Category Archives: Journey Through The Qur'an Series

The Verses About Ramadan and Fasting

This Ramadan let us take a journey through the Qur’an inshAllah and focus on the verses that are particularly helpful in our recovery.  There are many verses that could help us to find a path towards Allah while we strive to get clean or sober or give up addictive behaviours that take us away from Allah. So let’s journey together….

WIth Ramadan just around the corner let us have been pondering upon the verses regarding fasting and Ramadan. All these verses appear in one place in the Qur’an and do not appear in any other chapters. From Surah Baqara, the second chapter, from verse 183 Allah states many reminders that can help us to correct our intention. He begins with the verse;

“Oh you who believe! As’Saum (abstaining) has been prescribed for you, as it has been prescribed for those upon you, that you may achieve taqwa (God-Consciousness)

“Oh you who believe! As’Saum (abstaining) has been prescribed for you, as it has been prescribed for those upon you, that you may achieve taqwa (God-Consciousness) Quran, 2:183

Initially, there is no mention of Ramadan itself. Here Allah is stating that the way to achieve Taqwa is through as-Saum. As-saum is literally translated from Arabic into English as ‘to abstain’. This is particulary important for us to think about as we are on the path to recovery with complete abstinence of all things that Allah is displeased with in mind. That by abstaining we are able to achieve closeness to Allah, by remembering Him. And when we often remember Allah, we naturally begin to want to please Him, and stay clear of all behaviours that may lead to His displeasure. And that is having taqwa.

Also in this verse Allah describes that he has ‘prescribed’ fasting for us. This word in Arabic is ‘kutiba’ here, which literally means ‘to write’. Let us think about this more deeply. Allah has written fasting for us as a means to attain Taqwa. It is something that we are in need of. Allah is The Creator and He Knows what is required for us more than we know ourselves. When we visit a doctor when we are sick, he or she will prescribe us with medication to get well. What about the one who is spiritually sick, who remembers Allah little, who has litte or no taqwa? What do they need to get better? They need taqwa and the way to attain, it is through fasting. In our addiction, we moved away from Allah therefore we are in need of fasting in order to reach closer to Him on His Straight Path.

The first mention of the month of Ramadan appears in verse 185 when Allah says;

“The month of Ramdan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs and (the Criterion between right and wrong). So whoever of you observes the month, he must observe as-Saum that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey the same number from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. He wants that you must complete the same number of days and that you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”.

What is special about this verse, is that when Allah mentions Ramadan for the first time, He reminds us that this is the month in which He sent down The Qur’an with clear proofs and guidance.

Allah also mentions with great emphasis that He wishes for us ease. He follows this up by telling us He does not to make things difficult for us. That’s like me telling you I want to bake you a cake and I want it to be delicious and I don’t it to be disgusting. I don’t need to tell you the latter part because I have already said I want it to be delicious therefore I do not need to add that I don’t want it to be disgusting. The words that Allah has chosen to use here tell us that He is greatly emphasising how much He wants to make things easy for us. Therefore, when we approach Ramadan we must remember that Allah is helping us and that we can get through this month without too much difficulty. We must believe in ourselves that we are able to complete and perfect all the number of days and then be grateful to Allah for having helped us.

 

Making Pure Intentions for Eid

CELEBRATING-EID-HEADER90

In Muslim populated areas crime levels soar on Eid day and most of those crimes are drug or alcohol-related. Fights break out and people are arrested. What a sad state that is.

Are you a Muslim or a Ramadan Muslim? What is a Muslim? Islam means submission and a Muslim is someone who submits to Islam. Who are we submitting to? The One who created us. How should we submit? By following His orders and staying away from His Prohibitions. Do you want to be a Muslim just in Ramadan, or do you want to be a Muslim all year around? Do you want to keep this feeling of happiness alive throughout the year?

Ramadan is the training ground for the rest of the year. We are soon to be completing our training. There is still time to push ourselves harder, more time to search our souls, enough time to reach out to Allah and beg of His Guidance and Forgiveness. Ramadan is like building a beautiful home. Brick by brick, deed by deed, good word by good word we build our house of righteousness. Why would we want to smash it all down on Eid?

