Aug 7, 2012

Repentance and Action in Ramadan

By Melody


Ramadan is a wonderful time for change. It is a time for reflection and the turning of a new page. In order to experience real change, both repentance and action is required – repentance; for removal of sins and recognition of flaws, and action; identifying the cause, striving for its removal and following up the bad deed with a good deed.

Repentance is a beautiful concept. Just think about this for a second...Mankind are the only creatures of His creation that have been given the honour to experience the sweetness and love attained from an All-Merciful, All-Forgiving Lord. For, as humans, we make mistakes and we can fall into error but we will also be accounted for it since, along with our desires, we have been given the ability to reason. When the veil of deception is removed from our eyes and we have the courage to admit our shortcomings, we can fall into despair, hopelessness and a feeling of worthlessness that can lead to negativity. You find it difficult to forgive yourself... but God’s mercy gives you the strength to forgive yourself. When you realise that the All-Powerful and Merciful Lord is opening His Doors of Mercy to you, you who constitute a tiny spec in this great Universe, and are nothing without Him, that is the moment that you experience for yourself the manifestation of Allah’s attributes: the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful and the All-Loving. When Allah’s rahma (Mercy) descends upon you, you become overwhelmed with Love towards your Master, who is the All-Loving (Al-Wadood) and who created you and everything around you from nothing yet He will still forgive you regardless, and will still be patient with you, and never stop giving you chances. Ponder over the following verse:

“Say, "O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
(Az-Zumar 39:53)

And the most beautiful part of it all? Is that our worshipping Him will only benefit us. The Laws He has ordained is in accordance to His Divine Knowledge, Wisdom and Love towards us – He doesn’t want to see us get hurt. He doesn’t need anyone to praise Him and He doesn’t need any more obedient slaves; He already has plenty. The angels praise and glorify Him so our praising Him will not increase His mulk (sovereignty) in the slightest. And that is what is most peculiar; that the Master Himself is drawing towards His slaves, He gives signs to each and every one of us to get us on to the straight path...whilst gaining nothing in the process. He does all this for our own happiness, our own benefit and our own comfort. SubhanAllah... That is the definition of the Purest and Most Perfect Love.

Ramadan – A manifestation of Allah’s Mercy
Ramadan is an excellent time to repent and an excellent opportunity to gain Allah’s Mercy. As narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.[i]"

Note also the hadith where we are told how Ramadan is split into three:
A month whose beginning is mercy, whose middle is forgiveness and the end is redemption from the fire of Hell. [ii]” (This hadith is daef)

With Allah’s mercy overflowing in Ramadan, coupled with the chaining up of devils and the removal of the distraction of desires, it will become easier to reflect on our sins and return to Him in this holy month. So, pour your heart out this Ramadan, confide in Him with all your sins, ponder over your shortcomings and make a sincere repentance to Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala. Repentance will only increase you in honour: you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Repent for every sin you committed, big or small, and ensure that you maintain this habit even after Ramadan so that the next time you sin, you hurry towards repentance.

Moreover, it was reported that Aishah (radhiya Allahu Ta’ala anha) said:
“O Messenger of Allah! What if I knew which night Lailatul-Qadr was, then what should I say in it?” He said ‘Say Allahumma innaka ‘affuwwun tuhibbul ‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni’ 
O Allah You are The One Who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me.””
[at Tirmidhi]

Al-Afuw, the name that the Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam chooses to call Allah with in this duaa, is one of Allah’s beautiful names. It means that He not only forgives you for the sin (All-Forgiving = Al-Ghafoor), but He wipes all traces of that sin in your records, as if it never happened. Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala is teaching us through His Prophet how we should ask for repentance; in the last ten nights of Ramadan in particular we should ask for afuw not just forgiveness, indicating that He wants to forgive us.

So don’t ever despair of Allah’s mercy. Ever. Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala created us knowing that we will make mistakes – it is in fact part of human nature. The difference lies only in those who repent. Furthermore, here is something interesting for you to think about: observe the opening chapter of the Quran: surat Al- Fatiha. Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala introduces Himself as Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem, meaning the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. Of all His 99 names to introduce Himself with, He chooses one that indicates Mercy. Why does He do this? To remind us who we are invoking in; it is none other than the All-Merciful. We recite this surah at least 17 times a day in our prayers, each time reminding ourselves that He is the Most Merciful. His Mercy is far beyond our comprehension, so do not despair; rather see it as an opportunity to change and to get closer to Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala.

Forgive others.
If Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala, the All-Knowing of our sins, the Most Aware of our mistakes and the Most deserving of praise can so easily forgive, who are we then not to forgive those around us? Love is a powerful emotion and has the ability to soften the heart. It is mercy that fills your heart with love for a person, so always be merciful towards others and that includes yourself. The closer you are to Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala, the more your heart should be filled with mercy. It can be difficult sometimes to forgive but reflect on Allah’s Greatness and Mercy towards His creation and allow that to fill your heart with mercy towards others. There is no other being who is more in the right to be angry than Him, but His Mercy overrides His Wrath. Besides, do you not want Allah subhaanahu wa ta'aala to forgive you too?

