By Muneeb Nasir
Among the main purposes of religion is to heal the brokenness in our relationship with God as well as with fellow human beings and other creations of God.
Indeed, the purpose of fasting in Ramadan is to restore consciousness, awareness and mindfulness of God leading to such healing, transforming ourselves from merely living for ourselves to living for God and others - from mere self-existence to pro-existence and from merely selfish living to selfless living.
Words cannot describe and express our immense gratitude and thankfulness to God and the joy in our hearts as we have fasted during these past weeks in Ramadan.
God has given us, through His Infinite Goodness, Mercy and Loving-kindness, a month in which we devote ourselves exclusively to Him.
He has blessed us with this month of friendship to foster and develop love among ourselves.
Know that God is Al-Rahman - the Infinitely Good,
He is Al-Rahim - the Merciful
He is Al-Wadud - the Loving-kind
For all these blessings, we thank You, O God, for making it easy for us to fast in the month of Ramadan and for making it easy for us to pray in its nights and to recite and listen to Your Glorious Qur’an.
We thank You, O God, for all of Your gifts and favors to us. O God, We thank You with love and from the depth of our hearts.
Today, and every day and night for the next few weeks, no matter your past or your condition, turn to God and talk to Him about your life.
Speak to God about your hopes and fears.
Talk to Him about the worries and stresses that keep you awake at night.
Don't think about the things you may have done that might make you feel like you're not worthy of His Love and Mercy.
All of us are worthy of God’s His Infinite Goodness, Mercy and Loving-kindness.
Remember, God is there for us - just as accessible to the sinful person as He is to the righteous and pious person.
And we should not be dejected and despairing that God will reject us.
In the Qur’an, God endearingly addresses His servants:
“Say, ‘[God says], My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, 39: 53).
The Messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said: God the Almighty has said: “O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind.
O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you.
O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as its.” (Hadith Qudsi, related by at-Tirmidhi).
Know that God is Al-Ghaffar - full of forgiveness
He is Al-Ghafur - the All-Forgiving
He is Al-Tawwab - the Ever-Relenting
In these days and nights of Ramadan, turn to God in repentance and seek His Forgiveness.
“And turn to God in repentance, all of you, O believers, so that you might succeed.” (Qur’an, 24: 31).
In these days and nights, turn to God with sincerity – pour out your hearts to Him and seek sincere repentance.
“Believers, turn to God in sincere repentance. Your Lord may well cancel your bad deeds for you and admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, on a Day when God will not disgrace the Prophet or those who have believed with him. With their lights streaming out ahead of them and to their right, they will say, ‘Lord, perfect our lights for us and forgive us: You have power over everything.’” (Qur’an, 66: 8).
Know that God is Al-‘Afu - the effacer of sins.
O God, we ask forgiveness for every stumble on our part and for every slip and for every error.
O God, we ask forgiveness for those of our words which have not been matched by our deeds.
O God, we ask forgiveness for every blessing which You bestowed upon us but which we used in disobedience to You.
O God, forgive us, have Mercy on us, guide us, support us, protect us, provide for us and elevate us.
O God, You are the Pardoner, You love to pardon, so pardon us.