• Raya Shokatfard

MY RAMADAN : WALKING IN THE PROPHET’S FOOTSTEPS

Updated: Jun 25, 2020



By Raya Shokatfard


If one were to imagine what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the month of Ramadan, as he did, one might think it would be impossible.


But is it?


God sent prophets to all mankind and from among themselves to teach them the right path and means of worshiping with their Creator. They were ordinary men, yet, bestowed with the Holy Spirit, who was the intermediary between them and God.


In that sense, we are not like them, but we are also not chosen to receive revelation from God, but to act on what is given to us by the chosen ones of God.


Our Role Model


Prophet Muhammad was like any other man. He ate, slept, married and did things ordinary people do. But, he was sent as a role model for us to follow and an inspiration. He also did not do any act that his followers cannot do neither did he receive any revelation ordering Muslim to do beyond their capabilities.


Among many instances, Ramadan would be the perfect time to follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad, which includes not only his actions but his words. How?


We learn, read, ask and immolate.


Are you ready?


To begin with, we acknowledge that fasting is an obligation upon the believers. God says:


{O you who believe, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous} (Al-Baqarah 2: 183)


We know that there are many benefits in the blessed month of Ramadan.


The Prophet Muhammad said:


“When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained.” (Al-Bukhari)


One may ask, why are we still having bad thoughts and commit some sins in this month?


Scholars suggest that these thoughts originate from our own souls which were receptive to satanic whispers. Ramadan makes us more aware of it.


We notice our love for the worldly pleasures, wealth, competition, gossip and other temptations. Yet, with proper observation of Ramadan we can defeat these kinds of thoughts and keep Satan away even after Ramadan, God willing.


So, we are now determined to follow the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad.


Pray Like the Prophet


Let us start with fajr (dawn prayer). The blessed Prophet ate little, as the availability of food was very limited most of the time. But even when he did have more food available, he still ate only one third of his fill. Can you do it?


Some may think we have a hard day ahead of us and need lot of reserve energy, so we eat till we can’t any more.


So, since we would like to walk in his footsteps, we can surely reduce our food intake and give more to the needy who has nothing to eat. Also, we control our passion for food and increase of self control.


Prophet Muhammad did not use to sleep after praying fajr. What about us? Some of us went to bed near fajr, as some may have watched the TV serials; visited with friends to gap and have fun or stay on the internet as usual. So, we must make up the sleep till at least noon!


No, say to yourself: “I want to walk in the footsteps of my prophet.” So, you will refrain from all acts that keep you away from proper worship, so that you can stay awake after fajr to do dhikr (remembrance of God); read the Quran as Prophet Muhammad did and invite family members to join you.


You make a decision to read one complete part of the Quran on a daily basis as to complete the entire Quran during the month of Ramadan. You can break the reading by starting after fajr and read on during the day. You may also hold the Quran in your hand and read from it when you are praying your Sunnah prayers.


Prophet Muhammad said:


“The fast and the Quran are two intercessors for the servant of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The fast will say, ‘O Lord, I prevented him from his food and desires during the day. Let me intercede for him.’ The Quran will say, ‘I prevented him from sleeping at night.


Let me intercede for him.’ And their intercession will be accepted.” (Ahmad)


After sunrise, you pray two or more rakahs of duha prayer and move on with your life, be it work, school or homemaking etc.


Remember the importance of Sunnah prayers. If you are not used to doing it, then start doing one additional act of worship everyday and slowly build on it. Take the many good deeds, as it is in this month that one will get same benefit from Sunnah prayers as they do for obligatory prayers. Not only that, each obligatory prayer receives 70 rewards.


Start praying 2 rakahs of Sunnah before fajr for one day, the next day do it for fajrand dhuhr.


The third day, do it for fajr, dhuhr and maghrib and continue this slow pace until you are doing it for every prayer.


If you realize that the Prophet not only prayed these Sunnah prayers, but prayed some of them for more than a third of the night. So, you can start slowly and add on according to your ability, but you are not an ordinary person. You are one who has decided to follow the footsteps of the Prophet. This means conditioning oneself for more vigorous worship and building good habits. But you must stay constant. The Prophet said:


“The most beloved deeds to Allah are the most constant, even if they are little.”(Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


As a follower of the Prophet Muhammad, you will pray each obligatory prayer at the mosque if you are a male; you may do the same if you are a female, but you are not obliged. You may pray at the comfort of your home.