“...and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (An-Noor 24:22)

Repentance also teaches us patience. To be more merciful to others and even yourself requires a high degree of patience. Once your flaws become apparent to you and you learn to admit your sins it can become rather daunting. If you can be patient with your own shortcomings and realise you are no perfect human being, it becomes a lot easier to forgive and be patient with those around you. The key is to be completely honest with yourself about your flaws, because only through recognition first can you then advance to the stage of change.

Not a second can be wasted in this blessed month. To reap the most benefit, prior planning is essential. Make the correct intention and supplicate often: prior, during and even after Ramadan for your deeds and actions to be accepted during this sacred month.

Pre Ramadan Planning
A great resource to help you on your way is Amirah Mauthoor’s ebook “How to make your Ramadan Outstanding”[iii]. Briefly, the points considered in this book:

1. First you must think about how you envision your ideal Ramadan to be like. Take time thinking about this then writing it down. Aim for the highest that you can.

2. Prepare yourself mentally, and this includes finishing your Eid shopping before Ramadan

3. Analyse yourself and think about the areas that you need to improve on. Use this excellent resource both before and during Ramadan to help you achieve the results you want: This resource helps grade yourself with respects to: Salah, dhikhr, fasting, chastity, night prayer, character and avoiding distractions to help improve on these areas in Ramadan.

4. Set S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound) goals that you wish to achieve this Ramadan, and formulate an action plan. Calculate how you intend on going about achieving your goals ensuring that obstacles are prepared for.

Planning During Ramadan,
· Every night, ensure that your forthcoming day is planned out hour by hour.

· Evaluation of adherence to goals is key: which goals did you meet, and if not why did this occur? Was it something you could avoid? Write down what you learnt and take steps to avoid its occurrence.

· Create a checklist of important tasks that must be completed each day:
o Create a table that includes all 30 days of Ramadan against the tasks that must be completed each day.
o Tasks can be in accordance to your action plan, and these will vary from person to person, e.g. praying all five prayers on time, praying the sunnah prayers, reading/memorising X amount of verses, reading athkar, sadaqah etc.
o Hang it up on your wall as a reminder and you will be more likely to stick to it.
o Every night, tick the tasks you completed and think about the tasks you didn’t complete and why this was so.

Ideas to make this Ramadan extra special
Here are a few suggestions of new actions that can be picked up this Ramadan and with regular adherence can turn into habit after this special month has passed.

1. Voluntary prayers
a. Qiyam Layl
· In Ramadan this is known as “taraweeh”
· See article “How to perform Qiyam Layl on a regular basis with ease”

b. Confirmed Sunnah prayers (read more here: – these are prayed either before or after the obligatory prayers:
· Fajr: 2 rak’ah (units) of optional prayer can be prayed before the obligatory Fajr
· Thuhur: 4 before and 2 after
· Maghrib: 2 after
· Isha: 2 after

c. Duha (forenoon) prayer
· It is a minimum of 2 rak’ah and a maximum of 12 [iv]
· It is prayed between sunrise (around 20 minutes after fajr exits) till before thuhur prayer
· Abu Hurayra related that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, "Whoever adheres to the Duha prayer shall have his sins forgiven, even if they are like the foam of the sea." [Tirmidhi, 438]

2. Reading morning and evening Dhikr
This serves as a great form of protection and an excellent way to remember and renew your gratitude towards Allah subhaana wa ta'aala. A full list can be accessed here:

3. Sadaqah (charity)
This is not just limited to giving money. Note the following Hadith:
The Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:
· “To smile in the company of your brother is charity.
· To command to do good deeds and to prevent others from doing evil is charity.
· To guide a person in a place where he cannot get astray is charity.
· To remove troublesome things like thorns and bones from the road is charity.
· To pour water from your jug into the jug of your brother is charity.
· To guide a person with defective vision is charity for you.”

4. Helping out at home and in the community:
a. Family
· Strengthen the ties of kinship this Ramadan and gather the whole family round at your home for a memorable iftaar!
· Furthermore, helping out at home should never be neglected, since a direct way of earning the pleasure of Allah subhaana wa ta'aala is striving to please your parents.
b. The local mosque
The mosque may need a helping hand with organisation of iftaars, events, talks or even during taraweeh prayers. If you are available it can be a great way to earn some deeds.
c. Neighbours
Invite them over for iftaar, Muslim or non-Muslim! This can serve to increase neighbourly ties and be a form of d’awah.

In conclusion, I pray that our Ramadan will be spectacular this year and will provide a firm foundation for the challenges faced in the coming year. I hope that we will be able to introduce many new vitreous habits in our daily lives through the grace of Ramadan that the All-Merciful, All-Forgiving and All-Loving Lord has blessed us with. If you have any other suggestions or comments, please feel free to share them below, I would love to hear from you! 

[i] Bukhari
[ii] Baihaqi
[iii] Original source:
older version:


Thank you for sharing! may Allah reward you iA.

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