In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Peace and blessings on the Prophet Muhammad, his family, and companions

We all know that Ramadan is a month of forgiveness, of purification- a time where we rechannel and reinforce our relationship with our creator. The Quran and Sunnah speak to the holiness and blessings that accompany this month for those who truly strive for the sake of Allah. While a tremendous amount of work must be done personally between ourselves and Allah, the reality is,  we do not live in a vacuum. Allah also judges us on our behaviour towards those around us. By taking steps to work on our relationship with friends, family, and our community we will not only earn the pleasure of Allah inshaAllah, but will strengthen and better enable our Ummah to face the massive trials before us. 

Below is a short and straightforward list of goals you can implement in your life this Ramadan to improve interpersonal relationships, and ultimately our community. This list is not comprehensive, but touches on critical elements of faith.

 1. Purposefully giving Salams to those we do not know.

Often times we salam only those we do know. Lets branch out and create new bonds. Set a goal to greet at least two people whom we don’t know every time we go to the masjid.

2. Making Dua for our brothers and sisters, both locally and across the globe.

 Taken by Omar Chatriwala.

If we look at our Duas and observe that they are almost exclusively about us, let’s change that. “The supplication of a Muslim for his brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you too’.” [Muslim].

3. Taking concrete steps to rebuild family ties and uphold bonds of kinship.

Strength of community starts at home and within the family. Even if we have strong disagreements or are estranged, make the initial step to rebuild this bridge. Allah takes this very seriously. Don’t earn the anger of Allah by breaking ties with family.  O men, fear your Lord who created you from a single soul, and from it created its match, and spread many men and women from the two. Fear Allah in whose name you ask each other (for your rights), and fear (the violation of the rights of) the womb-relations. Surely, Allah is watchful over you.” (Surah Nisa 4:1)

4. Internally working on any jealousy we may have.

Do not compare, nothing in Allah’s world happens by accident. If Allah has given someone something you don’t have, this is out of his divine wisdom. Whenever feelings of jealousy arise, conscientiously pray that Allah increases that person in rank and continues to bless them further. By wanting the best for others, we earn the pleasure of the almighty. Being upset over what others have is to question Allah’s decree. Let us increase our Tawakkul. On the authority of Abu Hamza Anas Ibn Maalik, the servant of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), from the Prophet (peace be upon him) who said, “None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

5. Abstaining from any form of backbiting.

Even if something is true about someone, if we are talking about them in a way that they wouldn’t like, it is considered backbiting and is a major sin. Even sitting by as others talk about someone in this way is a sin. In Islam we believe that when we transgress against others, our good deeds will be given to them on the day of judgement. Mufti Menk talks about this in his “Leaking Bucket” lecture. We work so hard for the good deeds we do have, let’s not just give them away by hurting our brothers and sisters. Trick: Tell your friends and family in advance that this is something you want to be conscious of and work on, that way there may be less hard feelings. If you have friends that repeatedly refuse to stop talking about others in this way, then make efforts to distance yourself.

May Allah allow us to truly take advantage of the blessings and forgiveness of this month, may he help us grow closer to Him and to those around us. May he strengthen our families and our Ummah at large.


Alex Livingston

Alex Livingston is a long time revert to Islam. In addition to his work as a labor activist, he is also a Co-Founder of United Muslims.

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