Ensuring a Successful Ramadan
The gates of the heavens have been opened, the doors of Hellfire closed and our accursed enemy, the Shayateen, are locked up. Ramadhaan is upon us, the blessed month of mercy, forgiveness and compassion.
Indeed, we are in need of such a blessed month, so that we may immerse ourselves in the remembrance of Allah ta’ala after having been heedless, turn our sights to the Hereafter after having retreated to the dunyaa, read the Book of Allah after it has been untouched, collecting dust on our shelves. Surely our state is a distressing one; our hearts have become hardened, we have lowered our barrier of taqwa, chasing after our whims and desires somehow, we have become of those who are negligent.
Yet the opportunity presents itself to humble oneself, return to Allah and seek His forgiveness. It is a month wherein we may purify our hearts and free ourselves from the stronghold of transgression. And what is it that causes such a transition? For some it may be the large congregation of Muslimeen in salaat, a renewed sense of gratefulness after food has touched your lips, spending long nights in taraweeh prayer, raising your hands in du’aa qunoot and hoping fervently for the mercy of Allah ta’ala. Even still it may be the emergence of the Muslimeen, the many greetings of salaam, the smiles and heartfelt words, reflecting sincerely over the Qur’aan, or performing itikaaf in the masaajid, There is a change in the air and it can readily be sensed, a breeze of wellness overtakes us, sprinkled with ihsaan and taqwa, as we strive to enjoin the good. Suddenly we realize that the Promise of Allah is true, and fearing His Threat and hoping for His Mercy, we increase ourselves in worship and remembrance.
The Son of Adam often makes excuses for themselves their faults and their shortcomings. Truly this is an obstacle in the way of change. The beauty of Ramadhaan is that it diminishes such obstacles. Tasting the sweetness of faith allows for contemplation, reflection and self-assessment, such that we may diagnose our faults, make tawbah (repentance) and seek to remedy our condition. And what better time to make a firm resolution of change than in the blessed month of Ramadhaan, when the melodious recitation of the Qur’aan is resounding in your ears, when your eyes look upon believers who congregate to worship their Lord, and when your mouth abstains from food and drink instilling within you self-discipline? Surely, the time is now, ya Muslimeen.
The virtues of Sawm are many; the special quality of this ‘ibaadaah is found in its close connection with Allah ta’ala: He says, The Fast (Sawm) is for Me and I will reward it.” [Bukhari and Muslim] This statement relays the high status granted to fasting. Moreover, fasting stifles desires and is ultimately a shield from the Hellfire. Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri relates that the Messenger of Allah salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : “Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire” [Ahmad, Sahih] and likewise, “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face.” [Bukhari and Muslim] Another unique aspect of Sawm is that the reason behind the command is given. Allaah, the Exalted and Most High, says in the Noble Qur’aan:
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become people having Taqwaa. (Soorah al-Baqarah 2:183)
So the wisdom behind fasting is not just in preventing oneself from enjoyable and permissible things, but so that we may attain taqwaa. Therefore, the wisdom behind the prescription of Fasting is that the Muslim should increase in obedience to Allaah ta’ala in Ramadhaan, and become more obedient than he was before it.  Thus this blessed month does indeed facilitate change within the believer as they strive to increase themselves in worship. Having knowledge of the reason behind the legislation should motivate the believer to hasten to do good works, hoping to earn the pleasure of Allah ta’ala.
Know O Believer that the fast is not purely on a physical level – refraining from food and drink – but rather the complete fast involves the refraining of ones gaze, tongue, hands, feet, hearing and eyes, as well as the rest of his body parts from committing sinful acts. The one who is fasting lowers his gaze and safeguards his tongue from the repulsive speech that is forbidden, disliked, or which has no benefit, as well as controlling the rest of his body parts.  This is elucidated in a hadeeth by al-Bukhaaree: “Whosoever does not abandon false speech and the acting upon it, Allaah is not in need of his food and drink.” [Bukhari]
Just as the life of this world, Ramadhaan shall come to an end. And while we may lament at the closing of this blessed month at having experienced a closer relationship to Allah ta’ala and an increased level of emaan, it may serve to be a beacon of light henceforth. Perhaps the key lies in realizing Ramadhaan’s worth so that we do not use our limited time in vain. The rightly guided predecessors (As-Salif As-Salih) used to seek the forgiveness of Allaah and repent so much so that it was reported that they would supplicate to Allaah for six months that He would allow them to reach Ramadhaan. If He allowed them to reach Ramadhaan, they would fast, pray at night and supplicate for the next six months that He accepts the month of Ramadhaan from them.  Such was their piety, and may we follow in their footsteps.
If the Muslim is in a good state after Ramadhaan, performing many good deeds and righteous actions, then this is a proof of acceptance. If the opposite is true, and he follows good with evil, and as soon as Ramadaan is over he follows on from this with sins, heedlessness and turning away from the obedience of Allaah, then this is a proof that it hasn’t been accepted.  Let not the ‘Eid celebration symbolize a return to the vice you were once in, for Alhamdulillah you have been shown the radiant light by way of Ramadhaan. Do not revisit the crooked path, but instead follow this noor and continue your beautiful journey seeking the Pleasure of Allah, seeking Al-Jannah, seeking His Face.
Surely we wish to be of the people of Taqwaa’, and may Allah make it so. [Aameen].
 Sunnahs Neglected During Ramadhaan Shaykh al Albaanee
 The Inner Secrets of Fasting Imaam Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee
 A Successful Ramadhaan Shaykh Saalih Al Fawzaan
Had We sent down this Qur’ân on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder by the fear of Allâh. Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect. (Al-Hashr 59:21)