What Ramadan means to me:

A time of anticipation, of adulation for Allah, of spiritual cleansing.

It once came at a time where I was at my lowest. Both spiritually or personally. Hardship had just passed, I was experiencing the hardest time of my life and I knew that perhaps more was yet to come.

I was reminded in Ramadan that despite the pain of circumstance, the time ahead was a time where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,

“When the month of Ramadan begins, the gates of the heaven are opened; the gates of Hell-fire are closed, and the devils are chained.”

(Sahih Bukhari 1800)

Ramadan to me is a time where the path to Allah is more open than ever before, a guiding light is shone upon it. It is a chance for self-reflection and betterment.

Where I could reflect upon what was going right and what could be better. To face myself and be honest with what could be a better influence in my life. A quiet time, a time of understanding. A time where not only I, but the entire Ummah, was joined in revitalising it’s Imaan.

From the Sheikh at the mosque to the ones who do not consider themselves practicing, the chance was equal and open to all. It is true that no one is above making a mistake but remember it is also true that no one is above forgiveness and the acceptance of Allah.

I used that time to reconcile what I can do better but also remember what I have done right. I reflected on the good I had done for this world and the people in it and build upon that, everyone has their own path. The ways in which you can serve Allah are many.

I was reminded that Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said,

“To help a man with his mount, lifting him onto it or hoisting up his belongings onto it, is a charity. And the good word is a charity. And every step that you take towards the prayer is a charity, and removing a harmful object from the road is a charity.”

Remember that through good actions and intentions you can serve Allah. Not everyone has to be a Sheikh. We do not need years of study to know we have the capacity to do good.

Remember that at a time where perhaps you may have exams ahead, Allah is with you. Where perhaps your family is struggling, Allah is with you. Where perhaps you are struggling to get up from bed in the morning and may feel completely alone, Allah is with you. Where maybe the prospect of fasting is daunting, Allah is with you.

Not only Allah, but your entire Ummah. Be reminded in the time of Ramadan that it is your Ummah just as much as it is anyone else’s. There is always someone you can reach out to, no matter how lonely you feel or how stressed you are. Take a moment to reach out, to take a break, to be away from the problems and be with good company that remind you of Allah and the virtues of worshipping Him.

I have told you what Ramadan means to me, and the beauty of the month is that it has so many meanings to so many people. Let it mean to you what it will, let yourself have that personal connection to Allah and let Ramadan be something that you cherish.

Whether you struggle to pray or to fast or to wake up or to see people or to revise or to appreciate the good in this world. Let Ramadan be the month where that changes. Reflect and appreciate what Allah has done for you and this Dunya.

Let Ramadan mean to you what you would want for your closest friends and family. You deserve happiness as well, no matter what has happened. Remember that Ramadan is the month where you can take a step towards it, whatever shape it may take.

May your life be filled with Baraka and may Allah give you continued success in this amazing month to come, Ameen.

-Rayhan Ahmed