“Do not be like the woman who had broken her yarn into pieces after spinning it firmly” (16:92)

This analogy offered by Allah should make us think. This woman he is describing has spent a long time spinning little fragments of cotton into fine yarn only to then pull it all apart again. This Ramadan, we worked hard, fasting, praying, sacrificing, abstaining all to try and make ourselves strong in faith. We must work twice as hard to keep doing these actions in order to not undo all the hard work we have achieved. We must make strong intentions now, not to return to the same state we were in before Ramadan. Allah says;

“Verily, those who say: `Our Rubb is Allah (Alone),’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Jannah which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. An entertainment from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (41:30-32)

By returning to sinfulness after Eid, we are turning our back on this promise of Allah. He has offered us Paradise on account of us standing firm – Istiqama – staying upright and making strong intentions to stay on The Straight Path of Allah. During Ramadan, we felt the natural high, we got the opportunity for a sense of belonging with the Muslim Ummah, our hearts softened upon hearing the Qur’an and our hope soared when we made duah. Let us not then go back to the life we had before. Let us keep the spirit of Ramadan alive!

Relapse Prevention

failing-to-plan-is-planning-to-failThe number one contingency plan to prevent relapse on or soon after Eid is good planning. If we don’t plan things through we are more likely to succumb to urges and cravings or invitations from bad company. As Eid day arrives its a bit like being a smoker on a long flight. While travelling, the smokers knows he cannot light up a cigarette so his cravings do not set in, otherwise known as ‘long flight syndrome’. But the moment he is out of the airport the cravings are so intense its the first thing he does. While we were fasting we were not able to indulge in our addictions and we often lose the urge to sin, yet the moment the opportunity arises all those cravings and urges come back. We need to be prepared. Start getting your Eid plans in well in advance of the actual day. It may be that bad friends are already making their plans. We need to keep away from them. We must stick to good company. If we are alone, we can find out what our local mosque has planned or try to team up with other individuals on their own like new Muslim reverts, foreign students etc. We need to make sure we have closed every door to relapse on Eid.

The purpose of Eid

Not many people know this, but the purpose of Eid is to be thankful. Allah tells us this;

“…So complete the period (of fasting). Glorify Allah (and thank Him) for the guidance He has granted. Perhaps, you would be grateful!” (2:185)

Notice in this Verse Allah says “perhaps” we will be grateful. This means that not every one of us who observe Ramadan will be grateful at the end. During this month, we will have received so many blessings from Allah. His Mercy rained down on us, yet were we thankful to Him? A sign that our Ramadan has been accepted by Allah  is if we show gratitude to Allah on the day of Eid. Let us be among those who are grateful. A strong intention now will help us. One way Allah asks us to show our gratitude to Him is to praise Him. We can recite;

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

The Prophet, pbuh, would recite this Hamd – Praise of Allah – from sunset as he broke his last fast of Ramadan. He would repeat this througout the night and the following day, especially while walking to the mosque for Eid prayer. This is one of the sunnahs of Eid.

Follow the Sunnah of Eid – The following is an excerpt from http://islamqa.info/en/49014

1 – It is mustahabb to recite takbeer during the night of Eid from sunset on the last day of Ramadaan until the imam comes to lead the prayer. The format of the takbeer is as follows: 

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

Or you can say Allaahu akbar three times, so you say: 

Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, Allaahu akbar, wa Lillaahi’l-hamd (Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great, there is no god except Allaah, Allaah is Most Great, Allaah is Most Great , Allaah is Most Great, and all praise be to Allaah). 

Both are permissible. 

Men should raise their voices reciting this dhikr in the marketplaces, mosques and homes, but women should not raise their voices. 

2 – You should eat an odd number of dates before leaving for the Eid prayer, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not set out on the day of Eid until he had eaten an odd number of dates. He should stick to an odd number as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did. 

3 – You should wear your best clothes – this is for men. With regard to women, they should not wear beautiful clothes when they go out to the Eid prayer-place, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Let them go out looking decent” i.e., in regular clothes that are not fancy. It is haraam for them to go out wearing perfume and makeup. 

4 – Some of the scholars regarded it as mustahabb to do ghusl for the Eid prayer, because it is narrated that some of the salaf did this. Doing ghusl for Eid prayer is mustahabb, just as it is prescribed for Jumu’ah because one is going to meet people. So if one does ghusl, that is good. 

