Importance of Preparing the Soul for Ramadan
Firstly understand this: “We are not ONE but TWO.”
This doesn’t mean we aren’t ONE as an Ummah, that we are.
What is meant that each one of us is NOT just made of a human body. In fact, the human body is only the vessel. The Vessel carrying the Soul. So that means that each one of us is, in reality, the caretaker of 2 things: The Human Body and The Soul (Rooh).
The truth is, this should be an eye-opener for all Muslims preparing for Ramadan. In our pre-Ramadan preparation, we get totally engrossed in buying food, storing stock for the month, buying eid clothes, making the resolution of shedding pounds of fat off our bodies etc. Sounds familiar right?
What many of us do not do is prepare our Souls for the challenges and blessings that come our way with Ramadan.
But why prepare for Ramadan at all?
See, you can’t expect to jump from grade 8 of school to grade 10 (from easy to difficult) and adjust immediately, can you? Similarly, on normal days we eat three meals and sleep all night. But in Ramadan, our daily routine becomes topsy-turvy.
We start fasting which means that the time period between our meals increases and our body experiences hunger and thirst. We also start praying tahajjud and doing Qiyyam, which means that we can’t sleep all night. These are some of the major changes that our BODY has to face.
But what are the challenges that our SOUL has to face?
In Ramadan, the level of spirituality of a Muslim does NOT increase simply by abstaining from food and drink. That is a misconception that we need to clear right now.
All those endless rewards and blessings associated with Ramadan are NOT in proportion to the amount of time we stay hungry or thirsty. That’s only doing 50% of your job and asking for full pay.
The Noble Companion, Abu Huraira (RA) narrates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم “ مَنْ لَمْ يَدَعْ قَوْلَ الزُّورِ وَالْعَمَلَ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ لِلَّهِ حَاجَةٌ فِي أَنْ يَدَعَ طَعَامَهُ وَشَرَابَهُ ”.
“Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1903, Book 30, Hadith 13]
The Soul has to put in an effort to connect deeply with Allah, which is the true purpose of Ramadan. To increase our level of spirituality.
Now if you expect to make a list of things to-do in Ramadan for eg, praying 5 prayers on time, praying Taraweeh, reading Quran, giving charity, controlling your tongue, staying away from Ramadaan. And then you put your pen down, pick up your list, kiss it and put it neatly inside your folder, smile to yourself proudly and say “Alhamdulillah, I am well-prepared for this Ramadan.”
Let me break your sweet thought bubble right there…
It ain’t gonna happen.
You don’t seriously expect that the moment Ramadan arrives, you switch on your “Spirituality button” and voila! You become a righteous soul with an impressively strong connection to Allah.
Don’t get this the wrong way. It is as easy as calling out to Allah to feel closer to Him instantly. But to be in a highly spiritual practicing state and stay there, that doesn’t happen overnight. That takes conscious effort and consistency on the part of the Muslim.
In the context of preparing for Ramadan- Just like your BODY takes time to adjust to the physical challenges of Ramadan, your SOUL also takes time and effort to adjust to the spiritual challenges of Ramadan.
Therefore let us utilize the remaining days of Shabaan to sincerely prepare both our body and soul for the most beautiful month of all- Ramadan. Think of Ramadan as a 30-day reward sale for which you start saving up money before-hand, so that you can spend more to buy yourself as many bonus points as you can.