Too often when we think about Ramadan, we only think about taraweh, suhur and iftar. Many Muslims spend the day sleeping or watching television to “pass the time” and many rush to complete as many Qur'ans as possible.
How many of us though, use this extra free time for reflection. Ramadan is supposed to be the time of the year in which we recharge out īmān and prepare for the challenges facing us over the next eleven months. This can not be done unless we stop to contemplate our own faults and reflect upon the solutions during this important month.
A question arises though as to what should we reflect on during Ramadan and the following is a list of what I feel we all should reflect on, of course every individual will have specific issues that need more attention:
1) Your relationship with Allāh: Is your life pleasing to Allāh? Are you close to Allāh? Do you understand His Book? Do you recite it outside of Ramadan?
2) Your relationship with your family: Does your family love you? Are you a burden or blessing to those around you? Will you be missed if you die today? Are you fulfilling the rights of your family? Are you a role model Muslim to your family?
3) Your relationship with people: Have you contributed to society? Do you have a legacy? Does your presence help others love Islam or does it chase them away from it?
4) The creation of Allāh: pondering over the beauty of Allāh's creation helps one increase in piety and closeness to Allāh.
5) The problems in society and what you can do to solve any of them.
Some people might say that Ramadan is a busy time for them and they do not have time to do this, so here is a list of the best times during Ramadan to set aside for reflection:
1) After ‘aṣr: I understand that most women are in the kitchen during this time but most of the men are either finding ways to pass the time or sleeping. Instead this could be a great time for reflection.
2) Before Iftar: Everybody is seated at the table waiting to sink their teeth into the variety of dates and savories in front of them. Instead of looking at our watches every few seconds, let us make du‘ā’ or ponder during this time.
3) Qiyamul Layl: It is late, all the distractions are gone, you are alone praying to your Lord, this is the best time to contemplate on your own faults and ask Allāh for help in solving them.
4) After Suhur or Fajr: Either you are sitting and waiting for fajr prayer or trying to fall asleep after the prayer, take this time to reflect and contemplate instead of revising the iftar menu for today.
I hope this article assists you in making this a Ramadan of change. As for myself, I hope to experience a Ramadan of reflection and growth. If I do not become a better Muslim this Ramadan, then I will have wasted this blessed month.