5 – The Eid prayer. The Muslims are unanimously agreed that the Eid prayer is prescribed in Islam. Some of them say that it is Sunnah, some say that it is fard kafaayah (a communal obligation) and some say that it is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation), and that not doing it is a sin. They quoted as evidence the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded even the virgins and women in seclusion, i.e., those who did not ordinarily come out, to attend the Eid prayer place, except that those who were menstruating should keep away from the prayer-place itself, because it is not permissible for a menstruating woman to stay in the mosque; it is permissible for her to pass through but not to stay there.

Beware of Shaitan

The Shaitan were chained during the month of Ramadan and they will be released at sunset of the last fast. They will flee from their chains yet they will be weak at first and we will be strong. Our bodies may be weak from tiredness, hunger and thirst but the hearts of the Muslims are strong. Insha’Allah Allah has given us a head start over the devils who will be fasting on Eid. Let us try to be conscious of every shaitanic thought that enters our minds and counteract them with the remembrance of Allah.

So let us strive hard Oh Muslims, just as we did in Ramadan. Let us not slip back into our old ways or hang out with the old crowd. Let us do everything we can to overcome our sinfulness and stay on The Straight Path to Allah. InshaAllah we have become purified like the day we were born. Let us not add dirt to those clean slates. May Allah help us, Ameen.

Don't let the world pull you away from the goodness you have found
Don’t let the world pull you away from the goodness you have found

A carers Ramadan

My name is Umm Saeed. My husband is a heroin and crack addict. I have been stuck in a cycle for 8 years now. My family has been through many twists and turns as my husbands addiction has escalated at times, wound down at others and stopped altogether on some fleeting moments. Oh how I live for those moments! I get those times in Ramadan, mostly.

Every year it is the same. Before Ramadan, I am at my wits end. My husband’s, lets call him Fiaz, addiction is usually way off the scale. For some reason it seems every year before Ramadan I want to end the marriage. Things have usually got really bad. I threaten to kick him out of the house. But every year he says “Give me a chance! Ramadan is round the corner. I will get clean in Ramadan and I will change, you’ll see!”. So I do wait and see. On the eve of Ramadan Fiaz makes lots of duah to Allah. He says, this is the year I will do it, and he believes it, even though he said that every year for the past 8 years of our marriage. And the sad thing is, I believe it too.

There is a mixture of true and sincere belief in Allah that anything is possible when you turn to Him for help and submit yourselves. And then there is a mixture of doubt. After years of Ramadans passing me by I feel deep down that this year will just be like the others. I recall each and every Ramadan of the past. It was a beautiful time. It was a break from the chaos of the rest of the year. Where there was hatred between us, resentments and anger, the Mercy of Allah pours down and enters my heart. I start serving him again, like a dutiful wife. I accept his arms slipping around my waist while I prepare the iftah. I enjoy the closeness of his chest as we hug and a tear falls as I wish it could be like this all year around. All my defense barriers crumble down and I let my heart reach out to him. It’s almost like I am addicted to these moments. Its these beautiful times, where I see what our marriage could be like, that keeps me stuck here. I know its possible then you see. People don’t know why I stick by him. But I see that when there are no drugs in our life, its actually almost perfect. In the same way he craves crack, I crave to get these moments back.

Some years he relapses in Ramadan and we are both devastated. But we both feel so close to Allah’s Mercy that we both cry to Him for Forgiveness, and I forgive Fiaz too. We then get back on that horse and get through the rest of the month. I’ve met other women in my position who have said they can’t fast because they are too stressed. But I need this month to bring up my own eeman (faith) and strengthen my own self. Just like my husband is trying to get clean I am trying to be a better Muslim too. I have spent so much of the year angry, shouting, swearing and backbiting him that I feel burdened down by my own sins. I need Ramadan to ‘get clean’ in my own way.

Then Eid day comes and all that love and closeness and happiness leaves with Ramadan. He usually relapses on Eid day, or soon after. And with that, my heart is broken again. With all my defense mechanisms broken down it hurts more than it did before Ramadan. The pain of the heart being broken again, in places where there existed deep scars is hard to bear. And the yearly cycle starts all over again. This has been my eight year wheel.

