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Much like everything we do – from our social interactions to as menial a task as eating – has certain rules of engagement that one must abide by. Likewise, during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are required to take caution and follows certain rules; which may be said or unsaid.
Of the very basic acts that are expected of a Muslim is that of abstention from food and drinks. However, this is not all. There is much more to Ramadan than the mechanical act of keeping and breaking a fast. One should keep in mind that this month is about patience, forgiveness and goodness and anything that hinders a Muslim achieving this state should be avoided at all costs.
The DO NOTs of Ramadan
It is imperative that one does not lose patience with other people. It is no surprise that deprivation of food and the scorching sun can make one irritable and vulnerable – which is why keeping your calm is highly advisable. Don’t yell, fight and indulge in any destructive behavior because the Ramadan is all about patience and tolerance and it does not do a Muslim brother any good to do anything that is not in line with the spirit of this blessed month. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
And it is the month of patience, and surely, the reward of patience is Paradise. (Al-Kafi 4:66)
Forgiveness is one of the recurring themes in Ramadan, if our Lord Almighty can forgive us for our sins that we commit throughout the year then why not follow the same suite? The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said:It (Ramadan) is the month, whose beginning is mercy, its middle, forgiveness, and its end, emancipation from the fire (of hell). (Bihar al-Anwar 93: 342)
So in the spirit of Ramadan, forgive anyone who has wronged you and don’t hold grudges – this Ramadan try to let the little things pass because Allah loves those who forgive others.
Refrain from gossip
In our daily lives, we sometimes bad mouth other people and discuss their problems and lives. This is another act that one should be extra careful with, especially in this month. Watch your actions and guard yourself against the evils of gossip and backbiting. Allah wants men to refrain from food but He also loves those who make constant effort to better themselves. It is even said in hadith that:“Whoever does not give up false speech and acting upon it, Allah has no need of him giving up his food and drink.” (Al-Bukhari)
While these are the things that a Muslim should definitely refrain from, there are many other actions that one should engage in, during this holy month.
The DO’S of Ramadan
Recite the Quran
Remember the Almighty as frequently as possible. Ramadan is the greatest opportunity to communicate with Allah because there are no barriers between man and his Almighty God. No wrath of the Satan is beset upon man during this month as the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:"When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." (Imam Bukhari)
Hence, it is the perfect opportunity to seek forgiveness from the Lord, reestablish ties with Him and recite Quran as much as possible.
Follow the Sunnah
It is always advisable for a Muslim to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), however, the spirit of Ramadan requires that the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) is adhered to, to reap the benefits of this holy month. The routine of the Prophet (PBUH) during this month should be a standard for every Muslim no matter where. Imitating the best of the human beings will surely make us better people and even better role models as Muslims in good faith.“The most honored by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwa."(Q 49:13)
Another essential element of this month is the performance of the Taraweeh prayer, in addition to the five daily prayers. Taraweeh prayers are to be performed after Isha each day to create a stronger bond with the Almighty and to gain the blessings of God Almighty.
Zakat, being one of the five pillars of Islam, is a definite act to indulge in. Ramadan is all about helping others and feeling their pain – putting one in the shoes of another and having empathy. So, what better time to help someone than in the holy month of Ramadan? So in a month which requires from a Muslim nothing but goodness, be aware of those who need your help and give Zakat because it not only fulfills your rights towards the Lord but also towards His creation.
This Ramadan, let us try and be better humans and even better Muslims and take care of the rules and regulations of this month. It is our chance to be better than we were in the past year and in light of doing good and being better, do keep these little reminders with you in Ramadan.
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