Will we reach another Ramadan?

If you’re reading this article you’ll be one of the blessed people to reach yet almost the end of another Ramadan.

Today I want to tell you  a story about a young man. Only a week ago I heard of a brother who was a father of 3 young children, he was regarded for his sacrifice and trials in the world, and of his pious character. He passed away in a motorbike accident. ‘Verily to Allah we belong and to Him is our return.’ I wondered what if I don’t reach another Ramadan. In the last few nights we’ll be trying to make up for our shortcomings over the month but imagine this is the last Ramadan you live through –

Ask yourself:

1. What have you prepared for the meeting with Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala)?
2. What would you have liked to achieve?
3. How can you be better in your worship after Ramadan?

Our busy lives make us heedless of remembering the one guaranteed end – death. Yet we spend so little time to ponder over this journey when Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) warns us in Surah Al-Imran: “Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” [3:185]

Below we provide some practical steps to help you prepare for that final meeting with Allah.

1. Remember death frequently

– The Prophet (peace be upon him) would often advise the companions (may Allah be pleased with them all) to remember death, telling them that if they knew what he had possessed of the revelation they would laugh less and cry more.

– Make it a habit to spend at least 5-10 minutes on reflecting deeplyon the journey of death after salah.

– Visit the grave of those who have passed on before us, for these few minutes you invest in reflection will allow you to see this life is a test of what we have prepared. Allah says: “(He) Who created death and life, that He may test which of you is best in deed. He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving.” [67:2]

2. Pray as if it is your last

So often we are reminded ‘pray as if it your last’ as we stand shoulder to shoulder, feet to feet. With this emphasis in our direct form of ibaadah comes a spiritual cleansing of the heart and the mind.

– Before starting your salah take this moment to tell yourself that this may be your last opportunity to worship Allah in the dunya. Will you give it your utmost concentration, and focus on standing before Allah? Imagine it is the final standing on the Last Day to increase your consciousness.

3. Attend Janazah Prayer

– The Prophetic teachings of attending the janazah prayer after someone has died brings with it many merits which are too many to list here. From taking your focus away from the worldly matters to softening the heart, attending the janazah prayer is medicinal to our spiritual productivity.

4. Sleep is the brother of death

– A couple of years back, I recall seeing a relative on the hospital bed, he lay there looking like he was fast asleep. ‘Verily to Allah we belong, and to Him is our return’. Remember sleep is the brother of death and to prepare yourself to return to Allah every time you sleep.

– Practical tips to apply here include making wudhu before sleeping, reciting adkhar, reciting Surah Mulk/Sajdah and sleeping in the sunnah positions, as well as ridding your heart of any hate or envy you have towards others.

5. Stand in the night prayer

– One characteristic of the successful Muslims before us was the vigilance in the night prayer. You’re probably thinking I can barely get up for Fajr, yet knowing the rewards of it can really motivate us.

– These last 10 days are our chance to reap the fruits of the night prayer. To cry out of sincere fear of our Lord attracts the Mercy of Allah (Subahanahu Wa Ta’ala) and is a time when no one else can distract you as Allah descend to the lowest heavens seeking our servitude. In the depth of the darkness remind yourself of the grave; plead for salvation from the trials and punishment of the Hereafter.

With the above tips, make a firm intent to be a better Muslim if you are granted the blessing of being here after Ramadan and seek acceptance for your good deeds in the next few months.

Remember the succinct advice of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he said: “Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.” [Al-Hakim] because Ramadan is an opportunity that may not come again.

About the Author:
Taken from the DatEater’s diary, Ramadan 2010.

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