In Islam, intentions are very important because it is what’s in your heart. You can do an action but it may not be reflected in your heart. So you can fast but if your heart is not in it then it may not be counted as a pure action.
It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say:
“Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” (Related by Bukhari & Muslim)
1. Your Intention for Fasting
The most important intention to make is to fast for Allah. You’re doing it because it’s one of the obligatory acts of Islam that Allah has commanded you to do. Allah says:
O you who have obtained faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God. (Qur’an 2:183)
You can make intention with this dua: I intend to do obligatory fast tomorrow in the month of Ramadan this year because of Allah.
2. Your Intention to Get Closer to Allah
Once you have that in place, make the intention to get closer to Allah this Ramadan. As quoted in the above ayah, fasting is ordained so that you can be God-conscious. There are certain acts of worship that is done more in Ramadan. Pick a few of these that you can do and stick to during this Ramadan. Not too many that it becomes overwhelming but enough that it’s doable.
Some examples are: read more Quran, memorise more surahs, do remembrance (dhikr), different types of charity you can do, how much you can donate, how you can help others, pray on time and pray the sunnah prayers. Select which and how many you’d like to do of each. Be specific so you can have a target to aim for.
3. Your Intention to Better Yourself
Fasting in Ramadan is also a training for improving your personality and be the kind of Muslim that Allah expects of you. Qualities of a Muslim such as kindness, patience, loving, forgiveness, generosity, courageous, humility, truthfulness, trustworthiness, just, gentleness and gratefulness. Select one area that you would like to improve yourself.
Make the intention that you will focus on this one area to improve yourself. Then on each day, do something in that area. For example, if you choose to be more kind, then do one kind thing each day in Ramadan. If you keep doing it for 30 days then by the end of Ramadan, it will become a habit and become a part of your personality.
Today is the first day of Ramadan, so it’s not too late to set your intentions.
Jameela Ho is a teacher who runs her own education centre where she gives young children the benefit of an early education. She also guides parents on how to parent and educate their child. You can find lots of useful articles and lessons on her teaching blog www.ilmaeducation.com to educate your child. She can also be found online at jameelaho.com, her kind parenting blog.