“Ramadan is a month whose beginning is Mercy, whose middle is Forgiveness and whose end is freedom from the fire.”
-Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh)
Mercy, Forgiveness, Freedom from Fire
Think about on the natural logical sequence of the above Hadith! We cannot be exempt from fire without first being forgiven. And to be forgiven, we must be graced by Allah’s mercy.
The first one third of Ramadan (10days) is MERCY from Allah
1. Can we expect to receive mercy if we only deny our bodies from food and drink? Of course not. Because Ramadan is meant for spiritual development through fasting. Physiologically, by fasting the body eliminates toxins efficiently and the mind becomes clear for “power thinking” so that one may ponder on the meaning of the Qur’an, Hadith and the necessity of Zhikr. One must also do some self-analysis to monitor and correct one’s behavior if necessary. With meditation the mind becomes quiet and so should our tongues!
2. Allah is looking for a sincere commitment from us and not just physical starvation till sunset and then returning to the status quo. Ramadan does not end at every iftar. It ends only on sighting the hilal (crescent) of Shawwal. So the hard spiritual work must carry on for the whole of the month.
3. One must plead for mercy and sincerely cry to receive it because without it, we are stuck at stage one and our prospects of “freedom from fire” will be bleak.
4. Therefore this stage one is for sincere confession to Allah that we are weak and sinful and that we desperately need His mercy. We have passed two days only since we have qualified to stage two.
The second one third of Ramadan is: FORGIVENESS
1. We must now beg for Allah’s forgiveness because we have broken so many of His rules and covenants and disobeyed His commands during the year, both knowingly and unknowingly. We must say istighfaar day and night and ask in every sajda (prostration) for forgiveness. We must be afraid that if Allah does not forgive, we will surely be among the losers. Here again, Allah will be assessing the degree of sincerity in our repentance. He looks not for lip service but for soul service!
2. We must also be forgiving to other people’s mistakes and tempers. One of the weapons we may use to increase our Iman is by reciting the Holy Book (Qur’an) day and night. Qur’an will come on the day of the judgment seeking forgiveness for its owners (who used to recite it)
The last one third of Ramadan is: FREEDOM FROM FIRE
These are our last ten days or so. Instead of just focusing on Laylat Al-Qadar (the night of power) one should intensify supplications for the whole last third of Ramadan. If possible and affordable then do go for Umrah … it will be probably the most spiritually fulfilling experience you will have, aside from Hajj. And Umrah in Ramadan is equivalent to having done a Hajj with our Prophet (pbuh) At the completion of the last fast, be optimistically hopeful that you will be alive to give similar pious worship during the forthcoming Ramadans. And if you remain guided in your life then you’ll be will be admitted to Paradise, insha’Allah, by the Ryan gate of Paradise! Indeed Allah (swt) does not break His promise to his slaves.
May Allah have mercy on us, accept our supplications and protect us from the torment fire of Jahannam. Aameen!