Ramadan: The Month of Mercy
Imagine for a moment that it’s raining. It is pouring, in fact. And imagine that you are inside your house, watching as it falls. But imagine that there is something very different about this rain. It is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. On this day, it is not raining water. It is raining something much more precious to you. Imagine that on this day it is raining hundred dollar bills.
What would you do? What would happen in your neighborhood on that day? What would happen in the world? Would we not run outside, falling all over ourselves, competing to gain as much of the raining money as we can? Would we not stand outside all night to gather as much as possible?
We would do this for money because money is precious. But imagine for a moment that it was raining something priceless. Not thousand dollar bills, not trillions, but the mercy of Allah (exalted is He), a currency that no human currency could even measure.
The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “Ramadan has come to you. (It is) a month of blessing, in which Allah covers you with blessing, for He sends down Mercy, decreases sins and answers prayers. In it, Allah looks at your competition (in good deeds), and boasts about you to His angels. So show Allah goodness from yourselves, for the unfortunate one is he who is deprived in (this month) of the mercy of Allah, the Mighty, the Exalted.” (At-Tabarani)
In this month, we are shielded from hell-fire, protected from the Satan, and cleansed from our sins. The Prophet said: “Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith, hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all of his past sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari). In another hadith he said: “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.” )ِAl-Bukhari)
Within this month, there is a night that is greater than a thousand months (97:1-5). There is protection from hellfire, at least 70 times the reward for our deeds, and the chance to have all our sins erased. So, what greater loss can there be than to find ourselves standing in the middle of this massive downfall of blessings without collecting all we can of Allah’s mercy?
And while this mercy showers on us throughout the blessed month, the last ten days are like no other. `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that with the start of the last ten days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt (meaning he would work hard) and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers. (Al-Bukhari)
But how can we fully take advantage of this blessed month, especially in the last ten days? Here are a few ways:
Reserve a Private Meeting with Allah
Set a time before or after suhoor to be alone with Allah the Almighty. Use this time to connect to Him by praying, making du`aa’, or reading Qur’an. There is no other time like it. The Prophet said: “When the last one-third of the night remains, our Lord, the Glorious One, descends towards the lower heaven and proclaims: ‘Is there anyone supplicating to Me, so that I grant his supplication? Is there anyone begging of Me for anything so that I grant him his wish? Is there anyone who seeks My forgiveness, so that I forgive him?'” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Set a Time for Reflection
In the midst of our busy schedule, we seldom find time to stop and relax, let alone reflect on the realities of life. Make time to do this. Take time to step outside of your daily routine and introspect about where you are and where you’re going. Reflect on the creation around you and on the reality of this life, death, and our final meeting with our Creator. Choose a time, such as the last third of the night, when there are no distractions.
Take a Trip to Allah
We all need to get away sometimes. Use Ramadan as a chance to go away with Allah as your companion. `A’ishah reported that the Messenger of Allah used to practice I`tikaf (seclusion) in the last ten nights of Ramadan and used to say, “Look for the Night of Qadr in the last ten nights of the month of Ramadan.” (Al-Bukhari)
Don’t Miss the Night of Power
There is a night in the last ten nights of Ramadan that is greater than a lifetime (1000 months, 83.3 years). The Prophet said: “Whoever prays during the night of Qadr (power) with faith and hoping for its reward will have all of his previous sins forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
`A’ishah said: “I asked the Prophet, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I know what night is the night of Qadr, what should I say during it?’ He said: ‘Say: O Allah, You are Oft-Pardoning and You love to pardon, so pardon me.'” (Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and At-Tirmidhi)