Episode 07: How to Take Your Fasting to the Next Level Using a Simple Tool

Transcript

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu, 

Welcome to the Best Versions Podcast, where I help you unlock your fullest potential to move from average to excellence in Worship, Energy, Love and Legacy.  

I’m your Host, Rushdhi Ismail. A computer engineer turned nutrition and life coach. I’m going to use my experience of over 25 years in the personal and spiritual development field to provide you with practical tools to move from average to excellence, bi’idnillah

Today, we will talk about something that will insha Allah have an enormous impact on upgrading your fasting!

Before we talk about the tool, I want to remind you that this and the next couple of episodes deal with taking our fasting to the next level using some simple strategies, bi’idnillah!

The goal is to help you achieve an extraordinary Ramadan! So, I sincerely hope and pray that these episodes will help you take your fasting to an entirely new level.

Now, talking about Ramadan, we should never forget that we fast because we want to achieve Taqwa, which is God-consciousness. 

Taqwa, in simple words, is about being mindful of what you do. You know that Allah is watching you, and therefore you don’t want to make any blunder. 

Being mindful of Allah’s presence, you avoid doing bad deeds and increase your good deeds. 

So, taqwa is super crucial for your success in the Aakhira; that’s why Allah subuhanawuta’la facilitates you to achieve taqwa by giving you an entire month, without the whisperings of Shayateen, as they are chained up during that month. 

Allah subuhanawuta’la says in the Quran:

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبۡلِڪُمۡ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تَتَّقُونَ

O, believers! Fasting is prescribed for you—as it was for those before you—so perhaps you will become mindful ˹of Allah˺. (Al Quran, 2:183)

Therefore, everything we do in Ramadan should be geared towards that simple goal!

To achieve that goal, Allah subuhanawuta’la made Ramadan a month of training. In fact, the month of Ramadan helps us to train every area of our lives.

To pass our training with flying colours, Allah subuhanawuta’la, out of His immense Mercy, chained up all the Shayateen so that we can entirely focus and successfully graduate from this yearly training camp.

We should make every opportunity to make the most out of Ramadan, as there is no better month to train our spirituality than Ramadan.

So the tools I’ll provide today and the weeks ahead are all about improving our spirituality to come out as people of taqwa at the end of Ramadan, bi’idnillah!

And one such excellent tool is wudhu!

Sure, you know what wudhu is, and most probably, you engage in wudhu at least 4-5 times every day.

My goal in this episode isn’t to just talk about the blessings of wudhu. Rather I want to encourage you to use wudhu to take your fasting in the month of Ramadan to a whole new level, bi’idnillah!

So how do you do that?

Okay, before we discuss how to do that, I would like to briefly talk about wudhu’s incredible benefits and blessings.

The list of benefits and blessings of wudhu is quite long. My goal is not to list them right now. Instead, I would like to discuss two important points that will help us understand how critical wudhu is for our success in the Aakhira.

Point 1: Wudhu is a means of achieving Allah’s love.

In Surah Baqarah, Allah subuhanawuta’la says that 

He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Al-Quran, 2:222)

Subhanallah, who doesn’t want to be loved by Allah, right? 

In fact, our ultimate goal is to achieve Allah’s Ridha, His love. If we achieve His Love, we’ll obviously end up in the Eternal Paradise. 

May Allah subuhanawuta’la make us people of Paradise, Ameen! 

So what’s one of the easiest ways to achieve Allah’s love? That is being in the state of wudhu as much as possible. 

That’s point number one, the most important point of all! 

Point 2: Wudhu reconfirms our Islam and Imaan. 

No one takes wudhu except the one who prays. And no one prays except he is Muslim. 

You may have come across the hadith of Jibreel, where he asks what Islam is. There are different narrations, and in one narration that is authentic in Sahih ibn Hibban, Prophet ﷺ defines wudhu as part of Islam. 

He ﷺ said:

Islam is to testify there is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to pray, give charity, perform pilgrimage, wash oneself of impurities, perform ablution thoroughly, and fast the month of Ramadan.

However, he ﷺ didn’t stop there. He even defined the habit of always being in wudhu as a sign of Mumin, a believer. 

