With the month of Ramadan already in its second half, many Muslims will be aiming to step up a gear in their efforts to attain closeness to God almighty. This article is aimed to provide ideas to those who would like to add to their Ramadan experience on top of their regular mediation, reflection and charity.
Part of Ramadan is to feel the needs of the impoverished. In the present times, the whole society is in need of empathy and the planet in need of our consciousness. Here are 6 ideas to reap more from your Ramadan harvest that will also help you change the world around you.
The prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said “When you smile to your brothers face, it is a charity” Sunan al Tirmidhi (1879)
While the prophet’s smile was not limited to a certain period of the year, but we can use this month to get into the habit of smiling. By putting our 35 facial muscles to good use, we can protract the comfort, assurance and joy to others. If a conscious effort is made to smile, our character and conduct subliminally drifts towards a state in which our heart is at peace with the maker and its creation. If we treat Ramadan as a the religious boot camp, than we can certainly evolve as better individuals. And by putting on a smile, we can be charitable at zero cost to the pocket.
Abdullah b al Harith said “ I have never seen any more in the habit of smiling than Allah’s messenger” (Sunan Al Tirmidhi , 3574)
Plant a Tree
Anas Bin Malik reported: The messenger of Allah PBUH said, “Even if the hour of resurrection were established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling (seedling) and he has the opportunity to plant it then let him plant it” ( Musnad Ahmad 12491)
One of the most effective modes of charity is termed as Sadqa- e-Jariya or perpetuating charity. Acts like educating individuals, installing water pumps in remote areas and planting trees are among these acts of charity. Such acts keep benefiting people and the planet long after one has passed away.
In light of global warming, planting trees is even more important today than it has perhaps ever been. Deforestation has not only changed our landscapes but is also disturbing ecosystems and our climate. Trees can be planted by oneself (several videos are available on Youtube) or by paying organizations like Forestry Commission or Trees for Future. Vouchers for plant a tree gifts, can also be purchased that can help you encourage others to follow suit. By planting a tree, not only we are fulfilling a prophetic command but also connecting with nature.
One of the things that we overlook in Ramadan is wastage of food. In every household there is a natural craving for an assortment of delicacies on the dinner table after a long summers day fast. Unfortunately food wastage in Ramadan increases in the upper stratas of the society. This should be absolutely curbed as it goes against the spirit of the month.
A research pointed out that on average food worth of £480 a year is wasted in the UK by every household. Practice of donating food to food banks should be adopted and it shouldn’t be limited to ones excess food.
Quran (Chapter 7 verse 31 ) translates ” O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer, and eat and drink but waste not by excess; surely he does not love the wasters”
Excess water consumption should also be kept in check. Looking at the ecological footprint of individuals in the developed world, it was found that planet’s resources are being consumed at 3 times the rate of natural replenishment. In other words, there would be 3 planet earths required to sustain the present levels of life in the future.
Using the religious impetus, Muslims in the west can lead the way in bringing wastage down to zero and inspire others achieve this too.
Donate to Animal charities
Human beings are God’s vicegerents on earth and best of his creation. This position comes with responsibility to look out for God’s creation as per our capacity.
The caliph Umar (R.A) is reported to have said “Even if a dog died of hunger and thirst at the bank of Euphrates in Baghdad, I would be held accountable by the Al mighty”
Due to several anthropogenic factors, the rate of the decline of plant and animal species is at alarming levels. We are losing bio diveraty at least three times faster than the natural rate.
Muslims can help by not only looking out for animals in their vicinity but also by donating to numerous animal charities operating around the world. The Brooke charity in this regards is one of the standouts. They look after animals that suffer as a result of our ill-treatment.
The prophet peace be upon him said “Convey from me, even if it is one verse” (Sahih al Bukhari)
Not only in this blessed month, but all year long we should aim to learn the true meaning of quranic verses not just to understand ourselves but to educate others. In learning Quran to educate, we will go an extra step in understanding the verses clearly with their true background and context.
In a time when lose interpretation of Quran is being used to commit attoricities, it is now more important than ever that we learn its proper meaning and educate others. This will help to strengthen not only our own faith but also the relationship with our brothers in humanity.
Unfortunately several of our brothers and sisters are in prisons and some in rehabilitation centres. Their name list can be obtained from the relevant authorities. On Eid, greeting cards / letters can be written to them. This helps remind and reassure them that they are our fellow brothers in faith who will be welcomed back and helped in re-establishing their livelihood. Kind words can change lives. It is our alienating attitude towards them, that drives them to reoffend and become hardened criminals. The culture of turning towards extremism is also rife while incarcerated. Therefore our effort would go a long way in rehabilitating them and improving our community as a whole.
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