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Ramadan and Self Development

Self-development is a process of improving one’s character and ability to attain success in life.

It is taking steps to make one a better person that helps to attain happiness in life. For a believer, self-development should be devoted to attaining success in this world and in the Hereafter by removing sins, thus shifting worries and fears, from his/her life and ensure happiness and peace.

Success in effective personal development depends on the successful purification and nurturing of one’s character and day to day behavior, which is defined in the Qura’n as Tazkiya. The high way to building and leading a happy and safe (i.e. successful) life is to follow the guidelines prescribed by Allah (SWT) in the Qura’an and following in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as the living example of the Qura’n.

In Surah Fussilat Allah Almighty says again:

“Indeed, those who have said, "Our Lord is Allah” and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, [saying], "Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish]”  (Qura’n 41:30-31)

 

Taqwa and the Qura’n:

Taqwa (God consciousness) is the virtue or quality that enables one to receive the benefit of guidance from the Qura’n on a path to attain success in life. Therefore, in order to obtain effective guidance from the Qura’n one must attain the quality of righteousness (i.e. God consciousness).

In the Qura’n Allah Almighty says:

“This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those who are conscious of Allah”  (Al-Qura’n 2:2)

He also says:

This [Qur'an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious who are conscious of Allah.  (Al-Qura’n 3:138)

Ramadan and the Qura’n:

Ramadan is the month of Qura’n. In this month Allah Almighty has revealed the Qura’n for mankind with a complete guidance for self-development. 

Allah Almighty says:

“The month of Ramadan, in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion for those who are righteous (conscious of Allah in their affairs)”.  (Al-Qura’n 2:285)

Therefore, attaining the best qualification to benefit from the Qura’n is excellence in self-development in preparation to succeed. This raises the station of the one on this path to qualify as a true Muttaqi (Conscious of Allah).

Ramadan is a training Course to attain Taqwa:

It is a month of mindfulness, enjoining good, forbidding evil. It is a month of self-reflection, self-purification and self-discipline in order to remove sin and attain limitless rewards.

As Allah (SWT) says:

“O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (Muttaqun).”  Baqarah 183.

Despite these opportunities, fasting tests one’s ability to remain a self-improving, righteous servant. It requires great physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effort in order to make sure that one’s sins are forgiven, remain conscious of Allah and ultimately, earn His Pleasure and Jannah. 

Ramadan is that perfect opportunity. It is our personal race to righteousness and success.

It is a month-long race towards forgiveness and Jannah by competing in doing good deeds and refraining from sins.

Allah Almighty says:

“Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, And for a Garden whose width Is that (of the whole) Of the heavens And of the earth,”  (Al Qura’n 3:133).

Ways to self-development

Keeping the above premises in mind, we need to develop a course of action for this month to fully benefit from Ramadan. This plan should include specific objectives and will require one to make a firm commitment to follow the plan.

Before drawing up the plan or as part of the planning process, spend some time on self-reflection and conduct a SWOT analysis. One needs to identify their Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Then select a few aspects that needs to improve to be on the path of self-development. At least select one habit that will increase consciousness of Allah, personal growth, achieve excellence and spirituality beyond Ramadan. Work on improving that habit daily for each of the 30 (or 29) days of fasting.

Before sharing some practical Ramadan self-improvement ideas let us remind ourselves with the reminder of Almighty Allah.

 

“And [by] the soul and He who proportioned it. And inspired it [with discernment of] its wickedness and its righteousness. He has succeeded who purifies it, And he has failed who instils it [with corruption].”  (Shura Ash-shams: 7-10)

15 Self-development ideas to improve spirituality:

  1. 1.   Pray all salah in Jamaat with khushu (utmost humility) and khudhu (utmost adoration). Ensure children and family members are praying in Jamaah  as much as practically possible.

  2. 2.  Do dhikr after every salah, as prescribed by the Prophet (pbuh)

  3. 3.  Try to pray tarawih in Jamah at the masjid or at home with family.

  4. 4.  Pray at least 2 units of tahajjud (night prayers) every night of Ramadan.

