark any ayahs that pop out to you or touch you or even make notes of them for future reference.
Step 7: Repeat with rest of the portion that you intend to cover. Make connections with the historical context as well as the spiritual context being conveyed.
Step 8: After being done, thank Allah SWT for giving you the Tawfeeq to spend some time with the Quraan. After that make du’aa for being able to practice it and learn it more inshaa’Allah.
All this should be done at one’s own pace without rushing oneself. Ripening of fruits takes time. So does conversion of knowledge into fruits of wisdom. Make sure you understand this before you approach the Magnificent Book of Allah SWT. It is all about your attitude with the Quraan. The benefit one receives from the Quraan is directly proportional to one’s attitude towards it or in simpler words: it all depends on one’s sincerity.
Route 2: Hifdh/Memorization
While Juzz ‘Amma is where ideally one can start and quickly accomplish much, one can also make an attempt at other Surahs too. Please don’t end this Ramadan without memorizing anything from the Quraan. If you do this, it will be a major tragedy! Through memorization, one is very easily able to block everything from their mind and focus on the Words of Allah SWT. Moreover, with continuous recitation of ayaat that one is memorizing, imagine how the counter of rewards will be rolling non-stop! Allahu Akbar! Now add to that reward-scheme, the reward of doing it in Ramadan. Do you now think you can miss this big opportunity of ajr-collection? Of course not!
To revive and motivate, I wanted to present a ‘platter’ of Surahs which your retention memory can happily feed on. I ensured that any Surah beyond 20 ayaat would not be included so that one can make easy goals which are achievable in what is left of Ramadan. In other words, one has no excuses left essentially.
So by memorizing an ayah or two everyday, inshaa’Allah you will have at least one new Surah memorized by the end of this Ramadan! How amazing is that mashaa’Allah. That’s despite starting your efforts late! :)
11 ayaat : Surat’l Jumu’ah and Munafiqoon
12 ayaat : Surat at-Talaq and at-Tahreem
14 ayaat : Surat as-Saff
18 ayaat : Surat’l Hujraat and Surat at-Taghabun
20 ayaat : Surat’l Muzzamil
NOTE: Both Routes 1 and 2 must be combined this Ramadan. Divide few minutes for each in order to have the best power-up session of eeman boost inshaa’Allah. Most people feel they can only do one but one must remind oneself that there’s no need to rush. Rushing defeats the purpose! Meditation with the Quraan must be done in a calm manner. That’s even if you know in the depths of your heart that you will find it hard, still give it a shot. Take it nice and easy inshaa’Allah.
In any effort that you make for the sake of Allah SWT such as with the Quraan, please don’t forget that it is not the smallness of means that prevent a person from being successful. You are already successful if you have started because Allah SWT starts sprinkling barakah in all aspects of your life to reach the goal you sincerely want to reach inshaa’Allah. He SWT is THAT Merciful. He SWT intends for you khayr and will pull you towards it, even if you make a tiny feeble attempt.These are not mere words but it is proven time and time again with Muslims of past and today. Begin and end everything with good hopes from Allah SWT and rely on Him and not on your time, health, lack of ability or any means which make you feel you are incompetent to feel the true essence of Ramadan. The beautiful thing about feeling the essence of Ramadan is that it affects your entire year until the next Ramadan. And many knowledgeable people say that of the signs of acceptance of one’s Ramadan by Allah SWT is that one keeps on doing the same good deeds after Ramadan. Who wouldn’t want the ever-lasting Ramadan-effect?
By taking the steps of different types of meditation prescribed in Islam, you can reach clarity of mind and purpose or Taqwa. Especially by celebrating the Quraan. Allah SWT clearly says that the purpose of Ramadan is to reach Taqwa. And why is Taqwa so important? For various reasons, the main one I’m going to highlight is as follows:
Because Allah SWT accepts only from Muttaqeen.
Now that’s a scary thought.
But a very important thought.
Our true aim above everything is to reach His Acceptance inshaa’Allah.
And recite to them the story of Adam’s two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allah ], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. Said [the latter], “I will surely kill you.” Said [the former], “Indeed, Allah only accepts from the Muttaqeen/righteous [who fear Him].
[Surat'l Maa-idah, 5:27]
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “If I become certain that Allah has accepted even one prayer from me, it will be better for me than this life and all that in it.” [Source: Tafseer ibn Katheer]
SO inshaa’Allah no need to give up. Clear your mind, purify your intentions and focus on your goals.
And most importantly follow up with action inshaa’Allah if you have truly decided to end this Ramadan in a beautiful manner.
“Remember, a real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
The secret lies in constantly remembering who you’re doing it for.
It’s not a race to the finishing line. It’s a means to gain closeness with Allah SWT through accepted good deeds.
May Allah SWT empower us to do many good deeds and have them all accepted by Him this Ramadan. May He SWT makes us and our families from the Muttaqeen. May our houses be boasted about by Allah SWT in the Heavens due to out family members constantly reciting, learning and pondering over the Quraan! May Allah SWT give us health and strength to fast this and upcoming Ramadans. Ameen.
Make those sujood, ruku’, qiyaams, and tilawah of the Quraan meaningful!
And Allah SWT knows best.
P.S. Disclaimer: Not reducing the virtues of any of the ‘ibadaat for had these ‘ibadaat inherently had no particular benefit and had their only purpose/benefit been to please Allah SWT, that would’ve been sufficient. Yet it is His Mercy that everything He SWT has prescribed for His Creations, has lots of benefits. Alhamdolilah for the blessing of Islam.