Making the Most of the First 10 Days of Ramadan
The mercy of this month becomes clear to many participants by the end of the first day. As Ramadan approaches, the idea of fasting can be daunting. But somehow, it’s often easier than expected—and somehow, easier to fast during Ramadan than other times.
When we’re not fasting, we might find our stomachs rumbling by early morning. During Ramadan, many find that its mid-afternoon and they still don’t feel hungry.
A mercy to our body
Fasting is a mercy to our body. With such easy access to food—especially foods produced more for taste and convenience than nourishment—it’s easy for us to overload our bodies in ways that harm their function. Fasting cleans out our bodies and gives them a chance to rest and reset.
According to the National Institutes of Health, fasting “flips a metabolic switch” and boosts our bodies’ performance in a wide range of ways, ultimately slowing the progression of diseases, slowing aging, and even improving brain function. Amazing!
A mercy to others
Fasting is also a mercy to those around us. Less energy often means being slower to anger. For those who don’t naturally enjoy that benefit, hadiths teach us that regaining control of what is going into our mouths also goes along with heightened awareness of what is coming out of it.
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “If any one of you is fasting, let him not utter obscenities or act in an ignorant manner, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight him, let him say, ‘I am fasting.’” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Benefit from Ramadan’s mercy
While Ramadan brings with it mercy inherently, we can better seek Allah SWT’s Mercy on us with some additional effort.
Show extra mercy
A striking number of hadiths counsel us to show mercy ourselves. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said, “Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Most Merciful. Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.” (Tirmidhi)
Start with the people closest to you—forgive them, be patient with them, and overlook their shortcomings as we want Allah to overlook ours. But also remember others who are outside your household in your mercy as well:
Check on elderly or ill neighbors or friends; consider sharing food with them.
Give charity to those who are suffering through conflict, hunger, or other difficulties.
Increase your good deeds
Doing good deeds for others is tied to seeking Allah’ SWT’s Mercy.
The Quran says: “…Surely, Allah’s Mercy is ever near to the doers of good.” (7:56)
And the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) reinforced this message to his companions, saying:
“No one will be saved [from the Hell fire and admitted into Paradise] by his deeds alone.”
When asked, “Not even you, O Messenger of God!” he (SAW) said, “Yes, not even me, unless Allah covers me with His Mercy. So, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately in the morning, in the afternoon and during part of the night. Always remember moderation and always abide by moderation. Thus, you will reach your destination.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Notice also that this hadith links moderation with Allah SWT’s Mercy as well.
Ask Allah SWT for His mercy using the words He gave us, for example:
“So say, ‘My Lord! Forgive and have mercy, for You are the Best of those who show mercy!”’ (23:118)
Finally, have confidence in Allah SWT’s mercy. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“There are one hundred parts of mercy. Allah has given only one part which is distributed among the jinn, humankind, animals and insects. It is because of this that they are kind to one another, show mercy to one another; it is because of it that a wild animal is kind to its young.
But Allah has kept 99 parts of mercy with Him, which He will show to His servants on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
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