Ma'ali bin Fudail (rh) said, 'They (the Sahabah) used to ask Allah Almighty six months before Ramadan to grant them long life, so that they could reach Ramadan. And they used to ask Allah Almighty six months after Ramadan to accept their fasting'.
The Companions of the Prophet (saw) used to centre their entire year around Ramadan, either hoping to attain its blessings or praying that their efforts were accepted. Alhamdulillah, as a Muslim charity, Allah (swt) has placed us in the position of remembering to follow this practice every year!
Muslims are most generous during Ramadan, following the example of the Prophet (saw), who was 'more generous than a fast wind' [Bukhari] during this blessed month. As charity workers, we strive to keep up with your generosity every Ramadan, from inviting you to support numerous worthy causes to delivering your amanah on the ground. Ramadan is the busiest time of our year, so we begin preparing for it months in advance!
We plan out how we will share the blessings of this month, inform and inspire you, facilitate your Zakat and Sadaqah and ultimately serve the vulnerable people of our Ummah.
One of the most important parts of preparing for Ramadan is deciding our central message. This sets the tone for ourselves, our donors and our beneficiaries for the entire blessed month. SubhanAllah, there are so many ways to worship Allah, so choosing our mindset for Ramadan is always a challenge!
In the past, we've chosen the message 'Save a Life, Save Humanity', to demonstrate the impact of a single donation and the weight of our good deeds on the Divine scales. We've also selected the message 'Give More, Gain More', to focus on how every good deed is multiplied by Allah: our mercy to others is rewarded by His mercy to us, giving in charity increases our provision, and if we go to Him walking, He comes to us running.
In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, our Ramadan message was 'Trust Allah, Hold onto Hope, Help Save Lives', as we understood the need to hold onto our Tawakkul more than ever before.
SubhanAllah, so much has changed since last Ramadan. What was once 'unprecedented' has become 'the new normal'. We wear masks outside and sanitise our groceries. We test our children for coronavirus every night, before sending them to school the next morning. We social distance at Jumu'ah and video call our loved ones instead of visiting them. It is truly incredible that the isolation which seemed so unnatural last year has now become ordinary to us.
Although restrictions are lifting and vaccines are being rolled out, the 'old way' of living is no longer normal to us. Many of us have lost loved ones and all of us have experienced fear, confusion and a seemingly endless isolation. At this time, it is easy to feel resigned, apprehensive or pessimistic about things getting better.
That's why, in Ramadan 2021, we are once again asking you to: Trust Allah, Hold onto Hope, Help Save Lives.
One: Trust Allah
The above ayah is one of the many ayat and ahadith which encourage us to trust in Allah and rely on Him alone. Alhamdulillah, there are many ways to strengthen our Tawwakul (trust in Allah). This Ramadan, we'd like to focus on two ways we can demonstrate that Allah is sufficient for us: du'a and charity.
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Supplication (du'a) is worship'. [Abu Dawud]
With the ongoing pandemic, we are even more aware of our lack of control and the importance of trusting in Allah. When we make du'a, we accept our dependence on our Lord and openly show our need for His help and guidance, surrendering our affairs to Him.
You can find du'as to recite in the first ten days of Ramadan here.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Charity is proof...' [Muslim]
The Arabic root word of 'Sadaqah' means 'to be truthful' or 'to believe' or 'to attest as true' - meaning that giving Sadaqah shows the truth of your faith. When we give charity for Allah's sake, we prove that we have faith that He will provide for us, fulfil our needs and protect us from calamity. It is thus a clear demonstration of our trust in Allah.
Two: Hold onto Hope
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 'Verily, thinking well about Allah is a part of the excellent worship of Allah'. [Tirmidhi]
Over the last year, we've heard the word 'unprecedented' a lot. For most of us, this crisis felt like a test unlike any other, and it is only natural to feel fear and confusion when going through something we've never experienced.
But Islam is a religion of hope and, no matter how huge the test is, we know that every hardship is followed by ease. The Qur'an and Sunnah are filled with stories of hope, and all these stories involve tests. This Ramadan, we'll be sharing some of the most powerful stories of hope on our blog and social media - so check in every Monday to take inspiration from the prophets (as) and pious people!
Three: Help Save Lives
The Prophet (saw) said, 'Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity'. [Tirmidhi]
The below story is a powerful reminder that we have no idea what calamities our charity is protecting us from! In fact, when we give Sadaqah intending to save lives, we could even be saving our own lives...
SubhanAllah, we have no idea what blessings our charity may contain. We have no idea whose du'as they are answering, what calamities they are protecting us from - or even the weight of them on the Divine scales. As Allah says, 'Whoever saves one (life) - it is as if he had saved humanity' [The Noble Qur’an, 5:32] - the impact of a single donation is truly incredible, whether in this life or the next!
Start preparing for Ramadan
With that in mind, we will be sharing with you many ways you can make a difference this Ramadan! To begin with, here are three ways you can prepare from now:
- Check out our 'Get Ramadan Ready' page, which includes tips for the first ten days, a list of essential du'as, the Ramadan khutbah of the Prophet (saw) and so many more resources to help you get a head start on your Ramadan worship!
- Give iftar and sahur to a family in need before Ramadan begins! With only six days to go, our global teams have already started distributing Ramadan Food Parcels in impoverished communities, war zones and refugee camps. Each food parcel contains enough supplies for 420 meals - enough to feed a family of seven for the whole month.
- Use The Best 10 Nights tool to automate your donations over the last ten nights. It's never too early to start preparing for Laylat al-Qadr, the best night of the year, and this straightforward tool will ensure you don't miss out on giving Sadaqah on The Night of Power!
Let’s give this Ramadan our best efforts and hold on to hope. We pray the charity we give will save lives, protect us and our loved ones from calamity and ensure we reap the benefits of this blessed month, amin!
Muslim Hands is an award-winning charity, established in 1993 to help those needing emergency relief and tackling the root causes of poverty. We hope this article was helpful to you - please share with family and friends, so they can benefit from our message this Ramadan!