So what about now? How am I going to make this Ramadan different. Fiaz is clean again, absorbing himself in Ramadan. And I am aware of keeping myself safe. I have not dropped all my defenses this year because I feel the heart ache of disappointment if he relapses on Eid. I am sick of this cycle and I want this to be the year that it all stops. I do not choose to live this life anymore. I want to be brave and say if he relapses after Eid I will kick him out. But at the same time part of me wonders if I have the strength to do it. So I will use this Ramadan to make myself strong so that whatever the outcome I am ready to face anything.

I realise, looking back, that I have spent most of the last 8 years thinking about Fiaz and his addiction. What is he doing? Who is he with? Where is he going? I have monitored him, checked his emails, his texts, his phone bills. I could get a job in the FBI with my skills. I have spent so much time worrying about him that I have suffered from anxiety and feelings of depression. There have been times when I have felt like harming myself, or just wishing Allah would take my soul so that I would not have to bear the pain of living with an addict any longer. I realise now, that I wanted the easy way out. All that head space I have given to Fiaz, trying to get him to come back to the Straight Path of Allah, while all the time I was slipping myself without even realising. I held onto my prayers, just about but my Islam was far from where I wanted it to be. All because I paid so much attention to Fiaz and his actions.

This Ramadan I want to focus on myself and my relationship with Allah. I realise, how can I offer myself to anyone else if I am already feeling incomplete? The only way for me to complete myself and feel whole is to attach myself to Allah. To do the very thing that I encourage Fiaz to do. If I have Allah then it does not matter what happens with Fiaz. I will have the strength to bear whatever test Allah presents me with. I encourage all other carers of addicts to do the same this Ramadan. We worry about our addicts 11 months of the year, at the very least we must worry about ourselves for this month, we owe ourselves that at least.

Ramadan Guest, don’t go

The sand of time is running out
Ramadan is leaving us soon
And still I am lost in doubt
As I await the date stalk crisp moon

Will things be wholesome and new
Will Shawaal bring happiness
Will all the good deeds be continued
or will they wear out like a tattered dress

Oh Ramadan cant you stay for a while?
Things are always better when you are here
Oh Ramadan It feels so lifting to smile
Everything feels so much more sincere

The rest of the year is so tough without you
Its like I can only get by when you are here
You’re my crutch that helps me walk through
The roads of life that I tread with great fear

Oh Ramadan without you I am lost
Thirty days is not enough
To bring eternal change and hope
So stay awhile don’t leave. Don’t go

Relapsed in Ramadan! What now?

So you started off the month with good intentions. You aimed to make it to Eid and become clean and sober or give up on your addicted ways. Then…Relapse. Time to rewind the tape. Use the 4 W’s (Where, What, When, Who). wsWhere we you when you relapsed? What were you doing just before ? When did it happen? Night time? Your usual using time? Just when the kids were put in bed? When the fast was broken? And finally ,and usually most importantly, who were you with at the time and did this person have an effect on you?

If we want to avoid this from happening again we need to understand how and why it happened in the first place. What went wrong? If we relapse in Ramadan we need to reflect back on our intentions for fasting and what is it that we want to achieve out of this month. We must remember that the purpose of fasting is not to get clean. Getting clean is the bonus. The real purpose of Ramadan is to attain God-consciousness (Taqwa). The more consciousness we have of Allah, that He is Watching us and Hearing us, the less likely we are to sin in front of him. Ask yourselves this; would you smoke drugs in front of your father? Would you indulge in your addiction in front of your mother. Then why do we sin in front of Allah. And so when we do this in Ramadan we feel a deep sense of regret and shame. In our addiction, we taught ourselves to get rid of the feelings of shame we should try and use substances or act out our addictions again. No matter how hard we tried the feelings never went away. If we felt shame, then this is a good thing. Shame and guilt is from Allah. The one who has no shame for their sins is the one who is truly lost. But it is what we do with our shame that really matters in recovery.

So its Ramadan and we have relapsed! What next?

Utilise that guilt and shame to stand, kneel or sit before Allah and seek His Forgiveness. Does our sins outweigh His Mercy? NO!

“O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it.” 

