Ramadan is quickly ending, faster than we could have ever expected it to. And did it not seem like last Ramadan was just yesterday? As the days go by faster and faster, it is a reminder that one day, we will no longer be alive. Every single day that goes by is one day closer to our deaths. Yet, as Muslims, what exactly are we doing to prepare ourselves to meet our Lord?
One of the simplest and most straightforward ways to prepare ourselves for death and the afterlife, of course, is to strengthen the relationship with the One that we will meet on the Day of Judgment. Strengthening the bond with Allah, my topic for this piece of writing, has been covered by many people. However, a reminder, first for myself and then to all my dear readers, is always beneficial.
The bond between a slave and his Creator is unlike any other bond that can exist, and no other perfect time can come to begin this strengthening process than the month of Ramadan.
As Ramadan approaches, prepare your mindset and willpower. Resolve that you will start fresh, as all humans have chances to begin anew. Many people assume if they are down one path, it is not worth it to begin fresh.
However, Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala is Ever Forgiving and the chance is always present to begin all over again, after seeking repentance and renewing one’s intentions.
No other time presents a better opportunity to strengthen one’s relationship with Allah subhaana wa ta’aala than the blessed month of Ramadan does. Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala mentions in the Quran, in Surah Baqarah, ayah 186:
"And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided."
As is seen in the above ayah, Allah is near, responding to our every call and prayer, every time we turn to Him. Does it not make sense for us to turn to Him with every aspect of our lives, seeing that it is He who has given us everything we value, including our very presence!
Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala is always there for us, and it is solely up to us to realize this. We ourselves need to be ready to strengthen the relationship because if we don’t, who will? To put it simply, I will give some tips on how to strengthen the relationship with our Lord, especially in the month of Ramadan.
- Those closest to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala are those who put Him first in their lives. Remember that Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala knows us, seeing that He is our Creator, after all. He knows what we think, what we do, what we plan, what we feel; thus, only He is deserving to be always present in our minds, actions, and thoughts.
- One seeking to strengthen the bond with Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala should increase himself in ibaadah, worship. This is the closest he can get to His Lord, particularly in the position of sujood. Thanking Him, praising Him, and glorifying Him while in sujood is truly a beautiful way of getting close to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Thus, prolong your sujood in your prayers and remember this is the closest you ever are to Him. In this humbling position, you are aware that only Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala is worthy of being worshipped and only He can answer your dua. It is easier, then, to turn to Him, increasing the bond between yourself and Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.
- Read the Qur'an, but don’t read just the Arabic text (unless you fully comprehend Arabic). Ramadan is the month of the Qur'an, the month in which Allah’s book was revealed. The Qur'an should be read, and while there is great blessing and reward for reading it in Arabic, there is benefit in understanding what you’re reading as well. Make a commitment in Ramadan to read the translation, or better yet, tafsir of certain ayat or surahs. This way, the guidance that Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala has delivered through his Prophet Muhammad sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is more understood and implemented in our lives. Through the direct words of Allah subhaana wa ta’aalah,it is easier to strengthen the relationship with Him.
- Make a habit of doing righteous deeds, because even the smallest or seemingly insignificant of them is valuable. Ramadan is a great time to start, because we automatically increase our good deeds, knowing we will be rewarded multiple times for them. For example, make it a habit to pray Salat ad-Duha every morning after the sun has risen.
- In Surah al Waqiah, Allah subhaana wa ta’aalah says in ayahs 10 and 11,
And the forerunners, the forerunners –
Those are the ones brought near [to Allah ]The forerunners described in Surah Waqiah are those who race to accomplish and perform good deeds solely for the sake of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. As is seen, these are the ones close to Him subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Thus, in Ramadan we should make it a goal to strive to be among these forerunners, and make dua that Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala can give us guidance to do so.
Becoming closer to Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala is not as difficult as it may seem at first. It is not that one has to be the most pious person on earth to deserve Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala’s love. The struggle and striving that we put ourselves through, with the intention to become closer, is what matters. Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala knows our hearts and what we want.
When we turn to Him alone, we strengthen that bond between an abd (slave) and the Rabb (Lord). When we read His book, we strengthen that bond by seeing the guidance He has sent down as a mercy. When we prostrate ourselves on the floor, putting our foreheads to the ground, we close the gap between ourselves and Allah subhaana wa ta’aalah.
Remember that when Ramadan comes around, our good deeds are multiplied several fold. Good deeds, right intentions, and seeking forgiveness are ways to increase our ways, to increase our bond with Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala and attain our ultimate goal, Paradise.