Dear brothers we are fast approaching the best time of the year, the month of Ramadan is nearly here and this year many can say that they have missed the blessing of this month more than ever before.

The imam reminded us of the 183rd ayat of Sura Baqara in which Allah SWT spoke of fasting. It is translated to say:

You who believe, fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God.

Dear brothers, as the ayat explains, this is the time where fasting makes us more mindful of Allah SWT. But what does that mean?

For many people who observe Muslims in this month, they often mistakenly think that Ramadan equates to starving oneself of food and water, others think that this month is all about charity as Muslims donate more in this month than at any other time of the year.

However, the true meaning of the month is explained by the ayat. By abstaining from food and drink, by giving to charity, by being the best that we can be in this month, not only are we doing this because of the reward, but actually we alter our whole selves in this month because we become more aware of Allah SWT, of His mercy and of His complete influence over every part of our lives.

And so, we should prepare for this month now so that we are in the best position to make the most of the 30 days. This reminder concludes with 5 practical things we can do to prepare:

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 a du’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)Fast beyond just limiting what you eat and drink: Most people believe fasting is about not drinking or eating, but they have missed the main reasons why we fast, our tongue is one of the most significant reasons for breaking our fast not food.

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand that fasting is prohibiting your mind, tongue and body from all impermissible actions. It is to detox the soul as well as the body from the dirt that has been accumulated over the past year. Don’t miss the opportunity to reap the complete rewards of this 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. Alongside that, get involved in community events, food banks, homeless shelters and other social causes so that this month maximises your reward with your Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, this is the Imaan boost we pray for all year round. There is no better time than Ramadan to pray for forgiveness from your Lord. We can do this by making this Ramadan the best in terms of what we achieve during it. By doing this, we can aim to be of the people that benefit most from this month in this life and the next insh’Allah.

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