We must know that no matter how huge our sins, Allah can wipe them all out, every single one, within the blink of an eye. On account of our repentance Allah will love us more, seeing us humbled and begging of him in distress, seeking His vast Mercy and Forgiveness.

recovery-relapse-roadsign212Sometimes this guilt and aftermath of a relapse is enough to put us off using substances again or acting out our addictive behaviours like gambling and so on. We need to utilise it in the right way so that we can steer clear of relapsing again.

We must not fall into the trap of thinking ‘That’s it! My Ramadan is over!” We must not allow ourselves to think this way. Ramadan is not over until Eid. Ramadan is a guest that comes every year and stays for one month. We can’t kick out our guest! We honour the guest of Ramadan and embrace it like a long lost relative. In fact, we should feel sad when Ramadan leaves us and be fearful that we will not live to see our guest arrive again next year. So no, Ramadan is not over just because we have relapsed.

The sin that could take you to Paradise

So we have committed great sins. We have wronged our Creator in the month of Ramadan. We feel the burden of sins on our back, weighing us down and tearing up our insides with remorse. How would you like these heavy sins to be turned into good deeds? Imagine! Vile sins, terrible crimes, being turned into good deeds that could take us to Jannah (Paradise)! How could this be? That would be like turning a rubbish heap into a mountain of gold, right? Allah says about the one who sincerely repents and then then tries again;

“Except him who repents and believes and does righteous work; as for such, Allah will change their evil deeds to good deeds. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.” (25:70)

So you relapsed. So get back on that saddle and gallop on that horse. Strive towards Allah, harder than before. Learn from your mistakes. Truly unpick where it all went wrong so you can avoid it happening again. And repent to Allah with a full commitment not to return back to that sin. This relapse happened for a reason. Maybe this relapse happened so it could be turned into a mountain of good deeds that will take you to Paradise. Have hope!

dfuaforgiv

 

Making Pure Intentions for Ramadan

As the month of Ramadan is approaching, we need to think about how we are preparing for this blessed month of fasting in a spiritual way. Many Muslim addicts believe that Ramadan will be the solution to overcoming their addiction. We often think that this is the time we will change and turn our backs on our habits, however many of us fall on Eid day or soon after. However, we need to ask ourselves, what is it about Ramadan that makes us less likely to endulge in our addictive behaviours? And why is it that we still relapse in Ramdan, or soon after? Its important that we purify our intentions for Ramadan. Many of us hope to change, but this needs to be the consequence of our pure intentions and not the catalyst for fasting.

What does Allah say?

All the verses regarding fasting and Ramadan appear in the same place in the Qur’an. From Surah Baqarah, 2:183. These ayats are a reference point for us to return to and try to understand.

2:183: O ye who believe! As-Saum (abstaining) is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may attain Taqwa (God-Consciousness)

Many Muslims fall into the trap of believing the purpose of Ramadan is to attain Taqwa, a consciousness of Allah, where we think of Allah often leading to fear of His Punishments and hope in His rewards, thus helping us to change our behaviours. However, in this verse, Ramadan has not been mentioned. In fact we need to understand what the meaning of as-Saum is. As English speakers we often translate Saum into fasting, however, the literal translation is the verb ‘abstain’. We understand that saum does not always refer to abstaining from the stomach through fasting. For example Allah tells us in al-Quran that Maryam, the mother of Isa, said,

“Surely I have vowed to The Most Merciful, to fast (sawm).” [19:26]

The fast here means to be silent, that is, to abstain from speaking. Islamically, Sawm in Ramadan means to abstain from food, drink and sexual relation between dawn and sunset. It also means that we must abstain from all habits and behaviours that can be displeasing to Allah. This is important for us to think about as we embrace our recovery. Perhaps, why it is much easier for the addict to abstain in Ramadan is, because many Muslims all over the world are holding back from their bad habits and trying hard to become better people. Part of our intention for observing Ramadan is to abstain through fasting in the hope that we will become more conscious of Allah.

The first mention of Ramadan itself appears shortly after this verse;

2:185: The month of Ramdan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and criterion. Whoever of you observes the month he must observe saum (fasting)…and that you may you must magnify Allah for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him”.

Lets look closely at the language used here– whoever observes means whoever of you is alive and gifted by Allah to see Ramadan should seize this opportunity. Allah is saying all those who can, should take the chance.

