Rabbi Zidnee Ilman
“My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”
Have you planned your Ramadan? It is about to take off in a couple of weeks, InshaAllah, which means it is high time to begin planning for the big month of great merits! It is a month of heavy-duty quality control for Muslims. A factory always undergoes some downtime for maintenance, overhauling, and re-stocking. That is exactly how each one of us should think. This month should be the 30 day retreat in which we overhaul our systems, fine tune our nafs, and realign our spiritual compass.
Ramadan cleaning (inspired from Spring cleaning) has a lot more to it than restocking the kitchen pantry and bulk meal planning. Apart from the literal meaning of cleaning, I feel that a psychological, spiritual, and social cleanse is also required before you start fasting. It would be useless to fast and worship without getting some serious garbage out from your modus operandi. We’re human after all, we tend to err.
Garbage in, garbage out is a simple rule of quality control. Unless you flush away the junk in your mind, you will not be able to feel the blessings of Ramadan. The junk is usually stress, anxiety, depression, negativity, panic, and fears. They automatically contribute to health issues like insomnia (sleeplessness), somnolence (sleeping too much), stomach acid, blood pressure spikes or lows, irregular heartbeat, fibromyalgia (muscular distress), and the list goes on and on. They make fasting a major challenge, and painful too.
Try to let go and ease up on your over thinking of things. Leave your affairs to Allah and try planning your Ramadan routine. Avoid people and events that trigger emotional chaos. Start meditating if you cannot calm yourself down with will power. Go out for walks, give yourself some alone time, sleep well and eat well. Training your mind and body are the first steps.
If you’re fasting wholeheartedly it means you are most definitely looking out for Allah’s forgiveness, InshaAllah. Unless you cleanse your soul of the obvious evil of your nafs (psyche), you cannot attain His Mercy. Personally speaking, a spiritual cleanse begins with Taqwa (fear of Allah) and the realization that you have wronged. The next step is to make an intention of seeking His Mercy and taking a divine oath of not repeating the mistakes. So, recognize your faults and flaws instead of neglecting them and engage in a battle with your inner demons. Aim at correcting your behavior, your attitude, and the strength of spiritual connection with Allah .
Gossipy phone calls, texts, and; of course, the ‘Fitnahbook’ (destructive part of social media channels) are immediate potential pollutants in our sociosphere online. The useless gossips, nonsense discussions about people and events, and the politics of social/academic/professional life function like poisonous vortexes that pull us into wrongdoing. Non-productive friend circles and senseless parties aimed at only the eating and drinking part of Ramadan are breeding grounds for Satanic forces. Since he is locked up in chains he makes sure he engages his human accomplices to do his job.
You need to tighten controls and switch on partial-hibernation mode for Ramadan where you hit the snooze on unnecessary social activities. Instead, your prime focus should be observing the fasts with full dedication, Qur’an recitation, and persistent Salah infused with the right Khushu and Khuzu (fear of Allah and undivided attention).
The basic purpose of Ramadan cleaning; therefore, is to get your act together to make the most of the prestigious 30 days ahead of you. It puts you into active gear to take control of your life once again and make productive, meaningful changes to please Allah . The month flies by fast once it starts which is why a proactive approach is much needed.
Authored by Anum Ali
Edited by Ibtahal Minhaj