From the Imam’s Office

Oh believers! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may be mindful of God. It was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast, and anyone who is ill or on a journey should make up for the lost days by fasting on other days later. God wants ease for you, not hardship. He wants you to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him for having guided you, so that you may be thankful.” {2:183-185}

Dear beloved community, 

Assalamu alaikum. An early Ramadan Mubarak to all of you! The first day of Ramadan will be upon us in a few days on April 13, 2021. As this blessed month approaches, it is important to reflect on what makes this month unique, and what it is we are trying to accomplish with the special blessings that we experience each year during this blessed time.

As outlined above, our goal is to be present with God at all times, such that it informs our actions, decisions, and even our aspirations. This mindfulness is also inextricably linked to another essential goal: cultivating gratitude.

These two qualities are both the most important aspirations for a believer, as well as the means for achieving any and all goals. We are required to be constantly mindful, and constantly grateful. Despite the difficulties of this past year as a result of Covid, there are always opportunities for us to be grateful and mindful of God.

Sometimes, these opportunities are best seen through community and good company. Ramadan is a month of community coming together for this one purpose: cultivating a renewed sense of mindfulness and gratitude together. It is so exciting that this year, we will be able to host you all in person for what I am sure will be one of the most fulfilling Ramadans of our lives — yet only if we commit to it with this intention and hope.

I cannot wait to see all of you each day and walk this path of taqwah (mindfulness) and shukr (gratitude) together. Make an intention and commitment that “this Ramadan will be my best and most transformative”, and God will facilitate the ways for it to be. With a sincere intention, God makes all possible.

Lastly, as you make that intention, consider two major advices as we commit ourselves to positive growth and change this month:

  • Make Tawbah. Tawbah means to repent to God and return to him. It consists of eliminating the sins of our lives, asking God with remorse to forgive us for committing them, and making a plan to never return to those sins. Take an internal shower before Ramadan through Tawbah, and humble yourself before God as you enter his sacred month.
  • Make a Realistic Plan. Sometimes the excitement around Ramdan creates a zeal we do not know how to channel. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ teaches us that the best actions are those which are small and consistent. Use this as your framework when deciding how to eliminate your bad habits, and which good ones to introduce. My suggestion is to simply commit to reading a minimum of two pages of Qur’an each day during and after Ramadan as your transformative good habit, reflecting on its meanings, and eliminating one bad habit or destructive vice that has inhibited your spiritual progress, starting with what you feel is the most destructive habit.

May Allah accept all of your devotion in the blessed month of Ramadan, and leave you transformed, walking the path of presence and gratitude every day of your life until you meet your Most-Merciful Lord.

With love,

Your Imam, Ahmad Deeb

Imam and Director of Religious Affairs

Islamic Center of Greater Toledo

If you have any questions or concerns, or see any shortcomings in this note, please feel free to text our anonymous hotline at 567-246-2129 at any time which goes directly — and only to — the Imam.

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