“Adhere to righteousness even though you will not be able to do all acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is Salat (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.” (Ibn Majah)

Subhanallah, how true it is! And how great is the benefit of being in the state of wudhu all the time!

In another hadith in Sahih Muslim, Prophet ﷺ declared cleanliness as the half of faith. He said, ‏ الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ

Here, the Arabic word “tahara” primarily refers to doing wudhu. So scholars say the correct translation of the hadith is wudhu is half of eeman.

Subhanallah, think about that?

So wudhu is amongst the foremost essential things in Islam. 

I sincerely hope that these two points alone should make us think about the importance of wudhu, and we all should strive earnestly to practice perfecting our wudhu.

That’s why I propose that we try to be in the state of wudhu throughout the day and night. 

I know someone very close to me who does this every single day, and he has been probably doing it for more than 30-40 years, and that every single day, Masha Allah.

So let us insha Allah aspire towards achieving such status in our life by first and foremost kickstarting the habit in the month of Ramadan.

Why Ramadan?

First and foremost, any change in Ramadan is easier than any other month.

Secondly, it’s easier to maintain being in the state of wudhu in Ramadan, as we don’t eat or drink during a large chunk of time.

The need to use the restroom is less, and hence maintaining the wudhu is easier, bi’idnillah!

Okay, let’s now switch gears and look at four solid reasons why maintaining wudhu in Ramadan will be exceptionally beneficial.

Reason 1: Wudhu is a means of getting our sins forgiven.

In an authentic hadith reported in ibn Hibban, Prophet ﷺ said, I said Ameen to the du’a Angel Jibreel made. 

Now, what was that du’a? 

Well, Jibreel Alay-hi’ s-salām made three specific du’as, and the Prophet ﷺ said Ameen to all of them. And one of those du’a was related to Ramadan. 

Jibreel said, Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and is not forgiven will enter Hellfire, and Allah will cast him far away, so say ameen.

And the Prophet ﷺ said, Ameen! 

It’s a pretty scary hadith. But the fact is, in Ramdan, we have many opportunities to be forgiven. 

And if we don’t make every attempt to use Ramadan to get our sins forgiven, we are indeed the biggest losers. 

Think Ramadan as “full service” to your soul. 

Just like our vehicles need a full service, our souls need such “full service” from time to time. And there is certainly no better month than Ramadan to do it. 

We should strive to clean up our slate as much as possible to get freed from the Hellfire.

And practising wudhu is an exceptionally beneficial and easy way to achieve that. 

In a hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet ﷺ said, When a Muslim or a believer washes his face in ablution, every sin he committed with his eyes will be washed away with the last drop of water. Every sin he committed with his hands will be washed away with the last drop of water when he washes his hands. When he washes his feet, every sin he committed with his feet will be washed away with the last drop of water until he emerges purified from sin.

So all your minor sins are forgiven when you perform ablution. 

In another hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari, the Prophet ﷺ said, a Muslim does not perform ablution in an excellent manner and then performs prayer, but Allah will forgive him for what occurred between his prayer and the next.

But that’s not all. Wudhu is even an easy way to enter Paradise as well. 

Whoever performs ablution perfectly and then says: I bear witness there is no god but Allah alone without any partners, and I bear witness Muhammad is his servant and his messenger. O Allah, make me among those who repent and those who purify themselves. If he says this, then the eight gates of Paradise will be opened for him, and he may enter through whichever he wishes.

(Sunan al-Tirmidhī, Sahih)

Reasons 2: Rewards are multiplied in Ramadan.

We know that the rewards are multiplied for every good deed in Ramadan.

So performing wudhu as often as possible during this month is an easy way to fill our reward bank.

Who doesn’t want that?

Also, if you maintain your wudhu during the last ten nights, that alone will help you achieve the rewards of 1000 years in being in the status of wudhu. 

Reason 3: Wudhu keeps us constantly energized throughout the day.

Who doesn’t know “Ramadan lethargy”, right? 

You could do many things to avoid that “Ramadan lethargy”. 

Insha Allah, in the next episode, I’ll provide a few tools to keep yourself energized throughout the day.

One of the things that can help you be energized throughout the day is wudhu. 

