Ramadan the best month of the year and is a gift from Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and a golden opportunity for us Muslims to get closer to Him by increasing good deeds.
For every important thing we do in our life it’s worthwhile to plan ahead and make needed preparations so that it becomes an unforgettable event in our life. Ramadan is an important event in a Muslims life. Some common practices that Muslims engage in are, praying qiyam-al-layl, reading more Qur’an, giving extra sadaqah and of course, lots of du’a.
Before we begin let’s ask ourselves this question; Are we happy that Ramadan is nearly here? or are we worried about fasting in the summer?
I believe that our answer to this is the first part of question, that we are waiting for Ramadan and looking forward to its start.
Here are some tips on how we can make this Ramadan, our BEST Ramadan ever!
Let’s treat this Ramadan like it is our last!
Try approaching this year’s Ramadan as if it was your last. There is no guarantee that you will see Ramadan next year, so prepare for this year’s Ramadan accordingly. This is the final time you will be able to fast this blessed month, pray taraweeh in jama’at and complete reading the Holy Qur’an.
This type of mindset creates urgency and with urgency comes focus and determination. Your priorities will shift knowing that this is your final opportunity to take advantage of this blessed month. The quality of your worship will surely increase if you have this understanding. The khushoo’ in your salah will improve. Your approach to understanding the ayah of the Qur’an will change.
Plan and prepare in Advance
During the month of Sha’ban, increase in your ibadah. Perform some nafl fasts (on Mondays, Thursdays and the 13th, 14th, 15th of the lunar calendar in Shaa’baan), increase your recitation of the Qu’ran, give some extra sadaqah and improve your overall ibadah. Start waking up earlier than usual and try to increase that gradually. Read the Qur’an after Fajr even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. Drink lots of water, and avoid endless cups of coffee and tea. Start your day with a good breakfast that allows you to stay energized throughout the day. Have a light meal at the end of day with lots of fruit, vegetables, quit watching TV instead watch or read interesting Islamic material. When Ramadan comes, you will already be warmed up and you will hit the ground running Insha’Allah.
Set achievable goals for Ramadan
We set Goals for many things in our life. Whether it be planning a better life for our children or setting resolutions for the New Year. Surprisingly, many Muslims do not set goals or plan out their worship for the month of Ramadan. With so much there to grab during this month by way of good deeds and forgiveness from Allah for our past sins, we don’t map out a plan or set goals for ourselves. If you don’t set goals, you can’t measure yourself.
Take the time now to set some targets in terms of what you want to achieve during this month. And from these goals, come up with a small plan to describe how you plan on fulfilling them.
Try goal-setting and planning at that level and you will see a noticeable difference.
To attain the goals you’ve set during this blessed month, it will most certainly have to come with sacrifices and trade-offs. An area that we should consider doing away with, are the many distractions that surround us. That will include minimizing our viewing of the television, idle conversations with our friends, and usage of excess social media.
Distractions consume our time and take us away from the remembrance of Allah. During the month of Ramadan our time is at a premium. Our schedules are altered with early morning suhoor, the occasional nap during the day and late night prayers. If we allow our everyday distractions to continue throughout this month, we short-change ourselves from the immense blessings that are there to be taken.
Try to create an atmosphere in your home that will inspire you to achieve your goals. This can include cutting out television, movies and video games. Perhaps you alter your schedule at home so that the family has time to read Qur’an together or praying tarawih together at your local mosque.
Utilize the early hours of the morning
In summer countries, Suhoor is quite early and many people can’t wake up too early before it. In that case, I recommend utilizing an hour after Suhoor for Ibaadah. In winter countries (like Australia), Suhoor is quite late, so waking up an hour before it is easier. In such countries, I recommend waking up an hour earlier and dedicating that time to Qiyam Al-Layl (Tahajjud), dua and reciting Qur’an. The early mornings are known having Barakah (blessings) and it is a time when we are not pre-occupied with work and family obligations. Use it!
Seek the Night of Power. There is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) in Ramadhan that is considered better than a 1000 months, by virtue of the blessings that descend in it. Seek the Night of Power in the last ten days of the month.
Dedicate time daily for Qur’an
Ramadan is the month of Qur’an and so it is obvious that time must be dedicated daily to Qur’an. In some communities, people recite Qur’an very quickly each Ramadan to get it over with or complete as many Qur’an recitals as possible. Instead of doing this, focus on reciting properly, studying the Tafsir and reflecting on its meanings. This will have a longer lasting effect on one’s Imaan and Taqwa.
Give generously. It doesn’t matter if it’s a smile to a co-worker or a hundred Dollars to a homeless abandoned, it’s the season to give money to charity (saadaqa).
Make arrangements to give Zakaat al-Fitr on time this can be done any time before the ‘Eid prayer.
You cannot accomplish your goals if you are feeling lazy, weak, stressed or sleep-deprived. Some of us do too much during the first few days of Ramadan and end up without any energy to push on for the remainder of Ramadan. Pace yourself and take care of your body by getting enough sleep, eating healthy and staying hydrated.
Try and get a little shut-eye in the day. Even a half hour nap will leave you feeling refreshed.
The average person needs between 6-8 hours sleep a night, so make sure you are getting it, even if it means going to bed a bit earlier. Avoid sugary and oily foods and eat wholesome foods for both Suhoor and Iftaar. Drink a lot of water at night before bed as that will keep you hydrated during the day.
Ramadan presents a great opportunity to adjust our lives. The best benefit that can be derived from Ramadan is to carry the lessons learned from it — moderation and discipline — to the year that follows.
Ramadan Mubarak to you all. May Allah make it easy for you and me to achieve our goals this Ramadan, ameen!
Have you prepared yet your plan and program for the best month of the year?