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Every year, a few weeks prior to Ramadan, we embrace a planning mode. From recipes of food to checklists of Emaan and Amal. We are taking a stock of our intentions. Our intention? To be our best version this Ramadan.
Every deed is built upon the foundations of an intention. If our foundation is strong then our building will be strong. Ramadan is like the land on which we can establish our strong and sincere intentions. Whether our intention for the month is to better our salah, or better our manners or to serve our parents more or to be more grateful for our blessings, the intention is always the first step.
Laying Down a Strong Foundation
Although actions are rewarded according to their intention, the efforts made towards the action are also of immense importance. We enquire a number of difficulties in trying to work towards our set goal of being a better Muslim… and thus, every high tide, low tide we incur is rewarded by Allah SWT. Our persistence is rewarded.
What makes us persist, however?
If our foundation has to be strong, the one quality that enhances its strength is our sincerity. The sincerer we are, the stronger our foundation.
لَمْ أَقْبَلْ إِلاَّ مَا كَانَ خَالِصًا لي
“I do not accept anyone except the one who is sincere to Me.” (Rawdhah al-Muttaqin, vol. 12, p. 141.)
A sincere intention magnifies a small deed. No matter how small your deed is to you, in the eyes of Allah, no deed is considered small. The barakah and reward gained from a small deed can overpower that of a bigger deed. It all stems from our sincerity, our ikhlas.
The Success of Our Intention
We can be deemed successful the moment we make a good intention. But as humans, we tend to evaluate the success of a matter according to the result or outcome. But Allah SWT isn’t like us, Allah SWT evaluates the success of an intention based on the efforts put in to make it a success. This mindset keeps a person optimistic and gives them motivation, that what matters to Allah more isn’t our outcome but our sincere and pious efforts. We’re humans and we all slip, and that’s fine.
Remember during Ramadhan, the battle is one on one with our nafs, there’s no intrusion of shaitan included. Whenever we slip, the only way to fix that slip is to face our sin. We face our sin by immediately turning to Allah for forgiveness. Facing our sin and acknowledging our sin in front of Allah is the point that pushes us forward to be a better Muslim. Ramadhan isn’t going to be perfect. But our persistence and efforts will bring perfection in our imperfection. If you slip during your journey, seek tawbah and put in double the sincere effort to come back up to your feet, but never stop walking. It’s not an easy path to be from among the righteous but it is definitely a path filled with infinite rahmah.
The next time you reflect upon your journey through Ramadhan, you just need to ask yourselves, how much sincere effort did I really put in to attain a so-so level of imaan?
“The religion is sincerity.” (Sahih Muslim)
We might not realize it but, one sincere intention can make your Ramadhan a complete success. And the outcome has a smaller role in our success than we think it has. The beauty of sincere efforts is that, when we depart from Ramadhan after giving it our absolute best, we depart with immense barakah in our amal and lives. This barakah isn’t going to die off, rather this barakah in our guidance and hope and strength and will transform us into the best version of ourselves that we once thought we’d never become off. It all began with one sincere intention, and this is the power of a sincere intention.