In Praise of a Simple Ramadan

All praise and thanks are due to Allah alone, the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and earth, the Turner of our hearts, and the One who has knowledge of our every heartbeat, breath, thought and action.

Ramadan is a blessed month of fasting and devotion, good deeds and charity, and increased communal bonding.

In this month, the rewards of good deeds are multiplied even more than usual so we are often exhorted to exert ourselves to reap as much benefit as possible. Ostensibly, this is a good thing.

Yet, I am reminded of the hadith of the Bedouin that came to the Prophet (s) to ask about Islam:

Bedouin: Muhammad, your messenger came to tell us you claim that Allah sent you as a Prophet.

Prophet: He has spoken the truth.

Bedouin: Who created the heavens?

Prophet: Allah.

Bedouin: Who created the earth?

Prophet: Allah.

Bedouin: Who created and raised the mountains?

Prophet: Allah.

Bedouin: By the one who created the heavens, earth, and raised the mountains, has Allah sent you (as a Prophet)?

Prophet: Yes

Bedouin: Your messenger also told us five prayers in the day and night have been made obligatory on us.

Prophet: He has spoken the truth.

Bedouin: Your messenger told us charity is due from our wealth.

Prophet: He has spoken the truth.

Bedouin: Your messenger told us that fasting in the month of Ramadan has been made obligatory on us.

Prophet: He has spoken the truth.

Bedouin: Your messenger told us that a pilgrimage to the Kabah has been made obligatory on the one able to undertake the journey.

Prophet: Yes.

The Bedouin then set off and said, “By Him who sent you with the truth, I will neither make any addition to them nor diminish anything from them.”

The Prophet (s) replied, “If he is truthful, he will enter paradise.”

Before the month of Ramadan, many Muslims make fervent prayers that we be allowed to live to see this blessed month. We make resolutions about how much Quran we will read or how many extra prayers we will pray, or how much will give up of tv, movies, social media, and other distractions.

But as the month wears on, our resolve may weaken and we may begin to feel guilty that we weren’t able to achieve our goals. The hadith above gives us hope, Islam is simple, even in doing the bare minimum there is a guarantee from the Prophet of God of a good outcome in the hereafter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for being a slacker in Ramadan, on the contrary, I believe in taking Ramadan seriously to reap as much benefit as possible. But along with that level of seriousness must be an element of pragmatism. Not all of us will be able to finish the Quran in this month, or pray every night prayer, or even spend a lot of extra time in devotional acts so give yourself a break and appreciate the blessings in what you are able to do.

There’s also hope in the hadith, that “the most beloved of all acts with God are those done most consistently even if they appear small.” Let’s implement this hadith by utilizing this Ramadan to find one deed, which we can do consistently for a lifetime to seek the pleasure of Allah. Can you do it?

This Ramadan, I have chosen to emphasize a single small deed, which I am working to build into my daily life so that, God willing, I can continue it throughout the year and I hope throughout my life.


  1. Assalamu Alaikum sis.
    Thank you for the lovely article. I want to ask, what small deed are you planning on starting and hoping to keep for the rest of your life. I’m trying to think of one to also start

    1. Wa alaykum salaam Latifah,

      Ah, this is between me and Allah.

      There are so many things one can do, maybe it’s working on praying a set amount of extra prayers, maybe it’s to perform an act of charity each day, maybe it’s to do something for your parents, family, or neighbors each day, maybe some dhikr, maybe to avoid something. I remember the story of the Companion who the Prophet (s) said was from among the people of Paradise due to daily forgiveness of those who harmed him.

      There are so many things, ask Allah to help you settle on a single deed. May your quest be successful.

  2. JazakAllah khair for that awesome reminder. The burn-out that happens leads us sometimes to do less than we would have done had we kept our goals simpler and more realistic. That was a great piece of advice at a pre-Ramadan event: Be realistic. Strive for the best but know your limits, right? 🙂

    1. Single Green, you’re most welcome! Indeed, we gotta keep it real but still push ourselves to reach for the stars, we’re capable of so much more than we think.

  3. Brava! That’s definitely a great goal for Ramadan. I would add that a great goal is, that whatever that little thing is, you try to carry that out through the rest of the year until it becomes habit. And then you’re that much better off next Ramadan. I usually also aim to get a better understanding of something based on my issues I had the previous year.

    Great food for thought.

    1. Chinyere, may your Ramadan be blessed. This month is such a time of renewal and reflection for me and helps me set my goals going forward for the upcoming year. I hope you’re enjoying Seattle.

  4. I want to know the truth of Islam. I am a Christian from Nigeria,i want to try Islam may be i can get the satisfaction i desire. Teach me more.

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