Making the Most of Ramadan: Intentions

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Each year, when Ramadan comes around, it’s very easy for us to feel overwhelmed – there is so much we would like to get done in a day, but we’re often limited by the hours we have. We may begin Ramadan with ambitious goals, only to reach the end of the month realising that we came nowhere close to achieving them. Being students, we sometimes feel frustrated that we’re not spending as much time in Ibadah as we’d like, due to university and other commitments, but it really shouldn’t have to be like that.

Ramadan is a blessed month in which the rewards of our actions are increased many times over, and we should take full advantage of this. It is a time in which we can move closer to Allah, free ourselves from the whispers of Shaytaan and our own nafs, and continue on the path to attain taqwa. By beginning to incorporate some of the simple acts mentioned below into our day, we hope this Ramadan will encourage us all to take a step towards maximising our time and therefore our reward, insha’Allah.

Through a series of blog posts, we hope to give you tips on how best to make the most of your Ramadan, insha’Allah!

Everything begins with our intention:

Before lifting a finger, we must firstly decide what we intend by our actions.

After all, the Prophet ﷺ said ‘Actions are but by intentions and every person shall have only that which he intended’ [Sahih al-Bukhari – 1] and this is something we can use to our advantage. Of course, when we fast, pray, or recite dhikr we may intend it as worship, but what if we could apply this concept to even the most mundane, everyday tasks? What if we could turn sleeping, eating, and even bathing into an opportunity to earn ajr?

The key to this is our intentions and being mindful of them. So often we are on autopilot and we catch ourselves doing certain acts purely out of habit. To avoid this, we must pause before we pick up the Quran, or raise our hands to begin salah and ask ourselves why am I doing this?

Similarly, when we do things we wouldn’t necessarily think of as obvious acts of worship we should pause to think, is there some way I can make what I am about to do a form of Ibadah?

For example, when we would like to sleep, we can set our intention as fulfilling our body’s rights over us and gaining strength with the intention of waking up to pray tahajjud, or fajr, or do some other good with it.

When we break our fast, we can begin with eating an odd number of dates with the intention of following the sunnah of our beloved Prophet ﷺ. When we eat, we can intend it so that we are nourishing our bodies so we can stand to pray taraweeh.

If we adopt this mindset and seek a means to make everything we do an act of worship, we will bi’ithnillah begin to understand what Allah means when He says:

“I did not create jinn or man except to worship me” [51:56].

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