Answered by Sayyidi Habib `Umar bin Hafiz (may Allah protect him and benefit us by him).
What should our intentions be upon entering Ramadan?
- We should intend to be in the state that Allah and His Messenger love for us to be in.
- We should seek to attain Allah’s pleasure and to strengthen our following of the Messenger of Allahﷺ so that we attain his companionship.
- We should intend that a new door is opened to us in understanding the Qur’an and acting according to it.
- We should intend to avoid the inward things that nullify our fast just as we avoid the outward things.
- We should truly seek to raise our fast from the fast of the ordinary people to the fast of the elite and we should aspire to attain the fast of the elite of the elite even if only for a short time.
[Habib Umar is referring to the three grades of fasting mentioned by Imam al-Ghazali in Ihya Ulum al-Din. The fast of the ordinary people means abstaining from food, drink and sexual satisfaction. These are the outward things which nullify the fast. The fast of the elite is guarding one’s ears, eyes, tongue, hands and feet and all other organs from disobedience. By disobeying Allah with these organs one nullifies one’s fast inwardly. The fast of the elite of the elite is for the heart to be focused on nothing but Allah. It is broken by thinking of anything other than Allah.]