The first day of fasting Ramadan is usually difficult for most people. It’s the sudden hiccup in our eating schedule that can often send us into disarray. However, as the days of the month pass, we slowly teach our minds to focus less on satisfying our natural impulses for food, drink, and lusts.
In their place, we fill our spirits with reciting as much Qur’an as possible, making dhikr of Allah Most High, and sending salawat on the beloved Prophet Muhammadﷺ . By occupying ourselves with the good, we pull away from this worldly life and move our hearts closer to a sacred realm.
But what if there are even greater fruits to reap from this enormous spiritual act for our Creator?
In “The Forty Principles of the Religion” – the summarized version of the Revival of the Religious Sciences (Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din) – the renown scholar Imam Ghazali (Allah have mercy on him) describes the three degrees of the secrets of fasting.
The least degree is to only avoid what invalidates the fast – namely, refraining from eating, drinking, and marital relations during the day. People in this category do not restrain their outward behavior from what is disliked. This is the fast of the ordinary people.
A higher degree is to additionally abstain from the disliked actions committed with the limbs. People in this category guard their tongues from backbiting and their eyes from looking at what is doubtful, as well as shielding the rest of the body parts from any wrong.
The greatest degree concerns those who act upon the first and second level, while also striving to protect their hearts from idle thoughts and the whisperings of the devil. Those who reach this degree confine themselves to only making dhikr of Allah Most High. This is the fast of the elect of the elite and it is the perfection of the fast.
This Ramadan, let us exert ourselves to reach the highest level – specifically in our marriages and families.
Let us guard our tongues and not fight with our husbands or relatives over what to serve for iftar.
Let us purify our limbs and replace one bad habit in our personal relationships with a good habit.
Let us seek refuge from any selfish intentions and concentrate on giving back through displaying good character towards our husbands and children.
Let us verbally and mentally fast from complaining about our circumstances and deepen the strength of our patience and gratitude.
Let us forgo our old, shameful ways and allow this Ramadan to transform our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls for the rest of our lives inshaAllah.
Wishing you and your family a Ramadan Mubarak.
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