  5. 5.  Spend 30 minutes with the Qur’an daily, with the aim of reciting the Qura’n to completion at least once in the month.

  6. 6.  Recite, reflect, read the translation/ tafseer and take lessons from a few verses of the Qura’n.

  7. 7.  Memorize one verse each day (e.g may be surah Al-Mulk with 30 verses).

  8. 8.  Provide food for breaking of fast for a fasting person. (You may choose to give a full month’s food to a poor family through a charity. Many charities are providing food pack for 60 GBP a month for a family of five.)

  9. 9.  Repeat the Istigfar; constantly ask for forgiveness for sins and errors known or unknown.

  10. 10.  Supplicate to Allah (SWT) sincerely when breaking fast.

  11. 11.  Do at least 15 minutes dawah work to invite someone to the way of Almighty Allah.

  12. 12.  Teach the Glorious Qur’an to someone.

  13. 13.  Listen to a beautiful recitation of the Qur’an for 30 minutes daily.

  14. 14.  Memorise 99 names of Allah (possibly 3 a day) remember and reflect upon the names and use in daily supplications.

  15. 15.  Learn at least one sunan dua a day.

10 Self-development Ideas to Improve One’s Personality

Allah's Messenger (SAW) said:

“The most perfect man in his faith, among the believers, is the one with the best behavior.” (Sunan Abu Dawood).

    1. 1.  Spread salaam to those you know and those you do not know; and return the greeting of peace.

      2.  Meet your brother/sister with a smiling face.

      3.  Keep silent when you realise you are going to speak with nothing good to say.

      4.  For each time you gossip, make sincere du’a for the person and give charity – task yourself with a specific amount before starting the challenge.

      5.   When you catch yourself complaining or if you are about to complain, say Alhamdulillah; remember and thank Him for His blessings.

      6. 
      Read a page from the Prophet’s seerah and note practicable lessons learned.

      7.   
      Control your anger. Repeat ‘A’udhu billahi minash shaytan-ir rajim when you find yourself getting angry.

      8. 
      Write 3 things you are thankful for.

      9. 
      Lower your gaze and look away when your gaze accidentally falls on something sinful.


      10.   
      Say jazak Allah khair (may Allah reward you) for something gifted to you or good done to you. Build a habit of shukr, apology and forgiveness (as appropriate).


    10 Self-development Ideas to Improve relationships

      1. 1.  Try to visit an elderly relative or neighbour.

        2.  Visit, call, chat, email or send an SMS to your parents and siblings if you are away from them.

        3.  Teach someone a beneficial skill or knowledge you have.

        4.  Make sincere du’a for your friends and loved ones.

        5.  Help your spouce

        6. 
        Serve iftaar meals at the masjid or community center.

        7.   
        Keep your heart clean. Especially before going to sleep, empty your heart of all grudges.

        8. 
        Wake your friend, sibling or spouse for tahajjud.

        9. 
        Be kind and compassionate to everyone you meet.


        10.   
        Smile when you see anybody and greet with salam, if Muslims. Greet with traditional greetings, if a non-Muslim.


      These are some ideas to support one’s personal race to success – in this world and beyond. There may be other ideas depending on one’s personal circumstances. Therefore, individuals should prepare a list of ideas and draw a plan for improvement as per his or her circumstances.

      Finally, let us remember that Allah (SWT) only accepts and rewards deeds which are done sincerely for His sake. If done according to the way it is prescribed by Allah and shown by the Prophet (peace be upon him), it turns into a form of worship. We can turn our challenge into a fountain of worship that will nourish us with righteousness, affecting our thoughts, feelings and behaviour positively.

      Let us have a strong will to prepare ourselves in this Ramadan to attain the best life in this world and Jannah in the Hereafter. Let us create a desire now to improve our habits and character up to a level that enables us to build a re-assured soul (nafsul mutmayinnah) in the eyes of Allah. Let us prepare for the reception from Allah Almighty in Jannah.

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      7 Bridges Place
      Parsons Green
      SW6 4HW

      Reg Charity no: 1157117