Getting the Most from Ramadan- Sincerity and Hope
Ramadan is the month of forgiveness, a month in which the mercy of God transcends and we, as His servants, are gifted bountiful rewards for our worship. A month in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) tells us, "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained” (Bukhari).
It is a month that we want to ensure we benefit from, and that we are doing as many acts of worship as possible. Oftentimes we ourselves are the main barrier between ourselves and an accepted month of fasting. Sometimes we do not believe that forgiveness is possible for the great amount of sins we have committed, other times we deem our acts of worship to be insignificant and so we stop them. The reality is that God does not look down upon the deeds of His servants and neither should we. Abu Dharr (may God be pleased with him) reported, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face.’”
In addition to this, no one has attained perfection among the people aside from the prophets. We are not infallible creatures; our flaws are what make us special in the eyes of God.
Abu Sirmah narrated from Abu Ayyub that when death reached him, he said, “I have concealed something I heard from the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) from you. I heard the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) saying: ‘If you did not sin, God would bring into existence a creation that would sin, so He would forgive them.’”
This is a clear statement from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) showing us that our sinning is not the issue, for even Adam and Eve sinned and it was due to their sincere repentance that God forgave them. We sin regularly and what we need to do is turn to God completely in repentance:
“O you who have believed, repent to God with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when God will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, ‘Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent’” (Quran 66:8). God is calling for a sincere repentance and by doing so we can have full hope in knowing that He will accept it and grant us the gardens that He created and set aside for us.
It is this mentality that we need to enter Ramadan with. We are flawed people, broken in so many ways but Ramadan is a time of rectifying and fixing those broken pieces. We must not be of those that fear the wrath of God during a time when God has promised nothing but His mercy. There is a time for fear and a time for hope. Ramadan is the time to hope, to call on God and to place your fears aside while begging Him to forgive the mistakes of the past and to keep your steadfast for the future.
Abu Huraira narrated, “I heard God's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) saying regarding Ramadan, ‘Whoever prays at night in it (the month of Ramadan) out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from God, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.’"
Ibn `Abbas narrated, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the most generous of all the people and he used to become more generous in Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night during Ramadan to revise the Quran with him. God's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) then used to be more generous than the fast wind.”
You are the beloved creation of God, a creation that has the ability to reach a status higher than the angels. Take benefit from this precious month, make the sincere intention that you will put your best foot forward, that you will strive to please your creator and, God willing, be with Him in Paradise.