By Haroon Ishola Balogun
As-salam Alaikum waramotullai, wa barakatuh!
Alhamdulillah! Allah has brought us to another season of blessings by His Grace. The blessed month of Ramadan —the month of striving in obedience and supplications, the month of fasting, reading the Qur’an, standing in prayer at night, and seclusion in the mosque; the month which has the Night of Decree, in it, a night in which the Quran was revealed, a night that is better than a thousand months.
There are lots and lots of people that had craved to witness this period but had been buried. It is neither because of their sins, nor because we are better. It is simply by His Grace. We must therefore be prepared for the enormous opportunities in this month and take time to invest these precious moments wisely.
Basically, it is time to develop a sense of responsibility towards getting closer to Allah, let us affect lives positively in our family, community and society. Let us resolve to stay away from sleeping all through the nights, let us refrain from idle and vain talk, spending considerable time on TV programmes and the social media. The spiritual and physical exercise of fasting are premised on gaining (taqwa) piety.
Distractions consume our time and take us away from living a more productive and fulfilling life. During the month of Ramadan, our time is precious. Our eating and altered sleeping patterns with early morning sahoor, the occasional nap during the day and late night prayers are very rewarding. If we allow our everyday distractions to continue throughout Ramadan, we risk depriving ourselves from the immense blessings inherent in this month.
We had enough time to plan and adjust to the demands of Ramadan. Now that we are in Ramadan, there is no point fretting away our time. Thirty days of the month should be enough for a total rebirth, a genuine change that will place us on high pedestal before Allah, insha Allah.
If you are sincerely ready for the change, then you have to persevere, it is never easy to dump old habit, but as you take a bold step towards redefining your spiritual life, doing more nawafil, more tahjudd, more charity and getting closer to Allah, these changes may be difficult initially, but gradually you will start seeing the positive impact of such changes on your life. Then if you believe that the promise of Allah is true, then you are sure you are completely blessed in this life and the hereafter.
We all need to constantly purify our intentions and strive to gain taqwa. Certainly, there is no better time to take ourselves to account and renew our intentions and gain piety than this blessed month. “And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” (Q 29:69) Allah Almighty wants us to take the initial steps towards Him as we persevere amid adversity and challenges.
Remember Allah says: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed upon those before you in order that you may attain taqwa.” Qur’an 2:183
Let your fasting be a shield with which you protect yourselves against sins at all times. The Prophet (s.a.w) said: ‘Fasting is a shield. Let no one of you – during his fasting day – behave in an obscene manner, or become angry. If anybody abuses or fights with him, let him say: I am fasting.’ (Bukhari & Muslim). Ramadan Kareem!
Lagos – Iftar: 6:55pm Sahoor – 5:15am
Abuja – Iftar: 6:50pm Sahoor – 5:00am
Kano – Iftar: 6: 50pm Sahoor – 4:55am