My dear brothers, the month of Ramadhan is upon us. This sacred month in which the Prophet (SAWS) used to give glad tidings.

This month has the potential to carry so much weight for us into the next life. An Ibn Majah hadith illustrates just how much:

Talha ibn ‘Ubaydallah May Allah be pleased with him, reported that two men came to the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) who had accepted Islam at the same time. One of them used to partake in Jihad more-so than the other, and so (one day) he fought in a battle and was martyred. The other remained behind him for another year, and then he passed away.

Talha said, ‘I saw in my dream that I was at the door of Paradise when behold, I was with both of them (the two men). Someone came out of Paradise and allowed the man who passed away later to enter first. Then he came out again and allowed the martyred one to enter. Then he returned and said to me, Go back, for your time has not come yet.’

Talha woke up and began to inform others about this and they were all surprised. This reached the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) and when they informed him of it, he said:

He (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, What are you surprised about?’They said,O Messenger of Allah! Out of them both, this one strove harder (in Jihad) then he was martyred but this other one was entered into Paradise before him.’ The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said, ‘Did he not remain behind him for one year?’ They said, Yes (he did).’He said, Did he not reach Ramadan, fast and pray with such and such number of prostrations in the year?’ They said, Yes.’ The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said,So the difference between them is greater than what is between the heavens and the earth.’

In another sahih Hadith regarding this sacred month, the Prophet SAWS has mentioned the whisperings of Shaytaan that we all suffer from throughout the year and what impact the sacred month of Ramadhan has on this:

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

And alongside this, the Prophet Peace be upon him has said:

In it, i.e. Ramadhan, there is a night that is better than a thousand months, whoever loses the benefit of it has lost something irreplaceable.

Dear brothers, we can deduce from this then that the month of Ramadhan is truly a mercy to us. It is a time to rest and revitalise our faith. A time to strengthen our connection with our Lord and to polish up on our faith.

As Ramadhan approaches it is imperative that we begin thinking about how we can benefit from the journey ahead of us. Here are five simple ways that we can benefit from the month of Ramadhan:

1)Intention Make the sincere intention that you want this Ramadan to be a sacred and special Ramadan.

2)Make a plan: Plan how you would like to spend each day this Ramadan. Postpone things that can be postponed, and focus on activities that will benefit you,insha’Allah, in the hereafter. Here are some examples: Set a target for how much Qur’an you will recite, and make a plan for when you will recite it. Set a target for how many prayers you will pray at the masjid, and make a plan for how you will reach this target.

3)Make adu’a list: Make a list of supplications and include the following: a) your needs for this dunya; b) your needs for the hereafter; c) the needs of your family members and friends; d) the names of your friends and family members.

4)Serve: Go beyond just yourself and your own needs during the month of Ramadan. Before Ramadan begins, find an avenue for community service so you can serve others throughout the month.

5)Charity: Figure out how you can spend less on yourself so you can spend more on the needy during Ramadan. Begin calculating your assets, so that when Ramadan begins, you are ready to pay your zakat and sadaqah.

And my dear brothers, in only a few days time inshAllah it will be here for us all to achieve.

May Allah SWT allow us all to experience the forthcoming month of Ramadhan. May Allah SWT accept our acts of worship in the month of Ramadhan. And May Allah SWT enable us to hold on permanently to new good habits we begin in this month of Ramadhan.

Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.

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