Highly important issue is the breaking of the fast. The Prophet broke his fast sometimes with only one date, as there was no other food to eat and sometimes with very little when he did have more food – as this was his habit. How about us?


Eating lightly at the time of maghrib has many benefits, which most importantly allows the person to participate in further acts of worship and prayers without feeling heavy. Likewise, the adverse effect on the body, when an empty stomach is suddenly filled with food cannot be underestimated. This is a health disaster and not a good way to follow the footsteps of the pious.


As for Tarawih (the extra congregational prayers) we understand that this is purely a Sunnah prayer and not obligatory. It does however seem to bring the Muslim community together for worship and give them a great sense of connection to God.


It is highly recommended that one observes the night prayer (qiyamul layl). This is certainly a very powerful means of worship which brings the worshiper even closer to his Lord.


Prophet Muhammad said:


“I urge you to perform qiyam at night, because it was the consistent way of the righteous people who preceded you, it is a means of coming closer to your Lord, it is a means of expiating your wrongdoings, and it is a restraint against sinning.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)


He also said:


“Whoever fasted in Ramadan out of sincere Faith (i.e. belief) and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his past sins will be forgiven, and whoever stood for the prayers in the nights of Ramadan out of sincere Faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)


Generosity


Prophet Muhammad was most generous in the month of Ramadan. Can you be like him?


Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:


The Prophet was the most generous amongst the people, and he used to be more so in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel visited him, and Gabriel used to meet him on every night of Ramadan till the end of the month. The Prophet used to recite the Holy Quran to Gabriel, and when Gabriel met him, he used to be more generous than a fast wind (which causes rain and welfare). (Al-Bukhari)


Furthermore, Prophet Muhammad said:


“On every person’s joints or small bones (i.e. fingers and toes), there is sadaqah(charity) every day the sun rises. Doing justice between two people is sadaqah; assisting a man to mount his animal, or lifting up his belongings onto it issadaqah; a good word is sadaqah; every step you take towards prayer issadaqah; and removing harmful things from pathways is sadaqah.” (Al-Bukhari)


Thankfulness


One important issue to mention here is having the spirit of thankfulness at all the time, especially in Ramadan.


The Prophet is reported to have said:


“Surely the faithful who is satisfied with food and drink; and then thanks Allah, is given the same reward as a fasting man.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)


God reminds us:


{If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; But if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed} (Ibrahim 14: 7)

The Needy, Family and Friends


Visit family members often as he did, and invite guests to break the fast with you. This of course, is over and above what you will spend to feed the poor.


{O ye who believe! Spend of the good things what you have earned, and of what We produced for you from the earth; and seek not what is bad that you may spend out of it when you would not take it yourselves except that you connive at it. And know that Allah is Self-Sufficient, Praiseworthy.} (Al-Baqarah 2: 268)


Seeking Forgiveness


Prophet Muhammad, though was promised Paradise, did not cease to ask for forgiveness from God and exhorted his followers to do the same, especially in Ramadan when the doors of blessings and forgiveness are wide open to all believers.


{Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord and Paradise the width whereof is as the width of the heavens and the earth.} (Al-Hadid 57: 21)


Don’t forget, this is the month of supplication and invocation to God for all your needs. The Prophet said:


“The invocation of one who fasts will be answered each time he breaks his fast (at night).” (Ibn Majah)


Checklist


Now that we have covered major steps to follow the Prophet’s actions and words, let us summarize important parts.


§ Reading the Quran


§ Concentration on each prayer


§ Adding Sunnah prayers daily


§ Pray qiyamul Layl (night prayers)


§ Paying sadaqah (charity)


§ Spending time with family


§ Invite guests to break the fast with you.


§ Seeking forgiveness from Allah


§ Invocations


The Best Deeds


Ali ibn Talib, the son-in-law of the Prophet said:


I asked, ‘O messenger of Allah, what are the best deeds during this month’?” ‘He replied:


“O Abu-Hassan, the best of deeds during this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden.” (Al-Bayhaqi)

____________________________________________

Published on Reading Islam on Thursday, 26 July 2012

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    About Me

    Raya Shokatfard is an international speaker, film maker, and writer with a focus on women’s issues, Islam, and cultural issues. She holds BA and MBS degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication as well as a BA in Islamic Studies and an MD in TV Journalism.

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