Many addicts begin to questions their ability to get through this month. We need to really think about this verse and realise that Allah is giving us encouragement and He wants us to grab this chance to come closer to Him and subsequently make changes in our life.

What we also see here is that the purpose of Ramadan is to become thankful. That through coming closer to Allah through fasting and abstaining from sins and our addiction we may learn to become more grateful to Him, Who is deserved of all thanks.

What’s the intention for fasting?

 Let us take a moment to think about why we want to fast in Ramadan. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said;

“Actions are but by intentions, and everyone shall have but that which he intended…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1; Muslim, 1907)

As discussed above, the main purpose of fasting is to attain God-consciousness and the main purpose of Ramadan is to gain thankfulness to Allah. However, this is the time to combine our intentions for Ramadan. We need to think about the multidude of benefits we can reap from this beautiful month. As with many aspects of Islam there are conditions and there are two conditions for purifying our intentions for fasting in Ramadan.Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said,

“Whoever fasted the month of Ramadan out of sincere Faith (eeman in Allah as One) and hoping for a reward from Allah (ihtisab), then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the night of Qadr out of eman and ihtisab, then all his previous sins will be forgiven .”

Imam Ahmad and An-Nasaii added the following to the above narration,

“And also what will occur later on (meaning future sins, as well).”

Imam Ahmad taught us that fasting with eeman entails fasting while believing with the heart in the obligation of fasting during Ramadan. As for Ihtisab, it means that one anticipates the reward and his fasting is therefore only for the sake of Allah and not to imitate his people and community or for any other worldly gain.

So we must ask ourselves, why are we fasting? To get clean? To stop acting out in our addiction? Tradition? Because everyone else is? To pleasing our parents or spouses?
In the tradition of Rasulullah (SAW), the state of Imaan and Ihtisab has been defined as one in which a person performs good and virtuous deeds in the hope of Divine Recompense and with faith in the promise of Divine good pleasure and forgiveness.

Regarding this, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is reported to have said:

“Many are there among you who fast and yet gain nothing from it except hunger and thirst, and many are there who pray (throughout the night) and yet gain nothing from it except wakefulness.”

Let us correct our intentions so that we do not fall into this catagory of people who gain nothing from their fasting but hunger and thirst. it is also said that this hadith applies to those who fast yet do not change their bad habits, they continue to sin or behave in ways that Allah dislikes.

Abu Huraira said  – “ The heart is the king of the body” when explaining the hadith:

“Verily in the body there is a lump of flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.” [Bukhāri and Muslim]

Any belief in Islam is founded on 3 pillars:

1- Conviction of the heart – brings about an intention
2- Statement of the tongue – he speaks of what resides in the heart, the conviction
3- Action of the limbs/body. – Acting upon that belief.

The intention for fasting in Ramadan is very important. Without a correct intention the actions are not valid

Being positive

Part of having a good intention is looking forward to receiving the guest of Ramadan just as we would with a family member who lives far away and only comes to visit us once per year. We must be positive as the month draws near and believe in ourselves that we are able to complete and perfect the number of days to the best of our abilities. Allah Himself offers us words of support and encouragement that should give us the courage to embrace this month, knowing that Allah is on our side to get us through;

“…Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you” 2:185

How many times have we read this verse and did we ever notice that Allah says He intends ease, and the follows up by saying He does not want to make things difficult for you? It is like saying I want you make a cake delicious and I don’t want it to taste horrible. Allah is emphasising this point. He is showing the strength of His intention to make things easy for us and not for us to feel as though we are suffering a hardship.
Then Allah says; “…He wants that you must complete the number of days…” This means He wants us to perfect the number of days – to do them fully and to the best of our ability.

Scholars call Ramadan the training ground for the rest of the year. As addicts in recovery, we must utilise this month as best as we can to try and change our behaviours but we must remember that our primary intention is to become better Muslims, becoming more conscious of Him so that we may develop thankfulness. Having an attitude of gratitude is paramount in our recovery as it removes negative thinking and self-pitying behaviours that can lead to relapse.

Let us make duah to Allah that He allows us to live to see Ramadan, to complete and perfect its number of days and for us to love Him more and be thankful to Him. Ameen.

Lynne Ali-Northcott (Addiction Counsellor)