By the token of time
Surely humankind is at a loss
Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and enjoin each other to truth and patience
(Quran, Chapter 103)
“This year I will…Insha Allah”: A phrase we often make just before or at the very beginning of Ramadan with clarity and sincerity of how we intend to behave during this blessed month. We make mental promises to ourselves, or even to our parents, spouse, and family of how this year will be different.
As we approach the end of the month, our intentions to increase our Ibadah (worship), reflection, good deeds and Khushoo (concentration, focus, and humility) in Salah – may not have progressed in the manner in which we intended. Ramadan during the 2021 spring requires adjusting to the trial of Covid, the restrictions on gathering with our fellow Muslims, and the pulls of the Dunya (world) on our time.
Yet, Allah, The Most High, does bless the believer for his or her intentions. Ramadan is a time for self-reflection as we seek the pleasure of Allah. So as we approach the end of this blessed month, we still have time to increase our Iman, do good deeds, give Sadaqa (charity), and urge our brethren to remain focused and patient as we continue and finish this month of devotion.
As we advance to the latter half of the month, let us ask ourselves:
- Have I made intentions and started my fast on time each day? Insha Allah, I still have time.
- Have I kept up my Salah and come to each prayer with Khushoo (focus and concentration)? Insha Allah, I still have time.
- Have I read or listened to a Juz (one of the 30 parts) of the Quran each day? Insha Allah,Ii still have time.
- Have I prayed the Taraweeh at all? Alone? With my family? At a Masjid maintaining physical distancing? Insha Allah, I still have time.
- Have I prayed to Allah to keep my intentions pure? Insha Allah, I still have time.
- Have I increased my charitable deeds? Insha Allah, I still have time.
- Since we have been tested by Covid, have I called and checked on those Muslims who have been confined this past year?
- Have I visited the sick?
- Have I assisted with a donation of money or my human capital of knowledge or skill at my local Masjid or Islamic center in attempts to normalize Ramadan during the pandemic with things like virtual meetings or drive-by Iftars?
- Have I resisted the urge to cry and complain about the test of Covid and all that it has taken away from me?
- Did I encourage my family to fast so they too can have an increase in reward?
- Did I resist the urge to spend the night watching the latest TV movie and instead tune in to the Islamic videos streaming from my local Masjid or others’ Masjids that feature Tafsir (commentary) of the daily Juz or even the Khutba?
- Have I daily asked Allah for Forgiveness and Mercy with sincerity, fear, and hope?
- Have I tried to be more patient with my family, friends, and co-workers?
- Have I been kind to my family, neighbors, friends and co-workers?
- Did I avoid backbiting and slander?
- Did I avoid hurting anyone with my attitude, words, intentions, actions, or even in retaliation if I felt they had hurt me?
- Did I forgive those who I felt had hurt or wronged me?
- Have I tried to memorize any new verses of the Quran?
- When I read or listened to the Quran, did I listen with an open heart, seeking to understand the true meaning of the words and apply them to my life?
- Have I prayed any Witr salah this Ramadan?
- Have I prayed Salatul Tawbah – the prayer of forgiveness?
- Was there even an atom of pride in my heart?
- Was I quieter and more contemplative during this blessed month?
- Did I read more Islamic literature apart from the Quran?
- Did I share the message of Ramadan and Islam with non-Muslim family and friends?
- Did I share the message of Ramadan and Islam with non-practicing Muslim family members, friends, or co-workers?
- Did I feel annoyed at being hungry while fasting or did I rejoice?
- Did I fully appreciate the majesty and beauty of this month? - If not, note to self – Insha Allah, I still have time.