Dear Haute Hijab,
I’m not a “good Muslim." I feel like I lack in a lot of things when it comes to the faith practices of Islam. Can Ramadan be for me?
We often hear this question leading up to or during Ramadan, when Muslims around the world fast for 30 days and take part in extra communal and individual worship. If you feel distant from religion or Allah (S), you may find Ramadan intimidating or out of reach, and that’s totally understandable. Especially with social media, it may seem like everyone is doing the most and it might feel like unless you are like them, you’re not “good enough” for Ramadan. So then, why even try, right?
Alhamdulillah, you couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Ramadan is for everyone. Islam is for everyone. And having a relationship with Allah (S) is for everyone.
Allah (S) says in the Quran,
Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is The Forgiving, The Merciful.’ And return [in repentance] to your Lord and submit to Him before the punishment comes upon you; then you will not be helped.
One of the tactics of shaytan (the devil) is actually to convince you that you are so far gone, it is pointless to return to Allah (S). That because you haven’t been close to Allah (S) or perhaps practicing of Islam outside of Ramadan, Ramadan therefore isn’t for you. Don’t give him that power over you. The believer doesn’t despair of Allah (S)’s love and mercy. Consider this:
Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik
“O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion”
This was the du'a
most uttered by our Prophet Muhammad (saw). Reflect on that for a few moments. If the Prophet – who was as close to perfection as a human can get – was consistently praying to God during Ramadan to keep his heart steadfast, what does that tell you about the nature of the human’s heart? It tells me:
The human heart is fickle.
The human heart can change.
The human heart needs God in the past, present and future.
And that means everyone. Even the Prophet. You are not alone. It is normal for our faith to go up and down in phases – the key is to solidify your faith so that even when it is down, you maintain your obligatory acts of worship (like prayer).
So where do you start?
Image source: Pexels
1. Reaffirm your faith in Allah (S), then repent to Him for your misdeeds.
In a hadith Qudsi, Allah, the Exalted, said:
O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the heights of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating none with Me, I would match it with an earth load of forgiveness.
One of the mercies of Allah (S) is that once someone repents from a sin, it is completely wiped from his slate. You start anew. And when someone commits a good deed, it is recorded and multiplied. (And then multiplied again by 70 times during Ramadan!!) So if you feel like you’ve not been close to your faith or a “bad Muslim” (whatever that means), Ramadan is still for you. Seek forgiveness and embrace the barakah (blessings) of the month.
2. Audit yourself.
First off, do not compare yourself to others. Everyone’s journey to God is unique, and everyone’s faith ebbs and flows. If needed, get off social media while you focus on yourself. Where are YOU? Are you performing obligatory worships, like praying five times a day and fasting? If not, start there, and once you become consistent, build upon that.
If you’re not praying at all, make one prayer regular. Then add one more, and one more until you reach five. If you pray and that’s it, try adding something else. Maybe pray the sunnahs
after the fard
. Make du’a more. Maybe attend tarawih at the masjid (or pray it at home
). Try reading from the Quran – start with as little as a page a day, even if you must read from the translation. The goal is consistency
, not overburdening yourself trying to do ALL the things.
Allah (S) will make it easy for you. In another hadith Qudsi, Allah (S) said:
I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.
Allah’s (S) mercy is so vast that He just wants you to turn to Him, and He will open the doors for you and make it so easy for you, inshallah. It starts with you, your heart and your intention (intention is an important one
) and then action.
3. Build a connection with Allah (S) by making constant du’a.
Speak to Allah (S). If you find that your words can’t flow, try making a du’a list or keep a journal as a guide for what to say when you are making du’a. Remember, there is no gatekeeper between you and Allah (S). You can speak to Him at any time of day. Are some times better for making du’a than others? Sure, and you can learn more about that and how to make du’a here
Ramadan is special in the sense that everything is more blessed, spirituality more heightened, and du’a opportunities are vast.
Seek Him, seek His help in getting closer to Him, repent to Him, tell Him everything, and He will answer you, Insha’Allah. Ask him to put His blessings in your journey back to Him, and He will not turn you away.
Thank Him for all the blessings He has put in your life. Reflect on God’s blessings in your life. Sometimes, you need to name them to remember them. Thank Him, and ask Him for more.
The barakah (blessings) of Ramadan is so huge, that anyone who seeks Allah (S) will reap infinite rewards and, Insha’Allah, be able to get back on track. The mercy, forgiveness and barakah that comes from Allah (S) is more immense that you can imagine. Take advantage of that, and use this time to get closer to Him.
Image source: Pexels
4. Get to know Allah (S).
Trust me, this will change your life. Knowing who your creator is – how loving and merciful He is, how perfect and just He is, how much He loves YOU – will make an immense difference in your faith and how you worship Him. I would start by learning about His 99 names. This is a great video
to start you off, followed by this series
that covers many of His 99 names.
Remember, there is no gatekeeper to Ramadan, and certainly no gatekeeper to Allah (S). So long as you are living and breathing, you will always have a direct line to God. Both Ramadan and life are a marathon, not a sprint. We are all at different levels of faith, and these levels fluctuate year by year. Just keep coming back to Allah, and increase your taqwa and consciousness of Him, one step at a time. We’re all rooting for you, and Allah (S) is waiting for you.
May Allah open our hearts to Him and help us use Ramadan to get closer to Him, and stronger in faith. May He accept all our efforts, purify our hearts, forgive all our sins and keep us steadfast on His path always. Ameen.
Ramadan Mubarak, friend. Ramadan is for YOU, in whatever state you come to it. The blessings are there for the taking.
With love, Noor Suleiman on behalf of the HH team