Ramadhan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar and whilst during all the months in the year we are expected to do good deeds and avoid as much as possible those things that are forbidden in Ramadhan you are expected to be at your best.It is the blessed month so that all the good deeds are rewarded many times over in this month,such that if you pray on time,read the Quran, give in charity,be kind and maybe avoid something that you love and is haram (like say music) then you hope to go to Rayan :-) :-),There are seven gates to heaven and one of those gates is called Rayan and it's specifically for those who fasted and did all that was required of them during the holy month.The prophet Muhammad(SAW) in his teachings says that there is no greater loss than the one who goes into the month of Ramadhan and comes out of it without reaping maximum benefits because its like going into a market where everything is free and you can fill your bags but you pick nothing.
10 days into this month and I can't help but think '10 days already,where does time go,am I the person who is in this market full of free goods and I am taking very little'.The good news is there are 20 more days to go :-) :-) and what these first days have been so far.....................
The realization that time does fly!
You know when Ramadhan is beginning and you have plans to make it better than last years and a friend sends you this check-list at the beginning of the month to keep track of your good deeds and I guess for you to use to reflect on how much of the benefits you are reaping from this blessed month, this is me check-list and all. I look at that check-list often and my ticks(virtual ticks) and I wish I could have done more but at-least having this check-list for me is a constant reminder to try and do better and be more religious.
Iblis has been locked up.
At the beginning of the holy month Iblis is put in a jail and locked in there so he can't do his usual whispering to lead people astray,but still we all find ourselves doing some sort of sin like delay in saying our prayers,our minds taking walks when we try to read the Quran,the temptation to listen to music and such things,Does this mean we are all just bad people??
I read somewhere that yes Iblis is locked during this month but the effect of his whispering is like when you use a spoon to stir say tea,when you stop stirring the tea still swirls for a bit so these sins that people commit during Ramadhan is part of that swirl.I also think its a really scary thought that all the bad things you do in this month are all you! nobody is influencing you!
Food :-) :-)
Islam is definitely against using Ramadhan as a feasting month but a lot of people use it to cook and eat more than any other time and so all those deep fried foods that you wouldn't eat everyday make huge comebacks during the month. I don't know the reasoning behind this but it sure makes the month all that more special :-) and I guess that's why some people when they are sending their Ramadhan wishes say things like 'We would like to wish all those who celebrate the month of Ramadhan a happy and blessed month' because all the food that is eaten,the month has to be one of celebrations :-).
During the first few days of the month the most difficult thing is to wake-up for Suhoor and if you are me and would want to drink tea at the very last minute,just before the morning adhan,chances are you might sleep through suhoor time (this has happened to me yesterday) and I thought the day will be difficult!!!! but surprisingly it wasn't too hard :-).Lesson learnt is even 10 minutes before adhan is good enough what you need is belief in yourself and your ability to handle a day without tea,
I am lucky enough to live next to a mosque but going for these prayers has proved to be quite the challenge and not because I over-eat but because of something that I cannot explain. Taraweeh prayers end by 9 PM which is early but sometimes I lie to myself that after Iftar I will sleep for like 20 minutes (because full stomach and all) and I wake up past 9 PM :-( the trick I have found out is to not lie down or anything close before going for the prayers.
The joys of Iftar
Hot day-time temperatures mean that you will obviously get really thirsty in the course of the day such that you start watching the clock soon after the Asr prayer and nothing beats the joy of drinking cold water at the time of breaking the fast :-) :-).