Washing each part of your limbs with cool water energizes your body in many different ways.

From regulating your body temperature to getting rid of germs from your nose and skin, the health benefits of wudhu are pretty long.

I guess I don’t need to go deeper here, as this reason is pretty obvious. 

Reason 4: Outer purity leads to inner purity

As I said before, the most important goal of Ramadan is to achieve taqwa, i.e. God-consciousness. And that requires us to purify our soul constantly.

And one way how wudhu helps us is beautifully explained by the great Imam Al-Ghazzali in his Iḥyā’ ‘Ulūm al-Dīn.

He says that purification has four levels.

Level 1:

The lowest level is outward purification. That is keeping our bodies and clothes free from filth. We achieve this by making wudhu or having a ritual bath.

Alhamdulillah, most of us who take wudhu fulfil this level. But the problem is, we usually stay at that level without getting to the second level.

Level 2:

The second level deals with purifying our actions. It’s about doing what is right and leaving what is wrong. We try to keep our limbs free from sin. So wudhu should inspire us not to lie with our tongue, hit another person with our hands, or do any sins using our limbs.

Level 3:

The third level deals with purifying our hearts. It’s about purifying our hearts from blameworthy character traits and detestable sins.

We should shun arrogance, bad thoughts, and sins related to our hearts. 

Level 4:

The fourth and the highest level of purification is purifying our hearts from everything but Allah Almighty. It’s about achieving a pure heart, a heart that is in the constant remembrance of Allah.

Imam Ghazali says that the fourth level is the purification of the Prophets and the righteous people.

However, we cannot attain this level unless we purify our heart from its diseases, which we discussed in the third level.

And we cannot purify the heart of diseases until we purify our bodies of sinful acts.

And Imam Gazhali says, we cannot purify the body of sinful acts until one is physically clean.

So to wrap up, he says, a perfect wudhu leads to greater purity of heart and righteous deeds. And that, in return, help us achieve complete mindfulness of Allah in all that we do.

After mentioning these four levels, Imam Ghazali continues giving a beautiful parable. Let me quote him: 

Whenever you finished your ablution and approached the prayer, it should occur in your mind that you purified your outward appearance – the place which people observe. You should feel shame for confiding in Allah Almighty without purifying your heart, for it is the place observed by the Lord; glory be to Him. 

And it should occur to you to purify the heart with repentance, expelling blameworthy character traits and enculturing yourself with the essential, praiseworthy character traits.

One who limits himself only to the purification of his outward appearance is like one who invites a king into his house. He leaves the inside laden with rubbish while he busies himself with decorating the main door of the building. How entitled is the likes of this man to be exposed to contempt and ruin!

Subhanallah! How beautiful is the parable! 

The message is pretty straightforward. The simple act of wudhu can lead us to achieve a purer heart if we truly understand its importance and then act upon it.

I sincerely hope that I could help you see wudhu in a different outlook and inspire you to be in the state of wudhu during Ramadan.

I also hope that the new behaviour you establish in Ramadan will help you continue this fantastic tool beyond Ramadan, insha Allah

If being in the state of wudhu for an entire day seems intimidating, for whatever reasons, then at least try to be consistent in maintaining your wudhu for a small part of the day.

For instance, you can start from Dhuhr to Asr or from Maghrib till you go to sleep. Once you establish that small part, you’ll find that it becomes easier to broaden the time frame and eventually, you’ll be able to maintain the wudhu for the whole day.

Would you like to give it a try? I hope you’ll, insha Allah!

That’s all from me today.

If you want to read the transcript of this podcast, you can find it at https://bestversions.me/podcasts/07.

Thanks so very much for listening to my podcast. I sincerely pray that this episode helps you go from average to excellence in worship, energy, love and legacy. 

And last but not least, please subscribe to my podcast, and share the podcast with your family and friends. I’m confident you can make a difference in others’ lives by sharing this information with them.

Until we meet in the next episode insha Allah next Friday, I pray that Allah 

subuhanawuta’la showers his choicest blessings on you and your family. 

Love you all! 

And let me end the podcast with the greetings of Jannah, Asssalamu Alaikum Warahmathullahi Wabarakathuhu.