Last year, we all experienced a (hopefully!) once-in-a-lifetime Ramadan. A Ramadan without the Masjid, or commuting to work, or the much-beloved iftar parties.
As tough as it was – For many of us, this was a unique opportunity to experience a more meaningful Ramadan, focusing on our relationship with Allah SWT vs. the traditional socially-intense Ramadan experience that makes us feel spiritually-socially high, yet busy and overwhelmed.
As many communities are planning a more traditional Ramadan with social-distancing and reduced operations, another opportunity emerges: defining a “new normal” for Ramadan, which focuses on being more vs. doing more.
We call it a Mindful Ramadan.
One of the purposes of Ramadan is to emerge more mindful, more aware, and more present of Allah SWT.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
“O, believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become Mindful of God.”[Al-Baqara 2:183]
Mindful Ramadan is not just doing a lot in Ramadan and then returning to your past self post-Ramadan. Instead, it is about utilizing your Ramadan to go beyond all the incredible blessings and rewards of this month and transform yourself to be a better version of yourself. Mindful Ramadan is not just about doing more but also being more. It is finding your focus on who you want to become and aligning everything you do to fuel that transformation.
Therefore, Mindful Ramadan is about being present and intentional and rooted in Ihsaan – worshiping God and showing up with your best self as if we can see and experience God. If we think about Fasting, the primary obligation of Ramadan, it is more about not doing something (i.e., restraining from food, drink, and desire) than doing apparent, outward worship. Fasting in its very nature then is an act of the heart as we are restraining ourselves from feeding our body, and we are cultivating our soul even when no one is watching. Even a conscientious child would not drink a gulp of water in the shower when no one is watching because he or she knows that God is present and aware.
And this awareness, presence, or Mindfulness of God is the very foundation of a Mindful Ramadan and its reward? Allah SWT says: الصِّيَامُ لِي وَأَنَا أَجْزِي بِهِ “Fasting is for me, and I (personally) gives its reward. [Bukhari 1795]” The scholars of Hadith opined that one meaning of God Himself giving the reward means that God Himself will be the reward. The reward of a Mindful Ramadan is nothing short of the presence and proximity of God and His pleasure on the day of judgment and in Jannah. And, what better reward and joy than the privilege of meeting our creator on that day? May God not deprive us of meeting Him in a state that He is pleased with and from being among those who frequently visit Him in our final abode.
Cultivating Your HEART this Ramadan
The Prophet SAW was the most Mindful of Allah in this month – both the quality and quantity of his actions in this month exceeded all bounds. Yet, the most important thing he showed up with Allah, his family, and his companions was a beautiful heart. This Ramadan, as we try to show up to Allah SWT with our best selves, let us remember that Allah SWT looks at our hearts most of all.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَأَمْوَالِكُمْ
وَلَكِنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَأَعْمَالِكُمْ
“Verily, Allah does not look at your appearance or wealth, Rather He looks at your hearts and actions.”[Muslim: 2564]
And how do we beautify our hearts? Through the examples of our beloved Messenger of God (SAW). And, when describing the Prophet SAW, Aisha (RAD) said:
فَإِنَّ خُلُقَ نَبِيِّ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ الْقُرْآنَ
“Verily, the character of the Prophet of Allah was the Quran.”[Muslim: 746]
That is why we propose the HEART model of Mindfulness, a Quranic framework for Cultivating Your Heart this Ramadan. It is built upon the presence and awareness of Allah. It focuses on building the defining characteristics of the Prophet’s heart to become more Mindful, Purposeful, Grateful, Patient, Humble, and Compassionate.
As the Productive Muslim team emphasizes: Approach this Ramadan through your intention rather than a long list of goals. Use the HEART model to set your intention on who you will become post-Ramadan, which of these traits you will focus on to become the better version of yourself, and what will you take with you post-Ramadan to continue your journey of soul-transformation?
Download the HEART model here
Emerging More Mindful Post Ramadan
As you reflect on the guiding question on the HEART model above on how to emerge more Mindful, Purposeful, Grateful, Patient, and Compassionate post-Ramadan, here are some examples of how to continue to live our best self even beyond this beautiful month:
Mindfulness Masterclass – Ramadan Edition
This year, How will you plan to transform yourself through a more Mindful Ramadan? Let us know what resonated with you the most in the comments below! Please join a beautiful community of practice for our Ramadan Edition of the Mindfulness Masterclass and me every Saturday starting March 27th at 10 am central (ends May 1st) at www.productivemuslim.com/mindfulness.
Wadud Hassan, co-founder of the upcoming Muslim Mindfulness app: Muraqaba)