What spiritual practices and outlooks should one make a special effort to acquire during Ramadan?

What spiritual practices and outlooks should one make a special effort to acquire during Ramadan?


What spiritual practices and outlooks should one make a special effort to acquire during Ramadan?

  1. Muhasaba (Self-Criticism or Self-Interrogation): Self-criticism may be described as seeking and discovering one’s inner and spiritual depth, and exerting the necessary spiritual and intellectual effort to acquire true human values and to develop the sentiments that encourage and nourish them. This is how one distinguishes between good and bad, beneficial and harmful, and how one maintains an upright heart. Furthermore, it enables a believer to evaluate the present and prepare for the future. Again, self-criticism enables a believer to make amends for past mistakes and be absolved in the sight of God, for it provides a constant realization of self-renewal in one’s inner world. Such a condition enables one to achieve a steady relationship with God, for this relationship depends on a believer’s ability to live a spiritual life and remain aware of what takes place in his or her inner world. Success results in the preservation of one’s celestial nature as a true human being, as well as the continual regeneration of one’s inner senses and feelings.
  2. Tafakkur (Reflection): Reflection is a vital step in becoming aware of what is going on around us and of drawing conclusions from it. It is a golden key to open the door of experience, a seedbed where the trees of truth are planted, and the opening of the pupil of the heart’s eye. Due to this, the greatest representative of humanity, the foremost in reflection and all other virtues, upon him be peace and blessings, states: “No act of worship is as meritorious as reflection. So reflect on God’s bounties and the works of His Power, but do not try to reflect on His Essence, for you will never be able to do that.” By these words, in addition to pointing out the merit of reflection, the glory of mankind, upon him be peace and blessings, determines the limits of reflection and reminds us of our limits.
  3. Shukr (Thankfulness): True thankfulness in one’s heart is manifested through the conviction and acknowledgment that all bounties are from God, and then ordering one’s life accordingly. One can thank God verbally and through one’s daily life only if personally convinced, and if one willingly acknowledges that his or her existence, life, body, physical appearance, and all abilities and accomplishments are from God, as are all of the bounties obtained and consumed. This is stated in:

Do you not see that God has made serviceable unto you whatsoever is in the skies and whatsoever is in the earth, and has loaded you with His bounties seen or unseen? (31:20), and:

He gives you of all that you ask Him; and if you reckon the bounties of God, you can never count them (14:34).

Of course, one should try to increase in all virtues during Ramadan, as this is the best time of year to do so.

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